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Holly and Oak

(Familiar Spirits #2)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  465 ratings  ·  58 reviews
Once a year, the town of Ravenscroft celebrates the winter solstice by watching the Oak King symbolically slay the Holly King to ensure the death of winter. To most people, it’s a pagan ritual that has lost all meaning in the modern world, harmless fun during the week of Christmas. To the coven who founded the town, it’s a magic so important they entrusted it to the two st ...more
Kindle Edition, 106 pages
Published December 5th 2017
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  465 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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* A Reader Obsessed *
3 Stars

The blurb really says it all. Round and round and round and round and round Chester and Will go.

No doubt Cooper knows how to deliver on the angsty yearning as Chester contemplates his situation and his seemingly unrequited feelings towards Will.

The longing is definitely seen here as it was seen in its predecessor which I enjoyed more. Apparently, for me there’s a fine line, and these two seemingly take forever to get their act together with so much exposition between sparse action.

You definitely need to have a grasp of the Holly and Oak legend to appreciate the story fully, so read the blurb carefully, it gives good background that the story itself doesn't give until you're well in to the story.

I loved Chester and felt so bad for the raw deal he'd been dealt by the town. Getting to know he and Will as the story progresses is a treat and the two had so much more depth than the town gave them credit for. They truly embodied the characters in the legend and the author did a
Rishika Aggarwal
I found through through a rec - someone mentioned that if you liked the character dynamics in ADSOM, this would be a good quick read, and boy were they right.

R. Cooper creates this really interesting push and pull between Chester and Will. It isn't the traditional enemies-to-lovers or friends-to-lovers, but somewhere in the middle of the two. I'm not usually a fan of significant and long held bad communication in romances, but in this book, it works.

That said, there's a lot of worldbulding that
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Re read November 2019
Better in this read upping rating
4 ⭐️


3.75 ⭐️

I liked this one better than the first one by a long way. I commented in my review of the first book that this author uses miscommunication and not talking to each other as a common tool. It didn’t work for me in the first book, but this is one of the cases where that tool works, because there was a reason behind it. Not just one of the characters believing that the other wouldn’t want them and not trying, but actual events
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This was lovely. I really enjoyed it. Not my favourite R. Cooper, but a goodie nonetheless.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, fantasy
Rating 2.5 After loving A Little Familiar so much I was really disappointed in this one. I just didn't buy the relationship--and especially its change--between these two. I never could make myself like Chester and didn't feel that, as stated in the blurb, he had any affinity for other people at all. He is extremely prickly and awful with Will, making me completely at a loss for how Will comes to have feelings for him. The love on Chester's part is more easily explained, and the story of how he's ...more
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5/5. I really like how the author creates atmosphere in both this and the first book in the series, but I find these books slightly hard to follow. The lack of plot clarity, along with a few editorial errors, keep me from enjoying the beautiful, seasonal atmosphere and rich details as much as I'd like to. ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
4.5 stars.

Oh, I loved this. Chester and Will and their combative, yet sweet relationship were so good. I really liked the premise of Oak and Holly, and how they shared the power and what it meant for each of them to give it up.

I'm docking half a star because I felt, like in the first book, that too much was told rather than shown. I didn't really understand why Chester was kept away from Will, or why he was so hated by literally everyone.
Stephanie   GooglyEyes
Cute, short story. Although, some of it was very hard for me to follow. Things just weren't clicking and I felt I didn't know what was actually happening. I'm chalking it up to me being exhausted while reading the story.

Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this one, much like the first in the series. Again, I found the formatting made it a little difficult to read, especially when trying to follow who was speaking when (though I don't know if that is just a general formatting issue, or a Scribd formatting issue). ...more
3.5 stars
THIS WAS SO CUTE!!!! i wish it had been longer with a bit more plot but otherwise a nice light read
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Winter bows to Summer

This was beautiful and heartbreaking, a story of two boys kept apart by a childhood misunderstanding and a town's contempt but kept together by that same town's need. Now adults, choices have changed and they face a whole new world that will change them and the town.

William and Chester are two very powerful witches. They are the most powerful in many generations, so their town decidedto to use them to enact an old ritual of power to bring prosperity to the town, one of the H
Libby Scobee
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
T.T ouch but also yay
What if summer and winter are just ordinary guys or maybe not that ordinary because they are witches and not really summer and winter but figures in a solstice ritual where the holly king and the oak king take the power and magic of the other depending on the solstice.

As the most powerful witches of the small town of Ravenscroft Chester and William are more or less forced into those roles for the benefit of the town and the surrounding area and act to their roles. Friendly and sunny Will lik
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming tale

I really enjoy these Familiar Spirits books! I have reread the first one many times. The author just has a way of making your heart squeeze with the characters feelings. It’s a perfect mix of anxiety and cheer.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"what if i'm not the best for you?" "i get to decide that. not anybody else. not even you."

this was fantastic. i loved it even more than the first one (you can read them as standalones!)
enemies to lovers, kind of? small towns, work with your hands to create something (wood & ice cream!) the legend around which this was based, more witches, winter romance, ahhhhhhh

there's something so special about a story in which two boys are so deeply misunderstood but seem to be seen by the other: he wasn't m
Elizabeth Hanelt
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I hope Cooper writes one for each point on the Wheel Of The Year

I just finished reading this actually. Cooper's depth of description and delicacy of touch and subtle references. Every book of hers I've read has been satisfying. There's just something about the way she sets up the conflict between characters, and the circuitous flirtatious path characters take towards resolution. In sensuous and beautiful turns of phrase, backstory builds, and even details of things like weather, which could be u
Camilla Hjertø
Another enchanting love story in this series, full of awkward and nervous moments. I find this magical world so fascinating, and so charming, too. It took me some time to get into this story, though. I’m often weak for miscommunication and awkward moments, but it took me forever to get what was going on here. If I had read the blurb, I probably would have understood more a lot sooner! The result was, however, that I got very frustrated with all the things that were never spoken, and I struggled ...more
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, queer, fantasy
I would give this 3.5 if I could. On first reading I wasn't as taken with it as "A Little Familiar" - I didn't get as strong a sense of Will as I would have liked (would have welcomed shifting perspectives), and I also felt I needed a better understanding of both the ritual and the history of that town and its coven. And of their history - individually and together - high school was referenced frequently and yet they're both in their late twenties - what happened in the years in between? And yet ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm not going to go into any of the plot as Holly & Oak is definitely one you have to experience to fully appreciate the story and the characters. As for Chester and Will, well they both have some growing up to do or at least it appears that way but then as the story progresses you learn a few things and realize it isn't just them. Truth is they are both a delight but I would have to say that Chester probably touched me more but they both deserve to find the happiness that has been denied them. ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Great but a little too subtle for me

I really liked this premise and the story, plus both main characters had layers and depth.

But, I got a bit lost, at no point do they really spell out what they are going on about, it is all inferred from their conversations and I think some of that ambiguity is part of the suspense in the book of waiting to find out the details and in a way it is a good reveal Nevertheless I had to reread several passages to twig what they were saying. (Or not saying) I don't
Jess ORourke
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The thing about R. Cooper stories is you are sort of dropped in the middle (or at least the middle of the beginning or maybe even end of the beginning) and you don't know what is going on. It takes me about 1/3 of the book to figure out the story. Once I figure out the story and the characters and who is who and what is what, I think it is a solid book. But until then, I am always grasping at the ideas of who and or what is important. It is confusing.

Holly and Oak is no different. It seems like
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked this, but for the entire story I felt as though I had come into the middle of an on-going conversation, and no one bothered to bring me up to speed. We got a bit of the backstory, but not enough to dispel that feeling for me. I liked the characters, and even the secondary ones, but again, even the secondary characters felt like they all knew things (back story, etc) that I didn't know. I read the first story first, so it's not that this shouldn't be a stand-alone (it could be, as there's ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked this story better than the previous one, since there were actual reasons why Chester and Will couldn't be together (and not due to self-esteem/insecurity).

Seeing how Chester was treated by the town made me really angry, but I like how Chester didn't care and how Will also defended him.

I do wish we got to see Chester and Will confronting the coven for their selfish actions towards their younger selves, but oh well. It seems this author isn't too keen on such plot developments. (Meanwhile,
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a sweet read with a depth of mythology and feeling. I liked how the grumpy/sunshine trope was used with the theme of seasons, and the way that they each contained sunshine or grumpy depths beneath their appearances, and how, like the seasons, they were complementary and essential to each other.

At times Chester's insistence that Will couldn't possibly like him seemed a bit overdone, but seeing how often he had been told to stay away as a child helped make that a bit more palatable.

I real
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Magic and wonder

Ches has been in love with Will for years, they are the strongest witches in their town coven and are used to herald in both summer and winter.
They begin to talk at long last after ches has been warned off talking to Will making them both unhappy, R Cooper is the writer of misunderstandings between MC's
Maggi Bass-jackson
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love R. Cooper

So cleverly written! A creative force of magick and today's headlines. Very inside the head of the co-protagonists and how fear of the unknown can paralyze. I've read this twice and enjoyed it even more the second time. I highly recommend this great short story into the dimension right next to ours.
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a good book, but compared to what I've previously read from the author it doesn't stand out. I disliked the fact that the plot focused so much on miscomunication, and the worldbuilding was pretty lacking. However, the characters were well developed and you couldn't help rooting for them while the atmosphere was top notch, kinda wish I read this during autumn. ...more
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I'm a somewhat absentminded, often distracted, writer of queer romance. I'm probably most known for the Being(s) in Love series and the occasional story about witches or firefighters in love. Also known as, "Ah, yes, the one with the dragons."

Feel free to friend me on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

Twitter: @rispacooper
Facebook: @thealmightyris
Instagram: @riscoops

Other books in the series

Familiar Spirits (3 books)
  • A Little Familiar (Familiar Spirits, #1)
  • Nothing More Certain (Familiar Spirits #3)

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