{Review/Giveaway} JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK by Mary Ting

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B O O K   T R A I L E R:

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

    SHRIEKS RENT THE PEACEFUL NIGHT. I bolted upright and gulped air as if I had been under water too long. My heart raced as a white, ghost-like mist escaped my panting mouth. Despite the chill, sweat trickled down my forehead and dampened my back, causing the fabric of my chemise to stick.

(Page 1, US paperback edition)

“This is my destiny. This is my story. I knew this to be my fate in every vein, bone, muscle, and in my soul.”

The fairy tale lover in me always leaps for joy when a new retelling hits the market. When it's gender-bent as well with a strong female heroine? Sign me up immediately. Fans of Melanie Dickerson will love JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK by Mary Ting. It's a stand-alone, but leaves room for potential companion novels in the future. At the very least, there will be more stand-alone novels set in the world. Readers are treated to a sneak peek at REDD RIDING HOOD, the next book in Ting's Tangled Fairy Tales series, after the epilogue.

Jaclyn's father has trained her to fight over the years. When she overhears him planning to go take on some monsters, she stows away and witnesses his brutal kidnapping. The monsters from her nightmares that she'd convinced herself were fictitious are, in fact, real -- and now it's up to Jaclyn and her childhood friend Jack to save the town before it's overrun by monsters.

I love the fact that the book is centered around Jaclyn. There's also a Jack in the story, her childhood friend and crush -- and now love interest. But it is her story. This also isn't the version of Jack and the Beanstalk that readers know --though the origin of that version is talked about toward the end in a way that made me smile. The whole setup is completely original, and there is full on battle with monstrous creatures set on killing humans and taking over the realm.

The story blends fairy tale lore and the Bible, creating its own unique mythology that expands and develops the world. It was a unique mix I hadn't expected, but it worked. Jaclyn's backstory and the reason for these monstrous beasts kept me turning pages to get to the answers. I was glad to get to the meat of the story, because the beginning had a slower start -- a little more "tell" than "show" for me. Once we got to the action and the story started rolling, however, these elements that were building blocks early on came into play in ways we needed as readers to flesh out the world.

Jaclyn was by far my favorite character in the book. She had a great heart and was very family-oriented. She was impulsive and jumped into a horrible situation without thinking, but if she hadn't done so, the story would have been completely different. Jack was a little more cookie-cutter for me. Jack and Jaclyn had childhood crushes on one another, so it wasn't really a case of "insta-love" and in that sense, was believable. Jack was a little too cocky for me at times, however. There were a few times when he was just like, "You're going to be my wife." He never asked her. They weren't in a relationship. Their parents had no arrangement in place. It was a little aggravating for me, but it made Jaclyn swoon, and I know a lot of readers will be enamored with him! I would have loved more interaction between the two building up their "current" relationship and not just the past or future expectations. There were some solid moments between them, and I think every reader will be different in this area.

While JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK isn't my favorite fairy tale retelling, it was solid and I would absolutely recommend it if you love Jack and the Beanstalk, retellings with a more original twist, gender-bent retellings, or books with a strong sense of family and faith.



Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( kissing; innuendo )
Language: PG ( Some sexual innuendo )
Violence: PG13 ( Character death; battle gore )
Other: --
C O V E R   D E S I G N:


I love the coloring most of all. The color palette is very pleasing to me!

I also love that it gives off fairy tale vibes immediately. I'd pick this up at the store even with a different title because THAT BEANSTALK! THAT FIERCE FEMALE WARRIOR! It just screams, "Take a peek," doesn't it?
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Mary Ting
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Received: For Review

Purchase Links:


What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night… 

Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.

But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.

Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.

Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.

On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.

She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.

Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.


A mash-up of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Lord of the Rings" ... RECOMMENDED ―School Library Journal

"Keenly descriptive and eloquently written with touches of sixteenth-century language, the story takes the reader into the world of monsters controlled by a diabolical villain, and into a land of mystery and magic beans." ―Readers' Favorite Review

"Mary Ting managed to surprise me at every turn, even though I must have read this story a million times as a kid. The most impressive surprise was the creation of a girl protagonist who is so much better than the original Jack. Then she brings in the boy, Jack, as the love interest. Sheer genius and a great idea. The writing is great. The plot is good, and the various themes woven throughout the story make it a very compelling tale." ―Readers' Favorite Review

Mary Ting writes with an adventurous heart, a clever pen, introducing young readers to a classic that meets fantasy, shedding light on the family devotion and a love story that buds to completion by the end. This short novel comes as a highly recommended read for parents and young adults that prefer fantasy fiction with a Christian-based theme and a creative perspective. Mary Ting is one of those writers to notice and watch. ―Kingdom's Review  


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