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Spoilers ahead! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Release: Oct38647250_451823521963798_1548074825304506368_nober 1, 2018 | ARC Review: September 1, 2018

For this author’s first release, she’s smashed it out of the park. A story filled with heartbreak, loss, love, trust and finding oneself, what more could you want?

Ember is the explosive first book in the Constant Flame Duet, and I cannot wait to see what Christi has in store for us next.

We’re introduced to four-year-old Ellie in the opening lines, in the back seat of her mother’s car as they head towards the border of the U.S. What follows had enough impact to make me bawl and step away from my Kindle for a moment, because the words that Whitson used were so intense. The depiction of what happens, the aftermath, it resonates with me in a deep level.

At the end of chapter one, we’re introduced to Owen. A little boy who has found himself truly along in the world after his own traumatic experience. Thankfully, and by chance, Ellie is placed in the same foster home as he was, and the first word to leave his lips in weeks, is an order for her to eat. If that doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will.

Unfortunately, the pair are separated, Ellie’s name being the last Owen would speak for a long time. Ellie goes home with her father, and Owen is left in the hands of Vera and Edward Monroe.

You know it’s a fantastic book when the author pulls your heart out of your chest, squeeze all the blood out of it, gut punch you a few times and then shove your heart back in and expect you to keep reading? Yeah, this was me for the following few chapters.

Owen and Ellie (later, Lena) constantly think about the other, with Lena drawing images of the boy’s green eyes, and Owen wondering what ever happened to the little girl who he shared his gummies with.

It’s not until they’re sitting next to each other in a lecture hall, that their chemistry truly becomes palpable. Each are drawn to the other, with no correlation to who they used to be. They draw on similarities to their younger selves, but think no more of it.

It’s one of those wanting to bash their heads together to make them see kind of moments, but I understand why Whitson has done it this way. There’d be no fun at all if they were to suddenly turn around and go “hey! I know you!” and then they skip off towards their happily ever after.

It’s called Ember for a reason, remember that.

What follows is something so extraordinary, I can’t even put it into words. Their connection grows stronger, their intimacy reaches new levels, their relationship is almost untouchable.

A web of secrets is discovered by Lena, who brings it to the attention of Owen, and later her father. Only, her father is blindsided with gratitude and something else, towards the man Lena is accusing of the crime. Lena can’t understand why her father won’t listen, nor can she understand what it is about Jeffrey Phelps that has caused her so much unease her whole life.

I felt so sorry for Lena when Nate refused to hear any more of her claim. You’d think after she’d done everything right her whole life, to be trusted with GC when the time came, to be his daughter, he’d look at it with some degree of speculation. But, as I said before: Nate Gardner is blinded by Phelps, and I have a feeling it’s going to cost him something in the end.

The discovery of Ellie comes at the cost of Owen witnessing another side to Lena. Although, I can’t blame the girl for wanting an escape, I can see why one was necessary to go down that route. When you have the weight of your father’s company on your shoulders, getting through college at just nineteen, still feeling responsible for what happened to her mother,.. I can completely understand why Lena needed a break from herself.

The reconnection is beautiful and almost poetic, save for Lena being sick a few times thanks to the amount of alcohol she drank. Owen refused to leave her, to let her out of his sight, or his mind. He’d found his Ellie.

Be still my beating heart, I cried again (it’s an emotional book, don’t blame me!).

Can I just say right now, how much I hate this Jeff Phelps guy and I don’t even know his role in this story? He’s Bad with a capital B. Nate says he’s like “family”, something which Lena finds very troubling. Lena finds him a creep and Owen is tempted to side with Lena on all of it, especially after she shares the secret she’s uncovered thanks to her studies.

Logan James is Lena’s childhood best friend turned soldier, and I may have a small crush on him if I’m envisioning the person I think the author thought of when writing this. He’s sprinkled throughout Lena’s chapters as a sounding board and the best friend a girl could ask for, honestly. Where can I find one of him?

When Owen and Logan meet, however, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. Jealousy, petty fights and sleepovers at the wrong time lead Owen and Lena into dangerous territory.

For example, a shooting.

I’d really like to thank Christi Whitson for murdering my heart! Just when I thought I’d recovered from the discovery, you go and do this! My fragile heart is not coping!

You’ll need to read the rest to find out what happens next, because I guarantee it’s going to blow your mind.

Ember is a book I’m not soon to forget and I cannot wait until I receive my copy of Constant, book two of the duet. One can only hope it’s just as incredible as this one was.

Star’s rating:

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TL;DR:

Christi Whitson’s first debut length novel Ember, is a book about love, loss, heartbreak and happiness (to some degree). It focuses on Ellie Gardner and Owen, two little kids who’s lives have now been forever intertwined after a chance meeting. It follows Ellie (later, Lena) and Owen as they grow up and into college, to their relationship and new discoveries that have the ability to turn their worlds on their heads. The sex scenes are sizzling, their words shared are beautiful and passionate, their love is something for the ages. With your sprinkles of bad guys and danger thrown in, Ember is a book you won’t forget.

Pre-order now:

https://amzn.to/2nzL5iq

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