Big Book,  Little Book

Getting To Know…Helen

Helen is addicted to books and has been an avid reader all her life – or at least, as long as she can remember! She usually has at least three books on the go at any one time and no day is complete without some reading in there somewhere, if it comes with chocolate that’s a bonus!
Helen pursued her passion for books to University, reading English Literature. Having been a primary teacher, and then re-training in youth work she has had a great incentive to keep reading books for children and young people (not that she has needed much excuse).
Helen will read almost anything that comes her way; classics, crime fiction, humour, drama, chick lit, the list goes on. In between her reading she is a full-time Mummy to her two gorgeous girls, Tianna and Sienna and she is encouraging them to become book worms in as many ways as possible!

What have you enjoyed the most about blogging over the past year?
I have continued to enjoy the range of books that blogging encourages me to read and getting to read ARC’s and see books before they hit the shops. This year I seem to have had more tweets from authors who have read and appreciated my reviews and I love getting their messages. I managed to get to a couple of events this year and was really excited to hear some authors that I love speak about their books, Phillippa Gregory and the children’s book authors at the RHCB’s publishers showcase. Actually getting to have a conversation with Jez Alborough was a definite highlight.
What was your favourite read of the last 12 months?
As usual choosing one is difficult my light read would have to be You Had Me at Hello by Mhiari Macfarlane for great characters, good humour and an unpredictable romance. I have read a few very good more ’meaningful’ novels and the ones that I still think about are The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak and The Declaration Trilogy by Gemma Malley. In adult books the recently read Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows was a favourite.
What makes the perfect beach/holiday read?
For me any book that grabs me and won’t let me go! It has to have a good, pacey plot and interesting characters. After that I’m not so fussy. Usually I go for chick lit or a thriller so it doesn’t take too much brain power but it doesn’t have to be set in the sun for me to read it on holiday. My best ever holiday read was Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher, which had all those things in spades!
What book are you most anticipating reading over the summer?
I have lots of borrowed books I must get on with over the summer, Game of Thrones might take up most of my time, but I have lots of others jostling for position; The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, Sister by Rosamund Lupton, A Sisters Gift by Giselle Green, The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman, The White Queen and The Kingmakers Daughter by Phillippa Gregory. I do love to reread my old faithfuls but the TBR is so huge at the moment I’m not sure if they’ll get a look in!
Describe your bookshelf/TBR pile.
My book shelf is packed! Having had to reduce to one book case from two there are many books in boxes too. The book case is double stacked and on one shelf, where it’ll fit the shelf is double stacked outwards and upwards. I try and keep books together by their size, I prefer the look and they fit more on the shelf that way!
How do you make time to read?
Usually by foregoing sleep as I read when I go to bed, my habit of a lifetime, and sometimes I don’t stop as soon as I should! Otherwise I just fit in as and when I can. The Kindle and Kindle app on the phone make fitting in a few minutes with a book here and there a lot easier and with young children at home that seems to be the way to cram it in.
Where is your favourite place to read?
As above, in my bed. Also on a sun lounger on a nice sunny holiday, but that doesn’t happen too much these days.
How do you encourage the love of reading and books in your children?
By reading as much as possible with them and letting them look at the books, the pictures and even my books when they want to. We talk a lot about books, make up our own stories, do the voices… Being excited about books with them hopefully helps them to understand that books are exciting. I buy them too many books too!!
What is your favourite book you have shared with your child(ren) in the last 12 months?
Again I can’t chose just one, our stand out picture books have been Dr Dog by Babette Cole and Johnny Duddles’s The Pirates Next Door. With my older daughter we have enjoyed Usbournes early reader books with the fairy tale stories in chapter book form and then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
And because we ask our visiting authors- Just For Fun
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee, although I currently have a bit of a thing for Peppermint Tea
Slippers or barefoot?Barefoot, but due to hardwood floors in our house making my feet ache and I have to wear slippers.
Shower or Bath? Shower in the morning, bath if its to relax in the evening with a glass of wine and a good book of course!
Marmite: Love it? Hate it? Love it.
Email or postcard? It’s always nice to get a postcard, especially now it’s so rare!

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