Hi everyone!! Welcome to my blog 😀
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Disclosure: Aestas Book Blog never accepts payment from authors or publishers in exchange for reviews, recommendations, or even book exposure. I personally choose all the books I review myself and you can read more about How I Rate and Review books if you’re interested. I purchase the books I read myself, and all opinions are my own. On the very rare occasion when an author/publisher sends me a copy of a book I want to read in advance of release, I always purchase a copy personally as soon as the book goes live myself (or purchase a copy to give away to someone else) to balance the scales and anyone who does send me books is always told upfront that sending me a book does not guarantee a review, or even a mention of that book anywhere on my blog or social medias. I’m very diligent about this. The same goes for the books I choose to feature anywhere on my blog and social media – I choose them because they are books that truly sound good to me, and I never just post a book because someone asks me to. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases meaning that I may get a small commission from purchases made through my Amazon links, however it does not change the price you pay at all. I also do not run any advertising on this website (meaning anywhere you see a book features on this website it’s because I personally chose to put it there, and nobody paid me to do that), and you can read more about why I chose to do this on my post Why I Don’t Run Advertising On My Blog.
I started this blog in April 2012 when my newly-found addiction to reading made me want to start writing down my thoughts about the books I was reading. Turns out I wasn’t the only one with such an addiction and since then, I’ve had the privilege of “meeting” an incredible number of amazingly wonderful readers and incredibly talented authors with a shared love for reading through this blog. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me knowing there are so many other people out there whose hearts race when their favorite book is mentioned, who’ll stay up till 5AM ‘cuz they just *had* to finish their book and who love to share recommendations.
Hmmm, a little about me… I’m 26 years old and happily married to and very much in love with my high school sweetheart. I’m a very passionate reader who gets deeply invested in the books I read if I love them. But I’m quite picky about the books I choose to read – I like a very specific kind and I try my best to ‘vet’ my books very very carefully before reading them.
My ideal book involves a love story that makes my heart race, then makes it stop, takes my breath away, makes me squeee out loud, makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes my heart melt, makes me swoony, makes me read for several chapters with a big silly grin on my face, has intense heart ache and then is equally intensely heart warming, makes me feel the characters’ emotions as though they were my own, keeps me up reading through the night until the sun rises, has a happy ending, and then stays with me after I’m done reading. Now granted, not all books have all those qualities, but those are the ones I seek out… love stories that make my heart race and have happy endings.
I hate cliffhangers and will almost always refuse to read books that have them if the sequel isn’t already out. I also am not fond of love triangle scenarios where its not clear which two characters are meant to be together – I can handle love triangles where its clear who the right couple is, but otherwise, I’m mostly not interested.
I always want to know in advance if a book has a happy ending. I don’t want to know the details of the story but knowing that there is a happy ending makes me enjoy a book so much more because it gives me a sense of security. I still get that heart-racing feeling as I read and I love books where the characters go through hardship and have big obstacles to overcome but I find that I’m able to enjoy a story so much more knowing in advance that I’m not going to spend 300 pages growing to love a character only to have them die horribly at the end or break up etc *shudders*. That’s why I read – to escape. I love highly emotional books but I do need my happy endings most of the time. Now, that being said, I’m sometimes okay with a tragic ending… but I always want to know what I’m getting into in advance so that I can mental ‘prepare’ for the devastation.
I am very ‘anti-spoiler’ for all plot related details. I don’t like knowing the twists in advance of reading, I just like to get a general feeling for the story and then go from there. The only things I will always warn about in my reviews are cheating and certain types of extended separation between the hero/heroine.
I love Alpha male heroes. I like ’em tall, hot, strong, possessive, protective, crazy about their girl, assertive, with a soft side and a big heart, and a bit of a tortured feel to them but definitely combined with a don’t-mess-with-me aura about them.
When I find books that make me passionate about them, I tend to get very giddy and desperately want to rave about them and share them with other readers so this site is my outlet for that.
I was incredibly honored that the CEO of Goodreads wrote an article in June 2014 about “How to Work with Influencers to Drive Book Discovery” (read article) where he made a significant mention of my blog!
“For romance authors, a great review from Aestas can rocket a book up the charts. Aestas reviewed The Life Intended on May 2, 2015, a good five months after the initial flurry of buzz around the title when it was published in December 2014. Nevertheless, Aestas Book Blog’s review drove… a 200x increase on the number of daily adds compared to the average during the previous month. It’s the kind of kickstart that can bring a book out of obscurity and into the limelight.” (source)
If you’d like to learn more about the way I choose which books to read and review, click here.
I hope you’ll enjoy browsing around and please do leave me comments – I love hearing what other readers have to say, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have, and I’d also love to hear any recommendations you might have for me.
P.S. If you want to make a comment on something, I have Captchas turned on for ONLY the first time you make a comment (and then I have to approve it), but after its confirmed that you are not in fact a spam computer intent on selling me the latest penis enhancing product *shakes head*, you can comment away on anything to your heart’s content hassle-free. And please do comment, I’d love to hear from you 🙂
**NOTE: If you browse this blog, you’ll notice that many of the books here have received high ratings from me (above 4 stars) and I just wanted to say that that is not because I throw around high ratings but honestly because these books deserve them. If you look at my review request page, you’ll see that I ask a lot of detailed questions before agreeing to add a book to my reading list and the questions don’t end there. I never, ever go in blind and almost always do a whole lot of digging on each one before I read it. I ask a lot of questions, read quotes, and try to make sure that they don’t have any of the things in them that sound my alarm bells. This isn’t to say I always catch everything and also even if I’ve asked every question in the world, a lot of it still comes down to the writing itself but, for the most part, once I decide to read a book, I can usually be relatively sure that I’m going to like it so… that’s why there are a lot of high ratings.
MY RATING SYSTEM
I rate all books out of 5 stars (with a few select ones that surpass even that)
- 5 stars = LOVED the book with all my heart and would highly recommend it
- 4 stars = LIKED the book a lot
- 3 stars = I kinda liked it but made me feel a little ‘meh’ , neither here nor there
- 2 stars = I didn’t hate it, but there were definitely things I didn’t like in it
- 1 star = yuk ewwww so not my cup of tea
** 6 stars = above and beyond (very rare rating)
*** 10 stars (!!!!) = this is a special rating reserved for only one trilogy of books (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paullina Simmons). These books deserve an infinite amount of stars and are in their own star category all together!
A few terms you might see around my blog are:
- HEA = happily ever after (endings)
- HFN = happy for now (endings)
- TBR = to be read
- PNR = paranormal romance books
- YA = young adult (meaning no super graphic sex scenes, not in reference to the characters’ ages)
- POV = point of view
- DNF = did not finish
Author Elle Casey interviewed me on her website in February 2014 and I thought I’d add in the transcript here in case you wanted to know a little bit more about me 😉
First, thank you so much for having me here!
Hi! It’s my pleasure. I’m so glad you agreed to be here with me and my readers. I have about 100 questions for you, but I’ve cut them down to 10. I’m afraid you can see by the ones I chose how much I struggled to limit myself. So … let’s get started.
You have one of the most popular romance book blogs/Facebook pages in the known universe, and it grows bigger and more popular every day. How long have you been blogging about books? How did you grow your fan-base so quickly?
I’ve been blogging since April 2012. I didn’t really do anything in particular to grow numbers though so the growth has been entirely organic. I just love books, love reading, and almost as much as that, I love talking with other people about the books and sharing recommendations and such so the blog really gives a great platform to facilitate that and I’m really just lucky that there are so many other people out there who love chatting about the books they love as well.
What got you started with your book blogging? Was it something that just jumped out at you as an obvious thing to do for a bookworm or did someone push you in that direction or otherwise inspire you?
I honestly think it was the sheer volume of books. There were too many books to keep up with and I needed a way to organize everything. At the time I started it, I didn’t really think anyone would actually pay attention to my blog — I thought maybe a couple friends might check in every now and again but I never dreamed it would actually become something that people visited regularly. But my husband actually sort of nudged me in the blogging direction originally. He’d been suggesting I start one for a while and I guess the timing of everything just worked out here.
You’re active on your Facebook page all throughout the day, seven days a week. When do you sleep? Do you have a family? Another job aside from blogging?
Haha! Sleep?? I’m not sure I remember what that is! In all honesty, I don’t sleep much. I’m constantly thinking of just one more thing I need to do, or just one more book I need to finish, that sleep just doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I’m married to my high school sweetheart who thankfully is extraordinarily supportive and understanding of my crazy reading addiction. He’s even written a few guest reviews for the blog! I also do have a job aside from blogging too so I’m on the go and traveling a lot — which all feeds into me not sleeping very much, lol. My phone and iPad are pretty much glued to my side at all times
You have some guidelines that you ask authors to follow when submitting a book for review by you. Tell us about those and how they came to be.
I’ve had many authors chuckle through my review request questions. I guess they came about because there are a lot of books out there and I needed to find a way to make sure that I was finding the ones that I would be most likely to love. At the end of the day, each reader is different — one person’s favorite book might be one that another person can’t finish. But that’s a huge part of the beauty of reading — we can all find something that we like. The trick is actually finding it. Personally, I don’t like to ever go into books blind. While I keep my reviews spoiler-free, I do actually like to know certain things about a book in advance of reading — and these things often will tell me how likely I am to love a book. This is the reason why most of my ratings are quite high — not because I just hand out high ratings, but more because I just do a lot of research before starting.
I think the tricky thing though is to be aware of the fact that those answers can’t be the only thing I base my decision on. A lot of it is just my ‘feeling’ toward the idea of that story. Several of my favorite books have stepped outside of my regular ‘happy’ zone and I’ve still loved them. So there are always exceptions to the rules. But in general, my questions are extraordinarily helpful to give me a feel for the story I’m considering reading.
What do you see as the newest trends in romance writing?
Everything and anything. The romance world is been growing so fast that the possibilities are endless. We’ve got billionaires, Doms, rock stars, bikers, the guy next door, the unlikely underdog hero, the uber Alpha males, bad boys, military guys… you name it, it’s available. Literally every day, new books of every type are being released in each romance sub-genre and so it’s pretty much guaranteed that everyone will be able to find something that they’ll love.
It might sound weird, but I don’t want there to be any clear trends. The books that I love most and that I spend all my time searching for are the ‘different’ ones — the ones that stand out to me and make me go ‘wow, I have never read anything like this before’. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there will always be a measure of similarity between them since they’re all romance but personally I look for books that either put their own spin on a popular trend or even step outside of the trends entirely and show me something I’ve never seen before.
Do you have any thoughts about where the romance genre is going or should go? What would you like to see more of and less of?
You know… it’s funny, I’ve been sitting here thinking about this for the last few minutes and honestly for me, I just want to see good writing and good stories. I love how with all the books that have come out in the last several years, the selection of stories to choose from is nearly endless and new books are being released each and every day. It’s exciting, it’s thrilling, and I hope they just keep more and more books coming. It’s pretty much bookworm heaven to be honest. I feel like a kid in a candy store with all these choices.
Personally, I have to say that my favorite types of stories are either standalone novels with resolved endings, OR (and I love these equally) series of books withOUT relationship cliffhangers. I want to read a complete story — either that or a part of a completed story that leaves me in a good place. Honestly, with the volume of books out there, it messes with my mind too much to be left hanging in the middle of a zillion series with unfinished stories waiting for sequels. I mean, there are always exceptions, but I generally do prefer resolved endings.
What’s your favorite part of being a blogger?
Without a doubt, it’s chatting with the readers who participate in the discussions. I love how we all share recommendations and share an enthusiasm for the same kinds of books. It’s so wonderful!! I also love the thrill of finding these brand new books that literally no one has heard about — it’s like treasure hunting! Also, connecting with all the talented authors of these beautiful books I’m reading — they’re all so kind and sweet and it’s exciting to work with them and publishers too to help bring more exposure to the books I love.
You have people suggesting books to you every single day of the year, sometimes many in a day. How do you keep up? How do you decide which books will be read and which won’t? How many books do you read in a month? Tell us what you consider the perfect romance novel.
I go entirely based on my mood. I never schedule my reads and I don’t usually commit to deadlines for review. This allows me complete freedom to genuinely choose the absolute best book for me in the moment. In the end it’s better for everyone this way because chance are a lot higher that I’ll love it if it’s a book I want to read as opposed to a book I have to read. There are a lot of books though and I guess it can be overwhelming if you think of them as a whole. But I think the best any of us can do is just go through our reading lists one book at a time and enjoy each one to it’s fullest as we go
The book I end up reading is almost always a last minute decision. My friends often joke to me when I tell them what book I’ve decided to read that “Yeah, yeah, I believe it after you’ve started”. But I very rarely will fully reject a book unless it has things that I know I’ll hate in it. I’ve had times when a book didn’t interest me at the time I heard about it but then randomly a month or two later, it caught my eye. So I don’t like to say ‘no’ per se. I have a “top TBR” of about 25 rotating books but I mean, a brand new one is almost always popping up and, if it really catches my eye, it can often jump to the top of the pile, and then sometimes I’ll go back and pick one that I’ve had on my list forever. Honestly, there’s no system. In the end, it’s all about my mood and what book I find best suits it.
Interestingly, I used to read a lot more before I started blogging. I find that blogging slows me down in many ways because I post updates as I read, I have to make graphics to go with each review, and also even writing the reviews takes a while, so I used to read about 5-6 books a week but now it’s probably less.
My perfect romance novel? … oh gosh, that depends on a lot of things and there’s such a wide variety of them that I love. I think the tagline of my blog says it best: “Books that make my heart race, have a beautiful love story, and a happy ending.”
How do you feel about movie adaptations of popular romance novels? Are there any you’re looking forward to? Do you have some favorites we can go rent on iTunes or Netflix?
I love that they’re happening!! I mean, I have the same fears and reservations as anyone else but I’m willing to reserve final judgement until I see the finished product and until then, I just love watching the process of them getting made. Right now, I’m most looking forward to Fifty Shades (movie) and Outlander (TV) but I know that several other of my favorite books and series have gotten deals so we have a lot to look forward to in the next few years. I’m excited for all of them!
I have to say though that a few years ago, I used to literally see tons of movies and watch many TV shows, but honestly since I started blogging I’ve barely watched one movie a month and really haven’t kept up to date on any shows so I don’t really have any movie recommendations for now. Hahaha, but ask me for a book recommendation and I can give you hundreds!!