Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sweetly gets 4.5 Stars

A book review of Sweetly, a modern day fairytale retelling of Hansel and Gretel with a twist.  This book is fabulous for YA and adults.  Great story line with action, mystery, and a little romance. Alohamora Open a Book

If you like fairy tales and the YA (Young Adult) genre then this modern day Hansel and Gretel with a twist is a book you must read.

Though, even if you don't like fairy tales this novel will grab your attention and keep you intriqued.  It's pretty much a must read. 

Sweetly by Jackson Pearce is a fabulous book, with captivating storyline, and good character development.  Sweetly is a companion (not series b/c you don't have to read them in order) book to Sisters Red, which is fabulous book about a modern day Little Red Riding Hood with a twist.  There are actually four companion books (meaning they don't have the same characters or story but they all deal with fairy tales) in Pearce's Fairytale Retelling series.  Fathomless and Cold Spell are the third and fourth books respectively. 

I will say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this series thus far.  I was a little surprised to see two similarities with characters between the books, and I think those subtle and not so subtle similarities were actually fun to have.  I felt like it connected the books a bit more.  I am anxious to get the remaining two books from the library.  

Sweetly gets 4.5 out of 5 stars.  It was actually ridiculously close to five stars.  Is set in Live Oaks, a small town in South Carolina, following the life of Ansel and Gretchen (a lot like Hansel and Gretel :), but mostly Gretchen.

I will start first with what I thought could've been better and why it missed that half a star.  I think the character development of Ansel and Gretchen could've been stronger.  At times it was frustrating just b/c there seemed to be no growth and then all of a sudden a big realization.  I didn't think the development was as seamless and/or smooth as a 5 star book is.  A 5 star book means I find no flaw, and I unfortunately found a tiny flaw.  

With all of that negative said, let me say that Jackson Pearce is a fabulous writer.  She had a great story line with plenty of action, romance, and mystery to really keep the reader captivated throughout the book.   

I really did keep wanting to turn the page to find out what was going to happen.  I unfortunately left my husband to take care of the kids while I finished the book (there was too much excitement to put it down or even sit down while I read it).  

Overall Sweetly was quite unpredictable.  I really couldn't figure the story, what was going to happen, and who was bad from the clues that were given.  I think an expert mystery reader might figure it out, but there were too many questions that would leave you doubting for the average mystery reader. 

Even though, I did know the story was a twist of Hansel and Gretel, I still wasn't 100% sure if the Candy Shop/Chocolatier owner, Sophia, was good or bad.  I honestly kept going back and forth.  I wanted to like her, but there was so much I didn't know.  All in all, the story was quite unpredictable, but it did give me a mostly happy ending that I was hoping for but just wasn't sure how it was going to work out.   

I did think various ways the characters dealt with loss in their life was good.  Overall, I feel a teenager could really relate and learn to the characters.

For those concerned parents/readers: There was just a tiny bit of romance in this book, and the book was quite clean.  There were a few instances of alcohol as well as a mention that two people were sleeping together, but there was nothing described.    

Amazon had the following book description:

"As a child, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch's forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They're invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past-- until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn't gone-- it's lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak's infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen it's next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.
Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry." 

Have you read it?  What did you think?  

Happy Reading! 


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