Posted in Favourite Authors, Holidays, Writing


Today I’m hosting Rachel Gilbey talking about her favourite authors, book blogging and holiday destinations…

Tell us a little bit about you… Rachel Illusionarium

I’m 31 years old and having had various jobs in the past, including working as a Children’s rep for a top holiday company for a few summers, in Mallorca and Zante. I am currently working part-time for a trading card game dealer, mainly sorting out cards and trying to create a role for myself where I’m irreplaceable!

In my free time I have three main hobbies. The first is obvious, which is reading, I love reading, have done since I was very young, and have a habit of buying more books than I can ever have the time to read. My other hobbies are far more expensive, one is going on holiday, I try to take at least 2 holidays a year when I can, if not more. And my last hobby is going to the theatre, mainly to musicals in London’s West End. I am very lucky that I live in London, and thus can get to shows quite regularly.

How long have you been blogging and what made you decide to start a book blog?

I have only been blogging since April, so around 4 months, although I can barely remember what life was like without my blog now.

I’ve always been an avid and fast reader, and can usually be found with a book in my hand, or in my bag. I was originally just reviewing the odd book that I was able to get from Netgalley (a fabulous source for bloggers), and then at the start of 2015, I was getting more involved with bloggers on twitter, and started to take part in a review challenge that some bloggers were running, and got into the habit of reviewing almost every book that I read.

From that I was invited to Rebecca Raisin’s launch party, and after meeting her and a whole bunch of friendly bloggers, the seed of should I join in was sown. After a few weeks, when I was asked a few more times, the couple of reasons I had for not blogging, no longer seemed important, and Rachel’s Random Reads was born.

Who is your favourite author and why?

How can you ask a book blogger to just name one favourite author. As much I have enjoyed The Other Side of Morning, Joanna, I am very sorry to say you aren’t my favourite author (yet!).

I have been reading both Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews’ books for as long as I can remember, definitely throughout my adulthood, and am always excited to see new releases by both of them, so they are definitely two of my absolute favourite authors.

I do though feel that for different sorts of books I have other favourite authors, Dorothy Koomson always comes to mind for a favourite of books with a more serious feel to them, Victoria Fox, Tasmina Perry and Nigel May are amongst my favourites for bonkbuster style books. I love Nicky Pellegrino for books based in Italy.

As you can see I am incredibly indecisive, and there is a very large list of authors that I would happily read every single release of as they are released.

If you were planning to write a book which genre would you choose and why?

I have no intention of writing a book, but if I had to, since they say write what you know, it would probably have a travel theme to it, possibly based on holiday reps, and would probably be a chick lit book – although I have no idea if I could be funny enough to cut it.

Where has your favourite holiday destination been and what it is that has made it so special?

There are two destinations or holidays that really stand out to me..

Last year for my 30th Birthday I went on my first ever cruise, and since then I am hooked on cruises. I can’t wait for Saturday when I am off on another one! Last year, I went to the Caribbean, and on my 30th I spent the day in Cozumel, Mexico, swimming with Dolphins, which has always been on my bucket list. And to top the holiday off, the following day, while on board, I won a Caribbean Cruise for 2, which I took later in the year.

My absolute favourite destination, is the Hotel Playa Pesquero in Cuba. It’s an all inclusive hotel that to me is paradise on earth. It meets everything I want in a hotel and so much more. The staff are always friendly (and remember you from previous visits),  the climate is brilliant, and I’ve had some of my best holidays in that hotel. Unfortunately as I love the hotel so much I can’t really comment on the outer resort, or the country as a whole.. but since everyone wants different things from their holidays, and I can spend the days there reading on a sun lounger, while staring at gorgeous men working in the entertainment team, getting cocktails from the swim up pool bar, and then spending the evenings watching some shows in the hotel’s stage before being dragged into the nightclub, I find the destination my favourite and hope to go back there again soon.

If you were holding a dinner party and could invite four guests, who would they be and why?

I think this may be the toughest question you have asked..

.. I’m thinking I would need to invite Jamie Oliver, as my cooking skills are awful, so would definitely need a fabulous chef. I would also invite Neil Patrick Harris (Barney in How I Met Your Mother), as he seems to be very entertaining, and is a star of musical theatre, which is a love of mine too. I would also invite Take That, as they are my favourite group of all time. I have been a fan since the early 90s so a chance to meet them would be brilliant.

Since I am counting the 3 members of Take That as 1 guest.. I think I get to invite one more person to this dinner party, but I am not sure who to invite. Thinking logically I feel a female is needed to balance the numbers, and since I love books, I think I would like to invite you, Joanna, to my completely fictional dinner party, as I think we would probably get on quite well and we could talk books (and you can give me all the gossip about your fellow authors!).


Rachel’s Random Reads –

Twitter –

Pinterest –

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Directs fictional destinies. Living on the edge of a wonderful Georgian city. Addicted to Arthurian legend, good wine, and rock music. Writes...mostly about love


  1. I try to make this a wide platform Sue, so we get to know a huge variety of people behind the writing process. Next week I’m featuring Cathy Helms, who designs book covers and other promotional material.

  2. Fun interview and enjoyable. I’d love to see the dinner party (fly on the wall – if they don’t swat me), and never fear Rachel, Jo will be your favourite author in no time. 🙂

  3. Congratulations Rachel on the 1st Interview. I quite enjoyed reading about the holidays and the dinner party with Jamie is just Wow. He’s a fav of mine too.
    Thank u Jo and Rachel for this one.

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