Jaclyn and the Beanstalk Blog Tour Plus Review

Jaclyn and the BeanstalkSYNOPSIS

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.

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Jaclyn loves both of her parents, but she won’t tell them that she has dreams about monsters. These dreams attack her, cause her to see things that she never wanted to see and cause her immense pain. She doesn’t know why she has these dreams though and just asks her father to teach her how to fight in case something happens. Then, her father and his friends are taken by the monsters, and it is up to Jaclyn to save them.
Even though Jaclyn was sixteen years old, this book could still relate to younger YA readers. Some parts of the story were a bit suggestive, but other than that, she actually acted more 13 or 14 to me than 16. I especially thought this when she was so connected to her parents, and obeyed them in almost everything, even when she wanted to go out and see the world. This was a great fantasy novel, but I would recommend that if you read it, just age the character down a few years in certain scenes to make it more realistic.
I love how Jaclyn’s father never babied her for being a girl. He was willing to teach his only daughter how to fight, and Jaclyn is willing to learn. The only person who wasn’t completely on board with the plan was Jaclyn’s mother, but even she gave in eventually.
I also liked Jack and Jaclyn’s small romance in the story. It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but it was sweet, and I am a sucker for childhood friends-to-lovers books. This was definitely a good romance for Jaclyn’s type of character! Jack was just the right amount of assertive and caring, even though they hadn’t met for many years.
Overall, this book had great characters and a great plot, even though the plot felt a bit rushed. Jaclyn was a unique main character who had a healthy teenage romance, and I only wish to have been able to learn a bit more about her without flashing from scene to scene. This might have eliminated the small issue with her seeming a tad younger than her age in certain scenes. I can’t wait to read the next book in this retold fairy tales series!
I would recommend this book to lovers of YA fantasy novels.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 books
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Praise for JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK

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  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Tingis an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.

Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.

Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.

PHOTO CONTENT FROM MARY TING

WEBSITE: http://www.tangledtalesofting.com/
TWITTER: 
@MaryTing
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4388953.Mary_Ting
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryTing
INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/authormaryting

 
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Ali’s Thieves: A Reverse Harem Fairytale ARC Review

Ali's Thieves: A Reverse Harem Fairytale (Once Upon a Harem Book 8)In Gallabah, there is a wall to divide the rich and the poor. In the poor “Sector”, rations are thrown over the wall and people fight over the rotten food. Aliah has never gone outside of the sector, and barely ventures into the forbidden woods. Nevertheless, she is a wood carver and must collect the wood in order to make a living. Her sister has always wanted to leave the sector, and she is finally getting her wish by marrying the prince. Minnah wants Aliah to come to the wedding, but she is also ashamed of her only guest being someone from the impoverished Sector. Ali is used to having nothing, and so when she goes into the rich sector, she shocked by the number of people living so luxuriously. She considers this to be unfair, and so she joins a team of 4 guys who are determined to make their world more equal. She doesn’t plan to fall for them, but they start to work their way into her heart.

I love reverse fairy tales, and I love reverse harem stories, so this seemed like a perfect match for me. I loved every minute of this story, but my favorite parts were not actually the fairy-tale portions or the reverse harem portions.

My favorite part of this entire story was actually being able to see Minnah and Aliah’s relationship grow. They had never been close, even after their parents died. Eventually, Minnah became ashamed of her sister and ashamed of where she had grown up. Aliah disliked her sister and thought that she was just marrying for money and not for love. Eventually, the two have to work together, and they have to overcome the differences that have plagued their relationship for years. This was probably some of the most intense character development that I have seen in a reverse harem romance novel!

The plot was smooth all the way through! I was only sad that I didn’t get to see that much of the stories of the individual men in Ali’s “harem”. Some were focused on more than others, and I wish that a second book was coming out to elaborate on her relationship with each man individually.

One other thing that I wanted to point out was that this book actually wasn’t that short! Usually, Reverse Harem stories are so short that they are over and leave me wanting another novel. Even though this book didn’t elaborate as much on the individual men, it definitely had enough story to make me feel like I had truly read a full-length novel by the end.

I would recommend this novel to lovers of reverse harem romances and retold fairy tales.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Red the Wolf Tracker Review

Red the Wolf Tracker (Wonderland Guardian Academy, #1)I haven’t read a book on a pure whim for a while, but I found out about this series and decided to take a few extra minutes to check it out. Boy, was I glad I did!

Red has gone to the Wonderland Academy since middle school, but at 16 she still doesn’t feel like she fits in. None of her peers think that she has any magical powers, but she is the future Wolf Tracker. Her grandma is the current Wolf Tracker, but her health is failing so Red will become the Wolf Tracker soon.

During this tough time, her best friend has just started to ignore her. She doesn’t know how she will deal with it if her grandmother dies and her only friend abandons her.

I loved the world of this book. I hope to learn more about the others in the Wonderland Academy as I continue with this series, as there were other students living at the school and living out their own versions of their namesake fairytales. It was definitely interesting to see how the witches of Oz interacted with Red!

There was also character development as Red had to deal with seeing her grandmother fade away in front of her, and had to deal with her grandmother’s mood swings due to her failing health. In a way, it allowed her to become stronger instead of simply crumbling under pressure.

I enjoyed the idea that there were werewolves, and then there were people who were specifically designed to track the creatures, making sure that they stayed in check. It did give balance to the universe, but I still wondered if there were more werewolves and Trackers in other states/countries/towns of Red’s world.

To be honest, I didn’t mind the fact that the story was short. It allowed for a really quick and relaxing read, without worrying about wasting too much precious time. I would only have liked to see a little more of the small romance in the story.

I would recommend this book to lovers of retold fairy tales and YA urban fantasy novels with slight romance.

Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars