Review: A Secret to Die For by Sierra Dean

Posted December 15, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Urban Fantasy / 74 Comments

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
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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!

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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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74 responses to “Review: A Secret to Die For by Sierra Dean

    • 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!

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

    • 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.

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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!

  6. 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…

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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!

  9. 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.