5 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Review: Christmas Cupid by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Dear Sneaky Santa,

I’d like to have a word about your sense of humor. Was it really necessary to stick me, a professional hockey player nursing an injury and avoiding the media, in an isolated cabin with a bratty, boot-designing princess who seems to have made it her mission to despise me? I mean, come on, what did I ever do to you?

And let’s talk about our first encounter. Was it your intention for her to barge in on me while I was enjoying a soak in the tub? It wasn’t exactly my finest moment, and I’m sure she didn’t appreciate the view of my massive body floundering around as I tried to grab a towel.

Now, I’m stuck with her, thanks to a mutual acquaintance, in the middle of a snow blizzard, navigating through bear attacks, sketchy neighbors, and whole lot of tension. I had plans, Santa, plans to escape to Cabo and forget about the world, not to be trapped with a woman who thinks I’m unworthy of her time just because she can’t stand hockey players.

Oh, and speaking of our delightful Iris, she’s stingier with her food than Scrooge was with his pennies! I’m not asking for a feast, but a guy’s got to eat! And could you possibly turn her yippy dog into a reindeer or something? It would certainly add to the Christmas spirit and save my eardrums.

I’m trying to rediscover the meaning of Christmas, and you throw me into this chaos? Is this some kind of test, or are you just having a jolly laugh up there in the North Pole?

So here’s my Christmas wish, Santa: sprinkle a bit of your magic and either get me out of here or be a Cupid and ignite a fiery, undeniable passion between us, because right now, this scenario is frostier than a snowman.

Slapshotting Through the Snow, Kyler Blanchette

Title:Christmas Cupid
Author:Ilsa Madden-Mills
Trope(s):Christmas Romance
Close / Forced Proximity
Opposites Attract
Sports Romance (Hockey)
Point of View:First Person, Present Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Nashville and nearby mountains, Tennessee, USA
Release Date:2nd November, 2023
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Fun, festive, short and sexy

An enemies-to-lovers, stranded in a snowy cabin, Christmas quickie written by Ilsa Madden-Mills? Yes, to all those things! Gimme!

This is a short story – roughly 150 pages long – about Iris, a pretty and sassy boot designer, and Kyler, a hot-shot hockey player whose nickname is ‘The Beast’ – and what happens when they’re snowed in together in a cabin in the mountains. They don’t technically know each other prior to the events in the book but they definitely know of each other – and don’t like what the other represents.

But we all know that people who dislike each other are secretly hot for each other. Well, in romance novels, anyway. And that’s definitely the case with Iris and Kyler. The cabin’s a small space, Kyler doesn’t have many clothes with him (oh what a tragedy!) so Iris gets more than an eyeful and likes what she sees. So does Kyler. So we have mutual bickering and mutual lust! Yay!

“Big, burly guys with soft, squishy centres are definitely my catnip.”

As the two spend time together in the cabin – bickering and sniping at each other – they get to know each other. We’re also privy to some background information about our pair that make them really likeable and relatable. While Iris has her heartbreak, it’s Kyler’s backstory that killed me. It’s so sad and I just wanted to hug the guy. Big, burly guys with soft, squishy centres are definitely my catnip.

They start to like each other but the spark still remains and we get some seriously sexy times for a short book. But it felt real and not rushed – emotionally so. I believed them and was cheering for them to get their shit together!

This is Ilsa Madden-Mills so of course the writing is exemplary. I felt this was slightly different to all the other stories of hers I’ve read – slightly lighter and sweeter – but it still had all the hallmarks of her style. I blasted through this story and it really gave me the Christmassy vibe that I crave in festive romances.

I seriously hope this is the start of a new series as I’m hankering to see Will – and also The Wizard – find their matches. I would also love to see Kyler and Iris in the future – still hopefully bickering away at each other. But as for this story, it was short, sweet, sexy and deliciously festive. 5 stars.

* I received this book in exchange for my honest review *

Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her contemporary romances ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

Seven of her ten novels have placed in the Amazon US Store Top Six Best-seller List: Dirty English hit #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You hit #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things all placed #6 in the Amazon US Store. The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, hit #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

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