Title: Holding Court
Release date: March 1st, 2016
Author: K.C. Held
About the book:
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…
About the author:
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.
4.5 “I fell in love with the protagonist” STARS
ARC via NetGalley.
Thank you, Entangled!
First thing I’ll say about this is I started and finished it in one day. A Friday. I could’ve gone out with my friends or gone with my husband to a nice restaurant… or even started partying since it’s Carnaval this weekend, but nope. I chose to stay home and finish this book because I fell in love with Jules.
When that happens, don’t expect me to step away until there are no more words to read. Then, I end up feeling both happy and sad. I guess every bookworm knows the feeling. And while I was thrilled to get to know Jules, I was sad to have to let her go.
You should come meet Jules — a.k.a Juliet Verity a.k.a Buttercup a.k.a my new BFF. A super awesome sixteen-year-old who comes from a line of eccentric women with special “gifts.” Her grandmother, for example, can see people’s auras and find their perfect match. And while her grandmother and her mother have found ways to turn their gifts into something profitable for the family, Jules is still going through the “I’m a freak” phase. It sure doesn’t help that her gift isn’t making being a teenager any easy. According to Jules’ very funny best friend, the poor girl suffers from “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome”. What’s that? Out of nowhere, Jules will yell some absurd prophecy that makes no sense at the time, but later turns out to be helpful. Sounds pretty cool, except when you’re trying to keep people from thinking you’re batshit crazy.
But you know where being batshit crazy is cool and profitable? At the castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times where everyone dresses up and pretends to be someone else. Jules is hired to play the part of Mad Maid of Kent (a psychic num), which means she’s practically getting paid to be herself. Pretty good, huh? What makes it even better is that she’ll get to spend time with her longtime crush and now coworker, Grayson Chandler.
It’d be the perfect job if it weren’t for the dead body she found. The same body that disappeared minutes later, leaving everyone wondering if Jules really saw it or if this was just another part of her psychic gift. Only way to find out? Teaming up with Grayson and searching for the dead girl and her murderer. That’s when the adventure began.
While the whole Tudor vibe and the mystery about the missing body made the story unique and interesting, Jules was the most special element in this as far as I was concerned. You can call her a special snowflake, if you want… I honestly don’t care, because I connected with her from the start.
Jules was funny, like make-me-laugh-out-loud-a-lot funny. Her logic was spot on and her sense of humor was refreshing:
“That brings up an interesting point, Miss Verity. You’re the only one who’s seen Sarah Buckley dead.”
“Uh, no. I’m pretty sure whoever killed her and moved her body saw her, too.”
Like, dude, she was hilarious.
Jules stood firmly against slut shaming. Grayson was in a relationship with Bree, the most perfect girl in town, but every time Jules talked about her “rival”, she did it in a way that made you respect her even more:
Bree Blair is so perfect you can’t even hate her properly.
She (Bree) envelops me in a rose-scented hug. She doesn’t just look perfect, she smells good, too. I should hate her. But I can’t.
And don’t expect Jules to get involved with someone else’s boyfriend, because she’s not up for that kind of crap:
“Cami, I’m serious. I will never be Bree Blair, and I’m not going to be the kind of girl who goes after someone else’s boyfriend, either.”
I highlighted another part that proves the point above (“You’d better go call Bree” – can’t say more because of spoilers) while reading and added “YES, YES, YES!” as my notes. Honestly, I’m so tired of people treating cheating like it’s not a big deal, and I was so, so happy that Jules wasn’t of one them.
I guess what I’m saying is I fell hard for Jules, so I completely understand the big secret revealed at the end. It makes perfect sense to me. *shrugs*
The romance wasn’t as big as I normally like it, but with the search for the missing girl and the mystery involving the possible murder taking much of everyone’s time, it was understandable that they had to keep the romance as a subplot. Plus, this is being sold as YA mystery and not YA romance, so…
I’m sure there will be reviews complaining about historical inconsistencies (not saying there’s a problem with the book, but there’s always someone complaining about that), but (again) I don’t care. I didn’t request this book because of the historical references and I’m not quoting anything from a fiction with history as a subplot when discussing important historical facts, so yeah… there’s that.
This book delivered what it promised and a little more: a fun, sweet YA contemporary story with great mystery, a good romance and a main character that made my list of characters I want to be friends with.
Guest review contributed by U.S. – Brazil Book Review. As a book review diplomat of sorts, this blogger reviews books in English and Portuguese. If there’s romance in the book, she’s probably loving it.