Sweetly…and How to Gain Loyal Readers

Tell me that’s not a fantastic cover! Sweetly is a companion book to Sisters Red, both mainstream Young Adult novels by the sickly talented Jackson Pearce.

My daughter is a hard sale when it comes to books. 

One day at the library, she settled on Sisters Red. A paranormal book about two sisters who hunt Fenris–werewolves. And not the good kind that protect young girls, but lure them with their hot looks and devour them. 

After hours of searching the library, my daughter couldn’t put this one down. Unlike me, who will give an author a chance through about 100 pages, Bailey won’t. You get one shot. One page. Sometimes, literally, one line. Period. I’ve tried to encourage her to keep reading, because it might get better, but that’s not her style. 

She’s now read Sisters Red, 3 times! I haven’t had the chance to, because Bailey is the kind of reader all of us writers want! She told all her friends and they checked the book out. One downloaded it on her kindle. For her birthday, she asked for Sisters Red and the companion, Sweetly. So that was part of her gift. She’s loaned out Sisters Red to her piano teacher!

Word of mouth works best!

Jackson Pearce was a stumbling accident at the library. She’s now a household name around here. And if Bailey has her way, the region will know about Jackson Pearce. There won’t be a book written by her that Bailey won’t jump on the chance to not just read, but to own!

I read Sweetly. I started at 7:00 p.m. and at 11 p.m., I knew if I didn’t put it down I’d be exhausted the next day. But I thought about it while I was working. At noon, I came home, made a sandwich and went straight to my room to finish it.

5 stars.

What does a 5 star rating mean in my reader world?

From page 1 I was sucked in. The very first line! The characters were fun, unique, interesting, hilarious. The dialogue was real, witty, and flavorful. The emotions were deep.  I didn’t not skim pages. I couldn’t or I’d miss something and frankly, I wanted to hang on every word. 

The romance was well written, the theme? While not a Christian book (there are a few curse words, one scene that alludes to sex (not graphic at all), and a sprinkle of taking the Lord’s name in vain, the theme was about making changes, overcoming fear and not staying in the same place forever. A positive theme. This may not be something you want your young teen to read because of those things. I used my parental discretion; some of you may have just thought, “Oh, so she doesn’t have any.” I do. Some… 

The mystery! As a voracious reader, I can pretty much guess what’s going to happen in most books. I could not figure out what was going on to save my life in a good, good way! Is she a witch or not? Is someone I care about going to die? Why are they after XXX? I did figure out 2 small things, but the big twists, I never saw coming, therefore I could. Not. Stop. Reading.

Also the fact that chocolate was involved in the story line added numerous points! 🙂 
And when I put the book aside, I knew I’d become a faithful reader–like my daughter. I thought about the book and marveled over the genius. And when the piano teacher brings back Sisters Red, I’ll suck that one down too.

In a time when fairy tales are popular i.e..Grimm & Once Upon a Time, Sweetly is a timely book. A modern day Hansel & Gretel. 

Here’s a peek!

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 its 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.
What about you? Do you give an author a chance to woo you, or do you expect to be wooed on page 1? Why or why  not? 

19 thoughts on “Sweetly…and How to Gain Loyal Readers

  1. WOW, I am SO checking this book out!! Now I'm excited to read it!

    I admit, I do give an author a chance to woo me. I don't need to be wowed from page one–although it is nice when I am. 🙂

  2. I'm so getting these books for my daughter and me.

    I like to be wooed on page one of a book, or at the very least by about page 15. There are some books I'll give a little longer if it came highly recommended, or I already know the author, and I know she always comes through for me eventually.

  3. That is an awesome cover!

    I like to be wooed on page one, but I'm willing to give authors a chance because if I'm not used to their "voice," I may love it later on.

    If I already know the author and like/love their books, I'll continue to read the book, even if I'm not wooed on page one, because I know it is only a matter of time before I'm sucked in. 🙂

  4. Sweet cover, indeed!

    I used to finish books solely 'cause of the "finisher" in me. It's like I felt guilty if I didn't see the thing through. That might've been my goody-two-shoes complex rising to the surface.

    Now, though, I'm much more likely to drop a book if I'm not intrigued. But there's enough leniency left in me to give it a few chapters…more if the voice grips me. 🙂

  5. I also give the author the first one hundred pages, but unless I really hate the book, I usually read the whole thing whether its grabbed my attention or not. If I finish the book and wasn't impressed, I don't buy from the author again. But if I really liked it, I'm like Bailey — I promote it and collect the author's books. 🙂

  6. Would you please stop posting reviews like this!? My Kindle is full of books to be read, and I've already spent too much on books lately. Now that I've read this I MUST buy this book too. Shame on you!

  7. A monster is coming and it will never go away hungry? DANG! Why can't I write hook lines like that?!?!?

  8. Okay, you sold me, Jess! I put it on my TBR list. I'm anxious to read it now.

    I tend to give authors a chance. Mostly if I have bought their book, I feel compelled to have to finish it. Even if it is semi bad. Not sure why. Maybe I keep thinking it will get better.

    I find that if it is recommend to me and i buy it because of that recommendation, or if it is a best seller, I tend to keep going even if it's dragging a little.

    Sometimes the books will get better as I read sometimes it doesn't.

    Can't wait to check out SWEETLY!

  9. P.S. Yep-the cover is fabulous!!

  10. That is a pretty awesome cover.

    It reminds me of when I was little. We lived near these woods with very old oak trees. Sometimes I saw faces in the trees like on the cover of this book…I remember the man with a mustache.

    Anyway, I give an author a chance…I found some real gems by just reading into the book instead of just a chapter or two.

  11. Reading a book now that didn't grab me big time on page one, but I liked the plot on the back blurb enough to stick with it. Glad I did. Had me crying last night.

    Some cover that is!
    ~ Wendy

  12. Oooh, werewolves. I might take a peek at this series 😉 Perhaps when your daughter's a little older, you can enlist her to help you with book reviews!

    I try to give a book the benefit of the doubt and keep reading, even if I don't like it initially. I'm one of those readers who believes in holding until the end. There were a couple that I had to put down after ten pages in, though.

  13. I read Sisters Red and enjoyed it. Thanks for the heads up!

  14. YA isn't normally my genre, but this book sounds really good! I may have to pick it up. New twists on classic fairytales are hard to do.

    As for what kind of reader I am, I give the story about 5-10 pages. If I see clunky prose or dialogue, I'm liable to shorten that. My reading time is limited, and there are a ton of books on my list. I sound like a snob, but it's the truth, lol.

    Thanks for sharing the book with us!

  15. Okay, you've intrigued me. Off to the library tomorrow to check it out.If I go so far as to check out or purchase a book, I'll read the whole thing. Covers, back blurbs and that first page mean a lot to me. So does word of mouth. So it may have been something I'd pass up, but if someone I know highly recommends it, I'll give the author a try:)

  16. i'm willing to give them a few pages to wow me…but if by chapter one, i'm not completely compelled to read further, i usually don's (unless by some misfortune i've signed up to be an influencer, and then usually i'll keep reading and find things about the book that i like). but that's just me. i might just have to check out Sisters Red….

  17. I'm the typical "Look at the cover, the back cover copy, and then flip to the first page" kind of reader. I will give the author the first page … maybe the first chapter if someone said, "This is a great book! You've got to read it."
    That said, if a book doesn't grab me right away, I often put it on the shelf (or nowadays I store it in my Kindle.) Sometimes I come back and find on a second read that what was ho-hum one time is now a fun read.
    Go figure.

  18. That cover is totally amazing! Creepy amazing!!!

    I write for a bit younger age group, but I'm sure they want to be "wooed" with the first few words–and the cover art too. Thanks for sharing this, Jessica!

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