The Jewel (Jewel Series #1) by Amy Ewing

I never quite understood those girls, the ones who bought into all the caretakers’ lines about how important we are, how we are fulfilling a long and noble tradition. I once asked Patience why we couldn’t come home after we’ve given birth, and she said, “You are too precious to the royalty. They wish to take care of you for the rest of your life. Isn’t that wonderful? They have such generous hearts.” I said I’d rather have my family than the royalty’s generosity. Patience didn’t like that very much.

Violet isn’t swayed by the promises of prestige that come with being bought at auction and birthing royal babies. All she can see is the last nail in the coffin that contains her freedom.

Once to see it as it is. Twice to see it in your mind. Thrice to bend it to your will. I picture what I want in my mind—a heat builds in the center of my palm at the same time the ache begins at the base of my skull. I can feel the life of the tree, a moving, shimmering thing, and I pull at it, tugging on it like strings on a marionette, drawing it out. A tiny lump forms under my palm, a green leaf peeking out between my fingers. The tree resists a little and I gasp as fire rips down my spine, and it feels like needles are being shoved into my brain—my back arches and my head spins, but I’ve experienced worse pain in my four years at Southgate, and I’m determined to succeed in this. I force myself to focus, biting my lip hard to keep from crying out, coaxing the threads of life one by one, like strands of gossamer, pulling them out, shaping them, and the lump grows bigger, until it fits comfortably inside my hand. A lemon.

I give this book a 3.7 out of 5 stars. I really liked the way that the author described the world in which they lived, as well as the different people’s role within said world. My favorite character was Violet, I like that she wasn’t fooled by the things they taught in the ‘school’ where she was pretty much raised. She took care of her friends and people in general, but she also stood up for herself and even pushed the boundaries of her captivity. I also really appreciate the Duchess as a villain. I really like that she isn’t one dimensional, while what she does has something in it for her she also thinks that by doing what she is doing it will ultimately help others as well. I’m actually looking forward to what she does and what happens to her in the future. This book is the first of a series, luckily it’s looking like it’s just going to be a trilogy (ending in sight!) and the second book The White Rose is already out!


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The Kricket Series (As a Whole) by Amy A Bartol

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“I think finding Prince Charming is your wish.  Mine is still Northwestern University,” I reply, picking up my backpack and throwing it over my shoulder.  “Just think how happy my mom would be if I told her I was marrying you. She’d flip out, seriously,” he says half-jokingly. “Enrique, that’s a really tempting offer, but since I’m only seventeen, I’m gonna keep my options open,” I reply, putting my hat on and trying to sweep my mass of blond hair beneath it.

Kricket doesn’t live in a fairytale and she is well aware of it. She just wants to make to eighteen so that she can be legally responsible for herself.

 

“The priestess, born of two worlds and of two houses, has returned to Ethar as prophesied.  Kricket Valke, the stolen daughter of our order, is a hostage in the House of Rafe”

Kricket is forced into a world that she knows nothing about, with prophesies that she is a part of but that she has never known.

 

His lips should be cold, I think, a mirror of his ice-blue stare. I try to turn my head and escape the curves of his mouth.  My lips skim lightly over the stone rigidness of his jaw, tasting the saltiness of the sea air that settles there. His lips hunt mine, finding them again – claiming ownership by covering them once more.

Kricket has to learn what she has to do to survive, (as she always has), but this time the rules are different.  On a different world she not only has to survive, she has to learn the customs and the politics so that she can make it through another day.

 

I must admit when I finished the last book, I felt duped. I was not expecting it to end the way that it did and I felt that it was all wrong (of course it was after midnight, so we’ll put some of that on tiredness).  When I woke up the next morning and thought about the ending and the other possible outcomes, I calmed down a bit. I’ll be the first to admit that I want a HEA and after all the things that Kricket goes through in this book I thought that she deserved one as well. In retrospect I realized that she got one.

I give this series 4.3 of 5 stars. I did enjoy this book and once I got over how I envisioned it ending and the actual ending, I appreciated it more. Kricket is a strong young woman who comes into her own and realizes that the only person she can really depend on 100% of the time, is herself.  She is crafty and strong and has to use those qualities often to survive. She discovers a lot about herself and people in general, what can be endured and where loyalties lie. The people that she should be able to count on all let her down, and even the people that she adopts as her own have a tendency to either have ulterior motives or decide that there are other things that are more important to them then she is…

Amy Bartol is a talented writer with a vivid imagination. She has the great ability to bring you into her stories, with the imagery that allows you to picture her alternate worlds. She gives enough detail that you can merge into the world of the characters, without being too wordy.

I was reluctant to start this series because I have been burn by Ms Bartol before. I started her Premonition Series and I don’t know that it was ever finished. I am notorious for not starting a series unless I know that it is finished, partially because of this series. I am however glad that I took a chance and read this series.

-Suih Patton

 

Yay! Another Review from my sometimes reviewer!

Also look at my review for just the first book: Under Different Stars

-Fe

Under Different Stars (The Kricket Series #1) by Amy A Bartol

“I can understand your position. If I were you, I might not want to return home either, but the time for cowardice is over. You need to face your family and pay for your crimes.” My mouth drops open as I search his face. “My crimes?” I ask after my mouth snaps shut again. He’s insane. Trey nods as both his eyebrows come together. “Desertion, among others,” he replies, tightening his hand on my arm, like he severely disapproves of me. “You’re mental . . .” I trail off, seeing the serious expressions on all of their faces. “We’re quite sane,” he replies easily. Slipping my gloved hands into my pockets, I notice the train slowing. The automated voice begins announcing our arrival at the Fullerton station. Trey’s eyes focus in on my hands. Slowly, I pull one hand from my pocket. Opening it, I ask, “Mint?” and extend my hand, filled with cellophane-wrapped red-and-white-striped candies. He lets go of my arm. “No,” he frowns, looking at the mints in my hand like they’re poison. Pulling my other hand quickly from my pocket and pressing the button, I ask, “Pepper spray?” Jumping up on my seat, I continue to spray Trey, Jax, and the other thug with my can of pepper spray. Seeing them clutch their hands to their eyes as they moan in pain, I fit myself between the handrails on my right and run out the door of the train, dropping the can as I go.

Kricket has had a hard life, after her parents died she went into the foster system and subsequently ran away

Now she faces new danger, men are after her…

And the things they say don’t quite make sense

Opening the pouch, he extracts a spiky plant limb that looks like aloe. “Hold out your hands for me palms up,” he orders. Doing as I’m told, I flinch when Jax squeezes the plant leaf over my palms, extracting its salve and rubbing it onto my cuts. “Ahh, that burns!” I hiss, pulling my hands back from him. “Does it burn more or less than pepper spray?” he asks with an ironic twist of his lips. “You so deserved that pepper spray, and if I had any more of it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now, Jax,” I reply, entirely unrepentant.

When  Kricket is eventually kidnapped and taken to another planet everything she thought she knew is turned on it’s axis

Now she has to use her street smarts to survive, because leaving Earth?

That’s the least of her problems

I give this book 4.7 out of 5 stars. I have to say that my favorite thing about this book is the way that the author writes. I have read another series by Amy Bartol (Premonition Series) and it’s just how she writes. What I’m talking about is her way of seamlessly inserting the extraordinary and paranormal into our world. She writes these stories and it leaves you (or maybe just me) thinking that yeah, this is definitely possible. There could totally be another world with all these things, and I LOVE that. Kricket is my favorite character in this book, I like her because not only is she smart and strong she’s also hard and soft at the same time. She’s hard in that she has had to harden herself against the realities of a girl in the world trying to survive alone, but she’s soft in that she’s still retained a certain amount of her innocence. She’s intuitive and powerful but she still gives off a vibe of needing to be protected, if someone had to be taken to another world and face the challenges there, I’m glad it was Kricket. Trey is almost her opposite in that he has this almost hard shell that he uses to keep people at bay. I like that as you read you uncover more of him and you get to learn to love him (which I do). It’s like slowly unwrapping a present, you have no idea what it is until it’s completely open if it’s wrapped well. Anyway this is not a standalone and there are at least 3 books in the series so if you only like to read finished series beware. But I would definitely suggest you read it if you want some light but interesting reading.

The Decaying Empire (Vanishing Girl #2) by Laura Thalassa

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He stood to go, so I grabbed his hand and pressed a kiss to his knuckles. ‘I love you,’ I whispered against his callused skin. He glanced back down at his captive hand. Slowly his gaze rose, and the emotion that flickered at the back of his eyes made my breath catch. Someone less trained in reading people would say they saw lust. But I knew the emotion that shone back at me wasn’t that. It was fervor. Faith. Conviction on the deepest level. Salvation.

The worst has happened, Ember was spliced and in order to save her they cryogenically froze her… for 10 months. During this time Caden has been lead to believe that she is dead and he is coping as best he can (which isn’t all that well).

He was a sun god, the American dream, and he was staring at me like I was his whole world. Something this good was bound to end terribly. It was karma evening the score- you get a gorgeous man in return for your tragic life and early death. Not a happily ever after. That was for movies and romance novels.

When Ember is awoken and returns to Caden a changed woman, he vows to never lose her again. When he finds that the project isn’t what he thought they set plans in motion to escape… but things are never easy when the government is involved.

I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It was a bit predictable at times but it was also really interesting and it could pull out a plot twist every once and a while. I don’t really feel that Ember has grown as a character too much she has definitely changed but she hasn’t really grown. Caden is slowly changing, he is pretty much forced to grow when he finds that some of the people he trusted most in the world betrayed him as well as the fact that Ember has changed and he has to keep her sane and in perspective at times. This is the second book in The Vanishing Girl series and it like its predecessor has a cliffhanger (it’s not a horrible cliffhanger, it leaves you curious but not deprived).

Check out my review for the first book in the series!

The Vanishing Girl

 

 

 

The Vanishing Girl by Laura Thalassa

Vanishing Girl Cover

‘The Prometheus Project began over two decades ago when a group of scientists were hired by the U.S. government to mutate human genes. These scientists discovered that by manipulating the genetic code, they could alter a person’s appearance and intelligence. They could even create abilities never before seen. One of these was seeing if the human body could teleport.’ She fell silent, letting me take this in. I felt my throat work, but no words came out. They made me a freak. On purpose. It was unforgivable-I wouldn’t wish this ability on anyone.

Ember is different than other girls, she can teleport. Cool right? No, she has no control over her ability and it’s getting harder to hide…

Caden can teleport too. The difference is he’s been living at a government facility with other teleporters, he gets what he’s supposed to do and relishes the feeling of a successfully completed mission.

When Ember is discovered and brought to the teleporter facility she is made to be Caden’s pair(partner, mission buddy… whatever) and her questioning into the running of the facility is sure to turn Caden’s world onto its head.

Beneath my hand Caden stilled. ‘You have a secret that I want to know,’ he said, he voice low. ‘A secret that you now owe me.’ I eyed him warily. I was about to feel naked in a whole new way. Strange enough, it seemed worse exposing a secret than it did exposing my skin. He watched me for a long time. ‘Could you love me?’ he finally asked. What? That was the secret he wanted to know? ‘What kind of question is that?’ I asked. ‘A simple one.’

I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I have to say that my favorite character is Ember. She is strong, resourceful and level-headed. She doesn’t always have the answers (she’s 18, no one has answers at 18) but she is a fighter and she learns quickly (especially from her mistakes). I really liked this book in that it was really unique and relatively believable. I do feel that the romance between Caden and Ember is a bit strange though, just the way it happened seemed a bit forced to me. Otherwise it’s a great storyline with action, mystery and a bit of suspense. WARNING this is NOT a standalone and it does end on a cliffhanger (the second books out but I’m not sure how it ends… you were warned)!