Published by Loveswept on May 29th 2018
Genres: MM Romance, LGBT, Gay
Source: Loveswept, Netgalley
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.
by Roan Parrish
When you open a book and you connect to the characters instantly and they touch you deeply, it’s already a good sign. If the story speaks to you then you are on a good way to your next favorite. Roan Parrish is a new-to-me author and this is what happened to me when I started reading Riven.
Theo lives everybody else’s dream. He is the lead singer one of the most popular bands, Riven. He and his bandmates sell buckets of records and make a ridiculous amount of money. The problem? Theo loves performing but hates hates the fame that comes with being a superstar. On a short stop at home while touring he meets Caleb and they connect instantly through music.
His tongue was an instrument, and he kissed me like he was playing a song, coming on strong, easing off, building to a crest, changing the rhythm.
Caleb is a recovering drug addict and a former well known musician. These days he doesn’t perform anymore – too big is the fear to fall back into old patterns. His one-night-stand with Theo suits him just right because the gorgeous man is drug-material and he just can’t replace one addiction with another. But the rockstar is nothing if not tenacious and a couple of weeks later he shows up at Caleb’s doorstep, temptation personified and a delicious dance of push and pull begins.
First let me gush a little about these two characters. How cute were they? Seriously? On-stage Theo is a charismatic frontman who wraps his audience around his fingers. He captivates people with his voice and words and talent.
Theo had a way about him that got people in the palm of his hand. He was human but glamorous; effortlessly cool but vulnerable.
Off-stage he is adorably shy and awkward. He’s also extremely forgiving but I never felt that he was a doormat. There was something very refreshing about his honesty. Theo doesn’t know how to not show his feelings. They just bubble out of him and it’s what makes him so extremely lovable. I wanted to wrap him up in bubble wrap and keep him safe because he needed somebody to give him love and safety. There were so many thoughtful and sweet things he did for Caleb, he was incredible.
Out of nowhere, I felt my chest tighten and my throat seize, suddenly close to tears. In all of this, somehow, Theo had managed to remind me of who I was. Who I wanted to be. Who I could be again.
Caleb fears nothing more than a relapse but he lets this fear rule his life. He stays in his old farmhouse and takes up planting vegetables and basically goes through the motions. Theo rattles something inside of him and it scares the living daylights out of him. Caleb pushes Theo away, again and again, and faithful, sweet and forgiving Theo totally has Caleb’s number so it’s easy for him to forgive the man he’s falling in love with. Usually I get really annoyed when there is too much pushing away going on – not with Caleb. It was so clear right from the start, so understandable why he did it. There just wasn’t a reason to be mad at him. His fears were totally valid – a relapse was a possibility, but little by little he realized that Theo was his strength and not his weakness. These two were multi-layered characters who had a wonderful and easy connection, in tune with each other.
Theo has some issues too but he loved with an open heart and had an astonishingly positive outlook. I swear to God I choked up a couple of times because his loneliness really got to me. Caleb’s need for distance was really hard on him.
Caleb told himself the story that no one could depend on him because he’d break their trust.
And what stories had I told myself? That I was unlovable. That I had to earn the right to be cared for. That unless I made myself indispensable, I would be tossed away.
I found myself utterly charmed by the whole cast of this book. Not only the two main characters were delightful, Caleb’s best friend Rhys was amazing too. It was so good to see that Caleb had somebody who loved him with all his deficiencies and flaws and was just a rock for him when things got really hard.
Riven is a fast read and kept me invested throughout the whole story. I just couldn’t stop – I was riveted and enthralled, I hurt and was sad, I laughed and smiled and I was happy when I closed the book leaving Theo and Caleb in a good place. Roan Parrish has a beautiful writing style. The dialogues are actually very close to how people really talk. If you’re insecure or awkward there are lots of uh’s and ah’s and um’s. I actually liked that. But her descriptions were beautiful and sometimes beautifully haunting.
I turned to him and watched him listen to the song I’d written for him. The song that had gathered inside me, that I’d held tight all these months and finally unspooled for him in the early morning light. The song that told him all the things he already knew, but in the language we both felt deeper than words.
Ms Parrish has a new fan. I will now go forth and buy all of her backlist because this was one of the most beautiful MM stories I’ve read. This book is written with heart and feeling – it’s a story this author can be proud of.