The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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“It starts as a low croon that rolls in with the tide, a sound so faint it might just be the wind blowing through the clapboard shutters, through the portholes of docked fishing boats, and into narrow cracks along sagging doorways. But after the first night, the harmony of voices become undeniable. An enchanting hymn sailing over the water’s surface, cool and soft and alluring. The Swan sisters have awakened.”

Friends, if you’re looking for something atmospheric, spooky, and completely captivating, that is so very beautifully written, please pick The Wicked Deep up.

I’ll be honest with you all, I felt like this book was calling to me. I’d always see it on Edelweiss, but I had too many ARCS, so I knew I couldn’t allow myself to request it, but it always caught my eye. Then, upon release, everyone was buying it and I thought it was the most beautiful, holographic cover I’ve ever seen, but I still resisted. Then, I couldn’t stop seeing on all my social media feeds that Netflix bought the rights to it and is going to adapt it. Finally, my friend Julie posted she was going to be hosting a buddy read for it, and I knew that I could no longer continue to be haunted by this book. And I’m forever thankful I picked it up.

The Wicked Deep is a story about a small town off the coast of Oregon, called Sparrow, that is the pinnacle of a small, sleepy town, except for in June when tourists come from all around in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Swan sisters who were drowned to death for witchcraft over two hundred years ago. From June 1st until Just 21st (summer solace) no one is safe. And each and every summer, accusations get thrown at more and more girls, from boys who claim them to be the sisters who are responsible for the drownings.

“Magic is not always formed from words, from cauldrons brewing spices or black cats strolling down dark alleys. Some curses are manifested from desire or injustice.”

Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death two centuries ago for witchcraft, but their only crimes are from seducing the men in the town of Sparrow. But every summer the sisters rise from their watery graves, each inhabiting a body of a local girl, while making sure they take at least three boy’s lives while they walk among the town unbeknownst to anyone which local girls are being possessed.

Our main character, Penny, lives on a small island off of the mainland. She keeps to herself despite the small population to begin with, and only truly has one friend named Rose. Rose begs Penny to attend a party on the beach with the rest of the kids from their school, so they can annually welcome the Swan sisters. Penny lives with her mother, who hasn’t been the same since her husband disappeared three years ago. Penny reluctantly goes, meets a mysterious boy who is looking for work, and the sisters start to sing their song.

I really loved reading this. I was instantly thrown into the mystery and guessing game of who the sisters had possessed. I was instantly in love with the town and the mom and pop businesses. I was instantly impressed with the lyrical prose and the intelligently crafted story. I went into this expecting some Hocus Pocus vibes, but I came out enjoying this more than I ever expected.

“Loving someone is dangerous. It gives you something to lose.”

I saw a couple reviews calling this story instalove, but I was honestly swooning so hard for the romance in this book. That first kiss? One of the best first kisses I’ve ever read. I loved the romance(s) in this so much, and I will read any and everything by this author based on how well she wrote those scenes alone.

“Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan slip back into human form, disguised as local girls who emerged from the harbor, but not as themselves.”

My only real complaint comes from the nature of the story. This is ultimately a story about girls being possessed against their will, therefore, the sisters do questionable things with their host’s body without their consent. I can’t say too much, because I want this to be a spoiler free review, but just use caution going into this knowing that. And it’s nothing violent or physically hurtful, but I would argue that there is some grey area consent in this book.

Content and Trigger Warnings: loss of a loved one, abandonment, underage drinking, drunk driving (boats), murder, death, downing, and abduction.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. Shea Ernshaw was able to evoke so many emotions from me. I cried so many tears during this book. I felt so blindsided and I honestly couldn’t control my weeping at a few parts. This story is so beautiful, and it truly is crafted so very well. To say I’m impressed is an understatement, and I can’t wait to see what this author does next, because their debut was nothing short of phenomenal.


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Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens, Lilly at Lair of Books, Jules at JA Ironside, Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills, & Paloma! ❤

April 2018 TBR

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you’re all having an amazing day, and I hope you know that each and every one of you is a blessing to me, that I’m so thankful for. I hope your day is filled with love, happiness, and good books! These are the eight things that I 100% plan to get to in April! What do you guys plan on reading this month? 💗

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian:
ARC – April 24th, 2018
I’m on the blog tour for this on the 13th! So, be on the lookout! This seems to be a dark story about a girl who had everything taken away from her, including her mother and her kingdom. Now, she lives with her oppressor, constantly being mistreated and mocked. She is only left alive to show the rest of the kingdom what will happen if they rebel.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë:
Buddy read with Dani & Alexis! ❤
I haven’t read this since high school, y’all! So, it has been a hot second, to say the least! But I’ve always wanted to reread so that the story would be fresh in my mind, so that I could eventually read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye! Also, praise/bless Dani for getting me to read all the classics this year with her.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young:
ARC – April 24th, 2018 & buddy read with Jules at JA Ironside & Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤
This one has been getting pretty mixed reviews, but I’m still super excited to give it a try! And, like, give me all the strong warrior girls, please. But this is a brand new, debut, young adult fantasy, that stars a girl dealing with a betrayal from her brother who was presumed dead many years ago.

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope:
ARC – May 1st, 2018 & buddy read with Julie at Pages and Pens! ❤
This is a fantasy romance that is loosely based off Romeo & Juliet, but with a diverse cast and set in a brand-new world! A few of my friends have told me the writing is beautifully lyrical, and you all know that’s my thing. Plus, I’m in such a romance mood right now! I can’t wait to pick this one up tomorrow!

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff:
ARC – May 29th, 2018 & buddy read with Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me! ❤
I’m also starting this one tomorrow! I’m sure you all have heard of this, but it is Jay Kristoff’s brand new young adult sci-fi series! This is going to be filled with robots and different cybernetics, and I’m so here for it. Out of all the books on this TBR, this is the one I’m most excited for!

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw:
Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens, Lilly at Lair of Books, & Jules at JA Ironside! If you guys want to join in, Julie is hosting this buddy read on Twitter, using the hashtag #brWickedDeep! ❤
Okay, I feel like this book just won’t stop calling to me. From the naked hardback, to this buddy read, to Netflix winning the bidding war to produce this visually, it’s calling me! Plus, Hocus Pocus vibes? I’m all for it!

Professed by Nicola Rendell:
This is the April pick for the Book Hangover Book Club that Julie & Chelsea host! And I’m buddy reading this with Lilly at Lair of Books! ❤
Next, on the “Melanie wants to read more romance books” list… haha! This is a new adult, contemporary, student teacher romance! And you can actually get this ebook for FREE on Amazon US!

The Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood #16) by J.R. Ward:
Buddy read with Paloma! ❤
And last, but not least, wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the new JR Ward book. Even if the cover of this makes me want to die a little bit. Never will that ever be my Assail! But I’ve been waiting for his story for a long time, and I can’t wait to read this when it comes out on April 10th!

Okay, I think that’s everything! I hope to get to a lot more this month, especially since May is shaping up to be a hectic month for me! But these are the eight things that I completely plan on reading, and hopefully will love! I wish you guys the happiest of reading this April and always! And Happy Easter! 💗

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