Book Tours: Who is She?

Welcome back to another addition of Fast Five, my series where I pick a topic and give you a quick overview of it using 5 bullet points! Today we’re going to talk about Book Tours. As with anything I say, these are NOT hard-and-fast rules, definitions, or expeditions. I merely speak from my experience.

What is a Book Tour?

A book tour is a way to drum up publicity and internet chatter about a book/series that is being released soon. As reviewers, we aren’t required to give a positive review, but for the case of publicity… you should try to highlight the good things about a book, even if you didn’t like it.

How do I get on one?

Most blog yours are offered through companies that can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve had the great fortune to work with some amazing people, such as Turn the Pages Tours, Hear Our Voices Tours, Book of Matches Media, Caffeine Book Tours, and TBR & Beyond Tours. There are obviously SO MANY more, but these are the peeps I’m most familiar with.

Occasionally, a publisher (or more specifically) a publicist, will reach out directly via email and extend the offer for coverage on my social media in exchange for a free copy of the book.

So I Got Picked!

Yay, congratulations! At this point, you gotta do a smidge of waiting. The tour company had a contact at the publisher that will be distributing the book to hosts to read. If it’s an ebook, cool. Download it and start reading. If it’s a physical book, go sleep in your mailbox and wait for the package 📦! In the meantime, share to your followers that you’ve been chosen as host, and your tour date! Add that date to your calendar so you don’t forget.

When the book arrives, via mail or internet, based upon your own personal reading speed, and what day you’ve been assigned to post, start reading. Some tours book a few weeks in advance, and some book months out (I’m on a tour for March that I was accepted for back in December).

They Didn’t Pick Me….

Bummer! It happens. A lot more often than any of us would like. Considering that most tours only have space for about 20 hosts, and there are (on average) at least 50 people that apply, the odds are about 2 in 5 that I’ll be chosen. If not, don’t give up! There will be other tours, other companies, and other opportunities. I’ve even had the rare occasion where someone who was chosen has to withdraw, and I was on the shortlist to take their place.

It’s upsetting not to be chosen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still promote the book! If you happen to have (or buy) a copy of the book, still read it and give it a good review (not “good” meaning positive, “good” meaning thoughtful. Reviewers are supposed to be honest here!). Trust me, tour companies see these posts, and mentally bookmark people they’d like to work with in the future.

Bonus: The Double Booked Book

Also, there are multiple companies that will sometimes have tours going for the same book either at the same time, or maybe a couple weeks apart. Apply for both…hedge your bets. If you book one and not the other: success! If you book both, reach out to both companies and let them know you’re on the tour list for the other. Some companies will ask you to chose which one you want to do, but most (a fair 90%) will be fine with both, as long as you follow the rules/regulations for them while also doing the same for the other. They may even accommodate you as much to put allow your date to match the other so you can do one post. I have done this a couple times, and it’s a lot of red tape in making sure you have all the right hashtags and tags on the photos, but overall, not impossible.

What Do I Do When It’s My Turn?

Just tell your peeps about the book! Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, highlight some positives, or maybe some comparisons to books that people may like. I have had many a book I didn’t particularly care for, but I still made sure to take a bomb photo, talk about the good parts, and do a little comparison.

I know the publicity aspect can seem a bit dishonest, especially since we are promising an honest review…but think about it this way: if someone told you that X book was absolutely terrible, are you going to buy it for yourself? Nope. But. If that same person who didn’t enjoy the book compared it to a series you do like, or highlighted the descriptions the author gives…you may pick it up. That’s all the goal is for tours: they want the book on people’s radars.

Bonusbonus: Double Booked Date

Sometimes, in signing up for multiple tours at once, you’ll end up getting accepted for more than one where you’re assigned the same date to post. Reach out to both companies and let them know you have a second (or third!) post that day. Most will be okay with sharing the day (post one in the morning, one in the evening), or will move you to another date so the other company can have the spotlight that day.

Your companies are ran by regular schmegular people, and people sometimes over extend themselves. Transparency and honesty are the big words here, folks.

So what did we learn today?

1. Getting accepted for a tour depends on the amount hosts allowed, and people that sign up.

2. If chosen, put in work! Read the book, snap a pic, and post on your date.

3. Sometimes you aren’t chosen, and that’s okay.

4. Sometimes you are double (or even triple) chosen. And that’s okay! Be honest and open with all parties, and 8 times out of 10, things will be a-okay.

That’s all I got for you today folks! Leave any questions, comments, or concerns below, and I’ll get back to you!

Wings of Ebony (eARC)

Hiiii! Welcome to my stop for Wings of Ebony, courtesy of Caffeine Book Tours! I have been itching to get my hands on a copy of this book, so when I heard I was selected for the tour, I went bananas! Read along for my thoughts about this powerhouse debut, and info on where to get your own copy! TW: Representations of gun violence (not graphic), reference to drugs, reference to murder, reference to genocide, on-page racism, violence. Please consider yourself and take care before reading this one, beloved.

Banner of tour, courtesy of Caffeine Book Tours

Synopsis

In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and must save both the human and god worlds — think Black Panther-meets-Cassandra Clare!

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.


The Good

The characters. The writing. Everything is so fleshed out. I’ve never been to Houston, TX, let alone the East Row, but reading J. Elle’s words, I felt as though it was somewhere familiar. I loved how Rue’s character explained the family atmosphere of the block, because it really is like that for so many, myself included. My parents’ closest friends are my aunties and uncles, and their kids call me cuz…family ain’t always blood: it’s shared experiences and love and care.

I love that (eventually) Rue comes around to the idea of having a dad. I have a very strong relationship with both my father, and my father-in-law, so I’m always happy for a good daddy/daughter scene.

There is a bit of romance in this book, but not so much that the plot is distracted by it. Rue has two equally attractive, 100% down-for-the-cause guys interested in her, that she’s also interested in too…I’m interested to see who see chooses in the sequel (YES, there has to be one).

The Bad

For the Chancellor to be the mastermind behind the stealing of the magic…he’s not seen much. I understand that our big bad ends up being [redacted] but I felt like we should have seen the head honcho more too?

Tasha’s character wasn’t very…there. She serves her purpose as the DiD (Damsel in Destress) and not much else. She isn’t the main focus of the book, so I understand why she didn’t get much backstory or motivation. Hopefully, she gets a bit more development in the sequel.

The Ugly

[REDACTED] WAS THE ONE WHO KILLED RUE’S MOM?! Omg. I was so angry when that came out. But, what a reveal! I loved how J. was able to string us along, just like Rue and then drop this bombshell at just the right time.

Overall

I absolutely loved. Loved. LOVED. Wings of Ebony. I can’t believe that this is J. Elle’s first book! The world building is amazing, the characters are fleshed out and believable. J. will definitely be on my roster of authors to watch, and you need to put her on yours too!


About the author

Image courtesy of authorjelle.com

J. Elle was born in Houston, Texas, and is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s in journalism and MA in educational administration and human development. An advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community, J. Elle’s passion for empowering youth dates back to her first career in education. She’s worked as a preschool director, middle school teacher, and high school creative writing mentor. In her spare time, she volunteers at an alternative school, provides feedback for aspiring writers, loves on her three littles, and cooks up dishes true to her Texas and Louisiana roots. For more on what J. Elle is up to, visit her online at https://authorjelle.com/.

Wing of Ebony is the debut novel of J. Elle released on January 26 from Simon & Schuster. For info on the book as well as links to purchase your own copy, please visit the book’s page on the publisher’s website.

Looking Ahead!

Hello friends! Welcome to my new home! I have some fun content coming soon, here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Blog tours I’ve booked! (in order of appearance)
    • Wings of Ebony (Feb.)
    • Crave/Crush/Covet (March)
    • Sing me Forgotten (March)
    • A Better Bad Idea (March)

I’m also going to be posting new content to my Fast Five series!

  • Props!
    • Good places to shop
    • Ways to use things you already have!
    • Finding your “look”
  • Blog Tours
    • How to apply
    • When to apply
    • What to apply for
    • What to do once you’ve been selected
    • What to do if you aren’t selected

….and much more! What post (or posts) are you most excited for? Personally, I’m S U P E R pumped to read and review Covet but…that’s just me 😉

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (ARC)

Hi, hey, hello! Welcome back to another review! Today, I’m featuring The Gilded Ones, a beautiful story inspired by West-African mythology featuring a cast of amazing women.

The banner for the tour, courtesy of Terminal Tours

I’m going to be doing my traditional Good, Bad, and Ugly for this review (how I’ve missed this format!) with closing remarks after! There are a few trigger warnings (described sexual abuse of character, killing of various characters, repeated torture and assault of character), so please take care of yourself and make sure you’re in the right headspace before diving in to this amazing read.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki — near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be — not even Deka herself.

Synopsis of book

The Good

Everything. Literally everything. The plot moves along just fast enough to be believable and interesting, but slow enough to make sure the reader is still on track with everything.

The characters are so fully fleshed out — I’d want to be friends with these girls. Britta’s accent and way of pronouncing words made me think of my own family with roots in the South…some letters are never pronounced, just implied. It’s like it’s own language to decode. Forna does a great job with incorporating this quirk into the character of Britta.

I also liked how we were almost an all-seeing person in the world of The Gilded Ones. We learned information at the same time Deka did. It was quite a smart move to put the reader in Deka’s perspective and keep us there. It really helped us to discover the secrets this world has hidden and genuinely be shocked.

The Bad/The Ugly

Honestly. Not much of anything. If I had one request it’s just that I want Book 2 (OH YES) right n o w!

Overall

The Gilded Ones was an amazing read, and quick too. I cannot express the joy seeing so many beautiful Black characters having their stories told. I can only wait with bated breath for more from Ms. Forna and her contemporaries.


Image courtesy of naminaforna.com

Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves telling stories with fierce female leads and works as a screenwriter in LA.

The Gilded Ones is Namina Forna’s debut book being released on February 9th from Delacorte Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Visit https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/600179/the-gilded-ones-by-namina-forna/ for more info on the book, and find Namina online on Twitter, Instagram, or her website Naminaforna.com to see what she’s up to!


I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my participation on this blog tour and an honest review. Receiving these materials in no way affected my review.

All That Glitters / Everything That Burns by Gita Trelease (ARC)

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Hope you guys have your seat belts fastened because for the first time ever in STLR history, I am reviewing TWO books at once! All That Glitters was released in 2019, originally under the title of Enchantee‘, and the follow up book Everything That Burns (announced under the title of Liberte’) just released! This is going to be a first-time-ever double review adventure, so hold on tight!


All That Glitters (Enchantee’)

I originally read an ARC of this book back in 2019 when it published. I did a reread to prepare me for the sequel and help familiarized myself with the world or pre-revolution France.

Camille is the middle of 3 children who have lost their parents and are struggling to make it by. The oldest sibling, a brother, is in the army, but he’s got two addictions that are hard to kick, and keep the family on the verge of being evicted: gambling and alcohol. Camille takes it upon herself to try and make extra money for the household by scamming sellers using fake coins and getting real coins as change with purchases. It’s all fine and dandy..unless someone finds out.

Filled with magic and history and gorgeous imagery, Everything That Glitters toes the line between fantasy and historical fiction. It tends to get a bit wordy at times, so be prepared to really hunker down with this one.


Everything That Burns (Liberte’)

Camille is back and her magic is even stronger. She’s risen above her situation and now lives a comfortable life in Paris. The only thing holding Camille back from feeling fulfilled is the injustices that women face in society.

Poor women, beggar women, the girls who sell flowers, and the girls who sell themselves for company for the highest bidder are living in conditions even more destitute than before as (unknown to them, of course) the French Revolution looms on the horizon. Taxes are going up, wages are going down, and the royals don’t seem to care that their people are dying. Something’s gotta give.

Everything That Burns definitely has less of the magical fantastical elements that All That Glitters introduced. The second installment to the duology is focused more on society, social justice, and fighting to find one’s voice in the midst of strife.


Gita Trelease is the author of All That Glitters & Everything That Burns. Both books were published and release by Flatiron Publishing, a division of Macmillan. For more information about Ms. Trelease and what’s she is currently working on, visit her website at gitatrelease.com.

Both of these ebooks were provided to me by Flatiron Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Receiving these materials has in no way affected my review.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog! Some of you may recognize me and my posts from their previous home of curlybookowls.Wordpress.com. I wanted to venture out on my own and have a site that is more closely associate with me. Definitely continue follow CBO, Courtney & Adrienne are absolute sweethearts and their content is worth the read!


What can you expect?

The same chaotic Stacia, the same chaotic posting schedule (there isn’t one)! However, I am booking quite a few blog tours for books, so you’ll see those a lot more!


Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to drop me a line at stacia5716@gmail.com and put “QCC” in the subject line! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Glimpsed by GF Miller (ARC)

Hey, hi, hello! Welcome back to another spoiler-free review from your girl Stacia! Today we’ve got a cute lil romcom featuring fairy godmothers, wish granting, and Star Trek. Be sure to read alllll of this post because there’s a fun surprise at the end 🙂

Tour banner from Turn the Pages Tours featuring the tour dates of January 19 to January 25.

perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, this charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true. Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures. Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vindhya crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?

Back cover of book, courtesy of Barnesandnoble.com
Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

So when I signed up to read and review Glimpsed, I had no idea it would actually be a book I really enjoyed and would totes reread in the future. Charity is our main character and she is a sort of junior godmother: with just one touch, she glimpses the truest desire of someone in need (a Cindy, like Cinderella) and then takes upon herself to grant that wish. We’re given the backstory that all previous wishes had ended quite nicely for the Cindies. A couple people wanted the standard teenage dream: the hot guy or girl, one kid wanted people to notice him for his dance talent, nothing too crazy. So when Charity bumps into her newest Cindy and sees the dream she wants, its old hat for her to grant the wish and get the girl to her end goal. But then she’s confronted by a stalker: someone who has been watching her with the Cindies and has decided that Charity is actually brainwashing people, not granting wishes, and making their lives worse, not better.

Glimpsed was super cute and a very fun, easy read. The pop culture references made show that not only was the book written in current times, but that the characters are just like us. I was also really happy that the author seemed to put thought into the dialogue and reactions of the characters, as evidenced by the way they interact with each other. Sometimes in reading contemporary YA, teenage characters can be written as unrealistic or too mature/immature in their thinking. I can easily and confidently say that was not the case here.

Overall, I’d say Glimpsed is a solid 4 stars for me. The plot line does get a smidgen predictable around the 3/5th mark, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still enjoyable!

Continue reading “Glimpsed by GF Miller (ARC)”

Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch (ARC)

Another review? Y’all are getting spoiled….

Image features Love & Olives book surrounded by flowers of complimentary colors (purple, white, burnt orange) with 3 plaster macaroons nestled into flowers. Macaroons are mint green, pale yellow, and off-white. Entire photograph is staged in an open face wicker basket , similar to what one would perhaps gather fresh flowers in.
Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

SYNOPSIS (pulled straight from Goodreads): Liv Varanakis doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of her father, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight. What Liv does remember, though, is their shared love for Greek myths and the lost city of Atlantis. So when Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father explaining that National Geographic is funding a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and will she fly out to Greece and help?—Liv jumps at the opportunity. But when she arrives to gorgeous Santorini, things are a little…awkward. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. And yet Liv doesn’t want their past to get in the way of a possible reconciliation. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo—her father’s charismatic so-called “protégé”—to witness her struggle. And that means diving into all that Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the hidden caves, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.


I have never read anything by this author, but I’m definitely a fan now! Love & Olives is a sweet, romantic romp through the Grecian countryside on a journey of self-discovery and reconnection. Olive (Liv) is a 17 year old girl trying to figure out where she wants to go to college: should she go to Stanford with her boyfriend Dax, or follow her dreams and go to the Rhode Island School of Design to pursue her art when she receives a letter from her estranged father…he’s found the lost city of Atlantis and he wants her to come to Greece and discover it with him.

Olives is a very cute story about family and the lengths one goes to to find their own personal happiness. There’s terminal illnesses, a boyfriend who is a bit pushy, a girlfriend who isn’t pushy enough, a brother who wants to be a ninja and a stranger who may be something more.

I really enjoyed this book! There are some amazing visuals and the setting of Santorini just makes it that much more beautiful. I liked the authors use of descriptions or Liv’s anxiety/PTSD about being underwater. Truly a great read!


I am very thankful to have received an ARC of this book from Simon Pulse, via Kathleen Carter Communications, a promotional service for authors and their books, in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this Advanced Copy has in no way impacted my opinion of this work.


Love & Olives is the third book in Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and… series. Olives was released on November 10th by Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster. You can read more about what Jenna is up to and see her other works on Instagram at jennaevanswelch or at her website jennaevanswelch.com.

A Wolf for a Spell by Karah Sutton (eARC)

Y’all will never guess who’s back with *another* post for y’all… Now don’t go getting spoiled on me…I’m still terrible at posting on the regular. Today’s book is a Middle Grade, so it’s perfect for you or any littles you may have running around the house too!

Shown is the banner advertising the tour. Courtesy of TBR and Beyonds Tours.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body!Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all.

Image courtesy of Stacialovestoread on Instagram.

Wolf was so cute and such a fun read! This book does feature multiple POVs, so if that’s something you or your kiddo have a bit of trouble with, I’d suggest using post-it flags on the first page of each separate perspective, with each perspective having its own color. That way you see green and know it’s the wolves, etc.

Zima is out main wolf we see the world through. She’s the second oldest wolf in her pack (so she’s sort of the “Beta”) but because she’s a girl and not the Alpha, it seems like no one really listens to her. She is strong and brave, but also more of a flighter than a fighter.

Nadya. Our sweet human bean. She’s adventurous, always getting into trouble, and currently attempting to map out the forest. She and Zima bump into each other on like page 5, and the whole course of the story is changed from their interaction.

Baba Yaga. The witch hag. Baba Yaga, contrary to what I’d thought, is not a hard, but decent old lady who lives in a bath house and gives Chihiro a job (Spirited Away, 2001 film), she’s actually a terrible witch who get around by riding in a giant mortar and pestle and is losing her ability to magic correctly because she’s getting old.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author has Russian heritage, and you can see how that is written into the work from the name of some characters : Tsar (a Russian title for the king) Aleksander to Nadya and Katerina, to the harsh, seemingly always winter climate our story takes place in. There are cute illustrations sprinkled throughout the chapters that help to add to the words you’ve just read.


I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book has in no way affected my opinion of this work. A Wolf for a Spell Is Sutton’s debut work, and was released on December 1st from Alfred A. Knopf Book for Children.

Image of author shown. Courtesy of author’s website.

Karah Sutton has loved Baba Yaga, ballet, and blini ever since she had to do a research project on her Russian heritage in the third grade. Her hunger for adventure inspired her to move from Kentucky to New Zealand, where it was rumored she would find talking trees and the occasional wood elf. Karah spent four years as a bookseller before she turned to writing her own fiction. A Wolf For a A Spell is her debut work. You can find Karah on the web at karahsutton.com or on Instagram at karahdactylauthor.

The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West (ARC)

Welcome back to another sporadic post from me, Stacialovestoread. Today I bring you good tidings, cold weather….oh yeah! A review of a recently published book!

Banner for The Bitterwine Oath tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Features tour dates of 12/01-12/08.

Synopsis: Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence –and save the boy who broke her heart? San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are justgossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join. The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?


First off, let’s start with a content warning. This book, though definitely a YA, features some themes some may be uncomfortable with. There are descriptions of blood, gore, and animal cruelty. If any of those things offend or upset you, perhaps skip this review and this read. Take care of yourself first, beloved.

Picture features black background with skull prop in upper left hand corner atop red plaid scarf . Book is featured in foreground with silver dagger’s blade a cross it. Upper right hand corner features a bath bomb on a wooden chunk with two blank candles.
Photo courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Since this will be my first spoiler-free review, so forgive me if this one is a little dry: I’m used to letting y’all in on all the good, bad, and ugly of a book but I can’t with this one, per request of the publisher and tour company. I can say, however, that this book was a r i d e from start to finish. From the cult (which turns out to be more of a coven), to the town’s strange history, and the lengths one is willing to go through to protect the ones they love.

Bitterwine Oath stars Nat, a spunky high school senior is just trying to live out the last summer with her friends before they all separate and go to various colleges the following year. Levi, a boy that Nat kissed once (and would very much like to kiss again) has come back to town after finishing his first year at college. There are secrets a plenty, poems, a secret cult, and forest shenanigans that stand between them being together. While there are definitely some parts that call for a suspension of disbelief, the plot moves along nicely and I feel like the ending not only closed everything up well, but also left space for a sequel/companion novel.


I received an Advance Copy of this book from the publisher, Holiday House, in exchange for my participation on this tour, and an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review.

Shown is a photograph of the author, Hannah West. Imagine courtesy of the author’s website.

Hannah West is a YA author. The Bitterwine Oath comes after the author’s previous works: The Nissera Novels and was released on December 1st from Holliday House Publishing. You can find her on the web at Hannahwestauthor.com or Instagram at hannahwestya.

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