Review: DIRTY ENGLISH by Ilsa Madden-Mills

A scarred fighter. A girl with rules. One night of unbridled passion. There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end. But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex. A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window. She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more. With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever. One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime. *a modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice*

Genre: New Adult (18+ up due to steamy content!!)

Rating: 4.5/5 STARSSS!

I want to start this review by saying how splendidly surprised I was! It by far surpassed my expectations, which makes writing this review a total treat for me!

Not that I thought it was going to be bad, I mean I wouldn’t have read it if I did. I just try to always go in with low expectations, as there is less disappointment that way. These characters were just so bright and lively and warm and sweet and not at all what I was anticipating. I was fully expecting some “alpha-male” fighting butthead who is cocky, arrogant and rude with our leading lady acting all tough and overly strong willed (yes thats a thing) who doesn't know when to let people in or accept help and just frustrates the crap out me. That theme is a bit...overplayed at this point in the NA game right?

Dirty English is a dual POV story about Elizabeth Bennett (yup!) and Declan Blay (a British hunk with a twin brother!). Two college kids with big dreams and aspirations for themselves and each holding back and fighting against love for their own broken reasons.

“Some people think God puts difficult people in our lives for a reason, to make us better people as we sharpen ourselves on the knife of their shortcomings.” 

Elizabeth has been through some terrible gut wrenching things. She’s overcome, but she's still broken as the shadow of her dark days hang over head, holding her back, and blinding her to what's good and right in front of her. She is  broken in this logical kind of way that makes sense. Her fear makes sense...given what she has had to face. You really root for her all the way through, even when you think she’s being a ding-bat and possibly sabotaging a good thing, I still felt like I was in her corner waving banners and cheering her to the finish line of happiness.

“Big moments happen with the smallest actions, and sometimes it's not until later we connect the dots, but in that instant, I knew that somehow, someway Declan was going to own my heart.”

Declan is the more reserved, mature twin of the Blay boys. Also he is gorgeous. He has this presence, and as an underground fighter with dreams of opening his own gym and one day making it into the UFC, he really comes across as this big alpha badass. In a sense he is...but he’s also this incredibly sweet, kind and caring person, who swept me off my feet and I didn't even see it coming! He too is guarded. Blocking himself from a good thing out of fear. He’s been hurt before and he also doesn’t want to lose focus on his dreams and goals he is working on and putting everything he has  into.

“She was my queen and I wanted to be her king. I wanted to sit at the throne of her body and love her forever,” 

I loved being inside both of their heads. I like how they move gradually, even though they don’t want to. It’s nice to see them grow a little closer with each page. I love Declan's charm and I love Elizabeth's wit. I love’d that the conflict didn't completely shred my heart before it was put back together. These two hit there bump, and get over it, only to face the next one head on, together, side by side, and that made this story refreshing and heartwarming.

The secondary characters are superb. I am usually 80% of the time not a fan of the “perky/promiscuous outgoing best friend”-but Shelly was good and seemed loyal and caring to Elizabeth. Dax, Declan's twin is a total laugh riot and I am so crossing my fingers that we get his love story someday. He’s to sweet and too much of a good time not to get one!

The epilogue gives you a one year time jump which is always really cool, to see where your people end up after the hurdles. My only complaint honestly was that I just wanted more!! It bums me out so hard that this is stand-alone. I want more Declan and Elizabeth, I want more Dax...heck I even want more Shelly and Blake! I just felt like it was over wayyy too quickly. Alas...aren’t all good books?

If you're a NA fan I would definitely recommend this book. It was steamy in all the right places without bogging down what is a really cute and sickeningly sweet love story to the very end!

*All “casting” images found via Google search*

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. 

She's addicted to dystopian books and all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding females. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she's a Gemini), Sephora make-up, and tattoos. 
She has a degree in English and a Master's in Education.

When she's not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets, paints old furniture, and eats her weight in sushi.

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    Twitter: @ilsamaddenmills

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