ARC Review: Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven

Wicked Heart by Leisa Rayven
Series: Starcrossed #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 17th 2016
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The one guy she can’t have is the one she can’t forget.

Liam Quinn is one of the biggest movie stars in the world…and the 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. The only trouble is, when late night rehearsals bring Elissa and Liam together, the line between what is and what could have been gets blurred. Now one moment of weakness is about to create a scandal that will echo around the world.

Elissa knows that falling for Liam again would be a tragedy in the making, but as any good romantic knows, love doesn’t always follow the script.

I am so surprised at how much I adored Wicked Heart!! I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Cassie and Ethan’s story in the first two Starcrossed books, but I was praying that Elissa and Liam’s story would be better, and thankfully I wasn’t disappointed. It. Was. Fantastic!! THIS was the kind of story I was looking for when I first started the Starcrossed series – I loved the characters, the theatre aspect, the angst, the writing… This second chance romance swept my heart away! Its powerful love story made me FEEL so much, both good and bad emotions. Wicked Heart is a must read for new adult contemporary romance lovers!

Heartache doesn’t teach you to be resilient. It teaches you to protect your fragility. It teaches you to fear love. And it draws a bright red circle around all the ways you’ve failed as a person and laughs while you cry.

Liam Quinn was Elissa Holt’s first and only love… but he broke her heart six years ago when he moved on to someone else. Now, Elissa’s about to stage manage one of the biggest Broadway shows of her career – but the leading roles star none other than Liam, now a famous Hollywood star… and his gorgeous fiancée, Angel. Elissa will have to set aside her feelings in order to work with the two of them closely, but how can she ignore the hot, sensual looks Liam gives her, or the chemistry they have that never faded away after all those years?

“I’ve never stopped loving you. From the day we met, you’ve been the only one for me. There’s never been anyone else.”

It took me a while to get into Wicked Heart, but after the flashbacks to the beginnings of Elissa and Liam’s romance, I finally got into my groove and couldn’t put the book down. I was dying to see how the show would go on, how Elissa and Liam would even get back together. The connection between them is incredibly well-written, so freaking hot and palpable – in every scene where they’re together, you can tell they’re meant to be, that they want to be together… but they can’t. So the subsequent drama and angst had me on the edge of my seat, turning the pages so fast to see what would happen next. I seriously loved the way the author had me hooked onto this story!

The one thing that has been consistently well done throughout the series is Leisa Rayven’s fantastic writing. Even though I had problems with the first two books, I couldn’t deny that her writing blew me away, and it’s just as incredible in Wicked Heart. I honestly can’t wait to see what Leisa has in store for us next, just so I can experience her writing again. It’s that good!

The secondary characters were just as developed and intriguing as the main ones. I have to say, I actually really liked Angel. She could’ve been the typical, one-dimensional, bitchy other woman, but she wasn’t, and I’m so thankful for that. She and Elissa become good friends, much to Elissa’s surprise – Angel is genuinely a good person, which makes it even harder to see the engagement. And Elissa’s best friend Josh gives a much needed comedic relief to the story. He’s so sweet and adorable – I loved him! Though I did have a problem with the little revelation at the end of the novel about his feelings for a certain someone – I thought that was a bit too clichéd.

Overall, Wicked Heart is a fantastic improvement to the Starcrossed series, and if Leisa Rayven’s upcoming novels are anything like this one, I’m going to have to read them. Wicked Heart is addicting, angsty, and emotional – a little predictable towards the end, but that’s forgivable. I swooned over the romance, and I kind of wish the book was a little longer so I could experience it a little more. If you love second chance romances, I highly recommend you read this book!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Starcrossed series

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven 

#1 ~ Bad Romeo: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Broken Juliet: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wicked Heart: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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ARC Review: Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven
Series: Starcrossed #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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.

“Let me prove I can love you the way you deserve.”

Less than impressed by Bad Romeo, I went into Broken Juliet with low expectations. I really hoped I would like the characters more since I really disliked them in Bad Romeo. So while I can say that I didn’t hate Broken Juliet, I still didn’t like the book, or the characters, very much either.

“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.”

Broken Juliet picks up right after the end of Bad Romeo, with Cassie deciding whether or not to finally give Ethan another chance. In Bad Romeo, we know that Ethan broke Cassie’s heart twice, and here we finally get to know the details. Through the flashbacks, we discover the repetitive hurt and anger that make up Cassie and Ethan’s tumultuous relationship and the reasons why Ethan could never commit. He loved her, but his reasons for leaving her were so shallow and eye-roll worthy, I couldn’t like or understand him.

Past-Ethan was such a moody asshole. (FYI: Being an asshole doesn’t make you a bad boy – being an asshole makes you an asshole.) I found myself skimming a lot of the flashback chapters. They were incredibly repetitive and full of angry and/or angsty sex. Past-Cassie was a doormat, and even worse, a horny one at that. She kept giving in to the lust she felt for Ethan that I wanted to shake some sense into her. They had such an unhealthy relationship that I couldn’t get behind it or support them at all.

Thankfully, present Cassie and Ethan have grown up. Well, Cassie still rightfully harbors anger, hate, and hurt, but Ethan, thank god, has finally changed. Still, it took SIX YEARS for them to finally arrive where they are in Broken Juliet. I wouldn’t say I loved the new Ethan, but I was definitely looking forward to the ways he would prove his love for Cassie once and for all. Still, I would have enjoyed the present timeline much more if it weren’t for the many awful flashbacks full of bad decisions being made over and over and over again.

This series had so much potential, but the flashbacks just ruined it for me. I hated the Ethan and Cassie of six years ago so it was hard to like them in present day even though they weren’t as awful. Leisa Rayven’s writing, though, was a definite perk to reading this series, but it just wasn’t enough to let me fully enjoy reading. I really wish the flashbacks had taken a step back so that present day Cassie and Ethan could shine more.

I don’t think I ever fully understood before what a profound ability humans have to change, especially with the right motivation. We’re capable of remarkable evolution. Not just physically, but mentally.
Emotionally.

All in all, I had a difficult time with Broken Juliet. I can see fans of Bad Romeo enjoying Broken Juliet since they are pretty similar angst- and character-wise. I really wanted to love this series since so many people seem to enjoy it, but I can’t see how or why. I’m a big fan of the author’s writing, so I’m hoping her other upcoming books will have characters with much healthier relationships.

2 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Starcrossed series

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven 

#1 ~ Bad Romeo: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Broken Juliet: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wicked Heart: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven
Series: Starcrossed #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 23rd 2014
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

While performing the greatest love story of all time, they discovered one of their own…

Cassie Taylor was just another acting student with big dreams at her prestigious performing arts college, then she met Ethan Holt. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy on campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing on stage, Cassie and Ethan’s epic romance seemed destined. Until it ended in tragedy when he shattered her heart.

Now they’ve made it to Broadway where they’re reunited as romantic leads once again, and their passionate scenes force them to confront the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their intense college affair. For Ethan, losing Cassie was his biggest regret, and he’s determined to redeem himself. But for Cassie, even though Ethan was her first and only great love, he hurt her too much to ever be trusted again. The trouble is, working with him reminds her that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks. And when it comes to love, sometimes it’s the things that aren’t good for us that are the most irresistible.

Don’t miss the intoxicating romance beloved by over two million fans online–a story that will captivate you and hold you breathless until the final page.

I’m sad to say I’m… disappointed with Bad Romeo. I had such HIGH expectations for it – I mean just look at that blurb! And that cover! I was dying to read Bad Romeo ever since I heard about it, and plus, so many people were loving it. But when I read it, everything just felt flat – I enjoyed it, but I didn’t LOVE it as much as I was expecting too. I just couldn’t connect with the characters, and they annoyed me more often than not. And I’m such a HUGE fan of the second chance romance trope that Bad Romeo should have been easy to love, but it wasn’t. It was entertaining enough some of the time that I wanted to finish it, but once I did, I just felt sad that I didn’t end up loving it as much as I wanted to.

I don’t often read books that are set in the theater, so it’s always nice to read about something different. Leisa Rayven did an incredible job drawing me into the world of acting and theater. Honestly, the writing was the best part about this book. The characters, on the other hand…. Not so great.

At first, I was really looking forward to getting to know Cassie and Ethan, to knowing how their love grew and fell apart. The book is written in a way that past and present are intertwined. In present day, Cassie holds a fierce hate for the boy who broke her heart three years ago. When Ethan comes back into her life wanting to win her back, she wants nothing to do with him, of course. I admired how Cassie held her own against him, but then the more I started reading, the less I ended up liking her. She was just way too bitter and wishy-washy about her feelings for Ethan. I mean, I get that they still have chemistry together even though he broke her heart and she hates him for it, but the whole back-and-forth thing between hating him and wanting him got tiring real fast. I liked present-day Ethan a whole lot better than present-day Cassie, but his past self tainted him in my eyes because I absolutely HATED past-Ethan. I honestly couldn’t see anything good or redeeming about him. He was a total dick to Cassie and not at all hero-worthy. And his reasons for being a dick? They were so eye-roll worthy and clichéd. Past-Cassie was even worse than past-Ethan. Ethan was an asshole, yes, but she let him walk all over her, all so she could have his dick. I’m oversimplifying, of course, but thinking about past-Cassie just angers me. I didn’t feel a spark between Cassie and Ethan when they first met and I just couldn’t see how they fell in love.

Another thing that annoyed the hell out of me was that plot-wise, NOTHING happened until the very end. I felt like there was no progression in the plot or character development (at least until the very, very end). When I reached the end, I just felt like there was no point to this book. Overall, I was unimpressed with Bad Romeo. It didn’t meet my expectations, but the writing was good enough that I enjoyed some parts of the book. I didn’t HATE this book, but I definitely didn’t love it either. Will I read the sequel? …I think I will. Despite not liking Cassie or Ethan, I still do want to know how their story will end. And hopefully, book two will be more engaging than this first book was.

2 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Starcrossed series

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven 

#1 ~ Bad Romeo: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Broken Juliet: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wicked Heart: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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