Review: 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.


It isn't often that you come across an Indie Book as well written as Very Bad Things. Ilsa Madden-Mills blew me away with this one. She has written a beautiful story that sucks you in from page one.

Nora Blakely is a Texan beauty who was born into a life of privilege. From the outside it looks like she has everything her heart would desire but deep down she is unhappy and keeping a dark secret. She has been a puppet her entire life trying to make her parents happy. As she is standing in front of the school at Briarcrest Academy about to give a speech she decides enough is enough. Nora doesn't give the speech everyone was expecting from the perfect student instead she shocks the hell out of everyone with what comes out of her mouth. He parents if that is what you would call them are pissed to say the least. Nora doesn't back down though. Instead of reverting back to her old ways she is determined to live her own life and creates a list of very bad things to do.

"Bad decisions can make some damn good memories." -Nora Blakely

Leo Tate is a twenty five year old from California who has just recently moved to Texas with his little brother Sebastian. After their parents death Leo became Sebastian's guardian and doesn't care about anything but his brother and band these days. He has one very important rule: never fall in love. Once he lays eyes on Nora Blakely he knows he is in trouble. He is immediately drawn to her and fights his attraction because of the 6 year age difference. Although he thinks she is beautiful he assumes she is the typical spoiled rich girl.

"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 quarterback's 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."

Leo quickly learns that there is so much more to Nora than what he first thought. The first time they lay eyes on each other there is an instant connection. Leo fights the attraction with everything he has while Nora pulls out all the stops determined to show him that age doesn't matter when you are soulmates.

I can't say enough how much I loved this book. I loved the dual pov's of Nora and Leo and the character development was phenomenal. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the excerpt. I originally thought this was going to be another one of those boy meets girl, they fall instantly in love and live a happy ever after. Boy was I wrong! This book tugged at all my emotions and kept me reading until the early morning hours. I fell in love with Nora and felt her struggles as she fights for a life of her own. Oh Leo he was perfect. Well not really perfect but I loved the role he played in Nora's life as she learned to spread her wings. Pick this one up today I don't think you will regret it!


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