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review 2018-11-30 15:21
Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity - Mo Willems
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Another adorable Knuffle Bunny adventure. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first Knuffle Bunny or [book: Knuffle Bunny Free], but it was still a cute addition. Mostly I thought it was kind of unreasonable for the Dads to go through so much trouble in the middle of the night, but it is what it is. Still a cute story.

As with the other books in the series, love the mashup of illustrations and photographs. Great pictures that are interesting and fun to look at.

It is so cool to see Trixie grow up in each book. Wonderful series overall.
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review 2018-02-19 23:36
A solid domestic-noir thriller with a familiar plot, unlikely to surprise those who love Hitchcock movies and habitual readers of thrillers
The Woman in the Window: A Novel - A. J. Finn

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collins for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely decided to review.

I have been reading a lot of thrillers recently and kept coming across this book and, eventually, I thought I would read it. The description and the accolades mention Hitchcock and noir film and that convinced me I should read it.

Many of the reviews compare it to The Girl on the Train. Although I have watched the movie adaptation of that book, I haven’t read the novel, so I cannot compare the style, although yes, I agree that the story is very similar. This is more Rear Window (because the protagonist, Anna Fox, a psychologist, suffers from agoraphobia following a traumatic incident, and she is stuck at home, in New York) with touches of Body Double (I agree with the reviewer who mentioned that). It also brought to mind, for me, apart from the many Hitchcock and noir movies the character herself is so fond of (Shadow of a Doubt, The Lady Vanishes, Rope), some newer movies, like Copycat (the main protagonist is also a psychologist suffering from agoraphobia, in that case after being assaulted by a serial killer) and Murder by Numbers (that is a new treatment of Rope).

Anna is an unreliable narrator, and she tells us the story in the first-person (I know some readers don’t like that). I do like unreliable narrators, but I did not feel there was much new or particularly insightful here. She is a psychologist who seems to be able to help others with their problems (she joins an online chat and helps others suffering from agoraphobia) but is not capable of fully accepting or recognising her own (she sees a psychiatrist once a week but lies to him, does not take the medication as prescribed, keeps drinking alcohol despite being fully aware of its depressant effects and knowing that it should not be mixed with her medication), and lies to others, and what is worse, to herself. The fog produced by the alcohol and her erratic use of medication make her unreliable (and yes, some of her medication can cause hallucinations, so there’s that too), and although her predicament and her agoraphobia are well portrayed, because a big twist (that if you’ve read enough books will probably suspect from very early on) needs to remain hidden, for plot reasons, it is difficult to fully empathise with her. She is intelligent, she loves old movies, and she’s articulate (although her intelligence and her insight are dulled by her own behaviour and her state of mind), but we only get a sense of who she really is (or was, before all this) quite late in the book, and yes, perhaps she is not that likeable even then (in fact, she might become even less likeable after the great reveal). Don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved books where the main protagonist is truly dislikeable, but I am not sure that is intentional here, and I felt that the character follows the plot and accommodates to its needs, rather than the other way round.

The rest of the characters… well, we don’t know. As we see them from Anna’s perspective, and this is impaired, there is not much to guide us. She is paranoid at times and can change from totally depending on somebody and thinking they are the only person who can help her, to dismissing them completely (that detail is well portrayed), but although some of the characters are potentially intriguing, we don’t know enough about any of them to get truly interested. This is a novel about Anna, her disintegrating mind, the lies she tells herself, and how her being in the wrong place at the wrong time (or rather, looking at the wrong place at the wrong time) almost ends her life. For me, the needs of the plot and of making it an interesting page-turner end up overpowering some of the other elements that I think are truly well achieved (like her mental health difficulties).

The writing style is fluid and competent, and it is evident that the writer knows what readers of the genre will expect (yes, from his biography is easy to see he knows the knots and bolts of the profession), although, personally, I think people who don’t read thrillers regularly will find it more interesting than those who read them often, as avid thriller readers are likely to spot the twists and expect what is coming next early on. The agoraphobia aspects of the story are well written (and from his biography it is clear that the author has a first-hand knowledge of the condition), although I agree with some comments that the many mentions of the wine spilling down the carpet or on the character’s clothes, of opening another bottle, and abandoning a glass of wine somewhere could have been reduced, and we would still have got the message.

Lovers of film-noir and Hitchcock movies will enjoy the references to the films, some very open, and others more subtle, although the general level of the character’s awareness and her wit reduces as the book moves on due to the stress and pressure Anna is under. The ending… Well, I’m trying not to write any spoilers so I’ll keep my peace, although, let’s say you might enjoy the details, but there are not that many possible suspects, so you might guess correctly. (Yes, it does follow the standard rules).

In my opinion, this is a well-written book, that perhaps tries too hard to pack all the elements that seem required nowadays to make it big in the thriller genre: a female unreliable narrator, domestic problems (domestic noir), meta-fictional references to other books and films, twists and turns galore, witty dialogue (not so much, but yes, especially early on Anna can quote with the best of them), an action filled ending with a positive/hopeful message. I enjoyed the descriptions of Anna’s agoraphobia and, particularly, the way the house becomes another character (that is what I felt gave it most of its noir feel).  People who don’t read many thrillers or watch many movies in the genre are more likely to be surprised and thrilled than those who do, as the storyline will be very familiar to many. I am intrigued to see what the writer will produce next, and I am not surprised to hear that the book’s film adaptation rights have been already bought. That figures.

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review 2017-08-08 23:18
Book Review: Mistaken Identity By M.C. Jackson
Mistaken Identity - M.C. Jackson


I've been waiting for so long to have a book pull this twist and have me blind to it all. This is one of few books in the suspense genre that kept me intrigued throughout the story. This cover is kind of perfect for this novel for some reason.


Lena was a very confused character. When you consider her childhood it becomes painfully believable. Though I didn't understand why she kept up her "farce" for so long and why she didn't rush to read the journal she found. Other than that I liked her as a character. She kept the reader just as confused and pensive as she was. Though I did start getting angry at her for how far she was taking her farce with Jake before everything fell into place.


After getting the whole story I came to the conclusion that I like Jake. I don't agree with his methods and I think he could have handled everything a tad bit better. Overall he's a good guy who's doing everything in his power to "save" Anna.


I enjoyed this novel and the ending was sweet. I liked how she finally got the help she needed after everything she had gone through during her life. I also appreciated that she admitted that she wanted and needed help without being forced into it.


My Favorite Quotes:


"My issues ran so deep that all the therapy in the world wasn't going to help me.


"If there is one sure thing I've learned in my life, it's that people will never fail to disappoint you."


"It just proves that you never really know what people are capable of. Even when you think you know them."

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review 2016-04-17 06:07
Mark Twain's Trading Places
The Prince and the Pauper - Mark Twain,Everett Emerson

I had heard of this book but was never really sure what it was about, however when I read the first few chapters I suddenly realised that I have seen the story before – Trading Places. Okay, there are a few differences, such as the themes, however the plot is pretty much the same. Clements does indicate that this was not his original idea, suggesting that he has heard this story from some other place, though he is unsure as to the truth of it or not. The end notes do suggest that Clements had done any research, but whether it is true or not it is still quite an enjoyable adventure.



The story is about two boys, a poor boy named Tom Cantry and Prince Edward, the crown prince of England. Both boys were born at the same time on the same day and have a remarkable similarity. However, if it was not for a twist of fate they would never have met and this strange adventure would never have happened. As it turns out, Tom, despite his poverty, did have a little education due to the actions of a kindly priest, and Edward happened to have been allowed to go to the gates of the palace one day and rescued Tom from the hands of the guard. The thing about Tom was that he had a dream of meeting a prince, however it ended up that he got a lot more than he ever expected.



While wandering around Westminster Tom stumbles upon the crown prince and is invited into the castle. While talking in the princes' room, they exchange clothes, and the prince then goes outside, is mistaken for Tom, and thrown out of the castle. Tom, on the other hand, is mistaken for the prince, and despite his protestations to the contrary, is suddenly kept inside the palace with no way out. Both boys are diagnosed with madness and end up becoming prisoners of their class. Tom knows his heritage but is unable to escape the palace, and the prince, in his beggarly rags, cannot convince anybody of his royal heritage, particularly since everybody thinks the prince is in the palace, and the palace is keeping tight lipped about the princes' madness.



Many people these days talk about income inequality, however the distinction is nowhere near as evident as it is in this book. In this period, during the reign of Henry VIII, there was no middle class, only the nobility and the commoners, and neither of them would mix. The commoners would look up at the nobility in awe and the nobility would look down on the commoners in scorn. There was pretty much no way, but by the grace of God and the King, that anybody could move between the two classes. These days at least we have a semblance of wealth, and can live quite comfortable and easy lives without having millions of dollars in the bank.



It is interesting to see how wealth and status do not necessarily bring freedom. Tom lives in the palace and has everything provided for him, however he is not free to go where he wants or to do what he wants. In fact everything, including the clothes that he wears, is dictated to him. Further, he is also a prisoner in the sense that nobody is allowed to touch him or to mistreat him. He has his own whipping boy, a boy that takes the punishment that is doled out to the prince if he does wrong.



Edward is also a prisoner, and this is more than just the fact that he is thrown into the arms of poverty. He is unable to escape Tom's father, who seems to always lurk around every corner. As he travels through the dark and dirty laneways of London and Southern England, he must face many trials and tribulations, one of them being the fact that Tom's father is a brute, and pretty much uses him for his own wicked purposes. He even attempts to set him up for a crime whose punishment is death. However, despite that he still has some awe of respectability about him that draws some people to him.



I suspect there is also some comment on the nature of crime and punishment. The reason that I suggest that is because he makes comments about the laws of Connecticut and the laws of Olde England. In particular he focuses on the death penalty, but more so the form of death that the penalty imposes. It is not so much that a person must die for their crime, but the crime also dictates the method of death. No doubt the worse the crime then the more painful the death. However this is not so because some minor crimes seem to attract the death of being submerged in boiling oil, and murder simply seems to result in swinging from a rope. These days there seems to be a desire to make the death penalty as painless as possible, however some question whether that is possible.



Personally, I am pretty much opposed to the death penalty. As I have said and will write, it is better for a guilty man to go free than for an innocent man to be executed. If an innocent man is executed, that is it, there is no going back. Mind you, locking up an innocent man for years on end is still likely to cause irreparable damage, particularly since there is no compensation for the innocent man. An innocent man (or I should say person) who is locked up at the age of 25 and exonerated at the age of 35, has still lost 10 years of his life. Those ten years are not going to come back.


Then there is the idea that the punishment is determined by one's status in society. The wealthier you are the more likely that you will get a lesser sentence, simply because you can afford the best lawyers. However, sometimes you can simply be punished by being associated with the wrong people. I remember one case where a man was associating with another group, and two of them had rented a shed for working on cars. One of the men, with his friends, went and stole a bunch of cars, and the only thing the other guy had done was hear about it. As it happened, the guy that had heard about it ended up being the only person who had not had the charges dropped, and his lawyer simply made a bargain with the prosecution because somebody had to be convicted of the offence. This is simply not the way a legal system should work.


However, consider what Clemens says at the end of the book, how he points out that the number of crimes attracting the death penalty in Connecticut is around 25 while the number in England 100 years earlier was something like 225. In the same way we can compare our system with that of another country, such as Saudi Arabia. In that country there is a crime of forsaking your religion, which is punishable by death. There are other countries where you do not get a right or reply and are guilty until proven innocent. Mind you, that can be the same here, especially when the media has already convicted you long before the trial even begins. Though while we may point at another country and say 'at least we are not as bad as them' that does not mean that we should turn a blind eye to the flaws in our system. Personally, in a system where criminals are locked away in privately run institutions, which are considered to be the university of the underworld, we need to look for ways of reforming and helping people live in society, instead of locking them up and throwing away the key. Particularly since 90% of all prisoners are in prison due to drug related crimes, we must wake up an realise that there actually is a problem.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/448033108
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text 2016-04-04 14:58
Mistaken Identity by Stephanie Nicole Norris

Mistaken Identity
Stephanie Nicole Norris

Publication date: March 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

The only thing Briana and Tiana have in common are their identical looks. For Tiana, life is one challenge after another, but her greatest struggle is sharing a face with the sister she despises. Tired of living in the shadows, she comes up with a plan to finally have everything she ever wanted.

Everything seems to come easy for Briana, including her beautiful children, loving husband and dynamic career. Briana’s charmed life is ripped apart when she wakes up in the hospital with no idea who she is and no memory of her former life. With the help of the handsome stranger who saved her, Briana builds a new life and finds new love, while Tiana won’t rest until Briana has no life at all.



Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes / Kobo








Chris rounded the stairs that led to the first level of his loft and looked out of the peep hole. Sure enough, it was his son’s mother and she looked lit up. He took a deep breath and opened the door.


She stumbled as the door swung open.


“Why are you knocking on my door at three o’clock in the morning?”


“Because I need to t-talk,” she stuttered, “to you!”


“No, Sandra, you need to go home. Where is Christopher?” he asked.


“Well, he ain’t gone be at the club with me!” she stated matter-of-factly. “So that was a dumb question.”


Chris sighed, unable to continue the dance they did at his front door. “Go home,” he said, and slammed the door in her face.


“Oh no you didn’t!” he heard her say from the other side of the door.


Boom! Boom! Boom! She beat on the door again and crossed her arms. “I’m not leaving until you talk to me, so you might as well come back to the door. I don’t care if your neighbors call the police. I will stand here until they arrive!”


Tiana pushed past Chris. He reached out and grabbed her arm to stop her.


“Look, this heffa ain’t going away, and I’m about to give her a piece of my mind. She’s ruining our night!”


“Baby, calm down, I got this.”


Tiana huffed. “I can’t tell!”


She pivoted on her heels and went to the kitchen. The banging on the door continued. She shook her head and ran her fingers through her hair. Looking in the cupboard she removed a wine glass and popped the cork on a bottle of Emmolo Merlot that had been sitting on ice since their earlier tryst. She rolled her eyes as she listened to Chris in the front room arguing with his son’s mother. This is the last thing she needed. She sipped from the glass and closed her eyes as the caramelized plum, brown spices and rich fruit flavor oozed down her throat. She took another swig; it was delicious, but what would’ve been better is if she could get back into bed with Chris.


“Enough of this,” she said.


Tiana made her way back to the living room where the couple was still arguing. She cleared her throat and stepped into view, letting her robe open just enough to show off her bare chest and panties. She took another swig of her wine as she watched a look of fury cross the woman’s face. Tiana almost laughed. Chris didn’t look amused, but he wouldn’t dare tell her otherwise.


“Baby, should I go? I don’t want to cause any trouble,” Tiana purred innocently.


Chris gave her a knowing look. He knew that she was aware that their argument had nothing to do with her. Tiana just wanted to make her presence known.


Stephanie Nicole Norris is an author from Chattanooga Tennessee with a humble beginning.


She was raised along with six siblings by her mother, Jessica Ward. Always being a lover of reading from early childhood Stephanie loved to read books by R.L. Stine.


With a natural talent for writing Stephanie started her journey in 2010 to bring her stories to life. In 2011 her Debut Novel "Trouble In Paradise" was completed and shortly published in early 2012.


Stephanie’s words tell stories of love, drama, deception, suspense, and restoration.


She is inspired by the likes of Eric Jerome Dickey, Jackie Collins, Gwynne Forster, and more. She resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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