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Circus Hearts #1

All the Little Bones

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A teenage trapeze artist and an apprentice strongman on the run from a terrible crime…

Seventeen-year-old Sorsha Neary’s life is changed in one night when she defends herself behind the vans of her family circus troupe. Now Sorsha and apprentice strongman Colm Mackay are travelling south, to evade the fallout and escape the long arm of the law. All they have in their favour is talent, an old promise, and slim acquaintance with the crew members and performers of their new home, Klatsch’s Karnival. But the question for Sorsha and Colm isn’t if the police will catch up with them, but when…

Dark YA romance, with a criminal twist - Circus Hearts: Step. Right. Up.

264 pages, ebook

First published September 1, 2018

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About the author

Ellie Marney

15 books824 followers
Ellie Marney is a NYT bestselling author of crime fiction. Her most recent book is The Killing Code, and her other titles include the Aurealis-winning None Shall Sleep, the Every series - starting with Every Breath - and the companion novel No Limits, White Night, and the Circus Hearts series, starting with Circus Hearts 1. Ellie's next book, Some Shall Break, the sequel to None Shall Sleep, will be released June 2023.

Ellie's books are published in eleven countries and have been optioned for television. She’s spent a lifetime researching in mortuaries, talking to autopsy specialists, and asking former spies how to make explosives from household items, and now she lives quite sedately in south-eastern Australia with her family.

Find Ellie's newsletter sign-ups at her website, and catch her @elliemarney on socials or @elliemarneyauthor on Tiktok.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Jasmine.
437 reviews708 followers
October 14, 2018
***Actual Rating: 5/5 Flying Stars***

”From such threads/ our lives are made/ From such lives/ are heartbeats gathered”

Circus Hearts is a dark YA, mystery romance trilogy written by one of my top favorite authors of all time, Ellie Marney. Her Every trilogy has my undivided attention from the first page till the end, so I’ve been determined to read all of her other books, including her future works, ever since. Therefore, when I found out she had this delicious YA series coming up this fall, I jumped on the bandwagon without hesitation. *wink*

The story started with Colm Mackay, a strongman in a circus, escaping traveling with his partner in crime fellow performer, a trapeze flyer, Saoirse “Sorsha” Neary, after an accident occurred in their former circus. They later joined another circus in a southern city, which they thought would be a safe haven for both of them, only to find out it was just the beginning of a series of not-so-coincident tragedies.
He sighs out deeply. “So am I a witness or an accessory? I keep mixing them up.”
My whole body tenses in an instant. “Witness. You’re a witness. An accessory is someone who helps commit the crime.”

Sorsha couldn’t face the person she became after what she did in the past while Colm tried to help her find her own voice, at the cost of sacrificing his freedom and the chance to redeem himself. They were like the modern version of Bonnie and Clyde, with a darker shade of unspeakable truth and unforgettable kindred spirits.
”I know.” I slip my hands down to hold his, which looks laughable—my small, callused fingers in his enormous mitts. “But I needed Terry to know that my word means something. And I’m fighting for you.” I glance down at our joined hands. “I’ll always fight for you.”

As Sorsha and Colm’s adorable friendship evolved into swoon-worthy and heart-warming romance, I couldn’t help but fall for these lovebirds. They not only showed endless support and affection for each other, but also stood up for the other half when no one seemed to side with them.

Joining another group of circus performers never guaranteed them a better life, let alone an innocent one. Sorsha still had to fight against her personal demons that had haunted her since the horrific incident, and moving to this brand-new city didn’t give her the sense of security she was seeking. That is, the daughter of the ringmaster, Fleur, was a complete b*tch, who never welcomed Colm and Sorsha—umm, maybe just Sorsha if Colm weren’t her boyfriend—with open arms; hence, she was the one dragging the newcomers down along the way.

To my surprise, even with all this drama, Sorsha and Colm got their well-deserved happy ending in this book. Not that Fleur failed in her little tricks, though, the odds were obviously in S&C’s favor this time…luckily. Somehow I got the feeling that this dark side of the circus ran much deeper than it seemed and someone was indeed sabotaging the circus business and beyond.


All in all, I enjoyed reading Circus Hearts 1: All the Little Bones immensely and couldn’t wait to share my thought on Fleur’s journey in book 2! Thus, I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE! I hope y’all love Sorsha and Colm’s story as much as I do! <3

***Huge thanks to Ellie for offering me a chance to read an early e-copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.***

[Thought right after I'm finished: Aug. 26th, 2018]

OMG. This book is everything I'm looking for in a dark mysterious romance story. The background setting is, apparently, in a circus but who've thought of it as an evil place? The characters are insta-lovable and the romance between Sorsha (whose real name is actually Saoirse, which is one of my top favorite names of all time) and Colm is pure temptation. *heart's swelling* The best part of all these? For me it's definitely the mysterious murder case Sorsha and Colm are involved. What's more, even though the end of this book gives us a rather satisfying outcome of the incident, something far more terrifying has slowly crept upon Sorsha's new troupe in the south.

All in all, I LOVE this book so much and I can't wait for all of you to give it a try! By the way, the sequel, All Fall Down, will be available on October 1st!! How exciting!
Profile Image for Rachael.
Author 8 books422 followers
September 2, 2018
I was very lucky to read an early draft of this captivating YA romance. I was immediately swept up in the circus atmosphere. I love ‘behind the scenes’ storylines and getting a taste of the authentic realities of the life of a full time performer. Sorcha is a new comer to this particular circus community and I love the dynamics and power struggles at work in finding her place. Good thing she has delicious Colm on her side. Not gunna lie: strong man? You’ve got my attention. And getting to know Colm, it didn’t take long until he had my heart strings too.

As you may know from reading my other reviews, I am a BIG Marney fan. Her writing is somehow sharp yet lyrical. How does she do that?! Her imagery is always evocative and original and argh! I just love the way she strings words together!

I’m trying hard not to go anywhere near spoilers but one of the things I love about All The Little Bones is the way the story coils inward, tighter and tighter, drawing you inexorably to it’s conclusion. I wallowed in the romance while the tension and suspense had me holding my breath.

You will not be disappointed, Marney fans! And those of you new to Marney’s writing, consider All The Little Bones the gateway drug to an exceptional body of work.
Profile Image for Tien.
1,835 reviews69 followers
October 22, 2018
*laughs* I don't know why I think this was a fantasy novel! Well, the cover is sooo pretty and it's shelved as fantasy on Goodreads. I didn't bother looking into it further because I've been wanting to read Ellie Marney's books but yet... too many books too little time, as always. Suffice to say when the chance came up, I grabbed it.

I may have a tiny tad bit disappointed that there wasn't that particular [fantasy] magic but circus has always held a special magical place in my heart so this turned out to be a special sort of read especially when I came across words in my native tongue (Bahasa Indonesia)! *oh how my heart sings* (and pssst, I found out today, this particular character's story is coming in book 3, squee!!)

All the Little Bones opened with Sorsha and Colm on the run. Something awful has happened and Sorsha is struggling to come to terms with it all. Strongman Colm has been a rock but Sorsha knows this is something she must face herself. At the beginning, Sorsha is at her most vulnerable but as time passes, her strength returned and was such an amazing character. And Colm... *dreamy sighs* I've never really had a crush on the strongman in any circus fiction but boy, this one ticks all the boxes ;)

There wasn't a great big mystery on what's happened to Sorsha and I guess the only twist in the book is what bring the matter to head. After that, things seem to snowball and I found the ending to be rather rushed. I didn't expect Sorsha's story to end in this book, tbh, I expected it to go for 3 books long. I loved Sorsha and didn't really want to say goodbye this early.

I also kept expecting some sort of name of the place and/or town they were in. Descriptions of the areas etc but it was a bit sparse and I found a bit sketchy that it all felt rather unreal. I felt the romance, all right, but I could not get a feel of the setting very well. I do love the showtime though. I feel that the excitement and magic of the show came through very clearly. And I had a lot of fun imagining the costumes etc ;)

All the Little Bones is a very pretty book with a lot of feels. If you love YA romance (or even New Adult, as I feel this book borders on NA), you'd love this magical romance! 

Thanks to the author, Ellie Marney, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 
Profile Image for Amanda .
432 reviews154 followers
December 15, 2018
You can also read my review here:https://devouringbooks2017.wordpress....

I picked up All the Little Bones because of it's set at the circus. I used to work at a carnival so I thought that I would return to that kind of world though this book. Even though I used to work at a carnival, I have always loved fairs, carnivals and circuses. The setting to this series is definitely my favorite part. I think that circus and carnie life is different than what most people are used to and it's kind of magical. There is a draw to those kinds of events, everyone is hoping to capture a bit of magic. But I have a few issues with this book. There is a bunch of circus lingo thrown into this book and a lot of it goes unexplained ant it is just assumed that the reader understands what is being talked about. But I also wanted it to be more magical than it was, the circus is a great setting and it wasn't fully taken advantage of in this book.

As far as the characters go I had a lot of issues with them. Sorsha was a victim of sexual abuse and it winds up being a massive part of the plot. While I don't mind having sexual abuse in books, I don't like when the whole plot centers around it. She clearly suffers from PTSD, but she is presented as more of a victim than a survivor. Which I don't really like. She is quite a damsel and her weaknesses rather than her strengths are what I feel like was focused on. However I did really like her romance with Colm. I found him sweet and understanding.

The plot was interesting, even though it was secondary to the romance. But what I liked most about this novel that it was about healing and it held hope. While Sorsha was more of a victim than a survivor, this story told how love was still possible after horrors. I found Sorsha and Colm's love story hopeful. Colm was a really good guy and I really appreciated how he was there for Sorsha.

I picked this up hoping for a quick romantic read set in the circus and that is exactly what I got. While I wasn't a huge fan of how this plot was centered on abuse I learned that the rest of the series is actually about different circus characters . I do love the setting and wanted to learn more about the other characters, so I would love to follow up with the rest of the series.

I reviewed a free copy of this novel.
Profile Image for K..
3,686 reviews1,007 followers
June 24, 2020
Trigger warnings: drowning, death, violence,

Everything I said last time still applies. Ellie, I know crime is your jam buuuuut if you ever decide to write a romance book, hit me up if you need a beta reader. Just saying.

In the interests of full disclosure, I received an advanced copy of this from Ellie because I am demanding and she is delightful. This had no impact on how much I absolutely adored this book. The characters are great, the romance is A+, and there's plenty of mystery to keep you guessing, as you would expect with an Ellie Marney book.

The difference here, though, is that the story is set at a circus. Our protagonist, Sorsha, is a teenage trapeze artist. And she's on the run from the cops after defending herself following a Very Bad Thing that happened outside the circus where she grew up. So now she and apprentice strongman, Colm, have run south to join a circus troop in the big city.

The romance, like I said, is fantastic throughout. I loved both of the leads, and the supporting characters are wonderful too. The circus setting was delightful, and I can't wait to read the other two books in this series over the next few months (because thankfully they're all coming out very close together so that me and my very grabby hands don't have to wait!). If you like Ellie's other books, definitely pick this one up.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
September 16, 2018
Saoirse Neary is evading the authorities. Defending herself against a sexual assault, the seventeen year old trapeze performer is escaping persecution accompanied by strongman, nineteen year old Colm Mackay.

The Performers
Sorsha Neary is a beautiful young woman. Orphaned as a child, Sorsha lives with caregiver, aunt Morrighan. Fostered by the stoic woman, also a fortune teller within the northern travelling circus. Frightened for the repercussions after the attempted assault, Sorsha flees. Escaping the intimate northern family troupe, Sorsha and Colm travel south.

Colm Mackay is a gentle, compassionate young man, protective of Sorsha although the two performers are virtual strangers. Colm joined the intimate northern troupe several years prior, his mother an abusive, exploitative woman. Sharing the small confined space of Colm's car is an intimate experience, establishing a tentative friendship encompassed by their shared experience.

Swoony Sexy Times
A tentative friendship, a smouldering attraction creating an intense, sensual romance. As her protector, Colm is gentle and understanding and relies upon verbal consent before touching affectionately or intimately, apprehensive and compassionately the gentleman. Moments of intimacy are beautifully written with fragility and vulnerability. Considering the possibility of being captured, while Sorsha performs, Colm is employed within the mechanics yard, the troupe unable to provide a position for the former performer. Colm embraces his new position, his priority is to ensure Sorsha is protected.

Step Right Up
Klatsch’s Karnival is a company of distinguished characters and performers. Unbeknown to the troupe performers, the significance of the attempted sexual assault induces anxiety and trepidation for Sorsha. Immersing herself within the atmosphere of the carnival and despite expressed caution from Morrighan, Sorsha is unwilling to appease Fleur Klatsch, daughter of the Ringmaster and traipse performer. Fleur is a hostile and antagonistic young woman and expeditiously, is suspicious of Sorsha and her capacity within the troupe. Fleur embraces her notoriety intensely and is determined to ostracise Sorsha.

Atmospherically exhilarative, All The Broken Bones embraces the essence of anticipation amid the performance, awakening the decadent and historical carnivals of yesteryear through intrigue and romanticism.

Ellie Marney, you are exceptional.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,348 followers
September 5, 2018

Reading a new Ellie Marney is always a treat. She is one of my favorite authors and I have vowed to read anything and everything that she releases. All the Little Bones, with its circus setting and its swoony romance, stole my heart from the get-go. It's lovely and passionate and so romantic!

Sorsha, a trapeze artist, and her friend and strongman, Colm, are on the run from the police. Their journey brings them to a circus in the south known as Klatch's Karnival, where they have to build a new life for themselves and try to stay on the down-low so as not to attract the cops' attention. All the Little Bones was a character-driven story and Ellie Marney spent a lot of time developing her cast. Man, did I adore these characters or what? I know what you're thinking - Sorsha and Colm seem like they are criminals. Yes and no. They have their reasons for running away from the law and I won't divulge those reasons, but trust me when I say you will root for them. Anyways, Sorsha just broke my heart. I wanted so much for her to be happy and escape the nightmares that were constantly plaguing her. She suffered from anxiety and had panic attacks throughout the book and they were portrayed so vividly - truly, no one writes emotions quite as well as Ellie Marney. For me, Sorsha truly came to life when she was in the air doing her acts. She was just so enthusiastic about her career as a trapeze artist - you could just sense how much she loved it when she described her acts. Of course, I was also secretly in awe of all her skills because I have no talented bone in my body! At the same time, I was also envious of Sorsha because she had Colm by her side. Ellie Marney writes some of THE best YA boys and Colm!!! I have hearts in my eyes just at the thought of this guy. He was this big heavy strongman, but underneath he was just the softest character ever. He was so sweet and protective (not in a gross or invasive way) of Sorsha and was willing to do almost anything to ensure she was safe and happy.

Undeniably, a romance bloomed between the two and ugh, I want to squee because ALL THE SWOONS, people. ALL THE SWOONS! I knew that Ellie was a pro at writing romantic tension between her couples from all the books I have previously read from her, but the chemistry between Colm and Sorsha was something else. I found some of the kissing scenes in this book to be so fiery and passionate. More than that, I loved the little scenes of them unknowingly touching each other. BE STILL, MY HEART. Also, I will die alone. The author brought the circus to life with her rich and striking descriptions. I felt like I was there on the sidelines watching all the acts and it was such a brilliant and exhilarating experience. I was fascinated by the lives of these artistic folks. The cast was diverse and interesting and as well-written as the main cast. Plot-wise, I didn't find that the mystery was that much of a focal point in this book. Like I said earlier, this story focused a lot on the characters, their path to building a new life for themselves, but the case was there looming over Sorsha's head. I did wish that we had seen more of the case and the trial, but the book was just so addicting, so I didn't particularly mind it. Thought the book wrapped up the main storyline, there is still an upcoming mystery that will need to be solved. Thankfully, it's not that much of a wait for the companion novel out in October! That one should be interesting because the heroine, Fleur, was a bit of a villain in this book. I can't wait to see what Ellie Marney does with her character.

All the Little Bones is a book I know I will be re-reading in the future. Sorsha and Colm will no doubt settle in your hearts and will have you rooting for their happiness. Be prepared to die at the steamy kisses!
Profile Image for Laura Trenham.
314 reviews6 followers
October 1, 2018
Circus Hearts 1: All The Little Bones is a new release ebook by Ellie Marney. As the title suggests, it is a book which is primarily set within a circus, in a setting which is never disclosed (but I assumed Australia as it was giving me beachy vibes in the first section of the book).

It is a young adult book which focuses on two central characters, Sorsha and Colm, as they escape the circus in the North due to an incident which has the police searching for a suspect. It is mysterious to begin with, but the reader assumes not far into the book that something terrible has happened and is left wondering what it is and why. It is this air of mystery regarding an unfortunate event that really drew me into the plot and kept me guessing. I did feel that maybe the big reveal of what happened was released too early on, but, you did not know the circumstances surrounding it so that was something else to keep you pealed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Circus narratives are often overdone but I felt that this book took a completely different spin on them. The aura of mystery regarding the main plot of the book kept me engaged and wanting to read on, to find out why it happened and what was to eventuate. My favourite part of the book would be the two main characters. I love seeing the relationship between Sorsha and Colm develop in such a short space of time. It wasn’t a long book, but to see their relationship go from strength to strength was heart warming and their commitment to one another was touching. The secondary characters were also given so much time and were not overlooked at all like they are in so many other texts. Marney has an amazing ability to give them each their own quirks and well developed traits in such a short period of time.

I wish this book was longer and that the problems near the conclusion took longer to be resolved but overall, this was a wonderful book with both a well developed plot and loveable characters.

4 Stars 🌟
Profile Image for Holly .
1,358 reviews291 followers
September 30, 2018
I thought this would be more of a mystery than it was, I guess? But it's really about two kids running away to a rival circus to get away from a bad situation. They have each other, but that's not quite enough. Sorsha is dealing with PTSD, and she's haunted by the past, and I was so grateful that was present because it felt necessary to her character. She needs to stay in the shadows, though, because she doesn't want to get caught, but her skills are at an entirely different level from those trapeze artists at Klatsch's and they want her. Colm doesn't have a job, and he's willing to risk injury and pain to make money, but he longs to become a strongman and be part of the show. Through it all, Sorsha and Colm find that they can't really leave their problems behind them. I quite enjoyed this, but I didn't love it. It's actually not as dark as I was expecting? Though what happened is dark, their romance is sweet and passionate, and they grow up a lot in the time that they've gone from one circus to another. I wasn't sure how this would end, and I was pleasantly surprised with it. I can't wait for the next book!

RATING: 3.5 Paw Prints!
Profile Image for Karina.
453 reviews47 followers
September 2, 2018
I know book one only came out yesterday, but when can I be expecting book two? 💁‍♀️💁‍♀️
Profile Image for Emily Wrayburn.
Author 5 books40 followers
August 30, 2018
Review originally published on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 31 August 2018:

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.
Profile Image for Joy Ashwell Callaway.
96 reviews5 followers
October 8, 2018
I have always been immersed in books and stories, it’s where I grew up and I always love discovering new genres or topics in YA. So, beginning this series I have discovered a liking for something previously unthought of. I’ve read all of Ellie’s books and every single one I have absolutely loved. A primary reason for this is because of her ability to capture Australia and the writes about the culture of it in a way that I personally appreciate.
Circus Hearts: All the Little Bones focuses on strongman Colm’s and trapeze artist Sorsha’s experience having to adapt to a southern troupe after an event forces them to leave the north and their home. The opening of the story is perfect as it does not give away too much too soon. I had so many questions that kept me reading!
I first found out about the release of this series at the Melbourne launch of White Night (which is not like any other book I’ve ever read, and you should totally check that out!) and from then on, I was super excited to be immersed in the story. Her blog post also gives some interesting background as to how she started the series.
These books are not overly like Ellie’s other novels, but the opening of this trilogy is written in a way that is refreshing and serves credit to circus life and ‘parlari’ – language of the circus. If you are not aware of it, it can take a bit to fully understand, but it is not over used, and it very much adds to the novel.
I also LOVE the use of Irish (Gaelic) names because of my own background, however, I did think that there may be loss for some readers if Gaelic pronunciation is unfamiliar to them.
Ellie perfectly introduces new characters and the development throughout the novel is excellent and it makes you even more emotionally devoted to the characters, which is precisely what you want in a novel.
This novel also touches on the effects of assault and PTSD and the way that they are addressed in the book is done in way that is not disrespectful and is coming from a supportive space.
I cannot wait to demolish the second novel! I am totally craving more circus life thanks to Ellie Marney.
Profile Image for Cassandra Page.
Author 11 books65 followers
August 3, 2019
I've read Ellie Marney's Every trilogy but I didn't realise that she'd also self-published a trilogy of books set in a circus until recently. When I saw them, I had to snap the first book up. I read it recently, during a reading binge while I was on holidays, and then I had to download the second and third books the next time I had internet access because I was so captivated by the first one.

I thought about reviewing all three in one post, because I read them back-to-back and all of my thoughts about them are a bit jumbled up, but I'll try to unpick them and be coherent about All the Little Bones specifically.

The story is told from the perspective of 17-year-old trapeze artist Sorsha, who from the first line is clearly running from a trauma that she doesn't want to dwell on and that she's been pushed to duck responsibility for. The trauma is fresh, and she's still in the "nightmares and vomiting" stage of coping with it. Poor thing. I just wanted to give her hugs, cookies, and the name of a rock solid therapist and lawyer.

Beside her is Colm, who is sweet and supportive, throwing away everything he had and taking literal beatings to keep Sorsha safe. He is adorable and a great fit for her; her healing process throughout the story is in part due to him.

Still, despite the romance sub-plot, this isn't a romance genre novel -- although boy howdy, can Marney write a kissing scene! Sorsha and Colm start out clearly attracted to one another, and there's no big, contrived fall-out between them to generate plot partway through (which is my least favourite romance genre trope). I'd describe Every as a young adult crime series rather than a romance one. All the Little Bones is a little less crime-focused in that the crimes take place before the book starts; it's more focused on the aftermath.

And it's focused on the circus! I loved that as a setting -- it, as much as Marney's gorgeous prose, is what made me gobble up this book and spend my mobile phone data downloading the next two. I love the glitz and glam, the behind-the-scenes action, the second-hand thrill of performing (which I'd hate in real life, let's be real). It was so much fun to read about.

Definitely check this one out.
Profile Image for Ellen.
988 reviews22 followers
September 10, 2018
3.5 stars

This was fairly light on plot, but I don't read Ellie Marney for the plot. I read her for the characters and this has an interesting cast of them. I would have liked the ending to be a little more fleshed out than it was. Everything just happened so fast. I am looking forward to the next in the series.

Content warning: strong language, rape subject matter and some swoony make out scenes (though, I kind of liked them if I'm being honest :))
Profile Image for Tara.
600 reviews3 followers
September 27, 2018
LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED!!! I loved this story and these characters and I totally want to join a circus, not so much as a performer but more to just hang out with all of these incredible people. I read the book in two sittings and when I started I was instantly transported into the world of Sorsha and Colm (and hello swoon worthy moments!)
I was sad to get to the end and am now chomping at the bit to read book two.
Profile Image for Diana.
483 reviews33 followers
November 7, 2018
I absolutely loved this first book in the Circus Hearts trilogy. Ready for book two.
Profile Image for Tash.
1,270 reviews102 followers
September 29, 2018
Reviewed @ Thoughts By Tash
Review copy kindly provided by the author in exchange for a honest review
I fell in love with Marney and her writing when she gave us Watts and Mycroft all those years ago now. She captivated readers with dark YA crime romance series that appeal to the darkness in our hearts If you loved those books , this series is everything that you loved about those books. It’s captivating , it’s authentic and it’s raw and honest as always. You can’t image Marney books to be anything but those words.
The facts she was giving us more words was pleasing as always. But I was over the moon to see that she was returning the world of romance and crime with her new YA series.
Those Little Bones is an introduction to the world of Klatsch Karnival a circus that seems to the outside world perfect. Underneath the glitzy and glamour, is a seediness. Not of a bad kind, one that is feed by the family of the circus who live , breath and survive together. Made up of a group of performers and various other members. Klatsch runs a tight ship and his daughter rules the roost.
However the two newest members of the troupe arrival sends shockwaves through the whole circle. It’s like an electrifying eel, no one is unaware of the danger that is lurking around . Neverthless there some that are acutely aware and determined to make trouble.

Sorsha Neary the newest arrival , is on the run and only can trust Colm Mackay a strongman who helped her escaped from her family circus , the only one she knew . With only the necessities she arrived to Klatsch determined to make a new start and blend into the crowd.
Once a performer, always a performer and obvious that Sorsha is made for the spotlight. She doesn’t have to show off that she talented and it easily to understand her drive . She been thrown out of her comfort zone and taken away from her family. She young but she seriously frightened and reeks of anxiety. Yet she carries onwards trying to forget but she haunted by those memories.
It’s easy to see that there is something that controlling her and she needed someone like Colm. He may been her escape but this strongman is a gentleman. He plays the role of a man wised beyond his years ready to do anything for Sorsha. He understands the boundaries and his role in this novel may seems supporting but he gets it. He understand the unspoken rules . He truly embodies strongman physically and mentally.
Their characters meld well together, whilst forced into closer quarters by unseen forces , their friendship shows truth about the two of them. They care for each other and slowly turns into a romance as they deal with the aftermath that seems to never go away and their new life which brings it own set of problems. The little things which add up hence title all the little bones.
All The Little Bones, might by favourite circus inspired tale to date. I don’t think any other author could have written this book. It’s distinctly Marney and it’s obvious from the get go. The raw and brutal words show the harsh truth of this situation. The circus was a clever choice for location given the general positive image it has. The other characters add to the atmosphere and given it a well rounded behind the scenes look into the circus.
It gave into the seediness that this book need given the story of the leads and the atmosphere that Marney was creating. It’s taken back to the days of Mycroft and Watts and I can’t wait to dive into the next book and learn more about this thrilling world.

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Profile Image for Sarah (thegirltheycalljones).
418 reviews284 followers
April 27, 2021
An interesting first book for this series I had never heard of, by Ellie Marney. It's starting to be a thing, me not knowing about books from one of my favourite authors... I know I kinda live in a cave but come one, books are the only thing I keep myself updated with and how this keeps happening??

Anyway, as a huge fan of anything circus related, I was won over pretty quickly. I really liked the ambiance, and I will happily go back to the circus of the South after this first installment which had exciting and promising supporting characters, and two charming main ones - even if it felt a bit short. I'm not saying it was short but it lacked a few things for me to be 100% involved with the cast. But well, that often happens with first books of a series.

I want to know more about the North circus, though, because they were mostly off pages, and had this mysterious aura... Considering the second book is about Fleur, I'm not sure it will go that way but one can hope!
I'm sure this series has a lot more to give.
Profile Image for Amy.
6 reviews7 followers
September 3, 2018
Fast-paced and romantic, Ellie Marney's latest book All the Little Bones had me hooked from the first page. The vivid descriptions of the circus setting and routines were a delight. All of the secondary characters were unique and I loved seeing Sorsha's relationships with them grow, particularly her friendship with Ren. Also the romance between Sorsha and Colm was very well done, I could feel the tension between them as I was reading and I loved all their scenes together. Can't wait to return to this series when book 2 is released in October :)
Profile Image for Cally73.
165 reviews
September 12, 2018
Can Ellie write a bad book? I was hooked into the story from the beginning, with the tension of Sorsha and Colm on the run. You know something awful has happened and each piece of the story gradually unfolds. Even when they reach their destination, they still can't let their guard down. I loved the characters of Sorsha and Colm and their developing relationship. Sorsha might be small but certainly to be feared. Colm is not just a strongman as a circus act, it's his very character and nature. There are so many other wonderful supporting characters who I'm looking forward to seeing more of through the series. I loved the circus setting. It was a different view of something you see from the outside, with its own language and customs. Can't wait for the next book!
Profile Image for Chloe Hughes.
90 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2018
I would have easily read this book within a couple of days but the timing when I started I came down with a terrible cold that I left this book for a week to get over my sickness to properly get into.
This was intense from the get go. I love the sexual chemistry between Colm (the strongman’s apprentice) and Sorsha (who’s a trapeze artist) who’s attraction to each other couldn’t be denied to each other.
The description of the circus and the costumes sound amazing! I want to read this book all over again!!!
Profile Image for Suzie.
744 reviews15 followers
March 12, 2020
I was really looking forward to this, and although I liked it, it didn't wow me. I liked the circus atmosphere but the romance was a bit OTT for me, and the PTSD/assault was a huge focal point. The legal part of the story seemed to appear and resolve very quickly. I see that book 2 focuses on different characters, so I may still continue with this series
Profile Image for Isobel.
5 reviews2 followers
October 22, 2018
All the Little Bones starts off with a veiled crime as the backdrop for a runaway roadtrip scenario. Sorcha and Colm leave the small circus that they call home, and go south to join a much larger circus to hide from something. I know that Marney originally took this idea to publishers who then passed on it (she mentions it in a blog), but obviously not the details surrounding the process. Given the success of the Every trilogy (which is phenomenal, run don't walk), I'm confused as to why ANY publisher wouldn't jump on literally anything from Marney, but they did, so here we are. Marney proves that she's more than capable at steering the editing/publishing ship, and the stereotypes about self-published books reading as overly long and unedited don't apply. The story is tight, the chemistry between the characters is electric, and most importantly- It's a bloody fun read! It's about a circus! Enjoy! My only quibble is that I would have loved to have spent more time examining the crime in question, which is ultimately brushed over quite quickly, but that's a small complaint about what was a delightfully romantic romp. Seriously, mystery publishers. Next time she comes a knocking, jump! Or don't. I don't think Ellie needs you.
Profile Image for Indy Fawcett.
88 reviews17 followers
October 28, 2018
I was lucky to be sent this by the author for review but this will not conflict with my thoughts an opinions on Circus Heart (All the Little Bones).
I had no idea what to really think when I first started, I knew it was a circus themed book but I had it in my head that it was going to be set in the late 1800's/ turn of the century 1900's just purely because it was a circus book. To my pleasant surprise it was a very modern setting for a book although I still don't know if the setting was in Australia, America or an undisclosed location as the language also didn't portray with swapping between Aussie, American and Indonesian terms and sayings.

I took this book on a holiday with me to the USA so hence it took me some time to read and I have to say in the beginning I wasn't too into the storyline as there was a lot of mystery and obviously it is a contemporary style book which isn't personally my favourite genre. Also I made the mistake of taking Queen of Shadows to reread . . . Silly me ahaha. But once we got into the characters and a bit of backstory I really started to become intrigued with the lifestyle of our characters. Once at the new location (I hope that was vague enough) I fell in love with this book, our main characters, the location, the side characters and just everything. I also happended to see a Cirque du Soliel show in Las Vegas while reading this book and that just made it even better to visual so much clearer. The end warmed my heart and wish we could get a book 2 of these 2 characters alone.

Overall, I gave this book a 4 star as I found personally the beginning was a bit slow for me but ended up being such an amazing story and I can't wait for book 2 with some of our characters from this book!! Thank you to Ellie as well for the review copy!!
Profile Image for Ellie.
71 reviews
September 9, 2018
5 out of 5 Stars

Marney's writing and characters never cease to impress me. Her style and dialogue are so genuine, and it always makes her stories so fun and fast to read no matter the plot. But that doesn't mean this book doesn't deliver on plot too. This story follows a circus life which leaves a lot of room for lovable and unique characters in addition to the main character's story. Sorsha and Colm were very loyal and honest with each other. I loved how you could tell they both needed one another. It was easy to fall in love with their relationship. And it was always exciting to read about the different acts and the other characters that performed them.

Everyone is family to each other, and they all relied on trust which is a core characteristic to this story from the catches in the trapeze acts to Sorsha's difficult past. Everything about this story is just so well done and thorough. Luckily, the next one comes out in less than a month now so I won't have to wait long to jump back into Klatsch's Karnival and possibly meet new or old friends and family.

I highly recommend for those interested in YA romance and suspense.
Profile Image for Megan G.
82 reviews15 followers
September 12, 2018
Everytime I read a book by Ellie Marney, I get swept away into a new world. The way she writes her stories, captivating you entirely and never letting you go. It has been a long time since I’ve read a book late into the early hours of the morning, and this book achieved that. I just couldn’t put it down!

This world of circus life with high flying artists, strongmen, contortionists and costume designers, is utterly unique. Something I never thought I needed. The colour in this story is absolutely wonderful, adding flair not seen often.

The dark twist in this are so well written. Ellie Marney has approached sensitive topics with easy once again, giving insight that’s very needed. This topic is not the centre of the story but does power it. To overcome an ordeal is not easy, and the hard process of overcoming is not brushed over. These characters loose, and build themselves, in a way only she could write. Once again Marney has hit it hard on and successfully done it.

The romance is heart stopping. The heat constantly being built, but also not overwhelming. No cheesy stupid love story here. This romance is more than a love story, it’s overcoming hardships together. It’s learning about yourself and them at the same time. I can’t say how much I love it. The chemistry between the characters is amazing and could not be better.

This book was heart stopping, stomachs twisting, mind blowing and jaw dropping. The twist and turns leading to guess what’s happening next. Ellie Marney never fails to meet expectations and then break through them too. My heart is now just waiting for them next one...
Profile Image for Tiffany.
134 reviews41 followers
October 20, 2018
I love Ellie Marney's other books - she's always incredible at developing relationships, and creating tension/chemistry between characters, and writing these intense heart-accelerating moments... so I was curious to read her new series, Circus Hearts.

The circus setting definitely makes the story feel unique - it's like nothing I've ever read before. In fact, don't think I've ever even been to a circus, so it was eye opening to experience all of these new things so vividly through the author's writing. And Ellie Marney really brought every detail to life, from physical environments to costumes and routines.

At the same time, because of the amount of detail, I found all the exposition to be really tedious. It felt like I was getting a crash course into circus life, and for me the setup distracted from the story development.

The other thing that I didn't love was the pacing. There was so much build-up at first, from Colm and Sorsha's journey south, to acclimating to a new life, to training and preparing for a show... that I was totally thrown off when Sorsha finally had to confront her trauma. I felt like I had accidentally skipped 50 pages in the story. The resolution came together too quickly and as a reader I felt cheated of seeing Sorsha do the hard work needed to grow and get to a better place.

I love that All the Little Bones touched on important topics and showed the many responses a person can have to traumatic situations. But ultimately I was underwhelmed by the story and character development. There were a couple of plot lines that remained incomplete, and some characters that felt more like props than fully developed people. But I know the next book in this series centers on one of the characters that I found particularly compelling so I'll be curious to read her story and understand her a little more.
Profile Image for Sue.
242 reviews34 followers
September 5, 2018
This is the start of a great new series by Ellie Marney. Colm and Sorsha are a hypnotic combination and the back story of being on the run was perfect to throw them together. As usual the first kiss between the two protagonists is HOT, which is an Ellie Marney speciality. Marney effectively paints a picture of circus life and show folk well, and I look forward to reading more about this cast of characters. Can’t wait for All Fall Down to drop into my Kindle!
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