Title: A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon
Author: Sarah Hawley
Page Length: 336
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Synopsis: 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.
Sarah Hawley’s debut novel features Mariel, a nature witch prophesied to be one of the most powerful witches in centuries. Unfortunately, Mariel doesn’t know how to use her powers, and she accidentally summons a demon. Ozroth the Ruthless’s reputation proceeds him. As a demon summoned, he must now take Mariel’s soul, but she isn’t giving it up willingly. So, Oz must remain with Mariel until she finally agrees.
I so related to Mariel! I mean, she accidentally summons a demon instead of the flour she was hoping for. That totally sounds like something I’d do, and that’s why people like me shouldn’t have magical power. Mariel is a witch from a very powerful, competitive, and influential family, and she always fails to meet their expectations, which they are very vocal about. With an overbearing and hurtful mother, an ambivalent father, and other judgmental relatives, Mariel does not have a strong sense of self-worth. However, the demon who wants to take her soul helps her see how strong she really is.
I love how Oz stands up for Mariel, especially with her family. Her mother, in particular, is terrible, and the way she treats her daughter is so wrong. She demeans Mariel and says so many hurtful things, and she constantly shames her. I like that she slowly learns to set boundaries and remains firm in them. I don’t think she would have done that if she had never meant Oz. He gave her strength and confidence. He barely knows Mariel, yet he understands her better than anyone else in her life, which is interesting since he’s lived an eternity with no real connection.
Oz is the grump to Mariel’s sunshine, but he’s not as vicious as his name implies. After a mishap with the last soul he retrieved, Oz is now feeling for the first time, and he’s experiencing things he never felt before. It’s confusing and eye-opening for Oz, who has lived his entire life without feeling anything. I like how Mariel helps him maneuver through these new feelings. She gives him hope and love and more of a sense of purpose. Oz has never really had someone on his side unequivocally. Someone who isn’t trying to use, control, or manipulate him. There’s a line in the story where Oz says he finally feels like he gets to live, and that’s just what it feels like, a rebirth for him.
Oz and Mariel have amazing, and often comical banter with tons of chemistry and a deep connection. I love how their relationship grows and thought their blossoming romance was funny, sweet, and passionate. Between Oz trying to annoy Mariel into giving him her soul, the fake dating element of their relationship, and Mariel learning more about her powers and the supernatural threats that have endangered them, there’s never a dull moment for this fun couple. And the romantic scenes are spicy! Go Oz with his super sexy dirty talk!
The supernatural elements are fantastic too, and I like the world the author created. Glimmer Falls has a ton of small-town charm and an abundance of magical beings, including witches, demons, and more. Plus, there are strange things happening in the town, and Mariel is determined to heal the land that is affected. It adds tension and suspense to the story, as Oz and Mariel work to figure out who or what threatens them.
I think this is a great debut! The story is funny and sexy, and there are some really touching and powerful moments. I would definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy immersive and fun rom-coms. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Berkeley Books for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance!
- The magic/fantasy elements.
“Keep your enemies close, but not close enough to exchange fluids, that’s what I always say.”
You need to consider who she is, not who you wish she was.”
Ozroth the Ruthless had existed for over two hundred years. Tonight, he would finally start to live.