Dueling Review, Monster Mash Smashdown, Recommended Read

Monster Mash Smashdown: Books by C.M. Nascosta

Morning Glory Milking Farm

Heat Factor: Violet really wants that big bull dick (and meaty balls).

Character Chemistry: We’ve got some bossy daddy energy going on here.

Plot: Broke millennial takes pharmaceutical job “milking” (*wink*) minotaur bulls for the benefits and living wage then falls for a client.

Overall: Don’t be scared by the title or the premise. This book is *delightful*.


Girls Weekend

Heat Factor: There’s a lot of sex (even kinky sex), but we wouldn’t call this book high heat because the plot banks the flames. 

Character Chemistry: There are a lot of moving parts here (pun intended) so it’s hard to generalize.

Plot: Three friends go to an orc nudist colony for some casual hookups, two find guys and catch feelings.

Overall: Even though it’s literally a girls weekend at an orgy town, this book is so much more than “SPRING BREAK! TAKE OFF YOUR TOP!!” It’s weird. In a good way. And it might not be a genre romance?

Morning Glory Milking Farm has taken parts of Romancelandia by storm, so we figured we had to read it…but we were also intrigued by Nascosta’s first book, about a trio of elves who attend an orc orgy (!!!). Both books take place in a world similar to ours—but where magical and mythical creatures are part of everyday life.

What do you think is the most salient information a reader should know before getting Morning Glory Milking Farm?

Erin: It’s not as weird sexy as you think it’s gonna be. It’s really the story of an underemployed millennial taking a job for entirely pragmatic reasons and falling for a client. 

Holly: I agree with what you’re saying, but it must be acknowledged that a large part of the story is Violet fantasizing about Rourke’s giant bull penis.

Ingrid: Actually, I think she was more excited about his giant meaty balls.

H: We spend a lot of time with her sex fantasies and about her feeling weird about her fantsizing about a client (and about the fact that he’s a minotaur!), but even with that it was a much softer romance than I expected given the cover. And given that it’s about a minotaur.

I: Well I have to say that I think you guys covered the basics. I feel like it’s really important to note that he’s got a bull face. As I was reading, I was like “Maybe…maybe…maybe…no.” 

Last week, Holly, you were like, “These aliens aren’t monsters because they’re not that weird.” This guy has a cow face. The face of a cow. Cows have long tongues that they can stick out and up inside their own nostrils. 

To be fair, the writing is really engaging and you can see why Violet is into it, so the author does a really good job of calling out human quirks, but there are certainly times when it’s like a splash of cold water because he has a big pink nose or a rough cow tongue…

E: Or hair all over his body

I: Lots of humans are hairy, but they have lips! In this case, it was a massive rough tongue going down on her. No. 

H: So Ingrid you couldn’t get past the whole minotaur thing?

I: I could. The writing was so good and I was really into it except for these brief moments where the author would remind us how different Rourke was. Nascosta was very specific about how to handle 24 ounces of cum in a bed.

E: It was oddly specific. I was looking for a 24 oz bottle of milk and they’re hard to find. Also, I got two large oranges for scale (because she says Rourke’s balls are the size of large oranges) and they are ENORMOUS. 

I: Yeah it was something.

What do you think is the most salient information a reader should know before getting Girls Weekend?

I: This was a very interesting book. The heroines spend a lot of time hunting for encounters. But when I finished the book—I felt it was sad. It was melancholy for me. I’ve never gone to a nudist orgy colony so maybe that vague dissatisfaction is the vibe. Lurielle’s story wasn’t too sad, but the way she felt about herself was sad. I thought it was interesting that Silva had so many intense feelings going on after her big night. It was such an unusual book, but it felt very sad and lonely. 

E: I had similar feelings. The three separate storylines made the amount of space for each story smaller, so that makes it more challenging to tell a whole story. 

H: This book is an HFN, not an HEA. Actually, it’s not even a full HFN for all three characters, just a hint of what’s to come. 

And I think the other really key piece of information is that these heroines are all really struggling with shit, and that what is supposed to be a fun weekend away really brings a lot to the surface, but they aren’t dealing with it together. They’re separately dealing with their shit via sexytimes with strangers. So it’s a girls’ weekend, but this is not a book about female friendship. 

If there are tons of non-human creatures walking around, are they all monsters? Are elves monsters in this world? Is Rourke a monster if he’s fully domestic, complete with a boring desk job? Is being a monster about actions or anatomy?

E: This is a world with multiple species of mythical beings that all live in society. It’s not necessarily integrated, but everyone understands that there are all of these other creatures. So are they actually monsters?

I: This gets to be very interesting because it kind of circles back to the conversation we had last week. Are we analyzing these characters as if we’re in their world where it’s normal, or from our perspective? If we’re from our perspective, then yes they’re monsters, but there are some cultural elements going on in that world where all these characters would be pretty normal. 

E: In Girls Weekend, the heroines are elves, but the orcs are still written as being very beastly. And in MGMF you’ve got a human-beast combo. So there does seem to be an element of the monstrous but it’s almost written more as culture clash and prejudice than as fangs and “I’m going to eat you.”

H: Possible counterpoint. Tate is not beastly; he’s a slender, dainty orc, but he’s fucking scary and everyone in town is afraid of him and his too many teeth. And it’s revealed that he’s blended —orc, elf, fae—and the fae part is why everyone is afraid of him because (as with high fantasy) you don’t mess with the fae. 

E: Even the fae are monsters to the monsters…

H: Right. The way he talks about his experience it’s being blended that makes him a weird thing. But between him and Silva there’s not a culture clash because he knows about elf society—the challenge is that he has these other elements to his identity that make him not the right kind of guy for her (plus some uptown girl / downtown man dynamics).

E: His beast is the unknowable about him—it’s not that he’s an orc, it’s that he doesn’t fit into a category. 

H: I went on a crazy monster smut binge this week, so now that I’ve read all this monster smut, I think that basically the appeal of monsters is that people want to play out fantasies of other kinds of bodies but not have it be aliens. You can play with an unfamiliar body but not necessarily have to get into an unfamiliar culture, whereas with aliens there’s a culture learning built in.

The person training Violet says that the work they do at the farm isn’t sex work. Is this accurate?

I: The characters tell themselves and each other it’s not sex work. But the way the milking technicians break down the clients and their requests (i.e., the Good Little Cows), it’s clear that this is not a consistent attitude. 

We’re watching it play out from both sides where we keep the nickel up until the moment that someone feels sexual about it. The minotaurs who are like “Oh baby,” that’s clearly sex work. But there are also minotaurs who say things like, “I’m saving up for my son’s college fund,” which makes the transaction more like a sperm donation. 

The company is presented as if it were facilitating blood donations, but it’s not. As soon as one of the two parties brings sex into it, it becomes sex work. 

E: I agree. 

H: I was going to argue that it was medicalized, but Ingrid convinced me. 

E: The blood donation analogy is really good here, because when you think about it like that, you need a professional to draw the blood and it’s a purely transactional experience. The minotaurs have hands. There’s nothing stopping them from donating their own ejaculate, and there’s a mechanical milker in the room—which sounds like a cow milker, and I’ve stuck my finger in one of those and they do feel nice—so what’s the point of having someone do the work for them? And that ties into what Ingrid was saying about the milking technicians having these specific charts about the minotaurs’ preferences or allowing the minotaurs to request a specific milker. 

Beyond that, we have a specific interaction between Violet and Rourke, where yeah, she might be able to turn off her sex feelings about the job in general, but it becomes a sexual thing for both of them. 

I: If it were just clinical Violet would never have felt the need to check in with Rourke about her continuing to work. She wouldn’t ask her boyfriend if she should stop being a nurse because she touches people’s bodies as part of her very clinical job. She’s asking because what she’s doing isn’t technically clinically necessary. 

E: It makes for a very interesting story. But saying “we’re not sex workers” is making new hires feel better about taking the job and possibly making the reader feel better about the power dynamics of the situation.

I: Violet believes that it’s different for her because she’s a human, unlike the other workers who are monsters, so they’re not reacting the same way because it’s part of their magical world. 

H: That’s obviously BS, because the other human tech was a terrible milker. Also if it weren’t a thing for the other monsters then they wouldn’t have had those jokes and pointers about how to deal with the Good Little Cows.

I: It would have been weirder if Violet didn’t have to process how she felt about things. We’ll call it sex work lite. 

In Girls Weekend, Ris is the one who really sticks to the casual experience, and she’s the one who has the worst time. Is that a commentary on her? On casual sex? Is Ris’s confidence and assertiveness a drawback in her search for a partner?

E: The women who have lowest confidence in this story are the ones who have the most success in finding a romantic partner. 

I: I completely disagree with the idea that Ris is confident and assertive. She doesn’t know what she wants or who she is. It’s not confidence, it’s a lack of self-awareness. She’s not assertive—when she’s at the party, she goes for the easy experiences that just so happened to work out instead of confidently arranging for the one she wants. She’s pissed off at her friends for not being there. She’s molding herself to the event. She did get what she thought she wanted, it’s just that she wasn’t actually satisfied in the end. 

E: I agree with your assessment of the characterization. 

My personal question about this rests on the fact that she’s the one who had the casual sex and ended up miserable and alone.

I: If you look at the book, all three were trying to fill emotional holes with sex. I don’t think it was an indictment of casual sex. If you replaced sex with baking camp, it would have the same sad melancholy outcome. The reason she didn’t have a happy ending wasn’t because she had casual sex, t’s because she didn’t know what she wants. 

H: I disagree that Ris uniquely doesn’t know who she is and what she wants. None of the women do—but Lurielle and Silva find love and Ris doesn’t. And Lurielle and Silva find love by not attending the weekend events that would lead to casual sex. 

I: Lurielle and Silva have clear indicators throughout their narrative that they have things they’re grappling with and that they have some degree of self-awareness about why and what they should do about it. But Ris is just jumping from place to place and so single-minded about achieving her goal that there’s no development of vulnerability where she can figure out what it is she actually wants.

E: Part of Ris’s thing is that she’s the least developed or included character of the trio. Holly speaks to what was unsettling me is that they’re all different kinds of messes but by specifically not doing the weekend plans, Lurielle and Silva arrive at a life they want (eventually), but by doing what she intended to Ris ends up feeling icky.

H: Why couldn’t the girl who wanted to get railed get railed and also find love? 

E: Or get railed and be perfectly happy with that.

I: I just want to point out that when they made their plans, Ris wasn’t like “I’m so happy and I just want to get railed.” It was “I am so broken down by dating and I just want to get railed and escape.” I saw that beginning and I was like, “This girl is gonna get hurt.”

E: I don’t think that’s the issue. I think the question is, what is the underlying statement of this characterization? 

So follow up question: Is this book actually women’s fic?

E: If you read it as a romance with the expectation that we’re skating towards HEA for everyone, then you’ll be disappointed.

I: There are certainly elements of trickery if it’s a romance. Part of it is we’re all supposed to go home happy in the end, but then Ris doesn’t. In a romance, the bad guy is supposed to be unhappy. If Ris doesn’t go home happy, are we saying that Ris is the bad guy? Maybe that’s the issue surrounding Ris.

E: Even Silva’s happiness is pretty tentative—and Silva embraces casual sex more than Lurielle does. 

MGMF has a massive following. It’s clearly struck a nerve with a lot of people. Holly posits that Nacosta writes extremely relatable heroines. Do you guys agree? If so, what makes them relatable?

I: 100% completely agree. I loved it when they were talking about how cute the town was and how it was completely unaffordable. Lurielle bought a giant person’s house that she doesn’t fit in, but it was all she could afford because the market was too hot. 

E: I think that Violet in MGMF was extremely relatable, but I did not relate to the elves. I felt like they were more traditionally written heroines with more universal traditional problems which makes them less relatable because they’re too broad. But with Violet it was so specifically a vision of our generation and dealing with debt and parental expectations and underemployment and making decisions based on pragmatic reasons like work benefits. There were all these tiny details that really struck a chord. 

H: I thought the women in Girls Weekend were relatable—I think Erin was too hard on them. Like the way Ris talked about the dating scene being so awful. Or Silva grappling with parental expectations. The problem was that there were three of them so each was less developed, but they all had very different problems. Now that I think about it, if you put them all together, you’d have a composite character who was dealing with a unique set of challenges. 

I: Erin makes a good point that they seemed generic, but there were little pepperings of detail that made it really work for me.

E: I think Nascosta’s writing overall is entertaining and easy to read, and what struck a chord with me was how surprisingly earnest MGMF was for being titillating minotaur smut. 

I: Was anyone else worried she was going to get fired for dating a customer?


I: I was like, that’s gonna be the problem, but nope, they just floated off into happiness together.

Final Thoughts

We 100% recommend Morning Glory Milking Farm, though the team is a bit more torn on Girls Weekend (Holly liked it better than Erin and Ingrid, maybe because she was so intrigued by Tate).

Up next week: We’ll be talking about two Beauty and the Beast retellings…where the beast doesn’t turn back into a prince. Same bat time, same bat station.

Buy Now: Morning Glory Milking Farm | Girls Weekend

Looking for something similar?

Fantasy Romances! (orcs not guaranteed, sorry)

Supernatural Heroes! (orcs still not guaranteed, sorry)

Cozy Small Town Vibes! (orcs definitely not guaranteed, sorry)

3 thoughts on “Monster Mash Smashdown: Books by C.M. Nascosta”

  1. I’ve read both books and really enjoyed Nascosta’s world. I think it’s more fun that the different mythical species just exist normally. As opposed to hiding in secret, like in other books. I liked MGMF, especially the first half. Actually, I’d say the same about Girls Weekend too. I didn’t expect a typical HFN from reading the blurb for Girls Weekend, so I never felt misled, at least.

    I definitely agree with Erin and Holly about Ris. Silva got to have the hottest sex (imo), and I found it interesting that she was the one who was expecting it the least. She was deliberately kept in the dark about the purpose of the trip, “innocent” even. Meanwhile, Ris was the one who was the most upfront about the sex she wanted and she had the least satisfying time. I had wondered whether that was a bit of unexamined/subconscious slut shaming on the author’s part, but Ingrid’s comments about the emotional holes in the characters gave me food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I think Erin and I were both wondering about unexamined slut shaming, but didn’t put it very succinctly. Because the dynamic was interesting, where the “innocent” one has the hottest sex and the most sexually open one has the worst experience. But maybe it was also about subverting expectations—no so much for the reader, but for the characters. Like, “things don’t turn out the way you’d plan.”

      The short story: Girls Weekend was a weird book, which I know because I’m still trying to parse my feelings about it. (Even though I mostly really enjoyed reading it.)

      Liked by 1 person

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