Raze

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

I discovered this author with Rend, and I enjoyed her writing style. That said, I think the steamy parts were the most successful here, while the overall story was okay. Perhaps on the third book the storyline and its world was stretched a bit thin.
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I received Raze from Roan Parrish via Netgalley (all opinions are my own) and I really enjoyed it. This is the third book in the Riven series, and I’ve really loved them all. Their order is: Riven, Rend, and Raze. I gave Riven and Raze four stars and Rend got five. Raze is about Huey and Felix. If you’ve read the previous two books, then you will know Huey. He’s the sponsor of various famous addicts, and an addict himself. I loved getting to really know him in Raze. It’s tough for him to truly open up, and it causes some problems in his relationship with Felix, but nothing overdone or too dramatic. I loved Felix and Huey together, and of course, we get the couples from the previous two books here and there too which is fun! Raze is a romance, yes, but it’s more than that too, so check it out! Add to Goodreads.
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I will admit, I was a bit surprised to see this novel was set in a world with a rock star and a normal person making a life together, because if I've learned anything from Roan Parrish books it's that they are lyrical and whimsical in a way that makes them different from a whole lot of the genre.

And, as expected, this book didn't really conform to the trope that it appeared to play into at the start.

Huey is an ex-addict who also happens to work at the bar that his sponsor gave to him before he died. It's working well for him--unexpectedly--as are all of the patterns and rules that he's put into his life to make sure that it maintains its controlled reliability.

What isn't controlled or reliable is when Felix comes crashing into it on one of the karaoke nights that are run from the bar. Huey just happens to be on the phone to one of the members of the band Riven at the time and, long story short, Felix ends up being invited for an unofficial audition.

After a bit of bait and switch that occurs there, Huey and Felix go on their first date, which is depicted as just as awkward as a first date usually is (which I loved!!) and they talk about their feelings and why they are each so awkward (which I also loved!!)

I will admit that it was a bit strange that we also had the love story of Coco and Sofia alongside the main romance, but I didn't hate it. It just felt crammed in there when it could easily have been its own novel (I wish it had been its own novel, because those two seemed majorly cute).

Towards the end, it really felt as though it was slowly devolving into its own sequel, with still almost a quarter of the book to go. The feel and direction of the book kinda shifted. Again, not terrible, just didn't appear like a cohesive whole anymore.

Although I did prefer The Remaking of Corbin Wale, I did enjoy this one.
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Raze tells a story of two men realizing that they can build the life they want right now, and wondering what that life looks like. It’s about finding an identity outside of routines and responsibility. It’s less about music than the previous Riven books, and mostly about Huey’s sober habits.

Both Felix and Huey feel awkward in their situation, but they like each other a lot. Their love story leans into that awkward vibe with jumbled conversations, halted speech and unspoken desires to show affection. Huey tends to overthink and not speak or act while Felix does the opposite, which kills me.

They go on museum dates, attend quiz night, listen to podcasts while cooking, and spend a perfect day together at Coney Island. There’s a super cute first hug, and regular cuddling on the couch to watch a Roan Parrish version of ‘Long Island Medium.’ Also, Felix loves listening to YA audiobooks!

There are some very excellent handjobs at the beginning of their romance but about halfway through the book, I realized was... uninterested. I wasn’t invested in their relationship. I was tired of reading the many mentions of how big Huey is. I was irritated by Felix’s immature and unfair criticisms of Huey’s lifestyle. And even though Huey didn’t seem to care about the lie Felix tells at the start, or the violation of his privacy in a desperate moment near the end, I did.

It was wonderful to see Theo and Caleb (of Riven) and Rhys and Matt (of Rend) pop up so often, but for most of the book I couldn’t tell where the story was headed. As the story wrapped up, it felt like Felix and Huey were resolving issues that we weren’t privy to, so the solutions seemed unnecessary and out of left field. I struggled to feel closure or satisfaction when we didn’t know these things were affecting them this strongly.

At the end, I didn’t feel like I understood the characters or supported their relationship; I was just happy that they seemed happy. But your mileage may vary! Maybe you’re not phased by the suggestion that you can’t be a good boyfriend if you’re busy being an NA sponsor. Perhaps you don’t mind some immature drama if the person learns the mature response in the end.

I’m not filled with the all-in adoration for this book that I have for the previous two, but I am glad I read it. Though I’m not sure I agree with the outcomes, Felix and Huey’s conversations were incredibly thought-provoking, and the book definitely made me crave museum visits!

Content Warnings: addiction (painkillers, narcotics), NA meetings, Huey’s sponsee Morgan deals with unsupportive siblings while their mom is dying, compulsive behavior, panic attacks, nightmares, unprotected sex. There are quite a few uncomfortable sentences that hold no relevance to the story but that you may find triggering. For example, “What if I ask him out and he gets upset and beats the shit out of me?” “His big dark eyes looked almost bruised.” “He pulled me to his chest so hard I nearly cracked my nose on his chin.”
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3  Dane  Stars 
As I have with the two previous books please note I am not an avid MM reader and for that my review may be skewed . this story is about Huey which I was super YAY for.. and a  new character Felix who just came on the scene.  They should have been perfect… they were not. Huey and Felix are beautiful broken men but the lack of consistency in character was too jarring for me. Felix one moment was crazy needy then trying to be alpha.  This book did read smoother than the first two in the series so I think the authors writing is coming along really well.  It felt … rushed to me and it also felt like book 1 all over again with Riven and addiction  but with less angst.
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Heuy is a bar owner and has his share of problems. He doesn't let anyone get close to him. He's trying to keep his sobriety. Felix has been taking care of his family and doesn't know what to do with himself. He walks in to Huey's bar and instantly finds him attractive and wants to get to know him better. I didn't like the way Huey treated Felix at times but I understood both characters had their issues. All in all I liked this story and would recommend it.

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley and am leaving a review.
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I hate first person POV, but this trilogy (Riven, Rend, and now Raze) was worth gritting my teeth and dealing with it. This is a very lovely and psychologically mature romance between two "caretaker" protagonists (Felix, an oldest sibling of five who has dedicated his life to his family, and Huey, a sponsor for Narcotics Anonymous who runs his life by an unyielding routine) who must learn to let themselves be taken care of instead. Felix's internal monologue, in particular, is very heavy on articulating his wants and needs, which may rub some readers the wrong way, but none of it is unreasonable (and Huey certainly wants and needs just as many things, even though he's terrible at admitting it even to himself); I think there's a certain visceral reaction to sharing headspace with a character who has been neglected for a long time and is finally able to demand what they need that some people like and some people don't. There's a significant age gap between the two characters (but no daddyplay, if that's a concern) and some delicate hints of BDSM/service top dynamic. Characters from Riven and Raze make cameos (especially Theo) but I think the book would work as a standalone. Overall, it's a very solid trilogy and I recommend it to contemporary romance fans!
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4.5 Stars for Raze by Roan Parrish 
This is my read by this author and I’m really not sure why she hasn’t crossed my radar before now but after reading Raze that’s about to change because I really enjoyed everything about this book.
Raze is book 3 in the Riven Series but it can certainly be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone.
Huey and Felix are amazing characters who have many issues to overcome before they can open their hearts to each other and this is their love story. I say love story but for this was more of a journey and it was a journey I was happy to be on because this book has all the feels, it’s romantic, it has the perfect mix of passion and angst, it has characters you can’t help loving and it has a HEA, what more can you ask for. I’m looking forward to catching up on  the previous books in this series as well as what’s next in the Riven series.
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I really enjoyed this- the whole series, actually. Roan Parrish has an amazing ability to focus in on the details of feelings and character that make the stories feel incredibly real; while at the same time, leaving much room for the imagination. I found Huey and Felix fascinating in their difficult struggles to find each other and more importantly, themselves. The interactions with 'the crew' from the previous books was just icing on the cake. (Though each book reads completely as a standalone as well.) Will more adventures follow?

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Huey and Felix have been used to taking care of others for a long time. For Huey, a strict schedule and the help he provides to recovering addicts, has been the key to stay out of his own addiction. For Felix, being the head of the family and giving his siblings and mother whatever they need, has being his whole life. When they meet each other, the emotions between them, start to change the life as they know it. Felix is slowly destroying the wall that Huey had built to hide his emotions away. The fear of change have them struggling and fighting to hold on to each other to get to the happy ending they so desperately need.

I was having a lot of problems getting myself into the story. It took me a lot to get to a point when I was enjoying the book. It was very slow paced, but I don’t think it had something to do with that. I have enjoyed slow paced books. There was something about Huey and Felix’s connection that didn’t quit click at the start. Happily things change, a lot, and I end up loving how they fit each other as a couple.

 What I liked about it was the place when I start, not being able to care for the main characters and how I felt about them when I finish the book. The character development was perfect and it make me get to a point when I love them. It was fantastic to see the struggles each of them have and how much it affect the way they interact with each other. The book is full of emotions, which makes it a bit angsty at times, something I always appreciate in a book. The romance between them start very quickly, but getting to a moment when I actually believe they love each other, took a while. I really enjoyed the journey.

 Even with the few issues I had, I liked reading the book a lot. Readers who like books with a lot of emotions and a bit of angst might be able to like it.
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I really enjoyed reading the story of Huey and Felix. Both of them had their own issues to overcome. And with the help of each other, they did just that. This was another emotional story as both Huey and Felix worked through their past. I loved how all the other characters from the first two books made appearances. I love reading Roan Parrish books. They bring out all the right feelings of a great romance.
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I rounded my rating from a 3.5 up to 4 stars because the overall quality of this series is 4 star worthy.

This third installment in the Riven series features Huey, a narcotics anonymous sponsor who once served as a sponsor for, and is now a good friend of, Caleb from book 1. In order to stay clean, Huey has put walls around his life in the form of intense structure. He follows his schedule and rarely deviates from it until he meets Felix. Felix is the opposite of everything Huey is and he challenges Huey to embrace his softer side. 

The writing is excellent and the story, while less intense than the other two books, still has some of the angst and inner turmoil that seems to be a hallmark of Roan Parrish books. I've read a couple of other reviews of this book and it seems about 50/50 on whether readers didn't care for Huey or didn't care for Felix. For me, Felix just wasn't my cup of tea. I like the idea that a male (regardless of sexual preference) does not have to be macho, 6-pack abs, I never cry or show emotion type of character, BUT, I am not really a fan of needy characters. Felix was just too needy for me and came off whiny. I think Felix is a large part of why this book, while good, is my least favorite. I think Theo from book 1 was a better example of someone who is soft, emotional, loving, but in a way that still showed strength. 

Overall thoughts on the series:
Book 2, followed very closely by book 1, is my favorite. Full disclosure, I may have book 2 ranked slightly ahead of book 1 because I read book 2 first and fell in love with the writing and characters. I think this is a really good series if you like M/M and want your HEA with a good serving of angst and issues along the way. These books are not all puppies and rainbows, but they do show the power and impact love can have on a person's life. 

The adult content (sex scenes) :-) in the books are intense, but because the stories and characters are so strong, it makes the sexual situations feel more like just a part of life/relationships and keeps it from being erotica. But if you blush easily, these may not be the books for you, lol.

If there is a next book, I hope it is about Grin from book 2.
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The great storyline and the wonderfully created characters kept me totally engaged as I turned each and every page of this well written book! I was so engrossed in this story that I read this book in one sitting!
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5.0 out of 5 starsGreat continuation of an amazing series
This book. I love the differences between Huey and Felix. It shouldn't work between them but it absolutely does! They have quite a way to go to get there but they do eventually. I absolutely loved how the whole crew of friends from the previous books is there to support them, to give them a nudge into the right direction.
Such a great series!
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Raze was an odd read for me compared to other books by this author. While it was an enjoyable read, there was a disconnect between me and these characters that I still can't put my finger on. I've always loved the way Roan portrays her characters - with amazing depth and nuance, and honesty in their growth.  Huey and Felix in Raze were no different, but I didn't really love them. So reading their story became more of a study on character development rather than a sweep-me-off-my-feet romance. Would still recommend if you've read the first two in this beautifully written series.
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I found Felix to be selfless to the point of being self detrimental and self sacrificing, needy, and insecure. Huey was brusque,  closed off, compartmentalized feelings/emotions,  and a heart of gold. I liked that Theo and Caleb were supportive and protective of their friend Huey. It was good to see Huey grow and not need all the crutches in his life ( he over extended to keep from temptations). Now he found better outlets. The ah ha moment for Huey was like opening a door and giving him the secrets within.  I loved the self healing and support Huey took on. .Great ending.
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Huey’s life is all about structure and routine. He found it necessary in the early days of his recovery from addition and now it’s so ingrained he’s afraid to let go of his routines. He runs his bar, he sponsors others in recovery, he goes to the gym and the grocery store. Every minute is accounted for and he clings to that structure, never allowing anyone to get too close even though he’s lonely.

Felix shouldered a lot of responsibility even from a young age. Working while in high school to help support his family, taking care of his younger siblings, getting dinner on the table, helping with homework, and generally being a second parent while his mother worked long hours. Working a dead-end job and feeling unfulfilled, Felix longs for more, both professionally and personally. 

I loved seeing these two special people come together – slowly, haltingly - both a little unsure how to proceed. Huey, shut off from everyone for so long, was like a rusty hinge, long neglected and in need of care and attention. Felix was much more open about what he wanted and so willing to put himself out there. He was completely vulnerable but brave enough to pursue Huey and make his feelings known. He was so accustomed to taking care of everyone around him and he craved having someone put him first for once. Watching as he pushed past his uncertainty and told Huey what he wanted and needed… I wanted to simultaneously hug him and cheer for him. 

At first glance, Huey and Felix may have appeared to be polar opposites, but where it counted they really wanted the same things: love and acceptance and that special person who allowed them to lay down their burdens and just be. And I enjoyed every minute of their journey to finding that in each other. Parrish managed to create two characters I loved and pulled for and she grounded their story in reality without unnecessary drama.

Raze was a quiet story, very much character-driven, with a focus on personal growth and navigating a new relationship. I loved the focus on building a partnership, learning to communicate in a healthy way, and the respect and support shown within the relationship. Raze is the third book in Parrish’s Riven series but each can be read as a standalone. I had no problem immersing myself into Huey and Felix’s story and appreciated the bits of background given without feeling bogged down by too much of it. If you’re looking for a romance that’s heavy on character growth and full of emotion, you won’t go wrong with Raze.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in this series, but for some reason, I was hesitant about starting this one. I really should know better by now that I'm in good hands with Roan Parrish's writing. Like so many of her books, this one had me feeling all the feels. I'm so glad I didn't have an audience when reading some parts because I can't be certain I wasn't ugly crying. Okay, I wasn't crying that hard, but still. The feels. I felt them.

Both MCs were very relatable, lovable, and perfectly imperfect. The solution both of them found to handling the uncertainties and unsteadiness of their lives was in devoting their time to helping others. Felix, as he was growing up, by taking care of his siblings while his single mother was at work which left him feeling aimless by the time he reached his mid-20s. Dane (Huey) by being a sponsor to countless sponsees, running a bar, and strictly adhering to his daily schedule. Both are really good at avoiding the root causes of their anxieties, struggles, and unhappiness by focusing their attention on other people. I appreciated as each of them navigated their feelings and started working to address their own issues, neither of them tries to be the other's savior. Instead, they provide the emotional support and solid ground the other needs to do the tough work of self-improvement.

Roan's writing is absolutely gorgeous, and many passages left me in self-reflection regarding how, as someone who self-describes herself as a "helper," what I'm doing is actually helping or hindering the people I'm aiming to serve, or keeping me from my own self-care. I haven't related so deeply to MCs (particularly Felix) in a really long time. I wanted to bear hug both of them so much throughout this book.

The only thing that kept me from giving this book a 5 was that I felt like the last 25% was just... dragging... on... forever... The big emotional climax of the book happened at about 75%, so the rest of the book felt like one really long epilogue.

But I still loved this book.
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4.5 Stars

Roan Parrish is such a talent, you guys, and this series is absolutely some of her best work. Here’s a secret, though…I have yet to read Riven, the title book in the series. *gasp* It’s ok, though. Everybody stay loose. I promise I’m going to get to it ASAP. Because as much as Rend made me want to go back and read Theo and Caleb’s story, Raze, the latest addition to the series, made me want to read it even more. Theo and Caleb once again have fantastic and important cameos in Raze, as do Rhys and Matt. In fact, I don’t think Parrish could have told Huey and Felix’s story without the help of the rest of the gang. It’s great when the supporting cast is such an integral part of the book; I love seeing authors weave all the lives together. BUT the MCs are still the stars, so let’s get back to Huey and Felix…

Huey was my favorite. I loved Felix too, of course, but I ADORED Huey. I felt such strong emotions for him throughout the story. I wanted to hug him, and cheer for him, and for him to finally see that he was worthy of having an amazing life. That the lonely existence he had resigned himself to wasn’t his only option. Up to this point, his entire life has consisted of strictly adhering to his routine: running the bar, going to the gym, grocery shopping, being there 24/7 for his sponsees, and repeat. He hasn’t had a relationship for seven years. Seven. Years. So, the instant attraction that he feels for Felix is like a gut punch, and when Huey begins to crave Felix’s touch and his company, it’s terrifying.

Felix doesn’t have much more recent experience with relationships than Huey does. His time is spent at work, or with his sister and best friend, Sofia, or with his family. At one point in the book, Felix suggests to Huey that he may have a bit of a martyr complex, and while Felix doesn’t take care of everyone around him to be a martyr, necessarily, he has spent most of his life putting everyone else first. He started helping his mom take care of the house and his younger siblings at a young age, and genuinely loves helping provide for his family—but, it didn’t allow for much time to think about what he wanted for his own future. Felix is a complete and total love, but his neediness and tendency to whine was a bit OTT at times. I realize he was written that way on purpose, and that he owned the behavior on page a couple of times…but, it was hard to get past in a few scenes. That being said, I loved his spirit and what a beautiful, genuine person he was. And, I was so sad when his relationship with Sofia began changing. Parrish did an excellent job with building their relationship. Felix’s sadness about Sofia all of a sudden being absent from his life was so palpable and heart-breaking.

As much as I love the guys individually, however, they were perhaps even better together. 😊 Either one of them could level the other with something as simple as a hug, and their dynamic in bed was beyond intense. I loved how they owned up to their mistakes and gave each other the space to grow. They were supportive of each other’s dreams, and protective of each other’s hearts. I loved how Huey was outraged on Felix’s behalf about Sof’s behavior and was ready to go to bat for him. And, I loved how even when Felix was being a brat, Huey knew his heart was in the right place.

There were a ton of little touches that made this such a good read. And, going back to having not read Riven, it’s actually a testament to how well the books stand alone that I could feel such a strong connection to both the second and third books without ever having read the first. So, if you were planning to hold off on Raze because you haven’t read the other books, I say don’t! You can honestly read them in any order—just make sure you read them.

Reviewed by Jules
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Dear Roan Parrish, 

Why did this novel make me tear up? Gah. The story of Dane and Felix just touched my heart in such lovely and painful ways. I truly felt for Dane and Felix and the way they felt so lonely and lost at times. Their pain felt like my pain and their successes filled me with so much hope. 

I loved how openly vulnerable Felix was and how Dane's vulnerability felt so different and yet was so very evident. I loved how messed up they were and how they worked it out. I loved how Felix's verbosity played off of Dane's stoicism. (Though as I was reading I absolutely felt with certainty that some would strongly dislike either Felix or Dane because of their traits--I liked it).

I loved the secondary characters and their sage advice. 

I liked the resolution and HEA and yet I still wanted more because I wasn't ready to be done with them, though I liked our last look at them...for now?
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