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Saved by a horseman…

If you’re a horsey person, “The Horseman” by Charlotte Nash may make you cry. The story is set in Australia somewhere near Wonnangatta National Park and revolves around a young woman named Dr Peta Woodward, who suffers great loss within her family. She feels she needs to ‘get away’ from everything to sort herself out, so sets out on a solo walking trip through the Aussie high-country.

Peta enjoys the sense of freedom from a demanding profession and enjoys the quiet until she injures herself.  She is rescued by a high-country horseman. During her recovery, Peta finds herself drawn into small-town life with all its intrigues, and activities. She also finds herself drawn to her rescuer, but is unable to decide what to do about it. 

You need to read it to find out what happens to the horse.


In Flanders Field…

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

between the crosses, row on row

that mark our place; and in the sky

the larks, still bravely singing, fly

scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

loved and were loved, and now we lie

in Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

to you from failing hands we throw

the torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

we shall not sleep, though poppies grow

in Flanders fields.

–  John McCrae

Review: I am Pilgrim

pilgrim‘I am pilgrim’, the debut by Australian author Terry Hayes got a lot of good press when it came out. I heard about it on the radio and it seemed like just the kind of book I like. My first comment is it’s long, 700 pages. That might be a bit daunting for some but not impossible. What is a little more daunting is the length of background and build up in the book.

There are two stories kinda running parallel throughout the first two sections of the book, they come together sort of at the end, but I really didn’t get a feel for this book or love it. I finished the story and went meh ok, done, but I’m not sure if I would bother to read another. Now obviously if you read online reviews for this book I am in a minority but that’s OK, I don’t mind that.

There is talk that the book will be made into a film in 2017 and I suspect it will make a great film (depending on who they get to play Pilgrim, is Tom Cruise available?). However, despite the hype, if you’ve read other books in this genre I think you might be a little disappointed by Pilgrim’s story. Then again, maybe not.



Undercover in an ice cream factory. What could go wrong?

I like fast paced books  such as ‘Turbo twenty-three’ by Janet Evanovich, but I think I’ve said before that they are very cookie-cutter, and I’m beginning to feel that the character Stephanie Plum needs to make a decision about her life and the two men in it. I realise that this would change the whole dynamic of the books but it’s been 23 books Ms Evanovich, surely by now she could be a bit more organised, clued in and generally ready to face her life and the choices she really does need to make. I would like to see the storyline or character move on.

These stories are fun and easy to read. I like the characters. I would have Ranger in a New York minute, commitment issues or not, and  I suspect I will keep reading them just to see how they pan out and how Ms Evanovich manages the aging of the characters, but to be honest if you’ve read one of these books they are all very similar and I think, in time, I will begin to resent the fact that the characters don’t seem to move on, grow up or mature in either their behaviour or lifestyle.

Fun, light reading if you want an hour or two of time-out.


My mum is a serial killer…

“Good me, bad me” by Ali Land is what I call a cross-over novel, suitable for both teens and adults.   The main character is fifteen-year-old Annie, who is now in witness protection with the new name of Milly. Why?  Because she dobbed her mum into the police – her mum, the serial killer of nine little children.  Milly’s father left years ago, and her older brother got himself taken into care to get away from their Mum, but she was left behind, alone at the age of five  – and abused, manipulated, tortured and groomed ever since. 

The father of the foster family she’s placed with is a psychologist, assigned to help prepare to testify at the court case.  He thinks she is wracked by survivor’s guilt, and she is – after all, she didn’t tell on her mum for ten years, and then only because her mother had horrendous plans for her sweet sixteenth.  And also, the last murder victim was someone she knew.  But it’s not just that – there’s much more involved.

Pheobe, her foster-sister, is a jealous bully, who is determined to make Milly’s stay with them a misery – and temporary.  And although Pheobe initially comes across as mean and spiteful, by the end, one can’t help but feel just a little sorry for her.  Because Milly is beautiful, smart and cunning and Pheobe really doesn’t know who she’s dealing with.  Milly has had a very good tutor, after all….

This book initially seemed quite simple, however the character development is fantastic and it really drew me in. The author leaves trails of clues, which keep you wanting to read long into the night. That said, I have to admit that I did suspect the ending a chapter or two beforehand.  But there was still enough doubt to keep me reading on. I can see this on the big screen one day, and I could imagine a sequel – Milly in a 10 years would be a very interesting character indeed.  Those of you who like family drama, suspense fiction, or real-life stories, will probably love it as much as I did.




Tall, dark and silent?

silent-manI am always looking for a new author – someone to keep me on the edge of my seat while entertaining me. Alex Berenson has good reviews and this book ‘The Silent Man’, was OK. It’s the third in a series and unfortunately, we do not have the first two books although if I was really hooked I could probably order the previous two through the interloan option at the library. It’s an easy read, but I felt a little disjointed coming into a series on the third book and I think I missed a lot of relevant information regarding the characters.

The hero is a little dark. He seems to have rebounded from being on the ‘wrong’ side of the law regarding terrorism and the mind-set of the ‘baddies’. I think he may grow as the story advances and this makes me want to keep reading. This particular story involved a believable storyline and the simplicity of the wrong people getting hold of weapons that could end civilisation. Especially now, I can believe that the fanatics of any religion could cause maximum damage with a few lucky breaks so it’s not so farfetched as some thrillers. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series, mainly to see the growth of the main character.



Some like it Scot…

The Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon, consists of eight novels – it has been around for a number of years and was originally called Cross Stitch. I started reading it last year, and can’t believe that I have not read it sooner! Where have I been all this time!!

Be warned – these books are hefty reads – not for the faint-hearted on so many levels –  rich with history, politics, war and no shortage of steamy love  scenes that would put ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ to shame!  The reading is not easy going – for me, personally, there were some tedious parts (war and politics)- but these are interwoven with an often racing plot full of twists and turns and completely un-put-down-able.

The absolute immersion in the history I found so absorbing.  And throw in the fact that the central character, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser (called Sassenach by her highlander soul mate Jamie Fraser) is a time traveller – makes for an absolute rollicking read!  I just want to go home and throw myself under the covers and never get up until I have reached the end of Claire and Jamie’s fascinating life.

The novels go back and forth in time – from 1940s Inverness, Scotland to 1740 Inverness, at the first stirrings of the Jacobite rebellion.  Over to France, back to Scotland –  and then forward to 1940s Scotland and  1960s America – THEN back to 1770 Scotland and across the water  to Colonial America, at the beginnings of the War of Independence.. Phew!  I have learned so much , and have so much left to go – I LOVE this series so far ( am currently reading An Echo in the Bone, book 7).  And to top it off, it is now out on DVD –  so I am making my way through the DVD series  as well – which is available to borrow through Tararua District Library.

So, come on, I dare you! If you haven’t discovered the Outlander series, and love a good dose of history/romance/action/war/fantasy, you will love this I guarantee!  But don’t expect to find these books sitting idly on the shelves, this series is so popular, that you often will need to reserve it.  Diana Gabaldon hasn’t finished yet – she is currently researching and writing her 9th novel “Don’t tell the bees that I’m gone”.  No word yet on publication, her books generally take 2-3 years to write.. ohhh.. the anticipation!


What socks really think…

“Odd socks” by Michelle Robinson, is a picture book about Suki and Sosh, a pair of blue stripey socks. They live a happy life in the sock drawer, enjoy being worn on a nice pair of little feet, and have adventures like going down a slide, riding a scooter, and stomping around the beach. They even manage to stay together through the washing!

But one day, Sosh notices that his sock wife Suki has a little hole in her toe. Big Bob, the nasty winter sock, scares them with tales of socks going in the trash, and Sosh swears he will never part from Suki. But next day she has disappeared, so Sosh goes on a quest around the house to find her. What does he find? The family dog is running about with something blue in his mouth … is it Suki, or not?

This is a delightful story, with lovely illustrations. There is a touch of humour and whimsy, but also tension and adventure as Sosh tries to find Suki.  They do end up happily ever after, so you won’t get any upset children at the end, and it also teaches lessons about perseverance, friendship and how change can be a good thing.


April School Holidays 2017 : “Animate it”

Each Term 1 school holidays, we run a free digital literacy programme for young people, and this year it’s  Animate it using OGIBILD creative construction toys to create a stop-motion animated movie! The programme is available at all four of our libraries, for school students aged 8 to 18 years.

Numbers are limited so you must register. If demand is great, more sessions may be added, on the same dates (e.g. all Dannevirke sessions will be on 18/19 April), while the equipment is still at that location.

REGISTRATIONS ARE OPEN, so visit, email or phone your local library to book a place now.  Contact details

Session times (one per child):

Dannevirke Library     18 or 19 April   9:30am – 11am

Woodville Library       20 or 21 April   2:00pm – 3:30pm

Pahiatua Library         24 or 26 April   1:30pm – 3:00pm

Eketahuna Library       27 or 28 April   11:00pm – 12:30pm

Book sale – April 2017

As always, fresh stock will be added as space allows, so remember to keep visiting.  See you in April!

Pizza time! Hell Reading Challenge 2017


Hell Pizza is excited to again support the HELL Reading Challenge.


Hell Pizza wants to reward New Zealand children who read so four years ago, they came up with the idea ‘read for pizza’. What could be better?  Children complete a pizza wheel by reading 7 books, then go to any Hell Pizza store and redeem the wheel for a free pizza.  It’s that simple!

The Challenge runs from now until 1st December 2017.


How it works:

Each cardboard pizza wheel has 7 slices. Each slice represents 1 library book read.  When you’ve finished reading a library book, bring the book and your wheel to the librarian* – she will sign off your wheel.  Once you’ve completed an entire pizza wheel, you can begin a new pizza wheel if you want to – there is no limit to the number of wheels you can complete.

*Except if you’re doing this as part of Winter Warmers



What are the rules?

  1. The Hell Reading Challenge is open to students Years 1-8 (primary) including home schooled.
  2. Children participating must have their own library card*
  3. If a student loses their wheel, they must begin again from the 1st slice.
  4. Limited to one completed slice per week (that is, only one book a week will be signed off)

*During our Winter Warmers programme in June/July, any students participating with their school classes do not need to be library members. Pizza wheels will be awarded to students who complete seven out of ten Winter Warmers book reports.

How to redeem your completed pizza voucher:

  • Each pizza wheel is good for one 333 kids’ pizza from any HELL store nationwide.
  • Each wheel must be clicked off and signed by a librarian and stamped with an official library stamp.
  • The child must redeem their wheel in person, in-store only.  One pizza per visit per child.
  • Offer expires 3 December 2017.
  • Wheels are non-transferrable for money.
  • HELL stores have the right to refuse this offer in cases of suspected fraud.

Kids!  Come along to one of our branches now to collect your pizza wheel, and start reading!

Create a handmade journal!

arne-carlos‘Make your own idea book : create handmade art journals and bound keepsakes to store inspiration and memories’ by Arnie and Carlos is a great book, which I recommend to all crafters. It has wonderful illustrations, is well set out and has a huge number of ideas using recycled materials, paper, corrugated card, colour and fabric, to name but a few.

What I enjoyed most was the step-by-step illustrations. This is its greatest asset and would be ideal for those of us who are more visual creators. For those of you who do not use your sewing machines quite so much anymore, here is a new use for it.



Move over, Jack Reacher…

orphanA friend of mine recommended ‘Orphan X’ by Gregg Herwitz, and boy, am I glad she did. Evan Smoak, the main character is a masterpiece. Trained as an orphan to be an assassin, he now seeks redemption for his past by doing good deeds for those in need. He is complex, damaged and very, very likeable.

I am a Jack Reacher fan, but this book is even better than some of Lee Child’s early books. It is fast paced and very twisty with a good cliff hanger at the end to make you want to read the next one in the series, ‘The Nowhere Man’.  A great “new” author for me that I will look forward to reading again.


Other review


Surviving at the school gate…

For those who have noticed the kind of books I read this may seem a bit of a step away from my normal genre choice but I am trying to stretch my horizons and try something new, in the book department at least!

school-gate‘The school gate survival guide’ by Kerry Fisher is definitely a summer read, nice and easy but with a good storyline and likeable characters. So engaging in fact that I actually missed my TV program and carried on reading. Maia is a great character, struggling as many families do, to give her children the best she can. She has a worthless boyfriend and not much chance of altering her circumstances until a surprise inheritance changes the course of her life for the better.

The support characters are great although I did get a little bit lost with the peripheral ones who only get a slight mention.  That might reflect that in this book all the yuppie mummies are very similar. For a light, feel good novel this certainly ticks all the boxes. If you’re going away for a few days this is undoubtedly a good book to take with you unless, like me, you get so involved you miss out on doing anything else and finish it in an evening. It’s also available in large print which – these days – is definitely a bonus.




What’s on for kids & teens : March 2017

Little Ears is a regular event we hold in three of our four libraries.  All under five-year-olds and their caregivers are welcome.  Shortly we are hosting a puppet show also (as below.

Our other regular event at Dannevirke Library only, is YOLO Book Club for 8-12 year olds. We are hoping to start a Teen Book Club soon too, so any teens interested, please come to the next YOLO meeting and a special day/time for the new club will be decided then – or send a message to