Review | The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman (The Invisible Library 8)

A great final (for now) book in this highly enjoyable series. 4/5 stars.

The Untold Story by Genevieve Cogman book cover

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher (Pan Macmillan) via NetGalley in return of an honest review.

The blurb:

Return to the world of the Invisible Library for Irene’s most perilous mission yet . . .

Librarian Spy Irene is heading into danger. Not for the first time, but could this be her last? She’s tasked with a terrifyingly dangerous solo mission to eliminate an old enemy, which must be kept secret at all costs. But even more troubling news emerges. Multiple worlds are disappearing – and the Library may have something to do with it.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the vanished worlds, Irene and her friends must descend into the unplumbed depths of the Library. And what they find will change everything they know. This may be Irene’s most dangerous assignment of her hazardous career.

The Untold Story is the unputdownable eighth book in the Invisible Library fantasy series by Genevieve Cogman.

My take:

I’ve been a fan of this series since I read the first book, The Invisible Library, back in 2015. Over the past six years I’ve become so attached to the characters I would happily read a story about them going on a non-eventful holiday. A break they have more than earnt but which would no doubt leave them all incredibly bored!

But readers looking forward to more high-stakes Invisible Library adventure from this book needn’t worry. As with all the previous books in the series, The Untold Story is packed with intrigue, action and peril. And, as the author has decided this is the last of these books for the foreseeable, it does wrap up most of the over-arching story threads very nicely.

You really do have to have read the earlier books before you pick up The Untold Story. The characters have such detailed back stories and so much has happened over the course of the previous seven books, I’d recommend you go back to the beginning and stick with it. The series gets better with each book as you become more attached to the recurring characters and familiar with the intricacies and quirks of the world that Cogman has created.

Overall: If you’re looking for a fantasy adventure series to try, I highly recommend The Invisible Library. And you can embark on the adventure safe in the knowledge that it will all come to a satisfying conclusion in The Untold Story.

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

UK Christmas Giveaway! Win a rainbow coin purse and a paperback copy of Elle’s A to Z of Love

Update: this giveaway has now closed and I’ll announce the lucky winners on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll then contact them individually via email.

Thank you to everyone who entered and apologies again to followers based outside the UK.


TEN paperback copies of Elle’s A to Z of Love are up for grabs to UK-based readers. And one lucky entrant will also win this lovely rainbow coin purse!

Elle's A to Z of Love and rainbow purse giveaway 2021

Thank you all for your support with my second novel, Elle’s A to Z of Love. To everyone who has bought, downloaded, read, reviewed, spread the word and put the book on their Goodreads shelf, I’m hugely grateful. I’m very sorry this giveaway is only open to UK-based entrants, but international postage costs are massive.

The giveaway is running from Friday 19th November 2021 to midnight on 1st December 2021 (all times GMT).

There will be 10 winners in total. One will receive the rainbow purse and a paperback copy of Elle’s A to Z of Love. And then 9 runners-up will each receive a paperback copy of the book (sorry – not enough purses to go round!).

Here’s a picture of the purse on it’s own if you’d like a closer look. It’s from Sass & Belle and I really love the little gold star charm on the zip pull.

Elle's A to Z of Love paperback giveaway rainbow purse from Sass and Belle

I’m running the giveaway using Rafflecopter and you can enter here.

The full terms and conditions are at the bottom of this post.

Good luck!

Ten paperback copies of Elle's A to Z of Love by Claire Huston giveaway

Full terms and conditions:

–This prize draw will have TEN winners who will each win ONE signed paperback copy of Elle’s A to Z of Love by Claire Huston. ONE of the ten winners will also win a Sass & Belle rainbow coin purse (as pictured).
–The draw will run from 12 AM on 19/11/21 to 12 AM 01/12/21 GMT, inclusive.
–The winners will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email by Friday 3rd December 2021. 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

Children in Read online book auction: your chance to get a fab signed book and help a great cause

It’s that time of year again! The annual Authors’ and Illustrators’ Children in Read online charity book auction ends next Friday, 19th November 2021.

Don’t miss your chance to bid on a signed copy of a book by a favourite author!

Children in Read charity book auction 2021

This year’s auction has already beat last year’s grand total but there’s still time to raise even more money for a fantastic cause.

Hundreds of authors and illustrators have donated signed copies of their books to the auction. All proceeds go to BBC Children in Need and bids start at £9.

If you want to get browsing, the auction homepage is:

A copy my second novel, Elle’s A to Z of Love, is lot 385. Just in case if you fancy placing a bid 🙂

If you place the winning bid, all packaging and posting within the UK is free! If you’re outside the UK, don’t give up hope – if you contact the auction organiser (via the social media channels detailed at the end of this post or by emailing about a specific lot, they will ask the author if they can send it to you.

Successful bidders will be contacted via email after the auction ends on 19th November 2021.

And if you’ve never heard of Children in Need, it’s the BBC’s charity which raises money to help children in the UK be safe, happy, secure and have the opportunities they need to reach their potential.

Please share!

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 next Friday, 19th November so don’t wait too long to get you bids in!

Thank you and happy bidding!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Recipe | Easy Halloween bakes – colourful, spooky and delicious ideas

I haven’t had a chance to do any Halloween baking yet this year. But I’ll probably be making one of these old favourites…

Just click on the title or picture to visit the recipe post!

1. Cute Oreo spider muffins

Halloween cute oreo spider muffins spooky easy uk recipe cute bake

2. Brownie cupcakes with orange and green sponge

Halloween brownie cupcakes with orange and green sponge quick easy Halloween baking recipe for kids UK with buttercream and sprinkles

3. Chocolate fudge muffins with chocolate cobwebs

Easy chocolate fudge muffins recipe uk with Halloween chocolate cobweb spider web frosting

4. Mint millionaire’s shortbread with white chocolate cobwebs

Mint millionaire's shortbread recipe

5. Chocolate and mint layered fudge

Chocolate and mint layered fudge uk simple halloween recipe ideas

6. Chocolate brownie and colourful sponge cake

Halloween chocolate brownie and sponge layer cake orange and green with chocolate recipe uk party ideas

Happy baking and have a very Happy Halloween!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Recipe | Chocolate peanut butter muffins

Chocolate and peanut butter muffins with extra chocolate chips

Easy chocolate peanut butter and choc chip chunk muffins recipe uk

I found the original recipe at A Baking Journey. I made a couple of ingredient changes to fit what I had in the cupboard/fridge.

It’s a very straightforward recipe and the muffins rise well and taste delicious – just be careful not to overbake them or they could be a little dry.

Wait! There’s more. Click for the recipe and more lovely pics!

Review | The Last Graduate (Scholomance 2) by Naomi Novik

The trilogy continues with a terrific second installment. 4/5 stars.

The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik The Scholomance 2 book cover

Thank you to Random House UK for providing me with an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.

The blurb:

Th dark school of magic has always done its best to devour its students, but now that El has reached her final year — and somehow won herself a handful of allies along the way — it’s suddenly developed a very particular craving . . .

For her.

As the savagery of the school ramps up, El is determined that she will not give in; not to the mals, not to fate, and especially not to the Scholomance. But as the spectre of graduation looms — the deadly final ritual that leaves few students alive — if she and her allies are to make it out, El will need to realise that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules.

My take:

[Short summary for anyone short on time: if you read and enjoyed Book 1- particularly El’s first person narration – you’ll enjoy this. Get it now!]

I’ve been a fan of Naomi Novik’s books for a while. But with the first book in the Scholmance series, A Deadly Education, I was delighted to finally be able to give one of her books a 5-star rating when others have come very close.

And with the fantastic cliffhanger at the end of Book 1, I was really looking forward to Book 2, and I’m happy to say that The Last Graduate didn’t disappoint.

Continue reading…

Review | The Man Who Died Twice (Thursday Murder Club 2) by Richard Osman

Another satisfying mystery which improves on the first installment in the series. 4/5 stars.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman book cover

Thank you to Penguin UK for providing me with an e-copy of this book via NetGalley.

The blurb:

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

My take:

[This will be a very short review to avoid any and all spoilers and because so many other people have reviewed this already. I don’t want to bore you.]

And … they’re back! Last year, I (along with most of the country!) read and enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club: Richard Osman’s first story about a group of sleuthing OAPs and the members of the local police unwittingly roped into their investigations. I liked the older protagonists, particularly Elizabeth, and am delighted they’re all back in this second installment in which Elizabeth gets even more to do and we find out about her past.

Continue reading…

Review: Wild Blue Yonder (Broken Wings 2) by M. W. Arnold @mick859 @rararesources

More WWII mystery and drama from our friends at the ATA.

Wild Blue Yonder Broken Wings 2 by M W Arnold book cover

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.

The blurb:

Air Transport Auxiliary pilot Doris Winter is accused of stealing a valuable item from a famous Hollywood movie star, now a captain in the US Army Air Corps, after a dance at the air base in England where he’s stationed. Gathering her close friends together, she’s determined to clear her name.

Ruth’s POW son suffers a life-changing injury just as her own cottage takes damage in an air raid and Penny’s estranged little sister unexpectedly turns up, having run away from school. Together with the ongoing thefts of items of clothing and surprise personal revelations, these all threaten to hamper their investigation.

In spite of the worsening war situation, they must band together to rise above their troubles and prove love and friendship is worth fighting for.

My take:

Last year I read and reviewed the first installment in the Broken Wings series, A Wing and a Prayer. It had been ages since I’d read anything set in World War II and I really enjoyed all the period details.

So I was very pleased that the friends from the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) are back (with lots more terrifically-researched period detail, particularly when it comes to the planes) for more adventures in Wild Blue Yonder. Those of you who grew to love the characters in Book 1 will be pleased to hear that they all return and we get to find out a lot more about their personal and love lives. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s some added Hollywood glamour this time with a few special guest appearances from none other than Mr Clark Gable, whose presence gives the ladies another mystery to solve (no spoilers!).
Continue reading…

Ebook sale! Elle’s A to Z of Love now only 99p/99c | #EllesAtoZofLove #RomanceReads #booksale

My latest contemporary romance novel, Elle’s A to Z of Love, is on worldwide 99p/99c sale until Wednesday 15th September.

It’s an uplifting, romantic story about friends, family and the relationships that make a place a home. Hours of escapism for just 99p/99c!

Please help me spread the word – if you have friends you think would enjoy it, please let them know.

Ebook sale 99p 99c Elle's A to Z of Love by Claire Huston

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: Haileybrook, a beautiful village in the peaceful Cotswolds countryside, is most people’s idea of heaven on earth.

Born and raised in this small slice of paradise, Elle Bea can’t wait to leave.

It should be easy, but every time she packs her bags for exotic adventures, old loves and loyalties pull her back.

Will Elle be forced to forget her dreams of far-flung places and epic romance, or can she grab one last chance to have it all?

Thank you! x

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

Recipe | KitKat chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

As you can imagine, I used the recent publication of my second book as an excuse for cake! KitKat chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream

Elle's A to Z of Love by Claire Huston cupcakes

KitKats feature in my second book, Elle’s A to Z of Love, so I wanted to include them in my publication day celebrations. I found the recipe for these KitKat cupcakes at Crumbs & Corkscrews.

You can get a copy of Elle’s A to Z of Love here.

Ingredients (for 24 KitKat cupcakes – halve these quantities if you only want 12 cupcakes!)

Continue reading for the recipe and more lovely pics!