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Lizreader's Blog

Also known as Liz on GR. I am here, but really just planting the seed. I am a student who likes all kinds of books, and I'll be honest about what I think about them.

Currently reading

The Mists of Avalon
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke I bought this book on my Kindle on a whim. I had it on my to-read list and the fact that I had wanted to read this book the day it came out. I thought it was going to be an interesting and well developed book considering it sounded a bit different than the normal YA PNR fare...There's a young woman who lives in an abandoned house by the sea and a young man comes to town wanting to rent the guesthouse for the month...and the house is in a town with an urban legend...and things spiral from there. Boy was I wrong.The problems began early for me considering that the author (I think) forgot to look into a few things:1) No Property taxes paid, eating expensive foods, and the kids are broke?The main characters in this story live in an abandoned mansion by the sea. Their parents are off roaming Europe because of their artistic pursuits leaving their kids alone in the house. Their grandmother who used to watch them, Freddie, passed away a few years ago before the story starts. So, she can no longer help them. Considering that the family used to be wealthy, but the money has been running dry why are the parent's off in Europe in the first place? Why are they not watching their kids, who should be their responsibility? Why are these kids spending money on high-priced food items instead of paying property taxes on their large home, heat (for the winters in Oregon), water, and all the other living expenses they, and their parents, have to pay for? The parent's should be paying the estate taxes and all that to begin with, but it's never mentioned if they are or not. Considering what we know, I think they aren't. To move onto other matters.If you don't have a lot of money, you shouldn't be buying premium coffee, almond milk, or anything that isn't really liveable on a modest budget. However, the main characters always tell us what they are hooked on and what they buy, even though they do say how much money they don't have. Their parent's, meanwhile, are in Europe? That's expensive. Are they sending money? Doesn't sound like it. How are they eating? And how are they living alone and no one cares? No one suggests the parent's are in the wrong? In the real world, this living arrangement would never fly. It's entirely unbelievable. It's not even legal. 2) Insta-loveMan, I thought this book wouldn't fall into this trap. The character meets the guy and in LESS THAN A DAY does not care that she hardly knows him and wants to spend a lot of time with him. Their relationship progresses rapidly where they are snuggling with each other and kissing in less than a week. The fact that the main character finds out some disturbing information about the love interest, yet sticks with him even though he has done some terrible things is a bit suspicious. Never for a second did I feel any attraction between the two characters. It was just "here is a pretty boy who swaggers." Really? Why should River like our female protagonist to begin with. Why should the female protagonist like River, besides being "cute" or having a swagger. There is nothing deep going on here. If both characters are seventeen there should be some depth to their relationship. 3) The main female protagonist.To be perfectly honest, this is where the story fails. You see she talks a lot about her grandmother, Freddie, which isn't a problem for me. She wears her grandmother clothes, which is a bit weird considering she never talks about sewing them to fit her. Her grandmother and her were the same size? That's a bit too coincidental, but again it's a quirk and I don't have a problem with (albeit unbelievable to me.) What I do have a problem is that the female protagonist and her brother have limited funds yet she buys specialty coffee for herself and buys expensive food to eat. She might have come from money, but she needs to readjust her lifestyle to fit her funds. Five hundred dollars a month for rent isn't going to cover the lifestyle her and her brother want to live. They also paint. They might have their parent's supplies to use, but painting materials are expensive from making your own canvanses (or buying pre-made ones) to the paints and brushes. If you have limited funds, you aren't going to use them to paint but to pay the heat (which the character says she sometimes doesn't do during the winter. That's not smart because it gets cold in Oregon during the winter and need heat to live). Now, all those things are quirks and problems I have with the way the character thinks, but the one problem I do have is that the main character doesn't really do anything for herself. It's River, the love interest. Her brother, Luke. River's Brother, or Jack a young boy who's supposedly her half-cousin, who do things for her. The main character doesn't do anything till the very end of the book, and that's just to save her life from a wacko. It's not enough in my opinion because she depends on the guys in her life to save her. She's also not entirely realistic. I get young woman who have expensive tastes. I was like that, and I am still like that. I like good food, coffee, movies, music, and books. However, I never spent that kind of money when I was in school because I had a limited budget and lived within my means. I couldn't get an espresso everyday. She also doesn't want to get a job because rich people don't get a job and it doesn't make sense. Please. She should get a job, more than depending on a single renter for a HUGE house. They should get multiple renters and HAVE BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR EACH. You know to make sure they are not serial killers or anything? Entirely way too trusting and naive for their own good. If you are going to rent a room, or a guesthouse to a person you run a background check, credit check (if needed), and make sure that the person isn't doing anything you know illegal. 4. The Main Villain Shows up Way too late in the bookWhat I really hate is the fact that the main villain's are shadowy and we don't even meet them till the last moment. That's pretty much what happened in this story. We don't meet him till after 80% of the book is done. That's way too late in the game. It would be better at around 60-70%. Even seventy percent is a bit too late in my mind. You don't want to get yourself stuck into a corner with your story, and this is one way to see that the author got stuck. You want to set up the story to make sense, and to seem credible. The fact that we don't even know who the true villain is till that late in the game made it hard for me to believe this book in general. 5. Magic systemSo, apparently in this world there is one family who has a superpower and nobody else? This power is skipped in one generation and in the next generation there are multiple people who can use it? This is something that makes me pause. If a character has a superpower and no-one else, or even another family can do it, I instantly get suspicious. I believe this is going to be (another) series, and I would HOPE this is going to get explained in the next book. However, this isn't a well-developed idea. It's just kind of there without any real imagination to it. "Burn" "Glow" wow...that's just...weak. There's no other way to explain what is going on? Besides, wouldn't the people with the powers be scared of what they have and can do? Apparently, not as much as I would like. ConclusionI was pretty excited for this book to be honest, but I wondered how much research went into it. The idea seemed like a cool idea, and I thought for a moment that there was going to be a whole allegory with the "Devil" idea/character in this story. I was sure hoping it would happen, or personal demons in people's lives to begin with. It didn't happen, much to my dismay. There was a lot of violence, and suspense that really wasn't that suspenseful it just seemed out of place. There were parts of the story that didn't make sense in the long run. Considering why mention that Jack is related to the main characters in some way? Maybe it will play more later in the series, but for right now it doesn't make any sense besides the grandmother hiding a secret. I mean the writing isn't that bad. However, some of the descriptions weren't really needed and didn't add anything to the story. The main female protagonist was pretty weak considering she really didn't do anything for herself, the love part of the story was entirely too fast and not well developed, and there are elements in this story that are far too unbelievable, even for YA, to not care about. Who would I recommend this book too? Well, honestly I wouldn't recommend this book. If you want a good Gothic paranormal romance I still suggest Kelly Creigh's "Nevermore." This wasn't that Gothic, even though I hoped for a much better "Beautiful Creatures" vibe. Completely missed the mark in my opinion.