Wednesday, August 8, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

Title: Bad Romeo
Author: Leisa Rayven
Series? Yes, the first in the Starcrossed trilogy
Pages: 417
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: I bought Bad Romeo via BookOutlet.
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.
Bad Romeo is a standout in the new adult novels I have read. The two different timelines interact perfectly, and the tension between Cassie and Ethan is amazing. However, the were instances where I found it hard to empahthize with Ethan.

My favorite thing about Bad Romeo was the alternate timelines. We see Cassie and Ethan during their first year at a university for acting, and then seven years later. From the get-go, we know that Ethan broke Cassie's heart, and their feelings resurface after they have to act together in a new play. Leisa Rayven does an amazing job showing parallels from their relationship in the past to their present. Not only do we learn more about the characters by seeing them seven years earlier, we understand what made Cassie and Ethan have such strong feelings - whether or love, hate, or hurt - towards each other in the present. In between the seven years, Cassie and Ethan's roles in their relationships have flipped. Before, Ethan was very much closed off and hesitant to start a relationship, and in the present, Cassie is wary of trusting Ethan and being vulnerable. I loved seeing these roles flipped! By having flipped these roles for the present, the magnitude of their relationship was convincing.

Cassie and Ethan's relationship, both past and present, was written so well in terms of sexual tension! Sometimes I read a romance, and I just don't think that the sexual tension is there. BOY was it there in Bad Romeo. In the past, Cassie wants to have sex with Ethan, but for some reason (that we later learn), he is hesitant. Even though they aren't in a relationship, Cassie and Ethan do get in some comprising positions as they are playing the leads in Romeo & Juliett. This leads to some very sexy scenes where Cassie and Ethan attempt to deny their attraction.

As the book follows two different timelines, we see Cassie in her first year at college, falling in love with Ethan. Their relationship is tumultuous, and Ethan makes several decisions that I do not agree with. Though it is later revealed why he keeps rejecting Cassie, I thought it was a little too late. Just because he has had a rough past with relationships doesn't mean he gets a free pass for being an asshole. Cassie's loyalty and dedication to Ethan is admirable, but sometimes I just wanted her to walk away from him. Though I rooted for them at the end of the day, there were times I questioned if I should root for them.

  I have two other small complaints, but these didn't affect my rating in any way. First, is the year of the past chapters. The chapters that are set in the past are from seven years ago. As a reader, I assumed that the Cassie/Ethan break up that was mentioned time and time again would happen in these past chapters. However, it is later revealed that they broke up three years ago. I liked seeing them meet and the start of their relationship, I was a bit confused as to why we didn't see their final break up, if that's the reason they have such a strained relationship in the present. Another small complaint I have is also about the "past" chapters. From my point of view, the Cassie/Ethan relationship that we see in the past is unhealthy and toxic. When reading the present chapters, it seems like Cassie and Ethan agree. I just found it a bit weird that we were reading the "past" chapters and supposed to hope for them to get together, when in the present, it is acknowledged that their past relationship was unhealthy. 

Despite my problems with Bad Romeo, I still would recommend the book. The past and present timelines weave so well together, and it makes the book much more addictive. I was so invested in both plot lines, and the effects Cassie and Ethan had on each other are apparent. Their past relationship might not be healthy, but their present selves seem  much more mature. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, whenever that may be. 

With that, I give Bad Romeo
4 out of 5 Flowers!


  1. A few years ago when this came out I had a friend who was desperate for me to read it. She loooved it and was certain I would too. And yet it’s still sitting on my shelf unread. Story of my life. LOL I find it hard to really get behind characters and pull for their HEA when I’m simultaneously questioning if they *should* be together. Even so, I’m glad this one was an overall hit for you. And hopefully you can get to the next one soon!

    1. Haha, that is the story of my life as well! I have so many books that have just been sitting on my shelf for years. It's about time to go through my shevles and get rid of some books! I did have a hard time shipping the characters in the "past" chapters, but they seemed much more healthy in the "present" chapters! Hopefully! I don't buy books often, but it looks like I might have to buy the sequels!