The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger
Misty Hayes, author of The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger Volume: 1, is handing readers a unique take on the vampire stories of late. Her main character and narrator, Larna Collins, relates a tale deeply woven in history, family secrets, and bloodlust. Larna, quite the social outcast in her high school, graduates and embarks immediately on a mission to find her estranged father in England. Using her father’s journals and her own burning desire to find answers to her endless string of questions about his sudden disappearance, she leaves Texas just as her lifelong friend, Corinth, reveals his desire to be more than a tried-and-true confidante.
The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger Volume: 1 is written to appeal to young adult readers, but is so exceptionally written and full of wit and wisdom it easily resonates with a much larger audience. The idea of the socially downtrodden heroine is not a new one, but Hayes manages, quite successfully, to fashion Larna Collins into character unlike any readers will encounter within other books in the same genre. Larna is thoughtful, and the reader is privy to all of her emotions, anxiety, and, ultimately, her pride and power.
Character development appears to be Hayes’s forte. Dropping little hints throughout the plot, the author draws robust images of each character from Paul the Volkswagen/taxicab-driving vampiric sidekick to Gabriel–the devil incarnate. Each of Hayes’s characters adds a rich element to the story, and she masters the plot twist with the best of the action/adventure writers out there.
Hayes provides a captivating mixture of budding romance and action sequences. In addition, she takes literary risks with her characters’ fates. She, by no means, sticks with what the reader expects. At every turn, Hayes delivers something new and unexpected, but more than appreciated. The tension between Corinth and Larna and the ever-present question of romance between Larna and Alastair keep the reader guessing from beginning to end.
Hayes offers an originality with her presentation of the vampire tale. She successfully juxtaposes the deteriorating architecture of old England with present-day Texas and tosses in a healthy amount of technology and modern references–all easily within the schema of the young adult audience. Those expecting to find the vampires of the Twilight series will be pleasantly surprised to find a quite different vamp sketched before them as Hayes offers up a down-to-earth creature with far-reaching abilities and deep-rooted emotions.
I am giving The Outcasts: The Blood Dagger Volume: 1 a solid 5 out of 5 stars. Hayes offers a well-written, smooth read which mesmerizes readers from the first paragraphs. The relatable struggles of its main character, Larna, take an unexpected turn early on and pull readers in for a ride like no other. Hayes will soon find herself with a growing fan base yearning for more from Larna and her crew. By giving her audience the story they want with a cast of characters far-removed from those of the typical vampire tales, Hayes has succeeded in paving the way for her band of outcasts.
Pages: 356 | ASIN: B077XL9WHH
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, adventure, author, authorlife, authorlove, authors, authorsofinstagram, book, bookaholic, bookblogger, bookclub, bookgeek, bookhaul, bookish, booklovers, bookme, booknerdigans, booknookstagram, booknow, booksbooksbooks, bookshelf, booksofinstagram, bookstagram, bookstagramer, bookworm, devil, ebook, england, family, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, history, horror, ilovebooks, kindle, kobo, literature, misty hayes, nook, novel, occult, outcasts, paranormal, publishing, read, reader, reading, romance, science fiction, secret, shelfari, story, supernatural, tale, teen, texas, the blood dagger, vampire, writer, writerlife, writers, writersclub, writerscommunity, writerscommunityofinstagram, writerscorner, writing, YA, young adult
Creatures Venturing From Another Dimension
Slippery Things follows Larissa as she tries to navigate high school when she starts having nightmares of blood sucking aliens and can’t tell if they are real or not. How did the idea for this novel develop and how did it change as you were writing?
I love monsters, so of course I knew I had to write a book about them. Also, I’ve always found the concept of alien abduction beyond unsettling. And while I certainly don’t believe extra-terrestrials are visiting planet Earth, I wondered if the idea of creatures venturing from another dimension might make for a creepy tale.
The biggest change in the novel’s development was the point of view. Originally written in first person, I ultimately rewrote the entire book in third person. Two early readers of the the first draft suggested that if written in first person, the reader may not feel as urgent a sense of jeopardy for the main character.
Larissa is a typical teenage girl dealing with a cheating boyfriend and a self absorbed best friend. What were some characteristics that you tried to capture while writing all three of these characters?
For Larissa, it’s anger and disappointment. These emotions spring from a feeling of being trapped. Luckily, her sense of humor will help get her through the day. As for the others, I believe it’s typical for high schoolers to feel that the world revolves around them. Perhaps it’s difficult for young people to see just how deeply their behavior can affect others around them.
Slippery Things gives a unique twist to the science fiction genre. What was your approach to writing an alien abduction/invasion story while to keep it entertaining?
My personal interest in this story has always lived more with the main character than with the plot. That said, I was born with a dark sensibility. I thought about what I personally find creepy and tried to exploit that.
As far as entertainment goes, my favorite scene in genre films tends to be the point where “all hell breaks loose.” A goal of mine was to emulate this moment by building to a chaotic chase scene towards the end of the book.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
My next book doesn’t have a title yet, but you can expect another young adult sci-fi novel entering the universe down the road. There will be a couple of similar themes, but an entirely new setting and diverse cast of characters. And although creepiness will certainly be on the menu, I’m working towards an overall shift in tone.
Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website
Jaded high school Junior and detention hall regular Larissa Locke has a recurring dream in which creatures sneak into her bedroom at night to perform experiments and extract her blood. Tiny scars on her arm suggest that perhaps she isn’t just dreaming. But wait! If she’s really the victim of blood-sucking alien intruders, then why is her bedroom window still locked each morning?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: abduction, action, adventure, alien, amazon, amazon books, author, author interview, book, book review, book sample, books, boyfriend, creepy, dimension, ebook, ebooks, extraterrestrial, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, goodreads, humor, interview, invasion, kindle, lane baker, literature, monster, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, slippery things, stories, tale, teen, thriller, urban fantasy, writing, YA, young adult
It all starts with a dead cat. Thomas Beckon is a father of two daughters, a husband to a kind, happy woman named Pat, an IT Manager, and a seemingly nice man who many fondly refer to as “Tommy.” His life changes when his daughter’s cat dies, and he realizes that the dead cat’s soul temporarily inhabits the body of another cat in the house. It’s always been his belief that even the smallest creatures have souls, so this discovery intrigues him more than it surprises him. His curiosity leads him to attempt a soul transfer of his own, taking over the body of the remaining cat. After much struggle, he’s successful.
This early success gives him the confidence to move on to humans. He comes to believe that he’s trained his entire life, through his interactions with his co-workers and his ability to understand them, to take on the role of Inlooker. An Inlooker is an immortal supernatural being which has the power to take over the souls of others. Beckon works to enhance these powers, not just reading souls and manipulating his own, but taking control of other people, body and soul.
He starts out using this power for what he believes is “good,” but even his idea of good is twisted around his own self-interests. He moves from doing “good” to purposely doing evil. As Beckon explores his abilities and learns the extent of his power, he will face many enemies, the strongest one of all, himself and his baser instincts. When the future of the world and humanity hangs in the balance, the question for him becomes: can he overcome his greed and hunger for power and chose to utilize his superpowers for the greater good?
Set mostly in England and written by a British author, The Inlooker has a distinctly English voice with a dry sense of humor readers often find in British mystery novels. I enjoyed the voice most of all. It’s humorous, dark, clear, and ironic. At first, I didn’t like the narrator’s intrusions into the story, but I soon grew used to them and enjoyed the quirky voice very much.
The author, Terry Tumbler, is able to move around in time without confusing the reader and without making unnatural or abrupt scene changes. I like the way he reveals Thomas’ true nature slowly, first showing us how he became the Inlooker, and then backtracking to illustrate how he was kind of always an Inlooker, or at least an Inlooker-in-training. His skills didn’t just appear in an act of God type of moment; rather, they were always evolving, always building until the moment when he took over the cat.
This idea of latent powers is further explored when Thomas uses his powers selfishly and heartlessly. Early in the book, I was reminded of the quote by Sir John Dalberg-Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” I at first believed that ultimate power corrupted Thomas, but as the story went on, I realized that self-centeredness and the lack of conscience he displayed always existed within him. Societal norms, familial pressures, and office etiquette had served to control his baser instincts, but once Thomas achieved absolute power, he no longer needed to work within those parameters, so he didn’t. In an ever-evolving world that grows more complicated with an alien invasion, Thomas must decide if dominating the world or saving the world is his ultimate destiny.
I like the format of the book, specifically the short chapters and the descriptive chapter titles. Both kept the story moving at a steady pace. My own personal preference would be for the book to end with Chapter 25 and to not include the Addendum and the five Reference chapters. Beckon does a splendid job in Chapter 25 of wrapping up all the major themes and storylines of the book in a satisfying, yet unexpected way. Readers who like to dive in deeper and learn all the ins and outs will likely enjoy the evolution of the story in the remaining sections.
Pages: 350 | ASIN: B00VVCVEZ6
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
Tags: action, adventure, alien, amazon, amazon books, author, book, book review, books, british, cat, dark, discovery, ebook, ebooks, england, evil, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, first contact, god, goodreads, humor, invasion, ironic, kindle, literature, mystery, novel, power, publishing, quirky, reading, review, reviews, sci fi, science ficiton, science fiction, science fiction book review, seditious, seductive, soul, stories, supernatural, tale, terry tumbler, the inlooker, thriller, writing
Soul Searcher: The Reckoning Part One
In Stephen S. Arend’s Soul Searcher The Reckoning Part One the reader will find themselves on an incredible journey that will not only take them to the heart of battle but to the depths of the human soul. In a world where magic is as common as breathing, a soul transfer goes terribly wrong. The Mage-Lord Mordeth is attempting to complete a magic ritual where he can obtain a sliver of immortality. Thwarted and split in two the reader will meet the protagonist of Arend’s tale: Rork. A crafted man with half a soul and even less emotion, Rork prowls the world trying to deny the dreams he has which give small betrayals of his involvement with Mordeth. A large man who has been alive for only ten years Rork finds that he is missing much and is less than reluctant to find out where exactly he came from and how.
Arend does a wonderful job when it comes to emotion in his tale. Rork is full of rage and anger for a variety of reasons. He has been alive for a snippet of time. All he knows is battle and the haunting dreams that plague his sleep. Due to his firecracker temper which is liable to go off at the drop of a pin Rork finds himself saddled with an unexpected package: the scout Bregan. It seems like oil and water have met and are now expected to become friends. Rork immediately voices his disapproval over traveling with the young whip but what he will ultimately learn from his adventures with the scout. Both are more like boys in the beginning and Arend captures the metamorphosis into men quite well.
In a fantastically described world where magic is woven with intricacies even the smallest detail is given quite beautiful description. It is quite easy for the reader to picture the story in their minds as they read. You won’t be left guessing what expression the characters were wearing or what color the trees are when you read Soul Searcher.
For a first part Arend does masterfully in capturing the readers’ attention and lays out the ground work for subsequent tales. Information is freely given yet there is still more to be learned. These are key elements in any piece of work that is meant to go longer than the tome at hand.
With carefully crafted battle scenes and delicate explanations of magic Stephen Arend knows what his novel is about and is diligent in conveying the story to the reader. He takes the relationship between two unlikely friends and uses it to tell his tale. He doesn’t over embellish the tale which can be a major faux-pas for many fantasy writers. He uses his skills to convey the story in all it’s glory without diminishing the importance of the relationship between the two men. Other writers would gloss over the importance they play for each other and how they are essential to the development of each man’s personality,
Soul Searcher is a fantastical novel that is sure to delight those who read it. It’s not a fluffy piece where magic is used to make tarts and cakes. This is an involved and epic tale that is sure to keep your eyes glued to the words until the very end.
Pages: 222 | ASIN: B01IQP0QOU
Posted in Book Reviews, Four Stars
Tags: action, adventure, amazon, amazon books, author, battle, book, book review, books, characters, ebook, ebooks, epic, fantasy, fantasy book review, fiction, fighting, immortality, kindle, mage, magic, mystery, novel, publishing, reading, review, reviews, ritual, Sorcery, soul, soul searcher, stephen arend, stories, sword, tale, the reckoning, wizard, writing