Thursday, December 20, 2018

ARC Review: Don't Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper by Carole Cummings

Don't Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper
When unassuming college student Emery Sutton wakes up in the morgue, it takes him a few minutes to remember he has magic (superpowers, damn it!) and free himself from the refrigerated drawer. And the body bag. (God.) It doesn’t take long, though, for him to remember the hot guy with wings he ran into just before a city bus ran into him. 

Junior Reaper John must explain to his supervisor how his first solo assignment went so wrong. All he knows is that he happened upon Emery quite by accident, that Emery saw John when he shouldn’t have been able to, and when they accidentally touched, a bus came out of nowhere and plowed Emery under. (John really does feel bad about that.) 

Hot angels, annoying demons, hijinks, absurdity, drunk siblings, a dash of silly romance, an inordinate attachment to wings, and a highly disorganized bid for world domination—Don’t Fear the (Not Really Grim) Reaper follows Emery and John down the rabbit hole where they find that moms are scarier than demons from hell, a goat is not a puppy no matter what Emery’s sister says, and awkward romance can happen anywhere.

Todd's rating:

HA! This quote from the book sums itself up perfectly:
It is kind of sappy, the entire situation is right out of a romance novel… a very, very weird romance novel, but it’s also delightfully awkwardly charming.
At 20, college student Emery has had magic for as long as he can remember, but never realized just how powerful his "Superpowers" were, until he woke up in the morgue. After being dead. Well, 'mostly' dead, I suppose.

John (not his real name) was a newly-minted Reaper, who remembered nothing about his former life on Earth. Until he innocently touched a beautiful guy in the middle of the street, inadvertently unlocking some of his old, pre-Angel memories.

But something went wrong, and John's unintentional touch turned into The Touch. Yes, the "poof, you're dead" one. Then, one speeding bus later and the beautiful guy was headed to the morgue in a body bag.

This was SUCH a fun story. From the moment that Emery woke up", after his temporary death, there was one funny situation, internal thought, or quip after another.

Yes, the low-key humor lasted for the *entire* book, which I loved.

I also loved Emery's self-deprecating sense of humor, which felt sort of like an alternate universe "Sam of Wilds" (from TJ Klune's "Tales of Verania" series), just with the OTT-ness turned way down.

I absolutely adored every single side-character in the story, too. From Emery's overly-snarky sister, to his overly-protective momma bear mother, to his overly-sensitive father, they were all equally awesome.

And homeless, would-be fashion critic "Crazy Helen"? OMMFG, how she kept calling Emery women's names, like Nancy, Belinda and Penelope, while he was freaking out over his 'not-deadness' and supposed evil destiny, I was goddamn dying laughing.

This story was definitely a farce, just like the author described it in the forward note, not taking itself too seriously. So while I don't see it curing cancer, I almost guarantee that it'll make you laugh -- if you leave your preconceptions at the door and just roll with it.

I adored the somewhat sappy ending, complete with magical violins and candles, which I'd call an HFN, but since both MC's were immortal and perfect together, the romantic in me is going to go out on a limb and upgrade that to a 'hopeful' HEA.

I only had two niggles about the story. First, the story felt complete, but at only 60 pages, I would've killed for it to be full novel-length. Said the greedy book whore.

Second, the story was told in present tense. Which I *LOATHE*. I found the tense completely distracting, to the point of constantly pulling me out of the story. So yeah, I would've changed that shit in a hot damn minute.

Other than that, I'd rate this short, humorous story at around 4.25 stars and recommend it to fans of funny stories that aren't trying to be more than pure entertainment and contribute to a few well-earned laugh lines on readers' faces.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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