Joyfully Jay Blog Reviews “Grumble Monkey and the Dept Store Elf” 4.75 Stars!
Review by Crissy
I love the holiday season and the stories it brings. There is something so promising and romantic about this time of year. Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf (what a title) is my first holiday read of the season. And what a strong start it is. From the beginning, Thomas held my attention and made me fall in love with Nick and Kit. So, please let me introduce you to the first advent story I’ve read this season.
Kit Jeffries would have gotten on the road earlier if he would have been able to say no to his boss, but he loves his job as a department store elf, loves to see the children’s smiling faces when they first see Santa. When Kit’s Jeep breaks down in the middle of a winter storm on his way home for the holidays, he thinks all hope is lost until he runs into the handsome man at the rest stop.
Nick St. George has it all: money, success, and focus. Too bad those things can’t make him happy. His life has been spent trying to prove himself, and now he’s proven what a mess he actually is. When he encounters a Midwestern winter storm on his trek across the country, Nick is forced to seek shelter at a rest stop. That’s where he meets the obviously gay man in a ridiculous elf hat. He never understood why men have to advertise the sexuality so blatantly, never cared for it either. In fact, he hates it. But when young man tells Nick his sob story about breaking down on his way to see his family and asks for a ride home, Nick reluctantly agrees to give the man a lift.
Kit is immediately attracted to Nick, but his cantankerous attitude is difficult to move past. Nick is certain he’s made a mistake by giving Kit a ride. Kit is talkative and bubbly and everything that annoys Nick. But as time goes by on their long, slow drive to Kit’s parent’s house, Nick begins seeing a warmth in Kit that may be able to thaw his heart, and, who knows, may be able to give Nick a little bit of hope. May even be able to change the course of Nick’s life.
I love this story. It’s funny, sweet, sad, and precious all in the span of a few thousand words. I was immediately drawn into this story by the cantankerous attitude of the grumble monkey, Nick, and fell instantly in love with the light that is Kit. This story is so perfect.
Now, you may not know it by the blurb, or even by reading most of the book, but this book has some difficult subject matter. It’s surprising when it finally comes out. But the course of this story leads to a decision that will cause disaster or bring a new light to a dark world. It’s hard and sweet. I was in tears a couple times, my heart broken. But it’s also so very precious. So very heartwarming. So very hopeful.
I adore Kit. His outlook on life. His love for everything. His positive attitude. He is the anti-Nick. He’s such a great guy. And then there’s Nick, who I also love, but for different reasons. Nick is the broken aspect of this story. He’s spent his life trying to prove himself to parents who could care less about him. He’s fallen in love and lost love because of his negative outlook on how their relationship should look to the outside world. He’s jaded and mean. But his hope comes in the form of a fresh and bubbly, Kit. I love Nick’s progression throughout this story. The way he can look at himself, because of Kit, and see himself lacking. I love his change of heart. The loving, hopeful man he becomes. It’s beautiful. He and Kit are beautiful.
And last, but certainly not least, I can’t leave out this wonderful cover. We all know that I am a huge fan of the very talented Paul Richmond. Well, if you know or have met Paul in person or on Facebook or any of the many social media platforms, you’ll recognize the characters on this fabulous cover. The adorable Paul and his handsome husband are the models for this cover. I adore it, not only because of the models, but the true-to-story picture it portrays. It is absolutely perfect.
So yes, I loved this story. I love the characters. I love the journey from dark to light. I love the relationship. And I love the warmth that the holiday season brings to this story. I highly recommend you read Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.