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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 copycat killer? Or a man-hatin 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 copycat 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 just gossip, 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? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered. But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims--including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back. Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?


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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 copycat killer? Or a man-hatin 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 copycat 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 just gossip, 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? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered. But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims--including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back. Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?

30 review for The Bitterwine Oath

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    Not really my cup of tea. GR review to come, or read it early HERE. Not really my cup of tea. GR review to come, or read it early HERE.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Contemporary / Fantasy *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* Hannah West's The Bitterwine Oath is a mixture of murder + supernatural cult + romance + Southern vibes and sisterhood. In 1921, 4 young women living in of San Solano, Texas; Lillian Pickard, Malachi Rivers, Dorothy Hawkins, and Johanna Mead became known as the Pagans of the Pines. These women wanted to claim vengeance commensurate to their suffering at the hands of men. They instead created a curse which killed *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Contemporary / Fantasy *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* Hannah West's The Bitterwine Oath is a mixture of murder + supernatural cult + romance + Southern vibes and sisterhood. In 1921, 4 young women living in of San Solano, Texas; Lillian Pickard, Malachi Rivers, Dorothy Hawkins, and Johanna Mead became known as the Pagans of the Pines. These women wanted to claim vengeance commensurate to their suffering at the hands of men. They instead created a curse which killed 12 men. 50 years later, a second massacre happened, and another 12 men were murdered. This story takes place during the semicentennial anniversary of the Malachian’s curse. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Danielle (always_read_the_end_first)

    "Unexplained deaths. The most haunted places of America. Supernatural Occurrences. " Solid 3.7 to 4.5 STARS. This book is like the Chilling adventures of Sabrina and wild west vibes with sprinkles of SuckerPunch (the badass women fighter with awesome music blaring), OH SAN SOLANO TEXAS BABY. We got WITCHES, BLOOD OATHS, GIRL POWER, INDEPENDENCE, MULTIPLE HERITAGE/CULTURES! You know the deathly hallows symbol? Well, how about the Malachian Symbol? This book suggest that when Salem murdered those "wo "Unexplained deaths. The most haunted places of America. Supernatural Occurrences. " Solid 3.7 to 4.5 STARS. This book is like the Chilling adventures of Sabrina and wild west vibes with sprinkles of SuckerPunch (the badass women fighter with awesome music blaring), OH SAN SOLANO TEXAS BABY. We got WITCHES, BLOOD OATHS, GIRL POWER, INDEPENDENCE, MULTIPLE HERITAGE/CULTURES! You know the deathly hallows symbol? Well, how about the Malachian Symbol? This book suggest that when Salem murdered those "women" for being EVIL, jokes on you because witches are badass will bring men to their knees or woodwalkers if need be. I love the puns referenced in this book! Last summer before college is a huge deal. This is a pivotal moment in this book for all the characters in this novel. The fact that the main antagonist in this book isn't just the murdering curse but Witches against other witches show how if we don't combine our strengths it ruin us. we need to be together right now not against. Grandma Maggie reminds me of Dolores Umbridge, yeah and we know how well that ended. Would you visit a haunted house/place? Thank you Harpercollins for this eARC!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Other Rachel

    Okay, now this is how you do a blend of Charmed and The Devouring Gray. In a haunted summer full of blood and monsters, Natalie just wants to enjoy the time she has left with her friends before they all leave for college. Until dead animals start appearing, some even headless. There are people in her strange town that now act differently toward her, and that includes her crush Levi and her best friend, but what scares Nat most are the nightmares. As the descendant from the leader of a cult, known Okay, now this is how you do a blend of Charmed and The Devouring Gray. In a haunted summer full of blood and monsters, Natalie just wants to enjoy the time she has left with her friends before they all leave for college. Until dead animals start appearing, some even headless. There are people in her strange town that now act differently toward her, and that includes her crush Levi and her best friend, but what scares Nat most are the nightmares. As the descendant from the leader of a cult, known for the murders of local boys and witchcraft, all Nat wants is for the strangeness to end. Except history got it all wrong. The monsters are real and they're after her. West does a fantastic job of shifting genres, grounding the ritualized murders and vengeful ghosts in the real fears of living in a small town and the fears of starting college. The atmosphere feeds into the slow-moving plot and helps create and a chilling sense of horror. No one is what they seem, classmates can be shadowed by ghosts, women can be protective witches, everyone has a secret. This book easily had me hooked! I the magic system West made feels organic with the world-building as well as the emphasis on female friendships and the importance of having a community. While the romance felt lackluster - maybe it needed some more pages to help flesh it out -the ending was the most natural conclusion. Although what got me the most was the book's ending and the potential is has for a sequel. Hint, hint. Nudge, nudge. A digital ARC has been provided by edelweiss. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    Thank you Holiday House and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. The Bitterwine Oath By: Hannah West REVIEW ☆☆☆☆ Learn from the past, else you be doomed to repeat it. In Hannah West's The Bitterwine Oath, eighteen year old Natalie lives in a small southern town with a terrible legacy. One hundred years ago witches, essentially, killed a dozen men. But, just fifty years ago, this same thing happened again. Now, at the on Thank you Holiday House and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own. The Bitterwine Oath By: Hannah West REVIEW ☆☆☆☆ Learn from the past, else you be doomed to repeat it. In Hannah West's The Bitterwine Oath, eighteen year old Natalie lives in a small southern town with a terrible legacy. One hundred years ago witches, essentially, killed a dozen men. But, just fifty years ago, this same thing happened again. Now, at the one hundred year anniversary, will these events repeat once more? Natalie has strong ties to the whole witch man killer situation, but does she believe any of it is true? I won't go into much detail here. Natalie may or may not have the power to change the direction of events and, possibly, save her town from a witch massacre. Or, Natalie could be a witch herself. There are many possibilities. This book has a strong sense of place with its southern vibe and gothic undertones. The atmospheric presence of something eerie and menacing was fantastic. Natalie is a likeable character in a strange situation. There is a solid portrayal of girl power and the value in female relationships that I found refreshing. I didn't care for the romantic bits because it felt forced and contrived. This book will appeal to fans of ya magic/occult/ paranormal mysteries. It's an entertaining and creepy experience, so give this one a try!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    ugh I really did not vibe. writing and style felt immature. Don’t laugh but the magic felt really unrealistic and poorly developed (woodwalkers?????). I have such a hard time giving up on books - I always want to finish them, but I really could have stopped after the first 50 pages because it didn’t get any better.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I really enjoyed this one. Not your usual teen witch book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sammy

    You can read the full review on my blog We Write at Dawn My expectations going into this book were way different than the book I read. I thought this was going to be about a cult our main character Natalie (Nat) gets sucked into as they plan to commit murder on the 100th anniversary of the initial massacre. What I read was so much better. First off, the magical element in it was so well done. It answered every question I could come up with each time a problem was presented. How did Nat forget wha You can read the full review on my blog We Write at Dawn My expectations going into this book were way different than the book I read. I thought this was going to be about a cult our main character Natalie (Nat) gets sucked into as they plan to commit murder on the 100th anniversary of the initial massacre. What I read was so much better. First off, the magical element in it was so well done. It answered every question I could come up with each time a problem was presented. How did Nat forget what she saw? Because the bone dust blocks their memory. How do people not see them patrolling the forest with guns or fighting Woodwalkers? Because there are disorientation spells to mask their appearances. I mean it was genius! As we got more into the story and the plot, I got more and more enthralled. We have history and familial, generational drama. Plus – we have a love interest who I loved and hated at the same time. Though, eventually, I was forced to love him because in the end, he was such a sweetheart!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: The Bitterwine Oath Author: Hannah West Book Series: Standalone Rating: 3/5 Recommended For...: Fantasy, paranormal, ya Publication Date: December 1, 2020 Publisher: Holiday House Pages: 320 Recommended Age: 16+ (abuse, lynching, animal death and gore, molestation) Synopsis: San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, a Disclaimer: I received this arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: The Bitterwine Oath Author: Hannah West Book Series: Standalone Rating: 3/5 Recommended For...: Fantasy, paranormal, ya Publication Date: December 1, 2020 Publisher: Holiday House Pages: 320 Recommended Age: 16+ (abuse, lynching, animal death and gore, molestation) Synopsis: 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 copycat 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 just gossip, 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? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered. But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims--including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back. Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town? Review: Overall, I liked the concept and storyline of this book. the plot was really interesting and the character development was the author strong point. The book is also fast paced and can be read in when sitting if the reader has a couple hours to kill. However the book doesn't have a strong beginning and it takes a while for the reader to get into the book. I also thought the story was clunky and unorganized and that the world building was pretty bad. the book has potential to be really good and I hope that it is cleaned up in the finalized version but it has some work to do. Verdict: It's good just needs work.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Candyce Kirk

    I can only imagine what it’s like living in a town where cult massacres take place. And of course, with the 100th anniversary coming up, the town is more popular than it’s ever been. The Bitterwine Oath has a great spooky atmosphere, but it wasn’t everything that I was expecting (not all in a bad way). Our main character Natalie is a descendant of the cult leader and it doesn’t seem like fun being looked upon for that. After senior year ends, all she wants is to spend time with her friends before I can only imagine what it’s like living in a town where cult massacres take place. And of course, with the 100th anniversary coming up, the town is more popular than it’s ever been. The Bitterwine Oath has a great spooky atmosphere, but it wasn’t everything that I was expecting (not all in a bad way). Our main character Natalie is a descendant of the cult leader and it doesn’t seem like fun being looked upon for that. After senior year ends, all she wants is to spend time with her friends before they start a new chapter in their lives. Natalie’s life is thrown upside down when she learns there’s more to everything than she realizes and magic is a real thing. The Bitterwine Oath is filled with strong female characters, friendship, magic and mystery. Even though I have to say I would’ve liked more magic. I did enjoy learning about the past through the excerpts of a book. This is really clever way of sharing information. Sometimes things like that really take me away from the story, but that wasn’t the case in this book. I have to say I could’ve done without the romance element in this book. I get why it was added and it’s not bad, but in the beginning it felt like it took over the story a bit at times. That being said, I still enjoyed The Bitterwine Oath. The writing style is great and it was a fast read. The author sucked me into this world and I needed to know how it would all play out. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this author for future books!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dini - dinipandareads

    I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Holiday House and the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 4 stars This is the kind of book about witches, supernatural horrors and basically all the scary things that go bump which I’d normally stay away from, but the mystery aspect in the synopsis was too intriguing for me to resist! While the story ended up being quite different to what I expected, I have to say that I really enjo I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours. Special thanks to Holiday House and the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 4 stars This is the kind of book about witches, supernatural horrors and basically all the scary things that go bump which I’d normally stay away from, but the mystery aspect in the synopsis was too intriguing for me to resist! While the story ended up being quite different to what I expected, I have to say that I really enjoyed it! There were some elements that could’ve been done better but overall, I’m so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to read this! TL;DR: Overall, this was a great YA mystery with many elements of supernatural horror, a fair bit of witchy magic, and a small dose of romance! Nat was a really likeable MC and it was easy to root for her (and her romance)! While I wish the ending wasn’t so abrupt, I had such a good time reading this that I finished it in a day because I simply couldn’t put it down. If you love a supernatural YA mystery set a small town with strong female characters, I’d definitely recommend checking this out! Check out my full review on my blog!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paige (pagebypaigebooks)

    *Thank you to Penguin Teen Canada for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review!* Let me first start off with talking about how pretty this cover is! From the beginning it sets the atmospheric vibe of a small town with dark secrets. The magic system in this book is based on wardens of three types; bone, blood and earth. This concept was something I was interested in right away and I would have loved to see more of it in action. Part of becoming a warden is to take a bitterwine oath which in *Thank you to Penguin Teen Canada for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review!* Let me first start off with talking about how pretty this cover is! From the beginning it sets the atmospheric vibe of a small town with dark secrets. The magic system in this book is based on wardens of three types; bone, blood and earth. This concept was something I was interested in right away and I would have loved to see more of it in action. Part of becoming a warden is to take a bitterwine oath which increases your abilities, I thought this was a nice touch and brought some more chilling and cult like vibes to the book. Since Nat's great grandmother and her group are blamed for these occurrences they gained some popularity. This led to a member of the group publishing a book on her thoughts about what happened. In terms of the writing, I enjoyed the snippets of this tell all book which gave another perspective into the past. However at points I felt that the plot became rushed and this lead to me not forming a strong connection to the characters. One thing I really wished was for more communication between the characters which would have solved many conflicts. The romance between Nat and Levi was cute but also felt unrealistic in the fact that they seemed to have an almost instant connection for people that didn't talk to each other before. The monsters in this book were creepy and gross, giving a chill factor, and I enjoyed the battle scenes where our main character turned into a confident and skilled marksman.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Natalie lives in very small town in Texas haunted by the events of 100 and 50 years ago, when twelve men were somehow massacred in a church. Adding to the mystery of those events is the fact that surrounding these deaths are girls who appear to be witches (an appearance helped by the publication of a book by one of those witches). And Natalie? She's a direct descendant of the "head" witch, the one who perhaps caused all the deaths. It doesn't take too much imagination to see where all this will Natalie lives in very small town in Texas haunted by the events of 100 and 50 years ago, when twelve men were somehow massacred in a church. Adding to the mystery of those events is the fact that surrounding these deaths are girls who appear to be witches (an appearance helped by the publication of a book by one of those witches). And Natalie? She's a direct descendant of the "head" witch, the one who perhaps caused all the deaths. It doesn't take too much imagination to see where all this will go, nor does it take a lot of imagination to guess what happens between Natalie and Levi, who kissed once last year and then Levi left for college without a word. ARC provided by publisher.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This really had the potential to be an amazing story but it fell short in multiple categories. There wasn't much magic so if you're expecting a book filled with witchcraft then this isn't it. By the time Natalie learns she has magic and decides to take the oath, it's at 51%. She doesn't perform any spells until the very end and that is her only dip into exploring her magic. The Wardens claimed to have magical powers but yet the only thing I saw them do is fight the Woodwalkers with weapons. Spea This really had the potential to be an amazing story but it fell short in multiple categories. There wasn't much magic so if you're expecting a book filled with witchcraft then this isn't it. By the time Natalie learns she has magic and decides to take the oath, it's at 51%. She doesn't perform any spells until the very end and that is her only dip into exploring her magic. The Wardens claimed to have magical powers but yet the only thing I saw them do is fight the Woodwalkers with weapons. Speaking of the weapons, Natalie has never handled weapons before and after a few hours training with guns and knives she is suddenly a pro. It's ridiculous because her best friend Lindsey informs her that everyone trains with weapons and magic starting at 12 and Lindsey and Natalie are currently 18. You're telling me that Natalie mastered 6 years of training in a few hours? Unbelievable. Before Natalie learns of the Wardens, she notices Lindsey acting more reserved, covering up her arms with bandages, and hanging out with Vanessa who is also sporting bandages. After Natalie joins the Wardens, she learns that being a Warden is a 24/7 commitment. You don't have free time to hang out with friends and go on dates or do anything a normal teenager does. Natalie never noticed Lindsey's lack of free time until now which is another discrepancy. The love interest was bland. Levi has always ignored Natalie until the previous summer when they kissed. Then he drove off to college and is back in town for the current summer. Even though both these characters have only exchanged a few sentences over the years, they are somehow madly in love with each other. The book summary also leads the reader to believe Levi is in danger of being Claimed by the Woodwalkers. He doesn't get Claimed until well after the 80% so until that point he was always safe, meddling around and wanting Natalie to tell him all her secrets as a manipulation into dating him. I'm not sure if Abbie and Faith were supposed to be written as they were, but they came across as having low IQs. Every line they uttered made be cringe because it was just so stupid sounding. They had the vocabulary and sentence structure of a toddler learning to talk. Also, the pacing was wicked slow. Nothing exciting or eventful happens. Natalie also takes on the stereotype of most teen female protagonists because she is super special with her magical abilities. There are three sources of magic (Earth, Bone, and Blood) and each Warden only possesses one, except Natalie of course because she has all three and is the most powerful out of all the Wardens. Thank you Edelweiss for the ARC.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stéphanie Louis

    I was really excited about this book and guess who was happy when she saw that she got chosen for this tour? Yes, that would be me. So I absolutely love stories about witches, covens and everything related to magic. Especially if it’s set in the modern times. We got some flashbacks to see how everything started and I loved reading these. “The Bitterwine Oath“, is the perfect spooky read that I would have loved to read during Halloween but also during these cold and wintery days it’s still the per I was really excited about this book and guess who was happy when she saw that she got chosen for this tour? Yes, that would be me. So I absolutely love stories about witches, covens and everything related to magic. Especially if it’s set in the modern times. We got some flashbacks to see how everything started and I loved reading these. “The Bitterwine Oath“, is the perfect spooky read that I would have loved to read during Halloween but also during these cold and wintery days it’s still the perfect read for all fans of spooky stories. I loved the writing style, it was easy and fast to read and I devoured every single page of the book. I loved reading about the characters personal life, getting to know more about them, I liked the romance which had the perfect amount of appearances it was supposed to have. So not too much to annoy the heck out of me and enough to make me love it. Overall, “The Bitterwine Oath“, is the perfect read for you if you want to feel all the chills in your body. And of course if you want a new favorite read about witches! *A review copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review! This review can also be found on my blog.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anushka | bibliophile_onloose

    Find this and other reviews in my blog. The Bitterwine Oath gave me strong Vampire Diaries feels and it almost felt as if I was watching a Netflix show. It has just the right plotline, suspense and the extra mystery which made me love reading this gorgeous book. Nat, a high school student, is the great-great-granddaughter of Malachi Rivers, the witch who was involved in the murder of twelve men in the town of San Solano, Texas, a century ago. She has a crush on a boy named Levi who is the great-gr Find this and other reviews in my blog. The Bitterwine Oath gave me strong Vampire Diaries feels and it almost felt as if I was watching a Netflix show. It has just the right plotline, suspense and the extra mystery which made me love reading this gorgeous book. Nat, a high school student, is the great-great-granddaughter of Malachi Rivers, the witch who was involved in the murder of twelve men in the town of San Solano, Texas, a century ago. She has a crush on a boy named Levi who is the great-great-grandson of Lillian Pickens, one of the other three girls who were also involved in the massacre. The story is set a month before the 100th Anniversary of the massacre. On the 50th Anniversary, a copycat massacre took place when another 12 boys were brutally murdered. This unsolved mystery instigated rumours and fear among the people. Many suspected that there may be another massacre on the 100th Anniversary. However, things became serious when Nat started seeing stones marked with Malachi’s mark around her house and found her mark under her grandmother’s bed. I LOVED reading the book. The concept felt a little familiar to me as many paranormal fantasies the same kind of plot. However, the execution and the characters made me love the book. I loved the concepts of female friendships, independence throughout the book. Nat was such a badass character and she had an amazing personality. The little moments that she shared with her grandmother was so sweet. Although I felt that book could use a little bit more magic but the ending made up for it. Overall, the book was wonderful I would definitely recommend it as a fantasy read. Moreover, there is a hint of a sequel at and I can’t wait to read more about this world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cait | GoodeyReads

    Thank you to the publisher, Holiday House for an ARC. All opinions are my own! PRETTY SPOOKY. BLOG || INSTAGRAM I had an overall good time with this. I even found myself completely spooked out after the first couple of chapters. Hidden cult in the woods murdering men? Yeah, that’ll do it. The story was intriguing and I liked reading the author’s notes at the end about creating it. While there was only one full point-of-view, there were many story lines to wrap together. Everything did weave together Thank you to the publisher, Holiday House for an ARC. All opinions are my own! PRETTY SPOOKY. BLOG || INSTAGRAM I had an overall good time with this. I even found myself completely spooked out after the first couple of chapters. Hidden cult in the woods murdering men? Yeah, that’ll do it. The story was intriguing and I liked reading the author’s notes at the end about creating it. While there was only one full point-of-view, there were many story lines to wrap together. Everything did weave together well and I didn’t feel by the the end of the mystery that I was missing anything. I love when a mystery based book ties all of the endings off before closing! The main character, Natalie, completely blind-sided by her own past kept up with everything. I like how brave she was and really went for it in regards to breaking the curse. She had a little romance with a side character. This fit in better than I thought, but could have used a little more *something* to it. I appreciate the passion of both Natalie and Levi in wanting to be with each other, and figuring out what the heck was out there in the woods. This atmosphere was haunting and without a doubt creepy. Those creatures made me shiver and I love a good old, back country town, with a sordid past. I thought some of the plot was repetitive and multiple issues kept being re-hashed over and over again. It caused me to skim some of it by the end so I could know how everything resolved. Overall audience notes: - Young adult mystery - Language: a little, light - Romance: kisses / light make-outs - Violence: creature attacks, guns, physical altercations, people being possessed by something supernatural

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Although I liked this book well enough, there were several parts that just seemed to drag on and on, and I wanted the author to just cut to the chase, and there were some aspects that just were hard to believe such as how these young women were able to enchant the local police force so that they were unaware of what was going on. The plot centers around eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter, who is spending one last summer with her friends in San Solano, Texas, before leaving for college in Louisiana Although I liked this book well enough, there were several parts that just seemed to drag on and on, and I wanted the author to just cut to the chase, and there were some aspects that just were hard to believe such as how these young women were able to enchant the local police force so that they were unaware of what was going on. The plot centers around eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter, who is spending one last summer with her friends in San Solano, Texas, before leaving for college in Louisiana. But before she has the chance to enjoy the season, she learns that all the rumors she's heard about a female cult engaged in doing battle with evil are actually true. Not only is the gossip founded on truth, but Nat is invited to join the others, who turn out to be her friends, and she's deemed one of the essential members. As it turns out, there's a battle between the Wardens--the feminist cult--and the Woodwalkers, every fifty years. And this time, one of the prizes just might be Levi Langford, a boy on whom Nat has been crushing for a year. I can see why some teen readers would enjoy this one, but even though I enjoy stories of witchcraft and the supernatural, it all seemed too heavy-handed, and I never felt that I had a handle on Malachi Rivers, the woman who started it all so many years ago. Even the excerpts from Lillian Pickard, Malachi's friend, didn't do justice to her, leaving me with just as many questions when I finished the book as when I started reading. And the idea of the town staging a festival around all these rumors and its reputation as a place of death and haunting? I found that hard to buy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eileen (BookCatPin)

    The Bitterwine Oath sounded so different from Hannah West's debut fantasy series, the Nissera Chronicles, I knew I had to give it a try. It did not let me down. The Bitterwine Oath is a paranormal gem of a story. Going into The Bitterwine Oath, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Yet, the plot wholly captured me as soon as I started reading. The book had the most pulse-pounding, creepy and tense atmosphere. Everything made me nervous but like Natalie, I was determined to find out the truths. I wa The Bitterwine Oath sounded so different from Hannah West's debut fantasy series, the Nissera Chronicles, I knew I had to give it a try. It did not let me down. The Bitterwine Oath is a paranormal gem of a story. Going into The Bitterwine Oath, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Yet, the plot wholly captured me as soon as I started reading. The book had the most pulse-pounding, creepy and tense atmosphere. Everything made me nervous but like Natalie, I was determined to find out the truths. I was very intrigued by the mystery in The Bitterwine Oath. As soon as a piece of information was revealed, I'd be analyzing it in my head. My mind was constantly forming one theory after another. In the vein of the plot, the supernatural element of the story made sense. I love that it was easy to understand and had a realistic backstory. It kept me reading. I'm a complete sucker for romances that have the main characters torn- exactly what Natalie and Levi's relationship was like. The more they danced around each other, the closer they unknowingly became. Levi and Natalie's interactions were intense and always had an air of forbiddance. I savoured their sometimes sweet and sometimes painful romance. With mysterious and magical elements, The Bitterwine Oath is a story that came full circle. If more paranormal novels were like it, I'd for sure read them all.

  20. 5 out of 5

    OJ

    Oh please be as good as you sound! Cults, magic, murder, sisterhoods! All the things !

  21. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    The Bitterwine Oath was the absolute perfect blend of creepy and spooky with romance woven in. The author somehow captured the experience of southern living perfectly with phrases that hit me in the face and sent shivers down my spine when they leaped off the page. I thoughtlessly switched from amused and giggly from the one lines to breathless and rapt from the tension. At times, I felt like I was actually experiencing the events, and that is super rare for me! West also masterfully shared the The Bitterwine Oath was the absolute perfect blend of creepy and spooky with romance woven in. The author somehow captured the experience of southern living perfectly with phrases that hit me in the face and sent shivers down my spine when they leaped off the page. I thoughtlessly switched from amused and giggly from the one lines to breathless and rapt from the tension. At times, I felt like I was actually experiencing the events, and that is super rare for me! West also masterfully shared the taste of new romance and left us wanting more! I read over half the book in one sitting before having to call it a night at one in the morning- I finished it the next day. This is one novel you don't want to miss! - ARC from Edelweiss. Folks, this was really good! The perfect mix of spooky and haunting but with a romance going on in between! Full review to come around release date.

  22. 4 out of 5

    kim baccellia

    Engaging paranormal tale where a Texas town's supernatural gruesome history is bound to be repeated and the girl who is willing to do anything to stop it. Engaging paranormal tale where a Texas town's supernatural gruesome history is bound to be repeated and the girl who is willing to do anything to stop it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West purports itself to be a Gothic supernatural thriller along the lines of Buffy. Except, it really isn’t. It takes a lot for any story to live up to a Gothic moniker or compare to Buffy, and Ms. West’s attempt fails on many counts. No matter what era, most Gothic novels contain exquisite descriptions that are both effective in establishing not only the setting but also the otherworldly feel of the story. Ms. West attempts to accomplish this in The Bitterwine Oath. The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West purports itself to be a Gothic supernatural thriller along the lines of Buffy. Except, it really isn’t. It takes a lot for any story to live up to a Gothic moniker or compare to Buffy, and Ms. West’s attempt fails on many counts. No matter what era, most Gothic novels contain exquisite descriptions that are both effective in establishing not only the setting but also the otherworldly feel of the story. Ms. West attempts to accomplish this in The Bitterwine Oath. Rather than succeeding, however, her novel contains some of the most flowery descriptions I have ever read. I would even go so far as to say that there is not an adjective left for Ms. West to use because every noun in her story has at least one adjective tied to it. Instead of evocative and almost ethereal writing, we get a writing style that is so obvious and in-your-face as to be a turnoff. The story itself is not much better. Romanticized, predictable, and safe, there is nothing truly horrifying about The Bitterwine Oath. Neither is there anything surprising about its plot. You know who the next victims are going to be, and you can guess that plot progression well before anything happens. What really causes The Bitterwine Oath to be a failure is its treatment of women. Ms. West attempts to make her story an ode to female victims of violence but fails. Case in point, the curse was originally meant to mark those men who have committed crimes against women or who will do so at some point in time in the future. It is a noble cause, right? After all, rapists and abusers tend to hide in plain sight, especially in the 1900s when women still had few legal rights. Except, the curse backfires and ends up targeting boys and men who are not guilty of such crimes. In attempting to gain back some power from men who relish taking it away from women, the girls cast a curse which makes them the guilty party. To make matters worse, breaking the curse does not require power or magic words. It only requires forgiveness by the descendants of the girls who cast the original curse. So, men really don’t get punished for their crimes. Instead, innocent men suffer from the spite and fury of wronged women. And, women have to clean up their own mess. So much for a good revenge story in which the guilty get their just desserts. The Bitterwine Oath is a disappointment in many ways. Not very Gothic and definitely not akin to Buffy, it struggles with predictability and a distinct lack of horror. Plus, not only is the writing style poor, but the story itself tries to be the next female empowerment story but fails spectacularly. Female empowerment stories should not protect the abusers, but that is what The Bitterwine Oath ultimately does. If that sort of thing bothers you as much as it does me, it is better to skip The Bitterwine Oath altogether. There are much better examples of Gothic horror novels in which female victims get the justice they deserve.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ryn

    An engrossing, atmospheric YA horror. I would give it a rating between 3.5 and 4 stars. Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. The Bitterwine Oath tells the gripping story of a small town haunted by whispers of magic, rumours of a mysterious cult and the unsolved deaths of 24 men. As the descendant of the original cult leader, Natalie Colter, the protagonist, finds herself drawn into a hidden world of bloody secrets and twisted magic, as the 100 year anniversa An engrossing, atmospheric YA horror. I would give it a rating between 3.5 and 4 stars. Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. The Bitterwine Oath tells the gripping story of a small town haunted by whispers of magic, rumours of a mysterious cult and the unsolved deaths of 24 men. As the descendant of the original cult leader, Natalie Colter, the protagonist, finds herself drawn into a hidden world of bloody secrets and twisted magic, as the 100 year anniversary of the first massacre approaches. The story is heavily plot-driven. In spite of this, Hannah West is able to create an interesting cast of characters that feel complete and complex, despite often taking a backseat to the storyline. As such, you feel sufficiently engaged in the struggle of the characters against the looming threat. Nat, the protagonist, is especially compelling. She is intelligent, pragmatic - and feels believably teenaged, without her age and inexperience becoming her defining feature. I particular enjoyed Nat's ability to be attracted to the love-interest, acknowledge that attraction, and still remain intelligent and pragmatic. Whilst the plot itself is entertaining, it is the writing that prevents 'The Bitterwine Oath' from falling prey to the flaws that plague many YA novels; many YA novels, particular YA horror/ supernatural novels, have great concepts but fail to successfully execute them. This is not the case with 'The Bitterwine Oath'. The writing throughout is understated yet evocative, the rawness and heady heat of the summer almost tangible. The words thrum with threat, and the unnatural, creating an atmosphere that carries the novel, allowing Hannah West to combine the everyday and the supernatural with ease. The majority of the novel is reasonably well-paced, steadily building the tension. It could be argued that the climax is slightly rushed, but it is not significantly so. However, the final section, after the climax, felt far too rushed, failing to explore the character relationships and the consequences of the climax. (view spoiler)[ Did the Wardens confront Maggie for her unethical methods? What happened to the boys afterwards? (hide spoiler)] Despite these flaws, 'The Bitterwine Oath' is a thoroughly enjoyable YA read, well-plotted and well-executed.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book isn’t exactly what I had thought it would be – that isn’t bad, just threw me when I first started. This isn’t a story about a cult – well not exactly anyways. And that was the biggest hurtle for me when reading this book. This is of course my fault since I didn’t fully read the synopsis (I rarely do). Once I got over my original misconceptions about the book, I started to really enjoy the story. West’s writing is easy to get sucked into. The characters are easy to relate to. You can see This book isn’t exactly what I had thought it would be – that isn’t bad, just threw me when I first started. This isn’t a story about a cult – well not exactly anyways. And that was the biggest hurtle for me when reading this book. This is of course my fault since I didn’t fully read the synopsis (I rarely do). Once I got over my original misconceptions about the book, I started to really enjoy the story. West’s writing is easy to get sucked into. The characters are easy to relate to. You can see why Nat may not be trusting of the Warden’s and that trust is constantly being strained when she does start to. With Nat’s lack of (consistent) trust in the Warden, I found myself suspicious of many of the parties. Then, like Nat, there would be moments where I lose all suspicions and wanting to learn more about the magic system. The magic system itself isn’t unique – it follows the nature principles that many other magic systems have in the past – however, the unique aspect of this book/magic system is the creation of the creatures themselves. These creatures, once Nat (and the readers) finally see past the magical vail, are amazingly unique and interesting. I wish we got to examine them more. In between chapters we got to read some excerpts from a character’s book. I wanted more! I found them so interesting and added so much to what we were learning about the town/cult/magic system. I wish we had more in between chapters – it wasn’t between each chapter – and less of other components. The one part of this that felt out of place was the romance. I get it – the reasoning behind adding the romance – it helped connect some parts of the story. But honest, I didn’t feel the connection to this other person and the other person felt flat (void of emotions at times). They felt underdeveloped and honestly interchangeable with other characters at times. That being said, I really did enjoy this book and do recommend the read. It would be a great fall/transitional read (despite it taking place over the summer). The spooky vibes did eventually ramp up, but not to the point where I believe our scary-cat readers couldn’t handle it.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I can see why some people had questions, but for the most part I really enjoyed this book. I don't normally read books about cults, supernatural/witches/horror, but for some reason I felt compelled to try this one. I liked the modernity to the characters and the town. Nat is a very likable character, and I found myself emotional involved in her story. I do think her romance with Levi could have been portrayed better and given more a backstory or explanation as to why he basically ignored his feel I can see why some people had questions, but for the most part I really enjoyed this book. I don't normally read books about cults, supernatural/witches/horror, but for some reason I felt compelled to try this one. I liked the modernity to the characters and the town. Nat is a very likable character, and I found myself emotional involved in her story. I do think her romance with Levi could have been portrayed better and given more a backstory or explanation as to why he basically ignored his feelings for her, for a year and then all of the sudden they are practically in love with each other... I really enjoyed the friendship dynamics between the characters and enjoyed seeing them develop over the course of the book. I do think not enough information was given about Malachi and would have liked to have had more background on her, but at the same time I understand that part of Nat's character awakening was her search for the truth and information about Malachi. I also wish we would have gotten to know more about Grandma Kerry and what caused her to go "psycho". It was kinda hard to believe that Nat was naturally gifted with a rifle and had superb fighting skills without much training... I mean yes being given supernatural skills can account for some, but still, being able to do all the things she did without being taught was a little unbelievable at times. All in all these faults I found did not take away from the enjoyabililty of the book, part of reading is also questioning, so I think it does a good job of provoking the brain and making you think about what you are reading. Would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre! I hope there is a book 2 because the ending definitely leaves it open for another:)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Becca Mee

    The Bitterwine Oath is a story of family legacy, magic and darkness that focuses on eighteen year old Nat Colter, who lives in the shadow of her famous relative, Malachi Rivers. Malachi was one of the infamous "Pagans of the Pines," girls who cast a curse to reveal the evil in men's hearts, but set in motion a dark turn of events that led to twelve men and boys dead, ruthlessly murdered by Woodwalkers, and then again on the 50th anniversary of the event. As San Solano braces itself for the hundr The Bitterwine Oath is a story of family legacy, magic and darkness that focuses on eighteen year old Nat Colter, who lives in the shadow of her famous relative, Malachi Rivers. Malachi was one of the infamous "Pagans of the Pines," girls who cast a curse to reveal the evil in men's hearts, but set in motion a dark turn of events that led to twelve men and boys dead, ruthlessly murdered by Woodwalkers, and then again on the 50th anniversary of the event. As San Solano braces itself for the hundreth anniversary of the murders, Nat is recruited by the Wardens, descendants of the original girls who cast the curse and protect the town from the Claiming. But as boys and men continue to be Shadowed, Nat must unravel her family's complicated legacy of dark magic in order to save them, and maybe break the curse hovering over San Solano once and for all. The Bitterwine Oath was a really horrifyingly "American Gothic" sort of read about a small town grappling with a history full of magic and murder, and one girl's quest to stop history from repeating itself once and for all. The strongest part of this book was really the worldbuilding. The dark legacy of the Pagans, the Wardens, and the Claiming set against the small southern town of San Solano made the tone of this book deliciously dark. I loved watching Nat grapple with her magical duty and the legacy of her family. The Woodwalkers were absolutely terrifying and I really enjoyed delving into the creepy history of this town. I also enjoyed the emphasis placed on sisterhood with the Wardens and how women of all ages took care of each other, with the exception of a character I won't name. I also thought the romance was adorable as well. The Bitterwine Oath is a story about the oaths history and legacy make towards our families and our hometowns, and the responsibility we all have to not repeat the mistakes of the past.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dai Guerra

    This book takes off to a slow start but it picks up about 100 pages in and I really liked the slow start. I liked the amount of time that was taken in order to introduce characters and the back story to the plot. I really enjoyed the thorough description of the past and how that past plays into the present time story. Usually by the time that I am halfway through the book I know enough that I can write a review but this time I didn't know enough to form an opinion either way. I was happy that as This book takes off to a slow start but it picks up about 100 pages in and I really liked the slow start. I liked the amount of time that was taken in order to introduce characters and the back story to the plot. I really enjoyed the thorough description of the past and how that past plays into the present time story. Usually by the time that I am halfway through the book I know enough that I can write a review but this time I didn't know enough to form an opinion either way. I was happy that as you read on you find out more information and not everything is revealed all at once. ⁠ ⁠ The action scenes in this book are great and I really love how they pick up the pace of the book. I like how one minute it's all action and then there's calm. I think the pacing of this book is really good and love how action scenes suck you into the story. These scenes made it hard to put the book down as I need to know what's going to happen. The last 100 pages were hard to put down because I was so invested in characters and relationships. ⁠ ⁠ I really enjoyed the relationships that were built between the characters and how those relationships changed over time. I like how secrets and lies feed into the dynamics of the friendships and how those secrets and lies brought some closer together and others further apart. ⁠ ⁠ This story is written in the first person and goes back and forth between the current time and the journal of the past. I really enjoyed the way that this story gives you pieces from someone that lived during the first events. I really like the excerpts that are included throughout from Lillian Pickard from the past because it begins to explain current times and how they got to the place they are right now.⁠ ⁠

  29. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    THE BITTERWINE OATH is a YA fantasy and light horror read. Nat is the descendent of the girl who put their town on the map, Malachi, who was blamed for the murder of 12 men 100 years ago. Her role could not be proven and was suggested to be witchcraft. They were awful men, but the crime was copied 50 years later, though the details were changed and 12 young men died. Now, at the 100 year anniversary, Nat finds herself and the town a little on edge. Aside from the town's inability to forget these THE BITTERWINE OATH is a YA fantasy and light horror read. Nat is the descendent of the girl who put their town on the map, Malachi, who was blamed for the murder of 12 men 100 years ago. Her role could not be proven and was suggested to be witchcraft. They were awful men, but the crime was copied 50 years later, though the details were changed and 12 young men died. Now, at the 100 year anniversary, Nat finds herself and the town a little on edge. Aside from the town's inability to forget these unsolved crimes, she is also having nightmares and knows her best friend is keeping something from her. As she begins to learn about what it is, she learns about the dark and deadly things that exist in their town and her connection to it all. The dark premise was really intriguing, and I appreciated the smattering inclusion of passages from Lillian's book, one of Malachi's friends. However, once we begin learning about the secret society, the tone of the book definitely changes. I was intrigued about the past with Malachi and the present, as we slowly gain information. I felt like it was hard to pin down information about Malachi, what really happened, and the full answers as to how it has carried forward. I tend to like a faster-paced and more intense read of this genre. Overall, I found this to be an intriguing dark book with magic, mystery, and murder (past) that kept me reading. Would recommend for people who like books with inherited missions and secret societies. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Oh my god this book! This book follows our main character Natalie who has just figured out that she has magic that could protect the town from the upcoming massacres. Something that Natalies ancestor started in the year 1921. Malachi started this to make sure that the evil people in her life a got what they deserved... Death. But what Malachi wasnt expecting was this to happen 50 years later in 1971. Now its 50 years later in the summer of 2021. Natalie has to figure out her powers that her gran Oh my god this book! This book follows our main character Natalie who has just figured out that she has magic that could protect the town from the upcoming massacres. Something that Natalies ancestor started in the year 1921. Malachi started this to make sure that the evil people in her life a got what they deserved... Death. But what Malachi wasnt expecting was this to happen 50 years later in 1971. Now its 50 years later in the summer of 2021. Natalie has to figure out her powers that her grandmother wanted her to know how to use. But Maggie (the head of the group) didnt want Natalie to figure out that this is what her grandmother actually wanted. Maggie wanted Natalie to come to them when she knew that Natalie COULDNT say no. Thats around the time that Natalie starts putting the pieces together of what her grandmother meant by "Break the curse" and why breaking it didnt work in the past. Because you needed a descendant of Malachi, Johanna, Dorothy AND Lillian. Along with being in the EXACT spot where it happened in 1921. This book made me want to stay awake till all hours of the night making sure i knew what happened. Most books dont keep me up till 3 AM reading. This book was wow. And i totally recommend it. There are trigger warnings in this book: Death, Abuse (Child and physically), Mentions of incest and molestation. So proceed with caution if you these topics trigger you.

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