Today it’s event number 21 at the Virtual Book Festival and I’m so happy to have book blogger and blog tour organiser Kelly Lacey as our guest today.
So welcome, Kelly, and let’s get started:
What was it that got you into book blogging and how have things developed since you started?
I started book blogging in early 2017. My mum had suffered a few mini strokes and I was at home looking after her. It was a very lonely time with lots of hospital and doctor appointments. I have always been a reader since I was little, and my Nana Alice would buy me a book every second Tuesday from the John Menzies shop in the Scottish town of Dalkeith. I was escaping from my reality by reading a lot more when mum was poorly. I would close the last page of an exciting book and just wish I had someone to talk to about it. I was incredibly lonely during that period.
I made a very simple site blog and I pushed myself to go to a book launch in Edinburgh and it changed my whole life. 2017 was a very busy year and I went to so many lovely bookish events. I love looking back and seeing how the friendships I hold so dearly today were formed. As mum got better, I could go further a field and I started going to book festivals in Linlithgow and Stirling, in central Scotland.
I upgraded to a WordPress site and I loved it. For the past two and a bit years it has become the core of my life. I grew awareness of my blog and spent hours on social media building up the Love Books Group brand. It is my wee baby and I love it. I am proud of the journey I have been on. I look back at my first reviews and shake my head. It takes time to find your own voice as you review. I have learned just to believe in your own work and don’t try and be like anyone else. Have your voice shine through and be authentic.
I organise book blog tours now for authors and publishers on a daily basis and I love the connections I have made from doing that.
I am also very lucky to review for the theatres in Edinburgh and Musselburgh. That has been a wonderful experience. I have seen some epic shows that previously I would only have dreamed of seeing.
I am grateful for everyone who visits and shares my posts. It really does matter to me and I work very hard at offering a varied content every day.
Book blogging is the very pulse to my life, it has captured my heart.
Anne: My goodness your blogging took off in a big way and has led to other exciting things.
How do you find/choose what to review?
I am extremely fortunate to get sent a lot of books to review. I have a schedule for the year and then I fit in the books as they plop through my letterbox. Sometimes I have a week or two where I read purely books, I want to. However, I have discovered so many books that I would not have chosen to read.
I have some guest bloggers on the blog now too, as I was struggling to keep up and I hate letting anyone down. They really help bring a diverse range of voices to the blog too.
Anne: Yes, it would be easy to become overwhelmed by demand. But you seem to be well organised and to have got the balance right.
What’s the best thing about doing a book blog?
100% the friendships I have made have changed my life. I have people that I talk to every day and they are my very best friends. They say it is hard to make friends as you get older. But if you find the right people then it really isn’t.
The adventures I go on both fictious and in real life are incredible. I am really very lucky, and I treasure every minute.
Anne: How wonderful l to have found something so meaningful and to have theses great benefits.
What is your favourite type of read and do you stick mainly to reviewing that type of book?
I don’t have one genre that I stick to. I try to alternate genres every time I read. I love the freedom that YA books have. They are sometimes more diverse and deeper than adult fiction.
I love a gritty addictive crime fiction thriller and on the flip side I am consumed by an emotional contemporary fiction read that can capture my heart and hold on to it till the last page. If I am weeping mess by the end and in need of therapy, then the books done its job very well.
What is very important to me as a reader is that character connection. I don’t need to like them but I do need something that makes me want to read on to the end.
The question you always get asked as a book blogger is “what is your favourite read this year?” I can tell your readers, Anne, that halfway through the year, at the moment it is Disturbance by Marianne Kavannagh and A Killing Sin by K.H Irvine. I thoroughly recommend adding them to your Summer TBR.
My all-time life book is The Book Thief, I re-read it most years. It is humbling and important to revisit.
Anne: Your recommendations are duly noted. And I’m with you as regards The Book Thief. I loved that book.
Apart from posting book reviews on your blog, what other types of post do you like to include?
I have my interview feature that I host, along with exclusive author guest posts. My favourite feature which is new to the blog this year is “#What Book?”. It has been very popular and often emotional too for the authors answering the questions about books that have made an impression on them.
Anne: Yes it’s good to have a bit of variety in amongst all the reviews, isn’t it? And the #WhatBook is a great idea.
Well, thank you so much, Kelly, for your thoughtful answers and for taking part in the festival. It’s been lovely to have you here.
More About Kelly:
My name is Kelly and I am the founder of Love Books Group. I live on the outskirts of Edinburgh with my two cats Pawkey and Poppet. My blog came to fruition in January 2017, I needed an outlet to talk about all things books. I thoroughly enjoy the world it has let me become a part of. Getting to meet new people, authors, readers and fellow bloggers have been marvellous.
It is now an everyday part of my life and I would be lost without it. I have almost hit 250K views and that really fills my heart with so much love. I love social media and connecting with others. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
My favourite book is The Book Thief by Mark Zusak, it’s a very grounding book. When life gets overwhelmed with nonsense, reading a couple of chapters of it really silences the noise and you remember what is important.
I encourage readers and authors to follow the blogs they enjoy. I think it’s very important. Plus, it really helps if you share, like and comment. The more people who read and enjoy my posts makes all the effort and time I put into each post worth it.
I am a big supporter of other bloggers; we are all a unique team and we only rise and grow by lifting others. I am all about positive thinking and uplifting people. I am 100% drama free; I don’t engage with any of the naff behaviour that sometimes raises its nasty head. I believe there is room for us all.
For Authors: I also organise book blog tours for authors. I take all the hard work out of promoting your books with a range of tours to choose from. My average reach on Twitter is 2.1 million.
Don’t hesitate to use the contact form on the lovebooksgroup website (link below) if you think my blog is a good fit for you.
I live and breathe books every day.
You can connect with Kelly online at the links below:
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCvtAmOAyzrhWVZgXF68UsQ