Friday, December 5, 2014

Mistletoe & Mr Right ~ Lyla Payne (earc) review [@Lyla_Payne @BloomsburyKids #BloomsburySpark]

Dec 2015: See info on the updated/repackaged version of Mistletoe and Mr Right featuring a second story here

Mistletoe and Mr Right: A Christmas Romance
Bloomsbury Spark
November 20, 2014
150 pages
add to Goodreads/buy for Kindle

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…but lust refused to settle in for a long winter's nap.
She might be all nestled, snug in her bed, by why, oh why, do visions of the wrong guy dance in her head?

Jessica, (not Jessie), figures that nothing could be better than a trip to the Emerald Isle for Christmas break. So she takes a flying leap and follows her boyfriend home for the holidays, not only sure that he will finally agree they're destined for each other, but also that Ireland will provide the perfect backdrop to the beginning of their happily-ever-after.

But it turns out his family--and his gorgeous ex-girlfriend--don't feel the same way, and even the family goat seems to be conspiring against her well-laid plans. The only person making the trip worthwhile is the very last one she should be thinking about, but Grady, the local farmhand, has a way of showing up when Jessica needs him most...and least.

USA Today bestselling author Lyla Payne wraps up the perfect holiday novella, ties it with a ribbon of romance, and tops it with a light dusting of snow. Perfect to curl up with under the tree. Just add hot cocoa!
Mistletoe and Mr Right really might be the perfect holiday novella.

In order to keep her ten year plan on track, Jessica is making a (surprise) trip across the ocean to spend Christmas with her boyfriend and his family in Ireland. He will finally see that she's The One and gorgeous Ireland will provide the perfect backdrop.

Only that's not exactly how it goes. Not only is Ireland in winter full of a lot less vivid greens and purples than she expects - and quite a bit more rain - but Brennan's family doesn't seem quite as receptive to Jessica and her planned happily ever after as she had hoped. Then, there's the farmhand who seems to popup every time she's in trouble and Brennan's (previously unknown to Jessica) gorgeous ex-girlfriend.

Things are not going as planned and for Jessica who's life has to follow the plan, it's miserable. Nothing is what she had imagined.

Yet, if she can let go of the plan, she may find that happily ever after.

I really liked that Mistletoe and Mr Right was a New Adult novella, with Jessica worrying about life after college graduation, about marriage and her future, yet without the sexual content present in so many NA tales. It worked really well here, keeping the story sweet and romantic, while still a bit more grown-up than YA.

The things that bugged me about Jessica - including her focus on getting married despite only being 20 - were either very logical parts of her character and/or things that changed. I liked that Jessica had an unconventional history and it really made her current actions and beliefs make sense. She is an interesting and unique characters whose story I loved reading.

Ireland is a great setting for the novella. It isn't the Ireland you might imagine (as Jessica did, with the lush colors, etc) but the land and the characters seem to be true. It is Christmastime so the weather fits, while being perfect for a holiday tale. It also isn't that exaggerated Ireland happens sometimes - the phrasing is different enough to fit - and to through Jessica off some - but is not constant, "Look it's Ireland! They're Irish!"

The family's traditions, the love they all have for each other, how, even in a novella, we get great glimpses into the characters' pasts and how everyone interacts all come together for a romantic, sweet holiday tale.

Mistletoe and Mr Right is the first title I have read by Lyla Payne, but it will not be the last.

(So, the cover? There's no dog (or mistletoe) in the story. While a goat would have fit better, I can understand why a dog might be more appealing.)

received for review from publisher through NetGalley

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