The Night Sister

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

So I went to the mall to buy a dress that I really wanted and had been thinking about for months afterwards.

But when I got there, the dress was no longer available. Since I couldn’t buy that I decided I would go somewhere that would make me very happy.

While I was walking around I found The Night Sister. I had read The Winter People and loved it, so I thought that I would enjoy this one too. Plus I was sad that I missed out on that dress and needed a pick-me-up.

Plot Synopsis:

This book takes place in three different times 1955, 1989, and 2013.

1955-1961

Sylvie and Rose are sisters who live at the 28 roomed Tower Motel in London, Vermont; designed after the Tower in London, England. Sylvie is blonde, beautiful, and obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock and the idea of becoming a movie star like Kim Novak.

Rose is dark, secretive, troubled, and jealous of her sister.

As the two grow up, Rose starts noticing odd behavior of Sylvie. As she becomes more and more determined to get to the bottom of it, Sylvie disappear one day without a trace and never to be seen again.

1989

Piper and Margot moved to London with their mom and befriended the coolest girl in town, Amy. Amy’s mother Rose left her with her Grandmother Charlotte, who lets her, Piper, and Margot run about the motel. The girls spend their time swimming, playing games, and avoiding Jason Hawke who is in love with Amy.

NERD!

Then one day they discovered something dark and sinister at the motel that ended their friendship with Amy forever.

2013

Years have past and the girls are now all adults. Amy had some wild years but married, had two kids, and runs the motel.

Margot married Officer Jason Hawke, and is about to start a family in between studying local history.

Piper moved to California and has her own video-production business.

Everything changes when Amy’s family is attacked and killed, the only survivor of the massacre being her daughter. Margot calls Piper and tells her what happened. But the horrible murders aren’t the only shocking news, at the crime scene a picture from Sylvie was left behind with the words “29 Rooms” written on it.

This brings those girls back to that summer of 1980s and the horrible secret of what lies in the Tower!

Thoughts After Reading:

The book had a good premise and build up but it all fell flat at the end of the book.

ugh

Everything was too easily resolved. And it was no surprise who the  night “mare” turned out to be.

For more by Jennifer McMahon, go to The Winter People

For more on sisters disappearing, go to B is for Burglar

 For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Wife

For more Alfred Hitchcock, go to Psycho

For more mystery reviews, go to The Last Suppers

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Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure

Beyond the Grave: A Choose Your Own Ending Mystery Adventure (Up2u Adventures #1)

Thoughts Before Reading:

When I was looking at books to get my niece I thought this would be a great choice. The fact that we got to choose our own ending made me think of the Choose Your Own Adventure series that I grew up with.

I thought it might even be better as it seemed that you were actually in the story before you made a choice. I always hated how of you choose wrong in the first question the story was over before it even began.

So let’s see how this went.

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Plot Synopsis:

Dylan and Michael are teamed up for their class project on doing a report on a famous town person. Michael doesn’t like being teamed up with Dylan at all because of his hobby, rubbling gravestones.

Now In personally don’t think that is that creepy at all, as lots of people do that, but Michael think it is strange.

So they start searching out famous people from the past. Michael wants to do the report on a newspaperman called Snoop, however Dylan found something more interesting; Snoop’s story.

Snoop did a whole series on Dr. Naper, the town’s own Dr. Frankenstein.

He was caught trying to experiment on creating life. And he is buried in Dylan’s favorite cemetery.

Dylan decides that the best way to get an A+ is to not only include the pictures that Snoop took, but a grave rubbing of Dr. Naper’s headstone.

Dylan decides that the two should head out there. Only problem is that he isn’t allowed to be there. Only way to do it, sneak out there after dark.

Always watching

What happens next? You decide!

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t like how you weren’t able to choose until the very end and that your decision didn’t really have an effect. I like the Choose Your Own Adventure series better.

For more young adult mysteries, go to Spring Breakdown

For more ghosts, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

For more mad scientists, go to Ticker

The Dollhouse Murders

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The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright

So unlike most people who have read this book, I didn’t read this as a child but as an adult. This book was recommended to me on goodreads quite a few times. The first time I saw it I thought it was a book I had read as a child of a girl playing with dolls, and in essence whatever she makes the dolls do, happens in real life. In that book she continues to play rough with her dolls, making them cruel to each other, and in doing so turns the people she loves into monsters.

bad decision

She eventually realizes this and tries to destroy the dollhouse, being stopped by her mom or aunt (I don’t remember which) who gives it away to her cousin.

This was not that book.

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Yes this is a completely different book, as I discovered once I read the synopsis.

So this book was published in the early ’80s and definitely has that nostalgic feel. The girls are out wherever they want and their parents don’t care as long as they are back before dark. They listen to tapes, watch TV from the cable shows and have a sleepover that involves hanging out, telling fortunes, gossiping, etc. No internet, cellphones, snapchat, instagram, etc.

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So our main character is 12-year old Amy. Amy lives in a suburb of Chicago, (and no this is not a John Hughes movie), with her parents and her younger, mentally disabled, sister Louann. Amy is stressed and unhappy about always having to take care of Louann. It has destroyed friendships, as some girls feel uncomfortable around Louann or dislike her differences; either way Amy finds herself losing potential friends and just having to spend more time with Louann.

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She and her new friend Ellen have to take Louann with them to mall, and it doesn’t turn out well. After Louann runs away, destroys a floral arrangement, and gets the girls yelled at; coupled with Amy’s new friend Ellen canceling their plans (presumably because of Louann), Amy’s had it with her sister.

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She needs some freedom from being Louann’s keeper. When she tells her mom this, the two get in a fight and Amy runs away. She runs all the way to the edge of town where her Aunt Clare currently lives.

Aunt Clare is her father’s sister, and was living and working in Chicago. When she was fired from her job, she returned home to clean out her grandparents’ old house to sell it. She listens to Amy’s views and asks her parents if she can stay for a while and keep her company. They agree, but Louann is unhappy to lose Amy.

Amy is estatic to finally have freedom

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

But discovers something unsettling about the house. It feels as if it has a dark cloud over it.

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Amy discovers a beautiful dollhouse in the attic. And when she asks Aunt Clare about it, she gets the family backstory.

When Clare was 15 and Amy’s father was 2, their parents died in a car crash. The two were sent to live with their grandparents, as they had money and lots of room. Amy’s father did all right, but Clare was constantly clashing with the grandparents. She wanted to be treated as an adult, but they wanted her to stay a child. Hence, they gave a fifteen year old a dollhouse. An exquisitely carved dollhouse that is a replica of the house, has miniature everything you could ever hope for, and has four dolls that are beautiful copies of the family members. Even still, it is a dollhouse and for Clare it was uncool. Three years later, the grandparents also died in a car accident, and the two kids were sent to live with an uncle. As soon as Clare graduated, she left for Chicago and hasn’t returned to the house since.

Amy is intrigued and wants to know more, but Clare does not want to discuss the house at all, becoming very upset over the whole thing.

That'sOdd

Ellen is soon invited over and loves the dollhouse as much as Amy does. The two play with it for a while, interrupted by Clare’s baking of fudge. They run down to the kitchen, with Amy realizing that she left the house open. Not wanting it to get dusty on the inside, she runs upstairs. When she gets there, she sees something shocking.

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The grandma doll isn’t where she left it, but in a entirely different room!

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She is called by Ellen and Clare, and shakes off that idea. Dolls moving? Must have been seeing things.

The three of them end up planning a pizza-birthday party for the two girls, as they turn 13 within a week of each other.

After Ellen leaves, Amy asks Clare more questions about the grandparents’ death. Clare however, becomes angry and defensive not answering anything.

That'sOdd

This causes Amy to decide to do some digging of her own. She and Ellen head to the library and start looking through old papers to discover what happened to her grandparents. When they are searching they find an article about them being murdered!

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Yes Clare lied! They were murdered!

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

One night, Clare returned home from the movies and discovered the dead bodies of her grandfather and grandmother. Both were shot, the grandfather upstairs in his bedroom, and the grandmother in the parlor. Amy’s father was initially not found, and many believed him to have been kidnapped, until they discovered the five-year-old asleep in the closet. Valuables were stolen, so the cops believed it was a burglary gone wrong. They never caught the killer.

Another interesting tidbit Amy finds, is that Clare’s boyfriend of the time, Tom, was killed that night as well in a car accident.

Whoa

That night Amy calls Ellen and fills her in. Unfortunately, Clare hears her and becomes very angry, yelling at Amy for her insensitivity. Later Clare yells at Amy again, as she has discovered the dolls in the exact way her family members were on the night of the murder.

Amy is flabbergasted.

What?

She knows she and Ellen put the dolls in the dining room around the table. Besides, she just learned about the murders, there would have been no way she could have made it into the attic and do that. That means…

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THE DOLLS ARE MOVING BY THEMSELVES!

Crap

The only question? Why.

Amy and Clare make up, but Amy is now frightened of the attic and does all she can to stay out.

Amy goes home to get a few things for the party, when it is accidentally is slipped and now Louanne wants to come too. Amy doesn’t want her to come as she wants a day focused on her, and she doesn’t want to worry about anyone. She gets into another fight with her mom.

good-byeNeverwantyouinmylifeHomeAlone

At Aunt Clare’s, they start getting things ready for the party. Clare sends Amy upstairs to the attic to get some bedding so Ellen can stay over. The light went out so Clare gives Amy a flashlight.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Upstairs, Amy goes to get a blanket when she sees a light coming from the attic and hears something!

Ahh-1

And runs downstairs.

The next day is the day of the party. Evey thing seems to be going smoothly, until Amy finds out that her mother had to go out of town and couldn’t find a sitter, so she left Louann at Aunt Clare’s. Amy is furious, as she knows Louann will ruin the party. To her surprise everything turns out perfect. All the girls have fun, they treat Louann like any other normal person; with the party going on for hours. That night the girls go to bed, with Louann and Amy sharing a room.

Amy wakes up at 3 in the morning and discovers Louann missing!

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She runs up the attic, as she knows Louann loves the dollhouse. When she gets there she finds Louann, a weird light coming from the dollhouse, and hears someone crying. So does Louann. Amy gets scared and the two go back to their room.

The next day, all three girls go for a hike with Amy telling Ellen everything that happened. She resolves to go up to the attic this very night and watching the whole event, in the hopes that she might discover why this is happening.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

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Thoughts after reading:

This was a very cute and interesting mystery. At first I wasn’t sure as young adult fiction can really be hit or miss.

I loved the character of Amy as I think the author not only accurately portrayed a preteen girl, but a preteen girl having to take care of her disabled sister. It didn’t make Amy seem evil, rude; but just a regular girl trying to figure out her identity and who she is.

The mystery was actually pretty thrilling as the author keeps you guessing until the end. When the true story was revealed about the death of the grandparents, it made me wonder…was Aunt Clare involved with the murder? Was that the real reason she hated the dollhouse? You have to read it to find out.

I highly recommend this book for preteens and even for adults if you are feeling nostalgic.

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For more reviews of mystery novels, go to Lane Changes