Spell Fire, The Teen Wytche Saga #3
By Ariella Moon
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 in Palm Springs 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 a boy who spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will his deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undoing?
Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, secrets, and love in her Young Adult novels, Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire, Books 1, 2, & 3 in The Teen Wytche Saga. Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariella’s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. An author and shaman, she now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.
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I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!
What I say (review): Although Spell Fire is the third book in Ariella Moon's Teen Wytche Saga it works well as a standalone novel.
As a result of a childhood trauma 15-year-old Ainslie lives a life of extreme anxiety and excessive OCD. Everyday things such as opening doors, touching people and car journeys are pretty traumatic for Ainslie, and she's very resistant to change. When Ainslie is sent to spend Christmas with her rather eccentric Aunt and Uncle, she's not exactly happy.
Ainsley begins helping out at their magic shop and mystery school where she makes new friends and is forced to confront some of her issues. Ainsley befriends moody and mysterious goth Jett and the handsome dragon shaman Thor (I promise this all makes sense when you read the actual book).
I loved how Ainslie went from withdrawn and cynical to becoming really involved with the schools customers and employees. Ariella Moon does a great job of incorporating the pagan and magical stuff without it seeming unbelievable. When I initially saw the words dragon shaman in the blurb I really didn't expect to like the story, but once I started reading Spell Fire I was quickly engrossed in the plot and the characters.
I was suspicious of Thor and honestly preferred Jett, but both guys had many hidden layers and were battling their own demons. I would have liked more background on Jett and Thor but perhaps that will come in the next book.
4 Stars in my Sky!
Thor shifted position, and his knee grazed my leg. A tingle skyrocketed up my thigh. "What about you?" he asked. "Harboring any secret talents?"
Does obsessive hand washing and dragon melding count?" Just amazing accuracy with throwing stars."
Thor blinked and his head jerked. "Get out of here! Aren't they illegal?"
"Sort of." My stomach grew queasy at the thought of doing a year in prison.
"I'm shocked." Thor massaged a spot behind and below his left ear.
One. Two. Three. Four. His outdoorsy tan had retreated behind an ashen pallor and sweat droplets glistened along his hairline. My worry meter cranked on. The throwing stars shocked him? How would he feel about my stint in the lockdown ward?