Saturday, September 28, 2013

Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills with Review

Title: Very Bad Things (#1 Briarcrest Academy)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Expected release date: September 10, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen year old girl could desire.  She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school.  She’s perfect…or is she?
Leaving behind her million dollar mansion and Jimmy Choo’s, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex.  
Then she meets her soulmate.  But he doesn’t want her.
When it comes to girls, twenty-five year old Leo Tate has one rule:  never fall in love.  His gym and his brother are all he cares about…until he meets Nora and realizes he is not the master of his own fate.  He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.
As they struggle to stay away from each other…secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.
Welcome to Briarcrest Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.


Ilsa wrote her first work at the age of twelve when she penned a little ditty about a handsome prince who had no sense.  Since then, she’s written plays, poems, and numerous short stories.  Very Bad Things is her first full-length novel and part of a new series called Briarcrest Academy.

She graduated summa cum laude with a master’s in English from an esteemed university in the South, where she now resides.  After graduation, she taught writing courses, directed plays, worked with autistic children, helped start a children’s clothing company, and eventually had a family.  Now, she spends her days with two small kids and her Viking husband.  When she’s not typing away at a story, you can find her drinking too much coffee, jamming out to Pink, or checking on her carefully maintained chocolate stash.
She loves to hear from fans and fellow avid readers.  You can find her on Facebook and a soon to come author website.


Cover designed by: Toski Covey Photography and SommerStein from Perfect Pear
Cover reveal organized by: AToMR Tours;
Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Review by Wendy @ Shhh, Mommy's in the Bathroom Reading
4.5 Stars
On the surface, Nora Blakely seems perfect. She comes from an affluent family with money, pretty, thin, (neurotic), and brains to boot. I know, first thought, spoiled rich girl. As they say, the grass is greener on the other side... until you get there and it's just weeds. 
Nora has spent her life trying to please an unappeasable mother. Her father is never home. Her half brother Finn has moved away. So Nora is left in a mansion alone.  
One day, Nora finally snaps and is determined to do "Very Bad Things", if she's never going to live up to the expectations, might as well have fun and do things she shouldn't. Nora makes a list of the bad things she wants to do:

1: Change my image. Get a tattoo? Wear slutty clothes? Dye my hair?
2: Drink alcohol. Drugs optional. Drugs required. Proceed to rehab?
3: Have meaningless sex. Often. With different people. 
4: Be the aforementioned bad girl whenever possible. In school. At home. Everywhere.  
5: Do not under any circumstances be called perfect. 
Sometimes the one that seem perfect are the ones that are the most broken. 

Leo Tate and his brother Sebastian Tate are new to the area and Briarcrest Academy and witness first hand Nora's break down. 
Leo had to grow up fast and take over guardianship of Sebastian and the family business.  
When Leo sees Nora's mother screaming at her, Leo wants to step in to help, but doesn't want to make things worse for her.  When Leo makes eye contact with Nora, the connection with Nora is instantaneous. 

This book was a winner. There was drama, passion, angst, and jealousy. I laughed, got mad, got sad, and down right concerned.  The chemistry between Nora and Leo is palpable. However Leo doesn't want or need a relationship and Nora is tired of being everyone's second choice. Is it better to be second choice or no ones choice? Can Nora let go of what she wants and move on with her life. 
I loved how Nora took a very shitty situation and turned it around. The character progression was great. I really felt Nora evolving to the person she was meant to be, not the person she was forced to be. 

Leo, Leo , Leo.... He needed a swift kick in the ass. With that being said, I understand why he made the choices he did, and to be forced into a life he never planned and own it. 
The supporting characters, friends and enemies rounded out this book. I loved them and hated a few. 

The story is also told from alternating POV's so you really get a look into their heads. I loved this aspect and really felt the characters emotions. 

This book does not have a cliffhanger (yeah!), but it does leave it open for more Briarcrest Academy (Sebastian please ***hint, hint Ilsa***)

My one con about the book is that it ends at about 86% which was a huge let down, thinking I was going to get a little more. 

Overall a great, can't put it down read, and one in my re-read list. 

Incoming, incoming, super-slutty nurse arriving in three, two, one.” ~Mila

It’s hard to give up something when it’s everything you want.” –Nora Blakely

I lie awake and dream of her; I close my eyes and dream of her.” –Leo Tate

Best. Tiramisu. Ever. ~Nora 

Bad decisions can make some damn good memories.” –Nora Blakely

If love is the answer, then I’m changing the question.” –Leo Tate

I’d like to sleep for a hundred years, wake up and try again.” – Nora Blakely

happiness is simply collecting and remembering all the good moments in your life, kinda like beads on a necklace. ~Aunt Portia

A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are they crazy?” –Albert Einstein

"No one can resist the Tate charm when I crank it up" -Sebastian

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