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.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

YA Books & Manga Sale (for Toronto only)

Hey guys! My room is being refurnished and I'm trying to clear out my room the best I can. I already got rid of old toys and clothes I no longer wear. However, the biggest clutter (as you can guess) is my book and manga collection. Money is tight and I no longer have a job. Living as a university student is pretty hard. Therefore, I am putting up 1/4 of my manga collection on sale. I haven't gotten the chance to sort my YA collection yet so if you want something and I have reviewed it, you can email me and ask (use the search bar). I highly likely will not sell books that I gave 5/5 ratings for (feel free to ask though).

Also, I apologize but I'm only doing the sale locally. I don't have the money nor time to send the books out and it would add to the cost because of shipping fees. For February, I likely won't buy a bus pass because I have reading week. Therefore my ability to travel around Toronto is limited until March (but I will calculate and see). But I live in Vaughan so I can do meetups there as well.

Do this quick though! If I don't see there is anyone who wants to buy after awhile, I might sell to used book stores.

My manga sale: (Willing to swap manga)

Email me at faked_sugartone at with appropriate heading. Thanks!
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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Julian Game by Adele Griffin

Title: The Julian Game
Author: Adele Griffin
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 208
My Rating: 2/5

When Raye is asked by the popular girl Ella to help her get revenge on her ex-boyfriend, she agrees. Raye uses a fake profile online of a blue-haired girl named "Elizabeth", in order to ensnare Julian. What she doesn't expect is falling for him during this little game. However, Ella finds out and promises to make Raye's life miserable. How will Raye get out of this mess?

I think The Julian Game has a very striking cover, which led me to read it. I didn't have any prior thoughts before I cracked it open. Though it did not take me long before I started to dislike it.

I don't know what is wrong with Raye, but for some reason she compels to obey Ella, even when she is a complete bitch. Ella is nothing but a bully with a pretty face. I wanted to slap Raye when her reasoning for listening to Ella was because she was beautiful. I don't know why anyone would want to kiss up to someone who tries to ruin people's lives. It bothered me so much.

There were some situations that happened so quickly in the book that I didn't even know go by. There were not enough details or depth to flesh out the story. I didn't feel connected to the characters nor the situations. To me, the book felt like a broken record. You understand the overall concept but you don't completely understand it at the same time.

Review copy provided by Penguin Canada.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Maid Sama! by Hiro Fujiwara

Title: Maid Sama!
Mangaka: Hiro Fujiwara
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 11 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 2.5/5

Misaki is the strict president of the student council who keeps everything orderly. Since her school only recently became co-ed, she makes sure that the boys are well-behaved. She holds up her reputation during the day, but when in fact she secretly works as a maid in a cafe! To keep her pride and reputation intact, she tries her best to hide this other side of her. But when popular Usui finds out about this secret, will everything be ruined??

Originally, I wasn't going to pick up this series. I had a feeling I wouldn't be fond of it. But since it is a popular one and my little sister is addicted to it, I decided to give it a try... And I knew my hunch was correct.

One of my manga pet peeves is when the panels are cramped with a lot of drawing and there are way too many things going on at once. This was what it was like with Maid Sama! It wasn't as bad as Go Go Heaven!!, but I still hated how many text bubbles there were on a page sometimes. As a manga reader, you would like everything to flow and be easy on the eyes. When there is so many things happening, it deters you away from the actual storyline.

I don't mind female empowerment, but Misaki is too much for me. Honestly, I think having a job as a maid is not a big deal. Since she is a big feminist, I could understand but at the same time she needs to take a chill pill. I guess some people like that sort of character but she is by far a good protagonist in my eyes. Usui is supposed to be that opposite attraction who is laid-back and cool with everything for Misaki. I feel, however, that their personalities do not work, even if they are constrasting each other. I don't know if it is possible for characters in a manga to have a lack of chemistry because it sure felt like it did, regardless of how many romance moments thrown in.

The art is not so bad. I personally judged the art prior and had a feeling I wouldn't be a fan. (Being a manga reader for so long, you can depict what kind of story the mangaka has to offer through their art. Sometimes it is misleading, but most of the time your gut feeling would be spot on).

I could understand why fans enjoy the series. There are those unrealistic moments that you can't help but wish happen to you in real life. It has that love-hate relationship thing going on with the hot guy in the grade situation and all.

However, I just couldn't get into this manga and it took me 3 weeks or more to finish because I kept putting it down. I think shojo fans can take a look because it has some cliques that most would love.

Review copy provided by HarperCollins Canada.
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Short and Simple (6)

Title: Death by Denim
Author: Linda Gerber
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 213
My Rating: 3/5

Sentence Summary: Aphra is going to confront the people that are hunting down her and her loved ones.

Speaking Straightly: At first, I really liked this series. But then, it was the action that kept me going for the first two volumes. In all honesty, I was reading a series I wasn't too clear about because I had no idea what "sleeper cells" were (still don't) and what the characters did in the past that got them into the situation they are in now. So if you understood the beginning of the series completely, I think the ending would be better for you. I just found the first two volumes to be more enthralling because of the action scenes.


Title: Grand Guignol Orchestra
Mangaka: Kaori Yuki
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Completed at 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 5/5

Sentence Summary: The world is overrun by zombies called the Guignols and an orchestra consisting of three men goes around fighting these evil beings.

Speaking Straightly: Kaori Yuki has covered dark magic, angels, faeries, and pretty much all the other supernatural creatures you could think of. Finally, she has settled for zombies.

I love her take on zombies because she made an interesting world evolving around it (as usual with her Gothic feel). It takes place in an alternate world that mashes the Middle Ages, Victorian Era, and random items from different periods (like a car) all into one.

I'd say any Kaori Yuki fans will definitely enjoy this new series!


Title: March Story
Mangaka: Hyung Min Kim (Art) & Hyung Il Yang (Story)
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 3 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 5/5

Sentence Summary: In 18th century Europe, there are demons called Ill that takes over human bodies to commit horror and there are those who hunt them down.

Speaking Straightly: Amazing so far! The same artist who did Defense Devil (a series current in Japan) is working with this new story. I find the plot completely original and gripping with gorgeous detailed art. If you would like a new paranormal horror read as a manga fan, March Story is the one to pick up.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Watching on Wednesday: Tron: Legacy

Title: Tron: Legacy
Type: Movie
Age Group: Youth +
Release Year: 2010
My Rating: 5/5

Sam's (Garrett Hedlund) father is a famous virtual game designer who is missing for years. One day, Sam goes back to his father's old arcade where he accidentally transports himself to the digital world called The Grid. With dangers that threatens everything he has ever known, Sam must survive and defeat this cyber dimension.

I wasn't hyped up or anything to see this movie when it first premiered. When a friend suggested to go to the movies, I was like, "Okay, let's watch Tron" because there weren't many movies I wanted to see. Reaction? MY MIND WAS BLOWN AWAY!

I wish I am an animator or digital artist that creates these kinds of movies. The Grid is one hell of a world that I want to be in. It has concepts of things beyond your imagination and you wish for a day you could live it. My eyes were glued to the screen because I couldn't have enough of what Tron: Legacy had to offer. The plot is just so much better because of the setting it takes place in. Sure, the idea might not be completely original, but everything else was made in order to make it the movie of the year.

The characters and costume designs were also fabulous. You have all of these unique people making up the society of The Grid. You can get an idea of what role they play just by their outfit. Not to mention, they have the sickest beats! Honestly, this movie is a MUST-SEE!

PS. The movie is even better than the trailer.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 352
My Rating: 4.5/5

Evie deals with paranormals everyday as part of her job. She tracks down and locks up creatures that cause trouble around the world. However, when they all start dying mysteriously, it gets the IPCA (International Paranormal Containment Agency) worked up. Somehow, it links to Evie. What is a girl to do when her life is far from normal as it is where she must deal with a killer suave faerie, an adorable shapeshifter, and a maniac on the loose?

I must say, lately the paranormal stories that I have been reading are starting to impress me more and more. I am finally seeing a lot more diversity in character set, storyline, and atmosphere. To start off, Paranormalcy have a lively protagonist who never had a normal life. It is interesting to see a girl so excited over the idea of lockers because she never went to school. But it's great to see that she is not completely cut off from the world where she would have an awkward personality.

My favourite character would have to be Reth, Evie's ex-boyfriend (I honestly can't really consider him that with the sort of relationship they had), who is a faerie. He is the first faerie I actually like after a year or so. I remember reading a couple of novels on faeries where I was dragging myself through them because I was not impressed. Reth has that unique persona in which I would like to describe it as "the devil with a beautiful mask on". He himself adds to the novel for sure.

Paranormalcy has that new kick for its genre. It has characters you will love and a plot that will engross you. I think personally the cover depicts the novel to be grimmer than it actually is. Other than that, I think fans of Other by Karen Kincy and paranormal would love this book.

Review copy provided by HarperCollins Canada.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki

Title: Kamisama Kiss
Mangaka: Julietta Suzuki
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 8 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 5/5

Nanami's father leaves her homeless so he can run away from his gambling debts. With her house evicted, Nanami has nowhere to go because she has no other family. In one fortunate encounter, she meets a dog-scared man named Mikage, who willing gives her his house. She decides to check it out...only to find that it is actually a shrine with demons!

Apparently, Mikage has made her the deity of the shrine so she must take on his responsibilities. Now living a life completely out of the norm, how is Nanami going to survive?

I read this manga series online a few months ago and was in love with it. I was so happy when I heard it got licensed by Viz because it can finally be read in North America.

Even though in the beginning Nanami accepted the idea of demons existing right away was a little unrealistic, it was done so swiftly that you don't even notice. I found Tomoe (Nanami's familiar who is a fox yokai) to be very androgynous at first. Which to me made a very interesting love interest for Nanami. I would love to see their relationship grow further down along the road because of conflict in personalities.

Kamisama Kiss is a read that manga fans will love. It's adorable and will still give you the same pleasure if you read it again and again. It has that fun atmosphere as well as the serious ones where the protagonist is in danger. I look forward to pick up the next volume in the series!

On the side note, I want to complain about whoever wrote the English summary for the first volume. Towards the end of the summary, it mentioned how Tomoe is "pretty hot". I find this completely irrelevant because Nanami is not drawn to Tomoe in that sense at all. Having that in the summary implies that the protagonist sees him as a good looking guy in the beginning but I know for a fact that she is not drawn to him till much later on. The inaccuracy of the synopsis annoys me because this happened to another series I reviewed by Viz before, which is Flower in a Storm. I think before writing a summary, one should read the book or manga first or it would give the reader the wrong initial impression of the book.

Review copy provided by Viz.
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year & Re-Draw Winners

Happy (Belated) New Year guys! I hope that 2011 will be an amazing one and that if you have any resolutions, you will accomplish them! I look forward to whatever has to be offered this year because I find life to be so exciting now that I am in university and have much more freedom than I did before.

I apologize for the lack of reviews lately because life is a little hectic. I thought I was going to catch up on reading during my winter break but I was forced to work pretty much all week every week. If you are curious what I have soon to be reviewed, they are: Death by Denim, Kamisama Kiss!, Paranormalcy (almost finished reading!) and the latest hit movie, TRON.

Anyway, I know you are all dying for the re-draw winners, so here they are:

oO Mariana Oo for Heavenly
MarionG for School of Fear
mariska for David Inside Out
Cass (Words on Paper) for The Poison Diaries
linaramz for You Had Me at a Halo or Zombie Queen of Newbury High (email choice)
Kulsuma for Explorer X-Alpha
Liviania for Little Vampire Women
Saynaz for Silver Phoenix
Nova & Liviania for Death Mill Mansion: A Lighthearted Comedy

Email me your address with the prize(s) you've won at faked_sugartone at ASAP. I don't want to end up doing another redraw! Congrats to winners!

PS. Those crossed out means that they have reached me.
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