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Broken Elements

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Magic, murder, and mayhem on the shores of Lake Tahoe. For Aidan Brook, manipulating the power of water is as easy as breathing—until the awful night her magic fails, with deadly consequences. Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best frien Magic, murder, and mayhem on the shores of Lake Tahoe. For Aidan Brook, manipulating the power of water is as easy as breathing—until the awful night her magic fails, with deadly consequences. Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best friend, a dangerously attractive landlord, and a couple of FBI agents are determined to complicate her life…and for the first time in years, she doesn’t mind a few complications. As the killer grows increasingly fixated on Aidan, her past and present begin to collide. To defeat the killer, she must learn to control her power—before her broken magic fails her for the final time. BROKEN ELEMENTS is the first book in the award-winning Elements urban fantasy series.


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Magic, murder, and mayhem on the shores of Lake Tahoe. For Aidan Brook, manipulating the power of water is as easy as breathing—until the awful night her magic fails, with deadly consequences. Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best frien Magic, murder, and mayhem on the shores of Lake Tahoe. For Aidan Brook, manipulating the power of water is as easy as breathing—until the awful night her magic fails, with deadly consequences. Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best friend, a dangerously attractive landlord, and a couple of FBI agents are determined to complicate her life…and for the first time in years, she doesn’t mind a few complications. As the killer grows increasingly fixated on Aidan, her past and present begin to collide. To defeat the killer, she must learn to control her power—before her broken magic fails her for the final time. BROKEN ELEMENTS is the first book in the award-winning Elements urban fantasy series.

30 review for Broken Elements

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Broken Elements has a promising start, then it loses its way in the middle before coming back for a strong ending. The beginning and the end are Die Hard...but the middle is 100% Hudson Hawk. There are some good moments in this book, but they were too few and far between and I found myself struggling to finish. It might have even been a 2 Star book if it wasn't for the last 20% which was pretty good. Many thanks to Match Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC Broken Elements has a promising start, then it loses its way in the middle before coming back for a strong ending. The beginning and the end are Die Hard...but the middle is 100% Hudson Hawk. There are some good moments in this book, but they were too few and far between and I found myself struggling to finish. It might have even been a 2 Star book if it wasn't for the last 20% which was pretty good. Many thanks to Match Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey (A Bookish Life)

    A cracking mystery with great characters and a fascinating world of elemental magic users. I really enjoyed this. The mystery element was so very strong and compelling. You could get away with calling it Urban Fantasy, but perhaps Paranormal Mystery would also work as it was so centred around that aspect. It had a great cast of characters, awesome magical abilities and some surprises you just won't see coming. The story is presented in the 1st person through Aidan Brook (f), a water Elemental A cracking mystery with great characters and a fascinating world of elemental magic users. I really enjoyed this. The mystery element was so very strong and compelling. You could get away with calling it Urban Fantasy, but perhaps Paranormal Mystery would also work as it was so centred around that aspect. It had a great cast of characters, awesome magical abilities and some surprises you just won't see coming. The story is presented in the 1st person through Aidan Brook (f), a water Elemental (someone who can control water, call it from the air or from a direct source and basically make it do anything she wants) who has been in exile for the last decade after a tragedy forced her to leave behind everything she once knew, including her best friend, a fire Elemental called Sera. I was pretty much hooked from chapter one. After a brief introduction to Aidan and her current situation, a blast from the past in the form of her one-time BFF sends her whole world off kilter, and the mystery that drives the book is revealed. I thought the writing was excellent; intelligent, witty, thought-provoking. It immediately showed the interesting but highly awkward friendship dynamic that is left after Aidan's 10-year absence. Even starting out cold, not knowing these character at all yet, I felt the tension and lost years stretching between the two. Watching the former best friends walk that shaky line between wanting to fall back into their old, familiar habits and camaraderie, but holding back through fear of being hurt again. It was great stuff. I found the character voices were very clear and distinct. It ended up being a really diverse bunch of people (and supernatural races) once the motley "crime solving" crew was fully assembled, and I enjoyed each character in turn. The secondary ones were just as well drawn as the main two, and I particularly grew fond of Simon :). The reason for their gathering is that they, led by Sera, have all decided to join forces to end this mystery Elemental's killing spree once and for all. The killer is not being careful about revealing them to the human population, and that puts them all at risk. It was bad enough when it was happening 10 years ago, and Aidan's been having nightmares about it ever since. She can barely believe it's happening again. But when Sera reveals that another of her close friends, second only to Sera, has been murdered, Aidan has no choice but to return to the scene of the killer's, and her, crimes. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the magical abilities of the Elementals and Shapeshifters, complete with their full and fascinating origin stories. There were several expertly dispersed sections of backstory and species history. I could see the sections coming, but rather than feeling like I needed to prepare myself for a dispassionate info-dump, it was done deftly through conversation, sometimes in a story-telling format, or other times just through the narrative, and felt perfectly natural. Also cleverly interspersed were the clues, suspicions and conjecture regarding the elemental killer's identity and motivations. I did manage to correctly guess one of the big surprises, but was TOTALLY side-swiped by another. Which was awesome. If I could wish for anything, it would have been for more indications of the budding romantic feelings between Mac and Aidan. I don't mind a slow-forming romance at all, but while I'm waiting, I love watching all the little clues, gestures and lingering looks, etc.. So there could have been a whole boatload more of that for me. Also, a bit more emotional connection to Aidan, which may come naturally over the series as I get to know her more. To sum up, if you love a good mystery and powerful magical abilities and can appreciate well-crafted characters, get this book. Highly recommended to fans of Amanda Stevens' Graveyard Queen series. UF for grown-ups. 4 Stars ★★★★ Review Copy: Received from the author for an honest review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Snarktastic Sonja

    I have been suffering a bit from series hangover. I have finished the completed novels of 2 series I really, REALLY loved (Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels), and have really struggled to find another. And then I found this little gem. I often find myself lukewarm about the first book in a new to me series. After all, the author has to introduce us to new characters and set up new situations and create the world within which we are going to immerse ourselves. This is no easy task. Ms. Marshall, ho I have been suffering a bit from series hangover. I have finished the completed novels of 2 series I really, REALLY loved (Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels), and have really struggled to find another. And then I found this little gem. I often find myself lukewarm about the first book in a new to me series. After all, the author has to introduce us to new characters and set up new situations and create the world within which we are going to immerse ourselves. This is no easy task. Ms. Marshall, however, manages this ably. She jumps us almost immediately into the action and unfolds the world and characters slowly throughout the novel. Therefore, I never really felt like any particular section is an ‘info-dump’ but, rather, everything actually made sense in the progression of the narrative. Our heroine, Aidan, suffered a personal crisis 10 years before the start of our story. Since that time, she has locked herself away from the world, preferring to live isolated away from other people – not even allowing contact with those who loved her. As the story begins, her (former) best friend appears on her doorstep to tell them the deaths have started again: one of their dearest friends has been found murdered. This, then, is they mystery set to solved in the remainder of the tale. We discover exactly *what* happened 10 years previously when Aidan tells the rest of the gang so that they can understand exactly what they are facing. I love the relationship between Aidan and Sera. The repartee between these two is priceless and frequently brought to mind my sister and my best friend. Which means that, even if the conversations were not precious in their own right, the memories they inspired were. And, I think, that is one of the biggest gifts in this story. There is a love interest. And, there are werekin. But, nary a vampire to be seen and no love triangle – at least yet. The heroines magic is in being able to control an element. While not a totally original concept, it is the first I have seen it in this setting, so that alone makes the book stand out. It is written in the first person, which I tend to enjoy for the simple reason that it puts me in the narrators head. I like playing head games. With characters in novels. Not with people in my life. I hate giving glowing reviews of self-pubbed books as they tend to be unhelpful to the reader because so many appear to be friends/family of the author. So, please understand I do not know, in any way shape or form, the author. I absolutely loved this book. I’d probably rate it 4.5 stars, but as that is not an option, I rounded down. I may adjust this as the book picks up more reviews.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John

    The brilliant last quarter of this book, with three major twists by my count, or a triple twist with a bunch of secondary twists, raises my rating from a very weak three stars to a weak four. Before that happens, although the story begins quite nicely with an unwanted reunion, bad news, and a plunge into radically different species, it proceeds to writhe its way through the emotional issues of the first-person narrator, Aidan Brook, who doesn't seem terribly mature despite her age of 65. Aidan is The brilliant last quarter of this book, with three major twists by my count, or a triple twist with a bunch of secondary twists, raises my rating from a very weak three stars to a weak four. Before that happens, although the story begins quite nicely with an unwanted reunion, bad news, and a plunge into radically different species, it proceeds to writhe its way through the emotional issues of the first-person narrator, Aidan Brook, who doesn't seem terribly mature despite her age of 65. Aidan is an elemental, you see, destined to live for centuries, so even though she lived on an island in Puget Sound (or Georgia Strait) among her own kind for the first forty years, when she shucked that life and chose Lake Tahoe it seems she was barely ready for college and psychologically somewhere in junior high. That's just my interpretation of the backstory that's brought out in sporadic references as she takes us through her adventure, which more or less resembles what's said in the publisher's back cover blurb. There are repeated references and flashbacks to that "horrible night" ten years before--the events that drove her into "self-imposed exile" deep in the Oregonian forest. "An elemental killer is once again murdering her friends," the blurb correctly states. Just don't expect everything to be as it seems on the back cover. Most of the present mystery and the past events lie deep in spoiler territory, and much of the world that the author has built--and this is the meat of the story--is revealed piecemeal throughout the novel. Here's what we know near enough to the beginning to avoid spoiler tags. Elementals are enough like humans to interbreed, but they live for centuries or longer, they inherit their powers over one of the four elements (earth, water, ice, and fire--not air!), and they prefer to breed within their own kind and may live side by side with their many-times-great-grandchildren. Aidan is a strong water elemental like her mother but views herself as "broken," blaming her unknown father for making her partly human so that her powers desert her at critical times. To solve the mystery and stop the killer, she must join old and new friends back at Lake Tahoe but must also uncover the truth about her own past. Her elemental friends there are Sera (strong fire), Vivian (low-level earth), and Brian (weak ice); two new friends are Simon, a cat shifter, and Mac, a bear shifter (see the front cover and find Simon and Mac). The six occupy a cabin owned by Sera's father (strong fire) as they try to prevent more murders. Aidan learns that shifters have a natural history similar to that of elementals and a prehistoric origin in common with them. The heavy information load is fairly deftly distributed through story-telling and conversations, including arguments among the six friends. There are also two barely believable FBI agents (remember, Tahoe is an interstate lake, shared by California and Nevada), naturally baffled by murders that could only be done by elementals (frozen hearts, lungs full of earth, no further evidence). The agents have very interesting interactions with Aidan and Sera... No spoilers, but to keep you from putting down the book before you get past all the parts that should have been edited out, I need to tell you that much of Aidan's inner torment and mystification and many of her seemingly irrational actions make sense at the end. For me those major twists were worth the slog through the rest of it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jaki

    Yep, that's right. I'm going for the full 5 stars for this one. There was not one single thing in this book that I didn't like, or had me rolling my eyes, or calling "Bullshit, Mr Han, man!". (special cookies if you get the reference there....) I loved the characters - Aidan, the lead heroine, had spunk, snark and was broken at the same time. Her best friend Sera...oh how I wish I was Sera. I like to think I AM Sera, but that's just me MarySue-ing myself, I think. *grin* Sera is a Fire Elemental, Yep, that's right. I'm going for the full 5 stars for this one. There was not one single thing in this book that I didn't like, or had me rolling my eyes, or calling "Bullshit, Mr Han, man!". (special cookies if you get the reference there....) I loved the characters - Aidan, the lead heroine, had spunk, snark and was broken at the same time. Her best friend Sera...oh how I wish I was Sera. I like to think I AM Sera, but that's just me MarySue-ing myself, I think. *grin* Sera is a Fire Elemental, and that sums her up. Fiery, sarcastic, get up and go, ready to just DO IT. She takes no guff from anyone, and I just adored her. You know that feeling you get in your gut, the butterfly one, the excitement, when you suddenly realize that by crikey, you are REALLY going to love this book? Where it hits you about page 5 or so? I get that oh so rarely - I had it with Ben Aaronovitch's "Rivers of London" series, and have it with pretty much all of Stacia Kane's "Downside Ghosts" books. I got it with Mia Marshall's "Broken Elements". Big time. See, I knew absolutely nothing about this book or the author. In fact, I'm not even sure why I chose it - the blurb really didn't tell me much. But I took a chance for some odd reason, and oh am I glad I did. When you read as many books as I do, and as fast as I do, you end up with some stinkers. And when you get a few stinkers in a row, it's enough to make you cry. I live for reading. My nose is constantly in a book, and I'm always on the lookout for the next Book I Shall Cherish and Love. It's rare. So many books I'll sort-of like, I'll think that "meh, it was ok, I'll try another one of the author's cos it was kinda good, although I wouldn't say I love it"; so many books are just so-so. And then comes along a gem like "Broken Elements". There's not a damn thing I would change about this book. I wouldn't change the ending, I wouldn't change any of the characters, I wouldn't change the mystery at the heart of it. How bloody rare is that? How often do you stumble across a book that you enjoyed every single word of it? Not once did the pace flag, not once did I feel it dragging, not once did I think "why the heck would the character do THAT?", not once did I want to put it down and wander away. The writing is snappy and bloody good. The characters - ALL of them - are well fleshed out and real. The world building is brilliant. Aidan tells us the story of the origin of the Elementals, but not in an info-dump way. And yes, I was giggling when Simon added the origin of the Shapeshifters to it - which Aidan was unaware of. :D (Simon is my new Book Crush, btw) I hate to say this, cos I know how overused the phrase is, and I know it smacks of uberhype - but seriously, I did NOT want to put this book down. There were a couple of days where I was a bit bleary-eyed at work cos I was sitting up reading. I don't often get so giddy and excited about a book, but I truly can't help myself. I thoroughly enjoyed this so damn much - and y'know, there IS one thing I didn't like.....the fact that the second book isn't out yet!!! I wonder if Ms Marshall would consider a bribe of Tim Tams to publish the next one RIGHT NOW?? *grin*

  6. 4 out of 5

    raventiques

    I received this book for free as part of a goodreads giveaway. I will be giving an honest review. Yikes. Well. The book started off strongly. And it had a lot of potential. I grew to love the characters and their dynamics and I'm a sucker for the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits trope. The characters were also looking reasonably diverse. Or at least, more diverse than I'm used to seeing. Vivian is mentioned early on to have dark skin and to have had a girlfriend, but those facts aren't ever brought up agai I received this book for free as part of a goodreads giveaway. I will be giving an honest review. Yikes. Well. The book started off strongly. And it had a lot of potential. I grew to love the characters and their dynamics and I'm a sucker for the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits trope. The characters were also looking reasonably diverse. Or at least, more diverse than I'm used to seeing. Vivian is mentioned early on to have dark skin and to have had a girlfriend, but those facts aren't ever brought up again. Sera is ambiguously brown, though in my mind, she's Latina. Everyone else is white, but that doesn't stop me from racebending them. I'll admit, the world building and info dumps were hard to sit through. I'm still not 100% sure exactly how the culture of elementals works, or whether they're supposedly immortal - if at all. I spent most of the book trying to figure out how everything worked. World building clearly isn't strength of the book. Where the good stuff lies is with the characters. Goodness, I wish that this had been contemporary. As I said, the characters are wonderful and they're interactions are so fun to read. The parts in which they weren't worrying about solving the case, or working on their magic, but instead, just talking like regular young adults. Simon was hilarious, and I hate how his character was pretty much shoved into the background after the first couple of chapters. Vivian, too, I felt didn't get the attention that she deserved. Her character felt very flat, and wasn't much more than the 'technology one'. Then, there's Mac. Now, I loved Mac when he was introduced. He was fascinating, and I liked how he didn't disregard Aidan at all, but genuinely took on her advice. When Aidan indirectly told him that she was scared of him, he didn't get all defensive or act like a douche about it. He tried to calm himself down and apologise, though his anger was perfectly justified. And then the romance happened. Okay okay, so it wasn't a full on romance. There was certainly some insta-love involved, though. This is why I strongly dislike first person books, as when romance comes up, it's far more prevalent and vivid than in a third person book. Seriously, the team was about the drive off to solve a case, and Aidan was literally wondering about Mac's abs and - I kid you not - running her fingers over them. The worst part is that I wouldn't mind so much if 1. they were actually together 2. it wasn't just before they were going to solve the case. It just felt way too inappropriate and random. There is a huge difference between a slow burn romance, and stretching out romance that consists of nothing but exchanging one-liners and describing the colours of ones eyes. And that's how Aidan and Mac's relationship 'development' felt. Aidan seemed to be smitten with Mac at the most inappropriate times, which made it extremely difficult to support their relationship. E.g when Aidan witnessed Mac turning into a bear for the first time. (It makes more sense in context...) What could she do? Try to calm him down. Step away. Go and get help. See if he's okay. What does she do? She just...stands there. It took her about two chunky paragraphs for her to just describe how his eyes remained the same, despite the fact that his body was changing blah blah all of this stuff about duality and repression. Really, there are far more important things to talk about in this situation, rather then whether your crush's eyes look more like honey, copper, umber, etc. And that's not all that brought this book down for me. Oh no. As I said, it was doing well for the most part. About 3/4 of the way through. Yet, as soon as the 'reveal' happened, the quality of this book rapidly declined. Books involving creepy, possessive guys are one thing. It depends on how the book itself treats it. Is it romanticized? Or does the book clearly show that it's wrong and does the character get called out on it? Sadly, while the book makes it very clear that (view spoiler)[Brian's (hide spoiler)] behavior is wrong, it's the way that it is treated by other characters that makes it problematic. Aidan clearly acknowledges that it's wrong. She feels uncomfortable by it, and gets understandably angry, yet the fact that (view spoiler)[Josiah (hide spoiler)] doesn't see a problem with it is deeply unsettling. And this is emphasized by the lack of reaction when she tells her friends, too. In general, (view spoiler)[Brian's (hide spoiler)] motivation was so weak, it was almost laughable. He didn't get the girl, so he decided to murder innocent humans for ten years? In general, the whole 'I didn't get the girl / guy, so now I'm jealous and bitter' motivation is probably the WORST motivation that there can be. And, as it's been shelved, the ending of this book took way to long to wrap up. Honestly, it could have ended straight after the battle against (view spoiler)[Brian (hide spoiler)] , but nope, we still needed two chapters of exposition and and more of (view spoiler)[Brian (hide spoiler)] being creepy! Never mind what Mac or Simon or Vivian, or even Sera, thought about all of this. Nope. It's all about Aidan and the guy we're supposed to feel sorry for (?), even though he's borderline abusive. Really, this book disappointed me. As I said, it started off very well and had potential. If the rest of the characters had more time dedicated to them, and the magic was explained better, then I could have liked it more. And oh, of course, a better plot twist than the one that we got. Also, I don't plan on reading the rest of the books in the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    Q: “No, seriously, of all the places you could be sitting, why are you on my front porch? There are hundreds of thousands of porches in this country. Maybe even millions. Most of them are located in far hotter climates than central freaking Oregon, and you can sit and roast your fiery ass for hours on end. All you can do here is freeze and wonder if the rain is going to stop sometime before July. This is not the place for you. It can never be the place for you. And that is why I live here.” (c)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Someone's Potato

    DNF @ 25% Show don't tell! The dialogue is awkward and way too wordy. Speaking of wordy, the info-dumps are no joke and it comes up around 7% through the book. Example of one of the worst info-dumping nightmare I have ever come across in a long time (gonna put this under a spoiler because it's way too long): (view spoiler)["I turned off the music and began to tell the story. I could almost hear my great-grandmother speaking through my voice. “Magic existed at the dawn of time, and it manifested a DNF @ 25% Show don't tell! The dialogue is awkward and way too wordy. Speaking of wordy, the info-dumps are no joke and it comes up around 7% through the book. Example of one of the worst info-dumping nightmare I have ever come across in a long time (gonna put this under a spoiler because it's way too long): (view spoiler)["I turned off the music and began to tell the story. I could almost hear my great-grandmother speaking through my voice. “Magic existed at the dawn of time, and it manifested as life. This life formed alongside the lands as they shifted and the waters as they rose and fell. The first creatures were a part of the land and the water, and they came to know the earth’s ways, to understand them to the very root of their being. They learned how to make the tides ebb and flow, to cause the desert sands to billow across the dry earth, to make lava spew from mountains and reshape the land.” I paused, checking to see if my audience was still with me. No one interrupted, so I continued. “The land and water sustained life for the first creatures by offering a continual source of magic, the same magic that first created this world and everything in it. The creatures in turn cared for the land and water. They helped the trees grow lush and tall and let the waters flow from mountain to stream to ocean. They brought rain to parched fields and burned forests whose time had passed, letting new life blossom in their place. In this way, our world grew rich. The earth and water, so healthy and satisfied, became complacent and found themselves desiring something new, something different. From this desire was born humans and animals. The humans and animals were beautiful and varied, and the original creatures found them remarkable in their way. They did not mind that they ate the earth’s plants and chopped down the trees for wood, for they had worked for many years to create a vibrant and thriving world. The humans were few, and they believed the world could withstand many of their kind. The creatures did not foresee the speed with which the humans would spread or how much they would take from the earth. In despair, they watched their world slowly recede. The originals’ homes eroded as the humans took just a little bit more and then a little bit more. Some chose not to fight at all, and they simply disappeared, moving far from any human settlement. Occasionally, one might hear whispers about these original creatures, rumors that they live still, moving deeper and deeper into the wilds each year, though centuries have passed since any have been seen. Those that remained joined with the humans, hoping to share some of their magic and tie the people to the land they were slowly destroying.” [....] I looked back at Simon. His head was tilted back and his eyes closed, but he was still awake. When he made no move to begin telling his story, I continued. “After years of silent observation, the originals found it surprisingly easy to assume human shape and move among them. As now, beautiful women had power, and it was not difficult to lead the human men to their beds. The men’s seed quickened in their wombs, and as the children grew, the women whispered to their bellies, speaking all the secrets of land and water. By remaining in human form and carrying human children, they found humanity imprinted on their bodies. They were unable to return to their original forms and were forever stuck between their world and the human world. Though they mourned their loss, they found comfort in their children, who possessed a magic nearly as pure as that of their mothers. In this way, the first elementals were born, many thousands of years ago.”“So far, that matches the stories I have heard, though perhaps more mystical than is altogether necessary,” said Simon. “I would hear just a bit more.” (hide spoiler)] [image error] Who has time for all that? This Simon may want to "hear just a bit more" but I sure as hell don't. That isn't not world-building, it's just an enormous beast of an info-dump used as a shortcut to flesh out the story. I feel like I'm sitting in on an honest to god info session on the book. The reasoning that the author provides for this tsunami of information is ridiculous. Aiden (the main character) is introduced to an guy named Simon, she randomly demands that he tell her about his family tree (because that's what you ask people when you meet them for the first time), and he asks her to recite the entire history of her species before he will "add in the part" where his species comes in. Uh, okay? Does no one find that strange? I'm not going to continue quoting that outpour of background info since it continues along for a bit until Simon jumps in with his species' history, which is blessedly short. Unfortunately, the main character is not happy with this and makes him recite his species' entire history. I'm starting to see a trend here. What's ironic is that the main character even mentions footnotes: "While I was surprised to hear this footnote from a story I thought I knew in great detail, it still didn’t explain why..." blah blah blah blah. Around here the history lesson turns into more of a question and answer session. I struggled to get through this section and got up to 25% through the book but I just can't do it. Clearly a lot of people liked this, and the plot seems like it would be my cup of tea, but I guess I just can't get past the dialogue and the writing style.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lekeisha The Booknerd

    This is pretty darn good. I hope the next book is just as good or better. *full review to come* *update* Also posted over at Lekeisha The Booknerd Wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this book. My first time coming across it a couple weeks ago, I immediately started reading after I downloaded it. There are little things that irked me, but not enough to turn me off completely from the story. The writing, world building, and characters are all very well set up. In the beginning, with Aidan being tr This is pretty darn good. I hope the next book is just as good or better. *full review to come* *update* Also posted over at Lekeisha The Booknerd Wasn’t sure what I was expecting from this book. My first time coming across it a couple weeks ago, I immediately started reading after I downloaded it. There are little things that irked me, but not enough to turn me off completely from the story. The writing, world building, and characters are all very well set up. In the beginning, with Aidan being tracked down after ten years in hiding, I was kind of hesitant to keep reading. Only because I was afraid that I wouldn’t get enough backstory on the whys and hows of her sudden drop from society. I didn’t have to worry for long because along the way, there are Aidan’s recollections of what happened all those years ago and why she is wallowing in self hatred and doubt. I really wanted to get to know her as a character, and she opened up more and more as the story unfolded. I’m glad to say that she is really a fun character, once she drops that wall she’s built around herself. Aidan is an Elemental. Water to be exact. There were lots of killings of people who were associated with Elementals years ago, and Aidan – along with her friend Sera (Fire) – set up a trap for the person(s) responsible. It all turned horribly wrong in the end and Aidan cut off all communication with everyone and turned tail. Now, ten years later, the killings are happening again. Only, now, the victims all have a connection to either dating Aidan or Sera at one point in their lives. The other connection is that the victims are all Shapeshifters. They are being killed by a powerful Elemental (Earth) and being left in various locations near Lake Tahoe. With the help of some local Shapeshifters and Elementals, Aidan and Sera try to once again find the killer. The problem? The FBI is keeping a close watch on Aidan and Sera, now that these killings seem like no coincidence. How can Aidan and Sera do there job if the humans have eyes on them? This just got harder than Aidan thought. Secondary characters seem to hold as much of the story as the main characters. Simon is one that I really liked. His wicked sense of humor and what he shifts into made me smile a lot while reading. I won’t spoil it, but you will laugh when you read it. Who would have thought he could be of any use to them? He held his own perfectly. I especially love Mac. Think of a mactruck, and you can just about imagine his shifting abilities. I love the romance building between him and Aidan. I knew from the moment that they met, that they would be drawn to each other. She handles him like no other. The friendship between Sera and Aidan is very well drawn out. At first introduction, you don’t know what will happen because there is obvious tension between them. And after you get to the point of why that tension is there, you understand both girls’ pain. It was nice to see them getting back to their old selves, and that bond that they share is hard to come by. I love the backstory of both the Elementals and Shapeshifters. Aidan is kind of a spitfire when we first meet her, which put me off a little. You’d have thought that she was the Fire and not Water. But after Sera and Aidan both start to loosen up, their personalities mesh good with their magic. If you want a good urban fantasy to read, I definitely recommend this book. If you like Elementals, Shapeshifters, and magic in your reading, give this book a chance. I just got book two and can’t wait to read it. Definitely recommended!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lee Dunning

    Broken Elements had a lot of biases to overcome with me. I’ve always maintained that I don’t like first person PoV, I don’t like urban fantasy (I prefer to have my fantasy in a totally made up world, not my own), and I am not a huge fan of shifters. Broken Elements has all three. So, when I say this ended up being a really enjoyable read, you know the writer must have done something right. First of all, it’s a very polished, professional product. I know that sounds odd when talking about what is Broken Elements had a lot of biases to overcome with me. I’ve always maintained that I don’t like first person PoV, I don’t like urban fantasy (I prefer to have my fantasy in a totally made up world, not my own), and I am not a huge fan of shifters. Broken Elements has all three. So, when I say this ended up being a really enjoyable read, you know the writer must have done something right. First of all, it’s a very polished, professional product. I know that sounds odd when talking about what is essentially an artistic endeavor, but I have read quite a few self-published or first time writings of late that were poorly edited, clumsily put together, and made me wonder just what the person was thinking by presenting their work to the world. No worries here. Even the cover has a professional look to it, not just a canned photo with a bad font stuck on it. It has almost a layered, paper cut-out look to it, and the more you look at it the more you see. Second, the dialogue is entertaining without being overwhelming. I reviewed another book recently where there was lots of snappy dialogue and inner thoughts, but it was so unrelenting that it became wearisome instead of entertaining. Not so with this book. The back and forth between the characters seems much more natural and stops when there is an actual serious conversation that needs to take place. I laughed audibly several times throughout the book and that is a rarity for me. The PoV character is likable – a real must when you don’t have any other PoV to turn to. Third, the story itself is interesting. There is a murder mystery involving a serial killer that our heroes are desperate to solve since their friends are dropping like flies, and the murders themselves point to an “elemental” being involved (about half the characters in the story are elementals). I figured out fairly early on who the culprit was, but there were other twists in the story that made up for it. Who Ms. Brook’s father turned out to be surprised me and made me happy since he was one of my favorite characters. Okay, so that still leaves a couple of things that would normally get up my nose – the urban fantasy genre and the shifters. The story takes place primarily in Tahoe, in a small area with cabins and camping. This lends itself to isolating the characters and making it harder to track the murderer. I was happy that I didn’t have to wade through another Seattle or New York setting. The world is big and full of interesting places, no need to always set a story in one of the overdone cities. Urban fantasy also has a tendency to be very “Mary Sue”. That wasn’t nearly so apparent in this story. Thank you!! Our heroine is flawed, she’s not super woman, and while her love life is involved in the plot, it isn’t overpowering. The shifters are a bit different from what I’m used to. This isn’t the clan of werewolves that stink up the book world these days. These are people who are mostly loners (thus far – I’m told there are otter shifters in book two and it’s hard to imagine otters as loners). One chap turns into a large black bear and the other turns into a small house cat. Simon the cat is especially entertaining. He has a penchant for lounging around nude and is truly oblivious to why anyone might be uncomfortable with that. Overall, I was quite happy with the book. It wasn’t too long, it wasn’t too short, left room for sequels, but solved the primary mystery – at least for now. I’m giving the story five stars. I will be reading the second book soon.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Elizabeth

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Mia Marshall and Netgalley.) Aidan is 65, but she looks like she’s in her twenties. A semi-powerful Water Elemental, Aidan has the ability to control water, but she’s not as powerful as her full-blooded-Water Elemental mom. 10 years ago Aidan and her best friend Sera investigated a series of murders in which people were killed by an Ice Elemental who froze their hearts. It didn’t end well, and Aida (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to author Mia Marshall and Netgalley.) Aidan is 65, but she looks like she’s in her twenties. A semi-powerful Water Elemental, Aidan has the ability to control water, but she’s not as powerful as her full-blooded-Water Elemental mom. 10 years ago Aidan and her best friend Sera investigated a series of murders in which people were killed by an Ice Elemental who froze their hearts. It didn’t end well, and Aidan has been feeling guilty about the consequences of her actions ever since, and has been hiding out alone in a house where nobody knows where she is. Now Sera has found her, and has disturbing news – her human boyfriend Chris has been killed – by having his heart frozen. Worrying that maybe their murderer of ten years ago survived and has struck again, Aidan and Sera try to find out what is going on, and to stop further murders. Can Aiden and Sera stop the murderer for good this time? Why does Aidan find it so difficult to control her element? And what does her father’s identity have to do with any of it? This was a bit of an odd one for me. It had a clearly paranormal element to the story, but the majority of the storyline was concerned with the crime mystery. Aidan (female – this confused me!) was a quite hard, dark character. She was still feeling guilty about the events in her past, and had basically hidden herself away for the best part of a decade. I’m sure psychologists would have had a field day working through her issues! Aidan had a really hard spiky shell (metaphorically speaking), and desperately tried to keep people at arms length. It was quite difficult to really know her, but not difficult to understand why she was like this. Aidan’s interaction with her friends was similarly distant, and at times her observation skills were likewise hindered. The storyline was mainly focused on the murders, with the paranormal element woven in. For this reason I’d say that this series is probably best suited to those who like ‘crime’ novels, and reminded me of Rachel Caine’s ‘Red Letter Days’ series. I liked the world building with regards to the paranormal aspects of this book, and thought that the two genres were mixed well, I also liked how clueless Aidan was with regards to the shifter community, showing how the paranormals kept things so quiet that different camps were not necessarily aware of each other. There were a couple of moments in this book where I thought ‘what?’ though, firstly; when Sera described someone trying to burn them alive as ‘a bit discomforting’ – just a bit?, and then later when Aidan happily goes off for a moonlit stroll, totally alone with the man who she has just discovered is the murderer! Stupid much?! The ending did shed some light on certain aspects of the storyline and explained a bit more about the murderers true motives though, which did help to explain things a lot. Overall; an interesting paranormal/crime novel. 7 out of 10.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    check Books Are My Drug for more reviews. My review copy was a free eARC provided by Red Queen Press through Netgalley. I told you you’d get something different after the last two, didn’t I? Here it is. Broken Elements is a short-but-fun Urban Fantasy. I found it entertaining but forgettable. There’s nothing really that special about Broken Elements – it follows a lot of the same trails that have been marked out by other writers. Even the writing is familiar. I’m not sure if it’s just that this is check Books Are My Drug for more reviews. My review copy was a free eARC provided by Red Queen Press through Netgalley. I told you you’d get something different after the last two, didn’t I? Here it is. Broken Elements is a short-but-fun Urban Fantasy. I found it entertaining but forgettable. There’s nothing really that special about Broken Elements – it follows a lot of the same trails that have been marked out by other writers. Even the writing is familiar. I’m not sure if it’s just that this is Marshall’s first novel, but she doesn’t really have a defined style that I can latch on to – it just reads like most Urban Fantasy novels that are already out there. You know, first person, sarcastic and witty, lots of one-liners and self-deprecation. Perhaps it’s a little better-written than most – there are no passages that make me cringe, and some that actually made me laugh. I liked the concept – that’s fairly new in Urban Fantasy, as far as I know – and I liked the characterisation. One thing I really appreciated is that this avoided the usual technique of making the obsessive, needy man the love interest or ‘secretly a good guy’. No, he was a villain, and a stalker, and his actions were marked as solely his fault, not the fault of the woman who he was fixated on. This is rare in the genre. Another thing I appreciated was the way the MC has friendships with other women who are different to but just as capable as her. This is rare in most fiction. The MC isn’t the *one single woman* who is acceptable as a female. The actual plot is perhaps a little obvious, but there’s nothing really wrong with that. Sometimes you just want a quick, mostly predictable read after a long day. If you;’e looking for great literature that will last the ages, that isn’t this book. But if you’re wanting something to read on the train or in the bath, you could do a lot, lot worse. It’s a fun book. Book 2 in the Elements series will be released in April 2013, and I’ll probably pick it up.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicolas Wilson

    Review for the wife: She enjoyed it, but didn't really love it. She said she wanted a more complex story, and she mainly kept reading it for the dialogue, and because it was easy to follow along with. She said she had one substantial problem with the plot, part of the way through. (That section is hidden below, due to mild spoilers) (view spoiler)[She said some of the non-elementals(law enforcement) took the elementals' word about the division of elemental powers(each of us can only use one element Review for the wife: She enjoyed it, but didn't really love it. She said she wanted a more complex story, and she mainly kept reading it for the dialogue, and because it was easy to follow along with. She said she had one substantial problem with the plot, part of the way through. (That section is hidden below, due to mild spoilers) (view spoiler)[She said some of the non-elementals(law enforcement) took the elementals' word about the division of elemental powers(each of us can only use one element), when they really shouldn't have. After all, they're learning about an unfamiliar world, and wouldn't the girls' lying and saying "Duh, of COURSE I didn't manipulate earth. I can only shape WATER" be a perfect way of getting away with it(to a trained law enforcement officer). They have no reason to take them at their word. Even proving the existence of their individual powers, the law enforcement should have been more suspicious about whether they were lying about the limits of their abilities. (hide spoiler)] She felt it was a pretty substantial oversight,and said that it ruined everything that happened after that, because it just made the plot feel rushed and convenient. She enjoyed the book overall, but said she probably won't grab the rest of the series, because the lack of engagement in the plot spoiled her enjoyment of the characters by the end.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elle Gutierrez

    3.5* Elemental magic, shifters, and murder = a recipe for greatness. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to. From the first few chapters I knew I was really going to enjoy this book, and I was going to stay hooked the entire time. First books can be difficult because there is a lot of set up that needs to be explained as well as characters and plot. It can feel very info-dumpy, but thankfully that was not the case with this book. I felt so comfortable with this world almost from 3.5* Elemental magic, shifters, and murder = a recipe for greatness. I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to. From the first few chapters I knew I was really going to enjoy this book, and I was going to stay hooked the entire time. First books can be difficult because there is a lot of set up that needs to be explained as well as characters and plot. It can feel very info-dumpy, but thankfully that was not the case with this book. I felt so comfortable with this world almost from the beginning. Information was revealed in a natural smooth way that never felt choppy. I will say that, although I thought the way the elementals get their powers was clever, I am still murky on details about the actual elemental community/enclaves: how they work, what their exact roles are, etc. But I'm hoping we see more of that in the next book. I loved the characters and their interactions with one another; definitely one of the best aspects of the book. There is plenty of banter and witty remarks that made me chuckle and smile. The murder mystery plot kept me interested the whole way through, and I was genuinely shocked at the reveal. I did not see that coming AT ALL. My only complain was that I wish we saw more elemental powers in use. I felt like we got small glimpses and moments, but it wasn't until the end that we saw more of it in combat. Overall, it was a strong first book and I am so freaking excited to start the second one!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Stewart

    Aidan Brook has been hiding from the world for ten years, happily living in the middle of nowhere and not intending to change that any time soon, when her ex best friend, Sera, turns up on her doorstep with bad news. Those murders that happened all those years ago that made you run away? Well, they seem to be happening again. Aidan reluctantly joins Sera and returns to the scene of the murders, hoping to find who is responsible and put a stop to it for good, as she thought they had long ago. On Aidan Brook has been hiding from the world for ten years, happily living in the middle of nowhere and not intending to change that any time soon, when her ex best friend, Sera, turns up on her doorstep with bad news. Those murders that happened all those years ago that made you run away? Well, they seem to be happening again. Aidan reluctantly joins Sera and returns to the scene of the murders, hoping to find who is responsible and put a stop to it for good, as she thought they had long ago. On her side is the fact that Aidan and Sera are Elementals. They can control their own element. Aidan is a water, while Sera is fire, and the elements help shape their personalities. But the powers also come with a catch, since the murderer is killing those who are close to Elementals. Along for the ride are other Elementals, with varying degrees of power, as well as two shifters. As a group they work on finding and stopping the killer. I don’t know how good a synopsis that is, but this book is definitely worth a look if you’re at all interested in urban fantasy, or similar. I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to have a new supernatural world, one that doesn’t rely on vampires and werewolves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of those things, but it’s refreshing to have a change, and especially one that doesn’t seem to be basing its world on previous myths and legends. While I don’t think the idea of controlling the elements is new, the history of the Elementals and how they came to be is something I haven’t come across before. There’s strong world building, but without too much exposition. A lot of first books in a series get too heavily bogged down with back story, or they can skirt that entirely to keep people guessing for the next book, which is frustrating. I think Broken Elements treads this line carefully, giving you just enough to keep you interested without giving everything away. There’s still a lot to learn about the world and I look forward to seeing where it goes as the series progresses. One of my favourite things about the book is the friendship between Aidan and Sera. When the story begins they’ve been estranged for years, but they’ve never really lost their connection to each other. I liked seeing them reconnect, and there’s real affection between them. And one of the strongest parts of the book is the humour and excellent dialogue. These conversations felt real. The group of friends as a whole is very well written, and they all get personalities and a voice and back stories, when it could have been easy for them to get lost in the group. I really liked Aidan as a main character, and the book works especially well when exploring her doubts and insecurities about her powers and heritage and how/where she fits in as a half-elemental. I like that Aidan feels, for want of a better word, human. Real. Even though she has supernatural powers she’s still very relatable, and she does make mistakes. There’s nothing worse than an impossibly perfect heroine. Along with the mystery of who dunnit, there’s a nice, slow burning romance, just in case anyone was worried that was missing. It’s more hinted at for most of the book, but that’s nice, it is not rushed or forced. As this is a series it can afford to take its time and let us become invested. It makes sense to do that, but not all writers do. I look forward to the second book in the series, and learning more about Aidan and her world. So roll on 2013, when we get the next installment. Update, 26 February 2013: I am friends with the author but this is an honest review. I am now working with the author in a publishing company, although I was not at the time of writing this. It does not affect the content of my review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved this story! First off, the hidden world of the Elementals and the Shifters is just amazing. I do wish there was more information about the old ones and the beginnings of their kind and perhaps some time spent on the island, but what was told certainly sufficed for a great start. I imagine there will be more information to come. I guess there isn't a whole lot of time to visit the past when you are trying to solve murders! I had suspected both Brian and Vivian at one point... As they expl I loved this story! First off, the hidden world of the Elementals and the Shifters is just amazing. I do wish there was more information about the old ones and the beginnings of their kind and perhaps some time spent on the island, but what was told certainly sufficed for a great start. I imagine there will be more information to come. I guess there isn't a whole lot of time to visit the past when you are trying to solve murders! I had suspected both Brian and Vivian at one point... As they explained to the feds though, Brian was a half-breed and Vivian(I can't remember exactly) was either a half-breed or had so little Elemental lineage, and neither were strong enough to do this kind of damage. Even before this discussion with the authorities I had dismissed them both as being harmless. Of course that was a big mistake. There were so many things that I didn't expect. I didn't figure them out until just before or as they were happening. I'd like to think I'm of at least average intelligence. For those who are smarter than me, you may have figured it out sooner or even expected these things to happen. Okay, so Brian ends up being so much more powerful than he led on. The hints at his jealousy and obsession for Aiden were never so overwhelming that I jumped to him as the murderer. When they brought up Trent Pond I found myself wondering, where in the hell is this going? When she finally goes to visit and they don't exactly reveal what his power is but make it very clear that he is too powerful and unstable, I knew that he was a dual-elemental. Of course that's when I placed Brian in the same category. Okay so now the murders have been solved and there is no second "gunman" involved. Finally there is some closure there. Then of course there's another surprise, Aiden is a dual-elemental too! This is awesome. She certainly got her revenge and I hope that she doesn't go crazy like Trent and Brian. I can't hardly wait for the next book in this series!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Olga Godim

    It was a good read, a solid novel with an original magic system. I liked the characters, 3-dimensional and contradictory, but the story itself didn’t engage me 100%. It worked in waves: an emotionally-charged wave, when the characters struggle and suffer, and I turned the pages avidly, followed by a bland wave, when they sit around, chat about nothing, and drink booze. The protagonist Aidan looks like a human girl but she is a half-blood elemental – half a magical being of water and half of some It was a good read, a solid novel with an original magic system. I liked the characters, 3-dimensional and contradictory, but the story itself didn’t engage me 100%. It worked in waves: an emotionally-charged wave, when the characters struggle and suffer, and I turned the pages avidly, followed by a bland wave, when they sit around, chat about nothing, and drink booze. The protagonist Aidan looks like a human girl but she is a half-blood elemental – half a magical being of water and half of something else, probably human, although she has never met her father. Water is a source of joy and strength to her, and she can control water… but not always. Ten years ago, during a confrontation with a sadistic magical killer, something was broken inside her, and she has been hiding in an isolated house beside a pond ever since. When her former friend Sera arrives on her doorstep with a terrible revelation: that same killer has struck again, and the latest victim is Aidan’s dear friend, Aidan has no choice but to return to civilization and try to deal with the brutal murderer once more. This time, she is not alone, her friends are around her, but Aidan still has to figure out what is wrong with her broken magic before she can tackle the killer. There are also FBI agents breathing down her neck and muddling the waters. My main objection was to the central issue of this novel: why are these young people, magical as they might be, are plying a PI game? There is no logical reason for them to fumble around. The killer is obviously way out of their league, too clever and too powerful for them. Why don’t they dump him on the heads of the professionals – in crime investigation or in magic, and drive away as fast as they can? It would’ve been a much smarter choice, unless it’s a plot device, used by an author to make them investigate. But a writer’s whim is not the best force to propel a story. So it left me vaguely disappointed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yzabel Ginsberg

    (I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.) 3.5 stars. "Broken Elements" reads fast and with ease. While elemental powers are nothing new in itself, they were woven into the story in a seamless way that made sense. I really liked the relationship between Aidan and Sera, and their interactions that were sometimes bumpy, but always speaking of their underlying affection for each other. The downside was maybe that compared to these two, the other characters seemed a little flat (I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.) 3.5 stars. "Broken Elements" reads fast and with ease. While elemental powers are nothing new in itself, they were woven into the story in a seamless way that made sense. I really liked the relationship between Aidan and Sera, and their interactions that were sometimes bumpy, but always speaking of their underlying affection for each other. The downside was maybe that compared to these two, the other characters seemed a little flat, less defined—albeit still enjoyable (I quite liked Simon' behaviour). I also appreciated that the romantic interest was woven in gradually, and didn't end up in full-blown eternal-love-at-first-sight: there's still room for evolution in it, that will hopefully span over the next book(s), and this seems more natural to me than the contrary. The author took care of avoiding info-dumps as much as possible; however, there still was a big one in the first chapters, which seemed a bit forced. I was also left dubious about the involvement of some of the human characters (no names here, to avoid spoiler), who I expected would have been more suspicious after the revelation of elemental powers: after all, it was the girls' word against their meager knowledge, so how would they be sure said girls told the whole truth? Finally, I thought that sometimes, the characters reacted a little too much like "young" people: they have lived for several decades, so I'd expect more wisdom from them. (But this is something that I always find tricky in books dealing with older-than-they-seem and/or immortal characters; it's clearly not an easy job to do.) All in all, though, I still enjoyed this story, and will very likely pick the next volume to learn more about the world and characters presented in the first one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This is more of a 3.5 star, but I'm rounding up because I liked it more than a lot of my 3 star reviews, especially for being the first book in a series. Some of the books I've read recently seem to lack aspects that engage you in the storyline itself. This author did a good job with researching locales and, in this book, technologies, which is always a plus if you want to keep me interested. I enjoyed the locations in the book because I grew up around the areas that the book takes place in. I al This is more of a 3.5 star, but I'm rounding up because I liked it more than a lot of my 3 star reviews, especially for being the first book in a series. Some of the books I've read recently seem to lack aspects that engage you in the storyline itself. This author did a good job with researching locales and, in this book, technologies, which is always a plus if you want to keep me interested. I enjoyed the locations in the book because I grew up around the areas that the book takes place in. I also thought the author did a good job of character development in giving her characters distinctive personalities. It is a bit of a Scooby Gang style adventure, but there's a good history and reasoning for why they came together so it's all good. This is also the first book of the 'Elemental' genre I've read so I found the idea of environmental manipulation interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing how this pans out and if there are limitations or pitfalls to some of the characters abilities. I also appreciated the fact that there was history provided for their supernatural abilities, which was nice because I've read too many books lately that just assume that you 'know' and I like a bit of history and logical reasoning for my supernaturals. I look forward to the second book and seeing what direction the author goes, considering the way she left the ending in this book. I have my ideas as to how I'd like to see it go, but I hope the author has some surprises in store for us.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I was given this book in exchange off a fair review. This is a really good book. The heroine, Aidan, is an Elemental, a race of magical beings that can command one of the elements ( earth, wind, fire and ice). Aidan is a water Elemental, and a powerful one that has had some issues with her magic. She gets pulled back into a murder mystery with her former best friend Sera ( a fire Elemental) when a serial killer from their college days is back. The two are joined by more Elementals and a few shap I was given this book in exchange off a fair review. This is a really good book. The heroine, Aidan, is an Elemental, a race of magical beings that can command one of the elements ( earth, wind, fire and ice). Aidan is a water Elemental, and a powerful one that has had some issues with her magic. She gets pulled back into a murder mystery with her former best friend Sera ( a fire Elemental) when a serial killer from their college days is back. The two are joined by more Elementals and a few shape shifters as the group of friends try to figure out who is behind the killings and how are they connected to the past. The story is well developed and contains several plot twists. The only down side Is that there isn't much romance going on in this first book. Aidan does seem to have a potential love interest, but it isn't developed much. I will be looking forward to the next book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was one of the best stories I've read in quite a while. I ended up reading it cover to cover in a matter of five hours because I just couldn't put it down. The writing is excellent, and the storytelling is phenomenal. I love how Mia combines a contemporary setting with this compelling fantasy story line and a mystery all at once. The way the information is weaved throughout the story so that we slowly learn more and more about the world and culture of the elementals is truly masterful. I am This was one of the best stories I've read in quite a while. I ended up reading it cover to cover in a matter of five hours because I just couldn't put it down. The writing is excellent, and the storytelling is phenomenal. I love how Mia combines a contemporary setting with this compelling fantasy story line and a mystery all at once. The way the information is weaved throughout the story so that we slowly learn more and more about the world and culture of the elementals is truly masterful. I am not a great reviewer, but I can't say enough good things about this. I would recommend this book very highly. (Full disclosure: At the time I published this review, I did not know the author. I am now working with her on the release of the second Elements book.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bmquiram

    I received Broken Elements as a Good reads first read. Thank you. I you enjoy paranormal stories about witches and shape shifters, you will love this story. The main characters are not exactly witches, they are elementals. Elementals are beings that can control a particular element due to family heritage. During their younger days two elementals help eliminate a threat to all elementals. Or so they thought. Now the danger is back and the two girls must reunite for a second attempt to solve the m I received Broken Elements as a Good reads first read. Thank you. I you enjoy paranormal stories about witches and shape shifters, you will love this story. The main characters are not exactly witches, they are elementals. Elementals are beings that can control a particular element due to family heritage. During their younger days two elementals help eliminate a threat to all elementals. Or so they thought. Now the danger is back and the two girls must reunite for a second attempt to solve the mystery. I enjoyed the development of the characters, and I found the settings both realistic and beautifully descriptive. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a story that takes the reader to another time and/or place.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    This is a fun and well-written urban fantasy-ish book with some unique elements--and I mean that in more than one way--that make it worth your time, even if you think you've seen it all. The best part of this book is definitely the characterization--there's a water elemental who has trouble getting in touch with her feelings, a fire elemental with an attitude, and a well done were-housecat--but I also enjoyed the world building and the action sequences. I will disclose that this was written by a f This is a fun and well-written urban fantasy-ish book with some unique elements--and I mean that in more than one way--that make it worth your time, even if you think you've seen it all. The best part of this book is definitely the characterization--there's a water elemental who has trouble getting in touch with her feelings, a fire elemental with an attitude, and a well done were-housecat--but I also enjoyed the world building and the action sequences. I will disclose that this was written by a friend of mine, but don't think I'm so nice that I would tell you to pick it up if it wasn't worth your time. If you're into this sort of thing, it absolutely is.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I read an ARC of this (which is always fun). And how exciting to read urban fantasy that finds a unique approach to the genre - I liked the idea of the elementals, and that it was expanded beyond the traditional earth, water, fire, because it opened up possibilities and created a great world. Plus, no vampires, which I am really over for real this time. The characters and the dialogue were great, so no surprise that I liked the books, since that's my favourite part, usually. I was a bit unconvin I read an ARC of this (which is always fun). And how exciting to read urban fantasy that finds a unique approach to the genre - I liked the idea of the elementals, and that it was expanded beyond the traditional earth, water, fire, because it opened up possibilities and created a great world. Plus, no vampires, which I am really over for real this time. The characters and the dialogue were great, so no surprise that I liked the books, since that's my favourite part, usually. I was a bit unconvinced by the ending, which seemed too sudden, but it did bring up something which is going to make for an interesting next book, so I can't wait for the series to continue. Definitely worth reading.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Hamster

    At first I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of writing. But then after a few awkward phrases and overly-complicated similes, the wordplay took on a trying-too-hard quality. Still, I found the premise engaging. I didn't even mind the massive info dump in the first chapter. (Okay, I minded a little.) But I probably would've barreled my way past the inconsistent prose had it not been for the coarse language. Not only had I encountered three "F" words by page twelve, the umpteen references to At first I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of writing. But then after a few awkward phrases and overly-complicated similes, the wordplay took on a trying-too-hard quality. Still, I found the premise engaging. I didn't even mind the massive info dump in the first chapter. (Okay, I minded a little.) But I probably would've barreled my way past the inconsistent prose had it not been for the coarse language. Not only had I encountered three "F" words by page twelve, the umpteen references to binge drinking made me feel like I need to go to an AA meeting. Thanks NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book. Sorry it wasn't my style.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lanie (Lanies Book Thoughts)

    I thought this was a pretty good book, it's definitely got a lot of mystery with a touch of paranormal. I wasn't really a fan of Aiden, she was too stuck on the past. I just didn't feel like she had a lot of personality, she was more reserved. The mystery and crime within the book help to make up for it though. I enjoyed how all the little details came together in the end. You'd get little clues here and there, and not get them at first, but as it progresses everything comes together. This is de I thought this was a pretty good book, it's definitely got a lot of mystery with a touch of paranormal. I wasn't really a fan of Aiden, she was too stuck on the past. I just didn't feel like she had a lot of personality, she was more reserved. The mystery and crime within the book help to make up for it though. I enjoyed how all the little details came together in the end. You'd get little clues here and there, and not get them at first, but as it progresses everything comes together. This is definitely a great book for people who like murder mysteries. I received this book in exchange for an honest review (LoP or Lovers of Paranormal).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    It reads as a good old-fashioned murder mystery. The protaganist and crime just happens to be paranormal. The writting is excellent. The dialogue is funny and fresh. I reallly enjoyed reading it.* As per the rules, I'm noting that I did win a signed copy here on Goodreads. On a personal note, Ms. Marshall contacted me personally to make sure I got the book and to check if I liked it. Her kindness, should be noted, but did not influence my review. It reads as a good old-fashioned murder mystery. The protaganist and crime just happens to be paranormal. The writting is excellent. The dialogue is funny and fresh. I reallly enjoyed reading it.* As per the rules, I'm noting that I did win a signed copy here on Goodreads. On a personal note, Ms. Marshall contacted me personally to make sure I got the book and to check if I liked it. Her kindness, should be noted, but did not influence my review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    JB

    I haven't read much urban fantasy in recent months and reading this book reminded me of how much I love that genre. I enjoyed the heck out of this story! It's a smooth read, and the characters are intensely likable and easy to connect with. I could have used more romance - a LOT more! - but the groundwork has been laid and I am crossing all my fingers there will be more more Aidan/Mac action in the next book....which I am starting RIGHT NOW ;) I haven't read much urban fantasy in recent months and reading this book reminded me of how much I love that genre. I enjoyed the heck out of this story! It's a smooth read, and the characters are intensely likable and easy to connect with. I could have used more romance - a LOT more! - but the groundwork has been laid and I am crossing all my fingers there will be more more Aidan/Mac action in the next book....which I am starting RIGHT NOW ;)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon

    I'm not really a genre reader, if you ignore my somewhat unseemly addiction to Noir and books of the scandiwegian crime novel persuasion, so I've never read urban fantasy. This might be changing now. I loved Broken Elements and read it in that just.one.more.page way over the course of an evening. I thoroughly recommend it and I'm keenly waiting for the next book to come out. I'm not really a genre reader, if you ignore my somewhat unseemly addiction to Noir and books of the scandiwegian crime novel persuasion, so I've never read urban fantasy. This might be changing now. I loved Broken Elements and read it in that just.one.more.page way over the course of an evening. I thoroughly recommend it and I'm keenly waiting for the next book to come out.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This was my first dip into the urban fantasy genre, and I really enjoyed it. You always know the world-building's been well-done when you find yourself wondering which elemental you'd like to be... Interesting characters with complicated relationships, plus a solid mystery, made this a fun, quick read. Now to wait for the next book in the series! This was my first dip into the urban fantasy genre, and I really enjoyed it. You always know the world-building's been well-done when you find yourself wondering which elemental you'd like to be... Interesting characters with complicated relationships, plus a solid mystery, made this a fun, quick read. Now to wait for the next book in the series!

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