Pateman_The Prophecy of BeesDo you believe in superstition? I’m talking omens and witchcraft, prophecies and curses; that kind of thing.

Surly 17 year-old Izzy is pretty sure she doesn’t. Then her mother Lindy buys Stagcote Manor, a run-down estate hidden in the English countryside. Lindy hopes moving away from London will help she and Izzy start a new chapter in their lives following the death of Izzy’s dad and a period of wayward behaviour from troubled Izzy.

But the manor comes with its own baggage: tales of a centuries old curse swirl both inside and out the estate’s moss-covered walls. And the local villagers seem heavily occupied with an array of strange practices designed to ward off the manor’s so-called evil.

Though sceptical at first, Izzy soon finds herself being drawn into the eerie mystery that engulfs Stagcote. Strange noises wake her in the middle of the night, and then there’s the fatal prophecy Cedric says is stirring up the hive of bees down at the Gatehouse.

The Prophecy Of Bees is a tightly wound tale of suspense. I found myself gripped by this novel very early on. It was tense and surprisingly kinda scary. I was desperate to keep reading and find out how the story would unravel.

Angsty Izzy, with her initial derision of the dreary manor and the lost-in-time villagers is the perfect character to take us on this thriller-style journey. As Izzy’s scepticism is replaced by a strong desire to investigate Stagcote’s curse and its true origins, we are right there with her.

In fact, the book’s entire cast of characters is memorable. I loved the loyal maid Olga and the all-knowing bee whisperer Cedric. Oh, and I couldn’t help warming to the Fletcher sisters Brenda and Glenda as they ingratiated themselves back at Stagcote once more. Other key characters got to me too, but I don’t want to spoil the story for you. There’s a twist at the end that I never saw coming.

Although I’m not a huge fan of book trailers, I did find one for this book that I think is pretty good. You can check it out here.



If you have even a tiny idea about who I am, you’d know that my hair is extremely dark brown and even black in some parts!

coc-hair

Of course, you’ve probably heard of the saying “We all want what we can’t have!” Am I Right?!

Well, in my case this is true. One day, I woke up thinking that I would look good with grey/silver hair. Sooooo, naturally, I went ahead and did it. I’m a teenager what do you expect?

So, I went to Sally’s just to find out that silver is THE hardest colour to achieve because your hair has to be super light. And when I say super light, I mean white. Your hair HAS to be white.

I got the products and went ahead and dyed my hair! The first time I bleached it, it turned an awful orange colour. So, I did it again. This time, it went yellow. Then, I toned it, which *supposedly* should have removed yellow and orange tones, to give your hair a white or “lightest ash blond” look.

AND… It didn’t work. AND… My hair felt like straw. Not even straw. It felt like an old wig. So, I had that colour for a week or so… During the week, I used a purple shampoo (which helps lighten hair to keep it silver or blond) which helped immensely!

coc_hair 2 (2)

 

After that week, I decided to give it another go! I bleached it again, and toned it this time with a toner to make it go silver. No luck. My hair STILL wasn’t light enough!

coc_hair 3

So… I left it another week to ensure the damage wasn’t too bad, and my hair was still strong, and remotely healthy.

After that week, I gave it (yet another) bleaching and a final tone. AND IT WORKED! Sorta. Parts went silver-y purple and others were still a white colour.

But, I think I’m pretty happy with the overall outcome. It very quickly faded into a nice blond that I think I’ll keep for a while.

coc_hair 4

Anyhow,  yeah. That was my extreme hair dyeing adventure. It was fun, but a crazy process. If you have dark hair, I don’t recommend going for a pastel purple/silver colour. But, if you want to, and you’re serious about this (I mean, I did. I won’t judge) then I’d wait a few days, or even weeks between applications of bleach. Remember to use a good conditioner, as that’ll totally save your hair! I used one of those “Protective Hair Serum” from the salon, and it worked super well!



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnBake, Sizzle and Simple are three new bite-sized cookbooks from Valli Little and the team behind Australian food magazine, delicious.

sizzle simpleI have Sizzle and Simple from the collection, and can guarantee I’ll also be checking out Bake in the near future. While these cookbooks might be small, they each contain sixty recipes – all of them simple and achievable even for those who aren’t so awesome in the kitchen. The layout is clear, with one recipe and the corresponding colour photo across each double page spread. The gorgeous photos alone are enough to get you cooking.

Sizzle concentrates on food that, well, sizzles! Hot flame cooking. BBQ and grill. This one is definitely for the carnivores, though it does have a small number of vegetarian recipes. Dishes are drawn from cuisines all over the world, and while a couple are more decadent main meals, most are easy brunches or mid-week meals. There’s Eye Fillet Steak with Raspberry Sauce, Salmon Skewers with Fennel and Orange Salad, Tuna Wasabi Burgers, Strawberry and Brie Sandwiches and Fried Eggs with Bacon Jam. Yes, you read that right. Bacon Jam. With ingredients like bourbon and brewed espresso. Oh, my… I think I’ll be checking that one out first…

Simple is just as the title portrays. Simple, fast recipes that rely on pantry staples such as pasta, rice or couscous and match them with fresh ingredients. See? Simple. There’s twists on the old standards like Spaghetti and Mussels, Homestyle Meatloaf and Singapore Noodles. Then there’s the Macadamia Crumbed Chicken Strips with salsa, Prawn, Chilli and Pesto Pizza and the Lamb and Haloumi Sausage Rolls. Like Sizzle, Simple also has a small number of vegetarian dishes.

Bake, Sizzle and Simple join Spice, Indulge and Slow in this series of mini-books. You’ll find loads of inspiration between the pages, and their small size makes them easy to store in an easy-to-access kitchen cupboard or shelf.

Sizzle and Simple

by Valli Little and the delicious team

Sizzle ISBN – 978-0-7333-3363-7

Simple ISBN – 978-0-7333-3364-4

ABC Books

 

 

 

 

 



SONY DSCIntroducing Belinda Hamilton:

How 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 Marianne in 2009-ish putting out her e-newsletters. It turned into guest blogging, then reviewing. I was so impressed with Marianne for her drive to give a hand to the up and coming that I grabbed hold of the offer and ran with it.

I love the fact our crew is diverse in age, culture, and we’re flung pretty far across the globe. If I do say so myself, I think we’re pretty lucky to have Marianne to bring us all together.

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

Currently, my brain is numb from real life getting in my way. In my day dreams I write paranormal fantasy and would love it to be akin to Keri Arthur, or Yasmine Galenorn.

What book have you most enjoyed reviewing for MDPWeb?

This is a hard one. I have discovered SO many new authors, like Jennifer E Smith, and Ben Chandler. I got my hubby hooked on Monster High thanks to the Lisi Harrison books about the dolls. But I think probably the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and getting the chance to meet Laini Taylor was pretty damn epic.

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

Read, watch tv, head to the movies and hit the farmers markets.

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

Vision antho coverWhen I was president of Vision Writers, we put out an anthology to celebrate 18 years of our group meeting. I don’t have a story in there but it’s still my baby.

What’s your favourite TV series?

Gilmore Girls is my go to when I’m in need of a pick me up.

Who or what is your current crush?

Travis Fimmel could give me his icy Viking glare any day of the week, and Johnny Depp, well, that’s just a given.

 

Bio:

Belinda Hamilton is a 30 something wife and Mum of one. She attributes her love of books to her Mum and hearing the phrase, “The more you interrupt me, the longer it will take,” more times than most kids.

She is a sucker for a beautiful cover, and loves a happy ending, but by-golly, don’t let the prince do all the saving. Darwin’s theory needs to apply, even in high fantasy.



barnett_terrible twoMiles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to lift his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

In The Terrible Two, bestselling authors and friends Mac Barnett and Jory John have created a series that has its roots in classic middle-grade literature yet feels fresh and new at the same time.

 

Miles is the new boy in school, and having been famous at his old school for his pranks, he intends to use those talents to impress. When he arrives and finds that there is already a school prankster, he becomes determined to out prank him and win the glory of popularity. However, what he comes to find out is that the current prankster at school is anonymous. They do their pranks just for the results, instead of for the recognition.

Miles’s new school has had a long line of principals from the same family. It is a tradition that is passed on from father to son and they are very proud of running a tight ship. They already know of Miles’s past at his previous schools and have their eyes set on him and him alone when things go crazy.

Eventually, the two pranksters, after playing pranks on each other, decide to call a truce, and Miles begins to get schooled in the precise ways to play the best pranks while making a friend and cohort along the way. From cars on staircases to fake parties and rubber chickens, The Terrible Two shows us some very elaborate and hilarious pranks; along with illustrations and guidelines, we learn that to be a perfect prankster is an art, not a hobby.

I found the story to be very funny and reminiscent of Roald Dahl. It entertaining and fun with some lessons to be learned I recommend this book for the kids out there who like outrageous comedy and quirky story telling.

Hardcover, 218 pages

Published January 13th 2015 by Amulet Books (first published January 1st 2015)

ISBN

1419714910 (ISBN13: 9781419714917)

 


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