The Cursed Dagger: One of the best YA stories of 2016

Here’s the deal. Those that frequent this blog will know that you can count on one hand how many books (outside of the one’s I’ve written) I’ve recommended in written form. The majority of them have been from the same author (*cough – yeah, I know). There’s something tricky about reviewing another author’s work when you’re a published author yourself. You don’t want to offend anyone, but you also want to be honest. You don’t want to step on toes, but you want to give the facts. In all honesty, the writing world and those within it are family, in a very real sense. We’re competitive, but we all help each other out as best we can. In that regard, when I do reviews, I tend to look at them as “what can this author and this book teach me about the craft.”

That being said, I have to also whole-heartedly recommend The Cursed Dagger as an all around good read. I’ll get into some specifics in a moment, but I liked it so much, I sent the author, Alyson Peterson, a cover blurb that said something like this

The Cursed Dagger

The Cursed Dagger

“A perfect continuation of an already captivating series, The Cursed Dagger grabs you from the very first page and refuses to let go, even after the novel’s fantastic ending had come and gone. Can’t wait for the next book!”

So, yeah, that’s the short version. I loved it. I loved the first book in the series too. You should get them both. Buy them in every format available. Get a couple copies for your friends. Give them away as Christmas presents. I’m not kidding.

Here’s the dust jacket blurbs for both books:


“You filthy Bankhir liar! Warriors are bred to kill. Now, kill me!”

“No,” I said. “And give Silivus a message for me. You tell him that if he wants Bankhir and Garfel, he’ll have to go through me. . . . Nobody takes my planet without a fight.”

Skinny, nerdy foster kid Ian Quicksilver from Puckerbush, Nevada, has just discovered an unsettling truth—he is the last warrior prince of Bankhir. And the fate of his home planet—and the entire galaxy—depends on him. Well, him and Arianna Hernfeld, the hottest girl in school. He needs her help and her magic to stop a sociopathic magician bent on galactic domination.

The problem is, Arianna doesn’t remember anything about their past, and all of this galaxy-saving, spell- breaking stuff has to happen by Ian’s sixteenth birthday. Which is only five days away.

Get ready for an action-packed, laugh-out-loud book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Witty and perfectly paced, this is one adventure story you’ll have to read to believe.

The book is every bit as awesome, nerdy, and YA-level delightful as the blurb sounds. The voice Alyson captures…well, I’ll get to that in a moment.


In order to break an evil curse, Ian Quicksilver, heir to the Bankhirian throne, has two weeks to get Princess Arianna to fall for him. But first he must take care of a rampaging dragon and a maniacal magician before they destroy his home town! He’ll have to find the courage to save two worlds–and pass his classes–in this witty sci-fi adventure.

As I said earlier, great continuation to the series.

Specifically, I think Peterson does one thing better than just about any other author I know or have read. She captures the voice of a teenage boy, the thoughts, odd quirks, inflections, etc, so well, I have to wonder if maybe she used to be one in a past life. Seriously, the level of depth you get just looking inside Ian’s (the MC) head is mind-blowing. It makes me jealous as a writer and beyond appreciative as a reader. Characters are what make or break a story and this series as a whole is chock full of them.

Book Launch - The Cursed Dagger

Book Launch – The Cursed Dagger

I won’t keep blathering on about it. You really need to read it. I’ll just leave you with one of my favorite excerpts from The Cursed Dagger

One finger at a time, I released her wrists.
“See,” I said. “All better. I’m back to normal,” I said, putting my hands up where she could see them.
Ari’s shoulders relaxed. She let out a sigh of relief. “Now I am still curious. Is it only my magic that you are attracted to?”
“About fifty percent of the time,” I said, dead honest.

You can Find Alyson over on her blog at or, for you Facebook enthusiasts, her Author page can be found here:

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Writing Prompt – Flash Fiction 2

Prompt: Morals are for the weak

My take on it:

Here’s the thing. I’m not a nice guy. I never have been. If given the choice between saving myself and saving others, I’ll always choose me. Why?

Well, I’d like to say it’s because morals are for the weak. Strength is the only true indicator of actual power. Being bogged down by responsibility, by having to worry about everyone else, that’s a recipe for absolute disaster. An exercise in futility. That’s what I’d like to say.

But it isn’t true. Morals are for the strong. I am weak. I’d save myself because I am, at heart, very afraid of death.

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