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Review: Death and Relaxation by Devon Monk (Ordinary Magic #1)

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Death and Relaxation by Devon Monk // VBC ReviewDeath and Relaxation (Ordinary Magic #1)
Devon Monk
Published: June 17, 2016 (Odd House Press)
Purchase: Amazon
Review Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Ordinary, Oregon is a complete misnomer, and no one knows that better than the Reed family. For generations the Reeds have been the resident peacekeepers in a small town that’s home to the likes of many varieties of creatures (werewolves, vampires, Valkyries, and gill-men to name a few), but what really keeps the family busy are the vacationing gods.

Yep, you read that right, Ordinary, Oregon is a hotspot for gods who want to shed their personas for a little while and live a (relatively) normal life. There are, of course, contracts involved; they have to willingly give up their power during their stay, and they must contribute to the community in some way.

Police Chief Delaney Reed has been in the position of “bridge” since her father passed away a year ago. Luckily, her sisters Myra and Jean—also on the force—know the town secret and can lend a hand. With the annual Rhubarb Festival coming up, the station is already stretched pretty thin, but when a resident god is found dead, Laney is tasked with transferring their god-power to a willing mortal, and she only has a week to do it. This is the first time she’s had to carry the power in the year that she’s been in charge. Couple that with Death—literally—on her doorstep, her ex-boyfriend back in town, and possibly, finally, receiving some requited feelings from Ryder Bailey—the man she’s loved since childhood—and there are going to be some long coffee-infused nights ahead.

Right off the bat I loved the small-town setting in Death and Relaxation. Small towns always remind me of beloved Stars Hollow (Gilmore Girls), and make me want to move there. With Death and Relaxation we get that same feeling, just with the supernatural thrown into the mix, and for lovers of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, it’s a win-win all around.

The vacationing gods only add to the quirkiness of the setting. I mean, hey, they all deserve a break once in a while too, right? The kind of culture shock they each go through is hilarious, and readers get to see that up close and personal when Thanatos, the God of Death, comes in for a vacation and proceeds to wear kitschy T-Shirts with plays on “Ordinary,” and decides to open up a kite shop. And don’t even get me started on the beef between Zeus and Odin.

For me, the relationship between the sisters is the heart of the story. Delaney is our narrator, as she’s the oldest and inherited the liaison job from her father, but I’m hoping at some point we’ll get stories from Myra and Jean’s points of view. They all understand the burdens each has to bear, and it’s very clear that they are a unit. I don’t think the story would have worked as well without that connection between the three.

One of the only things I was a bit iffy on was the romance. I’ll make allowances for Delaney since it’s clear she has a lot going on in the story, but there were some things I started to notice that I felt, as a cop, she should have been more in tuned to. I liked the way she handled things, though, and I’m interested to see how things play out. Also, the who-done-it, while interesting, wasn’t too big of a shocker in the end probably because it gets clouded over with everything else on the menu.

Overall, I enjoyed this lighter fare from Devon Monk. I’ll definitely be picking up the next one, Gods and Details, which should be out sometime in July.

Sexual content: sex

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