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Review: A Secret to Die For by Sierra Dean

Review: A Secret to Die For by Sierra Dean
A Secret to Die For by Sierra Dean
Series: Secret McQueen #8
Published by Samhain Publishing
Published on: December 16, 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 287
Format: eARC
Source: Author
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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No one is safe.

Secret McQueen thought she’d seen it all, but that was before she, Desmond and Holden came home to find New York City burning and the streets overwhelmed with the walking dead. Now, in a race against time, she must find out who is responsible for unleashing hell on Earth.

For that, she’s going to need a whole new team of vampire wardens to help round up the perpetrators, who turn out to be a gang that makes Sons of Anarchy look like toddlers on tricycles.

Her quest across the city brings old friends and enemies out of the woodwork and reminds Secret once and for all why mercy and forgiveness are not always prudent. Lives will be lost, sacrifices will be made, and when the dust settles, nothing will ever be the same again.

With no time to mourn her losses, the only question remaining is if Secret can survive long enough to stop the apocalypse…or if this is the one challenge that will finally drown her in rivers of undead blood.

Warning: The final book in the Secret McQueen series has it all: hot kisses, unexpected guests, and enough tear-jerking moments to require a whole box of tissues. You’ve been warned.


No character in the history of Urban Fantasy has had to work for their HEA as hard as SECRET MCQUEEN, and still, she’s not quite there yet. There’s the small matter of the zombie apocalypse left to deal with. I knew Sierra Dean was going to go big, but I had no idea the extent of it until I got my grabby hands on A SECRET TO DIE FOR, and read and read until I collapsed in a heap of fan-girl bliss. This is how a heroine of McQueen’s caliber is supposed to go out—in a devastatingly wonderful, blood-soaked supernova of FUCK YEAH! All of this series’ characters are in it to win it, some survive, and some don’t. I devoured this book with a tissue in one hand and a beer in the other, and I strongly advise you to do the same.

First off, let me start by saying that the final Big Bad was SICK, and not just because she was named after one of my favourite blogger peeps. The army of the walking dead that has invaded New York was a surprise in that they aren’t real. You see, zombies don’t exist in this particular paranormal universe, so to defeat them Secret had to dig deep to uncover their source. And, what better way than enlisting the help of her vampire warden bloodhounds? Oh right, she pissed off the council AGAIN, and must hit pause to stand trial while the city is burning. McQueen’s secret is out, so is Juan Carlos’ (Ah, HA!), and the apocalypse wouldn’t be a party without the fae king himself offering up some underhanded help.

When I said that all of this series’ characters make a final stand, I do mean ALL, which is precisely how an end installment should play out. Heck, even Morgan, the conniving werewolf that was exiled to Siberia, drops in to stab Secret in the back for old time sake. I loved this last hoorah with Tyler, O’Brian, Mercedes, Reggie, Clementine, Desmond, Sutherland, Genie, Holden, Sig, Siobbhan, Shane, Keaty, Calliope, Aubrey, aannnd yes, Lucas too. It hurts me to say this, but I can’t justify hating him anymore after his actions in this novel. Multiple characters don’t make it out of this one alive, however there was one death in particular that cut me to the core, and I still haven’t quite forgiven Dean for pulling that trigger.

Last but definitely not least is Secret, her badass-ery somehow managed to reach whole new levels of amazeballs, and that pesky prophecy that’s been riding her coattails for several installments now came true in the most unlikely of ways. I bawled, I cheered, I flailed, and I fan-girled ’til I could fan-girl no more. I was beyond thrilled with how Dean ended things; the way she dotted her i’s, and crossed her t’s was sublime. I felt sorry for the loser in the Secret / Desmond / Holden love triangle, but there’s no arguing the fact that McQueen chose the right man for her. The only thing that’s allowed me to sleep through the night now that this series is over is the knowledge that there’s a spin-off launching next year.

A SECRET TO DIE FOR was the best early Christmas present that Sierra Dean could have possibly given me. Secret McQueen, you will be missed!

Secret McQueen Series

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A Secret to Die For

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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  1. Oh wow, seems like the series really did finish off with a bang! Nothing like an amazing series managing to end in the highest possible note!
    So glad that this one lived up to all of your expectations! If a book requires tissues and booze, it is quite something Carmel!!
    Pili recently posted…Mark This Book Monday: Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout!!

    • I actually read this book back in August because I could not WAIT to discover of McQueen’s story ended. I tried to savour it, really I did… I can’t recommend this series enough for Urban Fantasy fanatics!

  2. I love it when a series going out in style, and it seems this one did for sure! I’m so glad it was all you could have hoped for, Carmel. Well, except for that one death… This is yet another series I’ve been meaning to start and since it’s done and I know it ends epiccally, I’m all the more excited! Fantastic review!!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Special Cover Reveal ~ Eternal Mates Series ~ Felicity Heaton**

    • Sierra Dean has never let me down, so I knew that I was in good hands going into this final installment even though it still ended up being bitter sweet.

  3. I admit I like the thought of a paranormal universe where the magical is so normal that something like zombies still seems out of whack.
    Nathan ( recently posted…Fantasy Review: ‘The Truth’ by Terry Pratchett

    • It was kinda a running joke throughout this story that zombies don’t exist even though they were clearly taking over the city. I loved that!

  4. Not heard of this series but since it’s over I think it’s a good time to start since there would be no waiting. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…Book Review: Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis

    • I couldn’t have said it better myself, and I do believe that book 1 is currently only $0.99. 🙂

  5. Secret sounds completely kick butt and just like the heroines I love in UF. This series is new to me but it sounds like something I have to pick up and try!
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Nocte by Courtney Cole

    • Secret is in my top 5 go-to UF heroines; I don’t know how I’ll be able to carry on without her. 2015 just don’t be the same!

  6. How is it that I haven’t read this series yet Carmel? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??!!! Clearly this is a winner of a series, and I’m so glad this last book was everything you wanted it to be. Yay for spin-off series though! Love it when authors don’t leave the world behind entirely:)

    • Don’t panic! The books aren’t going anywhere, so you still have loads of time to hang with McQueen. Plus, this way you can binge read ’em, lucky girl!

  7. I’ve never heard of this series, how is that possible when it sounds so amazing! I love it when the final book in a series lives up to expectations. This was a super review Carmel! Now, I’m off to find the first book in this series.

    • Well, at least it’s on your radar now! That’s what I’m here for. I waited two months to write this review after I finished the book because I didn’t know how to put my thoughts into words.

  8. This sounds amazing! How do I not know about this series, but thanks you for the awesome introduction. This sounds like it hit all the right buttons for you and went out with a BANG. Glad you enjoyed, Carmel. It sounds like you’ll be in line for the spinoff as well : )
    Kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Special Cover Reveal: The Eternal Mates Series by Felicity Heaton

    • Not to toot my own horn or anything, but my reviews have been quoted in practically every installment, so yeah I LOVE SECRET MCQUEEN!!!

  9. Ooo five stars, and a tear jerker at that, this sounds lovely! I love when characters have to fight for what they want, because then you get a chance to see how strong their character and personality is.

    This world sounds really interesting too, fae AND zombies? I’ve never seen those exist in the same world.

    Thanks for the rec Carmel, I’m in the mood for a nice cry!
    Amber Elise recently posted…Discussion: Amazon Reviews v Blogger Reviews

    • You’ll have to work your way up to this one, Elise, but that’s ok because all of the previous novels are amazeballs too, as are the novellas. Buckle up your seat belt!

  10. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one Carmel! It’s so rare to find series that are good and keep us entertained all the way through, and even harder to find GREAT series finales. But i’m so glad you did!
    Lily recently posted…DNF Mini Review: Winterspell

    • Dean always leaves me begging for more at the end of each installment. Alas, this is the end of the road for Secret. I’ll probably do a re-read though in the near future.

  11. New to me series and look-it, all out too. Your review has me so revved up to try all this good stuff. Fab review, Carmel! Can’t wait to dig into Secret’s adventures.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…#Review: Wolf’s Fall by J.D. Tyler

    • Better late than never! I rarely swear in my reviews, so the fact that I dropped an f-bomb pretty much says it all (in a good way!).

  12. Hi Carmel,
    Sounds like a very original and compelling series with a newer take on zombies and I’m glad to see you had so much fun reading all the books although there is the sadness of a favourite series being over. Definitely another one to add to the growing TBR list 🙂

    • It’s so hard saying goodbye to a series that I’ve been stalking for YEARS, but I was happy with how the author ended it.

  13. I need to stop coming over here to read your reviews, Carmel, I really do! Because right now, my fingers are itching to one-click several in this 8-book series just so that I know I have them on my kindle. I love epic showdowns, and characters that truly evolve over the span of a series. And when you add in a great heroine (why is her name Secret?) plus some furries and other paranormal elements, I know I’ll enjoy it.
    When will you know how well you did on your tests this weekend?
    Have a fantastic week, and happy reading 🙂
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: A Christmas to Remember – Jill Shalvis et al.

    • The heroine gets picked on because of her name, and the author uses it to her advantage, but I’m not spilling the beans on the why, so you’d best get reading my dear!

      I’m supposed to have the results by Dec 31st, however sooner would be better. Fingers crossed!

  14. Hey all! Lovely to read the comments here! Just so everyone who hasn’t read Secret before knows, the first book Something Secret This Way Comes is actually on a limited time discount for 99 cents, so if you’re keen to start reading it, this is a great time.

    Thanks for the wonderful review, Carmel! You might end up seeing another one of your quotes make it to print. 🙂
    Sierra Dean recently posted…Books for the Military

    • Thanks for stopping by, Sierra! I’m still working on my job situation to be able to afford print copies, but I’m glad to hear it. 🙂 I need to hit you up for a review copy of Bayou Blues soon…

  15. I don’t remember even hearing of this series! Maybe I forgot or something. I’m not a big fan of zombie books but it sounds like this has so much other stuff happening that’s not really so much of a focus. As long as they don’t spend the book just running from zombies I’m probably fine with it. I might have to consider reading this series!
    Candace recently posted…Giveaway: #FallingKingdomsSeries by Morgan Rhodes

    • Zombies are just about the only supe that McQueen hasn’t had to conquer yet, so it was fitting, and went well with the whole apocalypse thing too obviously. This was their only appearance though in this series if that helps.

  16. Ok this series is new to me. *looks over shoulder at rock I just emerged from* There are zombies? What. I am going to snag book one since it is on sale..woot!
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…The Oversight by Charlie Fletcher

    • You’re a busy gal, so I won’t hold it against you, but that must be one big rock. Hehe!

  17. Nope, not reading this! I love this series, and can’t wait to read this book soon. Glad the ending was good 🙂
    aurian recently posted…Recommendations from Peggy for December 2014.

    • I think I avoided spoilers, but I don’t blame ya! Besides, tomorrow is less than 12 hours away. 😀

  18. Iknow, I know! This series has been on my TBR forever! I wish they hurry up and publish it on audio..grrr!..LOL
    Lupdilup recently posted…12 Days of Christmas Book Blogmas Challenge – Day 2

    • I think I asked the author about the possibility of audios a while back, and she said it was out of her hands. You should try begging the pub!

  19. I just want to make a quick comment about the covers…geez, they’re all so similar, with the same theme and font – how do you keep track which book is called what?! So glad you enjoyed this though, it’s good things ended with a bang and not a whimper 🙂
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

    • That’s what GoodReads is for! I like that the covers are consistent, but to a non-Secret junkie I can see how it would get confusing.

  20. SO sad it has ended…so SAD *sobs*
    blodeuedd recently posted…Ice – Sarah Beth Durst

    • *hugs* At least we still have Genie, and maybe Secret will make a few cameos.

  21. That is so great to hear! If I am not to like a book in a series it is usually the ending book. I have this whole series on my wishlist. Need to get to it and now it looks like I’ll be adding a spin off to the wishlist as well very soon. 🙂
    Melissa (Books and Things) recently posted…Shake Puppies by Carli Davidson

    • The more the merrier when it comes to our TBR piles, right? I want to give her YA a chance too, but egads, no time!

  22. *Ducks slightly* I promise that I’ll start Secret’s series next. I have to finish my current read and it’s sequel and then it’s all Secret. I mean it this time!
    Traci recently posted…Coffee Shop Talks, #83

    • I seem to remember you leaving a similar comment when I posted my review for book 7… Just saying. 😉

  23. I got the first book and at book 8 and still working on her HEA sounds angsty, the good kind anyways. give this series a go, I hope book 1 blows me away!
    Braine recently posted…Girl Crush Mondays: Phryne Fisher aka Essie Davis

    • There’s a love triangle, however this is one of the rare series where I was 100% ok with it.

  24. Okay, I’m going to snag book one in this series. I love to hear when a series wraps up great. And yay to a spin off!!

    • I’m going to make it my mission to get everyone hooked on Secret McQueen.

  25. The first book is only $0.99, so guess who just got herself a copy. That’s right, THIS girl! 😀
    Christy recently posted…Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

    • Way to put your one-click finger to good use, girl!

  26. It’s terrible, I’m so late with this series. I’m buying the physical books so they’re more expensive and in the end I don’t know why but I still haven’t reas book 3 or 4. I really need to go back to the series mainly as I love it.

    • I don’t think all of them are available in hard copy yet. I plan on buying signed copies from her website when they are.

  27. For a change I actually know about these books. Why I haven’t read one is a mystery to me! Your review is going to get me to one click for about the 3rd time today-not counting my visit to a used bookstore today. I need about 10 years of non-stop reading to catch up! Great review Carmel.
    Lorna recently posted…Early Review: Strayed by Amber Lynn Natusch

    • Sounds like you’re dangerous with a credit card, Lorna. LOL! Oh well, you could spend your money on WAY worse things IMO. Sierra Dean’s books are a great way to go!

  28. I started the first book a long time ago, but have never really picked it back up again. It looks like I’m missing out big time. *sobs*
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[470]: The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson

    • Sierra Dean is CANADIAN, and from Winnipeg to boot!

  29. I feel urban fantasy characters never get their happily ever after. Why are zombies so popular? I’m glad the finale was all you were hoping for. When you said all of the characters made it I was afraid they came back as zombies for a second there.
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Top Ten 2014 Books I Read this Year

    • There usually is a HEA in UF, but it often takes a whole series for ’em to get there which makes sense. No zombie secondary characters, you’re safe.

  30. Love to hear about people’s faves of the year, and an emotional one to boot has me interested.
    Brandi Breathes Books recently posted…Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

    • This book’s definitely making the cut next week when I post my top 10 lists of 2014.

  31. Ahh yes, tissues and booze. Required accessories when reading the penultimate book in one of your favourite series, I think. So glad to hear that Secret continues to impress with her badassery even in book 8. Sometimes I worry about my MCs losing steam over time but it sounds like Secret just ramps up as the series progresses. Glad to hear that the love triangle is finally resolved, although the fact that you felt really bad for the guy who got rejected just shows that it was well done.
    Danya recently posted…Graphic Novel Reviews: Anya’s Ghost & Through The Woods

    • Very few heroines succeed in maintaining their badass status (or growing it) throughout a series, but Dean makes it look easy. The third wheel gets a decent ending too, so even though I felt bad for him, there was still light at the end of the tunnel.

  32. This series is new to me, but your enthusiasm makes me want to read it bad! I will add it to my to-borrow-from-the-library list!
    Megan recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top books of 2014

    • I’m happy that my enthusiasm for this series comes through in my review; I almost wrote it entirely in caps. 😉

  33. Well, I have to be honest. Those covers? Come on!!! Meh. But you do intrigue me with you amazeball comments. Is the whole series worth the read?
    Jennifer Bielman recently posted…Excerpt & Giveaway: Figment: Insanity 2 by Cameron Jace (Book Blitz)

    • I don’t mind the covers, but then again I’m probably biased because I know what awesomeness lies within. YES! Even the novellas are excellent.

  34. I agree with you, this book was the best Christmas present EVER!
    BookaholicCat recently posted…Review: Constantinopolis by James D. Shipman

  35. Wow! This series sounds incredible Carmel! I love it when a good Urban Fantasy can hook you like this and the series goes out with a bang and you enjoyed it!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace
    Naomi recently posted…Review ~ Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

    • I sometimes struggle with reviewing long running series because I run out of stuff to say. That’s SO not the case for Secret McQueen!