Ashes & Dust, Book #1
Heat Factor: Dry humping to climax is great, but have you ever tried a “whoops we woke up in the same bed and we’re aroused” hand job?
Character Chemistry: It was sweet
Plot: Someone is sucking the souls out of people with magic, so of course the vampire PI goes undercover to investigate and then ends up metaphysically bound to the soul-sucker
Overall: It took a long time to figure out what the deal was with the love interest, but the mystery and the magical creatures made for a fun read
Burke’s world building is pretty fun. I’m loving getting to know Toronto from all of these Canadian authors. And who knew Jenn Burke was already on my radar because Not Dead Yet, the first book in the series from which this series spins off, is on my TBR.
I’ve seen a few bubbles of happiness from other reviewers who’ve read the first series and were excited that Evan finally gets his own story. Me, I have not read that series, so I was going into this world cold turkey. Here are some things I didn’t really know when I picked up this book:
- Burke apparently likes to write 3-book series featuring the same protagonists
- It’s 1st person, so the love interest gets there when he gets there (18% is when he shows up, and he’s not himself until 31%)
- There’s an ongoing mystery that will continue in the next book…
Sometimes that’s all pretty fun, and there wasn’t a cliffhanger, so I enjoyed this, but it’s also not for everyone.
The blurb pretty clearly encapsulates what’s going on with this story, so I’ll focus on some fun things that made this book stand out:
- When Evan meets Colin, he’s known as “Red” and is kind of robotic and weird. In fact, Colin has been ensorcelled and thinks it’s still 1990. Coming to himself in 2024 when Evan inadvertently binds them together is a bit of a shock.
- Colin is bisexual, but because he still thinks it’s 1990 he’s still dealing with the stigma (and other things) that were more prevalent then, i.e. he doesn’t think that bisexuality is a thing, and he was engaged to a woman so he convinced himself he’s not gay, so that handjob he just gave Evan was, like, not really a thing.
- Evan is living with depression and had suicidal ideation before he was made into a vampire. I appreciated the way that his depression was a component of his life that he understood and managed and not a dark cloud hovering over him constantly.
- Friendly demons are kind of scary fun
- Vampires don’t ejaculate when they orgasm
- Shared baths are AWESOME
Also there were several times that I laughed out loud. Burke’s writing is a lovely combination of playful and sensitive, and I felt really cozy being wrapped up in it while I was reading. I’m totally going to want to read the next book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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