Two-layer, heart-shaped biscuits with a jam centre: an easy Valentine’s bake
I used my easy biscuit recipe to make the dough for these two-layer, heart-shaped biscuits with a jam centre. In addition to the ingredients below, you’ll also need two heart-shaped biscuit/cookie cutters, one about twice the size of the other, as shown in the photo below.
Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of the recipe and more lovely pics!
Another twisty gothic tale that Purcell’s fans are sure to love. 4/5.
Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing/Raven Books for providing me with an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.
As the age of the photograph dawns in Victorian Bath, silhouette artist Agnes is struggling to keep her business afloat. Still recovering from a serious illness herself, making enough money to support her elderly mother and her orphaned nephew Cedric has never been easy, but then one of her clients is murdered shortly after sitting for Agnes, and then another, and another… Why is the killer seemingly targeting her business?
Desperately seeking an answer, Agnes approaches Pearl, a child spirit medium lodging in Bath with her older half-sister and her ailing father, hoping that if Pearl can make contact with those who died, they might reveal who killed them.
But Agnes and Pearl quickly discover that instead they may have opened the door to something that they can never put back?
I’ve read and enjoyed Laura Purcell’s previous three books: The Silent Companions, The Corset and Bone China. I’m pleased to report that with The Shape of Darkness she has produced another entertaining tale steeped in wall-to-wall gothic spookiness. Creating atmosphere is her forte and all her books are pervaded by a creeping menace, darkness and paranoia.
My contemporary romance, Art and Soul, is on worldwide 99p/99c sale until 9am GMT on Monday 11th January.
It’s a cheerful, uplifting story featuring romance, art and cake which will provide hours of happy escapism for just 99p/99c!
Please help me spread the word – if you have friends you think would enjoy it, please let them know.
You can get your copy at Amazon or if you’re subscribed to Kindle Unlimited you can download it for free.
Thank you to everyone who has already read, reviewed, bought, downloaded and shared – I really appreciate it.
In case you’d like to know more…
The blurb: An expert at solving other people’s problems, single mum Becky is hired to help artist Charlie get out of his creative slump. She’s also meant to help him get his dream girl, but when Becky starts falling for him instead, she might just risk everything for a chance at love…
Reviews so far: I’m very pleased to report that readers are still enjoying it!
Thank you! I hope you’re all ok, particularly if you’re back in lockdown. Take care x
Claire Huston / Art and Soul
Festive marshmallow snowmen with chocolate hats and buttons!
Ingredients (for 8 snowman)
A suitably witty homage to one of the best writers of all time. 4/5.
Thank you to Random House UK/Cornerstone for providing me with an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.
The Drones club’s in peril. Gussie’s in love. Spode’s on the war-path. Oh, and His Majesty’s Government needs a favour. I say – it’s a good thing Bertie’s back!
One man – and his Gentleman’s Personal Gentleman – valiantly set out to save the Drones, thwart Spode and nobly assist His Majesty’s Government.
From the mean streets of Mayfair to the scheming spires of Cambridge we encounter a joyous cast of characters: chiselling painters and criminal bookies, eccentric philosophers and dodgy clairvoyantes, appalling poets and pocket dictators, vexatious aunts and their vicious hounds.
Replete with a Times crossword, and classic Schottian endnotes, you hold in your hands the most blissfully entertaining means to while away an idle hour.
P.G. Wodehouse has long been a panacea for the woes of the world… have we ever needed a new Jeeves and Wooster more?
I love P. G. Wodehouse and the Jeeves and Wooster stories in particular. So I was immediately drawn to this new story but also went in with a sizeable concern: could it possibly live up to the beloved Wodehouse originals?
The answer is: nearly. I enjoyed Jeeves and the Leap of Faith very much. To be honest, I think the comic combination of Bertie and Jeeves is indestructible and, as with the originals, the story itself is pretty incidental. All the truly important elements are here: the small sly jokes, the witty turns of phrase, Jeeves’ jaw-dropping ability to always see 10 steps ahead, hideous aunts, preposterous friends…
A subtle hint of cinnamon completes this delicious chocolate hazelnut cake
By “nutella” I mean hazelut chocolate spread. I always use the supermarket’s own version because it’s so much cheaper and just as good. The recipe I used from BBC GoodFood is for a circular baking tin, but I used my rectangular tin and it baked fine, although far more quickly. And if you’re thinking “cinnamon, yuck!”, you can always use only 1 tsp in the mix. But the cinnamon flavour in the finished cake is very subtle, even when using 2 tsp.
Wait! There’s more. Click for the recipe and more pics!
Update: this giveaway has now closed and I’ll announce the lucky winner on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Thank you to everyone who entered and apologies again to followers based outside the UK. I hope to do an international giveaway in the future!
An early Christmas present for one lucky UK-based reader: this lovely Yoshi book purse and a signed paperback copy of Art and Soul!
It’s been 7 months since I published my debut contemporary romance, Art and Soul.
Thank you all for your support. To everyone who has bought, downloaded, read, reviewed, spread the word and put the book on their Goodreads shelf, I’m tremendously grateful. And I’m sorry this giveaway is only open to UK-based entrants, but international postage costs are huge. Hopefully I can organise an international giveaway in the future.
The giveaway is running from Sunday 22nd November 2020 to midnight on 30th November 2020 (all times GMT).
I’m running the giveaway using Rafflecopter and you can enter here.
The full terms and conditions are at the bottom of this post.
Full terms and conditions:
–This is a prize draw to win one Yoshi Christmas bookworm coin purse (as pictured) and one signed paperback copy of Art and Soul by Claire Huston. There will be one winner.
–The one winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email by Thursday 3rd December 2020. The winner must then respond within seven days of the date of contact, providing a valid UK address for the prize to be sent to. If a selected winner does not meet all of the entry conditions or refuses the prize, another entrant will be selected at random from the remaining eligible entries. –Unsuccessful entrants will not be contacted.
–No purchase necessary to enter.
–The prize draw is open to residents of the UK aged 18 or over. Entrants must be UK residents and must provide a valid contact method to enable notification if they are a winner.
–The winner’s name will be published as part of an announcement on Claire Huston’s blog and social media channels.
–Any personal data given as part of the competition entry will only be used for the purposes of running the prize draw and delivering the prize and will not be shared with third parties except for the purpose of delivering the prize. –After I have dispatched the prize and receipt has been confirmed I will delete the data I hold.
–This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Claire Huston / Art and Soul
An enjoyable cosy mystery in a great period setting.
I’m delighted to be taking part in this tour. Thank you to the author for providing me with an e-copy of this book via Rachel’s Random Resources.
When Betty Palmer’s sister dies under suspicious circumstances whilst landing her Tiger Moth, Betty and three other women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary in WWII England unite to discover who killed her and why.
Estranged from her family, Penny Blake wants simply to belong. American Doris Winter, running from a personal tragedy, yearns for a new start. Naturally shy Mary Whitworth-Baines struggles to fit in. Together though, they are a force to be reckoned with as they face the mystery that confronts them.
Against the backdrop of war, when ties of friendship are exceptionally strong, they strive to unravel the puzzle’s complex threads, risking their lives as they seek justice for Betty’s sister.
I’m not a great reader of sagas, but I do love a cosy mystery. Besides, it’s been a good while since I’ve read a story set in World War II and I really enjoyed the period details in A Wing and a Prayer. The specific setting for the mystery is also intriguing: I had never heard of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) before and it was great to get an insider’s view of this civilian organisation which was a crucial part of the war effort. And it was even better to find out that the teams who repaired and transported planes around Britain included female pilots.
These brave women are the inspiration for Penny, Doris and Mary, three fictional pilots who are A Wing and a Prayer‘s core characters. They’re an interesting, trans-Atlantic bunch, each with their own strong motivations for joining the ATA and with strengths and weaknesses that complement each other. It was great to see the women bond and form a formidable team in their efforts to solve the mystery surrounding the death of Betty’s sister.
The annual Authors’ and Illustrators’ Children in Read online charity book auction ends this Friday, 13th November 2020 at 11pm (GMT).
Don’t miss your chance to bid on a signed copy of a book by a favourite author!
Hundreds of authors and illustrators in every genre imaginable have donated signed copies of their books for a fantastic cause. This is the biggest signed book auction in the world and all proceeds go to BBC Children in Need. Bids start at just £5.
If you want to get browsing now, the auction homepage is: https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/childreninread2020
A copy my debut novel, Art and Soul, is lot 188 in the contemporary romance category. Just in case if you fancy placing a bid 🙂
If your bid wins its auction, all packaging and posting within the UK is free! If you’re outside the UK, you shouldn’t give up hope – if you contact the auction organiser (either via the social media channels listed at the bottom of this post or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org) about a particular lot, they will ask the author if they could send it to you.
Successful bidders will be notified after the auction closes 13th November 2020 11:00 pm (GMT) via email.
And in case you’ve never heard of Children in Need, it’s the BBC’s charity which raises funds to help children in the UK be safe, happy, secure and have the opportunities they need to reach their potential.
Please help spread word of the auction to anyone you think might like the chance to bid on a signed book by a favourite author.
You can also keep up with the auction’s progress on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But remember, the auction closes this Friday, 13th November so don’t wait too long to bid for a favourite book.
Thank you and happy bidding!
Claire Huston / Art and Soul
The less-discussed side of Greek myth. 4/5.
Thank you to Picador/Pan Macmillan for providing me with an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.
The Greek myths are among the world’s most important cultural building blocks and they have been retold many times, but rarely do they focus on the remarkable women at the heart of these ancient stories.
Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, from the Trojan War to Jason and the Argonauts. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories. And when they do, those women are often painted as monstrous, vengeful or just plain evil. But Pandora – the first woman, who according to legend unloosed chaos upon the world – was not a villain, and even Medea and Phaedra have more nuanced stories than generations of retellings might indicate.
Now, in Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Pandora and her jar (the box came later) as the starting point, she puts the women of the Greek myths on equal footing with the menfolk. After millennia of stories telling of gods and men, be they Zeus or Agamemnon, Paris or Odysseus, Oedipus or Jason, the voices that sing from these pages are those of Hera, Athena and Artemis, and of Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Eurydice and Penelope.
Earlier this year I enjoyed and reviewed Natalie Hayne’s A Thousand Ships (she’s had a busy year!), her excellent retelling of events relating to the Trojan War from the point of view of the female characters. However, while that was a work of fiction, Pandora’s Jar is non-fiction and a more academic consideration of the women of Greek myth.
This is an entertaining look at 10 female mythical figures as Haynes continues to her work to make the classics accessible. She was a stand-up comedian for many years and her wit shines through in her writing, helping to make what could be quite dry subject matter amusing and relatable. The volume of research she’s done is also commendable, particularly when the primary material about women in Greek myth is often scant, especially when compared to what we know about the men from ancient sources.