Something Wicked Day 10 rolls in with plenty more wicked fun! Be sure to check out these featured posts:
Today here on Rainy Day Ramblings, I have April Tucholke. Her debut book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, is a smashing success, and I can see why. This book blends an eerie goth setting with gorgeous writing and interesting characters. The end result is a fantastic story that you need to experience for yourself. I was blown away by the stunning descriptions and I cannot wait to see what April does next. I invited the talented April here today to share her thoughts on what she fears, but before we get to that let me introduce you all to April a fellow Oregonian:
April Genevieve Tucholke is a full time writer and a member of the Lucky 13s, a community of authors debuting in 2013 from major US publishers. April digs classic movies, redheaded villains, big kitchens, and discussing murder at the dinner table. She and her husband – a librarian, former rare-book dealer, and journalist – live in Oregon.
Her first novel, BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEP BLUE SEA, debuts August 15, 2013 from Dial. Find April on her website, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr or Goodreads.
Please welcome April:
The Things That Scare Me:
Swimming in the ocean.
I’ll break it down:
1. The ocean.
I spent a month on Oahu a few years ago. Hawaii is not really my scene—I like cool weather and vast unending landscapes and not being trapped in by water on all sides—but I figured I should try out island life. I wanted to see what it was like to live in a world of passion fruit and mangos and papaya. I imagined my hair turning white-blond in the sun and being thick with salt from swimming in the sea.
The fruit? It was wonderful. The swimming? Less so. I tried to splash about and enjoy myself, I did, but…
A. Every time I kicked my feet, I was sure my toes were going to scrape the sandpapery sides of a shark, or slip into his gaping, toothy grin. Goodbye toes. Goodbye feet. Goodbye leg.
B. I was convinced that hideous, monstrous, UNKNOWN TO SCIENCE things were right there, in the deep, swimming upwards, reaching out, trying to grab my ankle and pull me down, down, down to a gruesome, watery death.
Yes, I played midnight games of hide and seek with my cousins, in the corn. I sat in the dirt and waited for someone to find me. I listened to the rustling, the endless rustling, and I watched the stars up above and I knew true fear. Watch these:
3. Runner Up: Coyotes.
I see them. I see them lurking around corners late at night, outside my house. I see their eyes glint in the fuzzy yellow glow of the streetlights. I hear them howling in the woods. Someday they will come for me. I know they will. I can feel it.
Thanks, April! I agree, swimming in the ocean gives me the creeps. I can only imagine the scary creatures lurking underneath the waves waiting to nibble on me. *Shivers*. Thank you to April for taking time to post today. Now for the giveaway. I have a brand new, shiny hardback of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea up for grabs today. To enter read the Contest Policies and fill in the Rafflecopter! A big thanks to Dial for the generous donation.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke
Aside from the occasional homeless train jumper, nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White's sleepy seaside town?until River West comes along. River rents the guesthouse behind Violet's crumbling Maine estate, and as strange, scary things grip her town, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard. Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with sweet eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more? When Violet uncovers secrets hidden in the walls of her crumbling old house that tie her family to River?s, those carefully preserved clues raise more questions than answers, and bring to light more twisted family secrets than they lay to rest. Violet's grandmother had always warned her about the Devil, had talked about him as if he were a best friend, or an old lover. But she never told Violet that the Devil could be a pretty boy who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery, ?who makes you fall in love. The novel has a lush, atmospheric setting and captures the still heat of a small-town summer so vividly that you will feel you are part of Violet's world. Once you get caught up in that world, it will be hard to leave it.
Published August 15th 2013 by Brilliance Corporation
Four stars: An eerie Gothic tale with enchanting writing.
Violet and her twin brother spend their days in the empty halls of the Citizen Cane. They are the heirs of their grandmother's epic mansion. Unfortunately, these days The Citizen is run down and ragged. The family fortune has dwindled to practically nothing. Violet and Luke's parents, who are artists, left months ago to pursue their careers in Paris, leaving the seventeen year olds behind to fend for themselves. The money is running out, and Violet is worried about how they will put food on the table so in desperation, she decides to rent out the guest house. Wasn't she isn't prepared for is her new tenant River West. River comes in and sweeps her off her feet, but he is harboring a dark and dangerous secret that just might bring them all down. Will Violet run to the Devil?
What I Liked:
- I was completely enchanted and mesmerized by the gorgeous writing in this one. Beautiful, detailed writing will win me over every time, and that was indeed the case with Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. I loved the way Ms. Tucholke effortlessly pulls off the task of showing me everything. Her descriptions are meticulous and so well done that I felt as if all my senses were engaged in this read. I love books where I can almost taste the rich food, and smell the wondrous smells. I was thoroughly impressed with the not only the detail, but also the expertly crafted story. I would even go so far as to compare this novel to Maggie Stiefvater, another fantastic writer who always blows me away with her sensory descriptions. If you are a fan of writing that will amaze and captivate you, this is the book to read. I was impressed by this author's talent and excited that this is only the beginning for her.
- Aside from the writing, another place this story excels is in the atmosphere. You have the two twins leaving in this run down mansion by the sea. Haunted by the glory years of their flamboyant and beautiful grandmother Frankie. Now they are surrounded by the crunch of time and dwindling funds which have taken their toll on the grand old mansion. The decrepit house provides the perfect Gothic backdrop. It is old, eerie, and a bit creepy. The right place for a haunting tale. In addition to the setting, there is also a bit of horror. I thought the author did a remarkable job of achieving the atmosphere by including chilling famous tales, ghosts, family secrets and mysteries.
- I loved the characters. The resourceful and intelligent Violet, her twin brother Luke, who is always trying to impress, the perky and carefree best friend, Sunshine and then they mysterious and charming River West, along with his loyal brother Nealy round out the solid and interesting cast. I enjoyed the depth of the relationships and all the secrets.
- I liked the suspense and the mystery. Right after River arrives in town, strange things begin to happen. It all starts with the disappearance of a girl. The young children in the town insist she was spirited away by the devil. This is just the first occurrence, soon a string of peculiar events follow and they all have one thing in common: River West. I liked the unique paranormal inclusion, it was certainly something that was new. I also enjoyed the surprising twists, the frightening revelations and jaw dropping ending.
- I listened to the audio version of this book, and I would highly recommend it. I think the narrator did a fantastic job in conveying the appropriate emotions. I swear I could sense when she was smiling as she read. Her portrayal of Violet was excellent and even her male character voices were good. If you have the chance to check this out via audio book, do so.
And The Not So Much:
- I felt as if this story might have been better suited to take place fifty years ago. It had this feel to it like it wasn't quite in the current time, even though it was. I think the Gothic infusion and all the other paranormal occurrences would have been better suited to a time period that was more eager to embrace the supernatural. Something about the characters' mannerisms also made me feel they fit better in yesteryear. For instance, none of them really carry cell phones, and they don't use computers, they are more apt to spend and afternoon reading and sipping lemonade on the porch or painting. They even wear vintage clothing and read classic literature.
- The whole idea of the parents going away and abandoning their two teenage kids for months just didn't set well with me. I know that absentee parents is the norm in the YA genre, but truly, what kind of parents just pack up to Paris leaving their kids to fend for themselves? If the family had been dripping in money it would have been more believable, but as it was, the twins were running out of funds and worried about how they would eat. Furthermore, it was apparent that the parents weren't even in contact with them. Who leaves their kids alone and doesn't even call them? If this happened in the real world, the kids would have been carted off somewhere by the local authorities.
- Aside from ridiculous situation with the parents, there are many other instances that stretch far beyond believability. I am not talking about the supernatural aspects, that is always a given in this type of book, what I am referring to are the things that just wouldn't happen. An example is when a local boy's father suddenly commits suicide in front of the town, the boy ends up moving in with Violet and Luke, not once did the authorities come looking for him. Again in the modern world, if a person commits suicide, you can bet the Child Protection Services would be rounding up the young child. I guess the best thing to do when reading this book is suspend all thoughts of this story being realistic and just enjoy the amazing writing and eerie story. If you over think it, everything starts to unravel.
- Finally at the terrifying conclusion, Violet and the gang are caught in a horrific situation where it looks like all hope is lost. At the pivotal moment, the story skips ahead and you don't find out exactly how everyone sidesteps death. I wanted to know why the villain all of sudden decides to run out? Was it because of his injury or was it because he lost his hold over the others? I felt a bit cheated that the story moves ahead and skips all the hows and why.
- The romance is strange. At first, it seems like it is going to be a perfect match as Violet and River fall into an easy going, like minded camaraderie, but then, River's darkness comes forth and Violet realizes she can't trust him, and she knows he is not good for her. Yet, she still wavers and wants to be with him, even at the end she is still yearning. Even though the romance was weird and not fully developed, and Violet has no business being captured by River's charm, it happens. So even though it was one of the strangest romances, I kind of liked it.... what can I say? *shrugs*.
- The ending is open ended. It isn't a cliffhanger, at least, and things have settled out a bit, but there are many lingering questions. I am eager to see how this story will proceed.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a book that will win you over with its beautiful writing and haunting story. Though the book does have some problems, I couldn't help but to be swept away by it. I was very much impressed with Ms. Tulcholke's debut book, and if she continues to treat me to mesmerizing descriptions and eerie stories, I will be a fan.
I purchased an audiobook. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
See you back tomorrow for a fantastic Friday Forecast. Be sure to stop back by on Saturday for a guest post and giveaway from author Carol Goodman!
Click on the Wicked Button for al the current giveaways!