December 2, 2015

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Mistletoe and Mr. Right



Mistletoe and Mr. Right, by Lyla Payne
Publish Date: November 5, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: hardback, provided by the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) In Mistletoe and Mr. Right, Jessica 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 a hot local, who has a way of showing up when Jessica needs him most ... and least.

The holiday high jinks 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 she has an intern job as publicist for London’s hottest band 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!

I have to confess something. 

I am a Scrooge. 


Christmas books and movies are not my thing. And DEFINITELY not before December 1. At least. So, I broke all my own rules when I not only read Lyla Payne's MISTLETOE AND MR. RIGHT, but I read it in early November! And here's the thing. 

I kinda loved it. 

Mistletoe and Mr. Right is a collection of two holiday novellas focusing on college roomies Jessica and Christina. First up, Jessica travels to Ireland on a whim to find out once and for all if her "looks good on paper" boyfriend is marriage material. It's a surprise to him and his family when she shows up on his doorstep unannounced two days before Christmas, and well, you know how well surprises like that usually go over. 

Mistletoe and Mr. Right was funny and sweet. Prim, proper and orderly Jessica is a complete fish out of water among the Donnelly family. She's ignorant to their customs, and it's evident that she's messing with his mother's otherwise perfect Christmas. This does nothing to bolster Jessica's flagging self-esteem. 

Enter Grady, the Donnelly's employee and a man that does nothing to coddle Jessica. He's a believer in going after what you want, not settling for what you think you need. And that line of thinking rocks Jessica's world and causes her to question everything - her relationship with Brennan, her future career... herself. 
The idea that this guy I've never met thinks it's possible to change the world - that I could change the world - opens up windows in front of my eyes. In my soul. 

The second story in the book, Sleigh Bells and Second Chances, focuses on Jessica's roommate Christina, and takes place one year after the events in Mistletoe and Mr. Right. Chris is being sent to London for New Year's to be the personal assistant for one of the hottest bands in the world. What makes this situation painfully awkward is that four years earlier, she fell in love with the lead singer, and he left her without a word. 

I think I liked Sleigh Bells and Second Chances better, only because I'm such a sucker for a good second chance love story. And this one was fantastic. There's the lingering mystery throughout as to why Cary left Chris at the end of that summer four years before in the first place. From the very beginning, it seemed as if he was still totally into her. So, you knew there was more at play here than what met the eye. 

Chris has never forgotten, nor gotten over, Cary. Despite her also still being furious at him for breaking her heart, Cary is determined to wear her down and convince her to trust him again. And this time, he isn't going anywhere. When the truth comes out about why he left, though, there may be nothing he can do about her leaving him this time. 

In addition to the story between Chris and Cary, there is also a side story about Chris and her father, who lives in London with his second wife and her daughters. Since her father divorced her mother when she was a child, Chris hasn't had much contact with  him, mostly by his choice. As you can expect, that has made Chris extremely bitter toward him and hesitant toward his overtures now. I felt SO BADLY for Chris in regards to her relationship with her father. That part of this novella was so compelling. 

Sleigh Bells was more sexy and dramatic than Mistletoe, which was more humorous and sweet. It was awesome getting a taste of both emotions in one package. I also loved the small connection between the two stories - Chris is mentioned and has a few conversations with Jessica in Mistletoe, and Jessica comes to visit Chris in London in Sleigh Bells. It made the two very different stories go together very nicely. 

And, can we talk for a second about how amazing these settings are?? Mistletoe takes place in Ireland and Sleigh Bells takes place in England. The countries are depicted in full color with Lyla's words, and it was part of the fascination and charm I had with this book. 

Consider me a reformed Scrooge - at least when it comes to holiday-themed books. There is still no way that I will ever put up a Christmas tree before the first week of December. 

Lyla Payne is the USA Today bestselling author of the Whitman University series, the Lowcountry  host books, and the holiday novella Mistletoe and Mr. Right. She graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in film but no desire to tackle Hollywood, and made it through three quarters of an M.A. in ancient history before writing took over. She lives in the Midwest with her two dogs, two cats, and the characters in her head. Find her online at lylapayne.com and on Twitter: @Lyla_Payne.

Learn more about Lyla: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr


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2 comments:

Cassie Geary said...

This looks like a cute Christmas story!!

lindalou said...

I love holiday romances! Thanks for the giveaway!