When I first learned of Michelle Madow, it was through her self published Transcend Time saga. What interested me most was her journey to publication is she doesn’t start out intending to publish. But after inspiration, she took the encouragement of family and musical motivation to pursue publishing a project that starts out as a school paper. After reading the three novels comprised of said series, I was tickled pink to learn she’d inked a publishing deal. This is the first novel that resulted in that series. 

BOOK REVIEW | ‘Of Curses and Kisses’ is a Unique & Fun Modern Day Fairy Tale

STORY: The Diamond girls aren’t prone to popularity. Their mother has an alcohol problem and they’re father wants nothing to do with them. Everything is about to change when their mom is placed in a rehab facility and Adrian Diamond sends for his daughters. Suddenly, the girls are thrust into the spotlight as the wealthy casino owner’s daughters, given their own penthouse and unlimited access to almost anything they want. Now, with secrets brimming on the surface will they learn to embrace the right choices… or make mistakes they can’t climb out from under?

The Secret Diamond Sisters, by Michelle Madow | Book Review

From Michelle’s first novel (Remembrance) to this one, her technique improves. She has a smoother narrative which in turns means easier prose. Each scene moves easily into the next (the story only takes place over a matter of days), and each of the the girls personalities is fabulous. With  so many POV trade-offs, keeping everyone apart can be a challenge, but no such misfortune plagues these characters. Sadly, in terms of guys to root for, there’s none. Nearly all of the guys (and whoa are there a lot) are one of the following. 

  • a. a jerk
  • b. a dude unable to show female counterparts respect (are these two things mutually exclusive…) 
  • c. “off limits”

This is the one drawback of Madow’s stylistic writing. Since working with Harlequin TEEN, her writing seems to bring with it the stipulation that she write with a “worldview.” Readers of Michelle’s prior novels should know this story isn’t the same kind of innocent. 

Lest anyone think otherwise, I absolutely love the heart of this story. At its heart, this is about the bond of sisters. Girls who’s world shatters when they learn of their birthright, and must try to fit into a world they don’t know. The characters are memorable as is the location shift, glamour and excitement. 

The glitz and glamour is an attractive part of the story as is the sweet naivety of Savannah or the studious nature of Courtney. If I have one wish for the sequel, it’s that the girls grow confident in being who they are without bowing to what society expects. Peyton has an attitude that she needs to lose (which she may be close to shedding); Courtney has a good start on being who she wants to be; and Savannah in many ways still needs shelter. She’s also a colorful individual caught between finally belonging (fitting in) and falling in love for the first time (for all the wrong reasons). 

The Secret Diamond Sisters is off to a strong start and by the time the final page, I’m wishing I could immediately learn what’s next.

About the Book:

Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: February 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: The Secret Diamond Sisters – book 1
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult, Teen, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Content: Characters treat Sex and alcohol very casually. Peyton sleeps (implied) with someone while in another relationship; and Savannah has to ward off advances she decides she isn’t ready for (the boy doesn’t push her). Several times, the characters think about spending a night together (non-descriptive) and there is conversation about virginity. There’s rarely a scene when characters don’t have a drink in hand, and teens often drink to the point of forgetting the night’s events. (The girl’s mother is an alcoholic.) There’s also profanity and crude comment; including one use of the F-word, sh*t, da*m and the term, “WTF.” 

Sincere thanks to the author, Michelle Madow for the opportunity to read and review this novel; and for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Ooh! I have this for review but have yet to get around to reading it, though I've only read positive reviews. I love to see that the sisters seem to be the focus, rather than romance. I haven't read Michelle's other series–though I have the first book–but it's so good to hear that she's getting better! :) Great review!

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

    1. Michelle does a FABULOUS job of creating very different personalities with the sisters, Rachel which is great; I never felt like I was reading about Peyton while reading Savannah's chapter portions and so on. It's refreshing to see all these stories that lend focus to sister relationships and that is one of the things I really enjoyed about this book. :)

      Hope you enjoy it once you read it. :)

  2. I missed this before and had meant to come back to see what you thought. I actually skipped requesting this one because I thought the content might be too much and I think after reading this that I'm going to be okay not reading it. I would at least need a great guy to like to give it a chance. :)

    1. …I know what you mean, Tressa. When I came back to reading this one (after having to put it aside for another book), I realized I did miss the characters but the guys were too disrespectful for my tastes to fall in love with them (even being teenagers shouldn't dismiss everything). Brett is decent as is one other minor character but unfortunately both are "off-limits" for various reasons, so the bad boy characters seem to be who attract the girls instead. Ah, well. I loved the heart of the story and the Diamond sisters were a lot of fun! Because of that I am super anxious to read book two – Michelle knew just where to end the book! It makes the reader immediately want to see what comes next. :)

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