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.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Story of Saiunkoku by Kairi Yura and Sai Yukino

Title: The Story of Saiunkoku
Mangaka: Kairi Yura (Art) & Sai Yukino (Story)
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 6 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 2
My Rating: 4.5/5

Shurei who has become the emperor's consort is eagerly trying to help him improve in his studies. When she realizes that he was pretending to be ignorant the entire time, she no longer wants to stay in the palace. Ryuki decides to lock her up in her room until she calms down. Except, he does not realize the danger he has placed Shurei in...

If you read my review here for the first volume, I predicted something would happen in this volume. And my manga intuition was correct! Shurei ends up getting kidnapped, creating a series of actions that gets the story ball rolling. It delves deeper into the backgrounds of all the side characters, painting a clearer picture of everyone's relationship with each other.

I honestly think that this manga should be turned into a Hong Kong/Chinese historical action drama. No joke. There are hidden agendas of those in palace, assassins, people with secret identities, and not to mention a beautiful setting to fit it all. I personally think reading it is not as exciting as it would be watching it live (live live, not anime). Which is why I gave this volume a higher rating than I should. I just pictured this perfect drama that I want to see so badly in real life because of how the story is set up and the variety of beautifully created characters.

This manga takes a lot more patience in order to enjoy because it is the kind of manga you have to take in bit by bit. If you don't mind that it takes awhile at first to develop to fully enjoy it, then I highly recommend it. It is just one of those mangas that you can not help but appreciate.

Review copy provided by Viz.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

How It Ends by Laura Weiss

Title: How It Ends
Author: Laura Weiss
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 344
My Rating: 5/5

Hanna is a sophomore who is hopelessly head over heels for Seth. She worked hard to get noticed and when Seth finally did, they started a relationship. All is well now, right?

It turns out that everything is much more complicated than Hanna thought. In the midst of trying to figure out Seth, Helen who has been very close to Hanna and her family, is fading away with age. When Helen can no longer take care of herself, Hanna ends up volunteering to care for the elder who is like a grandmother to her. During the time when Hanna was with Helen, they listened to an audio-book that changed everything.

My initial thought of this novel changed so much towards the end. When I first started, I honestly thought, "Great, a hopeless teen who thinks she is in 'love'." I continued reading nonetheless because there was something in the way the story was structured that kept me reading.

The novel chapters are split up into two perspectives, Hanna's and Helen's. This is great way to tell the story because you get to read two views from characters with completely different experiences and personalities. Hanna yearned a lot for Seth during her chapters while Helen appreciated the little details in life and had her own secrets when she was still lucid. Having to read these two perspectives, you understand the relationship of the two at a much deeper and more emotional level.

There is just so many layers to this novel that I don't even know how to put them all into this review. The audio book is such a unique piece to the story. It delves into the era of the 1940s, one that is not commonly seen in YA fiction in terms of era setting. It ranges from how women were treated to taxidermy. You honestly don't mind the fact that there is another story within the story because it makes the reading experience so much richer. You can see that Hanna learns and grows when she comes to the realization that love is not all what it seems. Love comes in many forms and it doesn't always turn out to be that perfect fairy tale.

This book is for everyone of all ages so I highly recommend it. There is something for everyone to take away after it has been read.

Review copy provided by Simon and Schuster.
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Short and Simple (7)

Title: Real Vampires Have Curves
Author: Gerry Bartlett
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 317
My Rating: 2/5

Sentence Summary: Gloria is a full-figured vampire who is determined to find the culprit who is killing her vampire friends.

Speaking Straightly: Not too fond of this book. It lacked the content even though there were so many pages to go through. I was bored most of the time and skimmed over many chapters. Regardless being a vampire book, it isn't as exciting for vampire fans to pick up in my opinion.

Won copy from Star Shadow Blog.


Title: Tangled
Type: Movie
Age Group: Youth +
Release Year: 2010
My Rating: 4/5

Sentence Summary: A princess who was kidnapped as a baby and has no idea wants to get out of her tower for the first time for her 18th birthday to see the floating lanterns.

Speaking Straightly: Adorable movie for sure. I love love Flynn! Not your typical Disney male protagonist at all. Love his personality and flawed character who contributes greatly in the development of Rapunzel.

However, I found it was way too hyped for. Don't really think it is worth a 5 stars. But is a great movie for Disney fans of all ages.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Regarding Free ARCs + Japan Relief Fund

Last night I thought about it and realized something regarding the shipping fees going towards charity. I realized that I would be donating the same amount of money of the shipping fees for the books you want, rather than it going directly to charity. Because it would go like this: you pay, I go to the post office and pay, and then I donate. Since the money you pay me for the shipping fees goes towards the post office, it wouldn't make it to charity.

I apologize for this silly error on my side because I didn't think through it thoroughly. Since I am already doing this, I have decided to change around some things since I still want to support Japan. So instead, for every (rounded) shipping fee that is paid for, I will donate 25% of the amount to Red Cross Canada. This is only till the end of March!

The reason why is because I cannot spend so much. I am already planning to buy some jewelry from Etsy to help support Japan where all proceeds will go to it. I'm thinking of spending around $30. So if I was to donate the accumulate amount of the shipping fees by the end of the month, I would go even more broke as a student!

But no worries, the amount I promised to be donated before will be donated. It's just after this post, the above changes will be implemented.

If you want to help out in other ways, you can buy jewelry where all or some proceeds will go to Japan. Please check out my fashion blog (yes, I have one in collaboration with my cousin) where I made a couple of posts so far with some Etsy shops that are donating. (Follow? :D )

Please forgive me for this mistake. I hope you all still help out in some way to help Japan, either by donating personally, spread the word, or do your own thing to fundraise.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Free ARCs (Shipping paid by you) + Japan Relief

As you may know, awhile ago I said I was going to put up free ARCs for those who wants it. Except I don't have enough money to mail it out. So if there is anything you want, the shipping will be paid by you.

In addition, you may have seen the post I put up earlier regarding my sorrows for Japan. I have decided that all the shipping fees will become a donation towards Japan through Red Cross Canada. You will be getting the ARC(s) you want as well as helping out Japan. It is a win-win situation.

If you live in Toronto or the GTA, we can meet up and I will give you the books for free without charge since there's no shipping.

Here are all the ARCs I have available as well as the link to my review of them (first come, first serve):

Crossed out means they are no longer available! You can still possibly ask for the reserved titles but if the person before you is able to get it, it goes to them. If not, I will let you know.

Here is how this is all going to work:

1. You choose the ARCs you want. Then, email your choices and address to faked_sugartone at with "Free ARCs Wanted" or something similar in the title.

2. I will wrap up the books and head to the post office to check the pricing before I mail them. I will include Paypal fees that you must pay as well. Note: If I don't have a package big enough that can contain all the books (if want a lot), you may be required to pay extra fees for the packaging.

3. I will email you the price and you will pay in CAD through Paypal ONLY (so it is less confusing). I will round the price to the nearest dollar. The package won't be sent out until it is paid for.

4. I will ship out the package and you will let me know when it arrives.

Please spread the word about this if you can. This is for a good cause. At the end of March, I will screencap a proof picture of the donation to Red Cross. Please help. :)

Donations Acquired: $23

Donation Target: $10 at the least / Target reached! :D
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Pray for Japan

I know this post is a little late but I still want to express my deepest sorrow for what had happened to Japan. I woke up on Friday morning and the first text I got was from my cousin, Vian, that there had been an earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At the time, it didn't fully sink into my head. I acknowledged it but it did not affect me fully until later on that day.

Towards the night after I finished my classes, I read on a full article on Yahoo about what had happened. I started to dread. Later when I was on my was home in the subway, I kept tearing up every time I thought about it. I couldn't believe what had happened.

Saturday, my internet finally connected so I was able to watch this video made by my favourite Youtuber, Philip DeFranco, about Japan.

This got me sad all over again. Earlier, I looked at photos on Facebook that were taken of during and the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. I finally broke down into full tears (I am still crying as I make this post). I am an emotional person and even though I have no one I know in Japan, this still affects me deeply.

Ever since grade 6 when I was introduced to anime and manga, Japan was always a part of me in some way. I have enjoyed their entertainment from dramas to mangas. I dreamed so much about one day going there, having the best time of my life and creating memories that would last forever. Japan was always that magical country of culture and history that I would love to be apart of. To know that the actors I've watched, mangakas I know about, and just everyone in Japan are in such a devastating state puts me in a similar position to those trying to get in contact with their loved ones. I badly just want to jump on a plane and fly over to help as much as I can, to do something in some way. But that is not possible and all I can do is pray. Pray for those with missing loved ones to be found. Pray for a better tomorrow. Pray for Japan.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kamisama Kiss by Julietta Suzuki

Title: Kamisama Kiss
Mangaka: Julietta Suzuki
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Ongoing with 8 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 2
My Rating: 5/5

Nanami is starting to get used to her new life as a tochigami. But it is so gosh darn boring! Hearing that a popular idol is going to attend her school, she decides she wants to go back after all. Tomoe isn't too happy about it but he reluctantly lets her go. Except this idol is not at all what he seems...

I love this volume much more than the last! Why? Because at one point, Tomoe gets turned into a child and it's so adorable! I love re-reading those parts because he is simply so cute!

Moving aside from my gushing of child Tomoe, I think the second volume definitely adds on to the last. It doesn't jump into a plot that is going to be continuous for awhile like most series. However, there is new development between the characters as well as introduction to new faces. I'm glad that there is a steady pace in the story, not going too fast or too slow. It gives you enough content to be satisfied fully and urges you to move onto the next volume.

Review copy provided by Viz.
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Being Nice"

This is a lengthy video, but I think it is worth watching if you have the time.

Melina talks about how being nice in reviews just for the sake of being nice is not the way to go. And I agree. I think authors all need criticism in order to learn and grow. Not everyone is going to love your book. That's impossible. Everyone is raised differently and has different opinions on things.

Reviewers review so they give other readers a perspective on what the book they may buy would be like. If you are a regular follower, you know that I give my honest opinion on every book I read and review. I don't feel that I should be nice in every review because hey, time is lost for having the book read and I don't get paid at all. Therefore I should have my own opinion on whether I like the book or not.

I want to hear your opinions as a reader and/or reviewer.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Title: The Undomestic Goddess
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 374
My Rating: 4/5

Samantha Sweeting is a prestigious lawyer who worked very hard to be part of the famous Carter Spink firm today. With no time on hand, she runs on strict schedule day and night with zero rest. She prays to make partnership soon.

But then, she made a mistake that ruined everything, tarnishing her career forever. Frazzled, she took a train with no idea where she is heading. She ended up in front of a house and somehow got interviewed for as a housekeeper!

Now working as a housekeeper, Samantha's life has turned 180 degrees! Except can she survive so long doing domestic work, when in reality, she can't do any at all??

This was the first Sophie Kinsella book I have ever read and I have to say it wasn't that bad. I think it does some satisfying for any chick lit readers out there. However, there were parts that I was iffy with.

In the beginning, I found Samantha to be insufferable. Since she never raised a broom in her life, her knowledge of housework is zero. Maybe even negative. She had no idea how vacuums work and what the bags attached to them were. I'm pretty sure everyone at least have some understanding of items that are used to clean the house, even if they don't do it themselves. So to see this high powered lawyer knowing nothing of the simplistic things baffled me. Even a 10 year old would know better than that! Luckily though, she evolved into a more tolerable character. One you might even root for!

[SPOILERS] I have to say I have mixed feelings at the end. After given the opportunity to come back to the company and be given a full partnership, she declined it all. I could understand that working the job she had was extremely demanding and she had no time to herself. It's exhausting and just turns you into a robot. So being a housekeeper lifted off so much burden for her, so I could see why she wouldn't want to go back into her corporate lifestyle again.

But for me, I didn't like that move, as much as I supported it at the same time. As an individual, my value of money ranks pretty high (she earns a six figures salary annually). So to literally go from a lawyer to a housekeeper just didn't sit well with me. If I was in her shoes, I would've kept being a lawyer but instead, find a firm that I am able to be flexible with. One that is not so in high demand that I literally cannot sleep for three nights straight. The thing is that, you can make time for yourself if you try.

However, I respect Samantha's choice. I could understand why she wouldn't ever want to back. And with what she had made before, she could distribute her savings over the years to maintain a pleasant lifestyle. [SPOILERS END]

I don't know if I would pick up another novel from the author, but The Undomestic Goddess was a fun read nonetheless.

Won copy from Black-Eyed Susan's.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Watching on Wednesday: No Strings Attached

Title: No Strings Attached
Type: Movie
Age Group: Older Teens +
Release Year: 2011
My Rating: 5/5

Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) first met in a camp when they were kids. Then, they ran into each other a couple of times again many years later. Emma, who is a doctor, has no time for a relationship and doesn't want to get too serious. She suggests to Adam that they should be friends with benefits and he agrees. But how long could this physical-only relationship last?

I am a big romcom lover. So when I heard about No Strings Attached, it was on my to-see list. I was a little wary of it though, in case it didn't turn out as good as I hoped. But so far for most romcom movies I have seen, I liked them all! And I think this one will be my favourite of 2011!

I was surprised to see Natalie Portman play the lead actress. For so long, she has been in many movies, but most of them action more or less. So I was definitely curious how she would be in a romcom. Ashton Kutcher is already a romcom veteran so I knew he would play a decent role.

I liked how different this movie is compared to the other romcoms. Emma is the one wanting to have the sex-only relationship whereas Adam didn't. The roles are flipped in this movie because Emma doesn't want to get tied down while Adam does. Adam is extremely adorable, pursuing after the girl he likes by giving her a mixed CD, cupcakes, and all these stuff that a girl would typically (maybe?) do instead.

Towards the end, the movie got me very emotional and I just love those moments where it gets you down into tears unexpectedly. This movie isn't cliched, making it even more enjoyable to watch. And because of this movie, my love for the song Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis has been rekindled. Also, I became an Ashton Kutcher fangirl.

For any romcom lovers out there, this movie is a must-see! It will get you awwing and crying all over, wishing life could be like the movies.

PS. I just realized the trailer isn't so good. Just skip over the trailer if you can and just go straight to the movie.

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