Mini Reviews: Briarwood Academy series by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Today, I’m reviewing an entire New Adult series:

Briarwood Academy
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Publisher: Little Dove Publishing


Very Bad Things
Book #1

Publication Date: September 7, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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.


For a debut new adult romance, Very Bad Things was very good. It had everything I would expect a book in this sub genre to have. It was filled with romantic angst. I could feel the deep connection between Leo and Nora. Their chemistry vibrated off the pages. The only thing that I wasn’t sure if I liked or not was Nora’s brother Finn’s storyline. It made me a little sick. This book has been out for a while, so I’m going to add a

**SPOILER / TRIGGER WARNING RIGHT HERE**

There is talk of incest in this book. If you can’t handle it, you may want to avoid reading it.

**END SPOILER / TRIGGER WARNING**

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Nora, Leo, and Leo’s brother Sebastian. It’s made me excited to read more of the story.


Very Wicked Beginnings
Book #1.5
Publication Date: May 11, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A ballerina from the wrong side of town…
The wealthy football star who can’t forget her…

Meet Cuba Hudson, the heartbreaker of Briarwood Academy:

I’m the tattooed bad boy girls think they can change.
I have it all: a football career, a stellar GPA, and a family that owns half of Dallas, Texas. Everyone wants to be me, but all I want is to forget…

Then she shows up.

Dovey Beckham arrives at Briarwood Academy and looks right through me, unconcerned that I rule the school. I wasn’t part of her precious plan, and it drove me insane…so I made it my mission to claim her, to put her notch on my bedpost.

She would be mine and her heart would be broken.

I didn’t plan on falling for her, and I sure as hell didn’t plan on losing her…

Welcome to Briarwood Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Wicked Beginnings.


Very Wicked Beginnings made me want more of Cuba and Dovey’s story. I liked everything I learned about them in the book. I also like seeing Spider. When I read his book, I didn’t realize his character originated in this series.


Very Wicked Things
Book #2
Publication Date: May 10, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Born on the poor side of town…

Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarwood 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 Briarwood Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.


Very Wicked Things was so angst filled I almost couldn’t handle it. When I started it, I felt like I missed something from the Very Wicked Beginnings. The story didn’t start off where I was expecting. I still liked Cuba and Dovey as a couple, and I loved their back stories. The only thing I didn’t like was one major ARC of the story. I wasn’t into the whole mob thing and the choice Dovey made. It made me sad. Very Wicked Things stressed me out too much!


Very Twisted Things
Book #3
Publication Date: February 27, 2015

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A sassy violinist who lives next door.
An obsessed rock star who watches her through binoculars.
And one night when she bares it all.
Life will never be the same in Tinseltown.

Vital Rejects front guy Sebastian Tate never imagined his YouTube music video would go viral, sky-rocketing him to acting success in Hollywood. Okay, maybe he did. After all, he’s a cocky dude who knows he’s hot-as-hell, and it was only a matter of time before his stars aligned.

But life in Tinseltown is never what it seems.

After being cheated on by his ex-lover, his only rule to falling in love is simple: Keep Calm and Don’t Do It. So, spying on his mysterious new neighbor with binoculars seems innocent enough, but quickly escalates into an erotic game between two very unlikely people.

Twenty-year-old Violet St. Lyons is a world-renowned violinist who’s lost her mojo on stage. She hides away in a Hollywood mansion, trying to find her way through her twisted past in order to make her future.

He’s the life of the party with girls chasing him down for his autograph. She’s the introvert with a potty mouth who doesn’t even know who he is.

When they meet, stars collide, sparks fly, and clothes come off. Yet, giving his heart to a girl isn’t Sebastian’s plan; falling for a guy who craves attention isn’t Violet’s.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy—Hollywood style—where sometimes the best things in life are VERY TWISTED THINGS.

This book is a standalone even though it’s part of a series. Everything you need to know is in this book. Genre: 18+ Hot New Adult Romance.


Ever since I met boisterous Sebastian in Very Bad Things, I’ve wanted his story. Everything that’s happened from the moment I met him in that first book to the kind of cliffhanger of his ARC in the second book had me wondering who he’d end up with. I liked Violet as his love interest from the moment I met her. Her story started off in a heartbreaking fashion, and I couldn’t wait for Sebastian to fill the hole in her heart. This book was my favorite in the series.

Review: Moonshot by Alessandra Torre

Moonshot
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance, Suspense,

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Baseball isn’t supposed to be a game of life and death…

The summer that Chase Stern entered my life, I was seventeen. The daughter of a legend, the Yankees were my family, their stadium my home, their dugout my workplace. My focus was on the game. Chase… he started out as a distraction. A distraction with sex appeal poured into every inch of his six foot frame. A distraction who played like a god and partied like a devil.

I tried to stay away. I couldn’t.

Then, the team started losing.
Women started dying.
And everything in my world broke apart.


Before I start my review, I have to comment on the cover of Moonshot. It is absolutely gorgeous and it fits the book perfectly. Honestly, it’s what originally drew me to the book. Now, for the insides of it…

Moonshot is the first book I have read by Alessandra Torre. I heard her stuff was twisty and sometimes infuriating, but I still didn’t really have any expectations for it. Moonshot wowed me right from the beginning. I loved Alessandra Torre’s writing! It put a spell on me because, even when I didn’t like the situations going on, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know how everything was going to play out.

Moonshot kept me on my toes. For the majority of the book, I had no idea what was going on. I knew by the foreshadowing that it couldn’t be as simple of a story as it seemed. Each twist came out of nowhere. Even the ones I might have guessed ahead of time still managed to shock me. I was so impressed by that.

I loved Tyler and Chase. The evolution of both of their characters throughout this book was cool. Their forbidden romance made me uneasy at times, but I could feel their connection and truly believed in their love.

Another thing I enjoyed about Moonshot was the baseball. It was cool how the story was shaped around it. I loved all the little tidbits about it the were included. When I read that some of the information came from Torre’s husband’s time as a ball boy, I was even more impressed. It was just a really great addition.

So if Moonshot was so brilliant, why the 4 stars? Well, it all had to do with the tropes (yes, there were more than just forbidden love) and situations going on in this book. I won’t say exactly what they were because I don’t want to ruin anything, but they were ones I normally wouldn’t choose to read. They made me slightly uncomfortable.

Moonshot was a great introduction to Alessandra Torre’s writing for me. It was such a fascinating story. I’m looking forward to reading more of her novels.

2018 New Adult Reading Challenge Update #1

Hi, guys! This is my first update for the 2018 New Adult Reading Challenge. This challenge was created and is hosted by Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much. This month I’ve read 7 NA books:

  1. We Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  2. Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  3. Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  4. Very Wicked Beginnings by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  5. Very Wicked Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  6. Very Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  7. Moonshot by Alessandra Torre
  8. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  9. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines
  10. The Coaching Hours by Sara Ney

 

  1. finish a seriesVery Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  2. first book by a favorite authorVery Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  3. book with only a male POV
  4. forbidden romanceMoonshot by Alessandra Torre
  5. book you knew nothing about
  6. friendship to love romance
  7. bottom of your TBR The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  8. blue cover
  9. LGBTQ novel
  10. fantasy novel
  11. book with a POC main character
  12. book set in winter
  13. book about family
  14. book with music or artMidnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  15. new to you author
  16. book out of your comfort zone
  17. book with number in the titleWe Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  18. 2018 release
  19. book written by a male author
  20. first love
  21. enemies to lovers
  22. book that makes you cry
  23. book set in another countryRoyal Ruin by Jessica Peterson
  24. book with multiple POVsThe Coaching Hours by Sara Ney

I’m looking forward to participating in this challenge! If you’re up for joining in, you can sign up here. Be sure to watch for my monthly challenge updates.