by Chloe Kayne
3.6 63


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Showtime by Chloe Kayne

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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477401217
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 09/21/2012
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

I began writing the Marvelle Circus books a couple of years ago, after I had started training in aerial arts (silks, trapeze, Spanish web, lyra, etc.). I loved aerials so much; it was all I wanted to talk about--except no one wanted to listen. Around the same time, I saw an episode of the TV show Oddities where they were talking about procuring items from the 1930's Coney Island Sideshow. I thought it would be interesting to write what the performers' lives must have been like with the added benefit that I could talk about aerials to my heart's content!

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Showtime 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
kel_babyy More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book, its so different from anything ive read before and I like that.  This book follows Laila who in the beginning is trying to get tickets to the Marvelle circus with a friend but things go terribly wrong and she ends up getting taken to the boss of the circus and ends up staying and becoming part of the circus. This is perfect for her because she can escape her mother who is reluctant to see that her father isn’t the same man anymore since he survived a suicide attempt and got locked away. While she is living with the circus Laila makes friends and even meets a guy, going to school and training to be part of the circus is time consuming and she hopes she can be an aerialist in the show even though her friends don’t like those types of girls. And when she gets it she is so excited but she is in for a lot more then she could have ever imagined as the story goes on her feelings for Dex get stronger and her friendships grow she faces some major challenges but she is a tough girl and manages just fine. This story had me on the edge of my seat the majority of the time I was reading it. I didn’t want to put it down, which explains why I was up all hours of the night reading it, lol.  This book gets a 5 out of 5 stars, hands down! Loved it!
Czarina_S More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  I have never been to an actual circus before but Showtime is exactly how I think it would be like. The details were so vivid, especially the aerial stunts, that I wanted to jump inside the book & see the show personally. The book started with a dug deal gone bad, & after Laila was left by her so called friend, she got into trouble & Marvelle offered her a job, thus her circus career was born. Laila has a small group of friends, and I just love her best friend Jodelle. She's so badass I just wish I was like her. Although I'm a sucker for for brooding, mysterious guys, I'm a bit skeptical about Dex. He just comes off as an emo guy to me. The story was quite predictable and I kept waiting for a big twist, which unfortunately, didn't arrive. There were some small surprises throughout the book but it didn't have that "wow" factor that I was expecting. There were also a few typos that could sometimes be annoying but not unforgivable.  Overall, I liked it and I can't wait for the sequel. I hope I would know more about Dex's past, and oh yeah, bring Vivian and Benelli down!
MirandaF More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely sensational. I could not put it down. I read it within 24 hours. The opening of the book was a little confusing as things were not explained, but in the end everything was explained. Some of the writing did not flow as well, especially in the beginning. I really enjoyed the main character Laila and her introduction into the circus. The evolving of the relationships Laila made were fun to follow and I felt that I really got to know who she was. I really enjoyed the inner workings of the circus and what went on, especially since it was placed in the early 1900's. I have read many books by first time authors and this book surpassed them all. Chloe Kayne is an excellent writer and the book surpassed my expectations. Absolutely LOVED the book and cannot wait for the story or Laila to continue with the Marvelle Circus!!
jkcouch More than 1 year ago
I was asked to do a review of the book Showtime by Chloe Kayne. I have never done a book review before so bare with me.  Showtime is a 288 page love story that kept me on my seat the whole way through. Always wondering what would happen on the next page and hardly being able to read without skipping forward to see what would happen next.  The story is about a young girl in 1918 desperate to leave her unbearable home. She is thrust into a traveling circus where she meets and falls in love with a so called dangerous sideshow performer.  In the beginning Laila the young girl works in the laundry and eventually she becomes an aerialist. During this time she meets Dex the dangerous sideshow performer and falls in love. At her happiest moment thinking she has left behind her awful home her mother shows up. What ensues will have your heart aching for Laila. Showtime is full of twists and turns that would keep anyone on the edge of their seat. I really liked this book and have not read a book this good in a long time. It took me less than a week to read this book I could not put it down. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel due out in 2014.
angiadelle More than 1 year ago
The author paints a beautifully dark and detailed story.  This book lets you run away with the circus in the 1900s. The crew battles the elements and each other to put on a breathtakingly beautiful show.   The story builds in such a manner that by the time you are familiar with the characters, you are completely  engrossed in the suspense of what may come.   Oh, and hoping Vivian falls.
Marsiverse More than 1 year ago
A majestic, breathtaking, slightly dark journey into "the greatest circus in the world." Set in a time when circuses were something to be revered, you are transported back in time as you enjoy the awe inspiring wonders that Marvelle has to offer, while simultaneously getting a behind the canvas experience of the lives that create the circus.  Each performer and member of the crew has a story, some more prominent than others, that all work together to create the magic atmosphere that is Marvelle. From how each person wound up at the circus to how their lives change during their stay, you can't help but be enthralled. Wicked, vindictive, scheming Vivian. Grim, dangerous, mysterious Dex. Hopeful, hard working, naive Laila. Hard hitting, protective Jodelle. No nonsense Robbins. And of course, the shady Bellini brothers, just to name a few. The entire cast of characters both within and outside of Marvelle are amazing. Everyone has a past and everyone has a future that you don't necessarily see coming. Because Showtime is based around Laila's life, it's extremely easy to relate and connect to her. It may be odd, but her demeanor kind of reminds me of Anne Frank. After a particularly brutal scene towards the end, you'd expect Laila to develop a hard edge and become disillusioned. Instead, she picks herself up and carries on with more resolve. The famous quote "despite everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart" comes to mind when looking at Laila's triumphs and tribulations in retrospect. You can't help but wish good things for her. I'm eagerly awaiting the next book, and desperately wishing I had the power to control which books get made into screen plays. The details of Marvelle and the shows within are so powerfully done that I often felt as though I were watching from the stands.  That kind of magic would do justice when put on a big screen and shared with people the world over.
missmelissa1 More than 1 year ago
I finished "SHOWTIME" in a day and a morning, and safe to say it was amazing! So basically, the story is about our main character Laila Vilonia, who is 16 years old and lives with her mother in a brothel, and has a father that chose to end his life- but failed at that. After a series of events, Laila has a new opportunity at a new life, and the story takes off from there.  The story line is very fast paced, but not to the point where huge masses of details were left out, leaving the reading thinking, what? Characters are very easy to relate to, even though they were from the 1920's. The characters face the same problems teens face today, however it may be in a different situation. Having set the novel in a circus adds more interest as well, as I had always mainly associated circuses with...well clowns and horses trotting around, and when I was reading "Showtime", I found that this was not the case, and that there is more to that. I also never knew about aerials, and I got more insight into the art. Overall, a wonderful book indeed, and would reccomend to anyone. This could also be a good Christmas present as well, with the holidays approaching! :D - Melissa
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
SHOWTIME is a story full of wonderful descriptions of the sights, sounds, thrills, performances, and back stage life in the 1920's Marvelle Circus. Laila is a sixteen year old girl who has run away from a tragic home life just to find herself choosing the life of the circus.  She makes many friends and an enemy or two. Laila's  boyfriend. The Disappearing Man---Dex, is looked upon very skeptically by the rest of the troop because of rumors of a shady, perhaps violent past.  Despite Laila's many new friends warnings she finds herself wanting to be with him all the time.  As Laila works her way up into more important acts in the circus, threats from a company member increase.  Is someone out to get Laila or to ruin their show?   If you are a circus fan, you'll enjoy the story of the back life of the circus, plus the many descriptions of the circus acts. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this book through the author for free in exchange for an honest review. With wonderful scenery and exciting twists, I give this novel three and a half disappearing men out of 5 :)
DLD11 More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for a review. The story of the book intrigued me--a girl runs off to join the circus. I did like the parts of the book that dealt with training and performing. The subplots include romance, behind the scenes rivalries, dysfunctional families and murder. I think the book would have been better if the plot were simplified. This would be enjoyed by teenage readers who enjoy soap opera type plots. It was too melodramatic for my taste.
teepeeM More than 1 year ago
3.5 STARS Upon reading the summary of the book, interest immediately sparked in my brain. A teenage girl entangled in an eerie circus mystery and drama sounded like a page-turner, which I always like. And I am very thankful that the author provided me an ecopy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Showtime was a very descriptive book, which is great because it was able to give a vivid picture of what Marvelle Circus was like. Every detail of the scenery, of the set and of the performance was clearly depicted. It was as if you were watching the performance yourself. However, there were times that the lengthy descriptions weren't as pleasing as they ought to be. (Sorry, sometimes I just get tired with extremely long descriptions.) The element of mystery was nicely built-up but didn't work for me as well as I thought it would be at first. Maybe because halfway through the book, it was still hard to tell which direction the plot is really going. It was confusing at times, whether the story was mainly about running away from her family, or the missing girl, or the mysterious guy, or the feature performance of the circus itself. I cannot figure it out. But in the end, the pieces were fitted together wonderfully. It wasn't predictable, and it will keep you guessing. But mostly, it will keep you in the dark and not reveal anything major.  The last few chapters to the end was beautiful and intense at the same time. Polarity was majestically showed through beautifully written words. The grandeur of the show was vividly showed. And the mystery and thrill heightened at the end. The book was wrapped up nicely leaving any reader, though a bit alarmed by the revelations, still satisfied. The characters were well-developed too, each one different from another. My concern, character-wise, is Laila. She's very observant, but it would have been better if readers were able to feel her emotions, not just see what her mind thinks of. Thus, making the romance part of the book a bit bland. I do not know why, but Laila and Dex did not seem to have chemistry (from my perspective). I just didn't feel it throughout the book, except for the end. I did have doubts with their blooming relationship, but in the end it all played out well. The downside of the book for me is that it was a bit hard get into it. I had a hard time finishing it, maybe because I wasn't anticipating anything. But all in all, it was a good book.
lktucker89 More than 1 year ago
I was delighted when the author offered me a free ebook copy in exchange for my honest review of her work.  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 and I was thrilled that someone writing in the YA genre is stretching intellect, even if it was unintentional on her part.   That said, I felt a 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. Our early exposure to her life is an upleasant one and she has an unfortunate past when we meet her. I was rooting for her so hard when Marvelle accepted her 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.  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. 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 in Skyfall.) I wanted to like Dex, and I did, but I never really felt like we got to know him that well. 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.  I had one really big problem while 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, so roughly 1918 when the story begins. Even if 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. Still not able to drink.. 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, 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. And while I am so thankful to the author for the free copy, 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would rate this book as mature YA. It was a captivating story and world filled with mysterious albeit likable characters. Some of which I could relate to, but others I was just so darn intrigued by! The show scenes were mesmerizing and captured the senses so well I could almost smell the popcorn in the air. Well done! I reiterate: this book is for MATURE YA audience as there are some graphic scenes with violence, drugs, and rape.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is seriously lacking in editing, period detail, and conflict.  Reading the blurb, I thought there was going to be a murder mystery throughout the plot, with the Disappearing Man and all.  But there wasn't.  There were several small conflicts with various people throughout the book, but they resolved too quickly and too simply.  The plot was jumpy, and characters often reached conclusions without any background or substance.  The book opened with a drug-deal-gone-bad scene where two 16 year old girls are trying to sell fake cocaine.  The scene was out of place, had nothing to do with the story really, and did nothing but confuse me as to the time period for the next several chapters.  The language of the characters was way too modern for 1918, and the author overlooked way too much of the real history of the time period for the story to work for me as historical fiction.  The fact that the Spanish Influenza was ravaging Philadelphia at that exact year was completely ignored, as was the fact that because of the contagion, people avoided crowds - especially vaudeville shows and the circus..  And, for some reason the author is obsessed with corsets, which were almost completely out of fashion and use by 1918.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spectacular! Amazing! Enticing and exciting, I started this 4000 page book only 7 days ago and could not put it down! One of the best books I have read, portrays the reality of 1920's America and the magic of the circus at the time. Every moment left you guessing Laila's next step or decision. Right from the beginning theres action mystery and intrigue, up until the end theres sparkle and wonder but drama and action needed to keep the pages turning. The romance and danger of Laila's love interest Dex and waiting to guess what all the secrets are, what the tricks and trades of Marvelle circus are and will be. Sequel of Showtime will be brilliant and I personally cannot wait to read the pages of love, mystery, danger and loyalty.
LeilaR More than 1 year ago
Overall, a decent read. But not without its problems. The story line is not bad. It would be fantastic if it hadn't taken half of the book to really pick up speed and get interesting. It's intriguing enough for the first half that you keep reading, but you do start to get frustrated with some characters. Especially when they're warning the main character, Laila, away from the handsome, pale-skinned, dark-haired brooding guy that she's interested in, without any real reasons. And she never seeks them out, either. But, once you do get to the part where things start to pick up in speed and intensity, you do start to feel like you can't put the book down.  There were some anachronistic issues with the book that kind of really irritated me. I am one of those readers that requires the author to have done proper research when writing a historical book, or I will pick up on just about every little bit that is incorrect. An example of that is when we are brought into an office that's holds a diploma from Harvard and a plaque that shows that Madame Robbins is, both, the graduate from Harvard and COO of the circus. Harvard didn't admit its first female into ANY program until the 1940's. Also, the title COO, would not have been in use in 1918. If her title was not President of the company, then it would have likely been Manager or something similar.  For the most part, the prose and word usage is good, but there are times where the writing becomes a bit extravagant. As if the writer needed to show that they’re a good writer because they know these big words. Unfortunately, more often than not, those words were used incorrectly and really, unnecessarily. The writing was good when the author was using her own voice, not trying to make it sound smarter or better than she was. Although, I could have done without the “favorite crooked smile.” Unfortunately for all the writers who have a character that has a gorgeous crooked smile, it will ALWAYS reek of Edward from Twilight, no matter how you write it. Even more so when the guy is pale-skinned and broods a lot. Even with all those problems, something that can be helped with the use of an editor, I would recommend the book. By the end, I was quite enjoying myself. I do look forward to the next book. For a self-published book, overall, I liked it.
Sara938 More than 1 year ago
After a large misunderstanding, Laila is whisked into a new life in the world-famous Marvelle Circus. What seems like a novel of a girl forgetting her dark past and adjusting to a new life soon turns into a novel about friendship, hard work, love, and making your own judgments. This book was given to me to review, but that doesn't change my opinion about it at all. The novel is well-paced and engrossing - I didn't want to put it down! Though it is set in the 1920's, Kayne's writing is timeless and allows her audience to connect to the characters as they read, rather than simply observe them. I cannot wait until the next installment!
TheEvangelineLily More than 1 year ago
it***This book was given to me by the author for an honest review in return.*** For anyone that has been craving a book to seriously lose themselves in, this is something you want to pick up! I give this book a 4.5/5 rating. Laila Vilonia is the character that this book revolves around. It starts off with almost instant action and pulls you into the story immediately. With great attention to detail and beautiful writing it is easy to lose yourself in the world that Chloe Kayne has created. Love interest Dex is intimidating and dangerous, but to Laila he is sweet and protective. Every character presented in this book whether it is the main character Laila, her love interest Dex, her friends Jodelle, James, and Alysia, or her rival Vivian; they all have a story as to why and how they came to the circus. Some stories I hope will be shown in the next book "Spotlight". Being that this is a debut book, it was missing a few things which is why I didn't give it a perfect rating. Some of the book in the middle was a bit difficult to read sometimes, and felt a bit forced. However the end made up for the middle with lots of twists, turns, and gasps! (I was doing a lot of gasping.) The end wasn't a horrible cliffhanger that made you upset, but rather a great way to end the first book. HOWEVER, another compliant I have is... why do I have to wait until 2014 to read the next. :( Very sad. All in all this was absolutely fantastic and I am excited to read more of Laila and her Circus. Positives: 1) Such beautiful and creative writing. 2) Love the setting. 3) Lots of action!! My goodness. 4) Book doesn't end with a cliffhanger or a nasty love triangle!! THANK YOU!! Negatives: 1) Book was a little blah in the middle for a few chapters. (Nothing too significant, but the writing in the middle needs to be tightened up.) 2) Next book isn't set to be released until 2014. :(
BrittanyNS More than 1 year ago
"Showtime" is a great book! The author is an exceptional writer who came up with a really great and unique plot! The story takes place in 1918 and it is about a 16 year old girl named Laila. Laila was brought up in a hard life, with a prostitute as a mother, and her father attempted suicide leaving him "mentally crippled". She had the chance to join the circus and leave her horrible past behind her. Laila's character grew alot throughout the novel and she was a very relatable and likeable girl. In fact, a lot of the characters in the novel were very likeable. The author has a great eye to detail and she was able to bring all the characters to life in the book, as well as the circus itself. This book actually made me want to be part of a circus group. Learning the art of the aerialists was very interesting. I really enjoyed the characters of James, Dex, and Jodelle. And Vivian made a great villian. I also liked the relationship between Dex and Laila. I am excited for the next book in this series so I can learn more about Dex. I am also excited to see what else will happen to this group of friends; I am wondering if Bethany may be James' sister? I will definetly be buying the next book when it is out!!! The book was exciting from the first chapter which contained a lot of drama and this drama continued throughout the whole book, especially in the last few pages! I recommend this book to everyone! I give it a 4.5/5!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this book to read and review from the Author. My opinions, however, are my own.  I read this a while ago and it has taken me some time to get around to writing the review just because I didn't know what I wanted to say.  I enjoyed this book, it was interesting and the world captured me.  The first few chapters really draw you in and make you want to read more about the circus and what went on there.  I love history and finding out about different environments so the background of the circus was amazing for me.  There are mistakes, and they are quite jarring to read through. That wasn't what ruined it for me though, it just didn't amaze me. I like the setting but that was the part I was interested in. I wanted the characters to jump of the page at me and the didn't.  Which doesn't mean the won't for other people. I do urge people to read this if they think t looks good and they don't mind a few errors, it just wasn't for me.
Raya_mcm More than 1 year ago
Self-published or not, a book’s presentation speaks volumes about the author. I’m not talking about the cover design or any aesthetic appeal; I’m talking about mechanics. While typing errors happen, even to the best of writers, one missed mishap cannot compare to a stream of improper grammar and punctuation. Proofread! This is where editors can make and suggest great changes, and if a writer is capable, the story can alter drastically—and for the better. When dealing with the final product, the story should be polished and developed. What Kayne has to offer her readers, however, more closely resembles a draft. I have laid down my technical complaints, but my real issue takes root in Chloe Kayne’s method and approach. Showtime follows Laila Vilonia as she leaves behind a grim life and unpromising future by beginning anew at Marvelle Circus. In exchange for food, clothes, and a place to call home, Laila starts her new life as a Marvelle laundress, eventually finding her spot among friends and the circus hierarchy. What lacks is a plot, and I wonder what kind of story the author wants to convey. Without any build-up or climax and scant conflict, Showtime readers sit through the teen gossip and melodrama between Laila and her friends. As a result, the entire story suffers as small issues become drawn out and each chapter lags. When conflict does arise, it is often insignificant and squashed down almost as quickly as it appears. As much as the failed direction of Showtime’s course disappoints me, Mary Sue-like elements baffle and bore me. Laila Vilonia is not without personality flaws, yet her mistakes are always forgiven and her faults feel superficially explored. I cannot believe the guilt that plagues Laila for leaving her mother, because I see no authenticity in her character. Miss Vilonia leaps out from Going Nowheresville to become a sought-after leading star, and I question: why? She encounters few obstacles to overcome, and what struggles she does face—both internal and external forces—are pardoned or swatted down like pesky gnats. The “problems,” then, aren’t really problems, and they don’t aid story development or character growth. No growth, in fact, sprouts from Laila’s “journey,” and I feel the prominent lack of true conflict and resolution are culprits. After trudging through every page, this is not a book I recommend. That does not make Showtime something you crumple in your hands, toss it on the ground and grind it into cement with the heel of your shoe. It needs refinement and research, but it’s not trash. For goodness sake: I see the faintest inkling of potential in Chloe Kayne’s words. Although mingled in errors, ill-choice diction, and clunky adjective-abuse, there are some pleasant lines that show me the author is capable. A few pretty lines, unfortunately, are not enough to make up for a whole story’s worth of lackluster plot and flat characters. Thank you to the author, Chloe Kayne, who provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, I must say that I received a digital copy of this book from the author asking me to read and then review the book.  That being said, this book was already on my “to read” list on Good Reads, since I find the circus and the 1920s particularly interesting. I was disappointed with this book from Chapter One.  I’m not a fan of violence and drugs and that’s how this book started.  Although I was turned off, I understand sometimes you have to have the bad stuff to make the good stuff seem even better.  So I continued to give it a chance.  The main characters in this book are teenagers, therefore seemed full of teenage romance and drama, of which I am not a fan.  Then I started noticing a number of typos throughout.  This was actually the first e-book I ever read, so maybe this is “natural” for e-books, but still, not impressive.  I would be hopeful that an e-version of a book would be the same as the hard copy. The storyline seemed to drag, and this may be due in part to the eloquent writing this author tries to give this book.  The author uses lots of colorful descriptions that lose the story within.  I found myself, at times, having to reread a sentence because I wasn’t following what the author was trying to say.  It was as though the author added in more colorful descriptions of meaningless parts to make the book longer, yet it added nothing to the storyline.  The storyline also seemed to contradict itself at times.  I found the end especially confusing. I did enjoy parts of this book, but unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend it to many.
AllisonCK More than 1 year ago
First of all, thank you to Chloe Kayne, who sent me a free ebook copy of Showtime in exchange for an honest review. Showtime tells the story of Laila Vilonia, a girl with a troubled and shadowed past that she keeps well hidden. After a drug deal gone wrong, she finds herself being offered a position in the world-famous Marvelle traveling circus, where she finds friends and enemies among the glitz and glamour and, of course, a dark and brooding new love interest that she is warned to stay far away from. I was intrigued with the premise of Showtime from the start--potential serial killers? Circus? Early 1920s setting? Sign me up! Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that Showtime fell short of every one of my expectations. The characters seemed flat and unbelievable, and I had trouble sympathizing or caring about any of them. The main character, Laila was interesting at the start, but became very bland as the book went on. The villians were either one-dimensional or completely random, and the writing style was choppy at best. The book began with sweeping descriptions that were whimsical yet distracting--purple prose at its finest. I also didn't care for the romance subplot of the story, and the way characters popped up out of nowhere in convenient times to "enhance" the already crumbling plot. Dex, Laila's love interest, was the typical cookie-cutter YA bad boy--friends warn the new girl about him, he has a dark and mysterious past that he won't talk about, and he is of course absolutely gorgeous. Yet I didn't find Laila's feelings for him believable or genuine at all, and the descriptions of his character were downright cringeworthy at times. There are only a handful of times I can hear this boy described as having a "succulent aroma" before I get the urge to toss my Kindle across the room. The secrets revealed about him--no spoilers here, don't worry--were anticlimactic at best, and honestly I couldn't bring myself to care about their romance in the slightest. Another issue I had was with the pacing of the book. I found the action to be very uneven, where you would have chapters and chapters of the day-to-day life at Marvelle with nothing of interest happening followed by random bursts of plot-driven action. It made the book unbalanced, and made reading it rather a chore, but I kept going just to see how, if at all, the loose ends would be resolved. Finally, the biggest issue I have with this book was the seeming lack of any sort of historical accuracy. The book claims to be set in 1918, but honestly it could have been modern for the amount of detail paid to historical accuracy. I have a hard time believing that there would be running water in a circus train in 1918, for example, and the dialogue spoken by the characters had too much of a modern flair. Major events of the time period, however, are pushed aside or ignored entirely. World War I, which would have ended only a few months earlier during the portin of the novel supposedly set in spring 1919, gets no mention whatsoever. Wouldn't such a major event be discussed at least a little by the characters? There were many boys of eligible fighting age in the circus, yet none of them were enlisted in the army. Now, that might be because joining Marvelle offered some sort of loophole for them, protecting them from being called up, but since the author never brought up the issue I suppose we'll never know. Another major world event, the Spanish flu epidemic, is only brought up once or twice in conjunction with the lies Laila tells about her parents despite the fact that it would probably have been a very real fear in late 1918/early 1919. It seemed like no research was done to stay true to the period, which irritated me greatly as all of this information would have been easy to find using Google or even watching an episode of Downton Abbey. All in all, I was very disappointed with this book as a whole, although I do appreciate being given the opportunity to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally loved this book!!! It did take me a chapter or two to really get into the story. At the beginning I felt like I was being introduced to too many things/characters at once that I got confused. But once the story started developing I was excited the whole time. I really enjoyed the author's writing style. At first it might have been overly descriptive, but as the story went on I was really able to connect with the characters and the circus itself. It seems to me that many of the not so positive reviews look down upon this story because they question it's historical accuracy. The author seems passionate about her subject, and I'm no expert on the era, but I didn't find myself questioning the time period. The circus is obviously the setting, but I feel the novel has much more to do about a girl trying to find herself, experiencing new things and finding friendship and love in the process. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a little magic in their books! It was a wonderful page turner, with twists and turns at the perfect moments to keep you drawn in till the very end! I can't wait to read the next one!