Out of the Ashes (Belen’s Review)

Title: Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana #1)
House Line: Dreamspun Beyond #1
Author: Ari McKay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 1st 2017
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 220 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5

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.

Werewolves, elves, witches, seers, vampires, demons and more!

The story is based around the mystery of who’s taken Eli’s pack, but, at its heart, this is a Fated Mates story.

Eli recognizes Arden as his Fated Mate, but he’s reluctant because of the differences he believes they have…until he suddenly isn’t. I definitely did some head scratching at how quickly Eli went from adamantly opposing accepting his mate to full on acceptance.

What you want don’t matter a lick to the wolf, now that it knows its mate. I suppose you could try fighting the wolf for the rest of your life, but it won’t do you no good. The wolf is always gonna want to be with Arden. I’ve known a few who tried to resist the mate bond for one damn fool reason or another, and I know of only one that’s been able to do it for long. And the one that did was the most miserable bastard I’ve ever known in my life.

But, yes, there is still the mystery of the missing werewolves to solve too.

In the end the story was interesting, but I would have liked some more world building. There were quite a few situations that made me double check that this wasn’t an established series I’d begun reading. It isn’t, it’s definitely book one, but sometimes felt like it wasn’t.

Told in dual POV, it did take me quite a long time to settle into the rhythm/pacing of the story and if it hadn’t been for fated mates being a favorite trope of mine, I might have given up. I’m glad I stuck with it.

“You’re my home.”
Arden smiled, then tightened his arms around Eli in a fierce hug. “And you’re mine. Always.”
“Damn right,” Eli said…

There’s also a slight cliffhanger which is more of an opening for its own series outside of Dreamspinner’s new “Dreamspun Beyond” house line.

In the end, I enjoyed it and I’ll probably check out another in the Asheville Arcana series.

Asheville Arcana series

Dreamspun Beyond

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Out of the Ashes provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

I'm glad I stuck with it. In the end, I enjoyed it and I'll probably check out another in the Asheville Arcana series.


  • Lack of world build is always a pet-peeve of mine when it comes to paranormal/urban fantasy stories. I just DNF a book because of lack of world-built. I hope this is not significant in this book??

    • From the author: “Unfortunately the world building had to be limited because of the length requirements of the Dreamspun Beyond series. There will be more world building in future installments of the series, we tried to give enough to understand the context of the plot.”


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I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I'm happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand. I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I'm in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA! My biggest no-no's are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my "Favorite M/M" stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future
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