Book 272: THIS SAME EARTH Review

I enjoyed reading A Hidden Fire so much that I promptly bought and read the next book in the series. Giovanni and Beatrice’s story continues in This Same Earth, book two in the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. Beatrice has been abducted by Lorenzo and was held captive for several weeks before being freed by Giovanni, Caspar and Tenzin. Although she wasn’t tortured or hurt physically, the emotional torture has left its mark, primarily because she thought that Giovanni had willingly traded her for a book.

It takes awhile for Giovanni to convince Beatrice that this was not the case, but he gradually gets her to see that Lorenzo was going to abduct her no matter what so he simply played along with him. To give Beatrice time to heal from the emotional trauma of her abduction, not to mention witnessing the horrific fight between the two different vampire factions, Giovanni takes to the mountains of Chile. Beatrice and Giovanni are given the opportunity to show their feelings for one another and their relationship becomes much closer, or so Beatrice thinks. Regrettably their lives cannot be put on hold forever and Beatrice must return to the States to attend graduate school. So off they go, Beatrice to LA for school and Giovanni to try and track down her father, his errant son and to amass allies in the ongoing battle with his son.

Beatrice spends an enjoyable few years in graduate school and makes friends. She returns to Chile each summer but her time there is spent without benefit of Giovanni’s company. She knows that she loves him and tells him so in a series of journals. Each year she says she’s not going to return to Chile but her ticket is mysteriously left at her home and she returns. Fortunately she is afforded the opportunity to read through some of Giovanni’s journals and learns a bit more of his past lives. 

Fast forward a few more years and Beatrice is twenty-eight years old. She is an accomplished young woman, fluent in several languages, a homeowner, an employee at the Huntington Library in California, and in a relationship with a loving man, Mano. It has been six years since she saw Giovanni and she’s trying to move on with her life, or so she thought until Giovanni mysteriously reappears. Giovanni is now the legal guardian and “uncle” to a precocious, street-smart twelve-year-old named Ben. 

Beatrice must deal with renewing her relationship with Giovanni and building a relationship with Ben, her eventual breakup with Mano, and an introduction to her great-great-great-grandfather (I think I left out a few more greats but you get the idea), who just happens to be a water vampire that oversees LA. What follows is a series of fast-paced incidents including the abduction of one of Carwyn’s sons. Beatrice and Giovanni wind up going to Ireland, England and France trying to track down leads on the whereabouts of Lorenzo and Beatrice’s father, Stephen. Through it all Beatrice must confront her feelings for Giovanni and ultimately decide if she wants to have a relationship with him as a human or be turned. 

This Same Earth is another fast-paced paranormal, romantic suspense read by Ms. Hunter. There’s slightly more action and intrigue in this story, and more background information is given providing insight into Giovanni, Carwyn, Tenzin and even Lorenzo. The story ends leaving the reader hanging, wanting and waiting for more. Regrettably the third book in this series, The Force of Wind isn’t due out until February/March 2012, and I’ll definitely be putting it on my TBR list.

Book 271: A HIDDEN FIRE Review

Giovanni Vecchio is the proverbial mysterious, tall, dark and handsome stranger. He is reportedly doing research on an ancient document found in the university’s library. Beatrice de Novo is studying library sciences and works part-time in the evenings at the university’s library. Giovanni and Beatrice don’t have much in common other than a love in books, or so it appears in A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter, the first in the Elemental Mysteries series.

Giovanni may look the quintessential professional but he is so much more. Giovanni Vecchio happens to be more than 500 years old and is searching for books from his old library. He happens to be a vampire with a special gift, an affinity for fire. Due to this elemental affinity he can light candles, kindling to start fires and unfortunately short out most electronic equipment including cell phones, appliances, and cars. Currently residing in Houston, Texas, Giovanni lives a quiet life assisted by his friend/butler/chauffeur, Caspar. Caspar takes care of the tedious parts of Giovanni’s life. He also maintains contact with other vampires around the world, including two of Giovanni’s oldest friends: Carwyn, a one thousand-year-old Welsh priest, and Tenzin, a four thousand plus year old Asian woman. Carwyn is an earth vampire and can manipulate soil and rock, and Tenzin is an air vampire and can manipulate the wind and fly. These are not your run-of-the-mill vampires.

Beatrice, or “B,” is a hard-working student. She’s in her senior year and wants to graduate and continue her studies with a graduate degree. She is currently residing with her only known relative, her paternal grandmother. Her father disappeared and was presumed dead more than 10 years ago. Her grandfather died just a few years ago and her mother hasn’t been in her life since her birth. One would presume that these hard knocks would cause B to feel sorry for herself or worse, but she is a rather level-headed young woman. Or at least she thought she was until confronted with the reality that Giovanni is a vampire. If that wasn’t hard enough to swallow, she must also accept that she wasn’t crazy during her teen years and that she had seen her father – a newly turned vampire. 

Long story short, Giovanni feels that B’s father may try to contact her and wants to be readily available. To say that B has a lot to deal with is a massive understatement. It doesn’t help that she is attracted to Giovanni and that he seems to share her feelings. Weeks pass and it seems that things aren’t as bad as feared but then B is abducted by the man she and Giovanni feared. Lorenzo was turned by Giovanni and is the one that turned B’s father. He is ruthless, amoral and completely without feeling. Will Giovanni be able to save B before she can be harmed or turned? Will Giovanni and B ever be able to have a relationship other than friendship?

I kind of liked the notion that Giovanni is an antique book dealer and that B is a librarian, a research librarian but hey . . . books! Their relationship goes through many different changes including wary acquaintances, employer-employee, and then friendship. B feels as if she is caught between a rock and a hard place because she wants more from Giovanni than he is prepared to give (sounds like a lot of male-female relationships). There’s a lot more going on in this story than the subtle male-female attraction between B and Giovanni; there’s also the completely dysfunctional father-son relationship between Giovanni and Lorenzo, Giovanni’s familial relationship with Caspar and even Carwyn, B’s love-hate relationship with her father (primarily due to his disappearance), and the budding romance between Caspar and Isadora de Novo, B’s grandmother. Whew, told you it was a lot but it works. A Hidden Fire is a fast paranormal-romantic suspense read and a surprisingly good read at that.  

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the author. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”