The May Queen Murders

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The May Queen Murders

  • Author: Sarah Jude
  • Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Genre vibe: Cult horror, Southern gothic
  • At a glance: First animals, and then girls. Terrifying murders are once again cropping up all over Rowan’s Glen, and sweet Ivy might be next.

 

Some books just kind of…happen. You see a lovely cover at first and say to yourself, “I’ll read that soon,” and then all of a sudden you find yourself in an indie bookstore the day your writer’s conference ends and well…

So I pick up THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS, a book that houses a delightfully textured cover, the perfect shade of pink, and the promise of something best read with the lights out.

I got all of those things in my two-day reading-binge in attempt to keep up with my reading schedule. This book is the perfect quick read. Just under 300 pages, fast-paced and interesting, decent characters and only slightly awkward intimate relations. Murder, romance, atmosphere et cetera. I enjoyed the ride quite a bit.

The problem happened when the climax started to climb. Reveal after reveal happened within pages and sometimes paragraphs, huge-seeming subplots that got little-to-no pagetime. Which, for the sake of shock and ohmygodohmygodohmygod WHO IS THE MURDEROUS PSYCHO, worked pretty well. But outside of that, it just wasn’t…enough.

MAY QUEEN MURDERS is a slightly-less-than-300 page book with a story that could easily have filled just-under-500, with just a little bit of extra air added to each of the little plot points along the way. So while I enjoyed my quick ride through murder and mayhem, and it filled a need in my reading life that’s been lacking for quite some time, the part of me that devours scary things kept wishing there was more more more.

But overall:

  • Rating: 3.5/5 stars
  • Recommended to: People looking for a brutal, quick scare, and also people that like freaking gorgeous covers.
  • Lasting impression: Butterfly kisses, creek water lapping over your ankles. Blood spilling through the cracks in the hardwood.

 

 

ILLUMINAE

There are books that you say you mean to read, and you actually mean to read them. Then there are books that you say you mean to read, and you don’t totally mean it–all you really mean is that it looks interesting.

And then there’s books that just wait, crouched on the shelf, until you walk by with your unsuspecting interest, and in a crime of opportunity: you pick it up.

ILLUMINAE is that kind of book. And it doesn’t just grab you. It attacks you.

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ILLUMINAE

  • Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Year: 2015
  • Genre vibe: SPACE SCARES
  • At a glance:SPACE SCARES

So let’s face it: it’s been about a month and a half since I read this book.

And yet, here I am, reviewing it anyways. I can’t seem to get it out of my brain. And while I may not have anything in particular to say about it, per se, I…can’t stop thinking about it.

That counts for a lot, I think.

I’m a fan of Amie Kaufman’s similarly co-authored Sci-fi Romance STARBOUND trilogy. I saw Jay Kristoff’s teases for the upcoming NEVERNIGHT and just about melted through the floor. And then ILLUMINAE happened.

This book. This book is a great many things. In addition to being an experimental medium (Imagine being handed a file on an incident. That’s the book.), it’s just…really scary.

Here’s a chain of events for you:

-Your planet basically gets blown to pieces.

-You and a small portion of your world escape on 3 ships.

-There’s an AI on one of those ships.

-There’s you on anther.

-And then your ex on the final.

I’m sure it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see how things could go downhill pretty quickly with that particular cast of characters around. ILLUMINAE is packed with twists, turns, ups, downs, you name it, ILLUMINAE has it. Including heart-wrenching feelings.

(Sorry–can’t get away from those on this blog.)

ILLUMINAE is, in short: intoxicating. You think it’ll be a fun high sci-fi ride. It’s not. It’s a drug in book form. The kind that makes you see space for days. Weeks. Months. Years.

Which is a good thing, by the way.

So overall:

  • Rating: 5/5 stars
  • Recommended to: Sci-fi fans and not sci-fi fans alike. Anyone that likes to see experimental mediums done well.
  • Lasting impression: There’s a little girl walking through the hallway, tugging something along with her. You don’t want to know what it is.