Review ~ Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy, #1)Title: Very Bad Things
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: Briarcrest Academy #1
Genre: NA Contemporary
Published: September 9th 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.
Buy Now - Amazon
Oh, how I loved this book! I was drawn into the intensity right from the beginning, wondering what Nora has been through to crack at an important function and declare in front of a packed crowd, “F*** Braircrest Academy, and f*** you all.” I knew from that moment I needed to see what happened to her, why she was fed up and what set her on this downward spiral.

Nora is one of those fractured people that had a terrible thing happen to her, and lives in a family that tries to maintain the perfect fa├žade, but it is far from perfect. The mother, she is a grade A cow – I wanted to bring that woman down a couple of notches. The absent father should've been around more. Then there’s the unstable brother, Finn. Nora has tried to get over her past, but instead has decided that rebellion is the way to go and makes a list: drinking, drugs and anonymous sex are high on it. Completing this list lands her on Leo's doorstep. Their encounter was quite amusing; even though Nora was in trouble, it didn't stop her trying for the anonymous sex and it was funny seeing Leo struggle with his male urges. The age problem is a huge factor for him and he tries to fight the connection he has with her.

I loved seeing all the characters grow and form relationships. One side character I loved was Sebastian, he is the flirty, fun younger brother of Leo, and both Leo and Sebastian have had their fair share of loss. I liked how that even at his younger age, he could see things better than Leo. He is a character I want to see more of.

I enjoyed how Ilsa Madden-Mills wove this tale together. The characters struggled back and forth with their feelings, and with the age differences and issues they have in their pasts. There were some sweet and sizzling swoony scenes, as well as the right amount of humour to counteract the dark issues. I was sucked into the complicated world and couldn't put the book down until that final page. I am looking forward to continuing in this series and reading more from Ilsa Madden-Mills, I assure you!!!

Complimentary copy provided by the Publisher, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Fantastic review, Naomi! I'm glad this whole book turned out to be as good as the teaser. I'll definitely be checking this one out soon ;)

  2. Oh wow! This sounds like an amazing book :) I loved the teaser and enjoyed your review! Great post girl :)

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

  3. Sounds great Naomi, great review! I love that the characters struggle so much with their feelings, sounds like they're complex, which I always love. And the way it starts off would grab me too! I'm going to have to check this one out soon :)

  4. Jenea WhittingtonJuly 26, 2014 at 3:44 AM

    I enjoyed this a lot too., :) Great review.

  5. Bookworm BrandeeJuly 26, 2014 at 4:03 AM

    Oh, I love this sound of this, Naomi. You know I love well developed characters that show a lot of growth. Interestingly, I have this one waiting on my kindle for me. :) Can't wait to get to it now. Great review, girl! Happy Friday!!

    p.s. I may be scarce in commenting over the next week - we're going on vacation. :)

  6. How could anyone not want to read a book simply to find out what pushed her over the edge? I know I'm curious!

  7. LOL that would definitely catch my attention. Yay for awesome reads!

  8. Oh I've wondered about this one. It looks amusing.

  9. I really did enjoy it, and I've enjoyed the next books too.

  10. Hehe! I know! I knew I was going to enjoy it after that outburst!

  11. I can't wait to see what you thought of it! I think you will really enjoy it.

    Have fun while away!!

  12. I know, right!! I just had to see what happened!!

  13. Yep, it would definitely pull you in wanting to know more!

  14. It was entertaining, that's for sure!

  15. This one sounds really good! I'm a sucker for this type of story!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  16. Glad to see you enjoyed this one. I still need to read book 2, but I'm not exactly sure when I'll get around to it. Great review!

  17. I did, it is a great series... I want the 3rd book now!

  18. I added it to my wish list on audible. I know the female narrator, and she's good, I don't know the male narrator but I hope he's good. I'll be listening to this soon :)
    Thank you Naomi!

  19. Whoo hoo! I'll be looking for your review.


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