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Jaq's Harp by [Drake, Ella]
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Product Description

In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline "Jaq" Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister's wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant's headquarters high above the city...even though she'll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn't afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he's made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won't have her again, it's clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp's determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece...

20,600 words

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 203 KB
  • Publisher: Carina Press (21 February 2011)
  • Sold by: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004K1F7V2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #925,026 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously fun! 1 April 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a fabulous read! Jaq's Harp was short--but a lot of fun. Floating castles, secret operatives in deep cover, love rekindled...!

For Jaq and Harp, the stakes are high: mission, family, world--and love!--all balance on a knife's edge. Can Harp escape Giant Corp with the vital information he's gathered? Can Jaq nab the antidote that will save her sister's life?

Can both of them keep their hands off of each other...long enough to escape Giant Corp alive?

I especially enjoyed and appreciated how real the characters' emotions, thoughts, and reactions were. The story was packed not only with edge-of-the-seat external conflict--but internal conflict as well. I think Ella Drake handled the characters' challenges in an impressively realistic manner.

And yes, despite the characters' danger and the mixed feelings...their romance ended steamy and satisfying. :)
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Short to Do This Premise Justice 4 April 2011
By Rhianna Walker - Published on
I have to say that I really can't offer a summary of the story that is any different from the blurb provided. The concept for this one was really brilliant. A sort-of fairy tale retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk with an adult science fiction twist. Unfortunately the story is quite short and thus not enough character development or backstory is provided.

Without the character development both Harp and Jaq felt flat and their romance lacked any real spark. There were hints of potential, tiny snippets of their personalities shining through but their past and the supposed passion of it is told and not shown enough for my tastes. The storyline itself feels very rushed but not in the natural way it should. Yes, there's a limited timeframe for their escape but the pacing itself didn't lend an urgency to the action which might have made it flow better. I anticipated this to be more erotic and found it didn't deliver in that department either.

Ultimately, Drake has a gift for creating a great concept and she did try to make this entertaining. I love fairy tale retellings and her idea here was really well conceived. There's a lot packed into this short story as far as potential goes but there simply was not enough word-power happening here. It needed to be longer and more detailed to really stand up as a strong read. While it was only an okay read for me I fully intend to read more from this author, her imaginative world building really got me excited and this one was just probably not the one to sell me as a devoted fan.
***Received Review Copy via NetGalley.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but too short to really develop 18 May 2011
By akb--bookworm - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
The idea of a futuristic version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" really intrigued me, unfortunately the story was too short to really develop the characters for me to really understand and care about their problems.

In the futuristic city of New Castle, the agents of Mother Organization polices the corporations. Corporations and the wealthy live on floating islands in the sky. Agent Jacqueline "Jaq" Robinson sets out on her personal mission to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister's illness. Using bio-engineered beans to get to the floating island, Jaq sets out to steal the vaccine even though she'll be forced to seek help from fellow agent Harper English--the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

As much as I wanted to love this story for its uniqueness and its creativity, it just didn't work for me for two main reasons:

1. Too Short--I've come to love short stories and novellas and all, but unfortunately the author tried to cram too much into a short story so much of the story telling was left to telling instead of showing. A lot was left unsaid. I really couldn't connect with either Jaq or Harp or understand their emotions because there just wasn't much time to develop the characters. Several things were alluded to, which if explained, would have helped out enormously. The sexual tension just wasn't there for me so it felt awkward when Jaq and Harp did have their romantic moments.

2. Super Agents making stupid mistakes--we are supposed to understand that both Jaq and Harp are top notch super agents for Mother Organization, yet they both can't seem to get it together to get the job done. I had to keep reminding myself that they are supposed to be caught by "the giant" so it follows the fairy tale, but they just didn't seem to use their brains. Okay so first Jaq knowingly shows up a week early for Harp's extraction because she needs the vaccine now--I can buy into that fact, that Jaq willingly went against orders to save her sister and she even has a plan in place to succeed. But once Harp finds Jaq at the rendezvous point, all things go to pot.

First major stupid point--Harp tells "Mrs. Giant" he'll be right back then sneaks off with Jaq to his room where he starts to strip down to have sex with his ex he walked out on--don't you think the bad guys are going to notice your "be right back" is taking a long time and put you on their radar?

Second major stupid point--Jaq has a plan to get the vaccine but Harp says "let me use my own passcode" and he ends up getting hauled off. Don't you think the bad guys would notice a lounge singer using his badge to get into a secure chemical lab where all their bio-weapons are developed? Even with these "too stupid" moments which showed us they aren't all powerful, the "escape" was awesome and it did redeem them a bit in my eyes.

Despite those two major hang-ups of mine, the overall story was fun to read because it is so unique and very creative. I liked the concept, I just wish there was more page time to really develop it so I could care more about what was happening.

**UPDATE** I sought out other books by Ms. Drake because I enjoyed her imagination and creativity. I'd recommend picking up Silver Bound--an impressive space western.

**UPDATE 7/18/12 -- I HIGHLY recommend her newest short story titled Desert Blade. It's an awesome futuristic story.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaq and Beanstalk, oh my! 22 February 2011
By tmsmith - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
4 ½ Stars! A stimulating futuristic twist on Jack and the Beanstalk! With a kick-ass heroine, and a fabulous title, you can't go wrong grabbing this one up! And I so love the cover :D

Jaq's main plight in this novella is to get the cure her younger sister needs to live. She must find a way to get to the floating islands, sneak into Giant's secure headquarters and steal the antidote. Oh, and then get out. Adding to the mix, a year ago her fiance went deep undercover in the same place, leaving Jaq behind brokenhearted. And he is still there, somewhere. Will she run into Harp while searching for the antidote?

Ella Drake kept this reader glued to the page with her well paced plot, with lots of action! I really liked both of the characters. I also felt Drake did a great job of world building and creating the romance within a shorter word count. Perhaps because the couple had a previous relationship, I found their current attraction quite believable. Highly recommended whether you like sci-fi or not. Jaq's Harp is an exceedingly entertaining novella with a conclusion much different than the original fairy tale. I hope that Ms. Drake revisits this world, as I would love to learn more about it! I will be watching for more stories by this creative author!
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice, quick read 3 April 2011
By Dina - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Jaq's Harp is a sci-fi romance that pays hommage to the old tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, adding a little twist to make things more interesting. Jack and the Beanstalk has never been one of my favorite children's tales, but that didn't affect my take on this story.

Agent Jacqueline Robinson is on a mission - and this time, it's personal. Jaq's sister is severely ill and Giant Corp, the company responsible for her wasting illness, holds the cure hostage. So Jaq plans to infiltrate the company's headquarters to steal the cure, even though she's wary of running into Harper English, a fellow agent and, most importantly, the man who's left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

Harp thought he was doing the right thing when he left Jaq, but he realizes his mistake as soon as he sees her again. He wants her back, this time for good, but she doesn't trust him anymore. Now, if only danger wasn't all around them and they could escape Giant Corp safely, he would have time to win her heart again. Or would he?

This is a short story and, as expected, character development and world building were a bit overlooked at times, but the overall result was satisfying. I cared for Jaq and Harp, even though the TSTL moment he had (*) made me want to slap him and tell him to snap out of it, I believed they loved each other, which is always a must in a romance book, and I liked the action scenes. Jaq could kick some serious ass! It was great to see the heroine saving the hero for a change. *cheers*

(*) Harp's timing was oh-so-bad... I really don't think that getting naked, lying on his bed and telling Jaq to join him for a quickie when their lives were in great danger was one of Harp's smartest moves. Yeah, he was so overwhelmed at seeing her again after all those months that his brain stopped working, but come on, he was supposed to be a hardass agent! Thank the gods Jaq put a stop to his nonsense.

All in all, this was a quick, nice read. I wish it was longer, and that's a good thing because I'm only happy with the short length of a novella when I don't like the story.