Five Most Recent Reads | October 31st

I’m just managing to sneak in today with this next round of my most recent reads before this month is over. I’m hoping to finish one more book off later today, but for now here’s a mix of smutty monster romance, middle-grade sci-fi and an art history book? Yeah, I don’t understand how my brain works either.

Muscles and Monsters (Leviathan Fitness #1) by Ashley Bennett

I talked about this one just last week in my KU update, and I just couldn’t resist picking it up. With Halloween just a few days away, I wanted to sneak in a few monster romances starting with this one. This is such a perfect mix of smuttiness and adorableness wrapped up in this small novella and I loved it. I really liked both of our leads, but I especially loved some of the side characters—I hope that we might get to see some of their stories play out in the rest of the series. I honestly didn’t really expect to like the whole gym setting, but I think the idea of fitness and body positivity was dealt with surprisingly well. It’s definitely not a major aspect of the book, but there were a few mentions to it and I appreciated that. I think this is going to be such a fun, lighthearted but smutty as hell series and I’m 100% here for it. Book two is already out and is a m/m romance with ‘a tentacled creature’ and I’m so ready for that.

Not The Witch You Wed (Supernatural Singles #1) by April Asher

Okay, so not a monster romance but still kind of sticking with the paranormal romance theme for Halloween this week. I’d added this one to my TBR months ago and ended up deciding to borrow an eBook copy of this from the library last week. This is definitely on the lighter side of paranormal romance. I’d say it’s probably most like The Ex Hex in feelings—we follow a witch and a shifter and there’s all sorts of paranormal beings, but it’s still set in our world. It was a fun read—I really enjoyed the relationships between the female lead, Violet, and her family and it didn’t made me laugh a few times. I think the only thing that I didn’t love was the sex scenes—it’s a weird on-the-page but incredibly rushed situation. I don’t know who made the decision to write them like that (either Asher or her editors?) but I think I might’ve actually preferred for it to just not be there. That being said, I think I’ll be continuing the series when the next one is released in 2023.

Mating the Huntress (Monster & Mate #1) by Talia Hibbert

The whole reason I decided to pick this one up this week was for my Top Ten Tuesday Halloween romance post. This’d been on my radar for a few months since I’d finished Hibbert’s Brown Sister series, but that post was definitely what pushed me to read it now. It was a pretty quick novella—I think I managed to read it in about an hour or so, and I really enjoyed it. I said in that TTT post that if you like the Brown Sisters and a bit of paranormal romance, you’ll love this. It has all of Hibbert usual good stuff—the family relationships, the banter, the smut but now with a sexy werewolf! It was honestly just a lot of fun and I’m really glad I did decide to pick it up this week. However, I’m also devastated because this came out in 2018 and it looks like Hibbert decided not to continue with the series as no others have been released. I was already so invested in the side characters and in this world and I was so excited to see more of the huntresses in particular, but I guess I’m just going to have to find something else. But please Talia, write more paranormal romance!

Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm

No we’re going to do a complete 180 and talk about some middle-grade science-fiction instead. This one was picked out for me by my friend Helen from Helen’s Book Haven last year and I just finally got around to reading it. I love middle-grade but I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi (at least in book form) so this was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I really struggled with the first 100 or so pages of this—it took most of those pages to get to what had been mentioned on the back so it just wasn’t really grabbing me. Once we got into the actual story, it was definitely more engaging and I had fun reading it. I couldn’t put the book down during the last 100 or so pages and had the entire book grabbed me like that, this probably would’ve been a 4 or 4.5 star read for me. But for me, the start just wasn’t as fun as the rest. I would’ve loved to have seen a little more character development or a bit more added to the end, but all in all, it was still a fun read.

The Whole Picture by Alice Procter

This book has been sitting on my shelf for about two years now—I have absolutely no idea why I decided to pick it up this weekend but I did and here we are. I went into this with very high expectations—I’m midway through my Art History degree and so I was excited for a different perspective than what we’re usually taught. I did learn some things and I definitely heard about some new-to-me artists and works, but for the most part this didn’t live up to my expectations. The book is split into sections of sort of museum types—the palace, the classroom, the memorial and the playground, with each talking about four main objects but for some of it, I just couldn’t pinpoint what Procter was trying to say. In some of the pieces, I felt like Procter went on a bit of a tangent and I had to flick back to remember what the object actually was. I was definitely expecting something else from the subtitle as well—I don’t know what, but I just expected a closer look at the artworks and colonialism, sometimes that was done well but other times it felt like a more general reading. As a whole, the book just felt a bit disjointed and the sectioning of it threw me off for sure.

Definitely a mix there, huh? Have you read any of these? Are any on your TBR?

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