Last month, Brenna and AJ were able to interview Leisa Rayven, author of the Starcrossed series. Both Brenna and AJ L-O-V-E this series, and were excited to talk about Bad Romeo (book one) and the upcoming books: Broken Juliet (book two, OUT NOW!) and Wicked Heart (book three, out later this year).
Check out Brenna’s review for Broken Juliet below, and their awesome interview at the bottom of this post. Also, don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a PAPERBACK COPY of Broken Juliet! (Open International!)
Series: Starcrossed #2
Published by St. Martin's Press
Published on April 28th 2105
Genres: New Adult
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How do you fix a love that’s been broken beyond repair?
For years, Cassie Taylor tried to forget about Ethan Holt. He was the one great love of her life, and when he failed to return her love, a part of her died forever. Or so she thought. Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage, and he’s determined to win her back. Claiming to be a changed man, he’s finally able to say all the things she needed to hear years ago, but can she believe him? What makes this time different from all his other broken promises?
Ethan knows he can’t change their tumultuous past, but if he’s going to have any chance of being with the woman he loves, he’ll need to convince Cassie that her future belongs with him.
Don’t miss this stunning conclusion to the unforgettable love story that captivated over two million fans online.
Oh, how I was DYING to get my hands on this book! I don’t think I’ve ever been so desperate for a sequel in my life. With so much anticipation though, came lots of nerves that the book might not live up to my crazy high expectations. Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Broken Juliet really feels like a complete continuation of Bad Romeo and not a separate story at all. The cliffhanger left us at such a big moment, still in complete motion and since Broken Juliet picks up from that exact minute it all feels very fluid.
“What do you want?”
I want him. Can’t want him. Need him. Hate needing him.
“I don’t know,” I whisper.
“I do,” he says, leaning forward. “Invite me in. I promise, I’m here to stay this time.”
The format of Broken Juliet is also the exact same, with part of the story in the present with our new and improved Ethan but flashing back to the past to finish telling their love story and how they got to this point. It was a really nice balance between Ethan ruining things in the past while trying to win Cassie back in the present. Just when I’d get annoyed at Ethan’s bad attitude or when I’d feel completely heartbroken by the unfairness of it all, it would go back to the present. It really helped me stay connected to the characters and their story without getting frustrated by too much angst. Because lets me honest, their past is still VERY angsty. It’s devastating to watch Ethan self-destruct, way more so than in Bad Romeo. You can see him unraveling piece by piece and to go through that along with Cassie was truly hard to watch at times.
“You think I don’t love you?” he says as he steps away from the wall and draws up to his full height. “If I didn’t, do you think I’d be in hell right now? You think I like feeling like this? Like pushing you away isn’t ripping out parts of me? Fuck, Cassie, I know the right thing to do is leave you alone. But when I think about doing that, it…” He grips his chest. “It fucking hurts. And I’m so sick of hurting. I thought you could make it better, but you only make it worse.”
“Loving you,” he says, “is the stupidest, most selfish thing I’ve ever done, but I can’t stop. God knows, I’ve tried.”
This series proves to be well named. With Bad Romeo focusing more on a “defective” bad boy character and how his choices/issues effect his relationship, while in Broken Juliet our bad boy is new and improved while our poor Cassie is a kind of a hot mess still picking up the pieces that Ethan bulldozed over. Even though she is unsure about whether to forgive Ethan (or if that’s even possible), I really understood her apprehension and it all felt very realistic and not overly drawn out.
“Cassie… it’s okay…”
“You hurt me. Broke me.”
“I wish I could take it back, but I can’t.”
“Is this how you used to feel? Angry? Out of control? I hate it.”
He cradles my face. “I know. And it’s my fault. I’m sorry.”
I love the growth of Ethan’s character though. A lot of times when a bad boy reforms I feel like they get kind of dull, but that is not the case here. Ethan is still snarky, cocky, and as hilarious as ever but he’s now more of a man. He’s more caring and open with his feelings and emotions. He’s confident, mature, and well adjusted. He knows who he is, what his issues are and how to work through them so they don’t run/ruin his life again. And he definitely knows exactly what he wants.
“… I just want you. Now. A week from now. A year. A decade. Whenever you’re ready. What I want is never going to change. It’s you. Just you. Naked or clothed, doesn’t matter to me.”
There’s still that great banter between them. I loved the playful moments and even with all the drama I smiled my way through a lot of this. The secondary characters really shined in this one as well. Ruby has an amazing ability to tell it like it is and say what Cassie needs to hear. I just love her!
“Okay, here’s my advice. You’re being a doormat.”
“That’s not advice. It’s a statement. And an insulting one at that.”
“Dammit, Cassie, woman up!” … “Call him on his bullshit or else stencil WELCOME on your boobs and be done with it. It’s your choice.”
And Jack provided some amazing comic relief to cut through all the tension. For example, when Holt and Connor are forced to do a sex scene. Yeah… awkward!
“How weird would it be if they were both thinking about you? Like, seriously?”
One bonus about this book is that it’s pretty steamy! Hooray!Bad Romeo was more about the tension, but this one definitely delivered some smut. There is plenty of sexy time to go around. Past, present, on stage and off, and I loved all of it like the pervy perv I am! ;)
Ahhh, okay! I could really go on and on and put SO MANY more quotes, but really this is just the continuation of Ethan and Cassie’s story. It’s them figuring out if they can find a way to be together. Love and passion was never their issue and now they need to find a way to be the functional couple that they so badly want to be. I am just such a huge fan of this series, these characters, the writing. Everything. It gave me all the feels… happy tears, sad/frustrated tears and I loved it all! I cannot wait for Elissa’s book, Wicked Heart. I will be (im)patiently counting down the days for more!
ARC kindly provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Starcrossed Series:
Book One: Bad Romeo
Book Two: Broken Juliet
Book Three: Wicked Heart
(Out September 1st, 2015)
Thanks so much for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, Leisa. Bad Romeo made AJ and Brenna’s top reads of the year lists in 2014, and we’re both so excited to share our love for this book.
Thanks so much for having me. So nice to meet you guys.
It’s fantastic to see other readers loving Bad Romeo just as much as we did. What do you think it is about the story that appeals to readers so much?
I think everyone wants to believe that true love can conquer all, and so readers are really rooting for Cassie and Ethan to get their happy ever after.
Bad Romeo features an epic romance. The build up and the sexual tension had as breathless with anticipation. What was your inspiration for Cassie and Ethan’s amazing love story?
As the titles imply, my original inspiration was Romeo and Juliet. I was always perplexed by Romeo. At the beginning of the play, he’s just had his heart smashed to pieces by Rosaline, and yet when he meets Juliet, he’s all, “Oh yeah, sure. Let me give my heart to another woman. One who I like ever MORE than Rosaline, so who has the power to hurt me even more.” I’ve never seen that as a realistic reaction. For me, a far more compelling story is what happens if Romeo meets his soul mate, but pushes her away because of how damaged he is by past heartache.
Who do you identify with more as a character, Ethan or Cassie?
Oh, Cassie, for sure! Haha. When I was younger, I was definitely a people-pleaser like Cassie used to be. I hated confrontation and tried to say the right thing in every situation. As I get older, I care less and less what other people think, and I love that. As long as I feel I’m being true to myself and my convictions, I’m happy.
Bad Romeo was originally written as fanfic. When you were editing it from the fanfic version, was there a scene that was especially hard to cut? If so, care to share? :)
There was a scene in which Cassie and Ethan were doing a scene from Romeo and Juliet, and the emotions were a mirror of their private life. I loved finding parrells in the play to how they felt in reality, but eventually, it didn’t push the plot forward, so it was cut. Here it is, exclusively for you guys:
Our acting tutor, Adrian comes over to us. “So, Romeo, you’ve just killed Juliet’s cousin. You’re here to ask forgiveness, but she’s too upset to listen. Cassie, you’re disgusted with yourself for loving the Romeo despite what he’s done The one thing you both need to remember is that underneath all the hurt and anger you’re feeling, you still love each other. Passionately. That’s what it always comes back to.”
I can almost hear Holt’s cynicism, but he nods politely.
“Okay, take a few minutes to prepare, and we’ll see what happens.”
I stand in the middle of the stage. Holt goes to the side, waiting for me to center myself. I inhale, long and slow, trying to trick my body into feeling unearned emotion so I can channel it into my character.
I look at Holt and conjure up Juliet’s feelings. It’s surprisingly easy.
Holt reading my diary = feelings of betrayal.
Holt turning my insides to mush whenever he’s within ten feet of me = inconvenient and intense attraction.
Holt existing = frustration and anger.
I so have this.
I exhale and look over at him. He’s ready, and he takes a steadying breath as he walks toward me. I turn to him, seething. His eyes are full of regret, but it doesn’t change what he’s done.
And with that one word, he’s my Romeo and every word I utter is absolutely and completely true.
“O serpent heart! Hid with a flowering face.” Bitterness flows through my veins. “Did ever dragon keep so fair a cave?”
“Please …” he begs, reaching out his hand to me. I slap it away.
“Beautiful tyrant! Fiend angelical! Dove-feather’d raven! Wolvish-ravening lamb!”
He steps forward and tries to put his arms around me, but he can’t expect to touch me. I shove his arms and slap at his chest. He doesn’t stop me.
“Despised substance of divinest show! Just opposite to what thou justly seem’st. A damned saint! An honorable villain!”
“Juliet … please.”
I look into his eyes and see nothing but regret.
He steps forward, tentatively, reaching for my hands. I push him away.
“He killed Mercutio,” he whispers, his voice shaky and unsure. “I don’t … I didn’t mean to. Please … I … I need you.”
A ball of stone falls into my stomach.
There it is. The one reason that circumvents all others.
He needs me.
As much as I hate to admit it, I need him to.
I go to him. He gazes at me, full of remorse, begging forgiveness.
I press my palms into his chest. I don’t forgive him, but I also can’t hate him.
He understands, because he sighs and wraps me in his arms, drawing me into him. I wind my arms around his neck and bury my head in the warm skin beneath his jaw.
He hugs me tighter while pressing his nose into my collarbone. His whole body melts into mine, every muscle relaxing as he wraps me in a silent apology.
I whisper, “O nature, what hadst thou to do in hell when thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend in moral paradise of such sweet flesh?”
He pulls back and takes my face in his hands, murmuring words of regret as he kisses my cheek, my jaw, my neck.
I look up at him and my breath catches. His eyes are full of such sorrow and longing. I cup his cheek, and he closes his eyes, reveling in my tough.
“Was ever a book containing such vile matter so fairly bound?”
We are counting down the days until April when the sequel, Broken Juliet is released, but what are your plans after that?
Later this year, the third book in the Starcrossed series will be released. Wicked Heart focuses on Ethan’s sister, Elissa.
Here’s the summary:
Liam Quinn is talented, gorgeous, and one of the biggest movie stars in the world.
He’s also only man Elissa Holt has ever truly loved.
After being out of her life for six years, he and his gorgeous fiancé are set to star in the new Broadway show Elissa is stage managing. Both Elissa and Liam try to ignore the connection they both still feel, but when late night rehearsals bring them together, the lines between what is and what could have been get blurred.
Falling for Liam again would be a tragedy in the making, but as any good romantic will tell you, love doesn’t always follow the script.
If Bad Romeo was made into a movie (which we ABSOLUTELY think it should) Who would you love to see cast as Cassie and Ethan?
Haha! You guys are awesome for thinking that. I recently saw pics of Douglas Booth and Emma Watson together, and I thought they’d make an incredible Ethan and Cassie.
You’re obviously a lover of theatre. Which role would you have loved to have played / written?
I’m really lucky that I’ve played a lot of my favourite roles in music theatre already. Character such as Eponine in Les Mis, Mary Magdelene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Baker’s Wife in into the woods. But the roles I’ll never get to play are some kickass male roles. I’d LOVE to play Hamlet. And also Sweeney Todd. :)
You completely left us hanging at the end of Bad Romeo, and we are waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. Can you give us a hint about what is to come?
Well, Broken Juliet starts off exactly where Bad Romeo ended – with Cassie answering the door. In the present, we see if Cassie and Ethan can get through their collective issues and move forward with their relationship, while in the past, we see exactly how screwed up things got and how that led to Cassie being completely broken.
The song that always gets you out on the dancefloor? Right now, Uptown Funk
Ebook or paperback? Paperback
Favorite meal for a lazy night in? Scamby eggs
Dream holiday destination? New York City
Who would you turn gay for? *Thanks to Rove McManus for this question – it’s an Aussie thing. ;) Kristen Bell. In a second. Lol!
Thanks so much, lovelies! It’s been a pleasure.
Thanks for stopping by! We’d like to also thank Leisa for taking time to answer our questions, and sharing her answers with all of us!!
NOW, it’s time for the….