Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review ~ Elemental Secrets by Elle Middaugh

Elemental Secrets 
Elle Middaugh 
(The Essential Elements, #1) 
Publication date: February 27th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Valerie Moore was a beautiful, headstrong girl with below-average social skills and above-average anxiety (including a flair for over-analyzing).

With her mother long deceased, and her father recently deployed, she ends up being sent to live with her eccentric aunt in a tiny town nestled in the mountains of Pennsylvania. But, being a Navy brat had made her into a bit of a loner, and making friends certainly wasn’t her strongest suit. As if the life of a typical teen wasn’t hard enough.

But Valerie soon discovers she’s not a typical teenager. Not by a long shot.

SECRETS are revealed…

…About her family, about her newfound friends and relationships, and about her whole world… Things that have been kept from her for her entire life…

But the biggest secret of all is revealed when Valerie discovers that she has Elemental powers, and a chain of inexplicable and irrevocable events unleashes throughout the little town…



This ebook was sent to me free in exchange for an honest review... 

I'm giving Elemental Secrets a solid four stars. It was a great start to what I hope will be a really good series... but there were some things I didn't like. Firstly, what I enjoyed...

I really liked the world building in this book, something that has been sadly missing in the last few fantasy books I've read.  I liked the deep history that is hinted at in this book, though I hope the next few books build on that and give more details about elementals and their history. I also liked the magic and the imagery. Middaugh did a fantastic job setting each scene and drawing me in... as if I was watching a movie. While I normally hate when I can predict how certain mysteries unfold and how they end, Middaugh kept me wondering just enough that while I did predict many things correctly, I was in no way bored... it was still very interesting and immersive. 

Ok... now what I didn't enjoy... I wasn't crazy about many of these characters, but I hope they improve over the series. Valerie, though she comes off as very independent and a marcher of her own drum in the beginning, quickly becomes a little too vapid, self-absorbed, and attention seeking in my opinion. But there are other times that she seems quite selfless, so I dunno... it was like she absorbed the personalities of those around her. When she was around Holden and his friends, she was very much the typical preppy, shallow teen. But in her scenes with Cade and her aunt, she was more grounded, more like the person I thought she was at the beginning. I didn't quite like that pendulum... it was a little distracting. Unless of course she literally is absorbing the personalities of those around her... like maybe somehow she absorbs Holden's careless air, Cade's grounded Earth, and Chase's passionate fire... in which case, that would be really cool... but that is never mentioned here. It is kinda the feeling I was getting though... I just found it weird that she has this strong attraction to, so far, an elemental of three elements.... and her personality changes in subtle ways depending on who she's with, reflecting the difference in her attraction to them (Holden lifts her and makes her feel like she's flying - hence her carelessness when she's with him, Cade makes her feel grounded and true, and Chase seems to set her on fire). I thought that maybe there was something there. It just seems like too much of a coincidence. Is she going to be attracted to a water elemental too? To complete the circle? 

I also hated that I didn't like Cade past the first couple chapters. He had such great potential but quickly became a jerk. And I really would have liked to have more Chase... but I'm fairly certain we'll see more of him in the next given what happened in this. 

Overall, four stars. As I said, it was a solid start and I hope the next couple books either stay at this level or get even better!


Elle Middaugh is a newly published author, born in the sticks outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania. After moving around the east coast a number of times, she now lives in her hometown with her husband and three children.

Reading has been a favorite past time since Elementary School and choose-your-own-adventure books. Writing has been her dream since Middle School when she first began penning her own material. Being published is the most awesome achievement in her writing career so far, but she hopes for more exciting landmarks and stepping stones in the future!

She’s a proud Navy wife; a frazzle-brained mother; a homebody who dislikes cleaning; a fan of tennis, and fitness in general; a lover of hot tea, mountain dew, and all things fiction; and she’s a bigger My Little Pony fan than her children.


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