ARC Review

Arc Review: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling


When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?


I received a digital copy of the book via the author in exchange for an honest review.

There are honestly way too many fairy tale retellings in bookworm world, so it should be totally used up idea that doesn’t have anything new to give anymore! BOING!! WRONG!! I shouldn’t be, but I am so happy that authors, different authors still continue to surprise me!

“If Beast gave me a library like he gave to Belle, I’d marry him too.”

Kat is a typical bookworm – and by typical – I of course mean awesome – cause she loves reading, fictional characters more than real ones and loves getting lost in the fictional world – in short she is me, she is you and she is every single book worm there in this world (gender be damned!).

So, when Kat accidently rips apart an old Cinderella book – while she is cleaning out the old boxes of books reluctantly! – she is transferred into the body (her soul that is!) into the body of Katriona, Stepsister of Cinderella (Ella in this version!).

“It’s fictional world, Kat. There’s no need to be so into it.”

This version of Cinderella is different (it has to be!) – it requires Kat do all the work, from finding the fairy Godmother to uncovering the history of Ella to actually fighting for the rights of those less fortunate – she does it all and she does it while believing that she is the bad guy in the story!

She is absolutely brilliant in the story. I fell in love with the character so hard – that I was almost heartbroken when the story ended! Kat transforms from a likeable awkward bookworm to a strong female character that I respected as much as admired!

There are a variety of secondary characters ranging from goblins to faeries to dukes to prince but Kat does overshadow them, through no fault of her own – especially since this is a single POV book! The writing is absolutely brilliant – it is simple yet effective in getting the emotions and the circumstances across to the reader perfectly.

Best part – there is no Insta – Love! You have to know, I was dreading that scenario but the romance was actually quite sedate in the book – in fact it was actually the perfect amount!

The only issue I had with the book was (except the single POV) was the ending. While intellectually I understand why the Ms. Ling ended it the way she did, I needed to know what happened with the Storybrook Characters, especially Edward – I actually swiped my iPad a couple of times to even check if there was anything else written 😛

But in the end, this book was a cute story that has definitely made me interested in more of Ms. Ling’s books 🙂

“Okay Kat. This is Story World, for heaven’s sake, so get a grip on yourself. You’ve no business drooling over storybrook characters. Remember the mission.”

^^ THIS! This is like the mantra I should always live by 😛


⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .5


You love Fairytales? If Yes, read it! You love Fairy Tale Retellings? If Yes, Read it. You love a cute YA novel with a little hints of fantasy? If Yes, Read it! If your answer is no to any of the above? Still go ahead and read it. It’s something different, and will leave you with a smile on your face.



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Aya is from Taiwan, where she struggles daily to contain her obsession with mouthwatering and unhealthy foods. Often she will devour a good book instead. Her favorite books include martial arts romances, fairy tale retellings, high fantasy, cozy mysteries, and manga.

Connect with Aya:  Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


To celebrate the release, Aya is also offering a giveaway in which THREE winners can:

  1. Get a paperback copy of The Ugly Stepsister OR any book Aya has on paperback (open internationally!)
  2. Get to name a minor character in the “sequel” novella (will probably be Edward’s niece and nephews)

Here’s what you can do to enter the giveaway:

  1. Click HERE to share the book release on Facebook
  2. Click HERE to share the book release on Twitter
  3. Share the book release on your blog. Click HERE for an easy copy-paste media kit that you can adapt however you like. For example, if you have already posted a review on your blog, you can add my author bio, excerpt, giveaway info, etc. Please fill in the link of your post as well, so I won’t miss a single entry.

*If you do everything above, you’ll get three entries and have a greater chance to win!

The giveaway ends on June 20. Winners will be announced on June 21.

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