Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweetly - Blog Tour

by Jackson Pearce
companion book to Sisters Red

Publication date: Aug. 23, 2011

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.
(description taken from

I really enjoyed this companion to Sisters Red. Jackson Pearce has a great way of retelling fairy tales in the original vein that they were meant to be utilized, as cautionary, slightly gruesome tales. They are eerily reminiscent of the original Grimm's Fairy Tales, and I love them!

Pearce did a great job taking the original Hansel and Gretel (here Ansel and Gretchen) tale and merging it with a world where werewolves, or Fenris, as they are called in both books, hunt young girls for prey. The way that she incorporated the witch and her gingerbread house was pure genius! ...and I was starving for a piece of chocolate through most of this chocolatier centered story...

The relationship that Ansel and Gretchen has is deep and layered. Their lives are so wholly wrapped around one another that it took being kicked out of their own home and having to venture for a new one in order for the two to be able to begin to heal and become their own individual personas. The introduction of a love interest for each was really well done. The fact that Ansel's girlfriend and Gretchen's boyfriend each have their own deep secrets and gray shades of morality adds tension and depth to their relationships and their becoming a larger family.

What I loved most about this story, similar to what I loved most in Sisters Red, was the fact that the main character, Gretchen, absolutely refused to play the victim. She fights to the end, trying to save not only herself, but also her brother, her love, her friends, and those who don't know that there are things that should scare them in the night.

Another gritty, fierce, and wonderful "fairy tale" from Jackson Pearce!

Full disclosure: ARC received from Little, Brown for review, ARC received from Book It Forward Blog Tours

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