Hazel from the Craves the Angst Book Blog
Who are you behind the screen?
My name is Hazel and I’m a self-employed computer geek with a passion for books. My little company writes and sells small business software, but at night when the lights are dim and the wine is flowing, I’m usually absorbed in a fantastic, most of the time romantic, journey with outstanding characters and interesting plots. When I’m not working or reading, I’m usually binge-watching Netflix … or episodes deep in my current obsession with k-dramas.
Why and when did you start blogging?
About seven years ago, I saw a news broadcast on television. They were talking about this book phenomenon sweeping the reading community titled “Fifty Shades of Grey”, by new author E.L. James, and how it was impacting the book community. They specifically talked about this book recommendations/review site called Goodreads and how a grouped titled “Fifty Shades of Romance Reads!” was helping to spread the word and get the book on the map. I put on my detective hat, did a Google search and joined immediately. I was in heaven! There were people like me who loved books as much as I did, and we could talk for hours about our favorite characters and scenes. There were so many great recommendations, I was floored. Before that, I was an avid reader but mostly kept it to myself because my real life friends and family don’t read like I do … if at all. Almost instantly I connected with a tenacious and absolutely wonderful lady who insisted she get my phone number because we meshed so well inside the group. She’s now my best friend. At the time, she was running her own blog and convinced me I needed to set one up and post about the books I loved, too. It took four months of her constant nagging for me to finally break bad and do it. But I haven’t regretted it since.
Tell us more about your blog. What can readers find on it?
My blog focuses on adult and new adult romance with some PNR, dark romance and the occasional fantasy thrown in. The main subject is romance, though. Before I joined Goodreads, I was only reading traditionally published books because, at the time, the indie book community wasn’t as huge and popular as it is now. 95% of my reading these days is self-published authors, so I mostly help promote those authors. I do blog tours, new releases, ARC and published book reviews as well as the occasional write up of my travels and what book I read while out of town. And giveaways. I love doing giveaways so I try to have one going at least twice a month.
Unfortunately, my blog isn’t as active as it once was. I’m very busy with work these days and side projects of my own. But I still try to post a couple of times a week.
Best things about being a book blogger?
Three things instantly come to mind. The first is the opportunity to share and promote authors. Being a blogger is so rewarding because I get to interact with them on a base level. That anticipation and fear and excitement before their book is about to be released, or after it’s released and seeing the outcome of all their hard work, is a heady and wonderful feeling to be a part of. I get to connect with them on a personal level and it’s nice to see how that side of the book world works. The second part is the supportive and fun community. There are, of course, a few bad apples, but for the most part, I’ve met so many amazing people while doing this. I’ve been to book conventions, done some traveling, am a part of some terrific fan groups and found a side career for helping promote authors. Blogging started all that for me. I love reviewing ARC’s and I love being a part of all that enthusiasm. The third is finding new authors. I get a lot of new-to-me authors reach out to my blog for support. Meeting them is always fun.
What about the challenges?
Time! Always time. Everyone is on a schedule and you have to stay on track with them or you lose out. And, most importantly, you have to stay active or you fall waaaaay down in the lineup. You not only have to blog on your website, but you have to interact on various social media platforms and it all takes time. And ingenuity to stand out. If you don’t have a niche, then you can easily get lost in the shuffle.
Any bookish pet peeve?
I’m a pretty relaxed reader. I can find something good in just about any book, so I don’t really have a lot of pet peeves. BUT, I do have two that that will seriously turn me away from a book in an instant. The first is cheating. I don’t want my heroine or hero to be two-timing their main squeeze. Nope, no way, not at all. It’s a tired trope and one that will have me putting down the book and never pick it back up. The second is character stupidity. When a main does something that is just totally out of character or does something that is only a lure to cause more conflict for conflict’s sake, I get discouraged with the book. I don’t usually put a book down, but those two peeves are ones I can’t really tolerate because it’s overused and frankly, just boring.
What kind of books are you drawn to?
Emotionally fueled books. The angstier, the better. I love books that can suck me in and won’t let me go until the last page … and if they leave me stunned after that last word, all the better. I also love anti-heroes. Give me a guy who can be a little bit cruel because he’s got some deep dark past or issues and I’m in love. Don’t ask why. If it was real life, I’d probably throat punch him. But I love reading anti-heroes who have layers. I have a huge love for dark and dirty romances. They always have the best anti-heroes. I also love enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers and second chance romances … or childhood friends reconnecting romances. See the theme I’ve got going here? It’s romance! I loooove me some romance.
Pimp your favorite books/authors.
Ahhh, jeez. The hardest question ever. How do you pick a handful when you have so many? I have favorite authors for different genre’s, but I’ll try to narrow it down some. So, let’s see. Some of my favorites… Well, let’s start with my unicorn authors. Tijan is at the top of that list. Anything she writes, I’m in line for. Love, LOVE Tijan. Also, L.H. Cosway. My first book by her was “Six of Hearts” and my goodness, I was hooked. I’ve read that book over 10 times. I’ll forever be her fan. And then, of course, authors from the classics: Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Alexandre Dumas, and Kurt Vonnegut.
A list of some of my favorites would be (in no particular order): Vanessa Fewings, B.B. Reid, Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland, Pepper Winters, L.J. Shen, Addison Cain, Amelia Hutchins, Colleen Hoover, Karen Chance, Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb, Tami Hoag, J.R. Ward, Kim Harrison, R.A. Salvatore, Suzanne Wright, Meghan March, J.M. Darhower, Kylie Scott, Sylvia Day, Gemma James, Kristen Ashley, Sara Wolf, Stylo Fantome, Nikkie Sloane, Penelope Douglas, Leisa Rayven, J. Lynn, Rachel Van Dyken, C.J. Roberts … and that’s just to name a few, lol. There are so many more and I know I’m forgetting a lot of important ones I love, but the list would literally take over this whole page.
Share some tips/advice on book blogging.
Have patience. Getting viewers overnight isn’t a thing. It takes time and patience and understanding. People have lives outside of reading and blogging. Life happens. Communicate and be honest with your readers and authors. Be honest and respectful with your reviews. Never intentionally be cruel. Constructive criticism is okay, but cruelty is just low rent. The community already has enough of those kinds of people. Care about what you do. Readers will see that in your posts and respond in kind. When it comes to time management, never wait until the last second. Make your posts as soon as you get your materials because like I said, life happens and you never know if you’ll be able to get to that post the night before it’s due. And lastly, just enjoy yourself. Most of us do this as a hobby. If it becomes a chore or more like a job, then you burn out too quickly. When I first started, I thought I had to post about anything and everything. I spent way too many hours stressing over getting my posts out. I also had to learn the fine art of saying no, which was super hard for me. I wanted to help promote them all. But there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So do what makes you happy. Read what you love and blog about that. Readers will appreciate your passion more than the amount of content.
Bonus quickfire questions:
Number of physical books you own? Last count was over 450. I love hard copies the most!
Driver or passenger? Driver, for sure.
Your proudest moment? When I became a mom.
What would you name a pet snake? “Go Away”. I don’t do snakes! Nope, nope, nope.
Sleep with night light or total darkness? Nightlight with ocean sounds. I have trouble sleeping in the quiet dark.
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