A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Raze (Riven #3) by Roan Parrish


Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Felix Rainey is a caretaker. The eldest of five children, he’s been caring for his siblings, cooking and assisting his mother with household tasks, and working to put in money to support his single-parent family since he was a child. He and his sister Sofia are besties. Closest in age, the duo are now living together while Sofia gets her degree and Felix works to support her. When they walk into a bar to sing a duet on karaoke night, they have no idea their lives are about to change.

Huey has worked to stay clean and sober for over ten years. Caleb’s sponsor, we first met Huey in Riven. His life revolves around his meetings, his sponsees, and the bar he owns. He’s also very rigid in the control he maintains over himself as he adheres to a strict schedule of gym activities, shopping, contact with those he sponsors, and more, including listening to podcasts on every topic known to man. He also uses a magic marker to write daily quotations on his abdomen to help reinforce the positives in his life. In a word, he’s rigid in his control. And then, in steps Felix with Sofia to sing a duet on karaoke night—a duet of one of Riven’s songs. And they nail it!

Huey’s world is turned upside down as the sweet, gorgeous young man seems more interested in him than in meeting Theo Decker, the famous rock musician and former lead singer with Riven. Nevertheless, Huey arranges a meeting, which ultimately turns out much different from what he envisions. The bottom line, however, is that he’s left with a crush on a young cutie and that cutie seems to be attracted to him. Now, what should he do about it?

Like others in this series, what happens along the way makes for a complex and beautiful love story. The author’s treatment of addiction, recovery, and triggers in this book is just as good as in the other stories, but with a difference. This time, the focus is on the sponsor, and along the way, we learn that Huey has lost sight of his own needs. The love and support he receives from Felix goes a long way toward helping him release some of his old fears and controlling behaviors and embrace a new way forward, even though the road to this revelation is fraught with ups and downs of heartache and pain.

I struggled a bit with this book, unlike the others in the series, because I had a hard time relating to Huey. The stern, quiet man was not an easy character to warm up to. However, later in the story, when I got to know the person behind the façadethe man whose real name is DaneI was sold.

Felix was the type of character I love, possibly because I can relate to being the oldest and taking on the role of family caretaker. He rarely lost his temper with Dane, mostly because he didn’t feel secure in their relationship and therefore felt unworthy, so why get angry. It’s not until Felix makes strides in his own personal growth that we see the two moving toward each other emotionally, and we can see a happy ending as their outcome. 

So, in summary, both characters are different from the norm or what I expect to be the normand often difficult to like, never mind love. But by sticking to the story and being open to their emotional growth, readers will be rewarded with a very satisfying love story.

The cover by Makeready Designs is similar to the cover of Riven and Rend with the background mostly solid, in mauve this time, and a large cutout title showing the character looking through.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 284 pages
Expected publication: July 2nd 2019 by Loveswept
Edition Language English
Series Riven #3

Riven Series




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


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