Book Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
(Between #1)
Published By:  Dial
Publication Date: August 15th, 2013
Page Count:  368 pages
Source:  ARC Kindly Provided by Amber at Page Turner's Blog
Audience:  Mature Young Adult/Paranormal Fantasy

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…this was different…and creepy.  I had no idea what I was in store for.  For the most part, I really liked it!  The writing was superb.    The idea was fresh and imaginative.  The suspense and horror were delicious.

April Genevieve Tucholke created a thick gothic mood with her style of writing and chosen setting.  I could picture the decrepit ‘Citizen Kane’ and Glenship Manor quite effortlessly.  The seaside town of Echo was a mixture of quaint and the eccentric.  It seemed surreal and realistic all at once.

And the book’s cover art captured that gothic mood perfectly.  I’ll admit that I was won over by that cover when I first saw it.

I think the only issue for me was initially identifying with the characters…specifically the main ones…Violet and River.  Fellow Lark, Andrea, and I were reading this together and this was agreed upon between the two of us.

Violet White was a complex character that was every bit the eccentricity of the town she grew up in.  She and her brother Luke were the product of absentee bohemian parents.  Vi did not get along with Luke, however, you knew they still had each others back and loved each other deep down.  Violet was extremely close with her grandmother Freddie, but she passed away a few years earlier.  Upon Freddie’s death, Violet assumed her grandmother’s room, clothes, books and mannerisms.  Violet had a propensity for using the word ‘damn’ a lot...a term inherited from Freddie…that was both endearing and borderline annoying…but that just validated Vi’s eccentric nature.  Violet almost seemed like a reincarnation of her grandmother…and she seemed to be older beyond her years in many respects.  However, as the story went on, I did sort of understand Violet a bit better and found I started to care.

River also seemed very much an old-soul in a young body.  This mysterious stranger literally showed up on Violet’s front door step and very quickly gained a foot-hold into her life and literally wreaked havoc at every turn.  There was a lot of ambiguity with River that kept me turning the pages to figure out exactly WHAT (or WHO) he was, and what he was capable of doing.  There was no doubt he was a master of manipulation...and like a drug addict, he couldn't help himself…but was he truly good or bad or somewhere in between??  As with Violet, and as the story unfolded, I gradually warmed up to River but I could only trust him as far as Neely could throw him (and really, not even that far).  But there was something about him that was a bit decadent and sympathetic and vulnerable.

Who I really liked was Neely...River’s half-brother.  He was much more realistic and relatable, and…I just liked him.  I couldn’t tell if he had something for Violet or not…but he was supportive and sexy in his own right.  He did have a violent (albeit, controlled) nature…that had me wondering about him, but I just found him to be more trustworthy and honest.  You’ll see what I mean when you read this.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of Neely.

The other side characters were well developed…Sunshine, Luke, Jack, Brodie.  I won’t reveal the true villain of this story…but he did give new meaning to the word diabolical.

I didn’t realize until I was nearly done with the book that this was not a stand-alone.  There was some resolution but still many questions left to be answered and definitely room for more.

Because the story and its characters got much better for me as it progressed, I will definitely be reading the next installment.  If you’re up for something different, don’t mind getting creeped out nor mind the eccentric…then this book is for you.

I’d like to thank Amber at Page Turner’s blog for sharing her arc with Reading Lark and me!

Summary from Goodreads:

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town…until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery...who makes you want to kiss back. Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

Blending faded decadence and the thrilling dread of gothic horror, April Genevieve Tucholke weaves a dreamy, twisting contemporary romance, as gorgeously told as it is terrifying—a debut to watch.


  1. Well, I have fallen in love with the cover of this book
    And I have wanted to read it ever since
    I might do that when I have time
    Your reader,

    1. It's definitely a worthwhile read, imo, Soma! I hope you enjoy it! ;)


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