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Review: Lost Causes by Mia Marshall


Lost Causes
Author:  Mia Marshall
Series:   Elements 4
Publisher:  Match Books, September 22, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 354 pages
List Price:  $12.99 (print); $3.99 (Kindle eBook)
ISBN:  9780996628419 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Review: Lost Causes by Mia Marshall
Aidan Brook has spent months living with the horror of what happened when she lost control of her magic. Now she’s searching for a way to manage her immense power, but she only hits one dead end after another.

On the run from a council intent on her death, Aidan, the bear shifter Mac, and the rest of her friends find themselves on a desperate chase across deserts and oceans in search of answers. Along the way, they encounter a living myth and a dual magic with secrets of his own—and they learn that the cure may be more deadly than the disease.

To save her own life, Aidan will need to confront the most dangerous foe she’s ever faced…herself.


Melanie's Thoughts

Lost Causes picks up almost immediately after the shocking events at the end of Turning Tides where Aiden loses control of her dual magics and kills someone.....a bad someone but she kills nonetheless. Along with her friends she is now on the run from the council in search of another dual who can help her learn to control her growing powers and stop her from going crazy.

I struggle to adequately describe how Marshall has structured the plot of Lost Causes. It starts out fairly linear with Aiden's race across the country to find another dual magic user all while being chased by the council. When she actually finds another dual she learns that the cure to stopping her magics from ripping her mind apart could actually kill her. At this point the story veers off into a slightly different direction. It is at this juncture where we learn about the 'first power' the beings that created the elementals and the shifters. This plotline continues for several more chapters when the switch gets flipped again and the plot returns to the council's pursuit of Aiden. Marshall does keep a frenetic pace to the story but not at the expense of character development, well the development of Aiden and Sera. There is an interesting plot twist in store for Sera that I didn't really see coming and therefore, enjoyed all the more. I thought that Marshall could have spent a bit more time with some of the other characters but she has developed them as a cohesive group of supporting characters that help to advance the plot. I think that Marshall also takes pity on us and resolves the 'will they/won't they' between Aiden and her bear shifter boyfriend Mac.

Lost Causes is a very enjoyable read. I slipped right back into the story as if I had just finished book 3 minutes before. It is also a very quick read despite all the action and adventure that takes place. Marshall does seem to wrap the plot arc up with a bow at the end, but there is one more book in the series to go. I am interested to see what Marshall has in store for these characters in the fifth and final novel in the Elements series.



Previously

Broken Elements
Elements 1
Match Books, February 26, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 338 pages

Review: Lost Causes by Mia Marshall
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.



Shifting Selves
Elements 2
Match Books, April 15, 2013
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 351 pages

Review: Lost Causes by Mia Marshall
Aidan Brook’s world was shattered when she uncovered long-buried secrets about her past. Secrets that could cost her sanity—or even her life.

Now, she craves peace and quiet, but that’s not an option when local children start vanishing. Soon, Aidan is drawn deep into the shifter world…a place where elementals like herself are decidedly unwelcome. To track the missing children, these longtime enemies must work together without too many claw marks or too much fur flying. Throw in a stalled romance with an enigmatic shifter, and Aidan’s life is anything but peaceful.

As Aidan and her friends zero in on the kidnapper, they discover Aidan isn’t the only one with secrets—or the only one who will stop at nothing to keep those secrets hidden…

SHIFTING SELVES won the RT Award for best indie urban fantasy!



Turning Tides
Elements 3
Match Books, May 6, 2014
Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 344 pages

Review: Lost Causes by Mia Marshall
Aidan Brook committed one too many magical crimes. Now, the water council insists she answer for them. Before they can deliver a verdict that will change her life, one of theirs is gruesomely murdered—and Aidan’s best friend is accused of the crime.

Before the body cools, Aidan is racing against the clock to prove Sera’s innocence. To make matters worse, her favorite bear shifter is struggling with the dangerous bond they now share. Aidan will do whatever it takes to save her friends…but the cost may be higher than she can pay.

A little murder, a little magic, and family and friends to help her through it all. On the outside, it looks like a typical Aidan Brook day, but she’s about to discover, when the tides start to turn, even a water elemental can’t control what happens next.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 25, 2015




Hello! I would just like to start this post by saying that I have had an excellent week in both the number and quality of books I have read. It has been a bit hit and miss of late and last week I had to suffer the indignity of only finishing 1 book. I am still suffering the ill effects of that terrible admission. So shall I get on with it and tell you what I read?


I bought the The Harvest by Chuck Wendig a while ago and forgot it was waiting for me on my Kindle. This is the final book of the The Heartland Trilogy and Wendig does and excellent job of wrapping up the story of Cael, the Blight and the remains of the Empyrean empire. When we last left Cael he was falling to earth after bringing down the Saranyu flotilla and now a year later he has been saved by none other than the Maize Witch. The entire world has now changed and not really for the better. While there are no longer the Obligations and the Harvest festivals many of the towns are now dead and their inhabitants turned into mechanical creatures (I imagined Cybermen from Dr Who). Cael gathers his friends for a final mission to destroy the remaining war flotilla by finding the one weapon that could kill the corn used to fuel the ships.

I have really enjoyed this series and The Harvest is definitely the best book of the series. I loved Cael and I found it hard to remember that he was only 17. This is as much a story of love, friendship and growing up as it is about defeating the 'bad guys' and there are quite a few of them in this story to defeat. All of Cael's friends are back and some of his not-so friends such as Boyland, the bully from his youth. His love interest Gwennie returns and there is an interesting love triangle that develops with the now powerfully Blight infected Wanda, Cael's obligated. Wendig gets the balance between plot development, characterisation and action perfectly balanced, not just in this instalment but all the way through.  There were so many themes at play - family, racism, facism, love, homophobia to name a few but none were rammed down your throat like in some other novels I have read, especially in fiction for younger readers.  Wendig has blended the different elements along with a richly vibrant world to create an excellent series. I am sad to see Cael disappear from my TBR but completely satisfied with the ending. Even if science fiction or young adult fiction isn't your favourite thing this is a fantastic series.


I was super duper lucky to receive an ARC of Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews. The rest of you will have to wait until the 13th November (a Friday 13th no less!) but I urge you to rush to your computers and order/pre-order Sweep in Peace, the second book in the Innkeeper Chronicles.  That is all I can say at the moment as I am writing a full review which will hopefully be posted soon. You can stare at the cover until then and read my review of Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles 1) here.


I was also very naughty this week by reading 2 books that I am writing full reviews for so again, I can't tell you much. Keep your eyes out for my full review of Lost Causes by Mia Marshall which is the 4th novel in the Elements series. Loved it!  All I am saying.


I hope you have a great week ahead and until next week (and my post Halloween sugar hangover) Happy Reading.



The Harvest
The Heartland Trilogy 3
Skyscape, July 14, 2015
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 437 pages

Blood will water the corn...

It’s been a year since the Saranyu flotilla fell from the sky, and life in the Heartland has changed. Gone are the Obligations and the Harvest Home festivals. In their place is a spate of dead towns, the former inhabitants forced into mechanical bodies to serve the Empyrean—and crush the Heartland.

When Cael awakens from a Blightborn sleep, miles away from the world he remembers, he sets out across the Heartland to gather his friends for one last mission. As the mechanicals, a war flotilla, and a pack of feral Empyrean girls begin to close in on the Heartland, there isn’t much time to make their next move. But if they can uncover a secret weapon in time, Cael and his friends might just find themselves with the power to save the world—or destroy it—resting in their hands.


Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall


Turning Tides
Author:  Mia Marshall
Series:  Elements 3
Publisher:  Match Books, May 6, 2014
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 344 pages
List Price:  $12.99 (print)
ISBN: 9780988976160 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Author

Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall
Aidan Brook is hours away from a peaceful life. Once she accepts her future as a banished elemental, she can leave her family’s island and return to Lake Tahoe, where she’ll spend the rest of her days controlling her magic in a calm, stress-free environment. That plan hits a snag when a member of the elementals’ governing body is murdered—and Aidan’s best friend is accused of the crime.

Before the body cools, Aidan is racing against the clock to prove Sera’s innocence. To make matters worse, she must face the consequences of the bond she now shares with her favorite bear shifter—all while her sanity grows less predictable by the day.

Magic, murder, and mayhem: it may look like a typical Aidan Brook day, but she’s about to discover, when the tides start to turn, even a water elemental can’t control what happens next.


Melanie's Thoughts

I came across the Elements series by Mia Marshall quite by accident and really enjoyed the first two books Shifting Shelves and Broken Elements. I was really excited when I was given the opportunity to read an ARC of Turning Tides which is the third book in the series.

In this instalment Aiden has been forced to face the music and is back on the island where she grew up to face possible banishment from her family and her childhood home. She is on trial for events that occurred in the previous books that exposed the elementals to humanity. Everything changes when one of the councillors proceeding over her trial is quite gruesomely murdered in front of everyone. Her friend and fire elemental, Sera is accused of the crime and Aiden has only 3 days to prove Sera's innocence.  Her work cut out for her as the body count rises. Just to make her investigation more of a challenge her friends turn up with another puzzle to solve. Its not long before almost the whole gang is back together including her cat shifter friend Simon and the exceeding cute but equally foul mouthed otter shifter Miriam. They have brought Aiden's 'honey' and shifter bear Mac who has been ill ever since Aiden left for the island.  In between finding a killer Aiden has to cure Mac from a bad case of separation anxiety. If you have read the previous books you will know that Mac and Aiden are having as what can only be described as a 'slow burn' romance. We get teased in each book as they come closer and closer but it still continues at a snail's pace. To round out the Aiden fan club are her father, the fire elemental Josiah along with the FBI agent Carmichael and earth elemental Vivian who is helping out from afar. Despite having her friends close by finding the murderer isn't going to be easy and leads her closer and closer to the insanity that plagues those with dual elements. This could be the final straw that pushes Aiden to the point of no return.

I was surprised to learn that Marshall had another book out so soon as I thought she was taking time away from Aiden and friends to work on another series. Needless to say I was high fiving myself when I was offered the chance to review this ARC. I really like Aiden as a character and who wouldn't want friends who turned into cats and otters? Aiden has also grown up and not quite so wise cracky as in the previous books but that's not to say that there aren't so funny lines, as there are. The humour is more balanced with the dark and murderous events that play out as she battles with the duality of her elements - fire and water. I was quite surprised at some of the events towards the end of the book, to the point where I thought that Aiden may have crossed a few too many lines. Having said that it does keep the story fresh and avoids Aiden from being too one dimensional and virtuous. The events in this novel really work well for creating spin off story lines for future novels. Marshall just about hits everything right with Turning Tides with development of an interesting and funny lead character, equally interesting and funny secondary characters, a great murder mystery and the ramifications from making difficult decisions. I hope that Marshall can keep the pace in future novels and doesn't drag out potential romance between Aiden and Mac or her potential decline into insanity. Please don't leave me too long to find out what happens to Aiden and co. next!

p.s. LOVE the print covers!



The eBook cover:

Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall


Book 1
Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall



Book 2
Review: Turning Tides by Mia Marshall

Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013



Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013



Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013 This was a fairly unproductive week on the reading front. Well, marginally unproductive. My best friend was over from Australia and we ended up doing some cultural stuff like going to Tate Britain and some not so cultural stuff like going to see Pacific Rim and riding this funfair ride on the Southbank. It was fun but only lasted 1.5 minutes. I guess that is less time to get vertigo.

My love affair with the Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan continues with my very own reunion reading of the series.  I have been reading Rise of Empire this week. I am not finished with it but hope to be early next week.  I have been trying to not rush reading them and as they are actually 2 books in one so they take longer to read than I think they should when I start out. Several months ago I sponsored Sullivan's newest book - Hollow World through Kickstarter and guess what?  He has released the ARC. It's a while before it will be released but I am super excited about being part of this literary adventure.

Melanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013
Those of you who read my Week in Review last week will know that I started Broken Elements by Mia Marshall. I quite enjoyed it and so moved onto reading book 2, Shifting Elements. There were some really funny lines in this one and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will be reviewing both of these books soon so I won't be giving too much away.

I also got some 'goodies' from NetGalley this week including A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett and Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer (who is a featured author in the 2013 Debut Author Challenge). I am excited about reading these three books....and a few others I have in my TBR.  Perhaps I better get started.

Until next week Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013
As some of you might know I read the Riyria Chronicles by Michael J.Sullivan last week.  This got me all nostalgic and I decided to have my very own Riyria reunion. Who better to get back in touch with than Royce and Hadrian. The ultimate good cop, not so bad cop. I started with Theft of Swords this week. I will read the remaining books of the Riyria Revelations over the next few weeks. Reading the 'Chronicles' series has really added a new dimension to the 'Revelations' series. I enjoyed this book again and sure that I will feel the same way about the following books.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013In between reading the Chronicles and first of the Revelations I needed something I could read in a day.  I flipped through the Kindle recommendations and it came up with book 9, Lover Unleashed of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R Ward. I have read a few but not all of this series. If you have read my 'week in reviews' before you will know that I am especially choosy about what PNR I read. Everyone gives the BDB series such positive reviews so I thought it could be just what I was looking for. I also read quite a few reviews about book 9 and some said that the sex scenes were much tamer than the other books so I thought this would be perfect as an 'inbetweener'. Holy cats is all I can say.  If those sex scenes are tame then I must cloistered...almost nun like. While I will admit PNR isn't my favourite I do like some of it especially where plot prevails over the 'R'. It wasn't the case with this installment which was all hot and steamy from almost chapter 1. What perplexes me about the BDB books is that these are vampires that have been around for 400-500 years but they talk like they have just stepped off the Wire..and not as the cops.  Is saying 'true' part of modern venacular?  If so....stop it immediately. I know people love this series and I am not the biggest fan. I have read several of the books trying to figure it all out. I guess I will have to live with the knowledge that these books are not my cup of tea.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013I apologise profusely to all the books I haven't finished this week.  I am dolefully behind but I keep adding more. I haven't finished The Havoc Machine by Steven Harper. I am not sure that I will. I feel quite pathetic but I am totally judging the book by the cover. I cringe every time I look at it and just not engaging with the characters. I have started Broken Elements by Mia Marshall and quite surprised how much I am enjoying it.  I feel bad because I have had this from NetGalley for a few months....in fact ... long enough to get book 2 Shifting Elements from NetGalley too.  I won't even go into the books I got from NetGalley this week!!!!

I am watching Skyfall as I write this and about to hit the big highlight of the plot so better get back to it.  Until next week Happy Reading.

Review: Lost Causes by Mia MarshallMelanie's Week in Review - October 25, 2015Review: Turning Tides by Mia MarshallMelanie's Week in Review - August 4, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - July 28, 2013

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