Book Review: Holding Court by K.C. Held

Holding CourtHolding Court
K.C. Held
Entangled Teen, March 2016
ISBN 978-1-63375-227-6
Trade Paperback

I can honestly say I’ve never read anything quite like Holding Court.  I cannot tell you what it is ‘about’.  You wouldn’t believe me.  It simply shouldn’t work.  Like sea salt on chocolate.  Makes no sense.  Those things do not go together.  And yet….I thoroughly enjoyed the unprecedented coalescence of young love, psychics, pseudo-theatre, mystery and murder.

There’s a lot to consider as a sixteen year old girl looking for a summer job to buy a car.  For example, are there any openings where the guy you’ve adored from afar since sixth grade works?  As well as, what are the chances of stumbling upon a corpse that vanishes while on the job?

Being raised in a non-traditional family—specifically three generations of women, each with a unique psychic ability and completely unique feelings regarding said ability—requires a young person to develop a thicker skin and create coping mechanisms.  Jules’ grandmother who “has chosen to share her gift with the world in the most obnoxious way possible” and constantly quotes Eleanor Roosevelt is like the whipped cream on already decadent dessert.  While her mom keeps her own psychic ability under wraps, she is furiously and ferociously protective of her daughter, having zero qualms about calling Jules’ boss to “remind him that (she) will eviscerate him” should anything happen to her daughter on his watch.

While the atypical family creates a solid foundation, the teen-aged characters build the story with their refreshing honesty and biting sarcasm paired with quick wit and an admirable vocabulary.  For me, the absolute, very best, cooler-than-the-other-side-of-the-pillow, part is the reminder that we rarely know what other people think of us.  To be more accurate, we honestly do not know what someone else is thinking period—not for sure—no matter how well we know a person.  It is easy to project our doubts and insecurities, to assume that someone (or everyone) sees us in a particular way or will have a specific pre-determined reaction to an event.  Most often, though, the truth is surprising.  Like my beloved 8th grade Algebra teacher patiently explained: “Don’t assume.  You make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.”

Reviewed by jv poore, April 2016.

Book Review: Psi Another Day by D. R. Rosensteel

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Title: Psi Another Day
Author: D. R. Rosensteel
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: May 6, 2014

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Psi  Another DayPsi Another Day
A Psi Fighter Academy Novel
D. R. Rosensteel
Entangled Teen, May 2014
ISBN 978-1-62266-042-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

THERE’S A NEW SUPERHERO IN TOWN.

By day, I’m just another high school girl who likes lip gloss. But by night I’m a Psi Fighter—a secret guardian with a decade of training in the Mental Arts. And I’m about to test those skills in my first battle against evil.

BAD GUYS BEWARE.

When I was six, the Walpurgis Knights, our deadliest enemy, murdered my parents. The Psi Fighters put me into hiding, and all traces of my existence evaporated. Then I went through the most accelerated Psi Fighter training possible. And now I go to your school.

’CAUSE I WILL TAKE YOU OUT.

Unfortunately, so do the bad guys. My parents’ killer has sent his apprentice to infiltrate the school to find me. And everyone is a potential suspect, even irresistible new kid, Egon, and my old nemesis-turned-nice-guy, Mason. Fingers crossed I find the Knight before he finds me…

Confession: when I first heard about this book, I had no idea what a “psi fighter” might be. Now I know…sorta. Well, maybe not so much but here’s the thing—I don’t care, not in the least.

On the surface, this is a science fiction thriller masquerading as a mystery and a romance and the whole thing is wrapped up in a ton of humor. For anyone like me who loves crossgenre fiction, this has it all and I’m so glad I didn’t let my lack of knowledge of psi fighters get in my way.

Psi  Another Day is just plain fun, lighthearted entertainment that does precisely what it’s intended to do, entertain. Rinnie Noelle is full of snark and kickbuttness and I fell in love with her and the Kilodan and Andy and all the comic book superhero stuff they brought to each page. Yes, it really is like a great comic book and I don’t even like those things much ;-))

I do love superheroes, though, and I’m already thinking what a nifty movie this would make. Mr. Rosensteel has already given us a wonderful bunch of names to work with and I really hope he has lots of future installments in mind for us. I’m a fan for sure and Rinnie and the gang can’t come back soon enough for me.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2014.

About the Author

 

D. R. Rosensteel is a research consultant who had no intention of
writing anything but technical papers describing his theories of
metaphysical psychometry. But when a hoodied teen showed him a
device that turned her thoughts into weapons, and told him about a
secret society of protectors who trained her in their underground
Academy, he knew her story had to be written.

He has put his research on hold to document the adventures of a
girl whose face he’s never seen and whose real name he’ll never know.

 

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Book Review: Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

Eat, Brains, LoveEat, Brains, Love
Jeff Hart
HarperTeen, October 2013
ISBN 978-0-06-220034-1
Mass Market Paperback

From the publisher—

The good news: Jake’s dream girl, Amanda Blake, finally knows his name.

The bad news: it’s because they both contracted a mysterious zombie virus and devoured the brains of half their senior class. Now Jake and Amanda are on the run from Cass, a teen psychic sent by the government’s top-secret Necrotic Control Division to track them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends and set off in search of a cure for the zombie virus, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own—one that will lead all three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.

Not sure if you’d like a zombie novel? Afraid it’ll just be gruesome with none of the touches you love, like romance, mystery, government conspiracies, maybe even a little humor? Fear not, dear reader, here’s a zombie novel anyone can love.

Jake is a stoner and a bit of a geek but he also has a mouth on him so when Chazz, resident tough guy jock, picks on him, he has a comeback. That’s not necessarily a good idea since Chazz is about twice his size, or so it seems, but the hottest girl in school, Amanda, saves his bacon with a few words to her belligerent boyfriend. So begins what is destined to become a beautiful relationship…right after Jake and Amanda suddenly turn into eating machines with their fellow classmates as the main entree.

In the meantime, Cass, a teenaged psychic, has been drafted into the Necrotic Control Division and is tasked with helping track down zombies before the general public can learn that they exist but it turns out this particular case is going to cause problems for Cass and her colleagues in ways you might not expect. As soon as the NCD gets called into the school massacre, they start with damage control, making witnesses forget what they’ve seen and creating a story about a mass shooting, but Amanda and Jake are now on the run and Cass has to lead the NCD in finding them.

What follows is a glorious road trip replete with a deepening conspiracy, a clash of musical tastes, development of a new kind of weapon, budding romance, a power-hungry megalomaniac,  sartorial splendor, jealousy, a rush to get to Iowa where there might be a cure for this highly disgusting disease (which just may be the STD that would make folks think twice about unprotected sex), a sort of reversal of roles—imagine zombies afraid of the living for a change—and, yes, a whole lot of gruesome. I mean, come on, how can you have a zombie novel without gruesome?

Jeff Hart has come up with a fabulous expose of THE REAL TRUTH about zombies and everybody should put Eat, Brains, Love on their required reading lists. After all, you never know whether your next-door neighbor or the cashier at the local convenience store might be a little bit , er, different and you’ll want to be prepared. Meanwhile, I can hardly stand the wait for the next book in this “tasty” series 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2013.