Of Shadow And Ember (The Heirs Of Elaerys Book 1) by Shana Vernon – My Review

Title: Of Shadow And Ember (The Heirs Of Elaerys Book 1)

Author: Shana Vernon

Release Date: September 15th 2021

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror

Murder. Vengeance. Betrayal.

Fire is in their blood.

Three sisters torn apart by grief, centuries-long war, impossible choices, marriage, and death.

Survival is the only way forward, and to save their kingdom, they must unite with unlikely allies, put aside differences, accept the parts of them they kept hidden deep within, and find their way back to each other.

Or be vanquished by their enemies.

Aish protects the brave.

If you like books by Sarah. J. Maas, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laura Thalassa, and Holly Black, you’ll love this adult fae series.

Shana Vernon’s debut into the epic fantasy genre is utterly seamless. Of Shadow and Ember sparkles with energy that grabs you the minute you enter the new world. Bravo!!! Please take a royal bow!

I give this 5 stars!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author Featuring Belle Manuel

The Literary Vixen presents…

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Joining us today is Belle Manuel! Her new release, Of Blades and Shadows (Soul Stealer Saga Book 1) released on June 5th 2021.

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been writing since middle school. I struggled really hard with depression and it was suggested to me that writing might help me. I wrote my first little story for classmates, and then they started paying me to print it out and put it in little notebooks. Then it was passed around the school and became a thing all throughout middle and high school. I don’t know how not to write, now.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I have to have my AirPods in. I literally cannot write without them in. When they die, I don’t know what to do and just sit there, waiting for them to charge back up so I can dive in.

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I’m always very invested in my books. Some of the deaths I’ve had to write really made me tear up while I was typing them. What I usually have to do is have a funny TV show ready and queued up for when I finish the harder scenes so that I can keep from getting too attached or consumed with the story.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Officially, I’ve written three complete books: Books one and two of my Twisted Fates trilogy and one book in my Soul Stealer Saga. I would have to say Of Blades and Shadows has been my favorite thus far. I’m sure that will change once I have more under my belt, but right now Arayna’s story is my favorite to dive into.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo are by far the biggest influences on my writing. Maas I have been reading for years, and Bardugo I discovered shortly thereafter. I love Maas’ world building and Bardugo’s beautifully designed characters.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

Not that much, honestly. I wouldn’t mind readers reaching out, but I’m still early in my career. I’m sure that’ll come as more books are released and more people find my work. I used to get a lot of feedback on my old Wattpad stories, but I’ve since pulled those down as I’m putting more polished work out.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Nothing right now. I’m in between books. I intend to re-read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo soon.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Sarcastic, apathetic, creative

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Oh, gosh, I’m so bad at these. I don’t know any modern actors anymore. Uh, I do love Kit Young for my character Zad in Of Blades and Shadows. I think his personality matches Zad’s well. Sujaya Dasgupta would be great for Arayna, too.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Keep honing your craft. Keep reading and perfecting and hustling. It’ll be worth it.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I put a lot of Easter eggs in there for readers. Like, a lot. So I’m anxious to see people find them as the series unfold. I also really put a lot of myself into my work. Arayna has my claustrophobia, Evolet has my stubbornness. Other characters have other attributes of mine, and I find that this helps me connect to my stories more easily.

Thank you Belle Manuel for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Of Blades and Shadows today!



After sixteen years of living under the thumb of a brutal slaver, Arayna Gamon is given the chance to be a part of an elite group of assassins—Soul Stealers. Serving only the Dark Throne, Arayna must learn how to use her burgeoning magic to ferry souls to the Underworld.

Raised in the Deep South, Belle is a Sci-Fi and Fantasy author that revels in creating new worlds. She recently moved cross-country to be closer to the publishing world and is an editor for independently published writers. The Twisted Fates trilogy continues with A Reign So Wicked, released in April 2021. 

June 2021, Of Blades and Shadows, the first book in the Soul Stealer Saga, was released! Follow social media to stay up to date on the latest news!

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author Featuring Heather Elizabeth King

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Heather Elizabeth King! Her Bridgeport Mysteries series is available now.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a storyteller. I used to tell stories to my friends when I was a kid. I’d act them out and make them up as I went along. I wrote my first screenplay when I was around 14. It was a sequel to Goonies. I didn’t have the epiphany that I could choose writing as a career until I was 22. I wrote my first novel then, but it was awful. I’m a musician, too. I decided to give music a real try and stopped writing. I didn’t seriously pursue it until I was around 31. Crazy, I know. I wish I would have at 22!

What about the horror genre interests you?

I love scary stories. Especially supernatural mysteries. The stories you read where a family moves into a beautiful old home, fall in love with it, except…it’s haunted. Now they have to find out what’s haunting them and how to get rid of it. Those stories are my favorite. I’m a sucker for most mysteries, but give me ghosts, monsters, and a good mystery and I’m hooked. I started writing horror and dark fiction instead of straight mysteries because I love the freedom of horror. You can create anything and take your readers on whatever journey you want to take them on. You’re not limited by the real world. As a writer, that’s an extraordinary gift.

What was the first horror/story you remember reading?

I suppose Interview with the Vampire is considered horror, because of all the vampires. That was the first vampire fiction I read. That book made me a book lover. After that, I consumed Dean Koontz books. Dean Koontz had a gift for creating scenarios where you weren’t sure what the bad guy was. A supernatural entity, a human with dark magic abilities, a scientific experiment. That’s part of what made his books so much fun. You were never sure who or what the big baddie was. It really kept you guessing.

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?

I never wonder where they came from. I have five older sisters and have been watching horror since I was in the single digits! However, I have written scenes that legitimately scared me. I’ve had to stop writing at night and wait till daytime to finish some scenes. That’s usually a sign that I’m on the right track!

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so who? And what makes them so special.

It would probably surprise people who’ve read my books that my favorite is not Remy from Doomsday or Zoey from The Bridgeport Mysteries. My favorite is actually Barb, the heroine from The Thing Beneath the Stairs. She’s the first mom I’ve written as a heroine. She was the first time that I was in the head of a character whose motivations did not revolve around herself. She has two sons and they direct every decision she makes. I loved being in her head and trying to figure out what she would do if given the deal she had been given.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?

Yes. That’s one of the things I love about writing. It gives you license to be a complete learning nerd. Right now, I’m researching monsters and monster folklore for the third Bridgeport Mysteries book. Zoey finds out there’s a whole monster society that exists on the fringes of society. I’m in the process of populating the monster society.

Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?

No. I’m not at a point where I want to spend that much time with my own phobias. I keep them tucked away where I can’t see them. Same goes with scary childhood experiences.

What is one stereotype about horror authors is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?

Wrong – That we’re creepy, scary people. As a reader, horror authors are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I can only guess it’s because we don’t hide our darkness. We put it on the page and sell it! 

Right – I may kill you in a book/make you my villain. There are some very real people in my life who have ended up in my books. Some have even inspired villains.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can share with us?

For years I wanted to go all out decorating for Halloween. I’d never been able to, though, because I’d always lived in apartments. I brought a house back in 2014. My first Halloween in that house was the Halloween of 2015 and I went all out. I put a graveyard in my front yard with zombies crawling out of their graves (or trying to). There was a bloody handprint path to my front door, and I transformed the nice table and chairs on my front porch where I ate breakfast in the summer into a spot for zombies. I made two zombies and sat them in the chairs. They were complete with clothes, scary faces, and missing limbs. That Halloween there were a few kids who wouldn’t come to my door. They sent their parents for candy. But I’ll always remember one little boy. He came to my door and was grinning at me. He said, “You look like you had fun decorating.” I laughed and said that I had.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Don’t stop to edit until your first draft is finished. So many would-be authors never finish their books because they spend years trying to make the first three chapters perfect. Just finish the first draft. Just get the story down. You can edit it later.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I truly love telling stories. There are so many more stories in me. I hope readers keep reading.


Thank you Heather Elizabeth King for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her Bridgeport Mysteries today!


An ancient manuscript. A dead ex. One last chance to take control of her life.

The only plan Zoey Matthews had that day was to take the first step in putting her life together after her husband left her for a younger woman. But her plans for a fresh start are sent spiraling out of control when the ghost of her murdered husband shows up in her swanky new loft. What would you do? If you’re Zoey Matthews, you don’t celebrate the fact that the philandering bastard is dead, you set out to prove you didn’t kill him.

The list of suspects seems endless. Was it one of the nearly adolescent girls he’d been sleeping with behind Zoey’s back? Maybe it was the sinister friend who dabbles in black magic? It could have been the pair of clueless thugs on the hunt for a missing artifact that they think Zoey has. A sexy and all too appealing celebrity artist new to town is on the suspect list, too. Last of all, the stuffy town mayor? If she doesn’t figure it out soon, she may be next.

Zoey Matthews, the Undead Ghost, and the Demon is the first book in an urban fantasy series that features surprising plot twists, dark supernatural entities, sexy male characters, and a female protagonist who may not kick ass, but you could totally see yourself having a beer with her.

Get your copy of Zoey Matthews, the Undead Ghost, and the Demon today to read about Zoey’s first journey into the supernatural.

NOTE: This book was previously released in 2015


Could you face your greatest fear?

The holiday season is in full swing and the only thing Zoey wants to do is get to know her new boyfriend better. But when a ghost shows up at her loft with the name of her killer on her lips, Zoey knows she’s being pulled into another mystery. This one is more puzzling than the last. According to police, the woman died of natural causes, but people who were nearby claim to have heard the victim screaming for help before she died. When a second body turns up, killed in the same manner, Zoey knows Bridgeport has another killer on its hands.

Helping Zoey get to the bottom of things are a meddling ghost, a paranormal investigator, and Zoey’s two best girlfriends. When Zoey finds herself in the crosshairs of the killer, she knows time is running out.

Zoey Matthews, the Unwanted Ghost, and the Cursed Manuscript is the second book in an urban fantasy series that features an engaging mystery, a cast of supernatural characters, a few alluring men, and a heroine who may be afraid of ghosts, but still manages to get the job done.

Get your copy of Zoey Matthews, the Unwanted Ghost, and the Cursed Manuscript today to continue your journey with Zoey into the supernatural.

Warning: Contains adult language, a bit of sex, and a few really creepy characters

Heather Elizabeth King is the author of dark fiction. She writes urban fantasy, horror, and paranormal romance. Heather has been a story teller for most of her life. Some of her favorite memories are of telling stories to her girlfriends at slumber parties when she was a pre-teen.

She is a graduate of the Writer’s Digest class, Focus on the Novel and has been a panelist at several writing conferences. She’s also given presentations at various paranormal conventions.

Most days Heather can be found at her laptop working on her next book.

Heather loves to hear from readers (and potential readers). Reach out to her at her links down below.

Free Download Friday · Freebie

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Raven’s Sight (Darkest Hearts Trilogy Book 1)

By R.L. Weeks


From internationally bestselling author R. L. Weeks, a story of murder, deadly secrets begging to be revealed, and a paranormal romance that will leave you breathless.

Raven has been locked away from Victorian Society since she was nine. Now, eighteen, a secret comes out of the darkness that will pull her from the safety of her Grandmother’s mansion and into a world where the very thing that makes her unique, is also a curse.
Girls who can see ghosts and memories are locked away for being insane, so Raven must keep her secret while communicating with the dead to hunt a serial killer, one that’s a little too close to home.

Armed with her best friend, a ghost, and a man she’s unsure if she can trust, Raven is forced onto the gas-lit streets of London. She must solve the string of murders that’s almost identical to a case from before she was born before she becomes the next victim.

With her family tree rotting at the roots, creatures of the night slithering from the shadows, and a romantic interest that’s more confusing than ever, can Raven make the ultimate sacrifice to save the ones she loves? Or will the darkness take her forever?

Revised second edition: November 30th, 2019

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author Featuring Yolanda Olson

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Yolanda Olson! Her book, Malediction Codex releases on July 7th 2020.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Probably when I was younger. (About 8ish) I had a habit of writing two paragraph horror stories and reading them to the kids in the neighborhood.

What about the horror genre interests you?

The freedom to write what I want. Horror has so many subgenres and you can get away with almost anything! Honestly, I just like being different. I’m not a big fan of standard romance or HEAs/HFNs, so I go the violent route and have fun with it.

What was the first horror/story you remember reading?

R.L. Stine was one of my favorite authors as a child. So his Fear Street & Goosebumps books were something I always enjoyed to read.

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?

BONES gave me insomnia. I could not get a decent night’s sleep until that book was over and done with.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so who? And what makes them so special.

Lakyn Meyer probably. He’s a sociopathic asshole that loves himself and nothing else. But he’s funny as hell too. And he loves Blondie lol

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?

Nope. I go with whatever sits in my brain at the time. I’m sure every piece of fiction is influenced in one way or another by true events or a historical one, but I like to just go with the flow.

Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?

No, I can’t say I’ve written one based on my phobias, fears, or a nightmare yet. I don’t think I’d have as much fun with that as I do when I just wing it lol.

What is one stereotype about horror authors is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?

That only men can be horror authors. (It grinds my gears, but whatever.) On point? I don’t know. I try not to pay attention to stereotypes.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can share with us?

None that I can remember. I love the holiday, but I don’t go all out for it.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Just write it. Seriously, for every one person that hates what you wrote, I promise you that there will be five more that love it.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I am not what I write. My imagination is wild and it’s fun to play there but don’t approach me at an event scared. I’m actually really quiet, shy and awkward in person.

Thank you Yolanda Olson for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Malediction Codex today!


The Priestess

Devil boys think they’re so smart.

Of course, when it comes to Lakyn Meyer, they think they’re so damn beautiful too.

I guess he has a point, but this was never about him. It was about me and he waltzed in and stole the show as he’s accustomed to.

Maybe one day I’ll get rid of him once and for all.

Even if it’s not anytime soon.

The Devil

Holy babble balls, man.

Beatrix St. Germain thinks she’s some kind of superhero to her emo dark lord down below but all I hear is her flapping her gums like she’s the greatest thing on Earth.

We all know that’s a lie—especially since I’m here.

Trixie has tried to get rid of me but when I make a pact with someone, I stick to it.

Soul mates without benefits suits me just fine.

For now.

The Burden

One day I’ll be able to stand on my own two feet.

I hate when Bea and Lakyn are together, but I hate it even more when the three of us are apart.

He promises me spare time with Bea and in return, I do whatever he tells me to.

I’m Ichabod Foster.

Maybe you’ve forgotten about me at this point too, and that’s okay.

Just try not to forget about me entirely because I’ll never forget about you.

This set includes the entire Malediction Saga: Scavengers, Vultures, and Carrion. Also included is Detritus which was only available for a very limited time and Sunder which has never been released.

Yolanda Olson is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author. Born and raised in Bridgeport, CT where she currently resides, she usually spends her time watching her favorite channel, Investigation Discovery. Occasionally, she takes a break to write books and test the limits of her mind. Also an avid horror movie fan, she likes to incorporate dark elements into the majority of her books.

You can keep in touch with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



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New Release · Release Blitz

Margaret (The Risen Series Book 2) by Marie F. Crow – New Release


Margaret (The Risen Series Book 2)

Release Date: August 17th 2020

Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror


It’s just a simple shot, right?”

Margaret Erikson will ask this question many times today. What is supposed to be a basic school wide vaccine will go horribly wrong. It is not a simple shot and the lives that are lost to it will not become simple monstors.

Get started on the series with Dawning (The Risen Series Book 1)!

Buy link:


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Dark Heirloom: A Vampire Urban Fantasy (An Ema Marx Novel Book 1)

By J.D. Brown


Vampires. Shifters. Nephilim. Ema Marx is their savior, but she can’t believe the bloodsuckers exist. Or that she’s one of them.

Sure, night vision and super strength are cool, but when an ancient premonition threatens her life, Ema just wants to get the hell out of dodge. Or in this case, the mysterious castle she wakes up in.

Jalmari is a vampire prince with a bad attitude. He wants nothing to do with Ema, until he discovers she’s a threat to his throne. Now he’s out for blood. Ema’s blood.

Ema’s survival hangs on her ability to stay one step ahead of Jalmari while curbing her own morbid thirst. Can she save herself, or will she succumb to a dangerous destiny?

Dark Heirloom is the first installment of the 5x award-winning Ema Marx series. If you like strong female heroines, lots of action, and a hint of romance, then you’ll love J.D. Brown’s gripping urban fantasy world.

Pick up this page-turner today!


Lake of Darkness: A Novel by Scott Kenemore – My Review

Title: Lake of Darkness: A Novel

Author: Scott Kenemore

Release Date: May 5th 2020

Genre: African American, Horror, Fiction

An Alternate History in which Power, Crime, and the Supernatural Intersect on the South Side of Chicago 

During the First World War, on the South Side of Chicago, officer Joe “Flip” Flippity has begun an investigation into a serial decapitationist who is hunting young children. At a time when African American officers are rendered second-class by prejudicial policies, Flip is nonetheless called upon by the mayor of the city—the legendary Big Bill Thompson himself—and a host of powerful city fathers, to thwart this murderer who threatens to destroy the city’s reputation as a safe haven for those making the Great Migration north.

While searching to catch his killer—and to discover why the most powerful men in Chicago are truly concerned about the murders of poor black refugees—Flip’s bloody trail takes him through the South Side’s vice districts (where anything is available for a price), across its most dangerous criminal underbellies, and into a bracing and unexpected world of supernatural horror.

As Flip digs deeper in his quest to protect the city’s most vulnerable, he stumbles upon more mysterious murders, confounding psychological puzzles, and terrifying hints of something “other” that may reach across from unknowable distances to guide the hand of a killer. It soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems, and that mysterious and powerful forces are conspiring to stand in Flip’s way.

A combination of detective thriller, cosmic horror, and historical fiction, Lake of Darkness takes us to the deepest and darkest places in Chicago’s very dark history.

The cover of this book caught my eye. I had to know more about it. Horror? Thriller? YES PLEASE!! 

This book was fantastic!! It kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The story is set in Chicago. Way way back in time but also in an alternate timeline. I did feel transported to a different time while reading. I LOVE when that happens! Ah to get lost in the pages of a book is truly satisfying. Joe “Flip” Flippity is tasked with solving some disturbing crimes being committed. He has a long road ahead of him but he meets people along the way and together they set out to find clues. 

Both the story and characters are well written. I love the no nonsense way about Joe but as you read more, you realize there’s much more going on behind the mask he wears. That goes for most of the characters in the book. I also loved the mystery to some of them. It made me want to read more. There are many twists and turns and I dig that I didn’t see any of them coming. 

This book did not disappoint! I highly recommend if you’re a fan of a good horror/thriller. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and will be looking for more of his work. I give this 5 stars. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

New Release · Review

The Essence of Darkness by Thomas Clearlake – My Review

Title: The Essence of Darkness

Author: Thomas Clearlake

Release Date: April 18th 2020

Genre: Horror, Suspense

Five unexplained child disappearances have plagued the small town of St. Marys in the space of four months. All the elements indicate that these are abductions. FBI Special Agent Eliott Cooper is sent to investigate.
Little by little, he uncovers facts that he can’t rationally explain. Soon, he finds that a dark and very ancient evil seems to have taken over the forests around the city.
This is only the beginning of his investigation…

I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis was good and had piqued my interest. The story has potential. It just didn’t deliver. The story lagged in a lot of places. The main character wasn’t very likable. I had trouble connecting with him. There were some contradicting scenes and or parts in the story. There are some good scenes. Just not enough to keep my interest. I had to DNF (did not finish) at 22%. This book wasn’t for me but it may be for someone else. If it catches your interest, check it out for yourself. I give this 2 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*


The Risen: Courage by Marie F. Crow – My Review

Title: The Risen: Courage

Author: Marie F. Crow

Release Date: December 20th 2013

Genre: Horror

When everything shatters into madness, how do you pick up the pieces that are left? When your friends lie bleeding around you, which ones do you fight to save? To find these answers, Helena Hawthorn will have to face the ghosts that now walk the halls around her.

In the wake of J.D.’s madness, Helena and G.R.I.T. will have to find the courage to fight for their home and for each other as a new evil takes hold of their lives. The biggest threat to the high school and its survivors is no longer the Risen, and G.R.I.T. will have to fight to survive.

This book packed a powerful punch! It has action, horror, and those emotional moments that Miss Crow seems to bring with each book. Who can scare you and make you feel things at the same time? She can and she does with this series. The characters she’s created have become family. I’m fully invested in what happens to Helena and crew. I have my favorites! Everyone is recovering and dealing with the aftermath of what happened in Dawning. Things seem to keep getting better and better. No, that was sarcasm. Just when they think they’ve handled the crisis, something happens to make the next one even worse. 

I was captivated right from the beginning! I didn’t put the book down once. I was rapidly turning pages because I needed to know what would happen next. There’s a surprise at the end that I didn’t put together right away. If you know me and my reviews, then you know how I really dig when that happens. Bravo Miss Crow! I’ll be not so patiently waiting for the next book. I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*