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review 2017-10-03 01:59
Release Day ARC Review: The Bunny And The Billionaire by Louisa Masters
The Bunny and the Billionaire (Dreamspun Desires Book 43) - Louisa Masters

This is such a Harlequin-esque book. I mean, seriously, this one lays it on super thick, and as such fits the Dreamspun Desires series to a T.

Here we have Ben Adams, a nurse from Australia, who recently inherited a large sum of money (and when I say large, I mean LARGE) from the old lady whom he looked after for some time, and whom he still misses. Never having known wealth, Ben decides on a tour of Europe but still counting his pennies and saving money where possible. 

While in Monaco, he meets Leo Artois, the billionaire from the book's title, who's never known a day without wealth, seeing how his mother is a princess and his father is not only fabulously wealthy but also almost French royalty or something of the sort. 

Why Leo insists on calling Ben Bunny all the time escaped me. Leo, as well as his circle of friends, come across as the sort of people who never had to work a day in their lives and who think nothing of spending money whenever they please. 

Ben only planned to stay in Monaco for a few days before heading to Italy, but after meeting Leo, and the instant attraction he feels for the man, he decides to stay a while longer. 

What I liked about this book is that Ben isn't shy about pointing out to Leo how wasteful spending isn't impressive to him, and that Leo make concessions for Ben's point of view on money issues, but also teaches him that some things are worth the money they cost and introduces him to some of the finer things in life that most mortals will never be able to afford. 

Ben, despite his substantial inheritance, is still a normal guy and tries to impress that normalcy on Leo. 

I believed their holiday fling. Their attraction burned brightly from the start, and I bought that Leo was fascinated with Ben, and vice versa, but their HEA romance - nah. Didn't believe it. They had so little in common, and despite Ben's new wealth, their social circles and life experiences didn't really mesh for me at all. Ben was too normal whereas Leo was way more sophisticated and often came across as someone whose illusions of entitlement were showing. Ben came across as uncomfortable with the OTT displays of wealth Leo and his circle found normal, and that doesn't make for a life-long romance. I mean, obviously with this series, disbelief must be suspended most of the time anyway, but the romance should still be something that resonates. And here, it sadly didn't, for me. YMMV.

The writing was pretty good; the dialogue was believable (with some snark, yay) for how the two men were characterized, and I'm interested in reading more by this author.



** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-06-25 16:57
Erstwhile 3
Erstwhile #3 - Gina Biggs,Louisa Roy,Elle Skinner

Disclaimer: I backed this project on Kickstarter.  My name is listed on the thank you page.

 

                My mother asked me while I needed comic book version of the Grimm tales.  While, I suppose, I don’t really, but I am glad I have this.

 

                Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy, and Elle Skinner take lesser known Grimm tales and adapted them.  In many cases, the main characters are depicted as minorities, and there are interracial relationships.  The stories themselves are set in a wide variety of places.  Many of the tales have a woman or a girl as the main character.  There is also a drawing on other media.  For instance, Mother Holle would be at home in a Miyazaki movie.

 

                It is to the volume and Elle Skinner’s credit, that the volume starts strong with a version of “Beauty and the Beast” – “The Singing Springing Lark”.  Unlike many variants, though the trend is changing, Skinner makes the family more supportive of the Belle character. 

 

                The one that I was surprised to see was “King Thrushbeard”.  I worked on annotating “King Thrushbeard” for Surlalune.  The tale is a patient Griselda type, where a proud princess is taught humility by, basically, being abused by her father and husband.  I have to give Louisa Roy credit for she does an excellent job with this story and sticks to the general plot while giving it a modern test.  It has a very good ending.

 

                My favorite story is “The Twelve Huntsmen” done by Elle Skinner.  In part, this is because I have always loved the story, but here I am so happy to see a princess who is beautiful but who is not skinny and who has freckles.

 

                Gina Biggs’ version of “Sweetheart Roland” is well done too, keeping the darkly romantic feel of the story.

 

                Highly recommended.

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review 2017-04-16 17:30
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott,Andrea Emmes,Listen2aBook.com

This American classic, set in the 19th century during the Civil War, follows the lives of the March sisters as they grow up and become young ladies. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are often joined by their neighbor Laurie, who is living with his grandfather.

Some how I missed reading this book as a kid but as an adult, I have had the pleasure to read it twice, this being the second time. Jo is still my favorite character. I love how she often flies in the face of what society might expect from a proper young lady. At one point she cuts off a good chunk of her hair. She learns to writes short stories that sell to newspapers, so she has a source of independent income. She’s not caught up in the latest dance or the stylish lace. Yep. She’s much how I would imagine myself if I was trapped in the 1800s.

The other sisters all have their own personalities as well. Meg is the oldest and seems be a little mother in waiting. Once she falls in love, that’s exactly what she becomes – a dotting mom. Then sweet Beth embodies the tender heart of the family. She is so kind to everyone and everyone in turn is so gentle and kind with her. Amy has a flash of independence as well but she’s also rather caught up in appearances. While the Marches don’t have much money, Amy makes up for it in grace and practical kindness.

Laurie is a good addition to the mix. I really like his grandfather as well. Laurie starts off as a rather shy and lonely lad but the girls draw him out pretty quickly and adopt him into their little circle of confidences and games. Marmee (Mrs. March) does her best to be a confidant to her daughters while also allowing them the privacy they need. Robert March, the dad, is seen quite a bit less in the book though he’s totally doted on by the family when he is home.

The entire book is riddled with little life lessons. For the first 3/4 of the book, these are well portrayed in story form. The author shows us rather than tells us. For instance, I like how Marmee often gives her girls enough rope to hang themselves. She lets them make mistakes so that they will recall the lesson better in the future. The solitary thing I don’t care for is that the last bit of this book gets a bit preachy. I feel the author was either rushed or got a little tired of the book herself and started telling us the lessons instead of showing us. Plus, perhaps since a main character dies, religion is brought into the mix. Despite this minor let down for the ending of the book, I still really enjoy this classic.

Let’s talk limes. Yes, limes. There’s a great little bit of the book that goes on about these pickled limes that were all the rage at school. In fact, the teacher banned them from his classroom since they were a distraction. One of the sisters had to borrow money from another sister just so she could buy some limes. After reading that section, I really want to try a pickled lime.

One of the reasons I so like this book is that most of the characters are women and it’s not a big romance. There is romance here and there, but that isn’t the main driving force of the plot. Women have so many more freedoms and rights now than they did during the Civil War and yet here we have a well written and enjoyable book that has women actually doing things, instead of being these flowery, vague love interests. So, when someone gives me the excuse, ‘Oh, things were different back then,’ to explain why a book is lacking in relevant female characters, I can always point to Alcott and quirk an eyebrow. Yes, things were different back then, but women were still relevant. Thank you Ms. Alcott!

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Andrea Emmes did such a lovely job with this book. She made each sister sound unique and she also managed to make them sound young when they are little girls and like young ladies by the end of the book. She also had a variety of male voices which were quite believable. 

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review 2017-04-15 00:25
Suffers in comparison
Under the Lilacs - Louisa May Alcott

I was sweet, but didn't come even close to knocking Little Women or Eight Cousins as my Alcott's favourites.

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review 2017-03-18 23:48
Review of Louisa by Louisa Thomas
Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams - Louisa Thomas

It has been quite some time since I added a history book to my favorites list, but this book has earned a spot!  A fantastic biography of Louisa Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams who lived a fascinating life.  From the England of her childhood, to Germany, Russia, France, and the United States, Louisa had experiences with her husband, and without, that could fill up two lifetimes.  The author does an outstanding job of using Louisa's writings and diaries to tell her story and show her grow into a confident, intellectual woman who struggled with and overcame multiple miscarriages and the deaths of children and family members.  I cannot do this story justice and will simply say that anyone who loves a great story or early American history should read this book.

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