October 21, 2015

ARC Review: Black Diamond (Diamond in the Rough #2) by Elisa Marie Hopkins

Black Diamond (Diamond in the Rough Series, #2)Black Diamond by Elisa Marie Hopkins
Rating: /5

*I received e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Pub. Date: October 20th, 2015

Get a copy here!
Black Diamond picked up where it left off after the tragedy of Sophie Cavall’s kidnapping by some mysterious people with unclear motive. Even though the drama was finally over, apparently it was not the end of the traumatic episode of Sophie’s life. The captor might had been caught, she might had come back to Oliver’s arms, but the discomfort feeling and flashes of dark memories still haunting her days here and there. It wasn’t a trauma that Sophie felt within her soul, she was sure; it was a feeling of constant wary and cautious toward every little odd happening around her. It didn’t help that she had to deal with her new-found cryptic half-sister, Sarah, every day. Sophie couldn’t really figure her out, what with Sarah’s undecipherable relationship with John Bridge, Sophie’s said captor. Now even after the cursed man was held away, he still managed to have control over Sophie’s life. Oliver never stopped assure her that everything was over, that John wouldn’t get a chance to hurt her again. But as much as Sophie wanted to believe him, she just couldn’t shake the weird feeling she had inside. John never revealed the actual motive behind the kidnapping. Sophie believed that there must be something behind the different way John treated her than the other victims. When the disturbing tragedy was twisted around by the media into some drama with Sophie as its main actor, Sophie couldn’t just stay still. With the help from a trustful resource, Sophie found out that there was more to John’s secretive act; that there were people who took advantage of Sophie’s circumstance at the same time. Was this some sort of psychological game that John has plotted all along to drive Sophie’s sanity to the edge? Or this might be a big conspiracy to ruin not only Sophie’s career and life, but those of her closed one as well? Whatever it was, Sophie should make a quick move to unravel it. And whoever it was, could very well not only break her apart, but also threaten her relationship with Oliver.

It’s ‘More’!
I still remembered how the ending of A Diamond in the Rough makes me all giddy to read its sequel. Now, Ms. Elisa did it again with Black Diamond. Compared to the first book, Black Diamond has a far more complex plot. The details kind of make me light-headed but once I got a hang of it, the plot was really intriguing that it had me on the edge of my seat for hours. The plot was very well-thought and even though the complexity might be a little too much for some people, the author made it bearable with her flowing writing style. Not only that she always chose the right words to relay the complex plot in a way that would be easy to digest, she had this style of including subjective opinions on certain things in the book that made the story was not just a plain fiction but also a fiction that has valuable material on some real issues in our life. And those facts she slipped here and there about anything was just amazing!
Anyway, I wouldn’t go far with the plot since it was too complicated to be explained briefly here.

‘Diamond’ Couple: Best Favorite EVER
Now, let’s talk about the characters. As always, I am fascinated by the unique couple of Sophie and Oliver. I couldn’t forget how this couple had stolen my heart on book first with their smart and humorous banters. Sophie’s demeanor had shifted into a tad more aggressive after the kidnap. She over thought every potential threat. She went ballistic upon a slight uncomfy-ness. Her no-nonsense personality made her recovery a lot faster than most kidnap survivors because instead of wallowing herself in bad memories, Sophie focused on improving herself in self-defense physically. But deep inside the tragedy left her a mental scar which she didn’t want to acknowledge but couldn’t nevertheless. Being kidnapped was already a bad nightmare come true, but being kidnapped by a psychopath whose motive was unknown was nightmare in a whole worse disturbing level. It left an unimaginable feeling of discomfort that lingering even when you were no longer being kidnapped.
I really felt bad for Sophie for all those circumstances she’d been through since she was just a kid but I didn’t want to pity her anyway. People like Sophie didn’t want to be pitied and I felt so touched that Oliver knew that side of her very well. It wasn’t because Oliver didn’t care about her; it was because he cared about her that he did that.
‘He wants to hold her in his arms, but he waits. Oliver sees her for what she struggles with: sees her for what she desires. Right now all of her is yelling, “Just let me be.” And he accepts her quietness, just sits there as if saying, “Okay, but I’m here anyway.”’ 
Oliver, as always, showed his infinite support for Sophie in his own way. He always knew where to position himself toward her in just any situation. He knew when to stay behind the line and when to step into Sophie’s space. And Sophie, as hard-headed as she could be, knew when to let her guard down in front of Oliver. Each of them might be a frustrating person for the others but they always tried to make a room in between their egos to be filled by love. They might argue all the time and when they got into real fight it would be a little worse but they always admitted each other’s mistake in the end. I think I’m more and more mesmerized with this couple each book. I guess I understand now why the author chose a title of diamond…

He’s Not Perfect but He Is
Despite all the perfections that we saw in Oliver Black, we were once again reminded that he was just a human who made mistakes in his life. I liked how he didn’t want to keep anything from Sophie; that no matter how embarrassed he was about himself, he would just tell her everything anyway. I really really loved how his mind works. And with all his cute little trivia and logical speech, how precise and careful he was with his every move and plan, he could as well make a thousand mistakes and I would forgive him a thousand times as well.

Romantic-Suspense, Literally
Whenever I find a ‘romantic suspense’ read, my mind would always fly to the kind of book that has so much thriller scenes in the story and spice it up with romance to attract female readers. Black Diamond is not like that, though. This book is labeled itself as romantic suspense, and it is exactly what it labeled as. It’s a romance. And a suspense read. Black Diamond and its predecessor might be the best suspense novel I’ve ever read with its rich details of events, plot and twists and all. And they are also a romance. A romance in which the hero and heroine didn’t need to say they love each other repeatedly for the readers to feel the sparks between them. The author didn’t even need to over-sweeten Sophie and Oliver’s moments because just the two of them being together on the same scene, bickering, arguing, complaining, throwing fun facts, had already romanticized the scene to a degree that makes you craving for more and biting your nails in a mix of awe and envy.

Working Brain Is Sexy
As much as I want to go over and over again about this couple, I think it only fair to discuss another part of the story. Did I tell you the part where I was fascinated by the richness of the twist? This book did make my brain works. I couldn’t decipher the mystery behind all these twists. You need to focus if you want to get the story. But don’t worry that your brain would get all twisted because the author slipped casual jokes here and there. I think I laughed and smiled a lot more in this book than in book one.

The ending, as usual, was one cruel punishment from the author to the readers who enjoyed the book a little too much. I literally dropped my jaw and had a hard time putting it back when that particular line on the epilogue slapped me hard on the face.
But I know that I could always count on Ms. Elisa to pay it back on the next book. Well, It’s just a matter of patience now...

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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