Journalist Aaron Newton is sent to Mistletoe Falls to cover fluff for a month and avoid all scandal. Back home, he was on the verge of breaking a big story, but went about it in the wrong way so his boss, who is also his father, sent him on a time out. Aaron is pissed off about having been exiled, but is ready to do what he must until he can get back home. But even knowing the town revolves around Christmas, and with the date fast approaching, Aaron’s still shocked at the amount of decorations around town and especially at the Tinsel Inn.
Nyall runs Mistledough, the bakery, and is happily creating every confection he can think of. But he and his three cousins are sprites. And though the town as a whole has no idea the Christmas magic is due to them, Nyall and his cousins take their responsibilities seriously. But lately the magic is shifting in the world. It had been waning, but now it seems things are changing for the better. And when Nyall literally runs into a gorgeous man staying at the Inn, Nyall’s magic goes haywire.
Neither Aaron or Nyall were looking for love. But there’s no doubt their connection is quick and overpowering. The more time they spend together, the more Nyall’s magic reacts. Nyall and his cousins are trying to figure out what is going on, and when they realize that Aaron could be Nyall’s mate, they’re all surprised. Mates haven’t been around in a long time. That might not be enough, as Aaron and Nyall may be forced to separate. But with literal holiday magic in the air, can Nyall and Aaron find their HEA?
Nyall is the first in a four-book spin-off series set in Blake’s Chosen One universe. That being said, the Christmas Sprites series is only tangentially related and even if you haven’t read the multitude of books in the world, you’d be fine reading this book and series. This story is fast paced, and the reader has to be ready to take a leap into fated mates instalove in order for this to work.
As usual, Blake has a knack for creating memorable characters. Nyall and his three cousins are no exception. There’s a fun twist in that their magic is tied to Christmas. The whole town of Mistletoe Falls is all in during December, with light parades, pageants, and town-wide decorations. Most of the inhabitants are human and have no idea they have sprites in their midst. All of that being said, for me, this book has a lack of world building, particularly where the magic is involved. I was able to fill in a few blanks because I’m so familiar with the universe that the author has created. But without that background knowledge, I think the story suffers a bit and have rated this book accordingly.
I did enjoy the chemistry between the MCs. The instalove between them is super quick, but given the length of the novella, that’s understandable. It’s also easy to go along with as a reader, since it was expected and it’s clear Nyall’s magic is pointing him in that direction. I also liked Aaron’s attitude throughout the whole book. Yes, he’s grumpy in the beginning because he’s sent away from home and because of what’s he’s asked to do. But he quickly falls for the charm of the town, and Nyall in particular, and embraces everything. He even jumps in on the cousins’ propensity for holiday-related puns. And while I found said puns sometimes eye rolling and over the top, I chalk that up to my sense of humor not quite matching the book. There’s a sweetness to the whole story that really works given the holiday theme. But I also felt there were some scenes and plot points that could have done with more explanation or expanding to really flesh things out. There were moments, for me, where the quick pace worked against the story.
Overall, I liked the book. It’s a great, quick holiday read, with lots of fluff and pretty low angst. While some aspects didn’t work well for me, on the whole, this book fits well into the larger universe without being too closely tied to it. Check this one out if you’re a fan of this author, or aren’t quite ready to let go of the holidays and are looking for a happy read.