Monday, May 12, 2014

Very Wicked Beginnings/Things (Briarcrest Academy #2) by Ilsa Madden-Mills: Release Blitz, Review & Giveaway


Girls say I’m a walking, talking sex god. Guys call me Hollywood because my life is golden.

It’s not.

But, ESPN did rank me as a four star recruit, calling me one of the best defensive players since Briarcrest Academy opened its esteemed doors. So yeah, with football and a stellar GPA, my future seemed good.

Then Dovey Beckham shows up in her short skirts and ballet shoes. Driving me insane. Making me want to beg for her attention.

But that wouldn’t happen, because Cuba Hudson didn’t beg for anything.

She walked around BA like she owned the place, and most days she looked right through me…the one girl I couldn’t have.

So, of course, I made it my mission to claim her, to put her notch on my bedpost.

Because no girl can resist the Heartbreaker of BA.

But I never planned on destroying her.

I never planned on wrecking the one thing that could save me.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where wicked love begins…and ends.


Know this about Cuba Hudson:

1. He’s a wicked good football player.

2. He’s filthy rich and some would even call him spoiled.

3. He’s vowed to never lay his heart at any girl’s feet.

And then she showed up.

Born on the poor side of town…

Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarcrest Academy, determined to prove she’s more than just a girl with the wrong pedigree. She does whatever it takes to succeed in her endgame, even if it means surrendering her body…but never her heart.

Until the day she meets him, and he rips apart all her well-laid plans. Suddenly, the girl everyone thought unbreakable might just shatter.

Born into wealth and privilege…

Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson is rich, spoiled, and a star football player.

With his fast cars and superficial girlfriends, he lives the high-life, hiding his secrets from the world.

Until the day he meets her, and she offers him something he’s never tasted…love.

But once in a lifetime kind of love doesn’t come easy.

When trust crumbles and doubts creep in, both will have to decide to either love or let go…forever.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.


Click to Buy the Briarcrest Academy Series on Amazon:

About the Author:

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.

Social Media Links:

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Review by Yvette:

My approach to angst in books is usually to bare my teeth and wait for the suffering to end. Realistically, I know there must be conflict in a narrative, but is it too much to ask for the conflict to last only a few pages? I thought that Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills tugged at my heartstrings and left me emotionally exhausted, but that was nothing compared to the blubbering mess I was after finishing the follow-up sequel, Very Wicked Things. The fast-paced narrative combined with the dual narration from protagonists, Cuba and Dovey, snares you from the start and never lets go, packing one emotional punch after another right up until the very last page.

Unlike most narratives in the NA genre, Very Wicked Things is a backwards romance, taking place after a breakup between the two main characters. The transition is a bit jarring after reading the prequel, Very Wicked Beginnings, which chronicles the time leading up to Dovey and Cuba's relationship. The hopefulness and happiness has transformed to hurt feelings and unresolved issues, which settle like a pall over the narrative. I was in a constant state of anxiety, being pulled in two different directions by each character, wanting them to give in to their desires and dying a little on the inside when it seemed as though no resolution was in sight.

What makes the narrative have such an intense impact is the emotions evoked by Dovey and Cuba. These are two characters who command attention, both seeming to play a certain part in public, but the reader glimpses behind their facades to see their inner turmoil. It's these glimpses into their true nature that drew me to them because all of their vulnerabilities and weaknesses are exposed, making them more relatable when I couldn't otherwise identify with their situations. The fact that Cuba and Dovey are more like anti-heroes initially threw me off because it was so unexpected, but that's what made their journey so much more meaningful in the long run.

Very Wicked Things messed with my mind and stomped on my heart over and over again with its unpredictable plot and even more unpredictable characters. I found the book's setup to be refreshing and unlike most stories I've read because it is like experiencing a relationship in reverse, starting at the end and working back to the beginning. The process isn't pretty, though; it's intense and heartbreaking and more often than not, I wanted to scream in frustration at how helpless I felt throughout the narrative. Ilsa Madden-Mills did an excellent job of capturing and holding my attention until the end, crossing my fingers and hoping for a much needed Happily Ever After.

Rating: 4 Stars

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