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, December 29, 2010

Enter the Re-Draw, Quickly!

Hey guys! It's only two more days after this one that my re-draw for the blogoversary contests will be closing! I changed my mind about entering those that entered previously because god knows if you will come back if you had no idea about the redraw. So click this link now to see what books are up for grabs and enter for the ones you want to win! Good luck~

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Watching on Wednesday: Easy A

Title: Easy A
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2010
My Rating: 4.5/5

Olive (Emma Stone) is just your average high school girl. That is, until one little lie turned everything upside down. To help her gay friend stop being bullied, she pretends to have slept with him at a party so he can be "straight". When it has slipped out to some kids at school that Olive only pretended to "do things", many guys come to her to boost their reputation as well.

Since Olive is not actually doing anything and just says she does, that's okay, right?

I first found out about this movie through another book blogger months back. I wasn't too clear about the plot until more trailers were released. After I found out about the synopsis, it was a must-see for me!

Olive is such a fun girl that you would want as your friend. She is the type that cares a lot for others, which is the reason why she is stuck in this predicament. She gets trapped in the cycle of lies and can't really do anything to stop it because it all builds up. All the characters in the movie add their own quirkiness to the scenes, making it enjoyable to watch altogether!

There was one character, Woodchuck (Penn Badgley) who I felt could've played a bigger role but didn't. He was simply the guy that Olive ends up with later (not a spoiler because it's so obvious). Other than that, I felt Easy A is a fantastic movie for a girls' night in!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fearscape by Simon Holt

Title: Fearscape
Author: Simon Holt
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 314
My Rating: 4/5

Reggie is stuck as an experiment rat when the Vours managed to get a hold of her. She is forced to go into many fearscapes and can barely survive the horrors she must endure as well the lack of care she is given.

Meanwhile, everyday Aaron searches for new information and trains himself to become stronger. He teams up with Machen, a Tracer who once tried to kill Reggie but switched sides when he saw there were some hope in defeating the Vours. Quinn, who got out of his fearscape after so longer, is trying to adjust to his new life and understand what had happened to him. The three of them work together in order to rescue Reggie and help her defeat the Vours for once and for all.

If you have read my previous reviews for the first two novels of this trilogy, you would know that I absolutely love The Devouring. I was really excited when I bought Fearscape and was dying to know the ending. My expectations were unfortunately not met.

For the first few chapters, Reggie was stuck in a state where she kept going into different fearscapes. I didn't find it to be as exciting when she had to face the problem straight on, like in the previous novels. I got to read more of Aaron, who was changing as well as the new Quinn. I have to say, I was disappointed with the new Quinn. Obviously since the Vour is not longer within him, he is innocent and normal. However, I always liked that Vour side of him. So seeing him being a regular guy, it didn't give me the same excitement like it did in Soulstice. It would've been interesting to see a love interest between the Vour and Reggie. I know I am generally against forbidden paranormal love, but this series is so twisted that I wanted to see it play out.

[SOME SPOILERS] The way the story ended altogether, it didn't let me close the book happily because I wanted to see justice served. Although the villain was indeed defeated, it just sucked in general to know that the Vours would always be there. I was reading and waiting for them to be defeated completely and for that they would never come back. But I guess the way the story was made, it would've been unrealistic. [SPOILERS END]

However, the book still kept me going and in general, since I love the series altogether, Fearscape got its rating. At least there was some sort of conclusion, even if it wasn't one that made me too happy.

And PS, who here is not a big fan of the cover model also? His face is so squared and unnaturally pale... (Well suited for a vampire).

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blogoversary Contests Re-Draw!

Hey guys! As you may know, I had my 2nd blogoversary over the summer. It took me awhile to draw out the winners due to my first year at university but I eventually got around to it. You may also know that many winners did not claim their prizes. I gave them quite a bit of time to claim but they never did. So! I am doing redraws! Those that already joined during the summer do not need to enter again because you have already done so. But this gives those who came in after a chance to join!

I want you to comment in this post which of the following books below you want to win (can be all if you'd like). And in order to get extra entries (per contest):

+1 Be a new/old follower (MANDATORY or no entries)
+1 Link (5 max)
+1 Add Stop, Drop, and Read! to your blogroll (link)

As you can see, there are quite a lot left unclaimed! I am going to let this run until December 31st, right before New Years! Please come back to check if you have won because I definitely don't want to redraw all over again!

Edit: I forgot to list the eligibility! So here they are:

Heavenly - International
School of Fear - International
David Inside Out - International
The Poison Diaries - International
Amanda Ashby books - International
Explorer X - Alpha - International
Little Vampire Women - US only
Silver Phoenix - US and Canada only
Death Mill Mansion: A Lighthearted Comedy - US only

Good luck~
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Story of Saiunkoku by Kairi Yura and Sai Yukino

Title: The Story of Saiunkoku
Mangaka: Kairi Yura (Art) & Sai Yukino (Story)
Series is: Ongoing with 6 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4/5

Although she is of noble birth, Shurei lives her life like a commoner. Well educated, she always wanted to work in the imperial court. Due to laws however, women are not allowed to hold office.

An opportunity arises for her when emperor Ryuki does not want to properly rule and leaves everything up to his advisors. Shurei is asked to be Ryuki's consort in order to bring him back on track. She happily agrees as she is offered tons of gold and the chance to live a life she never had. However, it is not going to be that easy of a task!

I had my eye on this series ever since I saw the cover of it for the anime series. I found the clothes and character appearances, especially Shurei, to be so striking. When the manga recently got licensed, I had to review it.

The manga sets in the fictional world of Saiunkoku, which I find is a cross between Ancient Japan and Ancient China. The setting reminds me quite a bit of the historical Chinese dramas that I used to love watching when I was little. As well, the clothes for the noble women are very fancy and elaborate. This manga definitely takes me back quite a bit because I haven't seen those Chinese dramas for so long that it is nice to be reminded of again.

Shurei is a really sweet girl and knows how to keep on top of things. I admire her determination and her love for knowledge. I adore the clothes she gets to wear once she became a consort for sure. Ryuki turned out to be a little more different than I expected though. He is much more innocent, especially for someone who is 19. He is like a young child who is yet to fully comprehend things. Before I started reading, I thought he was going to be a cocky character since it generally turns out like that in manga. So it was nice to see him portrayed in a more youthful way. Due to their differences, the image of romance is a little difficult to imagine between them. Though I would like to see how that plays out.

I like this manga for the message it sends across and where the story is taking place. In terms of the plot, there is not a lot that is happening for the first volume. There is a hint that something will happen down the road but in terms of exciting action, there really isn't any thus far. It's more where the mangaka is putting all the characters in place and establishing their roles.

I would recommend The Story of Saiunkoku for anyone into historical mangas.

Review copy provided by Viz.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Title: The Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 409
My Rating: 5/5

Yelena is about to executed for murder. But, she is given the chance of live longer if she accepts the position of being the poison taster for Commander Ambrose. She immediately jumps at the opportunity, although any meal could be her last.

This novel is pretty popular among YA readers and it took me a long time before I joined the bandwagon. I absolutely love love love Yelena! She is the female protagonist I have been waiting to read about! She has a strong personality and knows how to think for herself. She is able to list out all of the possible outcomes for every problem she has and can narrow down to her best choice. She is able to always prepare for the worse and makes sure that she is ready if anything. I can relate to her in that sense because this is how I generally think and it is great to see a character who have the mindset like I do. Similar to myself, she does daydream but keeps herself grounded.

Poison Study is an engaging cycle of excitement, fear, and curiosity. One can imagine its fantasy setting clearly and the world that Yelena is born in. There are unexpected twists and turns that has the reader flipping through the pages even quicker. After this novel, I am now evermore so curious about poisons! I highly recommend this novel, especially for fans of the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore.

Won copy from StoryWings.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stringz by Michael Wenberg

Title: Stringz
Author: Michael Wenberg
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 216
My Rating: 3/5

Jace Adams has been constantly moving around because of his mother. This time, he is settled into Seattle where they both will be staying with Aunt Bernice. But not so long after, Jace's mother runs off with a new man and leaves Jace behind. This hurts him deeply but what else can he do?

Jace decides to play the cello on the sidewalk to earn some extra money. On one occasion, he receives a one-hundred dollar bill with a business card attached. Given a chance to work with a famous cello instructor, Jace has the opportunity to enter a cello competition and win a scholarship. Will he be able to do it?

I like the idea of an underprivileged teen that has a passion for music. Jace doesn't slip into gangs or drugs (considering his circumstances) and I'm proud to see that he stands strong in what he believes in. I wish, however, that the novel left a bigger impact on me than it did. It was a great story idea, but I felt that more could have been added in order to make it even more memorable. If it was longer, there would be more room for it to expand and enabled the storyline and characters to develop.

I recommend Stringz to those who would like to read something motivational.

Review copy provided by Book Divas.

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