Tuesday, 16 October 2018


I started sharing reading record posts this year, documenting all things reading and bookish in my life, posting them on a weekly basis - moving forward with this style of post, they will be shared typically on a monthly basis, however readathons & occasionally specific books will have their own dedicated reading record.

Fraterfest took place between 11th-16th October.

Starting Fraterfest readathon with The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. Regular readers of my blog will know I've been branching out more in the world of YA this year, having finally discovered my niche/genre of choice within that area. Typically, I enjoy YA books with a family focus and tend to avoid love being a central plot element... Having said that, going into The Wicked Deep I was aware of a potential love story, and yet still found myself really drawn to this book, with the premise having me intrigued. 

Two centuries ago, in small, isolated Sparrow, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery and drowned in the waters surrounding the town. Now, each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three girls and seeking revenge by dragging boys to their watery deaths. 

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the town's fate. Then, on the eve of the sisters' return, Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything...

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty rain-soaked streets. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Given that this book is set in summer, and we're very much in autumn now, I was unsure if I was picking this book up at the right time - despite the season it is set in, there is a distinct cosy feeling to the story so far (I'm writing this whilst on page 94 of 308). I think the setting of Sparrow, as well as the dark and unsettling nature of the Swan sisters story, lends to that feeling.

Yesterday I whizzed through The Wicked Deep, having completed the book by the end of the night - the plot gripped me, I fell in love with Shea Ernshaw's writing style, and I found myself picking the book up at every opportunity. 

There is a lot I like about The Wicked Deep - how the plot pieced together, the way in which the story was told with excerpts from the time of the Swan sisters also, the town of Sparrow and main character Penny's home of Lumiere Island, the relationship between Penny & Bo, but most of all I came to thoroughly enjoy the writing style and story telling of Shea Ernshaw. Below I'm sharing just one extract that I particularly enjoyed. 

'Memories can settle into a place: fog that lingers long after it should have blown out to sea, voices from the past that take root in the foundation of a town, whispers and accusations that grow in the moss along the sidewalks and up the walls of old homes.

This town, this small cluster of houses and shops and boats clinging to the shoreline, has never escaped its past - the thing it did two hundred years ago. Ghosts remain.'

You know those books that you read and just get the warm fuzzy feels throughout your reading experience - The Wicked Deep was that for me. My copy of this book was actually borrowed from the library, and I've already decided I'll be buying my own for my YA shelf at home. 

Upon finishing The Wicked Deep I learnt two things that pleased me... Firstly, Shea Ernshaw has another book in the works that I'm super interested in (Winterwood - Goodreads link) and is likely to be released next autumn. Second, I couldn't help but think throughout my reading of The Wicked Deep, as it played out in my mind, how great this story would translate to screen - turns out that Netflix have acquired the rights to the book; I only hope they do the story justice. 

Great start to Fraterfest!

I was awake super early this morning (5am) and begun my day by starting my second book for this readathon: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. I had hoped to start this yesterday, given that I read The Wicked Deep in the one day, however I was still processing my thoughts on The Wicked Deep and just knew it was too soon for me pick up another book. Sometimes you just need that breathing space when you finish a book you've had a really positive reading experience with.

So, His Bloody Project - I read a total 127 pages, which is a little under half way as the book itself is 280 pages in full. The story is about Roderick Macrae, a young man, who in the summer of 1869, committed a triple murder within the small Scottish community he has always lived. The book is really cleverly written, as the author tells the story in a non fiction format - having discovered this crime whilst reaching his own family, and is presenting the memoir of Roderick Macrae alongside other articles and documentation regarding the crime and its subsequent trial. The story itself is a work of fiction, but reads very much as fact.

I finished the remainder of His Bloody Project today. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am glad to have finally picked it up after it having been on my radar for a while now.

Having briefly shared the plot above, I just wanted to make note of a couple of things I really enjoyed in His Bloody Project - firstly, the presentation of the story was quite unique and something I haven't come across or read before, I liked the way the documentations put forward to the reader leave you feeling conflicted, unsure, and really makes you think about the psychological aspect of the crime that has taken place, and I also liked the historical aspects within the book too (particularly learning about the Highland settlement on which Roderick grew up, and the justice system at that time).

Given the nature of His Bloody Project, the story is pretty gruesome at points, especially when detailing the crime scene and such, but overall a book I would recommend to avid readers of crime who are perhaps looking for something different, and also regular readers of true crime looking to pick up a fiction novel.

Today I've tried reading the third, and final, book on my original Fraterfest TBR - The Haunting of Henry Twist - but I'm just finding that I can't quite get on with the writing... For that reason, I've chosen to bow out of Fraterfest a little early. Of course I could have just picked up another book fitting the readathon theme, however with the readathon itself ending very soon, and with me beginning another readathon for this coming week, this just seems to be the logical decision.

I've had a great time taking part in my very first Fraterfest! A big thank you to host Kimberly over at Caffeinated Reviewer.


  1. Great job with Fraterfest! I finished one book and DNFed another. I’m glad you liked The Wicked Deep. I’m on a waitlist for that one.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Ooo… I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on The Wicked Deep once you've read it :-)

  2. You did such a great job! I hope you take some time today to enter any challenges you might have missed. Thanks for joining in the fun!

    1. Thank you, Kimberly! I've taken part in the Random Page Challenge hosted by Tressa :-)

  3. Glad you enjoyed the event! I think it makes sense that you stopped when book three just didn't pique your interest---especially if you're jumping right into another readathon. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


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