I was given an ARC e-book version of this book through NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate the opportunity that NetGalley, Michelle Madow and Harlequin TEEN provided me. All opinions are my own and not influenced by any outside factors. The Secret Diamond Sisters is due out on shelves on February 25, 2014.
Savannah, Courtney and Peyton are three sisters who grew up on some hard times. They’ve never known their father, their mother is an alcoholic, and they’ve ended up taking care of themselves most of the time. But then things got way worse with their mom and she ended up in rehab. Since they’re all minors, their unknown father decided to make an appearance to take care of them. Turns out their dad is actually a billionaire who owns a string of hotels based out of Las Vegas. Now all three of them are swept off to live on the infamous Strip for the summer and possibly longer. They’ve been given a penthouse suite, unlimited credit cards and personal body guards for their safety. They should fit in no problem, right? With some unlucky encounters, backstabbing neighbors, and a distant father, these three sisters have a lot to learn about living in Vegas. But more importantly they have to learn how to be themselves in this fast-paced, no-rules environment with secrets hidden around every corner.
I was so excited to read this book. The premise set up a lot of mystery and scandal to be had and I wanted to jump in with two feet. I am, after all, a huge Gossip Girl fan and I couldn’t wait to see if this story had the same scandal appeal. However, not even half-way through I began losing interest. I desperately wanted to like this book, but things in the story just held me back.
The sisters were given three separate personalities that stayed true throughout the novel–giving each of them a separate and clear voice. What I found lacking in the characters was their substance. Their personalities just didn’t work for me. Savannah was young and impressionable, but she came off a bit too spoiled for me. It didn’t really make sense to me that she went from having almost nothing to feeling like it was okay to go-to-town with her credit card right away. I do understand that a girl at her age wouldn’t think much about it especially having a best friend who had a lot of designer things. She just annoyed me I think. She was very insecure which I could relate to, but she instantly went into make-over mode just a bit too hard for my liking. Then again, you can’t like every character.
Courtney was the sister I thought I was going to relate to the most since she was the responsible one. Although I did connect with her character, I still wasn’t fully invested in her. I did, however, enjoy her storyline the most. She didn’t stray too far from her original self, but also grew as a character when she began relaxing and opening up. Her love interest was also sweet.
Peyton was a character I thought I’d really like as well. My first impressions of her was that she was a strong older sister who had a bit of rebellion in her. However, she was one of my biggest disappointments. She was described at one point as being strong and mature–taking care of her mom when she got really bad so her two younger sisters wouldn’t have to see her like that and fending off one of her mother’s “boyfriends.” Then other times it was Courtney who took care of everyone and Peyton just rebelled and couldn’t be bothered. I was a bit confused with the separate descriptions. Which one was Peyton? Her actions were also confusing. She was described as having a bit of a “wall” in place relationship wise and never really connected with the guys she was seeing, but then she seemed overly emotional with her “love interest(s).” Her character overall was too out of sync for me. I couldn’t connect with her and ended up being disappointed with how her character turned out.
The book was told in alternating points of view between the sisters and a girl named Madison who was the reigning “Queen Bee.” I applaud Madow’s ability to tell the story in this way. Each voice, as I mentioned above, was clear and distinct which let this writing style succeed. However, I was a little thrown when Madison became one of the points of view. I wasn’t expecting her to be a central character when the story’s premise never really mentioned her. I was expecting the story to be more focused on the Diamond sisters themselves. Madison was an alright character. I didn’t really connect with her either, but she seemed to be the truest character for her environment. She grew up in the rich world of social elite in Vegas and it was clearly written in her character. I just didn’t like her all that much, but began to sympathize (just a tad) with her towards the end.
The plot line was okay. I did enjoy seeing who would end up with who, but I was expecting more of the mystery the original promise promised. The whole question of trying to find out about their past. And while one thing was answer early (a bit too early for my liking actually) and some hints were dropped here and there about more secrets, I didn’t really see this mystery being at the forefront of the plot as I would have liked.
What I did really like about the story was that the love interests weren’t really a rushed love and that the assholes stayed assholes. There was no pretense that some of those elite-circle guys were users and players and acted accordingly. I think staying true to that kind of character was a positive in this book and played into the Vegas setting well.
Overall, the novel wasn’t a bad read, it just wasn’t to my liking. I’ve heard that a lot of people did enjoy this book and I’m happy they did. The author sounds really sweet and the idea for this book is very alluring. I think maybe if this story took place while they were at the new private school, with some more fleshed out characters and a heavier mystery plot this might have been a more enjoyable read for me. I don’t mean to say make it a Vegas Gossip Girl, but just…I don’t know…something more. I think the biggest reason I didn’t enjoy the book was because I felt something was missing the entire time. Not a “wow” factor or anything, just that little spark that sucks me into a book and makes me care about the characters. I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series or not. I’m debating that. I do think if you want to give the book a try, go for it. In the end it just wasn’t my kind of read, but that isn’t to say you won’t like it. Her other trilogy sounds good and I’ll most likely give them a try as well.
My Final Grade
My Grade: C
GoodRead’s Rating*: 3.51/5 (78 ratings)
The Blurb via GoodReads
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.
What are your thoughts on the Diamond Sisters? Is Secret Diamond Sisters on your TBR? What guy/sister are you rooting for in this series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear your take on this!