*I received an ecopy of this book via Reading Alley. This has in no way influenced my review.*
This book was only about 200 pages, but it felt longer, and I mean that in a great way. There were developed characters that showed growth throughout the story, there was a sweet and sexy romance, there were touching family moments, there was a fairly simple but still solid plot, and there was even circus!
The author did a great job of making me understand and sympathize with these characters’ situations and emotions right away. Cory’s parents died years ago, and he gave up pretty much everything (except his education) in order to take care of his little sister, but being her guardian put a major strain on their relationship to the point that they pretty much just argued or didn’t talk at all, even though they’re the only family each other has left. Sanderson, on the other hand, grew up with a traveling circus family, but all he wants now is to leave that life and stay in one place where he can make friends and date and have some normalcy, and he’s tired of always being the one-night-stand but never the boyfriend. Then the two of them run into each other and fool around a couple times, but Cory can’t deal with complications and figures Sanderson will eventually tire of him, and Sanderson thinks Cory isn’t interested in anything more than sex. That’s basically where the story starts, and I loved how much depth the characters had as well as the way all these things and more were explored as the story progressed.
I also just love carnivals and circuses, so I especially liked that aspect of the book. Pretty much the whole book was set at The Moonlight Market, this magical-esque traveling fair with all sorts of vendors and acts. And even though the amount of actual circus-ness in the book was minimal, I was glad that the descriptions of Sanderson’s family’s act were realistic (well, I couldn’t quite figure out what was being described in some parts, but what I could figure out was realistic), and I especially loved that Sanderson had calluses! I know that’s a really specific thing to love, but he was also a gymnast, so he would have calluses, and as a former gymnast it made me happy that that detail was included.
As for the plot, that was, as I said above, fairly simple but still interesting, and it worked because this was a more character-focused book.
So to wrap this up… This book had romance, family, character growth, magic, and circus and was overall a touching and enjoyable read!
College senior Cory Long tracked his missing sister to the magical Moonlight Market to bring her home. Instead, he found a disorienting world of performers and hawkers, bizarre sights and sounds, and one very familiar showman, Sanderson Beets. Like a drowning man, he latched onto Sanderson, trusting him to navigate the twists and turns of the Market as unerringly as he had steered Cory to passion in their furtive trysts on campus.
But Sanderson was tired of being the quickie in the alley.
Sanderson Beets had escaped the Moonlight Market to attend college, hoping to settle into a normal life, maybe meet someone and fall in love. To obtain that new life he made a dangerous bargain. And when the sinister woman known as the Weaver of Dreams is involved, second chances always come with strings attached…and sacrifices. Sanderson’s debt has come due, and the only payment he has to offer is Cory, and their chance at a relationship.