Review: Mistletoe and Mr. Right by Lyla Payne

Publication Date: November 20, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Reading Level: New Adult, 16+
Pages: 150 (eARC)
Source: Netgalley
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!
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

At first, I have to admit that I didn’t realize this was a novella because I was so focused on the adorable couple and dog on the cover. I wish I knew going into this read that it was, in fact, a novella because it would have made it a smoother reading experience for me. When I finished it, I was supremely disappointed that it was so short and only the author’s note really cleared up my misconceptions--transforming my minor frustrations into overall satisfaction.

With that in mind, I am calling for a full-length novel. I really like the main character, Jessica, and I also love the small taste we got of the romance. I want more, so much more. With the way the novella ends, the author sets herself up for an amazing opportunity (in a different foreign land, no less!) with two amazingly drawn-out and well-written characters that banter with the best of them. PLEASE BRING ME MORE OF THEIR STORY. Did I mention I love banter? Because I do. A lot. Which is why I need more. Seriously. 

The romance in this is so well done. Jessica goes out to Ireland to assure herself that things with her boyfriend, Brennan, are going well and he is future marriage material. What she gets is culture shock, a surprisingly adorable yet judgmental family, a perfect ex-girlfriend, and an incredibly attractive farmhand that seems to understand her better than her own boyfriend does. What is a girl to do? While not the typical romance novel and definitely not a real love triangle, I blasted through this one like no other.

Not only will this appeal to those who love romance, but it’ll also appeal to travel lovers. Payne actually traveled to Ireland and stayed in a B&B. She used her real-life experiences to create the realistic world in this novella. As someone who has traveled to Ireland, albeit six years ago, I almost felt nostalgic while reading because her descriptions were so true and vivid. It does its job by transporting you to a foreign land, and even the dialogue is realistic without it focusing too much on the accents to make it frustrating. I often found myself giggling or cracking a smile at the way this wonderfully complicated yet perfect Irish family handled Jessica and her weird American ways.

I do have to say I had one issue with this story aside from its short length that should be longer, and that is the fact that Jessica is super uptight. Granted, later in the story it is revealed why she has a ten year plan and why she is so obsessed with her future and how it will turn out, but it takes a while to get to that point. When it is first apparent that she flew to Ireland to see her boyfriend of four months to ensure that he was proper marriage material when they are both only twenty years old, I kind of thought she belonged in a cuckoo’s nest. I mean, I am turning twenty in four months and I kind of wanted to die of embarrassment on her behalf. Granted, upon completion of the novel, I still think she belongs in a cuckoo’s nest, but in a more endearing “I love this crazy freak of a character” way more than in a way where I was questioning her sanity. I think that making her seem less nuts in the beginning would be a bit helpful because I did find myself rolling my eyes a few times. But with that being my biggest issue, I have to say this was a solid read.

With an amazing cast of secondary characters and a perfect yet surprisingly male lead, MISTLETOE AND MR. RIGHT is a great Christmas novella that’ll appeal to both romance readers and those who love to travel. With the potential to turn into a real novel, I’ll be keeping my eye on this one and anything else Lyla Pane produces. Until then, I’m just going to be dreaming about witty Irish banter and hugely perfect Christmas Time grand gestures that make me weak in the knees. Oh wait, I can just reread this perfect little piece of literature for all of that.

Warning: There is drinking, jokes about sex, cussing, and references to sex in this novella, though there is no actual graphic content.


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.

Personal Disclaimer: My internship at Bloomsbury publishing has in no way affected my opinions expressed in my reviews. I received this book not as an intern, but as a blogger/reviewer, thus I will review it as I would any other novel. Waiting to post such reviews until the completion of my internship would not be good because most thoughts would be irrelevant by the time of completion of said internship.


  1. Love charming banter and really want to get into the christmas spirit so perhaps ill try this out!