Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol
All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS
Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.
Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.
Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.
When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?
I shouldn’t be surprised by how amazing this new book is from Amy A. Bartol, because I am a huge fan of her other series, The Premonition. While I am bummed that she hasn’t yet completed Iniquity, the 5th and maybe the last book in that series, this year, I am happy that I got to read about the new characters that have been talking in her head.
Namely, Kricket Hollowell and Trey Allairis, the two main characters in Amy’s new series, Under Different Stars (Kricket #1). While I adore them both, I will say that I couldn’t help seeing some similarities to her other characters, Evie and Reed, from the series I mentioned before.
Both Kricket and Evie are young women, who don’t realize the powers that they have or much about their parents. They are both attractive, but don’t know it. They are wanted and desired by almost every man who meets them, but don’t understand why. They have strong wills and determination to help others and protect them. I do feel that Kricket is rougher around the edges, because she has led a hard life, growing up in the foster system in the city of Chicago, compared to Evie. She knows how to read people, outside of her gifts, and doesn’t trust anyone outright. Throughout the whole book, she is determined to get back to her home, but on her own terms.
Despite the fact that I am not tall, blonde, and beautiful, I could still relate to Kricket, because of her personality and strength to persevere. She definitely knows how to fight.
“Oh, don’t be a knob knocker, Victus,” I reply, rubbed my eyes. “You can’t bully me. This is bad for your family. The Regent is involved. They have a deal already.” I gesture toward the door. “It’s done. I’m theirs. I just have to figure out how to navigate in this world and you can’t help me with that.”
“No one has called me a ‘knob knocker’ in a very long time…in fact, Trey was the last person to call me a knob knocker,” Victus says, fighting a smile.
“Yeah? Well, I learned that word from the Cavars on our way here. I need some more good swears for the Regent.”
Victus sobers instantly, “No you don’t, Kricket.”
“Don’t worry, Victus. They went through a lot of trouble to get me. They’ll want my cooperation so they may play ball,” I say, almost to myself.
“Play ball?” he asks, his brow wrinkling.
“Come to the palace some day and I’ll show how it’s done.” I smile despite the situation.
“Is that where you’ll be?” he asks, studying everything about me.
“And you’re sure that there is nothing I can do for you?” he poses the question and when I shake my head, he almost looks disappointed. “Do you want me to tell Trey anything else…other than you’re a stone and you don’t need to sit on babies?”
“I don’t need a babysitter,” seeing his confused look, I murmur. “Never mind…just tell Trey…tell him that honey is nectar that bees create and it’s very sweet and that…I miss it…more than pizza.”
At the beginning of the book, Kricket is kidnapped by Trey and his team to take her back to their homeland, Ethar, where her father was born, to pay for her supposed crimes. Her mother was a priestess from Alameeda, a territory of Ethar. Her mother was known for having great powers, so everyone thinks that Kricket will be the same.
Trey Allairis is the embodiment of all things male, and while very attractive, Kricket doesn’t instantly fall for him, because she has trouble trusting anyone. Neither does Trey for that matter. Their attraction, trust, and relationship builds slowly. I kind of like that one person doesn’t fall for the other first. Trey is military so he doesn’t break rules. It’s not good for either of them to want to be together or try to plan any kind of future. Again, very similar traits to Reed Wellington in the Premonition series. (I absolutely adore Reed, btw)
This country/dimension, Ethar, while it is similar to Earth, it is much more advanced in technology, the atmosphere is different, and the people there are much bigger in size. Kricket’s 5′-9″ stature is considered small. I love that Kricket proves that she can stand on her own, despite that. English is spoken there, but there are all of these words and phrases that are commonplace in Ethar, though not always easy to understand or remember. Kricket, Wayre and Jax, the secondary characters’ sense of humor makes up for that.
I also like that there isn’t a love triangle in this book. At least not yet. Kricket wants Trey and only him, and in spite of the fact that Manus, her guardian, and Kyon, her intended consort, want her for different reasons, she makes her feelings about them known. From the beginning, she doesn’t play games with them. Kyon Ensin reminds me quite a bit of Brennus, another character from the Premonition series, because he likes to use violence to get his way. He will kill anyone who gets in his way of having Kricket.
Amy definitely knows how to write UST, and because of the circumstances and the “tiers” between them, Trey and Kricket fight every urge to be together. There is this one particular scene where they are supposed to be pretending to be “together” while sharing a shower, because they know that people are listening in. How they remain separated from each other, with just a piece of glass between them, is beyond me. It’s makes me warm just thinking about it. *fanning self*
His scent causes my paper heart to flutter and riot; a thousand folded airplanes made from its scraps soar within me.
Your father was definitely a soldier…he understood the power within your name,” Trey murmurs. “And it takes another soldier to understand just what it means.”
“What does it mean?” I ask as I shed my pajama bottoms and pull on dark, tailored trousers.
“Pan knew about war. He spent a lifetime outside under the stars, in trenches or bunkers when the only sounds at night that will bring you any comfort are the songs of the crickets.”
“Why would that bring your comfort?” I ask, scurrying around in my closet and finding black boots with a low heel. I sit on the closet floor to put them on.
“When the crickets are singing, their music drowns out all the other noises in the night sky. You can have faith that the enemy isn’t moving because they’ll warn you,” Trey replies. “It’s when the crickets stop singing that you know the enemy is near and the battle is about to begin.”
“You’re a philosopher,” I smile up at him, lacing my boots.
“No, I just recognize what he was saying,” Trey whispers.
“And what’s that? Despite everything that has gone on tonight, unbelievable happiness is creeping into my soul.
“He was telling us that your voice will give comfort when the night becomes its blackest,” he replies. “And I’ll protect that voice with my body, my mind, and my spirit…because without it, I’m alone in the dark.”
Amy’s male characters win my heart every time. They are always swoon worthy.
I do want to say that there is quite a bit of action and violence, and it happens almost immediately. I held my breath and could feel the fear and turmoil that Kricket felt. I read this book over a period of two days, and I worked two nine hours shifts during that time. I read this during every free waking moment, because I found the storyline so compelling. I just couldn’t put it down.
I don’t know when the next book in this series is coming out, but there is not a cliffhanger at the end of this one, for those who like to read complete series. I love the way that Trey and Kricket come together for the right reasons. There is definitely more to the story though, which I can’t wait to experience. That’s thing about Amy’s writing for me. I don’t just read her books, I consume them.
Kudos yet again to Amy A. Bartol. She is a genius at writing paranormal romance within a unique storyline, with humor and lightness.
***I was given an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for the book tour. I am giving an honest review.**
I give this book 5 POLAR STARS, and I put it on my “books-that-own-me” and “top-shelf-fantastic-read” shelves on Goodreads.
Stay tuned for another post today with an amazing giveaway and excerpt from Amy A. Bartol as part of the Book Blog tour!!
I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.