Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow
Book Two of The Secret Diamond Sisters series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.
What I Liked:
Just a note - this review isn't a "street-team" review in the sense that me being on Michelle's street team made me give this book a high rating. I've been interested in this series for a looonnnggggg time, before Michelle created the street team. And you all know me by now. If I hated a book, I'd give it the one or two stars, no matter how much I liked the author, no matter if I was on their street team or in the same state or known them forever. Also, the publisher sent me the print ARC upon my request, not Michelle, nor did Michelle influence the publisher to send me one. Andddd glad we got that out of the way.
In this books, Michelle Madow amps up the secrets and deviousness and flat-out trouble. The four girls - Peyton, Savannah, Courtney, and Madison (Madison being a Lockhart, and not a Diamond) - have a lot of drama in their lives, being rich heiresses, socialites, popular people. Everything is just so much more of a big deal in Vegas. None of the girls can even just talk to a guy without rumors being spread that the girl hooked up with him, or whatever. The stakes are higher, the secrets are deeper, and the tension is thicker...
At first, I wasn't sure if I was enjoying this book, as I was reading it. The first two hundred pages weren't all that interesting, in my opinion. I know what Madow was doing though - she did a really good job of characterizing each of the four girls, and showing their gradual change in personality (at least, when it came to the three Diamond sisters). For example, Savannah. I feel like Savannah got a lot more stuck-up in this book, no longer as down-to-earth as she used to seem. Madow does an excellent job of showing readers this.
Courtney is definitely still my favorite, since she and I are the most similar. She's more level-headed, intelligent, cautious, careful. I feel for her, and her almost-relationship with her step-brother Brett. I ship them so hard!
Peyton definitely has the steamiest romance of the four girls, but she is the messiest of the four. She is totally attracted to Jackson, her bodyguard, but she hooked up with Oliver Prescott in book one, and in this book, her new English teacher (new school year) is smoking hot. She doesn't hook up with him, but sparks fly. I definitely still ship her and Jackson, for sure.
Savannah... she is my least favorite Diamond sister, and for good reason. She is slowly turning into a brat, a snob, a cliche heiress, but it's hard to blame her when you're seeing the slow progression of things. She is stuck on Damian, but she's stringing Nick along, so I'm not sure what's happening there. I like her and Damian, but the romance for Savannah wasn't really big in this book. Getting her voice and music out there, her public image, seemed more important.
Madison - well, I understand her more in this book, and feel really bad for her. For the majority of the book, a huge bombshell of a secret eats away at her, and it's destroying her inside. I would probably rip into someone if that was a secret about me. I'd be pissed. Madison shut down. Understandable, I suppose. I ship her and Oliver.
With so many characters, it's easy to lose track of who is who, if they all sound the same. This book is written in third person limited (you know by the chapter title), but I think Madow did a good job of characterizing each girl, and making them sound unique. She also did a good job of making sure the story kept moving - although the first half of the book dragged, for sure.
Once again, Madow does not just focus on the romance for each girl. This series is not a contemporary romance series - or at least, not JUST that, not PRIMARILY that. There is plenty of rich-people drama, plenty of other relationships that are explored, plenty of the-past-coming-back-to-haunt-you action. Which I liked a lot!
The secrets are so cray-cray. Like woah, they involve everyone and everything and oh my goodness, all the blackmail and hush-hush. I'm excited to see what happens in the next book. These girls' lives and personalities are so different from mine (except for maybe Courtney's personality), but I enjoy reading about them. Fun!
What I Did Not Like:
Like I mentioned above, the first half of the book dragged, a lot. This book is over four hundred pages, so when a good chunk - half - of the book doesn't capture the reader's attention, that's bad. But I wasn't NOT going to finish it, because I always always always finish what I start, so it wasn't the worst thing ever. It just took me a long time to finish this book, to get to the good stuff. Once the good stuff was going, I was hooked. But getting to the good stuff took entirely too long.
Would I Recommend It:
If you enjoyed book one, definitely keep reading this series! And if you haven't read book one... well, this series is contemporary, there is plenty of romance, plenty of relationships (sisters, sister-father, friends, girl-guy), plenty of developing characters. There is a lot of depth to what should seem to be a shallow-content-filled book! No offense meant by that statement.
4 stars. I'll be eagerly awaiting the third book to the series! I so love the title Diamonds are Forever. Cool cool cool!
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