Fairies in My Fireplace, by R. L. Naquin. eARC of an e-publication, given to me for review by Geek Speak Magazine
Fairies in my fireplace is the third book in the Monster Haven series. In the stories, Zoey Donovan has discovered that she is an "Aegis," a human who provides care and shelter for non-human beings ("the Hidden") in need, and is now learning all of the nuances of both her powers and responsibilities.
Fairies in my fireplace focuses on a gradual but noticeable influx of Hidden into Zoey's life, house, backyard, etc. Most of these Hidden seem to have separate and good reasons for being there, but the numbers are adding up. When two goblin kids start a census of the new population, Zoey discovers both that there are far more Hidden in her yard than she thought, and that there is a migration of the Hidden westward to California.
While working on figuring the root cause for this migration (and giving a mangey hellhound a bath), a tranq'ed-up thunderbird crashes the party and Zoey's car. With the tranquilizer dart as a direct clue, Zoey suddenly now has a possible motive, and the action begins. She is a woman on a mission to discover and thwart the bad guys, save the Hidden, and maybe figure out where her long-disappeared mother has gone, as well. Zoey relies on Riley, her boyfriend and Grim Reaper, to be her back-up muscle and arm candy disguise as they infiltrate the high society of Sausalito. Her best friend and co-worker Sara helps keep her organized, Andrew the herbalist helps heal the wounded, and Maurice the closet monster keeps everyone fed.
As Naquin matures as an author, I find the moods and pacing in her third book much more well-measured. Where book 1 (Monsters in my closet) was two thirds a beach book and one third frantic, and Pooka in My Pantry vacillated between whodunit and pulpy slapstick, this one was a classic shape that crested nicely. The book opened lightly but with concern, deepened into mystery, built to the chase and fight, and closed with triumph and tragedy back where Zoey started: with solid focus on care taking of her creatures.
I picked it up because I'm following the series and I adore Maurice. I recommend it to my sister for all of the mashed-up tropes of characters.Books for 2013