Read Showtime by Chloe Kayne Online

showtime

The grandeur of the traveling circus is at its peak in the early 1920s when sixteen-year-old Laila Vilonia is searching for an escape from her bleak future. Behind the gates of the legendary Marvelle Circus, she is thrust into a mysterious world she never knew existed—a paradise populated with outcasts. It’s in this glamorous new home that Laila sparks a controversial romaThe grandeur of the traveling circus is at its peak in the early 1920s when sixteen-year-old Laila Vilonia is searching for an escape from her bleak future. Behind the gates of the legendary Marvelle Circus, she is thrust into a mysterious world she never knew existed—a paradise populated with outcasts. It’s in this glamorous new home that Laila sparks a controversial romance with notorious sideshow performer, "The Disappearing Man," and learns just how dangerous her new life can be. Touring the picturesque eastern coast of America, Laila’s immersed in friendship, vaudeville, festivals, sequins, and serial killers. But behind the curtain, a sadistic plan is brewing that will crack the very foundation upon which she’s become so dependent....

Title : Showtime
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13638436
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 341 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Showtime Reviews

  • Laura
    2018-10-27 04:52

    WARNING: This is long, and there may be spoilers! Approach with caution.Oh boy, WHERE do I start? If this had been a case of a friend giving me their manuscript, I'd have been able to get my red editor pencil and go nuts; frankly, this would have been riddled with red marks, I could point out flaws and errors on virtually every page. As the author has already chosen to publish, I don't have that option and can't focus on every specific instance of editorial critique, so I'll do my best.The problem is that this reads like a first draft, not a polished work. It's not ready for publication. Herein are the issues:CHARACTERS: Flat and cookie-cutter, barely distinguishable from one another. The dialogue is mainly tedious small talk and trivial gossip. Dex is by far the most interesting character, but not enough to carry the story. We need engaging backstories for these folks, make them unique and different. They need individual voices and motivations; right now, they're all kind of one big mush of the same person...and Dex.Our villain is nothing more than a petty little brat; we need a serious, dark, dangerous villain. And there has to be a reason for her villainy. She takes an instant dislike to Laila without ANY reason at all. You can't have a villain just for the sake of having one - we need a convincing motive. Even when Laila begins training as an aerialist, there are two others training with them who've been there longer and would be a much greater threat to Vivian's success - so why only target Laila? Makes no sense. And Vivian's so easily beaten, it doesn't make for much of a villain.The people just aren't believable as PEOPLE. They make unnecessary assumptions and jump to wild, ridiculous conclusions about simple things, leaving me going, "How on earth did they get THERE?!" Overdone reactions, unconvincing motives, and even main characters feel relatively unimportant. Everything's handled in unnecessarily dramatic ways. For example, near the end, Laila gets knocked unconscious, taken to an unknown place, and held captive by rough thugs we've NEVER seen before...to tell her the circus isn't paying her enough? That's not the kind of thing you tie someone up for! It's a lame conflict and they treated it like life-or-death.PACING: The book basically reads like this: blah, blah, tedium, boring, blah...SUDDEN OUT-OF-THE-BLUE CONFLICT!...blah, tedium, blah, dull, boring...SUDDEN OUT-OF-THE-BLUE CONFLICT! Makes for a jerky, uneven flow. It's jarring. Most conflicts seem to exist just to create conflict, rather than being a natural result of the storyline. They're thrown in at random just to be there. We have little or no lead-up to them, they're almost instantly resolved (making them really not conflicts at all), and they're all disconnected. There needs to be a steady rise and fall of an overriding conflict that we focus on and it's just not there. I scoured this book for a serious, overall plot and could NOT find one. The plot is weak and underdeveloped and the writing can't make up for the lack of it.Particularly in the beginning, her descriptive indulgences actually get in the way of the story's flow. I'm ALL for details to flesh out a story, but when you're dealing with an action scene that needs to move quickly, you can't take the time to use excessive description; it slows down the action. At other times, it just feels like she's using lots of words but I'm losing the scene - the visualization is impeded by all the words I'm reading. Description needs to be handled delicately and used judiciously. Here, it's just kind of slap-dash.The day-to-day routine got OLD. Every day we followed the characters, we had to see them eat every...single...meal. Every few pages, they were going to the eatery (which, incidentally, is the wrong word; 'eatery' typically refers to a more permanent fixture like a restaurant or cafe, not just any place you happen to get food - what she's actually describing is a mess tent.) I got so sick of that place, I wanted to scream. Granted, one of the main draws for joining the circus was the promise of three square meals a day - but then, give us a character whose reasons for joining INCLUDE that fact, but don't show us each and every meal; we spent more time by far in the mess tent than their living quarters!TELLING RATHER THAN SHOWING: For someone who uses lots of description, there is frustratingly little showing in this book; it's all tell, tell, tell. We are TOLD Jodelle is a cold, distant person, but it's never really SHOWN that way; she almost immediately becomes best-friend-giggly-girl-buddy-buddy with Laila. There should be a steady growth of her character, a natural progression slowly from cold to warm. It would make for a much more believable and compelling side-conflict.We keep being TOLD what a "bad boy" Dex is, but we don't SEE the reasons for it. He's immediately suspected of a murder that happens within the story, but we have NO evidence for his complicity other than "he's a bad boy so he must have done it." We need something that logically points to him! Give us some evidence that casts suspicion. It's a MURDER, let's see something made of it! There is more than one death that simply gets mentioned in passing where it should be a big deal - when did people get complacent about killings? This should be a dark element of the story, not bits of random gossip cast out in flippant remarks by no-name characters we simply overhear by happenstance.CONVENIENCE FOR CONVENIENCE'S SAKE: There's too much that's contrived. For example, Laila obtains (for no apparent reason and in defiance of rules) a cat - which is then immediately "kidnapped" by our "villain" and we really don't see much of the cat after that. This tells me that the ONLY reason the cat was there at all was so that he COULD be kidnapped. That's poor storytelling. To quote an editing catchphrase, she's "letting the tail wag the dog."The first scene involves a gang and some fake drugs. This somehow lands Laila in the circus, but it doesn't really fit and the reasons for her staying are muddy at best. Give us a better reason for her to be there.We have a random girl, Bethany, that gets thrown in as a trainee well after everyone else, whose sole purpose, it seems, is to show us that at least inwardly, Laila can be just as petty and self-centered as Vivian. It makes Laila unlikable, and Bethany doesn't seem to have any other purpose AT ALL, it left me wondering "what is she doing here?"We later find that Dex has a twin, but there honestly seems to be no purpose to him. He's redundant and too much of a convenience for the author; we don't need him.We get hints and references to Laila's past, but the author won't let it come out until SHE is ready, regardless of the fact that it makes more sense storywise to tell it sooner. It feels deliberately contrived and manipulative. Having a sense of Laila's history would give us a lot of insight into her character and there's no reason to keep it such a tightly-guarded secret. The vague allusions to it are just maddeningly irritating.WORDING, SYNTAX, AND GRAMMAR: The writing itself isn't exactly stellar. Cliches and hackneyed phrases abound. Passive voice all over the place, and a habit of confusing nouns and verbs. Sentences are often constructed awkwardly, words are frequently misued - saying "figment" instead of "fragment." Or CONSISTENTLY confusing "passed" and "past." Using "sunk" instead of "sank." "Incessant" when a more appropriate word would be "relentless," or "conundrum" when she means "commotion" - just to name a VERY few. The occasional typo I can understand, but when things happen with such regularity, it's a case of not knowing the difference. A writer should know better. I saw paragraph breaks mid-sentence, omitted words as well as words that didn't belong, missing periods, and semi-colons being confused with commas.She seems terrified of the word "said." Every time someone speaks, she either uses a different word (like snapped or wondered) or applies some desciptive term or action to go along with it. "Said" is usually all we need. Sometimes it helps to have a little more, but those should be the exception, NOT the rule. Using those techniques too often will actually slow down the flow of writing.The description can get old - especially when we get repeated descriptions of the same thing (another case of too much telling). How many times were we going to have to read about Jodelle's hair?! It's like she was trying to find as many different ways of saying "brown" as humanly possible. So it was "chestnut" or "chocolate" or "coffee" - all of which are very different browns. And in fact, I got REALLY tired of every color being described in terms of food (caramel, almond, honey, ad nauseum). That, combined with their constant meal trips, made me feel like the author is obsessed with food.She tries to describe things in creative ways, but it ends up sounding like she's trying too hard and they often don't work. How do you "sink" into something "weightlessly?" The word "sink" implies weight of some kind; things that are weightless float.The writing is incredibly hyperbolic. Everything is either cold or hot, black or white, one polar end of the spectrum or the other. There's no middle ground, EVERYTHING is melodrama. It's like a badly-written soap. No visible motivations, no natural development, people just suddenly and randomly change. There's no layers or subtlety. We need more depth!TONS OF HISTORICAL INACCURACIES: There is no sense of time or place - we have to be TOLD where/when we are (there's that telling again), but it doesn't happen until a third of the way into the book. And even then, it STILL feels off because we have inaccuracies right, left, and center!3 words: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! We're dealing with a time nearly 100 years in the past, and it was very different. You need to know what you're talking about, even the tiniest details. We need historical context; this was the end of WWI - the war actually ended in late 1918. This would have been huge, HUGE news. It needs to be included; you could even give one of the characters a brother in the army, it would give us believable backstory and more great side-conflict. But you must, must, MUST include major historical references if you're setting it in an actual time and place. It may not be "historical fiction," but if it's set in reality, we need to understand what the country was dealing with.If you want to make it even MORE convincing - start with the history of circuses. The circus is a small world, any news of any circus would be talked about, and talked about a lot. There was some pretty big circus news at this time period, and it takes about 10 seconds of research to find it. Like a train crash in 1918 involving a circus train; or the fact that it was at this time that Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Bros. officially teamed up to make one circus - this would have been mega news in the circus world.You have to know the fashions of the time - we have a character buy a corset, but corsets were going way out of fashion and they were expensive, hardly something these poor girls could have afforded. (It also makes no sense when you're dealing with contortionists and the like, who need to be able to MOVE, where a corset would constrict that movement.) Working women started wearing trousers and overalls to make work more convenient. We're dealing with a poor time period, not an affluent one, and we're veering away from rigidity.Names are important! We have 4 main characters who ALL have modern names. Laila wasn't a popular name until the 1970s, Alysia was not a common name at all, and Jodelle didn't exist as a first name until the mid-90s. Women had names like Sara and Anne and Dorothy. Florence is the only accurate one in the mix, everything else draws us out of the setting; they're just too exotic for the time period. You can get away with ONE fancy given name (like Florence) but it should have a story behind it, make it part of the history and uniqueness of the character. You can't do it for everyone. They can possibly give themselves stage names, but that's about it, and you'd have to do research on circus personas of the time to get an accurate idea of what types of names might be used.Even little things - like using hair spray. Two things wrong with this: first, 1918 saw the surging popularity of the "bob" - women were cutting their hair very short to keep it maintainable and out of the way. Second, hair spray wasn't invented until the late '40s and the term itself wasn't coined until 1950. Hair was slicked back using greases, waxes, and a variety of pins and combs.There's a reference to priority mail, which wouldn't exist for another 50 years. And on the subject of mail, there wouldn't be a post office on the train; mail carriers wouldn't find a traveling circus, mail would be received in bulk at designated stations along the way.At one point, Jodelle accuses Laila of being "in denial" - a concept that hadn't made it into psychology yet and even when it did, it took a while for it to become popularized enough that it entered into common vernacular. We're several decades too early for that.The most frustrating thing about all this is that NONE of these things would take more than a few seconds to look up. Not to do so is just sloppy.COMPLETE NON-BELIEVABILITY: All the historical stuff leads into the rest of this feeling of inaccuracy. You HAVE to be believable! You have to - HAVE TO! - understand how the circus works.The main characters attend school - seriously? Circus folk going to HIGH SCHOOL?! Huh? Many people ran off to join the circus to get AWAY from schools. Circus acts themselves were essentially internships, education was very different and didn't include a high school curriculum. And the fact that people were assigned to their training only after they graduated? What does that have to do with ANYTHING? This isn't like college! It's as if the author - who is admittedly young - doesn't understand what life is like WITHOUT school and can't figure out how to write outside that familiar context. High school diplomas would have nothing to do with the circus WHATSOEVER. And assigning placements based on that is ludicrous. Circuses would take an apprentice based on their ability and skills, not their grades in math and history. Laila would never have been chosen as an aerialist unless she had proven that she was already very flexible and strong. What basis did they have to go on here? Her laundering ability? Furthermore, Laila manages to get into the game amazingly quickly, given that prior to her training she had no visible aptitude. People training for this kind of thing really need to start when they're quite young - like 7 or 8, at the latest. Once the bones start to solidify, flexibility becomes limited. A few months of training isn't going to cut it. And it CERTAINLY isn't enough to make a feature performer.And on that subject - there is a hierarchy in the circus, and that got completely ignored. You're only going to have one featured aerialist - maybe two if they're working as a united pair - and no one else gets that role until that artist or team retires. In order for a brand new person to make it as a feature, they'd have to have such a uniquely different, unusual act (that they've already prepared) that it's impossible to ignore. Aerialists are standard, so you have to wait your turn. When did the featured aerialist we started with choose to bow out and make room for a new one?And where are the people who grew up in the circus? A huge number of circus performers are born into it, it's often a family thing - yet everyone in this circus seems to be individual and unattached, coming into it from outside rather than growing up with it. It rings completely untrue.The train cars they live in are unbelievably luxurious - and I do mean "unbelievably." Since when do train cars have two full stories, with sofas, spiral staircases, and balconies? Mahogany furniture, gold-framed paintings, end tables with vases...I mean, really -- playing parlor croquet in a moving train?! Even luxury trains barely have enough space to have a loft bed, and those are often fold-outs of some kind. Train cars aren't traveling condominiums; that may work in Harry Potter, but not in the real world! Partially because of practical things - like tunnels; trains needs to stay under a certain height so that they can get through the tunnels along the route. In a circus train, the few stars might get private cars they can personalize and "spruce up" a bit - but nothing like what she's describing. Everyone else would have less-than-spectacular accommodations. She's made it like a little 5-star dorm room on wheels - again, it's like she can't get out of the school mindset. Frankly, she could use the "star train car" thing as part of the story, but it falls flat once again. (She also manages to have train cars with skylights on the BOTTOM floor, rather than the top. I don't know how that's even possible.)One thing she DID get right, at least in part, was the performing season - spring to fall. She used winter for training, which is accurate. What was NOT so accurate was the decision to start a brand new show in fall - or, essentially, in the middle of their season. They would have stuck with the show they already had and then used the winter months to create a new show that would debut in spring. It's kinda hard to work on a new show when you're traveling all over the country. A little common sense, please.*The one place where the author seemed to shine was in writing the actual performance scenes. I did find those rather compelling. I think sometimes the pre-performance scenes were repetetive - it was always the same overdramatic rhapsody of emotions and it got boring - but the performances themselves were very visual and well-described, certainly enjoyable to read. But they can't, in and of themselves, carry the story. They should be there to add spice and flavor, not serve as the main dish. The rest of the writing didn't match up, didn't even come close. I'd have thought the performing scenes were written by a completely different person. If the rest of the story could have equaled that level of writing, this would have been a really good book.Given those passages, I will say that I think this author DOES have some potential but she hasn't really unlocked it yet. She needs to take the time to grow as a writer. I personally think she should pull this book out of circulation, seriously rework it, and wait until an experienced publisher is willing to print it.

  • Alysa H.
    2018-11-06 01:53

    I won a copy of this book in Elle Casey's 2013 January Anniversary Indie Book Giveaway.I thought the description sounded amazing, but this book wasn't really for me. I can't speak to questions of realism or historical accuracy about circus life in 1918, so I'll just say it's clear that the author has a great passion for her subject matter! I can speak to other things: For one, the over-long, repetitive descriptions set a certain dream-like tone, but I'm not sure whether the dreaminess was intentional. It actually detracts from the plot because the descriptions tend to be so oddly placed (and paced). Every time I read a line such as "she swept into view, cascading waves of chestnut hair whispering", or some variation thereof, it kicked me right out of the story. And I was already having trouble caring about any of the characters in the first place.Another thing that kicked me out of the story was the use of certain words in incorrect ways. Someone has "alluded herself" rather than "deluded". There is a "conundrum of people" rather than a large crowd. Huh?This might be worth a read if you have a particular interest in circus stories, but probably not otherwise.

  • Step
    2018-11-19 01:05

    NOPE. I cannot even with this unedited, unresearched, unrealistic, unreadable piece of nonsense. I knew what this was ten percent in, but I finished it out of spite. But UGH to these undistinguishable characters, this vacuous excuse for a main character, this Mary Sue story disguised by a vaguely intriguing synopsis. But there is so much wrong here. The strange preoccupation with school exams despite being in a traveling circus in the early 1900s? Running water in a train? Unrealistic interactions between ANYONE? Characters doing absolute about faces in their motivations with absolutely no explanation? Flat, unimaginative villains? And don't even get me started on the Mary Sue qualities in the main character and the cookie cutter bad boy excuse for a love interest. And maybe my inner Veronica FitzOsborne is coming out, but I do not understand how you can set a novel in 1918 and not mention WWI once. And the lack of editing is appalling - sentences straight up missing words, the incorrect 'its' more than once? Avoid. AVOID.

  • Nancy Brady
    2018-11-01 07:40

    The good, the bad, and the ugly with a tip of the hat to the movie by the same name. First off, two disclaimers: The author offered me a free copy for a honest review; however, I actually purchased a copy. I didn't receive a free copy, but this is my honest review.The second disclaimer is that I am not prejudiced against self-published authors. Many very famous authors (Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Virginia Woolf, Beatrix Potter to name but a few) and books (The Celestine Prophecy by Redfield, Ulysses by Joyce to name a few) have been self-published and are considered excellent reads. In fact, I know a few self-published authors and am impressed by their works.Okay, having added my disclaimers, here goes.The good: It is a unique story especially considering the author's desire to explain the circus life of aerialists and her ability to do so. It would have been a better book had she not assumed that everyone knows these apparatuses and how they work. Most people don't. Had she described the Spanish web and the lyra, it would have been a better book, and I think with her expertise in this, she could have accomplished it. In other words, the story has potential, but not as it is written. The bad: The editing was horrendous as words were used incorrectly, as well as in some cases the words were excessively repetitive (examples of the use of queue and eatery...there are other words for these). Other words that had homonyms were used incorrectly (passed/past, taut/taught as examples) and repeatedly at that. In this day and age of Kindle, Nooks, and other e-readers, trust that the reader will notice what seems like incorrect word choice discrepancies and will look them up in their e-reader dictionary to check it out because he/she want to understand (example of deluded versus alluded--they are not the same). Those reading with physical books might not look up every word that seems incorrect and will skip over a few of these, but eventually they will stop reading. There were convoluted sentences everywhere, and many of them became silly if a person really looked at them.The ugly: Here's my conclusion: this book was edited (and if by an outsider editor, the author paid a pretty price for this and didn't get her money's worth, but if personally edited, then some other person who is good at proofing and editing should be asked to help in any future writing endeavor since a second or third set of eyes would be helpful), and further, that a person with a thesaurus used synonyms for words without looking at the nuances between the individual words. This created not only issues within the story, but it also made the novel silly. Younger readers might not get it, but those who have some vocabulary experience will. The convoluted sentences made for many misplaced modifiers. It would be better to make simpler constructed sentences than trying to put too much information into one in order to sound more erudite because it doesn't work well. In the future I hope (with book two) that the author decides to share her work with people that she trusts (perhaps a writers' group) prior to submitting it for publication. If not in a writers' group, read the novel aloud to people who will give constructive feedback. This will help hone your skills. As a person I know says, "A self-edited book is an unedited book." If paying for editing, then the novel still needs to be looked at by the author to make sure that what is being presented post-editing is what she really means to say. Just because they changed the wording doesn't mean it has to stay that way.

  • Aryn
    2018-11-16 04:48

    Overall, 3.5 StarsWhat I did like about this book:0. It came to me free from Goodreads Giveaways!1. The characters all had interesting and diverse back stories. Laila, herself, was the progeny of a prostitute, though her parents did fall in love. Her father attempted to commit suicide when she was 8 years old, and failed, leaving himself mentally crippled in an asylum. Her mother raised her in a brothel, where she continued to work as a prostitute to pay her husband's way in the asylum. 2. The romantic interest, Dex. He may have been a bit overly violent towards others who he saw as a real threat, but he had self control, and he never ever did anything to make me think he was a danger to Laila. In fact, her friend's insistence that he was a danger to her, started bordering on the annoying. He clearly cared for her, and wanted only for her to be safe in a world that she was too innocent to navigate well.3. The various "twists," and moments that made me say Oh! The appearance of Seth (though why had none of her friends mentioned that detail?!), for one. There were more minor moments of the same sort, where I was left with an eyebrow raised because I had simply not seen it coming.What I didn't like about this book:1. The incredibly fascinating and diverse background stories often didn't seem to realistically have affected the characters at all. Laila may only be 15 or 16, but she lived in a brothel, for Gods' sake. She should be able to at least sort of defend herself. I do like that she was able to hang onto some of her innocence, but at the same rate, watching your father shoot himself, and then being raised in a brothel, in 1919 or so? Her innocence should have been broken a lot more than it was. There was a big disconnect between the character that Laila's back story would have made her be and the character that Laila actually was.2. The romantic interest, Dex. Laila's been warned off, again and again by her friends who have known him for way longer than she has. He's a fucking flake, and he ends up being given way too many chances. I had a love/hate relationship with him during the entire book. He did border on the violent asshole romantic character that's become popular because of Twilight, that I hate so much. However, I do believe that line was walked well.3. That last "twist" about why everyone at the circus is afraid of Dex and Seth. I understand the parallel, that Laila lied about her past, and that Dex did as well. However, someone tells me something like that, that does prove his violence and ability to really, really, really, hurt people, I have some follow-up questions. Laila lied, but then there was an explanation. Dex may have a good-ish (there's really no good explanation) explanation for what happened, but Laila doesn't even ask. She even says that she still trusts him and it seems as though she simply doesn't care. She should. Honestly, the book lost a whole star here, it just really, really rubbed me the wrong way.I am very much so looking forward to the second book, maybe it'll explain the Dex and Seth situation that bothers me so greatly. I am also looking forward to seeing what Chloe Kayne can do as her writing style matures a bit. This was obviously a first novel, the phrasing was a bit on the awkward side, and it felt unpolished (though I do have an ARC copy); the big all-out fights/brawls were made hard to follow.

  • Heather
    2018-10-27 03:39

    I read this book for an Author Requested Review. I hate when I have to tell a woman she has mustard on her face or lipstick on her teeth. But- I do it anyway to save her from further embarrassment. Well, ahem, Chloe, you have just a little...right there....up higher...here, let me help you...I enjoyed four aspects of this book: the beginning, the end, the idea, and the cover. The ENTIRE time I was reading, I felt so frustrated by the repetitious syntax that I could hardly concentrate on the story at all. Over, and over, and over again, the author followed the pattern of past tense, comma, participle...or participle, comma, past tense:"Drawing the wagon, Laila set off toward the arena, leaving the two bickering girls in her wake. A cold breeze tickled her scalp, pulling wefts of her hair in the current. Approaching the long set of doorways wrapping around the back of the arena, she started toward the first door beside the performer's queue. A group of boys around her age exited the door of the queue, laughing as one recounted what must have been a thrilling tale." The repetition didn't appear on only one page, but page, after page, after page. It's unfortunate that the author didn't consider changing up her approach because she has a knack for description that is strangled and drowned by the structure of the sentences. Changing this bad habit alone might make the story palatable.The story itself yanked me in with a violent act that left me wondering where the story would take me. I was excited, but - it took me nowhere. Almost like a jet plane that rumbled down the airstrip, but never took flight. The pace felt devastatingly slow, the romance was worse than a bad soap opera, and the characters were one-dimensional and lacked believable motivations. The author doesn't know how to use a semicolon, doesn't know that the past tense of "ring" is "rang" (NOT rung), and the past tense of "sink" is "sank" (NOT sunk). The author doesn't know the difference between past/passed, freehand/free hand, starring/staring, or into/in to. The author has a knack for using figurative language, which makes it a SIN to use cliches such as organized chaos, spread like wildfire, longing like a tidal wave, and gazed like a lion to its prey. And THEN, when Laila has a "climactic" moment during her first performance at the circus when she realizes she was BORN to be an aerialist, the author informs us that "Laila felt herself." Umm - do you mean that she felt like herself? What a difference four letters makes. I could continue, but I don't think it's necessary. Readers, if you don't mind an unedited book, you like a little violence, and you're not particular about your romance, your plot, or your structure, you may like this book. I mean, circuses and aerialists ARE pretty cool. The great news is that ALL of the problems in part one of the Marvelle Circus series are easily remedied, so I'm sincerely hoping the author works out the kinks for her next book. In fact, I didn't give this book a 1 star for the simple fact that I am willing to read the second book in the series, so I must not have hated it THAT much.

  • Renetta
    2018-11-11 04:55

    When you were younger, did you always dream of running away with the Circus? Me too! ...until I read Showtime.Let's start with the story line...Laila Vilonia is the protagonist in Showtime. Right away she finds herself in a bad situation that she's in no way responsible for. She ends up getting "rescued" by some roustabouts from the Marvelle Circus. Lying about her dysfunctional past, desperate to leave it behind, she is taken in and looks forward to a chance at a new life. Things start out well enough but a circus doesn't contain the most trustworthy people. She does make some strong bonds with some of the other circus inhabitants as well as a few enemies. Some of these enemies are more obvious than others. Danger is definitely waiting to pounce on Laila. There is a love interest, the disappearing man, Dex. She trusts him completely not heeding the warnings from her friends.This story is written in third person. The details are so well written that I really felt like I was behind the scenes with Laila and her friends. I could smell the circus around me and feel the air on my skin. The author did a wonderful job at pulling me into the story. I found it took me longer than normal to read this because I would wander off in my mind picturing the events going on around me. My emotional investment to these characters was stronger than normal. I didn't even realize how much until the last couple chapters when I was crying uncontrollably. Crying from fear, anger, frustration, relief, sadness. Ugh. I don't usually cry. Finding herself in the most dangerous situation one could find themselves, I felt like I was there, there with Dex, there with Seth and there was nothing I could do to help either! Here's an example of what I loved about this book. Rather than a boring sentence like, Jodelle ran to the menagerie to find James, we get...Jodelle latched the gate of the menagerie closed behind her as Laila marched up toward the tiger enclosure. Radbyrne strode up, brushing along the fencing as he passed, leaving clumps of orange fur on the wire. Laila stuck her hand out and pet him as she walked by, coarse fur gliding beneath her palm.I enjoyed her humor also..."Well you're not going, are you?""I am. And if you wish to file a complaint, I'm accepting slips in the bin." Laila motioned toward the silver trash bin stationed across the dining room.I could easily add another dozen quotes but I'll stop there.I look forward to reading future books about Laila, her friends, her enemies and the Marvelle Circus!

  • D
    2018-10-27 04:50

    A dark and eerily beautiful love story. Love for a new life. Love for belonging. Love for new family. And love that will make you run away with the circus.Lose yourself in a world of wonder and deceit as you get to know Laila Vilonia and her crew of misfits in the Marvelle Circus. It's 1918 and Laila suddenly finds herself thrust into a world that demands hard work, strength, tenacity and that you always check over your shoulder.I absolutely love how author Chloe Kayne portrayed life in a traveling circus. From the outside looking in, it is all glamour, beauty and the big white top. But circus life is dark, mysterious almost haunting. Kayne portrayed this so well in Showtime; giving it an edge and bitterness making the most spectacular show come alive.There were a few moments, where I felt the story lost its historical feel--- mainly through some of the dialogue of Laila and her friends. However, being a YA novel, it is almost needed to convey the relationships between some of the characters. You can actually understand and see the parallels of Inter relationships of current day teenagers and those of Laila and her crew in a world of love, jealousy and deceit.I so enjoyed how Kayne introduced us to this new series through her character development. She invited us in just enough to get a keen sense of who these people were and where they had been but cloaked us in enough vagueness that book two (Spotlight) will be eagerly anticipated and a thrill to read. This is a bit of a longer read, yet I never felt like it dragged on or there was too much monotony. The story flowed and was well thought out and sequenced. Stay tuned because the circus is coming to town again. Enter the dark and look for the Spotlight.... Spotlight (Marvelle Circus #2) is set for release in 2014.

  • Joni Thomas
    2018-11-11 07:45

    I credit this book to getting me out of my reading funk. Until this book came along I was reading Mary Higgins Clark and nothing else simply because it kept my mind busy, not because I was actually into the story. And then came a period of not reading at all. Until I came home to a package on my porch and unwrapped it to find a copy of this lovely novel. The detail is extraordinary. The circus and the characters come to life in this novel. I was captivated by the romance between Laila and her "Disappearing Man", her friendship with the animal trainer, and her spot in the show. The details were genuine and unlike other period novels I never forgot that I was reading a book set in the 1920's. I have always said that you know that you read a great book when the story sticks with you for days, weeks even, after reading it. When you think about the characters as though they are real people and not characters in a novel. I experience that feeling with Showtime. I can't wait for the sequel to come out.

  • Marissa at Beneath the Moon and Stars
    2018-10-30 01:57

    Wow. That was....amazing. It was wonderful and vivid and it made me want to go to the circus so bad. Can I have the next one right now? Please?

  • Lindsay
    2018-11-08 05:06

    I want to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this book. Really. To the point that I stayed up way past my bedtime in order to finish it.This takes place during the 20s (although it never actually mentions the year even once in the book and I would have been really confused if I hadn't read in the blurb that it was in the 20s), in the height of the circus' popularity. While I haven't been to a circus since I was a little girl, I was able to fall right into the genre and surroundings of the book. The characters. Well, first off we have Laila, who is not exactly your typical feel-good MC, and that's a good thing. She's easy to root for, even when she's giving up. Dex is the character I felt most intrigued by. Chloe Kayne kept teasing the reader with little tidbits, brief appearances here and there, and by halfway through the book I was nearly tearing out my hair to get a good dose of him. I'm sure there will be people who compare this book with Water for Elephants, for the setting and era, although it wasn't until halfway through the book that I really tried to make a connection. The writing style is completely different, as are the characters, so I never felt that this was anything other than unique. Although, I did find myself remembering the show Carnivale, which was a huge favourite of mine back in the day. The pacing of the book is what really made it for me. There are parts of it that aren't thrilling, obviously, because that would detract from the parts that are. However, even the slower sections of the book were well laced with foreshadowing, pulling the reader forward. There are a number of pesky editing issues, but I found that they were well worth ignoring. I'm sure every wannabe author has heard the words: Write what you know. In my case, it would never be anything even remotely interesting. But Chloe Kayne is, herself, an aerialist. I would love to get inside her head to see the complex routines she imagines for her characters. As a layman, I had an impossible time visualizing the twists and flips. Part of me wants to be her, glamourous as she is. The other part of me knows that if I ever twisted myself into a pretzel-ish shape, there is very little chance I would ever be able to get out of it. Copy of book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jasmine Villanova
    2018-11-17 23:46

    Beneath the Moon and Stars reviewThis was such an amazing read. This had one of the most unique story lines I've ever read. The setting was fascinating. The characters were so amazing. This has everything a great book needs. Once I really got into it, I never wanted to put it down. I kept thinking to myself this would be an amazing movie. I can't wait to see where the rest of the series goes. I really liked Laila. I like how she never gave up. She wasn't happy with her life so she made a new life for herself. Her character really evolved throughout the book. She became an amazing aerialist and really made the circus her home. I didn't really understand Dex. His character confused me a lot. I liked him but I wish we could have gotten to know his jars tee more. Laila and Dex had an adorable relationship. They were super adorable. I liked how he was very protective over her. I hope we get to learn more about him on future books. This had some pretty amazing secondary characters. I liked how they really cared about Laila. The setting was my favorite part. It made me want to go to the circus. It also made me want to do something adventurous just to know that I could. There was so many unique aspects to the storyline. So much creativity. I loved it. I also loved the mystery. It made me not want to stop reading. Also I really loved the aerialist aspect. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. And all the detail that came with it. I felt like I was right there in the stands. I loved all the different acts at the circus. This was impossible for me to put down because of all the excitement. Overall I am so glad I read this. I can't wait to see where the rest of the series is going to go. I highly recommend because I really love this.

  • Nicole
    2018-10-30 00:38

    I really wanted to be able to give this book more stars. The story line is decent, interesting characters with shadowy backstories that remain to be revealed in future installments, and Ms. Kayne has absolutely got some talent. However, as is the danger with the majority of self-published work, it falls short in the technical aspects.The most glaring issue was the author's apparent difficulty with homonyms: passed/past, taut/taught, peaked/peeked. These are the main homonyms I found jarringly misused throughout the novel. Ms. Kayne is also fond of synonyms, which in many cases is a good thing. However, there are multiple instances where the word chosen is not quite the word that is necessary for the instance. The danger with synonyms is that sometimes while they seem to mean the same on the surface, they can skew the meaning of a sentence if used incorrectly and it becomes confusing or excessive. There are also some anachronistic issues and often I would have thought the setting to be present day instead of 1918. The characters often speak in ways that are too educated or too mature for their age and setting, or use terms that wouldn't have been in use in that era. Basically my issues with Showtime boil down to lack of editing. This is a concern I have with a lot of the self-published works I've read. I think most of us writers do our best to self edit, however there are always things we will overlook. A solid editor with the training to force us to fine-tune our art can do wonders. I really feel that Showtime is a good book, but it has the potential to be a GREAT book with a little extra polish.

  • Nanette Bradford
    2018-11-17 06:55

    Showtime by Chloe Kayne Reviewed by Nanette Bradford YATR Review Panel Date read: 2 November 2012The more of this book you read the more you want to know about Laila, the 16 year old, who left her old life behind to join the Circus. Well, she really didn't have much of a choice though. Her life at home is anything but great. Her father couldn't deal with life anymore and decided to take the cowards way out. He actually thought by shooting himself, in front of his wife and kid mind you, he would be doing them a favor.. what he did was make things worse for them because he didn't die. Nice right. so now Laila and her mother have to fend for themselves and take care of whats left of their beloved husband and father. The kicker here is how Laila's mom makes the money to keep them afloat. They live in a brothel. Great place to raise a young girl.Laila never quite fit in anywhere until she was thrown into the circus world. This world promised her real friendships that she never before had. A forbidden love that might come at a high price and a chance to be something special. this world is beyond what Laila ever imagined for herself and even though things seem a bit rough here and their Laila feels at home for the very first time.Jump into the world of Marvelle's Circus. Be taken away by the Aerialist flying in the air, the Elephants going around the circus ring and who can forget the freak show. Two headed goat boys, disappearing man, the fat lady.. The circus is a place of mystery and illusion. Come and join Laila and her friends and find out what can truly happen when you live at Marvelle Circus.

  • Dawn Vanniman
    2018-10-29 01:00

    I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.As you know, I am extremely picky about self-published books. I honestly had to go searching on this one after I read it - I was sure it was from some amazing small press that I hadn't heard of, but nothing shows up. The editing was fantastic. Ms. Kayne is going places, she's a fantastic writer!Set in 1918, tis is the story of Laila, a girl who runs away with the circus. Laila's dad is pretty much out of the picture and her mom is a prostitute. So she's growing up in a brothel. Not the best place for a pretty teenage girl. She's sure if she doesn't leave, she'll end up pushed into being a prostitute also and she's not in agreement with that. She doesn't plan to run away with the circus, but after accompanying a friend on a drug deal gone sour, she ends up in trouble and the Marvelle Circus owner offers her a job. She can't believe that they'll take her in, much less feed,clothe, educate and train her! It's a wonderful opportunity for a girl at that time. It's easy to see Laila's confidence grow as the story goes on.Laila has a small group of friends, but none of them are happy with her choice of crush - Dex. Dex is mysterious and it's rumored he's dangerous, but no one wants to tell her what he's done. But Laila trusts him. Dex is in the freak show as the Disappearing Man.The details about life behind the scenes at the circus were amazing. I got lost in the wonderful descriptions! From the costumes to the train cars to the big top - you could smell the sawdust and see the lights glitter on the sequins.I can't wait for the second book!

  • Hypia Sanches
    2018-11-12 00:45

    I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.Anyone reading this: please, ignore any mistakes (grammar/spelling) you see here.I love young adult novels. It's more like an addiction, actually, and this was no different.Laila's story kept me interested from the very first pages. Family-related issues, her interaction with others at the circus, all the stuff that happens to her in this book; all of this was the kind of things I like to read about.Dex, Laila's love interest, is an amazing character - at first, he looks mysterious and at some points I was very curious to know more about him; I really wanted to find out if he was as bad as everyone was saying or if he was actually a nice guy. I can only say that I'm not surprised by how the writer developed him, but it was great to read.Laila's friends are a great group! I like reading about friendships, and the ones the author shows here are really good.A story that happens at a circus is something I had never read before - and I enjoyed seeing a different environment from what I usually read. There where moments when I really thought something wrong would happen at some of Laila's performances - a "things are going TOO smoothly to be true..." feeling, but all of the shows happened without any accidents.I want to read the sequel, like, now!Thanks, Chloe Kayne, for sending me the e-book!

  • Amanda
    2018-10-23 01:56

    I started out thinking this was a paranormal romance for some reason. But it kept popping up on a "must read" list. The author, Chloe Kayne, was gracious to give me a copy in exchange for my review.When I started the book, I was hooked from the get go. It felt as if I were transported to the time period when circuses were the stars. I cant wait to get my hands on book 2. The storylines are so beautifully interwoven that you cant find a place to put the book down even for a moment. The jealousy Vivian has for laila makes for a great vilian. I couldn't help to laugh when she got face punched in for what she was doing. she deserved it and the haircutting too. I know my girls would flip out if their hair was butchered! Dex had feeling like he is a good guy but cant shake off the bad boy image because of his past transgressions. I have already told my friend to read this book. I think this is one of those rare books that I could read over and over again!

  • Kristin
    2018-11-09 05:46

    I was asked to give my honest oppinion on this book by the author. I figured the best way to give a honest review/oppinion was to write it as I read the book. So here are my thoughts as I read - Showtime by Chloe Kayne.WARNING: Review contains major spoilers so dont read this review if you havent read the book yet because it does give away some of the plot.*Chapters 1& 2: When I first started reading I thought the author was trying to hard. The way the starting scene was described in my oppinion is over kill - everything was described in such detail and little was left to the imagination. Dont get me wrong I love when a author describes the characters with such detail that I can close my eyes and see them there. However I dont like it when the scenes are described down to the last detail and nothing is left for my imagination to design. I also though some of the descriptive terms where a bit difficult - almost as if the author were trying to show off her verbal skills. Again theres nothing wrong with some fancy wording but simple terms will often do the job and paint a picture thats just as wonderful to imagine.I was under the impression this is a YA book. I was shocked to find the main characters friend (Hannah) peddling flour off as drugs, which lead to her recieving one very (graphic in description) beating. The story easily held my attention and pulled me in when the main character ended up working for the circus! However I was a bit confused with her family life (prior to ending up at Marvel). It seemed that the mom was selling her own body and eventually expected her daughter to do the same (at least thats the picture I was getting). When I was reading about the father leaving I honestly thought he had shot himself only to later find out he didnt and was indeed alive (confusing). *Chapters 3-10: After some time of not being able to sit down and read I found myself very happy to spend some time with this book.I was dissapointed to find myself bored when I got started on chapter 3 and I couldnt help but continue thinking that the author was trying way to hard to please the readers. However I was happy to find out what actually happened to Laila's father and to discover what year the story was taking place (I wish it would of been mentioned earlier on in the story). In chapter 5 Laila and two friends sneek into the side show and I couldnt wait to find out what they discovered there. My favorite part was the Dissapearing Man and I really hope we see more of him as the story goes on. I really love how the author keeps a bit of mystery around the characters and their backgrounds, give me something to look forward to as I read on. Chapter 9 made me want to toss the book out my bedroom window or thrash it with a hammer (but I didnt of course as its a ebook on my kindle). Remi (Laila's cat she rescued earlier in the story) was found to be the center of a evil plot - Laila found him hanging about to strangle himself fighting to get free. That made me sick to my stumock as Im a huge animal lover and the thought of a poor sweet animal suffering abuse makes me both angry and sick. Thankfully the author spared the more sensitive of us readers by being sparce on the details (thank god). I understand Laila's rescue of the cat was important to the story line (as it later lands her a training spot she really wanted) but I wish the author had found another way to work it into the story. I really loved how Dex (the dissapearing man) came to Laila's rescue and I cant wait to see how their relationship progresses (I must admit Im hoping for a little romance to be in the plot).*Chapter 11 : Went by pretty quickly with nothing of real interest to report on. The characters were settling into their new routines and trainerships. So it was pretty dull (although probably important to the plot).*Chapters 12 -21Chapter 12 started off with more talk off training and some of the details about it. I know its important to the story but I cant wait for the story to veer off into more interesting territory. Which it did when Laila and two friends decided to cash their paychecks and go into the city for some shopping! And who does Laila run into - Dex of course! I was thrilled that Dex asked Laila to go out with him the next night and couldnt wait to get to that part of the story. I dont know why but this Dex character has done a great job of grabbing my attention.Chapter 13 starts off with Laila getting ready to meet Dex. I can imagine the looks on her friends faces as they help her get ready (seeing as they all dislike Dex so much). I really wish the author would of went into more detail about Dex and Laila's date. I was dissapointed to find that part of the story over so quickly (hopefully more to come? not dissapointment but dates). Laila had a dissapointing run in with Dex after a big Christmas meal which leads us to chapter 14 (which started out with more talk of training and how she was using it to help unsuccessfully erase thoughts of Dex). Im halfway through the book and just now figured out what a roustabout is (makes me laugh, youd think Id pick up on what they were before now). Vivian (the girl thats unliked by most of Laila's group - minus James) is poisoned with deadly nightshade. I find Vivian's character to be so unlikable that I wasnt suprised when someone tried to kill her (but Im very curious as to who did it). And of course it was no suprise that Laila was blamed for it and fired from the circus. Chapter 15 finds Laila in disbelief that shes been accused of such a deed and fired from the circus. But wait... Help arrives as someone barges in to her defense just after shes been told to pack her bag and she would recieve a ticket for the train station. Of course she was saved and then offered Vivian's spot in the show while she recovered. I had to chuckle at the though of Vivian's character being stupid enough to poison herself in an effort to get someone else into trouble.Some good news is we finally find out why Dex was so absent for four months (some more detail would of been nice). Ryan (a new character) is introduced and I look forward to read further and seeing where Laila's friendship with Ryan will go. I keep hoping she ends up with Dex but who knows - I mean James is suppose to be some sort of God (or youd think the way the girls all stare at him), then Laila is hooked on Dex, but wait shes met Ryan now. Getting into the story and being able to imagine each character and their relationships with eachother is a good thing.Im loving this Ryan character - he seems so real. I mean hes a skinny, shy, timid, little guy (from what I gather) and its nice to find a character whos so believable. Its clear Laila isnt going for him (but that was to be expected). Rumors circulate that Dex killed Ellie (a character who dissapeared from the cirus only to be found dead in the river some weeks later). Part of me finds that believable and part of think it cant be true. (Yes when I read a book I do try my best to get sucked into the story - almost as if Im watching a movie (or on some of the really good books) reliving a long forgotten scene of my own life). I should mention it really isnt a rumor (at least not at this point in the book) its one of the other performers trying to reve up Laila and unhinge her before her performance.I hate to admit it but when the author is talking about training or stuff leading up to training or the show I find myself trying to hurry through it (its a bit boring). Chapter 17 - Laila is about to do her first performance. As I said earlier I get a bit bored with the talk of the practices and stuff leading up to the show so Im not 100% in the story up to this point but I can still feel Laila's nerves as the show is about to begin.As I said earlier its clear Laila isnt into Ryan (but hes into her). Anyhow, shes said yes to go to a festival with him (in hopes of carving out some time with Dex) and now shes wondering how to tell him she isnt interested in him (not in the way hes interested in her). I hope she can maintain a friendship with Ryan (like I said, he just seems real, and Id like to see his character popping up on and off in the story, even after Laila brushes off his advances). OMG - Dex has a twin (dont know what to think about that)!! I have to say that Im really liking the main character, Laila. She also feels real - her mixed emotions. Its easy to like her! Btw, she does get to be the featured performer.I have to be honest.. Laila and Dex finally shared a kiss.. And now Im pretty bored with the story and am finding myself trying to speed read to get to the next part that mentions Dex. I cant help it.. The characters of Marvelle all seem to be shrouded in at least a little bit of mystery and the author has done a wonderful job at it. Dex just grabs and holds my attention to the point that Im only interested in his relationship with Laila. I could care less about the training, the show, Laila's now being the feature performer, and so forth.... *Chapters 22- The End: I found myself trying to speed read the start of chapter 22 (I know I said it earlier but I really do find the parts of the books talking about the practices and the performances of the show to be boring, but thats just me, Im sure other readers will enjoy the details of the show in action). However I will honestly say that I did enjoy reading about the shows finale act in detail!Chapter 23 brought some huge excitment. I wont tell what it is because its kind of a big one but I will say that I expected it to happen at some point in the story. So its not like readers will be suprised by it.Chapter 26 brought even more excitment to the story line, just as we thought things were looking up again for poor Laila. Halfway through this chapter I really started to not like it. Dont get me wrong - the writing was fine and it did add to the plot a good bit. It just wasnt at all where I wanted the story to go. I really didnt want the main character to go through something some brutal and life shattering. So I came to the end of the book and I really didnt care for how it ended. I know it was setting up for the next book in the series but that didnt change my feelings tword the ending of this one. I was left curious what happens to the characters so I will read book 2 when it comes out, if I can get my hands on a copy that is. However Im afriad I will be dissapointed because the blurb about the next book mentions strained friendships and relationships (sorry I dont recall the exact wording). And that troubles me a bit as the main thing I found interesting/exciting about book 1 was the friendships Laila had formed (and even more interesting in my oppinion) her relationship with Dex. If she looses those friendships or the relationship she has with Dex I doubt I will fine myself interested in continuing to read on.So there you have it.. My thoughts on Showtime by Chloe Kayne (as I was reading the book and right after I finished).

  • Sandi
    2018-11-19 00:46

    Showtime is about a girl, Laila, who joins the infamous Marvelle Circus after an unfortunate event outside the gates that leads to a misunderstanding. While the book had strong potential, its accomplishment (or lack thereof) falls victim to novice-writer mistakes.The WritingWhat I liked: vivid imageryWhat I didn’t like: too much of itI appreciate that the author has a fondness for how things are described. I believe the author genuinely likes writing and its aesthetics, which fills the book with pretty prose—a style that some people gravitate toward. My concern with it, however, is its abundance and placement. Abundance alone isn’t necessarily a problem; it becomes an issue when the writing is there for the sole purpose of being flowery and not utilized as a technique to better develop the story and/or character(s). I don’t mind descriptors about the circus, but there are a lot of things described at length that actually detract from the story.You don’t need to describe everyone’s hairstyle nor the interior of every room. A quick one-liner can do wonders, especially if it somehow goes back to the character. For instance, the main character is seeing her new room and as it’s described, it ties back into her old room and the life she left behind (and misses or doesn’t, etc). Less descriptions, or at least better used ones that develop story/character, would have been a better choice.One example of something I noticed occurring frequently:“She twisted the know and pushed the door inward a crack.”We don’t need the first half that describes her twisting the doorknob. We can assume she had to use the doorknob in order to open the door a crack. Details like this are throughout the story, and unnecessary. By chopping these out, that alone would improve the quality of the writing a great deal. Also, due to the heavy descriptions, I often found myself forgetting things, such as the side-plot of a murdered victim. Burdened with too much information that doesn’t take me anywhere will instead cause me to struggle to keep story elements straight. Pair it with extremely long chapters (some over 40 pages), it made for a tiring ring at times. Another problem was the dialogue. I forgot this was in the 1920s because the speech is much more ‘now’ than back then, so I would have liked it to reinforce the slang and speech of that time better. Also, Laila’s dialogue, being rather ‘now’, once got a bit off-kilter:“You can stand up there on your soapbox all day, spewing your pretentious venom, but I won’t sit here and be lulled into the fallacy that you’re actually any better than I am.” It’s a bit heavy on the adjectives and with a vocabulary that isn’t really consistent with her throughout the book. Not a huge deal, but something I still noticed, and can rattle a reader out of the story.The PlotWhat I liked: the promise of mystery and the general circus atmosphereWhat I didn’t like: little actually happens until the endFor a book titled ‘Showtime’, it was very tame and bland when it came to plot. I’ll reiterate that the writing is very heavy with prose and this is aggravated with a plot that drags its feet. I suppose it’s the summary that had my expectations placed high in terms of what to expect story-wise. What I got was mostly drama that reminded me of a high school setting, which some might enjoy, but I found it could have been shortened and better woven into the side-plot of the rival circus.For the most part, the chapters felt more like a day-to-day experience of Laila at the circus. She experiences things that are rather boring, like working for the laundry, and we get long descriptions about it. Unfortunately, these events don’t do anything for her character so I got bored quiet a handful of times. I would have loved to read how the circus was like a character itself (we get lovely details about its performances and all) that either interfered or fueled Laila’s goal(s).The opening offered a lot of potential for later characterization and themes that never got a foot on the ground. There’s a violent scene in the beginning, a little too violent to really warrant its purpose, but it shows Laila attached to a friend for all the wrong reasons it seems. Not a good quality about her but definitely one worth exploring: dependency, how she came to be friends with this girl, what did she get from this relationship.None of my inquiries about it were indulged ultimately, which was a real shame. I would have loved to learn a little bit more about why she got involved with this drug-cheating-dealer and how it either deepened her dependency issues or did something else. This is especially important because we learn she has an unstable mother, one she seems torn about returning too. However, the heavy descriptors and choppy transition from chapter-to-chapter make her mother appear and reappear suddenly, rather than serve as a constant issue in the back of Laila’s mind. Similarly, with the opening, I thought the set up with the circus was, well, about the circus. Turns out, it’s a drug deal going on beside it. The circus thus becomes a prop to the side, not an engaging force that I expected given the set up, which was all about how the circus looked. I suspected to read about Laila’s desire to enter it or perhaps she and her friend were trying to sneak in.The time jumps in the book are also done a bit poorly. There was a good point toward the middle-end where Laila begins to train hard to distract her mind and it’s done relatively well. It’s to the point, serves to explain time has passed as she trained harder and thought less about her concerns, and is all within the span of a paragraph (this is around page 174). Seeing more of those kinds of things would make the story stronger; use a time jump to signify a kind of change in the character, for better or worse (something like that). Another issue was an overload of characters. We get characters names in the beginning, none of whom serve an importance, so their names should not be mentioned as a general rule. They literally leave and don’t return for the book. Too many characters at once makes it hard to get a grip on what’s going on, and I think a few characters could have not been named at all since they did nothing for the characterization or plot (e.g. Florence).Things that happen later in the book, with the help of taking out a bulk of descriptors, could have easily been introduced much earlier, such as Dex. Things certainly became more curious when he was taking a more active role, but it comes rather late. It is also delayed by another side-plot about Jodelle’s boyfriend cheating on her. I don’t know what purpose it served, but couldn’t find one. If it had somehow served a bigger plot better, then I wouldn’t have minded it. As it was, it seemed tossed in for the sake of fabricating drama in an otherwise tedious plot (that being Laila’s day-to-day routines).Now, I expected Laila to become a star attraction or something close to it before going into the book. It’s expected. My main concern was that there was no build up to it. It’s never mentioned to the reader that she has a hidden proclivity that would be befitting for an aerialist, especially one who has a fear of heights. I think if the author sprinkled in hints to it, it would have been believable.Victoria’s mother also plays a role, which I expected and was pleased that, at the least, she appeared. However, as dramatic as her entrance was (and it should have come much sooner in the book), her departure is extremely anticlimactic. She might as well have not appeared at all. As such, the themes of family/inner conflict were hinted at, but lacked well-executed investigation. There were also anti-climatic moments, more served as plot device than anything else. When Vivian (the resident mean girl) tries to kill Laila’s cat by having it dangle from a rope, it’s too easy to brush it off as nothing yet when the girl poisons herself, Laila is about to be terminated from the group. This is difficult to believe given that Vivian is known for causing problems among other teammates, while Laila has yet to obtain such a negative reputation. Then, Vivian is kept at the circus despite having been found out, though Laila takes her spot (convenient), probably to serve as a bully a little while longer.On that note, there’s not much of an antagonist in the story to help the plot or serve as an obstacle for Laila to overcome. You get a little bit with Vivian, a lackluster moment with her mother, and another one later. At the very end you get a typical bad guy scenario (and I mean at the very end) that supposedly would serve in the second book, but I think they could have easily been an overall threat for the first, instead of being a passing mention here and there. The violence at the end was also unjustified, nothing really building up to it other than rumors that the rival circus has a propensity toward extreme measures. That however, isn’t enough to snatch up Laila at the end out of the blue. It was too careless, especially their shrugging off her rejection and dubbing her worthy of a death instead. I can’t imagine a circus that’s in the number 2 spot would be that rash.At least there was action toward the end, and I was curious to know what happened. The writing surprisingly got better here in terms of pulling the reins back on overwhelming the reader with descriptions, if only a bit. There are a lots of elements going on and I think focusing on one main antagonist (whether it be a person or general problem) that can be “resolved” at the end of the book would have made the entire piece much stronger. There really is no resolution to this book, unless you count severing ties with her mother, in which case that should have played a bigger role throughout the chapters, such as bringing her mother in much earlier.CharactersWhat I liked: Laila isn’t blind to her obsession, Dex, SethWhat I didn’t like: too many of them, none really won my heartLaila is difficult to like, coming off as a product of the writing. I can see the author wanted her to be sympathetic. She’s a girl with a difficult upbringing and seems to make connections with the wrong people, but supposedly she sees good in them (though not so much for her mother, more like pity). One such instance to show her compassion is finding an injured cat (I guess that’s the intended purpose of the scene besides a later plot device). With the clunky plot though, it’s hard to understand her frame of mind and have her flushed out as a character worthy of my empathy. This is partly because I didn’t really get her personality beyond my own guessing. I can’t really tell if she’s strong or weak. I mostly suspected the latter at first given her upbringing and she was going to overcome it, but she has a snarky quality about her that contradicts that so…She does get involved in things she shouldn’t have (proving Vivian is bad because Jodelle insisted on it, the cheating boyfriend, the friend at the opening of the book, Dex), and there aren’t really any repercussions for it, which I thought would have been a nice touch. Things seem to just work out conveniently for her. Her character development is feeble in execution as a result, and the situation with the drugs in the opening could have provided a foundation for her character, but it was quickly forgotten as though it never happened (Laila herself doesn’t revisit that night). The only thing I see is her complete breaking of her and her mother’s relationship, but that’s more done by her mother than her. Again, this lack of development is most likely due to me not understanding her character all that well. Perhaps if the author stuck to a few, solid qualities about her that changed/grew as the story progressed, it would have made it easier to understand. For instance, at the end of chapter three she’s very distraught over leaving her mother, but then in the beginning of chapter four, it’s a scene that might as well not have existed; she’s happy and things are dandy enough. These kinds of transitions are jarring, making her come off more insensitive than I believe she’s intended to be. Another thing is that in the book Victoria sometimes refer to Victoria as that, “Victoria”, but then sometimes as “her mother”. I think the author should have stuck to one way, the one that speaks more.If we want to see Laila as a girl separating herself from her mother, she should refer to her as “Victoria”, to suggest she’s severing that tie for whatever reason. If we want to believe she genuinely cares for her mother, she should refer to it as “her mother”, or perhaps a combination where she first refers to Victoria as “her mother” and then deliberately switches to only “Victoria” to signify that finality of their relationship.Her love interest, Dex, was a little more appealing to me. He was mysterious without the arrogance that I often get shoved at me when reading YA books. I was curious about him and felt he had redeeming qualities and flaws that made him a complex character. I was hoping for him to get ‘de-tangled’ as the book progressed, to elaborate on his prone to violence (supposed? Rarely see it though it’s rumored) and if and how his decent behavior coincides with it, or maybe is at a constant clash. I liked his dialogue enough though and he came across as a guy who sought for companionship (that wasn’t from his seemingly more unstable twin brother), but wouldn’t perhaps admit to it. But, as you can guess, we didn’t get more about him, which was suuuch a downer. I was really eager to know more. I suspect it’ll be something explored in later books, though I think it would have done this book more justice if it was done here.I was equally curious about his twin, who had the tendencies of someone not right in the mind. As to why, I can’t say, as it’s not divulged either. Again, if he had been introduced earlier with Dex, I felt he could have offered something to Dex’s character. Perhaps Seth is the more violent one? Does Dex feel responsible for him somehow (or vice versa)? There should be some dynamic to their relationship that affects Dex. Also, I thought it was odd it was brought up far later that he has a twin, especially the way everyone talked about Dex as some kind of demon, yet conveniently left his brother out of the rumors until we’re introduced to him.Moving on, the relationship between Laila and Dex, on the other hand, is lackluster, but not awful. I preferred reading their conversations prior to becoming a couple, and they became one rather quickly. I would have loved to read a slower build up, which I think could have happened had the author introduced Dex much earlier. As it was, at least Dex wasn’t an overprotective, raging jealous boyfriend that I often come across in these kinds of books. He was sweet to Laila, which I liked. Also, I thought the author did a decent job to capture Laila’s interest in Dex when she probably should have it. Others warn her about Dex and we see Laila questioning herself, admitting she might be blinding herself because the truth was frightening. As a side note, this could have been an ample spot to bring in more character development: her fear of having Dex, someone important, turn out someone she needed to be away from (like her mother). It doesn’t get that deep, but I still appreciate that Laila recognizes she’s not being the smartest, yet still is determined to hold onto the good parts she’s seen about Dex and not let anyone throw him under the bus so easily. It’s refreshing where many girls falling for boys in YA don’t acknowledge their infatuation, much less the root of it. I won’t go much into the other characters, as there are a lot. However, I will say I wanted more from Vivian. She could have been employed as the main antagonist for the book (certainly seemed that way at first), and served more than just a Mean Girl. I think characters with bad qualities can still be sympathetic (they are human after all). I didn’t get that from Vivian though. It could have proved to be an interesting dynamic if the author had though, given how Vivian and Laila had to perform together and train frequently. I also did like that Jodelle, a girl who first snuffs Laila and is her roommate, becomes a close confidant of Laila. Their development was nice, and could have offered something more to Lailah’s personal development—perhaps about trusting people or how it reminded her she never really had a good friend prior to it.OverallSo while there were plenty of issues technical wise, I still don’t believe it warranted a one-star. I appreciated what the author aimed to do, the potential, and writing. I realize I pointed out a lot of things, but not as a gesture to air the dirty bits of the book. I think a handful of the issues with the book could be easy fixes for future books, so I wanted to point out as many as I could.I don’t doubt the author enjoys writing, as it shows in its aesthetic. I believe if she tightens her writing and stay conscious of what it does (or doesn’t do) for a character/story, she will produce stronger pieces of work. With the writing edited, it makes it easier to see where the plot is going (or not going) and allows for tune ups that the otherwise heavy writing had blocked.Readability: Low

  • Misha
    2018-10-29 08:02

    Welcome to SHOWTIME~ where you'll watch Laila encounter love, friendship, sorrow and guilt as she works to find her place at the greatest circus around Marvelle. She gains an unexpected opportunity to change her fate from a life that is less than desirable and she takes it. It certainly sounded like a book I'd want to read~ unfortunately it didn't turn out to be one I enjoyed.Laila (nor her friends) were ever able to make me care about them. I found Laila to be especially stale with her emotions. We often find her thinking about the life she left behind (in an attempt to show you that she feels guilty?) but it's so fleeting that it's hard for me to believe she feels anything more than the author reminding me of Laila's past. Do not fear, dear author, I haven't forgotten. Of course not. Because every other chapter I'm constantly reminded as if my brain couldn't fathom what it has memory for. Dex smells somewhat like vanilla, understood. Yes, I remember what life awaits Laila back home. Mmhm, I recall what you've told me about Victoria. Give me some credit and assume I don't need to be reminded every 20 pages. There were also countless moments I felt the author was trying to shove emotions down my throat. More show less tell would have accomplished this with better results because perhaps then I could have bonded more with the characters.While I loved the idea of getting to see the living quarters of those employed by Marvelle I can't recall very much that was different from normal high school life. They went to school, they ate, they had meaningless drama and jobs that you barely learned/watched them do. There are problems with the plot and the timing of events. A lot of drama/action seems to be pushed into the end of the book that seems pointless and resolved so fast that I'm not even sure why I had to read all the build up to get there. You rarely encountered anything that reminded you that... hey, this is 1918 and we live at the circus. I was personally really excited about these things playing a bigger part and was sad to see they did not.In terms of Laila's new living arrangements she has three roommates and yet the only one worth noting is Jodelle. In the beginning they don't seem to get along and when it's resolved they're magically BFFs. Why is it resolved? I don't know~ Jodelle just decided to like her after "bonding" at the sideshow seems to be all it took. Now that they're BFFs Jodelle shows concern when she learns Laila likes Dex which shows the signs of a good friend. Right? However, Laila does almost nothing to show Jodelle that the boy she's dating is pretty shady himself. This bothers me. Because wasn't Jodelle the "mean" girl at first? And yet~ she clearly states her concern over Laila liking Dex while Laila is just letting her date some douche without making a peep. With friends like that who needs Vivian?Oh! But~ you want to know more about Dex, right? Our love interest and one of the resident circus outcasts. You'll notice right away that Laila is drawn to him, but I never quite picked up on why Dex liked her? I wish what drew him to Laila was touched on to some extent so I could connect more with the romance. Even still Dex is easily my favorite part of the story. He's barely in it and when he is he doesn't say much so I don't have to worry about him contradicting himself or having irrelevant movements. And everyone around can tell you how much of a bad boy he is yet something that I would consider important about him isn't even revealed to us or Laila until close to the end of the book. To add insult this detail is then treated as if it's no big deal (and I suppose it isn't because it doesn't add anything to the story) and everyone just acts like it's normal that somehow in their tales of avoiding the bad boy this was never mentioned?So~ we've touched on personalities, plot and romance. What else is there? Oh yes, character development. Laila is never shown to have any special talents or skills and yet she amazingly becomes the star of the circus in one of the hardest jobs to get. I don't mind the star part~ she's the heroine after all. What I mind is that there were never clues leading up to any sort of talent she might possess. The ones who choose what you train to do pegged her for something different (and for reasons unknown take in her input on what she'd like to do when they don't do this for others.) Even the author notes Laila thinking about a fear of heights. I would think this detail would be inconvenient to her success. It's not. In fact it's never touched on again. As far as the other characters go it's my opinion that none of them were even dimensional enough to warrant anything close to character development.SHOWTIME left a lot to be desired. And while I know this review seems unkind I didn't hate this book. And I've hated books~ The idea of the story has merit, I can see what the author was trying to do with the friendships which would have been cute with proper execution and I can tell she loves her world which makes me want to love it. But for the time being I can only rate it two stars because SHOWTIME isn't about it being showtime at all. It's just about a girl whose high school happens to have a circus for a backdrop.

  • Leah
    2018-11-08 23:39

    I was absolutely delighted when the author offered me a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review of her work. I must say that on the whole I was impressed. I loved how much the reading stretched even MY vocabulary and I'm in a doctoral program, read constantly, and did pretty darn good on the GRE! I had to look words up more than once a chapter sometimes and I was thrilled that someone writing in the YA genre is opening the intellect of her audience, even if it was unintentional on her part. With that said, I felt a somewhat strange attachment to Laila, the main character. While I don't feel that I related to her directly, I did spend a great deal of time worried about her. That probably has something to do with my life being nothing like getting to run off and join the circus. Our early exposure to her life is not a pleasant one and she has an unfortunate past when we meet her. I was rooting for her so hard when Marvelle accepted her to the circus because I wanted her to get out. Making friends came next and I was glad to see that there was a diversity among her companions in both personality and gender. My favorite friendships are BrOTPs that are a boy and a girl. Too often in books it seems like two adolescents can't just be friends because they are the opposite sex. The dynamic of the friendships worked well too, going through the ups and downs of a real friendship. Also, THANK YOU to the author for not losing the friendships in the face of the relationship storyline. No one likes that girl in real life, so I would have hated it in a lead character.As for the relationship, it evolves with one of the sideshow acts 'The Disappearing Man' who in real life is a boy named Dex. (For some reason when I read the author's description I continually pictured him as Ben Whishaw playing Q in Skyfall. Not bad at all Laila!) I wanted to like Dex, and I did, but I never really felt like we got to know him that well. There's still more books for that though. And I never could figure out the point of his surprise related character coming into the book so late, but okay I guess. In the beginning I felt that the author was overly descriptive to a fault, like she was trying to put so much symbolism and set into it that it was irritating. I found that by the middle of the book it got a lot better and by the end descriptions of the Polarity performances I was quite happy. I enjoyed the story overall, and while the ending is brutal to read in many ways it did set up a lot of potential story for the continuing series.Now, on to what I didn't like. I had one really big problem that kept bugging me when reading this book. I could not wrap my head around the timeline at all. Historically, it made no sense. The book description bills it as the 1920s. This fell to pieces in my head when there is ample reference to drinking throughout the book. Prohibition was in place from 1920 to 1933. Laila tells the circus owner that she is 16 at the beginning of the book. A magazine article in the story lists her birth year as 1902, which comes out to be 1918 when the story begins. Even if we understand that at least a year passes between Laila's leaving New York and her return as the star of the show, she is still at most 18. While drinking ages varied between states before 1984, the legal age in New York pre-1919 was 21. It just made no sense. Why did they need to be of age to enter the side show and yet Laila and her friends are regularly exposed to alcohol with complete freedom? I know it's picky but I have a hard time believing a book if I can't believe its timeline in alt history. Also, while I adore the old Big Top idea of the circus (one of the reasons I wanted to read this book) I often felt like the author got turned around between what were supposed to be tents having interior settings that came across like permanent structures. Once again, a personal thing for me. I'm very setting oriented sometimes. And while I am so thankful to the author for the free ebook, I will say that there were a few grammar mistakes as well as some duplicate pages in my edition.Overall, I did enjoy this book. I would recommend it to those who are fans of 'The Night Circus' only a bit more toned down. It reads quickly and was great to fill in time between classes.

  • Carla D.
    2018-10-31 01:52

    I received a digital arc directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.When I read the synopsis I was very curious about this book and I really wanted to read it, since I had never read anything related to the circus and its lifestyle. So when the author contacted me asking if I wanted a free copy in exchange for an honest review, I couldn't say anything else besides YES!First of all, the story takes place in the early 1920’s but I never felt it in the way it was written, though there were some small references which reminded me of this throughout the story. For me, the story was happening now, in the present. There was nothing in the book, besides these small references like I said before, relating the supposed period to the way it was written and I find this a tremendous failure. Some time references are not enough to make me feel that the story takes place in another period. I need to see it without stuff like “In 1918 blah blah blah".Another situation that bothered me was when Laila is accused of having poisoned Vivian, and this whole scene seemed to be poorly developed. First, it came out of nowhere and it didn't make any sense. Miss Robinson starts by accusing Laila of attempting to murder Vivian and five minutes later she is inviting her to take Vivian’s place at the show. What?! This is absurd. And this is not the only one. I didn't get how Laila becomes Jodelle's best friend if in the beginning Jodelle hated her (with no reason, if I may say). It’s weird because it happens too fast and you don’t make friends that easy, am I right? Someone you hate doesn't become your friend just because, right?I won’t just say bad things, there are some good stuff in this book also. I actually liked the way the author developed the relationship between Laila and Dex. They don’t just fall in love and that’s it. No. Unlike what happens with Jodelle, the relationship between Laila and Dex grows throughout the story; they built something little by little. Another thing that surprised me in a good way was the descriptions. It was breathtaking; I could see the glamorous Marvelle Circus so clearly in my head; and I didn't need to put too much effort in imagining Laila's performance because it was there, crystal clear. In the last few chapters the author really caught my attention. I couldn't stop reading. I'm not eager to read the rest but I’m certainly curious about Dex's story and some other stuff that I’ll be looking forward in book two, and I honestly hope it will be better.

  • Brenda Ayala
    2018-10-23 01:01

    I just want to say I am extremely happy that I got this book for such a steal. Sure, I have to post an honest opinion about the book in exchange for the book, but I would have done that anyway!I loved it. I never would have guessed this about myself, but it turns out I quite like circus books. This is definitely a book I'll be recommending to others. I finished it in just over a day while flying back from vacation. Basic synopsis: 16 year old Laila has learned to do what she has to in order to get by. She leads a hard life, involved with dealing (fake) drugs to dangerous people as well as living in a brothel. When an opportunity arises for her to join the circus and escape her predicament, she does. But not without wondering whether it was the correct choice. She eventually rises to stardom and learns that things are still hard, no matter where you are. The story starts immediately. The author does an excellent job of giving valuable information without making it seems so introductory. All the characters were distinct and seemed real, which I used to underestimate in novels until I read on where the characters were dismally flat. Anyway, I loved the descriptions of the circus and the circus acts. I normally tend to skim through the descriptions in a book, but for this I was so focused on it that I would spend an inordinate amount of time on just one paragraph. I think Jodelle and Vivian were my favorites. Jodelle is the fiery best friend that doesn't guard against showing her true feelings. And Vivian is one hell of a villain. It was so much fun to hate her and her scathing remarks!Probably the only downside for me was that it was relatively predictable, but I'm not sure if that's because I've read too many books or not. Even so, I was still caught by surprise with some things (Dex and Seth's past, which I'm sure we'll find out more in the next book).My only real reason for giving the book 4 stars out of 5 is because it needs to have an awesome follow-up in the second book. I know it's probably not fair to lower the rating of this one before the other one has even come out, but there you go.Read it. It's great.

  • Shara
    2018-11-17 02:50

    Rating: 3.5You can also read my review here: http://thebookendreviews.blogspot.com...Lifes a Circus.I had the honor of being sent a free e-copy of Showtime by author, Chloe Kayne in return for providing an honest review. I wanted to do Kayne a solid and give Showtime 5 out of 5 stars...however, that wouldn't be "honest" of me and that is what she asked for. I thought about it for a few days and I've make my decision to give Showtime 3.5 stars. Showtime takes place in the world renowned Marvelle Circus in the early 1920s. After an incident gone bad, Laila Vilonia ends up being hauled off to Marvelle with an offer to stick with the circus. Overtime, Laila makes friends, enemies and falls in love with the outcast who has a dark history.I've decided on 3.5 because I felt like there needed to be more of an adventure. It seemed like something was missing. Don't get me wrong...there were a few suspenseful areas but nothing that made me sit on the edge of my seat. Kayne has done an excellent job with description in ways that I was able to picture everything as clear as day. That however, could have been the downfall. Certain areas of the book had so much description leading up to some event that when it reached its climax, I found myself thinking, "Eh, that was it?" The only time I didn't have that feeling, was (without giving away any spoilers) was with Laila and Benelli in the last chapter. I did like the connection that Laila ended up having with Jodelle (her new best friend) and Dex (the outcast). Kayne's writing style was pretty good and like I mentioned above, her attention to detail was great. Chole Kayne does have a sequel, Spotlight, to come out in 2014 and although I gave Showtime 3.5 stars, I'll still mark Spotlight down as an action item list and read it when it comes out. A side note to Chloe Kayne; Thank you so much for asking me to read and review Showtime. I see potential in your next book.

  • Laura Zimmerman
    2018-11-01 02:48

    I received this book at no cost, thanks to the author. She sent me a free copy in exchange for an honest review so here goes...I have to say that I had trouble maintaining interest in this story. The first few paragraphs were difficult to get through because they were SO descriptive--I felt the amount of description of the surroundings took away from what events were happening. However, after that the writing seemed less forced, as if the author settled into her rhythm.It's possible that my inability to remain interested is due to my age (mid-40's). The book was written as a YA selection so I realize that I may just be too far outside the age group the book was intended for. I found myself thinking that the story, the settings, the events, and the characters were not quite developed yet, as if they were still maturing into what they could have been. There are certainly some intriguing parts (such as the train car--I always imagined circus trains to be comfortable and functional, not the luxuriously appointed car that was described early in the book, which made me wonder what the circus owner was up to), but overall the story didn't do much for me.Having said that, I can see how a younger person would be intrigued and interested in "Showtime". I think there's a piece of each one of us that has dreamed of joining the circus and wondered what that life would be like. I also believe that we all know, or knew, someone whose life was a bit on the rough side; someone who really wanted to get away and start a new life, and the author taps into those parts of us.I wish I had read the book about 25 years ago--I think I would have read it with a very different eye than I did at this point in my life. As it was, my attention wasn't held by the story and rather than being interested enough to finish the book, I read about half and then moved on to another book.I commend the author for her efforts. I see some real potential in "Showtime" and I hope she continues to hone her writing skills and do more writing in the future.

  • Melody
    2018-11-15 07:04

    I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.I think it was very generous of the author to provide me with a review copy of the book and it made me want to like it much more than I did. The premise has a lot of potential--the circus, running away from a bad home life, etc--but the author doesn't take as much advantage of it as she could have. The circus is also a very difficult subject to write about, so I commend the author for her ambition. But the setting was poorly rendered. I couldn't tell if this was supposed to be a historical novel because there's a mention of Model T cars in the first chapter but no one speaks as if they were in the beginning of the 20th century. The author does try to give us a wide view of the circus and has the heroine make friends in the different areas from the animal training to the more menial tasks like laundry. Unfortunately the world didn't seem believable. I have never been in a circus train car but I couldn't believe they were as lavish nor as spacious as the descriptions led me to think they were. The story takes place within one calendar year and in that time period, Laila becomes such an amazing aerialist that she's the star of the whole circus. Laila overall was a sore point with me. She's so beautiful that all the boys are interested in her and so amazingly talented and she's so nice too. She never felt real to me. None of the characters did. There were too many of them for the author to just rely on descriptions of eye and hair color to distinguish them.This story is interesting and it made me think about the inner world of the circus in a way I never had before, but it needs a lot of work.

  • Krystal
    2018-10-31 03:00

    I was asked to review this with complete honesty...So to start out, I have a thing for circuses and clowns and what not. I think the fear of clowns and the circus is dumb. I love them. Everything about them is amazing to me. With that said, it took me forever to be able to picture this circus and the freakin train.The train sounded like it had big, awesome box cars. Two levels to them and what not... and yet... it's still on a train... Basically, I imagined a big ass train with big ass cars stuck on it because I refuse to think that they were on some little thing.Next, I wasn't fond of all the "freaks" being stuck off in the Sideshow. Freaks discriminating against other freaks... come on now. That hurts.Vivian:Dex:But finding out you had a twin totally fucked my mind & then the twins competing over Laila or whatever... God so confusing.Overall, this was a good story, but I didn't really get into it until the second half of it. Basically when Dex and Laila started getting closer, that's when I started paying close attention and didn't skim through stuff. (I still did, just not as much cuz it was more interesting after that...)I look forward to reading the second book. This first book took a while to fully set up the story and characters. Hopefully the second book will capture me more since it won't focus on the set-up as much.

  • Keri
    2018-11-14 03:45

    I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways.When I wasn't in school or studying for exams, I was literally devouring this book. The action, mystery, and drama starts on page one and doesn't cease until the very end.Showtime is the story of Laila, a teenage girl who joins the circus in order to escape her terrible home life. While in the circus she makes plenty of new friends, becomes a star, and also falls in love with the mysterious "Disappearing Man."The author's writing style is beautiful. Her language is so vivid and carefully chosen that I could perfectly capture the imagery in my head. This story and the writing really propelled my imagination. I couldn't put the story down because there was never a dull moment.I also liked the characters, which is always a big thing for me in books. If I don't like the characters, I don't like the book. Personally I thought Laila was a very strong female figure. She had her moments, like any girl does, especially while in love, but in no way did I think she was a "Mary Sue" like other reviews say. The colorful cast of supporting characters also held my attention, especially Jodelle, James, and Dex. I loved how contrasting James and Dex were. James was portrayed as happy and almost innocent with his handsome, blonde looks. Dex, on the other hand, was so dark and mysterious. I couldn't choose which character I liked more!I cannot wait for the second book in the series to come out in 2014! Showtime left me on the edge of my seat and I can hardly wait to read what happens next.

  • Alexa
    2018-11-13 00:53

    I liked this book. I was really intrigued by the summary when I first read it. The first couple of chapters lived up to my expectations. Troubled kids, crazy parents, running way from home. I found that once Laila was part of the circus not much happened. There were many characters being introduced and I found it difficult to keep track of them all. After she began living there not much would really happen for a while. They would go for walks and eat dinner and be in their cart but other than complaining about the mean girls it dragged.Once Laila (view spoiler)[became the star performer (hide spoiler)] I thought things picked up a little. My biggest pet peeve was the romance. You knew right away they were going to get together. There was no suspense or question. Everything about it bothered me. It was very twilight-esque. All of her friends kept telling her how much he was bad news. He was very violent and she kept saying how she would do anything as long as they could be together. I didn't like it. (view spoiler)["He was what made her breaths worth taking, her sights worth seeing, her world worth living." NO. (hide spoiler)]I did enyjoy it, though. I liked Jodelle and James. I enjoyed the whole circus life and the descriptions of the performances were probably my favourite.I gave it three stars because I liked the little twist at the end and I feel like this has potential to go on for a few books and this may have just been slow to lay down everything for the story to continue more in the next book.

  • Lila
    2018-11-10 03:56

    Some things about this book are great. Namely, I think the author's got a great idea for the plot, her descriptions are good, and she isn't afraid to show some grit in her novel. I was engaged pretty much the whole time, although not until the very end did I feel it was one of those all-consuming page-turners that I simply had to keep reading. The problems with Showtime stem mainly from inexperience, I think. Some of the finer plot points are skimmed over, particularly when it came to relationships and character development. I still don't understand why Jodelle and Laila suddenly became best friends. And Dex--I liked his character, I did, but his relationship with Laila felt...strange. There were too many jumps, and it seemed to move at an awkward, irregular pace. And in fact, that's how I felt about the pace of the novel as a whole. It seemed like where some parts were lavishly detailed and elaborate, other parts were jumped over. It seemed like the author had intended to write a more fleshed out and full story, but it had gotten too long and parts had been chopped out. What could have (and maybe should have) taken a whole chapter to describe was whittled down to a paragraph or two. I wanted to live and breathe these characters, get lost in their world, but I kept getting distracted by the flow. Still, overall it was a pretty good book. I'm looking forward to the next one, and to seeing how Chloe Kayne progresses as an author.