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, August 31, 2009

In My Mailbox (Vlog) - III

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!

The Bought

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Sebastian Darke: The Prince of Pirates by Philip Caveney

The Borrowed


The Received

Bookmarks from The Page Flipper
I Like You by Amy Sedaris
The Heights, the Depths, and Everything in Between by Sally Nemeth
Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin
Eragon & Eldest by Christopher Paolini
2 Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling + 2 pins
Hottie by Johnathan Berstein
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott
Tsubasa vol. 1
I Love You, Beth Cooper CD
Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway
Ninja Girls vol. 1 by Hosana Tanaka
X-Men Misfits vol. 1 by Raina Telegemeier, Dave Roman, and Anzu
Four-Eyed Prince vol. 1 by Wataru Mizukami
Shoujo Art Studio by Yishan Li

Delivering for Yan from Books By Their Cover

TMI by Sarah Quigley
Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner
The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong
Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters
Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

Homg, it took ages for me to upload these vlogs! I think I died, searching for ways to upload them faster because waiting for 12 hours was way too long! And so sorry for the poor and dark quality!

Quick thank you to Lindsay from Just Another Book Addict =) for
the Lemonade Award!

Today is the last day to join all of the contests for my blogoversary! Quick, sign up now! All links above! Entries will be closed at 11:59 PM EST!

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bite Me! by Melissa Francis

Title: Bite Me!
Author: Melissa Francis
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 304
My Rating: 4/5

Life as a teenage vampire for A.J. (short for Ariel Jane) Ashe isn't so simple. Heck, how can it?

Her mother decides to remarry. And A.J.'s ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who she is still madly in love with is now her step-brother. But what can she do about it?

After the wedding, A.J. goes to a party and ends up drinking when she knows that she shouldn't. A couple of days later, she finds out that the boy who forced himself on her, Noah, is dead. Barely remembering much of the night of the party, all she can recall is blood. Lots of it. Did she kill Noah?

Soon, she realizes that he is alive. Or more like, the "undead". And now he is stalking her. What in the world can he possibly want? More importantly, is it her who turned him into a vampire?

Things are getting more complicated than it already is when she discovers that there is a part of her that she never knew of that will endanger the people around her. Possibly even endanger the entire world.

Bite Me! is a story told through a voice of a vampire who is just like any normal girl. A.J. has her boy problems and family complications. But moreover, it just sucks that she needs to drink blood once in awhile to keep her thirst in check and make sure that no humans know of her secret. I am glad that A.J. is not weak and being a bloodsucker doesn't mean she is different than anyone else. She is not afraid to stand up for herself also and I admire that.

I enjoyed the story more than I expected. It is on the lighter side of vampires though the situation A.J. got herself into isn't. I am really curious to see what will happen next in the story because Bite Me! leaves the reader at a cliffhanger.

It was interesting how Francis created her own vampire history to work around A.J. I was most surprised when another supernatural race came along that were not werewolves. There were times where I got confused with the whole history of the vampires. But I got the basic idea of what was happening so it did not bother me so much.

I wonder what the sequel will have in store? Vampire fans will definitely sink their teeth into the fun of Bite Me! Click here to get a sneak peek!

Review copy provided by HarperCollins.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ballad of a Shinigami by Asuka Izumi & K-Ske Hasegawa

Title: Ballad of a Shinigami
Mangaka: Asuka Izumi (Manga) & K-Ske Hasegawa (Original Story)
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Completed with 3 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 3/5

A collection of stories, Ballad of a Shinigami is based off a novel about a lovely female reaper by the name of Momo.

Death comes knocking everyone's door eventually. Momo helps humans realize that life is precious, not matter how terrible it may seem. She also relay messages from the dead to the living and listens to those who's breath soon will be gone.

Drawn in your typical shojo style, Ballad of a Shinigami is filled with adorable, big-eyed girls and cute, tall guys to match. The stories are simple and sweet, therefore huge shojo fans will take a liking to it.

It does not contain comedy as one of its subgenres, which is something I generally look forward to in manga. So without that factor, the manga did not draw me in. It was way too shojo-esque for me so I couldn't like it as much. But I am sure that this series will appeal to a few manga fans. It's a read where a lesson can be learned in each story. If you love manga series that have morals behind them, then you will like Ballad of a Shinigami.

Review copy provided by CMX.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

She's So Money by Cherry Cheva

Title: She's So Money
Author: Cherry Cheva
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 290
My Rating: 4.5/5

Maya is your straight-A student with her eyes glued on getting into the prestigious Stanford University. She works hard at her parents' Thai restaurant and keeps a perfect record in school. And that won't be changing any time soon. Or so she thinks.

After serving a couple of grouchy customers at the restaurant when her parents are away, she leaves the store as is to clean it up the next day instead. To her horror, those picky customers from before called for a health inspection! And the restaurant is fined... $10,000?!?

Maya is in deep, deep doodoo. Hiding the fine from her family, she must find a way to make ten grand within a month and a half! A couple of days before, she was tutoring the rich and egoistic Camden, who was offering her money to do his homework. She first refused. But now that she thinks of it, she might take up on the offer after all!

Convincing Camden took quite a bit after rejecting him in the first place but eventually he agrees! Except how can Maya earn enough by only "tutoring" one person? Then the two devise a plan. A plan where Maya will have to lie to the people who trust her and to do things that are against her morals.

The very first thing I want to comment on and get out of the way is: I am pretty mad with the cover. The whole time before I started the novel, I kept thinking that Maya was some sort of Caucasian girl. Yes, I knew the author was Asian but it didn't dawn me that she would have her character Asian too. Imagine my surprise when the first sentence revealed that Maya was Thai! Don't get me wrong, I was so happy to see an Asian protagonist (because there is practically none nowadays in YA fiction)! But it made me want to scream at the book and shake it like I'm choking a person, "How dare you fool me?!"

If you guys were around the YA blogosphere in the past couple of months, there had been talks about Justine Larbalestier's Liar cover. It was where her main girl is African American with short hair but the publisher made the cover girl white with long hair. It was like betraying the reader about the novel and that was how I felt when I started She's So Money. But that didn't last long before I got into the story.

I have only read one other review for She's So Money and the reviewer hated it. So when I was reading, the entire time I kept worrying that I was going to dislike it. But surprisingly (and thankfully), I didn't!

What I absolutely love about this novel is that the characters are real. Especially Camden. He may be good-looking but he is not some brooding loner with an air of mystery around him. No, he is cocky, blunt, and doesn't give a rat-ass about your opinion of him. He is a womanizer and any girl within a meter of him will either give him their immense hate or their virginity. And you know what? I frikkin love the guy (never in real life though...)! Sure he is like the enemy-of-all-women, but he is real. I know of some people that are similar to him. But I don't know of any mysterious dude who seems to always pop up everywhere. And you know what else? Camden might be failing in school but he has a mind of a determined businessman if he gets it going. Seriously, you'd want him as your boss. His connections are scary yo.

And Maya is just as real. I have a friend who is exactly like her. They both freak out if they get lower than an A (let alone A-) and is always the goody-goody two-shoes. I mean, normal girls in novels are common nowadays but I guess nerdy Asians aren't as much as they are in real life. But the thing is, Maya is not good from beginning to end. She makes a mistake and learns from it. The hard way. Literally, I'm applauding for her. Instead of some broken character who has a tragic life, Maya comes from a normal family with expectations. And she is flawed because the freedom of her parents got to her head (like any other teen), even when it is brief. Her small mistake has her going off the handle completely! And it's interesting to see how she and Camden grows from there.

I really loved seeing the relationship between the two. Even though their romance was not delved into, I still sort of envied it from afar. There were parts when I went, "Noooo! How can you do that?!?" and then others where I am going "Luckyluckylucky". Sigh.

She's So Money is a fun read between two people who are complete polar opposites. Seeing Maya trying to get 10 grand with Camden makes the reader wonder how they are going to manage. This is the novel for you if any of the points above intrigued you!

Won copy from In Bed With Books.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

Title: Shadowed Summer
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 192
My Rating: 3/5

Iris is bored this summer. Like she is every summer. Her best friend, Colette, and herself pretend there are magic and evil just to kill time and occupy themselves.

While lying on a grave, Iris catches someone saying, "Where y'at Iris?" Completely spooked, she discovers that the ghost who spoke to her was none other than Elijah Landry. He is a boy who disappeared many years ago and no one knows how and why. But he didn't just up and vanished, he died. And now he is haunting Iris.

Why Iris? Can she solve this mystery before it gets out of control?

Shadowed Summer was indeed a chilly read. But for the most part, wasn't so exciting for the majority of the time. It only got good when Elijah came around. Other than that, Iris would be trying to figure out why he was still lingering around, which was not exactly thrilling.

I was not particularly fond with the accent the author had going for the characters (ex. ya'll). Even though I should have gotten used to it as I progressed through the story, I still didn't when it ended. I guess it gave a bit of a flare to the characters.

I actually thought in the beginning that this novel would be heavy on the romance. You know, normal girl and ghost boy fall in love. But to my surprise, there was none of that. Except for Elijah creepily popping up here and there to scare the hell out of Iris. So I was glad that the cliche was avoided in this situation.

Shadowed Summer is a short but haunting story for those who want to get away from those fun, beach reads of the hot season.

Won ARC copy from Brooke Taylor Books.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: Lost in Austen

Title: Lost in Austen
Type: Show
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2008
My Rating: 4/5

Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper) is tired of everything. Her boyfriend proposed to her while he was drunk, what kind of romance is that? She dreams of living the elegant and refined life like the characters in her Jane Austen's books.

Her wish comes true when Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton) from Pride & Prejudice arrives at her washroom! Shocked and scared, Amanda thinks that it is a joke. Until she cross into Elizabeth's world and can't return home!

Encountering the people from Austen's world, Amanda is fascinated by her surroundings. But then the events that are happening around her are not going according to the book! She tries to fix everything but it keeps getting worse! What should she do? And is there any way she can get back to her own time period?

I was flipping through my incredibly limited channels when I caught sight of the first episode of Lost in Austen. I knew of it because of another blog I followed. And the show was pretty good! I quickly finished the series within a couple of days because there are only four episodes.

I have never read Pride & Prejudice but after watching the show, I really want to! The setting was done beautifully and everyone played their role quite well! I absolutely love the dresses and the hair that the rich women wore at the time.

One thing that bothered me was that Amanda fell for Mr. Darcy (Elliot Cowan) way too quickly. They did get off on the wrong foot in the beginning but their feelings for each other came by so fast. I could see why with so little episodes so it's somewhat okay.

After the first episode, it did slow down and I got bored in some parts. Luckily, the show is short (despite the romance part) so I managed to finish it all. Though I am disappointed with the ending. They never explained how the world of Pride & Prejudice came to exist. Or where the possible magic could have came from. I really do want to know what happened to Amanda as an epilogue. The way they wrap it up, you can somewhat guess, but you don't know for sure.

Overall, Lost in Austen is a sweet historical drama with a fun twist that Austen fans and non-Austen fans can enjoy.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Trailer Tuesday: Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

Title: Give Up the Ghost
Megan Crewe
Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school. But when the vice president of the student council discovers *her* secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees. As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...

The trailer is so haunting! I love it! I hope to read the novel one day, it sounds great!

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Venus Capriccio by Mai Nishikata

Title: Venus Capriccio
Mai Nishikata
Age Group:
Series is:
Completed with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing:
My Rating: 4.5/5

Tomboy Takami always fall for the wrong guys. They always dump her in the end. It appears she is not "girly" enough for them. But how can she help it that she grew up with four older brothers that shaped who she is today?

So Takami turns to her best guy friend, Akira, for support. Akira is a dashing and sensational young pianist. Always quiet and refined, he is the complete opposite of the loud and stubborn Takami.

The two friends have always been together. It is not a surprise when their feelings for each other grow...

This series is simply charming. I absolutely love the two characters as a couple. Takami was not at all annoying as I thought she would be. She may not be feminine, but she is indeed a sweetie. And Akira is definitely my favourite character. I love how he cares deeply for Takami and vice versa, not to mention he is so mature for his age!

The art is simple but pretty. If you read the first volume, you will see that the art changes from the first chapter to the last. The characters' faces are more smoothed and rounded compared to the beginning. Something that you don't see so often is that Akira is an inch and a half shorter than Takami! Usually, the male leads are taller than the females but I am glad that Akira is shorter and younger than Takami. It was nice to see something different in manga for once.

There was one scene that touched me in particular. While the two were eating out, one of Akira's fangirls snuck up behind him with a pair of scissors to get a lock of his hair. Takami, who saw, immediately got up and wrapped her arms around his head for protection. She got injured but she didn't notice it because she was worrying about Akira instead. I found this action to be quite admirable of Takami.

Venus Cappriccio is a mellow and realistic manga. Not exaggerated in any way (aside Akira's fangirls' existence), this manga is a great shojo read if you are looking for a series that can be related to real life. But for anyone who are not into slow moving plots, then this is not for you.

I am most eager for the following volumes in hope to see more of Takami's and Akira's relationship developing.
At the end of volume one and two, the mangaka gives a couple of bonus pages of what would happen if the two switched personalities. I find it most cute!

Review copies provided by

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Violet on the Runway by Melissa Walker

Title: Violet on the Runway
Melissa Walker
Age Group:
# of Pages:
My Rating:

Violet Greenfield is very insecure about her body. She is way too tall! She always put herself down and secretly wishes to become friends with popular Shelly and her brainless posses.

While at work in the theatre, she is scouted by a Gucci-wearing agent named Angela. Violet never thought of herself modelling. She sure has the height for it, so why not put it into good use for once?

After convincing her parents that she is responsible, she is whisked away to New York City to be turned into a fashion diva.
In the world of flashing light bulbs and frenetic newspaper columnists, can Violet get a grip of herself before she slips away from reality?

Violet on the Runway is very predictable. Local girl's life changes when she becomes a model and she loses herself to all of the fame and the high-end life. Then something happens where she changes her mind and prefers to go back to her old self, needing to mend her broken relationships with the people she loves. Therefore, there is nothing new offered in this novel.

There were times when I was tired of Violet's self put-downs. I understood how she felt because I was the same when I towered over my classmates; but every time she mentioned about it, I wanted to tell her to shut up and stop complaining. I really hated the fact that she wanted to be in the "popular crowd". I didn't see a single decent thing about them and thought it was pretty dumb to try and make friends with Shelly and her lot. Just because popular kids controlled the school? Puh-leeze. However, Violet did grow up toward the end. (But more than anything, I was jealous of her. She was naturally tall and thin and out of nowhere, poof!, she gets to be a model. If only life was that easy sometimes...)

Characters that surrounded Violet appeared to be a little underdeveloped. I was disappointed that Violet's best friends, Roger and Julie, did not contribute as much as I hoped. They were there, but I didn't get a full grasp on them. I want to see how Roger's and Violet's relationship works out especially.

Since the story was predictable altogether, it didn't give me anything to look forward to. So I couldn't get into as much as I wanted. It does give the reader a glimpse of the modelling world, for those who are unfamiliar with it.

Violet on the Runway is a pleasant read for girls but the plot has been washed and re-used. Readers who like Model by Cheryl Diamond will like this one.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Battle of Genryu: Origin by Shoko Fukaki

Title: The Battle of Genryu: Origin
Shoko Fukaki
Age Group:
Older Teens
Series is:
Completed with 3 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing:
My Rating:

Life full of intense training, Jin is a martial artist who doesn't take anything too seriously. He is satisfied with the way he is living by hanging out with his friends and stealing their food.
But when he is attacked by some strong, unknown guys, his life changes.

They were hired by his older brother, who he hasn't seen for years. What does he want? For sure, it is not an act of brotherly love.

Is it me, or does the artwork looks more of manhwa than manga? Flipping through, it really does appear so! But the art inside is much better than the actual cover. It screams shonen for sure. Big-built guys and voluptuous females all around.

I was a little disappointed that the "big secret" was not revealed in the first volume (but was done so in the summary). It sort of defeated the purpose of the manga for me. I would have to go to the second volume (I'm guessing) to see what the big deal was all about. But it didn't build up the suspense for me to be eager for its following volumes. Which was why it was given a lower rating.

The characters were just okay. They didn't stand out in any way particular. Except for one of Jin's guy friends. He's a cooking addict. And gives each of his beloved homemade meals a female name. Which I found was a little funny... and weird.

With quite some of fighting scenes, boys will like this manga a lot more than girls will. A strong hero and his pretty female friend who can kick as much asses, The Battle of Genryu: Origin is a read for Street Fighter fans.

Review copy provided by

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Friday, August 21, 2009

In My Mailbox (Vlog) - II + BBAW

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!

The Borrowed


The Bought


The Received

Blank Slate vol. 1 by Aya Kanno
Gakuen Prince vol. 2 by Jun Yuzuki
Switch by Carol Snow
Beating Heart by A.M. Jenkins

Doing an early IMM because I'm heading off to California tomorrow! Next week's IMM will be delayed until I get back!
And quick thank you to ~The Book Pixie for the Your Blog Rocks Award!

Wdebo is celebrating her first blogoversary and birthday! She's giving away some pretty cool prizes so click here to check it out!

I was surprised when I went to check my email to find out that I was nominated for
Best Graphic Novel Review Blog and Cultural Review Blog! Cultural Review Blog?? Hm, I'm still puzzling over that one. I rummaged back in my archive for links and was horrified that my "cultural" novel reviews weren't so great back when my blog was still new. Ah well, it's still something.

But I want to thank you so much to whoever nominated me! It made me really happy to know that you think so highly of my blog!
Anyway, I decided to do a little meme for BBAW.

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

Being able to communicate with fantastic bloggers and authors around the world and discovering all of the amazing YA books out there! Believe it or not, I sort of stopped reading regular novels before I decided to blog at one point of my life. But now, I have a huge selection and my brain is indulging them all!
To all my blogger friends, love you all!

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

The Story Siren and In Bed With Books were the two blogs that stood out to me before I started blogging. They inspired me to start blogging because I was done summer school at the time and had nothing better to do for the next month. From there, Stop, Drop, and Read! was born.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

Hm, I really don't have one! My blog was still pretty new when last year BBAW came around so I was quite unfamiliar with it. But I am definitely looking forward to this year's!

There is also a great contest you can join for Harlequin Teen! Check below!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Juline by Narumi Kakinouchi

Title: Juline
Mangaka: Narumi Kakinouchi
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Completed with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 1/5

There are four martial arts clans in the valley of the Sleeping Dragon Mountain: Kenga, Jeweled Mirror, Water Crystal, and the Black Pearl. But the Black Pearl is plotting something sinister. All of the members of the other clans are getting up to quit and joining it. Reasons unknown, Juline who is heir of the Kenga clan must get to the bottom of this! What kind of secrets are lurking behind the scenes with the Black Pearl?

I got lost in this manga. Reading it, I was scratching my head. The manga's transitions from panel to panel was horrible. It was completely choppy, making it hard for me to keep focus. There were times where I've read brief novels, but brief mangas? This was one of the first. It made the storyline less sense because the reader wouldn't be able to follow.

Characters were not developed properly and didn't exactly have a personality either. None of them had presence. They were there but not exactly there at the same, if you understand what I mean. I did find Juline annoying whenever she talked though.

The art was nice but at the same time, it appeared to be brief as the manga itself. The art lacked lines, just like the story lacked content. It got under my nerves how the drawings of the characters seemed to be missing pieces and the backgrounds were barely there.

I was not pleased with Juline and would never recommend this to any manga fan. Definitely not going to venture out to get the following volumes.

When I turned the manga over, I was shocked to see that it cost $12.95 for USA and... $19.95 for Canada?!? Who in the right mind would pay for this at such an expensive price?? $0.95 maybe...

Bookmooched copy from Cassie.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Watching on Wednesday: The Ugly Truth

Title: The Ugly Truth
Age Group:
Older Teens +
Release Year:
My Rating:

Morning show producer, Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is the kind of person that you would call a control-freak. She is always careful and prepared about the things she does. Because of her personality, she has a hard time keeping a steady boyfriend, let alone have any kind of love relationship.

After a failed date, she comes home to see the TV show, "The Ugly Truth". There, TV star Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) talks about how guys are all about the sex and they care less about a woman's personality. Fumed, Abby calls in and they both have a dispute about the existence of a "perfect guy" on television.

The next day she comes into work to find out that she will be working with him! Frustrated, Abby has no choice but to co-operate. And because of him, ratings and views have sky-rocketed!

When Abby sees her new (and deliciously hot) neighbour half-naked, she knows that she wants him. But how can she get this perfect man?

Mike strikes a deal with her. If he helps her get the hottie-surgeon, then they will work together peacefully. If not, then he will leave. From there, the two go on a bumpy ride of fun, heart-breaks, and love.

Oh my god, this movie is AMAZING. I saw the trailer of it in theatres back in the beginning of 2009. The moment I saw it, I knew I had to watch it. AND I LOVED IT. It is the greatest chick flick, EVAR (or for 2009).

I loved Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses so I knew she was going to deliver another fantastic movie! I adored her in the role of Abby because it was amusing to see her as this successful and up-tight TV producer who knows nothing when it comes to dating. The last film I watched Gerard Butler in was The Phantom of the Opera (which I also liked and it got my eyes completely red; I never got through 300). He played his character Mike quite well too, making the audience believed that it could be his real nature!

There were full of comedic moments! But the things done and mentioned were not suitable for the younger audience at all. So make sure not to have any kids around when you're watching this!
But of course, there were also the emotional scenes. I nearly started blubbing into tears (which I didn't) when the two realized their true feelings.

The relationship between Abby and Mike may have not been the best in the beginning but their feelings for each other were so moving.
I highly recommend this movie! I'm sure guys would agree with most of the things presented in The Ugly Truth! Same with girls (oh how our dreams shatter)! But if you are offended by dirty jokes and gestures, then you may not enjoy this movie so much. But for sure, it is a movie that you would want to pull out when you are down!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Elite Series by Jennifer Banash Giveaway

Hi guys! This will be the last giveaway for my blogoversary! I want to thank you guys very much for hanging with me until the very end! Hopefully you guys will stick around after this bash ends. I will go back to my book (and manga!) reviews starting tomorrow. (I may change my mind...)

So join all of the contests (check at the top of the blog) if you haven't already! They will end all on August 31!

Unfortunately, Jennifer Banash is very busy so there is no character post from her. But! She did offer the whole set of her The Elite series to one lucky person!

1 set of The Elite Series
# of Winners: 1

How to get entries:
(please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment
+1 New follower
+2 Old follower
+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Chrissy Gibbons from Savvy Girl

Savvy Girl is a fun and quirky novel by Lynn Messina about a girl who gets an internship at her favourite magazine. The magazine company has a giveaway table where their workers can snag some great freebies. Chrissy, the protagonist, is becoming skilled at what she snags!


Yep, you CAN have chocolate for lunch!

It's Christmas at Savvy magazine (uh-huh, we work that far in advance), and the giveaway table is loaded with delicious treats from companies trying to bribe their way into our special holiday gift-buying section. Yummy-yum-yum!

So far today I've snagged: 3 milk chocolate truffles, 3 hazelnut truffles, 2 almond truffles, 2 dark chocolate truffles, 2 French vanilla truffles, 1 cappuccino truffle, 1 caramel truffle and 1/2 strawberry truffle (I spit it out when I realized it was a fruit filling-ick!). The tricky part of having an all-chocolate lunch is not letting on to anyone else, especially your fellow interns, that you're having an all-chocolate lunch. I suggest the stroll-and-grab. Stroll by the giveaway table on your way to the production department (bring a piece of paper as a prop so you look like you're delivering a memo or a proof) and grab a truffle without stopping. This part is essential. Keep moving! It may take some practice to accurately pinpoint the piece of chocolate you want (hence strawberry ickiness) but you'll get the hang of it.

Also on the giveaway: cocktail mixers, shakers, strainers and spoons, courtesy of another holiday hopeful, Uber Bar Tools. The set is sleek and silver, and one of the editors got the great idea to put them on her plant as Christmas decorations. The SiliStick ("lightweight," "ergonomic") looks great on top but the StrainRay ("tight coils," "long-lasting materials") is so heavy it drags down half the plant.

Last: Cheese, alert! No, not the edible kind (boo-hoo!). The totally lame, I-can't-believe-you-just-did-that kind. The relationship editor is leaving to go to Glamour, so she's cleaning out her office, and rather than walk another, oh, 20 feet to the Dumpster, she dumped all her old magazines on the giveaway. This is seriously not cool. 1) It blocks my drive-by access to the truffles. 2) They're really old tabloids. Who wants outdated Us Weekly and Peoplea? Stale gossip. Ewww.


This is a great beach read! And two lucky people can get their own copy!

Two signed copies of Savvy Girl
# of Winners: 2

How to get entries:
(please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment

+1 New follower

+2 Old follower

+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (Vlog) - I

To do your own In My Mailbox, please check out how to at The Story Siren!

The Borrowed

Dragon Drive vol. 12 by Ken-ichi Sakura
N A N A vol. 13 by Ai Yazawa
Violet by Design by Melissa Walker
America's Next Top Model (forgot to show)

The Bought


The Received

Monster by A. Lee Martinez
Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe
Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert
How It Works by Laura Weiss

I received some awards but since there are so many posts to go through, I'll just give my thanks to the individuals here. Thanks to: MissAttitude, Leslie, Tynga, and Casey for the lovely blog awards! :D Hopefully I didn't forget anyone!

Yes, all giveaways will end on August 31/09! You guys still have time to enter them all! :) There are only two more this week so stay tune!

Oh! I forgot to mention! I'm heading to California for a week of vacation this Saturday! Yay! No worries, I will have tons of reviews scheduled up!

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody

Title: Alyzon Whitestarr
Isobelle Carmody
Age Group:
# of Pages:
My Rating:

Alyzon Whitestarr comes from an artistic family. She is the only one who does not have any sort of talent. Until she hits her head in an accident.

Waking up in a hospital, she discovers that all of her senses have been enhanced... tremendously. But the most particular thing of all is that her sense of smell has changed completely. Now she can read people's emotions by the "scent" they let off. For example, when her father is tensed and worried about something, he lets of an ammonia smell. But when he is happy, he has a caramelized sugar aroma wafting around him.

Alyzon learns to control her senses so they won't take a toll on her.
But what happens when her old crush smells horribly revolting? And the smell never goes away? What kind of dark secret can he possibly be hiding? Alyzon realizes that some people are not what they seem. And using her new senses, she must do everything she can to protect herself and the people she loves from evil.

I am so, so, so disappointed with this novel by Isobelle Carmody. I requested it because the summary sounded good. And for me, that was about as good as it got.

Never have I read such a long and boring novel. Not only that, but Alyzon for some reason felt obliged to give a background explanation for everything. And I do mean everything. For example, when she was about to go to this town or whatnot, she took up like several pages explaining how she went there once. Do I care? No. Does it help the plot in anyway? No. Will I get the time I lost reading those pages? No.

All of the characters for some reason spoke the same way. It was so nerve-wracking! Every. Single. Character. They are all supposedly "deep". I guess in a way they were, in a philosophical sense. But I was so sick of the fact that everyone had the same thought process!
It is not exciting to meet every person who is practically like yourself! Maybe if there was diversity, it could have been better.

I could not get through this novel. By the last 100 pages, I gave up completely and just skimmed through. So technically I don't know what happened in the end. I dreaded reading through out because the story took forever to build up. It had no direction in the beginning and by the middle, it just got weird. It was even worse for the fact that the book was so long!

Some suggestions on how it could have been better was that the author should have removed the excessive information, change the characters up a bit, and EXPLAIN how it was possible for Alyzon to receive her gift. I was so surprised how quickly everyone "accepted" her power after telling them about it. In real life, there would be someone who would look at you like you are crazy until proof was shown.

I don't recommend Alyzon Whitestarr in any shape or form.

Review copy provided by
Book Divas.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Guest Blog: Gitty Daneshvari

I love Gitty's adult debut, The Makedown, which is absolutely comical! It is something that everyone can read and get a good laugh from! (You can see my review of it if you click the tag below).

Instead of a character post, this one is through Gitty's own personal experience (still funny nonetheless!). Her middle grade debut, School of Fear, will be out on September 1st, 2009 from Little Brown for Young Readers. Click here to learn more about it from Amazon! (Don't you love the cover?)

Scroll down to win either The Makedown and School of Fear!


Most people would agree that children can be seriously odd. And while parents may not actually admit their children are weird, that doesn’t stop them from furrowing a brow at their kids’ classmates. This is after all a group that routinely disrobes in public, eats food without washing their hands, and ends friendships over a fruit roll up trade gone awry. They even ostracize peers over an imaginary disease known as “coodies,” all the while considering basic hygiene such as brushing their teeth, work.

I’ve always been moderately self-aware so my status as enfant bizarre certainly wasn’t a surprise. However, as I began writing School of Fear I realized just how insanely weird a child I had been. My Middle Grade novel following four phobic kids prompted me to dig into the past and relive details far more embarrassing than I remembered. Once on a family vacation to San Francisco I asked the front desk to let me sleep in the lobby as a means of avoiding the elevator. The request was denied by a stern concierge. I instantly became hysterical and insisted my mother allow me to sleep in the car alone. As I was only eleven years old, this request was also denied. In the end I was dragged into the elevator while hysterically crying and proclaiming to all who would listen that my mother was trying to kill me. Oh, she really must look back on those days with fondness…


Prize(s): A signed copy of The Makedown OR a signed copy of School of Fear
# of Winners: 2
North America/Europe

How to get entries:
(please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment
+1 New follower
+2 Old follower

+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A servant from The King's Rose

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby is about a young woman who's life completely changes when she wedded King Henry VIII. In this post, it is through a servant's perspective as she watches the new queen dance at the ball.


August, 1540, Hampton Court Palace, England

Our new queen does look a pretty thing in that gown, all velvet and jeweled and royal purple. She does sparkle, this little Catherine Howard does, I will say that for her. But I’ve seen the ones who’ve come and gone before her, and I don’t know where all these rounds of dancing and banqueting will lead unless—may the Lord bless us so—she already have a prince lying in wait in her belly. Surely Henry thinks of this when he looks at her; he is our old lusty king Hal again, after years of sourness and dismay. A bit rounder than he was in younger years, of course, for nothing pairs so well with dismay as unwatered wine and an extra pudding or two, but that is not for me to worry about. Let little Catherine figure how to make the great king happy; I am content to watch from the shadows.

The young queen twirls on the dance floor, that wide gown swishing around her and her bodice and fingers all a-twinkle with gems. I am only a servant here, a cook’s helper no less. But I will tell you this: I would not dally with this king for all the velvet and jewels in the world, not with all of Henry’s dead ghost-wives nipping like dogs at my heels. I can see them all in the hall right now: the first Catherine is blowing out candles, Jane Seymour plucks a sour note on a lute string, Anne Boleyn rakes her fingernails across the tapestries. Little Catherine does not see them, no, not yet. Her eyes are blinded by diamonds. But if ghosts don’t take her down, the living will. They surround her, too, smiling, always smiling, with eyes like those I see on dead fish.

May she fill a bassinet with a red-haired Tudor babe, Amen. A son, of course, Amen, again to that—and may she be so lucky as to live to tell the tale. Luckier than all the rest before her. Amen.


Historical fiction lovers should definitely look into this YA novel! You can win a signed copy of The King's Rose here! Or if you already have it, you can win a shirt of Alisa's debut, The Blood Confession! Or just take a shot at both to win one or the other!

And Alisa is awesome enough to take a snapshot of congratulations! Thank you!

Prize(s): A signed copy of the King's Rose OR The Blood Confession T-shirt
# of Winners: 2

How to get entries:
(please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment
+1 New follower
+2 Old follower

+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Abria Dodd from Heavenly

Heavenly is a touching story about a teenage girl who falls in love with her autistic sister’s guardian angel. I am most eager to read the sequel!


Abria, 3, has autism. Abria is Zoe Dodd’s sister, and the reason Zoe sees Abria’s guardian angel, Matthias. Though Abria can’t speak, a peek into her mind is revealing and not unlike other three-year-olds.

I like to run. Air blows around me. I like it when everybody chases me. Daddy looks funny when he chases me. I laugh.

I like to climb. I feel free when I’m high up. I can see better when I stand on things. My favorite things to climb are chairs, tables, stairs and windows. Mom screams when I climb into windows. She screams when I stand on the stairs. The noise makes me laugh.

Sometimes, Mom, Dad and Zoe and Luke yell at me when I run and climb. I don’t know why. I like to run. The wind blows around me. When I climb, I can see better.

Everyone sees me when I climb.

I want the chan in the kitchen. It’s pretty with lights. I like to stare at the lights, they sparkle. I want to touch them. I want the chan.

One day I ran and found Matthias. He sparkles like the chan. He smiles at me and never yells at me. I feel good around him.

When Matthias is here, Zoe sparkles like the chan.

I want the chan now.



It took me awhile to realize that Abria is referring to a chandelier! She is the sweetest little thing! I definitely recommend Heavenly (especially to those Twilight fans)! It will be released on the 15th! Or you can win your own copy here!

Prize(s): 2 copies of Heavenly, one with the old cover and the other with the new cover
# of Winners:

How to get entries: (please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment

+1 New follower

+2 Old follower

+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

HEAVENLY – by Jennifer Laurens. Release date: August 15, 2009 Grove Creek Publishing

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Max the Buffalope from the Sebastian Darke Series

Today we have up Max, a buffalope from the whimsical and adventure-filled series of Sebastian Darke by English author Philip Caveney. Max is Sebastian's loyal "steed" who has been in the family for years! Now he'll tell you a little about his history before his days at the Darke family!


The Great Migration

For as long as I can remember, I have always stood out from the herd.

That is to say, from the very beginning, I was different to my fellow buffalope. I didn’t really look any different to the others, and I’m sure, my habits were more or less the same as those exhibited by buffalope the known world over. But I had something that none of the others seemed to possess; an enquiring mind. It was this, more than anything else that led me to become the creature that I am today, admired and revered across the known world as Max the Mighty.

Now, I could tell you reams of stuff about the buffalope life, but really it mostly came down to this. Through the Spring and Summer, we stood around and ate grass; lots of grass; lots and lots of grass. The stuff was virtually coming out of our ears.

And when autumn came creeping in, relentless winds blasting cold rain across the hills, it was then that the great migration would begin.

It happened every year at more or less the same time. Melchior, the herd’s leader, would sniff the cold air with his nostrils. He would glance at the ancient sage bull, Lazarus, his most trusted advisor and then he would lift his head and issue a great trumpeting bellow, which was the signal for us all to stop doing whatever it was we were doing and start migrating. Countless hooves would stir into action and we would be off, with a sound like rolling thunder, across the vastness of the plains.

It was the buffalope way of life sure enough – but even at that tender age, I was beginning to be irked by the inevitability of it. I had taken part in the great migration only twice in my young life and I was already getting well and truly fed up with it. For one thing, my hooves ached, something terrible. It’s been a lifelong problem for me, one that nobody ever seems to take seriously. But I’m telling you, after days of marching across that blooming plain, they were killing me.

For another thing, it was boring going through the same routine, year in, year out. I was longing for a bit of variety in my life. There’s no harm in that, surely?

As soon as I was able to talk – which I confess, did not take me very long, I was forever asking my poor mother tricky questions. I well remember one particular day, when we were browsing as usual in the midst of the herd and I felt that I simply had to have an answer to a problem that had been perplexing me for ages.

‘Mama,’ I said ‘Why do we make the great migration every year?”

‘My dear,’ Mama said, ‘we do so because the rest of the herd do; and they do so, because Melchior, our esteemed leader, says that it is time for the journey to begin.’

‘Yes, but it’s very hard on the hooves, Mama. It’s not nice having aching legs. Sometimes I swear my hooves feel as though they are about to drop off. Why must we be forever trooping up and down?’

‘It’s just the buffalope way,’ said Mama.

‘That’s no explanation,’ I complained. ‘You might as well say, because the grass is green! Here’s an idea for you. What would happen if we decided to stay here on the plains?’

‘You’d starve to death,’ said Papa, who was a buffalope who didn’t like to use any more words than were strictly necessary. ‘Or you’d freeze.’ He was browsing a particularly lush bit of grass at the time and didn’t really want to be disturbed by my childish questions.

‘There wouldn’t be enough grass to feed an entire herd through the winter,’ added Mama.

‘Yes, but it wouldn’t be the entire herd, would it?’ I persisted. ‘The rest of them would go thundering off and we’d have whatever was left all to ourselves. There’s only the three of us, we’d be laughing.’

‘Not when a pack of lupers came after us,’ said Papa gloomily. ‘And started ripping us limb from limb.’

‘We could take care of them,’ I said dismissively, tossing my underdeveloped horns this way and that. ‘What are lupers but mutts with an attitude problem?’ I must confess that I already had a vastly inflated opinion of my own abilities

‘There’s safety in numbers,’ grunted Papa. ‘Now belt up and let me enjoy my dinner.’ He let out a great gust of wind from his rear end, just to make sure I fully understood that as far as he was concerned, this was the end of the matter.

Papa moved away a bit. Mama gave me a consoling snuffle with her nice wet snout.

‘You’re only a youngster,’ she told me. ‘There’s no reason to worry your little head over things you don’t really understand.’

I felt like telling her that I did understand, only too well, but Papa was still close enough to give me a whack with the edge of a horn, so I kept my peace. But I felt sure, even then, that I wasn’t going to put up with this migration business for very much longer.


I am so desperate for the second novel, Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates! I placed an order in from Amazon so hopefully it arrives safely to my uncle's place (cheaper). But lucky for one of you, because there is one up in the prize pool!

Prize(s): A signed paperback copy of Sebastian Darke: Prince of Fools OR Sebastian Darke: Prince of Pirates
# of Winners:

How to get entries: (please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment
+1 New follower

+2 Old follower

+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Saffron and Emer from The Dust of 100 Dogs with A.S. King

Known for her bloody and action-packed novel of a fearsome female pirate, A.S. King has dominated part of the YA fiction world with her novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs! Today the author herself is here with her two characters, Emer and Saffron, to get some questions that readers may have cleared up. You're on Amy!


Hey Diana!

Congratulations to you on your blogoversary! I think book bloggers are an essential part of this business, and I think that’s happened because so many intelligent and talented readers and reviewers have chosen to be heard through their blogs. Thank you for what you do and I wish you many more years of success!

Now—for my crazy idea. I want to put Emer and Saffron in a room together and toss out reader comments and questions!

AMY: Hey guys. We get a bunch of reader mail—did you know that?

(Emer & Saffron look at Amy like she has nine heads. Emer looks especially cranky and seems to be whittling a stick with a small sharp knife. Never a good sign.)

AMY: So, I wanted to bounce some stuff off you, and see what you think. First off, I get a lot of compliments about how the two of you alternate your stories throughout the book, but I have heard also that some people don’t understand if you are the same person or two different people. Do you have an answer for them?

SAFFRON: I’m a whole person all by myself, thanks. And I’m a lot smarter than Emer was. She was too ruled by her ugly childhood and her temper. I’m calmer and have over three hundred years of experience.

EMER: (picking teeth with recently whittled stick.) She’s a coward. Wouldn’t stand up to a fly. You can’t swashbuckle with yer brains.

AMY: Saffron, which experiences taught you more, do you think? Your dog lives or your time as Emer?

SAFFRON: I don’t know. I think both taught me a lot. It took me over a hundred years as a dog to see where Emer went wrong, and to understand how. I mean, there she was, with everything she ever wanted, and she blew it. By the time I was born, I knew that humans were too focused on money and material things to see the important things they live with every day. Their families. Their loves.

EMER: Here! I knew well what love was worth! And what fool headed cow would say such a thing to me about family? You try my life and report back.

SAFFRON: If you knew, then why didn’t you cancel the whole Spanish fleet plan?

EMER: (in mocking tone) Why didn’t you cancel the Spanish fleet plan? For the love of all holy things, Saffron, yer not as smart as you claim to be. Could I have canceled it? What would my crew have thought? And what of their hard work and dedication? It wasn’t all about me, you know. It was about them.

AMY: Okay—new subject. Saffron, some readers are appalled by your inner thoughts and feel you are a homicidal maniac. What do you think about that?

SAFFRON: I think people who think that must be very out of touch with their own brains. (Not to mention sarcasm and metaphor.) Everyone has unspeakable thoughts. Everyone. Anyone who says they don’t, is lying. Seriously. Some humans are so freaking judgmental, I want to scream.

EMER: I’m having unspeakable thoughts right now.

AMY: So, it doesn’t bother you that people think you’re homicidal, Saffron?


AMY: Emer, I’ve had several readers complain that I told the truth about what happened to you. Are you sorry you allowed me to do that?

EMER: I wager most people hate the truth. So, if you tell it, you’ll always get a complaint. Tis the nature of yer business, King. You’re thick skinned same as I am. We got this way by facing the truth. Let the lily livered go and wallow. I’m not ashamed of what others did to me! Why should I take the burden of Cromwell on me own back? Or the others?

SAFFRON: They say the truth will set you free.

EMER: (rolls eyes) Sounds like modern rot to me…but the girl has a point. The acts done to me were done to millions. Still are—whether it’s the act of one man or many. Being quiet about it never got us further. Have we cured it yet? Well, then. Quit yer bitchin and lend a hand.

AMY: Another one for you, Emer. I get complaints about how violent you are.

EMER: Did they not know I’m a pirate?

AMY: No, they know.

EMER: So—are they drunk, then?

SAFFRON: I can’t figure that out, either, Amy. Seems to me most people used to know that pirates are violent murderers, for the most part. Maybe they thought because Emer was female, that she’d be nicer?

EMER: Watch yer tongue!


EMER: You know what. Just because yer so smart doesn’t mean I won’t slice you.

SAFFRON: (shrugs) I don’t get you, Emer. I was just stating the obvious.

EMER: Just don’t badmouth yer own kind, girl. We have to stick together. And don’t be telling me that in modern times things got brighter for the (mocks) females. Yer still as disrespected as I was. Only in a different way.

AMY: Ladies, why do you think whenever I get you in the same room, you’re at odds? You’d think you’d have a lot in common.

SAFFRON: She scares me.

EMER: She bores me.

(Emer begins to whittle a second stick while Saffron twiddles her hair and looks around uncomfortably.)

AMY: One last thing. Readers have asked if there will be a sequel. Some feel the ending was a cliffhanger. Any thoughts on that?

SAFFRON: Uh Amy—the ending wasn’t a cliffhanger.

AMY: I know. But some think it is.

SAFFRON: Huh. Not sure what to say. I’m pretty sure I know what happened in the end. Do a lot of people think this?

AMY: Not really. Just a few.

SAFFRON: Well, what do you think?

AMY: I don’t know. I guess I’m aware the book takes a minute to digest, so I know some readers aren’t used to that. I also think to get a good idea of the ending, you have to consider the entire book and the vibe of it. The tone. I think it’s pretty obvious from what’s there.

To go further—a book is just a series of dots. Every reader connects those dots in a different way depending on their own experience and their own needs. So, though many know that the ending is a happy one, a few need it to be spelled out completely. Anyway, I can’t see a sequel. I’m glad readers want more, but I’m afraid three hundred and sixty two years inside one book was quite enough!

EMER: You can’t please everyone. Yer job is to keep writing books. But not about us. Aye. I’m done.

SAFFRON: Yeah. Me too. I agree with Emer. Go and write stories about other people.

(Emer & Saffron nod, both obviously dying to get out of this interview. Emer is now chewing the tip off the sharpened stick and spitting the tiny bits of wood at Saffron.)

AMY: Ladies, please thank our hostess and wish her a happy blogoversary. Diana, thanks so much for having us!

SAFFRON: Yes! Thank you! And happy blogoversary!

EMER: To our fortunate proceedings and good success! Clear the decks for pleasant action!


Thank you Amy, Saffron, and Emer for being here with us today! We appreciate it very much! I look forward to
your future novels, Amy!

Prize(s): A signed copy of The Dust of 100 Dogs
# of Winners:

How to get entries: (please put keep it in the format below when you comment!)
+1 Comment

+1 New follower

+2 Old follower

+1 Linking this contest once somewhere else around the web

You can read more about A.S. King and
The Dust of 100 Dogs on her website or blog!

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