Published by Berkley Romance on September 12, 2023
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, LGBTQ, Paranormal, Romance
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FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Tori Anne Martin’s debut novel This Spells Disaster is a queer witchy romcom that takes place over the course of a spellcasting festival. Not only does it feature fantastic worldbuilding and lovable characters who are easy to root for, but it also features one of my favorite romance tropes, fake dating.
The story follows Morgan Greenwood, a potion witch who considered herself to be a hot mess. Morgan has had a crush on Rory Sanders, a badass elemental witch, but is too intimidated by Rory to even approach her. Instead, Morgan has admired her from afar for ages, that is, until fate puts Rory in her path one night at a bar. Rory is complaining about the unreasonable expectations her family always puts on her and that she is dreading spending time with them at the biennial New England Witches’ festival. A drunken Morgan volunteers to fake date Rory and act as a buffer between her and her family. Morgan can’t believe she did that, but even more unbelievable to her is that Rory decides to take her up on her offer.
I adored both Morgan and Rory. Morgan is just the most adorable protagonist. She’s incredibly loyal to those she cares about. Her heart is always in the right place, but she can definitely be a bit chaotic and impulsive at times. Rory is equally fabulous but in a much more reserved way than Morgan. She can be standoffish at first, but once you get to know her, Rory is a sweetheart. She’s also a brilliant spellcaster and both she and Morgan have a competitive streak that makes for some of the most entertaining banter. I just loved watching the two of them get to know each other.
My favorite part of the fake dating trope is when those fake feelings start to become real, and in This Spells Disaster, the author has added a unique complication to this trope. Morgan crafts a relaxation spell for Rory and after Rory starts taking it, she starts behaving as if she has romantic feelings toward Morgan. Morgan can’t believe that Rory could ever feel that way about her and is soon horrified to realize that her feelings for Rory may have slipped into the potion, accidentally turning it into a love potion. Love potions are illegal in the witching community because they take away a person’s right to give or refuse consent. I felt so bad for Morgan since it’s clear she didn’t intend for this to happen, but at the same time, it made the story all the more compelling for me, waiting to see how this would all play out, especially once Rory realizes the truth. I was rooting for them to work things out so hard because fake relationship or not, they were perfect for each other.
I don’t want to give anything else away, so I’ll just say this is a delightfully witchy romance. If you’re a fan of witchy romcoms, adorable characters, and fake dating, This Spells Disaster needs to go on your fall TBR.
Thanks so much to Kristin Cipolla and Berkley Romance for the invitation to take part in this blog tour!