Review: Iniquity (#5, Premonition) by Amy A. Bartol

My Thoughts

Epic, explosive and exciting.
A worthy finale to a sweeping, one-of-a-kind series.

5stars

Synopsis

Dec-08I gasp as my body curls toward Brennus like a flower to the sun, for the pleasure of it. He holds me close to him. His nose grazes the length of my neck. He breathes me in. I feel the roar and rush of my heartbeat. I’m his toy; his energy streams into me. He winds the invisible key in my back and the euphoria ratchets and coils inside of me: tick…tick…tick…
Another wicked surge of energy flows from him into me. Pain. Pleasure. Bliss. My jaw unclenches as my lips part. I make a small, breathy sound as we dance. Brennus responds with something close to a growl. “Ye’re killing me, mo chroí,” he murmurs. His hand moves down my back infusing me with a golden glow of power. My wings punch violently from me, tearing a hole in my day dress. They spread wide, like a red stain beyond my pale skin. I’m dancing now for the thrill of it. I follow his lead.

As the song comes to an end, Brennus kisses my throat. He whispers in my ear, “When ye get back, come find me, mo chroí. I’ve healed ye…now wake up and banjax whoever banished ye here…”

My Review

How do you read the end of a series you’ve loved so much? So many expectations. So many feels. So many hopes and fears for the characters that have become perhaps, embarrassingly real? Starting Iniquity, the final book in the Premonition series, was as thrilling as it was bittersweet. I wasn’t ready to let go, but at the same time, I was ready to see it all come to what I knew would be an epic climax. I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is this: Does the book deliver?

Yes, it does. In spades.

There is so much action, so many unforeseen twists, so many emotions that surged to the surface as Evie experiences more hardships, more losses and more heartache. Amy Bartol is able to capture that larger-than-life feeling she bottled beautifully in the other novels, but with an intensified urgency as the story naturally culminates in a bloody battle between Sheol and Heaven, between Evie and an enemy who is chillingly ruthless. Past and present collide, choice and fate duel, as Evie must make difficult choices that will affect her, and others, for the whole of eternity.

Much is explained, including Xavier’s, Reed’s and Brennus’ affinity with Evie. We better understand that invisible thread that has bound Reed and Evie in this lifetime, connected them when situations have been dire, given them strength when hope waned.

“Hold onto the string, love. Until the current shifts and we can be together again.”

The above quote is one of my favorite in the series, and we really understand the depth and the reason for that tether between them. Throughout the series, Evie and Reed have been separated time and again, but despite what happened, and despite the feelings Evie felt for anyone else, it’s this unique connection, this love, that has given them both hope for happiness.

“I’m clutching the invisible thread that binds me to her. I won’t let go, not for anything in this world.”

Brennus is also back in all his charming, arrogant glory, trying to banjax Evie’s future with Reed. His devotion to her is boundless and eternal, and he certainly proves that to Evie, and even to her friends. We also see just how much Evie has managed to humanize Brennus, softening his heart despite him remaining unyielding and fierce towards any adversary. And her heart, no doubt, also recognizes Brennus in a way that is singular and very much real.

“I’m the light to his darkness. There’s no escape; he’s a part of me.”

I don’t want to divulge even the highest level of the plot line, but clearly we will learn some truths that shed light about everything that happens—past, present and future. Is there a happily ever after? Yes. The very end opens some interesting, unexpected possibilities worthy of discussion, but despite that, the novel delivers in every way that counts, with moments of passion and love, action and surprise, and of course, unbreakable friendships. The story moved me to tears more than once, and revel in believing that eternity is lived out in wild, unrestrained happiness between characters that will forever remain marked on my heart.

“You are my life. It begins and ends with you.”

Series Reading Order
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Review: Sea of Stars (#2, Kricket) by Amy A. Bartol

My Thoughts

Sea of Stars is a riveting, romantic, richly imagined fantasy.

5stars

Synopsis

Mar-31Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars

My Review

As first seen on USA Today HEA blog.

If you haven’t read bestselling author Amy A. Bartol yet, you must. Her stories consume you. Her writing makes you feel. Her heroes make your heart race. And her heroines are fearless and inspiring.

Sea of Stars (her second installment in the urban fantasy Kricket series) is a riveting romance that thrums to life in the vibrant, imaginative and also perilous world of Ethar. It’s exciting, action-packed, suspenseful and immediately absorbing. 

In the first book of the series, Under Different Stars, we meet Kricket Holowell, a girl who grew up in the foster care system in Chicago. She had to be tough and independent under her childhood’s harsh circumstances. When a trio of mysterious men whisk her away to a new world, divulging the truth of her existence, Kricket embarks on an adventure where houses (lands) battle, secrets hold power, and where she wields magic that promises to either help them survive, or be the weapon some intend for her to be. In the process, she falls for the enigmatic Trey Allairis, who is intrigued by Kricket’s strength, beauty and tenacity. Sea of Stars picks up after disaster strikes, as Kricket, Trey and the other Cavars are on the run. Alameedan Kyon Ensin is determined to find Kricket and make her his … he’ll happily kill anyone in his way.

“I’ll tear your heart off your sleeve and bury it deep in my chest. Your savage heart will beat for me. Run if you think you canI’ll hunt you down.”

Sea of Stars ratchets up the action and suspense as we see Alameeda go to war with Rafe. According to a prophecy, one house will rise to rule, while the other will be demolished. Kricket’s ability to see the future is entwined with this chilling oracle and her powers promise to tip the scales one way or the other. Safety is transient, and every moment brims with nail-biting tension as we wait to see what happens next. For the first time in her life, Kricket finds herself needing—loving—someone, and she knows she’ll do anything to remain at Trey’s side, even though her very presence puts everyone at peril.

“I’ll risk everything to stay with you.”

To make matters worse, every vision Kricket has of the future is more horrible than the last… bloodier, uglier, more hopeless. She must figure out how to take control of her powers so she can change the future. So she can keep them safe.

Kricket is everything a heroine should be. Fearless. Determined. Inspiring. Intelligent. The same can be said for our one-of-a-kind hero, Trey. I love that both Kricket and Trey are fierce and strong, but at the same time, kind and loving. Their romance is epic, enlivened by words that are sure to make every romance reader melt.

“Know that I’ve loved you from the moment I held you in my arms on Ethar, and every moment in between. I will love you even after my final breath.”

Once again, Bartol leaves us begging for more at the flip of the final page. The third and concluding book in the series, Darken The Stars, is scheduled to release some time this summer.

“No matter what happens, Kricket, I’ll fight for you. Until death do us part … and then forever after that.”

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Reading Order and Links

There are three books planned in this continuing series. Click image to purchase.
The third book is called Darken The Stars.

Under Different Stars Mar-31

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Cover Reveal + Excerpt: Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

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I am sooooo thrilled to share with you the stunning cover of Under Different Stars… Amy Bartol’s new YA Dystopian book coming out December 17th!!!! You guys know that Amy is one of my favorite authors and I’m sure we will be gushing endlessly about this book soon enough! If you don’t know Amy or the Premonition Series, you need to correct that right away, book peeps! Check out my reading order page for the Premonition Series!

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Synopsis

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?

 Under Different Stars FW

Excerpt

I glance at Trey; he looks like an advertisement for Calvin Klein. Wearing only dark, athletic boxers, he’s something out of a catalog or a warrior movie. Blushing deeply, I want to crawl under the rock I’m on. “Wade into the water together. We should tie you two so that you’re face-to-face with both your heads above the water,” Jax says. Trey nods, extending his hand for me to take.

Avoiding looking at him, I stand up, walking to the water’s edge on my own. Dipping my toes in the water, I pull them back sharply. “It’s freezing!” I glower at them, hearing my voice echo off the walls again.

“It is,” Trey agrees, scooping me up in his arms and wading out quickly into the water before I can object further. When he is chest deep, he says softly in my ear, “Breathe.”

Clinging to him tightly with my arms around his neck, I inhale deeply before muttering, “Shh…you’re interrupting my revenge plotting.”

“If you survive this, I’ll insist that you learn to swim,” he says, sounding annoyed as Jax wades to us with a line, circling us.

“If I survive this, I’m killing you,” I reply dryly, feeling the rope tense, drawing me tighter against Trey’s warm body.

A small smile touches his lips at my comment. “How do you propose to do that?” He gazes into my eyes as Jax knots us together.

“I’ll let you spend some sleepless nights worrying about that,” I reply, my teeth beginning to chatter as the cold water is chilling me to the bone.

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Paranormal Week Day 1: Spotlight on Amy A. Bartol and the Premonition Series

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I’m so excited to kick-off the 2013 Paranormal Week with one of my favorite people and one of my favorite all-time series: Premonition. When I read these books, I was completely floored. Obsessed. Enthralled. This is the kind of series that makes you ignore your family, read at stoplights and even dream about the story. And it wasn’t just me… all my friends and I were crazy over it! It’s all-consuming and a 6-star series for me. Absolutely action-packed, it delivers unexpected plot twists at what seems to be every turn. Just when you think the story needs to come down from such a high, Amy expertly takes us through yet another moment that would have my heart and pulse pumping at maximum velocity. AND… on top of the riveting action and the suspense, I feel the story has one of the most memorable romances… and for the record, I’m talking about Evie and Reed. Angels, vampires, love, mystery, action… these book have it all!!! One more book is left in the series — Iniquity — and will be out early 2014.

About The Series

This is the synopsis of book 1, Inescapable.

My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I had been hoping that once I had arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.

I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he is near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would–if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that’s ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But, get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.

What is the secret he is keeping from me? I’m hoping that it is anything but what I expect: that he is not exactly normal…and neither am I. So maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I have been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

Why I Love These Books

I love them for the action and the high it gave me and for the unforgettable, passionate romance between Evie and Reed. When I think of their romance, I love to listen to I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz. Once you read these books, you’ll realize why the lyrics are so perfect.

Reading Order

Visit complete reading order page

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Interview with Amy A. Bartol

Contemporary Romances have been quite popular for
a while now and have been very successful for many authors.
It’s also been said that perhaps the time for paranormal has passed. What are your thoughts on this and why do you enjoy
writing about the supernatural?

I agree that the popularity of the contemporary romance genre has eclipsed that of paranormal romance recently.  One reason for this may be because, over the past several years, the market has become saturated by so many paranormal romance titles.  But, I also believe that there will always be an audience for paranormal stories; there’s a great tradition for the genre.  I write it because I’m completely in love with it; I find that it’s such an amazing escape for me from reality.  I can slip into another world where the possibilities are only limited by my imagination.  I’ve always been one to want to follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole to see where the adventure will lead, but I’m also hoping to find some angst-ridden, hot, life-affirming love when I do.

Tell us about the action-packed, nail-biting,
heart-stopping Premonition Series!

At its core, the Premonition Series can be defined in one word: becoming.  In Inescapable, the first book of the series, Evie Claremont, the seventeen-year-old heroine, attends a prestigious college where she discovers that she’s not entirely human.  As she begins to evolve the supernatural powers of a half-breed human/angel, she has to conceal her transformation into a supreme being from the humans surrounding her.  Her troubles are compounded when she learns that her physiology is perceived as extremely dangerous to all the other supernatural species that she encounters along the way.

Danger is not the only thing that attracts Reed Wellington, a divine Power angel, to Evie. He’s also drawn to her by the magnetic pull that they both feel while in proximity to one another.  Not knowing whether Evie is of the Divine or the Fallen angels, Reed’s first instinct is to kill her, but Evie has awakened feelings in him he never thought to have. When Reed is with Evie, it’s as if his world has just begun, and he doesn’t want that to end—at any cost.

As Evie begins to fall in love with Reed, she’s torn by her feelings for Russell Marx, the charismatic fellow student who’s constantly running to her rescue.  Russell’s connection to Evie is instant for him; it’s as if he’s found the piece of himself that he always felt was missing.  When Evie learns that Russell is her human soul mate, she tries to hide that fact from him in order to protect him from what she is becoming.  But, becoming one of the most powerful beings in existence is as hard to hide as it is…inescapable.

You are currently writing Iniquity (takes deep, calming breath), which I think is the final book in the series . What can we expect? Anything you can tell us? Pleeeeeeassse. Anything… you know
like Reed is the victor… or whatever… 🙂

You can expect to learn the reasons for Evie’s existence on Earth.  Readers will finally understand why she is here—her purpose.  I also plan to explain why there is a magnetic attraction (the feeling of butterflies) between Reed and Evie and what it means.  And, the details of Xavier’s past with Evie will be bared for you as well.  You’ll have to wait and see at the end of Iniquity if there will be anyone left standing to be the “victor.”

Speaking of Reed. And Brennus. And Xavier. And Russell.
Tell us about your approach with love triangles… or is this a love pentagon? 
(A note of caution to the readers: This intense love situation has been quite divisive with my own group of friends… read at your own peril!!! #teamreed Also, check out my friend Gabi’s profile on each swoony guy: Reed WellingtonBrennusXavierZephyrRussell).

I don’t plot my books, I’m a panster, I write by the seat of my pants, so I’m often surprised at what happens in my books when I write them.  That said, my approach to love triangles or love pentagons as the case may be, develops organically as the story evolves.  For example, I didn’t have the idea for Russell in the story until I began writing chapter 3 of Inescapable.  Freddie was intended to be Evie’s best friend and Reed her love interest.  Period.  But, as I wrote, Russell showed up and began talking to Evie on the walk to Arden Lake.  At the time, I was thinking: Ummm…hello? Who is this?  I wrote a little more, and it came to me whom Russell could be: Evie’s human soul mate—someone who has been her lover in every lifetime—the other half of her soul in a sense.

I didn’t initially intend for Brennus to be a love interest for Evie.  When I conceived of Brennus, he was this uber villain in my mind who wanted Evie for his pet—a plaything.  As their relationship developed, she captivated him, making him crave her as his Gancanagh queen.  I think the game changed entirely in Indebted when he saved her from the Ifrit Valentine.  Then, when I began to develop the Gancanagh backstory, especially that of Brennus and Finn and how they became Gancanagh, it made readers sympathetic to them—to him.  Brennus began to evolve into this powerful, seductive character; one who has the very real potential to eclipse Reed in Evie’s heart.  What fascinates me about Brennus is his ability to be both unapologetically evil AND undeniably good.  I find that the most compelling aspect of him and the most seductive.  His potential to be redeemed by Evie and her potential to be damned by him is something that fuels them to fire.

When I was writing Incendiary, Xavier, as a character, made sense to me.  I had an idea to write a prequel to the Premonition Series, a couple of books of Evie’s life in high school prior to her arrival at Crestwood College.  I thought that she would’ve had a guardian angel at that time, someone who would’ve protected her as she grew up. Xavier took shape in my mind, and when he did, he began to write himself into Incendiary.

I think release timing can be especially important (and tricky) in paranormal reads as these types of books typically have pretty involved plot lines with clues and specifics a reader must recall when reading the next book in the series. What is your philosophy on release timing? Do you recommend people re-read the previous books before jumping into the next book in the series?

Timing is tricky; I think I accidentally stumbled upon a savvy way to publish when I released my first two novels in the Premonition series, Inescapable and Intuition.  I published them within about three months of each other. With the release of Intuition, all of a sudden I had fans blowing up my social media sites; it was surreal.  The third book in the series, Indebted, followed close behind Intuition at about a four month elapse between novels.  My readership surged, and I was among the bestselling authors in several genres on Amazon for most of 2012.

I continued that trend into 2013 with the release of Incendiary, which took me eight months to publish from the previous novel.  Incendiary went straight to the Top 100 Best Selling Kindle books.  (That’s overall for every title they sell.)  I had originally intended Incendiary to be the final novel, but when I was nearing the end of it, more of the story was still pouring out of my keyboard.  I wrote the first chapter of Iniquity and included it in the back of Incendiary.  (And that’s a sales tool I will swear by to any aspiring novelist.  I will always give readers a satisfying ending in my books.  I spend a lot of time on the wrap-up, so the reader has that I-love-this-book-more-than-chocolate-glow when the book is finished….but, should that reader continue on and read the first chapter of the next book that I’ve included in the same novel, all bets are off.  There will always be some calamity in that teaser chapter to try to hook you. You have been warned.)

As far as the release of Iniquity goes, I don’t have an answer for you because I haven’t released it yet.  I think the length of a year between the release of Incendiary and Iniquity will hurt my sales.  I had to weigh that with the fact that I really want it to be better than the previous novels.  I’m willing to sacrifice sales for better content; it’s an integrity issue for me. I’d rather be late and amazing then quick and so-so.

As far as my philosophy on re-reading the books before jumping into the fifth release, let me put it to you this way: I don’t spend a lot of time trying to catch you up on what happened in the first four books.  As a reader myself, I hate when I have to slog through old plot points.  I want to read new content and have thrilling new things happening to keep me engaged.  This is another reason why this series is independently published.  I don’t play by the rules.  You probably can’t pick up one of these books not having read the first one and know what’s going on in the story.  I’m okay with that.  These are my first books.  They’ve taught me a lot.  I don’t feel like I have to compromise with the Premonition Series. It has been my escape, my classroom, my teacher, my highest high and my lowest low.  I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever love any of my future characters the way I love these characters.

What’s in your future after Premonition?

I plan to release Iniquity in early 2014.  I want it to be the final book in the series, but since these characters have been my life for almost six years now, it will be beyond difficult for me to say goodbye to them.  So, I won’t know for sure if it is the final book until I write the ending. Like I said earlier, I’m a panster, which means I write by the seat of my pants and don’t plot out the story.  A part of me really wants to make this the last book in the series if for no other reason than I don’t like the pressure associated with writing another one. I know I will want to write more when I get to the end of Iniquity, but I think I’ll write an ending, and then if I want to continue to write more later, I’ll write it in secret.  If after all of that I think it’s good enough, I’ll publish it in stealth, and then announce its release after I publish it.

What are some of your favorite paranormal books?

Some of my favorite paranormal books are: The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer, The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, The Odd Thomas Series by Dean Koontz, The Significance Series by Shelly Crane, The Caged Series by Amber Lynn Natusch, The Fire Spirits Series by Samantha Young, The Touched Series by Nancy Straight, and The Grey Wolves Series by Quinn Loftis to name just a few.

Thank you Amy Bartol! I think I speak for all of your loyal fans when we say we can’t wait to see what’s coming and we’ll be ready to make a huge deal when Iniquity is out, no matter how long it takes!

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About Amy A. Bartol

amy bartolI 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.

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