Lorraine Orman's Blog

February 3, 2018

I had to research the title. It's a known phrase that represents "any system that appears to have dependencies that never end." Hmm. I was never any good at philosophy. But in a gut-feeling kind of way I can see how it connects to the situation of the main character, 16-year-old Ava. She's definitely having problems finding out how to fit into the world. Technically she's suffering from depression, anxiety and OC disorders. It's not a comfortable read, seeing the world through Aza's eyes. However it's absorbing and entertaining, and at times very funny, as we follow the rocky journeys of Aza, her overbearing best friend Daisy, and her on-again off-again boyfriend Davis - whose billionaire father has just gone missing... Well worth reading, and fans of The Fault in Our Stars will love it.
Turtles All the Way Down
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Published on February 03, 2018 16:49 • 17 views

February 2, 2018

I loved the His Dark Materials series - such an original and challenging story. So it was a delight to pick up this large tome 22 years later and lose myself again in the magic woven by Phillip Pullman. This prequel brings in many familiar characters - Lyra is only a baby, a mysteriously precious one - but there are also fascinating new characters to entertain us. The adventure, mystery and breathtakingly fast plot carry the reader along on the wings of a flood. I didn't want it to end. Thank goodness it's volume one of a new series!
La Belle Sauvage
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Published on February 02, 2018 18:21 • 79 views

January 2, 2018

Many thanks to Maria Gill who bought these books and lent them to me.
Nevermoor, by Jessica Townsend: another series by a new author being pushed as the successor to the Harry Potter series. No, it's not really that outstanding. It's a imaginative, interesting fantasy, and the best feature is the solemn, strong-minded heroine called Morrigan Crow. A great read for fantasy fans of intermediate/middle school age.

The Elephant Thief, by Jane Kerr: I enjoyed this because it's so different. Set in Victorian days, it tells how a young pickpocket called Danny is involved in a competition to ride an elephant from Edinburgh to Manchester. It's unput-downable, with great characters and plenty of action and adventure. Recommended for intermediate ages.

The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell: another book that appeals because it's a bit different to the usual. Four children survive a plane crash in the Amazon jungle. As you'd expect, life in the jungle is dangerous and cruel, but the kids survive until they meet a very strange resident - who helps them in his own unique fashion. Also recommended for intermediate ages.

The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberley Brubaker Bradley: this is a Newbery Honour Book that will be enjoyed by readers who like historical settings. Ada lives in London with her brother and her cruel, abusive mother. Both children end up being evacuated to the country where they are taken in by a single woman, Susan, who is nursing her own heartbreaks. The story follows Ada's difficult journey to a normal life, and the love that develops between the children and Susan. It's a heart-warming read for intermediate ages and will probably become a British classic. Recommended.
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow The Elephant Thief The Explorer The War that Saved My Life
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Published on January 02, 2018 18:24 • 12 views

August 9, 2017

I love Kenneth Oppel's work. He's another one of those authors whose books tend to be totally different to each other. So I pounced upon this one in the library, looking forward to a refreshing new setting and genre (ie. a change from fantasy). I wasn't disappointed. Set in the USA in the late 19th century, the story is told by two teenage characters - Rachel and Samuel, whose fathers are rival paleontologists looking for dinosaur bones in the badlands. They fall in love, and a kind of Romeo-and-Juliet relationship develops. The unusual setting is fascinating, the information about dinosaur hunting is also fascinating, and the characters are full of life. Recommended for teens who think they'd like a historical and romantic adventure story based on real life, with a Native Indian theme woven in as well. Every Hidden Thing
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Published on August 09, 2017 19:52 • 18 views

June 6, 2017

I haven't read any outstanding YAs for a long time - I seem to be bogged down in mediocre fantasies... So I was delighted to stumble across this one by Garth Nix, one of my all-time favourite authors. I suspect he had a lot of fun writing this - it's a tongue-in-cheek take on the classic quest story, with lots of weird and wonderful characters. I love the fantasy tropes that have been turned upside down and come across as fresh and funny. Princess Anya goes on a quest to gather ingredients for a lip balm to help her kiss a frog and turn him back into a prince - after he'd been transmogrified by her evil step-stepfather. So she sets off with a frog in a basket and a boisterous talking dog and ends up saving the kingdom - as you do... Recommended for young teens (mainly girls) who like fantasy/fairy tales, especially funny ones. Frogkisser!
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Published on June 06, 2017 19:19 • 16 views

October 23, 2016

Okay, it's reminiscent of several popular YA series - The Hunger Games comes to mind, also Uglies - but it's well-written and hooks the reader in right from the beginning. I was a little confused by the logic of what you have to do to be tried in court and cruelly branded as Flawed - other characters seemed to do far worse things than the heroine and nobody minds. But once you manage to suspend disbelief, it's an exciting read with an interesting main character who becomes a reluctant superstar. Celestine suffers terribly at the hands of a corrupt judge, and readers can't help looking forward to his downfall. The romantic angle is taken care of by not one but two interesting young men - one is the son of the judge, and the other has also been branded as Flawed. The sequel will be coming out in early 2017, and I will be looking out for it. Flawed
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Published on October 23, 2016 19:33 • 100 views

October 20, 2016

This is the sequel to Thirteen Days of Midnight. I did read the first book and subsequently forgot the story, but it came back pretty quickly as I read this one. If you liked Garth Nix's Abhorsen series, you'll like this series. Luke tries to forget about his inheritance as a necromancer, and wants to just be an ordinary schoolboy. But he's approached by another necromancer (a girl) who convinces him to help her stop her twin sister from dying. Naturally things don't go as he expects. Luke ends up recalling one of his supernatural Host members (the Shepherd), and travelling into the Deadside to save from death the person he loves most in the world - definitely shades of Orpheus here. At the end, we are reminded that Luke made a deal with the Devil in the first book - and the Devil has not yet called in the favour. I'm sure there'll be a third book in the series - hooray!
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Published on October 20, 2016 20:18 • 40 views

September 29, 2016

Thanks to Barbara Murison of the Around the Bookshops blog for recommending this. If you like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series, you'll like this book. It's set in London, and the main characters are Amber, who lives with two dads and she's not sure which is her biological father; Maali, who comes from a Hindu family and is too shy to talk to boys; Sky, whose father decides to uproot her from their cosy houseboat and live in a mansion with a famous model; and Rose, who is the beautiful daughter of the famous model but definitely doesn't want to follow in her mother's footsteps. When the four girls get together, they find that trusting and talking and sharing help them solve their respective problems. It's a very warm-hearted and ultimately joyful story for teen girls. Recommended. The Moonlight Dreamers
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Published on September 29, 2016 21:02 • 51 views

August 1, 2016

Like many other commentators, I'm surprised at the ongoing popularity of YA dystopian stories. Perhaps it's because of a deep unease felt by many people about the environmental future of our world? The conditions described in many of these stories seem all too likely. This novel by an Australian author joins the ranks of raw, gritty and totally believable descriptions of a dystopian future. Finn has been living alone for several years after a virus killed most of the people in his country town. He's managed to avoid the vicious gangs dominating the local area, but things change when a distraught girl arrives on his doorstep. She's pregnant, and the worst of the gang leaders is hot on her heels. It's the kind of vivid action-packed story that you can't put down. The book itself doesn't say it's the start of a series, but the ending indicates there could be another book coming. Definitely worth reading.
The Road to Winter
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Published on August 01, 2016 18:57 • 42 views

July 11, 2016

Thanks again to Zac for recommending this book. I've given it five stars - any book that can make me laugh so much deserves more than five... Like any excellent book, it wraps up several important themes in a fabulous layer of humour - and an action-filled plot. Homeless young lad Prez is fostered out to a Scottish farming family - which he copes with by not really speaking to anyone. However his adventures begin in earnest when he answers the doorbell (BTW, the visitor brings his own doorbell) and discovers a strange-looking boy. What's even stranger is that other people don't see a boy when they look at him - they see a dog. This individual is actually an alien from outer space who is trying to find ten things on Earth to make it worth saving from total annihilation. Prez and Sputnik set off on their mission - with hilarious results. Best for readers (probably boys) of upper primary/intermediate level. Younger readers will need help from parents because there are some interesting discussions of weighty topics such as gravity and outer space. Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth
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Published on July 11, 2016 18:46 • 93 views