The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude easily fits into the overlapping worlds of horror, suspense and romance. More freaky than gore, it’s not the usual fright-fest and instead pulls from Ozark lore that builds in tension as the secrets of traditions are unearthed. Satisfyingly spooky, The May Queen Murders pulls readers into a maze of what ifs and whodunit while developing a diverse lot of suspicious characters. An ALAN January pick along with a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, this novel should please fans of multiple genres and ages.
Which is why Fangirlish made a point to catch up with her before the year got away from us. She has awesome taste when it comes to books and music. And where better to fangirl than on a site all about just that!
What ten books are you most looking forward to reading in 2016? Who have you been fangirling lately and why?
My top ten books of 2016…Oooh, this is hard because there are so many. But the following are all 2016 releases and have caught my eye. In no particular order:
[highlight]THE STEEP & THORNY WAY[/highlight] by Cat Winters – Pretty much everything Cat touches is pure magic. I owe a lot to her, and her writing makes me feel like a hack. Cat, whether she realizes it or not, has held my hand through this crazy process of publishing. I fangirl her work hard, but as a person, she is just about the very nicest you could ever hope to meet.
[highlight]WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT[/highlight] by April Genevieve Tucholke. April about killed me with her previous duology. She writes characters who are very harsh and forgiving and yet resonate. I’ve heard too many things about WINK, POPPY, MIDNIGHT to dare pass it up.
[highlight]THE LAST HARVEST[/highlight] by Kim Liggett. I loved BLOOD & SALT. LOVED it, and Kim and I have a secret Ozarks writer handshake.
[highlight]SHALLOW GRAVES[/highlight] by Kali Wallace. WANT. NOW. I don’t even like zombies, but this one seems incredible.
[highlight]WOMEN IN THE WALLS[/highlight] by Amy Lukavics. Amy blew me away with DAUGHTER UNTO DEVILS, and I can’t wait to see what else she has up her sleeve.
[highlight]PLACES NO ONE KNOWS[/highlight] by Brenna Yovanoff. I love Brenna’s work. There hasn’t been a single book from her that disappointed me. Her writing feels like putting on a glove, and the wait between FIENDISH and PNOK has been excruciating. I fangirl Brenna’s work so hard.
[highlight]AND THE TREES CREPT IN[/highlight] by Dawn Kurtagich. Dawn is a dear, dear friend—and she also blew my mind when I read an early copy of THE DEAD HOUSE. Seriously, if you have not read it, go now and do it. I’ll wait. I still have questions, and Dawn will never divulge the answers because she’s cheeky. So I’m very, very much looking forward to see what else she comes up with.
[highlight]THE DARKEST CORNERS[/highlight] by Kara Thomas. Mystery? Yes. Intriguing cover? Yes. I want this one in my hot, little hands now.
[highlight]THE BLOOD BETWEEN US[/highlight] by Zac Brewer. Caveat: Zac and I are very good friends and go back quite a few years, and I know lots more about this book than I’m permitted to say. He and I bounced a lot of ideas off each other while he was writing this and I was working on my next book. And it’s going to effing amazing. Seriously.
[highlight]THE ROW[/highlight] by J.R. Johansson. I love Jenn’s work. All of it is gripping and thrilling, and I expect no less from her 2016 release.
A bonus eleven and the only adult title: [highlight]SNAKE EYES[/highlight] by Hillary Monahan. It’s a book in the Gods & Monsters anthology, and it’s due out later this year. There’s not much information about it yet, but from what I know from Hillary, it’s going to be fantastic.
I fangirl a lot of authors. Cat Winters, Hillary Monahan, Kim Liggett…and it’s because they push me to take a look at my own work and try to be better. I’m also a major fan of Meghan Harker’s Exquisitely Odd blog because she’ll talk about anything from Victorian medicine to struggles with anxiety to whatever is on her mind. She’s a brilliant artist as well. Meghan was born almost 150 years ago and the world just doesn’t know it yet, I swear.
Non-bookish things I fangirl? I’m an artist as well as a writer, so I’m a bit batty over my Prismacolor brushtip markers. You laugh at something as small as markers, but they changed how I create art. Sometime this year, I hope to open my own little print shop for cards and original art pieces. I also love the jewelry made by Opaline1214 on Etsy. It’s all antique pieces that she repurposes into new designs, and she makes super high quality work.
For music, I will forever fangirl The Cure and the late David Bowie. They were two of the first artists I remember seeing on MTV some thirty years ago and have loved ever since. But I’m also a huge fan of Tori Amos and have been for over twenty years. I love the Pixies, Modest Mouse, and Arcade Fire, and the only one left for me to see in concert is Arcade Fire. The Handsome Family is another band I have yet to see live, but I love their work. Southern Gothic Americana. Haunting little stories. Definitely check them out.
[lead]ABOUT THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS:[/lead]
Title: The May Queen Murders
Pages: Hardcover, 304 pages
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
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.
[lead]ABOUT SARAH JUDE:[/lead]
Sarah Jude lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath whenever you passed a graveyard or a bridge spanning water. Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and ghostly apparitions. She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and three dogs.