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, January 30, 2010

Author Interview: Cindy Pon + CONTEST

Cindy Pon debuted with her amazing novel, Silver Phoenix, in 2009. I got the chance to interview her, excited for the sequel. At the end of the interview, you can enter to win a signed copy of Silver Phoenix for yourself!

If you want to learn more about Cindy or Silver Phoenix, please check out at Enjoy!

Firstly, what inspired you to write Silver Phoenix?

although i've been writing since before i was a teen,
i stopped all through my 20's. it was only after i had my
bubs back to back that i rediscovered my love for writing.
i began taking some creative writing classes through the
local universities and thought, why don't i write a novel!
at the time, i had just begun taking classes in chinese brush
painting and reading more about chinese culture and history.
fantasy was and always will be my favorite reading genre, so
i thought i'd combine the two interests. Silver Phoenix was the result!

Can you please give us a little more information on the era in which the novel takes place for those who are unfamiliar with the Chinese culture and history?

i'd like to say that Silver Phoenix is inspired by ancient china
because it actually doesn't take place in china or any time period
within it. i drew inspiration from mainly the qing dynasty but also took
elements from others, researching in architecture, clothing as well
as other social and cultural elements. when i started to write Silver Phoenix,
i realized i wasn't writing a true historical, it was too limiting to my story.
ai ling, as a daughter within the scholarly class, would have had her
feet bound.

Are the magical beings in Silver Phoenix mythical creatures within the Chinese culture or did you create them yourself?

the creatures are a combination of actual chinese myths
and folklore and my own imagination!

What should readers expect of the sequel for Silver Phoenix?

the sequel is planned to be released in fall 2010! i think
that while Silver Phoenix was a very fantastic journey, this
one will be much more personal on many levels.

Are you working on any other writing projects aside the sequel to Silver Phoenix? If so, can you please give us a brief description of them?

i am! i believe ai ling's story is finished with the sequel.
but i have another fantasy YA novel planned in xia. it is only at the very
beginning stages so i won't say more about it, as i don't know
much myself yet right now! i also have a children's picture book
featuring my chinese brush art slated to release in 2011!

What do you find is the easiest part in writing? And the hardest?

the easiest part is definitely revising and polishing a novel.
the hardest part is writing the rough draft (the initial draft) of
any novel for me. the unknown can be very scary to me. i
liken to starting a new novel like jumping of a cliff. ha!

Lastly, please give us an interesting fact about yourself that not many know of!

i wrote a letter "to my future husband" when i was 16.
when i married, i never gave him the letter, because it's
so embarrassing. ha!


Now that you got to learn more about Cindy, here is a chance for you to win her novel!

To enter: (Make sure to have everything in one comment in the post or it will not be counted)
+1 comment
+2 follower through Google Friend Connect (MANDATORY or no entry, new or old)
+2 comment on the review here
+2 add Stop, Drop, and Read! to your blog list (link)
+2 for every time you link the contest (link)

This contest is open to Canadian and U.S. addresses only. (Sorry international friends!) Contest will end on February 28/10.

post signature

Friday, January 29, 2010

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Title: Silver Phoenix
Author: Cindy Pon
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 338
My Rating: 5/5

Ai Ling may not be a suitable bride but she rather not marry a stranger. She enjoys embroidering and painting, the simple things in life. She has the strange ability to read minds but does not dwell on it so much. Her life, however, takes a drastic turn when she realizes evil mythical beings are trying to kill her as she embarks on a dangerous journey in search of her missing father.

Along the way, she encounters a handsome young man by the name of Chen Yong, who is of mixed ethnicities. He too is out on the search for his own father and identity.

When Ai Ling discovers that she is more than she seems, the world she once knew is far more terrifying than ever. In an oriental world of magic and adventure, Silver Phoenix will enrapture the reader with its spellbinding tale.

When Silver Phoenix's debut last year, I was dying to read it. Even without reading the reviews, I knew it had something special. And I was right!

Ai Ling is a fantastic female protagonist who is strong and someone you can count on. Facing her fears is difficult but she overcomes them to protect her and her friends. She does not think highly of herself because of her ability and who she is nor is she a weakling. Chen Yong is also a great char completely root for!

What kept my attention the most was the creatures that appeared in the novel. I find them absolutely fascinating and I kept wanting more of these mythical beasts to appear. Each and every one of them are captivating in their own way, from their abilities to their very existence.

Silver Phoenix had my eyes wide open and my fingers continuously flipping the pages, dying to read more. It made me want to go back and watch the Chinese dramas that I was so hooked onto when I was younger. I highly recommend Silver Phoenix to anyone who wants an amazing read!

post signature

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Title: Suite Scarlett
Author: Maureen Johnson
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 353
My Rating: 5/5

Scarlett Martin's family runs a hotel in New York City. It may sound grand and exciting but really, it's not.

After her fifteenth birthday, Scarlett's summer is no longer boring. The Empire Suite is now hers to look over because it is a tradition for every Martin to take care of a suite in the hotel once they are fifteen. She also has a guest by the name of Mrs. Amberson, who always make things oh so interesting.

Thrown into random and hilarious situations, Scarlett must find a way to survive her eventful summer that is full of drama and possible love.

The first book I've read by Maureen Johnson was 13 Little Blue Envelopes, which also includes the theme of drama and arts. Compared to 13 Little Blue Envelopes that is more of a mellow read, Suite Scarlett has a lot of spark and flare.

I love Scarlett's voice and her family. They are all so fun and have such interesting lives. Also, this is one of the few stories out there where the protagonist has a proper family instead of being in a complex problem where their parents are divorced or missing or so on. Scarlett's interactions with her siblings is a great touch because it made the novel more "personalized", making Suite Scarlett what it is.

Scarlett also meets this cute and cool guy named Eric who she develops a crush for. However, he is heading to college and she's only fifteen. The end result of their relationship wasn't exactly the most typical but I found was the most realistic.

The things Mrs. Amberson makes Scarlett go through are gold! I wish I could have someone that could come into my life and make it as entertaining. I really wonder how Johnson comes up with such simple but unique ideas that make her stories so compelling!

Suite Scarlett is a read for those who would like a little more sunshine in their day and make them realize the greatest things out there are in the littlest of things.

Won copy from The Electrical book cafe....and more!/Harmony Book Reviews.

post signature

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Watching on Wednesday: Sherlock Holmes

Title: Sherlock Holmes
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4.5/5

Sherlock Holmes. Everyone has heard of him at least once during their lifetime. Created by Arthur Conan Doyle, this super sleuth is one of the legendary fictional characters of all times. Now, you can watch Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) along with his partner Watson (Jude Law) in live action.

Holmes and Watson recently captured Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), a dark arts magician who has been causing trouble in London. Shortly after he is hanged and pronounced dead, Holmes is bored out of his mind in his cluttered apartment. He is dying for another grand mystery to solve. His wish is granted when Blackwood is witnessed to be alive when he walked out of his grave. If Holmes does not get to the bottom of this soon, England will be in trouble.

Originally, I wanted to watch Avatar 3D IMAX. Except when I arrived, it was completely sold out for the entire day. I wanted to watch Sherlock Holmes too but I was mad to have missed out on Avatar. However, my annoyance dissolved quite shortly after Sherlock Holmes started.

Thrown back into the late 19th century, the audience will be awed by the Victorian atmosphere and dressing style. Although Sherlock Holmes has a chock full of intense action, it still kept the English elegance and culture intact.

I absolutely love the characters! Holmes, Watson, and Adler (Rachel McAdams) are all amazing with their distinct personalities and quirks. I am happy that Rachel McAdams is this movie (Canadian pride!). Compared to her roles in Mean Girls and Red Eye, she executed the alluring Irene Adler extremely well. I adore Holmes and Adler together.

There were times where I found Holmes to be talking too quickly in the movie and I was unable to catch his words. This didn't happen too often but whenever it did, I wasn't happy. I loved pretty much everything up until the very end. Just the last five minutes before the credits, something happened that confused me. The movie made room for a sequel and I fear it may not compare up to the first. However, we'll see how it goes when it comes out. For now, I recommend Sherlock Holmes as a pick for the theatres!

post signature

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse

Title: Pretty Bad Things
Author: C.J. Skuse

Twins, Paisley and Beau Argent are in the headlines again. Last time, they were the 'wonder twins', when, as six-year-olds, they were found alive in woods after three days missing following their mother’s death – three days spent looking for their dad.

Now at sixteen, life’s not so wonderful. Cast out and exploited by their money-grabbing grandmother, they’re still clueless about their dad’s whereabouts. Until they discover an old letter from him.

That’s when they decide to hit the road – and make headlines again. Holding up fast-food joints in Las Vegas might seem extreme but if they can get on the news, and tell their dad they need him, they might just get the dream reunion they never thought could happen.

Billed as a darkly-comic ‘Tarantino for teens’ – this is a fast, fearless and funny first novel. Wild, crazy, outspoken and unleashed in March 2010.

I likely would've never heard of this novel if I didn't do a search on youtube to find a trailer for Trailer Tuesday. I have to say, this sounds like a pretty creative piece! Pretty Bad Things will be released in March 2010.

post signature

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (Jan 25/10)



Wanted by Matsuri Hino


King of RPGs vol. 1 by Jason Thompson and Victor Hao
Only One Wish by Mia Ikumi
The Heights by Brian James
Last December by Matt Beam


The Sister of the 12 Ravens Fine Art Fairy Tale Fantasy 8x10 Print by Jessica Grundy

I generally don't post the art I get in my mailbox but I would like to share this piece! I won the gorgeous print above from the artist and I think her stuff is awesome! You should check her out on Etsy, Deviantart, or Blogger! Thanks Jessica!

Want to do your own Mailbox Meme? Check out how to at The Story Siren!


Music Machine

Title: Oh Yeah
Artist/Band: MBLAQ
Language: Korean
My Thoughts: When I first saw the debut MV, I didn't like it. However, I downloaded MBLAQ's mini album anyway. After listening to Oh Yeah a few more times, I got completely addicted. Every time I hear it, I just want to get up and dance. I fantasize off of this song! :D Except, I still don't like the MV. So I suggest that you just listen to the actual song instead.

post signature

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Q4U: What book would you like to see turn into a movie?

Q4U (Question 4 U) is a feature on Stop, Drop, and Read! that appears on random days. A question is asked for you to answer, where it could range from getting feedbacks for the blog to a start of a fun topic!

So many hit novels generally become a movie sooner or later. However, there are many books out there that would never be on the big screen.

What book would you like to see turn into a movie?

This is considering the movie will be made with the best of quality, from scenery to characters.

I would love love love to see Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon or Eon by Alison Goodman as a movie. Both have oriental features (which I love) but great action and plot too that would play out extremely well in a film. They also have amazing mythical elements that would be such a eyecandy for the audience.

What about you?

post signature

Friday, January 22, 2010

Author Interview: Heather Beck

Heather Beck is a Canadian author who writes stories for all ages. Today, I had a chance to interview her. If you would like to learn about her or her books, visit

What age group do you say you enjoy writing for the most?

That’s a hard question to answer because I really enjoy writing for all ages. When I write for kids the most important aspects are fantastical plots and characters. For young adults, I’m more concerned about the style of my writing and creating relatable characters. When I write for adults, I’m interested in portraying emancipation almost always physically but sometimes even mentally.

What are your favourite genres to write about?

I love writing literary coming-of-age fiction for young adults that pushes the boundaries of genre expectation. I also love to write multifaceted romances. However, right now my favourite genre is scary stories for kids. These stories, which are filled with creepy characters and many plots twists, are actually appropriate for all ages. They are even in development for the small screen!

What kind of stories or genres do you still have yet to try out?

I want to write an epic historical romance that takes place in an exotic location. It would be a tale of forbidden love and ultimate dangers.

I’d also love to write a wilderness adventure rooted within the man vs. nature theme. Jack London’s work, as well as my love for nature, inspires my interest in this genre.

Do you have any authors that had inspired you?

As I’ve mentioned, Jack London is an inspiration to me. Concerned with surviving in nature, his raw and empowering work explores a theme that has always intrigued me.

I also greatly appreciate Tennessee Williams’ plays. His forthright honesty about the human condition first piqued my interests when I was fifteen and still does to this day.

What are your favourite books?

My favourite books are, not surprisingly, anything by Jack London and Tennessee Williams. I also like John Milton’s Paradise Lost. It’s a dream of mine to adapt Milton’s epic for the big screen.

Are you currently writing any projects or have any books releasing soon? If so, can you please give a brief description about it?

Haunted is my latest anthology of scary stories for kids and will be released this summer. Below are the descriptions of the stories which comprise this unique collection.

Ghost Park

Chase discovers a century-old playground in the woods that’s occupied by a group of pale children who say very odd things and take an unnatural interest in her.

A Haunting Past

Truce’s class trip to an old native reserve turns deadly when Bear, an infamous chief who died two hundred years ago, blames him for the tribe’s extinction.

The Manor

Upon The Rocks
Grey, damp, and situated on top of a steep hill surrounded by jagged rocks, Calla Lily’s new home isn’t only unpleasant, it’s also haunted by the world’s most evil boy.

A Medieval Nightmare

When Ellie and Brandon get trapped in a medieval museum that’s a bit too real, they fall under a spell and become pivotal players in a ghostly regime.

A Watery Grave

A camping trip becomes a heart-pounding race for survival when Justine meets a ghost who’s determined to change her ill fate by trading bodies with a living entity.

Lastly, please tell us an interesting fact about yourself that most don't know about!

Readers may not know about my desire for travelling. I’ve been to different places in North America and even Europe. However, I fantasize about visiting Egypt and seeing the pyramids. I’d also love to visit Hawaii and Australia.

post signature

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Title: The Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 332
My Rating: 4/5

Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir are two best friends... and vampires. They were able to roam free among the humans for the past couple of years until recently. They are now forced back into St. Vladimir's Academy where they are to be among their fellow vampires again.

Since Lissa is a Moroi princess who has the power to use Earth's magic, she must be protected from the evil Strigoi. The Strigoi are vampires who turned to the dark side, unable to die. Rose acts as Lissa's guardian, always by her side.

Although the two are safe within the school's walls, there is something out there secretly threatening them. Lissa and Rose must stick together as dangerous obstacles come their way.

Originally, I wasn't planning to pick this series up. Ever. The vampire hype has die down (in my eyes) but I am still wary with most vampire novels out there since Twilight. However, when I received Blood Promise to review, I knew I had to start from the beginning.

Rose is different compared to most female protagonists I am used to. She is fearless and is a party girl. Lissa on the other hand is nice and understanding, although she is royalty. I admire their friendship very much because they are inseparable, even though their personalities are different.

The romance was not so bad either. I found that what they both experienced is reasonable and realistic. It was incorporated smoothly into the plot and it was not in your face like most stories that had romance in them. I wonder how it would work out between Rose and Dimitri, an older Russian vampire who trains her.

Overall, I found The Vampire Academy to be a pleasing novel that keeps the reader going. It is not uber amazing but it has a great start for a vampire series. I recommend it to all vampire and paranormal fans.

Review copy provided by
Penguin Group (Canada).

post signature

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

Title: All Unquiet Things
Author: Anna Jarzab
Description: Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.

Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.

Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.

As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.

The trailer seems like a documentary doesn't it? I really want to read this one because I love thrillers in YA.

post signature

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (Jan 18/10)

Yes, it seems like you have noticed yesterday's In My Mailbox is missing. That is because I decided to move it to Monday! But now you may be wondering, "What is Music Machine for?". Well lovely reader, I shall answer your question!

If you do not know, I am addicted to music. Specifically Korean music. So I thought I would share my love of Kpop to the world! It is much better that I combine the two features, so the features I have on Stop, Drop, and Read! would not take up the entire week that should have reviews instead. I'm not going to have only Kpop music (though for the majority of time I would) for every Music Machine because this feature will allow me to have other songs that I discover and like posted. Hopefully you guys can discover your own love for Kpop and if not, at least get to enjoy some catchy songs! Now onward!




Crashed by Robin Wasserman
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Seven Rays by Jessica Bendinger


My Zombie Valentine by Katie MacAlister, Angie Fox, Marianne Mancusi, and Lisa Cach

Lol, I think it has been awhile since I have received any YA novels to review, huh? And I think it may be the last time in a long time because I have to work hard in school if I want to get into university at this point. @@ (My parents are demanding me to quit my blog altogether but I'm trying my best to sneak in time for it when I have the chance!)

Want to do your own Mailbox Meme? Check out how to at The Story Siren!


Music Machine

Title: 외톨이야 (I'm a Loner)
Artist/Band: CNBlue
Language: Korean
My Thoughts: I just discovered this song and band a couple of days ago and I am completely addicted! CNBlue is another band that just recently debuted in South Korea. (If you are a Kpop addict, you will know that the past few months a hundred of different bands are debuting out of nowhere).

What I love about this song is that it is quite contemporary compared to what the Kpop sector usually have. It reminds me a lot of Maroon 5! What is also unique about this band is that the members are able to play instruments! Most of the time, Kpop bands are all about dancing and singing so instruments are generally rare. Totally looking forward to more of CNBlue!

post signature

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Devouring by Simon Holt

Title: The Devouring
Author: Simon Holt
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 231
My Rating: 5/5

Reggie finds a dusty old journal that has stories about the horrors of creatures beyond your imagination. They are called the Vours. They are beings that take over your body on Sorry Night, pretending to be you. Your body will continue to exist but your soul will be no longer be in this world.

However, Reggie thinks it is fictional and reads it to her younger brother, Henry. Henry is a child who still have fears but she assures him that none of it is real.

Everything changes after the night of December 22nd (Sorry Night). Reggie notices Henry is acting extremely strange and it scares her. Then, she realizes that the journal is not fictional after all and she must find a way to bring her brother back before it is all too late.

Simon Holt created a stimulating read that will chill you to the bone through the eyes of girl who tries to fight against ancient evils that bring your biggest fears to life.

I could not let go of this book. The story was absolutely engaging and I had to continue reading to find out what would happen to Reggie and those around her. It was such a hair-raising read that when things started to become too creepy, I had to put it down to take a breather and find some comedy to relieve the scary moment.

The characters were great and very realistic. They were crafted with skill and had flaws that further developed their personalities later on in the novel. I found Reggie to be courageous and I continuously cheered her on to defeat against the Vours. I also like her best friend Aaron, who is a bit of an oddball but fun and dependable at the same time. I thought there would be some romance between the two friends but there was none and it was nice that the author strayed away from the typical storylines.

This is an eerie novel that would keep you on the edge of your seat if you are looking for a horror book. Recommended 100%, especially for R.L. Stine and Stephen King fans! I am dying to get my hands onto the sequel, Soulstice!

post signature

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Recipe of Gertrude by Nari Kusakawa

Title: The Recipe of Gertrude
Mangaka: Nari Kusakawa
Age Group: Youth
Series is: Completed with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1-2
My Rating: 3/5

Creating a demon is not so hard. All you need is a recipe!

Gertrude is a demon who is created by parts of other demons. He wants to find the recipe that had created him long ago. He unexpectedly encounters a human girl named Sahara who decides to help him.

Along the way, they befriend a couple of other demons that lost a body part into creating Gertrude and discover a location they would never expect to find the recipe.

I thought the story idea is interesting, different from most demon stories I've seen in manga. However, I found the plot to be a bit lax; although there is some action and quite a bit had happened within the first two volumes. Maybe it is just the mangaka's style but I found it "fluffy". I really can't find another word to describe it! I assume it is so because the series is for all ages, which is why the action is not intense.

I have to say I like the two demons that hangs with Sahara and Gertrude, Puppen and Mariotte. I think their character designs are very cute because they look more like giant plushies instead of demons. Gertrude and Sahara are alright. I don't have much to say about them except I don't find them standing out at all, considering them as the main characters.

There is a bonus story at the end of volume two called The Tryst. I found it much more memorable rather than the main story of The Recipe for Gertrude because its very sad and sweet.

I recommend The Recipe of Gertrude to the younger audience. I didn't enjoy it so much but my younger sister who is ten really likes it. I think it will appeal to youth much more rather than the older audience.

Review copy of vol. 2 provided by CMX.

post signature

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer

Title: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
Author: William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer
Age Group: Adults
# of Pages: 273
My Rating: 3.5/5

William Kamkwamba is a Malawian whose life changed forever when he discovered his love for science.

Due to poverty, William's parents were unable to keep him in school. Instead, he had to help his father in the fields to help put food on the table. Life is hard in Malawi for its people when food is scarce and problems such as natural disasters and famine are very common throughout.

One day when William went to the library, he picked up a book on science. After reading it, he became curious and returned for more. This later on sparked an idea; he wanted to make a windmill to generate electricity for his home.

From a small inspiration, William was able to create something that had brought attention from everyone in his country and the entire world. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspirational story about working hard on what you believe in to make it come true, no matter what other people say and the difficult obstacles you face.

This novel took a really long time for me to get through because it is a biography. Biographies, as you know, are real stories about real people. Therefore, you can not expect big plots to ensue when there will be none because it is not a fictional story.

However, I found this novel to be very educational and inspiring. It teaches the reader a lot about the conditions in Africa and how developed countries should really step in to help. A lot of students in North America are not so fond of being forced to go to school everyday. While we here take education for granted, you see that it is highly valued in other parts of the world. There are kids out there who will never be able to go past elementary school and because of this, those who could potentially change the world will not be discovered. William is just one out of a thousand from his country who is able to take his interest of science to a higher level, and all he had were old textbooks. After reading this novel, it made me reflect a lot upon my own life.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a read that will urge you to pursue after your dreams. It may be more suitable for a mature audience who would appreciate biographies a lot more than the younger generation.

Review copy provided by HarperCollins.

post signature

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Watching on Wednesday: He's Just Not That Into You

Title: He's Just Not That Into You
Type: Movie
Age Group: Older Teens +
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4/5

Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) has bad luck in finding love. It seems like every man she comes in contact with is never interested on going any further with her within the relationship.

Beth (Jennifer Aniston) is frustrated that her boyfriend, Neil (Ben Affleck), is against the idea of marriage. Will they be able to work out their relationship when he refuses to marry?

Ben (Bradley Cooper) unexpectedly meets a gorgeous singer/yoga instructor, Anna (Scarlett Johansson). They both like each other very much. However, Ben is married to Janine (Jennifer Connelly). Will he leave his wife for Anna?

He's Just Not That Into You is about relationships and love through different perspectives. Other stars include Justin Long, Drew Barrymore and Kevin Connolly.

It took me awhile to sit down and watch this movie because I am not a fan of multi-plots movies. I always prefer watching a chick flick based on two characters because I find it much better. However, He's Just Not That Into You is a sweet film that romantics will enjoy.

I honestly found Gigi to be one of the most annoying movie female characters ever. She is absolutely clingy and she thinks that ever guy she meets is "the one". Or at least she hopes he is and sticks by her phone like mad, praying that he would call back. She is so into the idea of a relationship that it makes her irritating to watch on screen.

My favourite character would have to be Alex, acted by Justin Long. He is a cool guy who is confident with his answers. Gigi keeps coming to him for advice and although I'm not an expert in relationships, it seems like he is pretty right with the things he says. He is the type of guy that you would love to have as a friend, certain and fun at the same time.

Overall, I think He's Just Not That Into You would be a great movie for an all-girls' sleepover. It would be something that a girl and her female friends would have a lot of comment about. If not, watching it with a partner works too because there could be issues one would like to raise and this movie would be a perfect way to slip it in the conversation.

post signature

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Soulless by Christopher Golden

Title: Soulless
Author: Christopher Golden
Description: Times Square, New York City: The first ever mass séance is broadcasting live on the Sunrise morning show. If it works, the spirits of the departed on the other side will have a brief window -- just a few minutes -- to send a final message to their grieving loved ones.

Clasping hands in an impenetrable grip, three mediums call to their spirit guides as the audience looks on in breathless anticipation. The mediums slump over, slackjawed -- catatonic. And in cemeteries surrounding Manhattan, fragments of old corpses dig themselves out of the ground....
The spirits have returned. The dead are walking. They will seek out those who loved them in life, those they left behind...but they are savage and they are hungry. They are no longer your mother or father, your brother or sister, your best friend or lover.

The horror spreads quickly, droves of the ravenous dead seeking out the living -- shredding flesh from bone, feeding. But a disparate group of unlikely heroes -- two headstrong college rivals, a troubled gang member, a teenage pop star and her bodyguard -- is making its way to the center of the nightmare, fighting to protect their loved ones, fighting for their lives, and fighting to end the madness.

I absolutely love this novel! One of my favourite zombie titles of all time! It's a read you should check out if you are a zombie fan! You can read my review of it here.

post signature

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In My Mailbox - LIII

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

The Borrowed


The Bought


The Received

Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh
Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott

A little lazy to take a pic, lol.

Quick thank you to Mariana for The Splash Award!

There is a great blog makeover contest going on! You should definitely check it out! It will end on January 20/10!

What you can win:

  • A custom blog theme/template for selfhosted Wordpress or Blogger (no, sorry, it’s not possible).
  • With up to 15 credits in istockphoto images for the design (if you want more images, you’ll have to purchase them).
  • And up to 3 revisions of the blog sketch!
  • You will also get a 125 x 125 px banner for it!

Important Guidelines

  • The design will include fonts that are free for commercial use (but you can choose to buy yourself a professional one, there’s some really cheap ones).
  • The theme/template will include a credit link in the footer.
  • The prize does not include plugin customization, or anything like that outside the theme itself. Uploading content to the blog is your responsability.
  • If you have images you want included in the design, you must own them, or have a license for them. Using images right out of Google or other places won’t be possible.
Click the banner above to go to the site!

post signature

Friday, January 8, 2010

Author Interview: Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott is a popular YA author so there is no doubt you have heard of her or her novels if you follow close in the YA book blogosphere. I've sadly only read one of her books, Something, Maybe, and is dying for more. However, my schedule is tight so hopefully in the future I will be able to.

Instead, I managed to grab a quick interview with Elizabeth. You can check her or her books out at Enjoy the interview!

Firstly, what inspires you to write a new story?

I get ideas from everywhere--in the shower, out driving, cleaning the bathroom, seeing or hearing something when I'm out, reading something in the paper--in short, all kinds of things!

Out of all the novels you wrote, which one would you say you take the most pride in?

I actually can't read any of my novels, so I have no idea!

If you could turn any of your novels into a movie, which one would it be and which actors/actresses would you want to play your characters?

I wouldn't mind seeing Living Dead Girl as a movie. I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make an amazing Ray, and Dakota Fanning would be great as Alice. Oh! Or Abigail Breslin. She's phenomenal.

What do you find is the easiest part of writing? And the hardest?

Easiest--hmmm. Sometimes writing the first draft is pretty easy for me. Sometimes! As for hardest: everything else! :-)

Did you always wanted to be an author? If not, what led you to where you are today?

I haven't. I didn't write a word of fiction until I was 27, and ended up being published because I
--well, I got really lucky! I'd written three young adult novels, but had no real plans for them even though I'd written a query letter for the first one, Bloom. (I did that so my friends would stop bugging me)

But then, one day I saw an agent blog about e-queries and I thought "ah ha! I'll send the query for Bloom, get rejected, and that will be that!"

The agent ended up offering me representation the next day. It was a TOTAL shock--and an even bigger one when all three novels (Bloom, Stealing Heaven, and Love You Hate You MIss You) sold, and every day I wake up and think about how lucky I am to do what I do. (And I'm very grateful to my friends for believing in me so much!)

Do you have any novels you are working on at the moment or will be releasing soon? If so, can you please give us a brief summary about them?

This year I have two novels coming out.

The Unwritten Rule will be out on April 6th. It's about a girl, Sarah, who falls for her best friend's boyfriend. It's about love--of course!--but also about friendship.

In September, Grace will be released by Dutton. It's about a female suicide bomber--and what happens to her when she realizes she doesn't want to to die.

Lastly, please give us an interesting fact about yourself that not many know of!

I'm allergic to chocolate. (Yes, really. And yes, it sucks!)

post signature

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Princess Princess by Mikiyo Tsuda

Title: Princess Princess
Mangaka: Mikiyo Tsuda
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Completed with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1-3
My Rating: 4/5

At his new all-boys school, Tohru Kouno realizes that it is not quite normal. Due to the fact that there are only male bodies left and right, the students need an outlet of some sort to relish their hormones. Therefore, the Princess system is created. This is where freshmen boys with a pretty face have to dress up as girls and cheer on for the school's clubs and events. One could refuse if chosen, but grades will be jeopardized.

When Kouno is picked to be one of the Princesses, he is repelled by the idea. Until he hears about all the great benefits! With two other Princesses, Shihoudani and Mikoto, the new student learns about the meaning of friendship and women's clothing!

The first volume follows Kouno as he gets used to his lifestyle, which he did pretty quickly. The mangaka also focused on the gothic lolita clothings that the Princesses had to wear. As Kouno hung out with the other Princesses, he learned about Mikoto's unwillingness to participate in the Princess activities and Shihoudani's power to keep the excited classmates away. He also got to know the student council, which practically ran the entire school, and Sakamoto, a classmate who everyone worshipped because of his older brother who graduated.

When I saw the first volume a couple of years ago, I wanted it because of the cover. It had a cute start but not a lot happened as it was only the introduction to the series. I wanted to pick up the second volume but was hesitant to since I was not sure if I was going to like where the plot would be headed.

However, the second volume takes an emotional direction. This is where Tohru's and Shihoudani's pasts are revealed. I think it was a great choice for the mangaka to make the series a little more personal and interesting. It also includes a bonus story where the two gets to meet Sakamoto's eccentric but beautiful family members.

The third volume deals with Mikoto's terrible singing voice, Tohru's family asking him to come back home instead of being at the boarding school, and a crazy school festival. From the previous volume, this one lightens up the mood a bit. It kept me reading nonetheless and there is another bonus story at the end where the characters of Princess Princess meet from those of Train Train, a series by Eiki Eiki.

My favourite character thus far would have to be Mikoto. I found him so cute, how he is so against the whole Princess idea (which guy wouldn't be?) and how dedicated he is to his girlfriend. I really look forward to his girlfriend appearance because I wonder what kind of girl he dates, considering that he managed to keep the secret of his school activities from her for so long.

The art is clean and sweet with humour attached to it. Overall from the first three volumes of Princess Princess, I recommend it to shojo lovers who would like to see some crossdressing comedy and a friendship only story.

Vol. 2-3 bookmooched from Tubbs.

post signature

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Watching on Wednesday: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Title: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Type: Movie
Age Group: Youth
Release Year: 2009
My Rating: 4/5

Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is back after two years when he had became the CEO of Daley Devices. When he visits his beloved Museum of Natural History where he was once a night guard, he finds out that most of the exhibits were closing down. The artifacts and wax figures are to be shipped to The Archives under The Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. Only a few exhibits are to remain, including the Golden Tablet of Ahkmenrah. He is disappointed but nothing can be done and he may never see his museum friends again.

When he suddenly receives a phone call from the Western cowboy figure Jedediah (Owen Wilson), he discovers that Dexter, the capuchin monkey, had stolen the Tablet. Now, the evil Pharaoh Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria) demands for the Tablet to let the Underworld loose so he could control the world. Larry must sneak into The Archives and stop the Pharaoh. Along the way, he meets Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), General George Armstrong Custer (Bill Hader), and many more new faces.

Before I saw Night at the Museum, I thought it was going to be childish and exaggerated. Instead, it was a movie that I enjoyed. Except for some reason, I had the same assumption for the sequel. Instead, it was as delightful as the first.

What I really loved about this movie was the humour. Unlike most comedic moments you see now on TV, they are kept clean because it is directed to a younger audience but are hilarious nonetheless. It kept me giggling throughout and had me waiting for more funny scenes.

I found the famous pictures that were moving when the museum came to life to be interesting. Partially because when Larry and Amelia jumped into one to escape from their enemies, it took them back to a period where the war was over and everything was black and white. I love how fashion changes over the decades so I found it to be catching. Unlike the first movie, the sequel goes through a lot of cool exhibits, such as the The National Airspace and Craft Museum, to random characters from Star Trek and Sesame Street.

I definitely recommend this movie for the family if you have a child or a younger sibling/relative. Even if not, it isn't a bad movie to watch by yourself either if you want to feel like a kid again.

post signature

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: Troy High by Shana Norris

Title: Troy High
Author: Shana Norris
Description: Homer’s Iliad, the classic tale of love and revenge, is shrewdly retold for teens in Troy High.

Narrated by Cassie, a shy outsider who fears that an epic high school rivalry is about to go up in flames, the story follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Cassie’s brother Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten.

The Trojans and Spartans pull wicked pranks on each other as homecoming approaches. And the Spartans’ wildcard football star, Ackley, promises to take down the Trojans’ offensive line. But the stakes are raised when Cassie is forced to choose between the boy she loves (a Spartan) and loyalty to her family and school. Troy High will seduce readers with its incendiary cast of mythic proportions.

I actually haven't read a lot of retelling YA novels but I am fascinated in stories that are based on the Greeks mythology and so on. For those who have read Troy High, what is your opinion on this novel?

post signature

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman

Title: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn
Author: Alison Goodman
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 531
My Rating: 5/5

To become a Dragoneye is a difficult task. To become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons requires intense training of many years. Twelve-year-old Eon has been working so hard in hope of becoming the Rat Dragon's new apprentice. Except, he harbours a secret.

Eon's real identity is Eona, a girl of sixteen years. It is forbidden for females to use Dragon Magic and if Eon is discovered, it will be the end of her.

When events turned out much more differently than expected, Eon and her allies' lives become jeopardized when an evil lord tries to obtain her power. The world Eon knows will be in ruins if she does not find a way to stop her enemies.

Wow. Absolutely freaking amazing. The fact that I see there is not a large amount of hype in the YA book blogging world about this novel makes me a little disappointed (or maybe it passed considering that it was published in 2008?).

Alison Goodman delivered a story of magnificence and danger, one that would suck the reader into a world where they would not want to leave. Written in a dramatic voice with power and allure, the images of Eon's world unfolds beautifully to whoever reads it. Eon is a strong female lead who is mature beyond her years, having your support 100%. Intelligent and flawed, she is someone anyone can relate to at any level. One of my other favourite characters is Lady Dela, a graceful woman in a man's body. The author made her to be exquisite with her charming manners and delicate but gorgeous outfits. Not only that, but Lady Dela is power player behind the scenes that has great influence. Every single character that exists in the novel is fleshed out and genuine, making the story even more vivid when combined with extreme action and conspiracy.

If you have not already clued in, go get your copy of Eon: Dragoneye Reborn now! It may be a thick book but it is definitely worth it! It will also appeal to males, so if there is any guy readers out there, you have to check this one out!

Review copy provided by Penguin Group (Canada).

post signature

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Q4U: What is your book pet peeve?

Q4U (Question 4 U) is a random meme hosted at Stop, Drop, and Read! that appears on random days. A question is asked, where it could range from getting feedbacks for the blog to a start of a fun topic!

In replacement of my non-existent IMM post due to my broken doorbell, I thought I should at least post something. So today's question is...

What is your book pet peeve?

This can be physical as having your books bent to the storyline where you hate a certain overused plot.

One kind of overused plot that bothers me a lot lately is that plain Jane protagonist running into a hot, mysterious guy to whom she is drawn to for no good reason in the beginning. It was cool when it first came out, but after awhile, it's just no. I mean, have you ever seen vice versa? Now I want to read about an average Joe and some sexy female...

I also hate it when the side of the paperback cover starts ruining because of sweaty hands. So now when I read, I just pressed on the pages rather than holding it when my hands for some reason are profusely sweating.

What are your pet peeves?

post signature

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Beating Heart by A.M. Jenkins

Title: Beating Heart
Author: A.M. Jenkins
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 244
My Rating: 4.5/5

Evan moves into a new residence with his mom and little sister after his parents divorced. His new home dates back over a century and he is not impressed.

A young ghost who used to live in the home is still around. She mistakes Evan as her old lover and enters his dreams nightly.

In this haunting and mesmerizing tale, readers will enjoy A.M. Jenkin's beautifully poetic writing about young love.

I left this novel on my shelf for a couple of months with little interest because I never saw any reviews for it. When I first started, I was a little surprised that part of the novel was written in the format of a poem. Luckily, it was not like that throughout because I'm not into reading poems. Written in two perspectives, you get the ghost's observations and Evan's day-to-day story.

The story revolves around Evan's feelings towards his parents' divorce and his relationship with his girlfriend while the ghost watches from the sidelines. Along the way, the ghost's past is revealed and you find out why she's still around. Although the plot is quite simple, the author made it enticing, having you want to read more out of curiosity. An issue that is raised in the novel is about teenage relationships. Some people take it seriously, while others don't. Love during one's teen years is something difficult to grasp because it is hard to know if the emotion is real. I really liked how it is incorporated into the novel because it brought out the realism in the characters.

Quick, memorable, and engaging, I recommend Beating Heart for anyone who wants a unique contemporary read. I am going to try to look into the author's other works because Beating Heart left me wanting more. If you want, you can read the preview of the novel here.

Review copy provided by

post signature

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cat Paradise by Yuji Iwahara

Title: Cat Paradise
Mangaka: Yuji Iwahara
Age Group: Older Teens
Series is: Completed with 5 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 1
My Rating: 4.5/5

Matabi Academy is known for allowing its students to bring their pet cats. Yumi Hayawa, a new student who's hobby is to make cute outfits for her cat Kansuke, soon realizes her new school is unlike anything she has seen before.

After she and her friend got attacked by a demon, she learns that the founder of Matabi Academy sealed away the great cat demon Kaen a 100 years ago. Now Kaen is back, ready to cause chaos on Earth.

I thought I wouldn't enjoy this series but surprisingly it grabbed my interest pretty quickly. Yumi is one of those clumsy female characters you would find in some mangas but is one that doesn't tick off the readers. The student council of her school plays a huge role also because each of the members are chosen to stop Kaen. Thus far, the first volume only gives insight on one of the members, Kotori. I am assuming that every volume will reveal more about the student council.

One of the most unique aspects of this novel is how the mangaka uses cats as part of the main focus of the story. Those who are "chosen" have the ability to communicate with cats and they have a magical bond to their own pet cat. This bond will enable them to use some sort of magic and that could either be the cat or the owner their self. It may sound a little childish, but the concept is not as bad as you think it is, considering that I'm giving it a 4.5 so far. The mangaka made it work with the plot and fun.

There is a lot of inking so the black and white stands out in the art. Characters such as Yumi and Kotori are drawn with big eyes and has cute demeanour attached to them but it does not scream shojo. Most of the time, the characters are drawn with simple expressions and clothing, keeping everything neat. I think the mangaka did well with the cat drawings and they seem to be accurate to their breed. Overall I like Iwahara's artstyle because it is clean and simple, but nice to look at the same time.

I recommend this manga to cat lovers and those would would like a series about demons in a school location.

Won copy from
Tiamat's Manga Reviews.

post signature