JoeleneHow long have you been writing for MDPWeb, why did you join the group, and what do you like about being part of it?

I started writing for the Burn Bright website in 2012. I wanted to get out of a reading rut and give some other authors or genres a chance and reviewing for MDPWeb seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’ve loved a lot of books that I otherwise would not have given a chance – Unidentified by Rae Mariz, Bitterwood Bible by Angela Slatter and One Small Step ed. Tehani Wessely being the stand out ones.

What creative piece are you working on, and what author would you liken your work to?

I’m in the process of writing the second book in what will hopefully be a trilogy. Stylistically, my writing is probably most similar to Sarah Rees Brennan’s. I prefer funny to angst; and what I lack in the plot and description departments, I make up for in dialogue and character.

What book have you most enjoyed reviewing for MDPWeb?

Lian Tanner’s Museum of Thieves. It was such an astoundingly good book that I needed to tell everyone about it. I began writing the review almost as soon as I had put the book down.

What’s your favourite thing to do in your downtime?

Sleeping ranks highly… At the moment outside of work I’m reading the WIP’s of two different friends so that I can give them feedback before they submit. I’m trying to get through some of my review shelf (and ideally write the reviews after). I’m working on my own story, trying to make time for friends and family, and getting ready for a Sydney trip. So right now, whenever I have the chance to sleep, I seize it.

Is there somewhere else online/in bookstores we can find your work?

Alas no. Perhaps someday, if I ever get around to submitting and someone actually accepts…

What’s your favourite TV series?

Avatar: the Last Airbender. Hands down best TV show ever. It’s funny, has consistent and believable characters, avoids shallow stereotypes, and is set in a fantasy world that is deeply complex – both physically and socially. For a kid’s cartoon, it is beyond amazing. Not only does it include a racially diverse cast of characters – including main characters – it is also inclusive of characters with disabilities, and has some pretty awesome female characters too.

Who or what is your current crush?

Agh. That’s a question. There are so many. Maybe Ada Wong? Or Marrow from the X-men? All of the X-men from the X-men? I’m just going to stop myself here; this list could get out of hand.


Natasha ObrienYour teen years are all about discovering who you are. For many young people this is also the lifestage where they discover their sexuality and identify themselves. What I’m referencing here is “Coming Out”. Coming out can be a really exhilarating but also anxiety provoking process. It’s not the kind of thing you can do in one fell swoop, like ripping off a proverbial bandaid. It’s a process that needs to be repeated over and over again. It’s like public speaking for months/years straight. (Or not so straight in this case)~Natash


So what can you to support a friend coming out?


coming out-@cm077

  1. Talk to them about other OUT queer persons you know. This may make then feel more comfortable about you accepting them as well. Maybe even introduce them to other queer friends you know.
  2. Help find resources. If you feel your friend could benefit from more support maybe point them to organizations and LGBTQ clubs and organizations
  3. Do respect their confidentiality. It’s important to individuals coming out that their sexuality/gender identity is disclosed only to those they feel safe with when they feel comfortable doing so. You may be proud and want to celebrate your friend, but do refrain from sharing their news with others without their consent.
  4. As an LGBTQ ally its hard to imagine that people can be intolerant. Jerks do exist however and they may make appearances in your friends coming out process. LGBTQ persons face much discrimination. They worry about violence, job security, are bullied etc and their worries are legitimate. Be prepared to listen support and point to resources when necessary.
  5. Help them rehearse their coming out speech, write coming out letters and notes. For many people working up the confidence to say the words “ I’m Gay/Queer/Lesbian/Pansexual…” to important people in their lives is very difficult. Having a friend be a sounding board or re-read letters and offer reassurance can be that boost on confidence they need.
  6. Include and extend extra invites. Your friend may loose connections with friends and family along the way. Your friendship may be even more important to them now, especially during special occasions like the holidays.
  7. Make your friends a coming out card. Coming out is a celebration of identity! How do we celebrate most life events? With cards. Why not make a card that says something like “Congratulations you’re my Superqueero”
  8. Celebrate milestones. With every “Coming out” conversation you’re friend is closer to living openly as who they feel they are. Celebrate the successes!
  9. Most of all just act normal. Well as normal as you both were to begin with. Your friend hasn’t changed they are the same person. They still want to binge watch Netflix, make YouTube videos and kick your butt at swimming. So just go about being the duo you always have been. Business as usual.
Photo courtesy Instagram @cw077

singleton_buriedIn a new school and determined to keep her secrets from being discovered, Thorn finds a mysterious locket that leads to a shocking discovery. Surrounded by new friends she barely knows, as well as the school’s famous former student, a smoking-hot musician named Phillipe, Thorn must investigate to find out if one of them is a murderer. 

Paperback, 257 pages Published March 8th 2012 by Flux
ISBN 0738719587 (ISBN13: 9780738719580)

Characters: Thorn is a Goth girl that is a little less emo and more upbeat and snarky. She has a preacher as a father, and she is morally a decent person, but she has an edge to her and likes her own style.

Her detective work and the people that she runs into during her investigation make for a really entertaining read. I enjoyed Thorn’s attitude and she’s pretty funny.

Story: In this story Thorn finds a locket; she is unsure why but something about the locket is calling to her. She needs to find out who owned the locket, hoping it will lead her to unravel the feelings she gets when holding/wearing it. You see, Thorn is a “finder” who has a psychic ability that leads her to special objects, and in turn those objects may lead her to something. The locket in this story leads her to bones… babies bones. By finding the owner she may be able to prove them innocent of a mysterious murder.

Originality: I have not read any other books by Linda, but have heard that this story takes place in the same world setting. There is also some mention from other reviewers that the characters overlap a little, and if you are familiar with her work you will recognize them and understand some of their back stories.

Writing: The story jumps around a lot. The mystery and investigation does not take center stage in the story as much as it should according to the summary. The reader may jump into the story fully intent on reading a good mystery. There are spots along the way that focus a little more on the activities at the school. The singing competition and it’s famous judge Philipe. There is also a prankster that likes to get revenge by bullying the bullies a little and calls himself the Grin Reaper. These side stories pull away from the main mystery plot, but are fun and interesting at the same time.

Krista’s Review: I think that maybe this book and I met at a good time. I was looking for something that was fun and entertaining, and I also enjoy mysteries with a little bit of the dark side mixed in. (It is more mystery than it is suspenseful or thrilling, although all of these aspects are included). I was very happy to have read Buried and will continue to find  more books by this author.

We’re excited here at the Escape Club to be welcoming our new LGBTQ blogger Natasha. Tash will be writing in the new YOUR LIFE section about issues young people face (and having some fun along the way).

Natasha ObrienTash Says:

My name is Natash and I’m going to be your new LGBTQ contributor here in the Explorers Club. I’m a lesbian lifestyle blogger who’s obsessed with finding the funny in any situation. Basically I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m going to make you laugh while we hash out a variety of LGBTQ topics. If there any topics you want to hear about any questions on your mind fire them at me.

Bless xx


Read Tash’s bio:

1. Glamour is my life, and by glamour I mean eating dark chocolate in bed and watching anything by Lena Dunham.

2. I will sacrifice a relative for WIFI in emergency and non-emergency situations. (Emergency situation being defined as needing to post something I believe to be witty on Twitter)

3. Somedays I want to give it all up and become a Housewife of some American city. Then I remember fake nails and the short bald men that come with that empire, so I refocus.

4. I believe Jay-Z and I may very well share a father on account of our “Hustler’s Spirit”.

5. Llana Glazer is my Spirit Animal. K-Wiig is Queen. (Kristen, if you are reading this call me.)


Writer, comedienne, career lesbian and blogger. You can find most of Tash’s thoughts at

Belinda_kisses_tnBelinda’s been checking out Netflix and discovered the Secrets Of… series. If you like castles then this might be for you!



Secrets-of-Highclere-CastleThe PBS Secrets Of series.

The great thing about watching commercial free stuff, especially things like documentaries from America is that there isn’t the constant recap that tends to happen once we, the viewer, comes back from the add break.

As we know from the Vikings review, I love me some history. So it’s no surprise when I was sucked in by, The Secrets of the Tower of London, and then, The Secrets of Hampton Court. There are a few others, and I will be watching them, you can be sure of that.

I’m glad they chose to use a British Narrator, because an American accent wouldn’t feel authentic.

We look into the back stories of the monarchy and the motivations behind much of what went on inside these magnificent buildings. It really makes me want to head off to England to check this stuff out in the flesh… or stone as it may be!

The big question is, do they actually divulge any secrets we didn’t already know? Guess you’ll have to watch and find out.

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