My guest today is Tina, the bookworm behind A Write Review. Tina is a fellow South African (and Capetonian) book blogger who also happens to be studying journalism. During her free time she takes the most beautiful bookish pictures on her bookstagram account where I will occasionally engage her in important conversation involving some of our shared favourite characters – namely, Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury.
I’m so excited to get to know Tina better, so let’s see what she has to say to the questions provided…
So, let’s get the obvious question out of the way – who is Tina? Tell us a bit about the book lover behind the blog.
My name is Tina Soetzenberg, a 21-year-old book lover that’s studying Journalism at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa. I am a huge fandom and series buff who can talk about various OTPs for hours. I love anything, whether is books, movies or TV shows, that can stretch my imagination. I’m in awe of writers because they create worlds and bring them to life through words that allow our imagination to expand.
Everyone has a story and I’m positive you do too. What inspired you to start blogging? And how did you come up with the name for your space?
My story is quite personal. I had a best friend in High School who was my everything and she was not a big fan of reading. But after recommending her a really good book, she was hooked and always complimented my taste. I got one person to pick up a book and that made it worthwhile. Years past and eventually my friend passed away, which was a shock and broke my heart. But I always thought about what she said and all the books she read because of me. So when we got an assignment to start a blog, I knew exactly what I would blog about.
Honestly, the name was a total fluke. I don’t even know how it happened. I was doodling and writing out names that relate to ‘review’. All of a sudden ‘A Right Review’ turned into ‘A Write Review’ because I wanted my blog to honor writers.
From one book blogger to another, I know how much time goes into crafting a post that you feel comfortable enough posting for the world to see. Looking back, what was your favourite post to write? (You may list more than one if you want)
Naturally, I love writing positive reviews. I literally feel a knot form in my stomach when I don’t like a book because I know how hard it is for a writer to make it and to form the book as well. However, I want to keep being honest.
My favourite review this year was surprisingly Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard because I related so much to the book. The friendship in that book was almost identical to that of mine and my best friend that passed away. I also loved writing any book review for a Sarah J. Maas book because I thoroughly enjoyed reading her books.
Getting a lil personal; what is your biggest achievement to date? Is there a moment you are especially proud of when you look back on all you’ve accomplished so far?
When it comes to my blog? I would say the little things really made me feel like I achieved something. The emails from authors, followers that comment and send messages about my blog influencing their reading so much and just the general love shown towards my blog. I am a huge believer that everyone should read, it’s such an important tool to learning new things. I received an email from a 14-year-old girl once saying that she read 54 books that year and it was mainly because of my blog. My heart melted right there and I knew all my effort was helping people. That’s my greatest achievement so far.
Do you have a bucket list stashed away somewhere with some daring (or more subdued) activities that you’d like to complete? Name 5 items on your list.
Ha! This is hilarious because I do have a list. My friend and I created it while eating a big bowl of French Fries at Spur. It seemed sad back then but it’s our own special list.
- Pizza eating contest.
- Chocolate and wine tasting.
- Be adventurous ( Which lead to an unfortunate poll dancing class I’d never do again )
- Experiencing Rocking The Daisies together.
- More picnics & concerts at Kirstenbosch Gardens.
Name one of your most cherished life experiences.
When I was 17 my parents saved enough money to send my sister, my mom and I to Europe for 2 weeks. We went to various places including Venice, Amsterdam and Switzerland. But ever since I was little, my mom has been gushing about Paris and especially the Eiffel Tower. And when we finally got there and stood on the Eiffel Tower I knew this was my mom’s dream come true. Just to see her accomplish it, especially since she doesn’t come from a wealthy background, was really special. It showed me that no matter your circumstances, if you worked hard then nothing can stop you from reaching your dream. To experience that with her was amazing.
What’s some of the best advice you’ve received and who was the wise human who shared this bit of wisdom with you?
That’s easy, definitely “Let it go” from my grandmother. She didn’t say it in the nicest way sometimes but it was always the same, let it be. Whatever happens will happen and I can’t change that. I still have to remind myself sometimes that I’m holding onto the past and that letting things go can truly be a blessing.
“Hakuna Matata – it means no worries, for the rest of your days.”Do you have a motto in life? If yes, let us know what it is.
Lol. That would be to let go as my Grandmother instructed. I’m someone that can be quite controlling and anxious but no matter what I do, life is going to happen and all I can do is feel it and let go.
Let’s talk books for a bit… How did reading become such a big part of your life?
I wasn’t a big reader when I was younger. Honestly, I was more into series and movies. But I was embarrassingly impatient. So once the 6th Harry Potter film released, I NEEDED to know what happens next. I begged my parents for the final book and suddenly, I was a reader. I discovered some amazing books and kept going till I finally had a room with piles of books everywhere.
Victor Hugo once said that a writer is a world trapped in a person and all I wanted to do was discover those worlds.
What would you consider your “most reached for” genre? And is there any special reason for this preference?
Oh 100% Young Adult fiction. Fiction with romance, extreme fantasy fiction etc. But as I said, I love stretching my imagination so I find that this genre allows me some freedom to create and experience a new way of thinking.
On the other side of the spectrum, what genre do you hardly reach for and why?
I would say historical books, notably true stories. Not that I think its boring, I just find it emotionally draining. I want realistic but not till the point where I’m crying my eyes out at 2 in the morning.
As a major book nerd, I know how overwhelming– or let’s just call it IRRITATING – it can be when someone asks you what your favourite book is because there’s never a black ‘n white answer. So here’s my question: What is your ideal ending for a book?
Oh that’s a hard one. I’m conflicted most of the time but it depends on the book. But I would have to say that I don’t like happy endings that are too perfect. I need a realistic outcome not just birds singing and la di da. I need something raw and real to make me feel like it was done right.
Although, OTPs being split up because one of them dies is cruel. Just cruel.
What are some of your most cherished quotes from books?
I recently read Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven and loved her quote, “It’s my experience that the people who are most afraid are the ones who hide It’s my experience that the people who are most afraid are the ones who hide behind mean and threatening words. mean and threatening words.”
“You could rattle the stars,” by Sarah J. Maas.
“I wake up thinking of yesterday. The joy is in remembering; the pain is in knowing it was yesterday.” – David Levithan, Everyday.
But I would say my all time favourite is, “The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain” by Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen. That quote still gives me chills.
What bookish franchise do you tend to fan and fawn over most?
Easy. A Court of Thorns & Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. The Throne of Glass series comes in close as well but I definitely will freak for Feyre and crew.
If you’re anything like me then you’ll have a long list of bookish pet peeves. Can you name one of your biggest bookish pet peeves?
I hate all of them so much I can’t really pick one. Love Triangles are definitely a no go zone for me, I just can’t do it. The amount of eye-rolls I give while reading one should be a record.
I think one of the biggest problems us bookish folk face is our never ending TBR pile that gets longer and longer no matter how many books we tick off as ‘read’. What book has been on your TBR the longest?
The longest on my TBR are actually 3 books since I bought them on the same day.
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.
- The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
- A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Stressed Reader or Relaxed Reader?
Favourite Subject in school?
Quiet night in or a night out on the town?
Depends on mood.
Paperback or EBook?
Pretty dress or jeans and T-shirt?
Also depends on mood.
What advice do you have for anyone who would like to get into journalism?
Journalism is not a 9 – 5 job, it’s a lifestyle. So make sure you love journalism before entering that field because it is hard and time consuming.
About AWriteReview: My review blog is an online space for lovers of books and fandoms to interact and learn new thoughts on books. I created my blog to share my thoughts but to also learn what others think as well.
Thank you so much to Tina for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. I hope you’ll go ahead and give her a follow!
If you would like to have me feature your blog on A Cuppa with a Book Blogger, please drop me an email so we can talk more. Don’t forget to come back next week Monday to meet another Book Blogger Friend!