Cover Image: The Holiday Trap

The Holiday Trap

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Member Reviews

I really liked this one! Such a fun holiday treat and the queer representation was amazing. Also loved the Maine references (my home state!) 

I didn't love the miscommunication fight between Carys and Greta after the party but since it resolved quickly it didn't deter too much from my reading experience. All in all I enjoyed and will totally be recommending.
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While I would personally never run away from my life, it does have its appeal as evidenced in Roan Parrish’s new novel The Holiday Trap, a LGBTQIA+ book about two scorned souls who swap homes for the holidays.

Greta Rusakoff is ready to get out of her small Maine town and away from her close-knit Jewish family after they completely humiliate her by auctioning her off for a date at a local community event.  To a man.  But she’s a lesbian.  Then there’s Truman Belvedere, a gay guy living in New Orleans who just discovered his boyfriend has a whole other secret family and that Truman is in indeed the side piece.  

What both Greta and Truman need is to get away for the holidays, and they are in luck because they have a mutual friend who is more than willing to arrange the swap.  So Greta heads south to New Orleans, and Truman files north to Maine, where they become immersed in the culture and the community of their new temp homes, learning the laws of the land, and of course, finding love.  But what will happen when their month in their new places is up?  Will they be ready to return to their old lives and leave love behind?

Much like a Christmas stocking, The Holiday Trap is a mixed bag with some fun, playful aspects, but also plenty pieces of coal.  The biggest disappoint is that for being a holiday novel, there’s not a whole lot holiday in this book.  Aside from numerous mentions of Greta missing Hanukkah back home, this really could pass as a book that just takes place in December.  I specifically selected this novel because I WANTED to read a holiday story, but was disappointed that The Holiday Trap was lacking.  Being from the New Orleans area, I know that Parrish had a special opportunity to describe how the city comes alive during the Christmas season with caroling in Jackson Square, the lighting of the lobby at the Roosevelt, and Celebration in the Oaks in City Park.  This book had none of that.

Speaking of which, Parrish is not from New Orleans and it shows.  She says that Truman is from Metairie, LA, but makes it seem as if Metairie is some distant land, far from the reaches of New Orleans … it is literally the town right next door!  Some Louisianans who aren’t specifically from the greater New Orleans area even consider Metairie to be New Orleans, so Parrish just lost a lot of cred with me for attempting to write about a setting with which she wasn’t more intimately familiar.  She gives a lot of facts about New Orleans, which can be found in any tour book, but failed to capture the unique, eclectic vibe of the city.  She also attempted to write in a colorful cast of characters that covers everyone on the spectrum, but they felt more like caricatures than real people.  New Orleans is charming and a place of its own, and this book is seriously lacking in anything truly resembling the city.

Another issue I had was the amount of explicit content in this novel.  It is marketed as a holiday book with a cutesy cover, so I certainly didn’t expect the content to border on pornographic.  I learned more about the trappings of queer sex than I ever cared to know (in detail), and would not feel comfortable recommending this book except to a select group of people.  I just personally expect a novel that is supposed to be about the holidays to be more charming than crude, but that is certainly not the case with The Holiday Trap.

Issues aside, the story in this novel is decent, but not particularly memorable.  Focused more on coming into one’s own away from the expectations of other people, The Holiday Trap follows the personal journeys of Greta and Truman over the course of the holiday season.  They meet new people, try new things, and find a new place to call their own.  The writing is solid and the main characters are developed, making the story easy to follow and engage with.
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This homage to The Holiday (a film I love) takes a while to get moving, but rallies in the second half. I suspect any reader will be more engaged with one of the two parallel storylines. One follows Greta, who feels smothered by her family and escapes via a house swap to New Orleans for the holidays; the other features Truman, who flees a relationship that just imploded for Greta's home on Owl Island, Maine. While both main characters get a romance plotline, the book is also about finding a community where you feel at home, and giving your passions an opportunity to thrive. I found the book a bit silly but ultimately satisfying. A romantic comedy, like Roan Parrish's other recent novels, this book seems to have a higher word count and has been given more space to breathe. While it meanders a bit, on the whole I think it worked in the story's favor.
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The Holiday is one of my absolute all time favourite Christmas movies, so when I saw this was marketed as "The Holiday but make it queer" I was in. I am such a sucker for sapphic romances that I just knew I'd love this one. Though I don't normally exactly enjoy the whole dual relationship sort of novel, I did find this one to warm my heart. I do wish that maybe each couple had their own book because I feel there could have been so much more to the stories and the development of the relationships but I really ended up enjoying them. 
On top of a sweet love story, I loved the idea of how the MCs themselves felt lost, and they learned who they were throughout the journey.  The three narrators of the audiobook were such a plus, they gave the best inflection of emotion when needed and I truly felt caught up in the story they were telling. All in all, definitely recommend - and if you can get the audiobook, I highly recommend that one as well.
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Thank you SourceBooks Casablanca for my copy! All thoughts are my own. 

If you love the movie The Holiday, the synopsis of this book might sound a little similar. But ditch the English countryside and LA for a small town in Maine and New Orleans, The characters are on a journey of self discovery and finding autonomy from their families, all while unexpected love finds their way into their holiday. 

Synopsis: 

“Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don't always understand what it's like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.

Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.

Enter Greta and Truman's mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over the winter holidays, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life...and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.” —StoryGraph

What I Liked: 

The Premise—The Holiday is one of my favorite movies of all time, so when i read the synopsis, i was so excited! I wasn’t quite as charmed, as feeling invested in two storylines is harder in a book than in a film, but i still loved the characters journeys. 

The Settings—I’m a New Englander so I was excited to get to go to Maine in this book! I also loved all the references to Carys’ job as a ghost storyteller in New Orleans. I’ve only been once but it made me want to plan a trip ASAP!

Truman’s Storyline—I have read so many fantastic holiday books this year that feature queer couples. I’m so happy to see it! I found Truman to be so sweet and really was invested in how he came into his own. 

What Didn’t Work: 

This is personal, but since I was more invested in one storyline, it became quite hard for me to feel motivated to want to pick up this book. However, the audio performance was great and I had an enjoyable time listening. 

Character Authenticity: 4/5    Spice Rating: 2/5   Overall Rating: 3.75/5

Content Warnings: 

emotional abuse, dementia, homophobia, lesphobia, infidelity
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My first instinct was: an essential book version of The Holiday? YES PLEASE. Say no more.

I will say my first meeting of Greta, I really liked her! I didn’t really get part of her anger over the auction. I wish it was just based on the fact she didn’t want to do it, seemed to make her reasoning more political than it needed to be. But I got over that quickly. Really liked her!

First meeting of Truman, my heart ached for him! I already feel he is a squishy cinnamon roll that I would want to be friends with! He loves books, obsessed with fantasy, and has an online friend group. We are the same person.

The first 30% of the book I loved!! I knew this would be a 5 star read. Greta and Carys are 🔥 Truman and Ash are slow burn goodness. But then it got slow and rather boring for the middle of the book. All of which I was prepared to forgive. Then the third act fights/breakups start, which I always expect. Then I got annoyed. The author was trying to teach lessons about boundaries and many other good things. The lessons themselves I respect. But the execution did not do it for me. I honestly rolled my eyes at Carys and I don’t think I could go back to liking her character and then it just made me not enjoy how Greta handled her family or anything. Now Truman and Ash weren’t so bad, but their storyline just lagged to me since the focus seemed to be more on Carys and Greta. 

Overall a great start, author has a lot of potential to me and I would read more books, but this didn’t do it for me in the end.
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I loved the premise to this story! I liked the characters and the plot. the only thing was that I had a little bit of trouble staying focused on it in the beginning.
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I really tried to get into this one but it just really wasn’t for me. I had trouble connecting with the characters and I just couldn’t finish it. Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for my free review copy.
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Thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this novel in exchange for a review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for a copy in exchange for an honest review! 

This is the first book I have read by Ronan Parrish and it did not disappoint. I was immediately intrigued by the cover and all of the praise that this book was receiving on social media. After finishing the book, I don't think that the dual romance worked for me; I don't think that we had enough time with each protagonist. Even though this story didn't blow me away, I still enjoyed the premise and the characters. This book helped put me in the holiday mood, and I think that my patrons would enjoy this read!
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thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the arc for review!

hmmm. i'm not sure how i felt about this one if i'm being completely honest. i have a bit of a on-off relationship with roan parrish's writing, in that some of her books i have really enjoyed and others i have just felt very middle of the road about. i think this may unfortunately fall into the latter category

i am also, admittedly, not a huge fan of romance :/ shocking, i know. i try to forgive this when reading queer romance because i want to support all queer authors and queer literature as much as possible, so i'm always willing to give it a try. i think though that this one may have had a bit TOO much romance for me - in that, i'm not sure the dual stories really worked. i didn't feel like we got enough time with either couple, and would have liked to get to know them a little more/see them all a bit more developed. i did prefer truman and ash's storyline.

that isn't to say there wasn't anything i enjoyed about this book!!! it got me into the christmas spirit, for one, and i did like the characters and the premise of the story enough to finish the book. the writing was great as ever from roan parrish. i loved the hurt/comfort/slow-build of the m-m relationship. i think if you like the film the holiday, which this is ostensibly modeled on, you will enjoy this queer version of it (i did not really like that film..)
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The world may be a mess but nothing beats escaping into a Roan Parrish novel to forget that for a hot second. As someone whose favorite Christmas movie is The Holiday, I went into this with the highest expectations, and what can I say other than that I absolutely adored every page of this novel? 
Both Greta nd Truman are such relatable characters who are facing tough struggles (both in the romance department and out of it) so a swap between their respective houses sounds like the perfect deal to get away from everything and just enjoy some time alone. Yet both Greta and Truman meet new amazing people pretty instantly and their dynamic just made for a really good time. Truman's journey of learning how to stand up for himself was well paired with Greta's yearning for independence from her family and the town that constantly puts their nose in things they should stay out of. 

What I will say is that at times this book felt a bit too long - unnecessary repetitions or way too much detail to describing certain scenes made it drag quite a bit in the beginning and in the middle, but towards the end, the pacing thankfully picked up again.

All in all, a charming, heartwarming and delightfully queer spin on The Holiday!
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This book is fantastic! I need more holiday romcoms from Roan Parrish! I loved the family spin she wrote in this one with our female lead-loving too much. It was something different and I loved it. The main hero lead, his heartbreak...omg! My heart shattered with him in the moment but for both of these characters it was a beautiful story of rediscovering yourself, putting yourself first and moving on.
This isn't a short book but it is such a quick read. 
It was fabulous! Way to go Roan!!!!
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In general a charming book, but I wonder how it will reach its audience. In general as a gay man I'm not interested in lesbian romance, and though I liked these characters I skipped over all the gal parts. I think it is probably a rare reader who reads and enjoys both male and female gay romance.

That being said, I liked both Ash and Truman and enjoyed their romance and the story that develops between them. Both very likeable characters, and the writing was great.
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I am not entirely what is it but I just found the story just okay. 

The premise is probably appealing to many of us: leaving your current life behind, experiencing something new and putting in the effort to find happiness beyond the world you inhabited for your entire life.
And it works. Truman and Grace are both different enough with distinct voices who are both working through some things and falling in love in the process. For a book over 400 pages, I still feel that both romances developed rather quickly. I understand there is a time limit because of their swap but I feel there were ways to write around that problem without rushing their feelings. The two POVs were well balanced but I enjoyed Truman's clearer journey toward standing up for himself more fulfilling than Greta's vague yearning for independence. However, I loved how Greta's family situation was addressed and played it, that felt very true.
I also have to admit that Carys is not my kind of people and I never warmed up for her. I had an easier time with Ash.

<i>I received an advanced reading copy from Sourcebooks Casablanca through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</i>
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this book was just so much fun to read! i truly enjoyed my time reading this book. i am so thankful to netgalley for letting me read this book before the release date! please pick this up!!
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The lead characters are queer, but otherwise, this enjoyable book is similar to the movie The Holiday. Two people needing to get away from their current lives swap their respective houses over the holidays and end up much happier in their new environments then they ever were in their old ones. Truman, in New Orleans, is reeling from finding out that his “boyfriend" is actually married with a child and he’s just the side piece. Greta, on a small island in Maine, comes from a smothering and close knit family in which all of the members are expected to deny their own desires in favor of the collective will of the family. When her mom and bitter older sister sign her up for a holiday auction in which she’d be expected to go on a date with a man even though they know full well that she is a lesbian, it’s the final straw and she realizes she has to get away. Luckily, they share a fairy godmother friend who proposes the swap as a way for both of them to get out of their current ruts and hopefully gain some perspective on their lives. 

The book is light on traditional holiday trappings and instead focuses on the life changing nature of the swap for both of them. There are satisfying romances in store for both Greta and Truman in their new environments, but the book is about more than romance. Both characters do some sorely needed thinking and self-discovery and realize that they’ve spent so much time conforming themselves to others’ needs instead of their own that they hardly even know what they want. It’s so satisfying to watch them bloom where they are planted. In the dual timeline/narrative structure of the book, I enjoyed both of the protagonists and their stories equally and felt enough time was devoted to both of them. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.
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Cute and cozy and everything someone would likely be hoping for from a "The Holiday" retelling.

I loved the trope-y premise!  It felt brand new and refreshing, given its spin with queer characters. And I really enjoyed the setting of both swaps, the New Orleans and Maine backgrounds felt so atmospheric and real. 

While it seems like a very festive sort of holiday read, I'd say you could pick it up anytime since Christmas and Chanukah don't play a very big role in the story.
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This was a cute house swap style story featuring dual POV, LGBTQ+ represention, MM romance, FF romance, Jewish rep, and open door romance. If you're looking for found family stories with some holiday warmth, check this one out!
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Not on the fence about this at all--I found this story painfully dull and and the characters boring.  The plot follows Greta, who is feeling suffocated by her family on a Maine island with a lack of viable queer dating pool, and Truman who discovers his boyfriend has a husband.  A random, undeveloped mutual friend (strike 1) suggest a house swap.  This takes place at sometime in December because while Christmas and Chanukah are mentioned, they don't really feature prominantly; this story could have taken place with no changes at any time of the year--strike 2.  The journey Greta and Truman go through over the course of the book is primarily internal (learning to value yourself and your wants...or something).  Since there isn't much in the way of storyline action, the characters have to really jump off the page and that wasn't happening for me.  I couldn't stand Greta or her story, and while I think Truman was the better-developed character he was boring (strike 3).  Greta and Truman are thrust into instant romances (bonus: strike four!) and it's obvious how the story is going to end after just a few chapters in.  This is one to skip; wish I did.
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