Blog Tour: The Road to Cromer Pier by Martin Gore

Janet’s first love arrives out of the blue after thirty years. Those were simpler times for them both. Sunny childhood beach holidays, fish and chips and big copper pennies clunking into one armed bandits.

The Wells family has run the Cromer Pier Summertime Special Show for generations. But it’s now 2009 and the recession is biting hard. Owner Janet Wells and daughter Karen are facing an uncertain future. The show must go on, and Janet gambles on a fading talent show star. But both the star and the other cast members have their demons. This is a story of love, loyalty and luvvies. The road to Cromer Pier might be the end of their careers, or it might just be a new beginning. 

What I Thought:

As traditional as chips and a 99, The Road to Cromer Pier takes us to a struggling summer show at the height of the financial crash. It’s a clever move, setting this at a time when the ‘staycation’ was becoming popular, as it allows the plot to advance, while recalling the glory years of seaside resorts such as Cromer.

At first, I was not sure what was going on in this novel, but as I realised that the various chapters were from the points of view of the main characters, seemingly unrelated at first, but tying up nicely as the book went on, it became a much easier read.

Commenting on such things as football scandals, the farce of TV talent shows and – as I said – the financial crash, The Road to Cromer Pier covers a lot of very interesting ground but still, at heart, remains a very human story of teenage love and loss, and also has an element of ‘The Show Must Go On’ beloved of many mid-century British movies. There is even a dastardly villain who gets his comeuppance to boo and hiss.

Evoking what’s best about the British seaside, this book firmly taps into the nostalgia market, but with a fairly modern edge to it – perfect for the summer reading pile.

To find out more about The Road to Cromer Pier, and Martin Gore, you can catch up with him on Twitter.

This post is part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of The Road to Cromer Pier. There is some more great content and reviews at the blogs below, so do make sure to check them out…

Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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A Blog A Day: All Done!!

Well – I set out on the month of June, hoping to post almost every day, and clear some of the reviews that I’d promised and also write a few bits and bobs about other things.

I think I missed 2 days, aside from the scheduled Sundays, so I’m going to call it a win!

Writing about Matilda had me looking forward to seeing it again (which I am this week) and taking a look at the Lacey Flint books reminded me to re-read them in the near future, as they are just so good!

I’d be interested to know which, if any, posts caught your eye this month…

I did say at the beginning that I would run a giveaway this month – I didn’t get to it, so I will do it now to celebrate finishing up. Head over to my Twitter and check out the pinned post to see what you can win…

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A Blog A Day: Pride & Prejudice – and other related stories

In my (I’ll grant you, fairly limited) experience, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of those books that people say they would like to read, but have never got round to reading.

To be fair, with such an excellent adaptation as the BBC 1995 production, you could be forgiven for not reading it and watching instead, but if not, you’d really be missing out.

My introduction to this book was through that six-hour epic TV series, with Darcy and Lizzie played by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle and with a sparkling script by Andrew Davies.

I am uttery unashamed in thinking that there really was no need for another film version after this one – I grant you it isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn close!

So after watching that, I was drawn to the source material thinking that it would be another clunky classic that I would have to struggle through – but no! Jane Austen’s writing, for all its 18th Century vocabulary, is just as brilliant as anything written today.

Her humour is wry and unflinching, and she never spares an opinion about those of her sex who make themselves ridiculous – Lady Catherine De Bourgh, for example – making this and others of her novels (so far I’ve made my way through Emma and Sense & Sensibility) so accessible to today’s young women.

So great is my love of Pride & Prejudice, that I find myself reading lots of sequels and retellings, just to stay immersed in that world for a little longer. Some of the others I have read are listed below if you would like to check them out. Most of the ones I have read have been excellent, but I have picked up some real duds too (which I have left off my list…)

Longbourn by Jo Baker – Told from the perspective of the servants at Longbourn, this novel stands in its own right, but also gives interesting ‘extras’ about the main characters of Pride & Prejudice. If you read this, you’ll never look at Mr Bennet the same way again.

Georgiana Darcy by Alice Isakova – I’ve read this most recently and it takes the Pride & Prejudice world outwards from Hertfordshire to Bath and more into Kent. Anne De Bourgh is a much more fleshed-out character here too.

What Kitty Did Next by Carrie Kablean – Again, fleshing out some of the more sidelined characters from the original book, Kitty is at a loss without Lydia by her side, but finds more in common with Miss Darcy – can she be trusted as a sensible young woman?

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding – The ultimate Pride & Prejudice retelling I think! Everyone’s heard of Bridget and her tangles in love with Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy. It’s a classic in its own right, but can’t be left off of this list!

There are loads more waiting from me, including (but not limited to) Lydia, Mr Darcy’s Diary, Death Comes to Pemberley, The Longbourn Letters, The Diary of Mary Bennet and many more – can you recommend any others?

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A Blog A Day: Charity Shop Book Hauls

This is a cheat post really, as it’s using the content of others, but I have recently been watching a lot of Youtube videos showing charity shop book hauls, so I thought I would post some good, recent examples.

This is something I’d actually really like to get into, as I very often find myself book shopping in charity shops, so why not film a bit of it?

Do you have any examples of charity shop/thrifting videos that are by your go-to vloggers?

My first pick is by On a Shoestring and I have mega bookshelf envy here!

Next up is Jean BookishThoughts – this is more a general thrift and not just books, but Jean has loads of great videos on a variety pf topics anyway…

And this is the video that started my interest in thrifting videos – by LGR. He looks mainly at electronics and games etc, but does look at some books too.

So, as I said, I’d love to hear your suggestions for any thrifting videos that have caught your eye, whether bookish or not – comment below, or catch me on Twitter.

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Book Review: Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her newfound power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity—and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

What I Thought:

Wowsers! is what I thought…

I was given the opportunity to review Vengeful, the second in V. E. Schwab’s Villains series, so I bought the first book, Vicious, to get myself caught up.

I have a strange relationship with Fantasy books, but it seems that V. E. Schwab writes the kind of Fantasy (with a bit of Sci-Fi thrown in) that I like, as both of these books are stunning.

It’s really fantastic when an author and a publisher are a good fit, as you end up with not only great books, but also great looking books too, and Titan Books have gone all out to make Vicious and Vengeful beautiful objects. As you can see from the cover image above, the cover art is beautiful, but that doesn’t go far enough in explaining the high-quality paper and dust cover, the embossing on the cover and the ribbon bookmark (swoon).

But to the contents! The premise of both books is that near-death experiences can change a person, giving them special abilities. Vicious pits Victor Vale and Eli Ever against each other, without ever answering the question of who exactly is supposed to be the good guy and the bad guy, Vengeful adds Marcella Riggins to the mix, a woman who has been left for dead and literally risen from the ashes, and now she wants revenge.

I cannot sing V. E. Schwab’s praises enough, as she writes such gripping stories in many and varied series, I just can’t keep up with her. Everything of hers I’ve read so far has been so creative in their worlds, but also just killer stories that left me riveted and desperate for a continuation. I have read that a sequel to Vengeful might be five years in the making, but it will be well worth the wait!

Next month, V. E Schwab will be at YALC and, while I have seen her there before, I definitely have more of her work to be signed, and I look forward to listening to her speak on her panel, as she is so interesting to listen to.

This series, and V. E. Schwab’s work in general has a definite Gold Star recommendation from me and, at the time of writing, the Kindle edition of Vicious was only £2.80, so well worth trying at that price.

Vicious and Vengeful are published by Titan Books.

To find out more abut V. E. Schwab, you can check out her website. She is also active on Twitter (aside from work-related breaks!), so you can catch up with her there…

Please note: I was sent a copy of Vengeful for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.

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