Welcome to Kings River Life's sister site;
Kings River Lite:

KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
Kings River Lite regularly offers a "bonus" review or article, beyond the full issues that go up weekly over at KingsRiverLife.com.

Be sure to follow the River and enjoy brand new articles throughout the week by following both sites. You can subscribe via the sidebar, like Kings River Life, and/or circle KRL for updates. Don't miss our timely & topical issues every Saturday, and check in here for updates and new articles if KRL Magazine is ever down.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Crossways by Jacey Bedford

by Terrance McArhtur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Suppose the most powerful galactic corporations gave you mental implants that increased your psychic powers, helped you communicate across light years, or let you navigate through subjective space. Also suppose that these corporations would wipe out a planet’s worth of colonists if valuable elements like platinum were found there. Keep supposing that a group of the psi-techs fought back to protect the colonists (who despise them for being hi-tech). Wouldn’t it make sense for the augmented ones to take refuge in a space station that is home to the highest percentage of thieves, criminals, and assassins in the whole universe?


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


That’s Jacey Bedford’s Crossways, sequel to Empire of Dust. Cara is a telepath, Benjamin is a navigator, and they are both on the run from their corporations after executing an executive in self-defense. They have a crew of psy-techs and the Solar Wind, a jump-drive ship. What they don’t have is a cryoship that went missing with 30,000 frozen settlers, and they have promised to find it.

Crossways is a criminal-run space station that slipped from corporate hands a long time ago, and the renegades are welcomed there…because of the mining rights they hold on the colony planet. They find some powerful allies…and assassins, spies, and trouble.

To find the missing ship, Ben and Cara have to take Solar Wind into the space between space, where physical rules don’t apply…and frightening creatures are their only hope, when the megacorps unite to take back what they think is theirs: the planet, the platinum, Crossways station, the psy-techs, their implants, and their minds.



Image source: DAW

Crossways is less battle fiction than Empire was, yet the tactics and solutions are more complex and tension-filled. From a technology-avoiding colony leader, to old friends now on opposite sides, to a little old lady who builds miniature jump drives and tries to feed the inhabitants of her low-class slum, the psy-techs deal with helpers and hindrances, along with their own neuroses of abuse and near-death.

You wouldn’t normally think of a 500-pages-plus novel as crisp, but Bedford packs a high-interest punch into each paragraph. Characters, plot and technology, plus way-out-there stuff: Crossways has it all.

To enter to win a copy of Crossways, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Crossways,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 7, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:




Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public's information needs.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Wish Bound, A Grimm Agency Novel By J C Nelson

by Terrance McArhtur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

As a child, Marissa Locks was sold to Grimm, the Fairy Godfather in Kingdom, and is now a partner in his Wish Agency. The Black Queen, who was dead and/or confined in a thorn tree for several centuries, is back, and has claimed Marissa as her handmaiden. The not-so-normal realms are getting interesting in J. C. Nelson’s Wish Bound.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Marissa’s worlds are rather unusual, what with her boyfriend with the dragon curse (They have scorched a number of sheets; luckily, she has protection from fire), a BFF princess who is now a yellow-eyed witch (and has a royal wimp for a boyfriend), an office intern who becomes an eight-foot-tall werewolf when he’s excited (and was supposed to kill Marissa), the office manager who insults Marissa constantly (because she knows things the readers don’t), the gnomes who have practiced Marissa-worship (and have gone native/tribal and taken over the post office), and the missing kazoo-whisperer of homicidal toy poodles……Oh, and there’s a malevolent wheel of cheese in the staffroom refrigerator.

Not only does Nelson create situations that are so off-the-wall that there is no ceiling left, his heroine may be snarkier and more smart-mouthed than the urban fantasy characters of Amber Benson (Tara on Buffy and author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels) and Seanan McGuire (October Daye books).



Image source: Ace

The Black Queen is determined to take over and destroy worlds over some daddy issues, so Marissa finally learns to not go it alone. She calls in all the chips that have fallen her way during the earlier books of the series to assemble a Magnificent Seven to the seventh power to do battle with giants who are made of giants.

The joy of this series is its willingness—nay, its determination—to take fantasy conventions and twist them until they cry Uncle, Aunt, and several Cousins two times removed. This is the end of the series, with a lot of loose ends finally woven back into the tapestry, unless legions of fans demand that the publishers give us more of Marissa Locks and the wild-and-crazy exploits of the Grimm Agency.

To enter to win a copy of Wish Bound, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Wish,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 31, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:



Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public's information needs.


Friday, October 16, 2015

The Corpse with the Diamond Hand: A Cait Morgan Mystery By Cathy Ace

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a signed copy of this book at the end of the review.

What could be more romantic than a two-week honeymoon cruise through the Hawaiian Islands and to Vancouver, British Columbia? For criminal psychology professor Cait Morgan and her retired homicide detective husband Bud Anderson, it will be using both their professional expertise to help solve a murder while they are between the American and Canadian authorities. When the Stellar Sol's onboard card-game tutor drops dead in the middle of a game, the ship's head of security enlists both Cait and Bud's assistance in discovering who among the passengers may have prematurely ushered in the shady gambler's final destination.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Gifted with an eidetic memory that allows her to remember everything she senses and then interpret it to her experiences, Cait is also a skilled criminal profiler with a track record of assisting Canadian authorities with their investigations. Her equally intelligent and willing new husband continues to stand by her side, and the couple assists security staff by uncovering the clues and secrets of both the guests and the crew. This still allows Cait and Bud time to enjoy the many amenities that can be found on board—formal dinners, exquisite cuisine, and visits to extravagant staterooms.



Image source: Torchwood Editions

The author uses her considerable travel experience to realistically welcome readers into this world, with the result that they will revel vicariously in exotic locales. Scenes of their honeymoon on the islands before setting sail for Vancouver additionally enhance the setting and share a very authentic Hawaiian vacation.

This sixth in the Cait Morgan mystery series intriguingly incorporates how Cait’s unique eidetic memory contributes to her criminal profiles, but she still has time to enjoy her satisfyingly romantic status as a newlywed. The love between these onboard couples become the focus of this creatively plotted mystery, and that thoughtfulness, when combined with the exotic setting, will have readers ready to book their next cruise long before the last page is turned.

To enter to win a signed copy of The Corpse with the Diamond Hand, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Diamond,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 24, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:




Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).



Friday, October 9, 2015

Set-Up By Maxine O'Callaghan

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Set-Up is the latest Delilah West mystery by Maxine O' Callahan to be republished by Brash Books. I am very glad that Brash has chosen to give new life to this series, as they were a favorite of mine and it's fun to rediscover them. Delilah West was one of the early female PI's who paved the way for those of today.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


Delilah's life is finally turning around. After struggling at first to keep her PI business going after the death of her husband, and to even keep her own life going, Delilah is now pulling her life truly together. She has a condo, a new van, an assistant, and possibly a love life in the works.

In Set-Up, Delilah has just wrapped up a case of embezzlement and the accused, Sandy Renkowski, is taken away by the police. Soon afterward, Delilah is hired by political activist Bobbi Calder for another case, but that quickly takes a bad turn when Calder is accused of murdering none other than Sandy Renkowski, whom it turns out is a young protégée of Calder's. As Delilah investigates, things get sticky as it seems that the two cases are connected, and she begins to wonder what is really going on here. One of the suspects is a corrupt politician who Delilah learns Sandy was actually investigating for Bobbie. Things heat up even more when Delilah is nearly killed and all of her files on the case are destroyed.



Image source: Brash Books

This is a well written mystery filled with twists, turns, and surprises. The characters are interesting and well developed, and you will find yourself just as curious as to where Delilah's romantic life will head, as to find out who the killer is.

I highly recommend this book, and this series, and hope there are still more to come.

To enter to win a copy of Set-Up, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Set Up,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 17, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.


Lorie Lewis Ham is KRL's editor-in-chief/publisher. She has published in many venues through the years and has 5 published mystery novels. You can learn more about Lorie's writing on her blog Mysteryrat's Closet.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shepherd's Crook: An Animals in Focus Mystery By Sheila Webster Boneham

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Who knew that sheep rustling was still a thing? While professional photographer Janet MacPhail is at the Northeast Indiana Herding Club's Dogs of Spring event working toward a herding certificate for Jay, her Australian Shepherd. Over a dozen ewes and wethers go missing when Summer Winslow provides her animals to be herded by aspiring canines. Although the angelic side of Janet knows that she should mind her own business, her discovery of the body of a stock handler makes it inevitable that Janet’s more devilish inclinations will take over and have her meddling in sheep theft, identify confusion, and murder.


➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for this week's issue ⬅


This is but the starting point of a very funny mystery devoted to animals and their people. Janet is an intelligent and talented photographer, but she is struggling to define her relationship with Tom Saunders. “Boyfriend” is too juvenile for this fifty-something couple, and “lover” is far too icky. As much as Janet loves the sexy Indiana University anthropology professor, giving up her independence and autonomy is proving to be difficult and not entirely desirable.



Image source: Midnight Ink

There will be a wedding in Janet's near future; just not the one readers might expect. Somehow these otherwise-rational characters continue to get themselves into farcical situations, yet the comedy never overshadows some very serious topics. The author doesn’t shy away from shining a light on both sides of animal and pet advocacy. While animal rights' extremists who "liberate" pets are naively endangering their lives, a proposed bill could oppressively restrict the number of pets in every household. The latter could threaten Janet's home life, as her family includes Jay as well as the two felines Pixel and Leo.

Still, it might give her an excuse from taking a step forward with Tom and his similarly pet-filled household. This fourth in the series brings back familiar characters and continues to focus as much on humor as on the beloved animals. Solid writing and unexpected plot twists help make this series a delightfully fun and rewarding read.

To enter to win a copy of Shepherd's Crook, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Shepherd,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 10, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:



Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).