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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.




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 fiancée 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.