23 July 2018

The complete book of Heraldry

This informative book looks not only at the medieval world in which heraldry thrived, but also at its language, the elaborate system of coded messages it conveyed, and its inextricable link with chivalry. 

Featuring more than 700 illustrations, it also covers both the larger aspects of heraldry and everyday heraldic uses, and contains a comprehensive glossary. The international uses of heraldry and the way different countries have interpreted it are also included. Most of Europe and the Americas are covered as well as Scandinavia, Africa and Japan. 

Novices and experts alike will benefit from the breadth of the content of this masterly history

19 July 2018

How to be champion

Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican's debut book How To Be Champion delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life's blips - like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce. 

If you've ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny's, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is YOUR BOOK. 

If you haven't done those things but wish you had, THIS IS YOUR BOOK. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, THIS IS YOUR BOOK.

18 July 2018

In a world where magic has disappeared...

When a young farm girl, Livia, demonstrates magical powers for the first time in a century there are many across the land that will kill to obtain her power. 

The Duke of Gothelm's tallymen, the blood-soaked Qeltine Brotherhood, and cynical mercenary Josten Cade: all are searching for Livia and the power she wields. 

But Livia finds that guardians can come from the most unlikely places... and that the old gods are returning to a world they abandoned. 

Book one in the War of Archons series

17 July 2018

Maria's over the weekend reads

Over the weekend I indulged in a mug of Chai Latte (or 2) and relaxed with these two cosy mysteries.

I never used to like cosy mysteries but honestly if you're after a little suspense with some humour thrown in plus a little romance these are really good!

There is no blood, throat slitting, bullet to the head style of murders which makes a nice change:)

The books revolve around Bailey King who returns to a small town in Ohio taking a break from her job as an assistant  to a famous chocolatier in New York. Her Grandfather is not well and she wants to help them in their Amish sweets store.  Bailey has a habit of finding dead bodies and of being a suspect in both deaths and she cannot help herself in 'assisting' the local deputy sheriff in clearing her own name. There is some not so nice people in both books including some the Amish, which is refreshing change from other Amish books where the Amish are depicted as being darn near perfect.

There are some very quirky characters in the book including a cute polka dot spotted pig and it's a nice relaxing read for a wet day or two:)

16 July 2018

2 lovely new picture books

We know you shouldn't take your dragon to the library, but what about taking him out to dinner? After all, dragons need to eat too! But with firey breath, flapping wings, and pointy spikes, that might not be a good idea!

 Rhyming text and diverse characters bring the importance of dinner manners to a new level in this colorful picture book by Julie Gassman.

Will you come for a walk with me? Join two squirrels on their journey, as they explore the whimsical woodland, babbling brooks and more in this rhyming story.

Beautiful illustrations and a sweet story.

13 July 2018

Violence comes in many forms..

The Pritchards had never been worth a damn--an evil, greedy family who made their living dealing drugs and committing mayhem. Years ago, Colson's late uncle had put the clan's patriarch in prison, but now he's getting out, with revenge, power, and family business on his mind. To make matters worse, a shady trucking firm with possible ties to the Gulf Coast syndicate has moved into Tibbehah, and they have their own methods of intimidation.

With his longtime deputy Lillie Virgil now working up in Memphis, Quinn Colson finds himself having to fall back on some brand-new deputies to help him out, but with Old West-style violence breaking out, and his own wedding on the horizon, this is without doubt Colson's most trying times as sheriff. Cracks are opening up all over the county, and shadowy figures are crawling out through them - and they're all heading directly for him.

About the author: Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including The Fallen and Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies.

One of the best crime writers working today, Ace has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times, twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Outside and Garden & Gun.

He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

12 July 2018

3 x new cookbooks!

70 easy, tasty and healthy breakfast recipes to start the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - which is why it is vital to start your morning with all the nutrients you need to perform at your best.

These 70 delicious and easy-to-cook recipes, from hot bowls of delicious porridge to bircher-style fruit-packed bowls, will improve your digestion, boost your immune system and power you through the day. 

Looking for breakfasts that are healthy and satisfying? Start your day the powerful way!

Morocco is one of the top destinations in the world. This beautiful North African country lies on the border of Europe and the rest of the Arab world, drawing people in with its colourful souks, vibrant landscapes, cheerful hospitality and, most importantly, the food. Casablanca is the exciting debut from Moroccan chef Nargisse Benkabbou. 

This book features recipes for simple and satisfying dishes such as Artichoke, baby potato & preserved lemon tagine, Sticky ras el hanout & peach short ribs and Buttermilk chicken kebabs .  Also featured are tasty western classics with a unique Moroccan twist: try your hand at Orange blossom, beetroot & goats' cheese galette, Roasted almond & rainbow couscous stuffed poussin and Moroccan mint tea infused chocolate pots .

Nargisse breathes new life into Moroccan cuisine, blending that authentic Moroccan spirit and the contemporary to create accessible recipes for the everyday.

This superb volume brings together the rich and varied ingredients, culinary customs and traditional recipes of the Emerald Isle. 

A collection of over 150 step-by-step dishes captures the heart and soul of Irish cooking, with chapters on breakfasts, soups, first courses, fish and shellfish, meat, poultry and game, salads and vegetable dishes, desserts, bread, cakes and bakes, preserves and drinks. Dishes include Smoked Salmon with Warm Potato Cakes, Dublin Bay Prawns in Garlic Butter, Irish Stew, Michaelmas Goose with Apple Stuffing, and Porter Cake. 

This is the perfect cookbook for anyone who wants to visit Ireland through its robust and intriguing cuisine. 

11 July 2018

This week Maria listened to:

I had a love/hate relationship listening to this while travelling and at first didn't think I could get past the first disc.

However, the story gently pulls you in and right when you think you might give up, you find in fact, that you cannot because the odd little mysteries keep occurring. The main character made me want to shake her and that kept me listening because I was wanting her to grow a spine and shout at someone and just had to wait for that moment!

The miniaturist turns out to be a woman and that character drove me just as crazy as it did Nella who at 18 years old is married off to a man nearly twice her age who seems to have no interest in her at all, spends all his time at work and gifts her a strange replica of his house as a wedding gift and expects her to furnish it.  That is where the eerie mystery starts to happen, a lot of it centred around Nellas sister-in-law Marin, a seemingly bossy and cold woman who has her own secrets to hide.  Even the two staff they have don't act like staff and are instead drawn up into the tangled web the house seems to weave.  Nella engages the miniaturist to create things for her wedding gift yet the strange woman seems to know far too much about Nella's new home and family and indeed far more about the future than is allowed in those times.

The female characters in the book are the very strong considering the story is set in seventeenth century Amsterdam where religion was oppressive and men ruled the country, the church, the wealth and the family. The book also made me want to do a little research about the period in history that it is set in.  It's an odd listen but one I just couldn't turn off.

06 July 2018

A tiny snail and a great big whale

"How I long to sail!" said the tiny snail.One little snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on the tail of an enormous whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world.

But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it's the tiny snail's big plan that saves the day. The Snail and the Whale is a delightful tale of adventure and friendship by the unparalleled picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo. 

https://ils.stdc.govt.nz/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=179479The Snail and the Whale 15th Anniversary Edition features the classic story alongside never-before-seen drawings from Axel Scheffler's sketchbook, a letter from Julia Donaldson, and a shiny foil cover.

05 July 2018

If you like John Le Carre

From the refugee camps of Greece to the mountains of Macedonia, a thirteen-year-old boy is making his way to Germany and to safety. Codenamed "Firefly," he holds vital intelligence: unparalleled insight into a vicious ISIS terror cell, and details of their plans. But the terrorists are hot on his trail, determined he won't live to pass on the information. 
When MI6 become aware of Firefly and what he knows, the race is on to find him. Luc Samson, ex-MI6 agent and now private eye, finds himself recruited to the cause. Fluent in Arabic thanks to his Lebanese heritage and himself the product of an earlier era of violent civil war, Samson's job is to find Firefly, win his trust, and get him to safety. A devastatingly timely thriller following the refugee trail from Syria to Europe, Firefly is a sophisticated, breathtaking race against time.

04 July 2018

'Better to light a candle'

Synonymous with conflict and humanitarian aid, the mandate of the International Red Cross (ICRC) is to protect the wounded victims of war, civilians, prisoners and refugees alike.

In Memoirs of a Red Cross Doctor, Frank Ryding recounts the missions he undertook with the Red Cross during a career spanning 35 years. Having worked as a doctor in many of the world's war zones and natural disasters - from the 'killing field' era of Cambodia, to Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Pakistan and Sudan - his is an account of observation and also personal experience, contrasting the serious, the terrifying, the heart-rending and the heartwarming.It is also the story of the victims who suffer the consequences of war and disaster. 

It shows both their courage and that of the aid agencies sent to help them. As Frank recalls from some Somali graffiti: ''It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness."

02 July 2018

When the mountains roared

A vivid, warm and atmospheric adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers, perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell.

I thought we'd live here forever ... but then, I thought Mum would be here forever too.

When Ruby's dad uproots her from Australia to set up a hotel in the mountains of India, Ruby is devastated. Not only are they living in a run-down building in the middle of the wilderness surrounded by scorpions, bears and leopards, but Ruby is sure that India will never truly feel like home - not without her mum there.

Ever since her mum died, Ruby has been afraid. Of cars. Of the dark. Of going to sleep and never waking up. But then the last remaining leopards of the mountain are threatened and everything changes. Ruby vows to do all she can to protect them - if she can only overcome her fears...

29 June 2018

Ko Flite te Tirairaka - Te Rereenga i He

Iporoteke, i taka, i he katoa te rere tuatahitanga a Flit.

Engari, kei ona hoa, tetahi whakaaro ngaio!
Ka taea ano e ratau a Flit te whakahoki ake ki te kohanga?

Ko te tuhinga tuatahi tenei o tetahi rarangitanga hou, rarangitanga ataahua, kua tuhia mai e tenei, te kaituhi o te pukapuka, Kuwi, the Kiwi.

He pukapuka hira, he pukapuka i tae ki te taumata tuatahi, e ai ki nga whakatau o nga kaihokohoko.

28 June 2018

This week Maria read...

This week my favourite read is Jane Seymour: the haunted queen  by Alison Weir.  I like Alison Weir as an author and she is a good historian that writes both fiction and non fiction.  This book is part of the Six Tudor Queens series.

One thing I particularly notice since reading the book before this one is that Alison Weir does not appear to be a fan of Anne Boleyn whereas I am, so sometimes I get a bit miffed at her portrayal of Anne both in this book and in Anne Boleyn: a king's obsession.  In saying that I also enjoy that she is less fluffy on the subject of Henry VIII, (with whom I have a love/hate relationship) and his wives.  Her books do ring with more realism about Tudor England in that era and she doesn't create Henry's wives to be perfect or blameless.

Jane Seymour is portrayed as a shy girl who dreamed of being a nun,  and then is pushed in the direction of Henry as Anne's flame begins to wane.  She is troubled by the events that surround her and haunted by the fate of her predecessors and Henry's desire for children.

Alison Weir gallantly grew the character and didn't have Jane as a plain shy female her entire short life as other authors often have.  After all,  in order to survive in the Tudor Court and be married to Henry you would have to have courage and survival skills!  All in all a good read.

And who is this Maria person anyway?

Maria is the Opunake and Manaia Branch Librarian. 

27 June 2018

Someone is living a lie... but who?

Is it Lisa?
Haunted by a tragic past, all Lisa wants is a quiet life with her daughter, Ava. And when she meets a new man, things seem to be falling into place. But Lisa is hiding a secret so momentous it could shatter her entire world...

Is it Ava?
When sixteen-year-old Ava saves a young boy's life, she becomes a local hero. But never in a million years could she have anticipated the fallout of her actions...

Is it Marilyn?
Marilyn has the perfect life. Her husband, her job, her house-she seems to have it all. But she could never admit to her best friend Lisa the lies she tells herself to get through the day...

One moment will change these three women's lives forever. And the secrets they've been keeping could destroy them all.

26 June 2018

Brain Lab for Kids

Riding a bicycle, learning a new language, catching a ball, reading a book: these activities and everything else we see, hear, feel, and do are made possible by the soft, whitish-pink substance inside our heads called the brain.

And yet, we take for granted many of the amazing things our brain does for us. And so, Brain Lab for Kids offers 52 family-friendly activities, science experiments, and models to help us understand how the brain accomplishes all that it does.


Each lab in this book is divided into several sections. After the title of each lab, the approximate time it will take to do the experiment is listed. The "Methods" section provides a step-by-step guide of the procedures and materials you will need to complete the lab. The science behind an experiment is explained in the "What's Going On" section. "Brain Facts" are interesting, fun, and perhaps surprising bits of trivia related to each lab. Finally, "Thinking Deeper" has suggestions that you can use to take each lab further.

The expanding field of brain science, also called neuroscience, offers the opportunity for all of us to learn about ourselves and others, and how we can better communicate, motivate, inspire and just plain collaborate together.

25 June 2018

The Blood Road - reviewed by Sue


Book 11 in the Logan McRae detective series. 

Challenging is what comes to mind when reading Stuart Macbride’s latest novel Blood Road. In a previous book in the series, our police hero Logan McRae discovered evidence of a child pedophile ring called the Livestock Market. 

Blood Road delves into the Livestock Market and the attempts of one parent to retrieve their stolen child from a life of sexual slavery. 

The normal team come together to search for the children and given the subject matter are less inept and disorganised than in earlier books. 

This book isn’t for the faint hearted. The imagery and subject is disturbingly real.

22 June 2018

Is being a librarian the job for you?

Have you ever thought about working in libraries? 

If the job appeals to you because “it’s nice and quiet, and you can read all the books” I’d suggest it’s not the right place for you. If you care about community, love information in all forms, accept that humanity is diverse, and love connecting with people, read on…

Many library staff have no formal qualifications but it is easier to get a role, and you have better long-term prospects, with a suitable qualification. The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand offer Diploma and Bachelor level qualifications in Library and Information Studies.  Victoria University offers the Master of Information Studies for those who already have a degree. Te Wananga o Raukawa offers a Diploma and Bachelor of Information Management. Increasingly, many libraries are also looking for staff with education, marketing or specialist qualifications such as history or web technology.

People tend to think of public or school libraries, but there are many other types of library such as tertiary libraries (polytechnic, university, wananga etc), and many hospitals and DHBs have their own library. Then there are specialist libraries such as government agencies, large law or accounting firms, and NGOs (non-governmental organisations).  Thinking beyond our shores, there are amazing libraries such as at the World Bank, the Vatican, within large science institutions or museums, or for royal families. Being a librarian can literally take you anywhere in the world.

If you’d like to know more about librarianship as a profession email cath.sheard@stdc.govt.nz or ring me and make a time to come in and chat.

Cath S

21 June 2018

Harlen Coben has written a picture book!

Have you ever noticed how magical your family fridge is?
Neither has Walden...until now. Suddenly he finds himself transported into one of his own drawings on the fridge as he begins an unforgettable adventure.

He'll battle a crayon monster, catch an airplane ride into an old photo, escape a troop of monkeys and much more. All of the items displayed there have come alive to bring him a new understanding of his big, busy family.

You'll love studying the dynamic, detailed illustrations in this zany, surprise-filled journey that culminates in a heartfelt appreciation of those closest to us.

20 June 2018

Do library staff read all the new books?

What do you do?
Oh, I’m a librarian.
Is that a real job? I mean, don’t people Google everything now? Well, it must be nice to read all day.


I saw this exchange on Twitter recently and laughed, but it made me think about how much of our work is unseen. Anyone who uses the library regularly can see we issue, return and shelve books, do displays, help people with using the public computers and work with children during Tot times and book clubs. But there’s much more that goes on. I thought I’d talk a bit about what we do behind the scenes. 

In order to have books on the shelves we need to keep up to date with book and author news, meet with reps, browse book-related websites, then order the books and add them to the catalogue so borrowers can reserve their read before the book even hits our shelves. Once the book arrives we add more details to the record on the catalogue so people can find it by title, author, illustrator, subject and so on. Once that’s done it gets sent out to the branches for processing; this is when we label and cover it to protect it. How much covering a book gets depends on what it is and how long we need it to last.

We work with schools, playcentres, Kura and Kohanga Reo, encouraging them to visit the library, and visiting them to read with the children, and promote the library and programmes we run such as Summer Reading. We also bring in touring authors and storytellers, to encourage a love of reading. We run book clubs, coding clubs, Lego sessions, school holiday programmes, and more for our younger members, and a wide variety of events and programmes for adults. 

Some of our staff specialize in particular areas, such as keeping up with technology so we can offer it to the public. Others are great at social media, so update the blog, FaceBook, Pinterest etc, because it’s good for us to connect with people wherever they are. Some love eBooks and eAudio, so are our ‘go to’ people when someone is having trouble with eTechnology. 

And that’s aside from the ‘Plus’ part of our roles. The ‘Plus’ refers to Council work such as dog registrations, accepting rates payments, cemetery bookings and enquiries, looking up property files, and much more. 

Many of our staff have formal qualifications, and some are currently studying towards their Library & Information qualifications, while some senior staff are actively involved in the wider profession.

Eltham/Kaponga Branch Librarian Lis Marrow is just completing a 2-year term as Regional Councilor with LIANZA (Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa), a role Opunake/Manaia Branch Librarian Maria Brewerton has recently been elected to.

District Children’s Librarian Pam Jones has held a number of national roles, mainly around the Children’s Book Awards. 

Libraries and Cultural Services Manager Cath Sheard is Chair of the LIANZA Professional Registration Board, ex officio on LIANZA Council, and is currently on two national working groups. South Taranaki staff involvement at this level means rural libraries have a voice at the table when decisions are being made which impact on us all.

So, do we sit at our desks and read all the latest and best books before you get to them? No, sadly, we tend to be at the bottom of the list, looking on longingly as people take the latest James Patterson home! That’s said, it’s a great profession and one we love being part of.