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Ratings and Reviews (4 4 star ratings
4 reviews
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4.3 out of 5
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    Epic Storytelling

    Fans of fairy tale retellings like "Snow White and the Huntsman" will love Mary Ting's gender-bent "Jaqlyn and the Beanstalk." Not only do we have a believable heroine in Jaqlyn, who prefers trousers to skirts and sword practice to needlework, thank you very much. But our heroine's loyalty to her family, especially her heroic father, lay the groundwork for one epic quest. From the beginning, Jaqlyn is plagued by nightmares of demons. She attempts to lighten her dark thoughts by entertaining her family with made-up fairy tales. Never could she imagine the fairy tales are real, or her role in the coming challenges. Ting grounds her novel in the distant and fixed past, a time of deeply rooted religion and sinister superstitions. Life in her woodland home with only her mother and father for company is enough to satisfy Jaqlyn, who has no intentions to marry, only live a free and happy life. Until she stumbles upon a mysterious weapon hidden in the barn and begins to unravel her parents' pasts. Here is where Jaqlyn's journey truly begins. Before you start to wonder about the original Jack, of former beanstalk fame, never fear. Jack and Jaqlyn grew up together, but haven't seen each other since they were children. I loved how Ting brought familiar elements and characters like Jack and the beans and crafted something more exciting and fresh. Forget everything you think you know about giants and giant slayers. Prepare to enter a mythic past of epic proportions, led by a girl who is much more than she appears. Her heart and faith will see her through to the end, but a little skill with blade and lance can't hurt. ;)
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    Unique twist on the classic tale

    I haven’t read a lot of Mary Ting’s work, but I was intrigued by the blurb for Jaclyn & the Beanstalk and had to check it out. This is NOT a Disney fairytale! Far from it! It is a much darker, twisted version. There is action, suspense, drama, death, and a budding romance. I was hooked from page one. The author took a unique approach to the story by weaving in religion, magic, and monsters. I was whisked away to another land. Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn may be the strongest female lead I have read to date. I was blown away by her strength and tenacity. I do have one small pet peeve with this story. I wish the author was more descriptive. While I was transported to another time, I felt that the author could have packed a bigger punch by painting a more complex and colorful world. As a reader it’s a personal preference of mine. For that reason, I gave the story 4 stars instead of 5.
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    A captivating re-telling of a classic!

    I received a free copy of this book and opted to post a review. Jaclyn and the Beanstalk is a captivating and unique interpretation of Jack and the Beanstalk and its origins! I loved Jaclyn and her family, they had depth and interest, and Jaclyn's history was intriguing. I have a soft spot for young, strong heroines; especially those who have families that support them. Ting also has a flair for adding religious undertones to the plot and making them relevant, without coming across as preachy. As a person who is more spiritual than religious, I appreciate this about her. Beyond the fact that it is a lesson in forgiveness, it is also a lesson in empowering our daughters, sisters, and nieces to discard society's gender norms and embrace who they are. It really is such a lovely, light read. I was riveted by the story from the first page and finished it in a few hours. I definitely recommend this to fairytale lovers as it is a wonderfully light read and a different take on a classic.
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    Fairy Tale Retold

    This re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk is beautifully done. The bones of that classic fairy tale are faintly evident throughout, but Ms. Ting made it more than a child, magic, and monsters. In these pages she brought to life a girl who's strong-willed, strong-minded, and courageous. She loves passionately and deeply. Her loyalty is unbreakable. She finds the strength to do the impossible and discovers a bond deeper than friendship with a boy who's always been there for her but who she has never dared reveal her true feelings to. They battle monsters and darkness to save the day. The romance between Jaclyn and her best friend Jack was lovely in that it wasn't the dominant point of this story. It's subtle and grows as they journey to save their loved ones, every now and then showing it's power without taking away from their circumstances. One aspect that did surprise me was the use of Christian messages in this story. Christianity and fairy tales don't usually go hand-in-hand, usually because fairy tales involve magic, a practice frowned upon in the Christian religion. And, yet, it didn't detract at all for me. The messages and the lessons learned seemed to go hand-in-hand, co-dependents to giving the story body and depth I feel it would have lacked otherwise. Ms. Ting is a new-to-me author. Her writing is engaging, and the characters of this re-telling are delightful twists to the fairy tale I grew up hearing. I hope the ending of this story isn't just a tease but an actual gateway to another tale to follow. It's one I hope to read if Ms. Ting feels so inclined to follow through. Regardless, I look forward to reading more by Ms. Ting. I'm sure there are more worlds she's created that are waiting for me, and others, to be discovered. Received from publisher for an honest review
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