Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tour Review: Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail (Guest Post)

Title: Kings & Queens
Series: Kings & Queens #1
Author: Courtney Vail
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Little Prince Publishing
Format: eBook, 328 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0615469775
Release Date: January 27, 2012
Source: Tour Host {SupaGurl Books}
Rating: 5/5

Tagline(s): In Cedar Creek, forget baseball... Violence is the new celebrated pastime.

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father's fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek...or, no...maybe Alec...maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they're sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it's not like she cries wolf. Not really. They'd be freaked too, but they're not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse. So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do...try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act.

But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she's left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.


Courtney Vail's Kings & Queens has a complex and vivid story. At times, I found myself confused about some of the events that took place and how they came about. The characters and their individual POV's are just as complex, but each is really unique. I didn't really understand what was going on with the dreams of disaster--were they real premonitions or just their minds playing off the events happening in real life? And there were times when we are fed so much information that it can be overwhelming sometimes.

It may seem like I only have negative things to say about Kings & Queens, but there's an equal amount of positive things about this book as well. Though there were moments when I was confused and overwhelmed, the story itself is so intriguing that I kept wanting to read more. The mystery and suspense surrounding the events of the story keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters and their stories each have a depth that makes them unique and very likable--you can relate to the characters. So there's this huge mass of interconnecting stories that all meet with the main plot of the Kings and Queens and their mission. This book's complexity is what makes it worthwhile to read. Sure, it can be confusing at times, but it's also so engaging you won't be able to stop reading.

Courtney Vail has a sequel to Kings & Queens, Sapphire Reign, coming out that takes place 10 years in the future, and Majesty's world is a lot more dangerous and darker. It is not a Young Adult book, but I'm going to make sure to read Sapphire Reign to sate my curiosity about Majesty's life after Kings & Queens.

Book Trailer:

About this Author:

COURTNEY VAIL writes totally twisted YA and adult suspense. She enjoys braiding mystery, suspense & romance with some kind of weirdness. Her addictions to crazy coffee concoctions, Funny Bones, Ben & Jerry's, and bacon keep her running and writing. She currently lives in New England with a comedian stud and a wild gang of kidlets. 

Guest Post by Courtney Vail:


Hi. I’m the author of the YA suspense novel, Kings & Queens. I love dreams. They are a well-spring of inspiration for me. A dream is what kick-started my plot for Kings & Queens actually. I overheard two guys in the woods planning a church massacre and escaped them in this little town, and that’s where my story was born. Dreams also factor into my plot in different ways. 

My parallel protagonist, Derek, has a reoccurring nightmare of a past mistake he can’t shake. He doesn’t acknowledge the guilt of what happened, because that’s weakness to him, and he can’t speak of it since he’s blood-bound to silence, so in his sleep, it taunts and haunts him. He tries to bury it, but in his sleep, he can’t escape it. But, something happens to create a glitch in his dream, and the event shockingly changes to something else entirely, and the difference ends up changing him. 

Majesty, my main protagonist, can’t squelch sick feelings in her stomach that terrible things are going to happen. The first time she brushed off a major nudge, her father ended up near-headless in a ditch under a blanket of safety glass, so she begins to take the ominous more seriously. Soon, her dread over other tragedies somersaults into bloody nightmares. 

Warren Niles, resident Goth, dreams of a church shooting, but he’s left without much detail and more questions than answers. He hopes to just chalk it up to nothing but a dream, but it won’t let go. What if his anger actually drove him there, to that ugly, vicious place? Or what if it happened, not of his hand, and he’d done nothing to stop it? How could he live, knowing?

Most of my books have been inspired by dreams. In addition to Kings & Queens, its sequel, Sapphire Reign sprung from this dream about a little girl who was psychically linked to a serial killer, and my short story Carousel also came from that dream too. It was originally the prologue to a story about this art therapist, Vivien, nicknamed Evie, but that was before I saw the light. I was working on two stories separately, but they fit together beautifully in tone and concept, and a literary merger took place and resulted in Sapphire Reign. And Dropping Like Flies came from a noise right on the cusp waking up. I heard this intercom noise that sounded like hospital chatter and that was just enough to stir my mind. 

Usually when I dream, I don’t take them as real or prophetic, but the dreams that spawn inspiration are different than my others. I’m not always in them or they are more vivid or strange. If a dream was premonitory, I believe I’d know because weird things happen to me all the time. 

Like, I do sometimes dream things before they happen and get slapped with déjà vu. It’s usually bland stuff, nothing major, conversations mostly. And I won’t know until the moment has passed in reality, but it will be a couple days later, and I’ll shake my head or shudder knowing, wait, I dreamed this. Like, one time in high school, people were talking about sheep. Um, sheep do not come up in conversation every day. They just don’t, so I flipped. I had dreamt that exact conversation days before. Or I’ll be with people in a dream, and I’ll see them days later in the same clothes they were wearing or at the same location.

An example of a weird thing: in my newswriting class in college the course book was packed with info you had to turn into articles. Sometimes you’d get names of people but not always. I always made up names, but one time, I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna use the name of someone I know. The story was about a hero, and Guy McCaslin, my high school basketball coach, guidance counselor, Bible teacher--Hey, it was Christian school. Whadaya want. Those guys are spread thin for squat pay. Pretty heroic if you ask me--seemed like a winner. Anyway, the day after I turned in my paper, my prof asked me to stay after class. So, nervously, I did. 

He said, “Who is Guy McCaslin?” 

Um, yeah, I told that same stacked bio. 

He said, “Well, that’s weird. He’s best friend’s with my son, and my wife and I are good friends with his parents. We all lived in Oregon. I’ve known him since he was a little tyke in my Awana’s class.” 

Wait! What??? That’s weird??? Weird? That’s like THE understatement of the century. This is so beyond weird!!! Here I was in Virginia, far, far away from my home in Massachusetts & Mr. Guy Smiley, and they’re all from OREGON, AND the FIRST time I use a REAL name, I pick the ONE guy HE knows???? And he knows him well? What are the freaking odds? One in a million? Or billion, maybe. I don’t know, I suck at math. But, I mean, think of all the people you know or know of, all the names you could choose from. I have social photographic memory, I never forget anyone, so I have a lot, A LOT of names in there. The odds are totally insane and mind-blowing. Yeah, I’m going to repeat insane because it IS. It was like winning the lottery. I FREAKED. I dashed back to my dorm and prayed up a storm for him and his family. It can never hurt to pray, and usually, if something like that happens, I assume it’s for a reason, so, that’s what I did. Just in case.  But, I mean, it still to this day trips me out.

I’m a practical joker and can somehow totally rock an innocent vibe at the same time, so I mostly come out unscathed. This is what tells me there is a God, and that He has a sense of humor. Even though my victims may skip on the payback, God  always gets me back, and I’m sure he’s laughing.

Weirdness like that happens to me all the time. So, if I dreamt something truly prophetic or meaningful like any of my characters have, I’d take it for premonitory.  I’m sure it would feel different from other dreams, and I would pray and do whatever I could to help out in the situation.

Do weird things happen to you, or do you find dreams inspirational, meaningful or premonitory?

Get my debut YA novel Kings & Queens at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo.
Available in eBook and paperback. eBook, only $0.99 for a limited time.

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Tour Hosted by SupaGurl Book Tours

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