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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.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Reckoning and Ruin By Tina Whittle

by Cynthia Chow

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

As much as she would like to pretend that she’s fine, previous events have Atlanta gun shop owner Tai Randolph struggling. After taking over Boone’s Confederate-themed store, the estrangement with her dying uncle bothers Tai more than she is willing to admit. Perhaps this helps to explain why she is less than receptive to the advice/threat from her boyfriend’s therapist and ex-girlfriend that Tai refrain from continuing to involve Trey Seaver in the chaos that is her life. A brain injury left Trey with a built-in lie detector and needing a completely regimented life, but the ex-sniper had to rebuild his personality; he is now a mere shadow of his former self.


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Tai has more than earned her reputation for acting impulsively and rashly, but for once she has justification for attempting to hide her discovery of ominous postcards and poems. What she can’t hide is the gun-wielding arrival of Hope Lyle, who is in a frenzy over the disappearance of her husband. Tai last kicked John Wilde out when she discovered him cheating with a then-barely legal Hope, but Tai has a weak spot for her early first love. The timing has Tai unable to ignore the coincidence of a $9 million lawsuit being filed against her, Trey, and the security company he works for, by Jasper Boone. In prison rehab recovering from Trey shooting him, Jasper’s ties to an extreme segment of the KKK have the Klan targeting him for lethal retribution and punishment.



Image source: Poisoned Pen Press

What makes this such an outstanding read is the unique relationship between Tai and Trey. Trey’s struggle to reorganize his life in a manner his brain can accept is as fascinating as the interactions between these two troubled individuals. Tai prides herself on her independence, and her immense control issues have her battling with Trey as much as she empathizes with him. The year of loving Trey has made Tai all too aware of his flaws, and frustration often has her emotionally striking out to the point of no return. They are stronger together than apart though, and this unique mystery highlights fascinating characters and the Low Country Savannah setting. The result is a compelling and outstanding mystery series.

To enter to win a copy of Reckoning and Ruin, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “reckoning,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 9, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase the book:




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).



Monday, March 21, 2016

Zootopia: Movie Review

by Sheryl Wall

Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.

Disney's Zootopia is set in a time where animals have evolved into animals that live more like humans do. The predators and the prey can also live side by side. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) lives in a small town and has dreams of becoming the first rabbit police officer. Her family strongly discourages her dreams, but she does not give up.

She ends up moving to the big city, Zootopia, where she makes her dream come true. However, it turns out to be a lot harder then she expected, and she starts her career as an officer who gives out parking tickets. She wishes to be treated as a capable officer that can help catch the criminals. Unfortunately, a rabbit is not seen as being capable and is seen as being weak and useless in the force. She sets out to prove them all wrong.


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When Judy meets a con artist fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), she finds herself using what she knows about his cons to get him to help her get involved in an investigation that the police don't have time to work on. She helps solve the case of a missing animal that leads to the largest case that the police haven't been able to solve without her.



Image source: Disney

Zootopia reminds me a little of the story line of the talking animals in “Wicked” and how they started reverting back to their animal self. It is a great movie with a moral that touches on the problems stereotyping can cause. I really like how they have paired a fox and a rabbit together, and how they became friends. Judy Hopps is a determined rabbit but sometimes very naive. Nick Wilde is a con artist but the kind of personality you root for, like Face in A-Team. Yet through their differences they become friends. The animation is really well done as is expected in a Disney movie. It’s a fun movie that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Zootopia is currently playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes can be found on their website. Platinum Theaters Dinuba 6 now proudly presents digital quality films in 2-D and 3-D with 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound to maximize your movie experience.

Print this coupon and enjoy a special discount for Kings River Life readers only!


Sheryl Wall is an ongoing contributor to our
Pet Perspective section, providing pet care advice from years of personal experience.




Friday, March 18, 2016

Digging Up the Dead, A Tosca Trevant Mystery By Jill Amadio

by Cynthia Chow

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

Ever since a royal scandal caused gossip reporter Tosca Trevant to get booted out of London, she has been scrambling to discover the investigative story that will get her assigned to a more legitimate British news outlet. A huge fan of classical noir mysteries, Tosca is thrilled to discover that California’s Isabel Island, where she is temporarily living with her professional race car driving daughter, is also the home of the granddaughter of one of Tosca’s favorite authors. Karma Sanderson is hosting a party commemorating the forty-third anniversary of the death of Fuller Sanderson, and Tosca is delighted to attend. Rumors are swirling around the existence of unpublished manuscripts, and Tosca would love to be the one to break the story in the press.


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When Sanderson’s publisher drops dead in the middle of the party, Tosca once again finds herself in the midst of a suspicious death by poison. With the state of publishing in dire straits, there are more than enough suspects who would profit off of the works of the former bestselling author. While Karma’s gardening experience provides her with the means of the murder, Sanderson’s literary agent, the publisher’s editor, and an oddly involved collector all have their own investment in the rumored manuscripts. Tosca’s skills at uncovering tawdry royal secrets more than qualify her to poke into the just as corruptible world of publishing, and she enthusiastically tracks down the source of the poison, as well as the treasure hidden in a thumb drive.



Image source: Mainly Murder Press

The author delves into many different topics that will prove fascinating to readers. Book lovers will appreciate the exploration of the business side of publishing, from the literary rights to their promotion. Esoteric musical instruments, gardening, and very English tea are also examined, but the real focus falls on classical noir mysteries. Tosca is a delightfully sharp and observant detective, and her reporter skills provide her with an entry into the investigation. A Cornwall native with the gift of wielding creative Cornish explicatives, Tosca relentless pursues her story to its perilous end. Readers should be able to pick up clues laid out by the author early on, but Tosca keeps pace just as swiftly. This second in the series proves to be as rewarding as the first, and we can only hope that Tosca remains exiled in America for many years to come.

To enter to win a copy of Digging Up the Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “digging,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 26, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase the book:



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, March 11, 2016

The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake By Terry Shames

by Gloria Feit

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

Samuel Craddock is the Acting Police Chief for Jarrett Creek, Texas. The former Chief had died a while ago, and Craddock was hired after the town went bankrupt and they convinced him to return to the job he had had years ago, filling in at the mayor’s request until the town, now bankrupt, can afford to hire someone else. He is widowed and somewhat older than your usual top cop; he had been chief years back, now and for the past few months filling in at the mayor’s request until the town, now bankrupt, can afford to hire someone else. But this is ‘his town,’ and like most of the townspeople, he cares about the people who live there.


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As the novel begins, apparently most people in town are angry and horrified when Winona (“Nonie” to all) Blake returns home from a mental institution where she has spent the last 20 years. Within a week of her return, Nonie is murdered. Chief Craddock thinks the only possible suspects are members of her tightlipped family. Ever since Nonie tried to kill her sister when she was fourteen and was sent away to the institution, the family has kept to itself. Clues are scarce, and Craddock is stumped. So he checks with therapists at the mental hospital to see whether they can add anything useful to his investigation. But he discovers that Nonie was released ten years ago. Now Craddock has to find out where she has been all that time, and soon finds himself dealing with layers of deception and secrets and, in the midst of it all, a new deputy, one Maria Trevino, sent by the sheriff to beef up security in the small Texas town.



Image source: Seventh St.

Just in case Craddock isn’t busy enough trying to solve a murder, someone is apparently sneaking into the yards of the flower growers in the community and cutting their best flowers.

This is the fifth book by this author, the 2nd in the series that I have read, and is just as delightful as its predecessor, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. Ms. Shames captures the small town atmosphere and the inhabitants of Jarrett Creek in a very convincing way. The investigation takes several unexpected turns. The twists and turns in the murder investigation prompt Craddock at one point to say that he feels as if he’d been in a rabbit hole, and has the reader feeling somewhat the same. But the author wraps up the investigation, and the novel, in a wholly satisfying manner, and left this reader waiting impatiently for the next in the series. The novel was just the thing for this time of year, when one [or this reader at least] prefers to avoid the dark and graphic (the people of Jarrett Creek and Bobtail are delightful), and it is recommended.

To enter to win a copy of The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “nonie,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 19, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase the book:



Ted & Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, New York, a few miles outside of New York City. For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney & former stock analyst, publicist & writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications. Having always been avid mystery readers & since they're now retired, they're able to indulge their passion. Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK & US.



Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum By Kirsten Weiss

by Cynthia Chow

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

A disagreement with her CEO over ethics – mainly, she had them, her company did not – cost Maddie Kosloski her international management job overseas and sent her back to the States. Having exhausted her bank account living in San Francisco for the last seven months, Maddie was forced to take up her aunt's offer to live at a bargain rate back in her hometown of San Benedetto. The central California town is renowned for their Zinfandel grapes – second only to Napa Valley – the annual arson of their Christmas Cow, and the Paranormal Museum. It is for the latter that Maddie finds herself reluctantly managing due to the manipulative pleas of her best friend, Adele Nakamoto.

Rumors have that the creepy edifice containing a Creepy Doll Room, Fortune Telling Room, and even a living Ghost Detecting Cat is haunted, but it's the very corporal body of Christine Huntington that Maddie finds in the connecting tea room. Adele's wanting to drag the body out could be attributed to shock, were it not also for the unfortunate connection of Christy having last being seen in a very compromising position with Adele's (now) ex-fiancé, Michael St. James.


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The news only gets worse when Maddie discovers that her high school nemesis Laurel Hammer is the investigating detective. High school never seems to go away, and the Hammer’s hostility only seems to have increased since her past stuffing-Maddie-into-lockers harassment. A bookie contractor, irritated but sexy motorcycle shop owner, Christy’s taxidermist ex-boyfriend, and touring ghost hunters are just a selection of the cast populating this very fun mystery. Alerted by her GD Cat, Mad herself becomes obsessed with a photo of Cora M. McBride, a woman convicted of her husband’s hanging in the late 1800s and whose case of injustice haunts Mad as much as Cora’s spirit may haunt the museum.



Image source: Midnight Ink

The title of this debut series emphasizes Mad’s intention on making the museum a “real” museum, with exhibits and promotions that will have it surpassing the flaming Christmas Cow as the biggest attraction. She is on her own personal journey to feel equal to her overachieving siblings, one a Bolshoi opera singer and the other a cultural attachĂ© in Moscow. That Maddie is finding herself most at home in San Benedetto is an adjustment, but one that she is slowing accepting. This is a delightfully well-written and very entertaining new mystery series, full of humor and sprinkled with hints of the paranormal. Readers will have much to look forward to as they follow the adventures of this smart and very relatable heroine.

To enter to win a copy of The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “museum,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 12, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase the book:



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).