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text 2017-11-06 18:04
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Task 10 - World Peace Day & Pancha Ganapati
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie
Y is for Yesterday (A Kinsey Millhone Novel) - Sue Grafton
In the Woods - Tana French
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas
A Crown of Wishes - Roshani Chokshi

Doing two tasks in this combined post!

 

World Peace Day-

 

If I had wings like a dove I would love to fly to Montreal or Toronto. I really want to explore Canada more and since it's so close (I live in the D.C. area) I think I would be able to go for a week or longer and just explore. I think that either in spring 2018 or maybe summer I am going to aim to take a trip up north and go exploring. If I don't go to those cities, I did hear about cool things that I can do though that I would love. When I was in Ecuador two Canadian tourists were on the trip with our excursion and they enthused about so many things and showed me videos. 

 

Image result for canada montreal

 

Montreal

 

I know that I want to tour Niagara Falls, but I have heard about walking tours of Old Montreal and I could do a private tour of Prince Edward Island (home of the fictional Anne of Green Gables). 

 

Tasks for World Peace Day: Cook something involving olives or olive oil. Share the results and/or recipe with us. –OR–

Tell us: If you had wings (like a dove), where would you want to fly?

 

Pancha Ganapati:

 

My 5 favorite books of this year was hard to narrow down. I decided to pick the top five that I have already read more than once this year and of course that I read/reviewed for the first time this year. I just included excerpts from my full reviews so you can see why they are my favorite books for this year. 

 

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders-Wow all I have to say is that this book was great. More than anything I love clever books like this, and this was definitely very clever. I honestly was a bit worried for a couple of minutes that maybe I wouldn't be able to get the book since the setting is in Japan. But wow the author Soji Shimada is able to pretty much show you that murder is murder no matter where it takes place.

 

 

Y is for Yesterday- I have to say that I love the fact that even though this book takes place in 1989 there's definitely some similarities to what's going on in the world today in this book. There's the question of rape, there's the question of getting consent, there's the question of violence against women and what do women do in order to fight back against that. I feel like all of those are discussion topics that are very relevant in today's world. 

 

I've really hated how isolated Kinsey felt to me in the past few books was just her interacting with Henry and Rosie. But this one definitely showcases how many people are connected to Kinsey, and how many people just love her.

I was really glad to finally see it seem to laying to rest her whole relationship with the missing Robert Dietz. And I think I see a game plan coming with regards to Cheney Phillips. It was good to read what was going on with him and finally having me not wanting to kick the crap out of him based on what I thought was going on with this character.

 

 

In the Woods- What a compelling read. I finished this thing in about a day and a half. I will say that at first I found myself somewhat bored. But this book ends up being a nice slow burn of a read. I wanted even more by the time I got to the end. I already put a hold on the second book in the series. I have to say that I am really glad that French didn't try to solve the overarching mystery for the main character, Rob Ryan. I know that some readers ended up loving this character and I had to say that in the end, I didn't feel love, but just outright pity for him.

 

 

The Hate U Give-I got so many feels while reading this book.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas takes a look at a teenage black girl who is trying her best to be Starr back home in Garden Heights and Starr at her suburban prep school.

 

Thomas doesn't just make this a YA book, she makes this a YA book accurately showing the struggle for black Americans, for black men, black women, interracial relationships, the pain that we feel when we move away into what is considered "good areas", etc.

Thomas is able to show you so many layers to Starr and the other characters in this book that is becomes mesmerizing to read. Even with the subject matter, I loved that Thomas was able to inject humor and show how for many black Americans that tragedy does not define us, that you still keep going as much as you can, as long as you can. Heck, Thomas even shows you how much simmering anger is under the skin for many black Americans in the U.S. right now, and how those that people screech about as "thugs" and "monsters" can finally just have enough and yes start rioting.

 

 

A Crown of Wishes-  I needed a fantastic book and I savored this one for two days though I wanted to swallow it whole at times. It lingered with me in my sleep and I smiled when I woke up because I was so happy to just keep reading this book. Chokshi includes Indian myths and also just really great characters that you want to keep reading about. We also get appearances from characters from the last book that I was sad to see go when we finished. I often worry when authors start writing a YA book and write a sequel or decide it will be a trilogy. That's only because not many have held up. This one holds up. I highly recommend.

 

Tasks for Pancha Ganapati: Post about your 5 favourite books this year and why you appreciated them so much. –OR–

Take a shelfie / stack picture of the above-mentioned 5 favorite books.  (Feel free to combine these tasks into 1!

 

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review 2017-10-22 03:27
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada, translation by Ross and Shika Mackenzie
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders starts off with a “last will and testament” written by Heikichi Umezawa in 1936. In this document, he detailed his belief that he is possessed and how he came to the realization that killing six of his daughters and nieces would solve his problems. Using their zodiac signs as a guide, he’d take one body part from each young woman and construct Azoth, the perfect woman.

The story then fast forwards to about 40 years later. Kazumi, a mystery fan, is describing the facts of the Tokyo Zodiac Murders to his friend Kiyoshi, an astrologer and occasional detective. The six young women were, in fact, killed and mutilated in the manner described in Heikichi’s will, but Heikichi couldn’t possibly have done it: he’d been dead for several days prior to the murders. In addition to Heikichi’s murder and the Azoth murders, one of Heikichi’s other stepdaughters was also killed. No one is sure whether that murder was related to the others or not.

After Kiyoshi takes on a client with a distant but potentially embarrassing connection to the case, Kiyoshi and Kazumi end up with a one-week deadline to solve a mystery that no one else has managed to solve in 40 years. Diagrams included throughout the text invite readers to solve the mystery along with them.

If you like trying to solve mysteries before a book’s fictional detective does, you really need to give this a try. It’s an excellent puzzle, and the author even interjects a couple times in order to let readers know when enough information has been included to allow them to solve the mystery. Of course, he interjects late enough that readers have more information than they need, muddying the water a bit, but that’s part of the fun.

The first part, with Heikichi’s will, was particularly strong. Heikichi casually describing why he needed to kill his daughters and nieces was incredibly creepy. I promise, though, that that’s as creepy as the book gets. Although the description of how the murders were actually accomplished was horrifying, the book’s overall tone didn’t have much of a feeling of creepiness, horror, or even urgency to it. Yes, Kiyoshi only had a week to solve the mystery, but the only things at stake, really, were his ego and reputation. Most of the people directly affected by the Tokyo Zodiac Murders were long dead.

There were a few times when I started to lose interest as the book became a little too “two guys talking about the facts of the case,” but for the most part those facts were really interesting. I had all kinds of theories about who might have killed Heikichi and how, how Kazue, Heikichi’s eldest stepdaughter, was involved, and who had killed the other women. None of my theories fit all of the facts of the case, and all my theories were torpedoed after Shimada included one particular document.

Kazumi, who was basically Kiyoshi’s Watson, had some ideas of his own that sounded promising, but I was fairly certain that he’d miss the key detail that would bring everything together. By the time Kiyoshi finally announced that he’d solved the murders, both Kazumi and I were thoroughly lost. It got to the point where I felt like Shimada was practically shoving the finished puzzle under my nose and I still couldn’t solve it. It was frustrating and fun at the same time. If it hadn’t been for work and sleep, I’d probably have read the last part of the book, where everything was finally revealed, all in one go. I can confidently say that I’d never have figured everything out on my own. There were aspects that stretched my suspension of disbelief, but, even so, the solution was really good.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable mystery that kept me guessing until the final revelation. It was very deliberately structured like a puzzle that readers were invited to solve along with Kiyoshi and Kazumi, but, despite the author’s two interjections, it still didn’t feel quite as detached as a couple similar mysteries I can think of. Kiyoshi and Kazumi had some life to them and didn’t just feel like pieces on the author’s gameboard. I particularly enjoyed their conversation about Sherlock Holmes and well-known mystery authors, and Kazumi's enjoyment of various locations in Japan made me wish I could visit them myself.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2017-10-10 19:19
Reading progress update: I've read 316 out of 316 pages.
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie

[ETA - I figured I'd add this: absolutely don't click my spoiler tag unless you don't plan to read this. I don't actually give away who did it, but there are spoilers in my wording.]

 

Finished! I can now say that, no matter how long I sat down and thought about the clues, I'd never have figured everything out. As it was, I managed to correctly guess 1.5 things, sort of:

that the Kazue the police officer met was not the real Kazue (that one was pretty obvious, even though I couldn't figure out the reason for it) and that the murderer was one of the murdered young women.

 

I didn't pick the right young woman or figure out any of the other key points of the murder, and I thought she'd actually been killed along with the other five women. My best theory was that Tomoko and Heitaro worked together to commit the murders, and then Heitaro betrayed Tomoko and killed her, leaving the body where he was because, I don't know, after burying five other people with Tomoko's help, he was too tired to bury her on his own or something. A theory which had lots of holes and didn't account for the problem of the almost certainly fake Kazue the police officer met. Unless his letter was a fabrication, but then why mention that the Kazue he met didn't quite look like the photo of Kazue in the newspaper? See, problems.

(spoiler show)

 

The actual explanation made sense, although it relied a lot on luck and the police either missing key details or being unable to get key information. And dang did the killer have to be ice cold.

 

I wish the second book in the series, The Locked Room of Pythagoras, were available in English.

 

Oh, and I'm going to be counting this for my Locked Room Mystery square. I haven't done a Bingo update in ages - I need to do that when I get home.

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text 2017-10-09 13:32
Reading progress update: I've read 246 out of 316 pages.
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie

"'What? You mean I'm wrong? Shit! I won't be able to sleep tonight!'

 

'That's good. For the sake of our friendship, have a sleepless night, just as I did. You'll feel much better tomorrow,' Kiyoshi said, closing his eyes contentedly.

 

'You're enjoying watching me suffer, aren't you?'

 

'No, I'm not. My eyes are closed.'"

 

Instead of finishing this book last night, I wrote a bunch of reviews (mostly for TV series, so not posted here on Booklikes). I'm now regretting this decision. I feel the same way as Kazumi. Kiyoshi knows who the killer is, how they did it, and Kazumi and Kiyoshi even met with the killer, and I still don't have a clue what happened. And that bastard Kiyoshi wants to get some sleep before explaining anything. Plus, I have to go to work. ::grumble::

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text 2017-10-08 18:24
Reading progress update: I've read 231 out of 316 pages.
The Tokyo Zodiac Murders - Ross MacKenzie,Soji Shimada,Shika MacKenzie

Back to this. The author helpfully interjects, letting readers know that he has now provided all the information necessary to solve the case. Very nice of him. Of course, I still have no clue.

 

The closest I'd come to solving anything involves

relying on the "police confession" stuff to be fake, although I have no idea why anyone would fake that information. Still, the stuff with Kazue is the kind of thing that only happens in porn movies. It can't possibly be real. Unless "Kazue" was actually someone else pretending to be her in order to force that police officer to help.

(spoiler show)

 

Yeah, no clue.

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