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Friday, December 30, 2016

“American Nights” A Moriah Dru/Richard Lake Mystery By Gerrie Ferris Finger

by Cynthia Chow

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

As the head of Child Trace, Inc., private investigator Moriah Dru has seen her share of cases involving fathers snatching their children to cross over the border into their home countries. The Honorable Portia Devon brings a difference case to Moriah, though, that of an American woman disappearing with the child she had with her Middle Eastern husband. Portia’s former law school classmate is Saudi Arabian prince Husam bin Sayed al-Saliba, one of his country’s most handsome eligible bachelors. This is despite his being married to the Reeve Cresley, an American who has disappeared with their daughter Shara; the prince’s Shahrazad. ‘Sammy’s story’ of defying his father and King to marry an infidel sounds sketchy to Moriah, and this doesn’t even take into account his talent at unfurling a long tale that rivals anything within his beloved Arabian Nights.


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After enlisting the aid of her computer guru, ‘Webdog,’ Moriah questions Reeve’s socially prominent parents. There’s no love lost between the Cresleys and Sammy, so when they are both murdered Moriah can’t help be suspect the prince’s involvement. As Moriah investigates Reeve’s life, she uncovers possible affairs, mysterious lovers, and NASA secrets. Sammy weaves in and out of the case with his own elaborate stories that cast him in an idealized light, while other accounts have him disregardful towards his wife and engaged to an Arabian princess. Sammy’s shallow sister both distains and embraces the American lifestyle, while the senior Cresleys may have had their own marital woes. Moriah’s husband, an Atlanta police detective, provides moments of domestic relief and serves as a stellar sounding board for Moriah’s pursuit of the elusive woman at the end of a slowly unraveling tale.



Image source: Five Starr

This latest mystery featuring Moriah Dru and Richard Lake succeeds in being an unpredictable and suspenseful novel that proves very timely with world events. The author never takes the simple path towards what becomes a complex issue, and she examines it through depictions of the classic enrapturing Arabian tales. The exchanges between Moriah and Richard are as instrumental to the investigation as they are revealing of the love and trust between the two detectives. Well-written and deftly plotted, this is an exciting and thrilling novel of culture clashes, politics, and how marriages can be caught in the middle.

To enter to win an ebook copy of American Knights, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “knights,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 7, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use these links to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:




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).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.




Friday, December 23, 2016

“Once Broken Faith” October Daye series By Seanan McGuire

by Terrance McArthur

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

In Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series of urban fantasies, elfshot is a powerful weapon of the faerie world, sending its victims into a hundred-year slumber for which there was no cure…until now. The noble Fae, kings and queens from far and near, have been called to the Kingdom of Mists (what we mortals in the Valley would call the Bay Area) to decide if the cure should be released or suppressed. October “Toby” Daye is at the conclave because of her part in the cure’s discovery and use, and because she is a designated hero of the realm. But the first day of proceedings ends badly with a dead king, and Toby is off on another murder investigation in “Once Broken Faith.”


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A number of the usual suspects in Toby’s neverworld are there, not always as actual suspects. The Luidag, the sea-hag related to the Firsts of the Fae, is there to give advice and make fun of the self-important leaders. Tybalt, Toby’s fiancĂ©e who happens to be King of the Cats, is there to carry her through a feline rapid-transit-system of shadows, provide some polite ‘hubba-hubbaness,’ and make fun of the self-important leaders. Quentin, Toby’s squire, who is actually the son of the High King and Queen of North America, tags along and tries to keep Toby out of trouble, which is a fruitless task, because trouble looks for Toby, and she often winds up dead…for a while.



Image source: DAW

McGuire often sends Toby on wild forays through the streets of San Francisco. This tenth installment is mostly centered on the parallel Castle in the Mists, with its ever-changing rooms and redwood groves, where murder and mayhem forces a lockdown of Fae, merfolk, stagfolk, and changelings like Toby, but cats will go where they will. Toby’s snarky style is at its height. An added feature is a novella after the conclusion of this adventure, where Arden, the reluctant Queen of the Mists, deals with the issue of waking her brother, who is elfshot.

With all the Celtic creatures, the pronouncing guide comes in handy. However, a glossary of paranormal characters and their powers would be even more helpful. Once Broken Faith combines urban paranormal hijinks with gumshoe detectiving, seasoned with slacker attitude. It’s fun, and a major contribution to the October Daye canon.

To enter to win a copy of Once Broken Faith, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “once,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 31, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.




Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library, and a published short story author.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.

Friday, December 16, 2016

"Four Furlongs" By Carol Wright Crigger

by Sandra Murphy

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

China Bohannon works for her Uncle Monk and Grat, his investigator, at the Doyle and Howe Detective Agency. The men are good detectives but bad at record keeping. How is she supposed to bill clients for the jobs done when neither Monk or Grat can keep track of their hours or expenses? Still, revenues are up and China enjoys the work, especially when she gets to go out into the field herself.

The Derby Day fair is under way and that means pickpockets and scam artists will be all over the fairgrounds. The police are of no help since many of them are on the take and as likely to split the money with the thieves as arrest them. Monk and Grat are working long days to keep the peace for fairgoers.


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China meets Neva Sue who believes her brother, a jockey, was murdered, not killed when his horse fell at the turn and kicked him in the head. China is inclined to believe the girl, but without proof, who will believe either of them? Neva says she heard her mother and grandfather talking about the race, and it seems the horse was to start strong but fail to finish to build the odds for Derby Day.

China decides this is a job she can do herself, without a conflict of interest for the job Monk and Grat are doing at the fair. She and her dog, Nimble, a Bedlington terrier who looks more like a lamb than a dog, are eager to find out the truth. When the horse disappears and men accost China and one breaks into the office, she knows they aren’t looking for the horse there. Neva disappears too, in spite of China’s efforts to keep her safe. Monk and Grat aren’t happy about her involvement but do believe there’s a case for the jockey’s murder to solve.



Image source: Five Star

This is set in a time where Nimble gets to ride on the streetcar with China, all for a nickel. Long skirts sometimes hamper her efforts to escape the mayhem that seems to follow the case, and she longs for a bicycle of her own, so she’s not limited to going where the streetcar can take her.

China is a delightful character and Nimble a fierce protector unless she’s hiding under the desk. There’s a bit of flirting between China and a policeman, but her heart is set on Grat, not that he seems to notice all that much. Monk is a crusty old guy, gruff on the outside and a softie where China is concerned. Readers can only hope Neva shows up in future books, she’s too good a character to lose. This is a good mystery, set in a slower time, one to savor with a favorite afghan and beverage as China solves the case.

To enter to win a copy of Four Furlongs (either a print ARC or ebook), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “furlongs,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 24, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book:


Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

“Moana” Movie Review

by Sheryl Wall

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

Moana is the newest Disney movie about a daughter of the chief of a Polynesian tribe and is in training to take over as Chief. Ever since she was a young girl she felt called to the water, but her father says to stay away from the ocean for it is too dangerous and their people are not meant to travel the seas. However, later she learns from her Grandmother this was not always the case. Her Grandmother encourages her to follow her calling and save their Island.

Their island is dying and the fisherman can no longer find any fish to catch. Determined to help her people Moana finds herself on an adventure to save the Island. Long ago Demigod Maui had stolen the heart of the goddess, Te Fiti, which has caused the dying of her Island. She finds herself on an adventure to save her people as she searches for Maui to try to talk him in returning with her to return the goddesses heart. It took some persuading, but soon they are on an adventure together to restore the heart along with a stowaway from home, her chicken.


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Moana is not your typical Princess movie where she is in need of rescuing or falls in love with the prince. Instead Moana is a determined leader who will do whatever it takes to save her people. The story is based on Polynesian Mythology.



Image source: Disney

I always enjoy seeing movies about Hawaiian culture for it’s my favorite place to visit and their culture is so unique and interesting. I enjoyed the Hawaiian songs they played in the background, and Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) has a beautiful voice; I especially enjoyed her songs.

It is a fun and adventurous story that can be enjoyed by the whole family. However, there are a couple scenes that could be scary for the younger child. Overall it’s a movie you won't want to miss…young or old.

Moana 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.




Thursday, December 8, 2016

“Murder She Wrote: Hook, Line and Murder” by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain, and Renee Paley-Bain

by Sandra Murphy

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

You’d think a fishing tournament would be a safe, fun week of solitude and the enjoyment of a Maine fall. On the other hand, when it’s Jessica Fletcher who is the fisherwoman, all bets are off.

First of all, Seth doesn’t think it’s safe for Jessica to be out of cell phone range for a week. What if she’s injured and can’t call for help? He maneuvers Jessica in a can’t-say-no position to take Maureen, the Sheriff’s wife, along. Of course, Maureen is chatty, brings enough outfits for a couple of weeks instead of a weekend, and has never gone fishing before—but she’s watched it on television.

Jessica agrees, figuring she’ll have Maureen’s company for three days and a week to enjoy the quiet after Maureen goes home. Unfortunately, there’s also the complication of an escaped convict. No one has actually seen him, but homeowners in Cabot Cove are almost afraid to go out for milk and bread, worried about the threat. Others swear he’s trying to escape into Canada.


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Brian, Jessica’s guide for the tournament, is a former friend of the escapee. In fact, he was convicted of abetting the same murder when the grocer was killed during a robbery just because they were friends. Years later, a group that proves the innocence of those wrongly jailed, gets him set free. Still, Maine memories are long, so being a guide for tourists is about the only job he can get.

Being a redhead, Maureen is prone to sunburn. In spite of Jessica’s continuous warnings, she only has SPF-15 lotion, manages to miss a lot of spots, and end up with a whopper of a sunburn. It forces her to bow out of the next morning’s fishing to cool off before she gets sick.

Upon returning to the cabin, there’s no sign of Maureen. Jessica’s worst fears have become reality. Maureen is the convict’s hostage. Mort was his arresting officer, so it puts Maureen in even more danger.



Image source: Penguin

Since Jessica can’t be much help in searching the woods or lake, she is able to work behind the scenes to research the relationship between four boys with bad situations at home, clues left by Maureen, and to find out about a not-so-accidental drowning of the town’s drunken lawyer.

Get your waders ready. Readers will foresee an annual fishing trip for Maureen and Jessica, at least until Maureen can get Mort interested in sharing the sport. This is book 45 in the Murder She Wrote series! Start at the beginning or jump right in with the fishing tournament in a book so rich in description, readers will hear the drip of the paddle as the boat moves through the lake water. Since the tournament is a catch, photo, and throw back type, no fish recipes in the book—you know Maureen’s the cook, not Jessica!

To enter to win a copy of Murder She Wrote: Hook, Line and Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hook,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 17, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book:


Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra’s short stories on UnTreed Reads including her newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.



Friday, December 2, 2016

“A Damsel for Santa” A McKenna Mystery By Terry Ambrose

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win an ebook copy of this novella at the end of the review.

All Wilson McKenna was hoping for was to spend a Hawaiian Christmas together for the first time with his girlfriend Benni. Before she can fly in from the Big Island, McKenna is talked into doing a favor that he simply cannot refuse. The Honolulu Community Theater is giving charity benefit performance of “A Damsel for Santa,” and their Santa has just come down with a case of malaria. McKenna’s tenant, aspiring private investigator Chance Logan, has talked him into doing far more outlandish deeds before, so convincing McKenna into filling in as Santa proves to be a breeze. It’s a charitable act McKenna soon regrets, as he’s immediately faced with a hot-flashing Mrs. Claus, weed-smoking crew, and a child star whose mother suffers from PTSD.


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Rehearsals haven’t even begun before the owner of a homeless shelter is murdered, a fast-approaching hurricane knocks out the power and phones, and the entire cast is locked in the theater with a killer. It’s up to McKenna, in an alarmingly uncomfortable Santa suit, to preserve the crime scene, question the suspects, and hopefully keep everyone alive until the police can arrive. With a cast of actors who are off the eccentric scale and not receptive to his interrogations, McKenna finds himself reluctantly relying on a nine year-old Temporary Assistant Elf Investigator to solve the mystery and save Christmas.



Image source: Terry Ambrose

This Christmas novella arrives just in time for the holidays and serves up a generous portion of laughs and escapist reading. The classic locked-room scenario gets twisted with the inclusion of a zany collection of characters who unpredictably fall in and out of their roles. The very put-upon McKenna continues to be entertaining as he wades through the suspects, ensuring his success as Santa no matter how much he attempts to resist. Often a beacon of sanity is an ocean of chaos, McKenna is at his best when surrounded by chaos.

To enter to win an ebook copy of A Damsel for Santa, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “damsel,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 12, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book:


amzn.to/2gAm3xd


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).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.