Book Reviews

A Gift-Wrapped Holiday by Amy Aislin

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Age Gap / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Barb on 22-November-2022

Book Blurb

Mal's first priority is giving his six-year-old son the best Christmas ever, a goal made trickier by a recent move to New England after losing his job. As a single dad, he's not looking for romance—especially not with a blond California boy ten years his junior.

After being ridiculed at the family business, Luca sets out to prove himself by opening an eco-friendly gift-wrapping store in a small town with a hard-on for Christmas that’s about as far from LA as he can get. Out of his comfort zone in snowy Maine, love is the last thing on his mind.

But the magic of the season has other ideas. As Mal and Luca collide on wintery streets, will they let their first Christmas in Lighthouse Bay lead to happily ever after?


Book Review

The blurb hardly does justice to this heartwarming trip to Lighthouse Bay. The story is incredibly insightful with well-developed characters who find that despite a ten-year age gap, their life goals and personalities mesh together beautifully.


The book is very character-driven with few sex scenes—the focus is on the men’s personalities, backgrounds, family situations, hopes, desires, and more. Mal is divorced and has a six-year-old son, and Luca has left home and moved across the country to start a new business. These are the core issues that drive them, and though they fall in love and it occurs fairly fast—in only a month—it feels slower because the author’s focus isn’t on how many times and how many ways they can go in and out of the bedroom. Instead, the focus is on their hearts and on the slow development of a lasting relationship. It’s about Mal supporting his environmentally conscious boyfriend’s beliefs by buying sustainable products as holiday decor. Luca has never had family support but Mal hears him—he gets him in ways no one ever has. And Luca understands Mal’s need to put his son, Otis, first. In fact, Otis is now one of Luca’s favorite people.  


Of note, Otis adds the perfect touch to the story—from the time he first bursts into Luca’s store to have his gift wrapped for his dad to the end when he needs to unwrap that gift to... well, I won’t say right now. This story needs to be read to be fully appreciated. Usually, I am not a fan of children in romance novels but, done right, they add another dimension to the parent. This one is done right. This little fella is adorable.


There are several secondary characters from previous books in the Lighthouse Bay holiday series who make cameo appearances, but those stories do not need to be read first. I haven’t had a chance to read them all, but after finishing this one and being reminded of how much I enjoy this author’s work, I’m definitely grabbing ‘Gingerbread Mistletoe’ as my next read as I missed that one, and I’m intrigued by the characters featured in that book. All in all, this story was absolutely delightful and at the top of my list of holiday favorites. Highly recommended.  




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was provided by the author via GRRT for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 255 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-November-2022
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link