Cover Image: House on Fire

House on Fire

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This second installment in the Ashes and Dust series ups the romantic stakes for Evan and Colin, but there's a lot going on beyond their romance.

I liked the investigation and action of the mystery part of the plot. Someone is filming paranormals and sending the footage to a local news station, putting both the human and paranormal communities of Toronto on edge. Evan and his friends have to figure out the who and why of it all, which they eventually do, but not before Evan himself becomes a target.

On top of that, Colin is still adjusting to learning that he was turned into a phoenix and abducted from his former existence. He decides to meet with his ex-fiancée, only to get a surprise that further complicates his new life. I'm really looking forward to seeing how that pans out in the next book.

Evan and Colin’s relationship is a work in progress, but I liked the way the author handled their growing feelings for each other. Colin is still somewhat uncomfortable with being openly demonstrative toward Evan, although he’s improving. Evan is being very careful not to push Colin for too much too quickly, because he doesn’t want Colin to feel pressured into anything. Even with their connection deepening, though, the constraints of their bond leave Colin so frustrated that he wants to dissolve it entirely. That terrifies Evan, because he’s afraid that if they do, Colin will decide to leave.

The ending of the book leaves their romance at a crisis point, and a death that hits close to home is going to complicate things even more. Book 3 can’t come fast enough for me—I need to know what happens next!

A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Note: There are spoilers for previous books in this review.

Jenn Burke’s Ashes & Dust  – a sequel/spin off to the Not Dead Yet series – got off to a strong start earlier this year with All Fired Up, which finds Wes, Hudson and Evan running a successful PI business in Toronto five years after the end of Graveyard Shift.  This series puts “Baby Vamp” Evan Fournier into the spotlight as the PoV character, and All Fired Up introduced a new love interest for him in the form of Colin Zhang – a firefighter who was believed to have died in the 1990s but who had actually been kidnapped and held captive by a witch who forced him to suck the magic from other supernatural beings.   I’d strongly suggest anyone thinking about reading this one should start at the very beginning with Not Dead Yet, as there are a lot of recurring characters in these stories and you’ll understand the relationship dynamics more easily.

It’s been five months since the events of All Fired Up, and Evan is no closer to discovering the identity of whoever was behind the operation at the Rising Sun Retreat.  During those months, Colin and Evan have begun adjusting to their mistakenly-formed bond, although Evan recognises it’s a lot easier on him than on Colin, who has to spend most of his days just hanging out in the Caballero Investigations offices instead of getting out and making a new life for himself (if Colin and Evan get too far apart physically, the bond causes them excruciating pain).  Evan recognises that his feelings for Colin probably go deeper than Colin’s for him, but is determined to give Colin the space he needs to work things through and not to push him into anything he’s not ready for.  When Colin asks if it might be possible to break the bond, Evan is dead set against it; for one thing it could be very dangerous, for another – he believes Colin won’t want to be with him without it.

The lives of everyone in the Westerson-Rojas household has been further complicated by the addition of Hudson’s brother Lance, whom Hudson has brought to live with them.  Lance has no idea about the paranormal world, so they all have to work hard to keep him in the dark, even though Hudson knows he really should tell him the truth.  But when videos showing shifters actually shifting headlined with messages such as “this is not special effects” and “they are all around us” begin circulating, it’s clear that Evan and the gang have far more to worry about than someone letting something slip in front of Lance.

In the middle of all this, Colin decides he wants to contact his former fiancée, Cynthia, thinking that he owes her an explanation about what happened to him all those years ago, and that maybe it will give both of them some closure.  Cynthia drops a bombshell of her own, telling Colin that when he ‘died’, she was a few weeks pregnant and that they have a son, CJ, who has always known that Colin is his real dad.  The news hits Colin like a punch to the gut – his anger and grief at everything he’s lost are very well portrayed – but he and Cynthia both agree that it’s for the best that they don’t tell CJ the truth.

To talk about the other plotlines in the book would be heading into spoiler territory, so I’ll just say that there’s more hurt and heartbreak on the horizon for our heroes when there’s a horrific murder close to home and Evan finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place – his loyalty to Hudson, and his love for Colin.

I enjoy spending time with these characters and was pleased to re-visit them, but House on Fire is obviously a ‘middle book’ with a lot of set-up and few answers.  The novel feels disjointed and episodic; we move swiftly from one event to the next, but none of them are given much more than a cursory explanation before we move on to the next one.  And the romance between Evan and Colin still feels a bit superficial; it’s been five months since they met and accidentally forged their bond, but I’m not seeing much more than a surface physical attraction there, and as we’re never in Colin’s head I get no sense of how he’s dealing with everything he’s been through – losing thirty-four years of his life, forming a magical bond with a complete stranger, and then having his first same-sex relationship – or even if he IS dealing with it. He and Evan share a bed and have sex, but it seems that any relationship progression (and I’m not actually convinced there’s been any as I don’t feel any real emotional connection between them) has taken place off the page.  In my review of the previous book, I said that Colin wasn’t particularly well-fleshed out as a character, but as it was the first book, there was room for that to happen – but I can’t say that it does.  Colin gets a lot of on-page time (because he has to be where Evan is) but because we never get his perspective and he doesn’t have much dialogue it’s hard to understand his character and equally hard to understand exactly why Evan is falling for him.  There’s no doubt that Colin trusts Evan implicitly – even though he doesn’t appear to understand him at all at one crucial point in the story – but I don’t get the same ‘meant-to-be’ vibe from them that was there between Wes and Hudson from the start.

I can’t deny being a bit disappointed in House on Fire, although it’s got good bones – I just wish there had been some more meat on them.  I enjoyed catching up with everyone, the plotlines are all intriguing and the author delivers some real emotional gut-punches while continuing to show Evan’s growing confidence in himself and his abilities, both as a PI and as a worthy second-in-command to the King of All the Vampires.  But be warned; the major plotlines are unresolved and there’s a cliffhanger ending, so you might want to wait to read this until you can dive straight into the final book, Out of the Ashes next year.  I’m giving House on Fire a qualified recommendation because I’m invested in this group of characters and I enjoyed the book in spite of its flaws.

Grade: B- / 3.5 stars
Was this review helpful?
Excellent follow up in a series I love as much as I love these characters. All of them. The story is always easy to follow, there is enough info, angst, a pinch of pain, and an ending that makes me want to fast forward time until I can read the following book.
Evan and Colin have a lot more talk time and I liked that they talk to each other. There's still a lot to unpack, but their relationship, however they want to call it, is growing. This series loves to make me suffer, though. You never see anything coming, good or bad, so you can't never just chill read. You panic-read this book, that was my constant state of mind.
There wasn't much action but the plot was plenty interesting even without much fight or magic use. There's someone leaking videos of shifters and vampires. It's definitely not good because we all know what humans do when faced with something they don't know: they kill. That's their only answer.
I really liked everything that happened in the book, even the ones that made me suffer. I can't wait to read the following book.
Was this review helpful?
I think I'm giving this book 4-stars, but even as I'm writing this review I'm waffling back and forth on it. Was it stellar writing and an exciting plot, like Jenn Burke always writes? YES! But was the "romance" highly dissatisfying, and did it end on a cliffhanger-esk ending? Also, YES.

I adore this series, but I highly recommend you also read the "Not Dead Yet" series before starting this one. You will be HIGHLY confused if you try to jump into this series, even with book 1, without reading Not Dead Yet.

House on Fire is a continuation of All Fired Up, which I also adored. The story sort of picks right up where the other left off, which is great for those who like to follow one couple throughout many books.

What gets me pumped (I was going to say "fired up" but then just stopped myself) about this series is the exciting paranormal world-building and the non-stop plot. I was excited and intrigued the whole time, and I didn't want to put this book down.

However... the romance. *Big meh face* I really wish we got more than one POV here because Colin doesn't seem very into everything and the romance is VERY tentative. In fact, it's a bit hard for me even to view this as a romance in my mind. Sure, the two MCs are bound together and there are some feelings there, but I never get a good sense of these two as a couple. I wanted more from them.

The ending is a total WHAT????? finale, and I'm already dying for the next one, though the abrupt ending may annoy some readers. Still, for me, Jenn Burke delivered again with another engaging story in this fabulous series.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Was this review helpful?
I'm really enjoying this series so far and the story arc that has been created. Evan and Colin have been struggling with the bond that they didn't ask for or know about until it was in place, not helped by Colin's missing years when he was basically a prisoner. They are more settled together and a closeness has definitely developed between them but Colin is not doing well with having to constantly be close to Evan, unable to do his own thing.
While they have the burden of that going on there is also trouble brewing in town as videos are being released to the news of supernatural creatures. As the human population are not currently aware of them, this develops into a problem as more videos come out and fear grows in both the human and paranormal community. Evan and his group start digging into the case and seem to take one step forwards and two steps back. Hudson and Wes try to help both the community stay calm as well as work the case whilst dealing with Hudson's brother stating with them who just so happens to know nothing of paranormals. To say it's an exercise in patience and logistics is an understatement. There are funny moments but also sad and hurtful ones. This book has a really good balance between the relationship aspect for Colin and Evan, dealing with what they have going on, and then the plot that moves the series arc forwards. I thought maybe at time there the plot wasn't as hard hitting as some of the others from the series has been before but this one brought in new characters, dealt with current ones and the upsets that they experience and updates the series arc plot with new information. We do end on quite an intense moment and I am very eager to see how that develops and Evan and Colin move forward from that.
I really enjoy reading this series and know that I will get a story packed with emotion, action and great character moments. I'm excited to see what happens next.
I received an ARC via NetGalley and am happily giving a review.
Was this review helpful?
If you've been following this series, or I guess more correctly the prequel series and the first book in this series, then you know that this author likes to layer her sweet romcom-esque stories with a heaping dose of PAIN and this installment is no different. The crew we've come to love is all here and they continue to look out for each other the best that they can. Which can unfortunately. In situations where the best of intentions can have unfortunate consequences.

I think readers will enjoy Evan's improvement in mental health and Colin getting to rediscover himself. The heat in this story is a lot hotter than the first book I would say as well. 

I would recommend this to long time fans of this author and series. But also fans of paranormal mm romance as well. I look forward to reading the final book in the series.
Was this review helpful?
This isn't a standalone so you need to read the first book in this series first and it wouldn't hurt to read the "Not Dead Yet" series first as well but you could get by with only reading the first Ashes & Dust book. This book takes off right where the last one left off with Colin and Evan trying to deal with their bond that didn't form correctly. Throw in someone trying to out the paranormal community, Colin deciding he wants to meet with his ex-fiance to get some closure, and Hudson's brother who knows nothing about the paranormal community. There's a lot going on and the one thing I really wish is that we got some of Colin's POV. I still don't feel like I really know him as well as I want to and I don't truly believe/understand his feelings for Evan. This book ends on quite the cliffhanger and I need the next book now!
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed the mystery in this one more than the one in All Fired Up. Colin's character development as he gathers his bearings was interesting to watch.  With some snark and some healthy communication, i enjoyed seeing Evan and Colin come more into their own as paranormal beings.  Add in Wes and Hudson, it was exactly what I've come to expect from this Toronto crew and it was a really fun read
Was this review helpful?
A fantastic spin-off for the Not Dead Yet series. The characters were wonderfully well-written, as always, and the storyline grabbed me from page one. It was so easy to become wrapped up in the story and I had no problem reading it all in one go, it was engaging from beginning to end.

*I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Netgalley*
Was this review helpful?
You know the old adage, “Be careful what you ask for?” Well, this reader had to keep reminding herself throughout most of House on Fire that I had not only asked for this series, I had pretty much begged for it. Way back when I reviewed Graveyard Shift, the last book in the Not Dead Yet series, I made this comment:

“First and most importantly… this cannot be the end of this series. However, if this truly was the end of the Not Dead Yet series, then I seriously hope that there is a spin-off series in the works because some things were not totally okay at the end of Graveyard Shift.”


To be clear, the main “thing” that was not okay at the end of the Not Dead Yet series was how things were left with Evan. To be fair, Jenn Burke is now giving readers what they asked for, but in true #EvilAuthor fashion, she’s not making it easy for him… at all. *sigh*nNow that I’ve gotten that out of the way… House on Fire finds Colin and Evan still dealing with the bond and the emotions that they’re both going through. Even though the series is still being told solely by Evan’s POV, not being in Colin’s head didn’t bother me too much. There were still times that it would have been nice to know what Colin was thinking, but he was pretty transparent – especially when things weren’t going exactly how he wanted them to go – which given his situation, was pretty much all the time. Not only was the bond inconvenient at times for both of them, having to “tag along” was getting old and making Colin feel useless. As painful as Evan’s past was, Colin was obviously dealing with a lot too – and House on Fire added another layer to what he lost in the years he was locked away under a powerful and controlling spell. Unfortunately, their inner turmoil wasn’t all that they had to deal with.

Someone is going to great and dangerous lengths to reveal the existence of the supernatural – and it’s getting even closer to home than before. The mystery of figuring out “who” and “why” is top priority so trying to break the bond between Colin and Evan is taking a back seat, even though it’s causing more and more friction between the two – regardless of their growing feelings for each other.

There were so many twists, turns and WTF moments in House on Fire, it was almost impossible to put down. My heart broke more than once – and for more than one character – while I was reading. And just when you thought things had settled down just a little… yeah – my first comment when I finished reading was “May of 2022. MAY of 2022! That’s how long readers have to wait for #EvilAuthor @jeralibu to fix things!” And believe me, there is a LOT of fixing that needs to be done. Yikes! Needless to say, I’ll be waiting less than patiently for Out of the Ashes to be released.
Was this review helpful?
When I had a chance at getting an ARC for House on Fire, I knew I had to take it. I've loved both the Not Dead Yet and Ashes and Dust series by Jenn Burke, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on what was next for Vamp Junior, excuse me... Evan. When we last left them Colin was still reeling from finding out about the paranormal world and the fact that he belonged to it. He also was having trouble coming to terms with his bisexuality and attraction to Evan. Internalized homophobia is a real thing, especially when Colin technically grew up in the culture of 30 years ago.

As usual, there was a lot going on apart from the romance. These books are plot driven and there is still someone out there who bankrolled the circumstances from book 1. Kudos to the author for knowing when to elaborate on things we learned previously. I read book 1 when it debuted 6 months ago, so my mind wasn't totally fresh on all the nitty gritty details. The reminders were subtle, not a major retelling, so it flowed perfectly within the story.

After reading the blurb for this book, I thought we were going to get some real headway on the relationship front between Colin and Evan. Unfortunately, we didn't get as much of that as I hoped. It felt like every time they got a step forward, Colin once again took two steps back. My heart hurt for Evan on more than one occasion. He was so dedicated to Colin and trying to make him happy, yet Colin took more than one opportunity to remind Evan that this wasn't the life he wanted. It was almost selfish in a way, because without Evan, Colin wouldn't have a life at all. He'd still be under the mind control of a psychopath. Colin could be a little more grateful in my opinion and it led me to not really buy his change of tune on some things at the end.

There were definitely some major surprises and upsets to get through in House on Fire. And be forewarned, the ending is a cliffhanger. Sadly, we have to wait until May 2022 for book 3 to come out to find out what happens next. I've finished this book with more questions than answers it seems so I'll be not so patiently waiting til then.
Was this review helpful?
Promises

Wow, so much to unpack with this heartfelt and moving book. First, my brain and heart are still recovering from the emotional rollercoaster it took me on. Second, I need the next book soon as that ending left me clamoring. Third, if you love angst, this book is your newest best friend. “His fiery eyes held mine. ‘Don’t doubt me. I’m here, with you.’” Gah, my heart, it’s twinging again. Evan and Colin are both extraordinarily strong people dealing with overwhelmingly difficult and strenuous moments. I don’t envy either of them but did love seeing them turn to each other, even as they’re still navigating their way through the unexpected bond. I still don’t know how to feel at the end of this as it really threw me for a loop but I do know I want more. Amazing friendships, suspenseful action and mystery, intense angst—I know I already said it but really it’s true, it’s a journey you don’t want to miss and happily we’re not done yet. I promise.
Was this review helpful?
4 out of 5 stars

I want to love this series as much as I loved Burke's Not Dead Yet series, but I'm still having trouble with getting the connection between Evan and Colin. Evan is still managing his depression, and Colin continues to accept his attachment to Evan. Colin gets more of his own story, with a side plot that came as a nice surprise and leads to a decision Colin makes. This decision culminates in an ending of Book 2 that left me open-mouthed. Honestly, that ending made the story. Now I must wait months to find out how this ending pans out.

Putting aside my issues with the romance, I enjoyed the paranormal mystery plot. There's a new villain and more complications to keeping the paranormal community secret and safe, as well as some deeply personal tragedies. All of this blends so well into a universe excellently crafted by Burke. All the characters are rich, and I will definitely miss this family.

***Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.***
Was this review helpful?
Jenn Burke is just so could at making my heart hurt in the best of ways. This book is definitely not a standalone, reading book 1 at the very least is required, but best to also read the Not Dead Yet series first, trust me you won't regret it (Wes and Hudson 😍). Once you get through all those you'll be ready for this book which is another riveting installment that left me desperate for the next book in the series. I still haven't completely warmed up to Colin, but I also understand that he is going through more than I could possible comprehend. It's just that I love Evan SO much and he keeps getting thrown to the wolves and having to claw his way out. I need his HEA and I need it now, and I'm ready for whatever bananas paranormal activity gets thrown in the way! In this book you'll get to see some PI work in action, Hudson and Wes being still madly in love in the background, Evan falling in love, and so much more. Definitely worth the read.
Was this review helpful?
Heat Factor: they have sex often in this book - not penetrative sex - but it's not especially lengthy or detailed
Character Chemistry: Evan is just so soft and Colin is just so in turmoil.
Plot: Mysterious bad guy tries to out paranormal community / the Vampire King's brother gets in the way / Colin's past joins his present / and also there's some relationship development in there, too
Overall: Ah, book two of a trilogy: the darkest, cliffhangery-est one

I am so invested in this series. I’m not sure I can tell you why, except that it’s very comforting - not a lot of emotional roller coastering - and the worldbuilding is really engaging. I like most of the characters. Very comforting. 

The trilogy is one romantic arc, so this probably isn’t a great book for a reader new to the series, but probably such a reader would find it reasonably entertaining on its own. This book, being the second in the trilogy, takes the romantic story on a more troubled path, and it does end with a moderate cliffhanger, but the mystery of the book is solved, so that’s good, right? I mean, most of the story is about the plot points that aren’t Evan and Colin’s relationship, so it’s not a (total) downer. 

Okay, so what are we dealing with? The blurb makes it sound like this book is at least partly from Colin’s perspective - it is not - and that most of the conflict centers on Colin and Evan’s bond - it does in the context of their relationship, but not in the context of all the other things going on. The blurb also discusses someone murdering people and the paranormal community will seek retribution… Look, this blurb is just not on. It’s not wrong, but it’s also really not right, especially if you’re going in cold.

Here’s what it is: We were left with the knowledge that there’s probably an evil mastermind sort of person still out there at the end of the last book. This person seems to be trying to manipulate the paranormal community. Also at the end of the last book, Hudson’s (Evan’s sire, the Vampire King of Toronto) brother - who knows nothing of the paranormal - comes to Canada so he can live with Hudson, Evan, Colin and Co while recovering from his illness. Colin learned that his former fiancée got married and had her own family while he was in spellbound limbo for 34 years. Evan has depression and is also working through a lot of past trauma. 

So in this book, here’s where the plot starts: The evil mastermind sort of person is somehow obtaining footage of paranormal activity and is sharing it with the media, fomenting unrest among the non-paranormals, who are afraid of paranormals now, and the paranormals, who are afraid of being outed and hunted. Everyone dances around Hudson’s brother until he finds out some secrets, and then a bunch of personal stuff within the household hits the fan. Colin reconnects with his former fiancée and learns some WOW new information that causes (more) emotional struggles for him and some conflict between him and Evan. And yes, Colin wants to break the bond instead of having to follow Evan everywhere, and yes, this does cause conflict on a few levels in their relationship.

I feel like I might be forgetting something. 

Anyway, there’s a lot going on in this book. That said, it’s not super busy. I didn’t immediately get sucked in, though when things started pulling together I didn’t want to put it down. The story is all told from Evan’s POV, so Colin is pretty opaque, and there’s a lot of exposition as Evan tells us what’s going on in his head and all around. As a romance, unless a reader is already invested, it could be a miss. I love Colin and Evan together, and I’m really excited for book 3, but I also can’t deny that a lot of the draw centers more on the mystery and the bigger interpersonal dynamics than on the specific emotional growth of the romantic arc. It’s there, and it’s a central component of the story, but it’s not huge. 

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.

This review is also available at The Smut Report.
Was this review helpful?
SPOILERS SPOILERS

Bonded pair - vampire Evan Fournier and phoenix Colin Zhang have a lot on their plate in this second book of Burke's Ashes & Dust series. First, there seems to be videos popping around town that tries to capture the life of paranormals and making humans rather paranoid about them. Second, Colin decides to meet his ex, Cynthia, after all, and discovered that he has a 30+ years old son. Third, an event that I don't really see coming... Hudson's half-brother, Lance, who is also Priya's father, is dead. THEN, THAT ending!!

Yes... there are plenty things going on that gets me hooked on this one. But let me focus on that ending first. I think, somehow, I can understand Colin's decision. Their bond is not one that he does with full consciousness. He is forced into that situation. I think the ending is NECESSARY for Colin and Evan's relationship to move forward. I have no problems with it - I believe that they will find a way back to each other in the third book.

The one with Lance's death however... like WOW. It's pretty much like when Iskander died in the first book! I was completely taken by surprise. Especially since Priya, his own daughter, may seems to be involved somehow. I think the answer will definitely be revealed in book #3 alongside the motivation of that person who has been sharing the videos about paranormal creatures.

This is a SOLID entry to the series. Can't wait to read the conclusion next year.
Was this review helpful?
I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series and was eager to dive into book 2. I am happy to say book 2 is just as good. There's plenty going on, a new mystery to solve and their romance deepens. There are also new things they have to deal with and some great twists and turns.

This series Ashes & Dust is a spin-off series from the Not Yet Dead Series and it's a joy returning to this world again. It follows a lot of the same characters as the first series, but now with a different focus. It feels very comfortable returning to this world and spending time with characters I already know and some new ones as well.

I like the way the author weaves the plots for these books, there often are multiple things going on and it's exciting reading the book and figuring out where the plot lines go. This book had some interesting twists and turns again. One of the big plot lines of this book seems to get resolved by the end, although who knows if it stays that way, but some of the smaller plot lines are left open and I am really curious to see how those progress in the next book. It definitely kept my attention and I was excited to see how things play out. I also like the non-violent solution to one of the things they have to deal with.

I like reading about Evan, he's a likable characters. We also get to see some of his mental health struggles and I thought he felt like a real character. I like seeing how he interacts with Colin, although I wish he didn't feel so afraid of losing Colin if they no longer share a bond. As a reader it was clear to me that they need the bond broken for their romance to really work, but on the other hand I thought that it made sense why Evan was afraid. He loved Colin and didn't want to lose him. It also bothered me how Colin didn't discuss a certain thing with Evan. They both definitely have their issues and struggles they have to deal with, it makes them feel human.

I enjoy reading about their romance. It's clear Evan is a bit more invested so far, but I liked how Hudson points out that Colin does trust Evan, he just shows it in more subtle ways. I liked seeing Colin become a bit more comfortable with their romance in this book. And it was great to see their relationship deepen, although I am still waiting for their romance to deepen even more as in parts of this book it still felt like there was some distance between them. There is a development at the end of the book and while I am not a fan of it, I do hope this will be what deepens their romance even more.

To summarize: House on Fire is a great sequel and it was great returning to this world. There is a lot going on in this book and the plot was interesting. The main plot line gets resolved, but some sub plot lines are left open and I am really curious to see how those will play out. Evan and Colin's romance is great to read about and I like seeing their relationship develop in this book, I do feel that it still can deepen a bit more and I hope to see that in the next book. The ending has a big reveal as well as the sub plot lines that are left open and it makes me really look forward to book 3!
Was this review helpful?
House on Fire is the second book in the Ashes & Dust series, yet the fifth book in this world. I can’t tell you how excited I was when this book hit my Kindle. I love what Jenn Burke has created in this PNR series.

Starting out where the previous book left off, Evan and Colin are still figuring out the bond between them, which doesn’t allow them to be but a small distance from each other, they are also dealing with their growing romantic feelings. They are suddenly thrust into another emergency in the paranormal community when videos surface of shifters and vampires displaying their special characteristics. The human population in Toronto is on edge and Hudson, Wes, Evan, and company need to figure out who is outing paranormals against their wills before the situation gets out of control.

While this book does features the same main and secondary characters, I really do feel like it was primarily focused on Colin and his struggle to deal with his past and the bond that holds him to Evan. I kind of wish readers were able to get his POV because so much of this book centers on him and his decisions. Yes, he and Evan are getting closer and their outward show of emotion and affection seems more natural and easy, but the bond is what holds them together for now, and Colin wants it gone. Not only because he needs to be his own man and figure out what he wants to do with his life, but also because he and Evan have to have a relationship that is not forced, but built on something more. There is also some movement on his confronting his former life and revealing his existence, which I was more than happy about.

The mystery of the videos and who was releasing them was interesting, but I found the personal tragedies and triumphs of these characters more compelling. SO much happened in House on Fire and my interest in the conclusion to this series couldn’t be any higher. I need for this couple to get on more solid footing. I can’t wait to find out what is going on with Hudson’s niece and if there really is another demon hunting her. I also can’t wait to find out how the relationship progresses with Colin and his new baby Pheonix.

I highly recommend this series and its predecessor, Not Dead Yet.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this! For Evan and Colin, the hits just keep coming. As they're trying to learn how to navigate their wonky bond and growing feelings, life doesn't stop and soon they're facing a new crisis. The paranormal world is under attack and threatened with exposure. Not only that, but Colin is wanting to reconnect with his loved ones, Hudson is experiencing his own family drama, and Evan's fragile heart is on the line. I liked that we got to see more of the day to day life for Evan, Colin, and their household, as well as some hands-on PI investigation. With Evan as the main character much of the focus is on him and I can't help but wish Colin had some POV chapters -- he's experienced massive personal changes in a short amount of time and, while he does have conversations with Evan about what's going on, I still want to know more about his feelings. However, Evan does have a lot of emotions and they were wonderfully written! Lots of angst, some humor, and a bittersweet romance. I'm also a big fan of the way this author writes diverse characters and creates a truly inclusive cast of characters. 

Perfect for fans of urban fantasy. I would recommend reading the first series set in this world, Not Dead Yet, before you start this series -- it introduces Evan and most of the characters you'll encounter in the Ashes & Dust series.
Was this review helpful?
ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

Colin is coming to grips with the fact that everything he knew in his life has changed drastically. He shares a messed up bond with Colin, a vampire, meanwhile, someone in Toronto seems hellbent on exposing the community and revealing their existence to the humans.

Okay SO. Paranormal romance? Technically, yes. Probably. In practice, this didn't really feel like a romance. Romance was not at the center of this book. At all. Despite being technically a romance, I think?

So if you're looking for a real romance, this book probably isn't for you. Colin and Evan's relationship takes backstage to the plot line about someone exposing paranormals in Toronto. Their relationship felt superficial and without Colin's point of view and I have no idea who he is as a character because as a reader, I got so little of him. I don't think this NEEDED a Colin POV to understand, but it needs something to make me care about Colin at all, frankly.

That being said, it wasn't a hard read, and it went by pretty quickly. It was engaging and felt like a typical paranormal storyline. There wasn't anything unexpected there. I would recommend reading the first book, first, as intended, because I didn't do that, I felt like I was missing some important bits.

The ending was fine. It could have been better, and it felt like it was out of left field, but that's probably because I didn't read the first book first. This book flew by, and I read for like an hour or two, maybe, and when I looked, I was already 85% of the way through, so take everything negative I've said with a grain of salt because it did suck my attention in and that's not an easy feat.

All in all, I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it.
Was this review helpful?