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.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tokyopop Pre-Garage Sale Extravangza!

If you are a manga fan like I am, you may have heard the announcement that Tokyopop has officially closed its doors. This is such sad news to all anime and manga fans because just this previous year, two other manga publishers (CMX and Go! Comi) also closed down.

Tokyopop has to clear out much of their inventory. In order to get rid of their stuff, they are hosting a contest with 10 winners. However, their location is in Los Angeles so if you are not near that area, you wouldn't be able to win because they won't be mailing out the prizes.

So if you are a manga/anime fan and is in L.A., check out this link: Contest ends May 1st so hurry!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

I am back!

Hopefully, haha! So my first year of university has officially ended (no summer school for me, no siree!) and now I have four months of vacation. :D My plan is definitely to update Stop, Drop, and Read! more often. Even though I haven't done My Monday Mailbox & Music Machine (The Story Siren's In My Mailbox inspired weekly feature) since like August, I did receive quite a few books to review despite the fact I held off requesting any. I will restart that feature this upcoming Monday with the latest books I have received this past couple of weeks.

In terms of my reading so far, you can see what I have been trying to get through on the left sidebar (has been the same 3 books for the last 2 months). I think I will have to re-read Awakened for sure. The review copy I received awhile back was actually paper-bounded so the ARC is huge. I was unable to take it with me to places and I sometimes forgot to read it. So I need to re-read it in order to give a clear and concise review. (I'm so sorry Ednah for the extreme delay! Will let you know once I have the review up!)

I actually held off reading Flowers in the Attic because I was really disliking the grandmother. I know the series is very popular, even till this day. However, it is a really dark story and I don't know how far I will be able to go. If anyone has read this novel or the series in general, what is your take on it?

Since I have been out of the YA loop for over 10 months, anything you guys want to update me on? :)

Upcoming review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

P.S. Who is watching the Royal Wedding tomorrow?
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori

Title: Ouran High School Host Club
Mangaka: Bisco Hatori
Age Group: Teens
Series is: Complete with 18 volumes
Volume(s) Reviewing: 14-15
My Rating: 4.5/5

In volume 14, Hikaru finally confesses his feelings to Haruhi. Poor Haruhi, who has been so oblivious up until now, has no idea how to react to this situation. Later the plot spins off when she gets kidnapped while she and the host club were visiting the shrine for the New Year's!

The last time I reviewed the series was in December of 2008. Since then when there were only a few volumes out, the story lines and characters have developed so much ever since. Hatori's art style evolved ever since volume one so there would be a difference if you compare her style now and then. Tamaki and the twins I have noticed did change a lot in terms of their personalities. If you have read up to thus far, you would know that some of the Ouran characters became more complex over time in terms of their backgrounds and so on.

In this volume, Hikaru finally decides to be brave and tell Haruhi how he feels about her. This is a big step in his character especially and it is nice to see the clear difference between him and his brother. After Hikaru told Tamaki that he likes Haruhi, poor Tamaki gets into this confused state of mind. He then became a deep and philosophical person as he tried to sort out what he was really feeling inside.

We then get introduced to a new character named Megumi Kanoya, a girl who is practically twin to Haruhi in terms of appearance! Classy and gentle, Kanoya is similar to Tamaki because of their background history and is attached to the king of the Ouran Host Club. She is slightly bland in this volume so I wasn't paying attention to her as much.

I particularly enjoyed the side story at the end of volume 14 with Mori and his racoon and chicken pets. They are simply adorable. Too bad in real life they aren't that cute to actually own.

In volume 15, the host club decides that in order to get Tamaki out of his moody state, they host a race for the school!

Through the race, you get to see Kanoya's personality a lot better. I like her after this volume because she turned out to be very cute and has this funny personality. Tamaki did get out of his weird mood in this volume and turned out to misunderstood things a bit more than before!

Surprisingly up until now, the mangaka never mentioned about Hunny's and Mori's graduation since they are older than the rest of the club. So that is now thrown into the plot! This is pretty much hinting that the story will sometime ends soon in the future.

After reading up to volume 15, I really hope that in the last volume it would show where everyone would be in 5 or 10 years from now. That would be so amazing to see where our beloved characters end up at!

I definitely look forward to the next volume!

Review copies provided by Viz.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Donation Receipt to GlobalGiving

Here is the proof receipt of donation where the shipping fees of the free ARCs went to. Thank you to those who contributed!

Originally I was planning to donate to Red Cross Canada. Except, I saw on the news that they weren't able to distribute $1 billion dollar donation that was received from around the world. I decided to switch to GlobalGiving since they are showing the progress of how they are helping out in Japan. Click here for the news.

After exams are done, I will likely repost the list of free ARCs. You can click here to see what is left available to take.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

The Lighter Side of Life and Death by C.K. Kelly Martin

Title: The Lighter Side of Life and Death
Author: C.K. Kelly Martin
Age Group: Older Teens
# of Pages: 240
My Rating: 4.5/5

After Mason starred in his school play, he and his friends had a celebratory party right after. Kat, who is his friend of three years, caught her boyfriend having sex with someone else during the party. Pissed, she wanted to leave and Mason felt bad so he went with her. They ended up back at his place and both lost their virginities that night.

Right after, Kat was so freaked out about what had happened decided to distance herself away from Mason. Mason was confused but there was nothing that he could do. He ends up one day bumping into Colette, a twenty-three year old woman, who changes his life forever.

This is the third novel by the Toronto author, C.K. Kelly Martin, who I have enjoyed her previous novels in the past. I have to say so far this novel is my favourite out of the three.

There is quite a bit of sexuality in this novel, compared to the last two if I recalled correctly. It explores the desires and lust of a teenage boy who is experiencing much more than someone at that age. Mason is honest to himself about what is happening and has issues in all areas of his life, like a real boy. It sucks that he is confused by Kat's actions after they slept together. However, as a girl, any reader could understand why she acted the way she did.

I think why I found this to be my favourite because it involves falling for someone older. However, not so old that the age difference is so clear. I haven't been able to read about anyone in their early twenties yet so Colette was a nice and different touch to the book.

There were definitely some family conflicts, especially with Mason and his tween step-sister. You can't help but get annoyed with her too because if you have a sibling, you understand Mason's irritations. Maybe I have been raised this way, but I hate the idea of siblings swearing at each other (unless something really bad happened and they are much older). So when Mason called her a bitch, I cringed. I try my best to censor my language around my sister because she is in grade 6 and I don't want to hear any swear words from her (unfortunately that can't be said with other kids her age these days...).

To conclude, The Lighter Side of Life and Death is a great contemporary read for anyone who would love a more realistic approach with romance compared to the general chick flicks.

Review copy received from Random House.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spread a Word about Fury of the Phoenix!

Okay, in all honesty I have been out of the YA book loop lately. University started last fall and bam! My reading and blogging consistency shot down. Therefore, I barely know what the latest and hottest novels are. However! There were a couple of sequels that I looked forward to for the books I read in the past. One of them is the sequel to Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, Fury of the Phoenix! Just came out yesterday, you can go purchase it at a store near you!

I really wished they stuck with the original cover style like the did when Silver Phoenix first came out...

So in celebration, Cindy Pon created a contest where you must advertise the novel in some way (requirement is that you must read it first)! The winner receives an original Chinese painting made by Cindy herself! Please click here to read all the details. (International entries are welcome).

And by simply spreading the word about it like myself, you can receive some awesome swag! For example, you can get these GORGEOUS postcards below! (I am a huge art fanatic. Especially when it comes to Chinese art. They are LOVE.)

Ai Ling and Chen Yong

Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye

Beautiful, aren't they??? I need to get my characters commissioned like that...

So anyway, what are you waiting for?? Buy Fury of the Phoenix now and enter!

Sidenote: Regarding the donation for Japan's Relief, I'm still awaiting for money to be transferred over to my Paypal. It seems that Red Cross has not yet distributed the $1 billion dollar donation received around the world so far to the Japanese victims (click here for the full news). So I have changed my mind to donate to GlobalGiving instead, where they update every time they are helping in Japan.

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