July 3, 2012

Review: The Carny by Brooke Moss

Title: The Carny
Author: Brooke Moss
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: InkSpell Publishing (Jul 7 2012)
Get it: Pre-Order from InkSpell Publishing

At a town fair on the coast of Oregon, handsome Native American carny, Vincent Youngblood, bestows an unforgettable kiss on shy, awkward teenager, Charlotte Davenport. Then he disappears without another word, leaving her baffled and enamored.

Ten years later, Charlotte is still living in the small fishing town of Astoria, while being trained to--reluctantly--take over for her philandering hotelier father when he retires. After all, who else will do it? Her two perfect sisters are busy being married to their flawless husbands and having cookie cutter children, while Charlotte remains single, childless, and every bit as mousy as she was a decade ago.

As Charlotte struggles to climb out from underneath her judgmental parents thumb, the carnival rolls back into town, and Charlotte finds herself face to face with Vin again. He's back to run his father's carnival, walking away from a promising career in medicine he started in Chicago. Will her biased and judgmental family accept her relationship with a man who is not only a Native American, but works as a carny for a living? And what unsavory secrets bind the well-educated and seemingly superlative Vin to that ramshackle carnival?

After all, you can’t judge a carny by its cover.


While standing in line at a carnival, Charlotte's friend Regina begins teasing her about her love life, or lack there of. When Regina's taunting of Charlotte is overheard by Vin, a tilt-a-whirl operator at the carnival, he feels the need to step in and defend her. And when they have a moment apart from the prying ears of her friends, they introduce themselves, feeling this strong connection. Before Charlotte gets on the ride, Vin kisses her. A kiss that neither one of them ever forget.

I keep saying it over and over again, but I really love it when I can connect with a book. The Carny did just that. Not only did it make me think, but it made me laugh, and it definitely made me cry. Charlotte didn't fully realize until she met Vin again, ten years after that kiss, just how rude and bigoted some of her friends and family were. She's had to deal with feeling like the "not-so-perfect" one in her family. She felt inferior to her parents and sisters. They seemed to want to change her, mold her into who they wanted her to be. It was as if she was never good enough just being herself, despite the fact that who she was was a very caring, loving, understanding person. Something that set her miles apart from her family.

Vin had dealt with being made fun of, name calling, and the lack of respect for his Native American heritage his whole life, but he didn't let that turn him into a hateful person. All he wanted was to help people. Whether that was as a doctor or simply helping out his family, in particular his sick father, who is the owner of the carnival that he worked at years ago. And with Charlotte, Vin sees the beauty in her that even she doesn't see in herself.

Sure, Charlotte and Vin's journey throughout this book isn't all perfect. Like with any relationship, they have some ups and downs. But it only made them stronger people. I really enjoyed seeing Charlotte come out of her shell and stand up for herself and others. There were a number of things about Charlotte's story that, in some small way, mirrored my own life. And I envy how her story turned out. Perhaps that's why this book was so emotional for me. As pathetic as it may sound, I'm having to wipe away tears as I write this review! Even so, I know that this is one book that I will read again.

Once I started reading The Carny, I didn't want to put it down. I really enjoyed the story so much. Now, being that what I read was an ARC, I did find some minor errors in it. There was also a time or two when I felt the flow of the story threw me off a little bit. That tended to happen when Charlotte would take you back to a past occurrence. It was the return to the "now" that tended to throw me off.  None of those things ruined the enjoyment of the book for me though. I really look forward to reading more of Brooke Moss' work in the future.

One more thing before I forget, I loved the way the story wrapped up. You're given a glimpse into the future of these characters. I was really happy about that. A lot of times when I'm finished reading a book, I'm bummed out that I don't know what became of the characters that I grew to care about. This book had a satisfying conclusion to it!

** I received an eARC copy of the book from InkSpell Publishing for review.**


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  1. I'm so excited that you loved The Carny! Thanks so much for everything!


  2. You're welcome, Brooke! Thanks for stopping by. :)