Lily Ivory hopes for a normal life when she opens Aunt Cora's Closet. With her magical knack for vintage fashion - she can sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry - her store becomes a big hit. But when a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area, Lily may be the only one who can unravel the crime.
She tries to keep her identity a secret while investigating, but it's not easy - especially under the spells of sexy "mythbuster" Max Carmichael and powerful witch Aidan Rhodes. Will Lily's witchy ways be forced out of the closet?
©2009 Juliet Blackwell (P)2012 Tantor
"Lily Ivory is a 21st-century Samantha Stevens, minus the nose wriggling. The story combines fun and seriousness for an entertaining read." (Romantic Times)
I agree with past reviews that this story started out very slowly. A bit too much descriptive writing about the scenery and not enough about the characters, but it does pick up midway through the book. The narrator was very hard to get used to. She has a very wispy voice and every sentence just trails off..... Once the story started to pick up I was able to get past the voice, but I am not sure if I will go to the next book in the series if it is the same reader.
A decent story, but the narration is a distraction. Ms. Sands is not without talent, but her style doesn't fit this type of story. She speaks in a throaty almost-whisper that trails off at the end of each sentence, sometimes to the point that I had a hard time understanding the last word. Her accent sounds genuine and she doesn't overdramatize (an annoying habit of some narrators), but the low, gravelly softness of her voice made it sound like she was going for some sort of languid, ultra-sexy sound even when there was nothing languid or sexy about what was happening in the book. The end result is that the book had a heavier feel that I was looking for and that the reviews I read by people who had read the print version indicated. Granted, there are some heavy themes in the book, but even Oscar's antics seemed almost depressing when described by this narrator. It did get slightly better as the book progressed, but overall I found the voice so distracting that I sometimes lost track of the story.
Otherwise, it was a good story, and the descriptions of vintage clothing, witchcraft, and San Francisco were excellent. I would like to continue the series, but I might switch to the print version.
“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” ― Dr. Seuss
I just discovered these types of cozy, paranormal mysteries, and I have to say I am ready for more. Secondhand Spirits is light and breezy fun with a bit of darkness for some edge. For me witches can always add to the recipe for a good time; throw in some vintage fashion, a cool San Francisco Haight-Ashbury setting, a haunted house, a gargoyle that can morph into a pot-belly pig, herbs, spells, and demons and ... what more can you want. And there are NO vampires, a huge plus as far as I'm concerned! The characters were all likeable as well, especially the magic-wary Lily who can no longer deny her powers when she discovers children have been going missing in the City (what can be a touchy subject is handled in a sensitive manner). This is certainly not rocket science I know, but it IS terribly fun brain candy which we all need at least from time to time (me more than most probably)! As of this writing Audible has no other books from this series, so I hope more are on their way.
I've always loved books. Even before I could read I've loved them. Fact or Fiction, I love books. I'd sooner read a book than see a movie.
Secondhand Spirits offers the reader a story with a touch of realism and the paranormal. I would say it maybe one of my current top 20 books of fantasy and mystery.
This story is as interesting as a Mercy Thomson or Rachel Morgan book. Each with a different spin on the supernatural, and each with a smart brave antagonist. Looking forward to reading more of Lily Ivory's story.
The gremlin, her familiar, Oscar. This character was performed well and you enjoyed Xe's take on the different funny character.
Discover magical San Francisco.
Say something about yourself!
Read/Listened for Fun (Audible/Paperback)
Tracking Books Read Review (Short)
Overall Rating: 4.00
Story Rating: 4.00
Character Rating: 4.00
Audio Rating: 4.50 (not part of the overall rating)
First Thought when Finished: Secondhand Spirits made me want to hop in a plane and visit San Francisco!
Overall Thoughts:I have had this book for a very long time and can't believe I just got around to it! Secondhand Spirits was a bit of a darker cozy mystery but still had all the elements I love: good case, interesting characters, and the paranormal element was just part of how she figured out the case. I liked Lily from the get-go and feel like I will like her more as the series progresses. Overall this was just a fun listen that helped me get through laying tile! Gotta love books that will distract while doing that!
Narrated By Xe Sands / Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
I love Xe! She hasn't let me down yet and this was no exception. I will admit that I am listening to two Juliet Blackwell series at the same time and both are narrated by Xe. I haven't gotten confused once about which book I am listening too because Xe does little things to make the characters sound different. She is one of the narrators I can count on to make a good book stand out through narration.
Final Thoughts: This is now on my cozy mystery list!
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
This was an enjoyable, easy read. Not at the level of Molly Harper's or Elizabeth Hunter's books, but definitely worth the time. If this series was narrated by someone other than Xe Sands, I would have already purchased the next two books in the series. Instead, if I decide to read the rest of the series later on, I will buy the ebook versions.
I like Xe Sands narration style. But it works with specific books. And it didn't work on this book. She is too monotone, relaxed and breathy.. She sounded world weary and worn out. She didn't narrate this she read it. And she sounded like Siri as she read it. I actually fell asleep listening to her.
This book needed someone with passion and attitude narrating. As the main character was contemplating the strong possibility that she might have to sacrifice her own life, she sounded bored.
The story was fine. Nothing new or exciting. Just average. The narrator is clearly talented in some respects but made this weird choice to use a breathy weird voice for the main character. Some of other character voices are less annoying. The other reviews that speak of the narrator have it spot on. I had to turn it off and take a break more than once because it was unbearable. I hate to say it but I will need to really want to hear a book badly before I will again purchase anything read by Xe Sands.
This is the first book I have listened to by this author and it was very enjoyable.
The story was easy to follow.
The narrator was easy to listen to and the inflextion in her voice enjoyable. I look forward to listening to additional books by this author in this series.
Though the idea of this book is the kind of fiction I find entertaining, I found the characters a little hollow, I wish I would get to know them a little more to really care what happens to them.
This was one of the most annoying readers I've ever heard. I didn't even finish the book. She whispered for every character. Why? I couldn't tell if she was sleepy, or bored. She just whispered through the whole thing. I don't know if the book is really any good. She didn't speak up enough to engage my interest. I think ANYBODY could have done a better job. And I mean that literally.
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