Guest Blog

Be My Guest Reviewer: Adam from Letters on Pages

Hello! My Name is Adam Wilson and I run the Letters On Pages book review website, which is dedicated to non-fiction books. I really love to read and I love to write…so I decided to put those two together. Letters on Pages is still pretty young, but I am having a lot of fun and I think it’s growing pretty fast.

I live in Cincinnati, OH with my super awesome wife and my sometimes awesome dogs. I spend a lot of my non-work time reading and watching the Reds and Bengals play badly! Other times I watch other people successfully renovate their entire house in minutes…which I have now come to find must be some sort of camera trick.

Anyway….I hope you enjoy this review from Letters On Pages! I invite you to stop by and take a look around at the other books I’ve reviewed…I am adding new ones as fast as I can read the books! so come on by…leave a comment or drop me an e-mail…and sign up for the e-mail subscription or standard RSS feed. That would be great!

Thanks again…and thanks to The Story Siren for asking me to do a guest review!

Adam Wilson

Title: Dark Summit
Nick Heil
Henry Holt & Company(2008)

You know…in the short life of Letters On Pages so far, this is my second adventure book review. If you don’t know me, you would think that I love the outdoors and adventure stuff. Nope. I don’t really like going outside at all. That said, I do like to watch TV shows and reading books about other people who go outside! Good for them I say! Anyway, I was sent a copy of
Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season by Nick Heil. The book isn’t due for regular release until April 29th, but you can pre-order the book through Amazon.

The book is, obviously, about climbing Mt. Everest. Specifically, it is about the 2006 climbing season, which had an unusual number of deaths take place. Wikipedia (the fount of reliability) says that over the years 210 people have died on the mountain. This book tells about some of the the ones who died in 2006. Particularly a man named David Sharp, whose death came under some heavy interrogation. In basic terms, Sharp was passed by as he sat on the mountain…multiple people leaving him to die and climbing the mountain anyway. Now, I guess this is not really a fair statement to make because there are thousands of variables that take place on a mountain. But I don’t know…passing up a dude freezing to death? And that’s not to say that the deaths on the mountain didn’t affect the other climbers, because they did.

Heil does a fantastic job of telling the stories of that terrible season on Everest. He really is able to relay the emotions of the climbers and the general black cloud that hung over that trip. He also gave excellent descriptions of what was happening. I didn’t quite feel that I was climbing an 29,000 foot behemoth…but that’s probably good. (side note: climbers refer to their distances in metric, so Everest is over 8,000 meters. I’ve done the conversion here for you to make it easier.)(side note to the side note: the metric system is way better than what we Americans use!)

I think the way Heil handled the various deaths was excellent. There was the proper amount of respect given to these men. He also tried to explain the thought process of the climbers who abandoned the other climbers. That said, I read most of this book totally horrified that people would continue to climb to the top of a mountain and leave someone stranded and dying. I realize it is an expensive trip, and an opportunity that not everyone can get…but I think saving another life is more important than getting to the summit of a stupid mountain. But alas…I am not a climber, so what do I know.

This book was really good and I highly recommend it just on the storytelling alone. Great read…and I hope you check it out.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thanks Adam!! That was great!

Check back next week for another guest reviewer! Would you like to review a book and be a guest? Email me at thestorysiren@hotmail.com for more information.



In The Hot Seat!

Guess what!? I was interviewed by The Class of 2k8! I know, how cool is that! I was really excited and thrilled that they thought to ask me!

If you want to check out my interview head over to their blog! And if you leave a comment on my interview there, you will be entered to win a copy of La Petite Four by Regina Scott!!

Author Tales: Cherry Cheva

Cherry Cheva is the author for this Thursday’s Author Tales! Cherry is the author of the hilarious novel, She’s So Money. You can check out my review of She’s So Money, here! Don’t forget if you want to sign up for the monthly contest, this is where you need to comment!! Thanks!

And now presenting the world’s most rambly guest blog!*

So I’ve spent the past few weeks out of the Family Guy office because I’ve been on script, writing an episode that will probably make it to your TVs, oh, somewhere in late 2009 (if not 2010). Being on script is great because hey, you get to get out of the office, and if they work a late night there, so what, you’re already at home. Yay! Plus you don’t have to drive anywhere if you don’t want to and you can wake up whenever you want. It’s a pretty sweet gig when it happens, although I must admit that by the end of it, I personally can get a little stir-crazy. The heat in LA right now isn’t helping things (I’ve just been holed up at home with the a/c so I literally haven’t gone anywhere in days) and neither is the rather pathetic lineup of summer TV (I haven’t been watching anything regularly except So You Think You Can Dance. Well, America’s Best Dance Crew just started again, but it mostly just makes me miss Jabbawockeez).

What’s my point, you ask? Well, I guess that it’s nice to be able to do different things– if all I did all the time was write from home, without having an office to go to and people to interact with, I might go nuts, but it’s also so, so nice sometimes to be able to make your own schedule, writing when you want and chilling when you want. Of course, this is all about to go to hell, as I just got the deadline for my second novel and, um, it’s not that far away. Yikes! Cut to me spending the next few months writing all day with the rest of the Family Guy staff, and then coming home and writing all evening with my own self, and getting no sleep and being cranky all the time. Ah, good stuff. Hell, maybe I should be glad there’s no summer TV. Although the commercials for that show “Wipeout” have looked pretty funny…and okay, okay, I’ve been dabbling in “The Bachelorette”…and I just realized that VH1 is doing “I Love the New Millennium”…what was I talking about again? :)
*may not actually be the world’s most rambly guest blog, because who knows, but still pretty darn rambly
Thanks Cherry for an awesome guest post! If you would like more infor on Cherry, you can visit her MySpace page! http://www.myspace.com/cherrycheva

Book Review

The Comeback Season

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date: March 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 246


Ryan is accustomed to loss. Her father passed away five years ago, she doesn’t relate to her best friends anymore, and she is a Cubs fan. The anniversary of her father’s death happens to land on opening day, so Ryan skips school to go to the game. This is where she meets Nick. Another Cubs fan and also a new kid from her school. Thus, starting their friendship.

Nick’s friendship and the Cubs good fortune transform Ryan into the person she was before she let herself be dulled with grief. Nick reluctantly tells Ryan why his family really moved to Chicago. Ultimately, through facing Nick’s illness, Ryan realizes what her father had tried to teach her about life and baseball. It’s now about winning or losing, but having the courage to continue to the play the game no matter what is thrown at you.

Review :

I don’t know why I didn’t read this book sooner! If I had realized how much I was going to like it I would have. I of course was initially drawn to the book because of the Cubs, but what really drew me in was the story itself. Smith is an extraordinary writer and I expect great things from her in the future. Her writing is simple yet powerful. This book is beautifully written, the language is so genuine you can’t help but be held captive to it. I found myself admiring Ryan’s character and empathizing with her throughout the entire story. I loved the history about the Chicago Cubs, although I knew most of it. Other readers might find that part tiresome or boring, but I really think that is adds to the story as a whole. I highly recommend The Comeback Season, it is a heartwarming story that will not be soon forgotten.



New Reads!

There are a ton of fascinating New Reads for today!!!

Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
Big mouth. Big heart.
Big wedding. Big problems.
It’s the wedding of the century!
Things are looking up at last for Lizzie Nichols. She has a career she loves in the field of her choice (wedding gown restoration), and the love of her life, Jean-Luc, has finally proposed. Life’s become a dizzying whirl of wedding gown fittings—not necessarily her own—as Lizzie prepares for her dream wedding at her fiancé’s château in the south of France.
But the dream soon becomes a nightmare as the best man—whom Lizzie might once have accidentally slept with . . . no, really, just slept—announces his total lack of support for the couple, a sentiment the maid of honor happens to second; Lizzie’s Midwestern family can’t understand why she doesn’t want to have her wedding in the family backyard; her future, oh-so-proper French in-laws seem to be slowly trying to lure the groom away from medical school and back into investment banking; and Lizzie finds herself wondering if her Prince Charming really is as charming as she once believed.
Is Lizzie really ready to embrace her new role as wife and mistress of Château Mirac? Or is she destined to fall into another man’s arms . . . and into the trap of becoming a Bad Girl instead? (Summary from Barnes and Noble)

Check out my review of Queen of Babble Gets Hitched, here!

Vampire Kisses 5: The Coffin Club by Ellen Schreiber
It’s tough for love-struck Raven to imagine what’s keeping her nocturnal boyfriend from returning to Dullsville. So there’s only one thing to do-find Alexander. Along the way, Raven can’t resist the spot where she feels most at home, the Coffin Club. But when she stumbles upon a secret door in the club, she descends into a dim catacomb-to a hidden hangout where the house drink happens to be type A or B. Drawn to one of its shadowy members, Raven suspects she’s in over her head. But exploring the covert club is too tempting, even after coming face-to-face with Alexander’s trouble-stirring enemy.

Can Raven delve further into the Underworld unbeknownst to Alexander-and also solve the mystery of her true love’s own secrecy? Ellen Schreiber’s sizzling Vampire Kisses series continues with its darkest installment yet. (Summary from Barnes and Noble)

Gone by Michael Grant
In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.
Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else… (Summary from Barnes and Noble)

You can see my review of Gone, here!

Avalon High Coronation: Homecoming by Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot’s magical Arthurian epic continues . . . Manga style!

Will’s dangerous brother, Marco, has been released from the mental hospital, and it seems as if he’s turned over a new leaf. But Ellie isn’t sure she trusts him yet, especially when she keeps having creepy nightmares about him every night.

Meanwhile, Mr. Morton is still convinced that Ellie’s boyfriend, Will, is the reincarnation of King Arthur and that if Ellie doesn’t help Will believe this, too, the world is going to end-this Friday. But all this won’t stop Ellie from trying to pull off the big dinner party she’s arranged to reunite Will with his parents . . . even though it might be a total disaster.

When you and your friends are reliving Arthurian legend, you can never catch a break! (Summary from Barnes and Noble)

The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love by A.E. Cannon
Ordinary, boring Ed works a loser summer job at Reel Life Movies, where he doesn’t even have his own name tag. He’s stuck with “Sergio.” Ed’s only consolations are his two best friends. Shelving DVDs isn’t so mind-numbingly dull with Scout cracking jokes, and after hours Ed hangs out with the superbrain, Quark. Life starts to look up when the girl of his dreams saunters into Reel Life. Ed knows he doesn’t stand a chance . . . but maybe, just maybe Sergio does. All he has to do is pretend to be a smoldering Brazilian stud for the rest of his life. Simple, right? But . . . Ed’s new dream girl has her own secrets, Scout wants to be more than Ed’s best friend, and his buddy Quark wants Scout for himself. (Summary from Barnes and Noble)

The Magician by Michael Scott
AFTER FLEEING OJAI, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris, the City of Lights. Home for Nicholas Flamel. Only this homecoming is anything but sweet. Perenell is still locked up back in Alcatraz and Paris is teeming with enemies. Nicollo Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He’s after them, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenell. For every day spent without the Book of Abraham the Mage, they age one year—their magic becoming weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophesy is becoming more and more clear.
It’s time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic: Fire Magic. And there’s only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel’s old student, the Comte de Saint-Germain—alchemist, magician, and rock star. Josh and Sophie Newman are the world’s only hope—if they don’t turn on each other first. (Summary from Barnes and Noble)

The Running Man by Michael Gerard Bauer
For a long time, fourteen-year-old Joseph has wondered about old Tom Leyton, his reclusive next-door neighbor. Gossip and rumors suggest that something terrible happened to Tom in the past.
Then Joseph is asked to draw Tom for a school art project, and that means Joseph has the opportunity to uncover the truth about this man who passes his days tending silkworms and keeping dark secrets.
As Joseph learns more and more about Tom’s world, he is forced to confront his own fears. Is there some connection between Joseph’s dreams and his feelings about his father, who seems to have abandoned the family? And why does he continue to have nightmares about the Running Man—the disheveled figure who wanders aimlessly through town? (Summary from Harper Collins)

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