Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Execution by Sharon Cramer

This was a story I stepped in to not having any real clue what it was about. I had finished my last book and this one was setting on my kindle - no clue what had provoked me to pick it up, but I had so I dived in. The first chapter of the story had me walking through the night with a medieval priest, knowing his uncertainties, feeling the chaffing of his robes, seeing the fog and the poorly lit streets he walked. I was hooked.

In the height of the plague, religious fervor, and feudal lords, two men born of one womb make their ways separately through life, only to meet on the verge of one's death. One twin left on the steps of a church, one a desperate mother tried to hold on to - the two brothers both end up as orphans and walk very different paths. When they do meet, they have the span of one night to know the joys and sorrows each has borne.

The Execution is a full of sensory descriptions that bring the story to life and it was the sensation that I was hearing the thoughts of D'ata the priest, that I was a fly sitting on his shoulder as he whispered into the night, that really drew me in. The story is written in more of a literary style and I appreciated the depth that this allowed us to get into each character.

One thing I didn't especially care for was the shifting to other characters outside of D'ata and Ravan. It was mildly interesting, but a bit disrupting for my tastes. Ravan's character was my favorite. I would have liked to see more of the ending of his story than we did. D'ata's story ended the way you felt it was destined to.

Overall, a very satisfying read. if you like your stories well told and your characters deep, this is your book.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cursed be the Wicked, by J.R. Richardson

Cooper Shaw's childhood left a little to be desired, what with the alcoholic father and a crazy mother everyone said was a witch. And then his father disappeared, making Cooper the prime suspect for his murder - until his mother confessed - sending Cooper to live with the Aunt Liz that hadn't liked his mother or him.

It's been fifteen years since he changed his name and left Salem. Cooper had never intended to return, but the editor of the travel magazine he writes for had other ideas. It seems the last witch of Salem, Crazy Maggie Shaw, has died and Bill wants his best writer on the story.

Cooper objects, loses, and finds himself once again in the town he grew up in, his personal past more confusing now as an adult than it had been as a child. How does one write an objective story about their own mother, the last person Cooper wanted to spend a month thinking about?

And more importantly, can he get in and out of Salem without being recognized?

There are several things I liked about this story. It's a story about magic that is low key, similar to Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic. It's from a male perspective, a person who had become about as much of a non-believer as you can get as Cooper distances himself from a childhood he's forgotten more of than he comes to realize.

It's a tale of truths and perspectives, of mistakes and bad choices, and ultimately love.