Thursday, September 19, 2013

Very Bad Things Blog Tour and giveaway

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy 1)
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

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Heather's Review

5 - ball busting SMOOCHES!
How was that for a lesson in clarity Leo?

"Fuck Briarcrest Academy, and fuck you all."
I smiled for real…without even trying.
It felt good to be bad.
Nora appears to have the perfect life. She is very wealthy, makes good grades, and is the class president. She is a beauty queen and a talented pianist. Nora seems to excel at everything she does. But, no matter how "perfect" she is, it is never enough for the one person she wants to please the most, her mother. When, she walks on stage to address the incoming senior class of Briarcrest Academy, something in her snaps and she. is. DONE! Screw the good girl routine. Nora wants to be bad.
From the moment she'd taken the stage, my eyes had followed her. Probably because she was tall and blonde and wealthy, a prime example of an American princess-type. I bet she was popular and the quarterbacks girlfriend. I bet she had a pet Chihuahua she carried around in her purse. No doubt, her parents gave her anything her heart desired. She was spoiled rotten and didn't know shit about the real world. Nora Blakely was everything I avoided when it came to girls.
Leo is 25 years old and guardian to his brother Sebastian who is also a senior at B.A. They've recently moved from L.A. to Texas so that Sebastian would have a chance at a better education. When Nora takes the stage at Sebastian's orientation, Leo is instantly taken with her. But, girls like Nora expected love and commitment and those two things, he gave up on a long time ago. When Leo gets to his vehicle to head home, he notices that Nora is in the car parked next to his.
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.
Nora's mother was LIVID with the episode she pulled and that only added fuel to Nora's flame. What has Nora ever gotten from being "perfect?" It didn't make her mother love or respect her. Being bad gave Nora a rush and she craved it like a drug. She makes a list of "very bad things" that she wants to accomplish. Included in this list are things like drugs, alcohol, getting a tattoo, and meaningless sex.
…After pretending for so long and holding it all inside, I simply sought relief, just like I'd gotten at the open house when I'd let those hateful words come out of my mouth. And if saying bad things to people made me feel better, then how much better would I feel if I took it a step further?
She starts off with drinking and then a little vandalism. Moving right along to meaningless sex; Nora wants Leo. But, he is dead set upon not getting involved with her. Nora will not be deterred. She knows that Leo wants her and puts the moves on him every chance she gets.

"Lets go in the bathroom and fuck."
He exhaled heavily and stood up from the stool.
"No?" I said…
"You don't want me, Nora. I'll fuck you, and when I'm done, I'll leave you."
"Well if not you, then someone else will do, "I said with a shrug…
"Go back to your damn table. No fucking today, Nora," he bit out…
I smiled and batted my lashes. "Tomorrow?"
"Are you high?" he asked me, his eyes boring into mine.
I laughed. "God, no. This is all me," I said bitterly. "I don't need drugs to be a whore, Leo. I can do it all by myself."

There are also very tender moments between Nora and Leo.

"Tell me about your family."
"Sometimes I dream my family is dead," she said, "and it's not a nightmare."
"I'm not perfect. People think I am, but I'm not."
"Maybe I wouldn't like you so much if you were."
Leo purposely tries to push her away. Yet, he still has the audacity to warn her off of the guy she is interested in. Leo is experiencing a foreign emotion, jealousy.
"If I want to fuck Cuba, then I'll enjoy every dirty moment. I'm not afraid of getting my heart broken Leo. There's not one there to break."
She shows up at Leo's house to meet up with Sebastian for a party one night. When he notices how hot Nora looks in her little black dress, that green eyed bastard makes an appearance.
"What do you have on?"
"You don't like it? I didn't think you noticed."
"If there was ever a fucking dress I've ever noticed, it's that one… "
When Leo finally loses control and kisses her; Nora realizes that she has fallen in love with him. Leo ends the kiss abruptly and once again pushes her away.
"…You're a good girl with all these great talents and someday you'll have a big future. Just not with me. I'd just drag you down. I'd end up hurting you."
"You already did," I whispered out…
Now that her heart is involved, this thing with Leo has become too painful. It is time to let him go, get back to her list, and move on.
He was my Prince Charming, but I wasn't his Cinderella.
Nora is shameless! She gives Leo a lesson in "clarity" he won't soon forget! She plays the game and plays it well. I found myself wanting to jump out of bed fist pumping and cheer her on.

Leo begins to realize the depths of his feelings for Nora. He has tried so hard to fight it but, the heart wants what the heart wants…

"The truth is I never intended for this song to be sung in public, because I wrote it for this girl... and, she.. well, she's moved on. She was the one for me, but I screwed it up... It hurts like hell to think about her, about never having her as mine... She makes me all crazy inside. She makes me hear songs in my head... She makes me feel like I can have something good in my life..."
Could you love me, love me, love me
Do it, please, fall for me.
Baby, give me one more moment,
Just one more moment with you.
~"Fly Away" by Leo Tate

I never understood "book music." For me it is just a huge distraction. While reading Very Bad Things, I actually took breaks to play songs. The first song is Willa Ford's, "I Wanna Be Bad." This was her fight music and the song I cheered to! The second song is Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." I don't think I will ever hear this song again without my heart breaking a little for sweet Nora.

I am big time girl crushing on Nora. I do love Leo, don't get me wrong but God, Nora... that girl captured my heart. Going into this book I expected the bold, brazen side of Nora. What took me by surprise was the broken, vulnerable Nora. Suddenly, she doesn't seem wild but courageous. She is fierce. She is determined. Nora is a survivor.

When Ilsa offered me an ARC for an honest review I was ecstatic. When I read Very Bad Things, I was BLOWN-A-WAY! Trust me when I say that this book is spectacular! I did not fall in love with Ilsa's book until AFTER I read it! I did not even know her.. although, I did have the book on my radar from all of the amazing teasers.(Ilsa's got the best street team, I have ever seen!) I am pimping the shit out of it because I believe it is truly fabulous! Believe the hype! It is even better than what you are hearing! Buy it! Read it! Leave a review and please share it with us. I can't wait to see how much all of you adore this book!

Thank you Ilsa for creating these beautiful characters! Thank you for giving me the honor of being among the first to fall in love with them. I am SO excited for you, because you are going places sister! You have a real gift and it won't go unnoticed! XOXO

Selene's Review

5 "F*ck you all" Smooches

"I can't forget the words you've never said."

Nora Blakely is officially my new favorite heroine. I love her. And I love Ilsa Madden-Mills for dreaming her up.

From what you've heard, you probably think this book is a love story. I did, before I read it anyway. It quickly became the story about a girl named Nora. She is beautiful, yet flawed, vulnerable and broken. Love is a huge part of her story, but her story is SO much more.

Everyone thinks Nora has the perfect life, that she is the perfect girl. What she lives in though is a perfect hell. The fa├žade she has perfected to keep her demanding mother satisfied and the demons from her past hidden finally cracks and Nora spirals out of control. She pledges to change, erasing that perfect girl's existence. Nora creates a "List of Bad Things" and sets out to rewrite her life.
Nora's List of Bad Things
  • Change my image. Get a tattoo? Wear slutty clothes? Dye my hair?
  • Drink alcohol. Drugs optional. Drugs required. Proceed to rehab?
  • Have meaningless sex. Often. With different people.
  • Be the aforementioned bad girl whenever possible. In school. At home. Everywhere.
  • Do not under any circumstances be called perfect.

Nora decides to set her rebellious sights on Leo, her classmate's older brother. She shamelessly throws herself at him only to be refused by Leo even though he finds himself drawn and attracted to her. As she continues to spend more and more time with Leo, Nora realizes her feelings for him are anything but meaningless. And while Leo might feel the same, he refuses to consider the possibility that Nora just might be the girl for him.

Leo REALLY pissed me off! He leads Nora on several times, only to dismiss her over and over. Poor Nora, God bless her, she just keeps taking chance after chance, putting herself out there for Leo.

"Falling for someone can be a lot like playing roulette. You don't know what will happen when you place that bet, but you take a deep breath anyway and put all the chips out there. And when the ball spins around and around, you pray it lands on your number. Probability says you'll likely loose, and in this game of love with Leo, odds were I would lose, too, but I had to try."

The way he treats her is seriously heartbreaking. The only thing that keeps me from kicking his ass is the fact that we also get to hear Leo's point of view so we know that he does care and is fighting his feelings for her. He truly believes that he will not be able to love her the way she deserves to be loved. I could totally respect him for that if he would keep his hands (and lips) to himself.

"She licked her lips, and I ached to kiss her mouth. I wanted to lick it, nip it, suck on it; I wanted to own it. I wanted to give her a kiss she'd never f*cking forget."

I'm perfectly fine with him wanting to do those things but, dammit, Leo don't start something you won't finish!

"I won't kiss you again," he said rubbing his hands across his mouth, wiping it away. "It was a big f*cking mistake."

Really Leo? Is that how you treat someone you care about? And I'm sad to say there is more where that came from.

Early on, I was Team Leo because he is a good guy and he seemed to care about Nora. Eventually though, I stopped hoping for a Nora/Leo happily ever after and just wanted Nora to have any kind of happily ever after…be it with Leo or someone else. Nora so deserved it.

At the root of Nora's misery is her mother. The woman is pure evil. There is no other word for her. She's cruel, demanding and absent. She accepts nothing less than perfection from Nora. On Nora's birthday, while having lunch, her mom continues to earn her Mommy Dearest crown …

You're such a f*cking baby, Nora. Fine, eat your dessert like a two year old. It doesn't matter how fat you are anyway, you'll always be worthless."

She never even wished her a happy birthday.

Between Leo and her mom, poor Nora can't catch a break. She has a pretty horrific experience from her childhood she is dealing with and struggles to come to terms with. With the love and support of her aunt and best friend Mila, Nora does begin to see her worth and believe that maybe she is worthy of happiness. Nora's ex Drew re-enters her life and she tries to push her feelings for Leo aside enough to give her relationship with Drew a chance. Drew genuinely cares for Nora but he realizes that she still has feelings for Leo.

"When something hurts this bad, Nora, you need to f*cking let it go. Let him go."

And just when it looks like Nora could finally get her happily ever after with Drew, Leo decides it's time he made his move.

"I fought you and me together, and it decimates me knowing I messed up, that I didn't even give us a chance. It was all right there in front of me, plain as day, but I kept pushing and pushing until you gave up. The hardest thing I've ever done is pretend I didn't care for you."

Will Nora give Leo another chance or has Nora cashed in her chips and stopped gambling on him?

Nora does indeed get her happily ever after but I'm not saying with whom …. Get the book, fall in love with Nora, and find out for yourself!

Ilsa has completely wowed me with her debut novel. She's written characters you can't help but love, a story that is unique and captivating, and an ending that made my heart smile.

Housewive's Commentary

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