Thursday 8 May 2014

Release Blitz ~ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ Very Wicked Things (Briarcrest Academy 2) by Ilsa Madden-Mills & info on the prequel Very Wicked Beginnings

Very Wicked Beginnings (prequel):
Because Ilsa Madden-Mills fell in love with her beautifully flawed characters in Very Wicked Things, she penned Very Wicked Beginnings as a prequel novella to the book, featuring the story of football star Cuba Hudson and ballerina Dovey Beckham.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, all May proceeds from the sale of the novella will be donated to The Keith Milano Memorial Fund which benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). 
Title: Very Wicked Beginnings
Series: Briarcrest Academy #1.5, a prequel novella to Very Wicked Things
Release: Both books will release on May 13th

 Cover: Photography by Toski Covey
Graphics: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pear Creative Covers
Model: Tanner Belcher

Book Description:

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.
Add it to Goodreads:

Charity Information: 

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating and deadly disease that is mental illness. Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research. Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness.  Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was "Bipolar" we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). 

AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

Very Wicked Things (Briarcrest Academy 2):

Book Description:

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…especially when dirty money, past sins, and old flames threaten the very fabric of their lives.

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

**ARC Received for honest review**

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 Stars

“He was off-the-charts, no-holds-barred, freaking going to make-me-lose-my-mind-right-there, delicious. And I had no idea how to handle him. Because I was way out of my league.”

This is book two in the Briarcrest series and follows Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson and Dovey Beckham, I have to admit, I was hooked from the first till last page, this book was a page turner for me and I didn’t want to let their beautiful yet heart breaking story go.

Cuba is the guy that your mum warns you about, he is a star football player, he is also a player, a man whore, and he leaves a trail of heart broken girls in his wake with no remorse. But as with all things is this just a front? Who is Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson really? There are always two sides to every story and Cuba’s is heart breaking. Despite wealth, a privileged upbringing and all that entails there is a magnitude of hidden emotions underneath that playboy exterior, he just has a poor way of dealing with them…girls and a lot of them.

“Don’t pull away. I’m scared, too. And I know we’re young, but I feel older than I really am. I’ve gone through some bad shit in my life…”

Dovey Beckham is a ballerina, she tries her hardest to not be noticed, from the poor side of town and on a scholarship all she cares about is getting through school, dancing and looking after her guardian. Her back story is also an extremely harrowing one, but she is a survivor and has come through the other side stronger and more resilient. She has hardly any friends, she trusts no-one, but there is always one thing that keeps her grounded and that is her ballet.

When Cuba’s eyes strayed from the pitch to the window above, he was taken aback by the beauty of the dancer that he could see practicing; he was captivated, so much so he got sacked and never lived it down. He was enamoured with the ballerina and he had to get to know her better. Cuba had never had to chase before, girls just flung themselves at him, but he always knew Dovey would be different and she made him wait, he had to pull all the stops out just to convince Dovey that this was not one of his usual conquests. Slowly but surely Cuba reveals the real man underneath the façade and once he emerges you see him in a totally different light. He realises he has fallen, so does Dovey, but can Cuba be the man she deserves or will it all blow up in their face. Can he be that man or will fate have other ideas? This is a long and bumpy road but will they be strong enough to survive? Is this really a Cinderella style fairy tale whereby the poor little girl nabs the fit rich guy? There are many obstacles to overcome but can love pull them through? Will it be enough and more importantly will they realise before it is too late?

“Don’t you see what’s going on? Dovey, we don’t need sleep…because we are falling in love.”

This book is emotional, with two very guarded people. These two made me mad at times, Dovey’s pride made her make some really awful decisions but while I understood, they didn’t make them any easier to swallow. She had friends that were willing to help, but she would rather just deal. Cuba hid behind his reputation; he needed help in a different way, but would never let anyone see. Dovey got to see glimpses but as soon as they flickered, he doused them.

This is a book about love, redemption, forgiveness and survival. Emotional and heart breaking yet maddening at times Isla Madden-Mills manages to evoke through words a plethora of emotions that will leave you tearful and mindful. This book is extremely thought provoking, to what lengths would you go to, to protect the ones you love? If you finally found that you loved someone with all your heart and yet felt that you didn’t deserve that love, what lengths would you go to, to protect them and yourself? While infuriating at times, I was hooked from the first till last page and Cuba managed to wheedle his way into my heart, Dovey had her place there from the start. You cannot help but connect to these characters, you will champion them from the beginning and hope that despite the “obstacles” and crap that life puts your way that they will find their way through and realise that what they have is something precious and needs nurturing, they are soul mates, they share this connection that neither have ever felt before, it is powerful and consuming but it is theirs. Now it is up to them to grasp it and feed it.

“Yes, yes, yes. Someday.”

Totally loved this one and love this series, the characters from the first book do make an appearance although I would have loved to have learned more about Nora and Leo, but that is me being greedy. I can’t wait to see who gets their story next, maybe Sebastian, maybe Spider? But whoever the lucky soul is, I will be there at the front waiting to read.
Very Wicked Things Trailer:


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.
Haven’t read the first book Very Bad Things? It’s on sale!!  
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.

Ilsa’s website:


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