Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Moose Springs Alaska
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: My shelves
When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he's stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn't interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn't just the top item on Zoey Caldwell's bucket list. It's the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she's smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham's world, she may just find there's more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
I’m going to start by saying that my thoughts for this book are largely driven by pure emotion. I picked this book up on a whim, when I really needed a pick-me-up after a month-long reading slump of hardly reading at all. I LOVED IT.
It was absolutely just what I needed, a total breath of fresh air. And no – I didn’t mean that as an Alaska pun.
This is the hero of our read, and I am absolutely, irrevocably in love with this man. This book was sold to me as a grump v. sunshine romance… which is not how I would necessarily sell this one. When you say “grump v. sunshine,” my mind immediately conjured images of a cold and emotionally cutoff hero who is very gruff and selective about his inner circle. Graham is not that way.
Graham can be a grumpy one, that’s for sure. Especially when it comes to his one-man restaurant, “The Tourist Trap,” an inside joke meant as a low-key hangout for the locals that is daily overrun by tourists. He’s not the “giving restaurateur,” generally opening and closing when he wants, serving the tourists what he wants to make, and throws towels at the them towards the end of the night to “clean up and get out.” But he’s also exceptionally outgoing when it comes to the locals – he knows everyone in small-town Moose Springs, Alaska and loves them all – and is outrageously flirtatious, hilarious, and sweet when he meets Zoey. He’s may have been grumpy at first, but he’s a romantic at heart <3
Plus the nickname!! Zoey-Bear <3
This is Zoey’s first time in Alaska – in fact, I think it’s her first time out of her hometown – and she’s joined her wealthy friend Lana for her twice-annual trip to Moose Springs, Alaska! She’s decidedly NOT wealthy, and saved up for years working at an overnight diner/truck stop to pay for this two-week trip with her friend.
”I can make up a lot more interesting version of myself than the truth.”
“What’s the truth?”
“I’m just a guy. With my head in the lap of a girl. Asking her not to spill her drink on me.”
Graham is immediately kind to Zoey, despite the fact that he usually hates ALL tourists. But he and Zoey keep getting thrown together, and as Zoey’s luck gets worse and worse with her dream vacation, they become friends as Graham starts to grab the reins and show her the Alaska she wanted to see so badly. Again, despite the two-week deadline and the fact that she’s a “filthy tourist.” And they get into #shenanigans. At least this time, Graham is as bad as Zoey is!
Now’s the time for the star of the show… Jake! He’s Graham’s blind dog, and he is SOOOO adorable. He had so much personality and definitely won my heart. Graham was awesome, but Jake warmed my heart <3 Graham would don him in sweaters and hats, and they were two peas in a pod! I can’t express how much this little guy won my heart!
The animal representation was 100% on point in this one… there was even an adorable Moose obsessed with the smell of freshly baked bread <3
a few complaints
However I will say, it is a chunky read, clocking at a bit over 400 pages. I don’t mind lengthy romances, but this was no slow-burn, so we did hit a point where the plot started to drag a bit. It honestly didn’t feel like a two-week vacation, perhaps a month? I didn’t get total insta-love vibes from this, but it’s not hard to reach that conclusion, as they feel into an intense crush/puppy-love stage pretty fast.
The big plot-point here was obviously the deadline of Zoey leaving after two weeks… and this just felt so overdone. There came a point where I was just tired of hearing about it, to be honest! I know I live in Romancelandia, but she was a late-night waitress at a job she doesn’t like with little-to-no friends or family around. There was no excuse as to why she couldn’t just move up there. Again, I know upending your life like that is a much larger consideration but ugh. It was such an obvious non-problem (from our point of view) that it just didn’t work, and I lost a lot of the tension that way. Plus, they tried to put a bit of Alpha in Graham to give him more *aggressive* moments, and I just wasn’t here for those glimpses. That’s not who he is.
I loved this book quite a lot, I read it in one sitting, laughing and grinning often! I’m forever grateful to it for breaking my reading slump, and will definitely be continuing the series here soon! Because of Graham and Zoey’s instant connection, there were plenty of adorable moments scattered throughout the story of them acting like a couple.
It was a sweet, sappy, definitely melodramatic rom-com that I fully enjoyed. There was a sassy cast of characters that I can’t wait to see more of (both human and animal). I loved the charming, adventurous backdrop of small-town Alaska with the vacation-romance element. I will definitely be checking out more Alaskan romances after this.