Friday, April 24, 2015

Black Iris by Leah Raeder

by Leah Raeder





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.

“Is this a love story or a hate story?” 

What the heck did I just read? I’m confused, emotionally spent and in awe of the madness Leah Raeder created with this one. Unteachable was one of my favorite reads last year, so I was super excited to get my hands on Black Iris early. I have to warn you, this is a totally different experience. It’s nothing like Unteachable, other than the all-consuming affect of her words, so be prepared. 

Don’t let the flower on the cover fool you, there isn’t anything pretty about this story. It’s a shit-storm of broken hearts, betrayal and depression that’s unrelenting from start to finish. It’s a story focused on a need for revenge so fierce it rots your soul and claims your entire existence. It really messed with my head in a big way. There were times that I felt for Laney and others where I really couldn't stand her. She was just so manipulative and consumed by her need to get back at those that wronged her. But in a sick and twisted way, her actions almost felt justified.

“There is a terrible thing tucked inside me raring to lunge forth into the light. And I’m just waiting for that perfect moment. Just waiting. Just waiting.” 

In the beginning of the story, we are warned that Laney isn’t going to redeem herself and find that elusive happy ending that makes her magically change who she is. There was something in me that still sort of expected that to happen though. Maybe because it’s a constant occurrence throughout this genre. Authors filling our minds with broken girls that find the perfect manwhore to paint everything perfect. I think Leah Raeder was successful in going against the norm, giving us something unique, even if it was a total find-fuck. I don’t know what that says about me, but I enjoyed the ride.

“I never wanted to be saved. I wanted someone to follow me down into the darkness. To hold my hand as I fell.” 

There is something about how she puts words together that paints such a vivid and beautiful story. Even if the characters are warped and constantly bashing you over the head with their damage. Her writing grabbed me and didn't let go until the very end. Leaving me to count down the days until I can get my next Raeder fix.

4/5 Fangs 
*ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

“There is a terrible thing tucked inside me raring to lunge forth into the light.  And I’m just waiting for that perfect moment.  Just waiting.  Just waiting.”

I’m not sure how I feel.  I’m not sure what I read.  I do know that I enjoyed every single minute of it.  BLACK IRIS was a total mind-fuck!

From the very beginning the main character states she won’t be a redeemable character… and she’s not.  Laney has borderline personality disorder.  She’s intense, vindictive, and vengeful.  Every decision and move she makes is calculated.  When she meets her new friends Armin and Blythe things slowly begin to come together.

Armin put his mouth to my ear.  “When you touch me,” he breathed, “it feels so cold.  As if you’re touching a chess piece, thinking about your next move.”

So lets stop talking about the plot before I spoil it.  I want to talk about the writing.  Holy hell…  Leah Raeder is a master writer! The book flowed beautifully despite some of the tougher topics.  I was on the edge of my seat wondering what the hell is going on until the very last page.  And even after I finished I had to think about what I just read. 

BLACK IRIS isn’t your typical New Adult, romance love story.  It’s gritty and raw.  It makes you think.  BLACK IRIS isn’t for everyone, but everyone should read it!

“This is dangerous.  Me and you.  We’re pulling each other over the edge.”

“Let go, Laney.  Falling feels amazing.”

“Right until you hit the ground.”

4/5 Fangs 
*ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. Visit her at

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