March 4, 2015

ARC Review: A Diamond in the Rough (#1) by Elisa Marie Hopkins

A Diamond in the Rough (Book 1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I received a digital ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Get a copy here!
When Ms. Elisa, the author of A Diamond in the Rough first introduced her debut contemporary book on Goodreads, I was instantly intrigued by the simplicity of her book cover. It was plain yet elegant. I followed the link to her website to read the excerpt of the book and the minute I finished reading it, I knew that this book was no doubt my cup of tea.
A Diamond in the Rough was the combination of contemporary romance with slight thriller and was told in main character’s POV which was the heroine. I was really surprised with what I found in this book. A Diamond in the Rough had my mind jumping here and there trying to guess what would happen next but in the end all my guessing ended up completely wrong. Simply said, this book was totally unpredictable and would pull you deep into the book until the very last page (Or more. Just like it did to me. Because the ending was…well, I’ll tell you in a bit)!

Sophie Cavall was a successful model under the one of the top model agency in New York. She was often featured on billboards of famous clothing brands ads. She flew from state to state for photo shoots with professional photographers for new trends of underwear and swimsuit brands. Her life was amazing and might be what women her ages always dreamed of having. But not what was seen through her eyes, apparently.
For Sophie, her life was nothing but myriads of tortures. She was not having a nice life like people thought she had. She barely held on her modeling career as new faces came around every day. She owed debts to the company she worked for. Her roommate was one health-freak girl who could drive her insane day and night. And being a model… it wasn’t something that young-Sophie would ever choose to be in the first place.

When she thought things couldn’t get any worse, it did. Anonymous dead threats came to her door through social media but she tried to brush it off. When she was almost being kidnapped one day after work, she knew that it was more than just online pranks public figure always got.

Oliver Black met Sophie for the first time when she tried to fight the masked kidnapper in front of her agency building. Apparently he was not just some stranger passing by and it was not the only time they saw each other. Oliver was a genius entrepreneur who’s active in social project and had some connections that wired all the way to Sophie. A well-known businessman who happened to care about the terrors Sophie kept received. 
Sophie might try to deny Oliver’s mysterious present in between her issue, but she surely couldn’t deny the comfort Oliver brought along with his presences. With Sophie’s defensive trait and protectiveness Oliver kept throwing around her, their togetherness was not the smooth one. Every conversation they had always ended up in arguments but it seemed like it was just the way they were. When the miserable part of the past came along and trust issue positioned itself on the table, Sophie was faced with the difficult choice of giving a second chance for some people in her life.

I swear, certain things in this book were something new for me. What the author chose to be the hero’s background was new. The way she slipped some brief meaningful scenes was new. Her idea of pairing these two unique characters together was new. I could go on with the list but it would take forever… Guess I’ll try to explain just the main points here.
Let’s talk about the characters.
Oliver was described of having a past that people around him would always worry about (No, not going to tell you guys what it was here). Most heroes often have similar vibes of dark past, but Oliver’s here was different. And original. Oliver Black was ridiculously genius but always so calm almost in every condition. He’s so down to earth as well, adding up to his list of charming points. What I love more about him was he’s protective toward Sophie but not too much. He never really tried to coerce Sophie to do things as he wanted it to. Instead, he willingly went to equal argument with Sophie to make his point.
“I don’t want you to walk in my shoes, Sophie, nor do I want to walk in yours. I want you to walk beside me, as will I do the same.”
(Oliver Black; Chapter XIII, A Diamond in the Rough)
God, how much I love their smart banters! Oliver with all his wise speeches and Sophie with her not-going-to-back-down-easily replies. Some people might think that Sophie’s character was a difficult one. But when you got to learn her past, it was understandable for her to act so. I cried along with her every time she did, thinking how she never cried but she did, so it must be really tough for her. I literally sobbed somewhere during 60% at her realization of the meaning Oliver’s presence for her.
“A single tear slides down to my cheek, then another one, and another one. They are tears of hope, but most of all, tears of feeling wanted, feeling safe, feeling like no matter how horrible life is going, no matter how scary the world can be at times, or how many people have done me wrong in the past ―I will be okay. It’s like there’s a violent windstorm ripping trees and houses out of the ground, but the thickest armor protects my house, and it’s surrounded by the most bulletproof of windows.”
(Chapter XVI, A Diamond in the Rough)
Goodness! I’ll be damned if I didn’t fall in love with Ms. Elisa’s writing style! I had to admit, though, I was a little cautious of new author’s writing style. I met several who were focusing more on the plot of the story than the words to deliver the plot itself. But the minute I read the excerpt I knew that this was an exception. Ms. Elisa’s choice of words was excellent!
Oh, and don’t let me forget with the funny sides! Especially the ones of their banters cracked me up so bad!
“Will you play with me now?”
“I think it’s been enough for one day.”

“Come one, Oliver. I’m saying no.”

“Is it a fake no? Because your body keeps saying yes.”
“My body doesn’t know anything.”
“What does your heart say?”
“That’s number one on my list of unenlightened organs. It believes anything it hears. It’s screwed up in some way.”

(Chapter VI, A Diamond in the Rough)
And DON’T get me started with the romance!!
They might not be the perfect couple, they might not saying the ‘three words’ a lot, and God they never even hesitated of pointing the other’s daily bad habits! Really, it was not rude or cruel, though, it was them being honest ‘cause they knew that no matter what silly things they said to each other, what inside the hearts were what mattered the most.
“And at the end of the day, it didn’t matter if doves didn’t fly in magically when I told him how I felt. It didn’t matter if candles weren’t lit and cliché songs didn’t play. Oliver Black happened, and that was more than I could ever dream of.”
(Chapter XXII, A Diamond in the Rough)
Aside from the romantic part, A Diamond in the Rough brought up an original topic for its readers about real life issue. Sophie’s career as a model began with a painful start. As it was only two of them, her mother did anything to kept living including forcing her to join several beauty pageant contests. Her mom never cared of what Sophie felt. She only cared of the amount of money little Sophie would win and what kind of living it could support for them. Well, if we look around us, thing like this does happen in real life. I personally think that child beauty pageants are something not worth to attend to. I am not against them, though. But I personally would never let my kids one day to enter that kind of contests. I don’t know, for me no matter how the creator tries to fix it all the way to have some child-like vibes, it’s just so wrong to put your kids out to walk around there for people to see their outer beauty only. It’s just so wrong to plant that kind of mindset for the kids itself. Kids’ values are more than that. We surely want our kids to be valued not just by outer beauty but by inner beauty as well, right?
About the ‘terror’ thingy that was brought up here. Well, it led to certain issue that I personally dislike. I happened to just read book with that similar certain issue and it was annoyed the heck out of me. But Ms. Elisa really knew how to carefully put it in an enough level of amount to be on a romance book. Good thing, I could handle it well!
The ending was partly conclusive for now somehow, despite the fact that A Diamond in the Rough is the first book of the series (Yes, there’s a second book titled Black Diamond). But there were some things that needed to be concluded on the next installment but don’t let this worry you because the ending was nowhere near such hardcore cliffhanger. But if you’re an HEA lover (like me), surely you should be a bit patient to wait for the second book.
Well, this might be the longest review I ever wrote lol. But I’m just so excited for this book, so yeah… I recommend this book for contemporary romance book lover who’s in search for some fresh plot. Thanks for Ms. Elisa for writing this book! I’m so waiting for the next installment :)

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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