Cover Image: Freeks

Freeks

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Mara has grown disenchanted with life in a traveling circus. After settling into a quiet small town, she thinks she'll finally get her chance to embrace the normal, until a dark force rises, threatening all that she holds dear? Can she harness a power she didnt know she had before it's too late?
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This was altogether a compelling read, but it lacks proper character development. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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I was given this ARC by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This was one of those books that I enjoyed reading even though I did not like any of the characters. A true and good example of a story driven by the plot, at least for me.

The plot. Who doesn’t enjoy a good and slightly creepy story about an eerie entity wreaking havoc, set in a sideshow carnival? I certainly do. And it was the only thing that kept me reading. It was a good idea and started to unfold nicely, but sadly got a bit sidetracked by a main character, who was just flat. Also, things started to become too convenient in order to wrap up everything nicely into an ending.

The characters in general felt one dimensional. There was “the mom”, “the boyfriend” (in this case the mom’s boyfriend), the mysterious, extremely handsome, slightly brooding, totally ripped love interest and of course “the loyal friend”. They never ventured outside of their pre-determined roles and that made for a very anti-climactic story. The protagonist felt much younger than she was supposed to be, which kept confusing me throughout the story. She couldn’t keep my interest.

The writing started to become repetitive about halfway through the story. After about the fifth time I think every reader gets it that the handsome guy has a glint in his eye and a slight smirk on his lips. It is tiring for a reader to read the same description repeatedly.

Overall, the premise was good and the plot was interesting enough for me to finish the book, but I felt a bit let down. It is a quick read and entertaining, I was just hoping for more, based on the description. I would suggest this book to anyone interested in a story set in the 1980’s, characters with supernatural abilities and a quick read.
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Freeks has a lot of compelling elements and characters. It starts strong but fizzles out with predictability.
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I thought this was terrible. It wasn’t very interesting or fun to read. I like Hocking’s earlier works a lot. But some of her newer stuff isn’t up to my liking anymore.
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I should of read this sooner. I really enjoyed it. After going in blind I didn't know what to expect. But I was instantly gripped. 
I do think the ending was rushed. It felt like it was too easy to overcome to attacker. Considering it was getting stronger and stronger the more it attacked. I would of preferred to see it be revealed earlier and see more of a struggle in the final battle than it just being a short chapter worth.
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I really liked this book but there was one thing that irked me to no end: the relationship and dynamic between Gabe and Mara.  By the way, these next few sentences have a lot of SPOILERS so skip this paragraph if you don’t want to be spoiled.  So the premise is this: the carnival is only there for a week (7 days) and Mara met Gabe the first night that they arrived.  Yet somehow by the third or fourth day (they met up roughly once a day), they were falling in love with each other?  And by the 6th day, they did the deed and finally, by the 7th, Gabe decided to join the carnival??  I mean, what kind of relationship is this?  How does one decide to change one’s entire future based on a girl he met literally a week ago?  This is one of the main reasons why sometimes I really dislike YA novels because the relationship are 99% NOT at all realistic.  I get that the book is full of people with supernatural abilities but that doesn’t change the fact that the way how they think and act is different from us regular people.  And the fact that Mara’s mom is okay with Gabe suddenly joining the carnival and not really worried is just strange to me.  I mean, I don’t know about you guys but if I brought a guy home and told them that he was moving in with me even though I just met him a week ago, my parents would be very, very concerned and most likely argue with me.  Anyways, enough ranting about their relationship.

Other than that, I really did like the book.  I found the mystery behind the creature intriguing and even though it was kind of obvious who was involved, the revealing of the identity of the creature did surprise me.  Not to mention, what actually happened after that.  Also it was crazy to think that Gideon was okay with continuing with the carnival even though a lot of attacks had occurred on his people.  I get that the situation was dire especially with the financial aspects but honestly, it didn’t feel like they were doing much other than setting up a buddy system and trying to be more cautious.  At the same time, they couldn’t really do anything since they were basically broke.  It was just a bad situation either way for them and that sucked. 

I really liked the secondary characters in the carnival – Luka, Roxie and Gabe’s sister even though she only made a few appearances.  I thought they definitely brought out the whole carnival situation out as well as enhancing Mara’s personality and character as a whole.  It was too bad about Blossom though.

The one thing I would say about this book though is that I definitely felt that the characters were a little too laissez faire about the whole situation.  If it was me, I would have freaked out long ago and booked it.  I guess they were just tougher than me LOL.  Overall, it was a good book.  There were definitely a few flaws – mainly the relationship between Mara and Gabe; however, if you overlook it, everything else seemed fine.
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Unfortunately, I lost interest in this book after picking it up.  I may give it another shot in the future.
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Not her best work... Maybe my expectations were too high here. I was happy to see the end come. At least it's a standalone.
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Than you to NetGalley, Amanda Hocking, and St. Martin's Press

This review is long overdue because it took me forever to read this book. I attribute part of the delay to major changes in my life and a sever dip in my reading time, but I also want to attribute part of it to the fact that this book was just "okay" to me. It took me over a year to read because, while it had a good idea behind it, the execution was lacking and couldn't hold my interest for more than a few chapters at a time. Now, I want to be clear: this is not a bad book. It's a decent story and the characters are fun, but at the end of the day, it doesn't stand out as a book that I want/need to read again, nor is it a book that I would recommend to my friends as anything more than a fun summer beach read if they have no other books on tap.

The characters were...eh. I felt like they all had interesting aspects to their personalities, but that they weren't very well-defined or talked about. The paranormal aspects of each character were glossed over--we get a lot of "X character can do Y," but then that isn't really much follow up. I also felt the plot was a bit repetitive. Every day seemed to be the same: the Mara hangs out with her love interest, night falls, someone gets attacked--lather, rinse, repeat for 3 more days. While I understand that there was a pattern to the beast's attacks, I would've liked to have seen Mara spend more time investigating and trying to get to the bottom of the mystery instead of waiting for the main villain to monologue and reveal everything on the last night. I also hated that Mara was constantly not heeding her mother's orders. I was a rebellious teenage girl once upon a time, so I get it, but when your best friend goes missing, people keep getting attached, your mom is a necromancer who can sense when things are bad and a creepy dead ghost is literally screaming at you about things being bad...maybe you should listen. In addition to all that, the end of the novel left some unanswered questions about Caudry: why is it a paranormal hotspot? Why do the fireflies glow purple? What is the basis of Gabe's family's curse? There seemed to be a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied tighter. The author also seemed to not understand where a good place to end a chapter was and a lot of them ended awkwardly--this book technically has something like 65 chapters, but a lot of those chapters were only 3 or 4 pages long and could've easily been condensed into fewer chapters, leading to a lower amount of awkward breaks.

I will give credit to Hocking for maintaining a solid setting. I definitely felt like I was in the sticky, deep, back-woods of Louisiana, and the 80's references were abundant (almost bordering on overkill, but juuuust barely missing that mark). I also really like the cover of the book; it definitely draws the eye in and has a good representation of story elements. All that said, I still feel like this novel would've benefited from not being a stand-alone. This was a good start to what could have been an interesting series, but instead, it was a one-shot with half-developed characters that I can't help but compare to Katie MacAlister's Cirque du Freak duology, with CdF being the better of the "paranormal people in a traveling carnival" trope. 

Overall, a fun read that was entertaining in the moment, but not one that I'm going to ever pick up again or think about other than in passing. Two stars.
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I am very, very reluctantly giving this book three stars. It is more like a 3.5 star rating… but I stopped awarding half stars over a year ago now. Even though I was tempted to go back on my decision just for the sake of this book, I’m not going to. Because while it was good, and had its moments, it was a bit of a stretch to say it was wonderful. I did enjoy reading it though. Allow me to elaborate…

The novel was set in a circus, where a lot of the members had powers. I really liked the idea of that – of the carnival truly being magical and having its own intrigue to it. I think the author handled the atmosphere really well too. I really felt like it was a circus, and the aspect of living in a small traveling home, which never stayed in the same place for too long. Also, there is an eerie undercurrent to the whole story which has to do with the plot. I really felt it, and liked that it was so present.


However, I had some issues with the main character. I did like Mara a lot, and I think she was a very brave and fun character to read about. She also really wants to stick up for her friends and family, and truly shows her loyalty to them. But… she could be quite hypocritical. There is a romance interest in this novel, and she worries about letting him know she is a member of the circus because he might treat her differently because of it. I understand that. And it must be difficult if that reaction has happened countless times before. But despite Gabe only being understanding of everything, she doesn’t let herself trust him… and that bothered me a little. Or she would expect something from him, but if the situation flipped she didn’t understand how/why he would expect the same of her. Which bothered me again.

But the romance in itself was pretty sweet. It was fairly clean, and not too intense. The best way I can put it is nice. It was a nice romance.


The pace of the novel was slow, but not in a bad way. Never was I bored, or wanted to put down the novel. More so, I felt at the same level of suspense all the time, and I just steadily kept reading my way through. I think the atmosphere was what really kept me turning the pages, and wanting to know how things would be resolved.

Although… the ending feel mediocre? It was over all too quickly. There were consequences, but I feel like it was rushed. We never got to feel the full effect of those consequences and what they meant for the characters, because the story finished pretty soon afterwards. The darkness and creepiness all came to a peak, but it crumbled down far too quickly for me.


I really liked the descriptions and how it added to the imagery I felt in my mind. On the other hand, I did notice one word being used quite a lot… ‘flesh.’ I don’t know about you, but that word is not the nicest description of things? But the author used it as if it was. He touched the soft flesh of her stomach… or her mother patted the flesh of her arm… or his flesh was torn from being attacked… flesh this, flesh that. I’ve just seen that word a little too much :D

A slow and steady story, but enjoyable in its own right.
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I started and stopped this book, then started over again quite a while later. I had high hopes for this story and it fell flat for me. The story pacing was a bit rushed and the characters weren't as three dimensional as I would have liked. I really wish this didn't have an 80's setting also. I guess I'm just soooo over the 80's . I think if it was a present day freak show story I would have enjoyed it more. Overall it was just an OK book for me.  I'd give it 2.75 stars.
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I absolutely loved this. I would probably categorize it more as New Adult, than YA.

I adored the HBO series Carnivale and this had a very similar vibe. While sideshows are always known for their oddities, it was nice to mix in true paranormal talents with those performers. I enjoyed the struggling relationship between Mara and Gabe and that there was a very intriguing plot in addition to the romance aspect.

*Digital review copy provided by NetGalley and the publisher.
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This book was okay. I thought the premise sounded interesting. Traveling circus, whimsical games... However, at the end of things, this book just seemed like a watered down version of several other carnival-themed books that have been published recently.
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This title was a Did Not Finish. Unfortunately, I was unable to connect with it whether it be for characters, story-line or writing style.

Thank you for providing me with a copy.
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Amanda Hocking is an author name that I recognize from my bookshelf browsing, but not someone I'd previously read.  Her books seem to target the YA audience, with relationships and the paranormal as motivation and environment for her books.

<em>Freeks</em> takes place in the world of a carnival.  Who doesn't like a carnival?!  But in this supernatural romance, the side-show freaks really are who they represent - 'freaks' with supernatural abilities.  And while the circus (Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival)  itself has an aura of mysticism surrounding it, the town they've currently set up in - Caudry - has some secrets of its own that will shock even these carnival workers.

Teen carnival employee Mara, who hasn't shown any special abilities, is with the carnival because of her mother - a psychic (who really is). The carny folks are her friends, but she has always felt like an outsider since she doesn't have any abilities of her own.  In Caudry she meets local heart-throb Gabe - a good-looking guy who takes her breath away.  She doesn't want to get involved since she knows she'll just be moving on to the next city anyway, but she can't resist this handsome hunk.  They sleep together and make promises that they have every intention of keeping.  But Gabe has a secret that is connected with Caudry's secret.

When some of the carnival workers are attacked by a dark, furry creature, Gabe does everything he can to protect Mara - his true love.  But Mara begins to discover her own unique power just at the right time.

This was a quick read, and I tried to look at it from a YA perspective.  It should definitely appeal to the young, likely female reader looking for a little supernatural escapism.  There is the usual YA longing for romance that becomes requited (with a brief sexual encounter that is described in just enough detail to push this reading level up a notch), but in a YA twist, the parent(s) - usually heartless and an obstacle, are much more understanding here.

The plot is, well, a bit thin.  There are no surprises here, even though the reader is supposed to be surprised by a couple of revelations, it's painfully obvious what is going on to anyone who's read a book or two.

I haven't read a lot of supernatural romance books, and fewer YA supernatural romances, but I enjoyed this quick read.  I can see where it might be just the right work for the mature 'tween reader, though I would recommend it for most readers.

Looking for a good book? <em>Freeks</em> is a YA supernatural romance/mystery by Amanda Hocking that moves along quickly and should appeal to younger readers.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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I don’t mind the setting of this story but I found it a little lacking in some areas. The overall story I loved and some of the characters within the world.
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I requested this book because I'll read pretty much anything to do with a theme park or a circus. The Night Circus (my favorite book) this was not, but it wasn't an awful book.

Odd things are happening around the circus and people are disappearing, but no one is really concerned at first, I found that rather weird. The MC was more worried about the boy she liked finding out who she was, and that she was a carnie. It took a little while for the book to really get going and I enjoyed the last part more than the beginnings. 

I didn't really care for the whole outcome though. I saw it coming, not for the whole book, but for quite a while, before the big reveal, so that was a bit of a letdown. Overall it was a good book with some flaws. Good for fans of the circus, but if you looking for something earth shattering, keep looking. :)

Setting = B
Plot = C
Conflict = C 
Characters = B
Theme = B
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I absolutely devoured this book. Each of the characters came to life in New and exciting ways. The traveling circus theme was beautifully described and the suspense was written really well. Intermingling the romance in with all of the action was brilliant!
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It's rare that I go into a standalone novel and come out the other side wishing for a sequel, but that is the case for Freeks.  I loved it from start to finish, and want to know more about every one of the characters, future and past.
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