The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

Alanna McFall's début novel, “The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus”, is a story about a delightfully quirky and unique road-trip to San Francisco. It was a wonderfully moving tale about the importance of empathy, friendship and about hard it can be to let go and move on. 

The Triple-C trio takes the reader on an expedition filled with escapades and misadventures. I was lured into this fabulous story by Alanna McFall's entertaining dialogue and her well drawn and compelling if less than perfect, characters. I loved that all of the characters in this book had their own distinctive voices, as it is more usual for the players, both the primary and supporting characters, to speak alike, with similar turns of phrase, vocabulary, inflections and jargon.

There were some really bone-chilling moments and, for all its ghostly quirkiness, it did not waver from the difficult topics like the realities of life, or even the afterlife. This story remained both joyous and uplifting, even as it highlighted dark and loaded subjects like death, violence, grief and poverty. What also worked so wonderfully for me in all its ghoulish glory, was the gratifyingly subtle and gentle humour threaded through each part of the story. Funny, profoundly moving and highly recommended!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Atthis Arts via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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I loved this book. It was such a fun, interesting, and unique read.
 
Chelsea is a ghost and is friends with other ghosts in New York City, but has a ghostly best friend and mentor called Carmen. There is one woman, Cyndricka, who can see ghosts, but is a mute mime who communicates with sign language. The 3 decide to walk to San Francisco so that Chelsea can attend her brother's wedding.
 
There is so much that happens along the way that bring out issues of relationship and family, forgiveness, life purpose, and what stops us. All 3 women need to learn to come to terms with issues from their past in order to move on. There are also tense moments involving both human and supernatural predators that the 3 women need to overcome.
 
The character development was great and felt authentic. I felt so much for all 3 women and wanted the best for them so badly. And the writing and descriptions were terrific and engaging, keeping me turning the pages.
 
I love how McFall dealt with big issues, but in a sensitive way. There is a lesbian character, but she is simply gay and it is one part of her character. Homelessness and how people are treated is also tackled, as is racism. Binding all of these big issues together is friendship and loyalty and purpose. It was interesting to explore these women looking back on their lives and deciding what was important and what wasn't, and what paths to take in the future.
 
 
 
 
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book. I co-own a book box subscription and we have chosen this book for our July box, so will publish the review for this book on my personal page after the box goes out.
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The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus by Alanna McFall is a very unique book that I enjoyed.  Chelsea is determined to go to her brother's wedding, the problem she has been dead for two years.  On Chelsea's journey is her human mime friend, and her ghost mentor.  Their journey takes them from New York to San Francisco, on foot.  If you are looking for a funny book that tackles serous subjects, give this book a try.  

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you.
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A thoroughly enjoyable read, fabulous characterisation and a story that will have you laughing and crying in equal measures. Well written and engaging, I looked forward to being able to loose myself in a well written book.
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Well, if there's one thing you should know about my experience reading this book, it's that I devoured 70% of it in one sitting, and I didn't even notice, I only stopped because it was 4AM. Yep. That's a TL;DR for you.

The one very important thing I want to point out before anything else is that all the characters in this book, main and supporting characters alike, all have a different "voice". This is is INCREDIBLY important when you read a lot. It is so, so common for characters to speak alike, same vocabulary, same syntax, same everything, and it is so common because many writers don't even think about it, the characters are almost an extension of them, so of course they all speak like that, and after all "What do you even care HOW they speak, it's what they say that matters"

No, it's not. How a character speaks is very, very important, because it shows that the author went the extra mile when they made them and wrote them. No person you know in real life speaks exactly like someone else, so why should your book characters do the same? Having distinct dialogue also helps getting to know the character, and getting attached to the character, it's not just an Extra No.457, it's that character, the one you can imagine in your head what they'd say to an x scenario.

Related to the above is that the book is effortlessly diverse. Apart from the identical "voices", another common mistake in books is diversion just for the sake of diversion, shoe-horning in queer characters and POC characters like the author is trying to fulfill a quota and trying to fit in with the "new trends" (see: Derek Landy's new Skulduggery Pleasant books) One very simple way to tell is that the author of the shoe-horns can't write diverse characters to save their life, they're usually both stereotypical and very in-your-face about it, because they're looking for Brownie points for including anything other than vanilla white straight characters.

That's not the case in The Traveling Triple-C at all. The book is incredibly diverse and it is so natural and effortless, it's astounding. I could not respect Alanna McFall more for that. The main characters are a lesbian Chinese-American woman, a mute African-American woman who speaks in sign language, and a Hispanic straight mother, and none of them is written stereotypically, or talked vaguely about (because that's another sign of shoe-horns; the author wants the Brownie points but is too chickenshit about it, never describing the character clearly, saying vague crap like "She had caramel skin"), their characteristics are described to the reader clearly. It was so, so refreshing.

I'm placing so much emphasis on the characters because this is a character-driven story, not plot-driven. If anything, the plot is a little predictable (more on that later), but the true heart of the story is never placed in it, it's always about the characters. You know, the cliche "It's about the trip, not the destination", but it works beautifully here. You're truly invested in the characters' trip and relationships, you feel for them, you're equally frustrated when Chelsea is trying to touch someone, anyone, and she can't (another great part of the book: the ghosts really are incorporeal, they can't interact with the physical world at all)

Oh, and not to mention that this is a very much feminist story, so that's a huge extra plus for me.

The reasons why the book isn't getting a full 5 stars from me, despite all the praising above, are:
1. The plot was, as I mentioned above, sorta predictable (of course SPOILER!!!! Chelsea ends up moving on after the wedding, it was pretty clear from the beginning that that was the "unfinished business" she had (hide spoiler) END SPOILER)
2. The women finally arriving to San Fran was abrupt (chapter ends, they still have 2 weeks to go after a major event in the story, chapter begins, they're already there)
3. I wasn't a fan of the poltergeist scene, SPOILER!!! it felt way too comedic if you consider that the creatures have been described as incredibly horrifying, END SPOILER] so it felt like a bit of an anticlimax.

BUT, concerning that last scene, I should also mention that I absolutely loved the foreshadowing SPOILER!!! of Carmen being just one step from turning into a poltergeist at any moment. END SPOILER There were enough clues and dots for you to connect before the big reveal, and it was delightful.

And, of course, I should mention that I cried at least two times while reading, and I also got the sudden urge to get a baseball bat and kick the shit out of some cowards in a truck. If you've read the book, you'll know.

So yeah, I definitely recommend this book. Remember it the next time you're at the bookstore.
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I have just finished The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus by Alanna McFall. I loved the book, it was a very interesting premise and I really liked the characters particulary Cyndricka.
I won't go to much into the details as I don't want to give any spoliers to this book.
Honestly it was the description of the book that first drew my attention to it. As the description states ‘Chelsea is determined to make it to her brother’s wedding. And she’s not going to let the fact that she’s been dead for two years stop her. 
Joining with her mime friend from a New York City park and her ghostly mentor with forty years of afterlife under her belt, the three women set out on foot for San Francisco. Along the way, they are faced with joy, sorrow, and the haunting surprises of the open road. This humorous and lightly macabre journey explores relationships, personal burdens, and what it means to keep moving, even when your heartbeat has stopped‘.

Initially I wasn’t sure what to make of a book with a dead protagonist.
However I enjoyed this book immensely. My favourite chapter was Chapter 3 mainly because I absolutely loved the interaction between the dead residents of New York and the mime Cyndricka. The interplay between the living mime and the dead was just lovely. The author has blurred the line, creating a dichotomy of worlds. The mime is able to see and indeed interact with the dead, giving two performances in Central Park. One for the benefit of the living and one for the dead at the same time.
This book was unlike anything I'd read before and I would heartily recommend it.
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This is a good story of ghosts who decide to travel the width of the United States to attend a wedding.  It's funny and well written with characters I liked. Chelsea dies in a subway accident the day she gets her brother's wedding invitation.  Now 2 years later after wandering the streets of New York, she learns that the postponed wedding is now back on. She and her two friends, Carmen and Cyndricka start walking.  Their journey is most of the story and the sights they see and the people they meet is wonderful. It's a book that explores friendship and finding out how being different is no big deal.  A different type of ghost story.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, Netgalley.com and Atthis Arts.  Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review.

Ms. McFall has written an emotional and thoughtful story about an unlikely trio. A story that will stay with you much longer than you expect it to. Add to your TBR list now!

5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.
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As much as I wanted to love this novel because of the utterly unique premise, I just couldn’t get into it or care a lot about the characters.  I had to,stop after 50 pages, sorry to say.  I see that other reviewers really enjoyed it, so I think it just wasn’t to my taste. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Thanks Netgalley for the copy! 

I loved this book! It was refreshing to see a book all about women that wasn’t a love story. Chelsea was relateable and witty. I loved the imagery during their journey and felt like I could really imagine the little towns. The ending left me feeling happy and was a great way to give closure to Chelsea. I will definitely be reading more books by Alanna McFall!
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"Chelsea is determined to make it to her brother’s wedding. And she’s not going to let the fact that she’s been dead for two years stop her."
This line is already enough to get me hooked onto this amazing story about Chelsea's journey in the afterlife. It's such a fresh and heartwarming take on what is normally grim and scary. I would love for this book to have a sequel and find out what happens after the afterlife. 

I have received an ARC from NetGalley in return for a honest review.
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Excited about her brother’s upcoming wedding, Chelsea accidentally fell to her death and tried to save the invitation over herself. She is very close to her family, so she mourns her own death as well as shadows her family in addition to her girlfriend for some time, almost losing herself in the process. When her brother’s wedding is finally back on track two years later, Chelsea’s certainly not going to let her ghostly form keep her from attending his big day. Armed with two friends, one living and one dead, she embarks on a long journey to get from New York City to California on foot.

We mainly follow Chelsea, our protagonist, but it quickly becomes more than her story. As the chapters fly by, it becomes clear that it’s also Carmen and Cyndricka’s story in addition to the ghosts they meet as they travel. They each have their own story and have yet to figure out why they became ghosts in addition to completing their unfinished business that’s holding them here. So many of these characters are relatable in different ways and I think that any reader can easily find a character that they see a part of themselves in.

Chelsea almost loses herself when she meets her mentor, Carmen, who saves her from falling off the edge and becoming a wailer in addition to becoming a friend and source of comfort. Part of her ghostly program is to stay busy and not visit the people she knew during her life, which is difficult for Chelsea to stick to because she misses her family. When she learns that her brother is finally getting married, Carmen disagrees with her decision to attend the wedding but decides to tag along. Once the journey begins, it quickly becomes a sad but funny and heartwarming story following these three characters across the states and watching their ups and downs along the way.

I love that Cyndricka is the sole living member of the incorporeal circus. As a living and breathing person, she’s the one member of the group who must take care of herself and has needs that need to be met for her survival. And as a woman living on the streets, she also relies on the help of her ghostly pals to alert her of any danger that tries to find her. Cyndricka is such a wonderful character and I’m so glad that she has a whole world of ghosts that know and understand her when the living world doesn’t.

There are so many funny, touching, sad, and straight up happy moments in this book that it was truly a wonderful ride to be on. I was sad when I made it to the final chapter because I knew the story was about to end. If there is ever a sequel, which I don’t think there will be because it felt and read like a standalone novel, I will one hundred percent be there for it. It’s truly a story of love and loss as well as finding oneself even when one thinks it’s too late. I found myself hoping that we would revisit This is also the first book that I’ve seen a menstruation cycle dealt with during the story rather than forgotten or barely mentioned, so that was a big plus as well.
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This was much more than I expected. Death, grief, love, regrets, hope....sounds deep and depressing, but this was told with humor and an otherworldly twist. Never preachy, but engaging and uplifting. This was a very enjoyable read.
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I absolutely loved this book. It was so different, but in a wonderful way. The characters are fully developed and really tug on your heartstrings. I was rooting for all of them the whole way through. I’m sure the more I think about it, the more I will adore it.
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"The languages between them could not have meant less just then, gone in the face of shared experience and shared pain" 

I. Love. This. Book. 

"The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus" moved me deeply, in a lot of different ways. I'm certain that this is a book that I'll come back to and read over and over again, because that's how much I loved it. It has so many important topics and beautiful quotes that I found it really hard to choose one quote in the beginning of this review. 

Chelsea Shu dies at 27 and becomes a ghost. A ghost who mourns her own death and the fact that she can see her family and be by their side, without them noticing her. Luckily she meets Carmen that when the story begins already is her mentor in this undead world of theirs. 

The story takes place two years after Chelsea's death when she finds out that her little brother Osric is about to get married to the love of his life. Together the ghostly companions Chelsea and Carmen decide to go there...and with go I literally mean go because ghosts can't travel in cars, airplanes or by train. Homeless, human mime (that both can see and communicate with ghosts) Cyndricka decides to come with her friends...and so the journey of their undead and very alive lives begins. 

This book both made me cry, laugh and feel an incredible amount of feelings. All three females stories moved me and their growing friendship makes my heart so full. The characters are very different from one another and I believe that, that is what makes them so great together. 

McFalls writing is fenomenal, her characters are beautifully portrayed and the amount of details, action, sadness, happiness and comedy is woven together perfectly. There's simply nothing not to like about this book. 

The characters varies a lot both when it comes to sexual orientations and ethnicity which I find absolutely lovely. Like that isn't enough McFall also brings up periods (which might sound like nothing( but the fact that Cyndricka has to see to her menstrual hygiene while on the road is just great. Because how often do we actually get to read about the characters getting their period when they are on their adventures? 

As a person who believes in a life after this, this book really meant something for me. I don't know if this book describes what McFall believes happens after death or if it's simply a fantasy story. But this story really made me feel a lot of feelings after losing people close to me and believing that they are still out there somewhere. 

Thank you NetGalley and Atthis Arts for the e-ARC of "The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus, I absolutely adore it...and the biggest thanks to Alanna McFall for writing a new favorite book of mine, this really is something different. I loved it. ❤️
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The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus
Allanna McFall
Description
Chelsea is determined to make it to her brother’s wedding. And she’s not going to let the fact that she’s been dead for two years stop her.
Joining with her mime friend from a New York City park and her ghostly mentor with forty years of afterlife under her belt, the three women set out on foot for San Francisco. Along the way, they are faced with joy, sorrow, and the haunting surprises of the open road. This humorous and lightly macabre journey explores relationships, personal burdens, and what it means to keep moving, even when your heartbeat has stopped.
Thank you, NetGalley for the advance copy of the book for review. 
I loved the cover! Two dead girls and her Mime. The triple C's... Chelsea, Carmen, and Cyndricka. Yes, true. They travel across America to attend Chelsea's brother wedding. It is a sweet book makes you smile and feel much. About friends and caring more, even in death.
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Interesting. I didn’t know what to expect with this one. When I read the synopsis it caught my attention and imagination. I loved the title, the characters, the premise and I kept me thinking happy and sad thoughts. However, I had been banned from my other half from reading the book at night. It gave me vivid dreams! It must have affected me a lot.
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Who would figure that a story about a mute mime and a couple of ghosts could turn into such a thoughtful read? I loved spending time meeting Chelsea (who happens to be very dead...I'm sorry, un-dead) and her friends Carmen and Cyndricka. I totally loved this book. I wasn't expecting anything deep, I was looking for a good, fun read...and I found it in this book. But I also found a story of caring and friendship, a story with lessons, a story that says it's ok to be different.

I am not a reader of books from the paranormal section, but the author has done such a different take on what could have been a very typical, boring idea and turned it into something special. Chelsea is funny, naive, caring and has such a pure, non beating heart. She and her friends will have you cheering for them during their journey. 

This one surprised me. I was laughing out loud at some parts of this book, and near tears at others. You'll love all the main characters. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Chelsea, Carmen and Cyndricka. The banter between them was enough to make me want to keep reading through the night.

I honestly chose this book partly based on the cover (cute cover, right?). I am so glad I did. Chelsea is truly one after my own heart. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it, it was funny and smart. The characters are well developed and the story kept me engaged.
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Surprising  ~  Funny  ~  Sweet

tl;dr: Dead girl attends brother's wedding. 

I am a sucker for dead people stories, particularly when they are funny/ mostly about thinking about living people. This one tells the story of a young dead woman, who is struggling with the afterlife, and wants to cross the country to see her brother get married. What ensues is a buddy comedy/ road trip story where only one of the three characters has a corporeal existence. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, even if it felt a bit familiar. 

3.5

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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