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Because I'm Batman

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke I don't know where to start ... in many ways this story reminded me of Twilight. Spoilers and/or desert dry sarcasm ahead.

Characters: Cardboard cutouts. Violet and her brother are down and out blueblood children of artists who have left them home alone for the summer with no money. The author often describes Violet's vintage and European tastes as well as her attraction to River. River is the mysterious, also vintage, boarder who instantly falls in love with Violet and seems to be hiding a big secret. Violet's brother, neighbor and assorted children fill the backdrop.

Romance: River is brainwashing Violet to like him and sleep next to him and to almost have sex with him. After finding out he is brainwashing her, Violet decides it wasn't the brainwashing; she really does love him. Violet's brother will make out with and/or sleep with anything wearing a skirt.

Plot: None. River is mysterious. River is a brainwasher. River is a murderer. River is a super rich brainwashing murderer. River is a super rich brainwashing murderer and stalker. Violet's still in love.

Writing: A first person perspective that uses "I" in just about every sentence and expletives as often as possible.

Conclusion: River's evil, redheaded half-brother appears out of one split second of foreshadowing and murders and attempts to murder townsfolk and sexually assault Violet. When River and his non-magic brother fail to stop his stronger brainwashing, Violet gets violent. The evil half-brother lives to murder another day, and, after a short stint in the hospital, guarded by you-know-who, Violet returns home to her happy friends and family, joined for the encore by her ditsy parents. Then, River disappears because he's too dangerous to be around her and leaves his non-magic brother behind to protect her in case the evil half-brother shows up again and goes after her to hurt River.

Final Verdict: Despite the promise of "knee-deep" romance, the premise sounded interesting, and the cover promised a slightly creepy, gothic tale. The story succeeded in making me curious, but failed in almost every other respect. The impression I got was one of an adolescent fantasy and/or fanfiction. I will most likely not be reading anything further by this author without a sterling review from a trusted friend.