Mistletoe and Mr. Right
by Lyla Payne
Published by Bloomsbury Spark
Genre: new adult; romance
3 / 5
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.
Jessica – do NOT call her ‘Jessie’ – decides to surprise boyfriend Brennan by flying to Ireland to spend Christmas with him and his family. Things get off to a less-than-auspicious start when she nearly kills the family goat. Fortunately, she is rescued by the gorgeous Grady Callaghan. But Jessica can’t pay attention to Grady’s gorgeousness, because she’s there for Brennan.
Unfortunately, Brennan (not to mention his family) doesn’t seem too thrilled that she’s there. This stunt of hers proves typical of Jessica. She decides what she wants to happen, and she steamrolls ahead, regardless of whether or not it’s what others want. She’s going to graduate from college soon, and she needs a boyfriend, because how else can she get married after she’s through with school? Brennan fits the bill, even if he has been reluctant to get to know her beneath the surface … or to commit beyond tomorrow.
You can see where this is headed, right?
Lyla Payne throws in a curve or two, but all the while, she points her heroine in the right direction. The problem is that Jessica is almost completely unlikable. She is judgmental, hard headed, and unwilling to accept responsibility for her poor decisions. You will find yourself, as I was, hard pressed to understand why anyone would like her.
Take her relationship with Brennan. She knows he withholds himself from her. Her gut tells her that he isn’t her future, but as he is her “right now,” that makes him, by default, the man she will marry. So what if Brennan doesn’t appear so inclined? She can fix that, because Jessica gets what she wants.
Until she doesn’t.
When things (repeatedly) don’t work out the way she wants, I admit to doing inner jumpy claps. I wanted her to fall flat on her face, because otherwise I’m not sure she would have changed. And Jessica desperately needs to change.
I would have enjoyed this book more if I liked Jessica more. Toward the end, she became more empathetic, but by then I had sort of given up on her. (I hadn’t given up on Grady … he’s hotly amazing.) I’m not quite sure why this is considered a “new adult” book, or at least it isn’t the sort of “new adult” that I like to read. Young adult? Sure. New adult? It needs some spice. It needs some sexy times. It needs some hot headboard rocking.
Maybe if THAT had happened, Jessica would have loosened up and been a bit more approachable.
As Christmas books go, it’s a quick, fun read. Not my favorite (thanks, Jessica), but not awful.