#LoveOzYA #aww2018 “I’m just considering how I can be an evil genius at the same time as being so very stupid.” // Review of “All Aces” by Ellie Marney

Title: All Aces (Circus Hearts #3)
Author:
Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary/romance/crime
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 06/11/18 – 09/11/18
Rating:
★★

Review:

I can’t really explain why I wasn’t as into this final installment of Circus Hearts as I was the first two. I think it is partly because I am coming out on the other side of my really enthusiastic desire for circus and carnival books. I crammed a lot of them into the last couple of months and I have may have finally worn myself thin on them.

There is still plenty that I liked in this one. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Zep Deal’s performances. I’ve never seen a cardsharp perform before but I trotted off to YouTube after finishing this to find something akin to what is described in the book because it sounded amazing.

Ren, our narrator, is a bit different to the narrators of the previous two books. She’s more awkward, which I enjoyed, and single-minded, which leads to trouble (of the good variety, of course). I really felt for her in the scenes with her family where she felt torn between family obligation and her love of the circus.

I guess one of the things was I just didn’t get an immediate sense of the chemistry between Ren and Zep the way I did with the couples in the previous two books. But I did love the scene where Zep demonstrates his pickpocket abilities while distracting Ren with his proximity, and also, Ellie Marney continues to be the queen of the steamy make-out scene.

As you can see, there is plenty still to like, and I think it’s more to do with me than the book that I wasn’t more into it. If you are in the mood for YA contemporary, this is definitely a series I recommend. Click to read my reviews of books one and two, which were five and four star reads for me respectively. 


(Thanks to Ellie Marney for including me in her review crew and providing me with a free copy of All Aces in exchange for a review)

#LoveOzYA #AWW2018 // Book Review: “All Fall Down” by Ellie Marney

Title: All Fall Down (Circus Hearts #2)
Author:
Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary/romance/crime
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 29/09/18 – 01/10/18
Rating:
★★★

Review:

After reading the first book in this series last month, I was really excited to find out more about the characters in this universe. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous book, but it was still a really enjoyable read.

All Fall Down centres on Fleur Klatsch, the daughter of the proprietor  of the Klatsch Karnival. After a streak of accidents, one of which finds her father in hospital, she finds herself trying to run the show and keep it all together. She is reunited with childhood friend Marco, who comes in as a PA to help.

I really loved getting to know Fleur in this installment. I wasa a bit wary of her in the first book because I thought she was just going to be a typical “mean girl” type, but there is much more to her than that. As Sorcha says in this book, she did the wrong thing for the right reasons.

I really loved Marco! I don’t know, he was just caring and sweet and really put together with his paisley waistcoats. And he has a really good job and a good head on his shoulders. I totally undestood his reasons for leaving the circus, but I also appreciated Fleur’s hurt and sense of abandoment. The only thing that bothered me a bit about Marco was that he called Fleur “Petal”, which I got was a reference to her name meaning flower, and in the context it was a childhood nickname. But I associate it with “Settle, petal” and my niece calling my mum “Petal” when she’s being cheeky and other condescending things, so it did jar me a bit when he called her that in the middle of an otherwise serious conversation. But I can let it go.

While the sabotage that begins in the first book continues here and the characters are investigating it, I felt that not a huge amount happened in the first half. But both the romance and the investigation took off about the second half, and the climax had me flying through the pages.

I also really appreciate how much research Ellie Marney puts into her stories. I ended up going and googling another circus after a mention of a disaster that took place there in the 50s. And even just how much detail there is in the general circus atmosphere. It’s pretty great.


(I am  grateful to Ellie Marney for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#WWW Wednesday – September 06, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I finished Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel on my way to choir last Thursday. This was definitely as good as the first book. I love the way Sylvain Neuvel manages to both highlight the global effects of proof of alien life, and also focus on the person as well.

I also finished Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, which was fine, but with the exception of the main character having a bunch of self-aware hallucinations, it felt like a straight crime book and there were parts that weren’t that engaging. I’m still going to read the third book when it arrives at the library, though.

I actually posted reviews on both Friday and Monday this week! Quelle surprise! Haha. Click titles to read my reviews of All The Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1) by Ellie Marney and Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel.

What are you currently reading?

started Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel on CD in the car the other night, but I haven’t converted it and put it on my phone yet, so I’m not very far into it.

I am also reading Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie. It’s… fine? So far, I’ve read about six and there’s one story that I’ve particularly liked. The Jack and the Beanstalk one struck me as particularly weird, mostly because part of the vegetarian character’s journey to becoming a villian was “I realise I have to eat meat to fullfil my destiny!” Um.

What do you think you will read next?

I still have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I’ve also picked up a couple of books by Indigenous Australian women because I realised I’m pretty behind on my Australian Women Writers Challenge for this year.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily

#LoveOzYA #AWW2018 “So in this situation, am I the right hand or the left hand?” “My dear, you are the ball.” // Review of “All the Little Bones” by Ellie Marney

Title: All the Little Bones (Circus Hearts #1)
Author:
Ellie Marney
Genre: Contemporary/romance/crime
Target audience: YA
Date Read: 28/08/18 – 29/08/18
Rating:
★★★★

Review:

I’ve stopped opening reviews with “I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but…” because I realised that’s not true anymore. What is still true is that I probably lean away from YA contemporaries that are as heavy on the romance as this one, but as you can see from my rating, it didn’t bother me in this case.

Trapeze artist Sorsha and apprentice strongman Colm are on the run from their family-run circus up north after an act of self defence results in a man’s death. Uneasily, they join another circus troupe, where they must navigate the social structures already in place and their growing feelings for each other, all while trying to keep their heads down so the police don’t come knocking.

I loved the performance atmosphere of Klatch’s Karnival, where Sorsha and Colm end up. For a start, the descriptions of the various routines and the costumes, and the set-up were all wonderful. I’m no full-time circus performer but I do perform in amateur musical theatre in my spare time, and there was so much that rang completely true to me. One of my favourite parts was a scene where Sorsha and her roommate Ren have a very philosophical, metaphorical conversation about envelopes, which then turns into a run of bad jokes about envelopes, which then results in laughing fits, and then a second wind of laughing fits over how you’re laughing at such bad jokes. This is me and my theatre friends after a week of dress rehearsals and three opening performances in 36 hours.

Speaking of Ren, I really enjoyed the diverse cast of circus cast and crew, though Ren was a particular favourite. She is Indonesian and there is lots of Indonesian language in the text. I also really liked the way she and Sorsha became fast friends. I was a bit worried because one of the first characters Sorsha meets is Fleur, the daughter of the circus proprietor, and I was getting a Mean Girls vibe from her, which made me a bit wary. Fortunately, though, Fleur is also fleshed out and has her reasons for being the way she is, and we’re getting a whole second book in the series focused on her, which I’m excited for!

Plot-wise, the romance probably happened a bit faster than I would generally like (I am a big fan of the old slow-burn, and when I say slow-burn, I mean, like, five books of will-they-won’t-they :P) but this is not insta-love either because the characters have actually known each other quite some time, and this is where they acknowledge the attraction that has been building. Also, I get super awkward when reading anything romantic that goes beyond a bit of kissing (probably the reason I don’t read a whole lot of romance) but this was just the right amount of sexy and I enjoyed it a lot.

When it comes to the non-romantic aspects, just know that there were certain moments when I was muttering “oh no, oh no!” under my breath on the bus on the way to work. The pace is fast and I was always eager to see what happened next. I can’t wait to see what happens in Book 2!


(I am immensely grateful to Ellie Marney for providing me with a free, early copy of this book via a giveaway. This book releases September 1, 2018.)

This review is part of my 2018 Australian Women Writers Challenge. Click here for more information.

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#WWW Wednesday – August 29, 2018

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

Oh my god, I finally finished Blackwing by Ed McDonald! Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad book. It’s just grimdark fantasy is not really my thing. If it is your thing, you will probably love this book. I still enjoyed a lot of it, it just took me a long time to get through. I’ll try to review it soon.

I was very excited to receive an early copy of All The Little Bones, #1 in the Circus Hearts series by Ellie Marney, as part of a giveaway Ellie was running. I usually don’t lean towards YA fiction that is quite so heavy on the romance, but the writing sucked me in.  Also for various reasons, I’m really into circuses at the moment, so that probably helped. I’m going to have a review up of this on Friday,  in time for its release on Saturday.

I’m still behind on reviews but I’m slowly catching up. I posted my review of Loch of the Dead by Oscar de Muriel and Legion by Brandon Sanderson since my last WWW post.

What are you currently reading?

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel made me teary while I was listening to it on the bus today. I have already had two of my three favourite characters die, I didn’t need more emotional turmoil! But seriously, this book’s as good as the first in the series.

All The Little Bones distracted me from Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson, but I will get back to that now. This is somewhat interesting but I feel like the stakes will need to pick up or I’m not going to enjoy it as much as the first book.

What do you think you will read next?

I have White Night by Ellie Marney from the library so I will pick that up next. I actually didn’t finish the first Ellie Marney book I tried reading, but then I really liked the Circus Hearts book, so I’m hoping this experience will be closer to  that one.

I’ve also got Only Human, the last Themis Files book by Sylvain Neuvel, from the library, so I need to put it on my phone so I’m ready to pick it up.

What are you reading this week?~ Emily