Cover Image: House on Fire

House on Fire

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Member Reviews

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.***
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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HOUSE ON FIRE starts out a bit slow and for me it never really got past that. There's a lot of exposition in this one and it really needed more dialogue to keep the pace up and prevent it from getting boring. Additionally, I'm struggling to warm up to Colin because without his POV and minimal dialogue it's hard to understand his character and his motivations. Almost all the communication between Colin and Evan is focused on the case and finding out who is trying to expose paranormals and I didn't really feel much emotional connection and growth between these two. In a lot of ways, HOUSE ON FIRE, felt more like a middle filler book that sets up the action for the next book.

I did like Evan and I loved the moments of seeing Wes and Hudson again. But it all kind of gets overshadowed by the sheer amount of trauma in this book. That sad overtone made it harder for me to enjoy the story because these characters have been through a lot already and now things just keep getting piled on. I hope the next book in the series will go a little easier.

Content Warning: references to depression and grief; on page death of a family member
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So we have Evan & Colin struggling with their bond that isn't right.  While dealing with that, there is someone trying to out the paranormal community by recording shifts & posting them to the internet.  And on top of all that, Colin decides that he wants to see his ex & things come to light there.  I really would have liked this book to have been told from both POV.  A lot of the time, Colin was hurting Evan & it just felt like he really didn't care.  Plus Colin does something without really talking to Evan about it & that kind of upset me, though I do understand where he was coming from.  I need the next book ASAP to quite my anxiety of that ending.  If you enjoyed the first book, you need to pick up this one.
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4* Another decent instalment in this spin-off, but, ugh, another cliff hanger!

So, the series will live to see yet another day, and whilst I am the teensy tiniest bit irritated that it ends on a cliff hanger, and a step back in some ways, the bombshell that got dropped right at the end means that book 3 will be full of drama and anger and pain and sadness and hope and possibly estrangement. Let's hope Ms Burke is as quick writing that one as she was this.

You can't read this book as a standalone, as Colin's past continues into this tale with the author taking us somewhere, in fact, make that 2 somewheres (pardon the bad English), that I absolutely hadn't expected. That she did with the first somewhere was sad and healing and also more than a little bit of a 1st bombshell that felt believable, and that's what leads organically to the 2nd bombshell in yet another way that I would totally not have seen coming. I could use a slew of clichés here, such as 'the apple never falls from the tree' or 'fight fire with fire' or 'never say never again', but JB’s tale-telling made everything so completely organic that you couldn't say anything was done for convenience’s sake. But this all related to Colin’s back story, which is only one aspect of the tale, and the others are equally well done.

The main storyline is about paranormals being outed and humans’ response to that, which is predictably prejudiced and messy, with sadly, MAGA (yes, I know the tale is set in Canada, but the comparison works) vibes - ‘you’re either with us, or you’re against us’ - with no hope of integration, and with a baddie/baddies reveal/s that is sad and makes you wonder what else is afoot and if there are more players. And more betrayal. I suspect both. But, the 2nd bombshell I mentioned also makes me wonder if there’s going to be some kind of ascension or hierarchy, as currently, the various paranormals refuse to respond to one overall leader, though Hudson is one of those with most clout. And yes, we get to see Wes and Hudson a lot more than I expected in this tale, due to the storyline, along with the side characters we’ve previously seen. 

What was a little sad here is that Evan bared his soul several times and Colin didn't until somewhere close to the end, and only then because he made a decision and took an action that yes, he was entitled to take all alone, but that affected Evan, and that hurt Evan. The consequences of this action will no doubt add to the drama and angst of book 3, which coupled with the consequences of the clichés, will make that a must-read instalment. Here, I liked that Colin's experimentation with being bi felt organically slow and realistic, with none of the eureka! moments that mass-MM GFY tales have. He didn’t dive in, his senses didn’t explode/overwhelm him when he became more and more intimate with Evan – it all seemed very Colin, from what we’ve read of him, and realistic. Thank you JB for not making it all another big déjà vu or copy-and-paste tale.
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So so good!! 

I read the entire Not Dead Yet series so I was fully prepared and had background knowledge of all the characters and events that occurred for this spin-off series, and I'm SO glad I did!! It just made this book 100x better than it would have if I went in blind. This series is perfect for spooky season but make it romance and MM, and I am here for it!! I was hoping I'd find a spooky romance novel for October and to stumble on these books, it was fate! I'm so beyond excited for the third book of this series to come out. So many questions I need answered!! I can't wait till 2022!!

I love this series, and I whole-heartedly recommend it! It's perfect for people who are wanting to start paranormal romances, I'm also a newbie in this genre, but I want to read more after this!

Highly recommend it!

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin for the earc in return for an honest review.
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3.5 stars. Warning: cliffhanger ending

House on Fire felt very much like the middle book of a trilogy. There were a lot of balls in the air, and very few of them landed. Evan and Colin are still trying to make sense of their unusual bond, everyone is trying to hide their paranormal status from Hudson's visiting brother, the identity of the Big Bad from the first book is still a mystery, and someone is sending videos to the news station, threatening to reveal that humans aren't the only ones walking the Toronto streets.

Evan and Colin are trying to figure out their relationship, bond or no bond, but despite obvious sexual chemistry, I never felt their emotional connection in the same way as I did with Hudson and Wes in the Not Dead Yet series. I was more engaged in Colin's reunion with his wife who thought he was dead for more than 30 years, and his anger and grief at everything he missed. I am still a major Evan fan, and it's nice to see him continue his professional growth as a P.I. and second banana to Hudson, King of the Vampires. I just don't see the two of them as OTP material, although it is interesting to see Evan attempting to cure Colin of his 1990's toxic masculinity.

Unfortunately, the ending of the book finds Colin and Evan's relationship status unresolved in the worst possible way. I'm confident there will be a HEA for them in the final book of the trilogy, but I'm annoyed that I have to wait six more months to find it.

ARC received from Net Galley in exchange for objective review.
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Jenn Burke never disappoints. House On Fire is another poignant installment in Evan and Colin's story you won't want to miss. Full of laughs, mystery, and angst—it's the kind of book you can't put down until it's over.
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[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

House on Fire is the next installment in the Ashes & Dust series by Jenn Burke that follows vampire Evan and his bonded, Colin. This one has Evan trying to figure out who is trying to out members of the paranormal community, and risks his own exposure in the process. Colin is still struggling to his new life and making peace with people from his past and planning for his future.

A lot happens for Colin in this book, and it would have been nice to have his point of view during it because I think I would have been less frustrated with him if I had. Yeah, he was going through A LOT, but he didn't always take Evan's feelings into consideration. Which, with Evan's struggle with depression,  led to Evan being hurt emotionally and I am super protective of him which in turn caused me to be unpleased with Colin lol Anyway, I don't know what to say without giving spoilers but HOLY CRAP that ending lgiagrbuvwrebogrt the wait for the next book is going to be pure agony.
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The over-arching story-line continues from book 1. Each book resolves the current issue and brings them one step closer to figuring out what is really going on.  So far, it isn't real flashy, but, instead, is a steady move forward with a slow build-up of not only the mystery, but the relationship between Evan and Colin.  The story is told from Evan's POV, although, once in a while, I'm not sure who said what as there were more people in the conversation than just Evan and Colin.

Overall, this is an interesting mystery and I'm curious to see where it is going.

It had few, if any, proofreading issues.
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This is the second book in the Ashes & Dust series, which in turn is a spin off from the Not Dead Yet series. I was kindly provided an ARC by NetGalley and assumed that it would be fine to just jump right in to this book, but I must say that I strongly advice you to read at least the first book in the Ashes & Dust series, All Fired Up, first. Since I hadn’t, I was quite lost to the whole paranormal system and all characters, sadly.

Normally there’s some kind of recap at the start of a sequel that can give you the broader perspective, but not here. The story just started off at a furious pace, throwing characters and facts at you in a way that made it a bit hard to keep track of who was who and relate to them. I must admit that I never quite got the system with vampires, shapeshifters, Gods and demon co-existing with humans and why vampires could (needed?) to eat normal food, how the hierarchy worked and which of the characters to cheer for and which the bad guys were and why.

This is of course my own fault for not having read the first book, but I still would have wished for some more build-up and time to get to know the characters. Now it was so hard to keep up with who and what everyone was which took me out of the story a lot. I immediately rooted for Colin though, the Phoenix who had been held captive and forced to suck the magic of his victims, only to be bond-mated with a vampire, Evan. Evan took much longer to get to know, despite that he was the narrator and main character. He came across as quite locked-up and stiff and just off when it came to the romance part. It was like he was telling us readers how much in love he was, rather than letting us truly see and experience his feelings. 

I also think that the cover and the blurb about how Colin is “done fighting his attraction to the sexy vampire” gives the impression that this is a romance between two young men, which it isn’t. There are romantic elements, sure, but it’s more of a paranormal mystery story than a romance. I also think the cover gives the wrong impression about the characters age. Colin was around 30 when he was transformed and then 30 years have lapsed, and even though he hasn’t aged during those years it still feels wrong with such young persons on the cover.

I really enjoyed the writing style though, and all queer representation, and I think that I would have enjoyed it much more if I had read the books in the Not Dead Yet series and All Fired Up first and had felt attached to the characters already from the start. So if you have read and loved those books, don’t let my review discourage you from reading this book! 

Thank you to NetGalley for the free review copy! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
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I seem to have a first in, first out system with my Netgalley reads, but when I was approved for this I just couldn't wait! I've loved this series so much, but it's been a few months since I read the other books. But when I started this I was immediately so invested again - I just love these characters so so much! I love how consistent this series is in terms of characterization, plot and enjoyment, where every sequel is just once again so well done!
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I really struggled with this book. There are so many characters introduced in the opening pages! I never really got to grips with who is who. Writing this feedback now, I realise that this is book 2 in a series. DEFINITELY need to read the first book in order for this one to make sense.
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This book puts me in such a huge dilemma, because how the hell am I supposed to review this without spoiling anything??? I feel like whatever I say, my words might somehow give away what happens.

So, I decided to keep this really broad. At first I thought House of Fire would be hit by what I call “sequel-disappointment” but it couldn’t be farther away from it. House of Fire is as good as All Fired Up, if not even better. I really loved House on Fire and was super-glued to the pages. I started at midnight and finished it that same night. I could not put it away.

One thing I can say about House of Fire for sure though: whatever you think might happen, it won’t lol this book took a completely different turn than I anticipated and the twists and turns kept me in suspense. Multiple times I read pages again with the thought “when I read this page again, I better have not read what I think I just read”. Those twists, folks, be prepared. Also, soooo many feelings and we get to see all my favourite characters again.

Now, it just needs to be 2022 because I need book three ASAP. 2022 is way too far away.

Like All Fired Up and the Not Dead Yet series, I will reread House of Fire multiple times and I will also get the audiobook, once it is available 🙂

Rating: 5 stars
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