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MEGA LOVE POEM MASHUP

A mad dash through all sorts of love, courtesy of 11 fine poets (named at the end of the post!). It’s a scientific fact that love poems can keep you warm in a snowstorm (it’s not a fact.)  Check some out at the library today – they’re great inspiration for writing your own. After all, the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest is coming up.

“I didn’t fall in love. I fell through it:

bestofthebest
“I can see what I would miss in leaving—

unincorporatedpersons
ignatz
deanyoung
1: Sarah Manguso
2: Lorna Dee Cervantes
3: Melanie Almeder
4: Tony Hoagland
5: June Jordan
6: Anna Swir
7: Monica Youn
8: Reginald Shepherd
9: Thomas Hardy
10: Ella Wheeler Wilcox
11: Dean Young
– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

Teen Blogger: Stargirl Review

bookcover

Today I will be reviewing Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. This is the first book in a set of two books, but it can be read as a standalone novel. Overall I did enjoy this book, but if you are looking for a more in depth review you can read below.

Characters

The two main characters of this book were lovable and quirky. Leo, the main character felt a bit bland to me at first, but after the plot picked up I did enjoy reading about him. While most of the book focuses on Stargirl, I really loved his character. Stargirl (yes, her name is actually Stargirl) was really unique and fun character. Her quirkiness might have been a little overplayed, but I loved her message of being your own person. I give this area an 8/10.

Setting

I loved the fact his book took place in the desert instead of the typical Midwest town or city. The parts that were the most descriptive, like the part about the desert flowers or the large cacti, were interesting because you don’t normally hear about that kind of beauty in a desert. I do wish the school was described more. I am going to give this area a 7/10.

Plot

This book was simply heartwarming. There wasn’t any epic quest or week-long journey across the US.  It was simply a book that made you feel happy on the inside. Plus, the book was so short, (180 pages) I don’t think there could have been a long, involved plot. Normally I don’t enjoy plots lacking complexity, but this book was really sweet and satisfying. I am giving this area an 8/10.

Writing Style

I did enjoy the author’s writing style. While the book wasn’t very long, he did manage to make each and every one of those pages meaningful. I zoomed through the book, and dreaded every moment when I had to put it down. I though overall the writing was pretty good, though it did have a few small issues. I am going to give this area a 9/10 because I did enjoy his style.

The Final Verdict

Once the scores are tallied up, I get a 7.5/10!  I agree with that score, as the book did have a few problems, but overall was put together well. If you enjoy books with a heartfelt message, you will most likely enjoy Stargirl! My one warning is that for some Stargirl might feel too quirky. Please know these are just my opinions. I respect yours too, so why not leave a comment?  Please mark spoilers for new readers.

Happy Reading!

-Laurel

Riptide With Bubbles

Laurel is an overly creative person that is looking for good books to read. While she fills her spare time with crocheting, filming, editing, drawing, sewing, writing, and crafting, she always has a little time to read. She enjoys books that have an intricate plot and fresh new characters, but does not like books with a lot of romance. Hopefully she will find what she is looking for.

Teen Blogger: Life of Pi Review

LifeofPi

The Life of Pi is a movie that came out last year.  It is based on a book of the same name by Yann Martel.  The movie is basically about a teenage boy who is the only one who lives after his boat crashes.  He has to try to survive by floating on a lifeboat.  Except he is not by himself.  There is a tiger on the boat with him!!  This sounds crazy, but the tiger was being sent to a new zoo and was on the same ship.  Pi has to learn to deal with both the tiger and the rough ocean weather.

I really enjoyed this movie and is showed how friendships can survive anything even tragic accidents.  It is a good movie for the whole family, and I would recommend it to all of my friends and anyone who enjoys movies.

Aaron is a seventh grader at Langley.  He enjoys playing video games, drawing and sports.

The Selection

bookcoverCANTCU9F

Today I will be reviewing The Selection, Book One of the Selection Series by Kiera Cass.   Here is a summary of the book for anyone curious:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime.  The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth.  To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels.  To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.  But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare.  It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her.  Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want.  Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.  Then America meets Prince Maxon.  Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”

Characters

This book combined stereotypes with a breath of fresh air. I really loved America, Maxon, and Marlee.  My one complaint is that some of the characters do lack a developed personality and backstory, but this is the first book in a trilogy.  This book was jam packed with interesting character relationships. A secret love interest is unveiled early on, which definitely complicates the plot. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Maxon and America, but you will have to read to see how that plays out. The relationships between America and the other Selected really was intriguing. While some simply don’t get along with her, she instantly makes a few friends. At the same time America is technically competition, so we are never too sure about how things will end up. I really enjoyed this element of suspense.

Setting

The setting of this book at first confused me.  After a bit of investigating I learned that this books takes place in America.  While we don’t know how far into the future this book takes place, it seems like it has been at least a hundred years.  Now royalty is the main form of government and rankings determine your income, social class, and job.  It‘s very interesting to read about.  At the same time this author didn’t elaborate on the surroundings well.  It might just be me, but I like a very vivid setting to think about.  I like to know the colors of the walls, the little flaws in the architecture, and that sort of thing.  While we did get small descriptions of the setting, I just feel it could have been stretched out more, especially with the castle.

Plot

The plot of this book took old clichés and made them new.  I enjoyed discovering the little details of the government, and trying to figure out what would happen next, yet parts of the book seemed so close to many other dystopian novels.  Mainly the book reminded me of The Hunger Games.  Take out the death in The Hunger Games and replace it with broken hearts, and you have the majority of this plot.  I am not going to complain about this more than I need to, as there were plot twists, original characters, and many events that were completely original, but you might get the same feeling I did when I read it.

The Final Verdict

I really enjoyed the authors writing style!  I thought dialog was realistic and humorous.  The actions the characters took were interesting to read about, and were described in a way that I felt like I was witnessing them.  My one complaint was sometimes it was hard to figure out who the speaker was.  I get a 7.5/10!  This falls right in-between decent and good for me, but you should make up your mind for yourself.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that has interesting characters and plot, with the warning that any Hunger Games fan might find themselves bored with the story.  And if you like love stories, you will like this much more than I did!  The book itself isn’t all that long (only about three-hundred pages) so I recommend you get at least halfway through before you decide.  The beginning can be hard to follow, but it picks up towards the start of the actual Selection.  Thankfully the library systems has lots of copies in print and digitally.  Please let me know what you thought of it! I’m always interested in hearing opinions.  But please, mark spoilers for anyone trying to see if they are interested.

Happy Reading!

-Laurel

Laurel is an overly creative person that is looking for good books to read.  While she fills her spare time with crocheting, filming, editing, drawing, sewing, writing, and crafting, she always has a little time to read.  She enjoys books that have an intricate plot and fresh new characters, but does not like books with a lot of romance.  Hopefully she will find what she is looking for.

Hot off the press: January’s brand new books

New years bring new books, and 2014 looks like a promising one for page turners. We’re already off to an excellent start with January’s crop of new fiction. Check out three of the most anticipated YA novels of the new year:

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Since Haley was a little kid, she’s been on the road with her father, a troubled veteran still haunted by his experiences at war. Now they’re settling down in his hometown so she can attend school and try to have a normal teenage life for the first time. As Haley adapts to high school and navigates an attraction to her classmate Finn, her father begins to unravel and she soon finds herself fearing the worst. In The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson (author of Speak and Twisted) explores the impact of PTSD with this poignant father-daughter story.


Hollow City In the highly anticipated sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs spins another segment in the strange saga of the Peculiars– a group of people with extraordinary powers who spent decades in a time loop that kept them stuck on the same day in 1940. In Hollow City, the Peculiars leave the time loop and their small island to venture into the wider world. Will they discover others like them, or only enemies? Best get yourself on the list for a copy of this one ASAP, and check out the creepy book trailer, too.


Her Dark CuriosityIn The Madman’s Daughter, Juliet Moreau delved into the depths of her father’s madness to discover his frightening secrets in the gothic mystery inspired by H.G. Wells’ classic The Island of Dr. Moreau. Fans of the first book will be glad to get their hands on Her Dark Curiosity, which finds Juliet back in London as a rash of grisly murders breaks out. As she struggles to pick apart the mystery, Juliet realizes the past is never far behind. The release date for this one is still about a week away, but keep your eyes open for it in a library near you!


So there you have it– three long-awaited titles to start 2014 off with a bang. What books are you looking forward to this year?

Tropical Imagination

Earlier this week, I was certain that the media was making up this whole polar vortex thing for ratings. Turns out, a polar vortex is a real weather pattern and the term has been around since 1853!

polar vortex

Polar Vortex as seen on http://earth.nullschool.net/

Schools closed. Water pipes burst. Historically low temperatures were recorded. Here in Pittsburgh, the temperature dropped to a record low of minus 9 degrees! Have you seen the panorama of the frozen city?

river

Frozen Allegheny River on January 7th. Source: Justin Merriman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

For those of us who aren’t fond of winter storms and cold snaps, there is some hope! With the winter solstice behind us, there is a bit more sunlight each day. And the first day of spring will be here soon too.

Until then, here is a list of novels full of warm destinations (some good, others not so good) to keep your imagination warm!

the summer i turned pretty

beauty queens

along for the ride

holes

island

one crazy summer

– Michael @ Hazelwood

Friend-love

About a year ago, my best friend IMed me with a link to a rather lovely web-comic detailing feelings and habits we’d been attributing to our own relationship for years and years.  Yumi Sakugawa’s I Think I am in Friend-Love With You was making the rounds on the internet memes and tumblrs we both frequented and I saw it a few more times before it fell of my radar.

To my surprise and delight, yesterday I discovered this talented artist got a book deal from her lovely comic and that book, I Think I Am in Friend-love With You, was released in December!

This comic makes me have warm and fuzzy feelings for all my friends, internet and RL, distant and local, new and old.  There’s only one copy on our shelves now, but look for more coming soon.

In the meantime, here’s a few books that might also give you the friend warm and fuzzies:

Happy Reading!
Morgan – CLP -Main, Teen

Your Guide to 2014

Happy New Year!  I hope that you all have a happy, health and awesome 2014.  There are a lot of great things going on this year and I want to give you some of my highlights for this upcoming year.

The first big event to take place is the Winter Olympics, which will start on February 6th and run through February 23rd in Sochi, Russia.  There will be over 2500 athletes participating in 98 events in 15 sports.  Some of the most popular events are ice hockey, snowboarding and ice skating.  Another big sporting event will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will take place from June 12th to July 13th in Brazil.  The United States will have a tough time since their group includes Germany and Portugal, two of the top teams in the world.

There will also be some HUGE movies coming out this year.  One that is getting a lot of buzz is Divergent, which is based on the book by Veronica Roth.  It will be released on March 21st.

Another movie that is getting a ton of attention is The Fault in Our StarsBesides being based on the bestselling book by John Green, the movie was also shot in Pittsburgh so that gives you an extra reason to see it when it comes out on June 6th!

There are also a bunch of great new books being released this year.  The 6th book in the Mortal Instruments Series (City of Heavenly Fire) should be coming out in May and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor is due for release in April.

Those are just some of the big events taking place in this new year.  I hope you all have a fantastic 2014!!

New Year, New You

Welcome to 2014- a fresh start, a clean slate, a chance to kiss a dog!  Wait, what?  I don’t know what compelled little Michelle Tanner to kiss a dog, but I do know that people love the beginning of a new year because it symbolizes renewal.  New Year’s offers an opportunity to shed any disappointments from the previous year, to look forward, and to transform yourself.  If you made resolutions but you don’t have a plan of action or know where to start, we can offer support!  Some of our very own Teen Staff have shared their resolutions for 2014 below.  If any of these resolutions sound similar to yours, remember that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has books, programs, and electronic resources that can help you achieve your goals.

Erin from CLP – AlleghenyMine is simple- slow down.

yoga exercises for teens    stress 101

Sheila from CLP – Hill District: My resolution is to cut the amount of time I look at my iPhone in half and double the time I spend reading.

you are not a gadget  winter of our disconnect

Whitney from CLP – Teen at Main: Mine is to start an Etsy shop.

quick cash for teens   start it up

LeeAnn from CLP – Teen Services: Eat less bread.  And wheat, in general.

healthy eating   going organic

Joseph from CLP – Teen at Main: Ride my bike to Washington D.C.

holy spokes  bike snob

Michael from CLP – Hazelwood: To stop using (and misplacing) USB drives and start using “the cloud”.

tubes   rough guide to cloud computing

Morgan from CLP – Teen at Main: My resolution is to organize my inbox and stay on top of it!

  it's all too much

Mine?  In 2014 I’d like to brush up on my Spanish language skills, find the courage to start riding a bike to work, learn how to use a sewing machine, run my first 5k, and find more time to read.  Wish me luck!

Winter reads

If you’re reading this on the 25th, I hope you have time today to relax and read a good book! Here are some suggestions if you want to get in the wintry spirit. These would all be great selections, and they’d all count for the Winter Reading Raffle!:

wintersmith

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

At 9, Tiffany Aching defeated the cruel Queen of Fairyland. At 11, she battled an ancient body-stealing evil. At 13, Tiffany faces a new challenge: a boy. And boys can be a bit of a problem when you’re thirteen … But the Wintersmith isn’t exactly a boy. He is Winter itself–snow, gales, icicles–all of it. When he has a crush on Tiffany, he may make her roses out of ice, but his nature is blizzards and avalanches. And he wants Tiffany to stay in his gleaming, frozen world. Forever. Tiffany will need all her cunning to make it to Spring. She’ll also need her friends, from junior witches to the legendary Granny Weatherwax. They–Crivens! Tiffany will need the Wee Free Men too! She’ll have the help of the bravest, toughest, smelliest pictsies ever to be banished from Fairyland–whether she wants it or not. It’s going to be a cold, cold season, because if Tiffany doesn’t survive until Spring–Spring won’t come.

dashandlily

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

“I’ve left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.” So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

zombiewinter

Zombie Winter by Jason Strange

Which is worse, a long, cold winter, or a town of zombies?

twistrosekey

The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell

Something is wrong in the house that Lin’s family has rented; Lin is sure of it. The clocks tick too slowly. Frost covers the flowerbed, even in a rain storm. And when a secret key marked “Twistrose” arrives for her, Lin finds a crack in the cellar, a gate to the world of Sylver. This frozen realm is the home of every dead animal who ever loved a child. Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with Rufus, the pet she buried under the rosebush. But together they must find the missing Winter Prince in order to save Sylver from destruction. They are not the only ones hunting for the boy this night. In the dark hides a shadow-lipped man, waiting for the last Winter Prince to be delivered into his hands.

afterthesnow

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett

The oceans stopped working before Willo was born, so the world of ice and snow is all he’s ever known. He lives with his family deep in the wilderness, far from the government’s controlling grasp. Willo’s survival skills are put to the test when he arrives home one day to find his family gone. It could be the government; it could be scavengers — all Willo knows is he has to find refuge and his family. It is a journey that will take him into the city he’s always avoided, with a girl who needs his help more than he knows

wickit

The Wickit Chronicles: Ice Road by Joan Lennon

It’s the harshest winter anyone can remember, and the vast waterways of the Fens are frozen solid, transformed into an Ice Road. The conditions are ideal for a surprise invasion by young King Arnald’s banished uncle. Wickit Monastery is under threat too a bitter illness has struck down almost all the brothers, and a ghost walks across the snow. Can the orphan Pip and Perfect, the stone gargoyle, save the Brothers, their friend the King, and their country?

starcrossed

Star Crossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

On the lam after a failed theft, 16-year-old runaway Celyn bluffs her way out of the city with four young nobles. She finds refuge as maid to one of them, Lady Merista, in a snowbound mountain castle. When Lord Daul discovers Celyn’s thieving tendencies, he forces her to spy for him. Delving even deeper into the castle’s secrets than she reveals to Daul, Celyn’s eyes are opened to the myriad secrets and schemes of its many guests and occupants. In choosing her path, she confronts her own past, uncovers a rebellion that could lead to civil war, befriends a prince, contemplates religious persecution, and faces betrayal.

darkisrising

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift — that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.

trapped

Trapped by Michael Northrop

The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That it would be “one for the record books,” as the forecasters safe and dry in their TV studios would later say. That it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but keeping alive & Scotty and his friends Pete and Tommy are among the last kids waiting to get picked up at their high school that day, and it doesn’t take them long to realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when Krista and Julie, two hot-to-the-point-of-being-distracting freshmen, are sleeping in the next classroom over. But then the power goes out. Then the heat. Then the emergency generator. As the snow piles higher and higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, tempers rise and friendships fray….

helpimaprisoner

Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library by Eth Clifford

Mary Rose and Jo-Beth are sisters who hardly ever agree on anything, but they both feel as if this night will never end. First their car runs out of gas in an unfamiliar city and their father goes in search of a gas station. Then Jo-Beth makes Mary Rose go with her to find a bathroom and they stumble across a curious old library. And then, worst of all, they get locked in! But their troubles are just beginning. Is Jo-Beth right about the library being haunted by banshees? Or is there a logical explanation, as Mary Rose claims?

– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty (not a prisoner in the library)

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