Besties, December 2018
I first met Carol on the internet through a mutual friend and reader, Audrey Thunder six years ago—nearly seven now! At first, I didn’t even realise that Carol was Brazilian—I assumed that she was American and most readers thought I was American as many of my stories were set there. So it was a mutual misunderstanding. I was in awe when I realised that she was from Brazil and how polished her bilingual skills were.
Over the years, we became friends, and Carol became my sounding board for the industry, and someone who had her finger on the pulse far more than I did. I always seem to be the last to know gossip, but that’s another story!
We finally met in person in 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, courtesy of my Brazilian publishers Gruppo Editoria Record and The Gift Box.
I hadn’t even put any makeup on, and suddenly cameras were flashing everywhere. It was the best feeling to meet in person and hug and catch up. It felt like we’d met just the week before and were catching up—the sign of a real friend.
Thank you for your friendship, Carol.
First meeting over breakfast – and I haven’t put on my makeup!
What was your favourite childhood book – and why?
I had a collection of books with audiobooks when I was child that I loved. They had some classical children’s stories and I was only allowed to listen to them after I finished reading them (that’s probably why I read so fast today). My favorite one was Little Ida’s Flowers by Hans Christian Andersen. But then I also read Pride & Prejudice as a child, so that is also a favorite of mine. Mr. Darcy raised the bar for me.
Why did you become a blogger?
The first ever book blog I came across was one called The Supernatural Snark (I’m a huge Paranormal/Fantasy books fan) and I loved it and how she shared her opinions and how she got books to read before they were released. It was my first contact with Goodreads and I decided to join it. Then I started joining a lot of groups on Goodreads and, eventually, on Facebook. Back in the day (around 7 or 8 years ago?), I loved discussing books and trading recommendations and my friends (Especially Audrey – our friend who introduced me to you) kept saying I should start my own book blog because I was very active on Goodreads and on the community. I still am, my GR shelves are legendary and I rate EVERY book I read there.
How did you choose the name for your blog?
That is a funny story! Originally my blog was named “Sex & the Books” because of “Sex & the City”, one of my favorite TV shows. And then Sylvia Day came to my city and I went to meet her and was interviewed by a local newspaper. They got most of what I said wrong and published that I read 300 books a year (true) but all of them about sex (so not true!). I also kept receiving weird messages because of the name of the blog and then I decided to change the name of the blog and came up with Beauty & the Beastly Books. Beauty & the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and some of the books I read could be considered “Beastly” LMAO. And I LOVE the name of my blog, I think it’s cute. I have a secondary name for my posts in Portuguese “The Book is on the Table(t)”. “The book is on the table” is an expression used here in Brazil for people who know English (it is an old jingle for an English school) and since I read on my tablet it fits.
How has blogging changed your life?
Wow, where can I start? Blogging gave me the opportunity to make new friends amongst readers and authors. For me, it is amazing that authors (and readers) want to know my opinion on books. Also, for me, it’s the greatest honor being able to read a book before its release and through blogging not only do I get to have that, but I also get to help authors with proofreading, translations and so forth. It’s because of my years in the community that I became an actual book translator, one of my dreams. (The other is to finally finish one of my own books – but it’s coming.) Blogging changed my life in so many ways, it gives me what I love most: reading amazing books, recommending them to other readers, helping out authors and connecting with fellow book lovers.
You’re fluent in English and Portuguese, but most of the books you review are English-language. Why is that?
I’ve always been a very avid reader, but I started reading in English because waiting for the books to come to my country would take forever. And back then, the indie authors weren’t being signed here yet (and also there weren’t that many publishers signing them as there are now). When indie authors started emerging, I met some friends through Goodreads and joined reader groups on FB and discovered a lot of new books and new authors. Back then, I’m pretty sure I was the only Brazilian in most of the groups reading indie books in English (the groups were a lot smaller than they are now). Now, I simply prefer to read books in English because it’s the original language of most of the books I read, and I prefer that to the translations. Not that there’s anything wrong with translated books (although some translations aren’t great), but some things are lost in translation. Plus, I usually think in English more often than not (it comes with the fluency) so it is more natural to me. One funny thing though, I definitely prefer to read the hotter scenes in English than in Portuguese (I find some of the words to be less crass in English haha).
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received about life?
That we should choose our “opponents” in life. Fighting the world is impossible, since the world is so much bigger than us, so we should learn to live life fully instead of fighting the world in every corner of our lives. Also to let go, which is very hard for me because I’m a control freak and I have anxiety.
“It’s war, baby!” Carol Vitali and Carol Sales fighting over Stu Reardon!
Rio, December 2018
What is your favourite reader experience? Do you ever get into arguments with readers, because we’re all passionate about our favourite books!
My all-time favorite reader experience is the rush I feel finding out what I call a “different” book. That kind of book that pulls at us and just makes it worth the read. For me those are the angsty books and I absolutely LOVE the rush they gives me. I can literally feel the rush cursing through me and I get chills reading those. I also love when I read a book when the hero is brooding and a jerk and he realizes he hurt the heroine and wants to make up. I love discussing books, but I do it with specific people. People I know will respect our different opinions. I’ve learned not to get into arguments with readers; we are definitely a passionate bunch. Plus it will get nowhere (and once I get into an argument it goes on and on hahaha).
Is blogging different from reading? Can you ever just switch off and enjoy a book without thinking how you’d review it?
Not for me, it isn’t. I usually don’t think of how I will review a book, because it comes naturally for me, I’m always honest in my opinions of books and I don’t have a minimum rating for the books I read and/or review. I don’t review all the books I read, but I do rate every one of them. For me, I don’t read books to review them, even the ones I receive specifically for that, I do it to enjoy the experience of reading them. So, thankfully, I don’t have to switch off to enjoy a book.
Have you ever blogged with a friend? What was the experience like? How did it differ from writing by yourself? What were the pros and cons?
I haven’t, although I want to do some guest review posts on my blog. I’m more of lone writer/blogger myself.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Well, it’s super hard for me to see myself in the future, because of how anxious I get. But I really want to have travelled more in ten years. I also want to be a college professor in Law School and work with books.
What is your philosophy in life?
A lot of my perceptions have changed this year, so for now it is to enjoy the moment because although life is very precious, it’s also very fleeting.
Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate. Determined. Stubborn.
How would your best friend describe you?
Too passionate. Funny. Feisty. Fierce. STUBBORN.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A tiger, I find them fascinating.
Most likely to say…
“Hell, NO!” or maybe “I’ll go!” (I always volunteer myself)
Least likely to say… “I wouldn’t do that…”
What is your favourite colour and why?
Purple, I’ve always been drawn to it.
When you’re having a bad day, what cheers you up?
Seeing my baby nieces, my family in general, talking to friends and reading a good book.
What would be your ideal day? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
My ideal day would be traveling. I’d like to be in London again (that city has such a pull in my heart) with family.
Mountains and snow, or beaches and sunshine?
I’m not really an outdoorsy person and I’ve never seen snow, so I don’t know if I’ll like it. But I do love beaches and the sunshine makes me happy (although I complain a lot of the heat, I LOVE summer).
What message would you like to give to the people who read your blog?
Thank you for sticking with me and for reading my words. I haven’t been the best blogger lately, and I apologize for that, especially after putting so much work on the new website, but I will (and am) trying to be better. So please be patient with me. LOL.
Also, keep up with me on my bookstagram (bookish Instagram), because I update there more than the blog lately (that will change, I promise). And if you want to see my book ratings and reviews, Goodreads is THE place to see them; I keep it pretty tidy there.