Book Rewind · Review: Bad Romeo (Starcrossed #1) by Leisa Rayven
For today’s Book Rewind we are reviewing Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven, which was originally published in December of 2014. The entire series is available now and we will be posting my reviews of the next two books in the upcoming weeks!
Book Rewind is a meme where we review a backlist title to distinguish reviewed books that are in no way a new release. We noticed we tend to review almost all new or newly released books and wanted to have a feature to spotlight some older books that we either just read or are just reviewing because we never got around to it, or possibly didn’t blog back then! This meme will be posted on Thursdays as a ‘Throwback Thursday’ kind of deal.
We totally encourage others to participate in the Book Rewind Review meme! Backlist titles need love too! Feel free to use our banner, or make your own, and be sure to link back to our page and tag us on social media so we can help promote your posts too!
Category: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication: December 23rd, 2014; St. Martin’s Griffin
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan’s romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.
Cast as romantic leads once again, they’re forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they’ll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks.
* This review was originally published on my now defunct blog back in December of 2014, and has since been edited.
I’m having a really hard time starting this review, because if you’ve know me for a while (years), you know what was and still is my favorite fanfiction ever. Yes, while I love Dusty with all my heart, it isn’t my very favorite. It was another tiny piece, called The Diva Diaries. I found it via tumblr and it captured me from the very first chapter, back in 2012. Now, 2 years later I can finally hold it in my hands. Words can’t describe how proud I am of Leisa and what her debut novel has accomplished.
Bad Romeo is the first book in the Starcrossed series and follows Cassie Taylor and Ethan Holt. It’s a kind of a second chance romance. Ethan and Cassie met in a prestigious drama school and instantly have this love-hate kind of friendship, and are cast in Romeo & Juliet. The story is told from Cassie’s point of view and switches between this timeline – the past – and the present; where Cassie and Ethan are once again, cast together in a Broadway show which they have to play lovers in. I am trying to stay away from spoilers because nobody likes them. You have to just read it to know just how GOOD it is. It’s really hard to not gush about it, honestly, I could talk for hours about how much I loved it. It might be embarrassing if I were to confess how many times I’ve already read it.
In the past, Cassie and Ethan – although they have an instant chemistry that’s hot as hell to read – are trying to be friends but their mutual attraction gets in the way – more often than not. The past timeline tells their first semester in drama school and how their relationship develops throughout it. The present is about the first few weeks of their play’s rehearsal, and how Ethan tries to win back Cassie’s heart.
The switch between the timelines is not confusing at all, it’s very easy to read. If you look really closely at Ethan and Cassie through the book, you can see that their roles are kind of reversed in both timelines. In the past, Cassie is the more persistent one who wants to try something with Ethan, while Ethan is the one who is disillusioned and feels ruined. In the present, their roles are Cassie is the resigned one, while Ethan is the persistent and reformed guy. This first book is focusing more on their past and shows us their history, while the second book – in my opinion – will be more about their present and how they can overcome their problems.
Past-Cassie is a very sweet girl. I love her sarcastic and outgoing nature and how she isn’t just your typical shy virgin. She’s the one constantly talking about and wanting sex and the way she does is really really funny. I love how her character.
Present-Cassie is still sweet and funny on the inside, but she doesn’t really show it anymore. She is heartbroken and jaded, and all her pain is caused by Ethan. She hasn’t been able to forget their past and leave it all behind and that’s why she is unable to just forgive to Ethan.
Past-Ethan isn’t your typical bad boy, even though you would think he is. Yes, he’s kind of brooding and he’s the dream guy who isn’t approachable by anyone, but he isn’t what you expect. He isn’t romantic but he has his reasons for his actions and why he is the way he is.
Present-Ethan is what he should have been in the past and everything Cassie wanted him to be. He is attentive and sweet, caring and loving. Years of therapy helped him overstep his past bad experiences and he is an all-renewed soul on the inside but the same old hottie on the outside.
The chemistry in Bad Romeo is off the charts. Both in the past and present story lines, they are like a cat and a dog, either fighting or being all cute and cuddly. You can’t help but be drawn to their tension. It’s fascinating, how they can hide their feelings both in the past and present and how they can just switch on everything when they are on-stage. They have this pull between them that works perfectly to their advance as actors but hard to resist when off-stage. And they try to resist, but it can’t be long before they succumb to their attraction.
I love all the minor characters – friends, family, classmates – too. They are funny and perfect companion to Cassie and Ethan. They are there when needed, and just add more to the story. Each of them has their own purposes, whether to steer Cassie in the right way or trigger Ethan to confess his feelings.
While I gave it five stars, I was seriously thinking about a 4.5 and I have a reason for it. As I mentioned in the beginning, I read this story before. You could say that was a draft. But there were parts in that draft, that didn’t make it into the final book and some of those were my favorites. I was seriously missing my one favorite scene from the past and one from the present. Initially, they didn’t really add anything more into the book, they weren’t major – that’s why I decided it deserves the five stars – but I re-read that scene like a hundred times before.
Bad Romeo is equal part angsty, romantic, funny, sexy, and sweet. You can find everything in this book you are looking for. This is the book that you will fall in love and will keep you up at night, because you just can’t put it down. The writing is outstanding and unique; Bad Romeo isn’t the only story I’ve read from Leisa and everything she writes is perfect. Her style is flowing and refreshing. I bet if she wrote a freaking phone book it would be a hit, too. In this world of similar styles and overused phrases, Leisa’s writing is like stepping into a brand-new world of awesomeness. She long ago moved up on my list of ‘authors-I’ll-buy-anything-from’.
Bad Romeo was one of my top reads of 2014! I can’t wait for Broken Juliet, the second book. I hope I convinced you to read this book and you’ll pick it up. If you have already read it, comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it too!
* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way influenced my thoughts on the book.