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Elf on the Shelf 2021 : winners

This year, all of our libraries were infested by an elf! They were very mischievous so we asked our library patrons to help find where they’d got to, every day. Those adventures were reported on our Facebook page. Those that found the elf were entered into a prize draw, which we drew on 23 December. Our winners each received a little gift voucher or toy.

The Woodville winner is Lawson Hale (not pictured).

Dannevirke winner: Warwick Clayton
Eketahuna winner: Kate Skeet
Pahiatua winner: Brodie Aitken

Christmas Arts and Crafts Competition 2021 : Winners

The winning age group winners for Tararua District each received a $25 ‘The Warehouse’ voucher. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Overall entries

  • Adult: Mandy Sutherland from Pahiatua.
A Christmas diorama by Mandy Sutherland
  • Under 4 years :Saedee Rautu-Bristowe from Dannevirke
A Christmas ornament by Saedee Rautu-Bristowe
  • Age 5 – 8 years: Natalia Paterson from Dannevirke
A Christmas tree by Natalia Paterson
  • Age 9-12 years: Ellah Rautu-Bristowe from Dannevirke
A Christmas house by Ellah Rautu-Bristowe

2021 Christmas Colouring Competition : Winners

The children all received a book prize, and the adult a $10 ‘The Warehouse’ voucher.

Under 4: Samuel McRae (Pahiatua)

5-8: Isla Sims (Pahiatua)

9-12: Ruby Blyth (Dannevirke)

Adult: Mandy Sutherland (Pahiatua)

Summer holiday STEAM programme 2021

S.T.E.A.M. Into Summer holiday programme is for school aged students.

It runs for 5 weeks over the summer holidays with a break between 25 December 2021 and the libraries re-opening on 10 January 2022.  Registrations open Monday 13 December. Just come along to sign up and collect your booklet & supplies!

Week 1                 13 – 17 December           Theme – Science

Week 2                 20 – 23 December           Theme – Technology

Week 3                 10 – 14 January              Theme – Engineering

Week 4                 17-21 January                 Theme – Arts

Week 5                 24 – 28 January               Theme – Maths

There are 5 challenge cards. Bring (or email a photo) of your completed challenge to your library to earn a sticker for your card and your name will be entered in that week’s prize draw.

If you complete all 5 challenges, your name will be entered in the Grand Prize Draw. Winner’s name is drawn after the programme has finished.

If you complete any bonus activity cards you will be given an extra entry into that week’s prize draw.

Christmas 2021 : Competitions!

The craft can be anything as long as it’s made out of paper.

The artwork can be any medium.

Review: Providence (2020) by Max Barry

I enjoy science fiction novels that are different to anything I’ve read before, and this one fits the bill for me. 

It’s set in the future, when mankind has conquered space travel.  First contact occurred seven years ago – but unfortunately, it was with a species humans have named “salamanders” and the first thing they did, was kill everyone. Humans being humans, that was it. War.  Salamanders must die!  Scientists and engineers created a new kind of spaceship, the Providence class, run entirely by artificial intelligence (AI).  This AI is so advanced that it learns after every interaction with anything or anyone. It can respond to the threat of salamanders far quicker than humans can. There really is no reason for it to be manned at all – except, back on Earth, they need sound bites and really good clips to persuade the population that the war is worth fighting, and is being won – and therefore worth funding the Providence ships.

Salamanders appear to live on hives that float around in space. They have different roles – warrior, breeder, etc – and it is assumed they have a home planet where the ruler lives.  They also seem to have a hive mind – what one salamander knows, they all know! Their most impressive weapon is the huk – they can spit dense matter that goes straight through whatever is in the way. People, spaceships, possibly even planets…

Jackson is the Captain, Anders is Weapons, Talia is Life (or keeping the crew sane), and Gilly is Intel.  They ‘man stations’ when they engage the enemy, but it’s really just monitoring the ship.  And making sure they don’t get boarded, because then the AI won’t be able to help them.

After two years, they are sent into the deepest reaches where the greatest concentration of salamanders are. Everything is going OK, until one of the crew freaks out completely, which results in the Captain choosing to put the AI offline.  Unfortunately, moments after, they are attacked by thousands of salamanders. And all systems are offline…

I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say it doesn’t stop there. In fact, the ending is the most exciting and interesting part of the story.  It’s not a space opera, but you like science fiction, or action stories, I do recommend this.

by Natalie Raynel

Review: Ghost Species (2020) by James Bradley

Kate Larkin is a leading expert in genetic engineering. Shortly after she loses her unborn baby in a late miscarriage, she is offered the chance to join a team being funded by a billionaire, who has determined the only way to save Earth’s climate is to try and revert to a previous era. He has built many facilities and employed hundreds of people in his efforts to de-extinct megafauna from the past, such as mammoths and auroch. They will keep the forest from encroaching onto the tundra, and keep the permafrost from melting, he thinks.  But he also thinks humans need a check – after all, it’s homo sapiens that have driven more species extinct than anything else.  So Kate will be growing an embryo – a Neanderthal embryo.

When little Eve is born, from a surrogate, it’s not long before Kate is hopelessly in love with the baby. One night, she kidnaps her and spends the next two years hiding away in Australia. But it turns out that she wasn’t as hidden as she thought…

Midway through the book, suddenly there’s a fast-forward of about 8 years.  Now Eve is a teenager, sentient, intelligent, vocal but obviously different. She has, more or less, been sheltered and hidden from the world.  But the efforts to save the planet and reverse the climate damage have failed, and the end of civilization has begun.  Home sapiens are not coping too well, but Eve has an advantage…

This novel took me two and a half hours to read, from cover to cover, in one sitting. I could not stop reading.  It was a bit disconcerting with the switch from Kate and the science lab, to jump ahead with Eve becoming the lead character eight years later. Almost like two different stories really, but it hung together enough to make sense, although I would have preferred a bit of a gentler curve through the years – it almost seemed as if the author found certain things too hard so just skipped that bit!  I found it quite compelling, and an unusual plot. Recommended if you like dystopian, adventure or apocalyptic stories.

by Natalie Raynel

A Neanderthal child modelled using imaging software developed by scientists from the University of Zurich

Review : In a Holidaze (2020) by Christina Lauren

This wonderful romantic romp is like a mixture of the movies ‘Groundhog Day’ and ‘Happy Death Day’!  24-year-old Maelyn Jones is enjoying the last day of a week long Christmas holiday with her parents, brother, and her parents friends and their adult children.  Unfortunately, the previous night, she’d had too much eggnog and ended up making out with Theo who she doesn’t even like in that way. The next morning, Theo won’t even meet her eye or talk to her, and worse yet, his older brother, twenty-nine year old Andrew, saw them – but it’s Andrew that she’s had a crush on forever.  Things could hardly get worse until the drive to the airport on 26th December, when they are totaled by a lorry – and next minute, she’s waking up on the airplane on 20th December – six days in the past!

Of course, she freaks out. As you would. She doesn’t even last a day before the universe steps in and, once again, she is waking up on the plane…

The next time, she makes it two days before she has to re-start.

The third time, she is determined not to go through that again, so she throws caution to the wind and starts to live authentically. First thing she does is flirt madly with Andrew while she works up the courage to tell him how she feels about him – straight away, before anything else can go wrong.  Once that is out of the way, things go very very well – for a little while. But then the universe steps in again.  Maelyn has a short window to try and fix things, otherwise she’s going to have to start over, AGAIN!

I’m not one for romances or chiclit, normally. But the festive cover and cheeky title caught my attention.  It was a quick read – only a few hours – but it was nice.  Warm-hearted with enough of a plotline to keep me interested. Just the ticket for a Christmas or summer holiday read.

by Natalie Raynel

See Christina Lauren books in our catalogue

Author Christina Lauren (right)

PressReader – how to access

There are two methods to access this online digital newspaper and magazine database (free, for our members).

The FIRST METHOD (access via website)Go to tararua,kotui.org.nz , log in using your library membership number and password, then go to Online Resources Page, click on the Pressreader link, and you’re in.

This keeps your access going for 48 hours then you’d have to repeat the process. Probably most useful for people using a PC or a tablet perhaps.

The SECOND METHOD (access via app)Using the ‘Tararua District Library’ app – probably easiest for smart phones and tablets.  However, it’s easy to do it wrong and end up being asked to pay to access, rather than using our free subscription, so these are step-by-step instructions.

Download the Tararua District Library app, if you haven’t already, from your playstore or appstore. Set yourself up on the app with your library membership number and password. (If you don’t know your password, scroll to the bottom of this page to see help)

In the app, click on Online Resources

Click on PressReader

The first screen is this landing page. *It is important that at NO STAGE choose the open in app at the bottom of the screen, as that bypasses logging in so there is no access to the library subscription.

(If log in is bypassed, PressReader offers complimentary access for 7 days before having to pay – but that is not what we want.)

Touch the little head icon along the top bar.

  • That will take you to the Welcome screen.  Again, do not click on the green ‘open in app’ at the bottom. Touch Library or Group.

In the “search libraries and groups” type in Tararua

Now touch where it says “Tararua District Library”

Now the final screen allows you to log in using your library card number and PIN/password.  Tick the permission box.

Once this is done, it connects to the library’s subscription and stays connected for 29 days before you have to redo this.

NOTE: from September 2021, the publisher Stuff Ltd has elected to only allow access to their newspapers through PressReader if you are IN THE LIBRARY and using either a library computer or the library wifi. Titles affected are: 

Sunday Star Times; Sunday News; Southland Times; Waikato Times ; Dominion Post ; The Press ; Nelson Mail; Timaru Herald ; Manawatu Standard ; Taranaki Daily News ; Marlborough Express.

Review: Sibanda and the Rainbird (2015) by C.M. Elliott

A debut book that packs a punch!  Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will love this, I think, plus anyone who particularly enjoys mysteries or stories set in Africa. 

Detective Inspector Jabulani Sibanda, and his trusty sidekick, Sergeant Ncube, must solve a gruesome murder. The body of a man has been found in a Game Park in Zimbabwe, severely scavenged by animals. The autopsy shows that the man was actually murdered, and furthermore, body parts removed (there is a roaring trade for ground up human body parts).  Fortunately, a witness saw the murderer’s vehicle, which is a rare colour so there aren’t many to track down. Unfortunately, one of them belongs to the Governor.

Travelling around the dusty savannah in Miss Daisy, the temperamental police land rover, Sibanda and Ncube encounter baffling twists at every turn. Plus, another murder, which seems to be connected somehow.

The characters in this novel are quite delightful.  Sibanda is the clever, bush and bird-loving,  fit, handsome and energetic batchelor. Ncube is the car-loving, overweight, married husband and father, who knows how to interpret both Miss Daisy and Sibanda’s eccentricities.

As a detective novel, I really enjoyed the plotline. It was certainly not predictable. There were touches of comedy and romance throughout.

The first in the Sibanda series, this is followed by ‘Sibanda and the Black Sparrowhawk’ and ‘Sibanda and the Death’s Head moth’. See C.M. Elliott books in our catalogue

by Natalie

Review : Crimson Phoenix (2021) by John Gilstrap

Set in the indeterminate future, Victoria (Vicky) Emerson is a US Congresswoman, single mother and prepper. She’s raised her three sons, Adam, Caleb and Luke, to also be preppers – to the extent that they have regular practice and drills. If something awful happens, at least her family will be safe!

One evening there is a thunderous knock on the door. Major Joseph (Joe) McCrea and his team are there to escort Vicky to a place of safety – Crimson Phoenix is in effect. That code means that the US is expecting imminent nuclear war. It seems that the incompetent President has agreed to back Israel when it shortly launches a first strike against Iran.

Spirited away to the Annex, to her dismay, only she will be admitted. Her sons cannot enter. She resigns on the spot. The Major has no choice but to continue fulfilling his orders to protect her, as together they race from the Annex to try and reach Vicky’s son, Adam, 200 miles away. Unfortunately, before they can get far, bright flashes illuminate the sky. Something has gone terribly wrong, and someone else has initiated that first strike…

As bombs rain down, Adam and his girlfriend are shocked. They are camping in the woods, and have a birdseye view of the many detonations far away. Where can they go? Both of their military academies have been destroyed. They’re on their own in a world where it has quickly become every man, woman and child for themselves.

Meanwhile, Vicky’s group has taken shelter in an abandoned coal mine, and escaped the 8 hour war. Without transport, it’s going to be a very long trek to find Adam. Along the way, they reach the small town of Ortho, where the townsfolk are in complete disarray. Vicky’s natural authority asserts itself and she steps in to organize them, while her group take a few days to rest. But there are threats in the woods around them … hillbillies that want what the town has. Maybe that nuclear war won’t be the only one…

This action novel is the first in the new Victoria Emerson Thriller series. I simply cannot wait for the next instalment, ‘Blue Fire’ due for publication in 2022. See John Gilstrap titles here.

by Natalie Raynel

Author John Gilstrap

Review: Last One at the Party (2021) by Bethany Clift

It’s late 2023 and a new virus has unleashed on the human race. Labelled 6DM, short for six days maximum – that is the length of time you’ve got from the first symptoms of a cold to dying a horrible painful death. There is no cure. The Governments of the world have tried to close borders but it’s too late. All they can do is offer their citizens free poison to end their lives less painfully.

But not everyone dies. One woman survives, alone, in London. Her husband and parents and all her friends are dead. But she is seemingly immune.

In a desperate attempt to find some other humans, she takes off to Scotland, and along the way rescues her new companion, confidante and protector, Lucky, a Golden Retriever.

Eventually she ends up in an eco-home in the countryside, near a river. A place she once visited, where the lack of power and water can be overcome, and she can start growing food. However, sheer loneliness is driving her to consider ending herself.  But then, a miracle occurs, so she persists.

This novel is an exploration of what the end of civilization might be like ; the story of a woman’s life and the blossoming of becoming her true self ; and also a gripping end-of-world tale.

I couldn’t stop reading, as she lurched from one crisis to the next. If you like adventure, dystopia or even realistic fiction (drama), I recommend this debut novel to you. See Bethany Clift books in our catalogue.

by Natalie Raynel

13th Annual TDL Children’s Book Awards Quiz :2021

The winners of our kids quiz this year are the GJ’s (Ruahine School). Congratulations!

The Ruahine GJs. From left Jade Johnston, Jodi Boustead, Gemma Barrow & Georgie Hogan

Ruahine last won in 2016, and took the trophy from reigning 2020 champs, Pahiatua School.

All questions, as usual, were based on the finalists for the NZ Children’s Book Awards. However, like last year, we had to hold the quiz via Zoom because of Covid restrictions.

The trophy and prize will be award to the GJ’s in Term 4. Well done to everyone who participated.

The scores:

School holidays October 2021 : Escape Room for Kids!

A programme for school children of all ages!

Collect ‘escape room’ puzzles from your local library during the school holidays, bring the completed puzzle/s back for checking, and earn the code to unlock the padlock to a small prize!

ONE PRIZE PER VISIT (e.g. return one, get one prize; return three at the same time, get one prize)

Just ask for a Math’s Escape Pack, for your School Year (e.g. Year 4) at the desk.

Review: The Hidden Wife (2020) by Joanna Rees

Set in the 1920s, this is the second in the Stitch in Time series – the first being “The Runaway Daughter”.

After escaping London, Vita Casey ends up in Paris working as a dresser at a cabaret hall. She longs to resurrect her dream of designing lingerie and grasps an opportunity to work for a local fashion house.

Vita is exposed to a different clientele at the fashion house than that of the cabaret nightlife, and soon finds herself in love and married to a rich American.

However, the life Vita was running away from in England catches up with her, and she finds herself in all sorts of trouble. She is loved, hated and betrayed more than once.

This is an absorbing tale highlighting the struggles women had in the early 20th century. Independence was definitely frowned upon but in the aftermath of WWI, the roles of women were slowly being redefined.

Highly recommended. See Joanna Rees titles in our catalogue.

by Nikki Price.

NOTE: the third title, ‘The Sister Returns’ is due for publication in 2022.