I don’t know about you, but when Berkley calls (or, rather, emails), I come running. And when they come calling with an ARC of a book called A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon? I move faster than I ever have in my life because that’s basically a bunch of things I love - all just listed in the title!

Mariel Spark was prophesied to become the most powerful witch her bloodline has seen in centuries, and she has been living under the pressure of this prophesy her entire life. Ozroth the Ruthless had a big reputation as one of the best bargainer demons around until a bargain gone wrong tears it apart. When Mariel’s spell to summon flour goes awry, she finds herself face to face with Ozroth, who has come to make a bargain for her soul. Unable to confess her blunder to her mother, Mariel blurts out that she and Ozroth are dating. The two struggle against their opposing goals while maintaining a fake relationship as attraction blossoms.

This book had so many things to love, I don’t even know where to start! Enemies to lovers. A demon love interest. Fake dating. A demon love interest. Forced proximity. A demon love interest. Grumpy sunshine. Did I mention a demon love interest? I did? Okay, good, just checking.

We get into the meat of the story right away (Mariel’s failed summoning spell happens in the first chapter) and that’s something that I absolutely love. I know sometimes author’s need to build up to the inciting incident that will inform the entirety of the plot, but I really love when we can just jump right in. And that’s not where the great pacing stops! The story never feels like there is a dull moment (though there are definitely some uncomfortable one if you’re like Mariel and haven’t exactly met parental expectations) and I was fully invested from start to finish.

Told from the dual third person POV of Mariel and Ozroth, things can get slightly frustrating when one is having a reaction to a situation the other doesn’t understand. It made me want to shake them both and yell, “BE BETTER COMMUNICATORS!” But it’s easy to push that frustration to the side because it’s such a human experience.

Speaking of the real world, it felt like I could just hop on a plane and head on over to Glimmer Falls, even with all the magic and magical creatures that exist and live there. Sarah opted to build her fantasy world with a basis in our real world and that made the story feel more grounded and cozy. Glimmer Falls with its abundance of magic and convergence of ley lines made me nostalgic for a certain teenage vampire slayer and her fictional town above a Hellmouth (which, if you know me, you know that is incredibly high praise - watching that teenage vampire slayer fight demons week after week shaped a large part of who I am today).

One of the things that impressed me the most about this book was the way that Sarah used Mariel’s relationships to teach us some life lessons. Mariel’s two best friends were so different from each other in a way that reminds us to find balance in our lives. Mariel’s toxic relationship with her mother reminds us that sometimes blood doesn’t have to mean family (or anything). It’s so much fun when a book is able to teach a “life lesson” without beating us over the head with it.

This book was such a fun and cozy read from start to finish. While there were a bit of high stakes for the characters, I never really felt like they were in too much trouble and never felt too much anxiety about how the book would end.

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley is available for preorder here and hits shelves March 7th, 2023.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!