Tag Archives: book

The Leipfold Files by Dane Cobain – book review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Leipfold Files by Dane Cobain to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Leipfold Files by Dane Cobain

Here is the book blurb.

Join a young James Leipfold as he discovers his knack for uncovering the truth and takes the early steps towards forming his detective agency, Leipfold Investigations…

Leipfold’s journey will take him from the deserts of Kuwait to the inside of Reading Jail and have him investigating everything from missing gnomes to drunken Santas and crooked optometrists. Along the way, he befriends a rookie cop named Jack Cholmondeley, helps a widowed army wife find closure, and falls in love with a motorbike he calls Camilla.

This collection brings together 24 James Leipfold short stories, including three shorts that take place between Driven and The Tower Hill Terror. It’s a must for all fans of the Leipfold series and any serious reader of quirky detective novels and cozy mysteries.

This is the third book in the Leipfold Mysteries series but unlike the previous two titles, this time it is a collection of short stories. You don’t need to have read the earlier books, but for me, I found it particularly good how it helps put additional context round the main characters who I already know and love.

The tales are sequential and we start way back, long before James Leipfold became a private investigator, when he was aged 14 and this is when he first meets Jack Cholmondeley, a young police constable well before he advanced up the ranks to inspector. Cholmondeley is already trying in vain to encourage Leipfold to a career in the police, something that had been touched upon in the earlier books.

The second story is from his time in the army, when he served in Kuwait and again it helps give depth to his character. The short stories also cleverly inter-relate as the third one pulls on minor characters from both the first two tales and this is the start of a pattern as the same thing happens again on plenty of further occasions too.

Several of the stories are set during a spell he spent in prison. Another continuing theme of some tales help to flesh out the aspects of his back-story which lead to him giving up alcohol. And of course we get to the point of when he set up as a private investigator. Plus how he got his motor-bike Camilla.

The last three stories take place between the first and second titles in the series, Driven and The Tower Hill Terror.

The Leipfold Files is available on Amazon in paperback, hardback and kindle formats. A great book, particularly to develop the back story between Leipfold and Cholmondeley.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of The Leipfold Files to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

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The Welsh Dragon by K M Butler – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Welsh Dragon by K M Butler to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Welsh Dragon by K M Butler

Here is the book blurb.

England, AD 1471. Henry Tudor’s drop of royal blood had never mattered, considering the scores of noblemen with stronger claims to the throne. But when Edward IV becomes king during the Wars of the Roses, that drop threatens Henry’s life and forces him into exile.

Though his mother labors to restore his position, Henry would rather spend his days with his beloved Jehane, a quick-witted Breton widow, than reclaim a title that promises only further hardship. Content with humble pleasures far from the dangers of court, Henry enjoys a simple life of anonymity.

Yet, his enemies continue to conspire against him. Survival may require embracing the very birthright that drove him into exile, though it threatens his happiness with Jehane. The path to safety is littered with tangled conspiracies, narrow escapes, and a Welsh dragon banner fluttering over an English battlefield.

Bosworth earned Henry Tudor a crown, but the trials of a forgotten fourteen-year exile transformed a penniless fugitive into the man who ended the Wars of the Roses.

Years ago before I started my blog, I used to read a fair amount of historical fiction from both the 12th and 16th centuries before drifting onto other genres, so I was looking forward to reading this book set in-between during the late 15th century, about Henry Tudor, the future King Henry VII.

The story begins in 1471 when 14 year old Henry and his uncle Jasper and the Earl of Oxford flee after the news that Edward IV has defeated and captured Henry VI and executed the prince. Henry’s life is in danger due to a tiny drop of Royal blood. They head to France via Wales where Henry sees his mother Margaret Beaufort. However she refuses to come too, saying she can be more useful to their Lancastrian cause by remaining at court. But bad weather at sea means Henry and Jasper have to berth in Brittany, where Duke Francis detains them as his “guests”, under his protection.

We then follow the story in several parts over many years exiled, whilst Henry develops a relationship with Jehane, a widowed tailor. But enemies follow him even in exile.

Plenty of the chapters are also from Margaret’s viewpoint and it is interesting how they communicate, when their letters are probably intercepted.

The tale  concludes at the battle of Bosworth. But the epilogue a few years later adds another quirk to the tale.

All the major events of the time are covered including the death of the princes in the Tower of London, with a different fictional twist. I knew the broad details of this era  but after I finished reading the book I had a look online and it was fascinating to see which parts of the story had been based on actual history. Henry in the book seemed quite a different character to what I imagined before I started reading this.

The Welsh Dragon, newly published today is available on Amazon in kindle format. A brilliant historical read.

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The Tower Hill Terror by Dane Cobain – book review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Tower Hill Terror by Dane Cobain to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Tower Hill Terror by Dane Cobain

Here is the book blurb.

Unorthodox PI James Leipfold and his technophile assistant Maile O’Hara are back with a brand new case…
The Tower Hill Terror is on the loose, a serial killer with a grisly M.O., and Maile and Leipfold must work fast to take him down before another body is found. But while the duo are chasing clues on social networking sites and the police are waiting for forensics, the Terror sends a message to the journalists at the Tribune. A message written in blood.
Can Leipfold, Maile and Cholmondeley catch the killer before it’s too late? Or will the Tower Hill Terror claim one final, familiar victim?

This is the second book in the Leipfold Mysteries series and I was looking forward to reading it, having eventually got hooked into book one Driven. You may see my review of that title here.

The story begins with Private Investigator James Leipfold and assistant Maile O’Hara following up on a suspect Jayne Lipton from the previous book, but too late, she has been mutilated and killed.

James has already taken on some new cases, but he soon gets embroiled into investigating Jayne’s death following a request from his old friend Detective Inspector Jack Cholmondeley.

The police get sent an anonymous grisly package. And then Maile discovers another similar killing via social media, Abu Adewali, before the police are even aware. Is there a link between the two murders? Is it a serial killer? Another grisly parcel, this time to the press, with a message hinting at yet another victim. How many more? Suspects! Alibis! Missing Persons! Links in the Chain!

James’s old school methods along with Maile’s technical wizardry make for a great combination. Plus the comparison between their techniques and those of the police.

However I did feel it was a bit of a loose end to have a suspect from the previous book murdered by an unrelated killer. That just seemed to muddy the water in wondering if the two cases were linked.

The Tower Hill Terror is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats. A great twist on the murder mystery genre.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of The Tower Hill Terror to one lucky winner. Open worldwide.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

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My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D Brink – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D Brink to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

My Gypsy War Diary by Shawn D Brink

Here is the book blurb.

Where is Milo’s Bible, the intruders demanded. They came under cover of darkness, their guns pointed at my elderly neighbor and only friend. And with the break in, an old story came out–young love, betrayal, blackmail, a treasure stolen and stolen again, a tale of vengeance and a life lived in secret. I was just a kid in the 70s, unable to sit still in school, living in my imaginary world of TV and movies. And now this betrayal from half a century ago threatened my life, as I found myself caught between hidden treasure and a band of gypsies who would stop at nothing to get it.

This story set in Norfolk, Nebraska is written in the format of a diary of memories and begins with a very exciting adventure as our hero retrieves an old book from a remote attic but almost gets caught by two people who are after the same book. At the end of chapter 1, you realise this is a flash forward to an event later in the book.

In Chapter 2 we head back to 1978 when our hero aged 7 had just moved to Norfolk and makes best friends with the elderly lady next door, Mrs Scholes. I feel the author made a wise move giving the reader an exciting opening to the book, as the next few chapters are slow mainly describing how he likes to help Mrs Scholes and continually trying to persuade her to attend church, with occasional tantalising mentions of either gypsies or unexplained happenings. Mrs Scholes marks these down to a mysterious guardian angel.

About a third of the way through the book, the story starts to hot up. It is now 1986 and our hero wakes up in the middle of the night to hear two gypsies have broken in next door and are threatening Mrs Scholes with a gun. He thwarts their attempt and the next day hears a jaw-dropping tale from Mrs Scholes, which sets him on the path to what happened in chapter 1. From this point on, the story continues apace with plenty of twists and turns.

I liked how it portrayed a friendship across the generations. And it was inclusive from the point of view as describing ADHD symptoms for the young protagonist. Plus an old tale retold incorporated a history of the Great Depression.

However I did think it strange that the hero was never given a name. I also found the repetition of him trying to persuade Mrs Scholes to attend church rather tiresome, as it seems as if the author is attempting to convey the same message to the reader.

And although the story did incorporate a couple of good gypsies, I was uncomfortable with how on the whole, they were portrayed in aggregate as bad. It did feel as verging towards an ethnic racial sterotype bias.

My Gypsy War Diary is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats. A good mystery targetted at YA, but suitable from age 10 up in my opinion..

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Whispers of Innocence by Natasha Simmons – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Whispers of Innocence by Natasha Simmons to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Whispers of Innocence by Natasha Simmons

Here is the book blurb.

When Madeline checks on her seven-month-old daughter, she discovers the reason for the baby’s silence. Abigail is dead. Madeline is soon living every mother’s worst nightmare amid a cacophony of sirens and police interrogations.

Accusations and old resentments can’t stay contained under the pressure of guilt, tears, and the horror of picking out a baby-sized coffin. A line is drawn through Madeline and Brian’s marriage, and a battle begins.

But defining heroes and villains is as difficult as untangling the truth from the web Madeline and Brian have created to protect themselves. Abigail’s killer isn’t the only monster hiding in the shadows. And among the dark secrets, everyone will crumble under the consequences.

It is too quiet, as the story begins at night with the awful death of baby Abigail. But as if that is not enough tragedy both her parents Madeline and Brian are under suspicion of murdering their beloved daughter.

They are interrogated separately and Madeline reveals a dark secret. Where does this leave her and Brian? And who is following her now? Who is on her side and who is not? Is she going crazy? And what about when her estranged mother turns up?

The story is told in 4 parts, firstly by Madeline, then by Declan, a friend of Brian’s, then by Brian and finally by Odette, Madeline’s mother.

The emotive subject matter of this psychological thriller makes it difficult to read. But at the same time, it is hard to put down, plus has a very unexpected surprise ending.

Whispers of Innocence is available on Amazon in paperback, audiobook and kindle formats. A dark suspenseful intense read with plenty of twists and turns.

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Driven by Dane Cobain – book review and giveaway

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Driven by Dane Cobain to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Driven by Dane Cobain

Here is the book blurb.

Meet private detective James Leipfold, computer whizzkid Maile O’Hara and good-natured cop Jack Cholmondeley in the first book of the Leipfold series. A car strikes in the middle of the night and a young actress lies dead in the road. The police force thinks it’s an accident, but Maile and Leipfold aren’t so sure. Putting their differences aside, and brought together by a shared love of crosswords and busting bad guys, Maile and Leipfold investigate. But not all is as it seems, as they soon find out to their peril…

The story starts by introducing us to Donna Thompson but by the end of chapter 1, she is dead, killed in a hit and run. Then chapter 2 feels slow with random snapshots as we meet private investigator James Leipfold, play director Tom Townsend and computer whizz Maile O’Hara. Chapter 3 was equally slow, this time meeting Detective Inspector Jack Cholmondeley, Sergeant Gary Mogford, Constable Groves and informing Donna’s next of kin, her mother Eleanor, who hasn’t seen Donna in years.

Then with the highlight of chapter 4 initially seeming to be skint Leipfold advertising for an intern and reading the newspaper, which mentions the hit and run, I was about ready to give up on this book. It was just way too slow, however I persevered. Leipfold decides to visit the scene where he bumps into Cholmondely who he knows from way back. From his investigative methods, I started to get the feeling that Leipfold may be the one who can find the mystery driver rather than the police, as he quickly finds a house nearby with CCTV. And by the end of the chapter, we have linked in another of the main characters, Maile is waiting outside Leipfold’s office. She wants to be his intern.

As things start to hot up, I’m glad I kept going with this book, but I would suggest to the author that he needs to hook the reader in sooner. The CCTV appears to indicate that the car has no driver. How can this be? Is the driver hiding out of view? Is the vehicle being controlled remotely? Could it be pre-meditated murder rather than an accidental hit and run?

So in true whodunnit style, potential suspects start to stack up for the crime. And so do alibis.

I loved the way Leipfold shares little clues to the police, then relying on them to do the necessary graft.

Driven is available on Amazon in paperback, audiobook and kindle formats. A modern detective mystery to get you thinking whodunnit. It is the first book in a series, so I’m looking forward to reading more and hoping that now we have been introduced to the sleuths, that the next title will unfold faster.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of Driven to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

I’d love to hear about your favourite read.

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Circle of Betrayal by Ruth O’Neill – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Circle of Betrayal by Ruth O’Neill to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Circle of Betrayal by Ruth O'Neill

Here is the book blurb.

Lena Farnham has it all: a job she loves, a wonderful husband, a huge house, and a baby about to arrive. She’s the happiest she’s ever been, and she can’t believe how lucky she is.

Unfortunately, Lena’s luck is about to run out.

Someone is following her, and not only that – they’re leaving frightening messages, and threatening her perfect life. Even worse? Her husband Sean doesn’t believe any of it.

When the baby finally arrives, however, Lena’s follower is the least of her worries. Everything in her life is about to change, but why? What did she do to deserve this? And what isn’t Sean telling her?

Lena embarks on a journey to uncover the lies, deceit, and betrayal from the one person she loves and trusts the most… her husband.

Even the most perfect people can have dark pasts – and even darker secrets.

Different chapters are told from the perspective of different characters with some overlap, so the story set in Portsmouth, starts with Lena, the main protagonist. Lena, a teacher is married to doting Sean and expecting her first child. But she is upset by an incident at school when one of the students threatens and hurts her, which results in him being expelled.

Then chapter 2 is from Sean’s view and although he is a caring husband, we discover he has a dark secretive past, which is rearing its head again.

Meanwhile in chapter 3, Lena is getting paranoid by a shadow following and watching her. Is there someone there? More things continue to scare her, but they always disappear before Sean sees, so he doesn’t believe her.

And so the story progresses. We also get chapters from the mysterious stalker. Lena tries to be proactive about the situation setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group, making a new friend with her neighbour Tracy. But we soon discover Tracy isn’t quite as she seems. And nor is the midwife.

Events continue to spiral in this psychological thriller after baby Charlie is born, as all the strands of the story are woven together. Who to trust? What to believe? Why are certain people behaving the way they are? What does a photo reveal? It was easy to guess who the stalker was but not why.

Circle of Betrayal is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats. A very intense read with plenty of twists.

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