Elle Reads, Of Monsters & Men

OF MONSTERS AND MEN // part one: comfort food

If you’re currently coasting into winter, there’s nothing more timely than some cozy monster love stories. These two selections are sound jumping-off points if you’ve been curious to dip your toes into some monster romance, best enjoyed under a blanket with something warm and freshly poured nearby.

YURI & THE YETI by Daphne Green

Review: Fresh off a breakup with his long-term lover, Yuri takes a solitary hike into the mountains of Nepal. Distracted by his troubles, Yuri injures himself, alone in a foreign wilderness, and after he tends to his wounds and attempts to walk, he passes out. He’s discovered by Muunokhoj, a yeti who’s chosen to live closer to humans than his brethren due to his personal intrigue with mankind. Muunokhoj brings Yuri back to his home, and the two begin to bond as he aids (read: fusses over) Yuri’s healing process.

This story is cozily domestic, but avoids straying into cutesy territory (a plus for me). A few moments squeezed my heart a little bit—delightfully so. Yuri is coming off an unexpected disruption to his routine, his life, and grapples with accepting his new reality; whereas Muunokhoj’s routine disruption becomes his new source of longing, a sense of purpose he never realized he needed. On parallel circuits they both come to realize their missing pieces can be found in the other; their earnest, vulnerable moments are handled with utmost tenderness.

Hurt/comfort is one of those tropes I don’t actively seek out, but I’m instantly drawn to it whenever it appears. Furthermore I enjoyed this story’s focus on mental/emotional hurt comfort in addition to recovery from physical pain. Something about a character who’s suffered heartbreak, is given time to heal, and is provided HELP to heal is satisfying on its own, but for the comfort role to be assumed by an enormous, gentle yeti is incredibly effective.

Steam: There’s one scene on-page—understandable for the story’s length—but it’s a compassionate and real scene that I greatly enjoyed. Yuri and Khoj are a heartwarming couple, both respectful with each other as new partners.

Content Tags: long-term hurt/comfort, forced proximity, post-breakup healing, life-saving encounter, domestic bliss, sprinkle of angst, unique monster genitalia!!

Length: Novella

BUY HERE: Amazon

A WALRUS & A GENTLEMAN by Emmaline Strange

Review: Artist/painter Kel lands a university fellowship that brings him to Rookhaven, a small coastal Irish town. He’s set to spend a summer living in a lighthouse maintained by Ragnar—a surly local that’s NOT about having his alone time impeded by Kel’s talkative nature and city boy looks.

I enjoyed the unique (to me) aspects regarding Ragnar’s “monstrous” character traits—referred to as “fauna” in this story’s world, Ragnar is a walrus shifter with alpha tendencies (more reminiscent of a pack alpha, not omegaverse). He describes the alpha part of him as an animalistic draw to a potential mate, and his close quarters with Kel only aggravates his tamped desires.

While Kel is as human as they come, he’s forced to confront monsters in his past as he wrangles with Ragnar’s exterior bristle. He learns he can’t just paint and fuck his way through healing, while grappling with trust issues and resisting attachment when his summer fling has an expiration date.

Steam: Do not let the cozy, coastal vibe of this story deceive you—the smut is sizzling! Especially as Ragnar fights his alpha tendencies screaming in his ear—the final payoff is well-earned and rewarding, with a bit of a bite.

Content Tags: forced proximity with a time limit, a real grumpus of a walrus shifter, an exuberant visual artist from the States, coffee drinker solidarity, small town cryptid lore, coastal Irish village

Length: Novel

BUY HERE: Amazon