Kidnapped!

Kidnapped! (Sweet Valley High #13) by Francine Pascal

Ah, Sweet Valley. Nothing takes me back to be preteen years faster than looking at this book series I was completely obsessed with. When I first became interested in them, they were out of print which just made me want them more!

I’m going to find them and read them!

As I kid I really liked the series and wanted to even live in their idyllic Californian world, and I thought the stories were fun and interesting. But as an adult I know they weren’t the best written book. Most of them are cheesy, silly, or sometimes don’t make sense; but these were the ’80s-’90s versions of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill except with a different type of drama.

Wow…

So the story follows twin sisters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Both are juniors, blonde, 5’6, and size sixes. Elizabeth is the smart, responsible one who dreams of being a journalist or writer. Jessica is the fashionable, social butterfly, cheerleader that dreams of parties and popularity.

They live in Sweet Valley, near Los Angeles, and attend school with their friends. The first book focused on the two girls, but the later ones were divided into two stories: one about a friend or relative while the other is about the girls. The later series got a bit darker and was done in short series, two or three books that went together. The topics ranged from drugs, sex, school dances, serial killers, sports, werewolves, princes, vampires, kidnapping, stalkers, etc. You know normal teenage girl stuff. 😉

Yes as the series progressed the writers changed, and while I didn’t like some of the alterations I still continued to read and collect (still do so today) the novels. What can I say? They are such a big part of my childhood they bring on a tsunami of nostalgia.

So what does that have to do with us? Well quite a few of the books in the series were mysteries, supernatural, had psycho characters, or other themes that fall in line with this blog.

So the novel series is similar to the Nancy Drew Files were you have a little teaser at the end like a preview, and the book picks up from there. In the last review I didn’t think I’d be reviewing another Sweet Valley High until book #13, but I forgot book #11.

Ooops…

So there is only one book between the last review and this one, and it turns out that Steven’s girlfriend has cancer and she dies. It is very sad, but it won’t be the end of it…unfortunately. But that a book for another day.

Not looking forward to that…

KIDNAPPED!

Elizabeth unfastened the chain lock as Carl became aware of what was happening.

“No!” he cried as he rose to prevent her escape. “Elizabeth, no!”

She unlocked the bolt and pulled on the door handle. It wouldn’t be long before she was free. But something was wrong. The door wouldn’t open! Elizabeth gasped as Carl seized her. He grabbed her under the arms and threw her onto the sofa with the force of a man possessed. His eyes now bright with anger, he came toward her.

This is it, though Elizabeth as she squeezed her eyes shut. This is the end.

WHAT! I’m HOOKED!!!

Jessica and Elizabeth are candy stripers. Jessica only to meet Jeremy Frank, well-known handsome TV personality who had been laid up with a broken leg. While Elizabeth, of course, loves it. Tonight there is a party and Jessica is getting ready, while Elizabeth is still at the hospital and then going to tutor Max Dellon. Jessica has moved on to a new guy of her dreams, Nicholas Morrow who is everything she wants. Rich, handsome, etc.

Jessica waits, but at 8 she can’t do it no more-someone else might grab Nicolas-and has her friend Cara Walker pick her up-leaving a note for Elizabeth when she gets home. At the party Jessica meets the dreamboat, and Regina, his sister (who is deaf).

Meanwhile, in chapter 3, we see what happened to Elizabeth. Elizabeth stayed late at the hospital, and is hurrying to her car-hoping to hurry and get to Max’s. Next to her car is a junky creepy pedophile van, but Elizabeth doesn’t even notice. Really girl? As an adult it makes you wonder why something didn’t happen to her earlier.

She was grabbed, chloroformed, and kidnapped. And she is in a junky old place. Who took her?

Max is waiting for Elizabeth, but she is an hour late. That’s not Elizabeth at all. By 9:40, he knows something is up and decides to head to the hospital.

Todd is worried about Elizabeth, but Jessica makes up a lie as to where she is as she wants to focus on Nicholas.

Low Jessica, very low.

Elizabeth wakes up and finds herself alone, but then her kidnapper comes home. It is Carl, the janitor. Carl who asked her for help, Carl who she pitied, and now is a victim of his interests.

Help me! For God’s sake someone help me!”

Todd has had enough and calls Mr. Collins, who Jessica said Elizabeth was babysitting for. He finds out the truth and guns after Jessica. Jessica realizes the time and that Todd is right-

The Wakefields come home and see the note that Jessica left-growing worried about where Elizabeth is.

Where is she? How will they save her?

They discover her car and figure out something happened to Elizabeth at the hospital, or shortly after. When the police come into it, they start looking at Max.

Its up to the gang to track her down and clear his name.

On the case!

Thoughts After Reading:

Rereading…yes it is campy, and predictable but I still really enjoyed it. I think that the suspense and drama was right on point. As a teen and an adult, it got me wanting to get to the conclusion to find out what happens next. And that opening scene, fantastic!

Like the Nancy Drew Files, one of the best things I love in this series are the clothes, the author always gives great detail to what they wear. I’ve decided to add a special section for this in these reviews too.

Outfits-

For the party when Jessica is trying to impress Nicholas Morrow

The Next Book in the Series:

Another thing I loved about these mysteries is that they were designed like radio shows and TV episodes. They always made sure to leave you with a little preview of what will come next:

There was no way Elizabeth could mistake the look she saw in his eyes, a look that said, “You’re the one I want.” It made her feel awkward and uncomfortable. She had a strong suspicion that Nicholas hadn’t reacted this way with Jessica. And she dreaded what would happen when Jessica found out.

Will Elizabeth leave Todd for Nicholas? Find out in Sweet Valley #14, DECEPTIONS

For more Sweet Valley High, go to Too Good to Be True

For more mysteries on a kidnapping, go to Deadly Intent

For more mysteries about a sister disappearing, go to Death Wears a Beauty Mask

For more mysteries about a disappearance, go to He’s Gone

Death Wears a Beauty Mask

Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

Thoughts Before Reading:

Mary Higgins Clark wrote this book way back in the ’70s, but never finished it as she wasn’t sure how to end it. She shelved it and went on to write what would be her first book and bestseller, Where Are the Children?

Years later, she took another whack at it s here we are.

Janice Broad hasn’t seen her older sister, Alexandra, in forever. They used to be so close with Janice raising her after their mother died. Then Janice moved to New York City and started her modeling career and their time together grew less. When Janice moved to the LA area for college their time shrinked smaller still.

Now Janice is married and she and her husband, District Attorney Mike Broad, are heading to spend a week of their honeymoon in London and then a week with her.

Yay! Sisters back together.

When they get to the airport, Janice isn’t there. Nor is she at her apartment, and no one knows what happened to her.

They start questioning the men who are hounding her-first Grant Wilson, her agent. Alexandra was the face of a new line, Beauty Mask, but had been having troubles. The company producing Beauty Mask was making them do constant redos, over and over again. Alexandra looked bad and tired.

Grant had been after Alexandra to marry him but she kept saying no. He thinks that she will be sing yes soon, but then she just disappeared. Now he needs her redo the Venice shoot or else the company goes belly up as Beauty Mask won’t pay up without perfection. He says he has no clue to where she is. Could it be he did something because she kept refusing him?

They then see Larry Thompson, photographer. He has known Alexandra from way back. He hates Grant Wilson and never wanted Alexandra to sign with him. He says ever since she’s joined his company, Wilson has just overworked her and worn her out.  Larry tries to make it be that they are just friends, but he seems more interested, and to me extremely bossy, then just as a friend. He is also known to have a very short fuse. Could he have exploded on Alexandra? Or been angry if she could have refused him?

Mark Ambrose is the man who owns the plane that chartered the models and Beauty Mask. He too was another man interested in Alexandra and she too spent time in Venice together. He was supposed to give her a ride to her apartment, but then Alexandra disappeared. Hmm…what happened in Venice or the airport that made her change her mind?

Hmm…

As the couple investigates, they get in a car accident, who did they talk to that felt uneasy?

Then they find out Alexandra got the time wrong and was in the same cab as them and went back to the apartment. But when they get there they found out she has been strangled to death, her face covered Beauty Mask.

But when they do the autopsy, they discover that it isn’t Alexandra, but Lisa Markey, Alexandra’s friend. What happened to Alexandra. Is she alive? Dead? Where is she?

Thoughts After Reading:

Good, really well written until the reveal that the only reason the person was trying to kill Alexandra was because they wanted beauty mask to fail to make money.

That’s it?

A bit of a letdown for me.

But other than that I thought it was really good. I liked that she didn’t go overboard on the characters. But kept the cast short and focused.

And there was this cute little salute to her other novel as if you listen to what Alexandra hears on the news, there is a little snippet about Clark’s first book Where Are the Children?

At one point the detective says I should have known who it was because _________, and I was like facepalm! Duh, I should’ve known too!

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to Where Are You Now?

For more modeling mysteries, go to The Turquoise Trail Mystery

For more disappearing sisters, go to The Night Sister

For more mysterious honeymoons, go to Death by Honeymoon

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

B is for Burglar

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B is for Burglar (Kinsey Millhone Mystery #2) by Sue Grafton

Kinsey has recovered from her shooting experience in the previous novel and is back in business. Never knowing what adventure the next client will take her on.

gotthis

Beverly Danziger is looking for her sister, Elaine Boldt, in order to have a document signed so they can get their inheritance. It is only a few thousand dollars, but until they can get the signature no one is getting anything. Beverly wishes for Kinsey to track down the sister, one no one has seen in months.

On the case!

On the case!

Yes, it is very strange as she typically heads off to Florida, but no one has seen or heard of her.

She just disappeared.

She just disappeared.

Supposedly, Elaine is renting her apartment out to her friend Pat Usher, but Kinsey senses something is fishy about her.

somethingisnotright0

As Kinsey continues to investigate it turns out that a neighbor was murdered and that no one actually saw Elaine leave. They saw her $12000 mink go into a taxi, but was she wearing it?

Something is not right!

It is looking more and more to Kinsey that someone killed Elaine and pretended to be her? But who?

HMMM

Kinsey also meets Detective Jonah Robb, who works Missing Persons. She’s attracted to him, but he’s in a complicated relationship with his estranged wife. Will things work out for them? Or should she stay far away?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

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Thoughts After Reading:

The end was fantastic.

fantastic

The killer was a real psycho!

psychocrazy

I loved it.

Cantstopreadingupallnight

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For more Kinsey Millhone mysteries, go to A is for Alibi

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to Snagged

For more mysteries featuring a female private investigator, go to Decked

For more mysteries on disappearences, go to The Girl on the Train