The Happiness Project

Mental Health blog, focused on self-care and learning to love your life!

Good evening all πŸ’•

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far. I have to say, having three-day weekends is AH-MAY-ZING. It’s been a great couple of days, lounging around the house, a good book or two, a few movies, and snuggles. I’ve had a rough week lately, feeling down about some personal family issues, and financially burden by this upcoming wedding. I can not believe that we have 35 days left, it feels like it is coming so fast! Truth be told… I’m ready for it to be over. I know I’ll appreciate the day when it is here, but seriously….


Anyways! A nice long weekend is just what I needed. Speaking of some good books, I just finished (like 10 minutes ago) a book and I’m so happy I did!

By the way, this is NOT a book review. Although this was a great book, I feel like I didn’t spend enough time with this series to make an accurate, good-enough review. But I would recommend it to any people looking for a good weekend read. This will have a few minor spoilers, so do not read ahead if you want to avoid spoilers!


When I was younger, about 16 or 17, I got ahold of a book called “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” by April Tucholke. I loved it, it’s Gothic nature was the perfect amount of creepy for me. Something about Tucholke’s writing gives you an overall mysterious, creepy vibe, with wonderful terms to describe the environment and interactions between characters. If you have ever read “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”, then one of my favorite scenes was describing what main character Violet and her friend River bought at the local grocery store, buying rich dark chocolate, espresso beans, french bread, and more deliciousness. They return to Violet’s home, a huge mansion on a cliff facing the sea called Citizen Kane, to cook a wonderful dinner, and I swear, you could SMELL and TASTE the food in the way that Tucholke describes it. From what the sizzle of the cooking pan, to the sight of the soft yellow light in the cozy kitchen, the the smell of the salty sea’s breeze rolling through the window. It is almost intoxicating.

This book captures a paranormal vibe perfectly, with River having a strange power flowing through him, something he calls the “glow”. He can control the environment and people around him, which can lead to potentially dangerous situations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was one that was often re-read over and over again. I was disappointed with the end though, because I felt like there was more to the story, but as far as I knew, the author didn’t have a sequel to it. I moved on with my life.


I just recently found out (like a week ago, that recent!) that the author DID make a sequel and I’ve been under a rock this whole time. My library doesn’t own a copy of either book, so I put in an Interlibrary Loan request (Easy enough for me, I’m in charge of ILLs 😈) and within the week, I got ahold of a copy. Thank you to the Hayden Library of Hayden, Idaho!

Now going into this book, I had to be careful with my expectations, as I was a little excited to read this, as you could probably tell. It took me just a few days to read, and… I’m kind of unsure on my feelings for it.

Pros: I loved the same creepy Gothic vibe that this book has like the first one. Tucholke did the same great job at adding even more of a paranormal vibe with introducing new characters and new locations, as the first book only took place in Violet’s hometown Echo and there was a limited amount of characters. I liked how she introduced the idea that all over America has it’s tales of the strange and the weird. Each character was quirky, with their own traits and flaws giving them a sense of uniqueness, which is great, because we don’t want vanilla characters!

Another pro: Tucholke again is wonderful with her way of words of pulling you into the text and creating pictures for your mind. I could feel the cold air of theΒ Appalachian mountains whipping against your skin, or taste from the basket of snacks Violet packed for the road trip, or how unique each location they visited were, from a small town lost in the forest, to a coastal island full of shacks, or an almost-abandoned mining town deep in the mountains.

Con: While the story-line was solid in the beginning, I feel like it faulted slightly as it got towards the end. As Violet comes to terms on who she is associating herself with, like River and his antics, his brother Neely who struggles controlling his older brother, or their other brother Brodie, who has lost himself to the glow and is outright dangerous, her choices throughout the book seem very questionable, borderline crazy. I understand why the author has chosen to portray her in that way, but it makes it that Violet is not a likable character, who has obsession with these brothers. She feels attraction to both River and Neely, while a murderous revenge feeling towards Brodie, yet when she makes her choices, she does nothing to satisfy her feelings. It makes her feel.. fake? I guess that is the best word to describe why she feels that way.

Another con: The story definitely could use more wrapping up by the end of the book. A couple characters leave, with quests of their own. I want know what happens to them! Another character has appeared to lost his way, and I know I am not the only who wonders what will happen to him as time goes on. And finally, what does Violet choose to do with her life? Who does she choose to be with, will she ever be with either brother? Will she move on from the clings she has towards her dead grandmother, the one person she felt the closest too? I’m worried that I won’t find the answers to these questions because “Between the Spark and the Burn” was published in 2014, so four years later, we still do not have a third book, so my hopes are diminished. I was really hoping for just a duology. I’ll be okay with a trilogy, but dammit, we need another book ASAP!

I’ll let you decide on what you think of it. Love it? Hate it? I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews, some people not wanting to put it down, others who can’t put it down fast enough.

Another actual book review should be on it’s way, I’m reading “The Unbinding of Mary Reade”… I’m not sure what to think of it. It might be my first more negative review. We shall see.

Until next time folks.

– The Library Lady ❀

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