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, May 27, 2017

“Bound” By Benedict Jacka

by Terrance McArthur

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

Bound (adj.): tied, compelled, leap, a border, forced.

Alex Verus is “Bound,” in the eighth book of Benedict Jacka’s British urban fantasy series. He is tied to Anne, the woman he wants to love, but instead, has gotten her into a horrible mess. They are compelled to work for the Dark Mages, while Light Mages keep trying to kill them (OK, some of the Dark Mages want to kill them, too). He makes a mental leap when he realizes that he’s been playing a short game, reacting to what happens to him, while the Dark Side is working from long-view plans. He breaches the border of his scruples when he does battle with an entity who is defending her home. He is forced to work for his evil mentor, or have all his friends killed.

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


Alex is a Diviner Mage, able to see the alternate possibilities around him, and he usually wins by maneuvering his foes into a situation where something even more dangerous will remove his present danger, sort of like a fish steering a scuba-hunter into the path of a man-eating shark. Richard, his former Dark Master, assigns him to work for the Dark Mage representative on the Light Mage Council. Alex deals with the horrors and tedium of bureaucracy, which is why the book takes place over a year’s time, instead of the usual week or two, as in previous installments. It has a longer page count, too, but doesn’t feel unnecessarily padded, even with a spate of philosophical and ethical discussions. In fact, a major complaint in user reviews has been that it is too short.



Image source: Ace

Jacka has been twisting fantasy expectations for years with his brain-centered hero, building a magical society in England. Some of the Light Mages are more corrupt and devious than the Dark ones, who are at least honest about their aims. A giant spider weaves anti-magic armor. A masked mage blows away everything in his path. A magical being weaponizes plants. Portals open to other dimensions, customized by the owner. It’s a weird universe, out there.

Bound ends with a cliffhanging twist (don’t all these books?) that promises more trouble for Alex, but isn’t that what we want and expect? Things have to get worse. The stakes have to get higher. Relationships have to get more complicated. That’s why we keep coming back to read more.

To enter to win a copy of Bound, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bound,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 3, 2017. 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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul" Movie Review

by Sheryl Wall

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

The Long Haul is the fourth movie based on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series. However, due to the original cast becoming too old to resume their roles a new cast was chosen for this recent movie.


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


Greg Heffley was looking forward to a summer with nothing to do, but soon discovers this isn't going to be how he spends his school vacation after all. His parents planned a road trip to go to MeeMaws 90th Birthday party. This is disappointing to Greg until he realizes that they will, be as Greg explains to his friend Rowly, two inches (on a map) from a Gaming Convention where he can meet the famous Mac Digby. Due to a recent embarrassment in a ball pit where a dirty diaper gets stuck on his hand and is posted all over the internet, Greg decides that Mac Digby could make him famous and make everyone forget his diaper incident. There are many mishaps and adventures on the Heffley road trip including a pet pig won at a country fair by the youngest in the family, Manny, and birds invading the car.



Image source: 20th Century Fox

The Long Haul was a fun movie, though it wasn't as engaging and funny as the previous Wimpy Kid movies. However, it’s still a funny movie that stays true to the books. Greg's brother Rodrick was well cast and had some really funny scenes, though the gross scene of him throwing up I could have done without. I like how they used some of the drawings from the book and made them come alive throughout the film.

Overall, this is a fun movie for the whole family to enjoy and perfect timing with summer just around the corner. I hope to see more of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books made into movies in the future.

The Long Haul 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, May 19, 2017

“The Woodpecker Always Pecks Twice” A Bird Lover’s Mystery By J.R. Ripley

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book or the first book in the series, at the end of the review & a link to purchase it.

A bit groggy after once again being awoken by the red-bellied woodpecker named Drummy, Amy Simms can barely believe the scene she glimpses through the rain at the McKutcheon house across Ruby Lake. As the owner of Birds & Bees, an aviary, bee, & nature supplies store, Amy may not be an ornithologist, but she definitely knows the difference between a bird and a falling body. The rest of the town is not so certain though, and when Ruby Lake’s chief of police Jerry Kennedy finds no evidence of a corpse, his mocking doubt even has Amy questioning herself. Determined to find some sort of evidence, Amy leads her monthly bird-watching hike to McKutcheon house and its apparent conversion into a hostel. Amy is stunned to discover what she believes what could be a fresh grave, but before she can return to (literally) uncover more, she finds an even fresher corpse propped up against a tree. Irritable Bessie Hammond has grumbled about her last bird-watching venture, and this time even Jerry has to admit that it is murder.


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


The chief of police still behaves as though he was the high school student who once dated Amy and was a student in her mother’s classes, so Amy doesn’t have much confidence that he will be able to solve this latest murder. This leads her to invite herself over to the McKutcheon house, whose owner Grant McKutcheon has filled with youthful Europeans. The relationships of these newcomers pale in comparison to the locals, who are using the McKutcheon’s connection to the legendary widow in the Lake to attract tourists to her annual ghostly appearance.



Image source: Lyrical Press

This third in the Bird Lover’s Mystery series entertains with the impulsive escapades led by the very focused and determined Amy. This allows her very little time to operate Birds & Bees, so it’s fortunate that he she has the help of her mother, Aunt Betty, and much less reliable cousin Riley for daily operations. As the investigation leads in completely unexpected directions, it ensures for a surprising conclusion that few readers will see coming. Amy’s humorous insights provide endless laughter for readers; to put off a possible “we need to talk” breakup session with her boyfriend, Amy determines that all she needs to do is to completely avoid him. Amy’s best friend Kim is dating the latest in her string of short-term boyfriends, so she’s prime for an epic breakup soon. Amy may lead more with her intuition than actual evidence, but she continues to be an undeniable delight who will have readers giggling long after the crime is solved.

To enter to win a copy of The Woodpecker Always Pecks Twice or the first book in the series, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “woodpecker,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 27, 2017. U.S. residents only. PLEASE STATE WHICH BOOK YOU WANT. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link 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.




Monday, May 15, 2017

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" Video Movie Review


by Jessica Ham

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

This week we have another video review from Jessica Ham, this one for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.


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




Image source: Disney



Guardians of the Galaxy 2 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!



Jessica Ham is 24 years old and an ongoing contributor. With a love of all things nerdy, she's right at home covering entertainment. You can watch more of her videos on her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/JessTheGoodWitch.


Friday, May 12, 2017

“Uniformly Dead” A Stitch in Time Mystery By Greta McKennan

by Cynthia Chow

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

After her boyfriend cleaned out their joint banking accounts and left her drowning in debt, wedding dress designer Debra Dembrowski was forced to close her wedding shop and find a new way to pay the bills. Operating out of her home, Debra has merged bridal couture with A Stitch in Time, her sewing business focusing on historical wear. It’s a new venture perfect for a designer whose hero was Betsy Ross and whose hometown of Laurel Springs, Pennsylvania is a host to a thriving Civil Reenactor community. Debra’s first fitting for reenactor Colonel Windstrom goes less than smooth though, with him disdainful towards her lack of knowledge and criticizing her every stitch.


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


Although the filming of a big-budget Civil War movie should have been a fantastic opportunity for Debra’s business, they have their own unionized crew and wardrobe. At least the visiting set brings to town Debra’s camera-operating brother Pete, whom she hasn’t seen since he left for Hollywood six years ago. It’s apparently been a rough period for Pete, and the time spent away hasn’t lessened his old high school rivalry with Emmett McDowell, a historical book author and the heir to the McDowell estate. So when a valuable McDowell antique doll goes missing from an exhibit at the Tremington Museum, it is Pete who is blamed as a result of comments he made regarding valuables often hidden inside dolls by Southern troops. Clearing her brother of the crime would normally be her first priority if not for yet another crime, that of the murder of the unlikable “Colonel.” The man arrested for that crime happens to be the fiancĂ© of Debra’s client, and the pleading bride implores Debra to save the wedding by freeing the groom. Investigating combative reenactors and Civil War treasures would be difficult enough without having to tangle with Sean McCarthy, a Laurel Springs Daily Chronicle reporter who is extremely proud of both his appeal and his ability to deliver a story.



Image source: Lyrical Press

This debut series follows two different mystery plots while also juggling Debra’s rather confused love life. When Pete goes missing, Debra discovers the dark reasons behind the failed Hollywood career that has followed him to Laurel Springs. As a handsome reenactor and real world accountant engages Debra’s attention, Sean McCarthy repeatedly interrupts with a grinning confidence that is meant to be charming but borders on just being irritating. The surprise MVP of the novel is Debra’s tenant Aileen, the lead singer of Twisted Armpits heavy metal band and whose intelligence and practicality proves key to getting Debra out of trouble. It is Aileen who has the honor of making the perfect twist on a “Princess Bride” line, “Have fun with the murderers!”

To enter to win a copy of Uniformly Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “uniformly,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 20, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link 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.




Monday, May 8, 2017

"The Circle" Movie Review

by Jessica Ham

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

This week we have another video review from Jessica Ham, this one for The Circle.


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





Image source: STX



The Circle 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!



Jessica Ham is 24 years old and an ongoing contributor. With a love of all things nerdy, she's right at home covering entertainment. You can watch more of her videos on her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/JessTheGoodWitch.


Friday, May 5, 2017

“A Closed and Common Orbit” by Becky Chambers

by Terrance McArthur

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

Lovelace is no more. Long live Sidra!

The starship Wanderer’s Artificial Intelligence from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is now housed in a walking, autonomous, not-exactly-legal kit in A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers. The Wanderer is left behind, and Sidra and the fix-darned-near-anything engineer Pepper try to find a place for Sidra to fit in to planetary society. She no longer fulfils her prime purpose of running a ship’s systems and protecting its crew, and her limited perspective of only seeing what’s in front of her, instead of being able to access different points of view through cameras in and out of Wanderer, is hard for her to accept.

Sidra’s story alternates chapters with the chronicle of Jane 23, a worker-clone who escapes from the robotic Mothers into a dangerous landscape of trash from a society that throws away anything that stops working perfectly. She wanders until she is protected by Owl, a lonely AI in a discarded star-faring ship. She spends years trying to replace damaged parts in a quest to travel off world, taught about other parts of the galaxy by Owl’s limited information resources.


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


The parallel plot lines deal with being accepted and accepting others, what makes a community, and a continued study of gender and species. One of Sidra’s friends is gender fluid, switching physically from male to female and back, with difficult transition periods as changes occur.



Image source: Harper Voyage

Long Way dealt with a duck-out-of-water situation, as an accountant adjusted to dealing with a multi-species crew and new environments and cultures. Common Orbit focuses in on smaller groups: Jane and Owl, Sidra and a trio of friends and protectors. Chambers excels at creating characters and societies that are outliers of our expectations, yet they have familiar cores of loyalty and the search for more. She mashes up Robinson Crusoe’s survival in a strange land with Oliver Twist’s search for a place to belong, and throws in a heist caper for good measure.

Reading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet might help the reader understand the Sidra/Pepper background in this follow-up novel, but it isn’t necessary. I really enjoyed the first book for its quirkiness, but I may be even more fond of A Closed and Common Orbit and its lonely characters, drawn together as they go in the same circles of development, their own closed and common orbit.

To enter to win a copy of A Closed and Common Orbit, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “orbit,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 13, 2017. 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.

Monday, May 1, 2017

"13 Reasons Why" Video Review

by Jessica Ham

May is Mental Health Awareness month so be watching for several mental health related articles. To start the month off we have a video review of the Netflix TV series 13 Reasons Why.




Image source: Netflix





Jessica Ham is 24 years old and an ongoing contributor. With a love of all things nerdy, she's right at home covering entertainment. You can watch more of her videos on her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/JessTheGoodWitch.


Friday, April 28, 2017

“The Logan Triad” Three Bullet-Riddled Novellas by Nathan Walpow

by Cynthia Chow

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

Meet Logan, a man with a past and secrets, lots of secrets! He specializes in helping women and children who have been brutalized or exploited by bad people. Bad people sometimes don't get the punishment they deserve when flaws in the judicial system work to their advantage. Logan makes sure that is corrected!

In Logan's Young Guns, the first of three novellas, we meet Logan as he searches for the man responsible for beating a young woman so badly, that she ends up in the hospital. In the process he meets the girl's brother, Johnny P. Jones. As they look for the man, they meet Annie, who works for Johnny's Uncle Frank, a professor in the art department of a local college. Uncle Frank is being pursued by an Italian enforcer trying to retrieve a piece of stolen artwork that Frank had bought on a recent trip to Italy. Annie is also being pursued by the Italian, so she joins Logan & Johnny when they agree to help her with that problem. Next, they turn to Johnny's sister's workplace to follow another clue. There they meet Vince, a young veteran who joins the other three in their search for justice. With Logan acting as their mentor and father figure, the three young vigilantes start to learn how to observe, follow and mete out punishment to those who take advantage of women and children.


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


In Logan Shoots First we see the team training and working together to bring down a mobile prostitution ring that is kidnapping and exploiting underage girls. When Logan receives word that a new lead has surfaced in an old cold case where he failed to bring a serial killer to justice, he splits off and leaves Annie and Johnny to do surveillance on the prostitution crew. Logan finds the prime suspect in the serial killings, only to learn that the man didn't do it. In the meantime, Annie has been taken by the prostitution ring. Logan forces a showdown with them and a deadly gun battle ensues.



Image source: Down & Out Books

In They Got Logan the distant past catches up with him as he meets Jen, his grown daughter, in person, for the first time! She is there to seek his help in finding out who was behind the killing of her mother, the first love of Logan's life. Leaving the young team behind, Logan and Jen head out to visit Jen's wealthy and bigoted grandparents who they think may have hired the men behind the home invasion that killed their daughter, Jen's mother. Tracking down the relatives of the three men convicted and sentenced for the crime puts them in touch with more suspects. The three men all died in prison attacks within the first two years of their sentence. That tells Logan and Jen that someone else was behind the scenes pulling the strings. Now they have to discover who!

Three well done plots woven together for one entertaining read! Logan and the youngsters emerge as engaging and complex characters trying to right some of the wrongs in the world, as they grapple with the reality of killing the bad guys!

To enter to win a copy of The Logan Triad, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “logan,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 6, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

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


Doward Wilson is a retired and avid cozy, paranormal, and adventure reader who can’t say no to most books. He recently moved from Independence, Missouri to Gladbrook, Iowa. Located in Central Iowa, Gladbrook (population 900+) is small town, rural farming at its best.
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.




Monday, April 17, 2017

"Smurfs: The Lost Village"

by Sheryl Wall

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

Smurfs: The Lost Village begins with a narration about how each Smurf has a name related to their talent or ability except for Smurfette. The story continues with her trying to find out what her abilities are. She then uses Brainy's new invention that is supposed to reveal her abilities but ends up breaking it instead. Brainy believes it's because she isn't a Smurf like the boys but instead was created by Gargamel out of clay.


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


Since the invention is ruined, Smurfette and her friends Hefty, Brainy, and Clumsy go snowboarding as a distraction and she spots a blue creature in the Forrest who drops a hat similar to hers. This was a sudden shift in the story that didn't quite flow, but over all the story comes together well. She is then captured by Gargamel who sees the hat and decides to search for what he believes is a lost village of Smurfs. Her friends soon help her escape. Later, even though Papa Smurf forbids it, Smurfette and her friends go out in the Forbidden Forest looking for the Lost Village so they can warn them about Gargamel. They experience many new wonders on their adventure in the Forbidden Forest and end up making new friends.



Image source: Sony Pictures

The Lost Village is a completely animated film unlike the previous movies. The storyline was unique and full of unexpected adventures in the Forbidden Forest--it made me think of Alice in Wonderland when they first entered the forest with all the new creatures and live flowers. My favorite scenes were the ones of the adventures leading up to finding the Village. The scenes on the water were very well done, and I really liked the luminescent rabbits. This is one of my favorite Smurf movies that didn't include the human world, except for Gargamel of course.

This is a fun movie that I enjoyed taking my girls to during the Easter break. It's a cute movie that the whole family can enjoy. Both my 2 year old and 8 year old loved it and will probably want to own it someday.

The Lost Village 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 14, 2017

"The Burning Page" by Genevieve Cogman

by Terrance McArthur

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

The Burning Page
is the third book in the Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. What could be more perfect than combining libraries and fantasy!

The main character of this series is Librarian spy Irene--but librarians in this world are very different from those in our own. While their lives still involve books, these librarians set out to the various worlds (yes worlds or realities) to retrieve and protect rare and valuable books. They also know magic and live in a world of fantastical creatures like dragons and Fae. Irene's apprentice Kai is a dragon prince.


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


In this book, Irene is on probation due to some instances that happened in a previous book--while we aren't given all of the details, I didn't have any problem knowing enough to jump into this book and enjoy the story and characters. Irene's long time nemesis, Alberich, is again causing trouble and this time he wants to destroy the entire Library and especially Irene.



Image source: Ace

The Burning Page is filled with so many wonderful characters, including a great detective named Vale who is very much like my favorite detective Sherlock Holmes. Irene is spunky, determined, loyal, and smart. This series makes me think very much of two of my favorite TV shows-Warehouse 13 and The Librarians. If you enjoy either of those shows, you will love this book, and series, and well if you love fantasy and libraries you will love it too! I can't wait to go back and read the previous books, The Invisible Library and The Masked City.

To enter to win a copy of The Burning Page, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “page,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 22, 2017. If entering via email please include your mailing address.





Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie's mystery writing at Mysteryrat's Closet.

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, April 7, 2017

“Eat, Drink, and Be Wary” A Sleuth Sisters Mystery By Maggie Pill

by Cynthia Chow

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

The three sisters of the Smart Detective Agency may be facing their toughest case yet: infiltrating a retreat promoting the celebration of traditional, old-fashioned values where the woman’s place is in the home—preferably in the kitchen, raising sons. Baby sister Retta has been asked by the FBI to go undercover within Love-Able Ladies to meet Dina Engel, an aspiring fashion designing who will be showing her first collection at the retreat. The FBI hopes that away from her crime boss father Roger Engel, Dina will be more amenable to testifying against her rather lamentable father. Considering that older sister Barbara’s staunch feminist attitude and her inability to pretend otherwise, it will be up to Retta and their middle sister Faye to blend in and attempt to cozy up to the mob boss’s daughter.


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


Alternating narrations by each sister reveal the different investigations of the sisters, which become dire when inept criminals kidnap Retta and hold her hostage. Faye is left on her own to sway Dina to her side, so it’s fortunate that Faye’s budget-saving sewing skills have her essential to the fashion show. Making alterations to designs meant for statuesque models but now must be fitted on second-tier strippers was not in the Smart Detective Agency’s initial plans, but it gives Faye access to the behind-the-scenes actions of the mob boss and his many business entanglements. With the male halves of the sisters back at home, it truly is up to Barbara, Faye, and Retta to prove their skills while definitely not being the complacent, privileged, housewives who are promoted by the retreat.



Image source: Gwendolyn Books

The bond between these three sisters is the highlight of this series, as despite their many differences they always come together in the end. They may bicker, manipulate, and occasionally attempt to avoid one another, but they are sisters in the purest sense of the word. Young Retta uses her charm to always get her way, oldest Barbara assumes she knows best, and Faye is the insecure middle child who attempts to make peace between them all. When they are together, they are at their most fun, especially they act like children in the most relatable ways. What is unexpected is that while the Love-Able Ladies enjoy a lifestyle that is one available to a select few, they receive a sympathetic and very fair depiction. Just because they’re old-fashioned, it doesn’t mean that they are entirely wrong. The mystery, which proves to be far more complicated and surprising than it appears, is as entertaining as the personal lives of these very engaging, very smart women.

To enter to win an EBOOK copy of Eat, Drink, and Be Wary, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “eat,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 15, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link 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, March 31, 2017

“The Secret of Bramble Hill” By Sue Owens Wright

by Cynthia Chow

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

Following her heart and a soldier she met at a USO Dance, Tessa Field left England at the end of World War II for a new life in the United States. In April 1946, she receives a letter from her new step-uncle informing her of the drowning death and upcoming memorial service of her beloved Aunt Emily. Going by plane, train, and cab, she works her way to Bramble Hill, her aunt's estate on the Cornish Coast in Covington Haven, England.

Her arrival is greeted with open arms by Maggie and Alf, the couple who cared for the house and grounds for her Aunt Emily. Learning that her step-uncle, Edward is several years younger than her aunt leaves Tessa feeling uneasy; meeting him in person only intensives that feeling. His too familiar behavior raises more questions about her aunt's drowning and his possible involvement in it. Knowing her Aunt Emily was a champion swimmer, with the medals to prove it, she isn't surprised when the local Constable tells her that he is investigating the drowning as a possible murder.


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


Bramble Hill was where Tessa spent every summer with Aunt Emily. There she roamed the fields, woods, and coast line with her closest friend, Peter, the younger son of the neighboring estate's family. She meets the grownup Peter when his stallion almost tramples her on one of the many trails. As they renew their acquaintance, they realize that their friendship is deepening into love. As a youngster, Tessa was teased and ridiculed for her looks and her physic abilities to see other things. With her return to Bramble Hill, the long dampened abilities return full force, and she knows that someone is trying to tell her what really happened to her Aunt Emily. Tessa's visions continue to become clearer and she knows that Aunt Emily is protecting and helping her from beyond the grave. Peter is writing a book about the history of Bramble Hill and the pirate treasure that is supposedly buried on its grounds. Is Aunt Emily's death mixed up with the legend of the treasure?



Image source: Black Opal

This book was a fascinating blend of gothic suspense, romantic thriller, and a complex murder plot. The paranormal aspect worked very well with the murder plot without overshadowing it. The historical time period is well done with the characters and setting coming across as very authentic and lifelike. The story pulled me in with the first paragraph, and the action continued to flow smoothly right to the horrifying and shocking conclusion.

To enter to win a copy of The Secret of Bramble Hill, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “bramble,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 8, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

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



Doward Wilson is a retired and avid cozy, paranormal, and adventure reader who can’t say no to most books. He recently moved from Independence, Missouri to Gladbrook, Iowa. Located in Central Iowa, Gladbrook (population 900+) is small town, rural farming at its best.
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.




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

"Get Out" Movie Review

by Jessica Ham

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

This week we have another video review from Jessica Ham, this one for Get Out.


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





Image source: Universal




Get Out is not currently playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6, but many other great movies are. 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!




Jessica Ham is 24 years old and an ongoing contributor. With a love of all things nerdy, she's right at home covering entertainment. You can watch more of her videos on her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/JessTheGoodWitch.


Friday, March 24, 2017

“For Whom the Bread Rolls” A Pancake House Mystery series By Sarah Fox

by Kathleen Costa

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

Marley McKinney had a rough start returning home, but when she inherited a beautiful Victorian house by the beach and local pancake restaurant from her grandmother’s cousin Jimmy, she decides to stay in Wildwood Cove. The Flip Side is doing very well, and Marley is settling in and making great friends. But, when she comes to work and finds graffiti painted across the front windows, prank calls all morning, and a new purchase stolen right off of her front porch, she knows something is not right. Believing Ida Winkler, curmudgeon extraordinaire, is the culprit, she decides to confront her and come to a friendly agreement. Ok…have you read a cozy mystery before? That’s right…Ida ends up dead, and Marley is a ‘person of interest.’


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


Marley tries to keep things going at the restaurant and fend off all the questions about the murder hoping that tourists and regulars will not be scared away. She has Brett Collins along with her cat Flapjack and a new furry friend Bentley found injured on the beach to take her mind off the tragic events and gossip, but she decides to take a more active role to find the killer. She jogs about the area trying to clear her mind discovering suspicious dump sites down by the river, overhears more than one curious conversation, and spots shadowy figures skulking around the crime scene. There are several residents of whom she asks lots of intrusive questions, but she is always forthright in telling the police all she uncovers. They, however, continue to tell her to stay out of the investigation for her safety…but we know she won't do that.



Image source: Penguin

This book 2 in Sarah Fox’s Pancake House Mystery is great with or without maple syrup! She has written a delightful book with a clever mystery, sweet romance, and beautiful descriptions of the Northwest, the town, the woods, and the ocean. I enjoyed Marley and her clever deductions, and although I had someone else as the killer, the final solution was perfect…the clues were there, I just took them in a different direction. Those fans who have read book 1, The Crepes of Wrath, will be thrilled joining Marley and her friends on this adventure, and newbies, like me, will get enough background to be caught up quickly. However, there are some references to events in Book 1 that might be considered ‘spoilers,’ but maybe I misunderstood. I am not deterred and am headed off to read it like I would any prequel. The first book included some great recipes from Ivan’s kitchen at The Flip Side, but my ARC didn’t. But, looking at the book description on Amazon, you’ll discover some of the treats served up are included. Yummm! It’s a great entertaining read! I highly recommend this series.

“For Whom the Bread Rolls” earns 5/5 Ivan’s Maple Pecan Sticky Rolls! Yummm!
Be a Big Fan!
www.authorsarahfox.com
www.facebook.com/authorsarahfox

To enter to win an EBOOK copy of For Whom the Bread Rolls, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “rolls,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 1, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

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



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 a 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 her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

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, March 16, 2017

“Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier” By Elaine Faber

by Cynthia Chow

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

The story is set during World War II. Agnes Odboddy, the heroine, is an elderly widow with an overactive imagination. An invitation to accompany the president’s wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, on a goodwill trip is forefront in her mind until Colonel Farthingworth of the nearby Army base brings her to his office in a most unorthodox manner. He sends Mrs. Odboddy on a mission to deliver a package to President Roosevelt, not an easy task.


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


Before she even begins the trip, the enemy tries to discover and steal the package. Accompanied by her niece, Katherine, the two women begin their trip by railroad—a trip filled with danger. Mrs. Odboddy realizes she is being shadowed by a man—a man whom she suspects of being a spy and a murderer.

She and Katherine encounter others on their trip who may or may not be a threat to both of them. Mrs. Odboddy takes a harrowing detour, and when she and Katherine finally reach Washington D.C., they find they are still in danger.



Image source: Elaine Faber

This is a delightful and at times funny tale, filled with the problems civilians faced during the war years, plus the unusual and dangerous venture faced by Mrs. Odboddy. Despite her age, she manages to thwart her enemies even when under physical attack.

If you enjoy an occasional laugh while reading a thrilling tale, you’ll love Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier. The previous book in the series is Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot.

To enter to win an EBOOK copy of Mrs. Odboddy, Undercover Courier, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “odboddy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 25, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

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




Marilyn Meredith is a Springville, CA mystery author and an ongoing contributor to our Mystery section. Be sure to visit her website; fictionforyou.com

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.




Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Logan" Movie Review

by Lorie Lewis Ham

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

This week we have another video review from Jessica Ham, this one for the Logan movie.


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





Image source: Fox




Logan 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!


Jessica Ham is 24 years old and an ongoing contributor. With a love of all things nerdy, she's right at home covering entertainment. You can watch more of her videos on her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/JessTheGoodWitch.


Friday, March 10, 2017

“Murder Go Round” A Witch City Mystery By Carol J. Perry

by Cynthia Chow

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

Attending a public auction of unclaimed storage units would not seem to be the best way to spend a day in Salem, Massachusetts, but that’s where Lee Barrett and her Aunt Isobel Russell find themselves on a sunny day in August. While bidders gamble on buying lockers of junk and forgotten belongings, Aunt Ibby spots and wins a bid on what she thinks could be a hidden treasure. Indeed, Lee is startled to discover inside a faded carousel horse worthy of restoration, which she takes to furniture restorer Paul Carbone’s for repair. What truly startles Lee, is the vision she sees reflected in the samovar Aunt Ibby first spotted, indicating that Lee’s “gazer” morbid visions continue to be reflected on shiny surfaces. This time Lee sees a man dead with a bloody throat, a sight that becomes real when a body is discovered after a break-in at Carbone’s studio.


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


The burglar’s dismantling of the horse has police believing that someone was willing to murder for something hidden inside, and Lee’s being followed by both a mysterious SUV and a bubble-gum chewing self-proclaimed incarnation of the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia only reinforces the mystery. Now that Lee is teaching a course in Investigative Reporting, despite never having done any journalistic investigating herself, she takes the opportunity to put her learning to practical use. An online course in criminology further aids in her endeavors, especially when it reinforces her visions of royal treasures smuggled over by Russian immigrants in 1915. Present-day links to Lee’s ex-barely-boyfriend/former colleague at WICH-TV has police detective Pete Mondello acting territorial over his girlfriend, but they will all need to work together to decipher the mystery that extends back a hundred years but could have dire national implications.



Image source: Kensington

This is yet another enthralling mix of witchcraft and mystery, enhanced by the fascinating allure of historical treasures. The paranormal elements are through visions more than any magic, but Lee’s feline O’Ryan proves deft at knocking over just the right clue that could lead to a solution. The plot includes numerous threats to Lee, but what proves most intriguing are the characters who prove to be so much more than they first appear to be. The author’s deftness at weaving the past into the present succeeds in making both timelines compelling, with the jeopardy feeling equally dire. Lee’s increasingly vivid visions and her relationships evolve the more she shares her secret, promising even more captivating adventures in the future.

To enter to win a copy of Murder Go Round, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “round,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 18, 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.




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Lego Batman: Movie Review

by Lorie Lewis Ham

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

This week we have another video review from Jessica Ham, this one for the Lego Batman movie.


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





Image source: Warner Bros.




Lego Batman 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!


Jessica Ham is 23 years old and an ongoing contributor; with dreams of being on Broadway, she's right at home covering Entertainment. You can learn more about her on your YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/JessTheGoodWitch.


Friday, March 3, 2017

“Pocket Full of Tinder” By Jill Archer

by Terrance McArthur

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

Nouiomo “Noon” Onyx lives in a post-Armageddon world ruled by demons. Through a pre-natal mix-up, she holds the “waning” magic reserved for men in Jill Archer’s “Pocket Full of Tinder.” Trained in demon law, magic, and battle techniques, Noon is sent to intern with a new sometime-drakon-demon-lord, Aristos, who had passed as human…and been Ari, her lover.

Assigned to find Displodo, a legendary rebel who keeps blowing up an unfinished dam, the young lawyer-judge-investigator leaves the big city for the mountain outpost of Rockthorn Gorge. She brings along her goofy, table-eating hellhound, along with her self-glamorizing Guardian Angel, Fara. They meet the Captain of the guard (a bunyip with an anti-human attitude, who wants to see Noon beaten up or dead in daily combat readiness drills), a queenly-feathered demon who has a history with Aristos, a squat worker demon, and a reptilian uber-demon who rules the water rights of the region.


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


Noon’s mission to reveal Displodo is derailed by Aristos’s desire to make up for lost time with Noon, but she makes it hard for him to make up for his lies—I mean, how would you get over discovering that your lover was really a giant dragon, unless you were really into fairy-tale princess fantasies? (…and Noon wasn’t)

Archer’s Noon Onyx series is intricately detailed. She creates a world where God lost to Lucifer 2,000 years ago, where humans pray to demons, where people with a touch of demon blood in their heritage share a bit of the magic. Noon can bring objects and creatures into temporary real-world being with her powers. This talent grows as she studies it and is forced to use it to save herself, her friends, and her society.



Image source: Jill Archer

Some readers find Noon’s first-person voice whiny, but she has many causes for complaint: the only woman studying demon law, belittled for trying to succeed in a “male” profession, sent off to the middle of nowhere to work for a demon-lord, her ex-boyfriend is a demon, her landlady threw her out because her pet ate a table, and almost everybody at her new job wants to kill her. Try to be upbeat in those situations.

This is a good series that isn’t afraid to throw game-changers into the mix. It’s as if Mary Tyler Moore was hired to play Kojak. Yeah, that might be the whole idea.

To enter to win a copy of Pocket Full of Tinder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “tinder,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 11, 2017. 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.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

“La La Land” Oscar Review

by Doward Wilson

La La Land brings us the story of an aspiring jazz musician, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress, Mia (Emma Stone) who repeatedly meet and eventually fall in love in Los Angeles. The film received 14 Academy Award nominations including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Gosling), Best Actress (Stone), and two nominations for Best Original Song (Audition) and (City of Stars).

The story is spread out over a year's time. The initial meetings between our musician and actress are both disasters but give us some good laughs. Their first encounter ends in minor road rage; their next meeting finds Mia trying to complement Sebastian over his impromptu jazz set as he is being fired for not sticking to the owner's playlist of Christmas music.


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


A few months later, Mia finds Sebastian playing in a 1980s cover band, and they end up walking to their cars together and discovering more about each other. Mia takes him on a tour of the movie lot that she works at and explains her passion for acting, and he in turn takes her to a jazz club and shows her why he wants to open his own club. Later they make a date to see “Rebel Without A Cause,” and the romance heats up to the point they move in together.



Image source: Lionsgate

Still working towards their dreams, Sebastian takes a job as a keyboardist in a friend's jazz band and ends up being on the road touring, then back to the recording studio and then back on the road again. Mia in the meantime has mounted a one woman show and performs it to an almost empty house. The career bombs that they are both following put enough friction into the relationship, that Mia leaves LA to return to her parents home. Before she can settle in, Sebastian is at the door to tell her she has an audition for someone who saw and liked her one woman show. Mia aces the audition and is off to film for several months in Paris, effectively ending the relationship.

The film wraps up with a look at where Mia and Sebastian are five years in the future.

There are many fantastic well done dance and musical numbers which are also visually stunning. The romance is nicely balanced with some comedy and drama. All in all, this was an enjoyable outing combining music, dancing, comedy, and drama into an entertaining experience.


You can use this link to preorder the movie. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:




Doward Wilson is a retired and avid cozy, paranormal, and adventure reader who can’t say no to most books. He recently moved from Independence, Missouri to Gladbrook, Iowa. Located in Central Iowa, Gladbrook (population 900+) is small town, rural farming at its best.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

“Death of a Dapper Snowman” A Stormy Day Mystery series By Angela Pepper

by Kathleen Costa

Details on how to get a free copy of this book at the end of the review & a link to purchase it.

Stormy Day has returned home to Misty Falls, Oregon, excited about her new house and a new business, Glorious Gifts, but leery about town gossip and seeing old friends. She is also keeping an eye on her dad, Finnegan Day, retired police officer, who after an injury, now has a live-in girlfriend/caregiver, Pam Bochenek. She is not one of Stormy’s favorite people, as she barges into the shop shouting complaints about dusty shelves and demands that Stormy drop everything to find her cat. Stormy grits her teeth and sets off in the wintery snow to finding the cat sitting on the porch of her dad’s house. Almost succeeding to capture the Russian Blue ball of mischief, she ends up chasing it into the neighbor’s yard. Sitting on top of a somewhat disheveled snowman, bribes of tasty treats serve to coerce the cat into the pet carrier, and dislodge the snowman’s head. In an attempt to straighten the lopsided head, it falls, and uncovers the body of grumpy Murray Michaels. This isn’t good…


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


Stormy has more than once helped her father with some ‘snooping,’ so she does have the skill set, and she’s not shy about asking questions. She starts as a witness telling all she remembers to Officer Tony ‘Baloney’ Milano, childhood friend, but decides when her father is thought to be a ‘person of interest,’ she needs to actively pursue her own investigation. Her covert interrogations start with many of the local businesses discovering shoplifters and snoops, then old friends with gossip, and finally there is the wayward mail, possible distant relatives, and so many town secrets. Although the investigation puts Stormy on everyone’s radar, she does find her new tenant, the hunky lawyer, a very interesting sight. But could the killer have her in their sights, too?



Image source: Angela Pepper

This is the first book of the Stormy Day Mystery series and a great way to introduce some delightful characters and an entertaining mystery. Stormy, not thrilled with her parents’ humor in naming her and her sister (Sunny), is an independent and strong character whose reputation of exacting justice against school bullies has everyone whispering about her return home. Her sidekick Jeffery Blue, a Russian Blue cat, is fun offering that helpful ear and encouraging ‘meow’ for her to sort through her feelings about being back home and whether romance is a possibility, along with going over all of the various suspects and scenarios. It is an easy read with some twists that make you question whether you figured out the motive and the killer. The writing is entertaining, but I thought the final solution was a bit too simplistic. However, I am interested in continuing to read the series currently with four books.

Death of a Dapper Snowman earns 4/5 Sinister Snowmen!

Be an Angela Pepper Fan!
Amazon - Angela Pepper
Goodreads - Angela Pepper
Website - Angela Pepper

Death of a Dapper Snowman is currently free on kindle for a limited amount of time.

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




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 a 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 her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

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, February 17, 2017

Robert B. Parker’s "The Devil Wins" By Reed Farrel Coleman

by Gloria Feit

From the publisher: In the wake of a huge nor’easter, three bodies are discovered in the rubble of an abandoned factory building in an industrial part of Paradise known as the Swap. One body, a man’s, wrapped in a blue tarp, is only hours old. But within feet of that body are the skeletal remains of two teenage girls - - soon discovered to be the bodies of girls who went missing during a Fourth of July celebration twenty-five years earlier. Not only does that crime predate Jesse Stone’s arrival in Paradise, but the dead girls were close friends of Jesse’s right hand, Officer Molly Crane. And things grow even more complicated when the mother of one of the dead girls returns to Paradise to bury her daughter and is promptly murdered. It’s up to Police Chief Jesse Stone to pull away the veil of the past to see how all the murders are connected.


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


Jesse has been the Chief of Police in Paradise, Massachusetts for over a decade, having left his days as an LA homicide detective behind him. (His drinking at that time of his life being the predominant cause.) But he had found a home in Paradise, in more than the literal sense. His colleagues, among them Molly, Captain Healy (head of the State homicide bureau), and Fire Dept. Chief Robbie Wilson, are wonderfully brought to life by the author (who picked up this series after the passing of Jesse’s creator, Robert B. Parker, and done complete justice to him, and the series). Molly has four kids and a husband, and has recently been promoted to detective, replacing his good friend, Luther “Suitcase”\ Simpson, usually referred to as Suit, after he was seriously wounded in an incident where he took a bullet for Jesse, literally.

The reappearance of ghosts from 25 years ago makes it clear to Jesse that “the past was unrelenting and no grave was deep enough to keep it buried forever . . . those two girls found down there needed a voice, and he meant to give it to them.” And three murders certainly present a challenge to him, not helped by more bodies that soon turn up. Jesse’s private life is looking up, however – he had been divorced for many years from his [cheating] wife when he meets the new ME, Tamara Elkin, who had come to Paradise from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of NYC, in what she describes as “a long story” left for another time.



Image source: Putnam

The title derives from some philosophizing about fate and the devil being unseen factors driving what we do, and what is done to us, one character saying to Jesse, speaking of the devil [no pun intended], “Most of the time he loses, but sometimes the devil wins.”

The author wraps it up with a couple of unexpected twists that I for one did not see coming, and doesn’t let up on the suspense as to the identity of the remaining ‘bad guys’ until very late in the book, in very satisfying manner. (Parenthetically, I loved his reminiscences of Ozzie Smith, the great shortstop, called “the Wizard of Oz,” a poster of whom hangs in his house.)

A fast read that lives up to the previous novels of the Messrs. Parker and Coleman, and one that is recommended.

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



Ted & Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, New York, a few miles outside of New York City. For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney & former stock analyst, publicist & writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications. Having always been avid mystery readers & since they're now retired, they're able to indulge their passion. Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK & US.

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.