All Fired Up by Jenn Burke
Ashes & Dust #1
LGBTQ Paranormal Romance
May 18, 2021, by Carina Press
Review by Angela
Jenn Burke has been an auto-buy author for me since reading her Chaos Station series, written with Kelly Jensen. I think I’ve read pretty much everything she’s written. All Fired Up is a spin-off from her Not Dead Yet series, and features a character I fell in love with as soon as he was introduced.
It’s been a while since the events of the last series and Evan Fournier is working in Hudson and Wes’s private investigation offices and with the help of his found family and therapist learning how to cope with his depression. He’s doing well, even if he still grieves and feels guilt over the death of his lover, Iskander. When Wes and Hud leave town on an emergency concerning Hud’s brother, they leave Evan in charge with specific instructions not to become involved if a paranormal incident lands at their doorstep. But when a friend comes to him with concerns about past patients who are dying after attending a retreat, Evan can’t say no. That means an undercover job at the retreat and the discovery that something truly sinister is behind the deaths.
Evan also meets Colin. I won’t divulge exactly who Colin is or how he fits in with this mystery, but I will say that he turns out to be Evan’s love interest and someone who I look forward to getting to know better. They form a bond in a moment of extreme danger and that bond sticks with them throughout the book. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this being the glue that holds them together (I’m not a huge fan of characters being forced together by some mystical link against their control), but as I kept reading I understood where the author was going with it. I also think she took a lot of care to give both Evan and Colin free will, with emphasis on consent, to decide where they wanted to take their relationship.
I liked the mystery and understood that there would be a HFN relationship, with the main romance and series arc continuing through three books. Evan and Colin have a lot of getting to know you to do, with both of them having to work through their mental health issues and dealing with the loss of previous partners. I also liked the frank discussions about Evan’s mental health and Colin’s questions about his sexuality. I think both are handled well, even if I was a bit upset with Colin for hurting Evan, even unintentionally.
While I do think this can be read as a stand-a-lone, I would suggest to readers wanting to add this book to their reading lists to read the Not Dead Yet series first. You will be introduced to all the main and secondary characters and discover just how this found family came to be. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
This looks to be another fantastic series by Jenn Burke. I’m looking forward to visiting with these characters again in the next book, House on Fire, which releases 11/16/2021.
Final grade- B