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 some time before I can review it. I am now looking to review adult fiction and self-help books instead of young adult fiction because I have grown out of it. If you are to request a review for either adult fiction or self-help, I will more likely to give it a shot.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, I may post a review. Thank you for understanding.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

I Am Here! Vol. 1 by Ema Toyama

Title: I Am Here!
Mangaka: Ema Toyama
Age Group: Teens
Volume(s): 1
My Rating: 1/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Kodansha Comics]:
Invisible to her classmates, Hikage Sumino is an eighth-grader with no self-esteem. Her only friends are the visitors to her Internet blog. One day, the most popular boy in the grade suddenly talks to her. Encouraged by this twist of fate, Hikage determines to transform her life.

I'm not entirely back to book blogging, but I have a huge TBR pile that I want to chip away at. Even if it's just a little bit. I Am Here! was one of the very few mangas on my shelf that I never read. I tried reading it this past year, but struggled to finish it. I finally sat down and went at whatever was left (about half the manga) in one fell swoop. I decided to come back on here to do a review since I forced myself to read it.

I Am Here! is your very typical shojo manga. The protagonist is a very shy girl who has no friends and struggles to be noticed. Her hobbies are taking care of a sunflower and blogging snippets of her daily life. Eventually, the popular boy in her class took notice of her and becomes her friend. Which in turn, makes her a target for bullying when other girls noticed that he's paying attention to her.

I had a really hard time digesting this manga because 1) for some reason it's extremely long for one volume, 2) the protagonist's weak character made it hard for me to sympathize, and 3) all the cliches you can think of for a shojo series are there. Even the potential love triangle (which was heavily hinted with the popular guy's best friend). There's not a lot of substance throughout the story. It's primarily Sumino trying to get through the bullying and eventually, standing up for herself. The art is quite generic, nothing that stands out or memorable if you are an avid manga reader. Over the course of my life, I've read shojo series with similar plot devices that were much better.

I say skip over this series altogether unless you have a 10-year-old that likes fluffy shojo series.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Lies We Tell Our Kids by Brett Wagner

Title: Lies We Tell Our Kids
Author: Brett Wagner
# of Pages: 96
Age Group: Teen+
My Rating: 3/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Amazon]
From acclaimed artist Brett Wagner comes a book about the tall tales that parents tell their kids in the hopes of getting them to do something-eat, sleep, apologize to their sibling, or learn to do something the right way. Fun, heartfelt, and a little bit weird, Lies We Tell Our Kids exposes the not-so-great generational parenting tactic of lying to your child for the greater good! 

Lies We Tell Our Kids is for adults who have a fondness for picture books. The artist created colourful illustrations for different made-up sayings, such as "If you pick your nose, your finger will get stuck up there" and "Eat your veggies or else they'll eat you." I was surprised that some of the illustrations were a bit more "horror"-themed than I expected. Based off the cover of the book and the summary, I thought the drawings were going to be comedic and light-hearted. Some of the illustrations would be considered scary for children. For example, "The finger nail fairy will take your nails if they're not covered at night." This is illustrated with a monster with wings that had removed a nail with a small knife! Of course, like mentioned, this picture book isn't meant for children. However, if you have kids, you might want to read it yourself before allowing them to pick it up depending on their age and personality.

This book has a lot more pages than I expected. I prefer picture books with a lot less as it would be faster to get through. It's overall is a very colourful book. It's definitely for people that like fun, but also horror-related things as well. Would you gift it to kids? Perhaps not.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard

Title: Mary Rose
Author: Geoffrey Girard
# of Pages: 272
Age Group:  Adults
My Rating: 3.5/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Amazon] Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.

 After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.

I'm interested in the horror genre so when I was asked to review Mary Rose, I was intrigued to see what the story was about. From the summary alone, I assumed it would be horror/supernatural. There was not a lot of horror as I expected, if any at all.

Going into the novel, you read between the perspectives of Mary Rose and Simon. However, you'd be reading from Simon's point of view more as the story progresses. At the start, Mary Rose's character is already "off". She's described as fairy-like and a bit absent-minded. Simon is deeply in love with her, though it's a bit hard to understand why. The reader would get that she's beautiful and she's someone Simon wanted to protect because there's an innocent quality about her. You wouldn't learn much of how their relationship was prior. 

The story starts off a bit slow but it hints at Mary Rose's ominous background. Trying to figure out what had happened to Mary Rose in the past kept me going. The writing is fluid and the author really set the atmosphere for the entire story. Each character that is introduced to Simon plays a role in the bigger picture, which is important to good story-telling.

I was a bit disappointed that the more supernatural aspects of the story was not fully explained. It's great if you prefer the mystery but personally I needed more. Mary Rose is more of a mystery novel that doesn't get to the core of the situation until three quarters in. I wouldn't say it's a spooky read but it will keep your attention at least until the very end. There's dynamic between the characters and plot line, but the pace of the story would be a bit slower than one would expect.