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.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Nine Lifelines: A Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery By Joyce Ann Brown

by Sandra Murphy

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

Beth and Arnie used to own a lot of rental property. Now they’re down to one condo rental. When a tenth floor apartment in the same building becomes available, they buy it and move in, ready to downsize from a house.

Coming home is always an adventure, guessing where the elevator will stop. They press 10 and the doors might open on 5 or 8. Press 10 again, and it goes right to their floor. Another puzzle is theft in the building. The thief takes one or two items, nothing of value—a box of Band-Aids or a chipped plate destined for the trash. They have one neighbor but never see anyone come or go, although Beth caught a glimpse of the man watering balcony plants one day when she returned from her walk.


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


Other than that, Beth likes the new place. Their grandkids are coming to visit, so she’ll get to cook a lot. The pool is handy to burn off the kid’s excess energy, and shops are within walking distance, too. She walks her cat every day and has a stroller for him when he gets tired and refuses to take another step. His name is Sylvester, but he’s also known as the Psycho Cat due to his antics as a kitten.

When the man from the other tenth floor unit falls from his balcony, it seems a tragic accident, but the police think otherwise. The man’s wife says she heard her husband talking to a man with a Russian accent. Unfortunately, there’s one such man living in the building, and he lives in Beth’s rental condo. He’s soon taken to jail as a prime suspect.

Beth is friends with his wife, Helene, and toddler daughter Fabienne. She offers to babysit and help any way she can. She also visits the dead man’s widow with some food and discovers twin grandchildren living there with her but rarely seen around the building.



Image source: Joyce Ann Brown

When leaving for their walks, Sylvester insists on investigating the doors of the robbed apartments. Sometimes that leaves Beth in an awkward situation when the door opens suddenly. On the other hand, she’s getting to meet the neighbors and can blame it on the cat.

Beth is a woman you’d want for a friend, always willing to help, a good cook, and fun to be around. Arnie, he likes his golf. That’s what retirement is for. They make a good couple, obviously fond of each other. Beth doesn’t put herself in dangerous situations while asking about the murdered man. Sylvester, of course, steals every scene he’s in, as it should be.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book is Beth’s clumsiness. She trips, stumbles and falls way too often. It distracts from the story.

This is the third book in the Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery series which can be read out of order, but more fun is to be had to own all three.

To enter to win a copy of Nine Lifelines, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “nine,” or comment on this article and please be sure to note whether you want e-book or print. A winner will be chosen August 27, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.



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, August 12, 2016

The Blood Spangled Banner: First Ladies Mystery By Barbara Schlichting

by Sandra Murphy

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

Liv Anderson owns a unique business. She makes doll houses, complete with furnishings and dolls dressed in period costumes, all based on Presidents and First Ladies. Her favorite is Dolley Madison as she’s distantly related.

When she arrives at the store, the front looks as usual, but in the workroom, it’s chaos and the creator of the mess is still there! Liv’s able to stab him with a box cutter and make her escape. Luckily, her boyfriend is a cop so they’re on the scene quickly but not in time to catch the man.

Of all days for that to happen—she’s got a celebrity coming to the shop. Jackie Newell. She’s the owner behind the Jackie of New York department stores. An order from her could mean huge success for the shop.


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


Jackie arrives with Wanda, her assistant, and a bodyguard. She seems fascinated by the Dolley Madison house, especially the dolls. In fact, she puts the First Lady and the President in her purse, she says to look at more closely later. Liv is smart enough to get a credit card number, but why take the dolls? Jackie claims to be a distant relative, too, and alludes to a family secret Liv’s never heard about.

Things get even worse when Liv discovers Jackie’s body in the shop. It appears she’d gotten in after hours and was examining the Madison White House when someone bashed her head in. Did she have an accomplice or did two people break in?



Image source: Darkhouse Books

There’s also the mystery of the embroidered sampler. Grandma has it hanging on the wall, and Liv is sure the symbols mean something special. When another sampler, almost identical, is discovered, she’s sure. And it can’t be a coincidence that jewels that had belonged to Dolley were stolen from a museum, and Jackie was nearby at the time.

Liv delivers information about the different White Houses, how the décor changed, the building was enlarged, and history preserved over the years to the current administration without interrupting the tale of the murder. Aaron is a good boyfriend, now going to be husband as they plan their wedding over the Christmas holidays. Grandma and Grandpa are an understanding pair although worried about what’s happening at the shop. There’s Dorrie and Max too, both work for Liv. Pay close attention when reading—you don’t want to miss a clue.

Look for the next book in the series titled. Words Can Kill—A First Lady Mystery, Mary Lincoln, coming soon.

To enter to win either an e-book or print copy of The Blood Spangled Banner, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “banner,” or comment on this article and please be sure to note whether you want e-book or print. A winner will be chosen August 20, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.



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.




Monday, August 8, 2016

Suicide Squad: Movie Review

by Lorie Lewis Ham

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

I grew up on DC characters and I love them. I however am not all that familiar with the Suicide Squad. What I do know I learned from CW's Arrow so I don't know how that compares to the comic books, and I also know some of the characters on their own. However, the latest run of DC movies have mostly been a disappointment and sadly you can add Suicide Squad to that list--however, that doesn't mean it isn't worth seeing.


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


This movie shows the beginnings of the Suicide Squad--a group of expendable incarcerated super villains brought together by the government to fight villains that normal humans can't. This team is the baby of Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and led reluctantly by Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). They are brought together to fight the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), a magical being that is bent on destroying the world. The situation is made more complicated for Flag because the Enchantress inhabits the body of the woman he loves. The team, dubbed Team X, is made up of Deadshot (Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and one or two others. Also on the team is hero Katana (Karen Fukuhara). As a side plot, the Joker (Jared Leto) is attempting to free Harley Quinn.



Image source: DC

Suicide Squad suffers from the same problems as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice--great cast, but a bad script and directing (especially the script). The actors did a good job with what they were given--I especially liked Harley Quinn and Katana (who were both totally bad ass), and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc does a lot with just few lines. I also enjoyed Jared Leto's performance as the Joker--it was different. The movie has some good moments and a lot of fun action, but the plot is filled with holes and a feeling that they were rushing to turn this group into a team. Some of characters behaved in conflicting ways from one point of the movie to another, and you really weren't given the chance to get to know and care about them like we had with the Marvel movies.

So as I said, Suicide Squad is worth seeing if you ignore the plot problems, though I might wait for video if you can't afford to see many movies in the theater. I just wish DC could get their act together and make a truly good movie--the potential is all there, just stop trying to rush things and do something about the writing! We will see what happens with Wonder Woman.

Suicide Squad 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!



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.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Prepped for the Kill: A Marjorie Gardens Mystery By A.E.H. Veenman

by Kathleen Costa

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

Date: July 23, 2016 Case File: Prepped for the Kill

Ladies and Gents,

KC here, I just finished the exciting second adventure of Isis Ferrelli, aka Marjorie Gardens. Still reeling from the investigation she led into the murder of her client (Dial QR for Murder), she continues to worry that friends and co-workers might find out about her online crime blogger alter-ego and crime-syndicate family. Some ‘loose ends’ continue to haunt her.

Isis works as a defense attorney for McCarter and French, LLP, in Port Shirley, Massachusetts, and her online personae blogs at MyThug Shot about cases ‘changing names to protect the innocent.’ Before she can be whisked away on vacation with her dreamy boyfriend, Assistant DA Jason Shahaman, she first needs to determine whether or not a client, who wishes to act as a whistle-blower on her employer, is worth the law firm’s time. Examining the file, the case seemed legit and the client trustworthy, so why does she decide to take the severance pay and drop the case? This puts the firm on the search for a new client.


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


Moving on, Isis is surprised to learn that her neighbors, Raymond Lockhart and Jedemiah Briggs, who played an active role in her previous investigation, are seriously considering purchasing a luxury survival condo at the Reebok Refuge Silo, a decommissioned missile base. They’re hoping to solicit her expertise in reviewing the purchasing agreement which includes a $1M price tag for a full unit.

Ray assures Isis that a discount can be negotiated for accepting the role as Chief of Defense for the underground community and Jed, his roommate, would act as his engineer. To Isis it seems a very expense way to survive doomsday, and although the law firm was not happy with her taking on a ‘pro bono,’ the three head off to the facility’s Open House for an on site investigation.



Image source: A.E.H. Veenman

The facility seemed the perfect place to spend the ‘apocalypse’ with a pool and spa, cafeteria, school and library, infirmary, aquaponics, livestock ark, recreation areas, well-appointed living quarters…all managed by friendly and capable staff/residents. Living quarters were a question since a few were more luxurious than others and some incomplete.

Supplies seem to be addressed, but what is the connection to the One-Stop down the road? Then…a prank, a poisoning, power outages, lock-downs, two missing key members (one with a necessary code), a murder, and no way out! So, who thought the ‘apocalypse’ would happen inside the facility?

Well, concluding my report, this adventure had me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed the “cat and mouse” hunt up and down the various underground tiers trying to keep all locations clear and uncover the motive behind the sabotage and murder and excited to see if they would escape their confinement before it turned into one very big coffin. AEH Veenman painted Isis as a clever character who kept her wits about her to protect her friends and finally resolve the issues. This delightful mystery has earned 4.5/5 Doomsday clocks!

Until next time,
Arrivederci!
KC

Learn more on the author's website and Facebook page.

To enter to win an e-book copy of Prepped for the Kill, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “prepped,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 13, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.



Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.




Friday, July 29, 2016

Murder Under the Covered Bridge: A Bucket List Mystery By Elizabeth Perona

by Cynthia Chow

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

The ladies of the Summer Ridge Bridge Club are at it again. After creating their list of sixty items to be knocked off their Bucket Lists before they kicked it themselves, they subsequently managed to become celebrities while checking off a number of their wishes; not in the least of these which was to solve a murder. Francine McNamara rather reluctantly found herself promoting health on Dr. Oz, Mary Ruth competed on the Food Network’s Chopped, while Joy McQueen landed the job as an ABC senior living correspondent and reporter for Good Morning America. Although they were now fulfilling Charlotte Reinholdt’s #39 item of being a sexy calendar girl, Francine is somehow not surprised to find that it is she who is disheveled for a racy photo shoot on Roseville Bridge. Their intention of reenacting a scene of Francine’s great-grandmother and her star-crossed lover is interrupted before it can get really good, when gunshots sound out and Francine’s cousin William makes his appearance by falling into the creek.


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


In town for Indiana’s Parke County Covered Bridge festival, the ladies and Francine’s genial husband Jonathan are using the event to fulfill not just Charlotte’s List, but also to support Mary Ruth and her Fabulous Dessert Shop food booth. Their efforts to meet the ever-growing appetites of festival customers is hampered by Francine’s concern over William, who remains in a coma while his wife Dolly makes not-so-subtle remarks on who is to blame. Even though she has met her #1 bucket list item of solving a murder, Charlotte barely hesitates to wedge their way into another investigation. Considering that the lead Detective Stockton is casting very interested glances at Joy that in no way indicate that she is a suspect, they might also ensure her #5 bucket list wish to Find Romance.



Image source: Midnight Ink

As Francine looks into the life of her nursing home-owning cousin, the Bridge Club also Engages in a Séance (Alice’s #40 something), encounter rumors of buried treasure, and definitely fulfill Francine’s #42 to Take More Chances. Charlotte may be the one manipulating them into the investigation for her own needs, but it is Francine who finds more than she could ever have expected with the discovery of her grandmother’s diaries and their unimaginable implications.

This second of the Bucket List Mystery series, written by the father-daughter team of Tony Perona and Liz Dombrosky, continues to highlight the hilarious relationships between these long-time friends. Their jokes, snarks, and criticisms can stem only from the considerable history and affection they share together. A concluding plot twist is guaranteed to surprise readers, and the possible repercussions could definitely affect the future of all involved. The senior sleuths never fail to entertain with their lively antics, but it is the thoughtful Francine and her love for her friends that is at the heart of the novels.

To enter to win an e-book of Murder Under the Covered Bridge, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bridge,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 6, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can 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).



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Secret Life of Pets: Movie Review

by Sheryl Wall

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

The Secret Life of Pets is an animated film all about our pets. We are given an interpretation of what pets do when owners are at work. Max (Louis C.K.) is a small Jack Russell terrier who invites his friends over when his owner is away. He invites his friends which includes dogs, a cat, and a bird. However, Max's world is turned upside down when his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper), brings home a shaggy Newfoundland stray she adopted from the pound named Duke (Eric Stonestreet).


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


Max wants Duke gone and tries to get him kicked out by blaming him for the mess Max makes in the apartment. He is sure, with Duke being the new dog, that Katie would blame him for the mess and take him back to the pound. Their constant arguing with each other ends up getting both of them lost in New York City and picked up by animal control. They soon start to realize that the only way home is if they put aside their argument and work together.

On their path they end up meeting a white rabbit (Kevin Hart), abandoned by his magician owner and cult leader of ‘The Flushed Pets,’ and his stray friends who are out to seek revenge on humans for abandoning them. The rabbit doesn't look kindly on pets. They find themselves running away from the rabbit crew while trying to find their way home. Duke and Max find friendship along their path to home.



Image source: Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

The Secret Life of Pets
is a cute film that can be enjoyed by all ages, even the youngest movie goers. My one year-old daughter loved the variety of animals on the screen. My favorite part was in the beginning where they showed what each pet did once their owner left for work. It made me imagine what my pets do when I am away from the house. If you have kids and want something to do on the hot days of the summer, go see The Secret Life of Pets. It is definitely a fun movie for the whole family.

The Secret Life of Pets 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.




Saturday, July 23, 2016

Honolulu Hottie: A McKenna Mystery By Terry Ambrose

by Cynthia Chow

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

At the age of 64, Wilson McKenna never expected to find himself as giddy as a teenager and starting a brand new romantic relationship. Having nearly gotten both himself and Benni Kapono killed in a previous investigation, McKenna has promised his love, who is also his best friend’s little sister, to never again get involved in crime fighting. So how is it that not even two weeks have passed before McKenna risks sabotaging their relationship by agreeing to help get his friend Meyer Herschel out of trouble?

It seems that Meyer has managed to get himself arrested for the murder of Victor Dursseau, the employer of the financial manager who stole all of Meyer’s money. The manager disappeared, while a parking ticket and Meyer’s own gun places him at the crime scene. An investigation accusing Meyer of defrauding the Veteran’s Administration of benefits only worsens the situation, so McKenna is more than anxious to offload the case.


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


Hope seems to arrive in the form of “Last Chance” Chance Logan, a failed actor who bounced out of Hollywood and landed on McKenna’s doorstep. Having enrolled in the very dubious Phillip Marlowe Online Detective Agency with the goal of becoming a private investigator to the point of buying a red Ferrari like his fictional detecting idol. Chance would seem to be the ideal patsy to take on Meyer’s case. It’s too bad that Meyer succeeds in guilting McKenna into continuing as Chance’s mentor, and soon they are alternating between being bored on stakeouts to going undercover and threatening an unethical doctor.



Image source: Terry Ambrose

Terry Ambrose perfectly captures the Oahu setting from the pidgin dialect to the distinctly local characters. The exchanges between sarcastic McKenna and the naively optimistic Chance are a delight, the latter of whom becomes both deeper and more sympathetic as the novel progresses. McKenna’s emotionally juvenile relationship with Benni is as refreshing as it is sweet, and despite his declarations to put detecting behind him, readers will look forward to the next of his capable and dedicated endeavors in our gorgeous Hawaiian Islands.

To enter to win an e-book of Honolulu Hottie, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hottie,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 30, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can 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).