Author: Ariella Moon
Publisher: Astraea Press
Published: October 2013
ebook: 241 pages
FTC FYI: Received a PDF from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
New school. New friends. New reputation. High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friend’s disappearance remains unsolved, she can’t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward.
Ainslie’s tenuous control over her life shatters when her warring parents ditch her at Christmas. While they take a cruise to “work things out,” Ainslie must spend the holiday with her aunt and uncle, owners of a struggling Mystery School and occult store. Plunged into the world of fire fortunes, dragons, entity eaters, and an ailing spell book, Ainslie is well beyond her comfort zone. Then she meets Thor, a seventeen year-old dragon shaman. He spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will Thor’s deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undo-ing?
I was approached to be on the blog tour for this book, but the timing just wasn't right. I did, however, think this book looked fun and I was right. So, I was thrilled when Astraea Press was looking for bloggers to host some of their authors.
Spells by Ariella Moon is a fun book with great characters. I really enjoyed how Ainslie came to know herself and her parents better by spending time away from them. (That may not make sense until you read the book :) Ainslie was able to overcome some her own issues as well, all while opening her mind to spells.
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1. How long have you been writing?
When my daughter started kindergarten, I began work on my first manuscript. By the time she graduated from high school, I had completed three manuscripts and gone through two agents. All of my manuscripts won numerous awards, but Spell Check was the first to sell.
2. What gave you the idea for the series?
The Teen Wytche Saga began with the thought, "What if someone aimed a love spell at their best friend's secret crush?" Then, as I wrote Spell Check, I knew Salem, the school goth, had to have her own story. In Spell Struck, I built on the sibling rivalry and mental illness issues I had hinted at in Spell Check. I realized the key to the Saga would be the spell book that continually morphs into different types of magic. In Spell Fire the series takes off in a different direction with many new characters. It acts as a bridge between the first two books and the upcoming 4th and 5th books.
3. What is your favorite genre to read?
I love lots of genres and tend to read everything by one author before I move on to the next. I read a lot of Young Adult,including the Hunger Games, but also devoured Gail Carriger's steampunk Finishing School series and her Alexia Tarabotti novels. Once I finish reading the novels I'm judging for the Prism Awards, I'll return to reading Divergent. Can't wait!
Spell Fire Excerpt
I found a patch of sunlight where I could sit with my back against the wall and pulled out The Scarlet Letter. I kept my head down while Uncle Esmun arrived and took his seat. Years before Sophia's disappearance and my descent into the rabbit hole, I had sat in on a few of Dad's business meetings. I knew the protocol. Be quiet and inconspicuous. Don't interrupt the adults; they have important business matters to discuss. Only these adults were discussing the tarot cards they had drawn from a deck in the center of the table.
I tried to concentrate on Hawthorne's book, on Hester's vengeful husband who'd practiced medicine under an assumed name. But Hazel was telling the rest of the group she had just returned from Cornwall, England and had brought each of them a gift. I wondered what it could be. Seashells? Photos of quaint cottages?
ʺI have a pixie for each of you.ʺ
Right. Like you could get those past customs.
ʺHow nice of you, Hazel,ʺ Aunt Terra said.
I thought back to what I knew about pixies. Weren't they supposed to be a) extremely troublesome and b) not real?
Hazel sashayed up to each Board member, starting with Cerelia, and acted like she was putting a pixie in their hands or on their shoulder. As she progressed around the table, some members oohed and aahed as if she was a three-year-old showing off a crayon drawing. When she approached Evie's grandmother, the tote vibrated, rattling the glass table. Hazel faltered, her expression uncertain. She dropped back, and the rattling stopped. Brimstone smells hissed through the closed zipper. Cerelia shrank back.
Evie's grandmother pointed a warning finger at the tote. ʺStop it. Don't be rude.ʺ
My jaw dropped. Thor glanced at me, then flicked his gaze back to the tote. It stopped emitting smoke.
Uncle Esmun rubbed his nose. Hazelʹs head wobbled as if she were figuring out her next course of action. She still cupped her hand as if she carried an invisible pixie.
Hello! Did you not notice the real magical object in the room?
Seemingly unable to drop the pretense, Hazel advanced toward the alientologist. He ignored her and scribbled in his little notebook. Thor politely rebuffed her. Both rose at least twenty degrees on my Guy Approval Meter.
I checked my watch. The meeting had started forty minutes ago. Nothing had been accomplished. No one had addressed the tote situation. My face warmed again. I shifted position. Instead of sitting against the wall with my legs straight in front of me, I sat cross‑legged and hunched over my book. A tugging sensation rippled between my shoulder blades.
Thor glanced my way.
The more I thought about how much Aunt Terra and Uncle Esmun must need every cent the store and mystery school could generate, the more energy swelled behind me. Warmth radiated from my face. My whole body felt as if it was glowing. I tried to distract myself by flitting back to my book and my lengthy homework assignment list.
I couldn't concentrate.
Hazel had reached Aunt Terra and delivered what I hoped was the last pixie. She pivoted and spied me. The energy behind me compacted. It crackled with huge warrior/ninja/dragon chi — alert and ready to strike. The thought of straightening up and backing into it set the fine hairs on my forearms and nape on end.
Thor's eyes met mine. Our gazes locked, and I swear he did a Zen mind meld. Soothing waves of chi — energy — flowed through me. The brimstone stink evaporated, replaced by the calming scent of lavender and sage.
Hazel's gaze swiveled from me to Thor, then back to me. Looking buffeted by an unseen wind, she silently returned to her seat.
The corners of Thor's full lips curved upward. Two urges warred within me — the desire to leap across the room and kiss him, and the urge to arch my neck and breathe fire.
Thor's smile widened.