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I Belong

Review: Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madows

Diamonds in the RoughTitleDiamonds in the Rough

Author: Michelle Madow

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters (Book #2)

Publication Date: October 28, 2014

Format: Paperback, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 0373211368 (Harlequin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0373211364 (Harlequin Teen)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


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.

Quick & Dirty: The first book in this series was not my favorite. Thankfully, I saw an improvement in this novel and had a lot of fun with it!

Opening Sentence: I can’t believe school starts tomorrow!

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

The three sisters are back. Last book, they realized their long-absent father was a rich hotel chain owner, watched their mother go through rehab, and met a whole bunch of new people — many of them snobby, superficial, and materialistic. Having made it through summer, it’s time to tackle the exclusive private school in Vegas. Savannah will have a reality TV show, Peyton will get close with her bodyguard, Courtney will learn just how hard it is to stay away from Brett, and Madison will discover something that changes everything. In this second novel of the series, twists will take place and secrets revealed that could rival any Pretty Little Liars episode.

If anyone remembers my previous review on the first installment of the series, they’ll remember that while I had some fun with it I wasn’t extremely impressed. Relieving this one for review I found myself excited to give the series a second chance.  I was in the exact right mood for a glamorous contemporary at the time. Maybe it was that I approached the novel with an open mind, because I did end up enjoying this considerably more than the last, though there were still problems. For example, the three main characters whom I took a disliking to last book were not nearly as aggravating to me this time around. Take Savannah, for example. Last book she was naive, childish, and downright annoying. This book I feel she is still innocent in ways, but also more cautious and the easiest point of view to sink into. Courtney was my favorite in this story but I didn’t like her as much in this one, she underwent no serious development at all. Peyton still was reckless and stupid at times, but in situations that I could forgive her. Hey, she’s still a teenager, and aren’t we all reckless and stupid?

The side characters are also interesting with unique personalities. A thing I really do love about these books is that all of the characters have depth beyond looks. Madison became more of a key player in this series, more invested in the plotline of the Diamond sisters beyond being a materialistic bully. She becomes nicer and a budding romance begins with, of all people, Oliver. In the last book he was a total player and hurt Peyton. We see much more of Oliver than Damien, though he is in this novel, as Savannah’s friend. (Something more? Maybe in next book.) I don’t know whether I can trust Damien, really, after the stunt he pulled before. I am not fond of Brett. He’s too perfect, he has no flaws, which makes him unrealistic. I feel bad for Jackson, Peyton’s bodyguard, who was caught in the crossfires of her teenage stupidity.

The flamboyant scene of Las Vegas is lots of fun to read about. Hotels, delicious food, sparkling nightclubs, they all make for an amazing setting. But the best parts are the darker parts: the fake IDs and drugs, the matieralistic residents, that make the story intriguing and create conflict. I don’t agree with lots of the stuff the Diamond sisters think is fine, like drinking or having sex. One character whom I found particularly idiotic was Evie. Evie is Savannah’s friend from back home who is obsessed with losing her virginity while in Vegas and I thought she sounded desperate. Of course she’s extremely jealous of Savannah’s sudden rise to fame and money, as I’m sure anyone in her position would be, and I saw that from the beginning. Savannah didn’t. I wanted to shake her and make her say things differently to not offend Evie.

Altogether this second installment was entirely preferable to the first in my opinion. I was better connected with the characters, cared more about their lives, and wouldn’t scoff. I thought it was a worthwhile and enjoyable read. Warning for those who will be annoyed by materialistic stories! This is one of them, and if that will bother you I won’t encourage you to spend time on this novel. If you liked the first than I’m sure you will like the second, there are quite a few big reveals and a sudden cliffhanger at the end. It was unexpected. I saw some of the twists coming early on in the first book, so those were predictable, but it was fun to confirm my suspicions all the same. And just look at those covers! I love, love them, combining color and geometric designs to a modern and edgy theme. I like the model with her finger over her lip and how the whole cover looks shiny and reminds me of Vegas. I think this is a great fluffy read, and passes by pretty quickly. For anyone in the mood for a contemporary that’s bigger, brighter, and reminiscent of Mean Girls, this is for you!

Notable Scene:

“Jackie and Brookie set up karaoke in the rec room,” Alyssa said, breaking the silence. “You sing, Savannah, right?”

“Yes, I do!” She jumped and clapped her hands. “Does she have the Frozen sing-along? I totally have to sing ‘Let it Go’! The Idina Menzel version, obviously.”

“You can sing that?” Damien raised an eyebrow. “Don’t get me wrong, you have a great voice, but it’s a tough song.”

“Um, yeah, I can sing that.” Savannah laughed and rolled her eyes. “Follow me and I’ll prove it!”

She pointed at the rec room, took a shot in the kitchen on the way there and the night was a blur after that.

The Secret Diamond Sisters Series:

1. The Secret Diamond Sisters

2. Diamonds in the Rough

3. Diamonds are Forever (October 27, 2015)


FTC Advisory: Harlequin Teen provided me with a copy of The Secret Diamond Sisters.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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