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 sometime before I can review it. However, requests for author guest posts are more than welcomed.

In the meantime, Stop, Drop, and Read! serves as an archive book review blog. When I have the time, a review may be posted.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Mailbox (Apr 13/15) - Geek Edition

Does anyone remember this segment? Haha, it's been so long since I've done a proper book haul. This past week, I scored pretty well and thought it was worthy of an update. I have been geeking out on Doctor Who as of late. I'm not a comic book reader, but I've made an exception for Doctor Who. Also so happy I finally got my hands on The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service. They are no longer being published in North America and are hard to find. Also one step closer to completing my Harry Potter book collection! Only the Goblet of Fire left to add. If you are from Toronto, Yorkdale gives out free Flare magazines every month FYI. 


Bought
- Doctor Who: Revolutions of Terror
- Doctor Who: After Life
- Doctor Who: January 4th issue

Free
- Flare: May 2015 

Swapped
- The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service vol. 10-13
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Maid Sama! by Hiro Fujiwara

Manga: Maid Sama!
Mangaka: Hiro Fujiwara
Age Group: Teens
Volume(s) Reviewing: 2
Series is: Completed with 18 volumes
My Rating: 2.5/5

Misaki's days as the school president are always so busy. A couple of her fellow classmates got into a fight with one of the students from a prestigious school. She must figure out how deal with this problem. Also, she has to worry about the upcoming school sports festival. It doesn't help that Usui follows her everywhere and has confessed that he likes her!

After reading the first volume awhile back, I wasn't keen on picking up the second volume from my shelf. In attempt to diminish my book collection though, I thought I should pick it up to see if the series was salvageable.  

The more I read, the less keen I was with Usui's character. I know he's supposed to be the "cool guy" that is good at everything, but sometimes he takes it too far. For example in the first volume, he pretended to be a stalker to teach Misaki the lesson that "she's still a girl". Saying that even if she is tough, it doesn't mean she would be able to overpower a guy bigger than her. There were moments like these where he seemed close to assaulting Misaki. That didn't settle right with me. 

I didn't like the plot where they suddenly rivalled with a prestigious school. The president of the Miyabi Gaoka Academy plays the villain. Which in my opinion, maybe because I am so picky about my books, is uncalled for. He's basically a stuck-up rich kid that is used to having things his way. It was my least favourite plot in this volume.

The only thing I like about Maid Sama! is the "Idiot Trio". They give some good comic relief throughout the manga series. 

Overall, I'm not sure why there is a hype about this series. The art is nice though. 

Review copy provided by HarperCollins Canada.
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Unfinished Reading: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Title: Alice in Zombieland
Author: Gena Showalter
Age Group: Teens
# of Pages: 416
My Rating: 1/5

Alice survived a tragic car accident, but her family did not. Up until then, she always thought her father's paranoia about monsters was rubbish. Except after the accident, she thinks he may have been right after all and they are the ones responsible for her family's death. 

In attempt to diminish my unread YA collection, I picked up Alice in Zombieland from the pile. I recognized the author and have heard much hype around her previous series, Intertwined (which I also have, unread). I thought I'd give Alice in Zombieland a shot because I love a good zombie novel (they are harder to pull off in book form in my opinion). 

As you can tell from the post title, I did not finish the book, I have about 100 pages left but I don't think I will be picking it back up. I thought that I should give my opinion on what I have read so far regardless and give this blog a little boost after much neglect. 

Alice's character is tolerable. She's more or less an average girl (aren't they all?) in a less-than-happy state after the death of her family. She then met bad boy Cole. Cole's character bothered me because while I was reading, all I could think of is Katy Perry's song Hot N Cold. One minute, he's there and helping her out. Next minute, he pretty much tells her to stay away from him. His Edward Cullen's hot-and-cold persona was not winning him any points with me. 

What bothered me the most about the plot is the fact that the "zombies" aren't really zombies. When you think zombies, you think infected people that feeds off of humans. Not these ones though. They are apparently invisible and only certain people can see them. In order to fight them, your essence or soul or whatever has to be separated from your body because the "zombies" were spirits and their physical forms do not exist. Anyway, the whole premise of this alone flabbergasted me. This would have been better off if it was a whole new supernatural species the author created. Not to mention, the novel is not based off of Alice in Wonderland at all. There are just very few references to it. 

I didn't like the writing style either because of the lack of detail. I feel that in order for me to enjoy a novel now is for the author to have a writing style that creates an atmosphere and immerse you into the world (similar to J.K. Rowling). It's unfortunate but a lot of the novels nowadays have that straight forward action and sentence structure. No details, nothing to give you a proper feel of the world in the book. This is pretty much why I have a hard time getting back into reading YA novels. After reading hundreds and hundreds of books, I've seen a lot of books go through the same cliches with plot, characters, writing style, etc. Which is why now I am very selective when it comes to reading nowadays. 

So I would skip this novel if you are looking for a traditional zombie novel. Maybe try it out if you are a fan of Gena Showlater. If you just want to pick up any YA novel, I would say to avoid this one. 

Review copy from Harlequin Teen.
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Author Post: Jay Stritch

Title: The Man of a Thousand Faces
Author: Jay Stritch
Description: Nineteen year old Achill has never left his training camp on Mars. With the revelation that his mother was exiled from the strict system after he was born he feels even more pressure to prove his loyalty and status as a fearless warrior who doesn't think before he kills. That is until he, who has never been taught of love or freedom, is sent on a secret mission for which he must travel through the other seven planets and fight for survival. As his journey unfolds he will discover unknown truths, potential love and face the strangeness of the lives and culture of those raised so differently to him. He may even uncover the timeless mystery of the man of a thousand faces. As tensions rise and the stakes are higher than ever Achill must decide who he is actually fighting for as he tries to understand both conflicts between the planets and also within himself.


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Hey guys! I am bringing a new author post today. Jay Stritch is the author of an upcoming sci-fi series, The Eight World Chronicles. The first novel, The Man of a Thousand Faces, is now out. Check her post below about what makes us love the anti-hero and details on where to get her novel!


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Thank you for having me on your blog today. I am thrilled to be able to talk about ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces.’ Today I thought I’d talk about a topic that makes up a large portion of the book and that is the power of the anti-hero.

I don’t know what it is but the characters I always wind up falling in love with the most are those who I hated to start with. To my mind it has always been far more appealing to have a character that is flawed but capable of redemption than a ready-made hero who you are supposed to fall in love with. Maybe I'm just a little dysfunctional (certainly a possibility) but it definitely makes for more interesting reading when a character undergoes such a transformation.

I think the reasons this is so powerful centre around hope, identifiability, and environment.

Hope: This is often what we live for, what makes us thrive, keeps us happy and I think that when reading about a character’s ability to change their ways it gives us hope for our own lives and for the world in general which so often feels stuck in ways of prejudice.

Identifiability: I think it is a lot easier to identify with a flawed character than a hero. In the presence of a hero I tend to shrink away, to feel inferior but I can root for someone who is a damaged product of the life they have lead so far having to turn it around and become a hero. We like to be able to relate to what we read, to see our lives reflected back at us in all their gritty realism, horror and delight and that is what you get when you read of someone’s struggle and not only of their success. 

Environment: I think that it is impossible to get to a certain age and not feel like the world has messed you up a little. Like you have to hold it accountable for some of your darker moments. Also looking around the world or opening a news paper we see many environments people have had to endure which seem unbearable. War, hardship, poverty, indoctrination, I think it’s always a wonderful reminder when you can separate a person from their environment and allow them to think for themselves. It gives us inspiration not to be defined by circumstance but to live by our own standards and beliefs.

These three things are the key to why an anti hero can be so powerful, likeable and readable in my humble opinion.

When writing ‘The Man of a Thousand Faces,’ I really wanted to explore the psyche of someone who had been raised in a very all consuming system and knew nothing but a certain way of life. And then I endeavored to take him out of that system and confront the other possibilities of life. It was interesting seeing how these beliefs unravelled and how difficult it can be to try and start from scratch again and discover who you are when who you've been told you are no longer holds true.

I hope this doesn't make the book sound too serious, it is actually a fun read...you should buy it, it’s available on Amazon now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thousand-Faces-Eight-Worlds-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00U8OJF4U/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1426863508&sr=8-3&keywords=jay+stritch


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Author Bio: Jay Stritch is a published author, Cambridge student and part time occupant of the real world. (They’re trying to convince her to go full time but she’s having none of it.)

Born and raised a country girl and more accustom to cows than cars she is an avid reader, writer and adrenaline junkie. Jay wears big glasses for her short shortsightedness, both literally and figuratively. She has just published the first installment of the eight worlds chronicles - 'The Man of a Thousand Faces.'

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