Here is the updated book description:
Mistletoe and Mr Right: Two Stories of Holiday Romance
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
October 6, 2015
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In "Mistletoe and Mr. Right," Jessica (not Jessie) takes a flying leap and follows her boyfriend home for the holidays for Christmas break, sure 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 the only person making the trip worthwhile is the local farmhand, who has a way of showing up when Jessica needs him most . . . and least.
The holiday hijinks continue in "Sleigh Bells and Second Chances," when Jessica's best friend makes her own way across the pond! Christina Lake does not want to be away at Christmas, but it's her duty to babysit one of London's hottest bands at their last-minute concert on Christmas Eve . . . even though she had a fling with Cary, the band's lead singer, that never officially ended. Now forced to reconnect, Christina is starting to think that maybe London is exactly where she's supposed to be to get the perfect New Year's kiss--at least until she finds out that he's been lying the whole time. Can Cary find a way to prove himself before the clock strikes twelve? Or will the New Year ring in a new romance?
Lyla Payne wraps up two perfect holiday novellas, ties them with a ribbon of romance, and tops them 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.)
Review is of the earlier version, featuring only Mistletoe and Mr Right, not Sleigh Bells and Second Chances.
[original review post]
Review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley.