Lydia Reviews: A Breath of Innocence by KA Merikan

Title: A Breath of Innocence 

Author: K.A. Merikan 

Publisher: Self Published

Genre:  Coming of Age, Mafia 

Pages: 330 

Kisses: 4  


“I would wait a lifetime for this.” 

“You don’t have to wait anymore. I want you.” 

Mark is done with flings. He is looking for something real, and he knows just where to find it. Years ago, he fell in love with Charlotte Elswood, but after saving her life, he made the difficult choice to stay in a cartel for the sake of his family.
Now, free of the bloodstained work, he’s ready to rekindle what he’s lost.
But in England, he meets someone who is also blond, blue-eyed, and irresistible. Problem is, Griffith Elswood is Charlotte’s brother. Should Mark even consider putting his hands all over an innocent who would push him away if he knew what kind of monster Mark is?

After years of homeschooling, Griffith wants nothing more than to finally spread his wings at university. Secretly, he dreams of meeting a man he can fall madly in love with. A man he would have all the firsts with. But it’s hard to trust anyone after witnessing his sister’s heartbreak.
When Mark moves in next door, Griffith reaches out despite his sister’s warnings. Mark is mysterious, experienced, cocky, and just oh-so-dreamy. Alternating between hot and cold, Mark’s presence sends Griffith into a frenzy of passion like he’s never known before. So hot in fact, it might just burn him if he isn’t careful. 


A Breath of Innocence is the eighth book in the Guns n’ Boys series by author K.A. Merikan.  The author recommends that the series be read in order, something I did not know when I read this book.  While I did not feel lost while reading this story, it did make me want to go back and read the books I missed.  If you do not want to read all seven prior books, I strongly recommend you at least read books 4-7 as this is when Mark comes into the series.  Also book six is when Charlotte is introduced which sets this book up well.   

Mark has decided to step back from the family business and try to make a go of it as a photographer.  At least that is what he has told his fathers.  In actuality Mark has gone to England, not just for schooling, but also to track down Charlotte, the young girl he fell in love with back in Columbia.   Only the loving reunion he has been hoping for turns out to be anything but.  Charlotte has moved on with her life and wants nothing to do with the young man that kept her safe during a trying time.   

I have to say that at first I could understand Charlotte’s reasoning, even if she is a bit of a hag, but it was not until I read book six that I really started to dislike her.  Mark has a plan though.  He’s going to buddy up to Charlotte’s brother, Griffith and use him to get close to Charlotte. 

After his sister’s little adventure in the jungle, Griffith’s parent become a  little over protective, making his life miserable.  When he turns 18 and is finally able to leave home he can’t wait.  Although he does not always get along with his sister, he can’t wait to move in with her and look for some adventure of his own.  What he does not plan on is someone like Mark, or how the other man will affect his life.  

I have to say more than once I wanted to shack Mark because of how he planned to treat Griffith.  However, once Mark realizes just were his happiness lies, he goes after what he wants.  Now if everyone else would just mind their own business he would be happy.   

A Breath of Innocence is different from the other seven books in this series.  While there are a few little twists and one or more secrets, this story is a lot tamer than the previous books.  Since there is an ongoing story line running through the series, one that does not come into play in this story, I wonder if this is the last time we see Mark or if he will return to the family fold when they need him.  If he does, what does that mean for Griffith?  

Reviewed by: Lydia  

Click HERE to purchase A Breath of Innocence

Anne Reviews: Patrick’s Savior by Nic Starr

TITLE:  Heroes, Book 3:  Patrick’s Savior

Author:  Nic Starr

Publisher:  Self-published

Pages: 192

Characters:  Patrick/Simon

POV:  3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary with a touch of Mystery, Series

Kisses: 5


How do you find love when someone doesn’t want you to be happy?

Patrick Edwards is dealing with a double whammy. Unwanted attention from his housemate’s boyfriend is making him feel uncomfortable in his own home, and he’s facing uncertainty with his employment as an administrative assistant at the local elementary school. He finally breathes a sigh of relief when a friend puts him in contact with Simon, who has a vacant room.

Simon Dawson is a paramedic who doesn’t hesitate to help Patrick. After all, no one should live in a house where they don’t feel safe. Simon develops feelings for Patrick but doesn’t act on them—Patrick’s moved from a bad situation and doesn’t need his new housemate hitting on him. However, a weekend away changes everything when Simon realizes Patrick returns his feelings.

But someone doesn’t want Patrick and Simon to be happy. A series of strange letters arrive at the house, and things will get a lot worse before the two men get their happily ever after.


Although this is the third book in the series it can be read alone. However, having read book one—and still needing to read book two—I enjoyed catching up with other characters from the series.  Simon and Patrick had caught my eye when I’d read Charlie’s Hero and I’d hoped they would get their own book.

Nic Starr is one of my go-to authors when I want a contemporary romance read, and she never disappoints.  This is a lovely friends-to-lovers story with Simon and Patrick being both smitten with the other but not wanting to make that first step in case it ruins their friendship.  I enjoyed reading about them finally taking the plunge and watching their relationship grow.  I really felt for Simon especially when his past is revealed and a traumatic experience impacts him while he’s working.

I loved the supporting cast in this story and not just those I’d met before.  There is a real feeling of family among this group of friends which left me with a lovely feel-good feeling reading about them interacting and looking out for each other.  I suspect a couple of the new characters will end up together and I’m hoping the author writes more in this series so I can find out!

Although I guessed who was behind the letters etc fairly early on, the author throws in a few red herrings which had me doubting on occasion whether I was on the right track or not.  I had to keep reading through the reveal as, although I trusted the author to keep these guys safe, I wanted to make sure they were.  The HEA is a lovely family affair and suits the story perfectly.

I’d recommend Patrick’s Savior to readers who enjoy contemporary romance with likable characters, a touch of mystery, and a real sense of family is not only the one you’re born into but the friends you make along the way.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase Patrick’s Savior by Nic Starr



Anne Reviews: The Sinner and the Saint by RJ Scott

TITLE: Ellery Mountain, Book 8: The Sinner and The Saint

Author: RJ Scott

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 131

Characters:  Nick/Ben

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Series

Kisses: 5


Army medic Ben Rockwell is in Ellery to work with the Veterans Center creating a new specialist unit for post trauma care. Desperate to make amends for battlefield decisions he regrets, he is focused on the unit and nothing else. Until some stranger moves in next door and throws him a curveball. He’s no hero, even though everyone says he is, and the lies burn inside him.

Leaving drama and chaos in his wake, Nicholas Merrick fled London and is hiding out in his friend Jason’s house, until everything back home dies a death. The choices he made in his life were to keep his best friend safe, but as a result everyone sees him as the bad guy.

When these two meet, the attraction is instant. Can they ever be their true selves, and find love as a result?


This is the first RJ Scott story I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. Ellery Mountain is a series where each book centers on a different couple, yet those from previous books turn up in later books too.  I love this kind of series as it brings with it a mix of meeting new people, yet still checking in on previous characters.  As seems to be a trend with me of late, I’m starting with the latest book in the series so need to play catch up.  Needless to say, jumping into the series at this point wasn’t detrimental to my enjoyment, apart from leaving me with a feeling of ‘oooh cool, more books to read.’

Nick and Ben are both interesting characters dealing with the consequences of their pasts.  When I started reading the book I thought The Saint referred to Ben as he is nicknamed that by the community, but as I kept reading I changed my mind.  I think he is The Sinner, at least in his own mind, and Nick—because of his actions in regard to his best friend—is the Saint.

Ben was a harder character to warm up to, but that makes sense as he is struggling to come to terms with his past, and the PTSD that still affects him.  There were times when his attitude to Nick and bluntly asking for sex seemed a little out there, but I thought it worked because of his background.  His coldness, bluntness, and not wanting to make an emotional connection make sense, and I thought the author did a great job in writing his mindset, and slow thawing as he realizes he wants more than just a physical relationship with Nick.

I liked Nick immediately, and his stay in Ellery doesn’t get off on the greatest start.  His inner monologue was amusing and I’m always a sucker for a British character.  I liked the way he and Ben warm up to each other as friends, and that it does take a while.  I loved the way Ben acted protectively toward Nick, even before he admitted how he felt. Actions say more than words and all that.

The supporting cast was great, and I loved the characters who populate the town, apart from one woman to whom Ben gives a piece of his mind. The town felt very real, I could imagine it easily, and I hope there are more books to come in this series, especially as I suspect someone new to this book needs his own happy ending.

I’d recommend The Sinner & The Saint to readers who enjoy light, sweet, contemporary romances with interesting characters, and a great supporting cast.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase The Sinner and the Saint by RJ Scott

Kimberly Reviews: His Wildest Dream by Xander Collins

Title: A Portville Mpreg Romance, Book 3: His Wildest Dream

Author: Xander Collins

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 177

Characters: Daniel, Cameron, Maggie

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Male Pregnancy

Kisses: 3 


Dreams really do come true …

When Daniel goes into a debilitating super-heat while delivering a package to the office of one of the wealthiest men in town, he is horrified. It’s not like any other heat he’s had before, and he finds out it could have been caused by some very compatible pheromones.

Those of billionaire Cameron Styles.

He can’t fathom that Cameron could be interested in a poor, young omega like him, but when he’s asked to move into Cameron’s penthouse condo, he can’t turn down the chance to live out some of his dreams.

Cameron has hidden himself away in his penthouse ever since his omega partner was killed in an accident. He has made sure to not come into contact with anyone who might set off his powerful alpha hormones, or touch his heart.

Until Daniel walks into his office, that is.

After Cameron inhales Daniel’s scent and sees the sweetness in his eyes, he can’t get him out of his mind. But he’s afraid of love and pain, and most of all, of scaring an innocent omega with his depraved desires.

Can two people from different backgrounds let go of the pain in their pasts and come together to find the love they’re searching for?


As a fan of male pregnancy stories, I was hopeful that His Wildest Dream would hit all my buttons in delivering a nice romance where boy meets boy and make a baby. And, while the novel did hit the right notes in certain areas, there were some elements that were either only lightly touched upon or ignored entirely.

The premise is that Daniel, a virgin omega who has had a hard time in life thus far, is working as a bike messenger. On his daily run one morning, he is tasked to hand-deliver an envelope to Cameron Styles, of Styles Investments, in the penthouse of The Marguerite. That kicks off the inevitable meeting between Daniel and his destined alpha, Cameron. Their relationship seems ruled by biology more than shared interests, but it is something that neither can deny. They must be together and there’s no way around it. And what develops is a happily-ever-after story where Cameron rescues Daniel from a bad living situation, sets him up as a live-in nanny for his daughter, Maggie, and they inevitably fall in love, get married, and have a baby together.

While the story itself is sweet and follows a relationship that is mostly untroubled, it did feel like more of a surface level story than one where the author wanted to go in-depth into the characters. We know that Cameron feels guilty for the death of his former omega, Gregory, and that Daniel comes from a broken home, with the intent to help others who might be in his same situation, but the exploration of these repercussions of past history was missing. Maggie doesn’t seem affected by her dead father, Daniel seems to take to his destined pairing without reservation, and Cameron’s money solves pretty much any issue that might come up in their lives. Also, there were a few editing issues in terms of word choice, spelling, and punctuation that highlights how the book could have benefited from an editor.

One area to keep in mind when picking up His Wildest Dream, if you are looking for a focus on the pregnancy aspect, is that it takes up very little of the book. We have a lot of build-up in solidifying the relationship between Daniel and Cameron, which takes place in quite a whirlwind of two weeks from meeting to marriage, but the pregnancy itself was almost a side note of what must happen next before we move to the subsequent step in their lives. I also remain confused as to the biological construct of this alpha/omega world in terms of pregnancy length, which is shortened in comparison to human gestation since Daniel was only pregnant for five months total. Further information to help the reader understand both this and the societal construct of alpha/beta/omega status would have been helpful.

Despite these issues, however, the novel is a happy love story and one that holds the potential for more exploration. If you’re looking for a fast read with a male pregnancy pay-off, His Wildest Dream is definitely worth picking up. And I do look forward to seeing what the author could do with the male pregnancy concept in other novels. It’s one of my favorite genres, and one that doesn’t get a lot of coverage in quality LGBT fiction, so I support any author who wants to explore it! 

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to purchase His Wildest Dream

Gabbi Reviews: Felix and the Prince by Lucy Lennox

Title: Forever Wilde, Book 2: Felix and the Prince

Author: Lucy Lennox

Publisher: Self-Publishing

Pages: 318

Characters: Felix and Lio

POV: Alternating 1st Person

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses: 5+



Things I expect to find at Gadleigh Castle: – Rare stained glass, the subject of my dissertation. – Peace and quiet, to finish said dissertation. – An escape from the paparazzi swarming around my starlet mother’s latest blockbuster release. Things I don’t expect to find: – A hidden door leading to a secret room. – The most gorgeous man I’ve ever set eyes on. – Love.


Things I know are expected of me in life: – One day soon I will become the King of Liorland. – I will marry a nice woman who will become queen. – I will provide heirs to my family’s monarchy. Reasons that might be difficult – I’m gay. – I’m falling in love with Felix Wilde. – He has no idea I’m royal. While it can definitely be read on its own, Felix and the Prince is the second novel in the new Forever Wilde series about the huge Wilde family from Hobie, Texas, whose patriarchs aren’t above a little meddling if that’s what it takes to help their grandkids find true love. Beware: nekkid man parts touch. Let’s just say, Felix gets royally screwed in the very best way.


OMG! Felix and the Prince totally blew me away! If you read romance, then you probably already love fairytales, and in many ways Felix and the Prince is an adult fairytale with plenty of romance, sweetness and angst to satisfy even the pickiest of readers.

I loved this book! We meet Felix in the first book, Facing West and I was thrilled that the sweet and shy man had his own story. Felix is one of those heroes that you will immediately fall in love with. He’s thoughtful, intelligent, funny and an all-around sexy man. Whew! I understood why Lio became so enamored with him, because I found myself falling for him too!

Lio is a Prince to be remembered. His obligation to be King is strangling the person he longs to be. When he meets Felix, he immediately becomes captivated by Felix’s sweet and sexy ways. Felix treats him like a normal person and for once in his life, Lio finds himself wishing he truly could be honest with his parents and his kingdom about his homosexuality.

I adored these two men and I loved the story they had to tell. Between the friendship and love they share together, Felix and the Prince swept me up into their story and I loved every single moment of it. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, but this is going to be a hard story to top.

Felix and the Prince is written where it can easily be read as a stand-alone story, but in my opinion, I would read the Forever Wilde books in series order because we meet Felix in the first book and some of the secondary characters in each book play a part in the storyline as well.

The Forever Wilde series in book order are: 

Facing West

Felix and the Prince

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Felix and the Prince

Gabbi Reviews: Facing West by Lucy Lennox

Title: Forever Wilde, Book 1: Facing West

Author: Lucy Lennox

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 300

Characters: West Wilde, Nico Salerno

POV: Alternating 1st Person

Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance, Series

Kisses: 4



I left my family and tiny Texas hometown fifteen years ago to escape small-town gossips and to give my mom and sister the chance at a better life. But when a phone call from an attorney back home informs me that my sister passed away, leaving me custody of her newborn baby, I’m shocked out of the steady life I’ve built for myself running a tattoo shop in San Francisco.

The thing is: I don’t do babies. And I don’t do small towns. Or commitment. And I especially don’t do family. My plan is to go back to Hobie just long enough to sign adoption papers, giving my niece the kind of stable, loving family I could never provide.

But the moment I meet my niece in the arms of Weston Wilde, my sister’s best friend and the town’s handsome doctor, my plans begin to change. Because suddenly, I see a different future. One with the very thing I thought I never deserved: a family. If only I can convince West that I’m not the same good-for-nothing kid ready to bolt when things get tough.


There’s one thing I know for sure about Nico Salerno: he was a good-for-nothing as a kid and judging by the purple-haired, tattoo’d punk who shows up at his sister’s funeral, he hasn’t changed. There’s no way I’m letting him take custody of my best friend’s baby.

But the more time I spend around him, the more I realize that his rough exterior is just a shell and that beneath all the tattoos is a scared, insecure man searching for a place to belong. And pretty soon I know exactly where he belongs: in my bed and by my side.

The problem is, he abandoned his family once before, how do I know that if we become a family he won’t do it again?

Facing West is the first in the new Forever Wilde series about the huge Wilde family from Hobie, Texas, whose patriarchs aren’t above a little meddling if that’s what it takes to help their grandkids find true love.


Facing West is the first book I’ve read by Lucy Lennox. I’m always excited to read an author that is new to me, so I was super pumped to read and review this book.

Since Facing West is told in an alternating first person, we get to fully know both heroes. I loved finding out what makes Nico and West tick and enjoyed the story they both had to tell.

There is something special about the way these two men learn to communicate with one another. Although I did think they fell into bed pretty quick, it was still a joy watching these two men become friends and then falling in love with one another.

In my opinion, the best thing about this story was the relationship between these two heroes and the clear love and devotion they had for one another. I read romance because I’m a sucker to a good love story, and Facing West wasn’t just a good romance, it was a great one.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By:  Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Facing West

Lydia Reviews: Loose Ends by Jeff Erno

TITLE: Loose Ends

Author: Jeff Erno

Publisher:  Self published through Amazon

Pages: 183

Characters: Tucker Brown and Ivan Ramsey

POV: 3rd POV

Sub-Genre: Mystery

Kisses: 4.5


Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire.Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.


Loose Ends is a recent release by author Jeff Erno.  This is a story that starts out strong from the beginning and keeps going that way through out the rest of the book.

Main character Ivan is a nurse in the pediatric ward.  He loves his job and finds himself drawn to Jaydin, one of his patience.  He has a hard time understanding why the little boy’s father seems to have little time to spend with him, especially since Jaydin will be having surgery soon.  Imagine Ivan’s surprise when Tucker, Jaydin’s father, shows up and Ivan feels a something for him.  To cover for his awkwardness Ivan is a little short with the other man,something he later regrets.

Tucker is a cop working hard trying to keep his job under control while being a full time father, even if he and his wife are divorced.  Although he knows he should be with his son, he has no choice but to leave the hospital when he’s called out on the job.  Imagine his surprise when he finds out the death he is investigating leads him right back to the nurse taking care of his son.

I really love Mr. Erno’s characters.  This is an author that writes characters that come across realistically.  Because of that, they are not perfect and in fact their flaws make the readers care more about them.  While there were times I wanted to smack both Tucker and Ivan I could understand why they behaved the way the did.  I loved watching them forge a relationship that allowed them to become a strong couple.  But all is not easy for them.

Mr. Erno weaves a murder mystery through Loose Ends that will leave the reader turning the page to see what will happen next.  I cried right along side of Ivan when he receives news of his mother’s death.  I will not say to much more on this so that I do not give anything away.  I will say this however, the twists and turns that the mystery in this book take are very well done.

Mr. Erno is one of my go to authors.  His books generally end up on my favorites shelve and I have read many of them numerous times.  He is an author I would highly recommend to those who have not given him a try.

Reviewed By: Lydia




Gabbi Reviews: Alaska by Cate Ashwood

Title:  Sawyer’s Ferry, Book 1:  Alaska

Author: Cate Ashwood

Publisher: Self-Published

Pages: 151

Characters: Dr. Holden Prescott, Dr. Gage Emerson

POV: Alternating 1st Person

Sub-Genre: Contemporary, May/December, Series Romance

Kisses: 5


Nobody says no to a Prescott.

Not even one of their own.


Living up to expectations had never been easy, but when I went after something, I got it. Success. Money. Victory. I was standing on the doorstep to having it all. There was only one thing standing in my way.


Power and prosperity are overrated. Especially when they come at a price. When enough became enough, I walked away. Nothing had ever tempted me to look back, until one day the past showed up in my backyard.

I’m not so sure I can walk away a second time.


I was super excited to read Alaska and Cate Ashwood delivered everything I hoped for when it comes to reading romance. I’ve read several books by Ms. Ashwood and I’ve loved them all. There is something special about how Ms. Ashwood writes romance. Not only are her books well-written, she writes characters that live and breathe off the written page.

I was immediately intrigued by these two heroes. Holden has been under his father’s thumb all of his life. Between the student loans and his father’s overbearing personality, Holden is pretty much under his dad’s control. When Holden’s father demands Holden must travel to Alaska to fetch his father’s former business partner, Dr. Gage Emerson, and return with him in tow, Holden reluctantly agrees to do so. Holden knows there is bad blood between the two men and dreads the confrontation he knows is sure to come. Once Holden arrives in Alaska he knows in one of the four corners of Hell. Not only is Sawyer’s Ferry nothing like New York, Holden is convinced life in a small town would make anyone miserable.

Gage Emerson lives a full life. Between being a popular and successful surgeon in Sawyer’s Ferry, Gage enjoys what his small town has to offer. One thing Gage does not expect is for his former greedy partner to send his son to rejoin him in New York. Gage knows there is no way in Hell will he come with Holden and rejoin his life in New York and despite Gage’s insistence on the matter, Holden seems to be determined to change his mind.

Though sizzling sparks fly between Holden and Gage, it takes time for the two men to get to know each other. As the story continues and we see the two men fall into bed then fall into a friendship and a strong respect for one another, it was easy to see how much Holden and Gage were meant to be together. Through each other’s eyes, they both blossom into stronger men. Holden finally learns to stand on his own and Gage allows himself to trust and give his heart and life to another.

I loved Alaska and I cannot recommend it high enough. I’m thrilled that Alaska is the first book in a series and cannot wait to see what Ms. Ashwood has in store for us next! Not only did I fall in love with Holden and Gage, I truly adored all the characters that make up the sweet, small town of Sawyer’s Ferry. 

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By:  Gabbi

Click HERE to purchase Alaska by Cate Ashwood

Anne Reviews: Vampire Claus by Robert Winter

Title:  Vampire Claus

Author:  Robert Winter

Publisher:  Self-published

Pages: 94

Characters: Taviano/Paul

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Urban Fantasy

Kisses: 5


’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his scheme to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

Vampire Claus is a 30,000-word standalone gay romance about a lonely vampire and a fearless mortal with no instinct for self-preservation. A heartwarming ending, no cliffhanger, and a young man who discovers he has a thing for fangs. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?


This is the first story I’ve read by Robert Winter.  I loved it and will need to read more.  His writing style is very easy to read, and I was impressed by how he managed to fit so much world building and characterization into a short novella.

I really liked the world building, and in particular the vampire mythos in this story.  Some of it is the usual vampire lore but there are a few interesting differences. I particularly liked the idea of the blood beast, and it having its own ‘voice’ and agenda.  With the way the story ended, I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of this world or its characters.

I also liked Taviano’s background, and the fact that he was still a devout Catholic and missed being able to go to Mass. Given his Italian background and the time in which he was born, this felt very realistic.  I did guess the connection between his youth and the current situation, but it didn’t detract from the story. Instead I found myself high-fiving with a ‘yes, I knew it!’ I love it when things like that come together so well.

Paul’s an interesting character too, and one of the strengths of this story is the importance of family. Although his parents have rejected him because of his sexuality, I liked that his relationship with his grandmother was still strong.  In some ways he comes across as a little naive, but that’s one of his strengths as well, and it contrasts with Taviano’s experiences.  I loved the descriptions of his tattoos. The blood beast’s reaction to him is interesting, and I can’t help but wonder what its agenda really is.

The showdown later is very action packed, and I sat up far too late reading because I had to find out what happened!

I loved that being a vampire included magic, and the scene in the shelter is very much a reminder of the Christmas season.  Paul’s words to Taviano sum up the warm fuzzy feeling I had at the end of the story perfectly: “Every great love story begins somewhere. Maybe this is ours.”

I’d highly recommend Vampire Claus to readers who enjoy stories about vampires which are a little different, a feel-good Christmas story, and interesting characters who complement each other.

Reviewed By: Anne


Lydia Reviews: Wild by Adrienne Wilder

TITLE:  Wild

Author: Adrienne Wilder

Publisher: Self Published through Amazon

Pages: 326

Characters: August Vallory and Keegan Brooks

POV:  3rd POV

Sub-Genre:  Contemporary, Mystery

Kisses: 4


August Vallory had it all. A modeling career, a man he loved, and the extended family he’d acquired in the business. Then the world he knew was torn away when the plane he was on crashed en route to a photo shoot.

Lost in the Alaskan wilderness, August doesn’t stand a chance.

No sane man would choose to live in the Alaskan bush unless he had something to hide. And Keegan Brooks has secrets darker than night, more dangerous than wolves, more brutal than an Alaskan winter.
Every day was a fight for his life until he stumbled upon a downed plane with a lone survivor. Now it’s no longer just Keegan’s life teetering on the edge of survival.


Wild is only the second book of Ms. Wilders I have read and it is a lot different from the last one.  From the start I was pulled into Wild.  The book begins with a plane crash and is nonstop from there.  The way the author introduces the main characters to each other was over the top and I must say a time or two I wondered if Keegan was one of those creepy mountain men that show up in scary movies.

August is a model, it is not what he started out wanting to do, but loves the life style it provides.  He’s in love with his boyfriend and ready to take things to the next level.  Unfortunately, things do not work out the way he had planned, in fact everything ends up going to hell.  After the plane he is on goes down, killing all on board, August wonders if he will be following them.  When he is rescued, he wondered if things had just gotten worse.

Keegan is hiding from his past just trying to survive day to day.  When a plane goes down he is surprised to see that someone has survived.  But Keegan knows that August has just made his life harder.  What Keegan is running from is intense and some of the scenes in his backflashes are a little graphic.  While reading what he has done, it makes liking him a little hard in the beginning, it is only as you learn more that you will begin to understand and he becomes more likeable.

The relationship between these two does not travel the usual path as they have many obstacles to overcome.  Not only is August’s injuries life threatening, the men must find shelter as it is no longer possible for Keegan to get August back to civilization.  Life in the wilds of Alaska is not what August is used to, and he has much to learn.  For Keegan, he must learn how to live with another person as he has spent so much time alone.  He no longer knows how to behave around others.

This is not a story that takes place in a matter of days.  The men are together for some time and during that time learn more about each other.  As their feelings grow their relationship changes.  But nothing lasts forever and when they become exposed to outside forces Keegan realizes that it is time for August to go home.

Knowing that these two were going to separate had me in tears.  I wondered how the author was going to bring these two the HEA they deserved.  When August makes it back to the lower 49 things seem even more complex.  I think readers will be even more surprised by how things play out.   After reading Wild I have become a big fan of this author and will be looking for more from her.

Reviewed By: Lydia

Click HERE to purchase Wild by Adrienne Wilder