This Spells Disaster

Berkley. Sept. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780593548486. pap. $17. PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Spell-casting champion Rory Sandler has abandoned the high-stakes world of competitive magic to tend bar in a tourist town on the Maine coast. Local self-proclaimed “messy” potion maker Morgan Greenwood has a crush so bad she can’t talk in front of Rory. But when one too many margaritas and Rory’s familial pressures intersect, Morgan offers to be her fake girlfriend for the New England Witches’ Festival. When Rory likes her back, Morgan thinks that her luck has finally turned, until an ingredient mix-up makes it seem like Morgan might have deliberately given Rory a love potion, breaking a sacred Witch Council Law. Keeping up their dating charade, while also proving to Rory that they’re incompatible, in order to break the love potion’s spell, is harder than Morgan ever thought possible. She just can’t help falling for kind, smart, funny Rory. While the novel’s early worldbuilding is a little slow and the use of the miscommunication trope falls a little flat, Martin deftly handles heavier issues of consent and the burden of expectations.
VERDICT This queer, witchy rom-com from Martin (who also writes as Alanna Martin) should be fun for fans of Lana Harper and Erin Sterling.
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