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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard

Title: Mary Rose
Author: Geoffrey Girard
# of Pages: 272
Age Group:  Adults
My Rating: 3.5/5
Review Copy?: Yes

[Summary from Amazon] Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.

 After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.

I'm interested in the horror genre so when I was asked to review Mary Rose, I was intrigued to see what the story was about. From the summary alone, I assumed it would be horror/supernatural. There was not a lot of horror as I expected, if any at all.

Going into the novel, you read between the perspectives of Mary Rose and Simon. However, you'd be reading from Simon's point of view more as the story progresses. At the start, Mary Rose's character is already "off". She's described as fairy-like and a bit absent-minded. Simon is deeply in love with her, though it's a bit hard to understand why. The reader would get that she's beautiful and she's someone Simon wanted to protect because there's an innocent quality about her. You wouldn't learn much of how their relationship was prior. 

The story starts off a bit slow but it hints at Mary Rose's ominous background. Trying to figure out what had happened to Mary Rose in the past kept me going. The writing is fluid and the author really set the atmosphere for the entire story. Each character that is introduced to Simon plays a role in the bigger picture, which is important to good story-telling.

I was a bit disappointed that the more supernatural aspects of the story was not fully explained. It's great if you prefer the mystery but personally I needed more. Mary Rose is more of a mystery novel that doesn't get to the core of the situation until three quarters in. I wouldn't say it's a spooky read but it will keep your attention at least until the very end. There's dynamic between the characters and plot line, but the pace of the story would be a bit slower than one would expect.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Have Some Dim Sum by Evelyn Chau

Title: Have Some Dim Sum
Author: Evelyn Chau
# of Pages: 128
Age Group: Everyone
My Rating: 3/5
Review Copy?: Yes

Have Some Dim Sum is a guide book for people wanting to learn more about this particular Chinese cuisine. Unlike a typical cookbook, this teaches readers the different types of dim sum. Containing 20 recipes for you to try, this book is for anyone who wishes to learn more about the history of dim sum and what delicacies are offered.

I never review cookbooks because I don't cook. I prefer to go out and discover what Toronto restaurants have to offer, hence this blog. I was asked to review Have Some Dim Sum and was told that it wouldn't just be recipes. So I decided to give it a shot. [Note: I will not be giving my opinion on the recipe aspect because as I mentioned prior, I do not cook.]

This is a comprehensive guide covering all of the dim sum you could possibly encounter. Chau describes how each item is made and variations if there are any.

However, I was disappointed that not every single dim sum listed had an accompanying photo. For any that did, the photos were grouped together a few pages in. I wished that each dim sum had its own photo on the same page. That way when using it as a guide, the reader would remember which dim sum is which. Flipping back and forth from the information to the photo isn't as helpful.

I would recommend checking out this book if you have a keen interest in dim sum or is totally new to this Chinese delicacy and would like to try some eventually.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon by Keith R.A. Decandido

Title: Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon
Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
# of Pages: 310
Age Group: Teens +
My Rating: 3/5
Review Copy?: No

[Summary from Amazon] When renegade angel Castiel alerts Sam and Dean to a series of particularly brutal killings in San Francisco's Chinatown, they realise the Heart of the Dragon, an ancient evil of unspeakable power, is back! John Winchester faced the terrifying spirit 20 years ago, and the Campbell family fought it 20 years before that - can the boys succeed where their parents and grandparents failed?

I had this book sitting on my shelf way before I became a Supernatural fan. Then I did not read it until three years after I was no longer a fan. Alas, I now have a review for it. 

This story evolves around Albert Chao who was born half Chinese and half Japanese. Since he wasn't full Chinese, he got ridiculed and dismissed growing up in Chinatown. Angry at the people in his life for mistreating him, he summoned a samurai ancestor to get rid of them. The story flips between the past and present where you get to learn more about Sam and Dean's parents and grandparents.

Overall this was a simple read. I put it down for a period of time but since the plot wasn't complex, I didn't forget what happened when I continued reading. This isn't the most exciting read nor is it complete bore. The book was written well enough for you to finish, but you'd probably forget about it soon after. I'd only recommend this if you are a die-hard Supernatural fan and would like to keep track of the story outside of the show.