I recently finished E.R. Murray’s Caramel Hearts and I have such an action packed post for this novel. E.R. Murray will be guest posting today and I’ll also be featuring a mini review. Have you read Caramel Hearts yet?
Title: Caramel Hearts
Author: E.R. Murray
Release Date: May 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Retail Price: $16.99
Overall Rating: 7/10
Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance
E.R. Murray’s Caramel Hearts was exactly like salted caramel- sweet with a tinge of salt. This novel was such an adorable read but it was also filled with a roller coaster of an adventure. I’ll admit it took me a while to get through but upon finishing the book I realised that this book was actually a pretty fun read. The character development was one of the highlights of the book, I love seeing how Olivia “bloomed” from this young, immature 14-year-old to one who had become more mature and had a grip on reality.
However, something that did let me down was how annoying the main character was at times. I know that it was part of the plot to do so but at times I was really pulling my hair out. 🙂 Some of the actions and thought processes she went through reminded me of a spoilt little girl. Nevertheless, her development was really something I enjoyed reading.
I also love the idea of integrating sweet, desert recipes! I thought that was so cute and I loved reading about how Olivia bakes them and also reading the delicious recipes in general! I thought what made this novel so different was the fact that it dragged me into this life I have never explored before. The Bloom family had its issues and reading it from a younger perspective really made me realise the effects addiction and bullying had on a child. Overall, I thought Caramel Hearts was an easy read filled with sweetness but had undertones of serious and important themes.
book + song:
guest post from the author of caramel hearts: e.r. murray
Favourite Caramel Recipe
I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I do love salted caramel – in ice cream or truffle form. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for either, so I’ll have to go with my Caramel Hearts recipe from my book. They’re spongy & gooey & tasty & versatile, so they can be made cupcake-style instead if you prefer! Scroll down for the recipe:
Advice for high school teens
Ooh, this is a tough one… I wrote Caramel Hearts because I wanted to explore certain issues; bullying, the effects of addiction on a family unit, sibling relationships, poverty and friendships. These are all issues that affect us throughout our lives, but what we experience as teens burns brighter, deeper, more destructively. I think one of the main reasons is that as a teenager, we’re ready for our voices to be heard, but very few people are willing to listen. And so, the advice I’m giving is what I wish someone told my teenage self …
You’re not alone: whatever you’re feeling – be it tired, stressed, embarrassed, angry, ugly, pressured, unloved, friendless, fake, mortified, helpless, horny, bullied, misunderstood, disgusted, crazed – trust me, there’s someone nearby that’s feeling the same. It’s just that no one will admit it, because they’re too busy trying to deal with whatever it is they’re going through.
Dare to dream: seriously – dream big. If you love art, think about where it can lead. If sport is your thing, go for it. Want to write a book? Do it! I was a grade A student in a rough area and I remember being told I could aspire to working in a supermarket! I’ve travelled the world (there’s still more to see) and now I write books! So dream big – then make it happen. The path might not be easy, but it’ll be your own.
Hope is your weapon. If you have hope, you have a way out. Hope gives you wings – it means you can see another way, something to reach for, something to strive for – and when you get there, you’ll enjoy it all the more because you and you alone managed to get there.
Help others: in any small way you can and you’ll find you’re probably helping yourself too. We all know what it feels like to be on the periphery, or even too much in the centre of attention at times – if you see someone struggling, go help. Just a kind word or a smile or helping them move away from an uncomfortable situation can be enough.
Do it your way: adults think they have all the answers, but inside, they’re still just as uncertain and messy. If you have an idea, you go for it. It’s called progress. You’re the future.
These days will end: If you’re having an awful time, school is not the rest of your life. It is a part of your life for a small(ish) period of time, though it may not feel that way right now. Once school is over, you never have to see those people or think about it again – it can only follow you afterwards if you let it.
Caramel Hearts Recipe
No matter how spiky people seem, they’re always softer on the inside than you expect. Melt even the coldest of hearts with these golden, caramel treats and wipe your tears away.
125 g/41⁄2 oz golden butter
125 g/41⁄2 oz light brown sugar
150 g/51⁄2 oz self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sweet vanilla extract
70 g/2 1⁄2 oz of your favourite nuts (pecans, almonds or hazelnuts are best), finely chopped
For the ‘Salty Tears’ Caramel Sauce
200 g/7 oz caster sugar
70 ml/2 1⁄2 fl oz water
50 g/2 oz butter
150 ml/5 1⁄2 fl oz double cream
tsp chunky sea salt
How to Make the Magic Happen
- Preheat the oven to 180 oC/350 oF/Gas mark 4. Place all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat rapidly until well combined and creamy (plenty of elbow grease required).
- Line a baking tray with silicone heart-shaped cases and split the mixture equally between them. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
- Now make the caramel sauce and wash those tears away. Add the sugar, salt and water to a small pan and place over a gentle heat. Stir occasionally until all of the sugar and salt has melted.
- Turn up the heat and keep watch as the mixture boils – stir constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. After 8–10 minutes, the mixture will thicken and turn a pale almond brown.
- Remove from the heat and carefully add the butter and cream. Return to the heat, stir, and as soon as the sauce thickens, pour lashings of it over the heart-shaped cake and serve to whichever prickly person you need to soothe.
Thank you so much to E.R. Murray for guest posting on my blog today! I really enjoyed her novel and if you haven’t read it yet, you have to give it a try!