Review: Into the Ashes (Taine McKenna Adventures #3) by Lee Murray

Into the AshesDisclaimer: I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

The third installment of the Taine McKenna adventures follows the format of the two previous books without becoming formulaic or predictable. It’s an action-packed adventure featuring human and supernatural dangers, full of both familiar faces and new characters I hope to see again in future books.

This time, the supernatural element is a lot less obvious — no giant monsters this time. Instead, Murray delves deeper into New Zealand mythology to use environmental dangers to great effect. For various personal reasons, I am NOT a fan of stories about volcanoes and/or earthquakes. But I tore through this book because I was enjoying the story enough not to be put off by the very realistic and detailed descriptions of being near an active volcano and its various environmental impacts. The only reason I knocked half a star off my rating of this book, compared with the two previous, is that I really liked the inclusion of giant monsters in addition to very human villains. Totally a personal opinion on my part.

Jules and Taine keep breaking my heart in this book. If this series was a single romance novel, I’d be smacking them both right now. But this isn’t a romance novel, and Jules and Taine are portrayed as realistic people — real people don’t always get a happy ending.

Just tell that to all the other people who die in this book: heroes, villains, and innocent bystanders alike. I like a healthy dose of reality in my supernatural thrillers, and this book has it in spades.

Can’t wait to read the next adventure featuring my favorite Kiwi soldier!

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

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Review: Into the Sounds (Taine McKenna Adventures #2) by Lee Murray

Into the SoundsDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend; however, I purchased the electronic version of this novel for full price.

After reading the first book in this series, I kind of thought I knew what I was getting into. It’s really awesome that I was completely wrong. On the surface, lots of things are similar to book one. Ragtag group lost in the wilds of New Zealand: check. Giant mythical monster eating people: check. Lost tribe of humans and crazy mercenaries: wait, what? Continue reading

Review: Into the Mist (Taine McKenna Adventures #1) by Lee Murray

Into the MistDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend; however, I purchased an electronic copy of this novel for full price.

For those of you who are averse to the horror genre, I’m happy to report that this novel is instead a thrilling action-adventure. There are some gory bits, but it’s not gratuitous, and the moments that literally made me jump while I read were shocking in the way that marks excellent writing. This was a blast to read, even for a wuss like me. Continue reading

Review: Teeth of the Wolf (Path of Ra #2) by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Teeth of the WolfDisclaimer: I read this book as part of the editorial process; I look forward to purchasing a hardcopy to add to my collection.

I was honored to be one of the first people to read this book, and it blew me away even more than the first in the series. I didn’t realize near-future noir was a thing I needed in my life until this series, and now I wish more of it existed. But I’m not sure whether any other attempts would measure up to the adventures of Penny and Matiu. This book ups the ante from the previous, with more action, more conspiracy, and more supernatural dread.  Continue reading

Book Spotlight & Review: HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD (Path of Ra #1) by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray

Hounds of the UnderworldToday is release day for the newest Raw Dog Screaming Press authors: Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray! I read this book ages ago, and I’ve been so excited to share it with all of you.


ABOUT THE BOOK

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


REVIEW

Disclaimer: The authors and I share a publisher. I received a hardcopy version of this book as a thank you for proofing an earlier version of the text.

On the surface, this book doesn’t seem to have a lot that would appeal to me as a reader. In an alternate universe, I probably bought a copy to support the fellow authors who write for the same indie press that I do and quietly left it on a shelf with a promise to read it “someday” (sadly, true for some books in our own universe). Instead, my editor asked me to read an earlier version of the submitted text with the promise that I’d make it through the horror bits okay.

I’m glad I did. I loved so much about this book.  Continue reading

Meet Victory: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #8

Because our books are being released a week apart, I teamed up with fellow RDSP authors Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts to do a bit of cross-promotion. This morning, I interviewed the main characters of their upcoming novel, Hounds of the Underworld, on my blog, and they were kind enough to do the same! A quick look:

Master Victory, which of your roles would you say makes you feel most alive? Mercenary, mediator, or mother?

Alive is an interesting word choice there, isn’t it? I spent the majority of my life as a mercenary, fell into the mediator role when I retired and accepted the mantle of Limani’s Master of the City, and became a mother to a child in need. Through circumstance rather than premeditated choice, but I have no regrets there. Certainly, all of those roles have moments that can elicit extreme emotion. But life isn’t just the exciting or dangerous bits. Life is what happens in between. So, I think I’d have to go with hanging out with my family, sharing some drinks and laughs, as the time when I feel most alive. My roles are part of that because they are what led me to this point in my life, to have those experiences.

For the full interview, please visit the blogs of either Lee Murray or Dan Rabarts. While you’re there, make sure to check out some of their other work to get you hyped up for Hounds of the Underworld!


Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in the author Jennifer Brozek’s “Tell Me” feature on her blog!

Meet Penny and Matiu from HOUNDS OF THE UNDERWORLD!

Hounds of the UnderworldThis Wednesday, a new novel from the writing team of Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts will be released from Raw Dog Screaming Press! They quickly embraced the spirit of family that I love about RDSP, and jumped on the idea when I suggested a bit of cross-promotion since our newest books are arriving a week apart. Today, I’m interviewing their main characters, while they’re returning the favor with Victory on their blogs!

Hounds of the Underworld (The Path of Ra Book One) is now available for pre-order. I’ll post my review of this excellent near-future supernatural noir murder mystery on Wednesday!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


ABOUT THE BOOK

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.


[Note: The characters in the following interview refer to me as Hanna, my real name.]

What’s your favourite place to be?

Penny: My favourite place? The lab. Without question. Partly because it’s mine — well, it will be just as soon as I can pay Dad back the money I borrowed to set it up. Even a standard benchtop DNA sequencer will put a big hole in your bank account, let alone the consumables. Anyway, the lab is my space. I love everything about it: the straight lines of the epoxy benches, the waft of cold air when I open the cold store, and the scent of Decon cleanser. I guess that’ll be the potassium hydroxide. I share the lab with my technician, Beaker. Beak came with me when I left LysisCo, my last place of employ, and he’s a real asset to Yee Scientific, although he will insist on hanging his lab coat on the wrong hook.

Matiu: Tough question. I haven’t got a favourite place so much, unless you count being behind the wheel. I like it because… going places, you know? Being on the road, the hiss of the tyres, scenery drifting by. I like driving, and I’m lucky, I know, because of my dad and the job and all, but, yeah, that’s my time. My favourite “place”, know what I mean? I like it, because it gives me a little bit of peace and quiet, in my head. Time to think for myself, without anyone else… getting to me.  Continue reading