logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: remote-island
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-11-02 04:34
The Moai Island Puzzle by Alice Arisugawa, translated by Ho-Ling Wong
The Moai Island Puzzle - Ho-Ling Wong,Alice Arisugawa

Alice Arisugawa is the third Honkaku Mystery Writers Club of Japan author I’ve tried. I thought Arisugawa would also be my first female honkaku mystery author, but I didn’t bother to research that and, as it turns out, the author is actually male.

He also wrote a male character named after his pseudonym into The Moai Island Puzzle. I don’t like when authors write themselves into their own books, even if all they and their character have in common is their names, so this was a bit of a red flag for me, but I figured I’d let it pass. I was really hoping this book would be as good as the one that led me to it, Soji Shimada’s The Tokyo Zodiac Murders. Or even Yukito Ayatsuji’s The Decagon House Murders, which had some issues but was still decent.

The Moai Island Puzzle starts by introducing readers to the members of the Eito University Mystery Club. The club’s only female member, Maria Arima, invites the other members to take a week-long holiday at her uncle’s villa on a tiny island. Only Alice Arisugawa (the narrator) and Jiro Egami are able to join her, but that doesn’t mean they’re alone: ten of Maria’s family members and family friends also take a holiday on the island at around this time every three years or so.

Alice and Egami arrive at the island with every intention of having fun. In particular, they’d like to solve the puzzle that Maria’s grandfather left behind. Before he died, Maria’s grandfather had several wooden moais, statues similar to the ones on Easter Island but much smaller, installed all over the island, each facing in a different direction. These statues are somehow the key to finding a treasure that Maria’s grandfather left behind.

Hideto, Maria's beloved cousin, was supposedly close to solving the puzzle three years ago but drowned before he could locate the treasure. Maria would like to finish what he started. Unfortunately, just as a typhoon is about to reach the island, a couple people are found shot to death inside a locked room. Was it suicide, or murder?

First off, I would like to say that I was frustrated with how determined these characters were to believe that a double suicide was a possibility in this situation. One of the victims was shot in the chest, one of them in the thigh, and there was a blood trail across the entire room. The window was closed, and the door was locked with an overly tight latch. Both victims were shot by a rifle, which was nowhere to be found in the room. Several characters kept theorizing that one of the victims shot the other victim, then themselves, and then somehow threw the rifle out the window and then shut the window. It took ages for someone to finally ask whether the rifle was even outside somewhere - no one had bothered to look. Granted, it was raining and a typhoon was coming, but I doubt a dying person would have been able to throw the rifle very far.

I suppose you could argue that they all clung to the “it was a double suicide or murder-suicide” theory so hard because they didn’t want to believe they were on the island with a murderer, but so many of the facts just didn’t fit. And I just shook my head at the characters’ behavior. Even past the point they should’ve started keeping a better eye on each other, they were busy getting drunk or spending time on their own. That was one of the book’s weaknesses: too many characters had no alibi.

You’d think that should have helped muddy the waters, but it was combined with the fact that there were also few clear motives. All I had to do was think about a likely motive that Arisugawa (the author) was very carefully not bringing up, and I basically figured out the identity of the murderer. I had hoped that I was wrong and that the motive I suspected was actually a red herring. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

I wasn’t able to figure out how the murders were committed on my own, but part of the problem was that I didn’t care. I didn’t care about the characters, I had trouble caring about their family/relationship drama, and their conversations bored me. The final revelations didn’t change my mind about any of that.

The second part of the moai puzzle made sense to me, but the stuff the characters had to do to get to that part seemed like a stretch. And I didn’t buy that Egami was able to figure out everything about the murders the way he did, all on his own. His explanation for the locked room portion of the mystery, in particular, angered me more than shocked me. Without including spoilers, all I can say is that I had trouble believing the character would have done something like that, especially considering the way their relationships had been described.

All in all, this wasn’t worth the effort it took to read it. Very disappointing.

Additional Comments:

I noticed a few editing errors in the first 50 or so pages - sloppy verb tenses, and an instance of “peak” instead of “peek.”

The thing that bugged me the most, though, was the book’s very first illustration, a map of the island. I had thought it was the same map the characters had received, but they kept referencing marks on the map that indicated the locations of the moais, and the book’s illustration had no such marks. I still don’t know whether this was an error or whether it was deliberate on the author’s part. In the end, the marks wouldn’t have helped any (they were included later, albeit separate from the map), but the fact that they weren’t there made it feel like the author was keeping basic information from readers, and it was annoying.

Oh, and unrelated to all of that: I’m pretty sure that a normal, living snake wouldn’t feel sticky to the touch.

 

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

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-18 17:56
The Door Into Fire (The Tale of the Five #1) by Diane Duane
The Door Into Fire - Diane Duane

Sex. Drugs. And Rock... Color Purple. Very 70-ies.


What. A. Drag. 

Never a straight (no pun) line in this book. I don't mind when a story gets from A to D via B, C and while at it detours through E and K. I do mind however, when the author goes through entire alphabet to connect A to B. Now imagine that alphabet being intense purple. It frigging haunts me in my sleep now.

One star.

And no, DD was not the one and only writing and publishing queer literature prior to 2001. No credit for that. Sorry, not sorry.

 

PS And what's with the cover? O.o

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-02-11 20:50
Omega Academy (Project Alpha/Omega #1) by Jules Finley
Omega Academy (Project Alpha/Omega Book 1) - Jules Finley

TAGS: GFY, mpreg last 5%.

 

I really enjoyed first 50% of the book, thinking giving it at least 4 stars.

 

However, after Bryce's bathroom window incident it started going downhill. Too much info dumping (pre-war, pre-academy life, constantly whining about wanting to die, then changing mind...) and too lovey-dovey bordering saccharine in the very end.

 

Jackson never made an impression on me as a big bad alpha. Omega Oliver had more guts, will and drive than him.

 

A few nice surprises in the second part of the book and one more closer to the end. 3.25 stars. Rounding down to 3 on GR and up to 3.5 on Booklikes.

 

***

Dr. Reed -ha-ha, that name, different spelling but still, I could not help it! =)

 

 

 

***

Monica, thank you for the rec. All in all, it was a very fun read :)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-01-26 02:11
The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn
The Winter Spirit - Indra Vaughn
I absolutely love the story, love the fairy-tale setting of "I love you" conquers death and evil evil relatives. Love the snowed-in isolated dwellings, love googly-eyed couples. Love characters damaged and hurt by former lovers/spouses.

The problem for me here is the length of the book. Not enough Owen. Not enough of the lovey-dovey couple (there were adorbs!), not enough Nate's history, not enough Nate/Gabriel interaction prior to the events. I hope some day the author will expand and build upon this story. But right now I have to take a star (maybe even a star and then some) for missed opportunities.

In the end it still mounts up to 4 stars.
Thank you for a cozy winter/holiday miracle read, Indra! :)

PS Oh, and I love the cover, too! :D

===========

Found Gabriel and Heath :D

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-01-13 01:08
Bloodlust: A Tale of Erotic Yaoi Horror by Amelita Rae
Bloodlust: A Tale of Erotic Yaoi Horror - Amelita Rae

Want to mention: inconsistencies, contradictions, messed up narrative (not always sure in which timeline I was), cliches and various other wtf-ery waiting for you on every page and in every paragraph. But, yaoi novel, what did I expect. I went for something naive and low quality - a quicky, if you please - and I got it for about 60%.

And then BIG guns came out.

NOT A SPOILER, BUT A SERIOUS WARNING (this is all in the book, not my words, except for "wtf", so keep your finger off that "flag" button):

*

The book took a turn for pure brutality: brutal rape, brutal beatings, brutal murder, brutal zombies, brutal weres, brutal winter, just effing brutal all around with a bouquet of taboos thrown in just for the shocker. It includes consuming human flesh, tearing off limbs, sucking out brains and eyes, ripping out "bowels", fisting, tearing up assholes (literally, of course), dancing on the bloody floor and stomping through the guts, watersports, piss enemas, knotting, implied incest (why not go all the way, wtf?), bestiality and manimal sex/rape (shifted form). I am sure I missed a few juicy bits while rolling my eyes. Please, don't hold it against me.

1 star for the first 60-65%, which still contained a story. The rest - super-massive black hole.

Thank you for your time.

PS Must mention: one of the scenes in the book reminds me strongly ofPrisoner in the Viewfinder. Particularly the scene on the cruise ship with Michael Arbatov, his uncle Yuri and Akihito. A young blond photographer, a pure soul, raped and abused by bad Russian homophobic mobsters.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?