Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: Hook and Jill by Andrea Jones

The re-telling and re-formulating of classic tales have been a part of literature and entertainment  for many years.  Victor Hugo's Les Miserables was made into a popular Broadway musical.  Marvel comics recently produced a Pride and Prejudice graphic novel.  In the 1991 film sequel Hook, Robin Williams became a grown-up Peter Pan.  Popular narrative themes will always be recycled and reincarnated, and we frequently gobble up these tales.  They carry familiar characters that we enjoy, and we like returning to the world we traveled to in the first place.

I've been a fan of James M. Barrie's Peter Pan since I was a child.  Even before seeing the animated Disney film, I owned an illustrated book on tape that nearly became worn out from use.  I enjoyed Robin Williams' interesting take on the boy who finally grew up.  And I continue to enjoy the series of books that Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have written for children in their Peter and the Starcatchers series.  So, I am certainly not a Pan purist.  Playing with the mythology a bit can be fun.

When Andrea Jones' Hook & Jill arrived for my review, I was more than eager to fly back to the Neverland and spend some time with Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook.  The beautiful cover art was very enticing, promising a lush, exciting adventure.  I expected some twists and turns with the mythology of the story, and this book certainly delivered.

Jones is clearly a well-educated and experienced writer.  This may be her first book, but she exhibits much experience in her craft.  However, I found this book a bit of a challenge to get into at first.  I found Andrea's writing to be lush, but at the same time I was frequently disoriented, not understanding some of the narrative leaps in the story.  This may be due to my weaknesses as a reader, as opposed to any fault in her writing.

Hook & Jill's characters are all the ones we've come to love in the Neverland, but they all develop in ways that I never expected.  Evil characters become decidedly less evil, heroes become murderers.  Attraction blooms in surprising places.  In short, much of the world of Peter Pan is turned upside-down.  Jones does show her respect and admiration for Barrie's source material, but she just develops the characters in ways that he may not have done himself, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, I came to dislike this book immensely.  I did have one particular night when I got caught up in the story, was enjoying it and had hopes for the rest of the novel. In fact, I stayed up too late reading!  However, for the majority of my read I was in states of confusion, disbelief and even revulsion.  There were many times when I wanted to put the book down and walk away.  But as a reviewer, I felt obligated to finish in order to provide an honest, complete critique.

Having said all this, my qualms with the book come mostly from my own personal preferences and weaknesses.  Jones' writing is rich and colorful, almost poetic at times.  My frequent inability to follow her train of thought probably stems from inexperience on my part.  Seasoned readers will probably enjoy her style of writing more than I did. 

Addressing my personal preferences:  There's quite a bit of sexual content in this.  I'm not adverse to romance, but I think I enjoy the likes of Jane Austen and other writers who don't feel the need to spell out every tawdry moment in lusty, explicit detail.  If you're into saucy, steamy tales that get you hot under the collar, this one's for you.

I've read several reviews of Hook & Jill, and in many ways I agree with the positive opinions expressed in them.  Jones is a talented writer who clearly has a love for James Barrie's Neverland.  Her upcoming sequel, Other Oceans, will certainly be well-reviewed by many.  If you're up for a tawdry, magical adventure in Neverland, the world of Hook & Jill is for you.   I enjoy a fun, magical adventure.  But in this case I would have preferred more romance over H&J's explicit sexual content.  There are better ways to address the hints of romance that have always been inherent within Peter Pan.  For me, this was just wasn't it.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Publishing Works, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.  Publishing Works was launched in 2003 as an independent press specializing in regional titles. Since then, the company has grown dramatically to embody a list of titles that spans diverse genres, age levels, and subject matter. Please visit them at their website,, or view their catalog for a complete list of titles.

To purchase this book or any other book published by Publishing Works, visit their online store here. At checkout, include the Coupon Code BLOG for a 20% DISCOUNT, courtesy of Publishing Works, Inc. and their continued support of book blogging! Happy reading!



I may not have been enamored with this book, but I'm sure there are those out there who would love it.  If you'd like to have my copy, I'll ship it out to the winner of this giveaway.

Here are the contest rules:
  • Leave a comment below; this counts as your entry.
  • Entries accepted until 11:59pm on Saturday, February 13th
  • Open to U.S. addresses only.
  • Make sure your posted comment includes your email address
  • I will compile the entries and the winner will be chosen by, so even one entry can make you a winner!
  • Should you win, I will contact you on Sunday the 14th.  Please take measures to ensure that my email will not hit your spam folder, lest you miss my message! ( You'll have 72 hours to respond before I pick another winner.
  • More information on the giveaway policies can be found on the Contact / Policies page.

Bonus Entries (Please make note of your bonus entries in your comment):
  • Follow the blog by clicking on the Google "Follow" button on my sidebar (old or new followers both get the bonus entry, just let me know you're following).
  • Follow me (@LHartness) on Twitter (Please tell me your @UserName).
  • Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter; be sure to use @LHartness and an URL to this contest in your tweet. You may do this as much as every 8 hours a day between now and February 13th.  For each tweet, please come back and post the URL link to that specific tweet, not just your @Username.    Here's an example of a Tweet, which I posted at about 11:30am on 1/30/10.  Feel free to copy any part of it to retweet:

    My review of Andrea Jones' "Hook & Jill" is up, and I'm offering my copy up in a giveaway.
    And here's the direct URL to that specific tweet: 
Hopefully that's not too complicated!  Thanks for stopping by the blog, and good luck to the contest entrants!



  1. please count me in...thanks


  2. Dont count me in, im international!!

    I just wanted to say that i always enjoyed reading Peter Pan and watch the Disney dvd! It isn't my favourite, but I really like it. This book sounds nothing for me! Thanks for your honest opinion about the book.

  3. Please enter me in! I'm an old follower. Thanks! :)

  4. Nina:

    Thanks, Nina. I was a little worried about posting any negative comments, but I realize it's just my (minority) opinion, and I'd rather be honest.

  5. Please enter me I'm a follower of your blog.


  6. Loved your review, this book sounds interesting. I have never been a huge fan of Peter Pan so I am curious to know if I would like it better or not.

    I am a new follower.


  7. Thank you for your honest review, Laura. Like growing up, "Hook & Jill" isn't for everyone!

    You might prefer another take on Peter Pan, for all ages of readers, "Peter Pan's Neverworld," written by my associate and friend, Peter Von Brown. It's based on an idea J.M. Barrie created for a further adventure for Peter. Enjoy!

    Best regards,

    Andrea Jones, Author

  8. Andrea:

    Thanks so much for stopping by-- I'm honored! I'll have to check out Von Brown's book, too. I really do have an open mind when it comes to Barrie's world!

    Have a great weekend!


  9. HI Laura - I really applaud you for your honest and well written review. I really appreciate this. I have my copy now and am curious what I will bring out of it.

  10. Sheila:

    Thanks for your thoughts. It was hard for me to post anything negative. But it's just my opinion, my taste in storytelling. I know you'll finish the book in no time, as you're such a voracious reader. Can't wait to read your review!


  11. Its better to be truthful about what you feel. Its an opinion and this is still a free world.
    Please count me in.


  12. sounds interesting thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

  13. Please enter me, this looks great!

  14. This looks so good. Thanks for the giveaway!

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com


    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I am a follower.

  16. I would love to enter.


  17. I would like to give this book a chance. Thanks for the great giveaway


  18. I am a follower on google followers and twitter!

    Thanks for this opportunity-

  19. Tweet, Tweet:


  20. Very honest review which was great...The thoughts of another storyline for Peter Pan sounds very interesting...but then with your review really pointing out the sexuality in it would probably turn me off too...I am with you about romance novels...dont mind them, but not into all the steamy sexy the Romance better...The cover alone to me looks like a romance and typically is not something I would pick up.

  21. Colleen:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I'm glad I'm not the only one!


  22. While I don't mind re-working of classic books or tales, I prefer them to be in the original spirit of the book. Adding sexuality into Peter Pan would just be a little too disturbing to me, I think.

    Nevertheless, I think I'll be brave and try to win this one. :)


  23. I'm also a follower.


  24. I saw this book recently on another blog and thought it looked good. I'm disappointed to hear you didn't care for it, but I'd like to give it a shot. Thank you for the honest review!

    bacarleton at gmail dot com

  25. I would like the chance to read this. It does sound interesting to me.

  26. I don't need to be entered- I have my own signed copy! Hook & Jill stands as the best book I have ever read- yes there is romance- but true to pirate nature it is passionate and beautifully hot- not tawdry and bodice ripping- throbbing members and heaving bosoms. I know the scene that bothered you- but that is one you have to look beneath the surface. Our culture slams explicit images in our faces constantly for shock value-but Andrea does not do that. In fact, her foray out of the box in that scene speaks of her ability to illustrate a female taking ownership in that moment clearly demonstrates her strength and creativity in character development- and Andrea's own strength as a woman. I to love the world of Jane Austen- but Austen's romance reflected that of her characters' culture- as does Andre- again- these are pirates not tea-teetotalers. Andrea truly expresses the love scenes poetically, unlike dime store romance novels... it is not simple missionary by any means- but again, would you expect anything less from a pirate? Pirates are not rose petals and Barry White- they see, they conquer, and they love- passionately and heatedly. I can understand your discomfort over seeing the good and bad guys switch places. For me it answered the question of what does happen to the Boys when they cease to be "boys"- afterall- Pan is the only one billed as never fully growing up- and we know there were others besides the crew we do grow to love. This book is about growing up and shows how the little choices that are made everyday do affect us in a profound way- although they may be as simple as an extra inch in height here or a lost tooth there- resulting in ultimately taking off the rose colored glasses of ignorantly blissful youth and realizing that every action we make has a consequence in the ultimate balance of the universe. Andrea takes Barrie's characters to levels he was not capable of. The writing satisfied the literary starvation caused by most mainstream fiction. Then again my background in Literature has almost damaged me for most modern texts. She truly is an artist who paints with words upon a paper canvas- and like the great painters- she paints levels and symbolism into every line. Her ability to make Time a character in itself is a perfect example. I am rereading it and enjoying my second adventure in her Neverland even more so than the first jaunt. I am salivating for Other Oceans as well as the other four books in the series. I was unable to put the book down because every chapter leaves you balanced on the hook- "Peter did not", and "wait did what I think just happened happen"? One of the hardest things we face in life and growing up is being able to rethink those things we have always accepted as "truth". I am sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as I did- but I reccomend it to everyone- especially writers and Lit Lovers becasue it truly is a gem- a beautiful treasure for those of us who have been starved by mass market fiction

    (It is the bestseller in my Bookstore by far! And it never fails to spark a phenomenal discussion when readers come in and express their overwhelming love for it- there are a few others who feel as you do Laura- but for the most part we are all aching for the next installment- we're "hooked"!)

  27. Catherine:

    WOW-- you response is amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to voice your thoughts here.

    I see your point of view and how you appreciate Jones' work. I agree, she does paint with words. I could never reach her level when it comes to literary expression. She's clearly a professional and an artist. I'm sure she'll do well in this series, and I've offered the book up as a giveaway for those who might be interested.

    I guess for me it was just a matter of preference when it comes to the content. I wish I'd known ahead of time, or I wouldn't have read it. This is not taking away from Andrea's work, I just like to avoid saying negative things about the work of authors whose abilities in writing far surpass mine. I don't feel like I have the credentials to criticize them.

    Some conservatives I know complain about content in various books, movies, TV, etc., showing their offense to language, sex or violence. My feeling is, "If you don't like that kind of content, don't read/watch it!" I just wanted to give a heads-up to readers like myself who don't care for that type of material. Before reading this, I hadn't picked up any signs that it would have that level of sexual content. If readers like me are not clued-in, then they might appreciate my opinion.

    Again, I also appreciate yours, and while your comments have nothing to do with me, I'm honored that you voiced them here. I hope Andrea stops by to read all of this!


    Laura Hartness

  28. I'm so glad this book has generated so much discussion. We just received news that Ms. Jones won a "Mother's Choice Award" in Adult Books for this title! To Laura and everyone else, thank you for your honest and also THOUGHTFUL opinions.

    Remember, if you don't win, you can still get a 20% discount by visiting and including BLOG as the coupon code at check out. Happy reading people!

  29. I'd love to enter! Thanks!

    +1 I'm a follower.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  30. Would love to read this.

    Thanks for the giveaway >^..^<

    bloggyig at gmail dot com



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