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Black Iris by [Raeder, Leah]
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Length: 385 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Product Description

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA TODAY bestselling author of Unteachable, which was praised for its “lush, haunting prose, deft storytelling, and scorching sensuality” (M. Pierce, bestselling author of the Night Owl trilogy), and called “one of the best forbidden romances” (Lauren Blakely, New York Times bestselling author).

“Love is not a thing that we create. It’s an undoing.”

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2257 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (28 April 2015)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LD1OJZ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #154,995 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 104 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, beautiful, and true to life 5 January 2016
By Ethan - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Wow, What an amazing book. Let me start off by saying the greatest praise I feel like I can give this book is that even though I'm a straight man I feel like I can completely relate to Laney. Raeder tells this story in a way that Laney's problems give me a window into a window I'll never be inside while at the same time making it parallel to issues I've had. Laney is the type of "heroine" I love to read and feels more real most romance characters I've read. This is a beautifully dark, perfectly twisted story.

If your looking for insight into the life of: sexually free & ambiguous leading ladies, mental disease, consuming revenge, and the affects of drugs, mental abuse, and bullying have on a person, or all of the above I would whole-heartedly recommend this book. If your looking for a safe and warm romance look elsewhere
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, deep, poetic, challenging, sexy 30 May 2016
By JessicaB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I finished this book over a week ago and I'm still trying to figure out the right words to give it the proper review it deserves.
1st of all.. this was one of the most challenging books I've ever read because of the way it's written. It has a very poetic and complex style of writing. at first I wasn't sure if I liked that or not because half the time I didn't understand what I just read. Also the chapters jump around in I think a 2 year span, there's no order, or maybe there is and I didn't see it, but it jumps from past to just recent events and finally the present towards the end. It's really hard to follow so half way through I stopped trying to follow and I just allowed myself to read and really get into the story. And I'm so glad I did.
It's dark, cynical, sexy, suspenseful. Heavy topics, such as revenge, suicide, mental illness, sexual orientation.
This story will challenge your mind, and shed light on topics you might not normally think of.
Very worth the read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Sister's Candy-Coated New Adult Novel 22 October 2016
By Dill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dear Reader, if you’re searching for a story about a down-and-out little queer girl who comes-of-age and blossoms as she discovers her sexuality in college, then look somewhere else. This is not the candy-coated New Adult love story for you. BLACK IRIS isn’t a love story. It’s a revenge story. And it’s about the girl who took charge of her life, her sexuality, her anger, and got exactly what she wanted. But maybe what she wanted just wasn’t enough. Maybe it's never enough.

BLACK IRIS takes place over alternating timelines, which are meticulously crafted to the point of perfection. They switch between Laney Keating’s senior year of high school to her freshman year of college. At college, she meets poet and party girl Blythe McKinney and clinical psychic major Armin Farhoudi, who know the ins and outs of the club scene at Umbra. We see how the trio first meets and how the relationship boundaries are drawn. You’re left questioning throughout the novel if the relationships are real or empty. Do these people care about each other, or is it one big conspiracy to see who can cut the deepest? I won’t spoil it, but I will say that—no matter the pairing—it’s intense.

As with most of Elliot Wake’s novels (fka Leah Raeder), everything comes together in the final twenty-percent to provide a twist-and-turns conclusion that will leave you shaking your head and questioning everything you thought you knew. The reader finds themselves transforming into one of Laney Keating’s victims as they navigate the vast spider web of her unreliable narration. Don’t make the mistake of falling prey to her sticky lies. Do so and you’ll be trapped, sucked into the story so intensely that it will shatter every expectation you’ve ever had for the New Adult genre.

Wake has a way of taking LGBTQ+ and social issues, incorporating them into a book, and not make it an "issue-book." The issues are the b-story whereas the a-story is what drives you to tap out the edge of the Kindle while belting out Halsey’s "Strange Love" (for Blythe in so many ways) and "Hold Me Down" (looking at you in your three piece, Armin).

It took me three different attempts to make it all the way through BLACK IRIS. “Wow, really?” you may be thinking to yourself. “Was it that bad, Dill?” No. Don’t you dare. It was that GOOD. It was that gritty. It was that passionate, powerful, gripping. Laney shackled her hands around my throat—so tiny and yet so strong—as her venomous words hissed in my ear. Believe me. Love me. Want me.

No, it took me three tries because I was pulled back into the mindset of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I know this mindset. I’ve lived it, worshiped it, regretted it, mourned it. You can go through the treatments Susanna Kaysen-style and receive a discharge that says you’re fit to rejoin society, but it never fully leaves you, which is one of the reasons why I loved BLACK IRIS so much. It takes mental illness and presents it in the most realistic light possible. Blythe and Laney’s mother struggle with Bi-Polar Disorder with its the manic highs and depressing lows. Blythe uses it to fuel her poetry and drug-fueled lifestyle. Mania leaves to feeling like you can handle anything, you’re indestructible, and the lows will never hit you again.

How do I know this? Well, 9 years ago I was diagnosed and sought treatment for Bi-Polar Disorder. Rehab. Hospitals. Therapy. Medication. The whole spiel. I know what it’s like to be facing life and death at the hands of mental illness—one’s spiraling out of control while the other quickly approaches. BLACK IRIS does justice to people who have these diagnoses. I've read too many books where people with severe mental illness are portrayed as monsters. We're not. We are people. We are human beings who desire to be seen on the page as something more than your plot device. I'm not the villain sitting in the black leather chair, stroking a white cat as they tell you how you've fallen right into their plan.

BLACK IRIS gave me this. It gave me a voice that wasn't perfect, but it was mine. It was self-medicating and running on fumes while in total denial and needing to scratch that gnawing itch at the back of my mind. Those nasty demons carve away what's left of your self control until you want to slice open your skin so you can feel physical pain to combat the emotional. Laney reminded me of the bottles of whiskey mixed with anti-depressants that was my 20's. She shows us how, if I can just numb myself a little bit further, I'll survive. But what are you surviving for? Revenge. I chose spite, to prove that the people who hurt me and said I couldn't make it were wrong.

People with BPD and Bi-Polar Disorder make mistakes. We can be horrible people, who lash out at any and everyone that tries to help us. We can also be loving people who feel so deeply it cuts to the bone. I would be honest with you, Dear Reader, and say if this book was bullshit, if we were made to look like the same recycled monsters the media and movies have made us out to be so many time before. BLACK IRIS strikes a delicate balance in just the right way. I felt like I was seeing my past self and both appreciating that I wasn’t this person while recognizing how I could easily become her again. 'Hello, Dill. God, you're one bitter bitch.'

"You’ll feel it, the moment you crack. When the brittle hardness finally shatters. When the anger, hatred, resentment, loathing, everything crumbles, and all that’s left standing is the little girl who’d built those walls, wide-eyed, covered in dust."

Laney isn’t painted as the villain or the victim. She’s not the hero or even the antihero. She is the truth we don’t want to see, the dark side of ourselves we pretend isn’t there. Her "head is bloody, but unbowed." BPD can be a constant feeling of instability and need to be destructive toward either yourself or other people. I hurt because it’s the only thing that grounds me to this world.

"That’s the thing. Maybe we’re not really afraid of pain. Maybe we’re afraid of how much we might like it."

Laney accepts this is her personality and doesn’t want your pity. She doesn't need it. By commanding her pain and vices, she finds a strength that allows her not only to conquer her demons but unleash them upon her enemies. My, what big teeth you have, Delaney. My, what sharp claws...

If you want a book that’s painted on the page like poetry and will ignite the darkest regions of your mind, read BLACK IRIS.

Thank you, Prince Dapper, for another amazing novel.

I'm a debut young adult and adult LGBTQ+ author, who was first granted an DRC of Elliot Wake's forthcoming BAD BOY (December 2016) for review—available to read on Goodreads. BLACK IRIS I purchased on my own and reviewed honestly with no influence or knowledge from the author.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read 15 November 2016
By Allison H. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book was everything I could have ever hoped it would be AND MORE. I honestly expected a certain type of story all the way up until the last 75 or so pages--and I was enjoying that story! But then..... I was enjoying it even more. This book is not for everyone, in my opinion, I try to recognize that in books I read that are particularly intense. But it is not for any reason except the darkness and pain of it. "Intense" is really the only word I can use to describe it. That being said, I think anyone with a mind/heart/spirit for intrigue and complex characters would absolutely adore Black Iris.
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy 19 May 2017
By Laura - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was good in a crazy way. I just found it a little over the top that this was high schoolers and college kids doing these awful things to each other. I guess that's the thing about bullying...it has no stereotype. I also loved how all the characters intertwined. Crazy.

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