Oak and Mistletoe by J.Z.N. McCauley
*I received an ARC of Oak and Mistletoe from the author, J.Z.N. McCauley, but this in no way affected my honest opinion about the book.*
Synopsis: "A Druid Curse, A Prophesied Love, A Consuming Vengeance…
Catherine Green, along with her twin sister and older brother, travels to Ireland on a college graduation trip. Her vacation takes a permanent turn when she lands her dream job at an art and history museum on her beloved Emerald Isle. She meets a handsome stranger named Bowen, an expert of sorts on local ancient studies. Though their first meetings are turbulent at best, Catherine finds herself drawn to him.
Unaware that she is the key to breaking a hidden curse, Catherine unleashes the evil madman Conall and his druid followers, imprisoned since ancient times. Tragedy and loss ensue, sprouting within Catherine the deep seeds of rage that thrust her onto the damaging path of vengeance. Confused by the enigma that is Bowen, his mixed signals, and her own feelings, she is swept away with him on an unexpected journey surrounded by myth and long-forgotten knowledge. In order to stop the evil plans of Conall and his reunified army, Catherine must entwine her fate with peril. Her survival is trivial to her as long as Conall dies. She’ll do whatever it takes. "
Review: There was definitely both good and bad that came with Oak and Mistletoe.
Bad news first. I found this book to be rushed and unrealistics. YES I KNOW that DOES sound strange because it is both fiction and fantasy, so how could it be "realistic"? Well, let me explain. It wasn't necessarily the magic part that threw me off, but that fact that the main character, Cathy, took everything in without emotion, even though her entire world had literally been shaken up. Something traumatic also happens within the first 50ish pages and I found that to be not only rushed, but again hard to fathom how Cathy could take in so much change with so little response. I also found the start of the book to be very rushed because there was barely any building up of the world and the characters before everything came crashing down. The romance also wasn't particularly believable, but I wouldn't say it was horrible either.
Now for the good part! I loved that Oak and Mistletoe was set in Ireland. I haven't read any books set in Ireland and it was great to see a part of a different culture. I read a lot of fantasy novels, but many are more modern and element based. I really like that this book featured a old mystic sort of magic in it and that definitely caught my attention. Many books also feature teens that seem to run off without a care in the world. Oak and Mistletoe captures the family vibe and includes the details many books leave out. For instance, Cathy doesn't disappear without making contact to others and even when they are out adventuring the book often mentions of them "relieving themselves" which I found both hilarious and realistic and something I know that many YA readers comment about.
PS: I would like to thank J.Z.N. McCauley for the bag of sweets and the signed book and bookmarks!
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.