Monday, February 25, 2013

Read This: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back

The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back
by Sariah Wilson

The Short Story
Mattie has always lived in the shadow of her perfect stepsister, Ella. She's ignored by her parents and her long time crush Jake (who is also Ella's boyfriend), and can't even bring her own lunch to school. But when she gets assigned to be Jake's partner for an assignment, Mattie starts to change the way she looks at everything. A very quick, cute read.
4/5

Come for the....
adorable. I love a good retelling, and this was a very funny take on Cinderella. (Imagine Cinderella set in the high school from Clueless, and narrated by that other sister that no one cared about.) Mattie was a really likeable character. She was snarky and sarcastic, but also had feelings. It was a lot of fun to watch her "strike back" by running for class president, and not taking any crap from Jake.

But what I really liked was watching Mattie become more honest with her feelings and insecurities. As the story went on she reminded me a little of Anna from Anna and the French Kiss. I can relate to self-conscious teen girls so much and spent the last two-thirds of the book laughing and cringing at how Mattie really felt and acted. (Oh, awkward dance scene!) But mostly I laughed. The author has a nice way with words, and once I really got into the plot, I couldn't put the book down.

Don't Think About This Too Hard 

  • There are some 80's pop culture references that I didn't get. I don't think it's essential, but it would probably help if a reader knew about 80's movies.

The Big Three:
Language: not an issue
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: not an issue



Just So You Know: I received a free review copy of The  Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back as part of the blog tour hosted by I Am A Reader Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.


As part of the tour, I get to participate in the joint $25 gift card giveaway!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced at I Am a Reader Not a Writer as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Blast: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back


The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back by Sariah Wilson 

Everyone knows how all those fairy tales go. The princess gets beautiful, nabs her prince, falls instantly in love, lives happily ever after and leaves her evil stepsisters in the dust.

But what happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.

Ella can keep her Prince Annoying. Mattie’s going to rule the school.

And no one, not even a cute and suddenly flirty Jake, is going to stop her.


Purchase


Praise

“My top pick of 2012 YA… This book is just. plain. fun.”
~Jordan McCollum, author of Saints & Spies and I, Spy

“Sariah Wilson's new book, The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back, is hilarious…What follows is a story of fun and romance with some good non-preachy life lessons thrown in.  The voice in the main character, Mattie, makes the whole thing.  I thought it was definitely a book I'd recommend to anyone with teenagers or who just want to read a good teen romance.”
~Julie Coulter Bellon, author of All Fall Down and All’s Fair

“Sariah [Wilson] has written one of the funniest stories I've read in such a long, long time. I literally couldn't put it down. Yes, my poor Kindle's battery died and I was attached to a short power cord, contorted in a very uncomfortable position while I read to the end…. Sariah Wilson captured the back-biting, insecure, hormone-driven, clique-riddled high school atmosphere so perfectly you'd think she never grew up. I dare you not to laugh as you read this witty and oh, so, romantic story.”
~Debra Erfert of Windows into Writing

“Sariah Wilson writes like the best of/most popular YA teen fiction/teen romance authors - Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Susanne Collins, Cassandra Clare.  She sucks you in and never lets you go.  I finished the ~194 novel in one night because I just couldn't go to sleep without knowing the ending!  I hope that Sariah comes out with more novels, I know I'll be re-reading this one all the time!  She's extremely talented and needs to be talked about.  I highly recommend The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back! to anyone (over the age of 12) who wants a YA novel that's a real modern-day fairy tale.”
~Hilary at Novel d’Tales

“This was such an entertaining story! I shouldn't have started reading it so late in the evening, because I didn't want to put it down to go to sleep…This is a book I can see myself reading several times. It's a fast, clean read with great characters, and I highly recommend it.”
~Andrea of Literary Time Out

The book is wonderful.  It’s quirky and fun.  The story makes you laugh and you fall in love with the characters right from the beginning…This is a well-written book.  It is one that will make you smile and sigh as you remember your first love.  And it has a moral…be yourself, believe in yourself and maybe, just maybe, your fairytale will come true.  Pick up this book.”
~Ana of The Book Hookup



Author Sariah Wilson

Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters—which is why she writes romance. The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back is her fourth happily ever after novel. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).



Tour Schedule





Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/5/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Movie Review: Les Mis

I saw Les Mis this weekend with the awesome Kami and Mr. Kami. (We missed you Jenni and Melissa!) It was really good. I was basically completely unfamiliar with the story or the music, which is always a fun way to go into a movie. Here were some of my thoughts:

  • I always have to adjust to "musical mode" when I watch one of these. It was hard to take Russell Crowe's threats seriously at first because he was singing them. But, I got over it pretty quickly. And then I thought....
  • The singing was all really good. I was especially impressed with Anne Hathaway (no wonder she's won all those awards) and Amanda Seyfried. She has a beautiful voice.
  • Long before current YA, the French were writing about love triangles and instalove. I thought the love triangle was handled well, though.
  • The story is really sad. I'd heard the characters had a Hunger Games-like mortality rate, but (SPOILERS) that poor little boy! I was not expecting that.
  • I was hoping for some redemption for Russell Crowe's character. I should have noticed all his singing on ledges as foreshadowing, but I didn't. (END SPOILERS)
  • Helena Bonham Carter just can't play a normal character, I guess. She did a really good job of making me hate that lady.
  • Overall I thought it was a good, thought-provoking story. I liked all the contrasts: poverty and wealth, "criminals" who were good people vs. "regular people" who were really awful.

Friday, February 1, 2013

January Recap

January was a great reading month. I finished 7 books, and liked just about all of them.

Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Very cute Jane Austen-style romance. 4/5

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
The YA Da Vinci Code. Lots of unexpected twists and turns. 3.5/5

Because I Said So! by Ken Jennings
Funny, informative non-fiction. 4/5

After Hello by Lisa Mangum
A fun contemporary quest romance, with characters that took a bit to warm up to. 4/5

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi 
A non-stop, adventurous sequel to Under the Never Sky. 5/5

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Karou & friends (& enemies) are back in a very grisly sequel. 3.5/5
Review to come.

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
A girl quarterback and her relationship dramaramas. It was cute, but not spectacular. 3/5

In non-reading things, my whole family has been sick a lot this month. So we've watched a lot of movies (Arthur Christmas, The Lucky One, Men In Black III - they were all good), and even more hulu. Maybe I'll make it through all the early seasons of The Office.