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, December 14, 2013

Taking Audiobooks Review Requests/Recommendations!

Hello, hello! Long time no talk! So I want to do a quick update. Although I don't have the time to read like I once used to, I have plenty of time to listen to audio (I work part-time at a car assembly plant). I have about 16 hours of listening time a week. I only listen to a couple of podcasts (Runaway Thoughts and Dada Life) with so many songs I could just replay over and over on my iPod. Since my review blog has been dull for the past couple of years, I am willing to jumpstart by blog again with audiobook reviews. I am really new to the audiobook side of things so I would need some navigation.

I looked into Audible, however it seems like I have to input my credit card number, which is something I don't want to do. If anyone can recommend a great audiobook site where I can download my novels for free, let me know!

I am unsure how popular audiobooks are in the YA realm. Therefore, I will give flexibility with the genres of audiobooks I will take on (mystery, horror, etc). So yes, feel free to shoot me any audiobook requests (or recommendations!) starting now! :)
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Author Interview: H. L. LeRoy

Terra Vonn is fighting to survive in a destroyed world,
surrounded by unspeakable horror . . .
and things are about to get much worse.

Title: The Fountain of the Earth
Author: H. L. LeRoy
Description: The first in a planned series, The Fountain of the Earth is set on the West Coast following a catastrophic solar flare that has destroyed civilization, leaving only a few people struggling to survive. After witnessing the vicious murder of her mother, Terra Vonn (15) has a singular focus—exacting revenge on the killers. But before she can complete her plans, savagery intervenes and she is cast alone into a brutal post-apocalyptic world. As she trails the men south through a land filled with cannibalistic criminals, slave traders, and lunatics, the hunter becomes the hunted. Terra quickly learns that she is neither as tough nor as brave as she thinks she is. Worse, she may be the only one who stands between what little remains of civilization and destruction.


Hello my lovely readers! I have temporarily crawled out of my hole to present to you a new author interview with H. L. LeRoy of the dystopian novel, The Fountain of the Earth! As you probably know, updating this blog with YA novel reviews likely won't happen for another while. Possibly after I graduate university (next year...). However, if you would like to see more of my reviews (not books unfortunately) and are in Toronto (or planning to visit soon), you can check me out at The Toronto Cafe Blog and on Facebook: Oh and my Twitter @torontocafeblog. :) 

Now, back to the interview. If you would like to learn more about H. L. LeRoy, The Fountain of the Earth or his other novels, you can visit at

1. What inspired you to write The Fountain of the Earth?

I wrote a 250 word piece of flash fiction about a young girl alone in a post-apocalyptic world, entitled I Am Called Faith. Several who read it wanted to know more about the girl and the world. The Fountain of the Earth grew from there. The essence of I Am Called Faith can be found in chapter three.

2. What would you say is the easiest part of writing the novel? And the hardest part?

Creating the characters, and letting them run away with the story. The hardest was making sure that I never resorted to contrived solutions to problems. I wanted this novel to be plausible.

3. Describe The Fountain of the Earth in one sentence.

Fifteen-year-old Terra Vonn, cast alone into a brutal and savage post-apocalyptic world, is the only one who can save can save what remains of civilization from destruction.

4. Do you have any favourite authors and novels? If so, who and which novels?

Not in any particular order, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, Music for Torching by A.M. Homes, Hunger Games, Dystopia, The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton, Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn.

5. Finally, do you have any other novels in progress? If so, what are they going to be about?

I’m working on book two of the Fountain of the Earth series, tentatively titled The Heralds of Juno, as well as a mystery/thriller, Hollow Point, featuring Jillian Varela, a tough as nails female private eye.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

5th Annual YA Novel Discovery Contest

Serendipity Literary Agency in conjunction with Sourcebooks Inc. is hosting their fifth annual Young Adult Novel Discovery Competition.

No query? No pitch? No problem!

Have a young adult novel—or a YA novel idea—tucked away for a rainy day? Are you putting off pitching your idea simply because you’re not sure how to pitch an agent? No problem! All you have to do is submit the first 250 words of your novel and you can win exposure to editors and a review of your manuscript from one of New York’s TOP young adult literary agents, Regina Brooks.


In honor of National Novel Writing Month (—an international event where aspiring novelists are encouraged to write an entire novel in 30 days—this contest is meant to encourage the aspiring YA author to get started on that novel by offering an incentive for completing the first 250 words.


The Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to submit an entire manuscript to YA literary agent Regina Brooks AND receive a free, 10-week writing course, courtesy of Gotham Writers' Workshop, plus a collection of gourmet teas from! 

The Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one pitch session with Regina Brooks, one of New York’s premier literary agents for young adult books. They will also receive commentary on their submissions with editors from Scholastic, Feiwel and Friends, Random House, Little Brown, Kensington, Candlewick, Bloomsbury, Simon and Schuster, Penguin, and Sourcebooks. In addition, they will receive a year’s subscription to The Writer magazine!

First 50 Entrants will receive a copy of Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: The rules of the contest are simple and entering is easy. Submit entries of ONLY the first 250 words of your manuscript and the title via the contest website at

One entry per person; anyone age 14+ can apply. Open to the U.S. & Canada (void where prohibited). Entries for the YA Novel Discovery Contest will be accepted from 12:01am (ET) November 1st, 2013 until 11:59pm November 30th, 2013 (ET).

YA literary agent Regina Brooks and her team will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Deidre Jones Little Brown, Nicole Raymond Candlewick, Aubrey Poole Sourcebooks, Kendra Levin Viking Penguin, Mercedes Fernandez Kensington, Annie Nybo Simon and Schuster, Erica Finkel Abrams Books, Monica Jean Random House, Catherine Laudone Simon and Schuster, Stacey Friedberg Penguin Group, Paula Sadlet Random House, Laura Whitaker Bloomsbury, Anna Roberts Feiwel and Friends. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to five, and each of the five winners will be provided commentary on their submissions.

So enter now!
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Watching on Wednesday: Blind Alley

Title: Blind Alley (El callejón)
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens+
Release Year: 2011
My Rating: 4/5

Beautiful young Rosa (Ana de Armas) is a hotel maid who dreams of being on television one day. She practices and auditions, hoping to get out of her mundane, working-class lifestyle. On one unsuspected night, her life becomes endangered when she gets trapped in a laundromat with a sadistic killer on the loose.

When it comes to foreign films, I usually watch Korean dramas or Japanese anime. I don't tend to venture out to other foreign films. However, while I was flipping through Netflix, I wanted to watch a horror movie so I decided to give Blind Alley a run. Prior to Blind Alley, the only other Spanish movie I saw was Pan's Labyrinth (an exceptional movie I definitely recommend!). Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed Blind Alley!

The plot of the movie was very straight-forward: survival. However, what I thought was really interesting about the movie was the cinematography. It was quite different than what I was used to and it captured interesting shots that really reflected the director's style. The primary setting was at the laundromat for the ladder half of the movie, but the actors made it compelling enough that you don't realize there weren't a lot of variations to where the plot took place.

I think that Ana de Armas is gorgeous and she acts well. Her character, Rosa, was not completely defenseless. She fought hard for her survival throughout the movie. I would love to see another movie she starred in (if anyone knows of a good one, let me know!). I have to admit, I was caught completely off-guard with the ending. Even though the Netflix movie poster gave it away (the one I'm displaying is different), I assumed it was there for visuals since nothing came about until maybe the last 15-20 minutes of the movie.

All in all, Blind Alley is an enjoyable and easy to watch horror flick. It's different than your usual jump-scare because the character knows the danger in front of her and has to somehow get out of it alive.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun

Title: Ink
Author: Amanda Sun
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 384
My Rating: 2/5

Katie moves to Japan after the death of her mother to live with her aunt. It isn't easy to adapt to a whole new culture and picking up on a foreign language, but Katie manages to make it work. Everything changes when she interacts with Tomohiro, a classmate who at first just appears to be one big jerk. However, she can't help but try to learn more about him. When she does, she gets pulled into a world of danger and magic.

The reason that I picked up this novel to read was because it appealed to the manga lover within me. Being based in Japan and having Japanese mythical creatures made me curious how it would turn out in novel form. Having been an active manga reader and reviewer, as well as an anime watcher, I have seen my fair share of spins on kamis (ancient Japanese beings that once ruled Japan). However, having to no longer read as actively anymore, I've become a lot more picky. Ink fell short of my expectations. 

In the beginning, I found Katie to be an extremely nosy character. She really had no business to bother or follow Tomohiro. When it comes to mangas or novels, it doesn't seem as bad. Though if it was in real life, having someone following you secretly because they think you are hiding something is invading your personal privacy. Following Tomohiro and then accusing him was a bit much for me. Tomohiro wasn't much better. He had on his bipolar personalities, cold one moment to a girl and then sweet to an elderly lady the next. I understand what the author was trying to do but it had been done many times over. He really fell into that typical cliche of a male lead: a mysterious, good-looking jerk who becomes tender and protective once he meets "the girl". Both of the characters toned down once the novel progresses, but it was hard to personally keep me interested. 

The plot had potential, but I didn't like it because asides from the cliches itself, the writing did not capture my attention. I believe I started the novel sometime back in February or March, I cannot recall. It took me some time to pick it up and finished it. I know if this was in manga format, it would've been a lot more interesting. The only thing I feel that sets this novel apart is the use of Japanese kamis, since not many young adult novels reach into the Asian myths. I do like however though, is that the series incorporate some art as well as definitions for the Japanese words used.

Review copy provided by Harlequin Teen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Author Interview: Travis Heermann

Title: The Wild Boys
Author: Travis Heerman
Description: When three younger boys show up on the doorstep of Mia's everyday suburban existence, naked and on the run, she is drawn into a shadow world where a series of strange disappearances heralds a slowly spreading plague of bioengineered lycanthropy. Mia must save the three orphaned boys from their brutal Alpha, a man-beast who believes normal humans are food.

A war is brewing for the top of the food chain. Mia doesn’t know it yet, but she holds the key to the future of the human race.


I was contacted by Travis Heermann, the author of a recently released YA paranormal novel called The Wild Boys. However, due to my schedule, I was unable to review it. I decided that an interview would be best, especially since I haven't done one in awhile!

If you would like to know more about Travis, The Wild Boys, or his other novels, you can check out his website here:

1. What inspired you to write The Wild Boys?

The initial idea came from a dream that my wife at the time had about encountering three young boys on a bicycle path. There were terrified, on the run, and while they looked normal, somehow she knew they were werewolves. We discussed the dream, and then she told me, "You need to write this story." I agreed with her. So over the next year or so, concurrent with other projects, I developed the story further, along with the main character, Mia.

2. What distinguishes The Wild Boys from other young adult novels based around werewolves?

 This book treats lycanthropy as a science-based disease, a virus, rather than a mystical curse. The problem with diseases is that they can spread. In genre fiction and movies, we've seen the Zombie Apocalypse over and over, but what about a werewolf apocalypse. I started asked "what if?" questions. What if this plague spread out of control and turned an increasing percentage of the human population into werewolves? What would happen to society? How far could this go?

3. Describe what your progress is like when writing a new novel.

I've written eight novels so far, four of which have been published with the fifth coming out this summer. I can't say definitively what my process is like because so far it's been different every time. My most recently completed novel is a horror-western, which came about as an adaptation of a screenplay I wrote with my friend Jim Pinto. Fleshing out a screenplay into a full-fledged novel required a lot of research, but the research led to some inspirations that really added depth to the original story. In the case of The Wild Boys, there were at least five drafts, mainly because Mia's character kept evolving, and I would go back through the manuscript and add more depth to her character, which created some interesting resonances within the story.

In the case of Rogues of the Black Fury, my swashbuckling fantasy novel that came out last year, the main character stormed out of my subconscious and said, "Write about me, you #*&^@!" So I developed a story around that character.

4. Do you have any authors you look up to that inspire you to write?

Absolutely, but there are many. Shakespeare is a tremendous inspiration. If I could write dialogue half that good, with characters that still resonate after 400 years, I would never have to worry about a paycheck. As for contemporary writers, Stephen King was one of my early inspirations. And along the way, other writers have set me on fire, most importantly Ray Bradbury, whose novel Fahrenheit 451 changed my life. I am a walking example of how books can change people's lives. The writer I most want to emulate, someone I look up to, is Joe R. Lansdale. From an artistic standpoint, his stories and books are often like a punch in the gut, and nobody writes redneck stupidity and rural darkness with a sharper eye for truth and detail. From a professional standpoint, I admire Lansdale because he has not allowed himself to be pigeon-holed, and he makes a living writing what he wants, short stories, novels, comics, and screenplays. His work often bends and mashes up genres so he's difficult to pin down.

5. Are you currently working on a new novel? If so, what is it going to be about?

Right now, I am between novels. The project I finished most recently is the second book in my historical fantasy Ronin Trilogy, which will be coming out in June. I'm going to spend a few months concentrating on short fiction, but after that I have a number of directions I could go with novels. A Wild Boys sequel perhaps, the final volume of the Ronin Trilogy, or a hard sci-fi novel I've been percolating for about a year. 
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Watching on Wednesday: The Butterfly Effect

Title: The Butterfly Effect
Type: Movie
Age Group: Teens + 
Release Year: 2004
My Rating: 5/5

Evan (Ashton Kutcher) had a lot of moments in his life where he had completely blacked out. This seemed to happen each time something drastic in his life occurred and unfortunately, he would have no recollection of it. When he got older, he found out he was able to travel back in time and change the course of his actions. For every action he changed, his current reality changed with it. At what point would he stop altering his present?

I heard this was one of Ashton Kutcher's best roles. He is usually known for his idiotic persona as Kelso on That '70s Show and acting in romantic comedies. So I was wondering what he would be like outside of his usual role. Honestly, I was quite impressed. He was excellent, acting as a young man who gone through multitudes of hardships as he continuously went back in time in attempt to give his childhood sweetheart a happy life. 

The movie itself was very engaging. I got so into it that I would jump and scream at certain parts! I don't know how I felt about the ending. I watched the director's cut and to say the least, it was depressing but worked well with the overall story. The theatrical cut was completely different from what I was told and I prefer the director's cut over it. You would root for Evan until the very end, hoping that everything would end well. It actually reminds me of a YA novel, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who wishes for a psychological thriller or to see Kutcher in a whole new light. 

(P.S. I apologize for not posting for so long! I wish I could say I would be more active soon but between my cafe blog, school, and life, it's not easy. Thank you to my old readers! :) )

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