Tag Archives: humor

Book Review and Giveaway: 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.




“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


uglyThe ugly stepsister is determined not to finish last in this tale.  This a very fun, laugh-out-loud story about Mattie Lowe, a good girl (and not ugly by the way) who is pining for her stepsister, Ella’s boyfriend Jake.  Little does Mattie know that Ella is pining for Mattie’s good friend Trent and has given Mattie free rein to pursue Jake in any way she wants.  But what would Jake, class jock and lead competitor to Mattie’s run  for class president,  think of that?  Will Prince Charming turn out to be a frog?

I read this young adult book in one day.  The references to John Hughes films are memorable.  I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

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

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 3/10/13

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.

  Click Here to Enter

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Book review: The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina (9781402266003) E-book

1402266006.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_ “Ellie Vyne never had much sympathy for men, until she temporarily became one.”  Her secret life as the gambling Count de Bonneville is helping her take care of her family and it is going to land her in more trouble that she ever dreamed.  She is classified as an outspoken old maid at 27 years old according to society’s standards, but she is perfectly happy being single and has broken several engagements to prove it.  Disguised as the Count she is given a lavish diamond necklace as an IOU payment from Lady Ophelia Southwold.  What she doesn’t know is that the necklace belongs to James Hartley.   The one man she despised since she was 16 years old when she overheard him denigrating her character in public.

“That Vyne woman is a danger to herself and to anyone who has the misfortune of crossing her path!”  James Hartley is rich, arrogant and furious with Count de Bonneville for taking “The Hartley Diamonds” and he will get them back one way or another.  However, when he goes to the Count’s dwelling, he finds Ellie Vyne lying in his bed.  The young lady he has disliked since she was young and who painted a mustache on his face when he was sleeping under a tree.

After having a scandalous dance at Lady Clegg-Foster’s party, they make a pact to become engaged to fend off the matchmaking crowd.  The provisions to their engagement become shocking and brazen and make for a sexy pairing.

With the help of the young Lady Mercy Danforthe, Ellie’s Aunt Lizzie and James’ valet, Grieves, this story is funny and engaging and there is never a dull moment.  I couldn’t put it down.

Thank you to Ms. Fresina, Sourcebooks and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.


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Book review: Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James (9780385535656) e-book

This is a tongue and cheek philosophical theory of what makes someone an asshole.  James comes up with irritating traits of assholes such as “not hearing someone out” and “reflecting ignorance of crucial facts or lack of concern with what is reasonably acceptable from everyone’s point of view and actively reasoning from his sense of entitlement rather than from an independent understanding of what the moral law requires”.  After defining an asshole he creates categories such as the Boorish Asshole, the Royal Royal Asshole, the Presidential Asshole, the Corporate Asshole and the Asshole Boss to name a few which he considers the group that “shares a thick sense of moral entitlement”.  And then he talks about a newer style of assholes where “the rationalizations are becoming ever thinner” such as The Cable News Asshole and  the Delusional Asshole Banker.   Of course, he has well known names to back up his categories, but I won’t post them here in case other assholes come out of the woodwork and want to give me their thoughts on my review.

Mr. James has many footnotes with several  references to The New York Times, CNN and many books either written by or about the assholes themselves.  His general advice to people that come across an asshole is resignation that “assholes are a given fact of life” and that resistance is futile because “no amount of angry protest will get a true asshole to listen”.  Perhaps the most amusing part of this book is James’ “Letter to an Asshole” written in the spirit of Horace’s epistles.

Despite reading the word asshole so many times in this book, I found this to be an enjoyable read.  It will make me think philosophically about the kind of asshole I am listening to and resign myself to the idea that he will probably never change.

Thank you to Mr. James, Doubleday Publishing, and Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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Guest Post, Review and Giveaway: Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark

Welcome to my a blog!  I’m excited to present Lauren Clark, author of Dancing Naked in Dixie.


Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at www.laurenclarkbooks.com and find even more information at: 

What is Dancing Naked in Dixie about?

It’s really a story about a career girl finding happiness, love, and her place in the world where she least expects it.

Here’s the summary:

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she’s offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia’s story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?

How did you come up with the title?

I actually came up with the title before I wrote the story … not something that I recommend, but it worked for Julia and her journey. I knew that I wanted to write about Eufaula and the Pilgrimage, and thought that it would be best seen through the eyes of someone who’d never visited the area.

It began as an idea that Julia would discover a delectable Southern treat that would be so delicious it would make everyone want to “dance naked” … and the proceeds would save the city from having to allow a developer to build condominiums, but the more that I explored that premise, it seemed better as a secondary plot line. So, I handed off the baking duties to PD, and allowed Julia to crank up the “hissy fit” factor when she’s told she’s NOT going to Bali … she’s going to small-town Alabama.

 Who was your hardest character to write?

I think that Aubie was really difficult … she’s an emotionally-scarred woman who’s dealt with being “left behind” with no explanation by the love of her life. She’s become an alcoholic as a result of her heartbreak, but I didn’t want readers to feel sorry for her. Like Julia, Aubie is stronger than she believes she is — and has the opportunity to prove it at the end of the story.

Who is your favorite author and why?

 I absolutely adore Sophie Kinsella. She makes me laugh out loud. I thought that her Poppy Montgomery character in “I’ve Got Your Number” was brilliantly-drawn and hilarious. I’m also equally awed and impressed by Jodi Picoult. She’s so smart and always does so much research to not only draw you into her story and characters, but teach readers something along the way. When “Lone Wolf” came out, I resisted reading the book for quite a few months. Wolves? Not my thing. I finally purchased it as an audio book and listened to it on a long car trip. Absolutely. Fascinating. And based on a real person.

What are your current projects?

I am researching for my next novel, The Pie Lab, which is a real restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama. This story will follow a girl who’s gone off to a big city (like Atlanta or New York) and vows NEVER to come home. She’s forced to return to Greensboro, though, when her romantic relationship falls apart. Since she’s burned a lot of bridges, it will be interesting to see how she makes amends.  The Pie Lab, as a business, is a great concept, as it offers on-the-job training and the owners are very active in the community. Added bonus…the pies are delicious! The Pie Lab has been featured in Southern Living and The New York Times.

What is the one most important advice you would offer all aspiring writers?

Write a lot, read a lot. It’s Stephen King’s advice in On Writing, but it rings true for everyone who wants to be an author. It is my personal belief that every writer can continue to grow and learn–no matter how successful he or she is. I take courses, work with editors, swap ideas with other authors, read outside my own genre, and listen to experts talk about the publishing industry.

I recently attended a conference in Monroeville, Alabama (To Kill A Mockingbird) and was able to hear Fannie Flagg speak about her fascinating writing career and journey from almost-penniless New York City aspiring actress to a New York Times bestselling author. She was polite, articulate, and quite humble about her experiences. As an added bonus …. Harper Lee was there to see her accept the award she was receiving for excellence in literature as an established Alabama author.

Excerpt from the Book

The Best Butts in Alabama, the huge billboard above my head brags. A robust pink pig, dressed in blue overalls and a cowboy hat, winks down at me. Next to the hog’s turned up nose, royal blue letters read ‘Phil’s Bar-B-Q.’

Phil certainly knows how to make a first impression. As does Mother Nature.

The sunshine beats down on my shoulder through the window. Is it always this muggy in December? I swipe at my forehead with the back of my hand and do quick surveillance.

Where is the historic, elegant city I was promised in the letter? There is a normal-looking church across the street, a run-of-the-mill real estate business to my right, and a tiny hole-in-the-wall place called The Donut King, which seems to be doing ten times more business than the Winn-Dixie grocery store I just passed.

So far, all I see of Eufaula, Alabama is more in-your-face commercial than traveler chic. Of course, I’m not in the best frame of mind to become one with my surroundings.

After a lousy Thursday morning of sulking and a rushed packing job, I sent an RSVP with regrets for the fundraiser, gave away my tickets to the Met, left a voice mail for Andrew, and changed my ticket to an earlier departure.

Hours later, after fighting through JFK security, surviving the cramped flight to Atlanta, I spent the night in Buckhead, Georgia, picked up my enormous rented SUV this morning (it was either that or a red minivan), and began driving the three-and-a-half hours to reach my pinhole-on-a-map destination.

All to save my job.

My Review

As you can see from the excerpt above, this book is fun and Miss Julia Sullivan (world traveler)  is in for an eye-opening experience in Eufaula, Alabama.  The death of her mother and her rocky relationship with her father (who is now her boss) has made her harried and unorganized.  Will meeting Shug Jordan help her to focus on what is more important?  This story also has a mystery that is well played out and a little surprising.  And don’t forget the delicious recipe at the end for PD’s Pillow Pockets.  Yum!

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Click on the link below for more chances to WIN!!


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Book review: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (9780143038412)

Liz Gilbert’s life was a mess. She wanted a divorce, she fought off and on with her lover and she just wanted to go away. And go away she did to the three I’s. Italy, India and Indonesia. She found food and friends in Italy. She found the love of God in an Ashram in India and she found herself in Bali, Indonesia.

Liz’s brave narrative is humorous and very informative. I found her descriptions of various meditations and the histories of the countries she visited to be very interesting. The people she met on her journey are friends for life and gave her very wise advice. I envy her guts to take off to the unknown and spend a year abroad. I wish I had the means to do that myself.

A good summer read.

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Book review: Truly, Madly by Heather Webber (9780312946135)

Lucy is a free spirit and doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life.  Her father changes that by making a public spectacle of himself and she has to take over the matchmaking business which she feels is not going to go well.  You see, Lucy’s family are psychics and their matchmaking business is based on clients’ auras.  Unfortunately, Lucy doesn’t read auras and can only find lost things such as rings and such.  Little does she know that her gift will get her in a lot of trouble and in Sean’s arms.  He’s a former firefighter and now filling in as a PI who happens to be in the same building as Lucy’s family business.  Of course the sparks fly between the two and the adventure begins.

And let’s not forget the wonderful supporting characters such as Lucy’s grandmother, Dovie, Lucy’s friends, Em and Marisol, and the family valet, driver,and friend., Raphael.

Ms. Webber has given us a wonderful start to an exciting series.  I look forward to finding out about Em and Detective Holliday and Raphael and Maggie AND, of course, Sean and Lucy.

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Book Review: Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner (0375840850)

0375840850.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_An absolutely hilarious look at Shakespeare Shapiro’s life as a senior in high school. A great YA fiction novel written by an 8th grade teacher. If you don’t laugh out loud, there is something wrong… 🙂

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