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Kings River Lite:

KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
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Friday, January 27, 2017

“Milicent Le Sueur" By Margaret Moseley

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review & links to purchase it.

Taking her name from a misspelled police report and a can of peas, Milicent Le Sueur wanders through the streets of Portsmith, Virginia, proudly declaring herself to be the only bag lady in town. With little memory of the woman she once was, Milicent emphatically separates herself from the homeless, asserting that she has a home—a wheel-less 1990 Nissan parked in a junkyard—as well as very specialized and decorative bags. Frequently off her medication that controls her OCD tendencies and prevents her thoughts from spiraling, Milicent is often dismissed and looked upon with distain. One of those who sees past Milicent’s off-putting exterior is Police Chief Wade Tate, who she considers her best friend and a new love interest. When Milicent is the lone witness of the suspected hit-and-run of a teenaged girl, Wade Tate takes up the challenge of interpreting her labyrinth-like thought processes to get to the truth.


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As Milicent continues to go throughout her days, the city manager pressures Wade Tate to arrest Milicent and quickly tie up the case. While Milicent is willing to accept a night in a cell as shelter from the harsh winter weather, she is not about to allow herself to fall into the trap of obedient institutionalized behavior. At the core Milicent still retains her intelligence and moral goodness, and though she can be derailed by her thoughts, she proves far more canny and capable than one would expect. Becoming a bag lady may be the most nightmarish of fates for women, but Milicent’s bag lady exterior allows her to be overlooked and underestimated as an effective investigator.



Image source: Brash Books

A narrator who is both mentally troubled and a “bag lady” could seem off-putting, but the unexpected delight is just how charming and funny Milicent becomes to readers. Her wry observations of society are often very sharp, and gradually readers will follow her serpentine way of thinking. Although very humorous, there are moments that truly send daggers through one’s heart. Milicent’s practical acceptance that she has lost the woman she once was and her ability to cope with her present life, are both poignant and sadly admirable. Milicent blithely accepts her daily challenges, cleaning restaurant bathrooms for food, taking pride in being clean, and being protective of what she considers hers. Perhaps most refreshing are the locals who recognize her intelligence, and while they would prefer that she remain safe, respect her independence.

The author of the critically lauded Bonita Faye and the light-hearted Honey Huckleberry series, Mosley has crafted a thoroughly unique and rewarding novel. Milicent Le Sueur never shies away from very serious and complex topics, but it is all conveyed through the voice of an engaging and entertaining character.

To enter to win a copy of Milicent Le Sueur, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “milicent,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 4, 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, January 20, 2017

“A Death at the Yoga Café” A Keely Carpenter series By Michelle Kelly

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review & links to purchase it.

After embracing the Eastern Yoga philosophy to help her cope with a broken heart, young Keeley Carpenter moved back to Belfrey, England, to convert her father’s butcher shop into a vegetarian café. A fire and murder slowed down her plans, but it also allowed her to reunite with her high school crush, Detective Constable Ben Taylor. The biggest stumbling block in her renewed life will be the impending arrival of her mother Darla, whose constant criticism and sniping never fails to send Keeley reeling with feelings of failure and inadequacy. So Darla Carpenter’s early arrival and demand to stay in Keeley’s tiny upstairs apartment is almost as upsetting as the stabbing murder of Belfrey’s mayor, Gerald Buxby.


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Gerald had been dating Raquel Philips, Keeley’s school frenemy who continues the rivalry through their competing restaurants. The shallow and self-involved Raquel was last seen by the town having a contentious shouting match with the mayor, and her lies concerning her alibi quickly make her the primary suspect. Having unjustly accused Raquel of murder before, misplaced feelings of guilt and Raquel’s demands for help, compel Kelley into conducting her own inquiry into the murder. Kelley’s good intentions are doomed to place her at odds with Ben, whose aspirations for a promotion could be jeopardized by his girlfriend’s interference in his investigation. Despite the risk, and feeling as though both her mother and Ben distrust her judgment and capabilities, Keeley questions the mayor’s irritable former housekeeper, visiting artists, and assortment of exes.



Image source: Minotaur

Keeley rises above the turmoil through her yoga classes, controlled breathing, and healthy lifestyle. Her mother’s refusal to grant approval still reduces Keeley to her childhood state of worthlessness, which perhaps explains why she reacts so emotionally towards Ben’s admonishments. While Ben would seem to be in the right, Keeley’s history with the town and her family make her especially vulnerable to what she sees as attacks upon her competence. The surplus of very possible suspects keeps both Keeley and the reader unsure of the villain, and the conclusion arrives as a surprise to all. Whether Keeley will find peace with her mother and Ben may be the most heartrending puzzle, but what she and the readers will find comfort through the helpful yoga pose instructions, peaceful lifestyle advice, and tasty vegetarian recipes.

To enter to win a copy of A Death at the Yoga Café, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “yoga,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 28, 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, January 13, 2017

“River City Dead” An Aggie Mundeen Mystery By Nancy G. West

by Cynthia Chow

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

San Antonio’s Fiesta Week would not seem to be the ideal, romantic rendezvous for a brand new couple, but Aggie Mundeen and San Antonio Police Department Detective Sam Vanderhoven have a lot of years and even more baggage between them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though the previous guest in the penthouse suite Sam had reserved at the Casa Prima River Walk Hotel will be checking out any time soon. An annual visitor to Fiesta Week, Monica Peters has checked in for the last time as it is her poisoned body that a maid discovers lying on the sofa. With the hotel fully booked for the celebrations and Sam called into the investigation, it looks as though the romantic vacation has been reduced to separate rooms barely bigger than closets. Even worse is that the dead woman was the ex-daughter-in-law of Grace, Aggie’s neighbor and a good friend.


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Aggie’s previous interference in police matters has been a considerable roadblock in her and Sam’s relationship, and matters come to a head when Aggie is unable to sit on the sidelines of Sam’s investigation. For him it is an issue of Aggie having to trust Sam’s competence in his profession, while Aggie feels that he should trust her intelligence and skill at discovering information through unofficial means. Those talents come to light when she meets the Fabulous Femmes, a branch of a philanthropic women’s organization that travels together as they support causes while having fun. Aggie learns Monica was a Flamboyant, one of the off-shoots of the Fabulous Femmes, and well-known among the women and their accompanying dates. A young army veteran herself, Monica had a predilection for dating military officers, and with four military bases in the area there is no small number of possible broken hearts and suspects.



Image source: Henery Press

Although Aggie pens a “Stay Young with Aggie” advice column for the Flash-News, here her queries concern universal matters of the heart. Her responses mirror the same issues she is facing in her own life, namely whether or not she can maintain her independence and identity in a fully committed relationship. For Sam, who alternates narrated chapters with Aggie, the contention comes down to whether Aggie realizes how her activities could affect his official investigation. The impetuous Aggie leads with her heart more than her head, which has her stealing keys, breaking into rooms, and taking short-cuts to speed up justice. If staying youthful continues to be Aggie’s obsession, she already has the headstrong impulsiveness of a teenager. Her antics with the outgoing Madhatters, Flamboyants, and Foxy Fitis serve as hilarious examples that women can be strong, outgoing, and outrageous at any age.

This book was published by Henery Press. To learn more about their books check out their website: henerypress.com.

To enter to win a copy of River City Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “river,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 21, 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.




Thursday, January 5, 2017

“An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock” By Terry Shames

by Cynthia Chow

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

In the early 1980s, Texas A&M graduate and Air Force veteran Samuel Craddock became the youngest Chief of Police of Jarrett Creek, Texas. While it was believed that Craddock would bridge the generation gap and reach out to a youth culture’s growing drug problem, the racial divides are what are becoming a bigger concern. A fire in Darktown leaves five bodies in its wake. The tragedy was not just that many were very young, but that they were all shot to death first. When the State Highway Patrol Trooper leading the investigation quickly arrests a young black man whom Craddock just hired to help with his calves, he begins to look into the crimes that force him to evaluate his commitment to being the Chief of Police.


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When readers first met Craddock in A Killing at Cotton Hill, he was retired and mourning the loss of his beloved wife. In this prequel we meet the forceful Jeanne Craddock, an artist who taught her husband to appreciate art and who was not entirely supportive of his career in law enforcement. It definitely sheds a new light on the woman who becomes idealized in his memories, yet readers will never doubt their powerful love and commitment to one another. Craddock must also contend with his estranged brother Horace, whose abuse of his wife may be the least of his crimes. With all of the strife both at home and at work, Craddock’s charming affection for his new calves makes perfect sense; it is with them that he finds peace and appreciates the beauty of life.



Image source: Seventh Street Books

Seeing a less jaded, more vulnerable Samuel Craddock adds so many new layers to a character who later becomes the epitome of a lackadaisical Texas lawman. His feeling torn between Jeanne and his law enforcement duties is something never seen before in this series, and it only solidifies just how canny and dedicated an investigator he eventually becomes. The era and Texas country setting fully comes alive, as the author brings to light the racism and sexism that we wish no longer prevailed. Seeing familiar characters from previous books here in their youth makes re-reading them an unexpected delight, as it stealthily reinforces their older personas. The sly humor is as consistent as the conflicts Craddock continually faces in pursuing his duties. Never more has a novel felt as timely, as the same tensions, prejudices, and crimes sadly still exist over thirty years later.


To enter to win a 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 14, 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.