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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin

Title: One Lonely Degree
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Description: Fifteen-year-old Finn Kavanagh feels like an outsider in a world of pack animals. In that way tenth grade isn’t any different than the ninth but sometimes she doesn’t feel like the same person anymore. Ever since what happened at that party last September she has to wonder if she’ll ever be right.

Best friend Audrey does everything she can to help her through the ordeal but now Finn has other problems—like her parents’ marriage unraveling and complicated feelings for Jersy, the new guy in art class. When Audrey and Jersy become a couple Finn’s almost relieved but the feeling doesn’t last. Audrey goes away for the summer leaving Finn alone to deal with her parents’ issues and unresolved emotions about that night in September. Only Finn isn’t actually alone—Jersy’s still in the picture and she still likes him way too much.

I like C.K.'s debut novel, I Know It's Over, so I'm looking forward to her latest release.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

Title: Heavenly
Author: Jennifer Laurens
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 280
My Rating: 4/5

Zoe's life is a mess. Her sister, Abria, has autism and never lets anyone in the family have some peace and quiet. Her brother, Luke, is an addict who is always high. With no attention from her loved ones, Zoe forgets all of her worries through drinking and partying.

But her life changes on one faithful day when she encounters Matthias. She first thinks he is a weirdo that might be after her baby sister. But then she discovers that he is an angelic guardian, sent to watch over Abria. It is hard to believe at first, but eventually she realizes that he is the real thing.

The more time Zoe spends with Matthias, the more she is drawn to him. It is not long before she falls head over heels for him. He is too perfect and wonderful for words. He is a heaven-sent gift. Except, they can never truly be together.

Written with great care, Laurens composed a bitter sweet story of forbidden love between a normal, troubled teen and a beautiful immortal.

Zoe is a strong girl but has feelings and problems that she is unable to face. Like most teenagers, she prefers the easy way out of things. People call her names because she parties and hooks up a lot. But if they get to know her, she is not just a pretty face. She is quite admirable and does a lot of growing up as she learns from her mistakes along with Matthias's guidance throughout the book.

I have to admit, I am getting tired of "the perfect male". But somehow, Matthias pulls it off without it being cliche. He once was a human and had flaws. And because of those flaws, he took from experience to be who he is now. If he existed, many girls, including myself, would be flocking him non-stop. Both him and Zoe have such great presence in the novel. And I love how he talks. It's just so cute when he uses old slang. (By the way, don't you love his name? It has such elegance to it.)

Heavenly is very well put-together. It has great consistency and realistic characters that the reader can relate to. It touches sad topics, like autism and drug addiction. This book can definitely help someone out there, I can tell.

So why is it not a 5/5 for me? I think it lacks the great build-up to the climax. I am disappointed that the turning point of the story did not last as long as I hoped for. Therefore it made the whole novel itself a little too normal, despite Matthias's existence. I am all about the action. With a non-human character, I expected more excitement and danger. Especially since there is the forbidden factor thrown in. The ending however is a surprising twist. I thought it wrapped up very nicely until I realized there was a sequel. Now I am most curious and can not wait to know what could possibly happen next. I hope that it will be even better with some great thrills.

Heavenly will definitely be a read for the total romantics. And I know I shouldn't compare, but this book is everything Twilight ever lacks. So if you are an Anti-Twilighter, wondering what Twilight would be like edited as a completely new story with actual explanations on the impossible, Heavenly is it. But it will also appeal a lot of Twilight fans too.

Go get yourself a copy of this inspirational story when it comes out on August 15, 2009.

Review ARC copy provided by Jennifer Laurens.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXX

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

The Borrowed

Bleach vol. 25 by Tite Kubo
Dragon Drive vol. 11 by Ken-ichi Sakura
Gaba Kawa by Rie Takada
Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time vol. 3 by Tohko Mizuno
Poison Ink by Christopher Golden

The Bought

Killing Britney by Sean Olin
The Devouring by Simon Holt
Wake by Lisa McCann
Ouran High School Host Club vol. 12 by Bisco Hatori

The Received

10th Anniversary Harry Potter Pin
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Petals of the Wind by V.C. Andrews
If There Be Thorns by V.C. Andrews
Seeds of Yesterday by V.C. Andrews
Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews

It's been awhile since I bought anything, huh? There is a sale going on at Indigo/Chapters/Coles to buy three get fourth free until July 1st. I couldn't resist and had to use my gift cards. And that I did. Surprisingly, I chose the books faster than I expected. I think I piled up at least 30 YA novels before choosing. I knew I was going to get Ouran no doubt, so the three novels were based on interest and reviews. (I've never seen Killing Britney before and I was most intrigued by the summary to get it). Choosing books nowadays is much easier because I have access to many different review blogs. They help me a lot and I land on some pretty good reads.

And the Harry Potter pin is a glimpse on what you could win for a future contest! Which will be held this week! So stay tune folks!

Edit: Look! I finally made a wishlist! (Left, left!) There is much more I want but my brain is a little frazzled right now. I hope some of them come true! ♥

Edit 2: Oh my gosh! I totally forgot that I received the Dollanganger series from Taren of The Chick Manifesto! I just attached the set I received above! Thanks Taren!

Contest Alert: My contest for David Inside Out is gonna come to a close on Tuesday! Hurry and enter here!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Author Interview: A.S. King

Fabulous author, A.S. King, is here today to answer some questions I have. She wrote the popular YA pirate novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs, which I absolutely love. If you have not yet read it, you really should!

If you would like to learn more about Amy and her novels, visit: or check out her blog:

First, I am most curious, why did you decide to let Saffron live in the late 20th century instead of the 21st?

I got the idea and started writing the book in the 20th century—so I think that’s probably the first thing to consider. At the time, I was living on a secluded Irish farm, not watching TV and completely out of touch with the world (you could say I dropped off the face of the planet in 1994) so writing about a 21st century teenager in the USA would have read about as clueless as I was.

But I have a more truthful and [most likely] more frustrating answer that I’ll tack on, too. My books come as they are. I have little control over where they decide to set themselves. If I was to meddle too much in the name of commercialism, I’d feel I was doing a disservice to the story because it knows where it wants to go, and forcing a thing never works well. I also feel it would be kinda condescending to assume today’s teens/readers aren’t willing to read about other time periods—whether it’s the 17th century or the 20th. (Until this question started coming up, I have to admit, I never once thought about it.)

Looking back at the finished version of The Dust of 100 Dogs, is there anything you wish you added or changed in the story?

Nope. I worked on the book a long time, and my amazing editor, Andrew Karre, and my really awesome copy editor Sandy Sullivan helped me make sure everything was exactly as I wanted it before we released it.

From your initial stages of the story to the finish, how much did Emer and Saffron change?

Emer didn’t change that much, but Saffron changed quite a bit. I’d say Saffron was the bigger challenge, because she was bound to be flat next to someone like Emer and her entire existence was overshadowed by Emer’s 300 year old curse. But Saffron came alive during revision and her pirate thinking was born, which, for me, is one of the best and funniest parts of the book. (Though some people actually think Saffron is truly homicidal! Of course, Saffron has urges from her past lives, but wouldn’t hurt a fly.)

What was the easiest part of writing The Dust of 100 Dogs? And the hardest?

Easiest part was the writing. Hardest part was the writing.

If you were able to remember your "past life" like Saffron did, what kind of person (or creature) do you hope you once were?

I hope I was someone nice. Or a tree. Or a bird.

Can you give us a hint on what we may expect from you for your future works?

IGNORE VERA DIETZ is coming from Random House/Knopf Books for Young Readers in Fall 2010. Here’s the little blurby thing I’ve got for that: IGNORE VERA DIETZ (14+) is about a teenage girl, her dead (ex) best friend, and her attempt to clear his name. There’s a sarcastic pagoda, too.

What genres/topics do you hope to explore next for future stories?

I don’t think a lot of people know I’ve been writing novels for adults for about 15 years now. I usually land in a magic realism/literary/quirky sort of arena with those, but I started out in science fiction. I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite sci-fi reads and hope to dabble in it again. I tend to have a mind that’s prone to magic realism though, so I’m not sure I can stay in just one genre anymore, now that I’ve found my own way of telling stories.

I keep my pet topics to myself while I’m writing about them (which means I just wrote a paragraph about them, but had to erase it) but you know I’m not heavy all the time—I’ll probably write about people who drive while talking on cell phones and rude gas station attendants, too.

Lastly, please give us an interesting fact about yourself that not a lot of people know!

I can juggle a basketball, a tennis ball and an apple and eat the apple while I’m doing it.

Thank you Amy!

Thank YOU Diana!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor

Title: Dreamdark: Silksinger
Author: Laini Taylor
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 441
My Rating: 5/5

In a world full of magic and faeries, there lurks evil.

Whisper is the last of the Silksinger clan after her grandparents have sacrificed themselves so she could escape demons that were chasing after them. She is now the guardian of Azazel, one of the Djinn (similar to a god) who created the world. But he is now only a magical stone, contained in a small, old kettle that Whisper holds onto with her dear life. She must reach Nazneen so she can place Azazel in the temple so he can resurrect himself again. But the journey is not an easy one as demons pursue Whisper continuously to get hold of the powerful being.

During her travel, she encounters the kind but secretive Hirik. Little does she know he too is seeking Azazel. Being a Mothmage, he is discriminated against; so he dreams of clearing his clan's name by becoming champion.

Magpie Windwitch is champion of Magruwen, searching for Whisper frantically. She has to get to her before the demons do. If not, the whole world will fall apart in the hands of the demons' cunning and ancient Master. But who will get to Whisper first?

In the beginning, I was a little confused. Since I was given the second book in the series to review before reading the first, I had to catch up with the terminology. Therefore, I was not really into the story for the first fifty pages. But once I grasped what was going on, I was instantly dragged into this magical tale of wonder. I refused to sleep into I reached the end.

Set in a world that is nothing like ours, there are creatures of light and dark. Each indiviual is one of their own. The overall idea is good vs. evil, where the bad guys are trying to take over everything. But, the plot is more complex than that.

I absolutely love the characters. You either love them or you hate them. They are very dynamic and full of energy. When the good guys loses, you cry. When the bad guys escape, you scream in frustration. The world and its people are so vivid that they might as well be real. Why aren't they real?

Dreamdark: Silksinger is like an amazing rollercoaster ride. At the start, it will be a little slow as it crawls upwards because you are still trying to understand everything (especially if you have not yet read the previous novel). Then when you finally grasp it all, you stop right at the top of the ride. After, you fall down to the most amazing twists and turns of the ride without a stop. Once it's over, you just want to do it again!

I am for sure going to look for the first book in the series, Dreamdark: Blackbringer. Fans of Lords of the Rings will definitely enjoy this novel. And those who love fantasy and skillfully crafted creatures. Laini Taylor is an author everyone should be looking forward to. Dreamdark: Silksinger will be out on September 2009.

Review copy provided by
Book Divas.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Planet Terror

Title: Planet Terror
Type: Movie
Age Group: Adults
Release Year: 2007
My Rating: 3.5/5

When human-altering biological weapons and people are mixed together, you get one hell of a zombiefest.

Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) is a go-go dancer with dreams to be a doctor. She encounters her mysterious ex-boyfriend, El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), at a bar grill.

At a nearby military base, Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis) is making a business transaction with the scientist Abby (Naveen Andrews) for some dangerous biochemical agent known as DC2 (aka Project Terror). When Muldoon realizes that Abby has an extra supply, he tries to take him hostage. But then Abby decides to release the deadly gas into the air, which sweeps over the entire town.

Dr. William Block (Josh Brolin) starts receiving patients with strange body defects. His wife, Dakota (Marley Shelton), is an anaesthesiologist who is secretly planning to leave her husband soon. Then her girlfriend, Tammy (Fergie), ends up dead with the back of her head and brain gone. Dr. Block knows that Dakota has been contacting her old lover behind his back. He confronts her and repetitively stabs her with anaesthetic hypodermic needles. But before he can do further harm, he is called out to check on some patients. Everyone is starting to become infected. Either by blood, bites, or vapour. Next thing everyone knows, the entire town is running with the undead who is dying for flesh!

Thrown together as a group is a strange mix of people who all have one intention: to live through this madness!

Filled with comical moments and lustful scenes, this is one of the lighter zombie movies. The zombies I have to say were cheesy. Not all of them, but the scene where one of the characters transformed in a mere two minutes was a little unbelievable. (Because he deformed into this thing twice his size). Of course there is plenty of gore. I can not really comment on the sex scenes because I was in room with elders and children so I had to skip out on those parts.

But you know what was cool? Cherry making one legged people seem awesome. You can see in the poster that she has a gun attached to her right leg. The way she shot the crap out of the zombies with her leg was an idea I would never have thought of. And I love the sultry theme music they always have going on.

Planet Terror is nothing like I Am Legend where it is all sad and deep. It's more similar to Resident Evil but with a few humorous jokes to lighten the mood. It is something you can not take seriously. So if you want a fun zombie movie, Planet Terror is it.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Description: Dead girl walking, the boys say in the halls.
Tell us your secret, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friends restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lias descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.

I've read many reviews that this is an amazing book. I hope I would get a chance to pick it up one day.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Death by Latte by Linda Gerber

Title: Death by Latte
Author: Linda Gerber
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 202
My Rating: 4.5/5

Aphra is going to South Carolina to visit a good friend. Well, that is what she told her father anyway. But really, she is going to search for her mother in Seattle. Haven't seen her for four years, Aphra is desperate to be in contact with her again.

When Aphra tracks her mother down, it's going to be all hugs and kisses right? Nope. Instead, Aphra is unwanted there and is shooed away. She refuses to go back home until she spends more quality time with her mother, who she no longer recognizes. But when your mother is an ex-spy, things can get a little difficult.

Once Aphra witnesses the death of her mother's comrade after he drank his latte, she knows this visit is going to be stalled just a little longer. And what a surprise when Seth (once known as Adam) is also in the neighbourhood! But he is there on the matter of life and death.

Who can Aphra possibly trust in this game of cat and mouse?

The sequel is jam-packed with more action and life-threatening situations than ever! Like Death by Bikini, I was attached to this book until the end! I adore Aphra's and Seth's relationship but unfortunately, the romance is not focused on because everyone is running away from being killed.

After I finished reading this, I wondered why my life couldn't be as exciting? Death by Latte is like 007: The YA Version. Seriously, we need more stories like these. Without the supernatural stuff. I am dying to get my hands on Death by Denim now!

I totally recommend this novel for anyone who would like some adventure and action! But either way, pick it up!

Won copy from Linda Gerber, YA Author.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXIX

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

The Borrowed

Socrates in Love by Kyoichi Katayama and Kazumi Kazui
Hoshin Engi vol. 9-10 by Ryu Fujisaki
Aishiteruze Baby vol. 5 by Yoko Maki
Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time vol. 2 by Tohko Mizuno
Wild Ones vol. 5 by Kiyo Fujiwara
Shaman King vol. 16-19 by Hiroyuki Takei
Naruto vol. 32 by Masashi Kishimoto

The Bought


The Received

Ballads of Suburbia and I Wanna Be Joey Ramone swags

I usually don't show of swags I receive but I think I will start doing that. I'll give some of these out in future contests!

Thank you Darcy from Library Lounge Lizard for the Proximidade Award!

Contest Alert: I have a new one I just put up yesterday! Win 1 of 2 copies of the coming of age YA novel, David Inside Out! Don't miss it and join today! Click here!

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Author Interview: Lee Bantle + 2 COPIES GIVEAWAY

Hi! I am back with another author interview! For last month's Holt InGroup review book, I read David Inside Out and reviewed it. I was thrilled to find out that Lee Bantle himself have read it! So he graciously answered my questions and is giving away copies of David Inside Out! Please scroll down to the bottom for more info!

If you would like to learn more about him and his books, please visit:

What inspired you to write David Inside Out?

The desire to speak openly about my experience growing up. To be a witness to history. To let gay people know that they are not alone, that what they are going through is also what I have gone through and many others.

What was the hardest part while writing David Inside Out?

Describing experiences that were humiliating. To write lines where Sean sneers at David for his sexual interest (e.g., "I don't put it in my mouth.")

And the easiest part?

The hopeful, romantic scenes. David falling in love with Sean.

Do you have any written projects you are working on at the moment?

I am working on a novel called "The Memoirs of Odell P. Singleton, Grade Six." It is the story of a biracial boy in the age of Obama.

Are there any other topics or genres you are hoping to explore?

I'm not into vampires, though I understand the appeal. I like reality based fiction. I like characters who are struggling with their identities. At my ripe old age, I realize that this is a life long pursuit (if we're lucky) and good fiction can propel us on the journey.

On a more personal level, how similar is yours and David's experiences with each other? And how are they different?

I came of age in the last century. Coming out in high school would have been social suicide. David lives in a 21st century world. But many of his feelings are the same as mine. Much of the world still does not approve. In California, the voters took away the right to gay marriage. In the military, saying you are gay brings on discharge proceedings. Gays have come a long way. We can get married in Dubuque. But we can't get married in New York or LA. The world is a little mixed up on this issue. And so is David. Embracing his true identity does not come without pain.

When did you realize you were not interested in girls?

I realized I was not interested in girls during makeout sessions. It felt like a chore. The poor girls who fell in love with me were like Kick in the book. They had no idea. I was fun, gentle, verbal, polite to the parents. But there was one big problem!

In the book, Kick ultimately moves on from David which is the only answer for her. But hopefully, she and David will stay friends because they genuinely like each other.

Was it difficult to accept your identity?

It was incredibly difficult for me to accept my identity. The pressure to be straight -- society, parents, peers -- was powerful. I even tried aversive therapy -- which is something out of the dark ages. But I just couldn't be straight! In the end, that was my saving grace.

When did you finally come in terms of peace with yourself?

I found peace in the gay community, in friendships, in love relationships, in the acceptance of my family. But I am still not at peace. I cannot be while so much discrimination continues against gay people. I have to fight against it. One way is by writing this book. Another way is through my work. I am also an employment lawyer who brings lawsuits against companies that discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender, race, or age. These are the ways I give meaning to my life.

Please give us an interesting fact about you that not many people know of!

Sonia Sotomayor wanted me to be her boyfriend until she found out I was gay. If I had been willing to switch teams, I could be married to a Supreme Court Justice. But that wasn't going to happen. :) BTW -- she's great, and I hope she gets confirmed.


Now time for a giveaway! 2 signed copies of David Inside Out will be given out so that means there will be 2 winners! How to get the entries:

1+ = comment in this post here
1+ = comment on my review of David Inside Out
2+ = if you are already a follower either through blog roll, Google Reader, or both
1+ = if you just became a follower either through blog roll, Google Reader, or both
1+ = post this contest on your blog or whatnot (sidebar is fine)

Please keep everything in one comment in the format above. If you do not post, you get no entries!

Ends June 30th, 2009! Only Canadian and US addresses are eligible! Sorry international readers!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

Title: The Dust of 100 Dogs
Author: A.S. King
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 330
My Rating: 5/5

Emer Morrisey was an infamous female pirate who ruled the seas with her fearless and loyal crew. But life was cut short when she was cursed upon to live a hundred lives over... as a canine!

One faithful day in the year of 1972, Emer is finally reborned as a human. And with all of her memories intact since the beginning of her pirate days and doggy days!

Now as Saffron, she has only one goal. To go down to Jamaica and shovel her way to a treasure she hid three centuries before.

Remember when I mentioned in this week's In My Mailbox that I read a book that completely distracted me from my studies? Well this is it!

Never have I read a book with a protagonist like Emer/Saffron! She is a character most unique! Bright since she was young, she is someone you would never want to cross! The moment I started on the first page, I was instantly hooked! I was a little surprised though that Saffron's life was in the late 20th century instead of the 21st. I was expecting that she would die and then reborn for the second time so it would take place in the 2000. It never came but I got used to it.

In the novel, it flips back and forth from first person to third person narration. When it starts talking about Emer and her past life, it would be in third person. When it comes back to Saffron and her current situation, she takes over.

What I love about this novel is that it's so entralling in every aspect! I could not keep my hands off of it! It was the first time in so long that I finished a full book in one day! Emer's life just gripped me 100%! From her homeland of Ireland to the raging seas, you will be completely intuned with what she had to go through! I am so glad that I bought the novel but unfortunately started reading at the wrong time!

A.S. King wove a magical and swashbuckling tale in a period not commonly seen in the YA world. With a voice keen on details, this adventure will whisk you away into a foreign life of a strong female lead. There are sexual scenes and lots of violence, be warned.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber

Title: Death by Bikini
Author: Linda Gerber
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 225
My Rating: 4.5/5

Aphra has been living on a lovely secluded island for four years now. Her father owns a luxurious resort where retired big names and rich people come for a getaway. It sounds like a dream life but in reality, Aphra finds it quite lonely.

Her boring life changes when the secretive Smith family comes to stay at the resort. They have a very attractive son named Adam. Even though, Aphra can not get it out of her head that the family is hiding something.

Not shortly after their arrival, one of the resort guests ends up dead. Everyone thinks the guest, Bianca, drowned. But Aphra thinks differently. Bianca was killed.

Blood runs cold when Aphra discovers the Smiths' real identities. Is it possible that the father in the family is the killer? Or is there someone else out there? If she does not get to the bottom of this mystery soon, there may be more than just one death.

Linda Gerber delivers an excellent mystery novel! I've read it a second time before this review and it still kept me captivated!

Aphra is a normal teenage girl, living without her mother. She is thrown into a situation that indirectly involves her but she does not find out until later on in the story. I admire her courage and determination. Even though snooping around to find the answers is dangerous, she is not deterred from doing so. Being practically the only teenager on the island for those four years, she is isolated from people her age. One would expect her to be shy and timid when someone like Adam comes along. But she is not. I like the fact that she is not the quiet girl in the corner. She knows her boundaries and that I admire.

I think Adam is more dynamic than most pretty boys in fiction. Even though he is not there all the time, I can still feel his presence. I urge him to come back onto the scene whenever he is gone because I know his character will add a lot more to the plot when he reappears. Because usually, the hot guys are only there to make the main girl swoon. But Adam has a part to play and I look forward to seeing more of him!

The story is engaging, making you wonder what will happen to Aphra. It is at a fluid pace, not too fast but not too slow. It keeps you coming back to continue reading it until it ends.

Nowadays, YA mystery novels are rare (from what I see). There is only one YA mystery author that I really like by the name of Norah McClintok. Linda Gerber is another favourite! If you haven't read Death by Bikini yet, I recommend it! I am reading Death by Latte at the moment and loving it!

Won ARC copy from Reviewer X.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Coraline

Title: Coraline
Type: Movie
Age Group: Youth +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4/5

Coraline moves to a new home out in the country. A curious girl that can not sit still, she looks for something exciting to do. But how exciting can life get when you live out in the middle of nowhere with some odd neighbours?

Her mother decides to show her daughter something so she can stop being a bother. This something? A tiny door, hidden in their house. But there is only bricks on the other side, for now...

Later, Coraline opens the mysterious door again. This time, there is a tunnel leading her into a whole new world. This can be Coraline's dream come true... or her worst nightmare.

After reading the graphic novel version of Coraline, I was eager to watch the movie. Unfortunately, I had to watch it on an Ipod of a classmate's in between my accounting classes. I didn't receive the full effects to enjoy the movie (cause I was trying not to get caught by my teacher), but it was definitely amazing.

But Coraline appears to be a little too scary for some kids, for I heard that parents had to remove their children from the theatres before. Although this is a children's movie, it may not be suitable for youngsters who are easily frightened.

Hauntingly beautiful, this 3D movie takes the audience to a universe of wonder and magic. It makes you eager, scared, and rooting for the protagonist to win the dangerous game she plays against her "other mother". It is a unique tale with a warning, "Be careful what you wish for...".

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Simply Irresistible by Jennifer Banash

Title: Simply Irresistible
Author: Jennifer Banash
Description: She's climbing the social ladder, to the dismay of her neighbor and rival, Madison Macallister. And Casey could end up as popular as Madison now that the two are set to star in their own reality show, 'De-Luxe.' But reality TV can be so unreal.

Madison loves the attention, but having every bit of her life caught on tape is often less than glamorous. Yet fame comes at a price - and she's willing to pay. Meanwhile, now that Casey and her almost-boyfriend Drew Van Allen are currently more off than on, she's beginning to wonder if everything in her life is just an illusion - and how much longer the illusion can last.

I can't wait to read Simply Irresistible! There's a contest of it with other goodies over at In Bed With Books!

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXVIII

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

The Borrowed

Emma vol. 3-6 by Kaoru Mori
Yumekui Kenbun: Nightmare Inspector vol. 1 by Shin Mashiba
Haruhi Suzuyima vol. 1 by Nagaru Tanigawa and Noizi Ito
Trinity Blood vol. 2-3, 5-8 by Sunao Yoshida, Kiyo Kyujyo, and Thores Shibamoto

The Bought


The Received

The Real Real by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Water Song by Suzanne Weyn

Thank you so so much to Diane from The Book Resort for The Real Real! You should honestly stop spoiling me before it gets to my brain!

After borrowing the batch of mangas above, I managed to read all of Emma in one day because the rating I gave it skyrocketed to 4.5 (from 3.5)! I usually don't do a review for a manga series more than once so I will have to go back and change my rating later. Of course then I told myself to start studying because that's already a lot of manga I consumed. The next day, unforunately, I picked up the wrong book to start from my TBR pile. Originally I was like, "Just one or two chapters" but then I ended up losing my entire Saturday to it because it was bloody amazing! ARGH! I couldn't stop until I finished at 12 AM this morning!! Which book? Well, you'll find out later in the week after I'm done my exams.

Now, I have only today and tomorrow to cram for my biology exam. NO MORE BOOKS FOR ME! I hope... Homg, I know I will pick up something between today and tomorrow. Curse my book addiction! Anyone been in my sad situation before?

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash

Title: In Too Deep
Author: Jennifer Banash
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 246
My Rating: 4/5

Leaving off at from The Elite, Casey and Drew are now officially an "item". Madison is staying low, pretending that she is fine with the their relationship. But inside, she is scheming to get back at them both. No one humiliates Madison Macallister and gets away with it. All she needs is a little sweet revenge. And a modelling gig may be her key to do so...

Sophie discovers that all of her life has been a lie. Accepting the truth is hard. She decides for her sweet sixteen, she will hold a big party. A very big party. One that will be aired on T.V. If she is going to face reality, why not do it in an extravagant way?

Phoebe does not want to end up like her mother, a liar. But Sophie's brother, Jared, is just so... amazing. She can not help but to sneak out and meet with him every other day. As long as Sophie doesn't know, it's okay right? In the meantime, she finds out who her mother has been seeing behind her back. And if it's not already shocking as is, Phoebe receives a big surprise when the mystery man is unveiled.

Drew is over Madison. Completely over her...Right? Not! Drew is now confused with his feelings because he is still attracted to the beautiful model-to-be Madison. But with Casey now in the picture, what should he do?

Unlike The Elite, In Too Deep starts focusing more on the rest of the group instead of just Casey. Which I think is much better anyway because Casey's side of the story is not interesting. For everyone else, it is purely scandalous. I couldn't help but devoured the Gossip Girl-like affairs because everything that was happening made me gasped every other chapter. It made the story quite enjoyable.

The very first thing that surprised me when I started reading was the fact that Casey still hung around with Madison since the last novel. I mean, the last chapter of The Elite gave a concrete thought to any reader that the two would never talk to each other again. It didn't really make sense but I guess it played out. And another surprising thing was Madison's personality toward the modelling shoot. I expected her to be all confident about it and shockingly, she was not at all. In Too Deep shows a different side to your classic bitch.

A little disappointment for me was that the characters' relationships with each other still hadn't gone deeper. I was pretty annoyed because it would have been great to see how much more the characters would have grown then. Then again, I guess it would have been a little difficult to do that considering the story is focusing on so many characters at once.

Overall, In Too Deep is filled with more scandal and more drama than ever. It's a read where you can enjoy in your mind because it's like its own show! If you love Gossip Girl, yes, pick this up! But before then, check out The Elite first!

Won copy from Life, Words, & Rock 'n' Roll.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Bedtime Stories

Title: Bedtime Stories
Type: Movie
Age Group: Youth +
Release Year: 2008
My Rating: 4.5/5

Skeeter Bronson (Adam Sandler) is your maintenance guy at a luxury hotel. Originally, the hotel belonged to his father until it went bankrupt. It was then sold off to Mr. Nottingham (Richard Griffiths) in agreement to let Skeeter become the manager when he was old enough. Except this never happened as he promptly appoints snotty Kendall (Guy Pearce) the position instead. How unfortunate for Skeeter who has been waiting FOR so long for his time to come.

Sister Wendy (Courtney Cox) requests for him to watch over her two young kids as she go for a job interview in Arizona. Her friend Jill (Keri Russell) will be watching over them during the day time while Skeeter takes the night shift.

On the first night together with the kids, Skeeter decides to tell them a bedtime story. With the help of the kids, they create a fun tale of fantasy. The next day, Skeeter realizes that the stories are coming true! Using the power to make the impossible possible, will all of Skeeter's wishes come true?

I definitely think this is one of Adam Sandler's best movies, along with Click. Personally, I am not very fond of his adult-geared comedy movies because of the crude and lame jokes. But for the family-oriented ones, I think he does spectacularly well. They are more emotional with some moral behind it. I'm not the moral-type girl, but I can't help but love the heart-felting films that Sandler stars in.

Bedtime Stories is full of fun with all the right moments. It is a movie where the entire family can settle down and enjoy with some popcorn. There is a bit of romance, but it is clean so the kids do not have to turn a blind eye (come on, it's Disney!). I simply adore seeing how the stories weave itself into reality. Of course nothing like mermaids will come to life but somehow, everything will interconnect. Skeeter is his own character in the story he tells so you will see Sandler taking on different roles, from cowboy to a galatic being.

I know this is a movie I will pull out to watch again later in the future. If you are looking for something that has nothing to do with sex, drugs, profanity, and etc. for once, check out Bedtime Stories. I promise, you won't dislike it at all. (Unless you can't stand Disney).

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Summoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Description: Chloe Saunders sees dead people. Yes, like in the films. The problem is, in real life saying you see ghosts gets you a one-way ticket to the psych ward. And at 15, all Chloe wants to do is fit in at school and maybe get a boy to notice her. But when a particularly violent ghost haunts her, she gets noticed for all the wrong reasons. Her seemingly crazed behaviour earns her a trip to Lyle House, a centre for 'disturbed teens'. At first Chloe is determined to keep her head down. But then her room mate disappears after confessing she has a poltergeist, and some of the other patients also seem to be manifesting paranormal behaviour. Could that be a coincidence? Or is Lyle House not quite what it seems...? Chloe realizes that if she doesn't uncover the truth, she could be destined for a lifetime in a psychiatric hospital. Or could her fate be even worse...? Can she trust her fellow students, and does she dare reveal her dark secret?

I've been wanting to read this novel for awhile. I like ghost stories and recently there is an increasing number of them in YA fiction.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong by Anne Sibley O'Brien

Title: The Legend of Hong Kil Dong
Author: Anne Sibley O'Brien
Age Group: Youth
# of Pages: 48
My Rating: 4/5

This magical tale takes place back in Ancient Korea where your status determines your future.

Hong Kil Dong will never be truly accepted. His father is a minister but unfortunately, his mother is a servant. Scorned upon, the intelligent boy will never be acknowledged because of his background.

Enough is enough. He leaves the secure walls of his home to train in the mountains. He is taught by a wise sage to use martial arts and magic. One day, he runs into a group of bandits. Then learns that they became bandits because the corrupted government has been taking all of their money and been overtaxing them. Kil Dong knows that if he does not do something, the land will increase in the number of poverty. Creating a group called Hwal Bin Dang, Kil Dong and the bandits are stealing from the rich to give back the money to the poor. With lovely Korean-styled artwork and accurate historical information, this is a Robin Hood tale that could be enjoyed at any age.

I generally don't review picture books, in fact this is my first. I was enticed to borrow Hong Kil Dong because I adore the Korean drama of it (sadly I have not yet finished the series). I think it's a pretty good read, especially since that it is for the younger audience. Everything is detailed from the plot to the drawings, which is quite impressive. But I don't recommend this for kids in grade one and such because the terminology may be confusing. This is a picture book that adults can take a liking to for sure though.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXVII

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

The Borrowed


The Bought


The Received

ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley

Didn't bother going to library this week because I didn't have any requests to be picked up nor did I finish the batch I already borrowed.

In all honesty, I did not like ghostgirl. In fact, I hated it. But when I got a chance to review the sequel, I decided why not? So hopefully this would be better than the first.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Inside Out by Lee Bantle

Title: David Inside Out
Author: Lee Bantle
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 184
My Rating: 4/5

He can't be. He isn't. But he is.

David Dahlgren is your seventeen years old running addict. And he has a secret. He likes someone. And this someone is his cute teammate on his track team, Sean. Every time he is around, David aches for him. But he is a guy, so is even possible for anything to happen between them?

To suppress these feelings, David tries to be as non-homosexual as possible. He dates Kick, a female friend of his, and tames himself to stop thinking inappropriate thoughts by snapping a rubber band against his wrist. But whenever Sean is around, he can not help but think and feel things.

When David's fantasies finally come true, life may not be so bad after all. Until he realizes that Sean prefers to stay away from the gay image. With so many emotions boiling inside of him, what should David do?

I have to admit, I was always a little uncomfortable with the idea of homosexual people. I accept them for who they are but if they are to display public affection, it is weird. So when Henry Holt InGroup announced that May's book was about a gay person trying to find himself, I was not so sure if I would like it. Pleasantly to know, it is pretty good novel.

Even though David was a boy, it felt like I was reading through a girl's perspective which made it easier for me to relate to. It was quite different from your usual teen romance novels and added to the taste. I felt sorry for character but I understood what Sean was going through too. To be oneself can cause a lot of problems sometimes.

Usually I'm all about the description but Bantle's brief scenes worked well with the plot. It's a nice read with the protagonist trying to embrace his true identity. I definitely recommend this novel because after reading David Inside Out, I appreciate homosexuals a lot more than I used to. It gives more insight on what it is like to be discriminated against, even in today's society. David Inside Out is a new novel with a gentle voice that cries to be heard amongst many and has a valuable lesson for all, no matter who you are. There are sexual scenes, so do not read if you are uncomfortable with such.

Review ARC copy provided by Henry Holt and Company.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hollywood Car Wash Winners

So, I have placed all of the entries for my Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell giveaway onto Microsoft Excel. And we came up to 89 entries! Woot! And I have used to pick out the winners.

Congratulations to:
A Reader
Nicole D.
The Book Resort

Please email me at faked_sugartone at with your address! Hope you enjoy the book!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson

Title: How to Buy a Love of Reading
Tanya Egan Gibson
Amazon's Description:
Fall in love with reading all over again. To Carley Wells, words are the enemy. Her tutor’s innumerable SAT flashcards. Her personal trainer’s “fifty-seven pounds overweight” assessment. And the endless reading assignments from her English teacher, Mr. Nagel. When Nagel reports to her parents that she has answered “What is your favorite book” with “Never met one I liked,” they decide to fix what he calls her “intellectual impoverishment.” They will commission a book to be written just for her—one she’ll have to love—that will impress her teacher and the whole town of Fox Glen with their family’s devotion to the arts. They will be patrons— the Medicis of Long Island. They will buy their daughter The Love Of Reading.

Impossible though it is for Carley to imagine loving books, she is in love with a young bibliophile who cares about them more than anything. Anything, that is, but a good bottle of scotch. Hunter Cay, Carley’s best friend and Fox Glen’s resident golden boy, is becoming a stranger to her lately as he drowns himself in F. Scott Fitzgerald, booze, and Vicodin.

When the Wellses move writer Bree McEnroy—author of a failed meta-novel about Odysseus’ failed journey home through the Internet—into their mansion to write Carley’s book, Carley’s sole interest in the project is to distract Hunter from drinking and give them something to share. But as Hunter’s behavior becomes erratic and dangerous, she finds herself increasingly drawn into the fictional world Bree has created, and begins to understand for the first time the power of stories—those we read, those we want to believe in, and most of all, those we tell ourselves about ourselves. Stories powerful enough to destroy a person. Or save her.

Sounds cute. A story about a person who hates books. I would like to see how that turns out!

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Monday, June 1, 2009

The Knockout Makers by Kyoko Hashimoto

Title: The Knockout Makers
Mangaka: Kyoko Hashimoto
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: Approx. 200
# of Volumes: 3
My Rating: 3.5/5

When you don't feel your prettiest, don't you wish for someone out there to transform you? Well then you want the Knockout Makers on your team!

Consisting of a woman-loving hairstylist (Nobuo), a young makeup artist (Toshihiro), and rich beauty basics expert (Ryohei), KOM are here for your makeover needs! Their site is opened up for ten minutes at midnight for requests. If you are lucky, you may be their next client!

Follow the trio as they help many low self-esteemed girls find their inner beauty and confess to their love!

With makeup tips and style for all kinds of girls, The Knockout Makers is a day-to-day series that does not focus on the individuals of the team. Instead, every one to two chapters there would be a new scenario with a different client. (Most with love problems). I think it's really cute how they change a plain girl into a prettier version of herself using simple tricks. I really wish the makeup tips was expanded on. They generally just go like, "Bistre shadow to line the eyes and grades of coral for the eyelid" and then move on. It would be great if the mangaka actually showed the technique of how to apply certain makeups because that would be a real treat for the reader. (Well, I personally think it's a cool idea to combine makeup with manga).

I'm a little disappointed that the manga does not go further than what happens to the clients before and after their makeovers. I would like to know more about Nobuo, Toshihiro, and Ryohei but I guess I never will except for the surface that was skimmed over throughout the three volumes.

There is one thing that has been bothering me and that is the hairstylist Nobuo's ears. For some strange reason, they are pointier than normal. When I first time came into reading the series, I was like, "Is this guy an elf?". I was actually waiting for some fantasy element to be thrown into the plot. Surprisingly, there was none and it was a normal realistic fiction.

The Knockout Makers is original in terms of the idea of giving girls makeovers but the way it is delivered is not so hard-hitting. It's something fun to read during the moment but could be forgettable later on down the road.

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