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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway

Title: Confessions of a First Daughter
Author: Cassidy Calloway
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 214
My Rating: 5/5

Sometimes, parents can make us teens miserable. But sometimes, their jobs can too!

Morgan Abbott wants a normal life. But normal is something completely out of her reach! Her mother is the president of the country so she is unable to do anything she wants! Can't a girl have a little fun without making it onto tomorrow's headlines? Talk about pressure, especially if one is prone to messing things up! And not to mention having an adorable agent who is practically her shadow!

But when Morgan has a very important task to pretend to be her mother, aka President of the United States, can she pull it off? Or will her cover be blown?

After reading a novel that left me in pure boredom, I wanted something fun to bring my reading mood back up. So sitting on my shelves held plentiful books but many are of darker subjects. When I saw Confessions of a First Daughter sitting there, I decided to give it a go. And yes, it definitely brought my mood up 100%!

Within the first two pages, I already liked Morgan. Her sense of humour drew me in quickly and I rooted for her throughout. She is definitely a cool gal and even if she does screw things up sometimes, she's still human. I was disappointed her relationship with Max, the secret service agent, was not elaborated on as much as I hoped. But the rest of the story made up for the lack of intense, deep romance.

What pushed me to give the novel a 5/5 is the way Calloway effectively put all of the tidbits information of the characters into good use. As in you know this one little detail about the protagonist and because of it, it almost ruins things for her somewhere else in the story! I found it to be quite witty of the author and it made the novel an even better read! She also wrapped up everything so nicely!

Confessions of a First Daughter is a fantastic quick and entertaining read for those who wants a break from fantasy novels or whatnot! I am so looking forward to the sequel if there is to be one!

You can get a glimpse of the novel by clicking here!

(P.S. And gosh, I love how toned the model's legs are!)

Review copy provided by
HarperCollins.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush
Author:
Becca Fitzpatrick
Description:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.



This novel has been getting 5/5 reviews everywhere! I personally never got the chance to read it but it does indeed entice me. There is actually a contest going on where you can win a bunch of amazing prizes if you order your own copy at FANTASTIC BOOK REVIEW! Click
here for more details!

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 354
My Rating: 3/5

Jessica is a very logical teen girl. Yes, she loves math and dislikes anything that is made-up. But then, the gorgeous European Lucius steps into her ordinary life and proclaims that they are to wed because of a betrothal their parents made for them. Oh, and he is also a vampire.

What?!? Not only that, he claims that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess! And if they don't get married soon, their ancient clans will war together! Now what will a girl do when the fate of vampiredom rests upon her shoulders?

This is a very bi-polar novel. Very. Bi-polar.

So for the first 20 pages while I was reading it, I was like, "Oh no, please not another brooding Twilight novel..." because that was what it seemed to be heading. But the moment Jessica decided to pitchforked Lucius's foot, I changed my mind. It was entertaining for the next fifty pages and I was seriously ready to give the novel a 5/5. I really loved Lucius's European and sophisticated sense of humour. He was seriously one of the best vampire guys out there with his manners and freaking sexy accent. It was great to see his side of things when he wrote letters to his uncle back home because he made it so amusing every time as he criticized Jessica and the American culture.

But then...

Everything slipped downhill at a rapid pace after the 100th page or so. It started to bore me to tears once Jessica started moping over the fact that Lucius may be interested in the cheerleader Faith. For the next half of the novel, it was pretty much Jessica being depressed. I thought it was pretty cool to have a character who uses the left-side of her brain but when Lucius started to drift away, her personality was enough for you to close the book.

Not only did her face slip, but so did Lucius! He started to become this brooding, angry character. I wanted to cry, "Nooo! Where is my funny and caring Lucius?? Why God why???" I pretty much lost all hope for him to go back to his old self when I neared the end.

I am so so disappointed with this novel. It went from light and cute to angsty and, well, boring. I really wished that the entire story was consistent from beginning to end. I am rating it 3/5 for the times it made me laugh and Lucius (before he went all weird). But if there is a sequel, I am pretty sure I won't be running to pick it up any time soon.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

In My Mailbox - XL

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!


The Borrowed

None

The Bought

Crown vol. 1 by Shinji Wada and You Higuri

The Received

Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra
Never Bite a Boy on the First Date by Tamara Summers

It's been awhile since I bought anything huh? I just had a random urge last Sunday to get a manga since I haven't bought any for a long time. Crown is actually the first manga I bought solely because of a review (by MangaBlog) and it's pretty cool. I'll be working on the review of it soon.

Strange, and for some reason the picture I took of Kelly's autograph is to the side. Huh, I'm too lazy to change that now!

I got tagged by Diane from The Book Resort to list 5 book related items on my desk & 5 non book related items. Hm, should I pick the desk in my room or the one I'm at (computer)? Okay, computer desk then!

Book Related

Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates by Philip Caveney
Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman
Crown vol. 1 by Shinji Wada and You Higuri
Gage Canadian Dictionary
Oxford Paperback English

Non-Book Related

Cut-up pieces of my chemistry notes
Gluestick
Half-empty water bottle
Cordless phone
The purple minion of Hades from Disney's Hecules

I don't tag others so if you want to do this, feel free!

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Raven by Allison Van Diepen

Title: Raven
Author: Allison Van Diepen
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 279
My Rating: 3/5

On the dance floor, Nicole will dance to her heart content. Although she is no professional, she still can rock it. But there is someone who rocks her heart more than anything else.

Zin is an Arabic beauty, who's moves will blow your mind. But he has a secret. One that Nicole accidentally discovers. Knowing who he really is, can there be any love between them?

Since there is quite a bit of hip-hop scenes in the novel, the terminology can get a bit confusing to those who are not familiar. Since I watch shows like So You Think You Can Dance? where there are a lot of hip-hop artists, I can get a gist of what the characters are doing. But there were times where I wished the author made a glossary on all of the terms.

For the longest time, the protagonist kept referring to her addicted brother as "a ghost". It bothered me very much because whenever she thought or spoke about him, she didn't give you his name. It was not until he actually appeared until Nicole finally used his name in context.

It took quite a bit of time before the story got moving and even once you found out the secret, there wasn't a big problem (in my opinion) for the story to evolve around. There was actually a very huge potential for this book but everything fell flat, from characters to events. I do however like the fact that Zin is Arabian. Generally the male guy that the girl always fall for is white so it is awesome to see diversity once in awhile.

I don't dislike Raven but I wished that it had a lot more meat for the reader to enjoy.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo

Title: He's Just Not That Into You
Author: Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 208
My Rating: 3/5

Does your partner seem to not care about you? Is he always away at work and never calls? Can he not leave his wife to start a new relationship with you?

Well then you need to check out He's Just Not That Into You! Written by two people who contributes in the storylines of the hit show Sex and the City, you get the male and female perspective on things. Maybe you will realize why that guy of yours is acting the way he does after you read this self-help book!

I've never been in a relationship but I think it sort of enlightens those who are oblivious to what seems to be so obvious in front of them. Basically the novel contains a bunch of scenarios in the form of women writing a letter to Greg, which he replies to. To sum it all up, the point of the whole novel says that your dude is not into you if any of said events occur to you. But then you have the female side, questioning that how can every single bad thing a guy does to a woman means that he does not like her?

It gets repetitive, which I did not favour, but is a fast read to breeze by. I was bothered that Greg pretty much wrote that he is one of the best males out there because he loves his wife way too much. I mean, yeah, your wife is lucky indeed but you don't need to reference to yourself every time. But I think that there are people out there that definitely need this book for them to open their eyes. Sometimes I hear about things with a girl and a guy and I can't help but roll my eyes at them because their relationship will obviously ends up down in the hole. It can be a slap in the face for sure, this book.

He's Just Not That Into You is a very blunt self-help book but can be read for entertainment among us females. (And you can keep some things in mind for future relationships, just in case.) I've never seen the movie of it yet because of the length (over two hours?) but maybe one day! Tell me your opinion of the movie if you've seen it and I'll see.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gyo by Junji Ito

Title: Gyo
Mangaka: Junji Ito
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Completed with 2 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1-2
My Rating: 4/5

Tadashi and his girlfriend, Kaori, go on vacation for relaxation. Kaori who has a sensitive nose, picks up on an awful scent. If only they have known that the horrible stench is the start of theirs and the world's worst nightmare.

If you want to read something that will mess with your head, Gyo is the manga for you. Basically in the beginning, you have the characters discovering this one fish that is attached to a pair of live metal-like legs. Next thing you know, the entire land is covered with sea animals that have these strange devices stuck onto their bodies! It gives Japan the shock of its life as its people gets attacked randomly by these evil things. Once the animal hosts are completely used, the devices look for other means of survival on their own will --- including humans. The Apocalypse is here and its scarier than zombies.

This manga makes me shudder. Most of the time when you think of manga, you think of light fluffy shojo or action-packed shonen. But if you are not a horror fan, it generally doesn't cross your mind to pick up something that will scare you. Gyo doesn't screw your mind to the max as much as
Dragon Head does but the content is enough to keep you hooked and freaked out. It makes you wonder in what ways can the world really end.

In the horror world, this manga will get a 5/5. But since I am not so keen on favouriting stories like Gyo, I settled the rating for lower. I do recommend it for those who are fans of Dragon Head or the-world-coming-to-a-sick-end plots.

At the end of the second volume, there are two short stories called The Sad Tale of Principal Post and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. They both are as bizarre as Gyo but I think more effective for having you do the wide-eyed stare much quicker.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Title: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Type: Movie
Age Group: Older Teens +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4/5

Connor Mead (Matthew McConaughey) is a handsome middle-age womanizer who thinks that marriage is a load of bull. He uses women like tissues but they continuously flock him, thinking that he loves them.

When his younger brother invites him to his wedding, he attends it but still is against the idea of two people reuniting. There, Connor encounters an old flame, Jenny (Jennifer Garner). She holds a grudge against him for quite a long time and seeing that he hasn't changed, she won't be changing her opinion on him anytime soon.

Then out of nowhere, he gets visited by his deceased Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas), a man who once had his ways with the ladies. He tells his nephew that three ghosts (one for past, present, and future) are going to visit him later on. They will reveal to him something far more valuable than living in a world of meaningless flings.

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a pleasant movie. There were a couple of times where I wanted to just skip over it but it held my attention good enough for me to finish it.

Connor is an interesting character. You learn why he became the person he is when you delved into the past. It's pretty obvious he grows up towards the end, which is the point of his ghostly lessons. Jenny has a huge impact on him but I am disappointed that it is more focused on Connor rather than the two together throughout the film. (I really think Jennifer Garner should stop being in chick flicks. I don't think she has that much of a presence anymore since 13 Going on 30.)

The plot has its light moments but when Connor is with his ghost, you can't help but pity him sometimes. I nearly cried in a couple of scenes, especially for when he sees his own future. It reminded me of a Disney film that is based off of Ghost of Christmas Past, which made me equally sad in a certain part. (Due to the times that got me tear-jerky, I upped the rating.)

I think this movie will appeal to women in their late twenties and thirties a lot more than the younger audience. It's a sweet movie but sometimes it doesn't have that spark that makes you go, "Yes, this is definitely the best movie of the year!". Great to watch when you're in the mood, but likely not the kind you will always think back to.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Bedeviled by Shani Petroff

Title: Bedeviled
Author: Shani Petroff
Description: Turning 13 is tough... especially when your dad's the devil.
Literally.

All Angel’s father (a.k.a. the Devil) wants is to be a part of her life. And in return he has the power to give her anything she wants—including popularity and a date with her long-time crush, Cole Daniels. But Angel will only accept him on her terms: get out of the devil business and leave his special powers out of the equation. Is Angel condemning herself to an eternity of lunch at the losers’ table? Or can she and Daddy Dearest strike some kind of deal?



I really like this book trailer! Live cartoon characters draw my attention quite a bit (seeing that I like to watch them still). Bedeviled seems like a cute pre-teen novel that I would have picked up five years ago haha. But love whoever made this trailer!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Puppet Wrangler by Vicki Grant

Title: The Puppet Wrangler
Author: Vicki Grant
Age Group: Tweens
# of Pages: 212
My Rating: 3/5

Telly has always been the good girl in her family, unlike her older sister who likes to cause nothing but trouble. Her life hasn't exactly been eventful until her parents send her off to stay with her aunt, Kathleen. There, Telly stays behind the set of a popular puppet show for kids.

But of course, how exciting can it be when your own aunt keeps forgetting about you as she freaks out on her job? Well, Telly has never been so shocked in her life when one of the puppets on the show, Bitsie, can move and talk!

With her short time away from home, Telly learns about what friendship really means; oh, and how tiring it can be with an obnoxious and annoying puppet.

I am a fan of Vicki Grant ever since I read my first novel by her, Quid Quo Pro. Although I wasn't keen on the idea of a live puppet, I decided to take a shot at it anyway.

Telly is a preteen with a fun, loving voice. She's the kind of kid where you know she will grow up to be the kind of teenager or adult you would want to hang out with. She knows when to be sympathetic and when to draw the line, especially with Bitsie. I say she has patience because I would have chucked the puppet into pieces if he bossed me around like there was no tomorrow.

I really am curious about why Bitsie is able to walk or talk at all. The story never covered it and you only saw his and Telly's relationship growing as they learned the rights and wrongs of things. It would have been better if there was a reason behind Bitsie's existence.

The novel has ton of footnotes because Telly always likes to add a little something to the side of whatever she is saying. I found it a bit annoying to go through pages and find all of these small footnotes. I preferred that everything the protagonist wanted to say would have been in the context. It also bothered me that the page numbers were in the middle of the side. It was very unconvenient.

The Puppet Wrangler is an entertaining read for preteens. There is a lot of silliness that the younger minds can appreciate but not so much for those of the older audience.

Bookmooched from Athena.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXXIX + Swag Winner!

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!

The Borrowed

None

The Bought

None

The Received

Warrior Princess by Frewin Jones
Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith
Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
Medina Hill by Trilby Kent

I seriously thought I wouldn't get any books this week. But nope, I did! Yay! I need to put my HarperTeen reviews up, ack! I have only finished reading one of their novels this past month. Have to work on the review of it soon...

I have received an email from Shane Daley that fellow book bloggers may be interested in!

"BookCaster.com presents a showcase for authors promoting their work through videos. Listings contain book summaries as well as information about the author and publisher. Listings may also contain links to reviews and author websites, providing a full multimedia experience.

Best of all, submissions are free!

You can visit the site at
http://www.BookCaster.com."

You should definitely check it out!

Anyway, my contest to win a bunch of great swags ended yesterday! So now I will randomly get a winner through the randomizer! And the winner is...


elnice

Congrats! Contact me at faked_sugartone at hotmail ASAP!

3 winners from Stop, Drop, and Read!'s first blogoversary contacted me to let me know that they have received their prize. If you were a winner and have received your prize, can you let me know here in the post? Thanks!

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe

Title: Never Slow Dance with a Zombie
Author: E. Van Lowe
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 256
My Rating: 5/5

Margot's school year is about to end. Which sucks since it is already half-way through her high school life where she has not been able to accomplish the things she hoped to achieve yet.

But before her lovely education can fully end, all of the students in her school become zombies! Of course, telling the police or some sort of authority about this is a smart idea. Instead, Margot's principal convinced her and her best friend, Sybil, to coexist with the undead until the semester ends.

This is the chance for Margot to shine as she rock her school year. She just has to make sure that she will not become the next dinner for her hungry classmates.

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie is one of the most ridiculous zombie stories out there. But it's the one that keeps you turning the pages, no matter how weird everything is!

I know it is completely outrageous, but seeing that Margot making her crush-now-zombie her new boyfriend was hilarious beyond belief. Like, how desperate could one be?? I was amused by her antics in the beginning but by the middle of the story, I got annoyed by her for a few chapters. She badly wanted to be popular that it seemed to all go into her head. I was happy that Sybil was there because she was the sensible one. Though it frustrated me that Margot didn't listen to her best friend at all until things went bad. It was when the story reached an intense climax where the protagonist learned her lesson and I stopped disliking her.

Luckily, the plot does go from comedy to serious near the end. So you don't have to worry that there will be only absurd scenes throughout because there will be some good action. I think it is a great balance because I feared the the funny stuff would have ran out.

I realized that most YA zombie novels with a female protagonist tends to be written by male authors. Like Zombie Blonde by Brian James and Soulless by Christopher Golden. But what I also realized is that they capture the female teenage mindset much better than female authors! Yeah, it's strange but I really think male authors have a better perspective of the female mind. Of course it's not the case for all novels but it is for what I have read so far in my experience. So I really enjoyed what E. Van Lowe had to offer through his characters.

If you are into Shaun of the Dead or just zombies but with a comical twist, then you should really look into this novel!

Won ARC copy from vvb32 reads.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

Title: Heartbreak River
Author: Tricia Mills
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 256
My Rating: 3/5

Alex lost her her father to the raging river last year. Her relationship with Sean also disappeared. Since then, she tries to forget about him and continues on with her duty at her family's rafting company. That is, until Sean reappears again. She doesn't want to think about him but she can't help it. Have she been forgiven for what she had done to him before?

Heartbreak River is the type of novel where I do not have a lot of opinions for. Basically, you follow the protagonist with her daily life the moment her old love comes back. She gets into a bit of a fight with her best friend/cousin Mala because of conflicting opinions and may have a cute British guy who has a crush on her.

Sometimes I felt annoyed by Alex. She could be alright, but other times I couldn't stand her. She was the type of character that you could easily be irked by without a good, solid reason.

The writing style is brief and simple to understand. It's a read for those who want something quick and sweet. But unfortunately if you are reading it too fast, then you might miss an important action that can occur in one sentence. Which bothered me quite a bit because it kept happening to me since the story did not capture my interest enough for me to re-read what I accidentally skipped over.

Overall, Heartbreak River is a nice read but doesn't particularly stand out among the crowd.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Four-Eyed Prince by Wataru Mizukami

Title: Four-Eyed Prince
Mangaka: Wataru Mizukami
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Sachiko Ohashi is attracted to the glasses-wearing Akihiko. Willing up all of her courage, she confesses her feelings to him. Unfortunately (and predictably), she gets turned down.

The same day, Sachiko will be moving in with her mother, who she never met in her entire life. Since her father passed away last year and her grandmother is way too old to take care of her, she has no choice. Worrying about if her mother would be pleased to see her no longer matters when she finds out that Akihiko is her new step-brother!

How in the world will she be able to handle the reality that her crush has now become her sibling?? And not only that, Sachiko may discover another part of Akihiko...

I can guarantee you that this manga is completely cliche. The events occurring in the plot has been washed and reused again because you could find many other mangas with the similar storyline. Although Four-Eyed Prince may be a typical shojo manga, there is something about it that makes you smile throughout the entire volume. I think the mangaka was very happy while she was drawing out her pages because I couldn't stop grinning, no matter how cheesy everything was (which is why I gave it a 4/5).

What really stuck out to me was the relationship between Sachiko and her mother. She was abandoned when she was young so she never knew the woman who gave birth to her. They never gave a reason why her mother left her father. It surprised me that Sachiko was welcomed with open arms, along with the fact her mother was a cheery person. I thought there should have been awkwardness, considering if one had left their child without contact for well over a decade. There is so much a reader can take when it comes to things being unrealistic in a shojo manga. So I wished the protagonist's family relationship would have been more realistic.

The art style strongly resembles a couple of other series like Orange Planet and Cherry Juice. The eyes are extremely big, for both females and males. It bothered me in the beginning how large Akihiko's eyes were but after awhile, they grew onto me. The lines on the characters are sharp and edgy, which takes time to get used to because it can appear awkward. But overall it has that sweet shojo feel to it.

Four-Eyed Prince is for those who would like to read another manga with repeated plot lines but that has the essence to make you happy throughout. It is also for fans of B.O.D.Y., Cherry Juice, and Marmalade Boy. You get to enjoy a short story called Mean Boy in the first volume also.

Review copy provided by Del Rey.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Monsters vs Aliens

Title: Monsters vs Aliens
Type: Movie
Age Group: Youth +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4.5/5

Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is a young woman who can not wait for her big wedding day. Everything is going according to plan... until a huge meteorite crashes down upon her from the sky!

Instead of expected death, she instead transforms into a giantess! Then before she knows it, she has become a "monster" in people's eyes!

No choice but to stay under captivity, Susan has no idea what the future has in stores for her as she yearns to become normal again. When she thinks that she will never see the light of day again, an alien invasion arrives on Earth! With her new powers and new monster friends, it is up to Susan to help save the world!

I think this movie is simply adorable and full of fun! I absolutely love the monsters B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), which is this blob thing, and Insectosaurus, which is this adorable but skyscraper huge bug that gets entranced by light. The things B.O.B. says can't help but make you laugh because he is just that entertaining!

In the movie, you see Susan gets freaked out by her new height in the beginning. As you watch her get involved with the monsters and the evil alien, Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), she learns a little more about herself. She is a character you'll love and can see a little bit of yourself of. And I think Reese Witherspoon voiced her perfectly!

Monsters vs Aliens is a fantastic movie for the family! If you like films such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Monster Inc., then you should definitely check out this one!


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Interview: Terri Lee-Johnson from BrownGirl BookSpeaks

As you know for BBAW, two bloggers get a chance to review each other. I reviewed the lovely Terri from BrownGirl Speaks!

Hello and welcome to Stop, Drop, and Read! To start off this BBAW interview, can you please tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into book blogging?

I'm a homeschool mom and assistant editor of an online magazine who needs music and books like I need oxygen.

I've been blogging for several years now, but finally decided to start a book blog in July because it suits me better than writing about my boring everyday life. I can never seem to get a book club going locally, so I'm glad book blogging gives me an opportunity to socialize with other bibliophiles.

What kind of books do you review/feature on your blog and why?

I mostly read and review literary fiction by people of color and some nonfiction which are usually memoirs or historical texts of the African diaspora. You will see some other things sprinkled in because I do find all sorts of topics interesting. However, my main choices stem from me being a person of color and stories by POCs are just what interest me most as well as the desire to showcase their writing.

How long does it take for you to review a novel? (The time to read it and time to write up the review)

Usually about a week because I have a very full plate being a homeschool mom and assistant editor for an online magazine.

What are your favourite novels or series? And who are your favourite authors?

Oh my...my favorite novels are Their Eyes Were Watching God, Let the Lion Eat Straw, She's Come Undone, and Possessing the Secret of Joy. My favorite authors would have to be Alice Walker, Jessie Fauset, Charles Chesnutt, Edwidge Danticat, Saul Williams, and the list goes on a bit longer.

Have you ever met any authors in real life? If so, what was the experience like?

I met Nikki Giovanni when I was around 14. She did a reading in a branch of my local library and she autographed my poetry portfolio I had done for a school project. Though I have since lost the autograph, it's still a cherished memory. It was probably the first really grown up thing I ever did or attended and that made it extra cool.

Are there any releases that you are looking forward to reading?

Yes! The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope is the first that comes to mind.

How do you generally obtain your books?

I have to be very resourceful on a very limited budget so the local Goodwill bookstore, library sales, and BookMooch are my main sources.

And lastly, do you prefer paperback or hardback?

I don't really have a preference but, hardbacks are nice for show and paperbacks are more practical as I tend to carry several with me all the time.

Thank you so much for being here with us Terri!

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert

Title: Ballads of Suburbia
Author: Stephanie Kuehnert
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 344
My Rating: 5/5

Life in the suburbs is not always as nice as you see it on TV, with a happy family and a perfect house.

Kara is a young woman with a painful past. When she looks back at her teen years, she will remember the hardships she endured. She struggled with drugs, cutting, and relationship problems, family, friends, and love alike.

During the time when Kara's friends were trying to cope with their own problems, they wrote down their bitter and moving stories of truth into a notebook. After four years, Kara will now tell you her ballad.

The perfect word to describe Ballads of Suburbia: raw. Never have I read a novel so brutally honest. I felt that Kara is a real person and I was reading her autobiography. This young adult novel is definitely one of the best of 2009.

Kara basically grew up with not a lot of friends throughout elementary school. Therefore in high school, she yearned to belong. With her family slowly falling apart, she became more desperate to be loved. It was not long before she started taking drugs a lot more than she first started out. She encountered Adrian, a bad boy who she could not stop thinking about. Along the way, their relationship went for an extremely bumpy ride. With that, Kara started running into trouble left and right as she attempted to help herself and the people around her.

Reading about Kara's life touched me quite a bit. I felt her every emotion off the page. It was like I was there with her as an invisible ghost, watching everything being unravelled. I disapproved of the things she did, like drugs and cutting. But with the way her life was spiralling out of control, I could understand why she did such. It made me want to reach out and help her.

Between the chapters, you will also get the short stories of Kara's friends' lives. They will tell you what had happened for them to be the person they are today. Each and every one of them is intense, making you pity the characters.

Although Ballads of Suburbia is not a happy-ending story, it will keep you enthralled from start to finish with Kuehnert's precise and detailed writing. Everyone should read this and learn.

Review copy provided by Stephanie Kuehnert.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXXVIII

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!


The Borrowed

None

The Bought

None

The Received

Running on the Cracks by Julia Donaldson

Since I have only got one novel this week, I decided to not take a picture (mainly because I'm lazy...).

I have received an email from Jessica of booksalemanager.com. Here is something that you bloggers may be interested in if you are the type to get deals on books.

"All across the nation, many Friends of the Library organizations hold book sales that feature cheap books that were either donated or removed from circulation. Typically these sales sell books, CDs, magazines, and DvD's for rock bottom prices. A typical sale will sell most of their items for under 3 dollars.

Being charity organizations, these Friends of the Library organizations often have limited resources to advertise and promote their sales. As such, many people are never made aware of the excellent deals they are missing within their own communities. That's where booksalemanager.com comes ins. We are attempting to bridge the gap between Organizations looking to more effectively advertise their sale, and people looking to find more places to get good deals on books and media.

Friends of the Library organizations and other non-profit groups can freely advertise their sale on our site. Our site currently has 2500 active listings, and we have been adding over 100 everyday.

People looking to find sales can use our powerful search tools to find these sales. They can search by state, zip code, sale size, and date ranged. Furthermore, people can create an account and save sales to their calendar to help them better track the sales they want to go to. You can also sign up for notifications to be emailed when a new sale in your area is listed, or a reminder email a few days before the sales on your calendar so you don’t ever miss a sale you want to attend."

Sounds pretty cool huh? If you want to check it out, go to booksalemanager.com!

There's also a James Patterson contest over Temppatt if you want to check it out! (Like, this contest is seriously everywhere!)

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J.K. Rowling
Age Group: Tweens
# of Pages: 636
My Rating: 4.5/5

During the summer before entering his fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry gets to stay with the Weasleys and watches the Quidditch World Cup. Everything is going swell, until someone conjures the Dark Mark of Voldemort. Panic arise from witches and wizards all around. Is he back? What can it possibly mean?

When school is back in session, everyone finds out that this year Hogwarts will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament. Two other wizarding schools will be joining them. One champion from each school shall compete against each other, in hoping to win the Triwizard Cup and bring back a lot of fame. Since the tasks to be completed are dangerous, only witches and wizards over the age of seventeen is allowed to participate. But what happens when Harry Potter's name is drawn out?

In another bewitching adventure of magic and evil, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will not disappoint you!

Can you believe that I have just finished reading the fourth novel now? Bad Diana bad! But I have found my favourite character in Harry Potter. And he is Bill Weasley. He was so cool with his long hair and earring when he was first introduced! Even though he was barely there, I always looked forward to his appearance.

Unlike the first three novels in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is where the volumes will get thicker from this point on. But no matter how long or how short, J.K. Rowling will keep you attached!

In the beginning, there was a bit of mystery surrounding the Dark Mark and Voldemort. Although Voldemort only made his grand appearance at the end, like always, he still had a huge effect on Harry. With other things like the Triwizard Tournament coming into play, you could see Harry struggling to deal with the pressure people put upon him, good and bad. Then he would also try to figure out who had entered his name into the tournament and why.

The author makes the reader curious about what would happen next to her characters and the story, which makes you keep on flipping the pages. The more you read it, the more you will want to finish it. Everything wraps up nicely in the end, making you dying for another year in Hogwarts with Harry and his friends.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner

Title: Castration Celebration
Author: Jake Wizner
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 304
My Rating: 2.5/5

What happens when a girl and a boy runs into each other at the Yale's summer arts camp?

Acting king Max pursues musical scriptwriter Olivia for her affections. For some reason he is drawn to her and she to him secretly. Will he be able to win her over when he is a guy that likes to pick up girls?

Castration Celebration: Prepare for another High School Musical, but with a very, very dirty mind.

Really, I don't think I have read a young adult book that had so much... explicit content. Surprisingly, there were no sex scenes but had plenty of "talking", if you get what I mean.

Throughout the novel, Olivia makes her own little musical with the main characters named Jane and Dick. The characters somewhat represent herself and Max but with a lot of singing about inappropriate topics. As one probably know, scriptwriting is pure dialogue. And unfortunately, it is like that throughout the entire novel even when you are not reading the musical. You don't get a lot of feelings from any of characters because their actions are so brief. Therefore, it's really hard to relate to this book. It is also bore to only read what the characters are saying and barely doing anything.

I felt that the relationship between Olivia and Max was completely forced. Right after they met for the first time, they started liking each other. It is completely unrealistic considering that falling over another person's suitcase can cause all of this hassle. Maybe a brief thought of how good the other person looks is reasonable, but to start developing feelings?

Overall, the novel fell short for me. If you were to throw together a bunch of dirty-minded teens into a room, you will get Castration Celebration. But it's a great time-killer where you don't have to think a lot while reading.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gakuen Prince by Jun Yuzuki

Title: Gakuen Prince
Mangaka: Jun Yuzuki
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 7 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 2
My Rating: 5/5

Now declared as a couple, plain Rise does not want to do anything with cute Azusa. But if they don't stick together, Azusa will continuously be mobbed by hormonal teenage girls!

Luckily for them, the school event Fiancailles is coming up! Portrayed like a mock wedding, two people can be announced officially as a couple. Azusa needs to convince Rise into participating because that way, they won't be harassed anymore. But Rise stubbornly refuses!

Meanwhile, the hot and brooding Akamaru is paying a lot more attention to Rise! Why is that so?

In the second volume of Gakuen Prince, fans will not be disappointed if they are coming from the first volume. Few of the characters reveal another part of themselves. For those who are fans of Akamaru, he will appear a lot more in this volume! It shows why he told Rise to stay away from Azusa and the reason is completely unexpected. I really hope he stays around in the following volumes! Munechika acts differently than his usual self when Rise gets hurt. Instead of the lecherous guy you are used to, you will see him to be more of a parental figure. And Azusa may have more of a history than what his stupid looks give, but you won't find out anything in this volume unfortunately.

The mangaka drew a couple of new and amusing faces of Rise whenever she is pissed off or so. I am always looking forward to those because Yuzuki makes those pieces quite realistic. If you try, I think you can imitate Rise's expressions. The artwork always seem a tad messy but you get used to it. I wish Yuzuki could clean up her style a bit though. They were much nicer if you look back into her older series of the early 2000s.

Overall, I am left dying for the third volume! It makes the reader wonder what will happen to the characters in the end! Especially since there is a lot of questions surrounding Azusa and Akamaru may know something. I am crossing my fingers that Akamaru will secretly have feelings for Rise. Like, I am praying to god that he does! I have to sadly wait for the following volumes to find out if anything will ever happen to the two.

Of course, this series is not exactly for everyone but if you like the idea of a twisted harem, then Gakuen Prince should definitely be looked into!

Review copy provided by Del Rey.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: The Guild (The Complete First Season)

Title: The Guild
Type: Web Series
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2007
My Rating: 4.5/5

In this ten-episode web series, six different people connect through the world of an online roleplaying game. Their lives start and end with this game. Nothing will happen for them to get pulled back into reality. Or so they think.

Codex (Felicia Day) is a woman who has been addicted to online gaming since, like, forever. She doesn't plan on making any real friends soon, though she beats herself up because of it. Until Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), a partner of hers from her game guild, arrives at her home in person! Apparently he is so infatuated by her that he tracked her down! And now she is stuck with him because he refuses to leave!

For the first time, Codex gets together with her online friends in real life. From there, things might get a little more interesting than being in front of the screen.

My attention was brought to this series when I saw a funny and cute music video they made on youtube (check below!). And heck, I was happy to have discovered The Guild!

As you might remember last week Watching on Wednesday, I featured an anime called Axis Power Hetalia. Like the anime, The Guild episodes are very short. They range from five minutes to eight minutes each. But they are jam-packed with fun where anyone can enjoy them, regardless if you are a gamer or not! The Guild is perfect for those who want entertainment within a short time-frame!

My favourite character out of the bunch is Bladezz (Vincent Caso), who I think is sort of cute in his strange way. But I think the two most entertaining characters are Vork (Jeff Lewis) and Zaboo. Vork is a middle-age man who is extremely cheap. So cheap that he never paid for electricity or water! He steals his rich neighbour WiFi connection instead! Although he is a very odd man, he can strategically devise plans, which makes him the guild leader from the pack. (Not to mention his language can get confusing if spoken to a kid!) Zaboo is a dude full of lulz. He's so into Codex that it is hilarious. He practically stalks her but his stupidity makes you forgive him and his ways.

Overall, The Guild is a laugh-out-loud web series where you would look forward to the next episode within ten minutes! Watch it at www.watchtheguild.com today!


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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag

Title: Beautiful Americans
Author: Lucy Silag
Description: Everyone has secrets. How far would you go to hide yours?

Secrets–
PJ’s deep blue eyes and angelic long blond hair conceal a truth that’s anything but. Will her dark past stay where it belongs in the backwoods of Vermont, or haunt her in the city of light?

Passion–
Always the good girl, Olivia plans to twirl her way to the top of the Parisian ballet scene. But that’s not supposed to include dancing on a table all night…or stumbling into the arms of the wrong boy.

Lies–
With his emo-trendy bedhead, hilarious comebacks and Southern drawl, Zack could win over anyone. Too bad he’s after the only one who’s forbidden…

Scandal–
All Alex wants from Paris is to nab that berry-red Dior coat and seduce the perfect penny-loafer-wearing boy - and Alex always gets what she wants. But will her scheming pay off? Or is she risking more than she knows…?

Alex, Olivia, Zack and PJ are spending a year at the prestigious LycĂ©e de Monceau in the sparkling city of Paris. This is their chance to sip cafe au lait in Le Marais, throw secret parties in their host families’ Versailles-size apartments, and have the time of their lives. But when the secrets they thought they left behind come out, everything could be ruined…



This trailer gave me a headache, haha.

I've heard great things about this novel and the sequel is coming out soon. I hope to read it one day. I usually am not into stories with more than one character's point of view but since a lot of great things were written about it, I'll look into it if I can.

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Monday, September 7, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXXVII

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!


The Borrowed

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

The Bought

Case Closed: The Desperate Truth

The Received

The Bay Bridged vol. 1
Everything Sucks by Hannah Friedman
Swag from Cynthea Liu (forgot to show)

Hm, I only got one novel to review this week. I didn't intend to borrow any novels since school starts in a couple of days but I decided that this would be the last time for me. And although Case Closed is not a manga, I decided why not show it anyway? Lol, I do review films after all.

Thank you Stephanie Kuehnert for The Bay Bridged!

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Broken Blade by Yunosuke Yoshinaga

Title: Broken Blade
Mangaka: Yunosuke Yoshinaga
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 6 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 2/5

In the far future, everyone has a special ability to power-up quartz, which is used to run practically everything. But there may be that rare person out there who does not have that sort of magic. Rygart Arrow is one.

His country is under attack by mechs lead by his old friend, Zess. Rygart is summoned by the King of Krisna, whom he is friends with along with the Queen since their college days. The King requests for his help but what can he do when he has no magic?

The king reveals that they have discovered an old mech from the ancient past. Apparently, it does not run on quartz so they are hoping that Rygart could work it. And when he does, it appears his role in the war is quite vital.

Broken Blade is a gundam manga with giant robots that people control from the inside and are used for wars. I never really liked gundam and Broken Blade didn't change my mind about it either.

It has pretty nice art but there were times where certain angles bothered me. But the art style suits for shonen mangas and the mechs are detailed. The setting is drawn where the land is barren and desert-like and all you will see are rocks. Unfortunately, I haven't really came across a series where I like that sort of manga setting yet. (A little too boring for my taste?)

I really disliked when the characters get together for a meeting about the invasion. Then there are a few speech bubbles with long sentences if which I read them, I would fall asleep. The storyline overall never intrigued me so it's really hard for me to even write this review.

But I think this series will appeal to other fans who are into Gundam Seed and Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Review copy provided by
CMX.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Violet By Design by Melissa Walker

Title: Violet By Design
Author: Melissa Walker
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 215
My Rating: 2.5/5

Violet originally planned to stop modelling. Until she got offered to do a show in Brazil. Hmm, a free trip to Brazil just to do a runway? Maybe she'll continue staying in this business after all.

In Brazil, she meets the hot and young designer, Paulo. They instantly hit it off right away. Violet is sure that he is for her. Until she catches him in bed with another model.

So with her foreign romance down the drain, Violet has to get over Paulo big time. In the meanwhile, she tries to understand what she really wants. To be back with her old life? Or continue on in the world of high fashion and scandal? What about when her best friend, Roger, comes into her life... much more than a friend?

I was much more disappointed in the sequel of Violet on the Runway. Violet's actions irked me. There were times where I wanted to hit her because I couldn't stand her obliviousness. And the way she acted sometimes irritated me. She was the biggest problem for me in this novel.

I did not like the relationship between Paulo and Violet at all. There was absolutely no chemistry but for some reason she was addicted to this guy. It was no doubt that he was going to be sticking his tongue down someone else's throat behind her back. What to expect? It's the catty world of fame and money. And to see Violet so stupidly think that nothing bad would happen in their relationship was the most nerve-wracking thing of all!

The only character I supported and liked throughout the novel was Veronica. She used to be Violet's enemy but they bonded at the end of the first book. Whenever Veronica warned Violet, Violet would dismiss it all and I wanted to scream at her, "Listen to her! She is more experienced than you for chrissake!"

The plot line was very broad. A bit similar to Violet on the Runway where Violet tried to find herself except this time she's doing it in foreign countries. I wasn't impressed because I was hoping for something new.

Overall, Violet By Design is a quick read but will be a disappointment to those picking it up from the last volume of the series.

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Swag Giveaway

Hey guys! Like I promised I will be giving out some swag with shiny bookmarks and postcards! There will be only one winner!

To be eligible: Should not have won any of the contests in Stop, Drop, and Read's blogoversary! (Be fair guys!) And please tell me if you are interested in anime or not. If yes, do you prefer Bleach, Naruto, or Slam Dunk? (To determine what to throw into the swag batch).

To get entries:
+1 Comment
+1 New Follower
+2 Old Follower
+1 Link

This will be international and ends September 19, 2009!

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