CHRISTMAS AT TALL PINES by DeLuca
Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Blurb: Melanie Beck is searching for an idyllic Christmas like the ones her
small family used to have. Traveling solo and still grieving the loss of her
parents, she’s counting on cozy Tall Pines Lodge tucked into the mountains of
Utah to provide the elusive holiday feels with merry music, stunning
decorations and traditional Christmas feast in a beautiful frosty setting. But
a blizzard turns the winter wonderland into a hazard, and a chance encounter
with a now-famous high school crush has her reeling with emotions she’s never
quite gotten over. Tyler Shaw, a Hollywood heartthrob and silver screen
star, is so over a grueling film schedule and persistent paparazzi. In disguise
and using a fake name, he comes to Tall Pines to escape the spotlight and get
some much-needed rest. He’s hoping the adrenaline rush of downhill skiing at
the nearby slopes will give him the reboot he’s looking for. Instead, he’s
stuck at the lodge and is shocked to run into an old high school friend that he
left behind more than a decade ago. He’s even more surprised to discover how
much he’s missed her. As their past and present collide, can an old flame
ignite some Christmas magic?
Thoughts: Settle in with a cup of hot cider and get ready to enjoy this
lovely Hallmark-type romance story. There’s all kinds of tropes here – old
friends reunited, friendship to love, Christmas, and more. And it all works.
What I liked: The interaction between Melanie and Tyler. They’re old friends
reunited, but he’d left a hole in her life when he ghosted her (not his fault,
but still…). Now, she doesn’t know whether to trust him again or not. Plus,
he’s a big-time movie star with fans and paparazzi after him all the time. How
can she compete with that? Their conflict is real. And their attraction is real.
Plus I loved that they’re going to try to provide some Christmas for kids at
the snowed in resort.
What I didn’t like: The ending was just a tad too rushed for me. I’d liked
to have seen some of the threads tied up, maybe in a short epilogue to show
that Melanie’s book did become a series, that she got to meet Tyler’s family
(and his father wasn’t a complete meanie), that her doubts are put to rest and
they become an actual couple. The story has a “happy-for-now” ending that hints
at a “happily-ever-after” theme, but it’s not quite there yet.
Recommendation: Even with those few nits, I definitely recommend this as a
feel-good Christmas romance. Plus, it’s a novella, so quick and easy to read.
Pick this one up.
Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with
the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a
review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am
posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part
255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in