Notice for Review Requests

I receive review requests weekly. However, my personal schedule is hectic and I no longer review actively. (I also manage another blog called The Toronto Cafe and Food Blog). I do read every request sent but I apologize in advance that I do not reply to them all.

If I do take on a request, I will forewarn that it may take sometime before I can review it. However, requests for author guest posts are more than welcomed.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, a review may be posted.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 320
My Rating: 4/5

[Summary from Amazon] Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared. 


Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage. 


A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.


The moment I finished reading Gone Girl, I immediately started The Girl on the Train. The story is told in the perspectives of multiple characters with Rachel being the sole focus. Rachel is a sad divorcee with an alcohol abuse problem. She lost her job months back and pretends to goes to work everyday so her friend/roommate doesn't know that she is now unemployed. She gets herself entangled in a case that turns out much more complicated than it appears.

Similar to the set up of Gone Girl, the author delves into the mindset of her protagonist and allows the reader to fully understand her thoughts and actions. Rachel is a pitiful character who is in a constant perpetual state of self-loathing, sadness, and intoxication. This novel is extremely well written and definitely kept me going to the end. I realized while reading the novel though was that I wasn't a huge fan of these darker stories that are popular in the book world. Hence, my lower rating for this novel. 

For fans of Gone Girl, suspenseful stories and dark twists, The Girl on the Train is the perfect novel to pick up next. post signature

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 432
My Rating: 4/5

[Summary from Amazon] On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As I got back into the habit of reading (a hobby I have put on hiatus for five years), I decided to restart with today's popular fiction. I generally avoided popular young adult novels back when I was an active blogger, series such as The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instrument Series. I preferred reading lesser known novels and felt that popular YA series were overhyped. After all, it was my duty as a book blogger to dig around for the gem within the pile. Since I have gotten older, my taste in novels has changed. I am no longer interested in young adult fiction (but will try to attempt to go through the unread ones I own). I'm curious to see what sort of novels are considered popular for adults nowadays. Hence, I got my hands on Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train this past month.

Gillian Flynn has a very fluid and vivid writing style. She contrasted Nick's and Amy's personalities very well when the story switches back and forth between the two characters. In Part 1, you get to read Amy's journal from the past few years since she and Nick first got together. To be honest, when I was reading Part 1, I felt that the story was a bit of a drag because of Nick. I considered his personality to be a bit insufferable because he had this depressing outlook on life. It didn't appeal to me and made it hard for me to like him. Amy's journal was incredibly peppy at the beginning of the book, a strong contrast to Nick's monotone voice.

[SPOILERS] I don't feel that this is a spoiler because I'm sure you've probably know since the movie came out, but Amy is downright insane. I found some enjoyment in her revenge to go missing due to the fact that she caught Nick cheating on her. The plot picks up in Part 2, which made me read through the novel as fast as I could to get to the conclusion. Even though I did not support Nick originally for his infidelity, I hoped that he would get back at Amy for the hell she had put him through. I was pretty upset with how the story ended, hence my 4/5 rating. I know that it makes it more interesting to not have a conventional ending but after all that build-up and support for the character, it made me upset as a reader that in the end Amy had full control over Nick's life and future. [SPOILERS END]


Gone Girl definitely made its mark as a popular novel in today's book world. With an eye for fine detail and strong character developments, Flynn wrote a thriller that would have you on the edge of the seat as it builds up the mystery and suspense.
post signature

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pfffffft by Pierre Chan & George Lin

Title: Pfffffft 
Author and Artist: Pierre Chan and George Lin
Age Group: Teens/Adults
# of Pages: 40
My Rating: 4.5/5

I'm in a local Toronto trading group called Bunz, where you can trade off your things with other people. I saw this fart book called Pfffffft being offered by the artist. I love obtaining fun and unique things. So in exchange for a cup of hot chocolate and a book review, I got my hands on this delightful read that was originally crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

Pfffffft is an fun illustration book to depict embarrassing moments where one might accidentally let out a gassy disaster. This can be from eating some Indian food to accidentally farting in a full elevator. I read this book out loud to my teenage sister the night I got it. She thought (and I as well) it was hilarious. She exclaimed, "Why isn't this a bestseller already? It's a book about farts! And it rhymes!" I'm paraphrasing, but that was essentially what she said.

As much as I like to read it out loud, I feel that the rhyming scheme is slightly off. I think there might be an extra syllable or two in a sentence that throws off each poem. However, I may be completely wrong as I have not counted the number of syllables per poem.  

I think Pfffffft would make an excellent gift for a loved one who you share an inside fart joke with. Or perhaps someone you know who has the foulest farts ever! This picture book is perfect for the adult who is still a child at heart. 

If you are interested in purchasing, you can get your own copy here: https://www.amazon.ca/Pfffffft-Illustrated-literature-Pierre-Chan/dp/0994751702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458137114&sr=8-1&keywords=pfffffft

post signature

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Author Post: Kai Strand

Good vs evil. Which side are you on? If you had to choose, could you?

Seriously, who would choose the side of evil? Unless you love to commit crimes. Each one grander in scale than the one before until you’re stealing states secrets or holding the President of the United State hostage. Maybe you can’t help but love to play mind games. Screw with people until they are so confused they bend to your will. Some people are inherently bad. Whether because of upbringing, circumstances, or they are hardwired that way, their actions consistently create trouble.

If the thought of telling lies, breaking and entering, hostile takeovers, makes sweat bead on your forehead then you can choose to side with good. After all, you volunteer most of your spare time feeding the poor, you donate a percentage of your income to research the cure for pediatric cancer, and you never, ever tell a white lie. Right?

Let me make myself perfectly clear here. I don’t think the choice between good and evil is simple. I think we all have a mix of angelic habits and devilish delights within us, swirling together and fighting for dominance.

That’s exactly what Jeff, Sandra, Source, Set and friends discover in my young adult series, Super Villain Academy. Whether they are super heroes or super villains, they are faced with circumstances that make them question the side they’re on. And in the end, they’re compelled to make a choice. Hero or villain? What would you choose? Hop over to my website and complete the survey

The series is complete! Super Bad, Super Villain Academy Bk 3 is now available.

The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.

Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.

When Sandra is taken and held as bait by kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”

Available in print or electronic formats from:


King of Bad - Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. Is Jeff bad enough for SVA?

Polar Opposites - Heroes and villains are balanced. After Oceanus is kidnapped, Jeff learns the supers are so balanced, they no longer care to get involved. Ironically Jeff’s superpowers are spiraling out of control. Will they find Oci before he looses it completely, and will they find her alive?

***

About the author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.



post signature