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, December 17, 2016

Pick Me Up by Adam J. Kurtz

Title: Pick Me Up
Author: Adam J. Kurtz
# of Pages: 256
Age Group: Everyone
My Rating: 4/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Amazon] A quirky, creative companion that offers a pick-me-up on every page. 

On the heels of his internationally successful first book, 1 Page at a Time, graphic designer and illustrator Adam J. Kurtz delivers another intimate and engaging journal for anyone who loves to explore ideas, record thoughts and feelings, and capture those fleeting but amazing moments of everyday life. 

Unlike a linear journal, this book can be opened up to any page, encouraging and engaging readers time and time again through continued use. Rather than simply complete tasks and turn pages, users are encouraged to leave their mark, and if they land on the same page days or weeks later, they can review, reflect, and revise their previous response. 

Feeling lonely? Pensive? Peeved? Questioning? This deceptively simple book offers perspective, hope, and a twist of existential metaphor - and is perfect to pick up again and again.

After reviewing Start Where You Are back in spring, I was quite open to reviewing Pick Me Up when I was offered the opportunity. I have had a lot of self-reflection happening for these past couple of years. Due to a lot of personal matters, I started writing in a hard copy journal last year rather than on my personal blog. There's something about putting your pen on paper to express the thoughts and emotions you have at the time rather than typing it out. It's a different feeling, so for those who have done both probably understand what I am talking about.

Pick Me Up is an interactive journal that you can pick up at anytime and flip to a random page to write on. This is made for you to see your personal progress over time by writing down your feelings, achievements, goals, etc. and coming back later on to add or reflect. There are also some inspirational quotes scattered throughout to remind you that it's not all that bad. You can doodle in it and leave a mark whenever you feel like it.

This is a fun book, though I don't find myself filling out every page I land on. Either because in the moment I don't have anything to write down for that specific page or it requires some creativity that's non-existent for me. Either way, this would be a fun holiday gift to give someone who you know like to journal or is thinking of using a new medium for self help. You can buy it on Amazon by clicking here.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel

Title: Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration
Author: Meera Lee Patel
# of Pages: 128
Age Group: Everyone
My Rating: 4.5/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Amazon] Start Where You Are is an interactive journal designed to help readers nurture their creativity, mindfulness, and self-motivation. It helps readers navigate the confusion and chaos of daily life with a simple reminder: that by taking the time to know ourselves and what those dreams are, we can appreciate the world around us and achieve our dreams. Featuring vibrant hand-lettering and images that have attracted a large following for her stationery and textile line in boutiques across the country, Meera Lee Patel's uplifting book presents supportive prompts and exercises along with inspirational quotes to encourage reflection through writing, drawing, chart-making, and more. Featuring inspiring quotes from writers, artists, and other visionaries paired with open-ended questions and prompts, with plenty of room for writing and reflecting, this appealing full-color book will make a perfect gift and keepsake as well as being a powerful tool for positive change.

Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration is a self-help book that uses illustrations and inspirational quotes to help readers self-reflect. For people who are a bit lost in life and want to define or redefine what they want, Patel created some simple activities for you to do. From breathing exercises to writing and creative tasks, these activities give you a bit more perspective and allow you to put your thoughts out on paper. 

I personally haven't completed the journal because there were a few questions that stumped me. However, it's lovely to look at every now and then and be inspired by the artwork and quotes. Every activity is accompanied with an inspirational quote, such as "When you lose, don't lose the lesson" (Dalai Lama) and "If you find yourself in the wrong story, leave" (Mo Williams).

Overall, I recommend Start Where You Are for anyone who would like some guidance in life and is a fan of water-colour art.
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Friday, April 8, 2016

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 320
My Rating: 4/5

[Summary from Amazon] Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared. 

Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage. 

A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.

The moment I finished reading Gone Girl, I immediately started The Girl on the Train. The story is told in the perspectives of multiple characters with Rachel being the sole focus. Rachel is a sad divorcee with an alcohol abuse problem. She lost her job months back and pretends to goes to work everyday so her friend/roommate doesn't know that she is now unemployed. She gets herself entangled in a case that turns out much more complicated than it appears.

Similar to the set up of Gone Girl, the author delves into the mindset of her protagonist and allows the reader to fully understand her thoughts and actions. Rachel is a pitiful character who is in a constant perpetual state of self-loathing, sadness, and intoxication. This novel is extremely well written and definitely kept me going to the end. I realized while reading the novel though was that I wasn't a huge fan of these darker stories that are popular in the book world. Hence, my lower rating for this novel. 

For fans of Gone Girl, suspenseful stories and dark twists, The Girl on the Train is the perfect novel to pick up next. post signature

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 432
My Rating: 4/5

[Summary from Amazon] On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As I got back into the habit of reading (a hobby I have put on hiatus for five years), I decided to restart with today's popular fiction. I generally avoided popular young adult novels back when I was an active blogger, series such as The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instrument Series. I preferred reading lesser known novels and felt that popular YA series were overhyped. After all, it was my duty as a book blogger to dig around for the gem within the pile. Since I have gotten older, my taste in novels has changed. I am no longer interested in young adult fiction (but will try to attempt to go through the unread ones I own). I'm curious to see what sort of novels are considered popular for adults nowadays. Hence, I got my hands on Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train this past month.

Gillian Flynn has a very fluid and vivid writing style. She contrasted Nick's and Amy's personalities very well when the story switches back and forth between the two characters. In Part 1, you get to read Amy's journal from the past few years since she and Nick first got together. To be honest, when I was reading Part 1, I felt that the story was a bit of a drag because of Nick. I considered his personality to be a bit insufferable because he had this depressing outlook on life. It didn't appeal to me and made it hard for me to like him. Amy's journal was incredibly peppy at the beginning of the book, a strong contrast to Nick's monotone voice.

[SPOILERS] I don't feel that this is a spoiler because I'm sure you've probably know since the movie came out, but Amy is downright insane. I found some enjoyment in her revenge to go missing due to the fact that she caught Nick cheating on her. The plot picks up in Part 2, which made me read through the novel as fast as I could to get to the conclusion. Even though I did not support Nick originally for his infidelity, I hoped that he would get back at Amy for the hell she had put him through. I was pretty upset with how the story ended, hence my 4/5 rating. I know that it makes it more interesting to not have a conventional ending but after all that build-up and support for the character, it made me upset as a reader that in the end Amy had full control over Nick's life and future. [SPOILERS END]

Gone Girl definitely made its mark as a popular novel in today's book world. With an eye for fine detail and strong character developments, Flynn wrote a thriller that would have you on the edge of the seat as it builds up the mystery and suspense.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pfffffft by Pierre Chan & George Lin

Title: Pfffffft 
Author and Artist: Pierre Chan and George Lin
Age Group: Teens/Adults
# of Pages: 40
My Rating: 4.5/5

I'm in a local Toronto trading group called Bunz, where you can trade off your things with other people. I saw this fart book called Pfffffft being offered by the artist. I love obtaining fun and unique things. So in exchange for a cup of hot chocolate and a book review, I got my hands on this delightful read that was originally crowdfunded on Kickstarter.

Pfffffft is an fun illustration book to depict embarrassing moments where one might accidentally let out a gassy disaster. This can be from eating some Indian food to accidentally farting in a full elevator. I read this book out loud to my teenage sister the night I got it. She thought (and I as well) it was hilarious. She exclaimed, "Why isn't this a bestseller already? It's a book about farts! And it rhymes!" I'm paraphrasing, but that was essentially what she said.

As much as I like to read it out loud, I feel that the rhyming scheme is slightly off. I think there might be an extra syllable or two in a sentence that throws off each poem. However, I may be completely wrong as I have not counted the number of syllables per poem.  

I think Pfffffft would make an excellent gift for a loved one who you share an inside fart joke with. Or perhaps someone you know who has the foulest farts ever! This picture book is perfect for the adult who is still a child at heart. 

If you are interested in purchasing, you can get your own copy here:

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