Book Review: Friend or Mistlefoe by Ariella Zoelle

Friend or Mistlefoe

Author: Ariella Zoelle
Publisher: Sarayashi Publishing (November 18, 2022)
Kindle edition
Romance, Adult contemporary M/M romance, Holiday romance (Christmas)


The only thing worse than not living out his Christmas rom-com fantasy is having his sworn enemy be the one to make all his holiday dreams come true.

Mingo Nevins

I’d rather roast my chestnuts over an open fire than spend a single second around Marley. So when that Grinch shows up at my apartment to hang out with my friends over Christmas break, I’m ready to deck his halls, if you know what I mean.

After he starts an argument with me, I take advantage of the mistletoe hanging above us to end it with an impulsive kiss to shut him up, once and for all. But I make one crucial miscalculation: Marley kisses to win, and I refuse to lose.

I guess that means we’re dating now?

Marley Garland

With a mistletoe kiss, Mingo moves from my naughty list right to the top of my to-do list. We may have started as enemies, but that doesn’t change the fact that I want him to jingle my bells and make it a white Christmas.

If I have my way, the road won’t be the only thing getting plowed tonight. But can we call a truce long enough to make it a not-so-silent night?

Friend or Mistlefoe is a standalone novel in the Sunnyside universe. This comedic enemies to lovers gay romance is full of holiday cheer and naughty Christmas banter. If you love cute sweetness, sexy fun, and no angst stories that will make you laugh and swoon, you’ll enjoy this festive HEA without cliffhangers. 


Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This entire book takes place mostly over the span of about 2-3 days, and then sort of glazes over some time until Christmas, and then time hops for the epilogue. Since Mingo and Marley go from bickering to hot and heavy in the first chapter or two, their romance has a very instalove-y feel to it.

I really liked the Christmas puns and wordplay, but it got so gratuitous at times that it interrupted the flow of the story, especially during the … we’ll say love scenes so I don’t get censored, haha. Also Mingo was weirdly hung up on hating Marley for what felt like no reason? I’m really glad we get chapters from Marley’s POV as well to even things out.

Despite the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am (thank you sir?) pace, this was still a very hot and hilarious holiday read that has more of a novella feel than a full novel. I love that it’s basically a Hallmark movie if Hallmark had, like, a Hallmark After Dark channel, haha! As a Hallmark Christmas movie enthusiast myself, I really loved the little Christmas rom-com moments sprinkled throughout this book.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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