Joelene_tnJoelene Pynnonen says: ‘I’ve always stayed away from caramel slices, thinking that they were well out of my cooking ability. This recipe, however, is incredibly easy and delicious.’



caramel sliceBase

1 cup plain flour

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup desiccated coconut

125g melted butter

Pinch salt



2 tins sweetened condensed milk

4 tbs golden syrup

120g melted butter



125g dark chocolate



Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and line a deep, 28 x 18cm pan.


Mix all base ingredients well. Press tightly into prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Remove from oven. Cool.


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 8 minutes. Pour over cooled base. Bake for 12 minutes in 180° oven. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.


Melt chocolate. Pour over caramel. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares to serve


Belinda_kisses_tnJoelene and I are Sydney bound next month, and we are tremendously excited. I thought I’d take you along on my journey to get my butt organised. *Please note all plugs are completely shameless, and I am only writing about the experiences I would recommend to friends*

Bel_lindy bop dress from ursalady#1 Up, up, and away – I looked it all up online, found the cheapest flights and the closest hotel to the event. *Holy COW it’s not cheap to travel by plane.* I then went to Escape Travel at Garden City and the lovely agent, Daniel, helped me book everything, including travel insurance. I pick up my tickets and stuff sometime this week. Thank you Daniel!

#2 Threads – Ebay has been my friend, though nothing can beat looking in bricks and mortar stores and trying things on. Kick ass Kirstin from Ursalady at Stones Corner suggested I try on a Lindy-Bop dress many had tried and nobody had fitted into as yet. I tried it, and not only did it fit, but it looked amazing. I will definitely be going back to Ursalady. Thank you, Kirstin!

#3 Hop to it – We have a few things booked to do while we’re over the border, the least of which is shopping, so comfortable shoes are a must have item. I haven’t been properly fitted for shoes since I was in primary school (Just a little while ago, huh?), so I treated myself to a trip to Gilmour’s Comfort Shoes at Mount Gravatt. The shoe fitter extraordinaire, Lisa, was saintly in her battle to fit my itty bitty tootsies. We found a beautiful pair of Ziera shoes (they’re named Babette) and, not only were they the last pair she had to offer me, but they were on sale.  Thank you Lisa!

#4 Hairs lookin’ at you, kid – Now comes the trek half a world away (I do exaggerate a little) to have my eyebrows tamed. I was devastated when my favourite beautician, Kelly, switched salons on me. S+S at Carindale. To keep the Jim Henson people away from me once the photos are posted online, I need the Muppet removed off my face. (Bert has to be my brother from another mother.) Kelly is gentle and thorough. Thank you Kelly!

#5 Hair today gone tomorrow – The last thing, besides packing obviously, will be getting my hair trimmed. Thankfully I’ve had a pretty wash and wear style for the past year (gone are those long tresses) so it’s just going to be a maintenance trip to I Heart Hair at Browns Plains, where I swear by the scissor skills and blade work  of Katharine. I am telling no lies, when I say Kat is only the 4th hair stylist in my 30 something years who can cut my hair correctly. I know she’ll make me look good. Thank you Katharine!

All we have to do now is wait. Pics and clips to come.

What do you to prepare for an exciting event?

kenyon_illusionJust when you thought there is nothing Sherrilyn could do to make Nick Gautier suffer more…along comes Illusion. Two words: alternate reality. Uh huh, everything is not as it seems, and how the heck is Nick going to get back to his own type of ‘normal’?

We flick between Nick’s usual reality and the one he’s stuck in. We see his friends trying to get him back to where he’s supposed to be, and his ‘friends’ trying to make his life a living hell. I don’t think Nick will ever see his destiny in the same way again.

I’ve loved this series to date, and Illusion ups the stakes by so much you wonder how the next book will top that. (Didn’t I say something similar in the review for Inferno?)

Kenyon is skilled at making her characters relatable yet vulnerable, without being complete pushovers. Her female characters have no problem saving the day and doing what needs to be done, regardless of the cost. Each person has their own quirks and mannerisms, with voices as individual as a fingerprint. There really is something special about how Sherrilyn has crafted this series.

Her world building is second to none, and considering she now has over 70 books published, you would expect the level of confidence and strength we see in both The Chronicles of Nick and the Dark Hunter series, along with many others.

Defiant, book 6, is due out in 2015 and will absolutely be on my most-anticipated-reads list. 

Paperback, 464 pages

Published April 3rd 2014 by ATOM (first published April 1st 2014)

ISBN 1907411577 (ISBN13: 9781907411571)

Joelene_tnJoelene Pynnonen reviews TV series Revenge and enjoys it with popcorn.



Revenge_Sezon_2The Hamptons might be a place of glitter and sunshine on the surface; but once scratched it reveals a seething mass of secrets that people would kill to protect. When Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) arrives in the sunlit piece of paradise that the affluent Graysons call home, she plans to scratch deeply.

When she was a child her father was framed by the people he had trusted most. Now, grown up and with a different name, Emily plans to break everyone who contributed to her father’s downfall, working her way up to the Graysons.

Everything in Revenge works perfectly together. It’s not frivolous, nor does it get mired down in angst. The assembled cast is amazing with Madeleine Stowe in the role of Victoria Grayson, the self-styled ‘Queen of the Hamptons’; Gabriel Mann as Nolan, Emily’s self-appointed vengeance assistant; and Nick Wechsler as Jack Porter the man that Emily knew as a child and is still in love with. All of the roles in the series are nuanced, and each character has their own secrets.

While this seems like the kind of idea that could germinate an amazing movie, I wasn’t sure that it would work well for a long-running TV series. The first season alone was enough to change my mind on that score. While Emily’s vengeance is the heart of the show, as the other characters develop, a myriad of deeper plots unfold, each of them as compelling as the main one.  Emotionally too, the series grows, the characters gaining depth as their secrets begin to unravel.

Revenge is a sumptuously indulgent series to lose yourself in. Morals and characters aside, it has a wonderful soundtrack featuring Australian folk-duo siblings Angus and Julia Stone. The filming locations are also gorgeous. From sunlit beaches to lavish parties and opulent mansions, the Hamptons of Revenge are a wonderful place to visit for an hour every week.

Everyone loves a good revenge story. There’s something about it that satisfies society’s moral conscience without breaking its rules. Revenge manages to do this in a creative and fun way. It’s the perfect show to curl up and eat popcorn to.

bishop_crowsMeg Corbyn, a Cassandra Sangue (one who sees prophesies with a little bloodletting), has finally found her place among the Others, living in the Lakeside Courtyard. Life is getting back to a semblance of normal.

Beyond Lakeside, two addictive drugs have become a problem for both humans and the Others; it is a problem for the Others because it reacts badly with their physiology, and a problem for humans because, with the threat of humans using the drugs to overpower the Others, they’re all about to be evicted, or ‘dealt with.’ Special meat anyone?

Meg is at her wits’ end trying to balance her need to speak prophesies and keep Simon Wolfguard (lakeside’s leader) off her back. Will she able to defuse the threat of humans being murdered before more of the Others fall victim to these two heinous drugs?

The dynamics between Meg and the other characters in this book is something special. When they’re not in kill-mode, the residents of Lakeside are sweet and generous. There’s humour and a generous helping of suspense to be found in Murder of Crows.

Anne Bishop is a master of making her characters work together, in spite of her males being alphas and her females not being helpless and meek little things. By getting them to work together, I think Anne gains a complexity in her storylines that others may lack.

That being said, I think perhaps this series is better suited for the older age brackets of YA, as there are some truly heinous acts towards the other Cassandra Sangue that was perhaps only hinted at in Written in Red.

Vision in Silver is due in March 2015 and, my goodness, that seems like forever away. I cannot wait to find out what happens next with Meg and Simon. Awrooooooooo!

Paperback, 337 pages

Published March 2014 by HarperCollins

ISBN13 9780732296827

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