Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Release Day Review: Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1) by Ari McKay

out of the ashesTitle ~ Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1)

Author ~ Ari McKay

Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press

Published ~ 1st August 2017

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance





In their differences, they’ll find strength—and love.

Alpha werewolf Eli Hammond returns from a fishing trip to discover a nasty surprise—five members of his pack murdered and the rest missing. He needs help locating and rescuing his pack mates, but the supernatural council in Asheville, North Carolina, turns him away.

Except for one man.

As they work together, Eli is stunned—and not especially thrilled—to discover half-elf Arden Gilmarin is his destined mate. But as Arden and his friends struggle to help Eli in his quest, Eli surrenders to the demands of his body—and his heart. They’ll need to bond together, because the forces opposing them are stronger and more sinister than anyone predicted. The evil has its sights set on Arden, and if Eli wants to save his mate and the people he is entrusted with protecting, he’s in for the fight of his life.


Debra’s Review

Part of the new Dreamspun Beyond line of books, a paranormal offshoot of Dreamspun Desires, this story is a fun, sweet, low steam start to a new series from authors Ari McKay. This one focuses on fated mates Eli Hammond, the alpha werewolf of a Georgia pack and Arden Gilmarin, a half-elf resort owner from Asheville, NC who offers his assistance to find the missing members of Eli’s pack.

There’s not a lot of detailed world-building. The story jumps right into the world of the supernatural community of Asheville. Elves, wizards, vampires, wolves and other members of the community going about their business – just as ridiculous as any human small town board meeting – until the Asheville pack leader brings in the Alpha from a pack in Georgia. Eli’s pack was attacked by a neighboring pack and those who weren’t killed are now missing and he wants help finding them. Enter Arden, a half-elf with a wizard for a father, who volunteers to help Eli. From their first touch Eli recognizes Arden as his mate and doesn’t like it one bit.

Eli fights the pull of Arden as his wolf yearns to claim him. Yes, he recognizes Arden is his mate and can acknowledge that Arden is sexy as hell, but Eli has enough on his plate. And really, a half-elf? Not only couldn’t they be more different, he’s afraid Arden would break if Eli took him the way his wolf wants to. Arden may appear fragile but he’s got his strengths and wouldn’t mind a bit of a rough tumble with the sexy werewolf with the stunning aura. Arden turns on the charm and throws himself into caretaker mode and while he can sense Eli’s interest he isn’t getting anywhere. Eli’s fighting the attraction gets more difficult as Arden finds out he’s Eli’s mate and the two, along with Arden’s friends and family, go about trying to find out what happened to the pack and realize the extent of the evil they are dealing with.

Arden’s two best friends with benefits are fun secondary characters with distinct personalities and I’m assuming we’ll get their stories in the future. Whimsy the wizard is a sweetheart and comic relief. He has a knack for providing couples therapy as well. The third member of their threesome, vampire Julian, is a bit more serious and has some voyeuristic tendencies. Both are happy to help Arden get his man and help Eli find his family even if it requires antagonizing Eli with the knowledge that the three of them had more than one or two nights of fun together.

Told in dual POV, the story moves along quickly and had a good balance between the romantic and mystery storylines. There’s a bit of back and forth as Arden tries to persuade Eli to give him a chance and Eli fights it, but once Eli finally gives in he’s all in. But their time together may be over before it starts as the forces of evil catch up with them.

There is action, romance, humor and I also detected a few subtle shout outs to The Walking Dead TV series. With a wide range of supernatural characters, both good and evil, there is plenty going on. I did want to know a little more about the world they were living in, though I loved the descriptions of Arden’s and his family’s homes.

There are some parts of the story left open, as to be expected with a continuing series, but there is a happy ending for Eli and Arden. I’ll be looking forward to spending more time with these characters and hoping that both Whimsy and Julian will be featured in upcoming books. If you like paranormal stories that aren’t heavy on the world building but have a lot of variety in the characters and a odd couple of sexy fated mates you’ll enjoy this read.

Purchase Links




Connect with Ari McKay

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.



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