Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blog Tour: Very Bad Things by Ilsa-Madden-Mills


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.

4.5 star review by Lisa Kane
“Even after all that has happened to me, I’ve never given up wishing on stars.”

Nora Blakely is a mirage. To the outside world she is brainy and sophisticated and in control. Inside, she is a bowl of jello, sloshing from side to side, using safety mechanisms like defining words in her head and imaging people as animals. Her mother is a television personality on a popular morning show, Good Morning Dallas and makes Joan Crawford look like June Cleaver. She needs to trade her Mercedes for a broomstick so she can write Surrender Nora in the sky. Her father, a wealthy beyond wealthy businessman, spends his time in the office or screwing other women who aren’t his wife. Her half- brother Finn, on the surface, is a closet junkie who will soon be returning home to live with dysfunctional mess of a family. Underneath his fa├žade, is a whole lot of story.

Nora is Briarcrest Academy’s star pupil, until she decides to rebel in a big way at the Open House. 

“If these people only knew the dirty truth about me. How weak I was. How I was dying a little bit every day in small doses. Would they look at me differently?

“It felt good to be bad.”

After her little outburst, she gains the attention of two guys in the audience. One is Leo Tate and his little brother Sebastian. Leo, a former musician from LA, is now a successful businessman, owning high end exercise facilities. He’s here because his brother will be attending Briarcrest and he is his legal guardian (their parents are dead). He finds himself mesmerized by Nora, who he calls “buttercup” in his mind (all that gorgeous blond hair of hers). They have a moment..

“As if she sensed me, her eyes opened, and when her green ones found mine, I swear, it felt like someone hit the pause button on the universe, and she was all I could see.”  

The two have a run in later when Nora has another impulse to self- destruct and do some damage. Leo feels himself drawn to her, but she is a high school senior and he is a 25 year old man. Despite Nora’s every attempt to seduce Leo (he has the occasional fall from grace) he forces himself to resist and uses his current girlfriend to get over his attraction for Nora. She tries to put him out of her mind by taking a second look at a former lover, Drew.  But the heart wants what the heart wants and in the end, nature will prevail.

“Why did they call it heartbreak, when it felt like my entire body was dying?”

The two have some steamy encounters that will leave you panting. 

“Want you so much. I’ve dreamed about making love to you a thousand times, “he whispered out, and the anguish I heard in his voice terrified me.

I loved this book! I loved Nora and Leo, though they drove me nuts with their ridiculous attempts to get over each other. Leo at one point pissed me off so badly, I almost wrote him off as no longer being swoon worthy. I loved Leo’s brother Sebastian and Nora’s aunt who is such a calming force for her. I detested her parents, although her father grew on me a little and Leo’s fu*k buddy, Tiffani. (make sure you use the “I” not the “y”!)  We had better hope she never joins forces with Nora’s mother! This story has an underlying note of sadness, as Nora has endured pain and abuse and lives in constant fear. The co-mingling of suspense and romance only enhances this book.

The secondary characters, Mila, Teddy, and Cuba enrich the canvas of the storyline bringing their own particular quirks and flaws to the party. This is one series I am looking forward to; I hope Ms. Madden-Mills has lots of Briarcrest novels in the works!


Nora and Leo Meet

“Drop the paint and turn around slowly with your hands in the air.” The loud command was said with a deep voice. “I’ve got a gun, so move nice and slow.”
I bent over and placed the can on the pavement. I started to turn when— “I said put your hands in the air!” he yelled.
I yanked my hands up and eased around to face the owner of the voice.
He was about ten feet away from me, standing six feet and then some. He was missing a shirt but wearing a pair of black athletic shorts and flip-flops. Judging by his disheveled dirty blond hair and bloodthirsty eyes, I’d have to guess this might be the owner of the Escalade.
And I’d just woken him up.
He came closer to me, and my eyes were immediately drawn to his green-and-blue dragon tattoo. Like a giant snake, the scaled body of the dragon wrapped around his forearm and bicep with the neck coming down from his shoulder and the head resting on his broad chest. Red flames poured from its mouth, between laser sharp teeth.
This guy looked medieval.
So, I squinted and pictured him as a rugged Viking, wearing a horned helmet and gripping a spear instead of a gun. Maybe holding a shield instead of his flashlight and definitely wearing some of those laced-up leather boots. The word berserker (from round two of the famous spelling bee) came to mind, and I rolled the syllables around my tongue . . . ber-serk-er. Yep, that was him alright: one pissed off Norse warrior.
I grinned at my amazing analogy because, well, I’d had too much to drink.
“You think this is funny, son?” he snapped.
I shook my head, suddenly aware that some guy was pointing a gun at me.
And he thought I was a boy.

About the Author

Ilsa Madden-Mills is a loving wife and mother, a loyal friend, and a teacher. When all that is done, she writes. Obsessively. 

She spends her days with two small kids, a neurotic cat, and her Viking husband. She collects magnets and rarely cooks except to bake her own pretzels. 

When she’s not typing away at a story, you can find her drinking too much Diet Coke, jamming out to Pink, or checking on her carefully maintained chocolate stash.

She loves to hear from from fans and fellow authors. 
Check her out on Facebook or her author website.

Tour Host:  Stephanie's Book Reports

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