The Secret Diamond Sisters by @MichelleMadow - Glitz, Glamour, Vegas and Sisters!

Monday, February 10, 2014

About the Book:
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: February 2014
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon | Goodreads Wordpress
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters – book 1
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult, Teen, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

When I first learned about Michelle Madow, it was back when she self-published her first series – the Transcend Time saga. What interested me most was her journey to publication; it was neat to read about an up-and-coming author who didn’t start out expecting to publish. But after inspiration struck, she took the encouragement of family and musical motivation to pursue publishing a project that started out as a school paper. After reading the three novels comprised of said series, I was tickled pink to learn she’d inked her own publishing deal. This is the first novel that resulted in that series. 

The Diamond girls aren’t prone to popularity. Their mother has an alcohol problem and they were told their father wanted nothing to do with them. Everything is about to change when their mom is placed in a rehab facility and Adrian Diamond sends for his daughters – suddenly, the girls are thrust into the spotlight as the wealthy casino owner’s daughters, given their own penthouse condo and unlimited access to almost anything they want. Now, with secrets brimming on the surface will they learn to embrace the right choices… or make mistakes they can’t climb out from under?  

From Michelle’s first novel (Remembrance) to this one, her technique has improved. She has a smoother narrative which in turns means easier, flowing prose. Each scene moves effortlessly into the next (the story only takes a matter of days to unfold), and the personalities of the girls is fabulous. With  so many POV trade-offs, keeping everyone distinct can be a challenge, but no such misfortune plagues these characters. 

Sadly, in terms of heroes to root for, I was left adrift. Nearly all of the guys (and whoa are there a lot) are one of the following. 

a. a jerk
b. a dude unable to show female counterparts respect 
(are those two things mutually exclusive…) 
c. "off limits"

This is the one drawback of Madow’s stylistic writing – working with Harlequin TEEN seems to bring with it the stipulation that she write with a “worldview” and fans of Michelle’s prior novels should know this story isn’t the same level of innocent as before. 

Lest anyone think otherwise, I absolutely loved what was at the heart of this story. At its heart, this is about the bond of sisters. Girls who's world shatters when they learn of their birthright, move and try to fit into a world opposite of everything they know. The characterizations are memorable as is the location shift, glamour and excitement, and during my reading of the book, I did have to step away to finish another obligation for a time and when finally I returned to this novel, I realized I did indeed miss it. 

The glitz and glamour was an attractive part of the story as was the sweet naivety of Savannah or the studious nature of Courtney. If I had a wish for the sequel this fall (which, I am very anxious to read), it’d be that the girls become more confident in being who they are without buckling to what is “acceptable” or “expected.”

Peyton has an attitude that she needs to lose (which she may be close to shedding); Courtney has a good start on standing apart and being who she wants to be; and Savannah in many ways still needs sheltering yet she’s also a colorful individual caught between finally belonging (caving to pressure/desire to fit in) and falling in love for the first time (for all the wrong reasons). 

The Secret Diamond Sisters is off to a strong start in its story and by the time the final page is turned, I was left wishing I could immediately find out what comes next. Teasers indicate more secrets, and seeing characters in such a way that could change our minds about them completely. That sounds like an all-exclusive, all-access pass not to be missed. 

Content: Sex and alcohol are treated very casually in this novel. Peyton sleeps (implied) with someone while in another relationship, while Savannah has to ward off advances she decides she isn’t ready for (the boy doesn’t push her). There are thoughts of nights spend together (non-descriptive) and remarks about virginity made. There’s rarely a scene when characters don’t have a drink in hand – multiple drinks are even referenced in the span of one or two paragraphs, and teens often drink to the point of forgetting the night’s events. (The girl’s mother is an alcoholic.) Profanity and crudities is also part of the dialogue – including one use of the F-word, sh*t, da*m and the term, “WTF.” 

Sincere thanks to the author, Michelle Madow for the opportunity to read and review this novel; and for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book.

Synopsis: Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past. – Goodreads 

Coming Next from Michelle Madow: Diamonds in the Rough...

All-access doesn't mean no problems

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again. - via Goodreads, October 2014

Sincere thanks to the author, Michelle Madow for the opportunity to read and review this novel; and for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book.


  1. Ooh! I have this for review but have yet to get around to reading it, though I've only read positive reviews. I love to see that the sisters seem to be the focus, rather than romance. I haven't read Michelle's other series--though I have the first book--but it's so good to hear that she's getting better! :) Great review!

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

    1. Michelle does a FABULOUS job of creating very different personalities with the sisters, Rachel which is great; I never felt like I was reading about Peyton while reading Savannah's chapter portions and so on. It's refreshing to see all these stories that lend focus to sister relationships and that is one of the things I really enjoyed about this book. :)

      Hope you enjoy it once you read it. :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks - as always - for reading, Juju! :)

  3. I missed this before and had meant to come back to see what you thought. I actually skipped requesting this one because I thought the content might be too much and I think after reading this that I'm going to be okay not reading it. I would at least need a great guy to like to give it a chance. :)

    1. ...I know what you mean, Tressa. When I came back to reading this one (after having to put it aside for another book), I realized I did miss the characters but the guys were too disrespectful for my tastes to fall in love with them (even being teenagers shouldn't dismiss everything). Brett is decent as is one other minor character but unfortunately both are "off-limits" for various reasons, so the bad boy characters seem to be who attract the girls instead. Ah, well. I loved the heart of the story and the Diamond sisters were a lot of fun! Because of that I am super anxious to read book two - Michelle knew just where to end the book! It makes the reader immediately want to see what comes next. :)


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