Kings & Queens

Rated 3.83/5 based on 12 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair gets sucked into a deadly game when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. More
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About Courtney Vail

COURTNEY VAIL writes totally twisted YA. 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.


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A mini trailer for the debut YA novel Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail.

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Review by: Becky Chatelain on Sep. 24, 2012 :
I loved this and I can't wait for the next one. It was a little hard to get into and it jumped around a bit, but as soon as I locked on to who everyone was, I was engrossed. I loved the characters and the story of why the things happened is original.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jennifer Silverwood on June 28, 2012 :
Kings & Queens offers a little bit of everything, romance, action, intrigue, all wrapped around one town's set of high school melodrama. At times it was heart & gut wrenching. Others it made you want to laugh out loud and cry. Yet for some reason I got confused almost from the start of this novel. In spite of its complexities it was difficult to follow the plot with too much going on at once. Although it requires you to think, something most YA books fail at, Kings & Queens weaves so many webs that even at the end I couldn't understand what exactly happened. I give Vail props for a good effort, however. It was nice to read something spiritual that isn't poking fun at religion or fake about the truth. And the main characters were compelling when they weren't giving me whiplash from their constant mood swings. All in all, however, I can appreciate this novel for not pulling its punches.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Angie Lenkevich on June 27, 2012 :
Majesty Alistair goes to Cedar Creek High where she helps manage the Colts baseball team and is in drama club. She is secretly in love with her best friend Derek McCarthy. She is also best friends with Alec. Majesty has not been the same since her father's death a couple of months ago. Majesty has befriended Warren Niles who is an outcast and freak to the rest of the school. Warren is not who he appears to be even to his best friend Jase. Both Warren and Derek of things that are not possible or are they. Preston known for his popular parties at his family mansion sets his sight on Majesty. Majesty overhears a plot to shoot up a local church and tries to warn the police but the plotters know she told. Majesty is torn with wanting to find the plotters and being scared for her life. She's kidnapped during the same weekend of the shooting at the church. Majesty is rescued by Warren yet later finds out that he and Jase were killed by police in a early morning arrest. Everyone is stunned by these turn of events. Majesty doesn't trust her mom's companion Paul yet she's not sure why. Majesty meets Don at the baseball semifinals and asks him about spy equipment. What is going on? Who kidnapped Majesty and shot up the church? Who can Majesty really trust? Can Don help Majesty? Your answers await you in Kings & Queens.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Ray Chelle on June 20, 2012 :
Disclaimer: The fact that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review has not affected my rating.

Kings & Queens was, in a word, a different book. When I think of YA mystery, I think of urban-fantasy-evil-witch mysteries, I-think-I-am-secretly-a-billionaire-heir-because-I’m-adopted mysteries, or popular-girl-whodunnit mysteries. Instead, Kings & Queens is a lot more focused on real life crime and murders.

Vail is able to manipulate both characters and readers’ minds. I not only suspected innocent characters but also thought some completely evil characters were innocent. Moreover, there are some side plots that I never thought could be related to the main plot! She keeps the suspense and suspicion rising throughout the novel, while implying small amounts of crude humor.

All the characters seemed distinguished and had their own strengths and weaknesses. One of the unique things is that Vail uses many POVs (Majesty, Derek, Warren, Preston, Majesty’s mother, Alec, etc.), but is still able to also develop these characters fully. My one complaint is concerning Majesty. She has this sort-of love triangle thing going on, which was kind of confusing and strange, in a way. At one point, she seems to love Derek, and is jealous of him and Cynthia, then switches to being infatuated with Alec and being jealous of him and A, while Derek falls in love with Majesty. Moreover, when Majesty discovers the truth about Derek, at one point she claims to hate him, but then desperately tries to save his life.

Somehow, Vail also seemed to incorporate high school and some serious crime, again, making it a unique book. It’s because of this that I think Kings & Queens has some adult crossover appeal (which also leads up to Sapphire Reign, its adult-targeted sequel).

Overall, Kings & Queens is a suspense filled book that is definitely engaging and unique! It also has some crossover appeal towards adults, and is great for YA readers, mature readers, and adults alike.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Autumn Siegel on June 18, 2012 :
What an interesting book. I didn't know what to expect from the book after seeing the cover. By the way... I love the cover of the book. The characters were fun and I knew I would be hooked after reading a line like this "A sconce? Majesty thought. How very Scooby Doo." Who doesn't love a good shout out from Scooby Doo. It was a little hard to get into from the first couple of chapters but after you get in you can't put the book down. I'm looking forward to reading more from Courtney Vail.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Autumn Siegel on June 18, 2012 : (no rating)
I received a copy of this book through my reading group on GoodReads: Shut up and Read.... What an interesting book. I didn't know what to expect from the book after seeing the cover. By the way... I love the cover of the book. The characters were fun and I knew I would be hooked after reading a line like this "A sconce? Majesty thought. How very Scooby Doo." Who doesn't love a good shout out from Scooby Doo. It was a little hard to get into from the first couple of chapters but after you get in you can't put the book down. I'm looking forward to reading more from Courtney Vail.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: sherry fundin on June 09, 2012 :
"That's the "They'll learn how dead and buried their Jesus is when...doesn't help...start shooting up the church. Haven' many I wanna off yet. Needs to be sick...national coverage."

When Majesty leaned forward to try and see who was talking, a twig snapped under her feet. She knew they knew she was there so she took off running. They recognized the Colts shirt from the school baseball team. That meant they were part of the school. She knew no one would believe her if she told what she heard, so she recruited Alec to help her find them herself. The more she tried to eliminate people from the suspect pool, the more suspicious everyone seemed.

She even began to suspect her friends. She was hot for Derek, but jealous of Alec with anyone else. Does she have a clue to what she really wants?

The premise of the story was good, the writing, not so much. Sometimes less is more. It dragged for me until I was about a third of the way through, then it really took off. Either the writing improved or the book became so intense I overlooked it. Kept drawing me in deeper and deeper, twisting and turning. Even though it starts out hard to read, you must keep on reading. It is well worth it.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Saskia Holditch on May 21, 2012 : (no rating)
I received the book through Library Thing. Let me first say I was warned it was for young adults, and I am not the target audience. It is action packed, and moves along quickly. It is written, I guess, as a modern young adult would think, and I just didn't enjoy the language or rather wording. I think the target audience may enjoy it a lot more.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Natalie Shannon on May 04, 2012 :
I received the book Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail from Member Giveaway's on Library thing. Kings & Queens is about a teenage girl named Majesty who overhears a plot for a church massacre. To add to this trouble Maj (as she is called in the book.) had lost her father in a tragic car accident five months earlier. Only Maj does not believe it was an accident. She keeps hounding the police and the police are sick of her. Now she has to find a way to tell the police about the overheard planned church massacre.

Throughout the book Maj is trying to figure out who is responsible. The group responsible creates many diversions and tries to get two outcasts to take the fall. Majesty is trying to do everything in her power to stop the church massacre from happening. Meanwhile while all this is going on; Maj has to live the life of typical teenage girl. She has a baseball team to help run. She has family obligations. Majesty also has to deal with a love life. She has feelings for both of her best friends
Derek and Alec. Having to deal with a love triangle while trying to stop the church massacre brings about many unexpected complications for Maj.

I enjoyed reading Kings and Queens. The plot was slowly building into a frenzied pace and had many different twists and turns that left me reeling with surprise. This book always kept me guessing with each page. Kings & Queens had some sub-plots that threw me off. It was interesting how all the plots came together in the end. I would think I knew where the story was heading, then boom I was shocked and confused when I read the next page. I thought the author Courtney Vail had excellent scene descriptions. I felt like I was inside each setting of the book. I thought the character descriptions were great . I felt like I knew and could picture every character in the book. I enjoyed the dialogue. The dialogue was full of banter and fun.

If you like dark twisted suspenseful tails, I recommend Kings & Queens for you.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Heather Robbins on Sep. 13, 2011 :
5 x 5
First off let me say that I totally heart this book! You have a great author and a great story together and WHAM! The cover is amazing and you will understand it at the end. I really did enjoy all..ALL the characters they were all well written and well rounded. As for suspense well I couldn't put it down because I need to know what was going on, going to happen, and to who! I was left with my mouth hanging open as I was totally wrong when I thought I knew what was going on. WELL PLAYED Vail, well played :) Look forward to more things from her!

So, if you haven't yet ... get it ... read it... enjoy the ride.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Teresa Rice on Sep. 07, 2011 :

WOW. The description for this book on does not do this book justice. This was an AWESOME, twisted, capturing tale. Like Gossip Girl with deadly consequences.

Seventeen year old Majesty Alistair has had her share of hardship in her young life; five months back she lost her Dad and while the police suspected an accident, Majesty knows that's not the answer and she's determined to find out who killed her father. She's also the Team Manager of her High School's Baseball team, on which her two best friends, Derek and Alec are players.
After overhearing a savage plot to take down a Church mass-casualty style, Majesty is suddenly the witness to a deadly series of events she wants nothing to do with, and all of a sudden everyone is suspect. Innocent people are dying, and it looks like Majesty is next.

Upon first reading the book, I was confused and found myself saying "huh?", but after reading a few reviews from GoodReads, I took the advice of previous readers and didn't try and dissect the sentences so much. I just continued reading and magically everything came together. I found myself at work yesterday using the copier and it came to me the reason a character acted a certain way, and everything started coming together. I LOVE IT when books stay with you, and this one did.

Author Courtney Vail has written an amazing novel full of unsuspecting twists and enough spice and sexual tension that scream best-seller, if more marketing was done. I would love to know what was going through Ms. Vail's mind penning this book, and how long it took her to write. The plot and solutions were well thought out and detailed. I had an electronic version of the story and unfortunately there was some editing problems (missing words like i, him, her, the, we) but other than that I am astounded by how satisfied I am with the ending. Being a person who is suspicious of EVERYONE, I was floored with how the story came together. So much that I read it within a 24-hour period.

Read the finished product. You won't regret it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Becca Watson on Sep. 06, 2011 :
Kings & Queens by Courtney Vail

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.

This book is about Majesty or ‘Maj’ (btw what kind of name is that anyways?) Who over hears a plot to massacre a Church. Throughout the book we are introduced to a barrage of characters, all of whom seem to have some kind of tragic back story. I often felt lost and confused due to this.

Before I get further into my review I want to start with the authors writing style. I’m not a fan and found it quite annoying. The author had a tendency to leave out words at the beginning of sentences, such as I, A, but, it and several others. For example: “Where is my scrunchy, brat? Was on my nightstand this morning.” “That junk’s not even craptastic. Nearly vomited.” These sentences should be “It was on my nightstand” and “I nearly vomited”. I found this highly annoying as it was like this throughout the entire book. I almost stopped reading because of it.
As the story line goes, I’m afraid I found myself lost and confused. As I mentioned above, every character that was introduced had some sad and tragic back story. I lost track of who in this book had a dead parent. There was just so much going on; it was hard to follow at times. I felt like the story was rushed at times, it feels to be written a bit chaotically and a little thrown together.
I liked the idea behind the book, the whole evil corporation that’s trying to control people or see who’s going to be evil. I found that to be intriguing, but with all the other stuff being thrown at you it often got confusing. As far as the main characters go, I did like Majesty and Alec to a certain extent. Derek was just okay, but towards the end I didn’t really like him anymore. The whole ‘I found Jesus’ thing was just random and added to the confusion.
I also don’t understand the authors need to toss in a tragic back story for Majesty’s mom. Her being molested by her uncle as a child and deciding to now go to the police about it had nothing to do with the book. I was also annoyed by the author adding that Majesty’s mom finds out she is 5 months pregnant with her dead dad’s baby. There was no need for that. And the fact that her mom had a “companion” just 5 months after the death of her husband is insane. If my husband died just 5 months ago, the last thing on my mind would be having another man in my life.
By the end of the book I was hoping for a super awesome conclusion, but was left wondering what the heck? Over all I feel that this could have been a whole lot better, if the writing style were to be changed, and if the author would leave out some of the details she put in and made it less confusing.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: dolphinchick on Aug. 24, 2011 :
Good book. ‘Maj’ is a great character, going through a lot to say the least! She’s a fighter while still being vulnerable and I love that about her! Once it got going it was interesting and I wanted to find out who did what and why… but the why wasn’t explained enough for me. I needed to know more of the back round or something more about ‘them’. It could have done without all the fluff of soooooo many unnecessary “big” or descriptive words… there were several times when sentences or paragraphs felt like they were just about words not what was happening and it took me out of the moment. Just needs to be tightened up a bit in editing, but overall a good book.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Doskoi Panda on Aug. 16, 2011 :
Majesty is a girl of action with a number of problems to solve. She manages her high school's baseball team (on a winning streak), is convinced that her father's death wasn't an accident, overhears a plot to gun down a church service and is unsure how to alert the police, and is bouncing back and forth as to which of her two best friends she is in love. And, of course, her mom has a new, peculiar boyfriend ( a situation about which she feels a bit Hamlet-y.)

The pace of this novel is furious, and never really lets you catch your breath. You may get a moment to sigh your relief, but don't be fooled; more danger and complication is on the way, pretty much at every turn. The characters are, for the most part, interesting and engaging; Majesty is just about believable (most of the time), and the portrayal of cliques in high school also feels accurate. Majesty is a strong heroine, she is not infallible, but she is tough as nails (I renamed her Ripley in my head at times.) The young men in the book are also more than stepping stones; they have developed characters and aren't just moping eye candy or idiotic children, which is refreshing.

Needs a bit of polishing, but nothing too critical. A good proofreader/editor could correct the typographical errors that are scattered throughout, and help with smoothing out some of the mental leaps in the text to make the story a little easier to follow - the pace is furious and I felt that some things were left out or glossed over, or left for the reader to fill in the gap, which made following the story difficult at times. Another few quibbles: a couple plotlines are also resolved then dropped like rocks, the coincidence of her meeting one extremely helpful character and the romantic conclusion all felt a bit too easy, and detracted from the story (from my point of view at least. Easy resolutions just feel a bit too much like Hollywood endings - empty and cheapening.)

Bottom line: this is a good fun read, if you can handle a bit of metal hopscotch. It's meatier than some ebooks I've read (193 pages in the pdf version), and covers a pretty sprawling plot very well. 4 stars

Copy of this ebook supplied by the author as part of LibraryThing's Member giveaway. Review refers to the pdf copy.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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