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KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot by Elaine Faber

review by Marilyn Meredith

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

This hilarious tale is set during the early part of World War II. Since I was a child during this period, much of what was in this story brought back many memories.

Mrs. Odboddy has an active imagination, and is always on the lookout for those who might be spies, or who are involved in nefarious deeds. Because she’s a tad hard of hearing, at times she misinterprets what is being said.


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No matter what anyone else may think of her and her hair-brained schemes, she is more often right than wrong. Because of this, she has put herself in jeopardy even though she doesn’t realize it.

As she takes on each day, she handles wartime food shortages, does her part for the war effort, deals with chickens that aren’t as promised, and a romance from the past., She follows up clues, and is coerced into telling a huge lie.



Image source: Elk Grove Publications

I’ve read a lot of books that are supposed to be funny, but this is the first one that made me laugh loudly many times. If you’d like to brighten your day, pick up a copy of Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot.

To enter to win an e-book copy of Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Band,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 7, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.


Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author of the Tempe Crabtree series and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. Be sure to visit her website; fictionforyou.com

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Jungle Book: Movie Review

by Sheryl Wall

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

The Jungle Book is an updated version of the original Disney animated film created in 1967. It is a live action movie that includes a lot of computer-generated imagery to make the animals come alive on the screen.

Mogli is a young boy who was raised by wolves after being found in the jungle alone by Bagheera, the black panther. He loves living in the jungle and running with his wolf brothers and sisters.


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After a long dry season, all the animals go to the truce rock that always shows up when the water is very low. Here all the animals can drink without fear of each other. However, the dry season brings Shere Khan the tiger to the truce rock where he threatens all the animals. He wants them to turn Mogli over to him so he can kill him. He believes all humans are out to hurt him with what he calls the red flower (fire). Instead, Bagheera takes Mogli on a journey to the man village and out of the jungle to protect him from the great tiger. On his journey, he befriends a big bear, Baloo and finds himself facing adventure and danger from snakes and monkeys.

The special affects and computer-generated aspects of the movie are amazing and truly makes the jungle and its animals come to life. It is full of action and adventure with a couple of well known songs from the original movie. I think the actor, Neel Sethi, who plays Mogli, is the perfect choice for the role. He does an amazing job and he even does most of is own stunts.



Image source: Disney

Some of the scenes get pretty intense with Shere Kahn, the Bengal Tiger, jumping out unexpectedly. Then there are several animal fight scenes throughout the movie as well. I definitely think taking a young child to the 3D version may send them home with nightmares. It may make a few grown ups jump out of their seats as well. But depending on your child, I think they could really enjoy the 2D version of the film. My youngest daughter was mesmerized by all the animals, especially the monkeys.

Disney definitely lives up to their reputation in the new Jungle Book movie. This is a movie you won't want to miss seeing on the big screen.

The Jungle Book 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, April 22, 2016

Killer Reunion By G.A. McKevett

by Cynthia Chow

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

Just when California private detective Savannah Reid is entering a new phase in her life, marriage to San Carmelita Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter, she gets dragged back into the past. A seeming lifetime of teasing and bullying would normally have had Savannah running as far and as fast as she could away from her twenty-five high school reunion. What makes it unavoidable is it coinciding with her beloved Gram’s birthday, so Savannah is nevertheless returning home to McGill, Georgia, a place she once sought so desperately to escape.


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Even though she may be a grown woman in her forties, the imprinted traumas of high school have long-lasting effects. Mean Girl Jeanette Parker, who not only relentlessly bullied Savannah all through school but who also stole away her boyfriend, wastes no time in picking up where they left off. The former police officer and current P. I. is no longer the same belittled girl she once was though, and when Jeanette manages to poke at every insecurity, Savannah reacts with a satisfying, if regrettable, right cross to the face. The regret comes when Jeanette goes missing that very night of the reunion, last seen in an area Savannah knows all too well. Savannah’s ex-beau Sheriff Tom Stafford may still have a lingering affection for the girl he foolishly dumped, but that won’t stop him from arresting the woman everyone in McGill believes put an end to her vilified nemesis.



Image source: Kensington

With the actual investigation not kicking into gear until nearly two-thirds the way through, this novel is more an exploration of Savannah’s youth and her acceptance of how it shaped her now. Even the most spoiled of her eight siblings come to Savannah’s aid when she really needs them, albeit with a lot of whining and complaining. Dirk is never sexier than when he stands by her side, and even five-months-pregnant-but-barely-showing-it Tammy at their Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency is ready at her computer to assist. Sadly, hot Ryan and his just as smoldering partner John cameo only by phone, but lovably spunky Gram and the rest of the Reids more than make up for their absence. The humor of sharp-tongued and sharp-witted Savannah is matched only by her devotion to her loved ones, and maybe to her obsession with good Southern cooking. This series can always be relied on for snappy dialogue, compassionate characters, and venial villains who receive their deserved punishment.

To enter to win a copy of Killer Reunion, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “reunion,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 30, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:


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, April 15, 2016

Revisionary by Jim C. Hines

by Terrance McArthur

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

When Isaac Vainio told the world about bibliomancy, magic that pulled characters and objects out of books, he didn’t create the happy world he dreamed of. Governments put supernaturals into prison camps or tried to weaponize them, rogue creatures and magic-users wanted to go to war against humanity, and all of them were out to get Isaac. That’s Revisionary by Jim C. Hines, the fourth and final? volume in the Libriomancer/Magic Ex Libris series.


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Isaac, his lover/sidekick/book-spawned love-dryad Lena, and her female lover/psychologist Nidhi are in the middle of a world gone mad, and most of it is mad at Isaac. Enemies of magic become targets, sirens are being kidnapped, secretaries are showing up in too many places, and Isaac has to team up with an ex-libriomancer who went vampire. Johannes Gutenberg, who invented bibliomancy (if you don’t count the Chinese who had discovered it centuries earlier), talks to Isaac frequently (spoiler: although he died in an earlier book), trying to get the young magic-user to see what magic can be and what it isn’t.

There are magic against magic battles, military against military battles, and everybody against everybody battles. One feature of the book is a bibliography list of the books accessed for magic by the characters, works by authors from Douglas Adams to H. G. Wells, with nods to Michael Crichton, Homer (the Greek poet, not the yellow guy from The Simpsons), and Stephen King. Among the classics, near-classics, and the obscure, there are titles that were totally made up by Hines, to create a magic he couldn’t borrow from a real author.



Image source: DAW

Isaac’s pet fire-spider, Smudge, gets quite a workout because he starts to smoke or flame when danger is near, and the stakes are high in this book. Who is behind the attacks on politicians? Why are magical creatures disappearing? How did Isaac’s research center become the most dangerous place for him to be? Where can you be safe when the good guys and the bad guys are all after you?

If this isn’t the last book in the series, I look forward to more book magic, silliness, and references to books I love. If it is the conclusion of a tetralogy, I look forward to seeing what future magic Jim C. Hines will pull out of his imagination.

To enter to win a copy of Revisionary, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “revisionary,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 23, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL & it supports an indie bookstore:




Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public's information needs.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

by Lorie Lewis Ham

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

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opened a couple of weeks ago and people have flocked to see these popular superheroes face off, and it has made millions of dollars already.

I imagine a big portion of those who want to see this movie in the theaters has already gone, or at least has a basic idea of the plot, so I'm not going to talk about that. I also don't want to include any possible spoilers. So what I am going to do is share my feelings about the movie.

Overall, there are a lot of problems with the script, but if you go in knowing this, there are also things about the movie to enjoy. There is some very intense action, and it was kind of cool to see Batman and Superman face off. Ben Affleck was actually good as Batman and Bruce Wayne, even if the character seemed a bit over the top where his obsession with Superman was concerned, and entirely too much time was spent watching him prepare himself to fight Superman.


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I enjoyed Henry Cavill as Clark Kent and Superman, even though the script has him more dark and brooding and a little less boy next door than the character typically is portrayed--but then that started with Man of Steel. He looks the part to a tee.

There are some interesting and fun moments between these characters when they are Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent that I really enjoyed, and then there are some moments when you just go, 'what was that and where did that come from.' There are a few funny bits that I also enjoyed. However, there are parts of the script that are just plain awful and some that make no sense at all (those what? moments I mentioned).

Jesse Eisenberg is better than I feared he would be as Lex, but the character is just written wrong and leaves us with a spoiled brat, almost at times joker like, character that isn't the strong, intelligent, ruthless businessman that I prefer as Lex Luthor. It's almost more like he's a kid playing very dangerous games with people's lives.



Image source: Warner Bros.

Some of the brightest spots are the brief moments with Wonder Woman--I was pleasantly surprised to find I really liked Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and look forward to seeing more of her. Amy Adams is also an excellent Lois Lane. Be careful, if you blink, you will miss the bits with Aquaman and Flash.

So my final feelings? I'm glad I saw it, however I'm not sure I'd want to pay high movie ticket prices to see it, unless you just want to go to see the big action on the big screen. It's worth seeing on DVD when it comes out--just don't come in with high expectations. There are good points, there are plenty of bad points, and a lot of questions as to why they decided to start these movies at this point in the character's stories. Mostly though, I'm frustrated because all the pieces were there to have made an absolutely amazing movie! Even Jesse Eisenberg's Lex could have been okay if written differently and costumed differently. But like everyone else, I'll go see the next one of the movies in this series to see if maybe eventually they get it right. No fault here belongs to the actors themselves-the problems are with the writing and the directing. So there's still hope.

Batman V Superman 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, April 8, 2016

King Maybe By Timothy Hallinan

by Cynthia Chow

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

Professional thief Junior Bender should have known that stealing a rare stamp would not end well. Not only does stamp collecting violate his aesthetics standards (they are essentially mistakes), but the stamps themselves carry the bad karma of being produced by someone who’s having the worst day of his career. The fact that the larceny involved in breaking into the home of a debt collector known as “the Slugger” was yet another sign portending doom; the night ends unsurprisingly but exhilaratingly with Junior flying-squirrel leaping across windows, dangling off of ledges, and barely managing to escape from the Louisville-swinging homeowner.


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How Junior managed to get manipulated into the stamp theft is a novel unto itself, but that is a side note when compared to the following involuntary task. It seems that Junior managed to sell has-been movie producer Jake Whelan a fake Klee painting, and Jake is demanding repayment. Jake is placing his last hopes of a successful legacy on “Ambient Legacy,” a script being held hostage in the limbo known as ‘turnaround.’ Known as King Maybe, Jeremy Granger is infamous for promising Hollywood deals that he has the power to deliver but rarely the inclination. It is he who owns the production rights on the script, and Jake is extorting Junior into breaking into Granger’s office to discover the film’s current fate. It is a sign of Junior’s character that the news of his teenaged daughter’s breakup with her boyfriend, coinciding with her fifteenth birthday party, is a complication as weighty as the threats to his own life. Fortunately, with the former situation he has the paid assistance of two juvenile delinquent lesbian hackers, whose condescending attitudes towards luddite Junior is a delight of eye-rolling exasperation.



Image source: Soho Crime

The standout element is how this nearly comical caper novel seamlessly transforms into one with a darker tone of exploitation and abuse. While clever banter and Junior’s acerbic sense of humor is threaded throughout, they never undercut very serious themes with very real consequences. In truth, thievery is probably the most stable and healthy element in Junior’s life. His girlfriend, Ronnie Bigelow, whom he met under less-than-ideal-circumstances (he suspected her of murdering her husband), has revealed virtually nothing personal about herself. Not even her real name. That Junior trusts Ronnie more than anyone else in his life probably clarifies the state of his life more than anything else.

While its premise sounds simple, what results is a delightfully complex labyrinth of double-crosses, villains, and greedy Hollywood executives. The author excels at exploring and exploiting the insanity that is the movie-making business to such an extent that actual criminals seem like innocent angels in comparison. Junior himself is an enthralling character, a masterful blend of morality and professionalism, who is nonetheless still a criminal. The humor is always in full force with Junior, but it is his moral core and loyalty to those he cares for that cements his place in readers’ hearts.

To enter to win a copy of King Maybe, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “king,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 16, 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).



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).