Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting

Jaclyn and the Beanstalk by Mary Ting
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full length (276 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

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.
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Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.

She has nightmares. She hears people screaming and sees monsters. Why does she have these dreams?

This is a revamp of the traditional fairy tale and Ms. Ting gives us a much more lengthy tale with lots of detail. This is a full bodied read.

Jaclyn lives with her parents on their secluded farm. Her parents are loving and they have a good life together. Her mother is suggesting it’s time for Jaclyn to find a husband and settle down but Jaclyn is happy where she’s at and has no interest in men.

When she hears her father having a secret meeting in the barn, she listens. There are sheep missing and the monsters are walking again. Maybe that’s why she’s dreaming about them. Her father is going to take three sheep with him and set a trap. A few men are going to go with him. When he leaves in the morning, she’s in the back of the wagon, hidden.

There’s a battle with the monsters that mimics her dream but she didn’t foresee her father and his friends being taken prisoner. How is she going to save him?

Ms. Ting writes a story that keeps your attention and makes you wonder how it’s going to end. She even introduces Jaclyn to her love before the tale is over.

The author has added a religious base to the source of the monsters that’s a bit unusual for a fairy tale but the way she did it made sense.

This was an enjoyable read even with the sad parts. This story will stick with you after you’ve finished the book. Ms. Ting has a good touch with fairy tales.

Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor

Death by the River by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, YA
Length: Full Length (367 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Ginger


Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river.

And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux.

The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. The star quarterback of the football team. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch.
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He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the ruined St. Francis Abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize.

As the victim toll mounts, it becomes crystal clear that someone has to stop Beau Devereaux.

And that someone will pay with their life.

Beau Devereaux, a senior at St. Benedict High, has it all. The only child in a lineage of a wealthy and powerful pedigree. Beau is handsome, charming and also the star quarterback of the football team. But will his dark and disturbing past of abuse ruin the star perfect personality that everyone knows him for?

This story is dark and disturbing but also intriguing. The writers developed an attention grabbing plot accompanied with very well developed characters. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading the book. The location started out at a high school campus so my first thought was not another lack luster teen romance. I was definitely wrong! The writing was very much on point and I can’t think of anything that I would have done differently. The way the authors gave such in-depth reality to Beau’s character, his thoughts, and his actions took great skill and research. Beau is a character to be feared and the way he controlled his actions to reach is ultimate goal was sick and manipulative. Beau is a ticking time bomb. His parents know and have seen the monstrous side and yet they let him go on as if he didn’t have a problem. His father is a workaholic, his mother is a drunk and while they think Beau has himself under control, Beau’s evil is slowly being revealed.

Beau has his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie. Beau commits unspeakable acts to several women victims and he ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. There is sexual violence and torture that may not be suitable for some readers. I don’t take violence against anyone lightly but I understand that some details had to be mentioned to give the full depth of Beau’s madness. Without the scene it would have been left to the readers imagination of what level of madness Beau could go to. Beau’s sick obsession is written and plotted out so well. Dawn, Beau’s girlfriend, is in love with the idea of being with someone of Beau’s caliber and unfortunately for her she does not see him for who he truly is. Leslie sees the type of guy Beau is and tries to warn her sister. This difference causes a divide between the sisters.

Will the Moore daughters ever get past their differences? Will the perfect image Beau has been portraying ever crumble?

I enjoyed the writer’s writing style so well that I will look to see what other books they’ve written. I highly recommend this read for readers that are able to tolerate violence in their young adult mysteries.