A Cast-Off Coven : Witchcraft Mysteries

  • by Juliet Blackwell
  • Narrated by Xe Sands
  • Series: Witchcraft Mysteries
  • 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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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What the Critics Say

"Set in a vintage clothing store and starring a sensible and entertaining witch, this series will please paranormal fans." (Romantic Times)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Speaking French

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is the second book of the Character Lilly Ivory as she grows more comfortable with being a witch and embracing her power. I'd this one as I did the first: funny and light, not violent or obscene. My observation for book two is the same as it is for #1; I wish the writer Juliet Blackwell would allow herself to give more depth to the characters. The French nuns were a major point in the book, but I still didn't really get to know these women and why they chose that path or why/if they had been deceived; the point was glazed over quickly in the story. I still liked the story however.


Would you recommend A Cast-Off Coven to your friends? Why or why not?

One could enjoy the book apart from the series, but I would recommend that you read book one first and the series in order.


Have you listened to any of Xe Sands’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Other than this series, no, but I like how Xe Sands reads for the characters.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wish I had that type of time, but I certainly wanted to read it all the way though.


Any additional comments?

Audible should put more Juliet Blackwell book on Audio.

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- Naked and Hungry "Army Medic trades life of lust & danger for safer, sedentary pursuits. Now controlled by naked cats; allowed small indulgence in Audiobooks"

Excellent audio!

Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.

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 don’t know why yet). She has an affinity for old clothes — she can feel the previous owner’s past emotions in them — 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 Lily’s ghostbusting services, they’ll give her the clothes. But on Lily’s first visit to the school, someone is murdered. This looks suspicious because Lily has only been in town for a few months and it’s the second murder she’s been associated with. As Lily tries to solve the crime, she manages to stir up something evil and she’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 Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district makes a great setting for a vintage clothing store and it’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 Lily’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 — not paranormal romance or urban fantasy — but the supernatural elements are strong.

I’ve got a few minor quibbles that I’ve noticed but which haven’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 doesn’t yet realize it’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 don’t become bigger ones later in the series.

I listened to Tantor Audio’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 isn’t careful. Xe Sands also managed to make the men sound like men — another important feature for this type of story. I’m planning to pick up the next audiobook, Hexes and Hemlines. I’m hoping to see it go on sale at Audible soon but, if it doesn’t, I’m willing to spend one of my credits for it.
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- Katherine "I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-19-2012
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio