15 January 2019

My body, my business: New Zealand workers in an era of change reviewed by Cath

Eleven current or former Kiwi sex worker talk openly about their lives in and out of the industry, including activist Dame Catherine Healy. 

Based on oral histories by Caren Wilton, this 2018 book includes the stories of female, male and transgender works from the 1960s to today.

Prostitution was decriminalized in New Zealand in 2003 and we remain the only country to have done so. This is an engaging read, told in the workers own voices.

10 January 2019

Recipes from tree to table

From the first ripe cherries in early summer to the smoky autumnal flavours of quince and medlar, The Orchard Cook contains over 80 sweet and savoury recipes. 

Classics are rediscovered here - fruit pies, tarte tatin, membrillo - as well as the more unusual - oysters with apple mignonette, Georgian sour plum sauce and pear juice-soused mackerel. 

Pickles, jams and chutneys are essential in using up surplus produce, and recipes for drinks and smoking foods using apple, pear and cherry wood help to build up a plentiful and self-sufficient larder for the thrifty cook

09 January 2019

Could you live your entire life online? - reviewed by Cath

Justine Ezarik, aka iJustine, is a lifecaster whose whole life is online. 

A one-minute video about her 300 page iPhone bill (yes, seriously) gained more than 3 million views and attracted international attention. At the time of writing the book she had 3.5 million subscribers across multiple channels.

In iJustine: an analog memoir the author talks about life online, with hilarious and heartbreaking stories about life online. This book is a fascinating insight into the power of social media, and the cost of connectivity. Justine delivers a strong message about the power of doing what you love and the importance of creativity.

04 January 2019

Twenty years ago...

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Page and Scott Ashby were murdered, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime but, decades later, questions still linger. 

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood friends. Hoping to uncover new evidence, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don't want the case reopened, especially Charlie's mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands. 

When another body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career in jeopardy, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy.


31 December 2018

Early one summer morning

https://ils.stdc.govt.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=184857Early one summer morning Isabel and her eleven-year-old daughter River walk across Regent's Park. They come across a rain-soaked man sitting alone on a bench and ask him if he's okay. But he doesn't know. In fact he doesn't know the answer to any of their questions; not even his own name. Urged on by her daughter Isabel takes the man to the hospital she works at, hoping that will be the end of it. But when the tests show there's nothing physically wrong with him, and yet he still can't remember who he is, she realises she can't walk away. Isabel made a promise to River that they would help this man, but with no way to identify him Isabel begins to worry about what he past secrets his memory loss might be hiding. Can they trust him?

28 December 2018



Within a year of arriving at an American airbase in Suffolk, the loving, law-abiding Delaney family is destroyed. Did they know something they weren't allowed to know? Did they find something they weren't supposed to find? 

Hedy is the only one left standing, a rebellious girl cast adrift in a world of post-war anxiety - a girl who has the courage to question what really went on behind military closed doors. Hedy's journey to the truth leads her to read a manuscript that her talented twin brother had started months before he died, a story inspired by an experience in the forest surrounding the airbase perimeter. 

Only through deciding to finish what her brother started does Hedy begin to piece together what happened to her family. But would she have continued if she'd known then what she knows now? Sometimes, it's safer not to finish what you've started...

27 December 2018

On an icy morning...

... a mother wakes to find her daughter's blood-soaked body frozen to the road. Who would carry out such a killing on the victim's doorstep? 

Straight off her last harrowing case, Detective Erika Foster is feeling fragile but determined to lead the investigation. As she sets to work, she finds reports of assaults in the same quiet South London suburb where the woman was killed. 

One chilling detail links them to the murder victim - they were all attacked by a figure in black wearing a gas mask. Erika is on the hunt for a killer with a terrifying calling card. The case gets more complicated when she uncovers a tangled web of secrets surrounding the death of a beautiful young woman.

Yet just as Erika begins to piece the clues together, she is forced to confront painful memories of her past. Erika must dig deep, stay focused, and find the killer. Only this time, one of her own is in terrible danger.

24 December 2018

Somewhere in the Washington, D.C. area...

...a woman lies helpless in a box. Barely breathing. Buried alive. 

In Quantico, the FBI receives a coded message from the woman?s abductor. He wants to play a game- decipher the clues, save the girl. The FBI's top cryptanalysts crack the code and Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, scramble to the scene of the crime-too late. 

But the killer's game is far from over . . .Another message, another victim. The deadly pattern is repeated-again and again. As the body count mounts, Meg decides to break protocol and bring in her brilliant sister, Cara, a genius at word games, to decipher the kidnapper's twisted clues. 

Meg knows she's risking her career to do it, but she's determined not to let one more person die under her and Hawk's watch. If the plan fails, it could bite them in the end. And if it leads to the killer, it could bury them forever . . .

21 December 2018

The incredible under-water world of William Trubridge

A memoir of an aquatic affinity, the power of the subconscious mind and testing the limits of human physiology. New Zealander William Trubridge has reached depths never thought possible on the precipice of low oxygen.  In a sport where failure usually means blacking out, it is a freediver's daily life to contend with suffocation, narcosis, hallucinations, lactic acidosis, compressed lungs, and immense water-column pressure - all while diving into depths of ink black ocean. 

Exquisitely written, Oxygen is a mind-altering and immersive coming-of-age story about a boy who grew up on a sailing boat, with the sea his classroom and playground. It is about fighting the trappings of life on land, and pushing the limits of human physiology, to become the world's greatest freediver.

20 December 2018

Satire meets slasher

Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.  "Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede's practicality is the sisters' saving grace.

She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her "missing" boyfriend.

Not that she gets any credit. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they're perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice.

When he asks Korede for Ayoola's phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it. Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that's as fun as it is frightening

19 December 2018

West Berlin, October 1979

Helen Abell is a young American, employed by the CIA to oversee a number of safe houses . She arrives in Berlin, expecting excitement and intrigue, and is disappointed to find the city a Cold War backwater. But one night, during a routine house inspection, she stumbles upon two dark but very different secrets .  If made public, they could damage the careers of high-ranking people with powerful ambitions. But Helen decides that the price of silence might be costlier still , so she covertly works to reveal the truth even as she risks her career . 

Maryland, August 2014. In a small farming town, a young man called Willard Shoat gets up one night and shoots his parents while they are sleeping . His sister Anna hires a private investigator to help her understand her brother's motives. As they delve into the events leading up to her parents' deaths, Anna uncovers some startling secrets from her mother's past...

18 December 2018

London, 1936

Inside the spectacular ballroom of the exclusive Buckingham Hotel the rich and powerful, politicians, film stars, even royalty, rub shoulders with Raymond de Guise and his troupe of talented dancers from all around the world, who must enchant them, captivate them, and sweep away their cares. Accustomed to waltzing with the highest of society, Raymond knows a secret from his past could threaten all he holds dear.

Nancy Nettleton, new chambermaid at the Buckingham, finds hotel life a struggle after leaving her small hometown. She dreams of joining the dancers on the Grand Ballroom floor as she watches, unseen, from behind plush curtains and discreet doors. She soon discovers everyone at the Buckingham - guests and staff alike - has something to hide...The storm clouds of war are gathering, and beneath the glitz and glamour of the ballroom lurks an irresistible world of scandal and secrets.

14 December 2018

Maria reviews Arcadia by Di Morrissey

Lately I am enjoying fiction that goes back and forth between different eras with a mystery and the discovery. Di Morrissey has excelled with Arcadia.

The story centres around Sally and Jessica who were firm childhood friends running wild and exploring all over Sally's parents huge farm named Arcadia. One particular place they would hide and have fun was a remote cave.  Fast foward to 2018 and the adult friends are reunited and naturally explore their childhood ending up in the cave.  There they find a box, with documents, pictures and letter relating to Sally's grandmother Stella.

Stella was a wife, mother and artist in the 1930's married to and older man who was a well respected doctor working during the polio epedemic.

Stella often wanders the woods sketching and drawing so that she can create wonderful paintings that will remain at Arcadia for her descendants to enjoy. A strange happening one night when she stays out too late, a mysterious owl and a horrific sketch laid at her doorstep all have a bearing on the future.  A future investigated by Sally and Jessica - a future with a threat.

I found myself carried away on the journey with Sally and Jessica as they delve into the past with only documents and a map to go by - then the mysterious phone calls start and a voice tells Sally "I know where you are..."   This is a fast paced read, a book you don't want to put down and Di Morrissey creates the landscape and bushland of Tasmania perfectly in words.

13 December 2018

Unrelentingly disturbing

When a recklessly idealistic girl in a dystopian future society dares to test the perimeters of her tightly controlled world, she is punished by being sent back in time to a region of North America - 'Wainscotia, Wisconsin' - that existed eighty years before. Cast adrift in time in this idyllic Midwestern town, she is set upon a course of 'rehabilitation' - but she falls in love with a fellow exile and starts to question the constraints of her new existence, with results that are both devastating and liberating.

Arresting and visionary, Hazards of Time Travel is an exquisitely wrought love story, a novel of harrowing discovery - and an oblique but powerful response to our current political climate.

12 December 2018

Who needed to kill her - and why?

Who has murdered a beautiful married woman found naked, strangled and tied to her bed? Who's been taking pictures of her? Who's been watching her? Who needed to kill her - and why?


When Detective Inspector Temple starts to investigate the life of his victim, it's not the straightforward Cat C 'domestic murder' he's been passed. Written off by a boss who's relegated him to the back office, he knows he has to find her killer, and fast, but he's got trouble of his own. He's on the wrong side of the law trying to protect himself and his family when a dangerous criminal with a vendetta is released from prison.

When things go wrong, losing his job is the least of his problems. As Temple's murder investigation continues, he uncovers a tangled web of deceit, betrayal and blackmail, which leads him to a depraved undercover world existing in the shadows of society, where only Temple can find the killer.

As Temple's personal and professional lives are caught in tight the grip of the past that won't let him go, the fallout continues to reverberate through his life and threatens to unravel everything he holds dear.

11 December 2018

3D printers today and in our future.

You may have noticed that our libraries have had 3D printers for quite a while. They are fabulous little machines that make all sorts of cute things like jewellery, cartoon characters, animals and insects, Harry Potter chess pieces and so on.  They can also make useful things like measuring cups, jugs, lemon squeezers, kitchen implements.  If you are a Sci-fi fan you will find a myriad of objects from Star Trek, Star Wars and other TV and movies series. The list is endless.  We’ve been known to print the Eiffel tower, a replacement part for a toilet roll holder and even a train track part for a child’s toy!  The children have fun creating bits and pieces during our maker-space sessions and holiday programmes.  Who knows where this could lead?

Actually we do know where it is leading.  Amazing things have been created using these creative big and little devices.  For example a 31-year-old Melbourne woman has been fitted with a 3D printed jaw and new teeth in a world first reconstruction. Anelia Myburgh's face was left disfigured after surgeons removed a life-threatening cancer where she lost 80 per cent of her top jaw.  A customised 3D printed jaw was developed featuring a titanium frame that could carry bone grafts, allowing teeth to be implanted.  Read the full story here: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/world/melbourne-woman-fitted-3d-printed-jaw-and-new-teeth-in-world-first-reconstruction.  

3D printing is being used for medical and enhancements purposes (artificial limbs for example).  This is known as 3D bio-printing.  In 2017 in an amazing development for the world of 3D printing and bio-printing, a human rib cage was been replaced by a porous printed replica in New York. The rib cage was printed using Australian technology and is only the second successful implant in history.  Read more about this here: https://careerswithstem.com.au/bioprinting-our-bones/  There are studies being undertaken in the field of Urology with a view to being able to replace organs such as kidneys and artificial limbs have already been introduced.

So while our children might be starting with fun 3D prints there are promising careers for the future in 3D printing fields we have yet to imagine.

10 December 2018

April 13 1861

https://ils.stdc.govt.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=181117Rebel troops are across the Potomac River, only 800 feet from the White House and President Lincoln--but a murderer is even closer . . .

With the Confederate Army firing on Fort Sumter, the Civil War has begun--and an invasion of Washington, DC, from Secessionist Virginia seems imminent. As the population evacuates, the President is in desperate need of men to defend the capital.

Lincoln's trusted aide, Adam Speed Quinn, and Quinn's old friend from the Bloody Kansas conflict, Senator Jim Lane, hastily assemble a motley crew of just over a hundred men and garrison them in the East Room at the White House. Dubbed the Frontier Guard, these rough-and-tumble patriots steel themselves for the inevitable attack.

But even as dawn breaks with no Rebel strike, a single act of violence intrudes within the White House. One of the Frontier Guard lies dead in the oval library, throat slit ear to ear. There is a murderer among them.

Lincoln promptly assigns Quinn to deal with the matter, who is in turn aided by journalist Sophie Gates and Dr. George Hilton. And to Quinn's chagrin, the Southern belle Constance Lemagne insists on being involved in the investigation as well. But when Dr. Hilton examines the body, he makes a startling discovery that overturns all Quinn's assumptions about the murder. With his president at grave risk from without and within, Quinn must act quickly to catch the White House killer . . .

07 December 2018


There is no harbinger of spring like a field or garden filled with bright yellow daffodils. But the world of the daffodil is much more than just its place in the march of the seasons.

It's a plant whose history starts with the tombs of the Pharaohs, through pre-Darwin evolutionary theory and Cornwall's burgeoning bulb business, and leads to the current explosion of varieties from plant breeders seeking new colors, fragrances, and forms.

Daffodil reveals a global plant infatuation that has led to more than 25,000 cultivars available in nearly every shade of yellow (and now pink, orange, and white).

Noel Kingsbury tells the tale through an engaging narrative history and plant portraits that highlight more than 200 varieties. Jo Whitworth's revealing photography shows a side of the daffodil rarely seen. Plant lovers will relish the stories and gardeners will cherish the cultivation notes, plant descriptions, and recommendations.

06 December 2018

In a house of ghosts, the living await their certain fate ...

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden.

Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die. For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one.