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A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley – ARC Review!

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.

Mariel Spark was prophesied to be the most powerful witch in centuries, but all she seems to do is let her family down. They dont see her ‘nature’ magic as living up to the family name, and her inability to do anything remotely showy means they are constantly on her back. So when a spell to summon flour accidentally summons a demon instead, Mariel isn’t as surprised as she should be, but there is a problem. she’s summoned a demon, and the only way to get him to leave is to make a deal, and in doing so, give up her soul, something Mariel is not willing to do. Ozroth the Ruthless is used to striking fear into people, not having them, not so politely, tell him to leave after summoning him. He doesn’t know what to make of Mariel, nor she of him, but when she accidentally blurts out to her mother that they are dating, she sets the pair off on a tangent that could change both of their lives, for better or worse.

There was a lot about this book I enjoyed, but a large part was the characters. We get alternating POV’s from both Mariel and Ozroth, which give us a vivid and deep insight into them as people/demons, and that allows us to learn more about their backstory, who they were before they met, whilst also see the changes they are making on each other for the better. Mariel is someone who has been constantly looked down on, not just by her family, but by other members of the magical community, all because she hasn’t lived up to some big prophecy that came when she was born. Her affinity for nature magic is incredibly unique and strong, but not seen as flashy enough for the sparks, who prefer their magic to be a little more explosive. She struggles to stand up for herself and lives in the shadow of her mother, who she has no chance to living up to, but Mariel loves her magic and simply wants to be accepted as she is.

Ozroth was once one of the most feared soul collecting Demons, until a bargain went awry and now he is the laughing stock of the demon world. Desperate to earn back his former glory, he is pleased when he sees just how much power the witch that summoned him contains, but there is just one, teeny tiny issue… she doesn’t want to sell her soul. Not for fame, fortune, love nor money, in fact she summoned him accidentally and would be extremely happy if he simply pissed off back to Hell. He is snarky, grumpy and amazed by this witch who talks back to him as if she doesn’t even fear him a little, and the more time he spends with her, the more he doesn’t want to make a bargain himself.

As well as our two main POV’s we get introduced to a multitude of side characters from Mariels best buddys Calladia and Themmie who are both protective and absolutely kick ass, Asteroth, Ozroths trainer and the closest thing he has to family in the demon world… also a huge dick, and Mariels family who I really, really wanted to punch at multiple times throughout the book, seriously her mother just needed a good smack. They all have their own personalities and stories, and they all help propel Mariel and Ozroth on their journey.

The world Hawley built was fun, and definitely one I would like to return to. It’s filled with a multitude of magical creatures, and I especially loved her take on the demon realm, making it incredibly different from the hell we all expect. But one of the things I loved exploring was Mariel’s magic, and this also played a large part in the side plot of the book. While this is a romance at heart, Hawley keeps us intrigued by adding in a whole other mystery we need to solve and I definitely enjoyed this side to the plot. She throws in plenty of twists as well as emotional and hilarious scenes that ensure we fly through the story at a speedy pace.

If you’re a lover of the grump/sunshine trope, like a good mild enemies to lovers & a slow burn romance then this is definitely the book for you. The steam these two created had me fanning myself in parts and there is plenty of smut for those who like their romances more on the adult side. I adored how Mariel took none of Ozroth’s shit, whether it be him trying to make a bargain with her, or going all alpha male protective when it wasn’t needed, she brings him down from his demonic high horse and allows him to see things from another POV. But what I really loved about was that Ozroth allowed Mariel to get out from under the hand of her family, finally allowing her to realise that it was the weight of their expectations that hindered her powers, and making her realise her true strength.

Overall this was a fun, definitely smutty and steamy romantasy set in a unique fantasy world that I would love to return to. There are characters you will love and others you will hate… I’m looking at you mamma spark, but these all add to the drama and tension and hilarity that this book brings in spades.

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