It wasn’t a bad book by any stretch, but it just wasn’t all that I expected, wanted, or needed it to be. I did appreciate the warm, cozy, holiday feeling, the close-knit family friendships, the holiday tradtions. But there were other parts that just felt off, or at least left too much alone. For example, the time loop. That particular aspect had so much potential, but there were only a couple, and they all took place in the first quarter to third of the book. And then it was just swept to the background, the story continuing in the same timeline. It began as such a major part of the plot, and then it just sort of disappeared, which was a little odd. And then the dynamics between the families and friends. As much emphasis as there was put on their long histories together, it felt like, outside of the generation group of Maelyn, Andrew, and Theo (and a little bit of Miles), the only person we really got to know was Benny. Even the dynamics between Maelyn, Andrew, and Theo were a little off-putting at times. Theo acted like a brat, angry and jealous when faced with situations, blaming others instead of taking responsibility. In the end, although she wasn’t in the wrong, Maelyn made excuses for him, which is something I really hated in this day and age. And while this was a romance novel, that aspect left me on the fence. It centered on a romantic theme that I just find toxic. The heroine pines away, the hero never notices her, but then when he realizes she is into him, then he decides in an instant that he wants her, too. Honestly, the whole romance aspect felt a little immature at times.
All in all, it wasn’t bad, just sort of meh.