Sunday, February 17

Review: A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

This is the second book in the Witchcraft Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell.  This book opens shortly after the end of the first book, Secondhand Spirits.  This time, Bronwyn, the Wiccan herbalist who has a small corner of Ivy's vintage clothing store, Aunt Cora's Closet, knows that Ivy is a natural witch.  Maya, the young student who is now working for Ivy, does not. Maya thinks that Ivy is some kind of "sensitive" and brokers a deal with the provost of the local arts college for Ivy to do some investigating of strange noises in exchange for some vintage Victorian clothing recently found found in a storage room at the college.  

Unfortunately, on the evening of Ivy and Maya's initial investigation, they find a dead body, the wealthy father of one of the students.  Ivy doesn't think that the gentleman died of paranormal causes, but finds that there is some ghost and possible demon activity going on at the college and former nunnery.  And Ivy feels compelled to find out what exactly is going on. 

We are treated to a returning cast of characters, including the possible love interest Max Charmichael, male witch Aidan Rhodes, the "gutter punk" Conrad, the gifted familiar/potbellied pig Oscar, fashion editor Susan Rogers, as well as Bronwyn and Maya.  The by-play between the characters, Lily's colorful southern language and her lack of knowledge of American Pop Culture references help keep the story lively and interesting.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.  It was a fast, fun read with enough twists and turns to keep me guessing. A perfect follow up to Secondhand Spirits.

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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