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A Cast-Off Coven

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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, 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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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, 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.

30 review for A Cast-Off Coven

  1. 4 out of 5

    ✨ Gramy ✨

    .. This cozy mystery takes place in San Francisco, California and has a heavy dose of witchcraft that blends myth and legend together with the paranormal aspects. In this introductory installation of Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery, the reader is introduced to Lily Ivory, who is confronted with a ghost, a demon, jealous boyfriend, and demon possessed people. Book Blurb: "When some students get spooked at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, Lily Ivory is called in to search for possible .. This cozy mystery takes place in San Francisco, California and has a heavy dose of witchcraft that blends myth and legend together with the paranormal aspects. In this introductory installation of Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery, the reader is introduced to Lily Ivory, who is confronted with a ghost, a demon, jealous boyfriend, and demon possessed people. Book Blurb: "When some students get spooked at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, Lily Ivory is called in to search for possible paranormal activity. In exchange for her help, she’s been promised a trunk full of Victorian-era clothes recently discovered in a school storage closet. What she finds at the foot of the stairs leading to the bell tower is a body—a wealthy patron of the school who has been murdered. She uses her sleuthing skills in between running the store and seeing her new boyfriend, Max, a “myth-buster” uncomfortable with her witchcraft. 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." Juliet Blackwell is the pseudonym for a mystery author who, together with her sister, wrote the Art Lover's Mystery series, which includes Shooting Gallery, Brush with Death, and the Agatha Award-nominated Feint of Art. A former anthropologist and social worker, Juliet currently resides in Oakland, California. San Francisco vintage clothing store owner Lily Ivory must put her more magical abilities to good use in this mystery in the New York Times bestselling Witchcraft series. The series seems to contain legitimate aspects of the craft. The content is captivating and compelling most of the time. There are small bits where you may feel discombobulated by the twists, turns, and change of scenery without proper explanation. But overall, it is a very entertaining mystery in the paranormal genre. Its ability to captivate my attention and urge me to read quickly, earned it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ stars from me. “An excellent blend of mystery, paranormal, and light humor.”—The Romance Readers Connection Note: I was able to read this series through the Amazon Prime - Kindle Unlimited Program.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Review posted on Got Fiction? This was such a fun book! So 5 French nuns walk into a bar...no I'm kidding---they walked into an old convent in San Francisco. And they apparently stirred up something supernatural. This was in the early 1900s, before the Big Fire in San Francisco, and whatever those nuns did, it got buried in the rubble of the old convent. And when Lily is offered the chance to pick up some vintage clothing from the college, she jumps at it. But the closet it's been housed in isn' Review posted on Got Fiction? This was such a fun book! So 5 French nuns walk into a bar...no I'm kidding---they walked into an old convent in San Francisco. And they apparently stirred up something supernatural. This was in the early 1900s, before the Big Fire in San Francisco, and whatever those nuns did, it got buried in the rubble of the old convent. And when Lily is offered the chance to pick up some vintage clothing from the college, she jumps at it. But the closet it's been housed in isn't quite a closet. And what's inside is more than just Victorian gowns. Lily Ivory is a witch who has been in San Fran for less than a year, but in this second book in the Witchcraft Mystery series, Lily is once again up to her elbows in vintage clothing and ghosts. Lily is such a fun character to "be" and I love the first person point of view-which is odd since I'm not a big fan of that. Her voice is easy and fun. She's from Texas and her little sayings always crack me up. I like watching her learn to trust and to put down roots. This is the first time she's ever been able to feel like herself and to have real friends. But her vintage clothing shop seems to attract all kinds. She gets asked to check out the local art school and while she just doesn't quite buy the fact that a ghost is causing any trouble for the students, she goes anyway. And she comes face-to-face with a murder scene. Lily has to figure out (on her own again) what's haunting the school, what, if anything, the french nuns stirred up, and what is going on with this murder plot. With her trusty gargoyle/gnome/pig familiar, she tries to solve the latest supernatural mystery in her new city. Getting absolutely no help from Aidan, the local head witch in San Francisco, she is once again left on her own to try to figure out who/what killed Jerry Becker. Aidan gives her cryptic clues and hints, but no actual help. We found out why, BUT I hate how he is supposed to be this uber-powerful and strong witch and he sends Lily out on her own in a strange city. She's still new, and has no idea what she's getting into. So Aidan tells her to find Sailor. Sailor was my favorite character in the whole book. He's a dark, broody kind of guy and I really REALLY hope he gets more page time in the next book Hexes and Hemlines. I love him and his motorcycle boots. I love his broody and dark personality. Oh I wish he could have been Lily's boyfriend. Max is an investigative reporter, if you remember from the first book. He and Lily are getting closer in this book, and while I like Max, he's just not supportive of Lily being gifted. He won't even talk about her witchcraft or her talents. He wants her to just "not" be a witch. Boo! But I do like him otherwise. I just think he's not what she needs. Not that Aidan is what she needs, no matter how sexy he is. He is such an arrogant ass, I just can't like him enough to be her lover. The only things I didn't like were just we keep getting random hints about how her mother was afraid of her and left her. About how her father studied with Aidan, but she still knows very little about either her father or Aidan. I'm just frustrated for Lily that everything is so cryptic and difficult. Everyone who is supposed to help her is really not at all helpful. I'm hoping we get to know a lot more about Lily in the next book which I can't wait to read. But I have to wait til June. So anyone who wants a witchy cozy mystery and a fun heroine, this series is for you!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katyana

    I liked this one better than the first. Now that the basics of the world are established, the author got to dig in and tell a really fun story. I felt like the plot in this one was much more gripping. I was pretty into the details of the demon story as it unfolded, and I was largely kept guessing on the details (not ALL the details - I felt like Lily was a little slow to grasp a couple of things, but it was all good by the end). I also really enjoyed seeing Lily become more connected to the world I liked this one better than the first. Now that the basics of the world are established, the author got to dig in and tell a really fun story. I felt like the plot in this one was much more gripping. I was pretty into the details of the demon story as it unfolded, and I was largely kept guessing on the details (not ALL the details - I felt like Lily was a little slow to grasp a couple of things, but it was all good by the end). I also really enjoyed seeing Lily become more connected to the world around her - she has spent most of her life isolated and outcast, and she is trying to settle and build a home now. It is gratifying to see her realize that people around her care about her. Honestly, in a lot of ways, this series is reminding me of Harry Dresden. Not the noir vibe that you get with Dresden, but in both series you have a lone wolf-ish witch/sorcerer/magic-user that is driven - largely by their own sense of ethics - to use their abilities to help people. They are both pretty lonely, and are somewhat of an outsider even among their "own" people (Dresden because he was literally cast out, Lily because she largely has chosen to remain outside). I have a couple criticisms, though. 1. All of the big powerhouses in San Francisco can suck it. Seriously. Lily moves to town, and is barely there for a couple weeks before she's trying to help the community by being rid of malevolent spirits that kidnap children (book 1) or demons that are terrorizing the art school (book 2). We are introduced to several other supposed magical powerhouses in San Francisco - Aidan, who considers himself Lord and Master of all things magical in S.F.; Herve, a badass priest of voodoo; and arguably a couple others - and not one of them can be bothered to help. In the first book, they all tell her she's nuts for getting involved (with a spirit that has been abducting local children for DECADES, no less), and that she should just ignore it like they do. Aidan even has the gall to charge her for his help (not money - she owes him a favor, which is worse, considering what a slimy douchebag he is). In the second book, these local "badasses" basically drop the demon in her lap and tell her to handle it. Again, this is someone who has been in town for a few weeks. Lily may want to live there, but she is certainly less invested than these men, who have lived in S.F. for decades. WTF? How about they get off their lazy asses? Even worse, when she goes to them for advice and/or help, they basically all tell her to grow a pair and handle it. Can I repeat: WTF? 2. Lily needs to go shopping for some better men. Fortunately, romance is REALLY secondary in this series. And it is a good damn thing, because San Francisco really seems to be lacking in the men department. Firstly, we have Max. Max is scaring me, as he seems to be dangerously close to suffering from Richard Syndrome. I am referring to Richard from the Anita Blake series. Man, I hate Richard. I'll admit it, I have baggage. Like Richard, Max is one of those guys who is forcefully described as perfect, and is someone that you feel like you ought to love. He is everything that is good and nice, and disagreeing with him makes you feel like you suggested he run over a puppy. He doesn't like what the heroine is, doesn't understand why, for the love of god, she can't just be normal - how can she not WANT to be normal? And he also treads dangerously close to wanting to control the heroine. You know, for her own good. 'Cuz he knows better. *eyeroll* Then we have Aidan. Please, god, let her have the sense to steer clear of Aidan. There is something so inherently slimy about him, I just don't like him at all. And there have been a smattering of other possibilities. Honestly, the one I like best at this point is Sailor, but that poor guy is Fucked Up. I mean, he seems sweet, but he would be a Project that would likely demand the patience of Mary. Does a girl have to make a deal with a demon to get some decent men around here? 3. I am tired of glossing over the back-stories. I get that it is awesome to pepper your story with nods to more complicated over-arcing elements. This serves as the hook, and builds the framework for your series-spanning plot. But I am two books into this series. I think that I have demonstrated that I am invested. I'd like some info on the things the author has been nodding towards for 2 books now. I don't need the whole story, I am not greedy. But I'd like to start to fill in some detail. What was she accused of in her hometown? WTF was the deal with her father? How about Aidan? Why did her mother hate her? Also, other littler things: what is her connection to Graciela, how did her mother know to send her there? Why did she decide not to finish her training? But honestly, criticism aside, I am having fun with the series. I am looking forward to reading onward. Also, I'd really like to give a nod to the author on her spellcrafting detail. I don't know what her sources are (she mentions friends who gave her the craft details in her acknowledgements), but I am impressed. I do believe that this is the first book I have seen use magic in a way that is not either Wiccan or wholly fantastical. Blackwell's research is definitely impressive, and it makes for a fun read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elle's Book Blog

    Release Date: June 1, 2010 Genre: Paranormal Mystery. Cozy Mystery Actual Rating: 4.5 stars Is it me, or is this cozy mystery series really dark? I feel the like paranormal aspects are a little scary if I am being honest! First our amateur sleuth, Lily was casting off La Llorna and now she is ridding demons? Yikes! In any event, I really am finding that I love this series! It's been quite a while since I have found a paranormal book that holds my attention but this series is. In fact, I immed Release Date: June 1, 2010 Genre: Paranormal Mystery. Cozy Mystery Actual Rating: 4.5 stars Is it me, or is this cozy mystery series really dark? I feel the like paranormal aspects are a little scary if I am being honest! First our amateur sleuth, Lily was casting off La Llorna and now she is ridding demons? Yikes! In any event, I really am finding that I love this series! It's been quite a while since I have found a paranormal book that holds my attention but this series is. In fact, I immediately picked up the third book in this series and plan to read it soon. Perhaps this year I'll work my way through the series! Here's to hoping. Anyway, since this is an older series I will keep this review short and sweet. All the books in the Witchcraft Mystery series are to be read in order as they all follow the same sleuth Lily. Lily is a witch that owns and operates a vintage clothing boutique. She enjoys finding vintage clothes from any era and making them special once again. But this is not the only calling for Lily as she is also a witch. Not the kind of witch that waves a wand and makes things happen, but a witch that only uses her powers for good like helping people. In this novel, Lily is set to stop a demon from wreaking havoc at a local school and with a little help from her coven and friends she just may be able to do it. If you are a cozy mystery fan or paranormal mystery lover this truly a must read series. The author incorporates both the paranormal and amateur sleuthing nicely making it the perfect blend. Specific Likes - The author clearly has knowledge of vintage clothing and how to take care of them and I feel like every time I read one of these books that I get smarter about how to take care of the delicate fabrics that once graced our world. - The paranormal aspects of the story are truly interesting and I find myself wanting to learn more about them as I read. I think the author put a lot of work into the books subject and it shows. - I love Lily and her pig. They are such fun characters to get to know! What Didn't Work - Honestly, I think the book is near perfect and there weren't any specific things that didn't work for me. The only thing that holds me back from giving it 5 stars is that I felt like the book was longer than it actually is.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tiffy

    Loved this sequel. Can’t wait to start the 3rd book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I'm loving this series so far. The paranormal aspects are 'heavy duty' without being gross. Love, love the setting of my former home city of San Francisco. In this installment, a demonic being is haunting the prestigious San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and possessing staff in turn. Lily works to expel the demon, or at least seal him off. In the process, she solves a pair of present and past murders. A very good, easy read. 4.5*

  7. 4 out of 5

    SheriC (PM)

    I am absolutely charmed (no pun intended) by this cozy mystery series. I’m not entirely sure why – I don’t find the MC’s supposedly Texan roots at all authentic, I don’t care about vintage clothing, and I generally dislike Romance tropes appearing in my mystery/supernatural genre books. But, still, its just a lot of fun. The MC is vulnerable, trying to settle into her true nature, and struggling to resist the urge to deny her true nature for the sake of making her romantic interest less uncomfor I am absolutely charmed (no pun intended) by this cozy mystery series. I’m not entirely sure why – I don’t find the MC’s supposedly Texan roots at all authentic, I don’t care about vintage clothing, and I generally dislike Romance tropes appearing in my mystery/supernatural genre books. But, still, its just a lot of fun. The MC is vulnerable, trying to settle into her true nature, and struggling to resist the urge to deny her true nature for the sake of making her romantic interest less uncomfortable. She’s actually a very interesting character, and I rarely want to slap her silly. The mystery and settings are interesting, too, and the murders and supernatural elements are surprisingly dark for a cozy. I can’t say the final whodunnit were much of a surprise, but the journey was still worth reading about. Paperback edition. I think I may like reading these in bound version better than audio, although Xe Sands does a terrific job on the audios. I read this book for the Booklikes Halloween Bingo 2019, for the square Murder Most Foul: Any murder mystery.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deanie Nelder

    Secondhand clothes dealer Lily Ivory may be a witch, but her talents don't include necromancy, so she's hesitant when her employee, Maya, asks her to investigate a supposed ghost sighting at her college. Lily reluctantly agrees to go with the students, and is shocked when they find a dead body (and maybe a ghost). Something truly supernatural is going on at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and since the police don't believe in the paranormal, Lily has to solve the mystery before someone el Secondhand clothes dealer Lily Ivory may be a witch, but her talents don't include necromancy, so she's hesitant when her employee, Maya, asks her to investigate a supposed ghost sighting at her college. Lily reluctantly agrees to go with the students, and is shocked when they find a dead body (and maybe a ghost). Something truly supernatural is going on at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts, and since the police don't believe in the paranormal, Lily has to solve the mystery before someone else gets killed. One of my pet peeves about cozy mysteries is when the amateur sleuth has no real reason to investigate the crime, and this book handles that obstacle perfectly. Since the police investigators don't believe in supernatural explanations, Lily has to intervene. I think this is a little better than the first Wishcraft mystery, and it does a good job integrating the paranormal and the police procedural elements of the book. Lily is still interesting, and the end of the book delivers some real suspense.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lynsey (A Bookish Life)

    Another enjoyable paranormal mystery from Juliet Blackwell. This, for me, was on a par with the first book in the series, Secondhand Spirits. Our resident witch and vintage clothing expert this time takes on a suspected haunting at the Art Department of the local college. Strange noises and occurrences have the student body completely freaked out, and Lily Ivory, known for being knowledgeable about "those sorts of things" is called in to help. There were a lot of new characters introduced t Another enjoyable paranormal mystery from Juliet Blackwell. This, for me, was on a par with the first book in the series, Secondhand Spirits. Our resident witch and vintage clothing expert this time takes on a suspected haunting at the Art Department of the local college. Strange noises and occurrences have the student body completely freaked out, and Lily Ivory, known for being knowledgeable about "those sorts of things" is called in to help. There were a lot of new characters introduced that were connected to the mystery in some way, most of which were nicely fleshed-out. I enjoyed the development with love interest character, Max, but there wasn't nearly as much of it as I might have liked. Also, I was hoping for more information on the mysterious Aidan, and was again slightly disappointed with the small tidbit I was afforded. I did, however, really like new characters Sailor and Luc, and look forward to more of them in future books. This series is very quiet in its styling; the characters are subtly written, no one particularly shines as an outstanding personality, the world-building is minimal, and the climactic endings are more party popper than firework. They are simply relaxing and easy reads—cosy paranormal mysteries, if you will, but nothing that will set your world on fire. At least not mine, not yet. I'm really hoping the next one has more of a hook to keep me interested in the overarching plot, and I feel like something needs to be introduced to rock the boat because at the moment, everything is just a bit too "nice." 3 Stars ★★★

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rosalie

    Loved it! Sigh! Cosy mysteries (shaking her head). A good series drags you in and there you are, totally hooked. Luckily I don't have to hang around waiting for the next one (she says smugly, knowing there are more on the shelves). I like the colourful array of characters, and Lily herself. I'm looking forward to learning more of her and I think that the choice she has made in men is excellent, despite the varied and assorted types she has around her. There is plenty of scope to flesh out the re Loved it! Sigh! Cosy mysteries (shaking her head). A good series drags you in and there you are, totally hooked. Luckily I don't have to hang around waiting for the next one (she says smugly, knowing there are more on the shelves). I like the colourful array of characters, and Lily herself. I'm looking forward to learning more of her and I think that the choice she has made in men is excellent, despite the varied and assorted types she has around her. There is plenty of scope to flesh out the relationship with Max in future books. I give full credit to Juliet for the careful way she deals with magic and spells. I guess there will be more variety in supernatural beings as the books progress, but we, the readers, are not being inundated with a huge array all at once and it is possible to keep up with each being as they come along. Well done Juliet! I'm off to start the next one. :)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I like this cozy series, the San Francisco details are fun and the light paranormal activity and characters keep it interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    #ReadAllTheBooks

    After having eagerly devoured the first book in this series (Secondhand Spirits), I couldn't wait to see what the second volume of this series would bring. Just like in my review for the first volume, I have to warn all readers who may not be aware of what they're getting into. This is not a mystery. Yes, crimes & murders do occur, but this series is very much an urban fantasy with a touch of mystery in it. It very much deserves to be placed in the UF category, especially since this author has t After having eagerly devoured the first book in this series (Secondhand Spirits), I couldn't wait to see what the second volume of this series would bring. Just like in my review for the first volume, I have to warn all readers who may not be aware of what they're getting into. This is not a mystery. Yes, crimes & murders do occur, but this series is very much an urban fantasy with a touch of mystery in it. It very much deserves to be placed in the UF category, especially since this author has the chops to match up to genre biggies such as Charlaine Harris & Kim Harrison. In this volume our favorite witch has been offered a deal that is hard to refuse: check out the ghostly goings on in the local school's supposedly haunted tower in return for a box full of vintage theater clothing. Wooed by the idea of getting more vintage goodies for her shop (which she uses as her own personal closet, just as any of us would), Lily agrees to investigate. When she finds signs of both ghostly AND demonic infestation, Lily knows that this task isn't going to be easy. Add in some interesting new characters & she just might have a chance of coming out of this alive. I'm serious when I say that this is more UF than mystery, a genre category that was probably pushed on this series more because it doesn't fit the typical trappings of the UF story (gritty heroine, dozens of love interests, vamps & weres coming out of the woodwork, etc). This is way more lighthearted than a Harrison or Armstrong read & I absolutely love this series for it. I love that the main character has friends that are "normal", looks to others for help & isn't all death, blood & gloom all the time. (Not that any of that makes for a bad book, but in a sea of books with similar heroines it is nice to see someone do something different.) I really do think that this book has managed to top the first one- with all of the main characters introduced in the first book, this entry dives into what makes it so much fun: lovingly described vintage clothing, spooks & the thrill of the chase. There's a few interesting new characters, one of which might have the potential to become either a new ally for Lily or a new love interest. (Or just a major PITA, but he sounds fun.) If you haven't read the first book in the series, I really recommend that you check it out first just so you can get the gist of everything that is going on. You can read this as a standalone without really missing much, as the book does go over the happenings of the first volume, but it would probably be a better experience if you read Secondhand Spirits. All I know is that Blackwell has a really good thing going on here & I'm hooked- I'm buying the next volume when it comes out, even if I have to stalk my store's delivery trucks to be the first one to get my hands on it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Pearson

    These books are pretty fun, but I have a few questions. Like: Doesn't anyone think it's weird that Lily only feeds her pet pig stuff like grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover Chinese food? Doesn't Bronwyn mind always being left in charge of the store when she just wanted to sell herbs part-time? And most importantly, Lily used magic to get such a huge and perfect stock of vintage clothes for her store, right?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alice 🌙

    5/5 ⭐ I enjoyed this one a little bit more then the first one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Witchy fun! Murder with a twist! Great characters and story. Blackwell did her homework on witchcraft!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zel Polev

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a light read. This is more or less like the first book. However, I find myself tuning out of the story, hence the lower rating. The story revolves around Lily solving the mystery at an art school. Students are getting snippy, there are weird music playing, there are talks of a ghost roaming the school, past nuns who died in the building, and a demon possessing people. Lily fought the demon. She had to fight out the name first, which she eventually did. The demon played tricks on her mind This is a light read. This is more or less like the first book. However, I find myself tuning out of the story, hence the lower rating. The story revolves around Lily solving the mystery at an art school. Students are getting snippy, there are weird music playing, there are talks of a ghost roaming the school, past nuns who died in the building, and a demon possessing people. Lily fought the demon. She had to fight out the name first, which she eventually did. The demon played tricks on her mind to stop her. She summoned the demon to exorcise him. There has been murder in the school. The culprit turns out to be the lovelorn man. He was in love with the murdered man's daughter. When the murderer left a suicide note to his object of love, the murdered man made fun of him and died in the process. The murderer later changed his mind. Now that Lily knew the story, he needed to get rid of her. Her familiar came to the rescue and provided an assist. Todd charged for the pig and Lily instinctively pushed him as defense. He fell on the stairs and ended up with a concussion. The day after, Lily sealed the room. Outside of the investigation plot, Lily's personal life is a bit complicated. She is a witch who is dating a man whose life doesn't really involve magic. When the book ends, he is away on a business trip. He is taking the time to sort his feelings out and Lily is waiting on how it will turn out. Lily gets appointed unofficial paranormal consultant. The book ended with Lily deciding that she needed to complete her training.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lauri Saplad

    Loved it! Still a cozy mystery, but this one has Lily in over her head. A natural witch with a lot of untapped power, Lily is like a beacon to spirits. She can sense them, but can't really understand or communicate with them. When asked to investigate a haunting in a San Francisco art school, she bravely goes ahead -- only to find out that what is actually there is scarier than could be imagined! A well-thought out mystery with some new characters. This series just keeps getting better.

  18. 5 out of 5

    K Whatsherface

    I really enjoyed this one. They keep dropping information about lily's past which makes me want to know more. There is a new character, sailor, he seems to have a past of his own. Looking forward to knowing more. I'm not sure who is end game for relationship yet. She is currently dating max but who knows.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Swanbender2001

    I am enjoying this series very much as Lily works out the details of growing a community of friends; building a home for herself and expanding her training to deal with her extensive power.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy lifewiththe_williams

    I am loving this series so much! I can’t wait to start book 3!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (a GREAT read)

    Juliet Blackwell's second book in the Witchcraft Mysteries, A Cast-Off Coven, was an incredible followup to Secondhand Spirits. It's amazing how readily addicted I became to this series. I remembered hearing about it at RT this year, but when I finally made my way to the beginning of the alphabet at the mass signing, her book was already sold out! The series has a nice blend of the supernatural intertwined with the mystery and they're evenly balanced and well paced with a good dash of suspense. O Juliet Blackwell's second book in the Witchcraft Mysteries, A Cast-Off Coven, was an incredible followup to Secondhand Spirits. It's amazing how readily addicted I became to this series. I remembered hearing about it at RT this year, but when I finally made my way to the beginning of the alphabet at the mass signing, her book was already sold out! The series has a nice blend of the supernatural intertwined with the mystery and they're evenly balanced and well paced with a good dash of suspense. Once again I found it a little hard to figure out the who-done-it. I had my suspicions, but really didn't guess it right until the character was revealed. But I was totally engrossed with the book that I almost could've read it in one day had I made myself do so! There has been a little bit of time between books, can't remember how much, but book 1 events are mentioned and brought up here and there. And there were of course the familiar characters from the first book as well. This time Lily finds herself investigating strange noises at the college when suddenly a murder occurs and people are saying it was a ghost that did it. But Lily knows that's nonsense, ghosts can't kill people, there's a human murderer on the loose, but there is also something much more dangerous than that on the loose as well and it lives inside the school. Lily has to do some serious investigating, looking into the school's history back when it was home to a small group of nuns who mysterious disappeared sometime ago after the earthquake. And there are quite a few suspects as well. Oh my goodness, I really couldn't pick just one, every time I started to suspect someone and thought I had the mystery solved something happened to prove me wrong! Yes, very enjoyable indeed! And there are still ghosts and other nasties involved as well! There is also some more development in the romance area between Lily and Max, but just as things start to heat up, trouble occurs. We also get to learn a little more about Max's history and what happened with his wife. And there are other new characters that pop up as well, like Sailor, another person with the gift like Lily, but he is a very temperamental kind of fellow. Aidan Rhodes returns as well and is still as secretive as ever. He and Lily definitely have something between them, but what exactly that is, is still hard to figure out other than both being of the magical wielding variety. Overall a GREAT tremendous read! I don't read a lot of mysteries, but this series has become a fast fave! And I highly highly recommend it if you like paranormals and mysteries! It's the perfect balance! Overall I give it 5/5 stars!! Can't wait for the next one!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Randall

    If you have read any of my previous reviews, you might already have figured out that Juliet Blackwell is one of my favorite authors. Not only do I love her books, but I think she is a pretty cool person too, as I follow her on Facebook and hear about the new books as she is writing and they are published. It is alot of fun to be able to keep up with your favorite authors! This is the Vintage clothing, witch series and this particular book happens to be the second in the series, with the book Seco If you have read any of my previous reviews, you might already have figured out that Juliet Blackwell is one of my favorite authors. Not only do I love her books, but I think she is a pretty cool person too, as I follow her on Facebook and hear about the new books as she is writing and they are published. It is alot of fun to be able to keep up with your favorite authors! This is the Vintage clothing, witch series and this particular book happens to be the second in the series, with the book Secondhand Spirits being the first book. I really enjoy Lily Ivory, the title character. She is a little afraid of people and making friendships, and her history is hinted at each time she explains that. Not much is told, that he father left when she was a toddler, her mother couldn't cope with a child that was a witch and so her "grandmother" rasied her and tried to teach her about her magik. Now weather Graciela is actually her grandmother by blood or not, I am still not sure about, she kinda hints that she might not be, but Graciela also raised her father before her, so she is counted as a relative. Little is really told about her past, although I am finding that with each book, we find just a hint or two more about her. Lily has only been in San Fransico for a few months, and she was drawn into a child abduction and a murder in the first book withing weeks of being in town. Now it seems like the local Art College is having a problem with a ghost that is scaring the students, and since one of those students is Maya, who works for Lily, she gets involved in finding out what is going on. The day they decide to visit the school, they don't find any ghosts, but a murder and once again Lily is sucked in and the local police are none too happy. Lily is still investigation a relationship with Max, and weather there is any chance of one occuring or not, especially since he believes that witchcraft is a bunch of hooey and Lily is a witch. They continue to dance around each other and try to figure out what to do, until Max's family gets drawn into this particular event because his younger brother is a profressor at the Art School where Lily is investigating the haunting or rather what turns out to be more serious and scary, a demon on the lose. Max doesn't want to believe any of it, and yet it is right there in front of his faced, but he thinks he can solve everything with science, and this is going to take alot for him to figure out in his mind. He may never be able to deal with it and there goes a relationship out the window. I really enjoyed this series, and continue to look forward to what Juliet puts out in the written word.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jadaloves

    I really hit pay dirt with this lovely little series by Juliet Blackwell. I was once again drawn into Lily’s world and couldn’t put the book down once I’d started. When Lily gets reports from the students of the School of Fine Arts, she is enticed into investigating the strange noises in exchange for some vintage clothing that was found in an old storage closet. But when Lily checks it out, she doesn’t count on finding the dead body of a school benefactor, or the sinister presence lurking in the I really hit pay dirt with this lovely little series by Juliet Blackwell. I was once again drawn into Lily’s world and couldn’t put the book down once I’d started. When Lily gets reports from the students of the School of Fine Arts, she is enticed into investigating the strange noises in exchange for some vintage clothing that was found in an old storage closet. But when Lily checks it out, she doesn’t count on finding the dead body of a school benefactor, or the sinister presence lurking in the upstairs storage closet. The mystery of this one was perfect from start to finish. The clues were wonderfully discovered and timed to induce the maximum amount of growing tension and curiosity within the reader. The author did a great job in keeping me guessing throughout the story and the story definitely spooked me with it’s paranormal elements. I do love Lily because she’s so down to earth, yet very powerful with her witchcraft. I also like that she’s willing to be involved with someone who doesn’t exactly believe the paranormal although she’s aware it could be disastrous. That let’s me know she goes after what she wants regardless and is not afraid to take risks. Lily’s love interest, Max, is quite skeptical, but there are things from his past that influences his stance. But I think as the series continues Max will become open to the possibility that not everything can be explained by science. Max is rugged-boy-next-door sexy with a no nonsense attitude. I do love the chemistry between him and Lily. It’s almost palpable at times. Overall, great little cozy mystery with the perfect paranormal twist. If you’re a fan of paranormal mysteries, this is definitely a series that you need to pick up and read. I’m looking forward to reading the third in this series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    MissSusie

    This was another good addition to this series. The San Francisco School of Fine Arts has had some paranormal activity going on so Lily agrees to help in return for some vintage clothes. But there is more in this closet of clothes than she bargained for. Plus she stumbles across a dead body and everyone thinks “the ghost” killed the man but Lily senses something different something demonic and everyone at the school seems to be on edge and aggravated at each other. At one time the school was a co This was another good addition to this series. The San Francisco School of Fine Arts has had some paranormal activity going on so Lily agrees to help in return for some vintage clothes. But there is more in this closet of clothes than she bargained for. Plus she stumbles across a dead body and everyone thinks “the ghost” killed the man but Lily senses something different something demonic and everyone at the school seems to be on edge and aggravated at each other. At one time the school was a convent and Lily starts to wonder just what these nuns were up to. Lily does go to Aiden for help his help is a little lacking and she also meets Sailor, who is more help, and Lily seems to be attracting men like crazy, first we have Max but I agree with Aiden she will be in a Darrin & Samantha relationship with him trying to squelch her magic. Then Luke, I liked Luke myself, until it got weird. But I know most people prefer Sailor. Max did grow on me more by the end of the book. This one kept me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who killed the big cheese, a ghost, a demon, or just a human? But the things that happen in this school would freak me out the white light and wind would freak me out more than the voices. As always I love Oscar he is my favorite character. I also want a store like Lily’s in my town! I liked how her relationship with Inspector Romero evolved in this one and I see them working together much more in future books. This one is narrated by Xe Sands, who as always does a great job I just love her voice and she seemed to come more into her own as Lily in this book compared to the first she was a bit more forceful and sure, I liked that! The ending really made me look forward to more of this series! If you enjoy cozy mysteries with a supernatural tilt give this series a try! 3 ½ Stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annie Slasher (Booked & Loaded)

    This is an original review from http://bookedandloaded.com. I personally purchased this title via Audible.com. All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. A Cast-Off Coven is Juliet Blackwell’s second installment in A Witchcraft Mystery series. You can check out the review for the fist book – Secondhand Spirits here. A Cast-Off Coven was an enjoyable story. With high mystery elements and great characters the audiobook flowed nicely. Juliet Blackwell does a great job executing her s This is an original review from http://bookedandloaded.com. I personally purchased this title via Audible.com. All opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way. A Cast-Off Coven is Juliet Blackwell’s second installment in A Witchcraft Mystery series. You can check out the review for the fist book – Secondhand Spirits here. A Cast-Off Coven was an enjoyable story. With high mystery elements and great characters the audiobook flowed nicely. Juliet Blackwell does a great job executing her story. She makes you feel like part of the action and I easily connected with the protagonist – Lilly Ivory. Lilly is a highly likable character that ends up in the middle of some interesting situations. Lilly’s character had some great character growth in A Cast-Off Coven and it certainly made me want to keep reading more about her world. The only real downside to this book (in my opinion) is that although Lilly is told many times she is witch with great power, not only does she doubt herself, but there is no way to gauge her abilities. The other only real witch or warlock in this series displayed no power in A Cast-Off Coven and I have a hard time picturing what her great powers are compared to. If there were other witches or examples to give you a basis of what bottom of the barrel power is vs high ranking power – I think It would clear some of this up. A Cast-Off Coven is a light read with some great paranormal aspects. Witches, demons, and ghosts line the pages in various aspects. Audiobook thoughts: Xe Sands executes the story well. Being a southerner (Texas) I think the accent is a little off, but not enough to be distracting. The pace of the reading is done quite well and keeps up with the story. I listened this via Audible and would recommend this audiobook. I rate A Cast-Off Coven 4 out of 5 Bullets!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolynn

    This is the second book in Ms. Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery series, and I feel the plot in this story was better developed than in the first one. Although the first story was based on a well-known legend in the Southwest, it seemed to somehow get short shrift in the general mechanics of telling the witchy tale. With this story much more emphasis was on Lily Ivory and what she was doing to get things done that had to be done. Lily is a born witch who has had a very difficult childhood, only lea This is the second book in Ms. Blackwell's Witchcraft Mystery series, and I feel the plot in this story was better developed than in the first one. Although the first story was based on a well-known legend in the Southwest, it seemed to somehow get short shrift in the general mechanics of telling the witchy tale. With this story much more emphasis was on Lily Ivory and what she was doing to get things done that had to be done. Lily is a born witch who has had a very difficult childhood, only leavened by the love and acceptance of her adoptive abuelita and mentor witch, so she has a deep distrust of most relationships, particularly with men. She has traveled the world and now is living in San Francisco, and owns a vintage clothing store. She is slowly learning to trust and is starting to reach out to others, when the paranormal world starts thrusting her into far more limelight than she is ready or willing to face. In this book she is looking to allay the fears of some students that a ghost is haunting their school, and she is to get some vintage clothing as "payment," when she discovers a body and perhaps more than a ghost in the equation. The plot concerns itself with Lily's efforts to peel back layers of history to find the truth about what happened earlier at the school, and whether or not it affected the present. Lily is also trying to deal with whether or not to tell her boyfriend she is a witch, since he is a total nonbeliever in the occult. The story is exciting and there is seldom a quiet moment. Lily deals with jittery students, a scared ghost, possessed clothing and who knows what else. She is understandably nervous about handling the situation, and the two men she expects to be of help aren't very forthcoming. This is a very interesting story and I heartily recommend it. I am eager to start the next book in the series!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I saw another book in this series recommended on Facebook. Since I hate starting a series in the middle, I picked up the earliest book I could find, which was the second. I am underwhelmed. Maybe this was addressed in the first book, but why is Lily so enamored of vintage clothing and doo-dahs that she decided to make a living through them? There's lots of info-dumping, but no sense that she enjoys the feel of the fabrics, the colors, the styles. it also leads to the word 'vintage' appearing seve I saw another book in this series recommended on Facebook. Since I hate starting a series in the middle, I picked up the earliest book I could find, which was the second. I am underwhelmed. Maybe this was addressed in the first book, but why is Lily so enamored of vintage clothing and doo-dahs that she decided to make a living through them? There's lots of info-dumping, but no sense that she enjoys the feel of the fabrics, the colors, the styles. it also leads to the word 'vintage' appearing several times on one page. The "tell, not show" continued with the frequent assertion that Lily is a "powerful" Witch--when all we ever see her do is grind herbs and do very basic cleansing rituals straight out of a Wicca 101 book. She even use a smudge sticks, which is odd for a Fam Trad Witch. (Yeah. I know the lingo.) The supporting characters all acted younger than their age and every single one seemed to be either petulant, spoiled, or both. I get that supernatural critters are real, but I just couldn't buy into Lily' s suspicions. I could not understand why, given that she was working with skeptics she didn't do more to rule out "mundane" causes. Instead of making her seem twitchy and mysterious she just came across as superstitious and none too bright. Even those paranormal investigation shows spend time ruling out natural causes. Ultimately, I found the writing juvenile (Big Cheese? What are they, twelve?), the characters unlikable and unbelievable, and the mystery uninteresting. I won't be picking up another.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josianne Fitzgerald

    Yup, another favorite mystery author. That this particular mystery series features an informed and respectful approach to witchcraft, a strong female protagonist and does not force me to witness anyone else's sex life just makes it the perfect cure for the cold that has me housebound. Lily Ivory has recently moved to San Francisco to open a vintage clothes shop. She's spent most of her adult life looking for a place to call home, after being run out of town as a teenager. A parrot in a bar in Ho Yup, another favorite mystery author. That this particular mystery series features an informed and respectful approach to witchcraft, a strong female protagonist and does not force me to witness anyone else's sex life just makes it the perfect cure for the cold that has me housebound. Lily Ivory has recently moved to San Francisco to open a vintage clothes shop. She's spent most of her adult life looking for a place to call home, after being run out of town as a teenager. A parrot in a bar in Hong Kong tells her to go to San Francisco, and for lack of better advice, she does and finds the home she spent all her life looking for there. The vintage clothes shop allows her to capitalize on her sensitivity to old objects and the emotions that have sunk into them. It sounds like a beautiful place to shop, and Lily sounds like the perfect stylist, pairing customers esthetically and emotionally with clothes. This is my second book of the series, and already it's a favorite. The main draw is Lily, who is confident and strong and competent. While there are some indications of unresolved and/or mysterious background events like what drove her out of her hometown or what happened with her father, it doesn't seem like those are going to turn Lily into a whiny insecure idiot later in the series. Why is is that character development so often seems to necessitate female characters acquiring insecurities on any number of fronts? Stay strong, sisters! Insecurity is never attractive and it was only funny when Bridget Jones did it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    I'm becoming a fan of Ms. Blackwell. This is the second book on the Witchcraft Mystery series having to do with our resident witch/empath Lily and her vintage clothing shop, Cora's Closet. And this book is much better than the first, the action is brisk and the story is more involved. You have Lily, a serious weirdo psychic named Sailor, an elusive and powerful male witch named Aiden, a would-be boyfriend/journalist/skeptic named Max, 5 French nuns now dead and ghostly, a demon and a pig. Well, I'm becoming a fan of Ms. Blackwell. This is the second book on the Witchcraft Mystery series having to do with our resident witch/empath Lily and her vintage clothing shop, Cora's Closet. And this book is much better than the first, the action is brisk and the story is more involved. You have Lily, a serious weirdo psychic named Sailor, an elusive and powerful male witch named Aiden, a would-be boyfriend/journalist/skeptic named Max, 5 French nuns now dead and ghostly, a demon and a pig. Well, piglet. Actually a familiar that doesn't look very familiar-ish. Clearly, Blackwell is having a lot of fun and I'm right there with her as what starts out as an adventure into vintage clothes turns into murder and possession. And poor Lily, once again she is called upon to fix the problem. Only this time we discover that Lily is way more powerful than we knew (or she knew) and there are more ties to the mysterious good guy/bad guy Aiden than we thought and boyfriend Max...well...he might not not last as a boyfriend if he doesn't improve, great abs or not. Meanwhile, Lily has to stop something terrible from taking over people and turning malicious "fun" into something very dark and deadly. And she has to do it alone. Oh joy. This was pure cozy deliciousness and I already have book three and am ready to go. Fun stuff. Join in!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I am enjoying this series, which combines mystery, magic, and fashion in a well-mixed potion. San Francisco vintage clothing store owner Lily Ivory is offered a deal by the old and famous San Francisco Art School: come and see if she can do something about the "ghosts" that seem to be haunting the place and scaring the students, and in return she can have a room full of vintage clothes found in an unused room. While touring the school to see what's going on, Lily and several school folks come acro I am enjoying this series, which combines mystery, magic, and fashion in a well-mixed potion. San Francisco vintage clothing store owner Lily Ivory is offered a deal by the old and famous San Francisco Art School: come and see if she can do something about the "ghosts" that seem to be haunting the place and scaring the students, and in return she can have a room full of vintage clothes found in an unused room. While touring the school to see what's going on, Lily and several school folks come across the dead body of the school's weathy patron at the bottom of a set of stairs. Did he fall? Was he pushed? Did the ghosts do it?? Lily quickly discovers that there's a lot more going on than just some troublesome ghosts. The dead guy wasn't killed by ghosts, but by a very live someone. Still there are some very nasty supernatural entities lurking about too, and they are increasing in strength and in the amount of trouble they might cause. Lily has to use her powers to try to figure out who the killer is, exorcise the bad entities, and try to keep her romance with non-magic-accepting disbelieving hottie, reporter Max from going right off the Golden Gate bridge! A fun, fluffy, fast read with excitement, drama and good characters.”

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