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  • Competition, New Zealand, Rachel

    Speed Freak winner!

    16.07.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Speed Freak winner!

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAnd the winner of our Speed Freak competition is Gemma! Congratulations! We’ll be in touch shortly to organise where you would like to collect your prize from.

    We still have one book to give away, I guess we’ll have to find another method of giving it away… Stay tuned!


  • Competition, New Zealand, Rachel

    Speed Freak giveaway!

    27.06.14 | Permalink | 2 Comments

    We have TWO copies of Speed Freak by Fleur Beale to give away! Speed Freak was a finalist in the Young Adult category of the NZ Post Children’s (and YA) Book Awards (the winners have only just been announced – check them out here) and it has been highly praised by many readers, critics and otherwise. Tierney Reardon says “it is exactly the sort of book you might expect from award-winning author Fleur Beale; captivating, honest, and completely unique.”

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFifteen-year-old Archie Barrington is a top kart driver, aiming to win the Challenge series and its ultimate prize of racing in Europe. He loves the speed, the roar of the engine, the tactics and the thrill of racing to the limits. Craig is his main rival, and there’s also Silver, who drives likes she’s got a demon inside. Archie knows he’ll need all his skill and focus to win. But sometimes, too, you need plain old luck. Can Archie overcome the odds and win? (library catalogue)

    All YOU need to do to be in the draw to win is to comment on this post and tell us what your favourite Fleur Beale book is and why! You must enter before 5pm on Friday 11th July to be in the draw – that’s two weeks from today! If you win, you must also be able to collect your prize from your choice of one of our Wellington City Libraries branches.

    We must also say a HUGE thank you to Random House NZ for providing us with these books to give away to you!


  • Books, Great Reads, New Zealand, Rachel

    NZ Post Children’s (and YA) Book Award WINNERS!

    25.06.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on NZ Post Children’s (and YA) Book Award WINNERS!

    Well that crept up on us – the winners of the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards have just been announced! The overall winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the year prize went to The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka! The Boring Book also won its category of Best Picture Book.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe winner of the young adult category was Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox! I know we have a number of Elizabeth Knox fans among our readers – hurrah!

    “Mortal Fire is an incredibly well-written and engaging book. The story is like a jigsaw that slowly slots together and leaves the reader satisfied but haunted by the events and the characters. It is a book that operates on a supernatural, fantastical level, while still containing the core young adult material about finding out who you are,” says Barbara Else.

    The other winners were Dunger by Joy Cowley (Junior Fiction), The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Non-fiction), A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman (Best Debut) and The Three Bears…Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Children’s Choice). We have all of the winners in our collection – click on the links above to reserve them!


  • Books, dystopia, Fantasy, GLBT, Horror, New Zealand, Nicola, Non-fiction, Sci Fi, Science!, Space: The Final Frontier

    New fiction and non-fiction

    19.06.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New fiction and non-fiction

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTin Star, Cecil Castellucci (233 pages)On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist’s leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula’s desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind. (Goodreads)

    First lines: There are few things colder than the blackness of space. But lying here, I couldn’t imagine anything colder than the Human heart that left me half-concious at tne entrance to Docking Bay 12.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBetween two worlds, Katherine Kirkpatrick (261 pages)On the treeless shores of Itta, Greenland, as far north as humans can settle, sixteen-year-old Inuit Billy Bah spots a ship far out among the icebergs on the bay–a sight both welcome and feared. Explorers have already left their indelible mark on her land and its people, and a ship full of white men can mean trouble.
    The ship carries provisions for Robert E. Peary, who is making an expedition to the North Pole. As a child, Billy Bah spent a year in America with Peary’s family. When her parents went to America years later, they died in a tragic scandal. Now, Peary’s wife, daughter, and crew are in Itta to bring him supplies. Winter comes on fast, and when the ship gets caught in the ice, Billy Bah sets out to find Peary. The journey will imperil her life, and that of the man she loves.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I climbed toward the sky, my fingers curling around the cold rocks, thousands of shrieking birds around me. Just under my feet the sheer red cliffs dropped to the water. Though it was summer, it was still cold and the wind felt fresh.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe edge of the water, Elizabeth George (387 pages) A mysterious girl who won’t speak; a coal black seal named Nera that returns to the same place very year; a bitter feud of unknown origin—strange things are happening on Whidbey Island, and Becca King, is drawn into the maelstrom of events. But Becca, first met in The Edge of Nowhere, has her own secrets to hide. Still on the run from her criminal stepfather, Becca is living in a secret location. Even Derric, the Ugandan orphan with whom Becca shares a close, romantic relationship, can’t be allowed to know her whereabouts.As secrets of past and present are revealed, Becca becomes aware of her growing paranormal powers, and events build to a shocking climax anticipated by no one.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I was two years old when I came to my parenrs, but the only memories I have before the memories of them are like dreams. I’m carried. There’s water nearby. I’m cold. Some runs with me in his arms. My head is pressed so hard to his shoulder that it hurts every time he takes a step.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe museum of intangible things, Wendy Wunder (292 pages)Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them. As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity, insouciance, karma, and even happiness.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I am a freshwater girl. I live on the lake, and in New Jersey, that’s rare. The girls on the other side of town have swimming pools, and the girls in the south have the seashore. Other girls are dry, breezy, salty and bleached. I, on the other hand, am grounded, heavy and wet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe shadow prince (Into the Dark, Book 1), Bree Despain (481 pages)Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.
    Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong. Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.(Goodreads)

    First lines: I did the unforgivable the day my mother died, and for that I’ve been punished every moment of my life.  He’s too weakminded. Impulsive. He’s too much like her. He’s too human.

    Book courtesy of SyndeticsStolen songbird, Danielle Jensen (469 pages) For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity. But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader. As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.(Goodreads)

    First lines: My voice rose an octave, resonating through the Goshawk’s Hollow marketplace, drowning out the bleating sheep and the hammer of the blacksmith down the way. Dozens of familiar faces abandoned their business, expressions unoform in their nervousness as they anticipated the note I had dreaded daily for the past month. She liked an audience for my failures.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTaken, David Massey (279 pages)A young crew of five are toughing it out together, sailing around the world on a gruelling charity challenge. They are used to being pushed to the limit, but nothing could have prepared them for being kidnapped. When they are taken hostage by a notorious warlord and his band of child soldiers, the trip of a lifetime turns into a one-way journey into the heart of the African jungle. When hope is all you have, survival is all you can fight for…(Goodreads)

    First lines: My rucksack thuds on to the wooden pontoon and all the stress of getting here falls away with it. I feel light and dizzy, like I’ve just ditched the last thing that anchored me to reality.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStorm, Donna Jo Napoli (343 pages)The rain starts suddenly, hard and fast. After days of downpour, her family lost, Sebah takes shelter in a tree, eating pine cones and the raw meat of animals that float by. With each passing day, her companion, a boy named Aban, grows weaker. When their tree is struck by lightning, Sebah is tempted just to die in the flames rather than succumb to a slow, watery death. Instead, she and Aban build a raft. What they find on the stormy seas is beyond imagining: a gigantic ark. But Sebah does not know what she’ll find on board, and Aban is too weak to leave their raft.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Each row has exactly as many pods as my fingers-ten. And there are exactly as many rows as my fingers on one hand. Five. I’ve laid them out on the ground perfectly. It’s my job to tie precisely fifty bean pods into the cloth because I’m good at numbers, better than my parents.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDust of eden, Mariko Nagai (121 pages)In December 1941, thirteen year-old Mina Masako Tagawa and her Japanese-American family are sent from their home in Seattle to an internment camp in Idaho. What do you do when your home country treats you like an enemy? (Goodreads)

    First lines: We held our breath for three years. We did not have anything to call our own except for the allowed number of bags: two. Te did not have anything except for a rose garden my grandfather made from hard earth and spit. We lived behind a barbed wire fence under a stark blue sky that could break your heart (as it did break my grandfather’s.)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBreaking butterflies, M. Anjelais (257 pages)Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal–but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.(Goodreads)

    First lines: When my mother was a little girl, she walked out to the playground by herself every day after school. I can picture it easily; photos of her as a child are almost indistinguishable from photos of me when I was little.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsReturning to shore, Corinne Demas (196 pages)Her mother’s third marriage is only hours old when all hope for Clare’s fifteenth summer fades. Before she knows it, Clare is whisked away to some ancient cottage on a tiny marsh island on Cape Cod to spend the summer with her father – a man she hasn’t seen since she was three. Clare’s biological father barely talks, and when he does, he obsesses about endangered turtles. The first teenager Clare meets on the Cape confirms that her father is known as the town crazy person. But there’s something undeniably magical about the marsh and the islanda connection to Clares past that runs deeper than memory. Even her father’s beloved turtles hold unexpected surprises. As Clare’s father begins to reveal more about himself and his own struggle, Clare’s summer becomes less of an exile and more of a return home.(Goodreads)

    First lines: The white balloons were released from behind the pirvet hedge at the exact moment the Clare’s mother kissed her new husband. Clare watched the balloons rise. They were snatched by an errant wind and blown stage left, free now, and undisciplined.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAwakening, Natalie King (272 pages)
    When Zelie Taylor pulls a lost necklace out of the icy waters of the lake, she has no idea what the consequences will be. At first the pendant is just freezing cold – unnaturally so – but then she hears a voice inside her head and Zelie thinks she must be going mad. She’s not. Seventeen-year-old Tamas’ soul has been trapped in the silver necklace since 1918. His body is nearby, sleeping, and Zelie must help him awaken.
    At first Zelie would like nothing better than for Tamas’ moody, enigmatic presence to be out of her life, but after a while she isn’t so sure. And what is waiting for Tamas when he does emerge? It seems that the sinister force that trapped him all those years ago has returned and is growing more powerful.(Goodreads)

    First lines: Of all the emotions, guilt leaves the greatest mark. While fear and happiness can fade, guilt remains as heavy and harsh as the day it arrived. Zelie Taylor’s guilt weighed heavy, so when Kate Hearn asked, she couldn’t say no.

    Book cover courtesy of SYndeticsThe true adventures of Nicolo Zen (271 pages)Nicolo Zen is all alone in 1700s Venice, save for his clarinet, which a mysterious magician had enchanted, allowing its first player to perform expertly. Soon Nicolo is a famous virtuoso, wealthy beyond his dreams, but he can’t stop wondering if he earned the success himself — or what might happen if the spell were removed. And throughout it all, he continues to think about the girl he met in Venice, what she might be doing and if she’s safe from harm. (Goodreads)

    First lines: When the Master auditioned us, we were told not to speak. Luca, his assistant, a heavyset man in a black coat, handed each of us a page of sheet music, from the first moment of the Master’s latest concerto. “Just play this,” said said gruffly, pulling his black beard,” first in D major, then in B-flat minor.”

    Book Cover courtesy of SyndeticsGuy in real life, Steve Brezenoff (386 pages)It is Labor Day weekend in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
    But they don’t.
    This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play-at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends-and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all. (Goodreads)

    First lines: “This is not my life.”
    Everything is spinning on the curb in front of Vic B’s bar. I shouldn’t have been drinking. I knew that beforehand. I knew that as I drank. I know that now, sitting on said curb, with my head on my knees and a puddle of chunky vom next to my feet.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDrama Queens in the house, Julie Williams (426 pages)Sixteen-year-old Jessie Jasper Lewis doesn’t remember a time in her life when she wasn’t surrounded by method actors, bright spotlights, and feather boas. Her parents started the Jumble Players Theater together, and theater is the glue that holds her crazy family together. But when she discovers that her father’s cheating on her mother with a man, Jessie feels like her world is toppling over. And on top of everything else, she has to deal with a delusional aunt who is predicting the end of the world. Jessie certainly doesn’t feel ready to be center stage in the production that is her family. But where does she belong in all of this chaos? (Goodreads)

    First lines: The theater is lit up like an opening night gala celebrating the first show of a new season. It’s graduation night, the second Thursday in June, and this gala is all about me. JESSIE JASPER LEWIS…my name on the marquee in lights.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Archived, Victoria Schwab (321 pages)Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.
    Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive. Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The Narrows remind me of August nights in the South. They remind me of old rocks and places where the light can’t reach. They remind me of smoke – the stale, settled kind – and of storms and damp earth. Most of all, Da, they remind me of you.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDon’t look back, Jennifer L. Armentrout (369 pages) Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.
    Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it’s one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took “mean girl” to a whole new level, and it’s clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She’s getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she’s falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash. But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn’t just buried deep inside of Sam’s memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive? (Goodreads)

    First lines: I didn’t recognise the name on the street sign. Nothing about the rural road looked familiar or friendly. Tall, imposing trees and overgrown weeks choked the front of the dilapidated home. Windows were boarded up/ There was a gaping hole where the front door had been. I shivered, wanting to be far away from here…wherever here was.

    Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Hello, groin
    Beth Goobie (272 pages)When Dylan Kowolski agrees to create a display for her high school library, she has no idea of the trouble it’s going to cause–for the school principal, her family, her boyfriend Cam and his jock friends, and her best friend Jocelyn. And for Dylan herself. If only her English class had been studying a normal, run-of-the-mill, mundane book like Lord of the Flies instead of Foxfire things wouldn’t have gotten so twisted. Then the world wouldn’t have gone into such a massive funk. And then Dylan wouldn’t have had to face her deepest fear and the way she was letting it run her life. (Goodreads)

    First lines: We were coming around a bend in the road just before the Dundurn Street bridge. I was double-riding my best friend, Jocelyn Hersch, on my bikem and we were running late, Difedenbaker Collegiate’s last warning bell about to sound. So I was tearing along with my head down, pretty much oblivious to the local scenery, when Joc tightened her grip on my waist and let out a yelp that could have raised the dead.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDeadfall, Chris Ryan (338 pages)Zak Darke is sent on what seems like a straightforward surveillance op in South Africa but it soon turns into the toughest, most dangerous mission he has ever faced. An old enemy has teamed up with a terrifying gang of child soldiers and Zak is caught in the middle. Having travelled to the heart of the African jungle, will he make it out alive …? (Goodreads)

    First lines:There has been a thin layer of frost on the ice-cold bottle of Coke. Beads of Condensation ran down the glass. Just like the bead of sweat that ran down the side of Zak’s face. This should be an easy op. Why, then, did he feel so on edge?

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDance of the dark heart, Julia Hearn (233 pages)Jack Orion is a tormented soul. His childhood companion, and one true love, has been cruelly snatched away from him and now nothing matters to him but being reunited with her.
    From the goatherd’s shack to the court of King Henry VIII, Jack will not be diverted from his path.And wherever he goes he plays his fiddle like a demon, while the demon in his head urges him on. But Jack is dangerous, and he has a dark heart. If you had the chance to dance with the devil . . . would you? (Goodreads)

    First lines: There had been omens. Bad ones. A blood-coloured ring around the moon. Crows on the woodpile, watching the shack. A tree that fell without being axed, keeling over in its prime, like a man with a curse on him. Old Scratch noted these occurances -the moon, the crows, the tree – but kept his own counsel. For one thing, he had no one to tell.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhen the tripods came, John Christopher (151 pages)Long ago, the Tripods–huge, three-legged machines–descended upon Earth and took control. Now people unquestioningly accept the Tripods’ power. They have no control over their thoughts or their lives. But for a brief time in each person’s life–in childhood–he is not a slave. For Will, his time of freedom is about to end–unless he can escape to the White Mountains, where the possibility of freedom still exists. The Tripods trilogy follows the adventures of Will and his cohorts, as they try to evade the Tripods and maintian their freedom and ultimately do battle against them. (Goodreads)

    First lines: An explosion of noise woke me. It sounded if a dozen express trains were about to hit the shed. I rolled over in my blanket, trying to get out of the way, and was aware of a blaze of orange, lighting up boxes and bits of old farm equipment and tackle. An ancient rusting tractor looked briefly like an overgrown insect.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear Killer, Katherine Ewell (359 pages)Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
    Rule Two—Be careful.
    Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
    Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
    Rule Five—The letters are the law.
    Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known. But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there. (Goodreads)

    First lines: Rule one. Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. That is the most important guideline, and the hardest one for most people to understand – but I have understood it my entire life, from the moment I laid my hands on that first victim’s neck to this very moment as I think about the blood under my fingernails and the body I have so recently left behind.

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Nethergrim, Matthew Jobin (356 pages) Everyone in Moorvale believes the legend: The brave knight Tristan and the famed wizard Vithric, in an epic battle decades ago, had defeated the evil Nethergrim and his minions. To this day, songs are sung and festivals held in the heroes’ honor. Yet now something dark has crept over the village. First animals disappear, their only remains a pile of bones licked clean. Then something worse: children disappear. The whispers begin quietly yet soon turn into a shout: The Nethergrim has returned! Edmund’s brother is one of the missing, and Edmund knows he must do something to save his life. But what? Though a student of magic, he struggles to cast even the simplest spell. Still, he and his friends swallow their fear and set out to battle an ancient evil whose powers none of them can imagine. They will need to come together–and work apart–in ways that will test every ounce of resolve. (Goodreads)

    First lines: The best horse I ever knew was a bay stallion with a white star on his face. Jis name was Juniper- a strange name for a steed of war, but that’s what he was called when he was born, and his rider never changed it.

    Non fiction:

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWomen in space, Karen Bush Gibson (206 pages)When Valentina Tereshkova blasted off aboard Vostok 6 on June 16, 1963, she became the first woman to rocket into space. It would be 19 years before another woman got a chance—cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1982—followed by American astronaut Sally Ride a year later. By breaking the stratospheric ceiling, these women forged a path for many female astronauts, cosmonauts, and mission specialists to follow. Women in Space profiles 23 pioneers, including Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the space shuttle; Peggy Whitson, who logged more than a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station; and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; as well as astronauts from Japan, Canada, Italy, South Korea, France, and more. Readers will also learn about the Mercury 13, American women selected by NASA in the late 1950s to train for spaceflight. Though they matched and sometimes surpassed their male counterparts in performance, they were ultimately denied the opportunity to head out to the launching pad. Their story, and the stories of the pilots, physicists, and doctors who followed them, demonstrate the vital role women have played in the quest for scientific understanding.(Goodreads)

    The smart girl’s guide to going vegetarian, Rachel Meltzer Warren (224 pages)What would you love. Love what you eat. No labels. No fuss. It’s not about what you call yourself–it’s about how you feel. Whether you’re going vegan, vegetarian, fish-only, chicken-only, or all veggies except grandma’s famous pigs-in-a-blanket, this book is your new best friend. Eating less meat can boost your energy, help you lose weight, and it’s better for the environment. If you’re looking to cut down on meat or cut it out completely, here you’ll find awesome advice and the answers you need to make it work for you.(Goodreads)

    Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBetty Cornell’s teen-age popularity guide, Betty Cornell (141 pages)Available again for a whole new generation of readers, the original 1950s popularity guide that was the inspiration for teen author Maya Van Wagenen’s memoir Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek! Filled with fun tips and vintage wisdom, Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide offers advice and guidance for teens who want to be poised, self-confident, and “shiny bright.” Betty covers topics ranging from “Figure Problems,” “Good Grooming,” and “What to Wear Where” to hints on dating, hosting a great party, and becoming “the most popular girl in your set!” (Goodreads)

    First lines: I believe in fate. Not everyone does, but after what I’ve experienced because of this book in your hands, I would be crazy not to. This book found my dad years before I was born. I can imagine it, sitting on a cluttered book-shelf at a thrift store, no dust jacket, just a faded, torn, blue cover and a spine that read the name in bold red letters: BETTY CORNELL’S TEEN-AGE POPULARITY GUIDE.


  • Librarian's Choice, Music, New Zealand, NZ Music Month, Rachel, Wellington

    NZMM video-fest!

    20.05.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on NZMM video-fest!

    We’re past the halfway mark through NZ Music Month now, so better make the most of it! Don’t forget we have Harriet and the Matches performing at Newtown library this Friday the 23rd of May, we’ll see you there at 7pm!

    In the mean time, have a dance party in your living room to these fab songs and videos from NZ artists!

    Here’s Lorde performing Tennis Court at the Billboard Music Awards the other day

    Settle Down by Kimbra

    Apple Pie Bed by Lawrence Arabia

    It’s Choade My Dear by Connan Mockasin

    Dominion Road by The Mutton Birds (an oldie but a goodie)

    40 Years by The Phoenix Foundation (this one’s directed by Taika Waititi who directed the movie Boy)

    And finally Just A Boy by Pikachunes

    This post was brought to you by Gina at Newtown library’s genius (Gina-us?) suggestions! With much enthusastic nodding and encouragement from myself.


  • Librarian's Choice, Music, New Zealand, NZ Music Month, Rachel, Wellington

    NZ music highlights

    13.05.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on NZ music highlights

    Hopefully you’re celebrating NZ Music Month with us by listening to more local artists! I thought I would highlight a few recent-ish NZ releases we have in our collection, with some help from very music-savvy fellow librarian Kim. Let us know what you agree or disagree with, and please leave us some of your favourite NZ artists in the comments!

    The Love Club EP by Lorde

    Dating earlier than her hit album Pure Heroine, The Love Club EP (first released for free on SoundCloud) contains the ubiquitous ‘Royals’ along with four other songs not on her full length album. ‘Bravado’, ‘Biting Down’, ‘Million Dollar Bills’ and ‘The Love Club’ are all excellent songs, and have a slightly different sound to Pure Heroine – perhaps a little cheekier? In any case, any Lorde fan needs to listen to this EP.

    Brightly Painted One by Tiny Ruins

    I saw Tiny Ruins a.k.a Hollie Fullbrook when she opened for Calexico last year and they were both excellent! Morphing from gentle and folky to classical-sounding with strings and looping back around again, Tiny Ruins keeps it interesting. She has been compared to Beth Gibbons from Portishead AND Nick Drake, so if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

    Goin’ Steady by Newtown Rocksteady (adult collection, costs $1)

    13-piece Newtown Rocksteady’s extended EP documents their musical progression over the last four years, representing and reinventing the 60s Jamaican vibe known as rocksteady. Rocksteady mixes together reggae, dub, ska and dancehall music, all perfect for a good boogie which they provided in droves at the Newtown and Womad festivals earlier this year. If you get the chance to see them live, do! They provide amazing entertainment and you’ll be blown away by their collective talent, not to mention their 5-piece horn section.

    Louis Baker by Louis Baker (adult collection, costs $1)

    Wellington local Louis Baker is sometimes mellow and completely soulful. His sound has been compared to Jeff Buckley – these are some amazing comparisons being made to our local talents! He’s very talented and grew up in Coromandel Street, Newtown. His self titled EP made it to number 8 in the NZ charts, check it out for yourself!

    And then we have some faves that don’t have CDs out in the library yet:

    Brockaflower Saurus-Rex (and the Blueberry Biscuits)

    This 9-piece band’s first album is full on but spacious, allowing everyone their own instrument space – an impressive feat with so many people and instruments demanding attention. But they make it work, and very harmoniously, too. As for genre, they’re a bit funk, a bit psychedelic and a bit “neo-soul” (who even names music genres these days?) and they’ll keep you grooving with each song full of energy. They have an album out titled “Build It” but we sadly don’t have it in the library. You can listen to it in full here on SoundCloud though!

    Estère

    Speaking of genre names, Estère’s probably takes the cake – “electric blue witch hop”. She is a singer/songwriter/beatmaker/producer from Wellington and this whole album was made and recorded in her bedroom. She uses loops of live instruments, has an MPC named Lola and has been likened to Erykah Badu with her sometimes raspy and always stunning vocals. Although we don’t have her album here in the library yet, you can listen to it on SoundCloud for free, and even download it for free from Estère’s Bandcamp page!


  • Happenings, New Zealand, NZ Music Month, Pencil it in your diaries, Rachel

    New Zealand Music Month is here!

    06.05.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Zealand Music Month is here!

    Yes, that means it’s already May! WHAT? How did this happen?! Four months of the year have already gone past in a complete blur, and here we are at NZMM 2014. There are so many events happening up and down the country, and lucky for us we have a whole bunch of events happening in our libraries! More events may be added to this list later, check back to keep up to date with the scheduled library events.

    Thursday 8th 12pm Amiria Grenell (Kids stuff) – Central Children’s area
    Saturday 17th 11am Kitty Hart – Central Library Mezzanine Bridge
    Friday 22nd 12pm Amiria Grenell (Adults stuff) – Central Library YA area
    Friday 23rd 5pm Andy Gibson – Central Library YA area
    Friday 23rd 7pm Jessie Moss – Newtown Library
    Thursday 29th 12pm Mahinarangi Maika – Central Library YA area
    Friday 30th 12pm Mat Enright – Central Library YA area

    There will also be a whole lot of events out in public places, such as Courtenay Place near Tommy Millions (yum!), the Courtenay Place tripod, Cuba Street near the Body Shop, Lambton Quay, the train station and more. You should be able to find some information on these in your local library. You can also check out the full schedule of NZMM events at the official website.

    And to finish off, here’s a video for “St Louis” featuring Gemma Syme by The Shocking Pinks that a couple of my very clever friends worked on:

    I’ll be featuring music-centred posts all through May, so check back next Tuesday for more NZMM goodness!


  • Books, Grimm, New Zealand

    New Zealand Post Book Awards

    19.04.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Zealand Post Book Awards

    The nominees are:

    Young Adult Fiction

    A Necklace of Souls, by R L Stedman – “In a hidden kingdom a mysterious Guardian protects her people with the help of a magical necklace. But evil forces are also seeking the power of the necklace, and as the Guardian grows weaker these forces threaten to destroy the kingdom. With the help of her best friend, Will, and the enigmatic N’tombe, Dana, the rightful heir, must claim the power of the necklace and save her people. But the necklace takes a terrible toll on whoever wears it – a toll that Dana may not be prepared to face” – Publisher information.

    Bugs, by Whiti Hereaka – “Bugs is about the unfolding lives of three young people in their last year of school in small-town New Zealand. Life is slow, and it seems not much happens in town or in Jez and Bugs’s lives. But when Stone Cold arrives, the three come to different conclusions about how to deal with being trapped in a small town and at the bottom of the heap” – Publisher information.

    Mortal Fire, by Elizabeth Knox – “When sixteen-year-old Canny of the Pacific island, Southland, sets out on a trip with her stepbrother and his girlfriend, she finds herself drawn into enchanting Zarene Valley where the mysterious but dark seventeen-year-old Ghislain helps her to figure out her origins” – Publisher information.

    Speed Freak, by Fleur Beale – “Fifteen-year-old Archie is a top kart driver, aiming to win the Challenge series and its prize of racing in Europe. He loves the speed, the roar of the engine, the tactics and the thrill of driving to the limits. Craig is his main rival, and there’s also Silver, who drives like she’s got a demon inside. Archie knows he’ll need all his skill and focus to win. But sometimes, too, you need plain old luck. Can Archie overcome the odds and win?” – Back cover.

    When We Wake, by Karen Healey – In 2027, sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl–playing the guitar, falling in love, and protesting the wrongs of the world with her friends. But then Tegan dies, waking up 100 years in the future as the unknowing first government guinea pig to be cryogenically frozen and successfully revived. Appalling secrets about her new world come to light, and Tegan must choose to either keep her head down or fight for a better future. (catalogue summary)

    Congratulations to these fab New Zealand authors, and all the best!


  • Great Reads, Isn't that cool?, Librarian's Choice, New Zealand, Nicola, Non-fiction

    Spotlight on YA Non-Fiction

    13.03.14 | Permalink | Comments Off on Spotlight on YA Non-Fiction

    I’m pretty proud of our non-fiction section. It’s small but concise. It has lots of books that will teach you about all the important things you need to know: from passing algebra to how to cook roast chicken, from surviving high school to how to get dressed in the morning. In this series, I’ll look at one or two books from each dewey section, highlighting my favourites. Some sections will have more books than others, due to size or the variety of topic contained within. If you have any books you’d like to spotlight, please leave them in the comments!

    000s – Generalities
    Dead StrangeBook cover courtesy of Syndetics

    This book is a miscellany of the bizarre unexplained phenomena that puzzle ‘experts’ everywhere; an A-Z of oddness. It’s fairly tongue-in-cheek, and if you’re not convinced you’ll at least be entertained. I’m a bit of a conspiracy theoriest nut (although I find them enjoyable rather than believable) so I had a lot of fun reading this. It’s a fairly exhaustive selection, and it even introduced me to a few I hadn’t heard of before…

    100s – Philosophy and Psychology
    i.d : stuff that happens to define usBook Cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a collection of real stories, each illustrated, with an Q and A with the story teller about what happened next. It’s so much more than the sum of its parts, however. Each illustration conveys the emotion of the story being told, whether positive or negative. Each discusses a certain incident; the moment when a teenager learns to stop being negative about her body, or the time an immigrant girl really feels at odds with her mostly white companions. The illustrations themselves are done in a scratchy, naive style, which help to convey the fraught emotions of each of the stories.

    200s – Religion
    Understanding IslamBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Islam is in the news a lot these days, but without talking about the context of this religion. It’s a bit simplistic to say that this book will teach you “everything” you need to understand about Islam -an extremely diverse faith- but it’s an extremely good place to start. It looks at the different sects within Islam, some of its cultural traditions (again, it’s an extreme diverse faith!) and its core tenets. It also discusses the history and the contributions Islamic people have made to the world, which are often left out of discussions. It really helped me gain a pretty good, if basic, understanding of Islam and its definitely worth picking up if you follow international events.

    300s – Social Sciences
    Where children sleepBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a fascinating collection detailing, like it says in the title, the places where children from around the world sleep. A two page-spread consists of the photo of each child, a small description of where they live, their home life and their ambitions, with a full page colour photo of their ‘room’. It’s a simple concept that never comes across as patronising or proselythising; it manages to communicate the massive inequality in different parts of the world, as well as social issues that affect the featured childrens’ lives.

    400s – Langauge
    Punctuation Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This book is never going to set the world on fire but your English teacher will thank you for reading it, especially if you’re having trouble writing essays. While studying where and when to use things like commas might seem a bit redundant, this book will help you use them skillfully, which might mean the difference between a merit and an excellence.

    500s-Sciences
    The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Native treesBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    A great read for the budding botanists (ha ha) out there. It’s a classic, and for good reason; it’s got plenty of pictures showing the distinguishing features of each type of tree. I like to think of these kind of books as ones that will be useful during a zombie apocalypse: telling the difference between rangiora and ongaonga could certainly save you a lot of pain and trouble! Each section on the tree contains pictures of its leaves, fruit or flowers, and stems or trunks. While there’s not a whole lot of written information in this book, it also lists other books that could be helpful.

    600s – Technology
    After Toast Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    A trend among cookbooks aimed at a YA audience is that they try a bit hard to be ‘trendy’: losts of ‘slang’, lots of references to texting, and criminal overuse of the word “mates.” Luckily, this book skips all those traps, focusing instead on simple, easy recipes that might even be healthy. They’re split into sections by meal, with and index at the back. There’s a handy guide at the beginning, explaining what tools you’ll need, how to tell if certain meats are cooked, and various other ‘how to’ sections that are pretty useful.

    Style Me Vintage: make up Book cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The verdict every year seems to be that the ‘vintage’ look is ‘in.’ But what do the fashion scribes mean by vintage? Marilyn Monroe-esque fifties glamour or the frivilous flapper look of the twenties? The dewey freshness of the seventies or the enigmatic sleekness of the thirties? Once you’ve worked that out, come and grab this book. It’s got looks for every decade from the twenties to the eighties; by matching the right make up to your outfit, you can be assured of steering clear of fashion anachronism. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from mixing the looks up: a fifties mouth with a twenties eye, for serious glam. It’s also got some great tips and techniques for beginners, like how to put on false eyelashes. Which are apparently essential for a few looks…

    700s – Arts and Recreation
    Back and Beyond: New Zealand painting for the young and curiousBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The 700s, with their focus on the arts, often provide the most visually appealing books to be found anywhere in the library. This is a prime example, featuring gorgeous reproductions of amazing paintings from New Zealand artists both traditional and contemporary. Each painting is accompanied by a brief text describling the themes of the piece and the artist’s other work. It’s never dry or boring; it manages to convey both the common themes and the diversity in paintings from New Zealand.

    Legends, Icons and Rebels: Music that changed the worldBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    This is a fantastic new book that profiles 27 artists who changed the face of music forever. Again, it’s a lovely looking book, with a beautiful full page depiction of each musician. It contains a brief biograpy of each person, and explains their influence on music. For example, I didn’t know that Little Richard mentored The Beatles AND Jimi Hendrix AND toured with the Rolling Stones. Pretty awesome, if you ask me! It also has a two CDs, each with a famous song from each artist or group.

    800s – Literature
    Critical Companion to William ShakespeareBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    Shakespeare plays form a pretty much intrinsic part of the English ciruculum. But even the most conscientious English teacher might have trouble helping you to navigate the themes, characters and language of whatever play you’re studying. That’s where this book comes in handy: it has information on all of Shakespeare’s plays, each of them broken down into easy to read sections. There’s a scene by scene synopsis of the play, a commentary on the themes, and then an entry on each character and what motifs they embody. It’s fairly dense (as you might imagine) but never becomes unintelligable.

    900s- History and Geography
    Diary of a Soviet SchoolgirlBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    The brutal conditions of Soviet Russia are often neglected in the study of history. This diary, written by a teenage girl from 1932-1937, demonstrates just how hard the lives of ordinary people were during this time.  Nina Lugovskaya’s father was arrested for being a “counter-revolutionary” and Nina herself was eventually arrested and sent to a gulag.  What makes this diary especially fascinating is that the passages that were used as evidence against her are underlined, and this has been kept in this reproduction of the diary. It shows just how seemingly minor complaints could be interpreted as showing author was “preparing to kill Stalin.”  It also shows the persistance of other facets of ‘ordinary’ teenage life: Nina talks about about boys, her friends and her disdain for school and her teachers. Unlike the Diary of Anne Frank, this story has a happier coda: Nina survived her time in the gulag, and was eventually pardoned.

    Biographies
    Lady Gaga: Critical Mass FashionBook cover courtesy of Syndetics
    If you’re in the mood for something a bit lighter (and you’re a Gaga fan) then this is perfect for you. Even if you’re not, you can’t fault the book on the aesthetic front: there are some stunning photographs of Lady Gaga’s extreme outfits, which are definitely worth a look.  It’s not a hard-hitting expose of Gaga’s metoric rise, rather a faintly fluffy piece of biography, but it’s a fun palate cleanser about one of the most notorious pop stars of the last 10 years.


  • New Zealand, NZ Music Month, Rachel and Rebecca

    Black City Lights

    21.05.13 | Permalink | Comments Off on Black City Lights

    It’s still New Zealand Music Month! There are so many awesome New Zealand acts around right now, but have you heard of Black City Lights?

    They’re a Wellington duo consisting of Calum Robb and Julia Catherine Parr, a producer and vocalist respectively, and they are certainly on the way to making it big. Just over a year ago they released their debut EP called Parallels (which you can listen to here) and since then they’ve gone from strength to strength. They’ve opened for Grimes, Baths and Van She, and done a whole bunch of headlining shows too. They received two highly sought-after grants which allowed them to make this stunning video for their song Parallels:

    Their song Rivers is a personal favourite, so check that one out too! Black City lights are just about to begin releasing their new material (a new single is being released on Thursday) leading up to their debut album release in August. AND they’ll be heading to the States shortly touring the East and West coasts for three months! Phew!

    If you get a chance, check them out playing live as they are incredible! I’ve seen them at least three times and they impress me more every time.

    Enjoy!

    R n R


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