This week I caught up with Cristina Afonso, the Portuguese blogger behind My Tiny Obsessions, to learn a little more about her site, how she reviews and what she loves to read. Here’s what Cristina had to say:
Can you tell us a bit about your site: how long have you been reviewing and why did you start?
I’ve been blogging for more than 2 and a half years now, but my blog started out mostly focused on tv and movies. It wasn’t until around February that I started to include more content about books, and a few months later my blog turned into a book blog, but mostly by accident, lol. I still write about TV, movies, travel, etc, but 95% of content is about books now. When I started to include book content on my blog, I also started to follow other blogs about books, and I fell in love with the book-blogging community, which made me want to read more, and then blog more about books… vicious cycle I guess.
What kind of books do you review?
I mostly read and review Young Adult – fantasy or contemporary, and New Adult books.
What’s your reviewing process?
I don’t even think I have a process… I get immersed in the book, and try to pour my thoughts about said book as soon as I’m done with it. I don’t take notes, or anything like that, and only sometimes highlight quotes or important passages. Usually though, I’m too focused on the book to think about any of that.
How do you share your reviews and connect with other bloggers?
Twitter is my friend! I usually share my reviews on twitter, facebook, goodreads and Amazon (when I remember), but I mostly connect with other bloggers through twitter and it’s always so much fun.
How do you decide what to read next?
In general I’m a mood reader, but within the mood I’m in at the moment, I try to read my ARCs in a timely manner. So, for instance, if I’m in the mood for a contemporary, I search my list of upcoming ARCs first, before I venture into the rest of my massive TBR.
What are three key things you look for in a good story?
Great set of characters – I have a soft spot for snarky characters, so if there’s one, point in favour to that book; a good plot and good writing. If the writing isn’t good, it doesn’t really matter if the plot and characters might be brilliant, because that will never shine through.
What do you love most about reading, and why is it important?
I love reading because it allows me to escape reality without leaving the comfort of my bed. Reading allows us to come in contact with other cultures, personalities, costumes, etc, and learn to respect differences. It also allows us to spread our imagination, and that is useful in terms of problem solving that we might face at one time or another in our lives.
Why are book reviews are important?
Book reviews introduce books to readers, I’ve learned about so many fantastic books through reviews I stumbled upon on blogs. They are also useful for the writers, to see what works and what doesn’t, especially if you’re a new author.
What’s been your favourite read so far this year?
I read some pretty fantastic books this year, but the best one for me has to be Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, not only is the book beyond fantastic, but I ended up reading it in a buddy read and it was the most fun thing ever.
What five books should everyone reading this add to their TBR pile?
Ok, let’s see if I can contain myself to 5 books:
- The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
- Angelfall by Susan Ee
- You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day
If you could live inside a book, which one would you pick?
Hmmmm, I would like to live inside A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, the Courts fascinate me, and I would like to spend time in each one.
Which three fictional characters would you most like to meet and why?
The first answer is pretty obvious, but it would be Hermione Granger, from ‘Harry Potter’. She’s an amazing role model and I think she still has a great influence in younger generations. Then, I would love to meet Cath from Fangirl, because we would totally fangirl about stuff together, and she’s so cool. And finally I would like to meet Jem from ‘The Infernal Devices’, mostly because he’s the kindest soul ever, and I would just like him to be real.
Who is the one character you’d never want to run into in real life?
Oh wow… Dolores Umbridge from ‘Harry Potter’. She’s just an awful human being, she thrives in other people’s misery and her notions of justice really rubs me the wrong way. I really hate her.
What advice would you give to new and aspiring reviewers?
Be yourself and be honest. Your review should have your voice, so find what works best for you and express your feelings with that.
What advice would you give to emerging writers?
I think it’s the same one as above, find your voice and don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be afraid to take risks, or embrace clichés, you can do anything.
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