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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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    21
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    9

Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • deirdra
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 11-29-12

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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 12-03-13

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Pretty Darn Good Who-Dun-It

Read/Listened for Fun (Kindle/Audible)
Tracking Books Read Review (short)
Overall Rating: 4.25
Story Rating: 4.50
Character Rating: 4.00

Audio Rating: 4.50 (not part of the overall rating)

First Thought when Finished: A Cast-Off Coven was a wonderful listen with a pretty darn good who-dun-it!

Overall Thoughts: Lily is a unique leading character. I don't always like her but I always love her gumption. She grew a LOT in A Cast-Off Coven and learned a little bit more about herself in the process. I am hoping part of the process means shucking off her current love interest but that remains to be seen. I LOVED the mystery in A Cast-Off Coven. The school was the perfect setting for this one because it involved Lily's two shop gals (my favorite characters) more! My favorite parts in the first two books all involved the side characters and I hope they play a bigger role in the future books! There was a little bit of everything involved in this case: fun, twists, turns, and a bit of old-fashioned sleuthing. I love that Lily's witch powers are just part of how she figures things out! She really does have a great head on her shoulders.

Audio Thoughts:

Narrated By Xe Sands / Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins


Xe rocks the narration for this series. She plays Lily in a way that totally makes her personality shine. She has really good male voices and her pacing is outstanding. I totally recommend these on audio!

Final Thoughts: I already got the rest of the series on audio and now I need to squeeze them in!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • JEAN
  • nederland, TX, United States
  • 05-08-13

love the series

worth the time and money liked th 1st one better but 2nd one was good. it's great easy to listen to and builds without having to look back. ready for 3.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • Bartonville, TX
  • 06-28-13

Kindly Witch

Three and a half stars.  I think maybe I would have enjoyed this book more if I had listened to the first book.   It was kind of like Harry Potter meets The Good Witch, (a series on Lifetime).  

A light, good enough listen, it seemed to drag a bit through the middle but still enjoyable enough. 

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shanley
  • Windsor, CA, United States
  • 03-08-13

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unexpected treasure

Unexpected treasure I truly enjoyed. I can't wait for the next one in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful