Book Reviews

Eugene and the Box of Nails (2017 Advent Calendar - Stocking Stuffers) by Jaime Samms at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 31-December-2017

Book Blurb

Every time it seems like things are looking up for Eugene Kraft, disaster hits. Bankruptcy, a bigoted sibling, and a back-breaking accident have all left him with little money and less faith in the universe.


His last-ditch effort at peace is the small lakeside property where he is building a tiny house from recycled materials. If he can get it livable before the cold sets in, maybe he’ll be okay. Hopefully Cullen, the foreman on the construction site next door, won’t notice Eugene pilfering discarded materials from his dumpster.


When Cullen stops by to talk to Eugene, he’s sure the gig is up—but all Cullen wants is a date. Can two things go right in Eugene’s life? At first it seems possible. Projects on Eugene’s house are getting completed by what he dubs “construction elves” while he’s off site. But like Eugene predicted, his good fortune can’t last, and soon he has a tough choice to make: give up his home… or the man of his dreams.



A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar "Stocking Stuffers."

Book Review

I envied Eugene in one big way right from the start. He might have been poor and having to resort to scavenging the supplies thrown away by the construction crew next door, but he has a postage stamp lot above a lake and he’s building his own cozy home. It didn’t take me long to fall head over heels for him, either. Not that surprising since I tend to have that reaction to a lot of this author’s characters. Regardless, Eugene might just be the sweetest, nicest man I’ve met in a very long time.

I wish I were a handy person able to build things and repair broken items. I really enjoyed learning some interesting new facts by watching Eugene work, though I have to admit that I’d rather win the lottery and pay someone to build a home for me. *grins* Eugene has gotten somewhat friendly with the construction crew working on the house below him but, nevertheless, he’s still pretty nervous when the foreman joins him for coffee one morning. Expecting to get reprimanded for taking supplies out of the dumpster, Eugene is confused when Cullen just chats with him about his building plans and then goes on his way.

“A broad smile spread over Cullen’s face. “It’s like nothing fazes you. You just go on and do the next thing on the list. No hesitation.”....
“Sure,” Eugene said, and it wasn’t a reflex response this time. “Because what else would you do? The things don’t get done if you don’t do them. I’m always behind, but—” He shrugged. “That’s just life.”

When Cullen asks Eugene to lunch the whole rotten-luck story of Eugene’s past seven years comes pouring forth at Cullen’s gentle queries. I’ve got to say that my respect and admiration for Eugene went up a whole lot more after learning everything he’d endured, partially at the hands of his own bigoted brother! The “construction elf” as Eugene refers to him continues to assist in building his home and Cullen is confused as to why Eugene gets upset instead of being grateful. It all stems from Eugene’s upbringing and what he has had to deal with. Instead of viewing the assistance as someone wanting to help him out of the goodness of his heart, Eugene views it as charity, or the idea that he can’t do it by himself. It takes a bit of pain, healing, and Christmas magic to show Eugene the error of his thoughts.

“Whenever things started going right for him was usually when it all went wrong. He didn’t want to take that chance with Cullen.”

I truly love this author’s way with words. Everything about this story worked for me. The characters were wonderful, the plot showcased the good in people, and the romance was a lovely slow to melting burn. This is definitely going on my reread holiday list.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 58 pages/20382 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-December-2017
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link