(Spoilery) Review: Rend, by Roan Parrish

“We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout…”

 

That’s what happened to Rhys and Matty–married after knowing each other just a couple of months. Now almost a year into their marriage, Rhys takes his band on the road–and Matty starts to come apart at the seams. Can they hang onto a happy-ever-after when Matty can’t believe anyone would really stay with him?

Y’all, I loved this. Roan Parrish always has smokin’ sex scenes and she did not disappoint on that front, hoo boy. But it was also really emotional and angsty and deep–Matty has a seriously awful backstory full of abandonment, and his struggles over whether or not he should be truthful about everything with sunny Rhys felt very real. And man, some of his nightmares creeped the shit out of me, and I am not that easily crept.

And I loved that it wasn’t an easily fixed “magical healing cock” situation. Rhys’s love is necessary for Matt, but it isn’t sufficient all by itself. Matt gets therapy, and gets help from friends both old and new. And his job is shown as a part of his healing–it’s important to him that he has a chance to help kids in situations as rough as his used to be. The happy resolution feels well-earned and real.

Content: Abandonment, very brief mention of childhood sexual abuse (not either of the main characters), spiraling mental health including intense insomnia and forgetting to eat.

Notes: comes after Riven in the series but you don’t need to read Riven first.

A Princess in Theory, oh my yes

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Probably everyone reading this has already read Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory but if not GO READ IT RIGHT NOW. (Mild spoilers ahoy.)

It is just so much FUN. The heroine is wonderful–a brilliant and super-hardworking scientist in training, working multiple jobs to get through grad school. She’s also a former foster kid who has trouble believing anyone would really want her.

The hero is Prince Thabiso from Thesolo–he’s been a bit of a playboy but he’s truly invested in doing what’s best for his people.

And the setup is a hoot. Naledi’s been getting emails saying she’s been betrothed since toddlerhood to a prince, and asking her to send proof of her identity and medical records. And since she’s a sensible person…guess what she’s been doing with those emails.

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That’s right.

You really root for both characters (they have more-or-less alternating POV chapters.) And they’re not in a lovestruck void with no other people–Naledi’s best friend is very important to the story, as is Likotsi, Thabiso’s assistant. (Who is also, really, his best friend.)

Friendship is taken quite seriously in this story–Thabiso’s mother’s long-ago loss of her best friend is one of the major historical points driving the story. I love this a lot. And I love that Naledi and Thabiso respect the hell out of each other’s competence at their jobs. (And that both their jobs are shown as genuinely difficult, featuring a douchebag postdoc in Naledi’s case and a sleazy government Minister in Thabiso’s.)

I also love the very, very hot sex scenes which include the detail that HEY A POOR GRAD STUDENT IS WEARING A BEAT-UP OLD BRA THAT DOESN’T MATCH HER PANTIES. HOW GREAT IS THAT.

I am so looking forward to the next book in the series. Also hoping that at some point we get to read more about dapper lesbian Likotsi. I would like to read an epic trilogy about dapper lesbian Likotsi, please!

In summary, all the thumbs up!

 

 

 

 

 

In Medias Media

Media I’m in the middle of! Or not done with anyway.

Trying to catch up on Kevin Sonney’s excellent Productivity Alchemy podcast. (I listen to it when I’m either cooking or unfucking my habitat, and I…clearly need to step up on both of those things, because Kevin’s podcasting faster than I’m listening.) Finally nearing the end of the 23-disc audio version of Lillian Faderman’s (also excellent) The Gay Revolution. Which has taken me most of February and March because that is car listening and I have a quite short commute. (NOT a complaint, believe you me.) I am glad to be past the sections that focused on Harvey Milk, AIDS and Sharon Kowalski all in a row. That was a grim dang week in the car. (I’ve read two other books about Harvey Milk and I still was having jury-strangling fantasies while driving. Ugh.)

Also nearly done with Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho, on paper. I haven’t quite figured out how I feel about this one. I thought from the first couple of chapters that the heroine, Prunella, was going to be a kind of wearily practical character, like the ones I love in Ursula Vernon’s work, but that wasn’t what she ended up being, and I’m head-tilting a bit at her. Possibly I am unconsciously biased because the title includes the one word in English I just cannot freaking pronounce. Sorcerer is a stupid word and it should go away.

Also! Done with another hitchhiker scarf except for weaving in the ends. (What, yarn is a medium.) That hitchhiker pattern is ADDICTIVE, yo.