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.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (May 30/11)


None! :O


Music Machine

Title: Storm
Artist/Band: Yoshida Brothers
Language: N/A - Japanese themed
My Thoughts: Want some amazing Japanese instrumental? This is it.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Test
Author: Aimee Carter
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 304
My Rating: 3/5

Kate only has her ill mother in her life. Her mother's dying wish is to move back to her childhood home before she is gone.

While in her new town, Kate meets a young man named Henry, who claims to be Hades, God of the Underworld. Henry could extend Kate's mother's life a little longer if Kate agrees to accept his bargain. Wishing to have more time with her mother, Kate agrees. She must go through a series of tests but the problem is, every other girl before her died when they did the tests. Will she be able to make it through?

Although I wasn't expecting too much, I was expecting at least something exciting based from the synopsis.

Starting with the characters, I have to say I like Kate. She loves her mother dearly and I really like that quality of her caring so much. She puts her mother first in pretty much everything she does throughout the novel. She is a hard worker and I admire that. A part that I found really interesting is that she doesn't fall for Henry right away like in most books, despite that fact that he is good-looking. I love how their relationship gradually grew over time and Kate recognizes that even though Henry is centuries years old, she still cares for him regardless. Henry though, I think is slightly dull. He is a nice guy all in all but just didn't have that punch in making him stand out among male characters of the YA world. Everyone else in the book, ehhh. Some were alright while others melted into the background.

What really sucked is the fact that after reading halfway into the book, I realized NOTHING was happening. For the entire novel, Kate is cooped inside Henry's mansion and living her life. I give it points for having me read so far in and not realize that the plot was not exactly going anywhere. Towards the end there were some things but there weren't enough to get you excited. The tests Kate has to go through? Oh man, I thought it was going to be some life-and-death scenarios but it was...sigh. Too depressing, because you'd expect a lot more when one comes to do tests to be a goddess. Not to mention that the gods portrayed in the novel strayed very far from the mythology itself. I honestly should push my rating lower but there were some decency in this book. This is already a generous rating from me.

It was unfortunate that some things were not brought out to their full potential in this novel because there were so many things that could done to make it a fantastic read.

Review copy provided by Harlequin Teen.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (May 23/11)



My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Nightschool vol. 3 by Svetlana Chmokava
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan vol. 1 by Hiroshi Shiibashi


Panjandrum by J.J. Telly


Music Machine

Title: Mambo Italiano
Artist/Band: Dean Martin
Language: English
My Thoughts: There are times where I like listening to different classics I heard throughout my life. This past week I was really in the mood for some Mambo Italiano. :) Man, I wish I am in Italy right now.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Author Interview: Hannah Harrington

So it has been ages since my last author interview! For those who likes to read the author interviews, I apologize! During the school year, I totally forgot about it altogether and just focused on trying to get a post up every week as much as possible. If you guys want to see an author interview with an author I have reviewed a novel of, please comment below! (Either click the author interview hashtag or search on the side bar to see).

Three weeks ago, I reviewed a contemporary novel called Saving June about a girl who goes on a road trip to California in order to spread her sister's ashes (click here for review). Originally, the novel was supposed to be coming out this May. Unfortunately for those who are anticipating it, the release date got pushed to December 2011.

So while waiting, you can read the interview with Saving June's author, Hannah Harrington! (Apparently I'm the first to interview her, haha!)

What inspired you to write Saving June?

There wasn't really one singular event that inspired the book-- I actually wrote a bit of it while I was still in high school. I had the characters in my head, I just wasn't sure what to do with them at first. About two years after I graduated, it all sort of coalesced into a fully formed idea that I decided to write out. Some of it was inspired by my own teenage experience, either people I'd known or things I'd gone through personally, and some of it just came while I was writing.

Have you ever gone on a road trip before? If so, what was the experience like?

I've been on a lot of road trips! When I was seventeen I drove in a van with some friends from Michigan to New York for a political protest. I've also done the drive up Highway 1 along the California coast that Harper, Jake, and Laney take in the book-- it's a breathtaking drive. The most recent road trip I took was from Illinois to Atlantic City with two friends; we did both ways within less than 48 hours, which was completely ridiculous, but also a blast. We stopped in Philadelphia on the way back, where I'd never been, and I ended up accidentally wandering around five blocks out of my way trying to meet up with my friends to get cheese steaks-- it would've been annoying, except it was kind of nice to get a look at the city. There was also a lot of off-key car singing and good conversation involved, the kind that can only happen when you've been trapped in a car with someone for over ten hours and lost all sense of shame.

Where else would you like to travel to, road trip or not?

I've never been to Europe, and I'm dying to go at some point. The one city in the U.S. that I haven't ever visited but would love to is New Orleans. The whole culture there is so interesting to me.

What would you recommend someone to bring or do before going on a road trip?

Well, good music is definitely a must! I have an iPod, but I tend to go with burning mix CDs; my car is full of them. And a lot of people have GPS systems now, but I always print out online directions as a backup since those things can go a little haywire in my experience.

What are your personal thoughts on suicide?

It's complex and painful in about a million different ways. What I hope people take away from SAVING JUNE is that, like much else in life, when it comes to that, you can't always draw straight lines to find easy answers.

Do you have any other stories in progress? If so, please give us a brief description of it.

My second book will also be published with Harlequin Teen-- it's called SPEECHLESS, and it's about a girl named Chelsea Knot who takes a vow of silence after her gossip-mongering ways yield unexpected consequences. It has some romance too, of course!

To close off, please give us an interesting fact about yourself that most people don’t know of!

My favorite song to play on guitar is U2's "With Or Without You." Probably because it's one of the few I can play that is halfway passable!
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watching on Wednesday: Shutter Island

Title: Shutter Island
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2010
My Rating: 4/5

Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a U.S. Marshall who is sent to Shutter Island, a place for
the criminally insane, to search for a female patient who went missing. However, whenever he starts asking questions, it seems like everyone is hiding something from him. Determined to find out the truth, the plot thickens and throws Daniels into a cycle of hallucinations and secrets...

So I decided to pick up this movie from the library to see what the hype was all about. Starting with the characters, Teddy Daniels is a man with very short temper. Leonardo DiCaprio does a splendid job depicting his character's emotions and actions, despite the fact that I am not a fan of the protagonist himself. Also, I don't know if it is only me, but I am seeing Mark Ruffalo in pretty much every other movie I am picking up these days. He does alright, being the protagonist's friend. However, he doesn't stand out but rather aids the protagonist along. Although, his character does surprise in the end.

I have to admit, this is a gritty movie in terms of dealing with post-World War 2 and the criminally insane. I did get creeped out here and there, although it is not exactly what I would call a horror movie. More like psychological horror with the effects to give you that extra scare. Honestly, I would never watch it again but I'd say everyone should try it at least once.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nightschool by Svetlana Chmokava

Title: Nightschool
Mangaka: Svetlana Chmokava
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Completed with 4 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 2
My Rating: 4.5/5

Alex's sister, Sarah, started working at Nightschool, a place for the paranormals to get their education. However, Alex realizes something is wrong when every single trace of her sister disappears all the sudden! Determined to find what out had happened to her sister, Alex decides to enroll into Nightschool. Will she be able to find the answer she is looking for?

I am a fan of Svetlana Chmokava because of her unique art style and enjoyable stories. Nightschool, like I said in my previous review, is no less. Continuing from the first volume, there is still some mystery behind what is actually happening. So I do find that a little confusing sometimes because there is this secret that is not out yet but you get bits and parts of it being revealed. So for the most part you want to know what the big surprise is because thus far, not much has been given out yet for you to make any conclusions.

What I like that is just introduced in this volume is being able to see what the Nightschool's classes are and layout of the building. I love seeing what monsters and supernaturals would possibly take if they do have school so that is definitely a fun touch to the series.

I will be getting my hands on the third volume soon so I definitely look forward to reading it!
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Monday, May 16, 2011

My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (May 16/11)


Inspired by The Story Siren


Hell's Belles by Jackie Kessler
Bakuman vol. 1-3 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Karakuri Odette vol. 1-2 by Julietta Suzuki
Nightschool vol. 2, 4 by Svetlana Chmokava
Natsume's Book of Friends vol. 5 by Yuki Midorikawa
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 7 by Eiji Otsuka and Housui Yamazaki
Afterschool Charisma vol. 1 by Kumiko Suekane


If I Die by Rachel Vincent
Twisted by Gena Showalter


Music Machine

Title: Un-Break My Heart
Artist/Band: Toni Braxton
Language: English
My Thoughts: For some reason during the past week, I had the urge to listen to this song. Such an old but beautiful song. Nostalgia.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Recommend Me Novels: College-age protagonist

Reading about teens for so long, I'd like to break away a little and try something different. Being in university now, I would love to read a novel with a protagonist who is in college/university or is at least around that age. However, there is not exactly a genre for books with characters in that age range but rather is mixed in with the adult novels in general.

So if you know any novels with the main character who is 18 (but out of high school!) and maybe up to 22 years old, please let me know!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

[Late] My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (May 10/11)


Inspired by The Story Siren


Reiko the Zombie Shop vol. 2 by Rei Mikamoto


Emma vol. 7-8 by Kaoru Mori
Natsume's Book of Friends vol. 1-4 by Yuki Midorikawa
Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee vol. 1-3 by Hiroyuki Asada


Ai Ore! vol. 1 by Mayu Shinjo
Black Bird vol. 8 by Kanoko Sakurakoji
Happy Birthday to Me by Brian Rowe


Music Machine

Title: Girlfriend
Artist/Band: Tyler Medeirios
Language: English
My Thoughts: When I first heard this song on the radio, I had no idea the singer is only 14 years old! He looks so much older too. Even though the song is very repetitive, I still like it lol.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 213
My Rating: 3/5

Charlie is a freshman in high school who is not exactly the kind of boy that stands out. The story of his life is written through letters to a friend, about his love life to his family life and everything in between. He befriends those who are older than him in school and learns new things through them. As the year goes by, Charlie describes his life in detail from the happy moments to the sad ones. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is well-known novel with a movie adaption coming out in 2012.

I am somewhat sitting on the fence for this novel. There are those who love it very much, but then there are those who dislike it altogether. Charlie is indeed a very deep, deep thinker. He likes to take random things and elaborate on it, even if it is rain for example. This I know have irked many readers due to the somewhat unrealistic way of thinking so much. But at the same time, had many loving it because it is something very different and had people relating to it in some sense. So I am a little bit of both, liking and disliking Charlie's way of thought.

Expanding on the previous point, I do like sometimes how he makes something so insignificant to be significant in the way of his writing. However, this wouldn't be the entire novel for me but bits and parts of it. I liked towards the ending where he describes how his friends are going off to college and such. It was just this warm, fuzzy feeling inside because I could relate since I graduated this previous year from high school. So there are those things in the novel that stood out for me.

What has to be my grand annoyance with this novel is Charlie being the biggest crybaby in the entire YA book universe. Never have I read where the protagonist cries literally every 5 pages over something mundane. I thought I was sensitive but he took sensitivity to an entirely different level. It bothered me so much how fast this kid cries by the drop of a dime and I know that if he existed, I would want to choke him so much inside if he was a friend.

Being that this is more of a day-to-day life story, it doesn't exactly have a plot. It is just reading into a life a boy who is experiencing things such as drugs and sexuality, like most teens. So there would be no cliffhanger or anything that would pump you up into finishing the novel. I guess you'd love to read it if you like the style of writing and Charlie's perspective on life.

Overall, I don't find The Perks of Being a Wallflower to reach up to the hype that it has around it personally. I think this novel depends more on the reader's personality, where you can like it either way. I would recommend this if you are the kind that likes the deep thinking sort of novel about life in the present. For the general person, you don't have to pick this novel up because you are not exactly missing out on too much.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Watching on Wednesday: The Bounty Hunter

Title: The Bounty Hunter
Type: Movie
Age Group: Tweens +
Release Year: 2010
My Rating: 4/5

Nicole (Jennifer Aniston) and Milo (Gerald Butler) used to be married. Now, they hate each other's guts. Milo became a bounty hunter after being kicked off the police force due to his gambling habits. And he found out that Nicole has a $5000 bounty on her head.

Nicole only happened to skip out on bail because she had a lead for a story. It turned out though her lead got kidnapped by some shady characters. Milo, who is only concerned in bringing his ex for the reward, does not care for this story of hers. That is until things got really out of hand. What should these two do when there are people trying to kill them??

This is definitely a fun movie to watch and kill time with. I find it to be a great comedy for middle-aged people especially. It is not too serious and doesn't have any sexual content but has enough to keep you watching. It is different from the usual romcom because of the car-chasing scenes and action they threw into the movie.

In terms of acting, Butler definitely played a rude and arrogant ex who can be a decent guy as long as you are not Nicole. I think Aniston's acting is quite similar in most of the movies she has been in. So nothing new there if you are familiar with her on TV. But, I give her credit for having such a great figure at her age.

Although this is not a must-see movie, it could be one to pick up when you are at the library and there is nothing else on the rack for some quick entertainment.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (May 2/11)


Inspired by The StorySiren


Eona by Alison Goodman
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

So I am back with MMM&MM! Although I held off requesting books during my school year, I did receive quite a few in the mailbox if I were to count what I got after I stopped doing this meme up until now. However, I forgot which ones I received and decided to post the latest ones that appeared in my mailbox to make it easier.

Have to say I adore The Girl in the Steel Corset's cover! But don't you think it is a bit more suited for an adult novel than YA?


Music Machine

Title: 피노키오(Danger)
Artist/Band: f(x)
Language: Korean
My Thoughts: So at one point I lost interest in Kpop for awhile. But then I managed to get reeled into it again. I find this song so catchy and fun that it gets stuck in your head after awhile! Enjoy. :)

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Title: Saving June
Author: Hannah Harrington
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 384
My Rating: 4.5/5

Harper's sister, June, committed suicide. Devastated, Harper has no idea why her perfect older sister decided to do so. In order to fulfill June's wish to go to California, Harper decided to embark in a journey to spread her sister's ashes to the place she always dreamed of living in. Tagged along with her is her best friend, Laney, and Jake, a classic-rock fanatic who had a connection with June.

On a road trip to the west coast, the three encountered new people and new experiences. Harper learns about herself and her sister on the journey when she discovers that nothing is all it appears sometimes.

I somewhat expected the novel to be a really depressing from the fact that the protagonist's sister killed herself. However, it turned out to be a very swell contemporary novel that I am sure many people of all ages will enjoy and take to heart.

I had conflicts with Harper sometimes in the novel. There were times where I would really like her personality as she would stand up for herself and take no crap from anyone. Then there are the times where she would get slightly under my nerves in certain situations. Overall though, I found her to be extremely dimensional with personal conflicts who still has a lot to learn. Jake and Laney who have problems themselves also added to the enrichment of the story. Although none of them are perfect, you can tell that later down the road they would take a lot from this trip together.

This novel has a lot to do with music, especially songs from your parents time. However, not being much of a classic-rock person myself, it wasn't in my interest. I did think that it added a very nice touch to the story though, because it seemed that it worked so nicely with the road trip.

Saving June is a deep novel with many layers that practically anyone could relate to, teen or not. It is a thought-provoking read with amazing music similar to Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, without the pure rawness. I highly recommend it! However, the novel will not be out until December 2011 so hold tight! As well, there would be a cover change.

Review copy provided by Harlequin Teen.
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