Thursday, September 26, 2013


By: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Published By: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Released : Available Now
Details: Digital for review, 325 Pages


Blurb: Goodreads 

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.

Love this book trailer!

BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:

“She’s this beautiful chaos.” - Leo Tate

I got to say I really loved this NA contemporary romance. It had all the things I like in a really good contemporary.

I had kept up with all the teaser quotes and they were all very good and had me intrigued and wanting to know more, but when I actually got into this read, it had so much more than the smexi lad and the angst and smexual tension that we all love in a NA contemporary romance.

It had a lot of heart too. Teddy grabbed my heart. Bless him.

We expect a smexi lad and it to be a bumpy ride, for there to be something soul destroying in one of the characters lives. That is why we love New Adult Contemporary. 

We keep coming back for more. We want to be frustrated with the angst and yell at them to just get it on. But then we wouldn't have a book. We would have a wham bam thanku ma'am. We don't want that. We want the struggle and the hurt. 

We want a HEA.

We want that kiss that makes you grip your book.

Ilsa delivered an awesome read that I was quite addicted to.

Leo Tate is indeed smexi in appearance and attitude, but what I loved about him was he was more. What he did for his brother, Sebastian, and how he turned their lives around. What he does for Teddy and Vixen.

Leo grinned at Teddy and squeezed his shoulder. “He likes to talk about music.”

Teddy said, “Nora, Nora! I love music. Do you?”

I nodded, my eyes going from Teddy to Leo, trying to get the connection because I sensed a kinship between them.

I got to say I love Teddy with a passion. He is brilliant. I saw his character so well. He is a little gem.

I loved Teddy and Nora’s scenes. You can see a different Nora with Teddy. She lets her walls down. She just hangs with him.

Whatever strangeness was up with Teddy, I liked him. I couldn’t put my finger on it or define it right then, but sometimes you just know when you’ve met a friend. Something about him reminded me of myself. Maybe it was the unsure set of his thin shoulders as he waited for me to answer his question. Maybe it was the fact that I was a little strange, too.

“What’s the camera around your neck?”

Teddy looked up and focused his eyes at my forehead. “Can’t breathe without my camera.”

“Are your ears on?” I asked Teddy.

He cocked his head awkwardly and spoke in his high voice, “Yes, my ears are on the side of my head.”

“Teddy , you’re one amazing dude, you know that?”

He stared at the wall. “So are you. You’re amazing, but not a dude.”

I laughed out loud. “Was that a joke?”

He smiled shyly. “Yeah, how was it?”


Sebastian is a character that I loved from the start. The minute I met him I loved him.

He wagged his finger at me. “I knew you’d like me. I’m hard to resist,” he grinned.

Buttercup aka Nora is a character that hits rock bottom emotionally before she gets back up, dusts herself off and climbs that ladder back out of the deep hole she has herself in.

Finally, some of the pain and darkness that had been wrapped around my soul fell away.

I smiled for real this time without even trying.

It felt good to be bad.

You will have many thoughts about Nora as you read her, but you must take into consideration how damaged she is. She is broken. By all appearances she has creature comforts, and an attitude to boot, but she is hurting underneath. When you have been raised with luxury, material things can only do so much for you, you need love and support and attention from those that are meant to love and support you.

“I’m not perfect. People think I am, but I’m not,” I admitted, needing him to know that I wasn’t the rich, spoiled girl he’d called me last night. In my life, things are never as they appeared.

Nora is good at everything she does, but she isn’t good at finding love.

This she struggles at.

I fucking hated pity. It was a wasted emotion.

She has her quirks.

“Yeah, I got a thing for words. You know how some people collect sea shells? I collect words.”

Nora and I have something in common. I can’t sing to save myself, but does that stop me...nah.

You know those people that think they can sing, but really can’t? Well, that’s not me. I knew I couldn’t sing worth crap, but I played on and sang anyway.

Sebastian is just a brilliant friend to Nora and brother to Leo.

He was the only real family I had left. I loved him. Hard. And I had no right to be mad at him for flirting with Nora.

“Technically, she may be younger than you, but I think she’s had to grow up too fast, man. Just like you did.”

Leo is such a wonderfully written character because he is trying to do what he has done for a long time with Sebastian, he tries to do the right thing. He doesn’t think he is the right thing for Nora.

Because no matter the strange pull I felt for her, I was letting it go. That girl was a forbidden fruit I could never taste.

Leo wants, but thinks he can’t have. He is also broken. He has had to play the part of parent and protector and put food on the table, now he has Buttercup who has set her sights on him and he wants to do the right thing.

“You think you want this?” He laughed darkly. “Buttercup, you can’t handle me.”

He keeps Tiffany in his life , she is what numbs his pain.

“He likes sluts because they don’t ask for anything more.”

I loved that this was not an insta love. I loved watching both lead characters be broken down until the only way was up.

Truth can be awful and even excruciating, but once it’s released, it’s like a bird that’s been caged too long who finally flies to freedom. I felt like that. Free.

I can quite easily see this book being picked up by a publisher because...

It was fairytale fucking worthy. - Nora Blakely



  1. I love the cover a d premise of this book, too bad I didn't have the bandwidth to review this. Sounds really cool

    1. Some reviewers have been a bit hard, but I loved it because it wasn't straight up love, there were things in play and other sub characters and..and...and that made this a great read for me. :D



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