Category Archives: 3 1/2 Star Books

A Review of Practical Sins for Cold Climates by Shelley Costa

Practical Sins for Cold Climates

by Shelley Costa

I really liked how this book ended. I liked the way the author made Val Cameron grow throughout this book. I think that her stories can be a worthwhile series, but I nearly didn’t find out. I struggled to get though this book. I nearly gave up on it a couple of times. If I had a book that I REALLY wanted to read sitting near the top of my TBR pile, Practical Sins for Cold Climates would have been toast. I started two other books, but neither of them grabbed me, so I dropped back and decided to give it one last shot.

The story started off fine, but seemed to bog down once we actually made it to northern Canada. The various characters were not well enough differentiated, and that, along with some unknown characters doing mysterious things, just confused me. Plus I didn’t really connect with Val Cameron at first. I’m afraid that many people will just give up at that point. I’m glad that I didn’t.

The storyline started to sort itself out somewhere around the midpoint of the book. The characters filled out a bit and I could finally start to enjoy the story. The ending worked very well, and I am looking forward to reading another book in this series. After all, what book lover doesn’t like to read stories where books are one of the principal characters, and the publishing industry plays a major role. That premise was what attracted me to Practical Sins in the first place.

I give Practical Sins for Cold Climates 3 1/2 Stars out of 5, and a Thumbs Up. I really am torn. The ending had such a great feel to it, but I’m afraid that many people will never get there. Just keep ploughing though. It will be worth it.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher.

Book Description

Practical Sins for Cold ClimatesWhen Val Cameron, a Senior Editor with a New York publishing company, is sent to the Canadian Northwoods to sign a reclusive bestselling author to a contract, she soon discovers she is definitely out of her element. Val is convinced she can persuade the author of that blockbuster, The Nebula Covenant, to sign with her, but first she has to find him.

Aided by a float plane pilot whose wife was murdered two years ago in a case gone cold, Val’s hunt for the recluse takes on new meaning: can she clear him of suspicion in that murder before she links her own professional fortunes to the publication of his new book?

When she finds herself thrown into a wilderness lake community where livelihoods collide, Val wonders whether the prospect of running into a bear might be the least of her problems.

Book Details

Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Henery Press (January 26, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 194339041X
ISBN-13: 978-1943390410
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 15 ounces

About the Author

Photo courtesy of Portrait Innovations
Photo courtesy of Portrait Innovations

A 2004 Edgar nominee for Best Short Story, Shelley Costa is the author of You Cannoli Die Once (Agatha nominee for Best First Novel) and Basil Instinct. Practical Sins for Cold Climates (Henery Press, January 2016), is the first book in her exciting new mystery series featuring New York editor Val Cameron, who is sent to the Canadian Northwoods to sign a reclusive best-selling thriller writer. Murder ensues. Shelley’s stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Blood on Their Hands,The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, and Crimewave (UK). Although she reads across the mystery genre, in her own work she especially likes writing an amateur sleuth with a lot of heart who investigates a murder – it’s so utterly outside the comfort zone. Shelley Costa is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she teaches fiction writing. http://www.shelleycosta.com.

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A Review of Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters by Lida Sideris

Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

by Lida Sideris

I enjoyed reading Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters. It was fast paced and interesting. Sometimes I felt a little overwhelmed. There just was so much going on that my brain couldn’t keep it all straight. The Complex, the building that housed Keith-Ameripictures, lives up to its name. It seems that there are so many intertwined lives in that office that nobody can really know the truth about what is going on there. All the men are hitting on someone and all the women are trying to capture someone else. Some people have hidden agendas. It is a madhouse. A funny place, but a madhouse all the same.

Corrie Locke is hired as an attorney, and on her first day on the job in The Complex, discovers that nearly everyone is going to be gone the next day. They will all be at a funeral for Claire. But this isn’t the only death in the past couple months. Druby, the assistant head of security at Keith-Ameripictures, also died six weeks ago. His death was ruled a suicide, but some people don’t believe it. AND they want Corrie to figure out what really happened.

Corrie had assisted her Dad on a few high profile cases, so she had been in the news, She had a reputation as someone who could see the stuff that the cops missed. Billy Soto, chief of security, wants her to use her talents to find out who killed Druby, and he has something on Corrie. She doesn’t want to lose her job, so she starts to look into it. Then the trouble begins.

The basic story was pretty good. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and most of them are a bit nuts. You are never quite sure who is doing what with whom and why. Then there are a couple of other little mysteries that Corrie has to figure out. Those are like little side plots, and I’m not sure that they were really necessary. They were kind of funny, but didn’t really add much, and they just added something more to keep track of.

I liked Corrie and Michael. They were old friends, and maybe something more. The rest of the people in the book were anywhere from somewhat annoying to downright obnoxious.

I give Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters 3 1/2 Stars out of 5. It was entertaining and a good start to a new series.

I received a Digital Review Copy from the publisher via Great Escapes Book Tours.

Book Description

Murder & Other Unnatural DisastersWatch out Southern California! There’s a new entertainment attorney in town and she’s got game. Only problem is, it’s not the one she should be playing. Corrie Locke belongs behind a desk, not behind a Glock. She should be taking VIP calls, not nosing around a questionable suicide. Instead, she’s hot on the trail of a murderer.

Luckily, she’s the daughter of a late, great private eye and she’s inherited his love of sleuthing…and illegal weaponry. It doesn’t help matters that her gene for caution is a recessive one. Corrie finds herself in the center of a murder case, unearthing suspects in shocking places. With a cold-blooded killer on the loose, Corrie will have to up her game, or die trying.

Book Details

Paperback: 408 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (September 11, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1509202404
ISBN-13: 978-1509202409
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

About the Author

lida-sideris4Like her heroine, Corrie Locke, Lida Sideris worked as an entertainment attorney for a film studio. Unlike her heroine, she did not get blackmailed into investigating the suspicious death of a co-worker. Lida resides in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, their rescue shepherds, and a flock of uppity chickens. She was one of two national recipients of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America scholarship for mystery writing.

Author Links

WEBSITE:   http://www.lidasideris.com/
BLOG:     http://www.lidasideris.com/blog/
FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/lidasideris

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