Review: Sweet Berries – C.M. Nascosta
by C.M. Nascosta
Series: Cambric Creek #2
Also in this series: Morning Glory Milking Farm
Publisher: Meduas Editoriale
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Reading Challenges: 2022 Ripped Bodice Summer Romance Bingo
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Grace has a job she loves, a community she adores, and plenty of friends . . . but her lack of bedroom action has left this event planner too horny to think.
When one ill-advised night at the bar leads to her giving an exhibitionistic show to an unknown presence outside her bedroom window, she thinks she’s hit a new low. When her voyeur turns out to be a nebbishly charming mothman, Grace needs to decide if she can trust her body — and her heart — with this garnet-eyed stranger before he flys out of her life for good.
Sweet Berries is a monster/human romance featuring high heat and a lot of heart, with a guaranteed HEA. It is the second book in the Cambric Creek Steamy Sweet Monster Romance series
Morning Glory Milking Farm was one of the most surprisingly gentle and sweet romances I read last year, so when I found out that the next book in the series was out and it featured a mothman, my favorite cryptid ever? Of course I dropped everything and read it in one night. While I don’t think it’s quite as good as its predecessor, it’s still a fun monster romance with an adorkable hero and a heroine who’s learning to love again, and it can easily be read as a standalone.
Grace starts the book in a bit of trouble. She loves her job working as an event planner at a family-run farm and loves the accepting community of Cambric Creek, but she’s desperate for some action. When one of her coworkers starts looking much too appealing, she makes the good decision to head home and take care of herself… except she doesn’t stop when she realizes that someone is watching her. When he comes to apologize, Grace realizes her watcher is an adorably awkward mothman scientist who’s recently arrived in the town. While she isn’t looking for a relationship after the disaster of her marriage, she can’t help but agree to a date in hopes of getting that itch scratched again. After all, Merrick’ll probably be leaving soon when his funding run outs, but as the days turn into weeks, Grace finds herself growing more and more attached to him. Will her first foray back into love leave her with another broken heart?
“He was soft and sweet, and it didn’t matter if he wasn’t going to be around for long. She liked him, and she wanted to be someone he would remember fondly.”
While it’s been three years since Grace left her abusive marriage, the thought of a relationship is enough to unsettle her. That doesn’t stop her from having needs, though, or from making potentially reckless decisions due to those needs. So she’s mainly just looking for a hook-up once she learns the identity of the mysterious stranger who knocked her socks off, but Merrick’s so shy and nervous that she can’t say no when he asks for a date. Queue several dates and Grace’s slow realization that maybe dating isn’t so bad… or maybe it’s Merrick who makes all the difference. I love how unapologetically horny Grace was, which was especially hilarious as Grace just wanted to hook up again while Merrick was trying to figure out how to date her properly.
Merrick is dealing with his own issues. After years of working in human-centric spaces, where making do without an appropriate-fitting lab coat was normal, he’s somewhere between amazed and cynical about how well all the species live together in Cambric Creek. He’s used to being ignored and left out by humans, so Grace’s attention makes him nervous. But get him talking about pollinators and monoculture planting? He turns into a scarily competent know-it-all, which was equally as endearing to me as his adorkable shyness. Luckily, Grace appreciated that, too! I’d just like to add that this is basically everything I expected and wanted out of a mothman protagonist, by the way: moth wings, red eyes, and shyness.
“He’s adorable and awkward, and if books and movies have taught us nothing else, it’s always the cute nerdy guy who loves to eat pussy.”
As you’d expect, getting it on with an insect dude is very different. There were some definite “NO” moments from me (I don’t care what his tongue can do, it still squicks me out) and I had to stop at least once to google what “velutinous” means. Some of it wasn’t that surprising for me (look, after Strange Love, I’m not going to find most equipment strange) and bits of it were actually quite sweet. One of the things I love about this series is how the heroines easily (and without fanfare) accept the guys for who they are. They each learn to adapt to the other, whether that’s dealing with a mostly nocturnal lifestyle or wearing pants.
As for cons, the book is solely from Grace’s POV and focuses a lot on her, sometimes to the detriment of their relationship. It’s a lot about her journey learning to love again, along with a lot of random mental detours (why was there so much about the orc family that moved out!?) and confusing time skips back and forth, something I disliked in the minotaur book as well. There also was a lot about the werewolf brothers and the upcoming mayoral election, all of which felt like it was shoehorned in for sequelbait. I also wished Grace had better friends. A lot of them were work friends, like her dryad friend Caleia who bordered on overly pushy at times to me.
Overall, while it doesn’t hit it out of the park like the first one, this book left me with warm fuzzy (or perhaps velutinous) feelings. I’ll definitely be picking up the next one in the series!
Content notes: View Spoiler »abusive relationship (verbal and emotional, in the past), anxiety, discussions of xenophobia and microaggressions, unclear consent around voyeurism episode « Hide Spoiler
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