Review By Kayleigh

This is a sweet and charming witchy romance with terrific world building.

Favourite Quote:

“Oh, using books for inspiration is smart. Wait.” Rory ran to the doorway, presumably checking for lurkers and potential intruders. “Okay, how’s this one? You were trying to convince a friend that you’re not interested in the guy that she likes and in desperation, you kissed me in front of her to make your point. Uncool not to ask first, by the way. But, on the upside, we both realized how much we liked it.”

Morgan smacked her mouth with the wineglass she’d just refilled. “Is that from the books with the neuroscientists? You read it, too?”

“Hasn’t everyone read that book?”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Potion maker and self-proclaimed “messy witch” Morgan Greenwood is sure she was hexed at birth. Not only did she drunkenly offer to fake date the woman of her dreams during the biennial New England Witches’ festival, but Rory Sandler, spellcasting champion and brilliant elemental witch–for reasons known only to the Goddess–accepted. It’s like every good luck spell Morgan ever cast came through at once, and it doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict this charade will end with a broken heart.

Or is the magic between them real? As Morgan and Rory prepare to fool everyone at the festival, their relationship starts to feel a whole lot less fake–right until Morgan realizes she might have screwed up the common relaxation potion she made for Rory and given her a love potion instead, breaking one of the most sacred Witch Council Laws.

To fulfill her promise to Rory, Morgan must somehow keep playing pretend while under the watchful eyes of Rory’s family and legion of fans. But to break the love potion, she’ll also have to prove how incompatible she and Rory really are. For a screwup like her, ruining their relationship should be easy–except every day, Morgan is becoming more bewitched by Rory herself.

This book was so fun! I adored entering this brand new world and was enthralled by the magic system and the witches. This Spells Disaster is a world I can’t wait to dip into again and again. It had the joy and fun of magic like the Wizarding World with the tropes of my favourite romance books – I’m a slave to the fake dating trope! This is an excellent read to add to the witchy rom com books on your shelf. This book is set in modern day USA, but has a magical world in it. Witches live alongside humans, or mundanes as they are called here, and for the most part get along. Magic is an accepted, if not fully understood, part of life. Mundanes aren’t completely accepting of it, like humans are with so many differences, but witches don’t have to hide their magic in fear. I personally love these kind of magic stories in contemporary settings, and Tori has developed such a delightful setting and premise. Magic is a big part of the book, but it doesn’t overshadow the plot – this romance, at its core, is still about two people falling for each other and working through internal and external conflicts to end up together. It would make a terrific movie – there’s so much visual delight in this story and I could really picture the vivid images of magic and delight from spell casting magic lotions to an ice cream cone that keeps changing its shape and colour with every lick. 

Morgan and Rory are two fun main characters. The book is told from Morgan’s perspective. Morgan is fun loving and kind, but kind of anxious and chaotic, and determined to make her mark on the world after people have left her feeling less than worthy. Rory is the mysterious newcomer to Morgan’s town. She’s super powerful, but makes her living owning a bar. And she has some secrets she’s keeping about being the US’s best spellcaster and then disappearing from the circuit. And you can see where this is going. I absolutely adored watching the two of them fumble into a fake dating situationship. Which, of course, couldn’t stay simple. I think my only complaint is that sometimes the relationship developed and then the emotions caught up after. Both Morgan and Rory have a lot of depth and I wanted to see it on the page more. They are such fabulous characters and I’d love to spend more time with them. Watching them fall in love and learn to trust each other? So hot. The book is pretty PG for most of it, with a couple scorching scenes that really showed the depth of their feeling. 

Besides the adorable Morgan and Rory is a solid cast of characters – Morgan has a strong friend and family group including her coven and we get to meet them all as Morgan and Rory start their pretend dating shenanigans. Rory has a powerful and stern family that she’s trying to prove to that she’s happy in her new life including a new love to get them off her back about leaving her professional spellcasting life. It would have been easy for Rory’s family to come off as one-dimensional in this story, but instead Tori gave them such delightful and complex depth that I really enjoyed spending time with them. 

Morgan and Rory’s fake dating romance is the perfect autumnal read for romance and fantasy readers alike. 

Thank you to Berkley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.