A few fairy tale twists... Jack and the Beanstalk by Jenni James (Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway)

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In case you haven't already figured out, I tend to love fairy tales and retellings in all their forms. This is the first of two posts I will be doing for this tour (I'll be reviewing The Little Mermaid next week). Check out my review, an excerpt, the rest of the series, and enter the giveaway below...

Jack and the Beanstalk (Faerie Tale Collection, #6)Jack and the Beanstalk
(Faerie Tale Collection #6)
by Jenni James
YA Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Paperback & ebook, 162 Pages
March 31st 2013 by StoneHouse Ink

Summary

The quest to save a girl from a giant--

Jack Waithwrite is livid when he learns that his fiancée, Rachel, has been stolen by a giant and taken up to a kingdom in the sky. Without the means to save her, he travels with his sister to Larkein, the place where dark magic abides, to discover a way to help Rachel. While there, a cunning witch knows who he is and offers to help him. However, when he finds out the kidnapping was orchestrated by the witch to use him as her pawn for her own schemes, his true quest begins. Now Jack must outwit a giant and stay one step ahead of the witch in time to save Rachel. 

Enjoy Jack and the Beanstalk, the continuing tale of Hansel and Gretel and what happened after they were married. Jack and Jill Waithwrite are the children of Hansel and Gretel, and as their parents before them had adventures, now it is their turn.

  
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My Review

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK is a story that is well known and one I've told to my children (although their dad does a much better rendition) and was told to me when I was young. It's a classic fairy tale. The author's version stayed true as far as keeping the tale simple and uncomplicated while also making it her own by adding some fun twists. This made for a light, quick, and enjoyable read.

The characters were fun in this story. Jack has a sister whose name is Jill (nice little twist right there). They had some nice sibling teasing and love. I really liked their dynamic. There also was Jack's sweetheart Rachel who was sweet, but not a real strong character, Jack's and Jill's parents (who happen to be Hansel and Gretel), the giant and then the witch. They each had their various roles, some more important than others.

There were parts of this story that I loved and then parts that were just okay or not as engaging. I don't think it needed to be longer, but I wanted it to engage my emotions more or for the characters to be more. I just wanted a little more overall, but it was still a light and entertaining read.

Content: Some mild violence, but clean.

Source: Received a complimentary copy from a virtual tour host, which did not affect my review in any way.

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, she is gone?” Jack asked as he whirled around on his heel, his great brown overcoat flinging about with him. “What has been done to bring her back? Has anyone even attempted to call the authorities?”
The old woman wrung her hands nervously over her pump form. “We have! There was nothing they could do. We sent for you as soon as possible.”
Jack paused his pacing on the worn rug in the main cottage room of his dearest Rachel’s home. “So you mean to tell me that sometime last night, Miss Rachel, my Miss Rachel, was taken forcefully from her bedchamber by a great beast of a man, and none of you bothered to wake me up to attend this search of her?” He was livid. He was more than livid. He was terrified, heartbroken, worried out of his mind. “Why, it is nearly seven o’clock in the morning! This giant monster is hours ahead of us, and I am just now hearing of it.”
“We are sorry!” cried the man Jack had hoped to call a father one day. “We were not attending properly. All we could hear ringing in our minds was the memory of her screams of fright over and over again as he took her from us.”
Jack was going to be sick. He swallowed and breathed deeply before attempting to speak again. “I understand this house has been under great duress the past few hours, but you must know I love your daughter more than I love my own life. I am frantic with the need to rescue her at this moment. Please, I ask that you forgive my hastiness in chastising you at such a time and instead, give me any bit of information you can so I may bring my fiancée back. Anything at all.” He knelt before the older man and woman, still in their night attire with shawls and slippers. “And I vow to you both that I will not give up my search for your daughter, unlike the authorities. I will not simply hear who has captured her and run in fear. Nay, I am yours, I am hers, and you will see her again or I will die trying to attempt the thing.”
“Oh, Jack! What would we do without you?” Mrs. Staheli clutched his hands, tugging him up. “Come and have a cup of tea and we will tell you all we know.”
He shook his head. “No. I would prefer to hear it all now, just as we are, so I may begin this search instantly.”
“Son, it is useless. The monster—the giant—he took her up in the clouds,” her father answered as he ran his hands through his hair.
“I beg your pardon—he took her where? No, wait. Start at the beginning and tell me everything you can of this giant and all that happened. I will see what is to be done.”
Celeste glanced over and shared a look with Hans.
Jack leaned toward the couple and tried his best not to let his growing irritation show upon his face as Hans cleared his throat. Why were these two moving so slowly? Every second wasted was a second he could be using to fetch Rachel back.
“It was quite late—nearly morning—when he came,” Hans started.
“Yes, I know this. Why did he abduct her? Did he say?”
Celeste clutched her shawl. “Yes! Yes, that is definitely something I can answer. He wanted her voice. Apparently, his ears picked up the sound of her humming and singing the other day while she was in the meadow picking those flowers.” She pointed over to a vase of wildflowers on the worn oak dining table. “He decided to bring her back to his castle so she would sing for him.”
“And he also mentioned something about her playing the harp for him,” Hans added.
“The harp?” Jack tried not to smile at the absurdity. “She does not do any such thing.”
“So she told the giant.” Hans folded his arms. “But he would not listen to her.”
“Why did he not take her when he had her alone in the meadow?” Jack asked.
“He did not say.”
 “How did he get here? And you are certain he took her up to the sky?”
“Aye.” Hans unfolded his arms and then clasped his hands together. Jack noticed the slight tremor in her as Celeste hung on to her husband’s elbow. “We heard her shouts for help and came in the room immediately. The giant’s huge head peered into the windows. One long arm snaked in and captured her up in his palm. She tried to make him see reason and not take her from the house. I believe he is a bit dimwitted, as each time Rachel asked him a question, it slowed him down—he would stop and think about it and then answer her. It was a clever ploy and even we joined in until he caught on to what we were doing. Then he swung his arm out and brushed us both down before wrapping his fingers around her and sliding his hand through the window again. It was a tight fit and required precision to get his fist out.”
“What are some of the things he said?”
“Most of it you already know,” Hans said.  “He was taking her up to his kingdom in the clouds where she was meant to live in a golden cage and sing for him, or play the harp. And how he had found her in the first place.”
“How did he get back up to his kingdom, and where did he come from? Has anyone heard of this giant before?”
“We had no idea he existed until he came for her.” Celeste brought her hand to her mouth. “So, so terrifying.”
“This is all baffling. No wonder the authorities are useless. Where does one begin? How does one get all the way up into the clouds to rescue her?”
Hans pulled away from his wife. “If you follow me outside, I can show you his tracks and where they lead. When we made it to the window and watched him take her away, it was as if the giant were climbing on something, but we could not make out what it was. Indeed, there was nothing to be seen there at all.” 
Jack nodded to Hans. “Let me follow you where the tracks lead. Perhaps I will find something then, something to make sense of all this.”
Hans paused at the door as he pulled on his outer coat. “Celeste, we will be back shortly.”
She shooed them away with her hand. “Yes, go. I could not bear to go out there again anyhow.”
As the men stepped outside, Jack was amazed to see that the giant’s footprints had formed six-foot craters all over the Stahelis’ garden as well as the road and up a small embankment about a half mile away. They did not need to travel that far to see the great indents he left.
“Are you sure that is where they stop, up there?” Jack pointed to the hill.
“Yes.” Hans turned and gestured toward the cottage. “And from that window just there—her bedroom window—we watched him make his way up an invisible rope or ladder of some sort, up into the clouds until they could not be seen anymore.  It all happened so fast once he got her out of the house. We rushed to see where he was taking her.  I had hopes to follow them, but he had already run here and was climbing up the thing within seconds.  I have never seen anyone disappear so fast in my life.  We knew it was useless to attempt to go after him.”
Jack placed his hands on his hips and shook his head, his eyes scanning the sky above them.
His father and mother, Hansel and Gretel, had warned him that life was full of adventures and that one day he would meet one that would change everything he had ever believed about himself. He sucked in a long breath of air. It would seem his particular adventure had met him after all.
There was a certain giant out there who needed to be introduced to the wrath of Jack. 


Other Books in the Series

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(Affiliate link included.)


Still to come:
13. Return to Netherland
14.Captain Hook
15. Princess Red
16. Princess with the Golden Touch
17. Princess and the Pea
18. Rose Red
19. Thumbelina
20. The Ugly Princess
21. Diamonds and Toads
22. The Ice Queen
23. The Forgotten Princess
24. King Thrushbeard
25. The Swan Princess
26. The Goose Girl
27. The Light Princesses
28. Princess Nightingale
29. The Princess Who Never Laughed
30. The Disenchanted Queen

About the Author

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Jenni James is the busy mother of ten kids (7 hers, 3 her hubby's) and has over twenty-five published book babies. She's an award-winning, best-selling author, who works full-time from home and dreams about magical things and then writes about what she dreams.

Some of her works include The Jane Austen Diaries (Pride & Popularity, Emmalee, Persuaded...), The Jenni James Faerie Tale Collection (Cinderella, Snow White, Rumplestiltskin, Beauty and the Beast...), the Andy & Annie series for children, Revitalizing Jane: Drowning, My Paranormal Life, Not Cinderella's Type, and the Austen in Love Series.

When she isn't writing up a storm, she is chasing her kids around their new cottage and farm in the tops of the southwestern mountains, entertaining friends at home, or kissing her amazingly hunky hubby. Her life is full of laughter, crazy, and sunshine.


Tour Schedule

April 18--Beauty & the Beast--Singing Librarian Books
April 19--Sleeping Beauty--Bookworm Lisa
April 20--Rumplestiltskin--26 Countless Possibilities
April 21--Cinderella--Reading Is My SuperPower
April 22--Hansel & Gretel--Katie's Clean Book Collection
April 23--Jack & the Beanstalk--Wishful Endings
April 25--Snow White--Katie's Clean Book Collection
April 26--The Frog Prince--Smiling Book Reviews
April 27--The Twelve Dancing Princesses--Mel's Shelves
April 28--Rapunzel--Reading Is My SuperPower
April 29--The Little Mermaid--Wishful Endings
April 30--Peter Pan--Singing Librarian Books

Tour-Wide Giveaway

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