Under Different Stars (Kricket #1)
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?
Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, “She’s waking up.”
Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”
As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.
Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses, but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.
“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.
Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”
“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe. “Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”
“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.
Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”
“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.
Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.
“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.
“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”
Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.
“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.
“So that means she’s smart?”
Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”
“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.
“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”
“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.
When I sit down to read a book I want to be pulled from my everyday life and into the characters world where I can live and breath their pains, joys, and horrors with them. I love being transported and Under Different Stars did exactly that.
Peppered with sci-fi, lots of action, romance, humor, and a dystopian government this book really has it all!
- Under Different Stars takes place on both Earth and an alternate planet called Ethar which lends to the sci-fi feeling. However, if you're leery of reading sci-fi you should know that Amy writes it in such a way that ANY reader can enjoy and understand. Her colorful descriptions of the people and places, especially on Ethar, help you picture this world without the overwhelming need for a science degree. Amy has this effortless way of writing where you feel like you are there with her characters. Her world building is so easy to digest no matter how complicated the setting might seem.
- As the blurb eludes, Kricket is valuable and the means that many will go to have her on their side is extreme. This political intrigue (the dystopian element) at play in the story is really interesting too. This is what runs the story line and brings in a lot of action sequences. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the military scenes.
- Not your typical love a first site romance, Under Different Stars still sizzles with romantic tension. I was about 20% in when I told a blogger I was pretty sure we were going to have a new book boyfriend at the end of this book. I was right. Let's just say there are a few water scenes I would have happily replaced Kricket in ;)
This is my favorite part of Under Different Stars. The characters.
- The camaraderie between soldiers Trey, Jax and Wayra is done perfectly. You like these guys and can see their friendship as soldiers and men. They bring a lot of humor to the story.
- Kricket is a tough fighter with just enough vulnerability to make her real. Watching her trust and friendships grow with Trey, Jax and Wayra is a fun ride. She is at once a thorn in their side and a valuable ally.
- Trey and Kyon are two men on a mission with two very different purposes but one ultimate goal - bring Kricket home. This is another Amy Bartol specialty, you will find yourself loving and hating the 'bad' guy! You will also probably find yourself with a new addition to your book boyfriend collection.
I highly recommend Under Different Stars to you guys. I think you will find it to be a great read that is different from anything else out there. As always Amy leaves me begging for more and I'm so honored I get to share the Indie book world with someone as talented as she is.
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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.