Reading level: Adult
E-book: 209 pages
Genre: Urban fantasy
Publisher: Carina Press
Release date: July 30, 2012
Series: Monster Haven #1
Source: Review copy from Carina Press
Reviewed by: Jenn
I stopped believing in monsters long ago. But I knew I wasn't imagining things when I found one in my kitchen baking muffins. I'd seen him before: lurking in my closet, scaring the crap out of my five-year-old self. Turns out that was a misunderstanding, and now Maurice needs a place to stay. How could I say no?
After all, I've always been a magnet for the emotionally needy, and not just in my work as a wedding planner. Being able to sense the feelings of others can be a major pain. Don't get me wrong, I like helping people--and non-people. But this ability has turned me into a gourmet feast for an incubus, a demon that feeds off emotional energy. Now, brides are dropping dead all over town, and my home has become a safe house for the supernatural. I must learn to focus my powers and defeat the demon before he snacks on another innocent woman and comes looking for the main course...
MONSTER IN MY CLOSET is a different kind of urban fantasy story. The heroine, Zoey Donovan, does not kick butt in the traditional UF sense. She doesn't have any martial skills, superpowers, or major supernatural abilities. Instead, Zoey is a quirky, empathic wedding planner who didn't know she was an empath until the early pages of MONSTER IN MY CLOSET. I usually prefer a butt-kicking heroine like Kate Daniels or Gin Blanco but Zoey really won me over with her offbeat sense of style, guts, and smarts. She may not have a lot of muscle but she makes up for the lack with the other aspects of her personality.
That being said, I hesitated to pick up MONSTER IN MY CLOSET at first because of the unusual title and cover. I hemmed and hawed for a while but, having read the book, I think the cover and description perfectly captures the spirit and plot of the novel. They let the reader know that the Monster Haven series is not your average urban fantasy, which is completely true. So if you're waffling about whether or not to give MONSTER IN MY CLOSET a shot because of these reasons I urge you to read the excerpt linked below and see if you like Zoey and R. L. Naquin's voices. I'm a big fan now that I've tried the series out.
Another aspect of MONSTER IN MY CLOSET that I quite liked is its originality. R. L. Naquin has populated her series with some atypical supernatural beings. Can you think of another book that features a closet monster? Or a pygmy dragon or skunk-ape? I can't. :) And that monster? His name is Maurice and he's a thoroughly charming closet monster who ends up becoming Zoey's housekeeper and guide through the supernatural. In fact, MONSTER IN MY CLOSET has a fantastic cast of supporting characters. I was really taken with Andrew and Sarah, two of Zoey's human friends and the Big Bad was suitably menacing, if not truly scary. He was definitely unsavoury, particularly towards the end, and you'll be rooting for Zoey and friends to get rid of this particular demon.
MONSTER IN MY CLOSET is the first in a six book series, according to the author's website, which makes me happy since I really enjoyed my first foray into Zoey's world. I'm quite excited to see what she has in store for us in POOKA IN MY PANTRY, the next book about Zoey and her madcap life.