Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review: Very Wicked Things (Briarcrest Academy #2) by Ilsa Madden-Mills

When I read the first book in this series, Very Wicked Things, last year it absolutely floored me. Nora and Leo's story was emotional and all consuming. In that review, I used the word exquisite to describe author Ilsa Madden-Mills' writing and that once again applies here in book two.

Cuba Hudson is the most popular, best looking and most athletic boy at Briarcrest Academy. Girls throw themselves at his feet even knowing he doesn't do the girlfriend thing. One would think he is the happiest guy at school. But as we have come to know about the kids at Briarcrest, looks are usually deceiving.

Dovey Beckham is not part of Cuba's rich, entitled world. A scholarship student, once her classes and dance practices are over, she heads back home to the unsavory side of town. They don't make any sense together, except for a brief point in time when they did. But that is all in the past and there is no future for them. Is there? Cuba and Dovey haven't spoken in a year, since he took her virginity and then shattered her heart in front of the entire school. He's done everything in his power to ignore her and she's done everything she can to make him see her. Until the day when it all changes. Again.
Let me warn you now, prepare yourself for a serious emotional roller coaster. Cuba and Dovey's story is not all fluffy hearts and flowers, it is mostly heartbreaking. Both of them have had difficult lives so far. Dovey grew up wondering when her next meal would be and being resented by her mother. Cuba lost people he loved and he carries the guilt with him everywhere. In fact, you can just feel it weighing him down, causing him to make bad decisions and hurt the girl he loves. My feelings towards Cuba were all over the place. I mean I loved him because despite the playboy routine, he has a really good heart and he loves people with all of it. And I ached for him and all the pain he has gone through. But then I frickin hated him for the crap he pulled with Dovey. Sigh.

Watching these two struggle with those personal demons was difficult and I so badly wanted them to be able to heal each other.  But nothing is ever easy, especially not for them. And the way Ilsa writes it all is She makes you feel EVERYTHING. With every sharp hurtful word Cuba and Dovey throw at each other, you fee like a shard of glass is piercing your heart. Their pain becomes your pain and at times it is almost too much. I love a book and author that truly makes me feel what the characters are going through and leaves you wondering. Will they get their HEA? Hell you just don't know.

Cuba and Dovey were painful perfection that had me hooked from the first word. Hell, I was hooked from the synopsis when I read it months ago.  There is no cliffy here, however there are a few unanswered questions surrounding some of the other supporting characters. And it might leave you screaming for those answers as it did me. But I will be a good girl and wait patiently because I know the next book will be as amazing as the others in this series. (And because I will totally internet stalk you Ilsa Madden-Mills until you give me the story that I want. Love you!)

Favorite Quotes
"Don't you see what's going on? Dovey, we don't need sleep...because we're falling in love."

Hadn't it always been like that withher? Hadn't she always consumed my dreams, my deepest desires?
Because right now my body was aching for hers. I wanted to talk dirty to her and taste her core until she came, her hands fisted in my hair. I wanted to get behind her and teach her that m y cock was the only one she'd ever need.

Marianna's Rating:

**I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I got out of the shower and dressed hurriedly, anxious to get back to Cuba.

The door opened, and like he did it every single day, he stepped inside the steamy bathroom.

“Think I need a shower, too,” he said, his fingers easing off his football practice shirt.

What? Now?

Trying to play it cool and failing miserably, I moved my eyes off his naked chest and checked out his track pants and the obvious bulge he sported.

Oh. Did his lower body match the rest of him? Was it all sinewy muscle and big?

Just, yeah. That thought got stuck in my head and went round and round.

“You staying?” he asked, a grin working his face. Pleased at my open admiration, probably.

“No,” I said, but made no move to go. ‘Cause I had no shame when it came to catching a glimpse of his muscular body.

“Good,” he said, his smile broadening.

He pivoted to turn on the shower, and my eyes betrayed me again, admiring the muscles in his back, checking out how they twitched and rippled when he moved. Football and rowing had been good to him. My fingers itched to know how they’d feel underneath my hands. Which was stupid because we had nothing in common. Not a rich Highland Park boy and a poor girl from Ratcliffe.

And most importantly, he was a player, not to be trusted.

He hooked his thumbs into his pants, paused a moment—maybe waiting to see if I’d run from the room?—but when I didn’t budge, he slid them and his underwear off. My mouth opened. Cuba Hudson, the most popular guy at Briarcrest was standing right in front of me, naked and beautiful. And like the cocky bastard he was, he posed for me, his big-ass biceps and chiseled abs making me vibrate all over. 
Need for him slammed into me.

Did I say he was hot?

Well, I was wrong.

He was off-the-charts, no-holds-barred, freaking going make-me-lose-my-mind-right-there delicious. The ultimate man-candy, the kind I knew to stay away from, yet here I was, ogling him.

“Still leaving?” he asked huskily.

“Any minute,” I said in a weak voice, backing up to the wall and propping myself up. “Just chillin’. Shower wore me out. I might need to hold this wall up for a sec.”

“I want you to stay,” he said, eyes at half-mast, glowing with heat.

“Why?” I said, aching to touch him. But that was crazy. I was a virgin, and I didn’t know jack about touching a guy’s you-know-what.

“Look at me, Dovey.”

I tore my eyes from his manhood, blushing.

His eyes burned. “There’s a sense of urgency in my head. Like our time is limited.”

I nodded. Yeah, same here.

“And, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to rush you, but I’m dying to sink into you. I want to set you on fire with need for me.” He ghosted his hands over the steel rod between his legs. Once, twice, and—holy shizzle, he didn’t stop.

My chest rose faster and faster, and I tried to chill-out, but I couldn’t.

He lowered his voice. “Kiss me again, Dovey.”

Oh. “That’s a terrible idea, Cuba. Cause you’re naked, and I’m turned on because you’re naked. And you’re touching yourself. And you’re naked.” I sucked in a sharp breath. “Not a good combo. Odds are we’ll end up in that shower together or back in your bed doing the double-backed monster.”

“Then join me in the shower. I’ll be good. For you.” He arched his back, his hands still doing that back and forth that was driving me insane.

Liar, liar, pants on fire, I thought. No way he would he be good.

Because he was the Heartbreaker of Briarcrest Academy. And one wicked boy.

Title: Very Wicked Things
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Series: Briarcrest Academy #2
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Book Synopsis:
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.

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.


Book #1
Very Bad Things

Marianna's Review

Book #1.5
Very Wicked Beginnings

Marianna's Review

About the Author
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.

Twitter: @ilsamaddenmills;

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