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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Two hundred years ago, the Swan sisters were drowned as witches by the townspeople of Sparrow.  And every summer since, the three sisters have returned for three weeks in June, inhabiting the bodies of three local girls, luring boys into the harbor, and drowning them before returning to the sea.  Two centuries of death and revenge have haunted this small coastal town, and this summer promises to be no different.

Penny Talbot has lived on Lumiere Island in the Sparrow harbor her entire life, helping her father maintain the lighthouse before his disappearance three summers ago.  Now, Penny manages the light on her own, her mother so lost in her own grief that she rarely ventures out of bed.  Until Bo Carter turns up on the dock on the last day of May – the day before the Swan season begins.  He tells Penny he’s looking for work and he’s in Sparrow because it was the last stop on the bus line – true, but Penny knows there’s something he isn’t telling her.  Bo claims not to know about the Swan sisters, or the season, but it can’t be a coincidence that he has arrived just as the season is beginning.  She initially rejects his offer of help but, after he defends her at the Swan party that night on the beach, pulling her from the water before a Swan sister can take her, she takes him home to the island.

Penny knows the next three weeks of the Swan season will be a test.  She must protect Bo at all costs – protect him from the sisters who will want to take him below the waves and keep him there with them.  She also must protect her own secrets – secrets that would be deadly if Bo, or anyone, discovered them.  But, as the days pass, and drowned boys are discovered, Penny finds herself falling for the mysterious stranger.  If she can keep Bo, and herself, and her secrets safe until the summer solstice, then she’ll allow herself to fall in love – but some secrets can’t stay hidden forever.

This lush, atmospheric romance with a razor sharp edge is the perfect book to take you into October!  The story of the three Swan sisters is slowly unspooled as the mystery deepens and the secrets pile up for Penny and Bo.  Ghost witches haunting the sea and a small town on an endless quest for revenge is deliciously creepy, but throw in a little paranormal body stealing, a harbor full of shipwrecks, a little magic, and some star-crossed lovers, and you’ve got the perfect fall book date.  Enjoy The Wicked Deep after dark with a cup of hot herbal tea, more than a few candles lit, and a slice of cake – and be prepared to fall under its spell.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

From our guest blogger, my co-story time host extraordinaire Cyd, comes this review of a spooky read perfect for a blustery fall evening!  It’s on my to-read pile too, and now I really can’t wait to give myself the shivers with this ghost story.

Cassidy Blake has a rather unusual life. Cass is a girl who almost (well, actually DID) drown, was rescued by a ghost and now has the ability to see dead people. Her parents are a slightly inept ghost-hunting duo known as The Inspectres and her best friend Jacob IS an actual ghost.  But hold on, folks…..things are going to get even more interesting.

Cass’s family is heading to Edinburgh, Scotland – known as one of the world’s most haunted places – where her parents will be hosting their first episode in their new docuseries – where they investigate haunted locations.   Jacob, of course, will be coming along.  Cass finds herself surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. When Cass meets Lara, another girl with the same “gift”, she realizes that there is much she does not know or understand about the world of the dead. She will have to learn quickly, because she soon finds herself drawn into a dangerous fight with a malevolent spectre – and must draw on her own powers to save herself.

City Of Ghosts is a “just right” middle grade tale packed with history, hauntings and real life locations (like Greyfriars, the most haunted cemetery in Europe). Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab, this book is a spine tingling thriller that will leave you anxiously waiting for more Cassidy Blake adventures!