Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on November 5th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
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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 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!
Mistletoe and Mr Right is bind-up of two new adult Christmas novellas: Mistletoe and Mr Right, and Sleigh Bells and Second Chances. I wasn’t a big fan of Mistletoe and Mr Right, but I really enjoyed Sleigh Bells and Second Chances. I’m going to review the two of them separately.
Mistletoe and Mr Right
This story was set in Ireland and I really enjoyed that about it because I haven’t read very many books that are set in Ireland, besides Ulysses, which I kind of just want to forget about. However, that’s honestly where the positives stop for me when it comes to this story. I didn’t like the main character, Jessica, very much, if at all. I thought she was extremely annoying and I felt like she tried very hard to make herself seem extra special or different from other girls. There was a lot of focus on how she has a 10 year plan and is extremely devoted to having her life play out exactly how she’s planned it, and how this makes her different from other people. Which might be true, but I’m also in my 20s and am extremely career-focused. so I found it frustrating that she was a bit of a Special Snowflake. I did, however, like Grady who is the love interest in the story. I thought he was funny and nice and I really enjoyed his character. The other characters in the story, I could have done without. They were a bit flat and I just didn’t really care about them at all.
I thought the plot was a bit average and boring. The story begins with Jessica travelling to Ireland to surprise her Irish boyfriend for the holidays. But things go wrong from the very beginning and it’s clear that her boyfriend’s family don’t like her. On top of that, her boyfriend’s high school sweetheart comes to stay and it’s clear that Jessica is the outsider. But at least there’s Grady right? I was just not in love with the story. I found parts of it to be extremely unrealistic, such as Jessica being essentially an orphan and a scholarship student at college, but randomly travelling from the US to Ireland just to surprise her boyfriend. The plot was quite slow-paced and there was hardly anything that happened. It took me about 2-3 days to finish this 150 page novella, and I was not very impressed with it. However, I enjoyed the second story much, much more.
Sleigh Bells and Second Chances
I loved this story so much more than Mistletoe and Mr Right. This story features Jessica’s roommate, Christina, and her own love story in London. It’s a second chance romance, which is one of my favourite romantic tropes and what made me decide to give it a go after the lacklustre experience that was Mistletoe and Mr Right. I highly enjoyed the characters and the plot of the story and it definitely redeemed the book for me.
This novella explores not only the second chance romance, but also family and career. Just like Jessica, Christina is very much career-focused and is undertaking a PR internship, but is much less annoying about it. I do have to say that there were some moments that I found a bit frustrating, such as the multiple times that she threw her career out the window to pursue a romance that she isn’t sure about. However, for the most part, I didn’t mind her character too much and found her to be quite relatable. The novella also has a strong focus on family and second chances, and I highly enjoyed the role that her father’s new family played in Christina’s story. I thought it was really wonderful that they played quite a bit role in the story. But most of all, I loved the romance.
Cary was the perfect love interest. He was not only an extremely nice guy, but he was caring and romantic, and my heart pretty much just would not stop beating every time his name was mentioned. I loved Cary and Christina together and I enjoyed finding out about their past and seeing where the future would take them. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the twist at the end but I liked that it wasn’t dragged out and made to be overly dramatic. All in all, I found Sleigh Bells and Second Chances to be an adorable and sweet story that is perfect for the holidays.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first novella in this bind-up but I highly enjoyed the second one. This book is a great one for the holiday season and will bring a smile to your face. The great thing about bind-ups is that even if you don’t enjoy one story, there’s always another!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for providing a review copy of the book.
Mistletoe and Mr Right was published by Bloomsbury Childrens on November 5, 2015. It is available at all Australian retailers for $16.99.
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eeek, Jessica sounds like she's a bit of a special snowflake. Like her ambitions are relatable but still. A shame that you didn't enjoy the first novella, but I'm glad you found the second one more enjoyable. I love how there's different elements to the story that you liekd as well, and it's kind of refreshing to have career-focused MCs. I'm glad you ended up finding something you liked about it Jenna!
LOL Jeann. Considering you half-tricked me into taking this one home, it was still pretty enjoyable. Just a pity that the first novella wasn't really for me. I'm back to reading summery contemporaries now 😀
I still haven’t read a Christmas story this winter. I’m definitely in the mood for a seasonal read right now. Though I’m not sure Mistletoe and Mr Right is for me. I just don’t want to read about ex-girlfriends and unfriendly family on Holidays. Sleigh Bells and Second Chances sounds better, but I don’t have much luck with novellas. It’s hard to make a good story in such short format.
Yeah I totally agree. I have a hard time finding xmas stories to read each year because I find that novella-length xmas romances just don't do it for me. I'm glad that I ended up enjoying Sleigh Bells and Second Chances though. I read The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily as well this month just before Christmas and thought it was fun and enjoyable. But it's currently summer in Australia (and really, really hot) so I've just been reading a lot of summer contemporaries HAHA. Happy new year, Ksenia!
Hi Jeann & Jenna! Well, it's nice to see your blog again 🙂 Hope you're well. I haven't heard about this novella, but the cover seems pretty catchy. Cary seems like a wonderful character, a lot of novels these days are missing a good male character. Glad you enjoyed it though! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Benish. I love a male character who's just really, really nice. Cary was just perfection in that novella and I hope to read more characters like him!
I am glad you liked it. Boring plots equal cosy stories!
My recent post Lists : Ten Best Books for Festive Season Reading
Haha I guess it does. The stories were a bit slow at times but I guess it worked with the wintery pace.