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.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Title: Something Borrowed
Author: Emily Giffin
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 322
My Rating: 5/5

Rachel White lives a clean life. She was a hard working student throughout high school and university, leading into her attorney career. She always had a bit of envy for her best friend, Darcy, who is beautiful and is very outgoing. (Not to mention every single guy and girl loves her! Well, most...) Why does Rachel have to work hard everyday to get to where she is today while her friend wastes her time but gets everything anyway?

On her thirtieth birthday, all have changed completely when Darcy threw a surprise party for Rachel. After some drinks, she and Darcy's fiancee, Dex, ended up in bed together that night. Didn't want to betray her long lasting friendship with Darcy, she tries to ignore it and move on. Only when it hit her that she is in love with Dex! And to add to the complications, he loves her too! Starting to have a secret love affair behind Darcy's back, would Rachel be able to have her own happy ending for once without hurting the ones she loves most?

This is one of the really rare romance adult novels I got to read and I got to say, I love it! It packs with great drama (not those overly dramatic ones that I scream fake to like Gossip Girl) and I'm sure all romantics would love it! There are times where I am disappointed at the main character because of her actions but then later on she does something that changes your mind. Makes you wonder if you'll ever be in an awkward situation. I even questioned my friend how she would feel if she was betrayed like that. (Her answer nailed into my head that I should never have second thoughts on hooking up with her future boyfriend). Definitely recommend it to all the females of appropriate age who is in need of some lovey-dovey reads!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

COMIC by Ha SiHyun

Title: COMIC
Mangaka: Ha SiHyun
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 8
My Rating: 3.5/5

Alice Song loves to draw. She likes comics and draw some of her own in her spare time. Her friend secretly submitted one of her comics into a contest ran by Cake's Magazine and she won third place! Alice is quite surprised and excited. As the youngest winner ever in Cake's Magazine, it adds more excitement for this high-schooler's new opportunity!

The very first day she visited the company, she was dragged to her manhwa idol's home by the editor, Mr. Kang, (who was once a student teacher at Alice's school and whom she admires very much), because the artist was late with submitting his work. Expecting the manhwa artist to be an awesome guy like Mr. Kang, Alice was surprised that Patrick "Saturn" Kang is a guy her age who is a complete jerk! Alice was left behind to help Saturn finish his remaining panels and realize of how much she hated him. What made things worse was the next day that she discovered he was in their neighbouring school!

Could Alice ever get along with such a guy? Especially now they are somewhat like "co-workers"?

I just picked up this manhwa today because the cover looked promising and I was desperate to get something at the anime store without walking out empty-handed like always. It was not so interesting as I hoped it would be. I like it but I'm not sure if I would be purchasing the second volume. It is very generic and I like generic depending on how well the mangaka displays it; this one seems like something anyone can throw together. Maybe it'll get better, who knows?

What I didn't like was the appearance of Patrick. He's cute alright but he looks like the character Paine from Faeries' Landing by You Hyun! What made it more of a mock is that a couple of pages from Faeries' Landing is shown in COMIC! It is like screaming, "I stole this character!", which is not impressive in any way when you want your story to stand out. (By the way, Faeries' Landing is adorable!! You guys should check it out even though I have no idea how long it is...)

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love by Maryrose Wood

Title: Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love
Author: Maryrose Wood
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 243
My Rating: 2.5/5

Felicia and her best pals call themselves the Sex Kittens. Oh no, it is not what you think. They are talented fourteen years old girls stuck in the Pound (a.k.a. school) and Felicia has her eyes on one hot Dawg by the name of Matthew Dwyer. He is a science geek who could often be found in the lab room doing experiments with adorable bunnies! And this Kitten is head over heels for him!

The science fair is coming up and Felicia partnered up with Matthew. So what is it going to be on? On the Secret of X (or in common people language: LOVE) of course! These two shall test and hypothesize on how you make the one you love fall back in love with you. Will Felicia have the X factor to attract her lovely Dawg?

Ah, this got to be the first book for me where I found the writing language a bit... corny. No offense to Maryrose! I love her other books for sure! (Though I didn't get to read the Musical one yet... So I pretty much just loved the Morgan series.) In the beginning, it took awhile before I got used to Felicia's slang. Referring to her friends as Kittens and the opposite sex Dawgs does make you a bit mad not to mention a hundred other made up words were used. It gets a bit better in the middle, you don't agonize over the language as much but it definitely sticks until the end (which is something you wished that disappear by magic and normal English kicks in but doesn't). There were many praises for it so I was eager to read it but once that slang started from the second page, it took me more than a week to finish it (managed to finish a book I started reading afterwards during the time). Crossing my fingers her next book won't be a disappointment!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story by Lisa Fiedler

Title: Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story
Author: Lisa Fiedler
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 246
My Rating: 4/5

Surely everyone that went to high school was dragged into reading Romeo & Juliet at one point in their life. Everyone knows that the young, vain lovers hooked up the first day, married the next, and died together afterwords. But what happened to the others while we were following the couple's version of the story?

Rosaline is a young Capulet around sixteen years of age. She wants to go into the path of a healer and help people. She works and learns by a local healer to obtain new skills each day. One day, Romeo came in with an injured friend to where the healer's place was but she was out. Instead, Rosaline took care of the boy and immediately lovesick Romeo has fallen for her beauty. Continuously following her everywhere, this girl who believes in pure chastity is absolutely fed up with him. No matter, he soon fell in love with her cousin, Juliet, at the Capulet's ball. And Rosaline begins to develop feelings for Benvolio, Romeo's cousin. Looking through the lens of a character that not once appeared in the original story, what is her story like?

I got to say I did not regret picking this up. It brings more of a youthful approach on Shakespeare and much easier to understand. The author skillfully entangled all of the characters together, giving reasons why certain things turned out to be in the original play. The story is told in different characters' perspectives but you get to understand their personalities more instead of just being people around Romeo and Juliet. The only difference is that one character that supposedly died managed to survive and the ending was with a twist. I definitely recommend it! Though I always prefer to read the original first before going into another version of it. It is a great read, even if you don't know a thing of Shakespeare!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Author Interview: Maryrose Wood

After much delay (my apologies!), I present to you my first author interview! Maryrose Wood is a hilarious author of Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love, My Life: The Musical, Why I Let My Hair Grow Out, and How I Found the Perfect Dress!

First, what is it like to be an author? (Your struggles and what you love about your job, etc)

I love my job! I’ve always loved stories and using my imagination to create. I’m fascinated by human nature and what goes on inside people’s heads, and being a novelist gives me a lot of opportunity to think about that.

And I love language, not surprisingly. I love words and sentences: the way words sound, and the many ways you can evoke a feeling or experience or place by simply stringing the right words together in the right way.

The struggles of the job have to do with the reality that you’re working alone a lot. You have to find ways to keep your life in balance and not get sucked into playing with your imaginary friends all the time. Also, books are long, and it can be a challenge to stay focused and productive over the period of many months it will take to write multiple drafts until the book is ready for publication.

But my author friends are really the most interesting people I know; it’s a treat to be part of community of such smart and creative folks. In the world of writing for teens and tweens, at least, writers do try to offer each other the support and sense of collegiality that helps make the lonely life of the novelist bearable!

Curiously, did your parents have some sort of expectations of you when you were about to leave high school? Possibly wanting you to go into a certain field?

When I left high school I was already absolutely certain that I wanted to be a professional stage actor. I auditioned for three different university acting programs and got accepted at two of them. Ultimately I enrolled at New York University as a drama major.

Years later my mom told me she thought I was going to college to be a biologist. Why she imagined that biology programs would require me to sing, dance, and do dramatic monologues to get accepted is something I still cannot understand. One conclusion that you can safely draw from this story is that my family was not really paying that close attention to what I did. Another conclusion you can draw is that my career has evolved in many new directions since college!

Based on my own experience, my advice is to remember that no matter what career plan you have as you graduate high school, you are likely going to change that plan several times as you get older and get exposed to more potential interests and opportunities. If you have a passion I think the best choice is to pursue it wholeheartedly while also getting a well-rounded education.

What is your everyday life like?

I have two kids, so my daily routine involves prying them out of bed, making breakfast, packing lunches, and driving them to school. Once they’re dropped off I come home and walk the dog, make coffee and get to work. I work from home, in a tiny, messy upstairs office that overlooks my garden. My dog always sits under my chair when I’m writing. She’s very inspiring!

When I get stuck or need to walk around a bit to clear my head, I usually go put in a load of laundry. For some reason it helps!

Is there anything you want to do but still haven’t?

Wow, I can think of thousands of things I’d love to do! I love to travel and would like to do more exploring of new places. And I have tons of ideas for creative projects that I hope to get underway when the time is right.

Also, just once, I would love to have a nice clean house from top to bottom with no clutter, anywhere. That would be a major accomplishment!

I read from another interview that you are working on the third installment of the half-goddess Morgan stories. Can you briefly tell me what this one will be about and when I should be sitting outside a bookstore at 7 AM in the morning for it?

Your question is very sweet! I’m writing the third Morgan book right now, and though I have a list of “maybe” titles I don’t have a perfect one yet, so for the moment I’m just privately calling it Morgan Three. A better title will be forthcoming, I promise!

As junior year ends, Morgan is having a hard time making decisions about college and what her future might hold. She’s convinced there’s some kind of half-goddess destiny in store for her. She just doesn’t know what it is.

Then, an unexpected opportunity to take a campus tour at a famous university plops her in the middle of the biggest crisis the faery realm has ever known. Will Morgan throw her plans for college, career and romance out the window to put things right between the human world and the faeries? Just as importantly, will her relationship with Colin survive once he finds out the truth about her being a half-goddess?

The book’s been tons of fun to write. And – there are unicorns! Not your ordinary, everyday unicorns, either. These unicorns are talented!

Are there any other stories that you are working on at the moment? (Answer if yes to the first part: How about giving a brief summary for them too?)

I’m delighted to be working on a screenplay adaptation of my 2008 book, My Life: The Musical. It’s about contemporary teens who love Broadway musicals, and I think it’s going to make a very fresh and fun movie musical – imagine a cross between Juno and Singin’ in the Rain.

I’m also about to start working on my first series for younger readers, which should launch in summer of 2010. Book publishing takes a lot of time! I’ll announce more about that series on my website when it gets a little closer.

Colin is indeed one of my favourite male characters yet. (Hah! A non-Edward fan from Twilight for me!) Have you ever fell hard for the opposite sex before? How did that point of your life turned out to be

Well – bearing in mind that I am a grown woman with two children, I think you can safely assume that I have fallen for quite a few lucky fellows along the way! At the moment I’m single, however. Meeting new people and dating has its ups and downs at any age. It helps keep me in touch with my “inner teen,” that’s for sure!

And last, give one interesting fact about you that you have not yet mentioned anywhere on the net!

Okay, big admission: I have a long-held and completely unrealistic fantasy that I might someday run the New York City Marathon. It’s unrealistic only because I haven’t run at all in years, and at the moment I show no signs of resuming with any regularity.

But yesterday I rode my bike in the “Tour de Bronx,” which is a huge group bike event with thousands of riders that meanders all over the Bronx. I did the “short” route (25 miles), but because I rode to the start and then home again from the finish, my total miles for the day were nearer to 40. It was tons of fun (thought quite difficult at times). Overall it felt like a reasonable substitute for my Marathon fantasy!

Thanks for the fun questions, Diana! To find out more about me or my books, please visit me at

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Generation Green by Linda Sivertsen and Tosh Sivertsen

Title: Generation Green
Author: Linda Sivertsen and Tosh Sivertsen
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 248
My Rating: 4/5

So how much do you know about our beautiful world called Earth? Do you stop to think about what you do that impacts our environment? Do you want to change your ways, to live a healthier life but don't know where to start? Well environmentalist/celebrity interviewer/author Linda Sivertsen is here to educate you on being green along with her son, Tosh! From what kind of alternate fuel you could use to your car to interesting facts on how much waste us humans produce a year, this handy guide is here to show you the many great possibilities of how to be environmentally healthy!

I find this a very educational and inspirational non-fiction read. Some of the things written here in my opinion is common sense. (Or it's just me being conscious of our environment). But you get to learn some very interesting facts and it reminds you of the little things that you should do everyday to decrease your ecological footprint. I got a bit annoyed how Tosh sounds like a complete goody-goody. Like, unbelievably too good. I would like to marry a guy like him though, he sounds so pure off the pages! (Wait, I don't like pure guys...) Oh well, he is someone you would love to have around from reading this book. Plus he's has some nice looks and is an actor. (Bonus!)

Now I suggest all those lazy bums out there to read this and make some changes!

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolo Guo

Title: A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
Author: Xiaolo Guo
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 283
My Rating: 3.5/5

Zhuang (Z for short) Xiao Qiao is a twenty-three years old Chinese woman who recently came to London to study English. In the beginning, she had much difficulty with the English language and nonetheless was not very familiar with the foreign country. One peaceful day, she went to the movies and met an Englishman who she fell in love with at first sight. Misunderstood his words when he let her come see his house, she eventually moves in. With his personality, he did not mind at all. As time passes, Z's feelings begin to grow, wanting him more each day. But how would their relationship turn out when their personalities are completely the opposite?

Z is quite an interesting character. In the beginning, she could barely string proper sentences (but enough that one could understand) but later on, her English got better and the way she view things is very controversial to many. People can relate to her and her lover because of their contrasting viewpoints in life. Z grew within time, learning things she would never knew if she stayed in China. A pretty good read, especially for the older audiences. Warning: Lots of sex.

Review copy provided by Book Divas.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 320
My Rating: 4/5

Life is usually depressing after someone you know and love passed away. Virginia (Ginny) Blackstone is as shocked as anyone when she found out her runaway Aunt Peg died of a brain tumor without notice. Before her death, she planned a little game for Ginny to play. "Little" is the wrong word, so let's use "worldly" instead.

Ginny received a bundle of mail, thirteen to be exact, from Aunt Peg. Each one is numbered from one to thirteen with adorable designs that her artistic aunt drew on all. Starting from the first letter, Ginny is given $1000 so she can buy herself a passport, a one-way plane ticket to good ol' London, and things she can backpack for her trip. After completing each task a letter has given, Ginny would be allowed to open the next one. Of course she could have opened them all at once but then what fun would it be when this was her crazy aunt's last dying wish? Soon enough, Ginny was all over Europe! What is the message Aunt Peg trying to tell her by going on all of these crazy adventures?

This book takes on a very interesting way on perceiving someone's death wish. I mean heck, who in the world let their daughter travel halfway around the world from America to Europe for no reason?? Well, of course there is a reason here but this kind of reason would make my parents go haywire if I actually took it seriously like Ginny did. (I likely would have just save the money and opened all the letters like a normal person...) It makes you wish you were in her position, minus all of the crazy, unpleasant things that happened to her. But without it, it wouldn't make much of a story would it? What slightly got under my nerves in the beginning is that Ginny seems so distant because the story is written in third person. It lasted for awhile but eventually her emotions are more out there for the readers to see as the story continues. I was really eager for the ending because I was waiting for something big. It did not turn out as big as I thought it would be (though it definitely was if you were in Ginny's position) but it is a good read nonetheless. Not a very fancy novel but indeed I find it with a cutesy touch and that is what I like.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Loveless by Yun Kouga

Title: Loveless
Mangaka: Yun Kouga
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 15
My Rating: 1/5

In the world where there are a mix of humans and human-like creatures with cat ears and cat tails, there is plenty of magic and mystery in the air. Ritsuka's older brother, Seimei, was recently murdered for unknown reasons. He transfers school to try to cope to a new environment and is also trying to deal with a split personality disorder. Soubi, supposedly Seimei's servant in the past, came to aid Ritsuka on their search to find the murderers. Will Ritsuka ever find out the reason for Seimei's horrible death?

This book gives me a headache as much as much as Haruka, even worse! I can make some sort of sense with Haruka but this manga is utterly confusing! First, the author doesn't give a good explanation of the setting. Then, characters pop out of nowhere and start doing magic! Who are they and when in the world did magic become part of the theme? At least explain what they are doing! Not only that, but the fact of Soubi and Ritsuka being servant and master creeps me out. Like, imagine a stranger you barely know that suddenly comes into your life and go "I love you" a hundred times a week. What the...? Don't get me wrong, I love shonen-ai (light boyxboy love) and yaoi (um, the hardcore stuff...) but the fact of the huge age difference gives me the urks. Let's get this straight, Ritsuka here is twelve years old, do you hear me? Twelve!! And the worse part, Soubi is in frikkin college!! How I can die in shameful agony as a yaoi fangirl. I usually read yaoi with my characters at least in high school and older. I hate age gaps but as long as the younger one is usually in high school and max at a ten years difference, I don't mind. So, don't even bother picking this up as much as a yaoi fangirl/boy you may be. This is crap. Finito.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
Author: Libba Bray
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 403
My Rating: 3/5

Gemma Doyle is at the tender age of sixteen, living in India for most of her life. She hates it there, she wants to go back to England where everything is civilized. On her birthday, she and her mother got into a fight. The last thing Gemma told her was that she hated her... before her mysterious death.

Gemma visioned her mother being engulfed by a black thing, she doesn't know what it is nor why she was seeing such event in her mind. She laters on finds out that she has great power.

She enters Spence, a finishing school where all girls learn to become fine wives for their future husbands. She meets a few girls where her secret will be sacrificed for their friendship. What would become of Gemma and why does she have these powers?

This book disappointed me as much as Twilight. I heard so many great things about it that I decided to look into it. I'm rather picky so it might have just been me. I found the characters a bit anooying, especially Gemma. She thinks she knows everything when she doesn't. A lot of people might enjoy it though so if you want something that takes place in another time period but a mix of fantasy, mystery, and slight romance, this book would be good for you. I was slightly loving the ending. Let's just say the characters got what they deserved, neh?

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Eyeshield 21 by Riichiro Ingaki & Yusuke Murata

Title: Eyeshield 21
Mangaka: Riichiro Inagaki (Story) & Yusuke Murata (Art)
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 31
My Rating: 3/5

Sena Kobayakawa will do anything not to be beat up. Let's face, he is scrawny and a pushover. Who wouldn't pick on him? Well, every single bully can't resist! So little Sena will be anyone's gopher so he could be able to live the next day. And over time, he was able to become a very quick kid after running away from bullies 24/7.

When he enters high school, he wasn't planning on joining any clubs. That is, until after he was chased into the football team's cabin. The crazy captain had his eyes on Sena from the start, who just thought he could be the manager. But with little players, Sena might have to use his legs to boost up the team's game! His alias will be 'Eyeshield 21' for his identity shall remain hidden! Except, would he be able to pull off something that big, especially with no athletic background?

I think this sports manga is much more entertaining that the ones I usually read. It's easier to understand game-wise because most of the time, other mangas would get into these long description about the playing moves (which I hate). The character isn't some kid who sucks terribly at a sport but is passionate about it. Or maybe vice versa. I find Sena a bit more interesting and how he keeps his real self a secret. Though I have a feeling there would a lot of plotlines where they would go, "Our teamwork helped pull off a great game!" or "You can make your dream come true!" in the later novels. Because how many novels can you write for just games??

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Title: The Kite Runner
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 394
My Rating: 4.5/5

Life in Afghanistan for the people in the 1970s were not so great. It was like most poor countries at the time. The country was divided into two group of people, the Pashtuns and the Hazaras. The Hazaras were considered the lower status group, always looked down by the Pashtuns.

For young Amir though, he is a son of a very wealthy Pashtun merchant, his life was dainty and was always been brought to the brighter side of things. He is always sheltered and had a very loyal Hazara servant named Hassan.

Hassan is extremely loyal to an extent that he let himself be physically and emotional traumatized so he didn't have to give up Amir's kite for a local bully. Amir watched this happening secretly that he was so scared and turned off to run, leaving Hassan in the worse position possible.

Many years later after Amir's life became complicated and he is well settled in America, his father's friend calls him back for some unfinished matter, dealing with Hassan. Would Amir be able to stand in front of someone he left cowardly many years ago for protecting his pride?

This book is one of the most compelling, tragic, heart-quenching book dealing with relationships and problems among love ones possible. An amazing read, great for those who like to read things with deeper meanings. I usually don't read this kind of stuff, but indeed there are times that hook you on completely. I am reading this for school so some of the classmates are totally into it, would give it a 5/5 right on the spot. Me liking it would be a 4 rating but since everything is so vivid with possibilities like that in real life (not to mention the story extracts true facts of world history), completely boosted up everything. Recommended for all readers (except the young ones of course).

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

La Corda d'Oro by Yuki Kure

Title: La Corda d'Oro
Mangaka: Yuki Kure
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 170
# of Volumes: 11
My Rating: 5/5

The prestigious Seisou Academy, divides the school into two groups: the General Education (Gen Ed) and the Musical Group. The school is famous for their talented musical students and you could get amazing scholarships and opportunities if you show how talented you are. Every few years, there would be a musical competition and only the best of the best would be picked to join. All the musical students hopes for their chance to shine in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Kahoko Hino is a Gen Ed student who has no musical talent what-so-ever. She was minding her business and taking a glance up in the sky when she suddenly saw a small fairy! Apparently, many years ago there was a young man with a passion for music who saved the fairy. The fairy, Lili, blesses the school he build later on. Lili is invisible to everyone but he (possibly she cause of the name?) decided to relax his magic and let those with a potential see him. Since Kohoko have the same "wavelength" as he, he decided that she should be in the musical competition of this year! Giving her a magical violin, he made sure that he guilted her into staying in the competition. How would it turn out for a girl who never touched a violin in her life in the sea of talents beyond compare?

Intially, I never wanted to read this manga. I saw it many times in the bookstore but it seems... a bit generalistic for me that I wouldn't like it. But boy, am I wrong! I borrowed it from the library last week and didn't touch it till yesterday. I ended up reading up to the fourth one, neglecting my homework! What I extremely love about it is that there are two, no three male characters that may have a chance with Kohoko. Usually, I hate the love triangles because you know who the girl ends up with and it's not very fun because the male characters get prissy generally in the shojo mangas with each other. There is this one character, Kazuki Hihara, that reminds me so much of my own character, Anthony Bobbie Dang, that I found him downright adorable!! Unlike most mangas that dies after the first volume, it intrigues you to continue reading! I even squealed at one part because one of the male character accidentally fell on top of Kohoko! I would've done some spoilers but it's late right now and I am feeling lazy...

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