The LoveReading family of book recommendation sites are different from many online book sites as we have real book experts selecting and reviewing the books. We passionately believe that LoveReading’s and LoveReading4kids’s superb ‘expert voices’, with their own specialities, are invaluable in helping readers discover the best books. Find out more about them below.
Liz has been an Editorial Expert writing reviews for LoveReading since 2014. Reading has always played a huge part in her life and she can quite happily chat books all day. She previously spent twenty years working as a member of police support staff, including roles as Criminal Intelligence Analyst, Briefing Officer, and Crime Reduction Advisor. She relishes her time spent exploring all genres of fiction and non fiction. She video reviews her selections for the LoveReading LitFest Festival Favourites and is also a Presenter for their events. Liz has previously judged the Romantic Novelists’ Association Goldsboro Romantic Novel of the Year Award, the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Festival Short Story Competition, the LoveReading Very Short Story Award, and the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Gold Dagger Award. Her next judging stint sees her joining the CWA Crime Fiction in Translation Award 2023-2025. She describes herself as a reader, a lover of all things books, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @LRLizRobinson.
Joanne Owen’s lifelong love of reading and writing began when she was growing up in Pembrokeshire, and very much wished that witches (and Mrs Pepperpot) were real. An early passion for culture, story and folklore led Joanne to read archeology and anthropology at St John’s, Cambridge, after which she worked as a bookseller, and led the UK children’s book buying team for a major international retailer. During this time, Joanne also wrote children’s book previews and features for The Bookseller, covering everything from the value of translated fiction, to the contemporary YA market. Joanne later joined Bloomsbury’s marketing department, where she had the pleasure of working on epic Harry Potter launches at Edinburgh Castle and the Natural History Museum, and launching Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. After enjoyable spells as Marketing Director for Macmillan Children’s Books and Consumer Marketing Manager for Walker Books, Joanne went freelance, primarily working for multi-award-winning independent children’s publisher, Nosy Crow.
Alongside her publishing career, Joanne has written several books for children/young adults. She’s now a fulltime reviewer, workshop presenter and writer, working on YA novels with a strong basis in diverse folklore from around the world, as well as fiction for younger readers (in which witches are very much real).
Julia Eccleshare has spent her working life to date within children’s books as a critic, an editor, an author and a commentator. Apart from her current role as Editorial contributor and advisor to Lovereading4kids, she is the children’s editor of the Guardian, Head of Policy and Advocacy at the Public Lending Right and most recently she has added the role of Children's Director of the Hay Festival.
She selected and wrote children's book reviews for the Good Book Guide for a number of years, she has co-edited and is the author of a number of books including the Rough Guide to Teenage Literature, the fascinating and insightful Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers, which is a celebration of a century of children’s literature, as well as Treasure Islands: the Woman’s Hour Guide to Children’s Books. She also spent some considerable time as a children’s fiction editor in UK publishing. She has been a selector to the Children’s Books of the Year, a guide to the best books published annually, a member of the advisory board of a children’s book club and for some while was children’s books editor of The Bookseller. She regularly appears as a judge or Chair of judges on some of the major children’s book prizes including the Whitbread (now called the Costa) and the Nestle among others.
Andrea Reece has spent all her working life in children’s books. Her first job was at Transworld Publishers back in the 1980s where, amongst other things, she ran the fan club for readers of the smash hit teen series Sweet Dreams.
She went on to work for other children’s publishers, large and small, and with authors including David Almond, Nick Butterworth, Mick Inkpen and Michael Morpurgo. In 2005 she set up children’s independent Catnip Publishing Ltd., publishing Richard and Judy favourite Scaredy Squirrel in the process, and went on to run Books for Keeps, the children’s books journal.
She is very used to odd looks from people on trains and buses who see her reading children’s books, and is still as excited as ever to discover a new children’s author. Apart from being one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts alongside Julia Eccleshare she is also director of the children’s and young people’s programme of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.
Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for nearly twenty-five years from 1975 until 1999. He is the author of three crime/spy fiction novels Wicked Game (2016), Deadly Game (2017) and End Game (2018) published by Orenda Books. His debut novel was short-listed for the CWA John Creasey Dagger in 2016 and, in 2019, he was listed at No. 22 in the W H Smith reader's list of best-ever crime writers. He is co-chair of Crime Cymru, the welsh crime writers collective and co-chair of Gwyl Crime Cymru Festival, Wales' first international crime writing festival.
Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1992, one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent's Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People's Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital.
Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whilst undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. He has used his detailed knowledge and memory to create what has been described by many readers as a fast-paced, exciting and authentic tale of modern-day policing. Matt is living proof that PTSD is a condition that can be controlled and overcome with the right help and support. He has been described by many fans as an inspiration to fellow sufferers.
A keen biker, Matt rides a '99 Harley Davidson Fatboy and is patron to the UK based ‘Forces On line' charity. In his spare time, Matt keeps honey bees and produces his own honey. He scuba dives, plays guitar, collects unusual hats and enjoys hill-walking with his dogs at his home in Wales near the Brecon Beacons.
More information, including book tour dates and festival appearances at www.mattjohnsonauthor.com
Matt is represented by James Wills at Watson-Little Literary Agents in London. Twitter @Matt_Johnson_UK.
Victoria Goldman has always had a passion for reading and writing, with a childhood dream of becoming a crime fiction author. She gained a Biomedical Science BSc degree, planning to follow this with a PhD in Forensics, but then became sidetracked, realising she loved writing too much to spend the rest of her life in a lab. She gained an MSc in Science Communication instead, and became a freelance health journalist and editor, specialising in consumer health.
Twenty-five years on, as well being Freelance Health Editor for Bupa, Victoria contributes to various consumer and pharmacy magazines on a monthly basis. She is the author of a book on children’s allergies and, over the years, has contributed to (and edited) other health and science books for adults and children.
Victoria has recently updated the bestselling baby health book Your Baby: Week by Week by Dr Caroline Fertleman & Simone Cave for Ebury/Vermilion (Penguin Random House UK). She is represented for non-fiction (health) by the Barbara Levy Literary Agency.
In her spare time, Victoria runs a successful books website called Off-the-Shelf Books and can often be found tweeting her book love (@VictoriaGoldma2). She is also writing crime fiction, still intending to fulfil her childhood dream. She is married with two teenage sons and loves relaxing at the end of a busy day by diving into a good book.
Joy Court is Reviews Editor for The School Librarian journal and Past Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.
Previously she managed the Schools Library Service in Coventry where she established the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards and the Literally Coventry Book Festival, but now just concentrates on books and libraries as a freelance consultant. She has chaired and spoken on panels at festivals and conferences around the UK. She is also a Trustee and member of the National Council of the United Kingdom Literacy Association where she sits on the selection panel for the UKLA Book Awards and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of The English Association.
Author of Read to Succeed: strategies to engage children and young people in reading for pleasure (2011) and Reading By Right: successful strategies to ensure every child can read to succeed (2017) FACET and author of several Riveting Reads annotated booklists for the School Library Association, most recently, with Daniel Hahn, Riveting Reads- a world of books in translation (2017)
As a professional librarian with more years’ experience than she cares to mention – Tricia has worked in several sectors including government libraries and as a self-employed information specialist but has reverted to her favourite – of working with children, in various guises, for the last 20+ years.
This has included a spell as a primary school librarian, before moving back to public libraries in her home county of Northamptonshire, where she was Head of Children’s and Young People’s Public Library Services and the manager of the Schools’ Library Service – Learning Resources for Education.
She was then Director of the School Library Association (an independent charity) between 2008-2018. She had the honour to be Chair of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judging panel and Youth Libraries Group during 2008 and 2017. She now fills her time with volunteering for the Federation of Children’s Books, is Chair of the newly formed Northamptonshire CBG, Co-ordinates the National Share a Story Month initiative and is a newly appointed Trustee of the English Association. She continues to work with Youth Libraries Group and she also leads training sessions, as well as reviewing for several organisations.
A lifelong love of reading and collecting children’s books, amongst other topics, has created a collection so rambling that the house has to be extended every few years!
I’ve always loved to read, but also loved to collect, store, stack and deposit books on every available shelf, table and unoccupied seat in my home. Earlier in my life I was most interested in crime and thrillers, but as time has done its thing I’ve become more drawn to non-fiction and in particular to books which explain the natural world and our relationship with it, quite often through the biographies of extraordinary people. Most of my working life has been dedicated to creating live events and in particular curating programmes of (I hope!) fun and informative content. I’m currently Festival Director for the London Mountain Film Festival where I am privileged to be involved with London’s thriving adventure and outdoor communities and with documentary filmmakers on every continent.
Julie Vuong is a journalist working at the centre of UK publishing, serving as feature writer at news service, BookBrunch, and columnist for Mslexia, the iconic magazine for women writers.
As a book reviewer her work appears widely, including in Oh Magazine, The Skinny and Bloom, and she is also author of literary newsletter, Written Approval, interviewing people in the book trade about the books they love.
Lindsay Quayle was always that child pleading for an extra half an hour of reading time before lights out. It was no surprise to anyone that she went on to study English Literature once she’d worked her way through every book she could lay her hands on at home and at school.
After a spell of time in Finance, the draw of books brought her back to her real passion; she finished her masters in Publishing Studies and spent time working as a bookseller before landing a role at non-fiction publisher, Mainstream. Several years later, she went on to work for Scottish Book Trust and had the enviable job of writing about the life-changing benefits of reading and stories. She was also responsible for curating book lists for organisations including Children in Scotland, Education Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland, as well as writing regular reviews for Children’s Books Ireland and other internal publications.
Lindsay is now a freelance writer and editor with her own company, Pencil Press. She has never lost her love for a good novel, and still wishes there was an extra half an hour at the end of each day for one more chapter.
Multi award winning broadcaster, poet, author and literary commentator, Paul Blezard has for over twenty years spoken to, written about and worked with many of the world’s finest authors, poets, thinkers and writers.
On radio or television, international literary festival stages and as a critic, judge and editor, he profoundly believes in the transformative power of a good story well told. Paul Blezard is Festival Director of The LoveReading LitFest.
Lyndy has worked in the literature and publishing sectors for over 35 years, ranging from owning a chain of bookshops across the UK to being Managing Director of Hay Festival for 20 years.
She is a highly experienced events producer, creator and curator, and a freelance international consultant for arts and cultural events.
Now working closely with organisations across the UK and worldwide such as the National Trust, British Council, Commonwealth Foundation, Queens Park Book Festival, York Festival of Ideas, Jaipur Literature Festival and Ubud Writers & Readers Festival through her events company – Handheld Events.
She is currently also working on a major research project for the Arts Council Wales and the National Museums Wales.
To keep her grounded, Lyndy, also co-owns a small herd of ponies that are trained to be faithful pack ponies, leading guests and carrying their equipment across the Cambrian Mountains, to enjoy the stunning scenery and the great outdoors.
Lyndy retains an honorary role with Hay Festival and is a Trustee of Hay Castle and is a Director of the LoveReading LitFest.
Maxim Jakubowski is a London-based novelist and editor. He was born in the UK and educated in France. He worked for many years in publishing in editorial director positions for Virgin, the Thomson Organisation, Penguin and Ebury Press before opening the world-famous Murder One bookshop in 1988.
He has written on and reviewed crime for Time Out, The Guardian, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and The Bookseller, amongst other publications, and is a regular broadcaster on radio and TV, and lectures on both crime and mystery fiction, and erotica. He also runs CRIME SCENE, London’s annual crime film and literature festival, and is an adviser to the International Mystery Film Festival.
I was that child who used to read under the table during dinner and in the corners at family gatherings. Now I work on the books desk for the Lovereading.co.uk, The Guardian, and review books (thrillers, mostly, but science fiction and fantasy when I can), for whoever will have me, including the Observer and the Sunday Times. When I lived in London, my house was bursting at the seams with books; now I live in Norway, it’s my ereader which is overwhelmed with riches. I’ve two small children, and am loving re-reading favourites from childhood with them.
Sarah Broadhurst spent her early working life in the book trade in both retail and wholesale until the arrival of children forced her to look for freelance work she could do from home.
Her position of paperback buyer in Hatchards and then director of a book wholesale company gave her a wide knowledge of all sectors of the trade. She felt the trade lacked unbiased opinion, every publisher had the “best thing since sliced bread” and she knew the trade would benefit from an independent overview of the book published each month. She sold her idea to the trade journal The Bookseller and has, for the last 25 years, been writing a monthly article (from home!) on the new paperbacks on offer.
Over the years her opinion has become highly valued in the trade and she has become an expert in her field, contributing to many radio and television shows and reviewing in a wide range of newspapers and magazines from the Daily Express to Good Housekeeping.
Her speciality is supporting new authors. Writers who have atough time getting recognised. She has backed unknown first novels from the likes of Terry Pratchett, Joanna Trollope and Minette Walters and joins us now in introducing some of the unknown stars of the future to you.
Former journalist Mary Hogarth has nearly 20 years industry experience covering all aspects of magazine publishing.
An educator, media specialist and writer, Mary previously led the Features Journalism programme group at Southampton Solent University. During the course of her career she has written numerous features for a variety of magazines and recently published How To Launch A Magazine In This Digital Age.
She now runs her own consultancy practice themagazineexpert, specializing in magazine business, new title launches, editorial development and audience engagement. @themagexpert www.themagazineexpert.com