“I was just a simple, young girl whose love for a boy would last until the end of time.” ~ Nora Blakely
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
When I finished Very Bad Things the first thing I said to my reading besties were the words: ‘I’m on a reading high.’ And that’s what it really felt like. It’s no secret I read A LOT of New Adult books so anything different from ‘the norm’ sucks me in and keeps me there. And after reading this book I had a lot of love for the writing, story line and characters.
Nora Blakely lived life with precision, she had to, her mother and father were high rollers in their community and appearance meant everything. The way her parents treated Nora could only be classed as neglect and definitely emotional abuse. Her mother was a piece of work for sure.“You’re such a fucking baby, Nora….It doesn’t matter how fat you are anyway, you’ll always be worthless.” Yes safe to say Ellen Blakely wasn’t getting mother of the year any time soon.
What I loved about Nora was her realism, she wasn’t the spoiled princess rebelling for the sake of it. Nora wasn’t after the shock factor. She had been abandoned by her parents to live in her gilded mansion alone whilst they kept up appearances everywhere but the one place it mattered: their home. Nora had been let down by the people that were meant to protect her. The moment she locked eyes with Leo Tate she met a kindred spirit. Leo knew pain on the same level as Nora, yet whilst Nora yearned for someone to love and be loved by them, Leo ran from it as he knew with love came pain.
Leo was hot! He was older than Nora, he being 25 and Nora turning 19 and at first Leo used that as his excuse for keeping Nora at a distance but it was a feeble attempt of keeping her at bay and he knew it. Leo was stubborn and wanted to do the right thing. Although the right thing benefited no one as both he and Nora were the ones missing out.
Leo’s younger brother Sebastian could tell instantly that Nora was different and could actually mean something to his brother so he kept Nora close and couldn’t help feel protective of her.
The story line itself I loved. It was all about Nora’s journey as she escaped from the tight shackles of her parents and the future that was planned out for her. She realised she was capable of getting out and living the life she wanted to lead. Nora had a dark secret and it was the catalyst for her break for freedom. I thought it was really well done. It wasn’t alluded to and then drawn out, it was hinted at and then revealed at the right time. I felt it to be very real and everyone’s reactions to it very genuine also. Especially Leo’s, he had no idea how to deal with this information and felt useless because he couldn’t protect Nora even though it was out with his control. Even if he was unaware, his reaction was a sign of his real feelings for Nora.
The relationship between Nora and Leo continuously sparked, it was really intense at times and I felt we were being mercilessly teased along with Nora and Leo. So many times I was telling them just to get it on! Obstacles such as Tiffani-with and i and Drew were getting in the way. To my surprise this didn’t annoy me like it usually would, it wasn’t the right time for Nora and Leo to be together and then it also made their connection deeper for me to believe in it. There was no instalove here.
Very Bad Things wasn’t saturated with smexy moments and I’m kinda glad because when they did happen, boy did you appreciate them all the more. The connection between Leo and Nora was so profound every scene between them was hot. And I was so glad we got both points of view as I needed to know what Leo was thinking just as much as I did Nora.
If I was to describe Ilsa Madden-Mill’s writing I would have to say intricate. I felt it throughout the book, the smallest of details connected with the bigger story, every word had a purpose. From Nora’s list, to spelling words, to her fascination with tattoos and even Teddy’s friendship, each had a place in the story and made the final product richer because of it. The pace of the story was done really well, and it was the small details like the chapter headings and even the actual notepaper at the beginning and end of the story added that extra touch.
I loved the ending, I loved the song written by Leo, I loved Nora’s tattoo and what it meant for her but overall what I loved the most was Nora and Leo finally letting each other in. They both deserved happiness.
I am very excited to learn Very Bad Things is part of a series, I would love to read Sebastian’s story. But Nora and Leo can’t face any more drama because I love them too much! This was a well written, breath of fresh air in the New Adult category with great characters and a very twisted plot. I will definitely read more of Ilsa Madden-Mills’ books in the future and I strongly recommend you one click Very Bad Things.
“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.”
“This was all about him. About Leo. He sparked this insatiable, urgent need in me, one that I hadn’t quite wrapped my head around yet. I’d never felt more alive than when I was with him.”
“Why did I want her so fucking much? Why couldn’t I push her away like I did everyone else? Why couldn’t I breathe when I saw her? My heart knew the answer….I think maybe if I let her in, she might get under my skin so deep that I’d never want her to leave. That terrified me.”
“It’s like she came out of nowhere and knocked me off course. She makes me wild, like I can’t control myself. She’s this beautiful chaos, and I do want her, but you know I don’t like commitments. I can’t love someone and then lose them.”
“As soon as forever is gone, I’ll be over you.”
“Truth can be awful and even excruciating, but once it’s released, it’s like a bird that’s been cage too long who finally flies to freedom. I felt a little like that. Free.”
“We’ll make it, Leo. Together. No matter what comes, if we love each other, then everything else is cake.”
“My heart sang, recognising it’s mate.”
“Fate had known all along we were soul mates. Now, I did, too.”
Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.
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 fans and fellow authors.