Monday, December 15, 2014

Title: Mistletoe and Mr. Right
Author: Lyla Payne
Series: n/a
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: November 20, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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 was just the fun holiday read I needed on a Friday night after a rough week at work.  It had everything I want in a holiday story: romance, family togetherness, and adventures in the snow...not mention private sleigh rides. And for the first time in what feels like forever, I was able to finish the book in one sitting, since it only came in at 150 pages.

Jessica is a planner. In fact, she's got a ten year plan that starts as soon as she graduates college. And her plan includes marrying Brennan, her boyfriend of four months, who Jessica believes would be the perfect man to spend the rest of her life with. He just doesn't know it yet. Which is why she takes it upon herself to jet across the sea to visit him and his family in Ireland over Christmas break. Obviously this was a bad idea, but it becomes even more apparent once Jessica arrives.

Brennan is rather distant and short with Jessica during her entire trip. It doesn't help matters that his beautiful ex-girlfriend is spending Christmas with the family. Or that Jessica can't get the handsome farmhand out of her head. I think it's glaringly obvious from nearly the beginning of the story -- and even before that, if you read the summary -- that a love triangle (square?) is at the heart of this story but it becomes about so much more than that.

Jessica has some deep-seated issues that even Brennan doesn't know about. In fact, those issues are pretty much the catalyst for her ten year plan and everything that led up to it. The handsome farmhand Grady has just as many issues, and they have this immediate connection, one that leads them to disclose their histories to each other without reservations. Well, after they got past their initial loathing. :) Even Brennan's former flame has a tragedy in her past that gave me pause. I found it impressive that the author could flesh out her characters in only 150 pages and provide them with enough backstory so as not to feel like throwaway characters, despite the shortness of the novel.

I loved reading about Jessica's blundering experiences as she tried to fit in and garner favor with Brennan's family. Some moments were cringe-inducing in their awkwardness, but it felt genuine. (I should know...I had a somewhat similar experience the first time I met my husband's family.) Still, Lyla Payne brought the swoons in the end, and she made herself a new fan in the process. I will definitely be checking out more of her work now.

GIF it to me straight:



About the author:

Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us – past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla’s hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

Find Lyla:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Facebook



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