{Book Review} A loose and carefree viscount and an uptight lady meet in the woods …

gentlemen prefer mischiefAfter my just-okay historical romance read of last week, which I reviewed on NetGalley and not the blog, followed by a historical romance that I ended up DNFing in a case of I’m-sure-it’s-just-me-and-not-the-book, I was happy to dig into a book — do I need to say it was a historical romance? — that was enjoyable right from the start.

Gentlemen Prefer Mischief by Emily Greenwood was a lot of fun, mainly because I loved the two main characters, Hal and Lily. They had known each other from when they were young and now Hal was the viscount and lived a loose and carefree life, while Lily was trying to make something of herself, even if it made her look like a stuffy, uptight governess (which she wasn’t). It was fun to see the two navigate not only their life, but each other, neither of them thinking they deserved the other, or that they were right for one another.

Of course, since they knew each other from the past, part of the fun came from how honest they were with one another. Not only did Hal come across as a giant ass in some parts of the story, but Lily wasn’t a quiet mouse, either. They really had it at each other — in more than one way, wink wink — and while parts of their dialogue had me wondering where the romance was (seriously, it was there in spades, but just so much arguing!), it was refreshing to see a story where it wasn’t ALL swooning.

Not only that, but there was another love story going on in the background with Hal’s sister Eloise. THAT story was a lot of fun, especially since Eloise was an almost-shallow 16-year-old who wanted the prettiest boy in the room, despite the fact that he wanted nothing to do with her. It was great to see both Lily and Hal help her figure out how to woo the right man for her.

The only reason I didn’t completely fall head over heels for this story is that there’s this substory going on with a childhood friend of Lily’s, Nate. He’s trying to search the woods by Hal’s house for a buried family treasure — but the light he casts in the woods spooks the sheep and the people of the town think that it’s haunted. That story was just kind of in the background and while it was what initially intrigued me in the beginning (ooh, ghosts!) it kind of fell flat by the end. I was more interested in the story of Lily and Hal, or of Eloise than I was of the Woods Fiend.

This is my favourite kind of historical romance, full of humour and wonderful characters, as well as plenty of romance. Much better than the previous two I had tried. I think I liked it mostly because it didn’t have the strong man character and the weakling female character — instead they were both strong characters with firm opinions, neither of them afraid to share them with one another. It was fun to watch them butt heads throughout the story!

This is the second book in a series, so I’m definitely intrigued to go back and read the first one now.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me a review copy of this book! 

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Have you ever seen something and thought it was a ghost when it wasn’t? Does your town have any supernatural stories to go along with it? 

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What ever happened to originality in book blogging?

I was planning on writing a book review today, since I’ve been flying through the review books, but the book I finished this morning was that good to warrant a review here. It did teach me a new way to curse — God’s balls! — but that’s about it. Sweet story, not worth the amount of thought for a review.

SO I figured I’d talk about something I saw on Twitter the other day. I can’t remember who had posted it, but it was something along the lines of WordPress deleting blogs that were just posting book blasts, blitzes, cover reveals, giveaways, etc. and it got me thinking:

What ever happened to originality in book blogging? 

When I first started blogging 5 years ago, there were very few book blogs I could find. Mostly they dealt with reviews, so that’s how I started, writing up reviews of the books I had read. Not so much “reviews” but my general thoughts — spoilers included — of the books I was reading. Then I started to get more creative with the blog and wrote up discussions, personal posts, songs about books and so on.

These days, there have been so many blogs that I wanted to follow, so many bloggers I wanted to get to know, but then I realize all they post are promotional posts. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a promotional post, really. I’ve done them once in a while, but I try to stick to things like cover reveals for books I’m really, really excited for, or writing up a post about my favourite books or series. I do get review books from publishers, but not in the double digits each month like other book bloggers might.

I wonder when book blogging turned into a promotional tool. I’ve always been of the thought that to be a book blogger means you share your love of books. If you get review books from publishers, you share your thoughts — good or bad — of those books. Personally, I love going to a blog where there’s MORE than just reviews, more than just promo posts. To me, seeing the same promo posts on each and every blog gets tiring. Heck, even seeing the same review of a book on all the blogs is tiring (one reason I tend to stray from posting around release dates — that, and sheer laziness).

There are a few blogs out there that actually think outside of the box when it comes to posting and I love that. Share your bookish stories in real life, or make a list of books you’d take with you on a desert island, or have a discussion on why you never lend out your books or what makes you a crazy book person. Be unique and just write something outside of the norm. I swear, your readers will thank you because if they’re like me, they want to hear the voice of the person behind the blog, not just see tons of posts that they will eventually just gloss over.

These days, there are hundreds upon hundreds of book blogs and a good portion of them do tons of promo posts. Is there a reason for this? Have we lost our ability to be creative when it comes to writing a blog post? Have we forgotten what blogging is all about? 

I decided to look up the definition of blogging and found this:

blog definition

See how it says “new material” or to “write about” something in a blog? It’s not just about pasting generic posts that will be the same on every other blog. If your reason to blog is to just post these things so that you get free stuff from publishers, maybe you should rethink your ideas. Make your blog stand out and write your blog for YOU. When you look back at all the time you spent blogging, will you be happy with it? Will it document that time of your life how you want it to? 

I think this is one of the reasons I stepped back from what I had previously been doing when it came to blogging. I wasn’t being unique. I wasn’t letting myself tell stories about myself before book reviews anymore and I wasn’t letting myself write posts at the spur of the moment anymore. It became a job to me where I thought about the reader first and me second. While readers are indeed awesome — and I thank every single one of you who reads this blog and have read this far — I have to think of me first. These days, having a family and a house and other priorities to take care of, I want to make my blogging time matter, whether I’m writing a review, or a discussion, or sharing a song with my readers.

In the end, shouldn’t we be doing things that make us happy? Shouldn’t we be letting our creative wings fly and let our blog be a reflection of our life, rather than a dumping pot for promotional vomit? 

I can only hope that more book bloggers start to be more creative and unique in their posts — it makes me happy as a blogger to see that kind of material!

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{Book Review} Of moors and horses and English Lords …

how to lose a lordIt seems that whenever I start a review of a historical romance these days, all I want to say is how lovely the story was. Because they all seem to be. Full of romance and proper gentlemen and beautiful scenery and gorgeous dresses …

So, first things first:

How To Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less by Elizabeth Michels was lovely.

But if I had to pick some of my favourite things about the story they would be:

  1. Shadow’s Light, Lord Ambertall’s horse. Seriously, I loved this horse. Maybe it was because I saw some horses just the other day, but I was over the moon that the story featured horses. I could picture him in my head as one of the beauties I had met!
  2. Katie. LOVED Katie. I loved that she lived on her own in a little cottage on her estate, how strong she was, and how her world seemed to revolve around all of these little useless hobbies that she would take up and abandon. I’m totally Katie. I mean, I once bought a $500 zither because I was convinced I could play it. Unfortunately, it went by way of Katie’s bagpipes — not so well.
  3. Lord Ambertall. He was kind of an ass in the beginning, but I loved seeing him pitch in around Katie’s home since he was “stranded” there. I use quotations because we all know that he very well could have found a way to get back to his own estate, but I love how he decided to stay and humour Katie by staying. I also love how he was convinced he could help Katie overcome her fear of horses. Seriously, total gentleman.

Like any good historical romance, there was the villain and his henchmen. His henchmen were kind of hilarious in that they were terrible henchmen — not the brightest bulbs in the socket — and there was a bit of mystery surrounding the villain. I hadn’t seen that one coming! There was also a bit of curiousity around Katie and her lifestyle. I like how we didn’t get all the information at once about why she lived like she did and why she chose to cover it up. There was also the questions surrounding her family — where were they? Why did they approve of Katie’s lifestyle?

It was also fun to see a redhead — if you want a fiery character, it was the perfect haircolour to chose! Though I’m a little sad that we really didn’t see that in the cover. Not to mention the fact that Ambertall has blonde hair and is shown as a brunette in the cover. Thankfully, I read the book without seeing the cover and am just seeing it now as I write the review. Maybe it’ll change for future editions?

This was a super fun read, like most historical romances. There was romance, laughter, perfect characters, and everything in between. It was also a quick read that only took me a little over a day to read (since I do have other things to do besides reading. Bummer, I know.). I didn’t realize until partway through that it was part of a series, the third book in the Tricks of the Ton series. We do get to know who some of the other characters ended up with, but I think it would be fun to visit the first two stories as well.

Loved this one. Perfect amount of drama, lots of romance, and a wonderful mix of characters.

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me a review copy of this book!

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Are you a fan of horses? Have you ever faked an injury so you wouldn’t have to do something again?

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