Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blog Tour: Very Bad Things by Isla Madden-Mills

Welcome to our stop on the Very Bad Things blog tour.  Ilsa Madden-Mills has done an absolutely fabulous job with her first full length novel and this story.  
We loved Nora, not to mention Leo!!  Go pick up Very Bad Things ... you won't be disappointed!

Title: Very Bad Things (#1 Briarcrest Academy) 
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills 
Release date: September 9.13.2013 
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance 

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. 

“I got one last request, and I’ll never ask again,” Leo said.

“What?” I croaked out.

He set his books on a shelf and then took mine and set them beside his. He tugged me to him until our chests were touching.

“What are you doing?” I mumbled in confusion.

He put his hands on either side of my face and slid them into my hair, letting out a breath as if in relief. “Just saying goodbye, Nora.”

“You’re going to kiss me?” I asked, tears pricking my eyes at the sadness in his face.

“Please, just this last time, Buttercup,” he said.

And with that one word, I was his.

He lowered his head, his gaze holding me captive. When our lips touched, his heated eyes stayed open and mine did, too. My mouth melted into his, moaning as his hot tongue explored the details of my tongue, my teeth, my lips. We started slow but it escalated rapidly, the passion between us burning higher and higher. He owned me with his mouth, and I was lost.

I palmed his ass, grinding myself against him. He hissed at the increased pressure and pushed me back against the sturdy bookshelf, positioning me so his hips fit into my pelvis. I lifted one of my legs, and he caught it and wrapped it around him.

“Say my name,” he muttered gruffly as I sucked hard at his neck. He grunted, and I dug my nails into his back as I kissed my way around his collarbone, sucking another spot.

“Say it, Nora.”

“Leo, Leo, Leo,” I pleaded, arching my back and pushing into him.

He shuddered. “Fucking love that,” he whispered.

He placed his lips back on mine, dominating my mouth, like a man starved. All I could think about was him, him, him . . . his lips, his tongue, his taste, his butterscotch smell. I wanted all of him, and I’d never have him, and that thought made me frantic. I gripped him tighter, pushed my nails deeper, and kissed him harder.

I never wanted to say goodbye.

Ilsa Madden-Mills has set a very high standard with her debut novel.  Very Bad Things is an excellent start to her life as an author and I will be watching with interest for more from Madden-Mills.

I absolutely loved Nora.  She had the ideal mix of intelligence, sass and vulnerability.  Nora tried really hard to be bad, to rebel against the perfection expected of her by her mother.  Of course she failed terribly at being bad, but she did bust through the boundaries set for her and found enough of herself to be happy.  I loved her obsessions with words, her people watching and the way she assigned animals to people.  She was intelligent, funny, sexy - an all round fabulous female character that I couldn't fault.

I equally loved Leo.  He was such a wonderful 'parent' for Sebastian and desperately wanted to do the 'right' thing.  He fought so hard to protect his heart and struggled to actually understand what it was he was feeling.  Hiding behind things like age difference and an inability to take a risk with his heart meant that he treated Nora terribly, more than once, and yet I couldn't judge him harshly for it because it was never his intention.  I know, I know that sounds ridiculous, he didn't mean it, therefore it was OK ... which is not exactly what I mean ... it was more that he was so terrified of hurting Nora and giving her his heart that he ended up doing exactly what he was afraid of.

There are so many other wonderful characters in this story too and the potential for more stories about any number and combination of them is definitely there.  Sebastian, Leo's brother was a particular favorite, as was Teddy (I absolutely adored the interactions between Nora and Teddy).

Madden-Mills has a wonderful writing style.  It is incredibly easy to read - I particularly liked the start of each chapter which had a quote of relevance from (mostly) one of the characters in the story, they were cute and quirky and completely appropriate.  Very Bad Things is not a long read, but it is engaging and definitely sucked me in, invested me in the characters and had me wondering precisely how it was going to turn out.  I was cheering for Nora the entire time and was really happy with how the ending came together. 

4 out of 5 stars

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.

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