Lights, Camera... Monsters
by Lila Dubois, paranormal (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-59998-303-6


Ha, ha, ha, this one is cute. Lights, Camera... Monsters is the first book in Lila Dubois' Monsters In Hollywood series, which revolves around monsters who are hoping that if they infiltrate Hollywood and churn out movies with positive portrayals of monsters, humans and monsters can co-exist together happily in this world. Affirmative action for monsters, anyone?

Our monster hero, Luke, and his friends are like those winged creatures in those The Gargoyles cartoons, only with anatomically correct forms. Our heroine, Lena, co-owns Calypso Productions, a hot and upcoming Hollywood production house. If you can't see the sequels waiting to be made between Luke's friends and Lena's, you must be really new to the reading scene and I envy your refreshing lack of cynicism. Luke and his buddies approach Calypso Productions with an adorably naïve assumption that they can somehow get the production house to tell their side of the story (you know, how monsters can be cuddly and adorable too) just because they ask very nicely.

But when Lena decides to ask Luke out for dinner because she thinks Luke is good enough to eat, Luke learns that perhaps a hands-on demonstration on how cuddly and nice a monster can be is the best method of persuasion. Alas, he turns back into his winged gargoyle-on-steroids form in the morning after and the mood is ruined, to say the least, so Luke still has some work cut out for him. Luke and his friends are a hoot. We are talking about blokes who have no idea how to deal with human women and have to resort to sex tips in articles cut out from magazines.

But I have to say, Lena bewilders me. I don't know about anyone else, but were I Lena and I realize that I have done all kinds of things with my mouth, hands, and you-know-what to someone who turns out to be a monster, I don't think I will be so sanguine as to curl up to that monster and talk about how I've misjudged the poor dear by thinking that he's eaten up Luke. I suppose the category format of the story prevents any significant or credible psychological development in the heroine's head, but still, the ease at which she accepts Luke for what Luke is is mind-boggling. I know, one can argue that in LA people probably won't blink an eye at the idea of shagging a sheep, much less a monster, but still...

Does that make me in need of psychiatric help then if I confess that I find Luke quite sexy in his adorable monster self?

Oh, and people, be warned: there is a sex scene here that has Luke in his monster form, which elevates this story from a mere furry love story into something that may or may not work your gag reflex. Personally, I'm still not sure what to make of this story, to be honest, because the heroine is so disconcertingly unfazed after the initial outburst ("Alright, freaky monster thing, this is your last warning. Get out.") that I suspect Lena must have at least six drawers full of Japanese tentacle hentai videos that she watches religiously. Speaking of which, would tentacles show up in an upcoming book in this series?

Lights, Camera... Monsters may or may not push my hot buttons, but ultimately, I find this story a little too much on the underdeveloped side for me to make a judgment on that. It's a pity, really, because I have a hunch that if the author has done more here, such as presenting the heroine's reaction to the hero in a more realistically gradual manner, this one could have helped spread the love about monsters, just like Luke and his friends have intended all along.

Rating: 68


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