Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Title: Very Bad Things (#1 Briarcrest Academy)

Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Release date: September 9.13.2013

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

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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.


The Kiss in the Library

“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.




The title alone, Very Bad Things, caught my attention so I was very excited to read it. And, it started with a BANG when Nora gave a speech during her school’s orientation. I thought, “Yes, this book is gonna knock my socks off,” but then it sorta dropped off for me. She sees Leo. She is attracted to Leo. Leo is attracted to her. But, it’s cat and mouse until almost the very end of the book.

Very Bad Things ends up touching on some very serious issues but those storylines aren’t fully developed. I would have preferred for this book to have been longer so it didn’t seem so fluffy. Plus, I found myself annoyed by both Nora and Leo. I was annoyed with Nora because at times she seemed very childish and immature and Leo because he seemed kind of “soft” to me.

Overall, Very Bad Things is an enjoyable book. I would have preferred for it to have been longer and a more developed story. But, despite what I said above, it kept me very intrigued and interested to see how the romance was going to play out. And, the standout character of the book for me was Sebastian!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of Very Bad Things in exchange for an honest review.




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.


1. If Very Bad Things were made into a movie, who would you have as your dream cast? Parker Hurley, of course, would be Leo. I love his pics where he has the longer, wavier hair and those tats…oh lordy, they do bad things to me. Nora would be Scarlett Johansen. Gotta have a red-head. J


2. Set the mood for us…when you’re writing, you have to…have coffee or diet coke, a power bar, a pen and paper for scribbling notes and ideas, and my laptop. I can’t have music or the TV on. Everything has to be silent. If I get stuck on an idea or the brain freezes up, I go take a shower. Long and hot. It’s crazy, but there’s something so freeing about being naked and letting the water just cleanse you. Strange? Maybe, but it works.


3. What has been the most surprising and upsetting part of your literary journey? I wrote my first novel five years ago. It was a 100k paranormal romance that I sent out to about twenty agents and publishing houses. It got rejected so many times, and truly, it killed my spirit for a while. I got in a slump and said I’d never write again. But my hubby kept encouraging me. He’s always been my biggest supporter. I adore him. He’s my Viking, for reals.


4. When you’re not writing, what authors do you enjoy reading? What are you currently reading? I. Read. Everything. I have eclectic tastes, so even if it’s an old stodgy history book, I’ll get sucked in. As far as favorite writers go right now, I’d have to say Wally Lamb or Paullina Simons. The Bronze Horseman is my all-time favorite series, ever.


5. If you had to write your life story, what would the title be? How does that title portray your story? It feels presumptuous to think my life is worth a book, but hey, I guess we’re all different and have worthy stories to tell. We’re all unique and no one really knows our hearts or our battles. I supposed if I had to choose a title it would be “My Kind of Crazy” which was almost the title to VBT. My life has in no way ever been the norm. I grew up with an alcoholic father. I grew up thinking I wasn’t good enough to do anything worthwhile. I spent years and lots of therapy trying to figure out who I was. People see what they want to see when they look at me (a lot like Nora my heroine), but when you get below the surface, you’ll get to know the real Ilsa. I don’t let many people inside, but when I do, you know it’s for life. I live hard and love even harder.


6. What are three things readers might be surprised to learn about you? I redo old furniture. I make damn good homemade pretzels. I sleep under an electric blanket even when it’s 100 degree summer in the South.


7. Why do you think what you do matters? NA romance isn’t going to change the world by any means, but it sure makes life better. Romance makes life bearable. And guacamole. And homemade tortillas. And chocolate soufflé. And love.


8. What can your fans look forward to next? Book two is a surprise. It will not be about Sebastian. I’m saving him for last. You’ll have to guess who is next.


9. Thank you again for allowing me to interview you on Tiffany Talks Books. Are there any last words for those who are reading this interview? Just that I love this blog and stalk you all the time. Whether it’s on FB or pinterest, I will find you. ♥ Thanks!


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vey bad things


  1. Love the interview! Ilsa.. We know who gets to play Nora… ;P

  2. Johnnie-Maire says:

    Went to try for the giveaway and the link doesn’t work 🙁 It sounds like it would be great!!

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