The Plaza by Julie Satow

The Plaza by Julie Satow

The Plaza was a fascinating look at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, its history, its owners, and some of the people who lived here over its history. The original hotel opened in 1890 and then reopened as the luxurious hotel we know in 1907. We follow its story from the Gilded Age, through the Jazz Age and Prohibition, two World Wars, to 2018. I loved the people's stories, from the construction workers to the rich and famous, even the fictional little girl, Eloise. It's a little bit like reading the society papers over the years. I didn't care quite as much about the real estate deals in more recent years. I listened to the audio though and the narrator, Jefferson Mays, kept me engaged throughout. The book is well-researched and I enjoyed it. I do think it might have been a bit tedious in print for me, but mostly because I cared more about the anecdotes and less about the...
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Rhythm and Clues by Olivia Blacke

Rhythm and Clues by Olivia Blacke

Rhythm and Clues is the third Record Shop Mystery, featuring sisters Tansey, Maggie, and Juni, owners of Sip and Spin Records, a coffee and record shop in a small town near Austin, Texas. The shop is barely making a profit, but the sisters have been approached by a potential investor. The investor, Zach, and his partner invite Juni and Beau, a local cop to a hockey game, but later that night, Zach is killed during a major storm, found dead in a car that wrecked outside of the record shop. Juni, of course, can't help getting involved in the case. I enjoy spending time with Juni and her sisters. They each have their own personalities and they work together well. The setup worked well. The storm flooded parts of town, made some roads impassable, and knocked out the power. The killer is stuck in town. Juni has several suspects, with clues that point in different directions. The plot flows well and...
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Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect by Benjamin Stevenson

I read the first book featuring Ernest Cunningham, Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, last year but apparently never wrote a review. I totally enjoyed it and its gimmick worked well, which is why I picked up #2, Everyone on This Train Is a Suspect. I don't typically like meta elements in mysteries, but I like how aware Ernest, our first-person narrator is. He knows the rules of his genre and often references us as the reader and what we might be expecting from his sequel. This time around, Ernest is a guest speaker at the 50th Australian Mystery Writers Society festival, which is taking place on a train. Of course, one of the authors is murdered and Ernest decides to investigate - and write his second book. This book is funny and almost too clever. The characters are an interesting bunch, with plenty of secrets and more history than one might expect. Ernest is still witty and self-conscious. The plot...
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You’ve Been Summoned by Lindsey Lamar

You’ve Been Summoned by Lindsey Lamar

You've Been Summoned's setup reminded me a lot of the board game, Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, mixed with Clue. It's designed to be interactive, casting you, the reader, as the newest employee at PI, Inc. Apparently they're a bit short-staffed, so you're assigned a case right from the top. You have all the files regarding the incident at Sophomore Manor at your disposal - to be read in the suggested order. You also have several historical items from the 1940s when Mary Sophomore and her twin sister also went missing. You do receive some helpful pointers from the boss along the way. The case you've been asked to look at involves Sillian Parks. She was throwing a party with several friends and her twin sister, Jane, at the Sophomore Manor, when she went missing. She was eventually found, but comatose, and foul play was suspected. It's up to you, the reader, to put all the information and clues together to present...
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A Midnight Puzzle by Gigi Pandian

A Midnight Puzzle by Gigi Pandian

A Midnight Puzzle is the third in the Secret Staircase series, and I do think they are best read in order. Tempest, a former stage magician, is enjoying her work with her father's Secret Staircase Construction company. So, when a customer who is filing a lawsuit against the company is murdered, Tempest decides she has to investigate to save the family business. This time around the connection to Tempest's family is clear. The man is murdered by a booby trap at the theater Tempest is renting for one final show, the theater where Tempest's mom disappeared. I'll be honest, this overarching mystery about the family curse has not been my favorite part of the first two books. I'm glad we get a solution here, but for me, this book just wasn't as fun as the last one. And I did guess the killer before it was revealed, although there were a couple of decent twists before we got there. I listened to...
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The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

YA Horror - not my usual genre, which is why I love reading challenges, they get me out of the mystery aisle occasionally. Tales of a cursed island in the Philippines bring a television crew hoping to gather footage to produce a new reality show starring a famous ghost investigator who needs to rehabilitate his image. No one lives on the island, but the film crew needs a guide and they find a teenager, Alon. Alon is the only one willing to help them, but even they tell the crew that it would be best for everyone to leave. Most of the legends are true and people could end up hurt. Alon stays and helps, though, as they believe that's the best way for the most people to survive. Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions. The island...
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