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Oak and Mistletoe is the first book in The Rituals Trilogy but can be read as a standalone novel. A modern fairy tale adventure styled fantasy set in Ireland with magic, clean romance, and true love.
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.
-Praise and Awards-
AWARD WINNING BOOK OF 2017 NEW APPLE SUMMER EBOOK AWARDS IN CROSS GENRE CATEGORY.
FINALIST IN IRELAND’S 2016 DRUNKEN DRUID AWARDS.
“Atmospheric and intriguing. What a great story!” – Josephine O’Brien, Author of Shared Skies, an Award Winning Sci-fi YA.
“The world in which this story occurs is rich with detail… Catherine and Bowen are beautifully written characters… The Irish countryside is to be enjoyed in this enthralling story of magic, war, and love.” – InD’tale Magazine.
“Let me tell you, McCauley is not afraid to kill her darlings and take you on an emotional roller coaster ride.” – Cassidy Taylor, Author of The Mondragon Chronicles. See more of Cassidy’s mini review on her website.
“The romance was sweet and the plot twists kept me captivated. The imagination that came into play by the author in creating this original tale was fantastic.” – Aimee McNeil, Author of the Distortion Series.
“Oak and Mistletoe by J.Z.N. McCauley is a story reminiscent of fairy tales. Catherine and her siblings, Danny and Kathleen, take a trip to Ireland to celebrate her college graduation. During their vacation, two significant events occur: Catherine receives an offer to work at a museum and their Uncle Mickey is murdered. Two years later, Catherine is living in Ireland with her siblings taking up residence with her after their lives don’t pan out the way they expected. Mysterious Bowen arrives with a warning. “Leave Ireland or they will be set free.” Catherine interprets the warning as hatred or even insanity. When tragedy strikes, Catherine understands the truth of his warning and the magic hidden within her.
Oak and Mistletoe has all the elements of a fairy tale. It has the magic and wonder of the Irish myths. Ancient ageless druids are only the beginning. It has a villain insane from tragedy. He’s unlikable yet sympathized with through Bowen. There’s the dashing prince charming type. Bowen can’t stand the thought of letting anyone suffer. There’s the humorous side character of her brother. There’s even a tragedy that propels her into the world. Oak and Mistletoe is perfect for a younger audience, but anyone who loves a good fairy tale will enjoy it. The magic is real, but is not the heart of the story. Catherine must find the magic within her in order to survive and save her loved ones. It’s a story of different types of magic, the magic of self-discovery, love, loyalty, and belief. Oak and Mistletoe is charming, fun, and magical.” – Reviewed ★★★★ by Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite
-Comments From The Author-
Oak and Mistletoe was a wonderful story to write for me because it came to me in a flash while reading some ancient history regarding the original ancient druids from 2000 years ago one day in 2014. I decided to write it for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that November. Because I was busy with my family life, having children and what not, I didn’t pick it up again for revisions until the following summer. By late spring of 2016, I gave it to a freelance professional editor (a former Simon & Schuster editor who had worked on best seller novels) and she helped me develop it as well as copy edited it with her expertise. I trusted her completely. After my rewrites from her direction in pacing, sentence structure, character development, etc, I then had it proofread by another professional editor, fixed and polished everything she found (grammar and consistency) and sent it out into the world on October 11th, 2016. It was an exciting and fun Tuesday, and it was my first experience in publishing my work with a grand reveal and release day.
It can be read as a standalone novel, however, there will be two more books making it a trilogy. The second book is set to be released Fall 2017, called THE OATHING STONE. (Cover and synopsis reveal coming soon!)
Fantasy means a lot of different things to different people, it’s a very wide open genre with lots of even drastically different stories falling under it together. That being said, this fantasy story set in modern-day Ireland is not a Tolkien kind of fantasy, nor is it a dark fantasy (though there are certainly dark elements, with the traditional good vs evil basic plot). The best description I can give is that it’s an adventure story with all the elements of a fairy tale. I wrote it that way because it was a book I would want to read, with all of the elements that I love the most in a story, whether it be a book, movie, or play. So if you enjoy that kind of story, you should love this one too! Happy reading, xoxo.