Author: Sarah Morgenthaler
Overview from Goodreads:
He had a strict “no tourists” policy…
Until she broke all of his rules.
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 parade 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 grumpy local than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
I immediately had to research if Moose Springs, Alaska was a real place because if it was then I wanted to book my vacation ASAP. Sadly, it is a fictional town created by the author based on small towns in Alaska. It still made me eager to book a trip to Alaska though and be whisked into the magic of the Alaskan wilderness! The premise of this story definitely caught my eye. What’s not to love about a book set in a small town with a grumpy guy that falls instantly for a tourist who he typically hates!?
Our local man, Graham, owns a diner, The Tourist Trap, that’s one of the more popular food places in town (not that there are a lot of options for people). He has a dog, who’s blind and he dresses up sometimes, that he loves greatly (huge positive point for this character). He does not like tourists and prefers to keep his distance from them as much as possible. He’s very protective of his hometown, especially when it came to his buddy the moose. It was a good reminder to any tourist the seemingly innocent acts of pictures can have an impact on an ecosystem. (You’d have to read the story to find out the exact scenario I’m talking about.) He is very angry at times that seem uncalled for as it seemed to go overboard to show that he is this cranky guy with a good heart. It didn’t add much to his character as it didn’t come from anything aside from him showing off his alpha-male side. Usually, there is at least some underlying reason or growth that is addressed, but it’s just mentioned in the story by the characters and not really explored.
The characters had their sassy moments, but there were times where they felt very one-dimensional. This happens with Graham the most, but he does get better over time as he and Zoey begin to share more adventures together. Although they were very cute together, the relationship didn’t really have much behind it. They were a very surface level couple that seemed to fall for each other out of convenience, then actually having a true connection. Aside from Zoey working extremely hard to earn the funds to take this Alaskan vacation, you don’t really go into depth about her character. You get glimpses here and there, but she never becomes fully developed, at least to me.
Graham and Zoey seem to fall for each other at first sight and their main conflict stems from her being a temporary resident (a tourist) who will one day return to her life back home. It comes up repeatedly in the story and can get weary on the reader as it revolves around one struggle compared to the usual romantic stories that have multiple that the couple needs to work through.
Despite its shortcomings, the side characters were interesting and the series seem to include them more in future novels. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and continuing to be immersed into the world of Moose Springs! An excellent debut by the author and with two more novels in this series’ line-up, I’ll have guaranteed books on TBR lists for years to come.