Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #1
Published by Harlequin on 2014-25-2
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.
The Secret Diamond Sisters by Michelle Madow had been on my radar ever since I briefly met the author while standing in a line for a Harlequin Teen signing last year at BEA. I remember her being so excited that her book was going to be published the following year and as we were talking she realized where I was from and made a comment about she hoped that when her book came out that we would review it on Good Books and Good Wine. Well, flash forward to next year, and here I am getting ready to review as requested. Now, I wish that this review was all optimistic and happy because I really did want to like this book but unfortunately while reading it I realized I had some mixed feelings about it. In many ways, I felt that this story was like the song Royals by Lorde being played out in real life (or book life). Trust me; you wouldn’t believe the amount of time lyrics from that song got stuck in my head as I was reading. And just like with that song for me, a little bit does go a long way…
I’ve never seen a diamond in the flesh
I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies
And I’m not proud of my address
In a torn-up town, no postcode envy
Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah are three sisters growing up in a middle of no where city in California. They live with their mother and have never really known their father. Their life with their mother isn’t easy, and sometimes they’re struggling just to make ends meet especially when their mother winds up on one of her drinking binges. Ultimately, one of those drinking binges has devastating consequences and their mother and hauled off to rehab, and the three sisters are shipped off to live with the father they have never known.
But every song’s like gold teeth, grey goose, trippin’ in the bathroom
Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room
We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams
But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece
Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash
We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair
Not only are they shipped off to live with the father they’ve never known but it turns out their father is a very wealthy man. He has money that they had only dreamed of having, and he lives in Las Vegas. The three sister’s whole world is changed as they are thrown into the middle of all the glitz and glamour. Suddenly, they have more money then they know what to do with and are living in a casino owned by their father. It really is life changing for them. And of course with all this glitz and glamour also comes a whole bunch of secrets and lies.
And we’ll never be royals (royals)
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us
We crave a different kind of buzz
Let me be your ruler (ruler)
You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule
Let me live that fantasy
The three sisters are complete opposites. Peyton, the oldest, has a rebellious spirit. She does what wants, wears what she wants, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. The middle sister Courtney is more focused on her education. She studies hard and works hard to get into the college of her dreams (Stanford). Comparatively, Savannah is the dreamer of the group, and as the youngest has a very naïve spirit that causes her to get hurt easily. Each o the sisters responds differently to the news that their father is Aidan Diamond, billionaire and owner of Diamond Casinos in Vegas. Each of their responses felt genuine based on their personalities. I really liked how all the personalities were so well developed. It was easy to tell each sister apart – and that worked really well for the multi-narration technique which was used throughout the book. There is also a fourth narrator named Madison, who is the classic popular girl, trying to hold onto her territory as she feels threatened by the arrival of the Diamond sisters. There is a bit more to Madison then just the classic popular vibe but I don’t want to give too much away.
So those were the positives — I liked the strong writing and for the most part I liked the characters — but I wish that there had been more of a plot for this. I know it’s the first book in the series, and I’m hopeful that there will be more of a plot in the next one as this one was more like foundation but still I felt like it was missing something. There was so much focus on romance, and while I understood the whole “getting lost in Vegas” vibe, I couldn’t help but think that more could have been done outside of that. I also didn’t care for the way that the sisters were always being compared to the “regular” crowd in Vegas. Yes, they were outsiders but at times it almost felt like the pointing out of their ‘flaws” was overdone a bit. There was a hint of shame to it and to them being who they are which I really didn’t care for at all. I don’t like the hidden shaming of female characters especially when it might send the wrong message to the reader. Still, I’m hopeful that as they learn to adjust to their new life in Vegas, Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah will be able to fit in without having to give up what makes them really interesting characters.
I also felt like the “big secret” of The Secret Diamond Sisters was lost in translation somewhere. At the beginning, there were all these hints as to why their father never actually contacted them (beyond the story that he told them) but overtime that was dropped to the wayside which was disappointing. At first I wanted to know what the secret was because I felt that it was going be intriguing and make the story even more interesting. I honestly think I would have rather learned more about the secret than about all the different romances and hook ups that were present in the story. Maybe it will get picked up in the second book?
All in all, The Secret Diamond Sisters was an admittedly fun read. It’s a bit incredulous but I think that might be what makes it fun to read. It’s one of those books that takes you to a place that you may never have been, and allows you to imagine what could happen if you were just allowed to roam free, and do whatever you wanted. While everything didn’t click in an entirely positive manner, I still applaud Michelle Madow for her writing skills, and I do think I will have to continue with this series in order to know rather or not Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah have survived their Vegas lifestyles.
Ooh ooh oh
We’re bigger than we ever dreamed
And I’m in love with being queen
Ooh ooh oh
Life is great without a care
We aren’t caught up in your love affair
Disclosure: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
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