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, July 31, 2009

Killing Britney by Sean Olin

Title: Killing Britney
Author: Sean Olin
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 234
My Rating: 4/5

Life for Britney is not all that just because she is popular. Her mother died on a rafting trip awhile back and it had tormented her since. Then someone kills her hockey-champion boyfriend, Ricky, in a hit-and-run, leaving a trail of blood and guts on the snow-blanketed roads.

Someone is out to get her. She knows it. And it can be anyone around her. But what is their motive? If the killer is not caught soon, more deaths are going to pile up.

There are not a lot of YA thrillers these days and it is nice to read something that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. And Killing Britney does exactly that. Full of blood and twists, you will die to know who is the culprit.

I really enjoyed this novel because it had been so long since I got a book to scare me. But I was a little disappointed with the ending, which is why I gave it a lower rating than I originally intended. It could have been better but I sort of predicted who was the murderer from the start. If anything, this is similar the movie The Uninvited. So if you liked that movie, then you would like this novel.

From different point of views, the reader gets to see the murders being executed from the characters' eyes and what they stumble upon during their search for the killer. The characters background are not delved into because of the constant change in POVs. There are a couple of loop holes in plot, which should have been cleared up but wasn't. Killing Britney gives one a break from the usual paranormal and romance stories for some great suspense.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 286
My Rating: 4.5/5

They all used to be great friends: Spencer, Aria, Emily, Hanna, and of course, Alison. Back in junior high, they always did things together. Alison was the prettiest of them all and everyone listened to her. But they had a secret. These five seventh graders knew of something very terrible. They made a pact to never let the truth be revealed.

One random day, Alison disappeared and never returned. Everyone freaked out, wondering what had happened to her. But the other four friends silently sighed with relief. With Alison gone, their secret was safe. For now.

Three years has passed and the once-friends are no longer together. Spencer is a goody-goody two-shoes, trying to keep her G.P.A. as high as she can as she also participates in other club activities. Aria moves back to Rosewood from Iceland. Maya is working hard on the swim team. And Hanna, who used to be the chubby one in the group, has become the hottest girl around!

But they have their little secrets. Spencer is crushing her perfect older sister's boyfriend. Aria is in love with her English teacher. Emily thinks she may like the new girl in town. And Hanna is doing something pretty ugly to be beautiful.

No one knows, so it doesn't matter right? But someone does. Known as A. And A also knows what they have been keeping in the dark three years before since Alison's incident. A is going to tell.

I wasn't sure what my reaction toward this novel was going to be. But it was much more satisfying than I thought!

Written in third person, the reader gets to view what is happening with one of the four characters every chapter. And as you can tell from the summary, their lives are pretty scandalous. Especially since they live in such an upscaled neighbourhood. Which is a bit of a problem for me. I am honestly tired of stories where the characters do "bad things" and are from a fancy background (ex. Gossip Girl). But one can definitely sympathize for the characters and their situations.

There is a reason why the Pretty Little Liars is a bestselling series. Intense, the novel made me dying of curiosity when A started messaging the four girls. Somehow, some way, A knows everything about the girls. Their little secrets and their big ones. It is creepy to have a stalker and makes you wonder how the hell they do it without being noticed.

When I was nearing the end, I gasped at the climax with my eyes bugged out. I rushed to finish it but even though the book ended, the story was not finished. If I wasn't outside reading this at the bus stop with my friends, I would have screamed, "WHY????". I wanted to know what the secret was that these four friends shared and who A was (yeah, the novel revealed neither of those, disappointingly). I was ready to slam my head against the wall because, dammit, I wanted to know!

Pretty Little Liars is definitely an intriguing read for the first in the series with lovely teenage girls and a dark, dark secret. I want to read the second one so badly now! I just wonder, how can it possibly last for so many volumes...

You can get a sneak peek of this fantastic novel here!

Review copy provided by HarperCollins.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Ugly Betty (The Complete Second Season)

Title: Ugly Betty
Type: Show
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2008
My Rating: 5/5

Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) is back and with more drama at Mode than ever!

After the terrible car accident, Daniel (Eric Mabius) is stuck to a wheelchair in hope that Alexis (Rebecca Romijn) will wake up soon. But when she does, she can not remember about the sex change! Bradford Meade (Alan Dale) takes the chance to pretend to be the loving father he never was.

It is not long until Bradford decides to marry the manipulative Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams)! If the marriage follows through, she might end up being editor-in-chief after all! Oh the drama!

While Betty tries to help out with her friends and family, she have problems of her own. She loves her dorky, accounting boyfriend Henry (Christopher Gorham), but his ex-girlfriend is bearing his child. Love is already complicated as it is until sandwich-making Gio (Freddy Rodriguez) confesses his feelings to her! Aieeee! What will Betty do in between work with evil co-workers and two great guys??

Ugly Betty is the only show I ever watch now (asides America's/Canada's Next Top Model). It is full of fun and twists that makes you dying for it episode after episode.

Morals and beliefs play a huge role in Ugly Betty. The characters are always thrown into situations where they have to either choose between what they believe is ethical or the solution to their problem. Almost every episode, it is about choosing what one believes is right. It makes you wonder what you would do if you were in the characters' shoes, especially if you have strong ethics.

But of course, if Ugly Betty was only filled with problems like such then it would be way too dramatic for me to watch! The comedy with the characters, like Marc (Michael Urie) and Amanda (Becki Newton), balances everything out. Of course, Wilhelmina evilness is just so delightful! You just can't help but love to hate her! But she has a nicer side too that she never shows. I really am looking forward to her development of character down the road.

Season two of Ugly Betty is even better than the first! If you have not yet watched this show, I suggest you go start from the beginning now! Watching a fashionably-challenged assistant in the world of super-models and designer brands can never be funnier!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Title: Lipstick Apology
Author: Jennifer Jabaley
Description: Four Little Words Written in Lipstick...
mean Emily must say goodbye to everything she knows. Emily Carson has always been a good girl. So when she throws a party the night her parents leave for vacation, she's sure she'll get busted. What Emily doesn't know is that her parents will never return. That their plane will go down. And the only thing left amidst the wreckage will be a tray table with the words: Emily please forgive me scrawled in lipstick—her mother's last words.

Now it's fall in New York City and Emily's trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her public tragedy captures the attention of more than just the media—and soon two very different boys at her new school are pursuing her: the cute, popular Owen and the quirky chemistry partner slash pastry-baker-by-night, Anthony. But even with such delicious distractions, Emily can't let go of her mother's mysterious apology. Does she have the courage to face the truth?

With help of a whole new kind of family—one that includes a make-up artist to the stars, a teen model, and a wacky hairdresser—Emily must choose between the boy who makes her forget it all, and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately, heal.

Sometimes goodbye is just the beginning.

This amazing video is made by the popular YA book blogger, The Compulsive Reader! Isn't it great??

There is a contest by Jennifer, who is giving away great prizes for those who spread a word about her novel by embedding one of her two Lipstick Apology's book trailers!

Winner can get either $40 itunes giftcard, $40 B&N giftcard or the Get Pink'd Pink Lip Deluxe Sampler from Sephora (an $80 value)!! I don't know about you but that is pretty damn sweet! Contest ends July 31st! Click here to enter now!!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Tokyo Boys & Girls by Miki Aihara

Title: Tokyo Boys & Girls
Mangaka: Miki Aihara
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Completed with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 2/5

Mimori Kosaka's is thrilled to get into Meidai Attached High School and is eager to start the new year in their pretty uniform! She befriends Nana, a lovely girl that all the boys in their class like.

One day, Mimori bumps into the tall and scary Atsushi, who is rumoured to be in a bike gang. Apparently, he knows her from when they were in elementary school, but she can not remember him at all! It is all in the matter of time before Mimori runs into some trouble!

I was most disappointed with this series. As this was one of her older works, the mangaka's style was much different from now. It took less than a second to know that this manga series was done in the 90s. Most of the manga art at the time were pretty eye-blinding and unfortunately, Tokyo Boys & Girls was one of them.

But I should overlook that and focus on the plot, right? I have read Aihara's other series, like Hot Gimmick and Honey Hunt, which I both love. Except Tokyo Boys & Girls seemed to be a bit all over the place. I couldn't focus on reading it because it didn't build up right to keep the reader interested. It appeared like Aihara was still new to making manga, comparing it to her more recent and popular series. Her characters were underdeveloped and did not form properly. Miki Aihara is known for giving her manga a lot of drama, but Tokyo Boys & Girls had nada. It was a shame.

The best thing about this series are the covers. You get to see what the characters look like many years after Aihara's art has changed. But that's pretty much it for this manga. I doubt I will pick up the second volume. Though I am dying to read more of Honey Hunt...

Bookmooched copy from CZ.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXXIV + Harry Potter Winners!

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

The Borrowed


The Bought


The Received


Yep, nothing this week. Sigh. Oh well, hopefully something this week!

I am disappointed that my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows contest had so little entries. Oh well. If you want more contests, stick around for next week! Cause trust me, you will want to. Like, honestly, bookmark this page. I'm giving you a huge hint here.

Haha, anyway... the five winners are:

Shooting Stars Mag

Congrats! I have sent your addresses off and hopefully you guys will get your prizes soon! Enjoy!

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Razor Girl by Marianne Mancusi

Title: Razor Girl
Author: Marianne Mancusi
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 308
My Rating: 3.5/5

Six years after the horrible and unknown disease that had violently spread across the nation, Molly Anderson can finally see what is left of the world she once knew. Trapped under her family's fallout shelter with her mother for so long, Molly now sees that she is practically one of the few humans left around. Everyone that unfortunately received the virus either died tragically or transformed into a zombie. Here she is, alive, with razor-sharp nails and built-in lenses that her father had put on her for survival.

Within a couple of hours after she is finally back above grounds, she runs into an old friend named Chase. He used to be obsessed with her for as long as she could remember. Geeky, too. But after years of intense running from the undead, Chase has grown to be a handsome young man. But instead of a warm welcome hug back, Chase is not so happy to see Molly again. After all, she betrayed him and left his heart to break.

But Molly must not hang onto the past. She must reunite with her father as she promised. Her destination? Disney World.

In the post-Apocalyptic future, this is a novel that many zombies fans will enjoy. With action, adventure, hot romance and the walking corpses, which zombie-addict will not like that?

I didn't mind Molly so much but I wasn't so fond with the younger version of Chase. Throughout the novel, the chapters would flip back from the past to the present to reveal bits and parts about the characters and what they did before and after the breakout. Like said earlier, Chase had a huge crush on Molly when they were younger. I saw him a little desperate during his teen years. Molly at the time was one of the "popular" kids, more or so. She thought he was annoying and yeah, he sort of was. But I was glad that after Molly disappeared on him, he learnt a thing or two. Molly's father on the other hand was a wacko. If you read the novel, you'll see how much of a loose screw he is.

Although Razor Girl is a cool zombie book, it does not provide anything new for zombie readers. I enjoyed Mancusi's fluid writing and her imagination of three decades from now. (It will be cool if any of the things that exist in the story come true! With technology these days, who knows what we will have next year!)

My favourite part of the story was when Molly and Chase got to Disney World. Since I've been there myself once a few years back, this had an impact on me. It was creepy to think that one of the most popular and crowded theme parks becomes nothing with bare bones. And there was a scene that took place in the It's a Small World ride. But instead of happy dolls from all over the globe singing and dancing, they were unplugged for so many years. This image was stuck in my head the longest time and it scared me. Yeah, not the fact that zombies (or "The Others", Chase called them) were roaming around; but, the emptiness of the world which was once filled with people and culture. If you have went to Disney World (and go through this irritating ride) and read the novel afterwards, you would understand what I am talking about.

Won copy from Secret Fates.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

kimi ni todoke: From Me to You by Karuho Shiina

Title: kimi ni todoke: From Me to You
Mangaka: Karuho Shiina
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 8 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Always misunderstood, Sawako Kuronuma is a teen who just wants to be friends with everyone. Known as "Sadako" (the dead girl from the popular Japanese horror movie, The Ring) by her classmates, she is always alone and is being judged by her appearance. With her long, raven hair and introverted personality, people assume that she can attracts ghosts and put curses upon them.

But when a people-friendly and popular classmate of hers begins to hang around her more and more, everything changes!

Even though I don't like this book as much as I want to, there is something so sweet and humble about this manga that I have to give it a 4/5!

Sawako is a most peculiar protagonist. She is very meek and always so happy when someone says something nice to her. Even though people are afraid of her, she does not hate them. Her goal is to do something good everyday. I find her adorable, curious to know if she is going to change later on in the series. I did wonder why she didn't change her hair or do something in the beginning. Because she appears so much like the horror character Sadako, many fear her. I mean, if she cut and dye her hair or something, her problems will resolve right? But then again, the manga wouldn't exist if that happened.

Shota Kazehaya, the boy who befriends Sawako, is your all around-nice guy. You can't help but smile when you see him because he radiates a pleasant aura. He falls for Sawako but poor guy realizes that she only highly respects him! I kept thinking that she really does have a crush on him until the end. It seems like she doesn't know her true feelings for him yet and admires him very much because everyone loves him and he's such a great person.

What I love most is Shiina's artwork. Her characters are drawn with a gentle touch and they are just so pretty. It's very pleasing on the eyes.

So far, kimi ni todoke: From Me to You is a realistic manga that has to be read slowly so the reader can fully enjoy it. Will appeal to Honey and Clover fans. And there is also a cute set of free stickers attached onto the first volume!

Review copy provided by Viz.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Title: Radiant Darkness
Emily Whitman
Age Group:
# of Pages: 288
My Rating:

Persephone is the only daughter to the harvest goddess, Demeter. In texts and legends, she was kidnapped and forced against her will to marry the underworld god, Hades.

But that is not right! She wasn't forced into doing anything at all!

So why don't you lend an ear and let Persephone tells you what really happened?

Living in the beautiful and tranquil vale her whole life, Persephone has never seen what it is like outside the garden gates. Her mother has spoken ill of men and keeps them out from entering their realm; therefore, Persephone has never seen a real live male before. She is fed up of being secluded from the rest of the world and as much as she begs, she is not allowed to go down to Earth. It is such a bore to be an immortal without any freedom.

One innocent day when her mother is away, Persephone catches an alluring scent that she does not recognize. Following it, it leads her to a man who has strong winged horses. The first time she sees him, she runs away in fear. How can there be a man in her mother's sanctuary? No male is allowed there! But her curiosity brings her back the next day. She sees him again. And it will not be her last.

Although I'm sure many will not agree that Radiant Darkness should be a 5/5 novel, I simply adore it too much. There is something so elegant and soft about this one, which I can't help but love.

I was so sure that Persephone was going to narrate in a refined and proper voice, using fancy big words. To my surprise, she spoke like a regular teenager, pissed off that she could not do anything because she was "too young". Demeter kept telling her how the world below was dark and cruel and she should not be exposed to it. I can totally sympathize and relate to Persephone because my parents are like that, too. It makes one want to rebel. And that, Persephone did when she fell in love with Hades.

I was most disappointed with Hades's and Persephone's relationship. They met and after a couple of times together, BAM!, they are like in love. I wished they went through some sort of hardship before they actually developed feelings for each other. But I could understand why Persephone was attracted to him in the beginning; he was the first person from the opposite sex she ever laid her eyes on. Plus, he was a very nice guy, completely different from legends.

One thing that had been bothering me though was Hades's "supposed appearance in age". He was described to have a beard, making me think that he was a much older man but without wrinkles (cause he was a god and all). The fact that I saw Persephone more as a teen in my mind, the picture of her and Hades together did not really work out. But somehow, Whitman made it work. And there were both immortal so I was sure either of them would age soon.

Despite my complaints, I still think Radiant Darkness is a fantastic debut by Emily Whitman. It is about a young goddess who chooses her own pathway, not letting anyone decide her fate. It is one of the rare books out there that has quite some flaws but still has that great power to make you love it. Therefore, I don't have a lot to gloat about for this one except that it is definitely a 5/5 in my eyes. Romantics will definitely like this one! (And don't you just adore the cover?)

You can take a sneak peek at the novel by clicking here!

Review ARC copy provided by

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Title: Confessions of a Shopaholic
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4/5

When she was young, Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) never had the pretty clothes that kids her age had. So she grew up obsessing over every single designer piece she comes across and buying them all before you can say, "Shopping".

In hoping to land a job at her favourite fashion magazine, Alette, Rebecca finds out that the available position is already filled. The male receptionist advises that she should try at another magazine owned by the corporation; then she can work her way up to Alette.

What is the magazine? It is called Successful Saving. Rebecca? Saving money? Hah!

From the bestselling series by Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic is quirky, fun, and full of designer labels that many females can watch and relate to!

Rebecca is amusing but also can be annoying at the same time. Sometimes, her actions are most odd, making you wonder what kind of environment she grew up in. Her love for shopping is so immense that it is simply insane! I think I would lose my head if I was to live with her. She racks up a huge debt and as she tries to push them all away, they come back to haunt her a hundred times over! From being an impulsive buyer, Rebecca learns that life is not so forgiving when you lie. One thing led to the next and she digs a hole way too deep for herself before she realizes it.

I wondered what she was going to do to pull herself out of her troubles. I was a little surprised but wasn't at the same time when the conclusion came around. I liked the ending and Rebecca grew up so much by then. I was entertained on the long run and will re-watch it again someday.

Overall, Confessions of a Shopaholic is a great movie to watch with your girlfriends and pass time with. (If not, at least watch it if you are a Hugh Dancy fan). And of course, teaches you that buying all those latest shoes and shirts might not be a great idea...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

Title: My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters
Author: Sydney Salter
Description: Welcome to the summer of passion. For seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels, that means three sun-and-fun filled months of spending time with her best friends, obsessing over her crush, trying to find something she is passionate about, and…saving for a nose job. Jory is determined to lose the big, honking, bumpy monstrosity she calls the Super Schnozz—the one thing standing between her and happiness.

So accident-prone Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for surgery; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. To find her passion, she tries yoga; she tries becoming a foreign film buff; but nothing is quite as interesting as finding a boyfriend. And that can’t happen until Super Schnozz disappears…right?

Jory is in for some big surprises when passion finds her—and she discovers the beautiful people she longs to look like are not as perfect as they seem. In her hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel, Sydney Salter delivers a story about broadening your horizons, accepting yourself, and finding love right under your nose.

This is such a cute video! Don't you agree?

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Hollywood is Like High School with Money by Zoey Dean

Title: Hollywood is Like High School with Money
Author: Zoey Dean
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 278
My Rating: 4/5

Taylor Henning's dream is finally coming true! A film enthusiast who recently graduated, she is eager to start her new job as a second assistant at a popular movie studio. But when she realizes that her catty co-worker, Kylie, is sabotaging her, she must bring her down. So she begs her boss's better-than-thou daughter, Quinn, to help her win against Kylie so she can get the creative executor promotion instead.

Things are turning out brilliantly in Taylor's favour as she follows the one-lined lessons she received from Quinn through her iPhone. But what happens when the small white lies get a little too big?

First time reading a Zoey Dean novel, I was expecting something on the Gossip Girl level. A lot of drama, sex, and swearing; which I do not favour so much. But surprisingly, it was much better than I predicted.

Written in a voice of an eager and desperate young woman, this is a great summer read for teens and adults in the female demography. Taylor is not exactly a new character you see around the block, but is interesting enough to keep you wondering about what will happen next in her life. I thought how she asked her boss's teen kid for help was a little pathetic but amusing at the same time. It was a little sad to see a grown woman trying to take lessons on how to be "mean".

The plotline was not unpredictable and I was satisfied on how Taylor learnt her lesson. The ending, however, felt like it could have been better. But at the same time, I saw that it somehow fit together. I particularly liked Dean's writing style. You can really see what the surroundings are like in Taylor's eyes. Overall, I enjoyed my first Zoey Dean's novel and might actually venture into her YA series. Since her teen series, Privileged, became a weekly TV series, I think Hollywood is Like High School with Money can be a potential chick flick movie.

Recommended to movie buffs (there are lots of real celebrities referencing) and those who would like to read a "teen drama for the older audience."

Review copy provided by Hachette Book Group.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXXIII

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

The Borrowed

Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker
Naruto vol. 33-37 by Masashi Kishimoto
Hoshin Engi vol. 11 by Ryu Fujisaki

The Bought


The Received

Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

I have been telling myself to get started with Melissa Walker's novels for months. Although I follow her through her blog for quite awhile now, I have never read any of her books. So I decided to request all of the Violet series and got the first one today. I really want to read Lovestruck Summer though. Oh! And she just got married! Go over to her blog and give her your congratulations!

The Book Blogger Appreciation Week is now opened for nominations. So go check it out and nominate your favourite book blog here!

I'd like to thank Wdebo from The Electrical Book Cafe for awarding me with Let's Be Friends Award and #1 Blogger Award! You're so sweet!

Contest Alert: My Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows giveaway is ending this Wednesday! Please, please enter! I have so little entries! Click here or above the blog to enter now!

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hancock Park by Isabel Kaplan

Title: Hancock Park
Author: Isabel Kaplan
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 272
My Rating: 2.5/5

Living in L.A.'s best neighbourhoods, Becky Miller is surrounded by luxury. But life is not all that amazing. Her parents are on rocky roads and soon she finds herself rotating her life with one or the other.

While that happens, her social life seems to sky rocket as she starts hanging around with the It girls of her school after her best friend, Amanda, moved away. With a little too much partying, can Becky hold it together before she changes completely into someone she does not know?

I felt that Becky is the self-insertion of the author (who is currently eighteen and a Harvard student). I don't want to think it is so but that is what it felt like. Becky is just very...dull. She apparently lives in this amazing and rich atmosphere but she ends up as the "smart student with world-saving goals" and dislikes the school's popular bitches (but, they didn't have the full out "rawr" effect so I shouldn't even consider them the "bitches"). Which I didn't really have a problem with but the way Kaplan shaped her, it was just so plain for brain intake from beginning to end. Even though Becky's feelings were defined, she just didn't bring up anything to look forward to because the story was simply taking the reader through her life.

The chapters were really brief and the plot went absolutely nowhere. But it was definitely an easy read to breeze through. I didn't dislike it; I just wished there was something more. All the characters presented were easily forgettable. I even forgot Becky's own name and had to pull the book back out to check.

Hancock Park is a perfect beach read. You can get through it and throw it to the side after for some swimming or tanning. But if you expect three-dimensional characters or a plot with a great development, than you will be most definitely disappointed.

You can have a peek of the book by clicking here!

Review ARC copy provided by HarperCollins.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Title: Eyes Like Stars
Lisa Mantchev
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages:
My Rating:

Bertie Shakespeare Smith has been living in the Théâtre Illuminata all of her life. She is surrounded by mischievous fairies, Shakespeare's brooding characters, and a magical stage that never rests. This is her one and only home.

When she discovers that she is going to be kicked out, she is angry and desperate. To stay, she must figure out a way to contribute to the theatre.

While she does that, air spirit Ariel wants to be released from playing his part over and over again. Bounded by The Book, he is desperate for his freedom. Attempting to persuade Bertie into helping him escape the theatre, he is refused. If no one aids him, then he will take matters into his own hands.

Can Bertie save Théâtre Illuminata in time before Ariel wrecks everything?

Starting off reading the novel, I expected myself to be confused. Why? Because the setting was of course in another world and I thought I was going to get lost, seeing how I knew nothing about theatres. Surprisingly, I did not. Instead, I was instantly drifted into an enchanting world of famous plays and characters that were full of mysteries and surprises.
I was able to keep reading without wanting to put it down. Even though not a lot happened in the beginning, the book still compelled me to continue on. Eventually it just got better and better!

The people in Eyes Like Stars were so unique that it was fun to read. I liked the playful fairies that always hung around Bertie because they were simply so cute. But the character that stood out to me the most and whom I completely loved was Ariel. He was very smooth and charming. I thought characters like him were always corny but Mantchev made him into such a three-dimensional person. I admired the fact that he was determined to grab for his freedom. Having Shakespeare's own characters there was a delightful touch. Since I have read a couple of plays for English class before, I could proudly point out to the ones I know of.

Eyes Like Stars is a bewitching tale that has whimsical characters and a voice that you will never forget. Pick up your copy today! With a cliffhanger, I am dying for its sequel!

Review ARC copy provided by
Henry Holt and Company.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess by Atsushi Suzumi

Title: Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess
Mangaka: Atsushi Suzumi
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Completed with 2 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4/5

In an alternate universe, there lays a desert town. With rain rare to come, the town gives up offerings to the rain goddess who in return provides them the essential water. She lives in a grand magical tree with instead of leaves, have clouds.

Gimmy is a teen boy who runs a repair shop. The goddess once again asks for a doll from the town and it is his task now to create a new one for her.

His twin siblings, Mel and Mil, see how their older brother is stressing over the fact that he has to finish the doll so soon when there is so little time. They brilliantly decide to pretend to be dolls so Gimmy can complete his work in time. But instead, the goddess Sora takes them as her offering!

Gimmy is shocked when he found out and Sora refuses to give them back. Or else all the water she gave his town would evaporate! He has to somehow take back his brother and sister without angering Sora! But how?

Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess is a cute and light story with a mix of desert elements and magic. Gimmy is a boy who enjoys creating things. He is not afraid to speak his mind when he declared that he was going to take back his siblings. But of course, he knows that he should not be rash when the goddess can remove every bit of water from his village any time she wants.

I have a hate and love relationship with Sora's design. If you see the image above, she has this animal keeper outfit going on. It's her hair and hat that irks me. But at the same time, I find it quite interesting. Even though she is a powerful goddess, she is clueless about the world around her because she never left her tree before.

So far, the characters' personal lives have not been delved into yet and it appear it will not any time soon. Throughout, you find the two in funny and dire moments. Toward the end, Sora is threatened by another goddess who wants to take her tree so she can control her power! Left off at a cliffhanger, the second volume is yet to come. This is a great story to read under the sun, considering the desert and water factors!

Although this is not technically a shojo story, shojo fans can take a liking to the big-eyed and adorable characters within. Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess is a new series by the popular Venus vs. Virus mangaka that has action with quirks and innocent young girls that can fool you!

Review copy provided by Del Rey.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Blood: The Last Vampire

Title: Blood: The Last Vampire
Age Group:
Teens +
Release Year: 2001
My Rating:

Saya is a young female huntress who goes after demons. Her weapon is a katana (Japanese sword) and her skill is phenomenal.

She enrols into a Japanese school to keep check on the demons that are running free. During Halloween night, she encounters two demons disguised as humans. Scaring the hell out of the school nurse, Saya kills one of them before the other escapes.

Follow Saya as she slays demons in this hit animation in a world of terror and supernatural!

This is a quick anime movie that action enthusiasts will enjoy. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Saya and unfortunately, will never be revealed.

Characters background are never going to be looked into as the movie is pure action that follows Saya through one of her demon-slaying days.
I really liked the fact how it switches back and forth on Japanese and English because the American military is involved. Though I am very annoyed how I can not learn more about Saya. She came and went, making me wished there was a sequel to it. If I have to relate something to it, Blood: The Last Vampire is similar to the anime bits in Kill Bill with the blood spewing scenes. So yes, Kill Bill fans will like this one.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Candor by Pam Bachorz

Title: Candor
Author: Pam Bachorz
Description: Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he's found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He's got them all fooled: Oscar's the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he's made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. Oscar has even found a way to get rich. For a hefty price, he helps new kids escape Candor, Florida before they're transformed into cookie-cutter teens. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar's carefully-controlled world crumbles.

Sounds exciting! Futuristic and computer theme mixed! Hm, I wonder how that will turn out?

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Socrates in Love by Kyoichi Katayama and Kazumi Kazui

Title: Socrates in Love
Mangaka: Kyoichi Katayama (Story) & Kazumi Kazui (Art)
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Completed with 1 volume
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 3/5

Sakutaro (Saku) met Aki in elementary school. They became close friends. When they reached high school, Saku confessed his feelings to her. From there, they are a happy couple.

But ill-fated, Aki has leukemia. Time is running out and the days Saku gets to spend with her grow shorter.

This is a sweet and sad tale of inseparable love between two young people that has caused a sensation throughout Japan. Now it has been adapted into a manga and translated for English readers to enjoy.

In this single volume series, it opens up to Saku mourning after Aki's death. The reader is then revealed to how the characters first met. From there, it time skip to their happier moments after Saku's confession. Once Aki is diagnosed with leukemia, you watch as how both characters cope with this situation.

Personally, I am not into contemporary realistic manga. It is much too slow for my liking and I would prefer to read the novel version of Socrates in Love instead. I always favour a manga that is more fun. But I think this is a great manga to introduce to a YA fiction reader who is still new to Japanese graphic novels.

Even though I am not a fan of it, I think it is a very beloved manga. It will definitely appeal to anyone who likes stories about loss and devotion.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

In My Mailbox - XXXII

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

The Borrowed


The Bought


The Received

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

I didn't bother borrowing out new books this week because my TBR pile is huge. But I have a feeling I might get some new mangas from the library next week. But ugh, dreading summer school! (Physics gr. 12, homg and I'm failing).

I generally take pics for In My Mailboxes on my desk (or bed if there's a lot of books). But this time I decided to place this pic elsewhere. Can you guess?

MY NEW BOOKSHELF!! (Well, it will become one soon)

Yes!! I finally, finally have a real bookshelf!! Homg, I have been waiting for this day since grade three! So you must wonder where all of my books go then. They are everywhere in my room. It's a mess! Except for my mangas, they neatly are aligned on my only two shelvings which are attach to my bed. I can't wait until my dad puts it together later on today! Squee!!

Oh, and please join my Harry Potter contest! I have so little entries! Link above!

Edit: Check out amazing print contest over at Reverie Book Reviews here!

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Poison Ink by Christopher Golden

Title: Poison Ink
Author: Christopher Golden
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 279
My Rating: 4.5/5

Sammi used to be a floater. She always moved from group to group in school, never really blending in. It was not until she became friends with Letty, T.Q., Katsuko, and Caryn. They are inseparable.

About to enter their junior year, they are thinking of getting themselves a tattoo to define their friendship. They go to a shady tattoo parlour, meeting the exotic Dante. Even though the girls already have their design, he creates for them a new one that symbolizes the five girls' relationship.

Sammi backs out at the last minute, fearing that she will get in trouble with her parents. After that, her friends shun her out completely for betraying them. Very hurt, Sammi decides that there is no point in trying to be friends with people who do not understand her. Soon, her friends become more bizarre as the days pass, not acting like their usual selves. They start to smoke, skip classes, do hard core drugs, and causing nothing but trouble. Sure there are people like that around, but Sammi knows these girls. They aren't delinquents...are they?

In horror, Sammi discovers the tattoos that the girls have are starting to spread out. Dante did something to them. But what? Can Sammi save her old friends before they completely lose their minds?

Once again, Christopher Golden created an action filled book that captured my attention from beginning to end. He is talented with suspense and knows how to keep the reader hanging onto his every written word, dying to know what will happen next.

I was intrigued the moment that Sammi's friends turned their backs against her. It was so scary how they changed so much and how they were described. After reading this, you will be a bit spooked to get a tattoo!

What I love about Golden's books is that he always have a diverse background of people in his stories. I was pretty happy when I recognized a Vietnamese character. I was like, "Yay! Diversity! Not to mention, Viet!". Because come on, how many Vietnamese characters are there in YA novels nowadays? 1 in a 100? I believe more of 1 in 1000!

Pick up Poison Ink if you would like to read something with action, suspense, and a little bit of supernatural. There is a tiny bit of romance but it is not focused on. However, I am disappointed with the ending because it left off with a couple of questions unanswered. But overall, it's a scary but captivating read.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Hush by Donna Jo Napoli

Title: Hush
Author: Donna Jo Napoli
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 340
My Rating: 3/5

The lovely young Irish princess, Melkorka, always lived a life of luxury. She looks down upon slaves, thinking they are worthless beings.

But unfortunately, she and her younger sister, Brigid, are kidnapped onto a slave ship one day. There she learns the cruelty and harsh life that she is never exposed to before. She lives through the dire weather and punishments from her captors. Throughout, she keeps silent. Using her power not to speak, she awe those around her.

This novel was a little difficult for me to get into for a very long time. I was reading this for nearly a month, I believe. Going through the life with Melkorka, the entire novel was quite slow. The plot is realistic during this time period, therefore there was not a lot of things to look forward to. It was around the last one hundred pages where I was finally able to zip through it.

I disliked Melkorka a lot in the beginning. I understood that she is a princess and she is always above the rest, but her feelings toward slaves made me want to slap her across the face. I was glad that she eventually grew up, learning that slaves were just like her: human. Her younger sister, Brigid, is quite a bright one. I took a liking to her but she wasn't there halfway through the last bit of the novel.

In Hush, you journey with Melkorka from her kingdom as a princess to Iceland as a concubine. The majority of the time, the setting took place on the slave ship. Therefore, there was minimal things that could occur. Once she finally got on land, there you would see a bit of progress in Melkorka's life.

Overall, Hush is a read that would entertain those who are into historical fiction. It is based off the real Melkorka and the author worked around what could have possibly happened to her. But if you if dislike stories that are slow-paced, then it is not for you.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji

Title: Black Bird
Mangaka: Kanoko Sakurakoji
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 8 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4.5/5

Ever since she was young, Misao Harada could see supernatural spirits. They caused nothing but trouble. Because of her "sight", she was bullied as a child by her classmates. The only other person who understood her was an older boy. He could see the spirits too. But then he moved far away and Misao never heard from him again. He was her first love.

Now in high school, Misao hopes for a better life. She hides the fact that she can see yokai (demons) so she can blend in. One day she comes home to meet a new and beautiful neighbour, Kyo, who just moved in next door. She realizes out that he is her first love!

She unexpectedly gets attacked by a demon and Kyo comes to rescue her! And to find out that he is a demon too!? He is make her his bride?

Every one hundred years, there is a special human who is born. Demons who drink her blood will live longer; if they eat her flesh, they will have eternal youth; and if she is made into their bride, their clan will then prosper.

With her old crush wanting to sleep with her, demons chasing after her, and nowhere to run, what will Misao do??

When I first saw the cover of this manga, I was already judging. After reading so many mangas in one's life time, you can pretty much figure out if you are going to like the series or not just by looking at the art. This one, I was not so sure on. I was thinking I would give it a 3/5 or 4/5 rating. But I just love it when any novel or manga takes me by surprise.

Using a simple plot like this, the mangaka can always make it more interesting or more boring. Sakurakoji made it quite interesting.

I have to say, her characters' designs do not stand out at first. I'm staring at Kyo, wondering which other character he looks like. I know one that has the same appearance but with so many series read, I can't my place my finger on it. And Misao is quite plain and cute, like every other female manga protagonist out there. But Sakurakoji knows how to give her characters their own defining personalities and background, making them much more memorable. Misao seems like a weak character if you first glance at her. But throughout the manga I always found her to be strong, even though her actions does not show it. Kyo is quite a perv and he makes things, ah, much more interesting. Their relationship is like an on-and-off switch.

I really look forward to the second volume of Black Bird. I want to know if Misao ever becomes Kyo's bride or any other demon's for that matter. The first volume left off leaving the reader with so many questions. Not questions of confusion, but questions of curiosity. Hopefully it will not go downhill from the first volume.

Black Bird is a delightful read and I think shojo fans will take a great liking to it like I did.

Review copy provided by Viz.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: The Proposal

Title: The Proposal
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4/5

Uptight and bossy executive editor-in-chief, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock), has her visa rejected. She is soon to be deported back to Canada and that is something she does not want to happen. So she decides to blackmail her assistant, Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), into marrying her so she can stay in America. He reluctantly agrees because he can get promoted. So it is a win-win situation. All they have to do is fake lovers. Easy...right?

But Margaret did not expect that they are to fly all the way to Alaska to meet Andrew's family! There they tumble into funny situations and learn more about each other. But their relationship is strictly business. What will happen to the two when their plan changes?

Ah, watching The Proposal reminds me why I love romantic comedies. This story is totally cute with enough funny moments and emotional parts to balance it out.

The last movie I enjoyed Bullock in was Ms. Congeniality, back in the 2000s. But the last movie I watched her in was Premonition, which was a little sad and one I wasn't so eager for. I love her in this role as Margaret who she plays a boss that takes everything seriously. She evolves from the beginning to the end because she learns some valuable lessons as she spends time with Andrew.

Reynolds is such a cutie! I adored him in Definitely, Maybe and was thrilled to see him in another great chick flick! You also get to see him butt-naked in The Proposal and oh my, love the body much? I think I drooled a little when I saw him with nothing on! (Private part covered, no worries!) As Andrew, his father has a lot of expectations from him to take over the family's businesses. But Andrew lives for his dreams, not his parents'. I am a little envious of him because I'm the total opposite.

The Proposal is a great movie for a girls night out. You can watch two contrasting characters come together, making you wish you were in that situation too. And now I just discover a potential career I might want to go into! Woot for book publishing!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Shiver
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Description: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

I'm not a werewolf fan but I would like to look into this.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Author Interview: C.K. Kelly Martin

As a recent Canadian YA novelist, she has made an impact in the YA book blogging world. You may have seen her popular work, I Know It's Over, or her latest release, One Lonely Degree, around. I present to you, C.K. Kelly Martin! I have asked her a few questions regarding I Know It's Over and her personal opinions on teen sex.

If you would like to learn more about C.K. and her books, please visit her at

Firstly, what inspired you to write I Know It's Over?

I’d just finished a trilogy with a female character and really wanted to work on something with a male central character. But what specifically inspired the storyline was the Third Eye Blind song Ten Days Late. Stories about pregnancy are usually from the female point of view but to imagine one from the flipside seemed intriguing. In the song the news is a complete surprise to the guy, the way it is to Nick, and I really wanted to know how things would progress from there.

In I Know It's Over, you wrote from a male's perspective. What was it like to write in a teenage boy's voice? Did you have to ask any male friends on their opinions if they were in Nick's position?

Every voice you write in is different and I think the important thing, whoever you’re writing about (whatever age, gender, race they are) is to get the details correct. You’re not thinking about how a generic guy would think about things or react to events in his life but how specifically, Nick, being who he is, would think and react. There are definitely different social expectations weighing on guys and girls. Generally society is okay with guys being somewhat aggressive but not so much with showing more vulnerable emotions while girls are broadly encouraged to display more vulnerability and be nurturing but when they act aggressively are often called ‘bitchy’. At the core we have similar emotions though. So no, I didn’t seek out any opinions, I just let myself be guided by Nick’s personality in combo with the societal expectations being exerted on him.

What is your take on teen pregnancy and sex?

I think unwanted pregnancy is a difficult thing for people of any age to deal with, but usually even harder when you’re a teenager because you have fewer resources and less experience. I’m glad there’s less abstinence based sex ed going on in the U.S. now (studies show that really doesn’t work). But there’s still a lot of work to be done in this area in the States and Canada. There was a survey from Planned Parenthood Toronto recently that showed 83% per cent of the teens surveyed had never accessed sexual heath care, although most of them had already engaged in some kind of sex.

Obviously pressure to have sex (and there’s a hell of a lot of that in our society) is wrong but equating sex with shame is also wrong. I think it’s terrible if teenagers don’t get the health care they need because of some kind of fear of being judged. I think that if Sasha and Nick in I Know It’s Over could’ve walked into a drugstore and bought Plan B morning after pills like they were buying a bag of chips the whole ordeal she and Nick went through never would’ve happened. We currently have a weird situation here in Canada where Plan B pills no longer have behind the counter status yet all the pharmacists I spoke to still keep them there.

In general for you, what is the hardest part in writing any story? And the easiest?

It’s weird because I love writing but I think the very hardest part is actually getting down to it. I procrastinate like crazy and I don’t know why. Sometimes, once I get dug into writing for the day I don’t want to stop, even if I have concert tickets or something like that. I force myself to shut down the computer and go because once I’m there I have a good time, of course, but when I’m in the zone I never want to stop. So why is it so hard to get started? I’m really not sure.

The easiest bit is creating the characters themselves. They just seem to evolve in my head with their own voice, personality and issues without me doing much work but writing all that stuff out in detail is more difficult – transcribing what you know of the character and their situation.

Both of your novels are realistic contemporary stories. What kind of things inspire you to write?

So many different things – songs, plays, newspaper articles, conversations you have with people or sometimes conversations you happen to overhear. Potential titles themselves are a big inspiration – mostly I get a phrase or word stuck in my head and the book grows from there.

Do you plan on possibly writing in a different genre, like fantasy for example?

The book I’m currently working on is still YA but has some different elements to it but for the moment I really do mostly prefer working on contemporary teen fiction. When I’m reading YA myself (and adult books too) that’s the stuff I like the best, stories where it seems like events could truly be happening almost exactly as described to real-life people very much like the characters you’re reading about.

Are there any writing projects you are working on at the moment?

The novel I mentioned above is way back in the queue as far as books of mine being released goes so I don’t want to give away too many details but before that’s another book which is written in alternate points of view (second cousins, one who is a seventeen year old girl and the other who is a sixteen year old guy). Also, I just finished up copy-edits on my third book, The Lighter Side of Life and Death. It’s about sixteen-year-old Mason Rice, who is on a high after starring in the school play and falling into bed with his best girl friend who he’s had a crush on for years. Unfortunately, she feels the incident was a big mistake and their friendship begins to crumble. His other best friend, who had a thing for the same girl, is also angry with him. Mason, wanting a distraction from these negative aspects of his life, begins pursuing this twenty-four year old woman he’s met recently but thinks nothing will come of it. Turns out, he’s wrong!

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

My brother and I were extras in the Police Academy 4 movie when we were kids. I’m not sure if anybody even remembers those movies but basically they were comedies about people who made terrible recruits trying to become cops. The film was shot in Caledon and mostly I just remember being in the catering tent, hanging out until the extras were needed. I think we got paid for it too but I can’t remember how much.

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