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A Cast-Off Coven: A Witchcraft Mystery (edition 2010)

by Juliet Blackwell

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Member:writeslikeagirl
Title:A Cast-Off Coven: A Witchcraft Mystery
Authors:Juliet Blackwell
Info:Signet (2010), Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:read, Your library
Rating:****
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A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

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3.5 stars. Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
A">http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/a-cast-off-coven/

A
Cast-Off Coven is the second book in Juliet Blackwell??s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series. In the first book, Secondhand Spirits, we met Lily Ivory, a witch who recently moved to San Francisco after being run out of her hometown in Texas (we donƒ??t know why yet). She has an affinity for old clothes ƒ?? she can feel the previous ownerƒ??s past emotions in them ƒ?? so she opened a vintage clothing store which is becoming successful because she has a talent for pairing her customers with the exactly the right items. In the first novel Lily made new friends, gained Oscar the goblin for a familiar, met a hot investigative journalist named Max, and solved a murder.

Now Lily has been asked to come to the local Fine Arts school because the students think there may be a ghost living in a closet full of vintage clothing. In return for Lilyƒ??s ghostbusting services, theyƒ??ll give her the clothes. But on Lilyƒ??s first visit to the school, someone is murdered. This looks suspicious because Lily has only been in town for a few months and itƒ??s the second murder sheƒ??s been associated with. As Lily tries to solve the crime, she manages to stir up something evil and sheƒ??s the only one who can prevent more mayhem in San Francisco.

So far the WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series has been quite a fun read. San Franciscoƒ??s Haight-Ashbury district makes a great setting for a vintage clothing store and itƒ??s clear that Juliet Blackwell knows the area. Lily and her friends are sweet (not snarky and sarcastic), Oscar the scared goblin is adorable (he masquerades as a pot-bellied pig when Lilyƒ??s in public), and Max is an appealing love interest. In this installment we get to know each of them a little better. The romance takes a backseat to the plot and love scenes happen off camera. There is little humor, the language is clean, and the murders are not gruesome. These books are definitely cozy mysteries ƒ?? not paranormal romance or urban fantasy ƒ?? but the supernatural elements are strong.

Iƒ??ve got a few minor quibbles that Iƒ??ve noticed but which havenƒ??t affected my enjoyment of this series too much (yet). One is that nearly every guy Lily meets (the reporter, the police detective, the male witch, the new fine arts professor) is hot, which seems unlikely (or maybe I just need to visit to San Francisco). Another issue, which is a common one for cozy mysteries, is that the puzzle pieces fall too neatly together. Lily tends to be in just the right place to get just the right clue, even if she doesnƒ??t yet realize itƒ??s a clue. (Lily can occasionally be a little dense when it comes to clues and there were a couple of times that I wanted to smack her to let her know she was looking at one). I was willing to overlook these small problems and hope they donƒ??t become bigger ones later in the series.

I listened to Tantor Audioƒ??s version of A Cast-Off Coven which was read by Xe Sands. I thought she did a great job. Her slight Southern accent for Lily was perfect and, believe me, Southern accents can be painfully annoying if the narrator isnƒ??t careful. Xe Sands also managed to make the men sound like men ƒ?? another important feature for this type of story. Iƒ??m planning to pick up the next audiobook, Hexes and Hemlines. Iƒ??m hoping to see it go on sale at Audible soon but, if it doesnƒ??t, Iƒ??m willing to spend one of my credits for it. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Tracking Books Read Review (short)
Overall Rating: 4.25
Story Rating: 4.50
Character Rating: 4.00

Audio Rating: 4.50 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: A Cast-Off Coven was a wonderful listen with a pretty darn good who-dun-it!

Overall Thoughts: Lily is a unique leading character. I don't always like her but I always love her gumption. She grew a LOT in A Cast-Off Coven and learned a little bit more about herself in the process. I am hoping part of the process means shucking off her current love interest but that remains to be seen. I LOVED the mystery in A Cast-Off Coven. The school was the perfect setting for this one because it involved Lily's two shop gals (my favorite characters) more! My favorite parts in the first two books all involved the side characters and I hope they play a bigger role in the future books! There was a little bit of everything involved in this case: fun, twists, turns, and a bit of old-fashioned sleuthing. I love that Lily's witch powers are just part of how she figures things out! She really does have a great head on her shoulders.

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Xe Sands / Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins

Xe rocks the narration for this series. She plays Lily in a way that totally makes her personality shine. She has really good male voices and her pacing is outstanding. I totally recommend these on audio!

Final Thoughts: I already got the rest of the series on audio and now I need to squeeze them in! ( )
  thehistorychic | Jan 8, 2014 |
Very good story. I really like the "witchy" twist. ( )
  JanetArmentani | Jul 25, 2013 |
A nice continuation in the series. Lily is beginning to settle in, learning more about the characters, can't wait to see how her education continues. ( )
  bgknighton | Apr 1, 2013 |
Another good one by Juliet Blackwell. Like the characters a lot, some of the paranormal stuff is too far fetched but well written. Liking the 2 different series by this author, although, the books written under the name Hailey Lind were even better! ( )
  CozyLover | Jul 20, 2012 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Robert B. Lawes, just about the best dad a daughter ever had
First words
"I need something to guard against ghosts..." whispered the young woman slouching at the counter.
Quotations
My mother says I must not pass
Too near that glass;
She is afraid that I will see
A little witch that looks like me,
With a red, red mouth to whisper low
The very thing I should not know! - Sarah Morgan Bryant Piatt
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Students are spooked at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and Lily is called in to search for possible paranormal activity. In return she's been promised a trunkful of Victorian-era clothes recently discovered in a school storage closet.

But Lily finds something else: the body of a wealthy patron of the school. In between running the store and seeing her new boyfriend, Max - a "mythbuster" who is uncomfortable with her witchcraft - she uses her sleuthing skills to try to solve the murder. Soon Lily senses something from the school's vintage clothes, but it's not the smell of mothballs - it's the unmistakable aura of evil intent.

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Lily must use her detective skills to discover who is behind a murder at a local school, in the second installment of Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery series.

(summary from another edition)

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