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.
"The emotions were superb. Hottest new book couple!" -Jennifer Probst, New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain
"Leisa Rayven crashes onto the romance scene, laughing, flirting, and just daring us to put Bad Romeo down. I couldn't!" -Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard
About the Author
Leisa Rayven is the author of Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet. She is also a freelance actor and producer in Brisbane, Australia, where she's at work on her next novel.
Read an Excerpt
By Leisa Rayven
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Leisa Rayven
All rights reserved.
New York City, New York
The Apartment of Cassandra Taylor
In Japan, they have something called Kintsugi—the art of repairing precious pottery with gold. The result is a piece that has obviously been broken, but is more beautiful for it.
It's a concept that has always fascinated me.
So often, people try to hide their scars. As if the slightest damage proves how weak they are. They equate scars with mistakes, and those mistakes with shame. Perfection forever marred.
Kintsugi does the opposite. It says, "There is beauty born from tragedy. Look at these precious fault lines of experience."
As I stand in my hallway, staring at the front door that reverberates with my former lover's knocks, it occurs to me that even though Kintsugi is a noble concept, it doesn't change the truth that once something is broken, it can never be anything else. Beautiful repair, no matter how elegant, doesn't make it whole again. It's still just a collection of pieces impersonating its former shape.
Judging from his soul-baring e-mail this morning, which included an epic declaration of love, I believe Ethan wants to repair me. Ironic, considering he was the one who broke me in the first place.
I know you think I left because I didn't love you, but you're wrong. I've always loved you, from the moment I first laid eyes on you.
I'd spent so long believing I got what I deserved when people left me that I didn't stop to think I got what I deserved when I met you. I couldn't comprehend that if I stopped being an enormous insecure jackass for five minutes, that maybe ... just maybe ... I could keep you.
I want to keep you, Cassie.
You need me as much as I need you. We're both hollow without the other, and it's taken me a long time to realize that.
There's the knocking again, this time louder. I know I have to answer it.
He's right. I am hollow without him. I always have been. But what do I have to offer other than a shell of the woman he fell in love with?
Don't be as stupid as I was and let the insecurities win. Let us win. Because I know you think loving me again is a crapshoot and that your odds are grim, but let me tell you something: I'm a sure thing. I couldn't stop loving you if I tried.
It's possible for him to love me and still leave me. He's proven that time and again.
Am I still terrified of you hurting me? Of course. Probably the same way you're terrified I'll hurt you.
But I'm brave enough to know it's absolutely worth the risk.
Let me help you be brave.
Brave is a word I haven't used to describe myself for a long time.
My phone buzzes with a message.
Excitement and fear crawl up my spine, racing to see which one can paralyze my brain first.
When I'd finished reading his e-mail, I needed to see him. But now that he's here, I have no idea what to do.
As I walk down the hallway, I feel like I'm dreaming. Like the past three years have been a nightmare and I'm about to wake up. Everything feels slow. Important.
When I reach the door, I tighten my robe and exhale in an effort to calm my nerves. Then, with a shaky hand, I pull it open.
I make myself breathe as the door swings open to reveal Ethan, phone in hand. So handsome but tired. Nervous. Looking almost as nervous as I feel.
"Hey." He says it softly. Like he's afraid I'm going to chase him away.
"How? I mean, I just texted you. Were you already here?"
"Uh ... yeah. I've ... well, I've been here for a while. After I e-mailed you, I couldn't sleep. Couldn't stop thinking about things. You." He looks down at the phone and shoves it in his pocket. "I wanted to be near you, just in case you ..." He smiles and shakes his head. "I wanted to be here. Close."
His jacket is on the ground, crumpled next to a cardboard coffee cup.
"Ethan, how long have you been out here?"
"I told you, a whi—"
"How long, exactly?"
His small smile masks something deeper. Something desperate.
"A few hours, but in a way ..." He looks at his feet and shakes his head again. "I kind of feel like I've been waiting out here for three years, just trying to find the courage to knock on the door. I guess that e-mail was my way of doing it."
When he glances up again, for the first time in a long while, I see fear in his eyes. "The real question is, are you going to let me in?"
I notice how I'm gripping the doorjamb with my right hand, while holding the door with my left. My whole body blocks the entrance. It's like everything I am is subconsciously standing in his way.
He leans forward slowly, being so careful. "You read my e-mail, right?"
Right away, the space between us feels very small.
He puts his hands in his pockets, expression wary. "And? Did it help?" I don't know what to say. Does he expect some sort of declaration from me? Something to match his thousand 'I love yous'?
"Ethan, that e-mail was ... amazing."
Apparently that's all he wants to hear, because his face lights up.
"You liked it?"
"I loved it." My throat tightens around the "L" word . "Did you really type out the ... those phrases ... individually?"
"How long did it take?"
"I didn't keep track of time. I just needed you to know. I still need for you to know."
I grip the door tighter.
I know we shouldn't be having this discussion in my hallway, but if I let Ethan in, he'll touch me, and then whatever fragile strength I have left will shatter.
"So ... where do we go from here?" He moves forward. "I mean, I know what I want." So close, his feet almost touch mine. "I think I've made myself pretty clear. But what about you?"
I tense because of his proximity.
This man represents so many things to me. He was my first true friend. My first love. First lover. The master of more pleasure than I knew existed, and the architect of more heartache than I thought I could endure.
It seems almost impossible to translate all of those men into the one he wants to be. The one who just wants to be a single thing to me.
"Cassie ..." He touches my hand, then traces down my wrist and over my forearm. There's an explosion of goosebumps left in his wake. "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."CHAPTER 2
Six Years Earlier
Westchester County, New York
When I wake, I stretch, and it takes me a moment to realize why I'm sore. Then I remember.
I had sex. Incredibly passionate, muscle-trembling sexual intercourse. With Ethan.
Ethan Holt took my virginity.
Oh, Lord, how he felt. All around me and inside.
Scenes from last night come flooding back and make the ache transform into tingles.
Surely I'll look different now. I feel different. Wonderful. Like a whole new world of experience has been opened up to me, and I can't wait to explore it.
As I sigh in contentment, I reach over to the other side of the bed, only to find it empty.
I open my eyes. "Ethan?"
I get up and check the rest of the apartment. Empty.
I go back and sit on my bed. The sheets are crumpled and still smell like him.
I check my phone. No messages. I look under the bed to make sure that a touching love note/apology hasn't slipped under there.
I'm pretty certain when a man leaves your bed in the middle of the night, it's not a good sign.
Later that morning, I jiggle my knees as I wait for our Advanced Acting class to begin.
Holt's late. He's never late.
I still can't believe he just left. I mean, if you sleep with a girl for the first time, you at least send her a text, right? If not an actual phone call to say, "Hey, thanks for letting me deflower you. It was rad."
I know that being open is a struggle for him, but doesn't he realize he's not the only one who needs reassurance?
Erika sweeps into the room, and I try to put Ethan from my mind.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back. I trust you all had a refreshing Thanksgiving break." Everyone murmurs something vaguely positive, and she smiles. "Good, because for the next few weeks, I'm going to push you harder than ever before. This term we'll be working with masks, which is one of the most challenging and ancient art forms within the theater."
The door opens, and Erika frowns as Holt walks in and sits down. He looks tired.
"Thank you for joining us, Mr. Holt."
He nods. "Yeah, no problem."
"Can I get you anything? A watch, perhaps?"
He looks down at his hands. "Sorry I'm late."
She gives him a pointed look. "As I was saying, mask work is difficult and requires the actor to be completely honest and open. It's not an art form that forgives emotional blocks or insecurities. Be prepared for some brutal self-examination."
Holt glances at me and gives me a tight smile before he turns away.
Erika goes to her desk and collects a large box filled with masks. She spreads them out on the floor.
"These masks exhibit specific emotional traits. I'd like you all to take a few minutes and choose one that appeals to you."
Everyone goes over to the masks. As they talk and laugh among themselves, Ethan stands at the back, waiting for the crowd to subside. I go and stand beside him.
"Hey." He barely looks at me.
"You bailed on me this morning." He shoves his hands in his pockets, and the muscles tighten in his jaw. "Are you ... upset with me? About what happened? I mean, I know you said we should wait, and I pushed you to do it anyway, but—"
"No." He shrugs. "I'm not upset with you. I was just ... I had stuff to do and I didn't want to wake you. Everything's fine."
His words are reassuring, but they don't make me feel any better. "So, you ... enjoyed it then? Me? What we did?"
He drops his head, and I see the hint of a smile as he leans down to whisper in my ear. "Cassie, only you would want to discuss sex in the middle of acting class. Can we please talk about this later, when we're not in a room full of people?"
"Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Later." I know he's right, but my ego deflates more every second. "When, later?"
He sighs and leans down again, so close his lips brush against my ear. "Yes, I enjoyed it. A lot. You were, without a doubt, the best I've ever had. But thinking about it right now isn't going to end well for me. So please, for the love of inconvenient boners everywhere, let it go."
His confession makes me beam. It doesn't excuse him leaving, but at least I know he had a good time.
Erika gestures to us. "Mr. Holt, Miss Taylor ... less talking, more mask choosing, please. I'd like to get started."
By the time we step forward, there are only two masks left: one with a large nose and heavy, frowning brows, and one that looks like a child, all round eyes and soft cheeks.
"Aggression and vulnerability," Erika says as she leans against her desk. When I pick up the child and Holt goes for the other one, she clucks her tongue and swaps them around. "This is a far less obvious choice for you both, don't you think?"
Holt tenses, and for a second I think he's going to argue, but Erika stares him down until he turns and goes back to his seat.
Erika then calls people to the performance space in pairs. She gives prompts for improvised scenes that use only body language. It's difficult, and everyone struggles, but Erika pushes them to give more. She's scary today, and by the time she calls me and Ethan to the stage, my hands are clammy.
"Miss Taylor, you're representing strength, but in a negative context. Bullish, domineering, uncompromising. Mr. Holt, you're the opposite. Sensitive, open, trusting. Begin when you're ready."
I slip on my mask. It's tight, which makes it difficult to breathe. My vision is limited to the small eyeholes, and I have to turn my head to see Ethan.
He glances at me for a few moments before putting on his own mask.
I take some time to center myself, then move toward him and make myself as imposing as possible. It's not easy when he towers over me. Still, I try to be aggressive and intimidating.
"Feel what you're doing, Miss Taylor. Inhabit the emotion of the mask." I grab Holt's shirt and silently order him to the floor. He shies away, feigning fear, but his movement is awkward.
"Mr. Holt, your mask represents submission and vulnerability. You have to embody those characteristics. Open yourself up."
Ethan tries to do what she's asked, but he throws out clichégestures that make him seem more angry than vulnerable.
I can tell that Erika is disappointed in our efforts. A few minutes later, when she calls a stop to the exercise, Holt all but rips off his mask and stalks back to his chair.
Erika collects the masks and places them back in their box. "I know that today was difficult, but it should get easier. Your final assessment in this subject will account for fifty percent of your acting grade, so I expect you all to deliver your best work."
Ethan raises his hand.
"Can we swap masks next time?"
"No. The mask you worked with today will remain yours for the rest of the semester. I think you'd better get used to exploring your vulnerable side, Mr. Holt."
The look on Ethan's face is so disdainful, it's almost funny.CHAPTER 3
The Grove's acting school is the most prestigious in the country, so it stands to reason that their standards are extremely high. Still, I don't think any of us were prepared for just how difficult some classes are proving to be. Especially masks.
Contrary to Erika's assurance that mask work would get easier, we all continue to struggle. But as bad as most of us are, Ethan is the worst. Erika has been pushing him harder than anyone else, and, of course, that means he's always in a crappy mood.
He's being distant, and even though I've made it very clear that I'd love to have more sex, it's been nearly a week since he's touched me anywhere interesting. He doesn't even hold my hand unless I initiate it. Good thing I always initiate it. If he won't let me have the rest of his body, I'm damn well going to have his hand.
"Erika fucking hates me," he says, as we head over to the Hub—a large, four-story building that houses the library, cafeteria, student lounge, and several large lecture theaters—to meet our friends for lunch.
"That's not true."
"Then why force me to work with that particular mask? Anger, sadness, aggression—I could nail any of those."
"Yeah, but she knows you have an issue with vulnerability, so she's pushing you to conquer it. Imagine how great it would be if you had a breakthrough. You'd probably top the class." And become a more affectionate boyfriend.
He shakes his head. "The likelihood of that happening is fucking nil. I can't do it, Cassie. In fact, I'm not even sure what it is."
I pull out my phone and google it. "Vulnerable. Adjective, meaning susceptible to being wounded or hurt; open to moral attack, criticism, temptation. Oh, wow! Next to the definition is a picture of you."
"Thanks. I try."
We're almost at the Hub when I spot a group of second years near the door. I recognize Olivia, Ethan's more-than-a-little-bitter ex, among them. She frowns when she notices Ethan holding my hand.
"I don't believe it," she says as we approach. "I thought all the stories about you having a girlfriend were bullshit, yet here you are with the same girl I saw you with at the beginning of the year. You're really putting the effort in to get her attached before you dump her, aren't you? I mean, what you did to me was bad, but this one? She's going to be cursing your name for years. Impressive."
Ethan tightens his hand around mine. "And today just keeps getting better." He tugs on my arm, and we head inside. I'm aware of Olivia staring after us.
"She really hates you, doesn't she?"
He nods. "Yeah, well, I gave her good reason to." He mutters that he needs food before disappearing into the crowded cafeteria.
I make my way to the far side of the room and find Jack, Lucas, Connor, Aiyah, Miranda, and Zoe at our usual table in the corner.
Jack looks around with a disgusted expression. "Damn, this place is depressing. Doesn't the student council have anything better to do than decorate the shit out of everything? It looks like Jingly the Glitter Fairy jizzed all over the damn place."
"It's nearly December," Aiyah says. "It's festive."
"Festive?" Jack gestures to the tsunami of tinsel and baubles surrounding us. "It borders on psychotic. Yesterday, they ripped down the Thanksgiving decorations like they'd personally insulted their mothers, and today, there's a metric shit-ton of Santa porn all over the damn place. No one needs this much fucking tinsel! If I show up to my rugby match this afternoon with goddamn glitter all over me, I'll make an official complaint to the dean. I will not be known as a human disco ball, no matter how fabulous that would look on me."
There are giggles before Lucas says, "So, what's everyone doing this weekend? Jack, did you finally convince that redheaded dance major to go out with you?"
Jack grins. "Hell yeah, I did. I'm taking her to that new Italian place in town. A little wine, a little pasta. And afterward, when I turn on the Avery charm, I predict I'll be face-deep in her ballet tights by bedtime."
Miranda glowers. "You realize that buying a woman a meal doesn't give you the right to bone her, right?"
Jack scoffs. "I'm aware. Plus, I actually like her. If sex was all I wanted I wouldn't go to all the trouble of taking her out, would I? I'd just invite her over to watch soft porn on Netflix in the hope that it would put her in the mood."
Excerpted from Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven. Copyright © 2015 Leisa Rayven. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. Beautiful Repair,
2. Despised Vulnerability,
4. Hold on to Me,
5. Perfect Disguise,
8. One Night,
10. This Too Shall Pass,
11. Open Book,
12. Hopeful Indifference,
15. Just Sex,
16. Little Ache,
17. Collision Course,
19. Emotional Evolution,
20. Now and Then,
21. Opening Night,
22. Beginning of the End,
23. Sink or Swim,
25. Final Bow,
About the Author,
Also by Leisa Rayven,
Praise for the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I originally gave in and downloaded the first audiobook, Bad Romeo, earlier this year because the author was on the original list for Book Bonanza. But she had to cancel. And even though I owned the paperback of this, I decided to just go ahead and listen to it, and I did on my drive from my town of Kansas City to Denver where I went to Book Bonanza. Now there were times that if I'd been Cassie, I'd have been so done with Ethan. I mean, forget it. But yeah, I've never been in real love, so I guess I don't know. I also felt that her feelings of it must be love because of how good the sex was, well that seemed pretty naive. Another thing I really did like is that in this book the woman is the one who got to go out and be making up for being apart from the guy she loved. Usually it seems it is the guy who does that. To be fair, he probably did that before they ever got together, and all of his declarations of love when they were adult explains why he didn't from then on. I did like how the ending gave us just about all you needed to know about how things went on from then. But it seemed to drag on a few times when I thought it was over, so that was a bit much maybe.
Broken Juliet is the second installment in Leisa Rayven's new-adult romance series titled Starcrossed. While the first book Bad Romeo gave the new adult genre a reprieve from the typical unnecessary relationship drama, Broken Juliet makes up for it. I never quite found my eye-roll though and I think that's because the characters remain fairly complex which I appreciated. I also enjoyed the continuation of the acting lessons with the focus on embracing one's vulnerability. As in Bad Romeo, this one goes from present to past until the timeframes meet back up again but this time there was some closure to the hero and heroine's story. The next book Wicked Heart appears to feature a different hero/heroine so we'll see where this series takes readers from here. If you follow the series, make sure to include Broken Juliet in your list. My favorite quote: “Let’s say people are books. Everyone who comes into our lives is given a glimpse of a few of our pages. If they like us, we show them more pages. If we like them, we want them to see the unedited parts. Some people may make notes in the margins. Leave their marks upon us and our story. But ultimately, the words that are printed—that represent us as a person—don’t change without our permission."
I loved just as much as the bad romeo. Now I just have to wait until may for wicked heart.
It was a great book! I was disappointed. It was a nice conclusion!
Bad Romeo was so addictive to read and I had so much fun reading it. With the way it ended, I was dying to get my hands on the sequel, so I could find out what happens. Broken Juliet was another fun book to read but I got bored with all of the back and forth between the hero and heroine. In Bad Romeo, Ethan's self-loathing was sad to watch. His self-destructive tendencies only get worse in the past chapters of this book. Meanwhile, in the present storyline, the tables have turned completely. Now Cassie is the one who is unsure of Ethan. Six years later, he's fighting for Cassie and prepared to show her how much he's changed and how much he loves her. Just like Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet hooked me and I had to keep reading. One of the things left unanswered in Bad Romeo was the reason Ethan left Cassie six years ago that later led to her downward spiral. We get that answer in Broken Juliet, but I had to say that it was slightly underwhelming. The impact of his departure at that time was diminished by the other numerous times he left her. I mentioned recently in another review that sometimes contemporary series featuring the same couple are sometimes better being condensed into one book or one book and a novella. I would have been a-okay with this being one book. I felt like Broken Juliet was more of the same as Bad Romeo with Ethan's self-destructive behavior and the constant break-ups. While I understood Ethan's plight, it got old seeing him constantly flip-flop between staying with Cassie and leaving her. Cassie and Ethan's story wraps up nicely in this book. I will definitely be reading Wicked Heart when it comes out. 2.5 stars I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where Bad Romeo jumps between past and present, Broken Juliet picks up right where Bad Romeo left off and answers the question on how Ethan broke Juliet’s heart. Cassie is trying to decide if she should give Ethan another chance. I absolutely love the way this story went! LOVE IT! The characters have grown so much, especially Ethan. I was cheering for them to get together the entire time, even though I knew Cassie was so heart broken. Ethan is the one begging and chasing Cassie this time – the opposite of their dynamic in Bad Romeo. It showed his vulnerability and how much he really did love her and regretted how much he hurt her. The entire story was so well written and intense…I can’t find a single thing that I did not love about Broken Juliet! I’m so in awe of the author’s writing abilities and can not wait to delve into the next book in this series! VERY well done! I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.
When I finished Bad Romeo I wanted to delve immediately into Broken Juliet because I had to know what happened between and to Cassie and Ethan. And even though I had Broken Juliet on my Kindle, queued up and ready to go, I forced myself to read something else in between. I needed to come down from the rollercoaster ride the Ms. Rayven took me on in Bad Romeo. I had to make sure that I was starting the second part of Cassie and Ethan’s journey from sound footing, even if they weren’t. I also had to make sure that I could give Broken Juliet its own review, rather than reviewing the two books as a series. But because Broken Juliet picks up right were Bad Romeo leaves off – with the knock at the door – I found myself sucked right back into Cassie’s anxiety, her fear, her doubt, her mistrust, her love, and her brokenness. Even though I finished book one less than 24 hours ago, I still find myself amazed at Ms. Rayven’s ability to draw me in with a writing style I tend to dislike – Cassie and Ethan’s diary entries. And again, her shifts from present to past to present work seamlessly to reveal exactly what it was that Ethan did that broke Cassie – because he did break her – and how it is now affecting their present. I absolutely enjoyed this book, both of them actually but especially Broken Juliet. The author managed to twist my emotions so fully that I was simultaneously hopeful for the present because of the progress that Ethan has made in the intervening years AND fearful and anxious as I waited for the other shoe to drop in the past. Even knowing that Ethan left her and how heartbroken that left Cassie, I still wasn’t prepared to actually relive that moment with Cassie. And just when I thought everything in the present was going to work out and Cassie was finally going to get her happily ever after, a single phone call sends her (and me) running back behind the wall she built to keep her heart safe. I honestly did not know if the author was going to give Cassie and Ethan the happy ending I thought they deserved. While I again found the acting elements fascinating, I enjoyed Cassie’s therapy sessions even more. They not only provided an excellent means of revealing the painful events of the past, but they also provided even more insight into Cassie and what she endured as she tried to fight Ethan’s insecurities in their previous relationships. Even though we didn’t see any of Ethan’s sessions, his behavior in the present was a testament to how committed he was to exorcising his demons. And because we were well acquainted with the explosive sexual chemistry between them from book one, the sexual tension in the present between Cassie and Ethan was that much more palpable. Because I don’t want to ruin the reading experience for anyone by spoiling the ending, I will simply say that I absolutely loved Broken Juliet and was satisfied with the resolution the author provided Cassie and Ethan. I look forward to rereading both books, and I’m really looking forward to reading Elissa’s story in Wicked Heart. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Leisa certainly did it again with Broken Juliet, only better. This is the continuation of Cassie and Ethan 3 years later after their second break up. They meet up again when they are paired to play the lead roles and try to give their relationship another chance. This book is very well written and beautiful. The character development and growth between the 2 characters is amazing. I couldn't put it down. I loved these characters from start to finish, and could not stop rooting for them to have the happy ending they deserved.Seeing them grow as characters both individually and as a couple is wonderful. I wouldn't change anything about this book expect maybe make it longer so we can have more Cassie and Ethan, as i never want their story to end. Leisa writing is amazing, and if you love a good, complex love story with amazing relatable characters then her books are totally for you. You will not be disappointed.
Broken Juliet is the second book in the Starcrossed series, picking up from the ending in Bad Romeo we finally get some understanding and closure to the rocky, heartbreaking and emotional love story of Ethan and Cassie. Two soul-mates who endure a long and painful journey to find the happily ever after they both clearly deserve to find in one another, both drawn towards one another like moth's to a flame, no matter how much time goes by, you know they'll always find their way back to one another. The character roles have been reversed in this book, in Bad Romeo Ethan is closed off, distrustful and feels unworthy of being loved, after suffering through two break-ups with Ethan, Cassie is now the same way, whilst Ethan finally got help for his problems and is in a far better place, now he's the one who is positive and sure of their relationship and what they could be together. As per the first book we have two different timelines running throughout the story the present and the past of 6-5 years ago, giving the readers the story of their fledgling, floundering relationship and the choices good or bad that they made between them which brought them to where they are today. I really enjoyed the way this storyline was wrapped up, the happiness I felt when I'd finally finished reading the book left me with a smile on my face and relief that Ethan and Cassie's story had ended in a way that I was really happy with. If you're looking for an angsty contemporary romance read of the new adult persuasion then be sure to pick this series up, you can't go wrong.
Reviewed by Francesca and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog BAD ROMEO was a bit of a surprise for me! I thought the premise was super interesting and I even liked the jerk hero. Although it didn’t wow me I was definitely interested to see the next installment in their saga. And BROKEN JULIET again surprised me. This is much more emotional than I thought it would be. And I mainly say this because of all that Cassie has gone through. I have to give her props for sticking to it and being in a relationship after she was hurt time and time again. Fighting for true love to persevere. In the end, the hopeless romantic in me wanted her to get the HEA she’s always wanted. And I went on that ride with her willingly. Another surprise for me here was Ethan, because as much as I wanted to just say “Get over your issues!!!” I understand where he was coming from. And I loved that he still fought for the closeness he needed from her even while making mistakes left and right. I admit I enjoy a bit of groveling and I applaud Ms. Rayven for knowing what amount of that was enough. Not too much, not too little. A beautifully tragic romance. The kind we want to see fixed and put back together. I find that having this series titles follow in a Romeo and Juliet theme is very accurate. But I think readers will be much happier with this outcome than that one. If you like angst in a new adult story that feels more mature to me, then give this series a try. It will twist your heart a bit, but it’ll be surprisingly satisfying in the end. *ARC provided by publisher
A good story, but not as good as th first book Bad Romeo. I did like this one, but couldn't connect with th characters and feel there passion and angst like I did the 1st book. I 5 stared the 1st bookand absolutely fell in love with Ethan and Cassie! In this one Cassie grated on my nerves a bit an Ethan didnt seem like Ethan as much. Anyhoo, make sure t read the series! All in all it is worth it and I do love this author an her style of writing! I'll be readin more from her for sure!
I loved both books! Beautiful love story!
Broken Juliet, Leisa Rayven Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance Well, last year I read Bad Romeo, and had a few issues with things in it. I felt it could be five star but the gripes brought it down for me. That Ethan though – he’s been plaguing me ever since to re-read it, saying I’d not got the point. Finally I gave in, knowing Broken Juliet was due out ( and then – hurrah, I got an ARC for it, so could read both back to back, my preferred way of reading stories) I couldn’t believe how the issues that annoyed me first time round were so much easier to accept on second reading, and them disappearing more into the background let the story and drama play out for me raising it from a 3 to a 4.5. Then I read this one, and the issues I had are all answered here – in full, and it was a fabulous, romantic, dramatic read. Its still told in flashbacks and alternating POV, and this time I found it easier to keep up and keep my mind in the time period the story was in. That’s good, as really there are three separate times: the present time, the college years six years back, and the three years between now and finish of college. It sounds confusing but it wasn’t. Cassie really is broken, she’s shut her heart and emotions away now, vowing no-one will ever have the power to break her again. She doesn’t think she could get over it, so when Ethan comes along asking for a third chance – she doesn’t want to know. Rightly so - after all how can she know he’s changed? But he has and he’s happy to take as long as it needs to show her his true heart, that he loves her openly, fully and won’t let her down again. He knows he’s got a hard line to tread though, but it seems he’s going to be persistent! We see them back at college, and see just how badly Cassie was hurt, then that second breakup – the one that puzzled me so badly in book one. Finally I understood just why she was so adamant. Poor Cassie, I felt for her in the first book, and this one, well – thank goodness she’d been blessed with such loving and supportive friends. She needed them after that second breakup, and without them I think she’d have been suicidal. There’s such drama here, such pulling at emotions, but where before we just saw the results of Ethan’s actions, now we get an insight into just why he behaved that way, his motivation, how he felt and that he really thought he was doing the right thing. Is it possible to change so much though? Can Cassie get past such sorrow, such heart break, such betrayal of trust? Well, Ethan really has grown, and finally faced his fears, and now he has to convince Cassie to face hers. Even if they don’t get back together she truly is broken as she is, hasn’t been able to have a relationship since they’d split, just a series of unsatisfactory one night stands. She can’t go through life like that without ending up embittered and unhappy at everything and everyone. Her heart knows it belongs to Ethan, he just has to convince her head to let him have one more chance. He knows this time he won’t let her down, he has a confidence and a maturity that shows through, and he’s just so incredibly supportive, so open and loving, so unsderstaning that he made me fall in love with him all over again. Its a fabulous read, full of emotion, drama, romance, and yet deals with issues that affect many people. It shows us how we can get stuck in a pattern of behaviour. I so wanted Cassie to give him another chance – once I knew why he had changed. I liked that there was a real reason for that change, that he could come out and say what was wrong for him, and what he;’d done to put it right. I liked that it took time, both for him to heal and become the man he now is, and for Cassie to believe him. After all the dramas they’ve been through it wouldn’t have been right if he said “give me a third chance Cassie, please?” and she just said yes...they needed that time, we needed that time to read and understand them both. I loved seeing an update of Erika too at the end, and it made me wonder just what had gone on in her life. It was clear she recognised the strength of love and emotion between Cassie and Ethan right from the start, and seeing her at the end closed the circle perfectly. Stars: five, a fabulous read that answers all my questions from book one. ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
I've been waiting to read this book from the very the second I finished reading Bad Romeo in October. That's over six, very long months to find out what happens between Cassie and Ethan, but I'm happy to say the wait was well worth it. I fell into the story from the very first page and felt happy and satisfied after reading the last. Broken Juliet answered all of my questions and filled in all the details I was missing about Ethan and Cassie's relationship, starting from the first day they met. I found myself often astonished by what happened between the two of them. Both Ethan and Cassie are complex characters. They're heavily influenced by their pasts and it shows in their actions and responses. Insecurities also play a huge role in the destruction of their relationships with each other and a very large hindrance to any sort of reunion they might have. One of the most surprising thoughts I had while reading this book was, "Ethan and Cassie have come full circle." In the past Ethan held all the control in the relationship and Cassie was helpless against his whims. Now in the present, Cassie held the reigns and Ethan was the one trying to convince her to let him in. She sure didn't make it easy for him and I completely understood her reticence to let him in. A person is once burned, twice shy, but Ethan had decimated Cassie more than once and in this case a third chance was too risky for her to take easily. This duology was the perfect showcase for the power of heartbreak and love. Ethan and Cassie made so many mistakes and they kept hurting each other, sometimes purposefully and other times inadvertently, but the bond they had was undeniable and unbreakable even with the distance between them physically and emotionally. I was spellbound as bits and pieces of the past were revealed and then made relevant to their present. The growth of these two from the first page of Bad Romeo until the end of Broken Juliet is significant and visibly noticeable. The saga of Ethan and Cassie is a masterpiece that will enchant, captivate, and entrance you. It's impossible to put down and even harder to forget. Leisa Rayven has done a phenomenal job at delivering a story with characters I don't think I could ever tire of reading about. I can't rave enough about how amazing this book is. I hope to see glimpses of Ethan and Cassie in the future and I will eagerly be awaiting Leisa's next release.
I really appreciate how imperfect the characters are and that in trying to do the right thing it ends up being the wrong thing. I know that the next book is about Ethan's sister but I hope we see/hear quite a bit about Ethan and Cassie.
I just want to give a quick thank you to the awesome book gods over at St. Martin's Press for sending me my early review copy of this book. Ya'll rock, and I appreciate all you have done for me the past couple months. I don't think I have ever been so lost for words on how to write a review before. I'm sure if you read my review for Bad Romeo you noticed I got just a tad prolific and deep in that review. Bad Romeo spoke so much to me, and Broken Juliet has managed to speak to me even more. This series in general has just absolutely floored me. And to tell you the truth there are only a couple authors that have had the capability to make me such a mess after reading their books. Authors like Colleen Hoover and Jen Armentrout, to name a couple. But this book had me so invested in Cassie and Ethan I didn't want to put it down. Sadly life did get in the way this week, and I was not able to finish this work of art as quickly as I wanted to. If i had had the chance I probably could have finished it in a day. It was just that mesmerizing. Every reason I loved Bad Romeo still stands in this book. Great lead characters, great secondary characters, interesting way of breaking the book into past and present, great writing style, and amazing chemistry. Everyone from book one is back, and we even get introduced to a few new faces like Dr. Kate Kate (No your eyes are not deceiving you, her first and last name are both Kate) Dr. Kate brings a calming effect to the story and allows for us to get a glimpse of Cassie's past when everything went downhill between her and Ethan. I mean we see that as the story flips between (as I fondly referred to them in the Bad Romeo review as Past and Present Cassie and Ethan.) The way Cassie tells about her past though with Dr. Kate gives us a better understanding as to how that past of her past effects her today though. When the book flips between the two time frames we get to see a little of how things are connected. Why that particular part of er past is being shared to explain why something is said in present time. But when she tells the story to Dr. Kate we get to see a direct reaction. That is something different between the two books, and I liked it a lot. I felt that I could understand Present Cassie a bit better. In Bad Romeo Present Cassie kinda drove me nuts. I completely understood why she had so many reservations about getting back with Ethan but I wanted to smack her a few times for not womaning up and giving it a shot. In this book though I felt like I had a much better understanding as to why she had her hang ups. I love Ethan but if a guy had broken my heart like he did to her, I probably would have acted the same way. That said, Present Ethan seriously melts my heart. I really love that dude. He has taken what was broken in him and patched it so much that he can now help to patch Cassie too. And let me just say... End of this book? I so freaking called it. Magic book super powers activate! hehe So like I said, pretty much everyone is back for this book. And yes that means Connor. To tell you just a bit, I have a really special place in my heart for Connor. I love Ethan, but Connor is just the guy you want to want to be with. He is the sweet, caring, gentleman. That doesn't through you on the emotion roller coaster, and that you know you should be choosing. But can't because your so hung up on the bad/damaged boys. (Yup, I do it. All the freaking time. I gave up the nicest boy back my first couple years in college. I mean would have treated me like a princess too. And I blew him off for a guy I was attracted to a little more, and was a bit more wild for me. Who wound up showing me a side to myself I now love, but also hate, for giving him so much of myself for so long. It has taken 4 years but I recently realized that him being such a jerk, and blowing me off so often actually protected me from all the heart ache that probably would have come if we had been in a real relationship, and not just several bad hook ups.) Anyways, I guess that's why I love Connor so much. He reminds me of what I want in a guy. But let me jut tell you. Him and Cassie are going to get an act they have to do together that to me was brilliant. I mean it ultimately lead to tragedy, but I loved how it showed some depth to both of them. Also Connor does a pretty racier scene with Ethan, and man it kinda floored me. I mean I am not a prude in the least, but this scene had even me like a dang! Not in a bad way though. Just in a this is gonna be some interesting stuff way. I like how Leisa pushed boundaries in this book. We get to see that none of these characters are just black and white, and I think it represents how daring it is to be an actor. Connor is the catalyst though for Past Ethan and Cassie. He is in no fault for it, but it is him that brings the story to a breaking point I think. He also allows for us to see just how much Present Ethan has changed. How the jealous over reacting side of him has dulled down, and he is now much more confident in himself and with his relationship with Cassie. So in short. I love Connor, and he just had to be in this story. HAD to! We also get to see Tristan, Jack, Ruby, Zoe, and Elissa in this one too. I am still all about Zoe and Jack hooking up. I think they would make a hilarious couple. Just saying hehe Once again they bring humor to the story and give Past Cassie and Ethan the push they need at times to rekindle their relationship. I don't have a lot more to say that I didn't cover in the Broken Juliet review, other than Tristan still cracks me up. That boy is great, and I love how supportive he is to Cassie and keeps her grounded. There is a joke on opening night he presents to Present Cassie and I have to say I got strange looks from the kids I nanny when I busted out laughing. Ok I want to touch on something that has been brought up in both books now. The idea that just because something is used and battered, and no longer in pristine condition doesn't mean it isn't just as beautiful as it originally was. It doesn't mean it's broken or any less stunning. In Bad Romeo we see it when play director Marco's Boyfriend/ Husband. Whatever the man was, I can't remember shows Present Cassie and Ethan his valued collection of glass. Most of the pieces are a bit beat up and chipped. Including some that are completely broken and smashed. He explains that that is what he loves so much a bout it. The broken pieces in particular, how even though they were broken out of rage and hurt, that someone took the time to gather all the pieces and keep them, broken and all. That it shows what it has endured, and the past it survived through. Leisa made a good connection to Ethan and Cassie being a lot like the glass and how they were both broken, but yet still had the ability to be something beautiful, scars and all. How they still cherish the pieces and save them because they have so much meaning. We see this again in Broken Juliet when Present Ethan gives Present Cassie a gift. Now I won't spoil it for you and tell you much about it. But it does the same thing as the broken glass reference. To show that beauty isn't necessarily shown by looking perfect and flawless. It's the bumps along the way that shape you, and make you who you are. And can bring out the true beauty in something. I really loved that analogy, and think it is something everyone needs to consider in their lives. I loved this book so so much. I actually am really sad to see this is the end. I could keep reading about Cassie and Ethan forever. No lie. And yes, I am still holding out hope that I will get my spin off. Even a novella would work. Just saying hehe I give Broken Juliet: 5 Stars
Broken Juliet is the absolutely sparkling conclusion to the story of Cassie and Ethan. I'm nearly at a loss for words to describe how much I love this series and how truly wonderful these books are. Parts are laugh out loud funny, parts make you want to sob in sadness or frustration. There is angst, romance and plenty of steam. Cassie and Ethan are phenomenal characters. Their dialogue is impeccably written and the story fresh and inventive. The words are lyrical, carefully crafted, and flow in a way that makes you pause thinking, "those sentences were absolutely perfect." Leisa Rayven uses a combination of flashbacks and modern day scenes to build the story of Cassie and Ethan and their tumultuous relationship. But, through all of drama, you see how Cassie and Ethan are desperately and completely meant for one another. It takes years (and some hard core therapy) for each to understand and accept themselves and the monumental feelings they possess for one another. The end result is worth every bit of emotion and speaks so honestly about who the characters are and what they want and need from one another. Broken Juliet has caused a book hang-over of epic proportions. I'm certain I will spend hours re-reading all the highlighted bits and pieces to re-capture just a few of the emotions this book can stir. There are a few books and series that are on my "always recommend" list. Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet have shot toward the top of that list and I will be telling everyone I know that this series can't be missed. *An ARC was received in exchange for an honest review.
3.5/5 stars After the somewhat of a cliffhanger ending to Bad Romeo, I was in desperate need to get my hands on Broken Juliet. I feel like I have been a part of Ethan and Cassie's lives, having witnessed the good, the bad, the ugly, AND the beautiful. I applaud Rayven for invoking such strong emotions in me, making me care so much about a relationship that certainly had its ups and downs for two books. I really loved Rayven's flashbacks in Bad Romeo, so I was happy to see they once again made another appearance here in the follow up novel. This time, Rayven takes us on an even deeper journey into the tumultuous relationship of Cassie and Ethan. I admit, it was hard to see them at their lowest and watching Ethan do this constant push and pull with Cassie was hard to swallow. While this book is from Cassie's POV again, I really like that we got a bit of Ethan's through the journals he has lent to Cassie. In them we can see his inner war over loving her and hurting her. He is so self-destructive and his self-esteem is really low. He doesn't think things with Cassie can ever be, because he knows he'll end up hurting her because that's all he knows. He 'tries' for her, but there's always this unrest about him, and we're constantly waiting for the crap to hit the fan. Present tense Ethan is so very different and we don't see that unrest. He has a calm about him and a hope that he and Cassie can make things work once again. I really loved seeing him that way. I completely understand Cassie's hesitance to believe Ethan even now, because he is the same boy who broke her heart and her trust one too many times before. I enjoyed this one, as it is a very character driven book and I really liked that, but I almost felt Cassie and Ethan's story could have been wrapped up with a novella, instead of a full length novel. These two have this extreme passion together and while I don't mind my books on the steamier side, I did feel some of the sex scenes could have been cut and/or shortened. It is important that we see just how destructive these two could be and how absolutely addicted to one another they were because it plays a huge role in their story, but sometimes it was a little much. I saw that Elissa (Ethan's sister)'s story is next and I am looking forward to that, as I really liked her character. I am really glad I picked up this dualogy. I love all things theater related, having been a former theater major myself, so to see Cassie and Ethan on stage and exploring who they are as actors was so fantastic. Their romance, while rocky and rough at times, was still a good one because sometimes the things that hurt us the most and we know are bad for us, are the ones we can't stay away from. It's realistic and raw, so even though these characters were put through the ringer, I do feel they'll be stronger because of it. There is no epilogue, but I am content with the way their story wrapped up (and ok totally swooned and squealed at the end).
3.75 stars-BROKEN JULIET is the second installment in Leisa Rayven’s new adult, contemporary Starcrossed romance duology focusing on stage actors Cassie Taylor and Ethan Holt. Told from Cassie’s first person POV with flashbacks, memories and journal entries from both Cassie and Ethan, spanning six years and several time lines, BROKEN JULIET is the continuing story of two people damaged by the past. Six years earlier, Ethan walked out of Cassie’s life without explanation but in the ensuing years our couple will come together time and time again. BROKEN JULIET finds Cassie with a decision to make-take Ethan back, demons and all-or say goodbye for the very last time. Current day Ethan and Cassie have the leading roles in an off Broadway play where the storyline is a reflection of their day to day lives. Ethan was a young man on the brink of disaster and with it came rage, anger, jealousy, low self esteem and a need to control that stemmed from a horrendous childhood of neglect and abandonment. Now, Ethan’s emotional instability is under control and he sets his sights on winning back the woman he has loved for close to six years- but winning is subjective if the heart cannot forgive and forget about the past. Most of the previous storyline characters play a secondary and supporting role. Several time lines reveal the building heartbreak and animosity; and how friends and fellow actors prepared for the onslaught of disaster. BAD ROMEO (book 1) was originally a piece of fan fiction based on the Twilight series and characters wherein our hero believes himself a danger to his leading lady; the similarities are obvious; the characters a mirror image. Ethan’s sister Elissa’s storyline will be told next in WICKED HEART. Ethan and Cassie’s acting instructor Erika, is a force unto herself. BROKEN JULIET is the conclusion to Ethan and Cassie’s storyline-a love that will endure. The flashbacks and journals reveal Cassie and Ethan’s thoughts, worries, needs and emotional frailty at that particular moment in the story time line. Because BROKEN JULIET is told from Cassie’s first per point of view, Ethan’s POV is revealed through his diaries and with it comes the emotional fall out of a man who believes he is not worthy of love. BROKEN JULIET is more angst ridden and emotionally heartbreaking than BAD ROMEO. Leisa Rayven brings the reader up close and personal into the minds and lives of two broken people. Cassie’s internal dialogue is revealing. The $ex scenes are intimate, provocative and steamy. Give the series a try.
6 stars. Leisa Rayven is brilliant storyteller. Sometimes you pick up a book and read it but it's more than just a book, it's a whole other world that you're lost in. You become a part of it. You feel the angst and tension, love and lust. The push and pull. You feel the happy and the gut wrenching moments. It's a story that makes you laugh and cry. It makes you feel everything. You may even realize you've been holding your breath because you're just so in the moment of the emotion. That was this story. Captivating, beautiful, and heart wrenching. Broken Juliet is a full circle epic love story, when paired with Bad Romeo will leave you breathless. Everything was just amazingly wonderful. Ethan and Cassie are rich, detailed characters with unbelievable chemistry and pull to one another. There were so many past and present parallels between both of them, it was fantastic. This was so emotional, very intense. Filled with passion and vulnerability from both characters. There are so many poignant moments that take place from Ethan's past all the way to when Cassie becomes who she is in the present. You can see and feel those moments when Cassie significantly changes into who her future self is. So much growth paired with heartache. So many times I was happy and hopeful. Other times I was gutted. There were also these lighter moments, fun little things that were interspersed and I was so thankful for them because I was a well of emotion while reading. Brilliantly crafted. Excellent build. Amazing story about two broken souls that find love that left me full of emotion and elation. Beautiful beyond belief! I'm not sure what else to say because there are just so many layers and facets to Ethan and Cassie’s characters and their story. So much depth and pain and love and it was just perfect. You just have to read it. It's a definite must read. Complimentary copy received for honest review.