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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{Book Review} Am I just regretting not going away for school and subconsciously picking books that feature it?

the principles of loveWhen I started reading the next book in my NetGalley queue (a list of books that doesn’t seem to be going down, no matter how many I read!), I had to laugh at how it had the same idea as the book I read last week, Roomies. THIS book, The Principles of Love by Emily Franklinhowever, didn’t have anything to do with going away for university, but instead living on campus for high school. Is that a thing? I’ve never heard of living on campus for high school before, so it was kind of a strange idea for me.

This book wasn’t exactly about freedom, though, since the main character, Love, lives with her dad, the principal. Since it’s high school, there were strict rules when it came to cutting classes and leaving campus — even in your spare time. At any rate, it was hard to really absorb myself into the book with the characters only being 16 years old.

I’m not even really sure how to go about reviewing this book because while I loved the first half of it, the second half fell flat and the ending felt extremely rushed. In the beginning, I loved Love — the character — because she was kind of hilarious in her head and it was fun seeing her fall head over heels for random hot guys around campus. Towards the middle part, though, she started to get really, for lack of a better word, stupid and I don’t know if it was her or the writing, but I felt like I knew the ending of the story right there. Certain ideas were set up as mysterious, but were just way too obvious to me as the reader. And if Love is supposed to be a super smart girl with a good head on her shoulders, then I felt like she should have seen half of these things coming.

I also thought it was a little weird that part of the book surrounded Love emailing another musician, DrakeFan, but we never really saw their interaction except for a few things that Love would say about it. I wanted to see some of their emailings back and forth. I kind of felt that I was robbed as a reader that I was missing out on them!

This book did have some good potential, but I felt like some of the storylines introduced were done for effect, rushed, or not really explained in the end. At first I was really excited because Love was a musician, but a lot of her musical endeavours were just kind of thrown into the story (like her ad singing on the radio). HOWEVER, I did really enjoy the open mike parts. Being a musician myself, I felt like that brought back good memories of getting up on stage in front of a room full of strangers, feeling the anxiety and nervousness coarsing through my veins.

Maybe this book was just writting for a younger audience because I felt like it just didn’t translate well to me being an adult. In fact, being the adult — and a new parent — I kind of cringed at some of the “freedom” that Love got from her father. Trips to New York with a BOY? Spending the night with a boy and not getting the ultimate in grounding? I mean, she’s only 16 and this wasn’t a book about university or anything, so I kind of thought that some of the situations were a little too grown up for the characters. Even some of the dialogue and social situations were a little too grown up (while others were definitely spot on).

In the end, I feel like this book might work out better in some of the other books in the series. It’s the first in the series, so perhaps Love grows up a bit and the story evens out as the story goes on? I was a little miffed that the whole thing kind of ends on a cliffhanger — we get a great opportunity for a full ending (at which point I figured the next books must be companion novels), but then we’re thrown right into this crazy cliffhanger of life choices that Love has to make.

I can’t say that I’ll read the next books in the series, but at least this one did have some humour in it (a few laugh out loud moments, that’s for sure!) and a few likeable characters. There was also a lot of references to music throughout the story. I only wish that it had resonated more with me.

(Added: As I was finishing up this review, I flipped over to the synopsis on Goodreads to see that it was called to be “The Gilmore Girls meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Thinking about this, I can see undertones of The Gilmore Girls, especially as Rory navigated dating, though I doubt I could compare the actual characters of Rory to Love since I felt like Love lost her common sense somewhere along the way.)

Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalley for providing me a review copy of this book! 

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Do you feel like some YA books are too “grown up” for the audience they’re intended for? Have you ever felt miffed by a cliffhanger ending? 

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