A Cast-Off Coven

Witchcraft Mysteries Series, Book 2
Narrated by: Xe Sands
Series: Witchcraft Mysteries, Book 2
Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,387 ratings)

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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.

©2010 Juliet Blackwell (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"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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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Pretty good

If I could give this 3 and a half stars I would. It is a pleasant story with solidly developed characters. The characters are the reason I liked this book. The plot was good and the story flowed nicely. All in all it's a solid paranormal story. I can't give it more than 3 and a half stars because the story lacks suspense. It is worth the credit.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Witchy Cozy Mystery

Really interesting cozy mystery that mixes a touch of paranormal into the mix. Great characters and stories that flow nicely. Some of the twists are predictable, but that does not take away from the entertainment value.

Lily is a natural witch and tries to keep her powers on the down low. That is not going so well for her since she settled in San Francisco. This book picks up where the last one left off, investigating ghosts at the Arts School. Things are, of course, not all that they seem and a murder happens. Lots going on my the mystery, it keeps a steady pace and never lulls.

This book gives us a touch more in Lily, Max and Aiden's back-stories, as well as introducing two new men into the mix. So many fellas to choose from! Of course, the romance is strictly closed bedroom door. Sigh, no smexy action here. This is totally to be expected as the book is more about the mystery than the love affair.

I have the audiobooks of this series, great deal on Audible. The narrator, Xe Sands, is fantastic. I love her style and her tone is perfect. She really has a way of making the story come alive, animated and dynamic read. Definitely adding her to my list of narrators to fangirl over!!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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haunted story

I liked this book even more than the first. The hauntings in the school were really creepy. I cheered for Lily to figure it out.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

School has an unmentionable problem

A CAST-OFF COVEN is a fabulous second entry into the Witchcraft series by Juliet Blackwell featuring Lily Ivory, owner of the vintage clothing store Aunt Cora's Closet, located in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Oscar, Lily’s "familiar" given to her by a powerful male witch, is turning into an asset even if he does push the boundaries of being a goblin/gargoyle mix in private and a miniature pot-bellied pig everyone loves in public.

The School of Fine Arts in San Francisco has discovered a previously sealed off room on the second floor of the tower building, but all the students will not go there, swearing they hear noises and voices. An argument between Aidan, who gave Oscar to Lily, ensues in the cafeteria which is buzzing with activity on a Friday evening. Lily agrees to meet a friend employee named Andromeda at the school where she will help find the chest full of women’s unmentionables discovered when the closet was unsealed. Instead they find her wealthy father at the bottom of a set of stairs in a pool of his own blood.

Did he fall down the stairs? Was he pushed? Did a spirit from the closet do him harm? The possibilities are too great and information too slim. Lily wants to get her hands on those clothes and see what sort of spirits she's dealing with. When she gets to the closet, it is locked, by the spirits within. They try to scare Lily away with a windstorm, rain, heat, etc., none of which work. Lily finally leaves out of impatience, and the closet door pops open yet no one is there.

Another murder at the school occurs, and Lily goes to check it out. Plus, she figures she'll give that closet another try. Finding the closet unsealed means that one, some, or all those spirits might have gotten out of the closet, possibly to murder (again?) She enters the closet, and there is a mirror hung on the wall which Lily quickly avoids, since strange things happen to spirits in mirrors (there is a fuller explanation about mirrors in Blackwell’s next book).

Lily finds the trunk of undergarments which supposedly belonged to some French women, possibly nuns since they came to America with a group of nuns. Their behavior got them sealed into the closet, not opened until present day.

Ownership of the trunk, the identity of the owners of the garments, identities of who was murdered and their connection to the trunk, all must be sorted out to solve this conundrum. Lily brings the trunk's contents back to Cora's Closet, and staff and customers all began looking through them before Lily can do her usual clean, mend, wash routine on them.

What has happened to the spirits? What is the relationship between the murder victims and the victims to the spirits? Were the women nuns?

I love how Juliet Blackwell weaves in the history of the School of Fine Arts and the buildings it occupies and information about ghosts and spirits. Facts are woven through fiction so easily that I began to wonder what was true. Quite a tangled web was woven by the end of this wonderful book. Xe Sands’ narration brought it all to life with her voice, subtle nuances, and genuine sounding curiosity. Well worth reading.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another splendid book

You know how sometimes you want to see or read a scary book but you're too chicken to watch or read something that might make it hard to sleep alone or look in the mirror? Well, that's me, I often want a little something kinda sorta almost scary but with a little romance and humor coupled with some friendship and mystery, and that's when look for a Juliet Blackwell book. She knows just how to tease my appetite without scaring me senseless. This was a very good book, as are all of her books as far as I'm concerned. If your on the fence about this book climb on over and sit yourself down and relax. Your enjoyment is guaranteed.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Getting Better All the Time

The author is beginning to flesh out the characters in the second book and I am thoroughly enjoying the read. This is paranormal with a twist and an honest look at Witchcraft today with a little more magic thrown in for good measure (as well as a little romance starting up). The characters have become much more endearing and I find I can't wait to get the next installment of this series.

The narrator really grows on you and I was pleased to see that she continues with the entire series so far. She does the voices just right for the story and makes the read much more enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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My new favorite listen!

What made the experience of listening to A Cast-Off Coven the most enjoyable?

The characters and the unique story line! I adore this cast of characters and the way magic and vintage clothing intermingle. What a hoot! It's a delicious listen.

What other book might you compare A Cast-Off Coven to and why?

Anything by Charlaine Harris - it has that "take you through my every-day" charm that Ms. Harris' books have that's soothing and invigorating. Of course there's the accidental sleuthing as well!

What three words best describe Xe Sands’s performance?

Consistent, gentle, unique

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I would not be the person writing this tag, because this is what it would be: "Who knew a witchy wardrobe could be so dangerous?"

Any additional comments?

I adore this series. The narrator is definitely an acquired taste. She tends to trail off as she speaks, and everyone has the same lazy, quiet tonality, which I sometimes find irritating, but as I've gotten used to her, I've really admired the consistency of her characterizations. Fun fun!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved Xe Sand's narration

A Cast-Off Coven is the second book in the Witchcraft Mysteries, and sees Lily back in the middle of a murder. Lily owns Aunt Cora's closet, and gets a call to look at some vintage clothes found in a closet at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts. What Lily finds is more than just vintage clothes: a murder of a wealthy man and a demon!

I listened to the first book in this series (Secondhand Spirits) in audio version and I really enjoyed the narration from Xe Sands (particularly of Oscar, the familiar) so I decided to listen to the second book on audio as well.

I liked that this book followed closely after the first, and told more of Max's back story. So the reader finds out what he has against magic, and also more of Aiden's story as well.

The mystery kept me on toes, constantly trying to guess who the murderer was. I loved the backdrop of the San Francisco School of Fine Arts with its bell tower ghost, as it set a very creepy scene, which suited the book perfectly. Of course the stand out character was the familiar, Oscar, who is a goblin that changes himself into a pot belly pig. Oh Oscar, you are wonderful!!

I'm really glad that there is lots more books in this series to enjoy, and I definitely will check out the audio versions, because I love Xe Sands narration.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant Fun!

What made the experience of listening to A Cast-Off Coven the most enjoyable?

The story line continues to progress, keeps you captivated and interested.

What other book might you compare A Cast-Off Coven to and why?

Juliet Blackwell has a very unique writing style. I have listened and read other books of the same genre, none compare to the way she coveys the story line. I am a big fan of the writing.

Which character – as performed by Xe Sands – was your favorite?

Oscar. You can really see Oscar in his different forms.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Great vintage clothes and witchy things, what more could a girl want.

Any additional comments?

Movies from the series would be wonderful.

5 people found this helpful