Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on October 25, 2013 | 21 Comments

Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve TucholkeBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Series: Between #1
Published by Dial (8.15.2013)
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 360 pages
Source: I own it
Buy on Amazon

1.5 Stars

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 guest house 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.

My thoughts

Perhaps I doomed myself by going into this book with sky high hopes. And perhaps I deserve it because even after seeing some not-so-great reviews, my shallow nature wouldn’t let me walk away from the beautiful, beautiful cover. (Damn you, beautiful cover, damn you.) But my goodness, I was highly disappointed in this book!

First of all, WHERE IS THE GOTHIC NOVEL I WAS PROMISED?!?! This was supposed to be a horror! This book is NOT a horror. It is a ROMANCE. Let me make that perfectly clear for anyone that is interested in picking this up. There were only a handful of very short scenes in the whole book that could qualify as horror, and the rest was just every day life. The first true horrific event didn’t happen until after 200 pages in. No joke.

I couldn’t stand any of the characters. The more I got to know the characters, the more I hated them. None of them were likable, nor did they have any real dimension. Sunshine was a slutty bitch, and one of those ‘best friends’ that doesn’t even qualify as a best friend; Luke was a man whore and an asshole (although I’ll admit he did have development and got much better toward the end); River was a liar and a murderer with that irritating aloof, overly nonchalant attitude; Violet was a vapid lead that wouldn’t be able to see the truth if it slapped her in the face – she was clingy and spineless, and dumb as a box of rocks.

I hated him.
Part of me hated him.
The other part…That part didn’t really care.
Which scared the hell out of me.

River was right. Some people did deserve to die. An uncontrollable glow wasn’t a big deal.

It was getting really hard to concentrate. River’s kisses…I was feeling so good, so dreamy, so happy, suddenly.

UGH. You weak ass female, why don’t you stand for something!!

A black, furry dread was growing in my belly. River wouldn’t kill a whole town. That wasn’t just mischief, or vengeance. That was evil. Devil evil.

She’s so ignorant it’s astounding! And how can dread be furry, anyway?

Neely tells Violet that River uses his ability through touch (and seriously, she didn’t figure it out? It was SO obvious), she freaks out and gets all pissed, then turns around and LETS him touch her again, knowing he can control her with it. Idiot.

Eventually River began to run his thumb up the inside of my arm, bare skin on bare skin. Neely’s voice was in my head, telling me to make River stop, but I ignored it. I wanted to see what would happen.

Please die. Your stupidity is wasting precious oxygen. Then right after that, she flips out again and shoves him and gets all angry. Are you bipolar?

I just want to say that I am SO sick of the ‘I know he’s dangerous but I can’t stay away’ cliche! It makes me want to rip my hair out! My hatred for River was only rivaled by my hatred for Violet and her idiocy. River kills people and she still won’t make him leave, but she ‘doesn’t know why.’ She knows he committed murder then turns around and kisses him. Because nothing is more sexy than blood underneath a man’s fingernails, right ladies?

River shrugged. “Lying makes life more interesting. Not to mention easier, for the most part.” 

The more I read, the more I despised River. I wanted him to be a real person so I could stab him in the eye with a rusty spoon. 

The ‘romance’ was cliche, gag-worthy, and had absolutely no foundation. River and Violet were two complete strangers who literally slept together. Yep, she knew him for a day and slept in his bed with him. Yay for morals! Their ‘relationship’ was instalove. There was a reason for it, sure, but it didn’t make it any less annoying. 

Something else I can’t stand? When authors feel the need to describe smells and tastes in a ridiculous manner.

River’s kiss tasted like coffee and storms and secrets.

Neely smells like midnight. No…not midnight. Noon. High noon.

Can someone please tell me what the f*ck storms taste like? Or what midnight smells like? How do you smell a moment in time?! I told my boyfriend about this and we were poking fun, coming up with ridiculous descriptions of things for the rest of the day.

I did like the idea of the abilities. To be honest, that was probably the only thing I liked about this book. The sad part is, Tucholke’s prose wasn’t bad at all. I would probably be willing to read something else by her in the future if it wasn’t a romance. I will grudgingly admit that the book got slightly better at the end, though, because there’s finally some action and blood…but I was laughing. Brodie is a psycho but he doesn’t have any dimension as a villain, and I feel like he was a last minute addition to the story to make it more interesting. Did it work? No. The only reason I was interested toward the end is because all of the characters that I hated were getting the shit beat out of them. It’s pretty sad when you’re cheering for the villain (shallow as he may be) to kill off all of the main characters. 




Weaksauce. This book is not scary. AT ALL. It should not be labeled as ‘gothic’ or ‘horror.’ (Notice I didn’t label it that way?)

Overall Assessment

Plot: 1.5/5
Premise: 3.5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 3/5
Characters: 0/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 0.5/5
Cover: 5/5
Overall rating: 1.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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21 responses to “Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

  1. This one doesn’t sound good at all. Violet sounds like a dummy, the boys sound boring/creepy, and I’m so over instalove. I’m glad I skipped this one, although the cover sure is pretty!

  2. Heh. That sucks. I had on and off interest in this book but I really don’t think it’s worth it now. Her voice just sounds flippity-floppity and ick. Maybe I will still try it because like ALL my friends love it. But I’m sorry you didn’t Jessi! I totally get what you mean. I read a book recently like that. and just….no. No no no no no. Here’s to a better horror after this one!


  3. I’d actually been pretty interested in reading this, but your review does give me pause. Mostly, the quotes give me pause. I’ve never been a fan of writers who try so hard to be creative with their descriptions that they don’t really make sense.

    But now I want to play a game where we all guess what high noon smells like or secrets taste like. (Actually, this reminds me of the game I play when I walk into a Bath & Body Works. What will Moonlight Path smell like? :D )

    • That’s why I use quotes! I love seeing them in others’ reviews because it gives me an idea of the writing style and tells me exactly why they didn’t like something. Haha, that sounds like an awesome game! Time for a road trip to Bath & Body Works ;D

  4. Well suckers that you didn’t really enjoy this one >< And yes it has a super pretty cover! But if the characters, romance, and plot really aren't… good? Okay, they suck, then the cover definitely cannot expect to save the story!!
    And what's with all those weird descriptions lmao?! xD How odd.
    Aish, how sad :(
    But fantastic review as always, Jessi! <3

  5. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! I though it was okay, but you’re right. The main character was a push over, and she bugged me throughout the duration of the novel. Every page I was thinking–why is she SO stupid? It was a struggle to read her character. But yes–the cover is awesome!
    Great review (:

    Gabbie @ Rampant Readers

  6. Wow that is EXTREMELY disappointing O_O I was going to read this book because it sounded awesome and OMG that gorgeous cover… That is so not happening anymore. Great review — thanks!

  7. YES. THE CHARACTERS. They are the worse part of the book.
    And LOL at “Please die. Your stupidity is wasting precious oxygen. Then right after that, she flips out again and shoves him and gets all angry. Are you bipolar?” It’s SO damn true; I was shaking my head throughout the so called romance.
    Storms probably taste wet and musky because of all the water, but that’s just a guess of mine. Midnight on the other hand, I have no idea. :P

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