What an a amazing and deep read - a very interesting dive into the darker sides of the music industry, rather than the glorified rock-star romances with a bit of angst thrown in that are the usual trope.
This book follows Theo and Caleb, who are at very different stages in their lives, have had very different experiences with the music industry and are both jaded for their own reasons too.
Theo is known as a 'Reluctant Rockstar' - and while his bandmates think that's just his diva attitude and attention seeking ways, Theo truly hates the attention and lack of anonymity that came with their rise to fame. He loves performing and gets a rush being on stage, loves composing and finding lyrics everywhere in life, but also wants to be able to walk down the street and get dinner without being mobbed. His band doesn't understand, his parents still ignore him and aren't impressed despite his success, and he doesn't really have any other friends - a very lonely existence.
Caleb was in the industry for years, and was once very successful himself in his circuit, so gets where Theo is coming from to an extent. Sadly for Caleb, the music scene became synonymous with drugs and alcohol, leading to his addiction spiraling him out of control, and several stints in rehab. 12mths sober since his last stint and he's trying to keep away from anything that might tempt him - but in his fear he's taken it too far and is now scared of anything that feels good, because that must mean he's substituted his drug addiction for something else.
Caleb and Theo connected when they first met - similar to composing, their friendship and the harmony between them just flowed from the start. But there are a lot of ups and downs throughout the book for them as they learn to find their place and trust each other as well as themselves, and for Theo, to find his strength and stand up for what he wants, rather than going along with someone else's plan just because he thinks that's what he should do.
There are some very emotional and heartbreaking scenes, but conversely some amazingly happy, positive 'make you grin' moments as well. I especially loved being privy to their creative flair as they composed - to see how it worked for them. I was pulled into the story and felt their highs as well as their lows. I loved the journey they went on, both individually and as a team. The epilogue was sweet, rounded out the story beautifully, and also had a slightly different end to what I was predicting - which was actually a good thing - a peasant surprise.
Having met Rhys, Matt and Huey I can't wait to read their books and would definitely recommend this one. I'll be looking up more from this author as well, as this is my first novel from their collection.
Sometimes you try a new author and you know from the very first chapter that you’ve found nirvana. This author weaves magic with her writing that you just fall deeper in love with every page. This is a MM romance with so much heart and depth (and heat 🔥) that I was bewitched from start to end.
Theo Decker is a reluctant celebrity. As the lead singer and face of rock band Riven, his love for music has come at a price. Burnt out and disillusioned he’s suppressing his emotions to keep everybody else happy. On a rare night out, he stumbles across music that calls to his soul.
Theo never expected that his encounter with Caleb Blake Whitman (the maker of such spellbinding music) would steal his breath and light him up. Accustomed to lonely nights and groupies, Theo hasn’t felt a connection with a lover in possibly forever. Neither are prepared for each other, a kinship formed over music and a chemical reaction far too irresistible to walk away from.
Caleb is a loner and he’s not looking for company. He has chosen to leave music behind. A clean break, a chance to beat his addictions yet again, and another attempt to create a new life. He’s not expecting a saviour, he intends to fight this war alone.
Two men, both lonely and damaged, desperately in need of each other’s support, compassion and understanding. Theo in all his awkwardness is prepared to put his heart on the line but getting Caleb to take a risk on a rockstar is the battle. This is a journey of awareness, self-healing and ultimately finding love great enough to inspire courage and happiness.
There are not a lot of books for me that I actually don’t want to keep reading because prolonging the ending means I get to spend a bit longer wrapped up in the world created by the author and I can pretend for a little while more that the characters are real and the story is actually something that happened. Riven by Roan Parrish is a book I really didn’t want to finish - and the fact I have devastates me and I know I’ll be doing a reread of this one again before Rend comes out in November.
Theo Decker is the lead singer of rock band Riven and he is amazing at what he does - but, deep down, it’s not what he truly wants. Stumbling around New York late one night, he finds Caleb Whitman singing in a bar and this chance meeting brings about a connection neither of them can deny. Caleb and Theo have their own inner demons to battle - especially Caleb as a recovering addict, 12 months out of his fourth stint at rehab and hoping to not have to go back. What makes these two so good together… well it’s not only the palatable chemistry, the way they feel so comfortable around each other or the incredible sexual connection … it’s what they are able to bring out in one another… HOPE!! Hope to return to music, hope to do what they want for once, hope for a real lasting relationship, hope to start over… and it’s this sense of hope that I truly connected with. I shed some real tears as I read this story because the way in which Roan writes makes Caleb and Theo so real that I couldn’t help but feel what they felt and fall in love with them as they fell in love with each other.
I wish I could better put into words why I loved this book so much! It’s not just a “rockstar romance”, it’s not just a “mm romance”, it’s not even just a “romance” novel…. it’s a book that will burrow deep into your soul and take you to a place where you, too, can truly believe anything is possible. Sometimes the right book falls into your lap at the right time, and Riven has been the book I needed for what is coming up in my own life right now… and I couldn’t be more grateful!!
I love Roan's writing style. Her characters and their worlds flow so effortlessly from the page and into my mind. I lose myself when I read her books so easily. That's not to say that the books are easy reads....her characters are flawed and troubled (haunted/tortured souls) but oh so loveable and completely captivating. Roan is a one-click author for me, everything of hers I have devoured in one sitting and loved.
Lead singer of Riven, Theo Decker, is growing tired of everything to do with being a famous rock star, except the music. When he hears Caleb, a washed-up musician, singing in a dive, it opens up Theo’s mind, music and his heart. Strongly drawn characters, a mesmerising plot, and a chance to feel good!