Title:  Very Bad Things

Series:  Briarcrest Academy

Author:  Ilsa Madden-Mills

Published:  September 2013

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…

Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, 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. 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.

**Note:  This book was provided to the Book Hookup by the author but that did not in any way influence this review.

The Litbrarians will put Very Bad Things on their second shelf!!

Our Review:

Initial Thoughts:

Ana:  4 stars.  Good book!  That very first scene grabbed me and held on.  I liked the characters and the premise of the book.  I liked the flow of the story and, although I was kept waiting for some of the things I wanted, I enjoyed the angst that came along with that wait.

Celeste: 4 stars Very Bad Things is a dark and gritty story about 2 people who fall in love, despite some pretty serious emotional baggage. The love was a slow burn, but trust me, it was worth the wait.

The Characters:

Ana:  I loved Leo.  His intensity, his confusion, his “brokenness” (I don’t think that’s a real word but I’m going with it anyway) and his big heart lured me in.  I liked Nora and, even though at times I felt she was a bit too immature, I still somehow related to her.  The secondary characters, especially Sebastian,  rounded out the story well.

Celeste: I love when characters have an intense physical attraction, but hold back, just like Leo did here with Nora. That slow burn is painful, yet I savored every word. He knows that Nora acts out for a reason, which is why he wants to keep her safe. Leo doesn’t have faith in himself to be that man for her, so he ends up denying himself and Nora. Nora on the other hand, knows what she wants, and while she seemed out of control, it was just her way to break free and become her own person. Both Nora and Leo are what I would call “damaged goods”, but at the same time they are both fighters. Everything they did was for self-preservation. I also have to mention how much I loved Sebastian. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him *crosses fingers book 2 is his story*.

The Story:

Ana:  There was a lot going on here.  It wasn’t just about the romance, or the family issues, or the emotional turmoil.  The author did a good job of creating a well rounded “life” for these characters with happiness, sadness, fear and anger…with family, friends and enemies.  I liked that there were several story lines to follow.

 Celeste: This was a romance story, but like Ana said it also dealt with so much more. I don’t even know how Nora functioned for as long as she did without losing it. She was really quite strong even though she was broken. There was a pretty serious issue in this novel besides just her parents having extremely high expectations. I was a little leery that it was going to be too much for me, but it written well and done in a way that gave a back story without going for shock value.

The Romance/Chemistry:

Ana:  The chemistry was there from the first few pages…strong and true.  The interactions were intense from the very beginning and the buildup was slow and steady…hot!!

Celeste: There was chemistry from the very beginning and frankly, it was scorching hot. Ladies, get ready to fan yourself. I have a favorite scene and let’s just say O M G. Without giving anything away Nora kisses each one of Leo’s fingers. RAWR.

The Ending:

Ana: hmmmm…as I mentioned before, there was so much going on in this book and it’s a stand-alone.  So, lots had to be wrapped up at the end.  And, to me, it felt rushed.  To many bows to tie in a very short time.  I think this book could have used a few more pages in order to do justice to everything that was going on.  One particular storyline ending left me a bit cold but others ended as I wanted them to so I guess it’s a good mix.

 Celeste: I agree here again with Ana, it was a little too speedy for me. While I liked the direction it went in, it didn’t go at the same pace as the rest of the novel. While Nora admitted she might need therapy, I think there were a few scenes that could have gone on longer so we got to feel the emotions that went along with all of the major actions. I also wish I had seen Nora’s mother again.

Recommend it?

Ana:  Yes! Overall a great story with wonderful characters…and I love the fact that it’s a stand-alone novel…no cliffhanger, no “wait ’till next time” ending.  Just a good story to immerse yourself in.  I’m looking forward to reading more about these characters and hoping that book 2 is about Sebastian!

Celeste: Yes! I love feeling so vested in characters, and that’s exactly what happened with Very Bad Things.  I can’t wait to see what happens in their lives next in that epilogue Ms. Madden-Mills is releasing in a few weeks. And to top it off, there’s a book 2, but we don’t know which characters are in this story. Not gonna lie, I am praying it’s Sebastian’s story.



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