Book Excerpt & Giveaway: Into the Ashes (Taine McKenna Adventures #3) by Lee Murray

Last month I posted a spoiler-free review of the latest installment of Lee Murray’s thriller series, the Taine McKenna Adventures. In Into the Ashes, Taine faces his biggest foe yet: the active volcanic isles of New Zealand itself. Check out an excerpt from the book below, then follow the link to enter a giveaway for an Amazon gift card!


Into the AshesABOUT THE BOOK

No longer content to rumble in anger, the great mountain warriors of New Zealand’s central plateau, the Kāhui Tupua, are preparing again for battle. At least, that’s how the Māori elders tell it. The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is; until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring.

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BOOK EXCERPT

A deadly wash of lava and rocks, as wide as the Waikato River, surged around the house, taking the line of least resistance. The side of the house exploded in flames. Taine had no time to take it in because the front wheels of the Unimog were lifting in the swell, the air blackening with the smoke and stench of immolating tyres.

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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.

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: Think of England by K.J. Charles

Think of EnglandIf you’ve ever watched Downton Abbey and thought, “This show could use more espionage, blackmail, and murder,” this is the book for you! What I especially enjoyed about this book is that it is primarily a mystery/thriller with an excellent romance subplot. But more importantly, the romance subplot informs and adds to the tension of the main plot, which is a credit once again to the author’s ability to tell a seamless story.  Continue reading

Review: The Resurrection Pact (Winston Casey Chronicles #1) by Jay Smith

resurrection pactDisclaimer: I purchased an ebook version of this novel at release, then acquired a hardcopy version in a book trade with the author, whom I consider a friend.


Once upon a time, I was one of THOSE World of Warcraft (WoW) players. Had a full-time job, but still spent 30 to 40 hours a week playing the game. Questing quietly was my favorite part, but as these things happen, I also ended up raiding four to five nights a week. These were my friends, my social circle, and my motivation. It wasn’t just a game, it was a lifestyle.

I’m pretty sure that The Resurrection Pact gave me flashbacks.  Continue reading