Monday, October 27, 2014

Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Madow (ARC Review, Guest Post, Giveaway)

I am thrilled to be a stop on the book tour for Diamonds in the Rough by Michelle Meadow, hosted by Kismet Book Touring! I have a guest post for your reading pleasure, but be sure to check out the tour schedule below to read reviews, interviews, and more!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The Secret Diamond Sisters #2
Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:October 28, 2014
Pages:436 (paperback ARC)
Published By:  Harlequin Teen
Website:Michelle Madow 

Diamonds in the Rough on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

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. (Goodreads)

Quotes obtained from ARC copy and are subject to change
"Because after I met you, I knew you were the one for me. I've known it every day since. You're smart, caring, selfless, kind, understanding, and I can all with yo for hours. You're beautiful inside and out. No one else has ever come close to comparing to you, and to be honest, I'm not sure anyone will."
"Just that you're always so concerned about what you 'can' and 'can't' do that you don't do what you want to do."

"You have no idea what you're talking about."

"I think I do."
"When you're keeping a secret, it gets harder and harder to come clean every day, until you wonder if it's better to bury the truth completely. But it wasn't better. It only made it worse."

Michelle steps it up for Diamonds in the Rough. I'll admit that I had a little trouble believing the plausibility of these sister's being the secret children of a billionaire, even if their parents split prior to the internet boom. Your father owns billionaire who owns casinos in Vegas and nobody knows of your existence and connection to him? I'm still skeptical about how this would play out in the real world but Diamonds in the Rough answers all these questions and more. Michelle teased that huge secrets would be coming out in this novel and she did not lie nor did she disappoint.

Peyton, Courtney, and Savannah are slowing coming into their own after having their lives uprooted in The Secret Diamond Sisters. I grew to like the sisters more in this novel than its predecessor and a lot of that has to do with their character development. Peyton becomes less rebellious and slowly loses the "I hate everything" attitude, Courtney speaks up and stands up for herself, and Savannah is less naive. Michelle even manages to weave a story where I don't hate Madison - and that says something.

Michelle does an amazing job of keeping each of her four main characters voices distinct and strong. These girls personalities are nothing alike and Michelle has the talent to keep them that way. They do not blend into one another and there is no way to confuse them with one another. Even her minor characters stand on their own and, regardless of the time they spend on the pages, have individual personalities.

There are instances where things fall too easily in place, but Diamonds in the Rough is a fun and easy ready. One of the things that I appreciated about this over The Secret Diamond Sisters is just when you thinking everything is all sunshine and lollipops, Michelle throws these characters a curve ball. With a basketball.

The beginning is a little on the slow side, but once things start rolling and secrets come out, there is no stopping the momentum. Things are definitely going to come to a head in the third installment of this series and I'm very curious and looking forward to see how it is all going to unfold.

Making the sisters and Madison believable and ensuring they have independent personalities

There are SO MANY differences between these four main girls. Peyton is the oldest sister, the most stubborn, has taken the brunt of the difficulty of dealing with an irresponsible mother who recently spiraled into alcoholism. She hasn't gotten over a certain heartbreak, and has trouble trusting anyone. Courtney is the responsible, goal-oriented sister, who oftentimes acts as the mediator between Peyton and Savannah, and has put school and work before having friends or a boyfriend. Savannah is the youngest and most naive -- she's been protected by her sisters -- and is very innocent in comparison to them, but it also leads to her being an optimist who always believes the best in everyone. She also tends to crush on guys very easily. Then there’s Madison, the queen bee of her high school in Las Vegas, who feels threatened by the Diamond sisters when they first arrive, and who has internal issues of her own. In Diamonds in the Rough, they face a whole new round of struggles—especially with the huge secrets that are revealed—and I love how much their personalities progressed in the months the story takes place.

When writing from the point of views of four different characters, sometimes their voices meld together and sound too similar, so when I’m editing, I have to be aware of that and make sure their voices are distinct. Also, the characters are all inspired from different parts of my life. Savannah is most similar to what I was like in high school, Courtney has my focus and ambition and represents the quieter side of who I am, Peyton is least similar to me (she was inspired by a good friend from high school) but she shares my dislike of being told what to do, and Madison has a LOT of my personality traits (my friends tell me I’m like a “nice version of Madison.”) So whenever I’m writing their chapters, I try to “snap into” the mind of whichever girl’s POV I’m writing from! It’s definitely one of the biggest challenges of writing this series, and it takes a few rounds of edits to make sure I don’t slip up at any points. The four girls are all so different, so I hope that readers will be able to relate to at least one of them!

Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters #1
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Find It: Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble Books A Million Book Depository

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.

Michelle Madow wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college. Remembrance is the first book in the Transcend Time Saga, a three part series about reincarnation and true love that Michelle successfully self-published. The series was inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story" music video. Michelle's upcoming YA trilogy, The Secret Diamond Sisters, about three sisters who discover they are the secret heirs to a Las Vegas billionaire casino owner will be published by Harlequin TEEN in Spring 2014.

Michelle graduated from Rollins College in 2010, cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta. She received the Charles Hyde Pratt Award for Excellence in Creative Writing in 2010.

She lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, Broadway musicals, and spends way too much time on Facebook and Twitter (@MichelleMadow).

Each tour stop is offering up a copy of either THE SECRET DIAMONDS SISTERS or DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH, and one winner will receive a fantastic grand prize package including the following Harlequin Teen titles: THE SECRET DIAMOND SISTERS, DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH, LET’S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid, CRASH INTO YOU by Katie McGarry and THE BREAKUP ARTIST by Philip Siegel. 

Monday, October 20th – Bumbles and Fairy Tales – Guest Post
Wednesday, October 22nd – Harlequin Blog – Guest Post
Friday, October 24th – DanaSquare – Character Interview

Monday, October 27th – Bookish – Guest Post
Wednesday, October 29th – Pretty Little Memoirs – Guest Post
Friday, October 31st – Eater of Books – Author Interview

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