ARC Review: The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen

Title: The Mistletoe Trap

Author: Cindi Madsen

Series: Heart in the Game (Book 2)

Page Length: 400

Publisher: Entangled

Publication Date: Nov. 16, 2020

Synopsis: 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.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |       Amazon      

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My Review:

Gavin and Julie have been best friends since they were in diapers, and their parents have the pictures to prove it. Though they now live in different states, they’re as close as ever and looking forward to spending time together and with family for the holidays. However, as their feelings grow into something more than the close friendship they’ve always had, will Gavin and Julie give in to their desires, or will they forever remain in the friend zone? Their parents are more determined than ever to push Julie and Gavin together, and this holiday season, the pair might not be able to resist.

I really enjoyed The Mistletoe Trap! The characters are fabulous, and I loved the budding romance between Julie and Gavin. Julie was my favorite character in the story, and it’s not just because we share the same first name. A quirky pathologist who loves to share her passion for her career and all the graphic descriptions of body parts that come with it, Julie blurts out whatever is on her mind and is embarrassingly awkward. I adored her. She is such an endearing and relatable character, and her clumsiness and humor were totally charming.

Gavin is an NFL quarterback with a football injury jeopardizing his career. He has a lot of uncertainty in his life, but his one constant is Julie. He and Julia have so much chemistry, and there is an ease to their relationship. I love that they have that romantic spark and that they love each other unconditionally. They accept and support each other faults and all. I also love how much they laugh together. It’s clear they enjoy each other’s company and that they have a deep bond. It just takes them a bit of time to realize their true feelings aren’t completely platonic.

I also loved the secondary characters. Julie and Gavin’s family members are hilarious, and I enjoyed the scenes when the families were together. They have their kids’ best interests at heart, but they sure are over the top! Gavin’s teammates are also fantastic and funny, and I enjoyed their hilarious banter.

A quick and fun friends-to-lovers romance, The Mistletoe Trap is a heartwarming contemporary story that made me laugh, swoon, and cry. I think it will appeal to readers who like sports romance, meddlesome families, and fun banter. Thanks so much to Netgalley, Cindi Madsen, and Entangled Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance, of course! Julie and Gavin have great chemistry, even just as friends, and it was lovely to see their relationship develop into more.
  • The families. Though they are a bit overbearing and entirely too meddlesome, their love for each other and Gavin and Julie is charming.
  • The character development. Even the minor characters had depth, and I can’t wait to learn more about them in future books!


Though this is the second book in the series, it can totally be read as a standalone. That being said, readers who enjoy contemporary romance, sports romance, or friends-to-lovers romance will enjoy this book.

13 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen

  1. About the same name thing- there are some books I love where a character shares my name- Wrinkle in Time and Little Women, but that isn’t why I love them

    Right now, too early for Christmas books- waiting till the week of Thanksgiving

  2. Great review! This sounds like such a heartwarming story with really wonderful characters. I love when the H/H are both so endearing and I love even more when their families/friends are hilarious! This sounds like it ticks all those boxes and I’ll defo be checking it out 🙂

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