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367 of 384 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books in Years
A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries) was a total shock, I bought this unassuming book for 99 cents and since it sounded like a decent mystery I grabbed it. This was NOT a hastily thrown together bit of fluff. As it turned out is was a mystery at its core wrapped around a deep story of love, desire and noble intentions. The growth of the relationships here are perfect...
Published on February 11, 2012 by Douglas C. Meeks

versus
76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It had its moments...
**Originally reviewed at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl. The copy I received was complimentary, in exchange for an honest review.**

I loved the idea of the main character being a librarian, and there being such a focus on extremely old literature. And Giovanni is totally an Italian name, and combining that with the mention of Renaissance Florence, I was sold...
Published on March 26, 2012 by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl ...


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367 of 384 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books in Years, February 11, 2012
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
A Hidden Fire (Elemental Mysteries) was a total shock, I bought this unassuming book for 99 cents and since it sounded like a decent mystery I grabbed it. This was NOT a hastily thrown together bit of fluff. As it turned out is was a mystery at its core wrapped around a deep story of love, desire and noble intentions. The growth of the relationships here are perfect and the actions and paranormal nuances are just enough to add to the story and not the "vampire love fest" I have seen in many recent novels. This is a slow evolving romance that can't really come to fruition because of the circumstances surrounding them (the crux of the mystery they are working on). I have read nothing like it since possibly Master of Crows which shared its slow developing romance and a hero you could not be sure if you like or hated for much of the beginning chapters. This is a top shelf reading experience and if you like good writing and multifaceted characters (who will most likely get fleshed even more in subsequent books) this is a steal of a book at any price.

UPDATE: I bought and read the other 3 books in the series and can say without any hesitation that this was possibly THE best series of 2011/12. Amazing story.
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198 of 209 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars...Great example of a changing industry, May 23, 2012
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
This book was a revelation to me. For decades, writers have been warned against the perils of self-publishing; told that no one would take a self-published book seriously, that it would destroy a career before it began. There's also been a long-standing prejudice based on the belief that a book not picked up by a traditional publisher is simply not good enough to bother with. But Hunter's A Hidden Fire is a shining example of how online publishing has changed the industry. It is well edited, clearly written, and is missing absolutely nothing for having been self-published. More importantly, it's a great story.

Hunter has created memorable, compelling characters and a rich, well-conceived world in A Hidden Fire. Unlike so many series popular at the moment, this book does not rely on placing the main characters in some life-threatening situation in the first chapter to gain the reader's attention. Instead, Hunter takes time to introduce us to Gio and B, showing us what these characters are like, discovering personality traits and weaknesses. It's such a refreshing change to simply watch the characters demonstrate their more interesting qualities instead of simply being told 'she's really independent and clever' or 'he's dark and brooding.' Hunter gives the reader the rare opportunity to find these details on his/her own, creating a bond between characters and reader that has been sorely lacking in recent literature.

Be forewarned, the story does not move from action scene to action scene, doesn't contain melodramatic, overwrought love scenes, or mustache twirling villains. Hunter is a strong writer who has created a series that speaks for itself and doesn't depend on stale genre stereotypes to grab the reader's attention. This book kept me up all night simply because I just had to see what Gio and B were going to say next, what new discoveries they would make. The plot is well thought out and the author does a great job of laying clues for the reader to follow.

My only complaints are just a few typos, (which I probably only noticed because of having English teachers for parents) and the cliffhanger ending. I understand why the author used it, and at least she has given the reader a clear end in sight, but I do prefer to have things wrapped up a bit more cohesively. But that's just me.

All in all, this is one of the best books I've read this year and has really changed the way I view self-published works. Bravo Ms. Hunter!
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!!!, May 19, 2012
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
I am currently reading the third book in this series, and it does not disappoint. Elizabeth Hunter has written a stunning series that is well researched, paced, and executed. I especially appreciate the way these books have more substance than most in this genre. I have read around 50 books that come up as "recommended" alongside this one, and this series is by far the best I have read. Please do not hesitate to buy this one. You won't be sorry!
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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It had its moments..., March 26, 2012
This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
**Originally reviewed at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl. The copy I received was complimentary, in exchange for an honest review.**

I loved the idea of the main character being a librarian, and there being such a focus on extremely old literature. And Giovanni is totally an Italian name, and combining that with the mention of Renaissance Florence, I was sold! Books and Italy. What more could I ask for? A Hidden Fire had its moments, but overall I was a little disappointed. It fell short of its potential, and I feel like it could have been so much better than it was.

1. The whole beginning is pretty mysterious. Beatrice is a librarian at the Houston University in the Special Collections reading room, picking up a new shift where she ends up spending time with Dr. Giovanni Vecchio, who is translating a very old document. He's a unique person with a hidden past, and we go a while in the book before we find out who he is and why he's connected to bunch of old literature. Beatrice is more to him than a librarian. Danger surrounds her, plus he's developing feelings for her.

2. I liked the main characters. Beatrice is smart, shy, and bookish.She's extremely level-headed, all things considered. I love her sarcasm and quick wit. I think we'd be friends. Giovanni is a sexy bad boy. He's also very scholarly and is always reading or researching something. He's also reclusive, with a very rich past that is coming back to haunt him. I loved the banter between the two of them. The sexual tension was definitely there. I just with they had done more with it.

3. The romance is kind of silly and unbelievable. You can tell Gio and Beatrice care about each other, but it's weird. He treats her like a child he needs to protect, and she treats him like a knight in shining armor. They never really hash out their feelings or intentions. Sometimes they have to put on a steamy act in front of spectators, but then they avoid one another for quite a while after. They are always holding back, but never indicate to each other why. So they always appear to mad at the other, when in reality they are lusting after one another. It wasn't really romantic to me. It was just frustrating and never really got resolved. I guess that's book 2's job.

4. The supporting characters were great. Gio's butler, Caspar, is so sweet and grandfatherly, especially with Beatrice. He's also very protective and caring towards Gio. He's clearly part of the family. I love his cat, Doyle, as well. Caspar starts a cute little something up with B's grandma, who is also a strong character with a lot of spunk. Gio has a friend named Carwyn, who is definitely my favorite character in this book. He's a Welsh priest who has been around for quite a while, and has a lot of life experience. He's funny, flirtatious, and becomes a great friend to Beatrice. He always seems to know how she's thinking and feeling, and knows just what to say to put her mind at ease. I'm kind of envious of Beatrice. She has so many sweet men keeping an eye on her!

5. The settings were unique, and I liked them. I enjoyed all the library time, and it was fun to picture what everything looked like and smelled like. I love libraries! Gio's house sounds pretty cool. We also get to explore Greece and Chile in this book, which was cool.

6. I laughed a lot. There was a lot of joking around, sarcastic remarks, flirtatious moments, and interesting tastes in clothing. The characters lovingly made fun of each other. It was refreshing, since the underlying story is a bit dark and dangerous.

7. I liked the incorporation of the elements (fire, earth, wind, and water). Each book in the series focuses on one, and this one obviously focused on fire. And I liked the paranormal elements. I'm not going to say what those are, for fear of spoiling things for you, but it's an interesting twist.

8. Really, my only complaint is that some of the plot dragged on and on, and was rather repetitive. There was a lot of sitting around and talking, with not a lot of action until the last part of the book. This is a long book, yet the bulk of the story felt rushed at the end. Nothing was tied up for us.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy paranormal urban fantasies with a tiny bit of romance. I'm thinking book 2 will open things up a lot more, and I'm curious to see what happens next! Book 2 (This Same Earth) is already out, book 3 (The Force of the Wind) is out this month, and the concluding book (A Fall of Water) has a tentative release date in June of this year.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wink, wink, smirk, smirk, November 25, 2012
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
I tried really hard to get "into" this book as the premise is a good one but the characters keep winking at one another and there are frequently described "smirks". Twice in the early part of the book the heroine sticks out her tongue at the hero (a 540 year old vampire)and they both are subject to periods of "pouting" (what's with this?). There are many references to her superior intelligence which are not supported by her behavior. After chapter 12 I have given up. You cannot enjoy a book if your subconscious is constantly critiquing the writing style and you are unaable to identify with the characters. I realize I am very much in the minority here but these are my thoughts about this book.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No...just no..., August 5, 2013
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
How to write a vampire love story:

1. Take a man who is perfect in every imaginable way and make him a vampire.
2. Add sociopathic, obsessive, and possessive traits to said perfect man.
3. Add a girl who is boring, plain, over emotional, and kinda stupid, and have vampire "fall in love" with her for apparently no reason.
4. Vampire stalks and obsesses over her, but it's okay because he's a vampire not a person.
5. Call it love.

This story was just another version of Twilight or A Discovery of Witches in which there's a vampire, a dumb girl, and a long line of useless extra characters that do nothing for the plot, because there really is no plot- it's a vampire love story. This book tries to be a little different with the mystery of finding old books...oh wait, that was the storyline to A Discovery of Witches.

Gah, I'm just so sick of all these paranormal romances with such weak heroines. Why does a girl have to be stupid and useless for someone to love her?

In addition, the writing style did nothing to add to my opinion of this book. I almost put it down after the first 30 or so pages because I knew immediately it was not for me. I don't understand why there are so many flashbacks, and some that take you back to just hours before. It's like moving two steps forward and one step back each chapter, which is incredibly frustrating.

If you hated A Discovery of Witches don't read this book. If you loved it then go ahead and enjoy another book that's exactly the same. If you're expecting hot vampire sex, don't read this book, the naked guy on the cover is a lie. This is apparently the first book in a series, so maybe the next book gets better...I won't be finding out.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really nitpicking., December 7, 2012
By 
Xanthosia (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
I am having a bad time with my recent book choices. I am going to try and finish 'A hidden fire' but at the moment I am so irritated by the language used in this book, I feel like spitting.
The very first lines of this story describe a man stealing down a hallway, his footsteps echoing in the dimly lit basement. I know if I steal down a hallway I dont want my footsteps to echo.
Later our subject is playing footsie under the table with a student when he scoots away from her but keeps one hand on her shoulder and lets his fingers stroke her neck. I would really like to see this movement!
A few lines on he enjoys a lick of warm air on his neck (ughhh) then uses a stainless steel pen he" drew from a chain around his neck. I know you can draw from a pocket but can you draw from a chain?
This author then writes " he pulled his car into a brick garage." He must have been strong! This worried me so I looked up my Kindle dictionary which defines the word 'pull' as exerting force on someone or something. You can use it with an adverb of direction but there are much better and simpler ways to describe these actions eg what's wrong with the word 'drive'?
So I have read five pages and already made 7 highlights and notes and many will say I am excessively nitpicking. But reading is my joy and I hate being distracted from a story in this way.
Will I be able to soldier on and enjoy what so many others ( over 400 people ) think is a great read. Surely that many people can't be wrong. Or will this book be another one that gets quietly buried in my unreadable pile.

Update.

Ok so I am now nearly half way through this book. I am quite surprised at my persistence but I am quite enjoying parts of the book. Star rating now has gone from one up to two stars, the main reason being I am finding the characters interesting and well drawn. I like Beatrice with her kick arse shoes and am quite tickled by the idea of a vampire who does laps to relax and will sit at the bottom of a pool to enjoy the stars.
However I am still annoyed by odd uses of vocabulary. For example the author uses the word incongruent which means incompatible when she should have used incongruous meaning out of place, another time Gio is described as speeding over "surface streets". Well, where else would you drive a car! I won't even go into the Scots/scotch/Scottish choice.
So I'm slow. It has finally hit me that this book needs a proper editor. I have read other book reviews where people have complained about the editing. I can usually skim over these errors but not this time; those in 'A Hidden fire' really bug me.
Hopefully when I finish I will be able to update my star rating and the story will have proved so interesting that I forget these annoyances. I will let you know.

Update 2.

I have finished "A hidden fire" and hope others who buy this book enjoy it. But I know I will be eternally puzzled why so many people are giving it a five star rating and why it is a semifinalist for Best Indie book of 2012 ( Kindle Book Reviews.) Final nitpick of the review: why do all the characters smirk rather than grin or smile? Smirk is defined as smiling in an affected, silly or self satisfied way and I am sure this is not what the author intended.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, but could have been exceptional, September 12, 2012
By 
prihrod "Pri" (Campinas, Brazil) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
Plot: With so many Vampire books I can only imagine it's hard to come up with an original thought, but the author was successful with this one, the whole idea to "play" with the 4 elements is really interesting and she was able to work with it on a really interesting way. Also I enjoyed so much the fact that the story involves libraries (and librarians) and books, it's not often we see writers writing about books and their importance. However, even though the plot has some great (and I'm not exaggerating on the choice of adjective) and innovative concepts, I felt that the main idea was kind of flat and has been played out on the genre, specially the romance part.

Characters: I just adored Carwyn, Caspar and Tenzin, actually, I fell madly in love with the Carwyn and am looking forward to be part of his family. These 3 characters were really well written, described and, well, it was just so much fun to have them as company for this book. As for the 3 main characters, B, Gio and Lorenzo, I thought they were a little cliche and very predictable.

My thoughts: Good story, but it felt as if the writer had a great idea for a book, but wasn't quite able to fully accomplish it. Also, the book lacked some revision, I found several errors (not grammar, per say), for instance: "but she knew Carwyn could hear her because he his shoulders began shaking with silent laughter." and even some continuation errors, on which the story kind of contradicts itself.
All in all a good book and a light and fun read, specially if you are into Vamp and Romance Lit.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just did not hold my interest, March 5, 2014
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
I am surprised at the many very positive reviews, as often they are reasonably reliable. But this... Guess it is just not my cup of tea. I don't often have trouble finishing a book, but in reading this my attention kept wandering and I realized I was bored with it much of the time. I found the characters shallow and stereotypical. The story was there in the background but not getting told somehow. Seems to me far too much time is spent with the two main characters thinking about their attraction to one another and their concern (also not exactly deep or interesting) about getting involved. And that might be ok, but there is just no complexity to it to justify the extended self involvement. Succinctly, you can only read the same series of thoughts so many times without losing interest entirely. And I did. Sorry to have to leave a negative review as I am always impressed by the amount of effort and courage that goes into writing a book. I certainly will not be exploring this series further.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't get into it, December 18, 2013
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This review is from: A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries Book One (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded the book for free, but the narrative was so tortured and slow that I deleted it after a few chapters. I've heard people compare this book to others in the genre, such as Discovery of Witches, which I really enjoyed. So perhaps the story picks up later. But I couldn't ignore the poor writing. It felt like reading an instruction manual - he did this, then he was there, then he moved this. Blah!
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