Review--The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

My first creepy read of the season was Sarah Jude’s The May Queen Murders and while it wasn’t the super creepy read I was hoping for, it was still pretty chilling once all was revealed. It’s a murder mystery story set in the Ozarks in good ol’ Missouri! While I don’t know if Ivy’s little town is actually real, there were just a few mentions of this and that that made me smile because I knew what it was! LOL!

Ivy and Heather are cousins and pretty much best friends since they grew up together in their small town of Rowan’s Glen. But lately, it seems Heather has been keeping secrets. Ivy is able to devise that Heather is seeing someone romantically and she’s fearful that it’s her own long-time crush, Rook. Heather refuses to relent on her secrets and it’s after a major fight that Heather goes missing.

After the celebration of the May Day festival, Heather has seemed to vanish. No one knows where she’s at and it’s assumed the worst has happened. Which is proven correct when Ivy and Rook stumbled upon her body. Ivy is more determined than ever to figure out who killed her. Her first clue is to figure out who she had been meeting in secret. And she has an idea of who that would be, as he was the one seeking her out at school.

I’m pretty sure I read a review that somewhat spoiled things for me. As I was reading, I was remembering one of the many secrets and trying to think…why am I remembering this when it doesn’t seem to fit? Well, when it gets revealed towards the end, I was like, that’s it! So yes, I was spoiled somewhere down the line for this one in a sense, but as I said, there is more than one mystery going on.

There has also been a string of animal murders going down in Rowan’s Glen. Animals being found mutilated. So be aware that there is some sort of animal abuse in this one. It was heart sickening, but it was meant to help set things into place. There was also, a long time ago, a murderer amongst them known as Birch Markle. He’s the boogeyman so to speak and they say that he was never caught, so children are warned to stay out the woods at night because that’s where they claim he lives now. So there’s a good setting going on here to get you nice and creeped out! Add in Ivy trying to solve her cousin’s murder and you have the makings of well-read thriller.

I will definitely say that Sarah kept me on my toes in this one! I kept making guess after guess of who I thought did it! I will say that one of my guesses was correct! Think it was my second guess but then I went on to suspecting another! So it’s really up in the air if I can claim I KNEW IT! Lol. I sort of knew it at least!

There is a bit of lightness to the story too as there’s definitely a romance happening between Ivy and Rook. It was a sweet kind of first love romance that I was too quick to get caught up in. What I loved about it was that Ivy and Rook were these long-time friends first. And even when they started to be a “couple” the romance was still a sweet, slow buildup! It doesn’t overpower the story either. It’s just sort of there in the background.

Now onto that ending! Oh my goodness! This ending was insane! And I mean that in the best possible way! I feel like I can’t even discuss it without leading into spoiler territory, just know that the ending was freaking crazy and head turning and totally amazing!! I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for Sarah’s books in the future!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars


PRE-ORDER BLITZ--Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson + Excerpt, Teaser, and GIVEAWAY!

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"So much action, so much violence and, oh, the lust radiating off of our heroes . . . I definitely recommend this series for lovers of all things paranormal and awesome.”USA Today

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Taran Wird, who commands the power to wield fire and lightning, is an oddity in the supernatural world. But neither Taran nor her unique sisters compare to the bizarre entity known as Destiny. And Taran is assigned to protect her.

Born of two witches, Destiny is revered among the supernatural elite for her acute ability to predict the future. Her biggest prophecy involves Taran’s sister, Celia, whom Destiny decreed will bear children strong enough to take on the evil that’s rising. Yet Destiny is not alone in her predictions, or individuality.

When Johnny Fate, a rock star among humans and a male version of Destiny is discovered, his powers and Destiny’s clash, triggering the start of Destiny’s demise and altering the fate of Celia’s unborn children.

Taran, her werewolf lover Gemini, and their allies must determine if it’s Fate who will decide what will become of Celia’s children, or if their lives and the world will perish with Destiny.

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Copyright © 2017 Cecy Robson

I’m shoved into a cold room where a band of bloodsucking fiends tear off my clothes. Their long nails graze my skin as their master watches, his cold gray eyes glinting with malice.
“Son of a bitch,” I say, smacking Edith Anne’s hand away when she cops a feel. “The demon’s in my leg, not my tit!”
There’s something you don’t say every day, but then that’s why humans are safe in the world and weird gals like me are stuck with demons burrowing under their skin.
“Just making sure,” Edith adds with a wink.
I’m ready to punch her in the face, except I’m too busy cringing at the thing crawling beneath the length of my shin, its spindly insectoid appendages stretching the skin as it curls up and over my knee cap.
“Get it out of me!” I screech, growing nauseous with each numbing tug it creates beneath the underlying tissue.
“We’re trying,” Agnes Concepcion snaps, like I’m somehow inconveniencing her by having an evil being claw its way through me.
Her tiny plaid skirt smacks against my hip as she shoves me into a massive glass and tile shower. Three other vamps, dressed like naughty Catholic schoolgirls (don’t get me started) follow us in, bottles of champagne tight in their grips.
“What the hell?” I ask, kicking as if I can somehow shake this thing loose, and certain the booze is to celebrate my grisly death.
Bottles of champagne open with a pop, the naughty Catholics pouring the bubbly over my breasts, back, and ass. This isn’t real. This is something out of a bad porno and somehow I’m the star.
But as the fluid reaches my thigh the lump with the creepy legs bounces, pulling at the muscle it’s crawling over, squirming to the left then right, trying find its way around the torrent of liquid they’re pelting me with.
“Don’t let it reach her heart,” Master Vampire Misha Aleksandr orders from the opposite side of the bathroom.
“What’s it going to do to my heart?” My head whips back and forth when none of the vamps answer. “It’s going eat my freaking heart isn’t it?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Agnes mutters, adjusting her tiny librarian glasses as she angles the bottle she’s holding.
“Okay . . .” I begin.
“It needs your heart to nest and lay its eggs,” she explains.
“But yeah, then the hatchlings will munch on your heart like raw steak,” Edith adds. She reels me around when additional vamps swoop in with cases of wine, drenching my chest with more alcohol.
She seems to be having fun. I’m mostly trying not to hurl and wondering how the hell this happens to me.
Agnes is more focused. She drips the wine just above the demon, forcing it back down my leg. “Quiesco,” she says, her tone as sharp and commanding. “Quiesco.”
My body shudders as the demon scurries downward. Its movement doesn’t hurt, surprising since I think it has pinchers, but the yanking motion is unnerving, like getting stitches while under anesthesia. My head flops forward and my vision starts to swim.
“I don’t feel good,” I mumble.
Agnes slaps me, the sting of the strike causing my eyes to whip open. “Don’t fall asleep.” She slaps me again when my eyelids flutter and close. “Taran, the poison the demon is spewing is numbing your skin and making you drowsy, if you succumb to it the alcohol won’t work and the demon will take you.”
Again, her palm whips across my face. “Stay awake so we can cut this thing out of you.”
I slap her back, knocking her glasses askew. “I’m awake, damn it.”
She smirks because she hits harder and maybe because she likes it, too. She returns to my leg when the vamp behind her hands her another bottle of champagne. “Quiesco,” she whispers against my leg, her breath hot against my cooling skin.
My head falls forward as I start to go under. This time, Edith smacks me.
“God damn it,” I hiss, my right arm quaking and threatening to release my flame.
“I was just taking my turn,” she replies defensively.
Her gaze locks on my arm. She eases away as a spark of blue and white escapes from my fingertips, giving me and my power ample space as the surrounding vamps shower me with alcohol.
“Master,” Agnes says, ignoring us as she concentrates on my thigh. “It’s settling. I need the knife.”
“The wolves are bringing it,” he replies.
“The wolves?” I ask. Okay. Now I’m wide awake.

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CECY ROBSON is an author of contemporary romance, young adult adventure, and award-winning urban fantasy. A double RITA® 2016 finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed, and a published author of more than eighteen titles, you can typically find her on her laptop writing her stories or stumbling blindly in search of caffeine.

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