Roan Parrish
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Release Date
May 2018
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn't hate is the music. Feeling an audience's energy as they lose themselves in Riven's music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They're all he can think about. But Caleb's no groupie—and one night with him won't be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo's sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That's how he knows Theo's trouble. Caleb can't even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he'd lost forever.

Book Review by Ana (reviewer)
Mar 14, 2018   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
104 people found the following review helpful
The author's writing had some poetic quality that make reading RIVEN a sublime experience. It contains some magnificent characters and a connection with music that was mesmerizing.

Theo loves music, but that's about everything he loves about the music world. He hates the tours, the paparazzi but most of all, being famous. Caleb is trying to stay strong. Being alone has given him the peace he'd been looking for. He's still fighting his own demons when the sound of music connects their paths, making the need for each other start growing stronger and changing their lives as they knew them.

This was a beautiful experience. I loved the author's writing. It felt a little complex at the beginning and, for a moment, I thought I would have trouble with translation because of the frequent use of words that were unknown to me, but after a while it was easier to get myself into the story, even though there were a few times when I felt the need to seek a word's meaning. I still enjoy the writing a lot. It was beautiful to see how the phrases flow in a very artistic way that seem in sync with the overall emotion of the book. It is a little slow-paced but it fits perfectly the romantic feeling of the story.

The relationship between Theo and Caleb was fantastic. I tend to prefer a more slow burn development but they had an amazing chemistry from the start and it was perfect. They were perfect for each other. There was nothing about them that I didn't like. The sex scenes had a perfect match of sensuality and sweetness that I love to read in such intimate moments. They were such a perfect match. I loved them as a couple and I loved them as individuals. Theo's struggle to fit was endearing. His awkwardness outside the stage and the different persona on it remind me of stories I heard from beloved rock stars and it fit him perfectly. Caleb's owns struggles were also interesting to see and felt so realistic that there were moments when it was painful to see him willing to make so much sacrifices to keep his life in order.

Overall RIVEN was a stunning book, the few issues I had with it were minor inconveniences for the things I loved about it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a MM Romance, but especially for people who enjoy music. I think they might appreciate the constant presence and importance of it in the book.
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Book Review by Pip (reviewer)
Oct 31, 2018
71 people found the following review helpful
Put together a reluctant rockstar and a supposed washout in the ever-fickle music industry and the result is a volatile cocktail that results in several life-changing decisions. Theo Decker's fame is wholly unwanted, and like a lost little boy, wanders through the fog of being with a band that breaks every music chart but leaves him on the outside of a firm circle of friendship, until Caleb Blake Whitman powers through his life as an accidental one-night stand.

‘Riven' is my first Roan Parrish read and I'm starting to see how it's a style of storytelling that moves some readers to tears and others to boredom. It's just an odd mix of purple prose and perceptive insights, but also with some New Adult traits that felt a little too naive for this entire plot. Meaning, the rest of their journey is status-quo: most of the book read like a ton of push-pull, of Caleb running away and Theo constantly taking him back (accompanied by bruising reconciliation sex)—in the name of protecting him and them in some warped way—until some sort of balance is reached, past that point of acknowledging their kind of brokenness.

The strange (and sometimes wonderful) thing about Parrish's writing is that there isn't quite the focus on the characters' pasts, but rather, the sensations that their memories dredge up which then serve to reconstruct them in bits and pieces.

Caleb's drugged-up past and subsequent rehabs? A done deal, recounted repetitively merely as a tether to the present. Theo's broken family and the litany of self-recrimination of not being enough for anyone? Also glossed through with some of the prerequisite angst that NA books tend to shed in all the pages, written not in flashback but in dialogue or as inner monologue, as being a private failure that he can't overcome even with his current success.

Much of ‘Riven' is the reconciliation of emotions, of feelings, of sorting oneself out when faced with yet another obstacle too big to see behind after all, so it isn't a surprise that with each round of repetitive self-castigation for Caleb and Theo comes some kind of deeper understanding of themselves as well. Still, this ended up as a middling read for me; I wished I was more moved by Caleb/Theo's rocky road to happiness, but well, I found myself simply neutral by the time they rode off into their countryside sunset.
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