Leah Raeder, Bookgasm Queen
I’m back! And so is the extremely talented USA Today bestselling New Adult author, Leah Raeder. Armed with another thought-provoking dark and sexy read that will leave your head spinning and craving for more of her words. Black Iris was released on April 28th to much anticipation from the literary community and I had the pleasure to read it prior to its release. Ms. Raeder burst onto the literary scene with her debut novel Unteachable back in 2013 as an indie author and was later signed in a two book deal by traditional publisher, Atria Books a division of Simon and Schuster. Unteachable is an exquisitely written novel about the taboo topic of teacher-student romance that read like a swelling symphony with a crescendo leading up to a beautiful disaster. Known for her “lyrical prose”, Raeder tackles challenging topics and delivers them with such finesse that you can’t help but embrace her story telling style. Check out the blurbs for Unteachable and Black Iris along with my review.
BLURB: Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.
But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.
When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.
That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.
Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.
Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script.
You can purchase your copy here.
BLURB: The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.
It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.
If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.
She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.
But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.
Which was the plan all along.
Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.
She’s going to show them all.
You can purchase your copy here.
ARC provided by Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
*4.5 “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” Stars*
Black Iris, Leah Raeder’s follow-up to her exquisitely written debut novel Unteachable , is literary wordgasm. It is a string of dreamlike whimsical metaphors woven within a tale of deceit, lust, love and revenge. Told in a Memento style narrative, events from the previous and current year create a tapestry of sweet chaos that comes full circle in a bright and colorful way.
Delaney Keating is not your typical angst-ridden teenager with a drug problem. Sure, both prescription drugs and illegal narcotics are often abused by hormone raging curious teens looking to experiment and flirt with the ludicrous ideal of “live fast die young” they seem too eager to embrace…not her. Laney takes it up several notches by breaking away from the crowd and standing her ground, refusing to bow down. Born into a family with a mentally ill mother suffering from bipolar disorder, the roller coaster of insanity she’s endured throughout her formative years have only served to show what her future might hold. Convinced that she carries her mother’s darkness inside, the only thing that keeps her semi grounded is her younger brother Donnie. He’s her sunlight at the end of the hell hole and silver lining. It’s tough to be positive when you’re your mother’s daughter, her black iris. Armed with self medicating heady pill cocktails, she’s a girl with a plan, an obsession and the grit to see it through with a little help from her friends.
Enter Armin Farhoudi and Blythe McKinley, her beautiful friends and chess pieces in a twisted game they unknowingly play. Armin with his handsome face and caring ways is for all intents and purposes her savior. Blythe on the other hand, with her soft skin and wickedness is like a siren call to her body and soul. Together they form a love triangle with more sharp edges than love.
Everyone plays a part in her master plan to bring down those who have judged or ridiculed her for staying true to herself. She’s not someone you can label or bully into joining the Rainbow Alliance. Laney is neither bi nor gay but a in a class of her own…quantum.
The story of Delaney Keating is one that will resonate with many readers. The universal concept of sexuality is addressed in a way that will make you reflect on societal views of gender roles and how not everyone can fit the cookie cutter preset molds. Living in a world where the masses are instilled a herd mentality and taught to fear and even hate what we don’t understand; Black Iris delves into a girl’s struggle that others have experienced. What happens when someone is pushed so close to the edge that they welcome the descent into madness? She’ll show them.