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Book Review: Angst by David Pedersen

AngstAngst by David J Pedersen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FULL DISCLOSURE: This book was written by my husband, and I edited it.

Marital pride & bias aside, I loved this book. It's adventurous, imaginative, quirky, suspenseful, twisted, and just plain fun. Think "Evil Dead" meets "Princess Bride".

Here's the copy I wrote for the back cover (which is slightly different than what went to production):

You probably already know Angst. In fact, chances are good you’ve known Angst for quite a while. You may work with Angst. You could be friends with Angst. You may even be married to Angst. If you know the feeling of compromised dreams, ever-increasing expectations, chronic frustration and the burden of unfulfilled potential, you know Angst.

This is Angst’s story.

As a young man Angst wanted to make a difference, to make his mark in history, to be remembered for heroic deeds and wondrous acts. He knew he was destined for something great, but had the feeling he had somehow missed it. Now it’s too late. Not only is 40 far too old to become a knight, Angst is one of few “blessed” with the ability to wield the magics. But his blessing is more like a curse. Kind of like the rest of his life.

For 2,000 years Magic has been repressed, outlawed, even outright destroyed throughout the world of Ehrde. By law, Angst is reduced to using his great power only to file papers. His marriage is on the rocks, his friends are bored with him, and he hates his job. The one person that makes him happy is the young Princess Victoria who seems to adore him. Unfortunately, that makes his boss, the Queen, hate him.

Without warning, Ehrde is besieged with horrifying monsters -- birds with metallic beaks like blades, monkey creatures that can dive through solid ground, mindless horse-eating giants. The world that shunned magic now turns to Angst for help, and he is happy to listen...once his back stops hurting.

On the edge of a mid-life crisis, Angst decides to risk it all, dragging his reluctant friends along with him on an adventure into the heart of magic. He’s not sure where they’re going, or what they’ll find, or even if they’ll all survive. But he knows this is his one chance to be a hero because the only way to fight magic is with magic. What’s the worst that could happen?

The plot surprised me several times - I didn't see the twists coming, and found myself gasping and exclaiming "NO!" out loud. The story also contains some rather horrific scenes I wasn't expecting, but they add to the "real-ness" of the experience. I was completely drawn into the world of Ehrde, easily imagining the landscape along their journey, the fight scenes, and the banter between characters.

Each character is so unique, and adds so much to the richness of the story. This isn't just Angst's story - his tale can't be told without the addition of his friends, because each is a part of his history, as well as his present. The dialogue between characters is inspired, with the perfect rhythm you would expect from a group of people who have known each other for years. And I can almost guarantee that most female readers will absolutely love Rose's sassy remarks - she seems to have almost no filter, and says what we wish we could say in many situations.

So, yes, I am biased when it comes to this book. But I'm also an avid reader, and have read my share of fantasy books. This one is right up there with my favorites.

View all my reviews

Craft It Forward in 2011

I wanted to let you know about a really cool charity movement that Scrapbooks etc. magazine has just launched, called Craft It Forward. Use your crafting super powers to make a difference in YOUR community. A handmade card or fun banner can really help bring encouragement and support to people need it.

Here’s how it works: throughout 2011, visit the Craft It Forward website each month for a new downloadable pattern and suggested charity recipients. Make the project and donate it to a charity that is near and dear to your heart. Then, upload your creation to the Craft It Forward gallery for a chance to win $500 in cash and a $500 donation to a charity! Word is they’ll be looking for stories to feature in the magazine and on the website, too.

So join me and Craft It Forward throughout 2011. This month, I plan to make cards and donate them to Operation Write Home, a charity that sends mailable cards to troops stationed overseas.

For more information, visit the Craft it Forward website:

Posted via email from Angie Pedersen's Posterous

My mom wants me to get fired.

Or maybe my brother does. One of them, anyway. Because my brother shared the link to this blog with my mom, then she sent it to me. And now all hope of any productivity at work is gone.

Go check out the vastly entertaining antics at Hyperbole & a Half - but you might want to wait until you don't have to be all responsible & productive-like.

Posted via email from Angie Pedersen's Posterous

Gluten-Free Christmas Dinner

We have hosted a special family meal at our house every Christmas for about 14 years now, and - I must say - we put out a pretty good spread. I've used the same Christmas Dinner menu every year, and it includes something for everyone - many favorite family recipes.

My brother threw me a bit of a loop this year when he was diagnosed with celiac disease and GERD - due to his dietary concerns with gluten, dairy, citrus, garlic, and onion products (plus others), I had to scrutinize my recipes to see what could be substituted, revised, or otherwise tweaked. Believe me, the emails flew fast and furious between him, my mom, and I the weeks leading up to Christmas!

For some recipes, I checked with my brother, and discovered he didn't actually plan to eat some things (e.g., he's not a big salad eater), so I didn't even bother revising them.

For other recipes, I was able to just verify the ingredients, and tweak to use friendlier ingredients, such as lactose-free margarine.

This year I added the following gluten-free, dairy-free dishes:

My brother's plate seemed plenty full at the dinner, so I guess the dishes turned out all right! :)

I'll be looking for more celiac/GERD-friendly dishes, and see what I can surprise him with next year!  Feel free to share links to your favorite "company" recipes in the Comments section below. How have you coped with family meals due to recent diet-related diagnoses?