Black Iris Paperback – 7 May 2015
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Praise for Black Iris:
"Like an afternoon special on bullying gone impossibly dark, Raeder's dizzyingly intense, drug-addicted queer teenage revenge fantasy takes its reader on a sexy, bloody journey of pure emotion...A twisting timeline dancing over a year's events makes every moment seem both immediate and angrily steeped in memory. Major themes include depression, mania, and the ways that the use and abuse of drugs affect access to the reality of self and the world's essential nature; but the soul-searching always comes in the context of action,everyone around hit by the shrapnel of exploding feelings. This is an exhilarating ride for our inner underdog, craving a taste of what it would feel like to just get back at everyone if we were reckless enough not to care about the consequences." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"Raeder is a true, original talent." (Jennifer L. Armentrout #1 New York Times bestselling author)
"Risky, brave, bold. Heart-breaking, captivating, and sensual. There aren’t enough words to describe this suspenseful powerhouse of a novel. Raeder’s gorgeous prose and raw characters will keep you flipping to the very end. Black Iris is one of the best books I’ve read this year."
"Intense and visceral, Black Iris is as sharp as a knife and beats with a heart that is double-edged and dangerous." (Lauren Blakely New York Times bestselling author)
"Provocative, seductive, and skillfully written, Black Iris is a story that stands out from the crowd." (K.A. Tucker USA Today Bestselling Author)
"Raeder masterfully weaves a dark, twisted, dangerously sexy quest for revenge with a raw, honest search for kinship and self-acceptance. Black Iris demands your attention, your heart, and an immediate reread." (Dahlia Adler author of Last Will and Testament)
"Lyrical, vivid, and poignant, Unteachable is one of best forbidden romances I've ever read." (Lauren Blakely New York Times bestselling author)
"Unteachable infuses the complicated dynamics of forbidden sexual tension and untamed passion, all while managing to break your heart. Easily one of my favorite reads." (Gail McHugh New York Times bestselling author)
"With lush, haunting prose, deft storytelling and scorching sensuality, Leah Raeder weaves a love story that obliterates convention. The best book I’ve read this year." (M. Pierce bestselling author of the Night Owl Trilogy)
"Leah Raeder's writing is skillful and stunning. Unteachable is one of the most beautifully powerful stories of forbidden love that I have ever read." (Mia Sheridan bestselling author of Archer's Voice)
“Equally wicked as it is beautiful. This story is one of the best reads I've read to date. My book hangover afterward was real. It honestly opened my eyes to all things LGBTQIA+ and the importance of treating mental illness. Overall a very note-worthy read that everyone should digest at least once.” (Book Baristas)
Praise for Cam Girl:
“Raeder’s beautifully broken characters are so full of life that they leap off the page and demand that the reader pay attention to them…it’s a must read for anyone wanting a sexy deep dive into a tangled psyche and a difficult life.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"Cam Girl is a beautiful exploration of gender and sexuality that begs readers to question how well we know those closest to us, including ourselves. Raeder's trademark sensual lyricism is in full effect here, but it's the fraught yet tender relationship between Vada and Ellis that will have you glued to the pages until the oh-so-perfect ending." (Dahlia Adler, author of UNDER THE LIGHTS)
“Raeder keeps the action moving as readers try to figure out the dual mysteries—what happened on the road that night, and who is Blue?" (Booklist)
“Gripping, emotional, relatable, and yes, romantic (in all the best ways) read. Whatever Raeder writes, I will always want to read and recommend.” (RT Magazine)
“Raeder’s best book yet. It has the grit, language, and heat you’d expect, but there’s more. Raeder has clearly dug down and bled and studied the mirror to reveal the ugliest and most beautiful parts of herself, and human nature. CAM GIRL is a rich and unflinching narrative.” (Emery Lord, author of Open Road Summer)
About the Author
Aside from writing and reading, Leah Raeder enjoys video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives in Chicago. Visit her at LeahRaeder.com.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I read and loved Unteachable. I loved Leah Raeder's descriptive writing style. So I knew I wanted to read Black Iris. It's dark and full of suspense, I wasn't sure where I was being led by the story. I was worried how far the revenge and hate Laney felt would take her. I'm not sure I'd describe the story as romance - there's love, wild and crazy and almost vicious - it's not a tender love. This is not my typical book - normally I read m/f. This book tackles the bigotry suffered in non standard relationships, and fights back. But Laney doesn't want to be boxed in by a label of gay, or straight or bi - "I fall in love with minds, not genders or body parts." I thought that was a brilliant way of putting it.
The story jumps back and forth in time, which initially I found a little confusing, but it works with the unfurling of the story - keeping suspense, and never quite getting the whole picture to Laney' s plan, only crumbs to piece together. And that plan involved a lot of setting up. And Laney was not going to deviate from it.
Laney, Blyth and Armin are not 'good people' - they have a darkness inside. Revenge, hate, mania, drug abuse - it doesn't make for characters you 'love' - yet you still feel for them, for decisions made, and events that follow. This book still had me in tears for some of the things the characters went through.
Another excellent book by Leah Raeder, I look forward to her next novel.
This is about a girl who is the ultimate unlikeable heroine: a nasty, viscous, take-no-prisoners monster who is only interested in getting what she wants. And she's amazing. I looove her.
The writing in this book is so thick and visceral it was at times exhaustingly intense to read. It was refreshingly different and exactly what I wanted it to be, in the best way.
At times I wasn't entirely convinced by the relationships between Reese and Armin and Reese and Blythe- the timeline is very back and forth, and I felt like huge important moments were skipped and implied. A lot of plot relies on how madly in love the characters are, but I think the book could have worked harder to show us that, rather than just telling us about it. Although this definitely isn't a romance so that could usually be forgiven, it was very intrinsic and necessary to the plot that they were in love.
I had some issues with the ending too- it was a good example of an unreliable narrator, but some of the twists in the plot seemed a little too contrived, and weren't supported by some of the characterisations, to me.
Despire the issues the story was extremely well executed, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to everyone I know. Overall I loved this book, and will be eagerly awaiting more of Raeder's books.
The Reasons for the 1*:
1. Black Iris perhaps would do better if it was aimed at a different demographic. I'm a hetero$exual female and if I read alternative "love" stories, then I'd rather go for high-brow authors e.g. Bidisha
2. The writing style in this novel was a fatalistic, high flatulence, overly melodramatic, pretentious mess. It also switched from different timelines without any clarity. Laney, the plucky heroine, was behaving like those fatalistic Victorian heroines who IS SO BROKEN BLAH BLAH
3. It says it's a thriller, but then it falls flats for a thriller. It suffers a huge identity crisis throughout it's execution because it dedicates itself to being a coming-of-age, plus semi-alternative-love-story-ish, a mission statement regarding the LGBT community, feminism and everything else politically out there. It appeared to forget the plot along the way.
4. The MC, Laney, is so pathetic!!! A BOOHOO I'M SO BROKEN PRINCESS.
Leah Reader's first heroine in Unteachable was a fighter. Laney imitates that fighting spirit by being judgemental, self-righteous and intolerant of others. She claims to want people to be accepting (the whole book is a mission statement asking people to be accepting) but then she goes about judging others the WHOLE time just because BOOHOO they aren't as open to substance abuse and sleeping around (you do know that rubber doesn't protect you 100% from STIs). She judges her best friend for $lu*t-shaming her - errr no sweety, not everyone is keen to chill with people who go about trying to destroy themselves and call it Life. Basically you have to conform to her way of thinking.
5. DNF - I just got bored. Read the beginning, middle and end, then requested a refund.