Review By Veronica

The Mistletoe Motive is an addictive Christmas romp that I will be reading every holiday season.

Favourite Quote:

I stare at him curiously, the strong lines of his nose and cheekbones. His striking pale eyes glowing in the faint light. There’s this… pull, deep inside me, begging me to climb over the console, straddle his lap, and kiss him until I taste bittersweet chocolate and winter air, until I breathe in the warmth of his skin, hot and clean from exercise followed by a quick scrub with soap that makes him smell like a long, snowy walk in a forest of evergreens. 

Goodreads Synopsis: 

He loathes the holidays. She loves them. She’s full of festive cheer. He’s brimming with Bah, Humbugs. Besides unreasonably seasonable names, the only thing Jonathan Frost and Gabriella Di Natale have in common is a healthy dose of mutual contempt. Well, that and the same place of employment at the city’s most beloved independent bookstore, Bailey’s Bookshop. But when the store’s owners confess its dire financial state, Jonathan and Gabby discover another unfortunate commonality: the imminent threat of unemployment.

With the Baileys’ requests to minimize expenses, win new customers, and make record sales dancing in their heads, Jonathan and Gabby conclude—barring a financial Christmas miracle—one of them will soon be cut from the payroll. Neither are willing to step down from their position, so they strike a bargain: whoever has more sales in December gets to stay on in the new year; the loser will resign. With a lifetime’s worth of festive tricks up her sleeve, Gabby should easily outsell her nemesis, except the unreadable Mr. Frost’s every move seems purely designed to throw her off her game.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabby’s deceptive ex won’t quit pursuing her, and her anonymous online friend suggests they take a break. Worst of all, as the pressure mounts to save the bookshop and her job, Gabby meets a new, tender side of Jonathan. Is this the same man she’s called her cold-hearted enemy?

Maybe he’s got a motive she just can’t figure out—or maybe Jonathan Frost isn’t as chilly as she once thought. Maybe Jonathan and Gabby already know—and love—each other in ways they never thought possible.

This book completely surprised me. I figured I would enjoy it, but I didn’t anticipate how much I would love it. I had to stop myself a couple of times while reading this book because I realized I was reading it so fast and didn’t want it to end. This book oozes warmth and charm and feels so real. I loved everything about it. I was amazed at how easy it was to get sucked into the story Chloe had created. She captured my attention from the first chapter and held onto it until the end. If you are a romance book lover, you will adore all the romance book references and the conversations Gabby has with Jonathan about the genre. It’s always wonderful to see the genre you love so much celebrated and cherished on page. I adored the fact that this book takes place in a bookstore and that the two MCs have to work together in order to save their beloved store. There is just something so magical about spending time with characters that love books as much as you do. 

Fans of Chloe’s books know that she always includes lots of diversity in her stories. Gabby is autistic and neurodivergent, which really affects her ability to interact with society. She struggles with any deviation from her normal routines, and she has a hard time with social interactions. She is very trusting, which has gotten her hurt in the past. But she is passionate about books, especially romance, and she is so creative and brings so much charm and heart to the bookstore she works in. I really loved Gabby. She has no filter, which I adored. It was interesting seeing how she interacts and lives in the world around her. Everything in her life has a purpose, which is to help her cope with living in a world that is loud and ever-changing. Her character growth in this book is learning not to be so quick to judge when it comes to her archnemesis, aka Johnathan, and that opening up to him will lead to wonderful (and spicy) things for both of them.

Johnathan comes across as the typical broody, grumpy male MC. He is a numbers guy and hates the holiday season. He really is the opposite of Gabby. However, while you are reading this book, you can see that Johnathan has some pretty strong feelings for Gabby that he is trying to hide from her. We don’t get to see what is going on in Johnathan’s head until the very last chapter. Which means he is a bit of a mystery for readers. When it comes to Johnathan’s character, the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” really applies to him. We learn that his grumpiness is connected to his medical condition, which is diabetes, which affects his mood at times. He really was the perfect fit for Gabby and this story. 

I couldn’t get enough of Gabby and Johnathan. There was just something so special about these two. They have that chemistry that naturally draws you in. I loved them when they were fighting, flirting, and when they were falling in love. Their conversations were both fun and light and deep and meaningful. When they both opened up about themselves and shared their secrets, you just couldn’t help but melt a little. Chloe does a great job at bringing together some of my favourite tropes to make an unforgettable love story. You will enjoy this story if you love enemies to lovers, forced proximity, workplace romance, and grumpy sunshine. Also, if you love your romances on the spicier side of things, then you will really like the second half of this book. 

The Mistletoe Motive is an unforgettable spicy holiday romance that is sure to melt your heart.