Today it’s the turn of Victoria Goldman to be my Blogger in the Spotlight. You can find her blog at http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk
Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
I live in Hertfordshire with my husband and two sons. I’m a freelance health journalist/editor, writing articles for magazines and editing health information for BUPA. I have a Biomedical BSc and Science Communication MSc. I’ve always loved reading, writing and watching TV. In fact, my parents say they guessed from early on that I would end up working in the media. They were constantly telling me off for reading at the dinner table. As well as reading, I love arts and crafts and used to make and sell handmade cards as a sideline. My childhood dream was to write a crime novel. I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo this November to stop me finding excuses (thanks to Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into The Darkest Corner, for persuading me to sign up).
What books/authors did you enjoy as a child?
I loved crime and adventure (and still do). I was obsessed with the Secret Seven, Famous Five, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, as well as the Willard Price adventure series. I didn’t just read the books, I became part of them –all of my childhood games involved being a detective, spy or explorer. I wasn’t into dolls, unlike most of my friends!
What made you want to start blogging?
I already had a health blog (set up in mid-2014), aimed at consumers but covering news stories relevant to community pharmacies. This then led to me setting up a health products blog, in which I reviewed health products. But after a while, this felt like an extension of my work, which meant I was working day and night. At the end of last year, I started hearing more about book blogging and realised that this would suit me far better. So I set up my book reviews blog, not actually expecting it to take off as much as it had done so. Sadly my two health blogs are now completely neglected.
What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I have a serious book addiction – so I guess this is a great excuse to read even more. I probably need therapy. Through my love of books, I have met some wonderful bloggers, authors and publishers, and I’m never short of people to chat to on social media. I get particularly excited when people say they have bought a book following my recommendation.
Tell me about your blog – sell yourself!
I launched my book reviews blog – Off-the-shelf book reviews – at the end of December 2014. The name came about because my health blog was called Off-the-shelf health (as in ‘off the pharmacy shelf’). I review a variety of genres, including crime, action and adventure, psychological thrillers and some historical, general and women’s fiction. I also interview authors. I try to post a review most days, although obviously this varies from week to week. I have published over 210 blog posts since 30 December 2014 and have had over 40,000 page views since then.
What’s your favourite book you’ve reviewed so far this year? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose.
This is so difficult as I have read so many brilliant books, particularly crime/thrillers. But if I break it down and really had to choose…
Crime/Thrillers: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – I know everyone raves about this too, but this was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog and I still say OMG when I think about the twist.
Historical fiction: Amy Snow by Tracy Rees – this book really touched my heart. I found it very easy to read and was totally engrossed in the story and the characters.
Women’s/general fiction: The Dandelion Years by Erica James, which is about Bletchley Park and the Codebreakers, so is also historical fiction. This prompted me to visit Bletchley Park the day after I finished the book.
What are you reading just now?
I usually have three books on the go at any one time. I’m currently reading Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London on my iPad Kindle app. I have wanted to read this book for ages (I bought it 18 months ago) and I’m now going to work my way through the series. I’m also reading The Defenceless by Kati Hiekkapelto (printed book) for her blog tour and I am going to start Jane Isaac’s Before It’s Too Late soon on my actual Kindle.
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I usually read printed books on the weekend and my Kindle during the week. I will read at any time of the day, but I’m very busy with work all week so my reading time is limited. I do try to take my Kindle out for a walk once a day, which makes people laugh– I haven’t fallen over yet. I also read in bed in the evenings, which means I go to sleep late. I usually read either review copies or books I buy, but I’m now going to start supporting my local library by borrowing a book (or two) from there each month. I think it’s important to keep libraries going.
How can people follow your blog or connect with you on social media?
You can find my blog at: http://off-the-shelfbooks.blogspot.co.uk. You can dip in and out or follow my blog by email or Bloglovin, which means you won’t miss out on any blog posts. You can also follow me on Twitter – @VictoriaGoldma2 – for my blog links and my book chat.
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
This is a difficult one. But after giving it much thought, I would say Nancy Drew from my childhood. She’s too young to have the worries and responsibilities of adulthood (although I think by the time I read her in the 1980s, she was developing an interest in boys and romance!). And she’s lucky enough to play detective all day, solving mysteries and revealing the baddies.