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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Doubt by Tonogai Yoshiki

Title: Doubt
Mangaka: Tonogai Yoshiki
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 3
My Rating: 3.5/5

Rabbit Doubt is the latest and hottest game around to play on the cellphone. The players would be the "rabbits" and one of them would be the "wolf" in disguise. The rule is to guess who the wolf really is before it eats all of the rabbits one by one until there are none left.

Five teenagers, four of them are players, were all hanging out with each other one evening. Unexpectedly, they fell unconscious to awaken and find themselves in an abandoned hospital with another male they have never met before. It was not long after until they realize they were in a real game of Rabbit Doubt after one of them was found dead. This is no fun and games, this is all the matters of survival. Time is precious as they all try to find who is the real wolf among themselves. Will they survive? Or will they continue on doubting until they all become dead rabbits?

If I can relate this manga to anything, it would be the popular gory movie Saw. I only have seen the third installment but it basically is has the same concept. Each person (except for the main character, Yū Aikawa) received a bar code somewhere on their body. Within the hospital, there were locked doors that would only open through someone's barcode. If you know of Saw III, everyone had some sort of number tattooed on. Using those numbers, it would help them crack the code to a safe that held the antidotes for the poison that was injected into their bodies.

Another similarity between Doubt and Saw III is the characters that were trapped have done something wrong in the past. And their punishment was to survive the sick game set up by an unknown killer.

Doubt was quite bloody but the tactics that the wolf used weren't as grotesque as you would see in Saw. The manga would keep you guessing and have you coming back for more. It is definitely creepy but not amazing or unique in terms of plotline. When I finished it, I felt that the ending could have been better. I am disappointed how the series wrapped up and somehow felt that it was a waste reading it. But leading up to, it was not a bad read and could be something to kill time with.

Doubt has not be licensed in America yet but could be read on

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Max Payne

Title: Max Payne
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2008
My Rating: 2.5/5

Max Payne's (Mark Wahlberg) life is no longer the same when he came home to see his wife, Elizabeth (Marianthi Evans), and baby murdered. As a cop, he is determined to find out who killed his family. His life revolves around pursuing the possible killer and asking all the connections he has with the underground world for leads.

Max kept running into dead ends until he encounters a beautiful woman named Natasha (Olga Kurylenko) at a club. She engages in an argument with her sister Mona (Mila Kunis) shortly after, who backs down due to Max's authority. Natasha comes over to his place and tries to seduce him. He quickly shoos her out after she made inappropriate comments. She leaves, pissed off. The next day, she is found dead in an alley with her body pieces scattered all over along with his wallet.

He is suspected for murder and Max's old partner, Alex (Donal Logue), looks into the case. Then, Alex realizes that Natasha's death relates to Max's wife. About to tell his friend, he dies before he got the chance. Max gets pulled into a world of conspiracy and dark creatures after finding out the truth of what his wife had really been a part of.

What brought my attention to this movie was the fact Mila Kunis is in it. As That 70s Show starlet, I was surprised to see she was in an action movie. I wanted to see how she acted in a non-comedy film. She did pretty well but I think she haven't pulled away from her Jackie image completely. She should definitely continue on playing different roles in other movies to improve. The actress who plays Natasha, Olga, is absolutely gorgeous. Gawsh how I wish I'm exotically beautiful like she is...

The movie was a bore. The story seemed exciting but it was poorly executed. Even the climax wasn't intriguing. I hated the colour of setting. It was so grim. I know it was a tragic and action film but they could have lightened up a bit. I could have fallen asleep watching it. I only stuck with it to the end to watch Mila's character. An action movie that is not action-y enough for this reviewer to like.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

In My Mailbox - XII

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

The Borrowed

Nancy Drew vol. 2 by Stefan Petrucha
Fruits Basket Fanbook -Cat- by Natsuki Takaya
The Canadian Type 2 Diabetes Sourcebook by M. Sara Rosenthal

The Bought


The Received

Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi
The Makedown (ARC and Paperback) by Gitty Daneshvari

Yes! Finally! Books in my mailbox for once! I was so happy when I saw that yellow package. After a long delay, I got Razor Girl from Kelly Parra. I feel so bad that I had to bother her because I never got my prize from last October.

For some strange reason, after I got my paperback version of The Makedown, I received the ARC two days later. I think Hachette might have messed up the order or something. But guess what? That would mean I'm giving the ARC away! (As badly as I want to keep it!) But sorry, the giveaway won't be anytime soon. I'm keeping it for my blog's first anniversary in August. Look forward until then! (I may change my mind though, who knows!) Oh, if anyone want to contribute in prizes, please message me. So far I have: nada. Possiblities: a few. It's not looking very promising so far...

Hm, I wonder when Chapters is going to have a sale on manga or YA novels... I still have to get a copy of The Dust of 100 Dogs.

I almost forgot to add! Check out this video where authors Melissa Walker and Mari Mancusi talk about writing books for young adults on TV!

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Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima

Title: Fairy Tail
Mangaka: Hiro Mashima
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 13
My Rating: 4/5

Natsu is a boy who constantly gets motion sickness and can eat more food than three people put together. His best friend is a talking cat named Happy. The two friends are passing through town and Natsu is in search for a certain someone.

Lucy is a celestial wizard who's dreams is to one day become a member of the elite guild called Fairy Tail. (A wizard guild is basically a place where wizards are gathered and they exchange information. It is one of the best ways to find a job.) After leaving a magic shop, she hears that the famous wizard, Salamander, is in town. She quickly goes to check it out and every woman is head over heels for this guy! Almost falling under his charm spell, Natsu barges in, thinking Salamander is someone he knows. (To his disappointment, he have never seen the guy's face before.) This helps Lucy break away from the spell and she treats Natsu with some food in thanks for saving her.

Later on the day, Salamander comes by to invite Lucy on his yacht for a party. She keeps rejecting him until he mentions that he is part of Fairy Tail. Immediately, she changes her attitude and is eager to come along.

That night, Lucy discovers what Salamander is really up to. He is planning to ship all of the women on board away to other lands and make them sex slaves! Just in time, Natsu makes a grand but uncool entrance. He didn't care what Salamander is but he refuses to hear someone tarnish the great name of Fairy Tail. Starting to kick all of the bad guys' asses, Lucy realizes that he is a real member of the guild!

After the incident, Natsu and Lucy starts their adventures together. Together they fight against villains and bring justice to wrong-doings. But dark clouds are looming ahead that will come to greet these heroes soon enough.

Most anime/manga fans should know of Hiro's popular series, Rave Master. Compared to Rave Master, I think Fairy Tail is far better. I think the theme is much better overall and less random. (Fairy Tail is still random but in a cleaner fashion. I don't know how to explain it but that is my impression of it.) The one thing I know I'm not looking forward to is the length of this series as it's still on-going in Japan. Rave Master has over twenty volumes and I think I only made it up to ten before getting bored with it. The art has improved since his and has potential to become popular in the future. So far, so good. I'll check out the second volume if I have time.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Love★Com by Aya Nakahara

Title: LoveCom (a.k.a. LovelyComplex)
Aya Nakahara
Age Group:
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 17
My Rating: 4.5/5

Risa Koizumi is quite tall, taller than your average Japanese girl at five feet seven inches. Insecure with her height, she meets her match, Atsushi Ôtani, who is the shortest guy in their grade. Put them together in the same classroom and they become the "All Hanshin-Kyojin" (a real comedy duo consisting of one really short person and another really tall person). Constantly being teased, Risa is afraid she'll never find love!

Then she meets a handsome student named Suzuki. She thinks she is in love, knowing that he is taller than her! Determined to woo Suzuki, she also finds out that Ôtani has a crush on her friend, Chiharu! (And obviously she is shorter than him!) The two decide to work together and help the other win their crushes over.

Except the inevitable happens: Suzuki and Chiharu starts liking each other instead! Back to square one, Risa is desperate for a boyfriend more than ever. But what happens when she starts developing feelings for Ôtani, who she swore she'll never like?

This is one of the cutest romantic comedy mangas out there! I can relate to Risa because I'm also the same height as her (possibly taller) but I'm not so desperate for someone to hold on to... Okay, I lied, there are times where I wish I am dating. Except there are plenty of tall guys in my school!

Throughout the series, Risa and Ôtani run into funny scenarios. It enables them to develop their relationship further or sometimes, make the other one even more confused about what is going on! The story is not clique at all and most girls can enjoy it. I adore the clothes that the mangaka draws on to Risa. I really wish I have her sense of style! I forgot where I have read up to but since I realized how much I have missed while reading quickly through it in the bookstore, so I'm going to read it all over again!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: The Uninvited

Title: The Uninvited
Age Group:
Teens +
Release Year:
My Rating:

Anna (Emily Browning) is a teenage girl who just got released from a mental hospital. Not so long ago, she witnessed a tragedy. She could not remember the details but she saw the boathouse that her ill-mother was in blew up in front of her. From then on, she was never the same.

Coming back home, she finds out that her father is dating her mother's former nurse, Rachel, (Elizabeth Banks) and is repulsed by it.
During the nights, Anna starts seeing dead people who point out that Rachel is the murderer. Convinced that her father's girlfriend is the reason behind her mother's death, she tells her older sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) about her visions. Alex believes her and they start rummaging through Rachel's background to see if there is anything suspicious. They come up with some gruesome information that may help them convince their father about who he is really with. But who would believe Anna when they think she is simply insane?

This movie is a remake of a 2003 South Korean film called A Tale of Two Sisters. Which is surprising because I expected it to be a remake of a Japanese one instead, seeing how many have been released up to this point.

The Uninvited wasn't a great horror movie to pay for and watch. Then again, I'm not big on scary movies so I am unsure if I'll ever give one a 5/5. (Maybe The Ring would receive it because that one scared the crap out of me. I couldn't sleep until four in the morning after watching it, trying to sing myself to sleep with a Hilary Duff song. Now whenever I hear that song, I am reminded of The Ring...) There were approximately five times where I got startled because of the monster surprises throughout the whole film. Other than that, the fear factor was not so high. I think the best part of all is the end. There was an interesting twist of course but I found there were many plot holes when I reflect back at it. A few things were left unanswered, making the movie even stranger than it seemed. If they wrapped up the loose ends, it would not have been so bad. Overall, The Uninvited had a great idea but it was not executed the best that it could be.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

In My Mailbox - XI

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

The Borrowed

The Snow Empress by Laura Joh Rowland
Fruits Basket vol. 20 by Natsuki Takaya
Ghost Hunt vol. 6 by Shiho Inada and Fuyumi Ono
.hack//xxxx vol. 1 by Hiroshi Matsuyama and Megane Kikuya
Love Com by vol. 1-4 by Aya Nakahara
Nancy Drew vol. 1, 3-8 by Stefan Pertucha and Sho Murase
Naruto vol. 24-26 by Masashi Kishimoto
Hypoglycemia: The Other Sugar Disease by Anita Flegg
Juvenile Diabetes by Johannah Haney
Frederick Banting and the Discovery of Insulin by John Bankston
The Acne Cure by Terry J. Dubrow, M.D.M F.A.C.S and Brenda D. Adderly, M.H.A
Diabetes by Sue Vander Hook

The Bought


The Received


After three sad weeks, I still haven't received anything in the mail (nor willing to buy anything because I am expecting a few review books to come by). So, to compensate I borrowed quite a bit. Or more like just grabbed whatever was new to me on the shelf if I didn't already request it. You guys might be staring at me because of the third batch there. Lol, those textbooks are purely for school use. Except for The Acne Cure one. Now that one I decided to grab for leisure reading... Yes, I'm so weird!

Right now, I'm unsure of what I should review later. Most of the time when I review mangas, I review whatever I have read up to instead of volume by volume. (I find that I might spoil some things and I don't want to do that). I think I may review the Nancy Drew graphic novels one by one.

In the meantime, I'm reading Train to Trieste so hopefully I will get a review of it sometime this week. Or go start reading to Shadowed Summers instead. We'll see.

Oh, and Happy Belated Valentine's Day! Did anyone do anything special yesterday? =) I sat home, bored online. Yes, there is so much excitement in my life.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Title: The Princess Diaries
Author: Meg Cabot
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 238
My Rating: 3.5/5

Mia Thermopolis is just another weird freshman at Albert Einstein High School. Way too tall, no boobs, and has wild, triangular hair. She lives with her mother in a messy artist's loft and owns a cat named Fat Louie. Her life is quite ordinary while she flunks algebra, minus the part of being the weirdo in class.

Then, Mia finds out her father has cancer and is unable to ever have kids again. Not that it matters to her so much, right?

Wrong! Because of this, she discovers that she is the princess of a small, prosperous country called Genovia! Now, she is forced to take lessons on how to be a proper princess from her (not so favourite) grandmother and tries to deal with her newfound identity. Crushes, parent-teacher relationships, broken friendships, and unwanted fame, Mia is going insane! How will Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo cope when she converts from a nobody to royalty?

This novel disappoints me. It wasn't terrible. I was just expecting it to leave more of an impact, seeing that it is a hit series. To my surprise, so many things have altered in the movie! Like, the father is dead and Michael (Mia's best friend's brother) is a musician from the very beginning instead of a know-it-all. I vaguely recall the film but for sure, both are quite different from each other asides the overall theme.

Mia is a huge environmentalist and is a strict vegetarian. I don't like this part of her. Whenever the main character is into the whole "save the world" ideal, I dislike them a little. It seems so...thrown in. It is like the author is trying to make the character look deeper. But it doesn't apply in this novel because you are getting the story from Mia's point-of-view while she writes her thoughts down. I find her quite childish by all means. Then again, I can forgive her because I too would be freaking out if I found out I am part of some royal family. (But come to accept it quickly and buy down everything I ever wanted since I would be so darn rich).

The story overall isn't so bad. There isn't a concrete plot but instead follows on Mia's days and problems as she writes it into her journal. I appreciate her humour which makes it better to read, but nothing stood out to me. Sure, the whole "pauper to princess" is cool but reading through was like, "Ehhhh." I can understand why it's popular though. It definitely makes quite a read for young teens because girls would love to be in Mia's position.

I will definitely go for the second volume even when the first is not so impressive. I really hope that Mia's character mature as I read through the series. (I totally vote the movie over the book. I became Anne Hathaway's fan because of it.)

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

In My Mailbox - X

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

The Borrowed

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Bought


The Received


Once again, only one new book borrowed. Since everyone is hyped about the last novel of the Princess Diaries that was just released, I decided to see how good it really is. Though I really dislike that it is diary format, I'll try to read through. My goal is to try and complete the series. =)

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sugar Sugar Rune by Moyoco Anno

Title: Sugar Sugar Rune
Mangaka: Moyoco Anno
Age Group: Tweens +
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 8
My Rating: 4/5

Chocolat Meilleure and Vanilla Mieux are two best friends. They are also witches from a magical world. Chocolat is never afraid to be herself, making her quite popular among her peers. Vanilla on the other hand is quite shy and delicate, who never draws anyone's attention. The young girls are polar opposites of each other but have a strong bond of friendship. Except when the competition to become the possible new queen of their world starts, everything spins out of control!

Between the two, whoever can collect more "hearts" from the opposite gender will win the race. To do so, they must charm as many human boys as possible. And when their victims' heart turns pink, the witches must take them! The hearts will be converted to "ecures" (a currency in their world) and they can buy accessories for their wands that enables them to do new spells. Disguising themselves, Chocolat and Vanilla become students on Earth. Sadly, no boy likes Chocolat outspoken personality, making her unable to collect as many hearts! And Vanilla is getting so many!

Not long after, Chocolat catches up to Vanilla's number. During the time they discover the existence of Ogres, a race that is banned from the magical world. They are able to use Noir as their source of power, which are black hearts. Regular magic creatures die if they obtain a Noir. The Ogres' leader is the handsome Pierre, who is also student at Vanilla's and Chocolat's school! Full of hatred and wanting revenge for being an outcast, he persuades Vanilla him and the Ogres. Embracing the Noir, Vanilla becomes a completely different person because of her jealousy towards Chocolat. Will Chocolat be able to save her friend from the darkness?

I have only read up to volume four so far. It's quite cute but there are times where it's not so exciting. More like I just read through it and forget what just happened right after. But I am very eager to see the development of Chocolat's and Pierre's relationship. Sometimes I wish the art is more sharp. I dislike how the artist draws her characters' eyes. To me, it seems like the work of an amateur. In the beginning I mistaken her style for Yayoi Ogawa's, the mangaka of Tramps Like Us (Kimi Wa Petto in Japanese). As I read on, I didn't mind so much after. Since my sister really likes this series, it is a good manga to introduce to for the younger audience.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Soulless by Christopher Golden

Title: Soulless
Author: Christopher Golden
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 310
My Rating: 5/5

Phoenix Cromier's parents have been divorced ever since she was young. Her father have been dedicating all of his time to his work and communing with spirits as a medium. Now at eighteen, Phoenix barely knows her own father. To make up for it, he invites her to watch his interview live on the popular talk show Sunrise.

With two other mediums, Mr. Cromier does a mass séance so spirits can come back to give their last messages to their loved ones. That is the original plan.

Unexpectedly while trying to communicate with the other side, the mediums and two of Sunrise's hosts fall unconscious after acting weirdly. Not so long after, the dead starts to arise from their grave! All of America goes insane as zombies are popping up everywhere! Over time, they get smarter and more cunning. They have come back to their family and friends, only to eat them up! Will this horrific Apocalypse ever end? Or will the entire world no longer be as it used to? See everything unfolds behind the eyes of several people, including a lesbian popstar, a runaway gang member, and two college rivals.

I read this novel in the span of two days. I stayed up until 1 AM to complete it. It's just that good. The story jumps from perspectives of different American citizens, which I did not like at first. Eventually I got accustomed to it but still wished that it stayed between three to four people instead of branching out to the peers of the core characters. It's quite thrilling because you feel like you are the character as you read it. You can experience the pain and the fear if you place yourself into their shoes.
When people are on the verge of death, their civilized self strips away and the animal fighting to survive comes to surface. The reality is scary.

The setting takes place in modern day and I like how Mr. Golden referred to Hurricane Katrina to make it seem more realistic. There are times where I wish that this does happen. Horrible, I know, but to have something that you only see in movies come to life can be terrifying but exciting at the same.

(Spoilers in this paragraph). I was quite mad when my favourite character died. Well, it was more of his background that attracted me to him instead of personality. Jack used to be in a gang called the Smoke Dragons and is Korean. The author describes him as a pretty boy. And nothing gets me going more than a handsome Korean man. I'm a Korean drama fanatic. You can see me on the other side of the screen squealling like mad when a hot actor appears. I was so happy when I found out that Jack is a good-looking Asian. I have never, ever, seen that in a novel. So when he died, I was devastated. I was hoping he could be reunited with his family and change his life around. Sadly that'll never happen. Does anyone here like a character in a book purely because of what they are? Not because of their actions or personality?

I don't recommend this novel to those who hates horror. I'm sure you will not be interested if you don't like this kind of theme. But definitely go for it if you have been itching for something to scare you at night. Or purely want some action.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sucks to Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

Title: Sucks to Be Me
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 293
My Rating: 5/5

All teenagers have to make decisions that will affect their life later down the road. Especially at the age where one is about to graduate. The future is quite a scary thing. Which university to go to? What career to pursue? Well, Mina Hamilton is like any other girl out there who worries about what to wear to prom and so on. But, she needs to make a decision that will impact her for eternity... To become a vampire or not become a vampire?

What!? Yes, yes. We all know they don't exist and they are the creatures of our imagination... Except in Mina's case, they are real! Cause she's living with two of them!

All of her life, teenage Mina have been dealing with the fact that her parents are vampires. It didn't affect her so much, until now. A vampire saw her when he came around to collect her parents' taxes and reported to the Northwest Regional Vampire Council. Being forced to take vampire classes, Mina struggles to choose between her current lifestyle and her family. To be alive or be undead. Throw in some cute boys and this teen is overloaded with things to think about!

This is the first novel that I saw advertised online and knew right away that I needed to read it. The title popped out at me. It made me curious and with an adorable cover like so, I went to read the excerpt. That hooked me on instantly. I finally got my hands on it when my Secret Santa gave it to me as a gift. It has been awhile since I had so many giggles while reading a book. I adore Mina's sense of humour and she seems like an awesome person to hang out with. I wonder how I would react if I was in her shoes.To become a vampire is very cool if you ignore the negatives stuff. I mean, to never gain weight ever? Oh boy! If I got the chance, the first thing I would do is to make sure to look my best before becoming a vampire. That means getting on the treadmill and running off the fat. Shoving in all of those antioxidants to give my skin a smooth look and feel. To stay young and beautiful forever, ahhh. But it does suck if someone you knew before bumps into you twenty years later and you still look the same...

It is such a fun read all the way till the end! Don't assume there would be a lot of action just because it has vampires. Instead, you will get into the mind of a realistic girl with an unrealistic situation. I think the only thing that disappoints me a little was the ending. I was hoping that it would more exciting than it turned out to be. I shall ignore that anyway because the great news is, Mrs. Pauley is working on the sequel! I am definitely looking forward to it! Pick it up if you have the chance!

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

In My Mailbox - IX

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

The Borrowed

Soulless by Christopher Golden

The Bought


The Received


Can I say, yay for zombies? =) Lately I have been craving for zombie movies. Especially during the Christmas break. I was dying for some before and after reading How To Survive a Horror Movie. Nothing more enjoyable than seeing the characters try to escape from the flesh-eaters. Haha! This is the first zombie book (Soulless) I'll be reading and hopefully it's good. I was supposed to receive an
Apocalypse novel called Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi awhile back after winning it at Kelly Parra's blog but I still haven't received it...

Oh, oh, and check out the book trailer I made in the post below if you haven't yet! =)

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