Semi-finalist - The Kindle Book Review, Best Indie Books of 2012
"The first book in the best-selling Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter, Elemental Mysteries has turned into one of the best paranormal series I've read this year. It's sharp, elegant, clever, evenly paced without dragging its feet, and at the same time emotionally intense."
Nocturnal Book Reviews
No secret stays hidden forever. A phone call from an old friend sets mysterious book researcher Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery that has eluded him for centuries. Little does he suspect a young librarian holds the key to an ancient secret, nor could he expect the danger Beatrice De Novo would attract. Now both will follow a twisted maze leading from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a passion that could destroy them both.
©2011 Elizabeth Hunter (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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"Start of something very interesting"
Giovanni is on assignment of translating texts in a campus library, when he meets Beatrice. She may be a link to an old mystery of lost books, but that can lead them in to danger from other sources including their hearts. A very good start for a series, but as with all series books, the ending is a bit of a disappointment, compelling you to read on to the next book.
I was surprised on how much I liked the story. I bought this book several months back and finally listened to it because a friend advise me on how much she liked it. I don't want spoil the story but the book kinda reminded me of "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborh Harkness only no witches but with vampires who posses one of the four elemetal powers. The story was slow in the beginning but did pickup. I would recommend this book and plan on reading the others in the series.
It's worth a credit.
"Fantastic Story, Horrid Narration"
The only way to improve the performance would be to have hired a completely different
I read the book first and loved it and was so excited when it came out on audio. But the narration was so terrible that I could barely listen to it. This is one of the few audiobooks I've listened to where the narrator truly ruined it for me. The voices she creates for each character are completely off and the various accents she attempts to use are beyond cringe worthy. And really annoying when she mispronounces Spanish words considering the main character is of Mexican/Spanish decent and speaks Spanish. I would skip getting this audio book, but definitely read it! The story itself and the characters created are fabulous.
"What's happened to Dina Pearlman?"
I loved this series when I read it on my Kindle and couldn't wait for it to come out on Audible.
Then I bought it. What the heck has happened to Dina Pearlman? Her reading of this is so awful that it's un-listenable. Normally I enjoy her performances in series like Anna Strong and Vampire Moon, but in this one she flops spectacularly.
Why make a character like Beatrice, a young, sheltered academic, sound like a coarse ranch hand with boundary issues? What reads as simple curiosity in the material, Pearlman turns into a suspicious interrogation in her interpretation. She usually doesn't have a tin ear for nuance, but her accents for a Welshman and an Italian are so horrific it sounds like she has square marbles in her mouth. Her voice also sounds overworked and aging. I almost wonder if she's been ill.
What a bummer. I guess I'll clear the whole series off my iPod and reread it on my kindle.
What a shame.
Narrator did not do characters accents justice. I have read all the series and none of them sounded right to me.
A Discovery of Witches. Stories and characters are quite similar and just as enjoyable.
Beatrice. Love her sarcasm!
Made me laugh out loud a few times.
I really enjoyed the story but was not fond of the narrator. I found her voice to be odd and distracting
"Fantastic book, HORRIBLE narration."
I have read all four of the Elemental Mysteries books, and some of the Elemental World books. They are fantastic. The characters are layered and interesting, the story engaging and very enjoyable. Elizabeth Hunter is a gem. I'd love to spend a day in her brain!
Anyone. This narrator did not fit well with this series, at all. I really can't think of anything good to say about her performance, and I hate saying that, because I really don't want to be mean. But, her voice/style/bad accents just do not fit with these characters. Not a single one.
This could be a truly excellent listen, if they re-record with a different narrator.
"Not Bad ~ But Smokes More than Burns"
I was having a really hard time rating this one...
About the only thing that gets 5♥s - the description of Rothko Chapel. Anyone that has been there and not appreciated the swirling complexity of the paintings and the lovely serenity and spiritual feeling the space imparts: you're missing out and my soul weeps for you.
But, beyond that and the metions of the humid air and maybe Buffalo Bayou- I wasn't as jazzed about reading about my old stomping ground. I thought, for some reason, that being set in Houston it might influence me to like it more... No. I instead felt somewhat frustrated. Driving anywhere seems to take forever and a day. Granted -creative license, and who wants to read about traffic and all that - but I just didn't get a nostalgic and really spot-on peek into Houston to relate to the story in that fashion.
The characters... now this is approaching more of a personal thing for me. I just felt that "Bea" ... *uugghhh* on one hand, there were MANY things I have in 'common' with her. I've tried to follow that rule, "If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all." *crickets chirping* And there were some swoony elements of Gio... I guess I just found myself more interested in the side characters. Her grandma- she freakin' rocks (where can I find a grandma like that?). The fashion-challenged vampire priest. Oh, yes, I'd have a barrel of laughs around him. But 'Gio' and "Bea"... honestly, their 'non-relationship' had me bored most of the time. *Yawn*
One more thing: the ending. It's not a HEA, it's not even really a HFN. It's not a 'bad' ending, and not even a cliffhanger. It just kind of fizzled out in this unknown future void. Not bad, not good - just is. Where is the passion? Where is the burning desire to continue the series? Where is ... I don't know - just something that seems more like a real ending? It's like the different between songs that have a solid end, last note, no question- the song ends here versus those songs that just fade away into nothing still playing the chords over and over... Even in a series, I prefer books not to just fizzle out.
Do I want to continue the series? Yes. Will I pick the next book in the series up today, this month, or maybe even this year? Probably not. I'm not in any great hurry to continue, but I eventually will. Rolling all of these points into one rating... I'm going to have to go with 3½♥'s. I'm rounding up to 4... but even that was a close thing.
"Decent story, kind of bad narration"
I enjoyed the story and went on to listen to the others.
The narrator was...I feel like she just didn't have an idea who these characters were. Her voice for Beatrice was just baaaad. She sounded very trashy, and ill-bred. It was horribly jarring. Some of the accents were ok, and others were strange. The Italian was pretty overdone I thought, to the point of being distracting. The villain's voice was goofy rather than menacing and when I went to the kindle copy to read it, the voices in my head made the characters and even the story so much more appealing that even though I love the convenience of the audiobook, I kind of think the narrator wrecked the story a little for me.
I was skeptical at first, I thought I was over the vampire paranormal genre, I am a sucker for a good PNR,and shame on me I missed it, a guilty pleasure I wanted assuaged.
Not holding out much hope this book pleasantly surprised me. One it has a great story line and individual characters and two there's no instantaneous love at first sight , there's drama, a very delicious vampire with an unusual power, who actually does not dare scratch that itch, I understand why. Though when he does fall foul of his feelings or has to put up a front, sparks fly.
The story and relationship unfolds slowly without losing any pace, glad this independent author decided to publish, EH has put my faith back into the genre. Mystery, romance and drama I found this PNR refreshing and will definitely read more.
I love this series and feel that this story has been ruined by poor narration. Gio is Italian not Transylvanian and Carwyn is Welsh not a plummy Englishman. l managed about an hour before giving up. I'll stick to dead tree format and enjoy this slow burn love story in all it's nuanced, sassy layered glory.
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, this series also has a strong female lead, brilliant world building and interesting characters. Shifters and magic rather than vampires but still sexy, funny and not too fluffy.
I want my audio books to allow me to enjoy the story without being distracted constantly by the narrators performance. Regional accents must be right or at least neutral if the performer cannot imitate them accurately. This laboured rendition made me regret purchasing the audiobook version of a well loved story.
To not listen to the rest of it and be grateful I didn't pay full price for it!
Buy the paper or e-book, settle down and enjoy the slow build up, this does take more than one book. The characters grow into themselves and the stories are definately not fluffy or sparkly. Beatrice is an amazing protagonist who really blossoms as the series moves on.
"Great story bad narration"
I loved this book when I read it but am really disappointed by the performance. The narrator does the most awful accents I have ever heard. Very disappointing as I love the story.
"My series of this year year"
top five and i've heard many
Well they say "absence makes the heart grow fonder" !! and only when you read you will understand what i mean Besides the the mystery around gio and the humour between B & G I loved the way Elizabeth set out the history.
Dinas character voice changes were excellent. Her voice for Beatrice and Gio were just as I imagined when i read the books earlier in the year .
If life were this exciting you would want to live forever
This isn't a teenage " Vampire Diarie"s or Twighlight. this is an adult story (not as in rudeness more in terms of maturity) I actually didn't know it was based on human and vampire world until a few chapters in. Beatrice (or B in early parts) found out stuff the same time as we did, very clever how that was writing in a slow reveal of information. I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise thinking it was going to be a teen goth book lolIt is worth joining
Elizabeth Hunters facebook page.she is a newish author with a building fan bass and answers most posts. its amazing the research Elizabeth goes into while preparing for her books. in the summer she was blogging to us all from istanbul where she was researching for another book series.
The whole series needs to be heard/read not just this book.
There are 4 elemental mysteries books followed by a onward series called elemental world that explores the characters more and uncovers more of the mystery of vampire politics crime and drug situation as well as further character development. This series is still expanding I believe.
A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries Book One)This Same Earth (Elemental Mysteries Book Two)The Force of Wind (Elemental Mysteries Book Three)
A Fall of Water (Elemental Mysteries Book Four)Building From Ashes (Elemental World Book One) Waterlocked (An Elemental World Novella)Blood and Sand (Elemental World Book Two)
Blood and Sand (Elemental World 3) was my favorite in the second series and explored the character of Boajia
Extract: From BLOOD AND SAND...
Natalie was trying to take her first tai chi lesson seriously. Really. She was. But the feel of Baojia moving her arms and legs into various positions, then standing really close to move her from form to form was more than a little distracting. "You should really put on a shirt if you want me to concentrate." He moved in front of her and tilted her chin up as she stood with arms stretched out and legs half-bent. "I don't have many clothes here, and I'm not going to ruin my nice shirts practicing. Now focus." She muttered, "Kind of hard to do after that thing you did an hour ago." A lift at the corner of his mouth was the only reaction she got.
"Couldn't stand the narrator"
I'm not sure if this book is good or not as I couldn't get past the first hour of it. The narrator is terrible. Her voice is horrible, her accent is just plain weird - something between New York, Midwest and Southern - and very off putting. Her attempts at foreign accents are equally bad and her reading style is unpleasant. Will stick to the to the Kindle version.
"Predictable and disappointing"
I think this is more aimed at teenage girls...very Twilighty.
No, it has put me off completely.
This was my first and she did a good job. It was the story that couldn't hold my interest, not her performance.
Disappointment. From the reviews it sounded like it bucked the trend but I waswrong.
"A very enjoyable listen."
I was very supprised at how this this book is. o will seek out the next one in the series as soon as possible. the narration was very good and didn't leave me wanting to sleep, but rather I wanted to listen longer. thank you very much
loved it. lots. of interesting characters and a great plot. I look forward to the next book.
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