NetGalley Review: “The Mistletoe Motive” by Chloe Liese

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: December 1st, 2021

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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 is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

The one thing you can be sure of when picking up a Chloe Liese book is the wholehearted way you’ll feel when you finish it. And that is no different with The Mistletoe Motive. This Christmas romance is the perfect read to get you in the mood for the holidays and features two characters who are so wonderful that you’ll get swept up in their banter and romance as you read.

Gabriella was such a breath of fresh air and a burst of sunshine. She’s one of those characters who exudes awesomeness and even though she’s the happiest person when it comes to everything to do with Christmas (and I am so not), I loved her so much. I loved learning how she navigates the world and how her autism is affected by things around her––another thing that I love about Chloe’s books is in the inclusivity, but also the information I glean about autism and the spectrum through her characters. Gabriella’s love for her friends, books and the bookstore were all so relatable and so heartwarming, I wanted to be in her world just as much! And then there’s Jonathan. I knew going in that we wouldn’t have his POV and while I missed knowing his innermost thoughts, I loved the way we saw him through Gabriella’s eyes. Jonathan and I have more in common with our dislike for the holiday season, but I really enjoyed seeing this grumpy, scowly man come unraveled in the presence of the woman who dislikes him with a passion.

There’s so much about this book that cannot be shared in the review, because I feel like it needs to be enjoyed without knowing too much about the story or their relationship. Just know that Chloe does such a magical job making sure to cover all bases in a story that’s much shorter than her usual one. You get to fall in love with the characters and their relationships outside of each other, you get to experience an independent bookstore in all its glory and you get to love Christmas a little more than you ever thought you would. And all of that just makes The Mistletoe Motive an absolutely wonderful read.

Thanks to Chloe Liese, Valentine PR & NetGalley for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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