Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blog Tour: HOLDING COURT Review + Giveaway

Author: K.C. Held
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Number of Pages: 352
Release Date: March. 1, 2016
Genre: Young Adult Mystery

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what's in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty--and completely unavailable--Grayson Chandler. Except that it's not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...

My Thoughts:

Holding Court is an honest-to-goodness fun, entertaining and very interesting read. I don't know how it managed to feel light and easy while being mysterious and a little creepy altogether. But that's what it is - an odd mix of surprisingly delightful comedy wrapped around the mystery of a disappearing dead body. Although the story had a few mildly negative quirks, all in all, it still delivered pretty well.

It took me quite some time to finish reading the book, but I must say that it was definitely fast-paced. There were a lot of elements that kept me gripped into reading the story. Not only did I want to know who the dead person is, how he/she died, why and who did it, I also enjoyed reading about Jules, and her sudden random outbursts. That is also one of the things I really liked about the book. Aside from solving the missing dead body problem, something to look forward to is Jules' weird prophecies, because it will make you anticipate the coming scenes or situations when that prediction finally happens.

But to be honest, it's a little hard to keep track of Jules' random outbursts because they are so random, and they don't make sense at the time she actually blurt them out. By the time the prediction comes true, I'd be asking myself, "When did she say this?" And I'll go back and try to find that scene just to make sense of it all. So, just a little heads up. You might want to take note of Jules' sudden blurts. It might help you figure things out later while you read, especially when you have a crappy memory like me. I also had an issue with how people responded to Jules' psychic abilities. It's like they just easily and openly accepted that she can predict something in the future; that she is a psychic.

As I've mentioned, Jules is a pleasant character to read. She's full of quirkiness, and adorable weirdness, and sass. I also like how she sometimes verbally vomits words. She's entertaining and charming in some odd way. What I can't fully make sense of is her intense crush on Grayson Chandler (I will get to him later). Cami, the loyal and equally loud best friend, and Jules' Grandma, the aura-seeing matchmaker, were also as fun to read as the main character herself. When all of them are in the same room (or the scene, rather), it just explodes withe colorful conversation, light teasing and banter. And although Jules' mom was hardly ever in the picture, it's good to know that there's a great mother-daughter relationship.
“Good, because if you get yourself killed I’m going to eviscerate you, too.”
“That doesn’t really make sense, Mom.”
“Good-bye, Jules. I love you very much.”
“Love you, too.”
Now, onto Grayson Chandler! Drum roll please...

Truthfully, I really don't get Jules' feelings for Grayson. Yes, he is handsome, has nice abs, looks good in tights, and all that. But I was never really hooked by his character. It would have been better if Jules was able to justify her feelings well for Grayson, with substance, and not just form. I would have liked it better if Grayson did something unforgettably nice to Jules, or something remarkable that affected Jules for life, or if he had this amazing personality. But hey, who am I to judge? It's Jules' feelings, not mine.

For the other characters, Angelique was the one who I thought had the most potential to be well-loved. But it felt like she was just cut off at the end, Regardless, I still had fun walking around the castle with her and Jules, and learning how to fake being a psychic. That was actually pretty neat.

I also liked the Sherlock and Taylor Swift reference, being a fan of both myself, like this:
“I thought I’d put on a deerstalker cap and an Inverness cape and walk around with a pipe in my mouth.”
“That ought to be effective.”
“I think the word you’re looking for is ‘elementary,’ my dear Watson.”
or this: 
“Okay, now you’re making me nervous. What are you doing?”
Oh, you know, dreaming about the day when you wake up and find that what you’re looking for has been here the whole time. Except that aside from the cheer captain part, the girl in that song is nothing like Bree. “Just hanging out on the bleachers,” I mumble.
But sadly, I did not get the Princess Bride references because I haven't seen it yet. Maybe if I had, I would have enjoyed it more.

The big reveal of who the killer was and the motive did not "wow" me. I was waiting for it to be something huge or scandalous and whatnot, but I was a bit disappointed. Maybe I expected too much. But nonetheless, the uncovering of the mystery was still something to look forward to.

There was one big revelation by the end of the book that seriously surprised me. I was really not expecting that. I had a little suspicion, but what I thought was a bit far from what happened. When I read that part, I was literally gaping and I reread those few paragraphs a few times just to make sure I read correctly. That was just jaw-dropping because I did not see that coming.

To sum up, Holding Court is a delightful read. If you want something funny and light but somewhat mysterious, this is your book. With lovable characters, an interesting plot, some comical dialogues, and a dash of medieval setup, Holding Court might be your next funny and unconventional read.

About the Author:
K.C. Held

K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two avid bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and is an accomplished seamstress with a background in opera, theater, film, and television. Although she once spent a summer working in a castle, there were no dead bodies involved.

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(Ends March 18, 2016)
One (1) winner will receive Holding Court swag pack containing a magnetic prophecy kit, signed bookplate, coloring postcard with stacked coloring pencil, and a bookmark.

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