A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

When Matt leaves with Rhys, the hot guy he meets at a bar one night, little does he know his life was going to change—drastically.

Readers should know that this story can stand alone from the previous book, Riven. And though characters from Riven appear fairly often, the content and context of their interactions is not to the extent that one has to have read their story to understand their role here. They offer emotional support and friendship to the MCs—Rhys has a long-term friendship with Caleb, and Theo, his life partner, befriends Matt in this story.

Much of this story is a psychological study of Matt’s reactions to being with someone who apparently really wants him and doesn’t plan to abandon him in the future. Matt spent most of his life, after his mother failed to come home one day, living with people who weren’t invested in him. First, his aunt, who turned out to be unrelated, and then a series of foster families. His sexual history has been a series of one-night stands so how can he trust in Rhys, a man he meets at a bar, falls in love with, and ends up marrying him two months later?

Rhys, on the other hand, is blithely unaware of Matt’s emotional struggles. Granted, Matt has hidden his insecurities well, but Rhys comes from a totally different world—one of loving parents and family members, and a long-term friendship and on again off again friends-with-benefits standing with his best friend, Caleb. It’s not that he doesn’t want to understand Matt; it’s that Matt’s issues aren’t even on Rhys’s radar.

All is well until Rhys goes on his first tour as a solo artist. After spending years as a backup musician and songwriter, Rhys is finally in the spotlight and eagerly looking forward to the trip. Matt chooses to stay behind because his work at a nonprofit that helps foster kids transition into society after high school graduation is important and fulfilling. And that’s when Matt falls apart. Knowing he’s not really abandoned and yet emotionally crippled from his upbringing, he can’t cope. It’s during this time that Theo provides friendship and support and shows Matt the meaning of having a best friend.

What happens next is the core of the story and the author managed both characters’ emotional reactions, the highs and the lows, beautifully. There were times I wanted to smack each of them—for very different reasons. And there were times I wanted to hug Matt and show him his worth. Getting involved in a character’s life is one of the best things about reading a great story. There’s no way to stand back and watch the action. Roan Parrish sucks us in and we participate in the angst, sorrow, joy, love, and more. This is that kind of story.

By the end, I was hoping for another hundred pages. I can very definitely highly recommend this to all lovers of MM romance.

Cover by Makeready Designs is similar to the cover of Riven with the design mostly white space and the character seen through the large cutout title.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 303 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2018 by Loveswept
Original Title Rend
ISBN13 9781524799335
Edition Language English
Series Riven #2

A MelanieM Review: Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish

Standard

Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

After a whirlwind romance, a man with a painful past learns to trust the musician who makes him believe in happy endings.

Matt Argento knows what it feels like to be alone. After a childhood of abandonment, he never imagined someone might love him—much less someone like Rhys Nyland, who has the voice of an angel, the looks of a god, and the worship of his fans.

Matt and Rhys come from different worlds, but when they meet, their chemistry is incendiary. Their romance is unexpected, intense, and forever—at least, that’s what their vows promise. Suddenly, Matt finds himself living a life he never thought possible: safe and secure in the arms of a man who feels like home. But when Rhys leaves to go on tour for his new album, Matt finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past.

When Rhys returns, he finds Matt twisted by doubt. But Rhys loves Matt fiercely, and he’ll go to hell and back to triumph over Matt’s fears. After secrets are revealed and desires are confessed, Rhys and Matt must learn to trust each other if they’re going to make it. That means they have to fall in love all over again—and this time, it really will be forever.

I truly had to think about the formatting of this story and the author’s expectations for it’s promise when writing this review because I think it was a huge factor in how I ended up feeling about the characters and this novel.  You see, in  Rend (Riven #2) by Roan Parrish the story opens right as the two men meet, jump immediately into a  relationship and then the first chapter proceeds when they are already married.  Boom.  It’s a done deal.  The reader has no time to relate to the men, establish a connection to each one, let alone be  able to evaluate any chemistry or depth of relationship.

I believe that was intentional.  Because the marriage and relationship as we slowly find out isn’t based on reality.  Matt hasn’t been truthful about his background and deep emotional issues with Rhys.  Nor has Rhys dug deep beneath the surface with  Matty. It’s a marriage based on wishes, dreams, and smoke. And lots of sex and love.  But that’s oddly insubstantial here because it has no honest foundation.

There is no honest communication between the lovers and, really the reader and Matty too.  We know he is truly a troubled and haunted individual who needs professional help.  Which, horrifyingly no one suggests he gets until 84 percent into the story.  Abandonment issues and the foster care system have done a number on him mentally, emotionally, and that carries over to physically.  We see those results…oh him, his marriage, and his partner who he doesn’t talk to until 80 percent into the story.   Which is when we learn enough about them to start connecting with them all as Rhys and Matty haul together the pieces of their lives, marriage and uncover who they are together….honestly.

Up until then?  Matty remains something of an enigma to all around him and us.  Not a good thing.  He has a close friend, Grim, in Florida.  We don’t see or really hear him to gain any insight into Matty himself until the end of the story, another element lost.

So I understood that the format was to slowly reveal who Matty truly was to Rhys and even himself as he came to grips with his past.  But it came at the loss, at least for this reader, of any connection to their relationship, a sense of questioning why no one got this man the help he so obviously needed earlier on, and just a sense that had we been able to see more of the real Rhys and Matty we see at the end at other parts in the story, this   wouldn’t have felt like such cold read than the romance it ended up being.

I did love Theo and Caleb from Riven, the first story.  Plus Max.  As I said, I think the format kept me from getting to know the characters until too late in the story.  I did learn to love them then and their very HEA.  That’s a terrific ending

There’s another story  in this series on the horizon   and  I know I will have to see who that’s about.  If you are a fan of this series, you no  doubt have already picked up and read this story.  It works as a standalone too.

Cover art is ok but doesn’t really speak to me considering the bleak storyline and its complexity.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 303 pages
Expected publication: November 27th 2018 by Loveswept
Original Title Rend
ISBN13 9781524799335
Edition Language English
Series Riven #2