Friday, June 6, 2014

Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
My rating: 2.5 of 5 genies
Published: September 9, 2013
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Little Dove Publishing
Source: Purchased
Pages: 389
Format: eBook
Purchase At:

Goodreads Summary

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.

My Review

Going into Very Bad Things I had somewhat high hopes, and giving the high rating it has on Goodreads, I figured I would not be disappointed. Sadly, I was. Really, this book in its entirety wasn't what the first few chapters promised it would be. The characters kind of unraveled mid-way and became unlikable as they made a habit of acting out of character. A lot of the indecision between Nora and Leo drove me crazy. Also, the cheesiness! Let me explain:

Nora crap, I forgot her name for a second there Blakely is an almost all too forgettable character and this is not good, particularly not for a female lead. She goes through a lot, ignored by both her parents and forced to meet unrealistic expectations of perfection set by a demoness of a mother. Nora has a past that is heart-wrenching, and after years spent trying to make up for what her mother makes her believe is her fault, she snaps.

At the opening house for her school, Briarcrest Academy, where she is asked to speak, Nora tells the faculty and all its visitors to go f**k themselves. Yes, I know what you are thinking, and I agree: this address would definitely make me enroll my children in the school! Look at the speech training offered to its students, truly this is a spectacular institution.

I kid.

Jokes aside, this little act of rebellion is exactly the wake-up call Nora needs to shake her life up and she realizes that the time has come for her to take back control. So she makes a list. Comprised of Very Bad Things, this list is designed to rid Nora of the label of "perfect" she has been branded with for so long.

The plan is brilliant, really, and the first act of licentious behaviour on the list happens to be vandalism of the newly purchased building across the street from her aunt's bakery which the owner intends to reconstruct as a gym. No, she does not vandalise the building, that would be silly. No, Nora goes for the money and takes down the Escalade parked outside.

Brighter ideas have never been had.

Basically, she wants to turn the luxury vehicle into something reminiscent of a preschool bus, and for the most part she succeeds. Until she's interrupted by Leo, the owner of said gym and Escalade. Long story short, he's pissed and mad as hell that Nora has vandalised his car. He remembers her from the open house, because uttering such kindly words as Nora did makes one hard to forget.

Not to mention, he is attracted to her because the doctrine of Instalove dictates that the two have a "moment" following her address. He notices her, she notices him, it's meant to be except he's like 6 or 7 years older than she is and prison is no joke. He knows the outburst from the open house can't be normal and realizes that Nora is fighting some serious demons. The book is basically about Nora coming to terms with her past and forging a new future of her choosing as well as her and Leo fighting their strong pull to one another, and yet failing woefully.

Now, I really liked this book for its prologue and first chapter, those are what convinced me to buy Very Bad Things. However, as the story progresses, it becomes evident that not only is there not much of a plot, but the characters lose their appeal the more time a reader spends with them. For instance, I enjoyed Leo at the beginning, he was sweet-ish and very attractive. By the end? I was done with his "f***" this and "f***" speech, and the ever-present indecision with Nora.

Call me old-fashioned, but I do not understand sleeping with someone you do not have feelings for. What point is there in that, and what happens after you're finished? I'd be mortified. People act like sex is nothing and if you aren't giving it up, then you're a repressed prude who is uncomfortable with their sexuality. Are these really the only explanations available? I digress, but this is inaccurate.

If Leo didn't think Nora was sleeping with his brother, then it was with some other guy. It was like she had to be getting physically intimate with someone and this drove me insane! It made me think he thought extremely little of her, one, and secondly, that he was insecure to the point that he was projecting his own promiscuity onto her. I don't know why this was done the way it was, but I fell out of love with him; insecure guys are a turn-off and Leo was surely that with a good measure of instability to boot. I didn't find it all too romantic that he and Nora would share kisses and talk dirty, only for him to pull back and be like "Girl, I ain't ready for no relationship." The hell?! It was ridiculous.

I felt for her and what she'd been through, thank God Finn was dealt with at the end, but I couldn't decipher who Nora was as a person. Was she insecure, spunky, troubled, confident, innocent, or a sex vixen? It seemed that the author was trying to make her into all these things at once and the conflict was evident.

I liked Sebastian, he was the saving grace in all this and his humor kept me going. I didn't like Leo so much because he did stupid things and his getup as the typical bad boy (tats, dirty mouth and "heart of gold") didn't endear me to him in any way. Sex does not equate love, and I felt that when it came down to it, Nora and Leo shared a lot of physical attraction. I'm just not convinced that a majority of it was emotional; she loved him because she felt like it was right and he the same. They didn't know each other and I think the fight to keep from jumping into bed was what the story focused mostly on.

It was cheesy in some parts, primarily in the middle where talk of Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet and other cliches abound. I wasn't feeling it. Especially since there was little need for the dramatics. I'm leaning more towards 2.5 on this; the lack of plot and proper character construction noticeably suffered the read and while some might enjoy Very Bad Things, I couldn't like it as much as I'd hoped. I kept reading, hoping for more to come of it, but the story does not offer much by way of strong characters nor well-written plot. I finished it, but I would not read Very Bad Things again.

2.5/5 Genies


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