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.
Content warnings: mention of drug use, alcoholism/drug addiction,
*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley
I’ve owed Riven a very well earned, glowing review for a while now. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus due to family emergency/life things, and I’ve been trying to get myself back into the reviewing saddle. When I received an ARC for Rend, the follow up book in this series, I knew I wanted to re-read Riven first.
Riven is a romance reader’s dream: a rock star romance with two troubled, sensitive, lovely (and okay, damaged) men. I have almost no willpower when it comes to rock star romances, and honestly, Riven is the cream of the crop.
I loved Riven from the moment I read it, and it has honestly only gotten better with each read. Parrish really outdoes herself with her sensitive portrayal of both Theo and Caleb as they work through the obstacles standing between themselves and happiness. Theo is a famous rockstar in a highly successful band who is coming to terms with finding himself incredibly unhappy with the trappings that come with a sudden rise to fame. While Theo hates being famous, he deeply loves music – performing, writing, composing.
Like Theo, Caleb breathes music. For Caleb, however, being a musician is tied to memories of his drug addiction and his relatively new – and most successful – attempt at sobriety. He longs to go back to songwriting and music, but is terrified of jeopardizing everything he’s been fighting for. The thing I love about Riven that although this is a romance (and a steamy, sexy as heck one!), the most satisfying arcs are Theo and Caleb’s individual journeys and growth, which enable them to be ready for each other and a future. I never felt as though their struggles and personal triumphs were a means to an end. Both Theo and Caleb are musicians in their souls, and their relationship challenges and teaches them how they can, and must, fight and change in order to have each other, and the music as well.
That said, the romance aspect of this book was simply delicious. Caleb and Theo have an instant chemistry that is believable and so, so hot. Parrish has a gift with sex scenes that don’t feel formulaic or rote, that explore intimacy and sex in ways that perfectly suit the story and characters.
I must say, I also really appreciate the attention to detail Parrish puts into her books. It seems as though she really takes the time to learn the intricacies of any characters given profession, from musician to baker to car mechanic and countless others. I never felt as though this book was plugging basic facts into a story to try to create an illusion – I really felt immersed and was impressed by the depth of knowledge and detail that went into the characters musicality and knowledge.
I highly recommend this book, and SPOILER ALERT, recommend the fuck out of the next one in this series, although that’s a review for another day.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Loveswept Review Tag: Age-Gap Tag: Art / Artist Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: Part of a series Tag: Rockstar/Musician Trigger Warning: Drug Use Riven Roan Parrish
Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother who began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”. Jude began writing long-form fiction by tackling her first National Novel Writing Month project in 2007.
Jude is currently working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary queer romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in May of 2018. Shadows you Left, a co-written novel with Taylor Brooke will arrive spring of 2019 from Entangled Press.