Review by Veronica

Mariel shrieked and jumped back. She held out her hands as the man stared at her. He must be so frightened! “I’m so sorry, sir. It was an accident. I meant to summon some flour, and I must have gotten the spell wrong, though I don’t know how I bungled it that badly. But you haven’t exploded, so that’s good news!” She winced. She babbled when she was nervous. “I probably should have said that.” 

The man’s forehead furrowed. Mariel blinked, taking in the details of his appearance. He was tall and muscular, with golden skin and jet-black hair. His black jeans and T-shirt matched the intricate tattoo wreathing his left bicep. Had she subconsciously channeled Themmie’s fuck buddy suggestion?

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is the perfect laugh-out-loud magical rom-com read. 

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. 

This book just gave me so much happiness and joy! It’s freaking amazing, and I adore everything about it. I knew from the synopsis that I was in for a fun, quirky witchy romance ride, and Sarah exceeded all my expectations for this book. I always love a book that can make me laugh and has quirky and chaotic characters. It makes for such a fun reading experience. In this book, we meet Mariel, who is struggling to master her witchy powers. She loves and is great at nature magic (helping plants grow and communicating with plants), but all other forms of magic are a struggle for her. Her family, especially her mother, is putting a lot of pressure on Mariel to master the other forms of magic, and they are often very critical of her. This creates a lot of self-doubt and anxiety for Mariel, resulting in her making many magical mistakes. One of these mistakes is accidentally summoning Ozroth, a demon who cannot leave until he makes some sort of bargain for Mariel’s soul. 

I love this story! It has many traditional romancey story elements to it but with a witchy magical twist. This book takes place in a small town called Glimmer Falls, inhabited by various supernatural beings. I loved being in this town and seeing all these beings living their daily lives. It’s really entertaining. Then we have one of the main conflicts in this story: Mariel and her friends trying to stop a new spa from being built in their town. In order to build this spa, a part of the local forest must be destroyed. If you are a fan of those David and Goliath underdog stories, then you will enjoy watching Mariel and her friend go up against the town council and the construction company to protect the forest.  

Mariel is a delight! She is a sweet, kind, and slightly scattered-brained witch, and chaos follows her. She is a fun character to hang out with. Boy, does her character have a lot of growth in this book. Her family is downright awful to her; she just lets them walk all over her. But as the story goes on and she spends more time with Ozroth, she starts to stand up for herself and realize that she is amazing just the way she is. I was rooting for her the entire book. Ozroth is fabulous. At the beginning of this book, he is such a prickly and grumpy character, and I loved it! As the story goes on, Mariel melts those ice walls he has put up, but at the end of this story, he just becomes this big cinnamon roll of a character. It was so sweet. 

This book is a treasure trove of tropes; it has forced proximity, grumpy sunshine, and fake dating. All of these tropes just worked really well together to create one swoony romance experience. Mariel and Ozroth are a great romantic couple. I love a good grumpy-sunshine relationship because the heroine, in all her chaotic cheerful goodness, pushes the hero out of his comfort zone and keeps him on his toes. That is definitely the case with Mariel and Ozroth. He just can’t understand how she can live in such a cluttered house (and even starts organizing her things, which pisses her off) and has difficulty keeping up with her random questions. I loved how good these two were for each other. They help each other grow and become stronger. I knew I was in for a more steamy romance ride when I read the dedication, and Sarah asked her parents to read the redacted version of this book, LOL. Things definitely heat up between Mariel and Ozroth, and the spice is just oh-so-nice. 

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon is a wild, fun, magical ride. 

Thank you, Berkley Publishing, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.