Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A final 2010 blog

The year is winding to a close, and I don't know if I have ever been so conflicted about a New Years Eve! This has truly been one of the worst and best years ever. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of publishing a novel, and I did it before 30. I completed half of my master's degree, and found some amazing new friends. Under other circumstances, it would be the best year.

But the circumstances are what they are. I lost my mother, my very best friend, this year, and that loss has and will continue to color my perspective for a long time to come. But, I am aiming to be the kind of person she was-- it is the number 1 goal I have for 2011: be more like my mom. And my mom lived a life of faith and hope-- though she would never use the words herself, much of her attitude can be summed up with the following phrase: Nolite de bastardes non carbundorum. Or, in English, don't let the bastards get you down.

So I resolve to live this next year with hope, and as much joy as I can find... and to live what I preach! In that vein, I am adding my voice to the discourse about a new novel, which has some pretty interesting parallels to Max and Menna.

The novel, Guardian Spirit, is another Lucky Press novel. The book published a few months prior to my book and is also by a first time author, the very sweet and very intriguing Sarah Martin Byrd. I give the book a very solid four stars (and keep in mind that my list of 5 star books numbers less than 50 of the 1000+ novels I have read in my day).

Guardian Spirit takes you deep into the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, and holds you there in a web of intrigue, and magic. The novel, telling the story of Millie and her children Sammie and Sadie as they run from a horrifically abusive husband, weaves in elements of the fantastical to build suspense and take the edge off of the visceral, violent tale.

From shortly after page 1, readers will be enthralled by the plight of Millie and her kids as they hide out in an old cabin, full of memories, and hope that their new life will stick. Within the story, Byrd masterfully entwines Native American magic with the steely reserve of a woman protecting her children, and creates a narrative that will have readers cheering, and hurriedly turning pages.

Stylistically, the book had a few distracting moments for me, though these were all a matter of personal preference. I wished for a first person book so I could get more in Sadie's head, but that is my own nosey personality and not a fault with the writing at all. I found this to be an engrossing, exciting read, and would highly recommend it to others.

Thanks to Sarah for letting us in on this great adventure.

And also, an overdue thanks to the Joe Squared team, who managed to combine pizza, oysters, champagne, and lots of good people on my birthday. They covered all of the important bases! For you Baltimore readers, mark my words: get there before Friday for the devil's pizza. Of every endorsement I have ever made, I stand by this one the most strongly. This is the BEST pizza you will ever eat!!

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