Riven by Roan Parrish
Series: Riven #2
Published: May 29, 2018 by Loveswept
Genre: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
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.
After finishing Riven I’m finding it hard to put a review into words considering the roller coaster of emotions Roan Parrish has put me through. She ripped my heart out and then beautifully put it back together. I’ll start by saying that I really enjoyed the book and spent the entire time wishing I could hug both Theo and Caleb just to make them feel better. I’m generally not a fan of rock star romances because the rock star tends to be full of themselves and their fame so I was immediately intrigued by the idea of the “Reluctant Rock Star” as Theo Decker is called in the book. All Theo has ever wanted is to be accepted and to play his music for others. He never guessed that the band he joins, Riven, would become so popular or that fame would come with such a heavy price tag. Theo is introverted and solitary and though he loves the energy and power of performing to a massive crowd he hates the paparazzi, the constant attention, and the lack of privacy. There is something very innocent and almost naive about Theo but at the same time, he’s fairly savvy about the entertainment industry, just sometimes more concerned with disappointing others to the detriment of himself.
“I was used to being looked at, but being seen was something quite different. And I felt like Caleb saw me.”
When Caleb Blake Whitman meets Theo he knows exactly who he is but he can’t stop himself from spending the night with him. When Theo shows up wanting more than just a single night, Caleb is hesitant to get sucked back into the life that left him at rock bottom. A year clean, Caleb is doing everything he can to make sure he doesn’t fail this time but that also means he’s barely living and Theo is a complication he’s not sure he wants. I felt so much for Caleb and the dilemma he faced; he still loves writing and playing music, but he’s terrified that indulging in even the smallest part of it could be his downfall. Parrish does an excellent job of showing the reader how conflicted Caleb is about his life, his future, and his happiness.
Though both Theo and Caleb are struggling with their emotional responses to each other, they can’t stay away and when they’re together it fireworks. The chemistry was there from the very beginning and their shared passion for music just enhances their comfort with each other. Not only that but Caleb and his remote home, act as a balm for Theo’s stressed and overwhelmed soul. Caleb really becomes Theo’s rock in the storm that is his celebrity life. That being said, there is nothing easy about Theo and Caleb’s relationship and it’s fraught with a push-and-pull element as Caleb battles his inner demons. This results in one small part of the story I wish hadn’t happened, purely out of personal preference: Theo sleeps with someone else while they are broken up. However, this did not detract from my rating or overall enjoyment of the book because it was only mentioned once and Parrish is such an exceptional storyteller that I kept going but I wanted to mention it since I know I’m not the only reader out there who might be bothered by this.
For once, I don’t know if my review can really express what I enjoyed about this book because it’s so hard to explain in words something that is felt so deeply. This truly speaks to how amazing a writer Parrish is because she masterfully accomplished this and easily dragged me along for the ride.
**Reader Safety: Hero who is 1 year out of rehab for drug and alcohol addiction; Hero has sex with another man while MC’s are broken up (one line reference)
4 stars – it was enjoyable
ARC provided by NetGalley for honest review
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