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, December 29, 2008

Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson

Title: Death: At Death's Door
Comic Artist: Jill Thompson
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 1/5

Lucifer Morningstar decides to leave his throne and gives away the Key to Hell to Dream (a.k.a. the Sandman). All of hell's creatures has no where else to go as Dream tries to figure out what to do with the key. So, they ended up in Death's (Dream's older goth sister) place. Death and her sisters, Delirium and Despair, tries to keep everyone in order. Instead, all hell break loose as the dark beings party down the house! On the other hand, every higher supernatural beings try to convince Dream to give them the key. Who will rule Hell?

This graphic novel is based off a bestselling comic series from the 1990s called The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. I never knew so myself until I saw the gist of it at the end of the volume. I can barely give this one a review because it makes no sense whatsoever! I only knew what the main plot is because of the summary behind it! This got to be one of the choppiest comic I've ever read because it jumps all over the place! Not only that, but it doesn't conclude properly! No one should pick it up. Unless maybe you have read The Sandman yourself, you will never understand it.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

In My Mailbox - IV

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

I just came home from a short trip with family friends and just realized it is Sunday. The whole time I kept telling myself I will do it tomorrow as I somehow tricked myself into believing it is a Saturday. So I quickly took a bad snapshot below so I can have this post up before the day ends so I can go back trying to figure out how I can transfer my whole Itunes library from one computer to another without burning it onto a disc. If anyone can help me out here, it would be more than appreciated!

Sadly as you can see, since I was away for half the week I was unable to borrow nor buy anything. I do have a Chapters gift card so I may use it this week if the mangas are going on sale soon... During the meantime, I have to read all the books I borrowed last week. And a couple of books I received to review.

The Borrowed


The Bought


The Received

Ouran High School Host Club vol. 5 by Bisco Hatori
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin

Title: I Know It's Over
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 244
My Rating: 5/5

Nick Severson has another year and a half to go before he graduates. He is in the hockey team and is living his life as a teenager. All goes wrong when his ex-girlfriend comes back... to tell him that she is pregnant with his child.

He still has feelings for Sasha, who broke it off with him because she wanted to focus in school and her future. Now with her pregnant, his whole world falls apart as he tries to sort out his emotions and problems. What will happen to the both of them?

The first half of the book starts off with how Nick met Sasha. Eventually it moves back to the present as Nick tries to cope with the news from his ex. It is a touching story and I love how realistic the characters are. Sometimes in books, characters tend to be a bit one-dimensional. Not only can you relate to Nick and the others, but they also have depth and their character grows over time. Even the side characters does their part very well to affect Nick's actions. Not to mention, the setting is in Ontario! (Canadian pride, yo). But I have to say when I was reading it halfway, it seemed like it would never end! I was about a hundred pages away from completing it before I wanted everything to conclude already. But I am pretty satisfied with the ending and I wonder what will happen to everyone in the future.

I'm sure anyone who loves realistic romance will enjoy this story about love, heartbreaking moments, and the struggle of understanding.

Won copy from All My Little Words...C.K. Blogs.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith (Foreword by Wes Craven)

Title: How to Survive Horror Movie
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith (Foreword by Wes Craven)
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 175
My Rating: 5/5

Are you in the middle of a cemetery at midnight and something from the shadows just moved in the corner of your eyes? Are you in Japan with freaky little children staring at you from across the street of an abandoned home? Sorry to say, but you are likely stuck in a horror movie! Worry not! How to Survive a Horror Movie is the guide that will help you out of this terror alive! ...Well, unless you are that stupid to do the things that it tells you NOT to do. Then good luck on the other side! Maybe you will finally get your chance to scare the living lights of that bully who tortured you back in elementary school.

Packed with famous horror movie references and witty monster defenses, this is something that anyone can enjoy! When I first found it on the floor of my cousin's cousin's room, the title popped out on me. I picked it up and was totally hooked from beginning to end. It is like reading another teen's diary who has a great sense of humour. I was so into it that I finished it in one day, neglecting the other books I had to review! How to protect yourself from the undead to surviving your slasher summer, this book has all the useful tips that horror movie victims need! I totally recommend it, even if you think you are not in one. Oh! Be careful and don't look behind you...

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Author Interview: Dave & Lillian Brummet

Merry Christmas everyone! Everyone enjoying their winter break? Good, so am I! Well, today I have a new author interview for you! Dave and Lillian Brummet are the authors of Trash Talk (an informative book about the concerns of the environment), Towards Understanding (a collection of poetry on the meaning of life and finding one's self), and Purple Snowflake Marketing (a guide to how to make your book stand out in the market). They also are the hosts of the talk show Conscious Discussions and the Author Reads radio program. I wish you enjoy this interview as Lillian gives a lot of useful tips on how to more environmentally-friendly. For more information, please go to

Firstly, in your published books they deal about finding one’s self and how to become a better person along with the concerns of the environment. What led you two to write about these topics?

Well honestly it goes way back to a series of car accidents that I was in that left me seriously pondering the value of my life. I realized how quickly acquirements - like a degree, self-employed businesses, careers or bank accounts – can disappear or be destroyed by unforeseen circumstances… things beyond our control. It was then that I felt my life must change or I could not go on living. I have felt driven from that moment on to give my life meaning. At that time my husband (Dave) and I had several deep conversations on where we wanted our lives to go, and perusing ways of leaving a positive legacy continues to be our focus. Through our writing we want to encourage the reader to realize their incredible value as an individual – the impact they can have on the sustainability of their community, on the health of the planet – it is really staggering when you really understand the power of the individual. Each and every one of us need to realize that WE ARE the hero that we are seeking in society.

When writing non-fiction books, I'm sure they require a bit of research. Did you come across anything you found that was quite a shock/surprise while you were researching for your book? If so, what were they?

An excellent question! I did find myself shocked to the core a number of times. Dave and I have personally had discussions with people in our society who would be considered fairly environmentally conscious here in the US and Canada that have not understood the importance of keeping organics out of the landfill. What shocked me most was that these people were considered to be fairly educated and conscious consumers. The number of people that do not recycle, or that do not use the system fully blew me away. I’ve had questions over the years from people who weren’t aware that soup cans were recyclable, which were one of the first items accepted in the recycling system (cans were incorporated soon after newspapers and beverage containers). I see people every week putting out their garbage bags WAY too early on the curb, sometimes as much as a full day in advance of the pick-up service. This invites stray animals, and dogs who are allowed to walk themselves by their owners, to tear into the bags dragging litter all over the neighborhood where the wind picks it up and carries it to our waterways. It is very sad that these kinds of everyday activities are still going on despite the efforts to educate the public by numerous government agencies, individuals and organizations.

In terms of today, do you think the world is more environmentally-conscious or not?

Oh, definitely more conscious – there is no doubt about that. We like to reminisce about the olden days when the pioneers first arrived, but really those times were incredibly polluted. This question reminds me of an interview I did recently on our radio show with Rosemary Chaulk (Conscious Discussions; Oct 30,008) and she was explaining the horrible toxins that were used to steam velvet. She also showed how the toxic dyes in clothing and wallpaper were driving people insane and they would die very young in “unusual ways”. They didn’t understand health or vitamins diet or exercise any more than they understood the workings of this planet or how their hunting practices were wiping out entire species. We have much more understanding now and there are billions of individuals out there working every day to create innovative sustainable positive change across the planet. Young children are influencing change by bringing knowledge from school with them wherever they go. It is a very exciting time that we are living in.

Fast forwarding into the future about twenty years from now, do you think the world will be in a huge crisis due to global warming and pollution rates that are increasing today?

Absolutely. We are changing our lifestyles, becoming more conscious and instituting huge technological advances to reduce current contributions to global warming and environmental destruction. And this is a wonderful thing to be on this road towards positive change. However, we have yet to learn how to remove the pollution and gasses that are already warming the planet and causing toxic acid rain, and other issues. When we learn how to do this, we are on the road to recovery.

I honestly feel that we will face many challenges in our lifetime; our children and grandchildren will likely face just as many. However, humans are extremely adaptable as a species. We are also armed with a much better understanding about the world and our impact on the universe. Every single day I learn of some new innovation, some plan being put in place that will create positive change. The Internet is the best place to go for this kind of information. Traditional media is there to doom-and-gloom us to death – literally; if you want to be inspired by the amazing things happening in the world - go online.

There are so many things that contribute to pollution and global warming. If you can do only one thing to help the world's health, what would it be?

Anyone that knows me or has listened to my radio show is grinning in anticipation of my answer – knowing that I will say: Compost!!!! Here’s why:

Keeping organic waste out of the trash can be considered one of the most important steps we can make. Improper composting is a major source of greenhouse gases including methane, which is a highly toxic greenhouse gas that is at least 23 times more destructive than Carbon Dioxide. According to an organization known as Gaia - landfills account for 34 % of human-related methane emissions.

When organic waste is covered in the landfill, it is deprived of oxygen, which creates an anaerobic environment that reacts with other waste materials, producing leachate and a number of toxic gasses including methane - a threat to ground water and a producer of greenhouse gases.

Start a compost or worm bin to convert organics into nutrient rich compost instead. You can use the product in your potted plants, flower beds, landscaping, yards, around trees or gardens. If your property or apartment building does not have these things, find a friend or neighbor who does.

People will find that they do not have to put the trash out as often, because both the odors and volume are greatly decreased – the average individual’s organics equate to 30% of their contributions to the landfill. At the same time they are helping to build nutrient-rich soil, full of microbiological life that requires fewer pesticides, fungicides, moisture or amendments. * – Did you know that North America is losing its viable soil in devastating amounts? What we have left is void of many nutrients and farmers are forced to introduce expensive amendments, raising the costs of our food. Additionally, composted organics is considered a Carbon Sink because some of the carbon is retained in the soil – and this is yet another way that composting can help us fight global warming. So there are all kinds of reasons to compost.

Besides the 3 basic Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), what are your top 5 ways to help the environment?

Actually there are 4 R’s in waste management. The first R is Refuse – Refuse to accept manufacturer’s standards. Refuse to by the non-recyclable product packaged in non-recyclable materials. Refuse to accept your governments current standards and support of alternatives. Instead, encourage change by voting with your dollar, by communicating with businesses letting them know how you feel about their product or practices. …But to answer your question –

We can also help the waste management industry run more efficiently. For instance, when only full garbage bags and Blue or Green boxes are put out on the curb, the garbage truck does not have to stop as often and waste fossil fuels inefficiently while idling. Similarly, by collapsing items like cardboard and paperboard (cereal or pet food) boxes, cans, plastic bottles and other bulky items before recycling we are ensuring that space is used more efficiently - thereby reducing the number of bins needed for transporting materials.

Vehicle idling alone is responsible for 3-5% of the air pollution problem in North America and we can all take a stance against this with simple daily conscious driving actions. When starting out for the day take a moment to consider where the least congested routes might be that you can take advantage of; also – we can choose to travel during quieter times of the day. We can choose to turn off the vehicle when sitting at drive-through service areas, waiting for ferries, while waiting for someone who’s run into the store or for the kids outside the school. Basically, if our wheels aren’t moving, we need to question why the motor is running.

Use your bicycle or scooter whenever you can. We live about 14 blocks from the center of town and it takes only 6-8 minutes to bike right into town center.

Grow green things wherever you can. Indoor plants will clean the air and regulate air moisture more efficiently. Plants on your balcony will help reduce urban glare and increase green space in your community. Growing gardens rather than large lawns will use the water and soil you consume more efficiently, while providing you with free food that is grown well, harvested when ripe and at its most nutrient-rich state, and that has notconsumed fossil fuels to get to your table.

Support local growers in your area; their product has not consumed huge amounts of fossil fuels in transporting it to the table.

Pick up litter wherever you are: on the beach, on the trails, out around the neighborhood, in the alley behind your office building, on the sidewalk… everywhere. 80% of the litter found in our waterways (streams, oceans, bogs….) is carried from our streets by air currents. …and don’t forget to sort that garbage into the appropriate recycling bin or trash bin.

You two have not yet published any fiction novels - Are you planning to do so in the near future?

Dave and I have several individual fiction projects in the “to-do” files. J We keep going back to them and hope to do something with them one day. Time is such a factor in our lives and finding a balance can be difficult – though we hope to be able to return to those projects in a few months.

One of the stories I am working on involves some of America’s historical civic war, and has some Native Indian adventure, loss and paranormal elements to it. It is purely creative fiction and not meant to be historically accurate. This story was sparked by a dream I had, which is the case for most of the fiction work in my “to-do” files.

Lastly, are there any books that you are about to release soon? If so, how about telling us what it is going to be about briefly?

Last year we compiled a cookbook holiday gift for family and friends using the recipes Dave and I created from our own garden harvests. We also included several memorable family recipes from those that are no longer with us. We did this as a small way of celebrating those people and a way to remember them by. We have talked about giving a chapter away at a time on our main website ( or turn it into an e-book. We are still undecided as to whether we’ll do something for the public in the future with this particular project.

Our current project is the new edition of Purple Snowflake Marketing –How to Make Your Book Stand Out in a Crowd, which is due to be released in mid-to-late Feb 2009. This new edition has at least one extra chapter, several chapters have been increased in size to more deeply cover those subjects and we will be increasing the number of resources for writers to use as opportunities to market their book by several hundred new contacts.

I’m also working on a gardening book, which was my mother’s dream. She is a gardening genius and was the owner of Elison Arms Herbals specializing in rare and endangered varieties of herbs, veggies and farm animals. Dave and I tutored under her for 11 years gleaning from her copious piles of notes on scrap paper and gleaning from her mind as well. We took that information and refined it, trying the various techniques out through our own market garden and the organic gardens at a spa we managed for one season. This manuscript has been in the works for a long time, obviously, and I hope to have it completed in the next 2 years. My mother is chronically ill and not expected to be with us much longer so I do hope that I can complete the project or at least be finishing it before my mother passes on.

I’d love to complete a book 2 for Trash Talk and a second book of poetry, but only time will tell if those dreams come to fruition. ☺

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Watching on Wednesday: Naruto (Volume 29)

Hey guys! This will be a new feature of mine, Watching on Wednesday! I know I know, it sounds like a ripoff from the other blogs and their Wednesday features. But honestly, I couldn't think of any other titles! Hopefully no one has done this yet so I won't be yelled at for stealing ideas... Unlike most features, this won't be a weekly thing because I don't watch that much TV. Basically, I will review any films/movies/shows on a Wednesday. Now onward with the review!

Title: Naruto (Volume 29)
Film Type: Show
Age Group: Teens
Release Year: 2008
My Rating: 4/5

Naruto and the gang are hot on the trail of Orochimaru's henchmen. Earlier, Sasuke have agreed to follow the four sound ninjas to go back to their village. To become stronger and activate his cursed seal, he must die once. Sasuke swallowed a given pill that caused him much pain. The Sound Four then quickly sealed him into a coffin and immediately went back to Orochimaru.

Once the Konoha Village was alerted of Sasuke's disappearance, Tsunade sent out Shikamaru to retrieve him. Shikamaru brings along Naruto, Kiba, Neji, and Choji to help him with the mission.

Now after Choji have battled Jirobo to let the others escape ahead, it is Neji's time to fight. He is up against the spider-like ninja, Kidomaru. Using his Byakugan, will he be able to defeat his strongest enemy yet?

Shikamaru, Naruto, and Kiba are now catching up to the last two of the Sound Four. During their battle, Kiba and the leader of the Sound Four falls into a ditch. Now Kiba along with his faithful pup, Akamaru are alone with Sakon. What will be the outcome of their fight?

Then there is one sound ninja left to take care of. Shikamaru and Naruto are determined to pry the coffin out of Tayuya's hands. Unexpectedly, a new face shows up. Kimimaro, a loyal follower of Orochimaru, takes the coffin with him because of the Sound Four delayed their arrival for too long. Naruto pursue after this new enemy. From all of these battles, who will win against their opponent?

At first when I received my review copy, I had to go back and watched where I last left off about four years ago. Since I always watched the original Japanese version, I was not used to hearing the characters talk in English. So the first thing I did when started watching this (sadly you can not switch to Japanese audio) was complained about the voice actors. Eventually after a couple of episodes, I got used to it. (Although I still hate Naruto's English voice). The battles weren't too shabby. I actually enjoyed it like I did those many years ago. But there are times in the middle of a battle, the scene would have a flashback. This annoyed me so much! I don't care what Naruto said to Neji a hundred episodes ago! I want to find out who will win already! And sometimes the battles just drag on to the point where I wonder when it'll finish. Other than that, it is not so bad.

Review copy provided by Viz.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bound Beauty by Mick Takeuchi

Title: Bound Beauty
Mangaka: Mick Takeuchi
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 5
My Rating: 5/5

Japan has many legends and superstitions that goes way back in time. One of them is two fated lovers are bounded together with an invisible red thread. Of course, who would believe that? But Chiyako Chiko (can't help but say this is a bad name combination) can actually see these threads! It all started when she was caught in the middle of a fire many years ago. She was rescued by a mysterious boy, who was the first person she saw the red thread of.

Now in high school, Chiyako uses her ability as a matchmaker to earn money. With family complications, she wishes to make enough to move out of the house. All is well until three handsome men called the Tyers come into her life. They have the same ability as her, to see these invisible threads. Except there are more than just the red threads of love, there are hundreds of different kinds! From threads of hatred to threads of family, there are more than Chiyako can count!

Accidentally, she falls into a room that belongs to one of the legendary five coloured threads. As a chosen "tyer" (a person with the power to tie the strings of fate of others but in return looses the thing they want most), Chiyako's body reverts into a little kid! The only time she can return to normal is when she brings out her power. Once she no longer uses it, she becomes a child again! Will she be able return to her original form? Or will she be stuck like this forever?

This is my new favourite manga series! I love the characters' personalities and plot! In the beginning, Chiyako talks a bit about wishing to become an independent adult. She doesn't get along with father and I want to know why. All of the characters have their own little secret which I hope the mangaka will reveal later on in the series. This manga also includes comedy to balance out the serious parts. So far, there isn't much romance but Chiyako has a crush on one of the Tyers who is also her sensei (teacher). I am crossing my fingers that she will develop a further relationship with Hirotsuna Tachibana (the male in the picture above). Hopefully they will end up with each other! I will await for the second release on this series! There are a couple of other series by Mick that I wish to look into; one of them is called Her Majesty's Dog. I think all manga fans should take a look at this new series!

Review copy provided by Go! Comi.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

After School Nightmare by Setona Mizushiro

Title: After School Nightmare
Mangaka: Setona Mizushiro
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 10
My Rating: 4/5

Everyone has a secret. Some secrets are too devastating to know, even to oneself. Mashiro Ichijo has one of those secrets. His upper body is male while his lower body is female. He tries to go on with his life as a boy. Until one day he is enrolled into a class that changes his life forever.

After school every Thursday, a door that leads to the basement reveals itself only to those in that class. What is this class exactly? The student will fall asleep, entering an alternative world. They will take form of their true self. Their goal is to find a key. This key will let them graduate from this class. It could be in another student's body. Or it can appear out of no where. Every time you enter this dream world, you have to kill or get killed. Welcome to your worse nightmare.

This manga's theme is psychological horror. It's not full out scary but there are some eerie parts to it. After graduating from the class, the student will "disappear" from the real world completely. I wonder what really happened to them. The first two volume leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I like this series because it has an interesting and different plotline. It is good at making you guessing what will happen to Mashiro and the other students. Why are they in this class? Who are they really in real life? Is there a hidden purpose for the existence of this class? Recommended for all who likes horror manga and wants to try something new.

Review copy provided by Go! Comi.

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Ultimate Venus by Takako Shigematsu

Title: Ultimate Venus
Mangaka: Takako Shigematsu
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 4
My Rating: 3.5/5

Yuzu Yamashita has recently became an orphan when her mother passed away. The landlady also kicks her out of her apartment, making her a homeless teenager. Afraid to burden her neighbour, Yuzu decides to sleep in the playground Life is already drastic as it is until a handsome man named Hassaku comes along and tells her that her grandmother is looking for her!

Yuzu wonders what kind of person her grandmother is as this is the first time she will be meeting her. Arriving to a castle beyond her wildest dreams, she finds out her grandmother is the president of the Shirayuki Group! (Not to mention she is so stylish and young!) Yuzu is forced into a world of wealth and power as she may become the heir of the family's company! With so many competitive relatives who wants her position, they will do whatever they can to get rid of her. Will Yuzu be able to handle the dangers that lie ahead?

What I dislike about this story is the clique plot. The main character (usually a girl) becomes an orphan and then finds out that the family s/he never knew is rich beyond belief! With newfound power and money, the character has to overcome the obstacles of transisting from a poor person to a wealthy one. I find this a bit boring because there are so many mangas out there with a similar plotline. There is nothing that stands out for me to entice me to go onto the second volume. Yuzu basically keeps running into trouble and there is someone who is always at her rescue. Overall, the manga is alright and the artwork is pretty with the shojo feel to it. If you don't mind this kind of plot, you may enjoy Ultimate Venus.

Review copy provided by Go! Comi.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

In My Mailbox - III

Sorry for the delay! Me and my family went out to the mall today and came home around 8:00 PM. To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how at The Story Siren!

The Borrowed

Cowa! vol. 1 by Akira Toriyama
Dragon Drive vol. 6-9 by Kenichi Sakura
One-Pound Gospel vol. 1 by Rumiko Takahashi
Sugar Sugar Rune vol. 1, 4 by Moyoco Anno
Real vol. 1 by Takehiko Inoue

The Bought

Drawing Fantasy Art by Steve Beaumont, Jim Hanson, and John Burns

The Received

07-Ghost vol. 1 by Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara
After School Nightmare vol. 1-2 by Setona Mizushiro
Bound Beauty vol. 1 by Mick Takekuchi
CrossxBreak vol. 1-2 by Duo Brand.
Song of the Hanging Sky vol. 1-2 by Toriko Gin
Ultimate Venus vol. 1 by Takako Shigematsu
Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventure in Japan by Aimee Major Steinberger
Masque of the Red Death vol. 1 by Wendy Pini
Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zapeda
Sucks to Be Me by Kimberley Pauley

Yes, this got to be one of my biggest book week yet! I bought the art book for my sister for Christmas. (In return she got me the vol. 5 of Ouran High School Host Club today! But I will add that to next week's In My Mailbox). I got a huge shipment from Go! Comi; this totally made my week! Sucks to Me Be was received as a Christmas present from my Secret Santa two days ago! I finally got it, Kimberley!☺

I have a couple of manga reviews that will be put up soon. As you can see, 99% of my upcoming reviews will likely be on manga. All is not lost as I am in the middle of I Know It's Over by C.K. Martin and just started a bit of Sucks to Be Me. (If only the library stop getting new mangas, I may actually go on reading real books! Sorry, mangas are just so addicting! I think by February I will have a steady flow of novel reviews.)

I may be away from Wednesday to Saturday with family friends so there might not be any reviews during that time. So I wish you guys Happy Holidays!

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Koi Cupid by Mia Ikumi

Title: Koi Cupid
Mangaka: Mia Ikumi
Age Group: Youth
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 5
My Rating: 3.5/5

Everyone knows what a cupid is. They are small male angels that are supposed to bound together the fated love ones with an arrow. Well, the real cupids are actually young adorable girls. Each cupid has her own way of bringing two people together. By writing a letter or even the use of scissors! If the cupid doesn't complete her mission on Earth, she will not be allowed back up to Heaven.

Koi, Ai, and Ren are all cupid-in-training. Every time they try to complete their missions, something happens! Will they be able to collect all of their stamps to become full-fledged cupids with so many obstacles?

This is an adorable manga that all little girls today will enjoy. I simply love the art style of the mangaka. The unique thing about her art is that all of her characters' eyes doesn't seem to be inked in (I'm not completely sure if it is true or not). It seems like she inked everything else and left the eyes in pencil. It adds a bit of her trademark to her art. In terms of plot and characters, they don't appeal to me as a teenager but definitely will for girls in elementary school.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Far From You Release Celebration and Contest!

Lisa Schroeder, author of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, is celebrating the release of her upcoming YA novel, FAR FROM YOU, and hosting a contest with LOTS of great prizes!

For three days leading up to the book’s release date of December 23rd, you can watch VLOGs and hear some excerpts read from the book. The VLOG schedule is as follows:

Sunday, December 21st – Liv’s Book Reviews -

Monday, December 22nd – What Vanessa Reads -

Tuesday, December 23rd – Lisa Schroeder, author - AND

Help spread the word, and you might win a fabulous prize!

Copy and paste THIS entire blog entry into your blog between now and December 21st, then come back to Lisa’s blog at either Livejournal OR Myspace and leave a comment with the link to your blog and you will get TWO enteries to win a number of prizes.

Wondering what you might win? Here is the list (there will be multiple winners):

~ An Advanced Review Copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, by Carrie Ryan

~ An Advanced Review Copy of SOMETHING, MAYBE, by Elizabeth Scott

~ Young adult novel GIRL, HERO by Carrie Jones

~ Young adult novel, THE POSSIBILITIES OF SAINTHOOD by Donna Freitas

~ Young adult novel, UGLIES by Scott Westerfield

~ Pair of YA fairy tale retellings by Cameron Dokey (BELLE and BEFORE MIDNIGHT)

~ TWILIGHT movie soundtrack

~ $15.00 Barnes and Noble gift card along with some Harry & David’s chocolate moose munch

~ And of course, a signed copy of FAR FROM YOU

For more chances to win, watch one or all of the VLOGs and leave a comment on that vlogger’s page, and you get another entry. That means if you post the schedule on your blog AND comment on all three VLOGs, you can have FIVE entries for the contest!

A live drawing with winners announced will be done by Lisa Thursday morning, December 24th, in a special holiday VLOG.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Title: ghostgirl
Author: Tonya Hurley
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 328
My Rating: 2/5

In every school, there is that one kid who wants to be in the popular crowd. Charlotte Usher is one of them at Hawthorne High. So the beginning of a new school year, she is ready to be noticed. Her days of invisibility will finally be over! ...She hopes.

Stepping into class, she is still not welcomed when the science teacher tells everyone to pair up with a partner and she ends up alone. Her luck changes when her biggest crush, who is a cute and most popular guy ever, Damen, came in late. It is a perfect chance to be with him and her gateway to popularity.

Unfortunately, Charlotte chokes on a gummy bear. And then she dies on the first day of school. Now she is more invisible than ever! Too bad, this ghost isn't giving up until she gets her moment with Damen at the Fall Ball! Will she be able to ever let go of the Life around her and accept she is dead?

The first thing that stands out is Charlotte herself. She is painfully clingy and obsessive about popularity to the point that I am frustrated with her! I was even glad that she died! Why in the world would you take hundred pictures of your crush secretly and photoshop yourself with him together?? I find her stalker-like ways creepy. And to still pin him after you are dead! Letting go is hard but to force yourself into a person's body to get close to a huge crush is just a big no. Those definitely receives a few deduction points from me possibly liking the book.

Another thing is that all the dead teens go to a "dead school" because Charlotte had no choice but to attend to hers. I could not help but find it as a "Huh?" factor because it seems a bit pointless. Why in the world should there be a school for the dead? There is a reason but I do not like how the idea of it exists in the book but it does play its part towards the end. I disliked the book until 3/4 of it when it was just okay that I did not mind reading it. I did not find the plot intriguing at all and was waiting for it to finish. The end was also another "Huh?" factor because, well, if you read it you will see.

Won copy from Brooke Taylor Books.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventure in Japan by Aimee Major Steinberger

Title: Japan Ai: A Tall Girl's Adventures in Japan
Comic Artist: Aimee Major Steinberger
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 183
# of Volumes: 1
My Rating: 5/5

Based on a true story, Aimee Steinberger is a six feet professional animator and cosplayer who dreams of going to Japan. In 2002, she discovers a gorgeous ball-jointed doll by a Japanese company called Volks. This became her new obsession. Later on, she gets a writing position in an English magazine based on ball-jointed dolls.

One day, Aimee is desperate to visit the Volks company in Japan. Deciding to call them for an interview, she was more than thrilled that they knew of her and wishes for her to have dinner with the president of the company! Immediately, she pleads her friends to come with her in Japan. Along with two other friends, Aimee takes the best trip of her life!

Definitely a must-have for all anime/manga fans and Japanese addicts in hope of going to Japan in the future. When I first saw the cover online, I thought it was some story that I wouldn't be interested in. Wrong! Aimee drew about her adventure throughout the beautiful and advanced oriental country with an adorable artwork and loving humour. You get to learn the cultural differences of Japan and North America from what they wear on a regular basis to amazing tourist attractions. This book makes me want to spend all of my university savings and just buy a plane ticket right now! I am planning to use it as future reference if I go to Japan!

Review copy provided by Go! Comi.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

Title: Ouran High School Host Club
Mangaka: Bisco Hatori
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 13
My Rating: 5/5

Haruhi Fujioka is an intelligent girl who receives a scholarship to one of the most prestigious school around, Ouran High School. Every single student there comes from a rich family. When I say rich, I do mean rich. So rich that they know nothing of the common class because all their life is filled with expensive restaurants and clothes from the latest designer along with luxurious vacations that celebrities can afford.

In need of a place to study, Haruhi searches for a quiet room within the grand school. Thinking that one of the music rooms is unused, she enters but to only find herself the "Host Club". The club consists of six gorgeous and wealthy-beyond-your-imagination boys; they will give you all the attention in the world with the right price and they'll make sure your money is well spent. They welcome Haruhi with much affection that she freaks out and accidentally breaks a vase nearby. It wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't an antique with a $80 000 tag on it. To repay for the cost, Haruhi is forced to become their "dogsbody" because unlike everyone else, she comes from the other side of the spectrum. Thrown into the fabulous world of the rich and with a huge debt over her head, how will Haruhi manage??

Ouran Host Club is one of my favourite crossdressing manga series of all-time. I started reading it three years ago when it first came out. But then there was a phase where everyone was crazy about it online so I took a break after the second volume. I started to pick it up again this year and fell in love with it once more.

It contains wacky moments that are downright fun to read! Not to mention there is a bit of romance. In the beginning of the series, the plot is very light and fluffy. Eventually as it progresses, the mangaka dives into the background of the individual hosts. So it gets a bit dark for certain hosts and you see the reasons for why they are in the club. There is great character development as the plot line moves on.

In the story, it is quite obvious who she will end up with. But deep inside, I keep on crossing my fingers for her to be with Kyoya, the Shadow King of the club. Oh well, I can always look into the fan fiction for that. I can't wait to read more of Ouran; the eleventh volume has recently been released by Shojo Beat! Is recommended for Hana Kimi and Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers fans and those who are just into the romantic comedies!

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

In My Mailbox - II

Feel free to join the fun! More details about how to do your own "In My Mailbox" at The Story Siren!

The Borrowed

Death: At Death's Door by Jill Thompson
Kekkaishi vol. 2-3 by Yellow Tanabe
Koi Cupid vol. 1 by Mia Ikumi
The Black Sheep by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout

The Bought

Ouran High School Host Club vol. 6-9 by Bisco Hatori

The Received

You Do Not Talk About Fight Club foreword by Chuck Palahniuk and edited by Read Mercer Schuchardt

I bought Ouran High School Host Club yesterday because Chapters had a buy 3 get the 4th free sale going on. (Promotion ends today). The whole time I thought I owned up to vol. 5. You should have seen my face when I looked at my collection and there is only up to vol. 4. Now I have to get my younger sister to get me the vol. 5 for Christmas and in return I buy her this book about Egypt. (She owns a small collection of cool subject series aimed for kids). I'm still in the process of reading Ghostgirl so it'll be awhile before I start The Black Sheep. So yeah, my blog will be littered with more manga reviews until I wear them all out. I apologize to all those who watches my blog for the YA novel reviews. I should have one up sometime this week.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Kon Kon Kokon by Koge-Donbo

Title: Kon Kon Kokon
Mangaka: Koge-Donbo
Age Group: Youth +
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 4/5

Ren Hinoishi is the smart boy of his class with a secret obsession of yokais (demons). He has a crush on cute classmate Himeka and wishes to be more cool so she can notice him.

His life completely changes when a weird girl suddenly pops up and claims that she has to repay him. She refuses to leave him alone and soon after he finds out that she is a fox yokai! With her around, nothing is normal for Ren anymore! But now he gets to fufill his dreams of meeting yokais! What will happen to him as he is continously exposed to these supernatural beings?

This is such an adorable manga. Koge-Donbo's works are usually aimed towards the younger audience. Sometimes I am disappointed because I would love to see a series by her for the older teenage audience. It may not work out very well because her style is very cutesy. Kon Kon Kokon is a fun read and there are times where you wonder how they would look like older. Suitable for all ages.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Love Your Blog Award!

I have intended to do this awhile back but I was just so lazy! Haha, well first I would love to thank Amanda from *Reading is a drug* for giving me an "I Love Your Blog" award! So now I shall pass it on to seven other blogs that I love myself!

1. The Story Siren - I know, I know. This blog already gets plenty of love but why not more? One of my many inspirations to start my own blog!

2. In Bed With Books - Liviania is totally cool, we share our fandom on mangas! Not to mention some interesting book reviews she put up. Whoot!

3. Brooke Taylor Books - Brooke is the cool YA author of Undone! (Though I yet to read it. //sad// I swear I will get to it one day!) She blogs on some interesting stuff, not to mention there are awesome contests included!

4. Kimberly Pauley - A new YA author of Sucks to Be Me and founder of Young Adult Books Central! She is simply awesome! She answered the questions I asked honestly regarding being an author, which are quite useful to know if you plan to go into that field. (P.S. Did you know that one of the names I have suggested for the mean girl of her Sucks to Be Me's sequel is chosen?? Isn't that awesome?! I can't wait for it! Name chosen: Kacie)

5. Shooting Stars Mag - A great blog about books, movies, and much more! Currently there is a great book auction going on where you can bid on a book that the author who wrote it have scribbled in their own comments! All proceeds goes to a worthy cause! You should go check out on it!

6. TangognaT - I love the manga reviews she put up. Haha, the only blog I look into for manga reviews. I love to see Anna's opinion on the same mangas I have read.

7. Melissa Walker: The Blog - Worked as editor of famous teen magazines, ELLEgirl and Seventeen, Melissa is quite popular for her Violet series. She post awesome weekly contests and some interesting issues regarding hot topics of society today!

But I think all blogs are awesome in their own way! Except I don't have time to put down all of them so I shall do only the minimum. I know, such a lazy bum I am.

You guys should definitely cheer up another blogger by passing on the award! (Not that it is mandatory but it is a nice thing to do, especially with the holidays coming up). If you want to do so, follow the rules below! (Or feel free to bend them any way you wish).

1. Add the logo into your blog.
2. Add the link of the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs. (Feel free to do more!)
4. Add those links to your blog.
5. And leave a message to your nominees that you have awarded them in their blog!

Yay! One of the many easy ways to make a blogger feel special. <3

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cutie Boy by Hwang Mi Ri

Title: Cutie Boy
Mangaka: Hwang Mi Ri
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 8
My Rating: 5/5

Lee Han-Ah hates her elementary school life. The reason is so because of a young boy who continuously bullied her. After she moved, she suppresses the memories of those horrible young days.

Now Han-Ah is a senior in high school and forced under the title of "Captain of Il-Hwa Girls High School". All she wants to do is live a normal teenage life. She does not want to be stuck in the middle of gang fights, especially when she is has no choice but to always go against captains from other schools! Han-Ah would love to meet a beautiful boy. And as her wish finally comes true when she bumps into one by the name of Yoo-Min. She couldn't help but suddenly ask him out and delightfully for her, he agrees! Little did she know, he is the exactly the same boy who teased her many years ago! What is his true intentions for dating her?

This is one of the best high school romance manhwa I have ever read! There are characters that seem very sterotypical but the mangka made sure to add a little detail about them that make them not so sterotypical. I absolutely adore the characters personalities and felt satisfied to what had happened to one of the characters near the end. Yoo-Min is so lovable! The mangaka makes sure you never get bored because lets face it, most high school love stories get boring at some point. I managed to read the whole series in three days! Currently have not yet been licensed in America. If you want, go to for it. Definitely recommended for shojo lovers! Especially for all Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers fans!

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Sugar Princess by Hisaya Nakajo

Title: Sugar Princess
Mangaka: Hisaya Nakajo
Age Group: Youth +
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 2
My Rating: 3/5

Eighth-grader Maya Kurinoki does a double-axel (a skating move) on the ice for the first time to convince her brother to move around on the rink. And she pulls it off even when her style is all wrong! This one move changes everything when Eishi Todo, a skating coach, scouts her for skating. At first she is reluctant to accept but then she decides to take a stab at it.

As a beginner, Maya has to train until she reaches level six so she could be placed in the junior division. To do so, she has to team up with the talented young skating star Shun Kano to improve. Except he doesn't want to teach her because she is a clumsy amateur!

Hisaya Nakajo is famous for her long-running series, Hana-Kimi, which is a crossdressing high school love story. The artstyle have changed over time since Hana-Kimi in the early 1990s and in my eyes, I think the character drawings have became much worse. I prefer her old style. Maybe because the main character is younger, therefore the eyes are much bigger. I'll have to see her latest works to determine how much she have changed her art style over time. In terms of plot, I have to say it is a bit cheesy. I'm sure that at the end, Maya somehow becomes a great skater and win the championship with Shun. (Not a spoiler, just a prediction). I don't like the plotline because I'm sure the message is along the lines of "You can get whatever you want if you try hard enough." And I absolutely dislike stories have have to do with working harder or friendship taglines. Recommended for shojo lovers.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Vidia and the Fairy Crown by Haruhi Kato

Title: Vidia and the Fairy Crown
Mangaka: Haruhi Kato
Age Group: Youth
# of Volumes: 1
# of Pages: Approx. 200
My Rating: 3/5

Do you know of Peter Pan's story? If you go second star to your right and fly straight on until morning, you will find yourself an island. It is a magical island where mermaids play and fairies dance call Neverland. Children there will never grow up. Go to the heart of the island where Pixie Hollow is. You will find all of the fairies on the land there.

Queen Clarion's Arrival Day Batch is near and all the fairies are getting ready for the big celebration. Each fairy has their own task and can not wait once everything is done! Except for the mean fairy, Vidia. She thinks it is all pointless and a waste of time. She would be more than glad to ruin the party.

When the queen's crown suddenly went missing, all fingers are point to Vidia. Will Vidia be able to find the crown in time? Or else she will be permanently be banished from Pixie Hollow!

Since the book is targeted towards younger audience and not to mention it is a manga adaption of the original Disney's book, the plot more or so corny. As a high schooler, I can not help but laugh at the good "morals" they try to teach kids through the books. The artwork indeed is very cute and a recommend read for girls around ten years old.

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Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year by Amy Belasen & Jacob Osborn

Title: Jenny Green's Killer Junior Year
Author: Amy Belasen & Jacob Osborn
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 284
My Rating: 3.5/5

Jenny Green is a pretty face Jewish girl who has just moved to Montreal from the U.S. She wants to start her whole life anew as a junior at the Molson Academy. She couldn't wait to see Josh Beck, a guy that once went to her school and now is at the academy. She solely chose this school because of him. How could she resist? He is hot!

Then Jenny realizes how dangerous the opposite sex could be. This brought out her dark side. For those who cheat, lie, and criminal themselves better watch out, this Jewish American Princess will get you - she will get you good as dead.

As the front cover and title implies, yes, the main character is a killer teen. And let's just say she kills quite a few people. Not to mention there are a lot of sex involved (though the actual description of the scenes are quite vague).

There is one thing that bothered me the most in the very beginning. And that is how the story displays Canada. Maybe it is my Canadian pride coming to surface but I was really offended. The book goes on how the people at the school are drug-addicted hippies and that we have some sort of annoying accent. Personally, I think the American and Canadian "accents" are exactly the same. Just the attitude from Jenny with her cultural shock repelled me greatly at first. If I didn't have to read it for a review, I would have thrown it down right away. Later on, it is not so bad when it focuses more on Jenny killings. There is one part near the end the disgusted me but I shall not spoil it for you. I like the side character name Edgar. He is this extremely cute and nerdy guy who helped Jenny cheat her tests and hack into the computer. Nothing happened between them, which I am glad. Also when I first got it, the cover and back annoyed me quite a bit. It grew to me afterwords so I fine it quite cute now. It would be nicer if the model is a bit thinner. Overall, it is not a bad read but I am sure there are going to be people that will be offended if they pick it up. It could be the sex, the killing, how Canada is viewed, or etc. but there would be a few of controversial topics that shows up.

Review copy provided by
Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

In My Mailbox - I

I have decided to join the fun of doing a weekly post of "In Your Mailbox". Started by The Story Siren, it is where the blogger post about what books they have received in the mail, borrowed from the library, or bought. So I shall always do it in these three categories! Mine would be from last Sunday until Saturday. Therefore you won't know what I got this Sunday until next Sunday! Okay, moving on!

The Borrowed

D. Gray-Man vol. 3-4 by Katsura Hoshino
Dragon Head vol. 9-10 by Minetaro Mochizuki
Eyeshield 21 vol. 4 by Riichiro Inagaki and Yusuke Murata
.hack//xxxx vol. 1 by Hiroshi Matsuyama and Megane Kikuya
Kamichama Karin vol. 5-6 by Koge Donbo
Kekkaishi vol. 1 by Yellow Tanabe
Kingdon Hearts II vol. 2 by Shiro Amano
KonKon Kokon vol. 1 by Koge Donbo
N A N A vol. 6-9 by Ai Yazawa
Sugar Princess vol. 1 by Hisaya Nakajo
Vidia and the Fairy Crown by Haruhi Kato

The Bought

The Devil Within vol. 2 by Ryo Takagi

The Received

Naruto vol. 29-30 (DVD)

Okay, the last one is not a book but Viz have sent it for me to review. So if there are movies/shows that I have received to review, I will also put it up! It will be awhile before I put the Naruto review up because I'm going back where I left off (which is eight more episodes) before I start watching. Reason: I like to watch things in order.

Yeah, as you can see, I have no novels in the bunch whatsoever. Sad eh? I even accidentally borrowed a few mangas I've already read! But I removed those from the list. This is why there aren't many novel reviews lately. No worries, I'm about to finish one soon but for now, I will likely upon another manga review by tonight or tomorrow from one of the above.

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