Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven



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.


Hello beautiful people! It’s manu here, and I’m so happy today because I’m always happy when I find a new book to love, and that book, today, is  Bad Romeo (Starcrossed #1)!

He has one of those faces that stops you when you’re flipping through a magazine. Not textbook handsome, but mesmerizing. Like a book cover that begs you to flip it open and get lost in the story.

This is Rayven’s debut novel, so, unfortunately I have to wait till April 28th *shakes fist in air* (when Broken Juliet Starcrossed #2 comes out) to read more of her books, and how unfair is that? I’m pretty sure I’d read her grocery list in awe. I feel like an addict suddendly left without the object of his addiction. (I’m being dramatic, I know.) But let’s get into the good stuff.

I pause outside the door. I can do this. I can see him and not fall apart. I can. I sigh and press my forehead against the wall. Who the hell am I kidding? Yeah, sure, I can do a passionate play with my ex-lover, who broke my heart not once, but twice. No problem. I bang my head against the wall.
If there were a Nation of Stupid People, I would be their queen.

Cassie Taylor is a stage actress who finally gets into Broadway, cast as the lead role in a romantic play. All is good, expect that the ex-lover-who-broke-her-heart-not-once-but-twice was casted too. She hasn’t seen him in 3 years, and even though she’s been miserable and she’s not even close to being over him, Cassie believes this is something she can do. Cassie is a very strong character, even if she doesn’t seem to see herself as strong, she’s fierce, challenging, and funny. She covers herself with this angry mask but it’s only that, a mask. Truly, she’s a girl who gave her heart to her first love, and got it back broken into pieces.

I pull open the door and stride in. Before I even see him, I can feel him watching me. I resist looking for him because that’s what I want to do, and one thing I’ve learned with Ethan Holt is to push down my natural instincts. Following my gut is how things got screwed up between us. It told me I could have something from him, when in fact he offered me nothing.

Obviously, it’s not easy to trust him now. Ethan seems different, but once you get burned you stay the hell away from fire. I, on the other hand, not knowing what happened, fell completely in love with Ethan (sorry, Cassie, I’m totally on your side, I swear). He’s this adorable brooding, kinda awkward, handsome, incredible actor. He exudes passion on and off stage. I wanted to be mad at him, even before I knew what happened, but it was just impossible.

As I pull out my water bottle, my bag slips off the seat and flops loudly onto the floor. Everyone stops to stare. I grind my teeth when I hear a low chuckle. Screw you, Ethan. Not even going to look at you. I pick up my bag and throw it back on the chair. The chuckle happens again, and I swear to the Almighty God of Justifiable Homicide, I’m going to murder him with my bare hands.

Cassie tries to avoid Ethan and her feelings but she feels his presence before she even sees him. They share a crazy chemistry and, I swear, they could burn the whole world just looking at each other. And, well, they have to kiss, touch, look intensely at each other and put all their emotions out there when they’re on stage. Cassie wants to believe that they can separate the characters they’re playing from themself but that’s just wishful thinking. If possible, things off-stage are even harder.

I’m trying to sound bored out of my mind. I don’t want him to know what he’s doing to me. He doesn’t deserve this reaction. More importantly, neither do I.

I really loved that even if in the end Cassie was helpless with Ethan (how can she control her heart beating way too fast whenever he is around?), she has so much self-respect. She knows that she’d probably do anything for him if he asked the right way, no matter what happened, but she tries, because she loves herself. Cassie knows what power Ethan has over her, how easily he could make her the happiest, most loved person on earth, but also how easily he could ruin her, shatter her heart, again.

When I hear the door open, I know it’s him without having to look. “Cassie?” I keep my eyes closed. Not seeingn him is easier. “Please look at me.” I can’t. I want to be strong, and looking at him makes me the weakest woman on the planet.

She doesn’t want to be okay with whatever he wants to give her this time, she deserves more than that. Ethan has to show her he’s really changed, that he won’t run as soon as emotions get real. He has to show her that they can start over. The fear of losing someone is just a side effect of love.

Dear Diary, the more time I spend with him, the more he invades my dreams. I don’t want to remember, but he pushes through. He’s here, under my hands. His lips on my skin. It’s perfect and warm, and I tell myself he won’t run away this time. I hold him to me, willing away the fear, willing him to lose himself in me. To stay. And even though he’s already writtenn a tragedy, I want to change his mind.

What happened when they were together in college? Don’t worry, the book alternates chapters between the present and when they first met. I freaking loved it! It was amazing to see how the whole experience changed them. Cassie was so much more careless, she liked Ethan and even if he told her he’d never be able to give her more, she went for him. They developed a beautiful friendship, made a lot more appealing by the undeniable attraction they felt for each other (Cassie’s voice is just so funny, when I wasn’t sobbing I was always laughig).

I shouldn’t stare at his ass. No good can come of it. Still, he’s being nice to me, so I decide to be nice to his ass and allow myself to notice how hot it looks in his jeans.

But Ethan wasn’t upfront about his feelings as Cassie. He was scared out of his mind of love, and relationships in general. A heartbreak and something else made him become closed off. His reactions to Cassie freaked him out. But he didn’t know how to stay away from her. In the present days, though, he’s the opposite. He wants Cassie back, he knows they can be perfect for each other.

“Everyone else is just going to be second best for us.”

And he’s ready to fight for her.


“Cassie, I’ve worked really hard to be in a position to even think about trying to fix things with you. If I thought, even for a second, that I could hurt you again, I wouldn’t be here.”

Reading the book I actually felt them being pulled to each other against their will, trying to get away but always ending up with their arms wrapped around each other. I felt so much with this book, it’s all about Cassie’s feelings and sensations. And Rayven’s descriptions are so intense and accurate, I could tell what Ethan was feeling without him saying anything.

This is what love feels like. To no longer belong to yourself. To be pulled from what you know into what you feel.

Is it possible to start over? Or are some reltionships broken beyond saving? Ethan is sure that what they feel for each other is enough, that it would be absurde to not be together because they’ll never feel like they do for someone else. Cassie needs some convincing, though.

“I just need you to know that the second you’re ready to try again with us, I’m going to kiss the hell out of you. I’m going to kiss you until you see stars, and hear angels, and can’t stand up for a week. I hope you realize that.” My heart is thundering when I say, “Holt, if I’m ever ready, you’ll be the first to know. I promise.” He gives me a half smile. “So kissing is off the menu, but you should know I’m also offering free hugs today-strictly platonic- for the first beautiful woman who requests them.” I laugh, probably too loud, and step forward as he wraps his arms around me.


The ending freaked me out so much I had to get another copy of the book to be sure mine wasn’t missing some pages (yep, it really happened). It’ll leave you wanting more. Waiting for the next book is gonna be torture *cries* But in the meantime you can enjoy yourself with some scene from Ethan’s POV! You can find them on Rayven’s Wattpad (here). *happy dance*

“I never realized how much it hurt to not be with you until I saw you again, and the pain went away.”

I could quote the whole book, that’s how much I loved it! But I’m going to stop now for your sake.

I hope you read Bad Romeo and fall in love with these characters as much as I have. Let me know!

manuela calloway sisters

3 thoughts on “Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

  1. Pingback: Review: Broken Juliet (Starcrossed #2) by Leisa Rayven | Calloway Books

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