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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley (Reviewed by Shazzie)


Order A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon here - U.S | U.K

OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Sarah Hawley is an author of romance and fantasy novels. She co-hosts the Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast about romance fiction, which was featured on Entertainment Weekly’s “Must List.” When not dreaming up whimsical love stories, she can be found reading, dancing, or cuddling her two cats. A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is her debut romcom.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB:  Mariel Spark knows not to trust a demon, especially one that wants her soul, but what’s a witch to do when he won’t leave her side—and she kind of doesn’t want him to?
Mariel Spark is prophesied to be the most powerful witch seen in centuries of the famed Spark family, but to the displeasure of her mother, she prefers baking to brewing potions and gardening to casting hexes. When a spell to summon flour goes very wrong, Mariel finds herself staring down a demon—one she inadvertently summoned for a soul bargain.

Ozroth the Ruthless is a legend among demons. Powerful and merciless, he drives hard bargains to collect mortal souls. But his reputation has suffered ever since a bargain went awry—if he can strike a bargain with Mariel, he will earn back his deadly reputation. Ozroth can’t leave Mariel’s side until they complete a bargain, which she refuses to do (turns out some humans are attached to their souls).

But the witch is funny. And curvy. And disgustingly yet endearingly cheerful. Becoming awkward roommates quickly escalates when Mariel, terrified to confess the inadvertent summoning to her mother, blurts out that she’s dating Ozroth. As Ozroth and Mariel struggle with their opposing goals and maintaining a fake relationship, real attraction blooms between them. But Ozroth has a limited amount of time to strike the deal, and if Mariel gives up her soul, she’ll lose all her emotions—including love—which will only spell disaster for them both.

FORMAT/INFO:  A Witch's Guide to Fake Dating a Demon will be published on March 7th, 2023 by  Gollancz in the U.K. and by Berkley in the U.S.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I assure you that this book is as fun as the cover and blurb make it sound. 

Mariel Spark isn't supposed to be an ordinary witch, she is prophesied to be the most powerful one in the family in centuries. Except... she feels the pressure, because she doesn't show any signs of magical talent, and bungles up the simplest of spells. This makes her life quite chaotic, but she tries hard, and thankfully, has the support of two great, eccentric friends. One day, she tries to summon a chicken, and instead, inadvertently summons an attractive demon called Ozroth, whose reputation has taken a hit since he had a soul-bargain go sideways.

All she wants to do is get rid of him, and all he wants is her strong witch-soul to help power the Demon Plane. Did I mention he literally is bound to be around her until he gets her soul? Yes, that complicates things, and when her mother visits, she lies and fakes a relationship between them. The following hilarity was fun to read, given that Mariel and Ozroth are absolute opposites, and though she hated everything (well, almost everything) about him, it was touching to see her play the part of a good hostess to him, even when she was trying, with the help of her friends, to find a way out of this soul-bargain situation.

The book is told from the perspectives of both the characters, and both offered equally revealing looks into their motivations, and the fact that while very different, they are both the result of somewhat negligent and dysfunctional upbringings. Over the course of the story, they influence each other overcome some of their personal demons, with some external help. There are some steamy, open-door scenes, and some heartwarming ones. The only niggle for me? It all happens over the course of a mere few days.

What I liked here was Mariel's friends looking out for her, and setting of the story. It is quite lean on the worldbuilding side of things, but I rather enjoyed the idea of the demon plane, as well as the town of Glimmer Falls, that was home to diverse species like warlocks, werewolves, pixies, and more. A part of it the conflict, you might see coming, but there's also a situation in the town that Mariel is strongly concerned about, and I leave that for you to discover when you read the book.

CONCLUSION: I found this book to be a fun, exciting, short read, and now that a sequel has been promised, I am hungry for more. This is one for fans of delightful romcoms that contain quirky characters and enchanting settings.


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