Release Day Post and Reviews: Bad Romeo: Leisa Rayven

Bad Romeo (The Starcrossed Series #1)
Leisa Rayven
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Expected December 23, 2014

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.

Teasers from author's Facebook page

Cassie Taylor is about to face the man she wants to hate, who she is afraid to see again, but at the same time has missed terribly...Ethan Holt...the one man who she loved and broke her heart in college. They were two theater students who met, fought, fussed, sparked, and fell for each other. Their interactions were volatile from the moment they met. Their journey together was full of intense attraction, sexual tension, and fight or flight responses. Holt had up big walls. He was moody, closed off, and strived to be unemotional. Cassie was sweet, insecure, emotional, and frustrated. But she was also feisty and headstrong. They didn't want to want each other, but could only resist so long.

We see their relationship through Cassie's eyes in present, past, and diary entries. So in the past they are dealing with the initial antagonistic reactions and building of a reluctant friendship/relationship that they can't seem to avoid, and in present we are seeing the fall out and broken hearts. She can't stand to be in the same room with him, but he is determined to be heard and be present. And they are once again on stage together where they can't hide their chemistry,  just like they were when they finally gave in the first time. 

Holt was an enigma. He was the charismatic, bad boy. He was rude, intense, argumentative, and fought emotional or physical entanglements. Slowly we were given glimpses into why he acted the way he did. We could see he has needs, wants, and feelings but he tried so hard to lock them down. He frustrated me as much as he did Cassie, but at the same time I loved him and wanted to fix him.

Cassie was trying to live her own life out of her parent's supervision, experience new things, gain confidence, and a backbone. She had a need to be liked and fit in. In some ways, Holt helped her and in other ways he pushed her away. She was often confused, disappointed, and hurt. But she also challenged him and was determined to see the real Holt he did not share with others.

Their connection was so deep and their spark so hot that they had the potential to ruin each other or be the best thing ever. Unfortunately they also had a lot of ups and downs. It was a dramatic dance of lust, longing, hate, and love. It was a fight for control, while the other made them lose it. It was extreme need tempered by complete fear of hurt and rejection that caused a self fulfilling prophecy of pain and distance. 

I felt every emotion. It was raw, powerful, humorous, tense, passionate and maddening. I loved their sparring, flirting and chemistry. Even though I was completely attached to the characters, I still wanted to dig into his head and see why he held back and what haunted him. I did love the small glimpses of his psyche in the form of emails. 

It was easy to follow along between the past and present. It was interesting to see the role reversal during the time frames. The changes of one character being emotionally open while the other is jaded and broken. In the past he was the one locked down by fear, but in the present she has been burned and afraid to be hurt again. Initially she was the one who would not give up, but in the present it is him that is determined to right his wrongs. They were two people destined to be together, but not always on the same page at the same time. They were riddled by doubts and fears, but unable to stop the intense chemistry, pull, and feelings, and unable to ever really fully let go. But they also had so many misunderstandings, miscommunication, fears, and feelings left unsaid.

These two characters were so well developed, so flawed and deep, and so likable yet frustrating. They went through so many emotional changes throughout the course of the book. The intricacies and balance of their fragile relationship were tested so much, but they were one of those couples that had to walk a fine line between all or nothing. They never did well in the murky middle ground. But doubts and insecurities sometimes pushed them too much and at varying times the other had to the the one to remind them how special their chemistry and connection was. I was so invested in them and their story and was sad to get the last page. Although it left off at a good place, I desperately wanted to be able to turn the page and cannot wait for the conclusion in Broken Juliet (Please let us have Holt's Point of view).

This is a fantastic debut for Lisa Reyvan. It weaves a complicated story over a six year period seamlessly with life imitating art. I am not usually a big Shakespeare fan, but this book definitely has the star crossed lovers vibe and the plays just added more to their connection and passion. It has intriguing, multi-faceted, lovable characters and delivers every emotion powerfully. I loved them. I hated them. I got frustrated. I swooned. I laughed. I felt all of the incredible sexual tension and chemistry. I was in anticipation the whole story wanting them to find their happy place where they could just let go and be the couple they had the potential to be.

I enjoyed the quirky side characters especially his sister Elissa (who I hope to see in a future story), Cassie's room mates Ruby and Tristan, and all of their acting friends. They all added depth and humor to surround this amazing, heartfelt, tumultuous love story.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

“A Perfect Romeo is boring. It’s more interesting to watch him struggle with his emotions.”

Cassie Taylor dreams of acting though her parents would rather she pick a law school and more sensible career aspirations. She is a people pleaser and though she would typically submit to her parents’ wishes, she feels strongly enough about her future that she sets her sights on acting school. The only person she doesn’t feel the need to make happy with her choices and actions is Ethan, which from the very first day adds tension and dimension to their relationship that she doesn’t feel with anyone else in her life. 

Ethan Holt is on his last chance audition to The Grove. He is closed off, arrogant, and sees right through Cassie’s personality. But nonetheless, he is drawn to her even as he tries to keep himself from falling for her. 

When they are cast opposite each other in the title roles of Romeo and Juliet, sparks fly on stage and off, but can they find a balance between the sparks and the friendship they both cling to while also working on a performance that could make them stars?

I loved the alternating timelines, with scenes from the present day contrasting with those from six years before. The tension in both timelines remained high throughout, and though the time changes, the arch of the relationship fits well together when bridged as it is. The present day scenes reveal very little of what happened in the past (except for the scars leftover), making those past scenes that much more compelling. 

There is so much built up angst and sexual tension, both in the past and present, that I couldn’t help but read this was quickly as possible. And it flew. I’ve said recently that I don’t usually like a lot of angst in my reads, but this was an exception to that statement. I didn’t feel the angst, though I recognize it was there, perhaps because of the way the timelines were split. 

Bad Romeo echoes so many aspects of the classic play it contains within. Even the play Ethan and Cassie are working on in the present day scenes contains hints of star-crossed lovers. 

The end shocked me a little bit with where it ended. I really wanted an epilogue, because at that point I was so engrossed in the story I hadn’t realized I was *that* close to the end. But I loved it just the same for it’s abruptness, because just like in a play, when the curtain goes down it is up to the audience to draw the next scene themselves.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Broken Juliet
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Expected April 28, 2015

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Despite destroying Cassie Taylor twice before, Ethan Holt now wants another chance, but how can she possibly take him back knowing it could all go to hell again? And yet, knowing how much she still loves him, how can she not?

Second chances are hard to come by. Third chances, even more so.

Shakespeare once wrote, "The course of true love never did run smooth." Next to that quote, he should have included a picture of Cassie and Ethan.

Don't miss this stunning conclusion to BAD ROMEO!

Leisa Rayven Website/Facebook/Twitter
Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.

Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that’s because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm.

Since then, she’s honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.

These days, playwriting has given way to fiction writing, and Leisa’s debut novel, BAD ROMEO, will be available in a worldwide release through Macmillan Publishing in December 2014.

Leisa lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three cats, and a kangaroo named Howard.

(Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, ladies! I'm beyond honored by your kind words. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review. I hope you both have a wonderful holiday season, and a satisfyingly bookish 2015. :)


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