⭐️⭐️⭐️ REVIEW: The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen

That cover is straight up ADORABLE, and I’ve read solid books by this author in the past, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this holiday romance. But… it might just be the least romantic, least Christmasy holiday romance I’ve ever read. The only real chemistry that develops between these lifelong friends comes about because of jealousy. There’s constant talk of OW/OM, attempts by our heroine to find a guy to have a fling with (because she’s been told she’s bad in bed and wants to get better so someone will keep her around), and only a few swoony moments. These two never feel like more than friends – or possibly friends with benefits – and it just didn’t deliver the holiday charm that I wanted.

The story follows Julie and Gavin, longtime friends whose families are close. They’ve known for years that their families would love for them to get together, but there’s never been a spark there. As they meet up over the holidays, it’s the first time that they’ve both been single in what feels like forever, and suddenly they’re noticing each other in a way they haven’t before. Add in a little jealousy over potential flings for our heroine and a few sexy outfits, and this relationship gets all mixed up.

I’ve enjoyed several other books by this author in the past and love a good friends to lovers romance, so this should’ve been right up my alley. It wasn’t. I hated the constant mentions of the heroine’s low self esteem regarding sex, the hunt for a fling, the lack of “falling,” and the absence of cute Christmas moments. It’s certainly not a bad book and I’m sure many will enjoy it, but this just wasn’t a winner for me. I appreciated receiving an early copy via NetGalley, and am voluntarily leaving a review of this friends to lovers romance.


From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this holiday season, Julie knows some things will never change. 

Gavin is well-aware his family’s wanted him and Julie to get together since forever, even though he’s been friend-zoned since they could talk—and he’s been happy to play that role. After all, as the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs, he’s got enough on his plate without adding romance to the mix. 

But between playing elves in the holiday bazaar to nights spent one-on-one watching rom-coms or soaking in their town’s hot springs, suddenly the “reverse parent trap” they’ve fallen into is actually starting to work. But this could be one scheme where letting themselves get trapped might be way too dangerous.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3lzZffD

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