Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ilsa Madden-Mills

Very Bad Things, Very Wicked Beginnings, Very Wicked Things

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.

Mag's 5 Star Review:

Nora Blakely has secrets. Secrets that threaten to destroy her. Trying to push them deep down and far away, Nora becomes the definition of perfection: student council president, a member on the debate club and yearbook staff, national spelling bee champion, first in her class, pianist, and beauty pageant winner. Nora did everything she thought she should do to prove herself to her mother, father, and everyone else keeping a watchful eye. Nora wasn’t happy and couldn’t remember a time when she was happy. Lies and secrets tore her down everyday, until one day she snapped. Lost her composure. This turn of events brought her face to face with her soul mate Leo, who was holding a gun to her face while she was trying to vandalize his car. Ironic huh? Leo fights his fillings and focusing on the reasons why he and Nora couldn’t work. Leo helps Nora find her way through all the lies and secrets out into the light. 

I really liked this book. Nora was strong, confident, sexy, and witty. She made me laugh out loud multiple times, and made this book extremely hard to put down! Leo Tate is wonderfully stubborn. He made me so irritated during this book, but I also understood where he was coming from. There is a lot that he was trying to deal with emotionally as well. What happens to Nora in this book is heartbreaking, but what she over comes is what gives this book its special quality. This book is about hope and survival. It’s about learning to move on from the past and find out what makes you happy. The only negative thing I could say would be I wish the next one was out sooner!! I want some more Nora and Leo!!

A Prequel Novella

Girls say I’m a walking, talking sex god. Guys call me Hollywood because my life is golden. 

It’s not.

But, ESPN did rank me as a four-star recruit, calling me one of the best defensive players since Briarcrest Academy opened its esteemed doors. So yeah, with football and a stellar GPA, my future seemed good.

Then Dovey Beckham shows up in her short skirts and ballet shoes. Driving me insane. Making me want to beg for her attention. 

But that wouldn’t happen, because Cuba Hudson didn’t beg for 

She walked around BA like she owned the place, and most days she looked right through me…the one girl I couldn’t have.
So, of course, I made it my mission to claim her, to put her notch on my bedpost.

Because no girl can resist the Heartbreaker of BA.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where wicked love begins…and ends.

WARNING: This dark and twisty new adult romance contains sexual situations and graphic language.

Mag's 4 Star Review:

***Who Picked This? received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review***

Cuba is BA’s ‘hot guy’ with the looks and the football skills to get him any girl he wants. And he wants them for one thing and one thing only. That is until he gets literally blind-sided by a beautiful Russian ballerina. Dovey has ballet and that’s all she need to make her happy, well that’s what she thinks until she meets Cuba. Very Wicked Beginnings is simply that. The beginning of Dovey and Cuba’s journey and is a huge insight into the background of their relationship. I really enjoyed reading this prequel before starting Very Wicked Things. It helps answer some questions when reading Very Wicked Things.

Born on the poor side of town...

Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarcrest Academy, determined to prove she’s more than just a girl with the wrong pedigree. She does whatever it takes to succeed in her endgame, even if it means surrendering her body…but never her heart. 

Until the day she meets him, and he rips apart all her well-laid plans. Suddenly, the girl everyone thought unbreakable might just shatter.

Born into wealth and privilege...

Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson is rich, spoiled, and a star football player. With his fast cars and superficial girlfriends, he lives the high-life, hiding his secrets from the world.

Until the day he meets her, and she offers him something he’s never tasted... love.

But once in a lifetime kind of love doesn’t come easy. When trust crumbles and doubts creep in, both will have to decide to either love or let go... forever.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.

***Who Picked This? received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review***

Mag's 5 Star Review:

In Very Wicked Beginnings, we were introduced to Dovey and Cuba, but weren’t granted the privilege to really get to know them. In Very Wicked Things, we learn so much more about these emotionally scared individuals. Dovey Beckham grew up fighting for everything she had; fighting to keep warm, fighting to find food, and most importantly fighting to dance.

“I will die here.” Truth. “I want out. I want something better than what I have.” She gazed at me with a pined expression, knowing my circumstances. “Don’t want your pity,” I said, thrusting my chest out. Pity is for losers and weaklings, “I want somebody to believe in me.” 

Dovey is an impeccably strong, courageous, and loving character, who would do anything for the people she loves. Dovey is the type of character I fall hard for. She wiggled her way deep into my heart and will stay there for a long time. 

Cuba aka Hollywood, hasn’t had an easy life. Even though he has money and the power it brings, he still has secrets that eat at him on a daily basis. Looking from the outside, Cuba looks to be in control and laid back, but deep inside of him its dark and harden by years of guilt. When Dovey miraculously enters his life, he finds himself being brought out of the darkness into her light.

“You’re a light I need. Like a thousand suns.” 

But like all things good, there are instances that can take those good things away and Cuba finds these out first hand. Cuba is a hilarious character and is strong in his own way, but I felt for him and his struggles greatly in this book. 

“I wanted to be his bird of hope. I wanted to be the reason he chose to carry on.” 

This story is completely and utterly beautiful; two people from very different backgrounds, finding common ground and learning to survive through a series of battles. I laughed a lot, my heart cracked in half, I wanted to throw my kindle and I cried, but I would do it all again in a heart beat. I would strongly encourage everyone to read this series. Once again, Ilsa has made me fall in love with her characters. 

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