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To the Flame

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Seattle boy Emerson Oakley is about to find that the strangest thing about his first year at West Virginia’s Vance University isn’t the neighbor in the next dorm over, who ghosts him after one kiss. It’s the fact that he keeps having his life saved by a stranger who seems to know about each accident before it happens.

Morrie Crisp, whose moth-person powers finally emerged a
Published February 3rd 2020 by NineStar Press (first published 2020)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  67 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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I’m thoroughly impressed with A.E. Ross’ beautifully written novel To the Flame. Unique and creative, and just plain lovely To the Flame is the best thing I’ve read this year.

The précis does an excellent job of explaining the plot, and if that doesn’t intrigue you please take my word for it, Ross crafts a wonderful story. The characters are so unusual, and the whole thing just unfolds so perfectly… I know I’m gushing, but I’m honestly just blown away.

a copy of To the Flame was provided to me by
To The Flame by A.E. Ross

ARC provided by NineStar Press and NetGalley. All opinions are mine and freely given.

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02-03: 'To The Flame' is a relatively short novel written by A.E. Ross about a boy named Emerson who's heartbrokenly crushing on the neighbor next door. Having spent hours together talking alone at a party, a night which found them kissing and connecting, they begin avoiding him immediately afterward. No chatting, not even a bit of eye contact, if at all possible.

Still strugg
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I really liked the plot and the characters But it was too short and didn't give enough information, which made it kind of confusing. ...more
Sara Codair
Review: To the Flame

When I first heard about To the Flame and realized one of the main characters was nonbinary, I had to read it. I preordered it right away, but then when the author was looking for people to review ARC’s, I requested one and read it within a few hours of receiving it. I was so excited to not only read something with #ownvoices nonbinary rep, but one that also had a contemporary setting and a paranormal element.

To the Flame lived up to my hopes and expectations. There are so m
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars!

This was pretty dang amazing. The writing is incredibly atmospheric, and the dual POVs worked perfectly, as each MC had such a distinct voice. I actually have very little knowledge of cryptids, but this was so wonderfully told that I want to change that. It’s odd, a little mystical, and just an all around good story.
Geneviève (thefreckledbookworm)
SO MUCH LGBTQ+ REP!!! Awesome gay babes, pan, trans, aaannnd non-binary people!! This book was also written by a non-binary author (which explains why there was nothing problematic about the LGBTQ+ characters, as opposed to when this kind of book is written by cis, straight authors). So you can guess how much I wanted to love this book, and why I requested it on Netgalley!

The general idea of this book was interesting, with a mix of contemporary and paranormal genres (based on West Virginian fol
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review. Thanks to NineStar Press, LLC.

Emerson Oakley's first year at the West Virginia's Vance University started in a very peculiar way. Not only he was kissed and then ghosted by Morrie, the neighbour, but he is warned and saved by a mysterious creature. Morrie is struggling to use their new powers and to understand why they fell in love with the boy they watched die in their vision. Both of them fighting against their feelings and m
Kristel (hungryandhappy)
*ARC from NetGalley*

What a cute little book that was more than I was expecting! I knew it was about crypto's, but I got also so many many feelings. My heart!! Emerson was such a sweet guy, and Morrie all mysterious, afraid, and also so so sweet! I loved all the diversity packed in only a few pages; it didn't feel forced at all, it felt like it should feel in real life, pretty freaking normal.

I'm glad I requested this book and got to read it. Brought a smile on my face. So so cute!
Sage Agee
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*ARC received through netgalley* 4.5 stars! This was so dark and sexy and I loved the enby rep. It reminded me a LOT of the anime/manga series No. 6
Natalie panda eyes
Jul 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonbinary-gq
This little novella does a fantastic job of answering the question from the blurb: "What is a reasonable response to falling in love when the world itself is without reason?"

I would call this more of a fable/morality story -- although there's probably a more precise term I should be using! -- and that makes this a very different type of romance. I almost wouldn't even call it a "romance" even though it very much has one. The story doesn't even exist without the romance, but that really just serv
M.A. Hinkle
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was really impressed with this one. I did not know "sexy nonbinary moth-person romance" was a thing I needed in my life until I got it. This book really takes advantage of its short length to make each scene rich with detail, and the characters had realistic and interesting arcs despite the objective weirdness of the plot. Looking forward to this author's work in the future.

I was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book basically my soul mate.

-Features my birthday

-has lots of flame/fire prose

-made me actually lol

-nonbinary character

Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was quite odd but I actually kind of liked it. And there was nonbinary rep! Yay!

The story is told in two POVs: Emerson Oakley (a pre-med student from Seattle) and Morrie (a mothperson). Morrie is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns throughout the book, however, I did catch some slip-ups such as the one here:

"Morrie tried to pretend he didn't feel his guts tremble under that gaze."

I found the premise inter
Rafaela (dragonsandpaperbacks)
**I gave this book 3.9 stars.

To the Flame was so surprising. I wasn't expecting to like it so much or to be so upset when it ended like that because I wanted more.

I'm disappointed with a few things though.

This is essentially a long short story and I was expecting a longer story with a bigger/clearer conflict. I'm still not sure what exactly constituted this part of the story....

Secondly, the synopsis essentially reveals the ENTIRE story. And knowing everything made it harder to enjoy it. Alth
Peggy Harris
Jan 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Being as that I've lived my whole life in West Virginia and have heard many stories about Mothman, I HAD to read this story! First off, I expected this to be a full length novel and it wasn't. It was more of a novella or just a longer story. I read the whole thing in about an hour. It was odd and unique. I can say it's the only moth-creature romance I've ever read!

Things I liked: The book was a good representation of non-binary individuals, and mentioned queer and trans characters as well. I als
Joyfully Jay
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sammy
A Joyfully Jay review.

4 stars

In many ways, To the Flame by A.E. Ross is a really beautiful novel. The writing is lyrical, some passages are poetic, and the descriptions of places and things take you there instantly, they are so vividly done. The romance is also sweeping and unique, with both characters committing themselves to being openly vulnerable and trusting in one another. The attraction between Morrie and Emerson is not only palpable, but restrained in a way that kept me totally invested
Sameena Jehanzeb
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, fantasy, diversity
Readers, please immediately hop over to whatever shop you prefer and get your hands on this book! It has the most adorable humor in it, a pinch of sexy, darkness and romance and it all felt so lifely I swear I can hear Morries annoying songs booming through the walls or see their fluid moves on the dance floor. The story really was beautiful and funny and… too short! Not in the way that something was missing (it had all it needed) but in the way that good stories are always too short.

***Thanks t
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this. It is just the type of cool unique shit that we needed queer rep for. I loved the non-binary rep and all the gay characters. I don't know how many pages it is since it was an ARC from netgalley, but it felt very short. I want more! Despite it's shortness, the story is well developed. The characters are somehow simple and complex and I really would like an expanded version of this story.

Thanks to @netgalley for the free copy. All opinions are my own.
Sarah Meerkat
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This was both frustrating and disappointing
Jan 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty easy and satisfying read. I managed to finish it in a couple of hours.
The characters are great... and I love the non-binary rep!
I do wish it was a bit longer though, because it felt a bit rushed sometimes.
Other than that, it was just a solid read and I can highly recommend giving this a go!
E.M. Hamill
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m kind of in love with this weird, sweet little story. Just read it!
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book almost makes me miss having crushes. It left me craving a chocolate chip mocha frap, some biscuits, and a tall boy from Seattle. I loved it and want to see all the fan art.
Sam B
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read the description of this book and thought to myself, 'Am I really going to request to read a story about a guy falling in love with a moth-person?' Clearly the answer was yes, as I'm writing this review.

This story was short and quite odd. I feel like we didn't really scratch the surfaces of these characters and what I saw, I can't say I liked? But I also didn't hate it. I suppose I just found it a bit meh with a few 'what the heck' moments. I struggled a lot with how Emerson seemed to fre
Sophie Snow
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-2020
*This book was provided by NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review*

Content Warnings

(view spoiler)

This was an excellent and intriguing novella, that felt like a complete story in only 20,000 words.


I opened this book not knowing much. I scanned the blurb but realized it had a mystery aspect so didn’t read it in detail since I like to be surprised. The plot of this book was intriguing from the first pa
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A good queer representation in a sci-fi fantasy novel? Yes please! I enjoyed this book. I thought the queer community was very well represented and the story line was great. The pacing of the story was wonderful as well. I was hooked from page one and couldn't put it down.
The book was a bit long, but other than that enjoyable!
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-trans-books
As a gay West Virginian native and cryptid enthusiast, I ADORED this book. I grew up with this folklore and culture (and had a huge crush on mothman in my teen years) and getting to read it as a queer romance made my heart soar. The writing is excellent and kept me hooked throughout the whole story. And I loved all the little references to other WV cryptids (the snarly yow and flatwoods monster deserve love too!!) and culture (I too am a Tudors stan.) Also shout out to that TAZ amnesty reference ...more
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was damn cool! I loved it and I wish there was more. It's a neat story and it's so freaking vivid. I always love reading own voices non-binary books and I always enjoy it when a cast is pretty much entirely queer. The writing is solid and I loved the spooky atmosphere. I wanted *more* from this story, but I still loved it. It's an unusual story and it's well done. ...more
I've always been a little obsessed with the Moth-man mythology... finally a book that fills up my imagination!!!

A.E. Ross has taken an urban legend/myth and made it their own. This novella is about two people who meet one night and are far more entangled with one another than they can predict.

Emerson is a student and after a party one night, he shares a kiss with his neighbour... then that neighbour basically ignores him. At the same time as his heart is being a little bit broken, he's being sav
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars

I’ve got mixed feelings about this novella.

On the one hand, as a paranormal fantasy, it’s an interesting story with an unusual kind of shifter—a moth-person. (Not a moth-man—Morrie’s nonbinary.) A moth-person with the power of precognition, no less! Morrie’s supernatural nature and the issues that arise from it are unfolded through the use of flashbacks in the narrative, which was very artfully done.

Or it would have been, if the blurb hadn’t given away pretty much everything about the s
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