Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Secondhand Spirits (A Witchcraft Mystery #1)

Author:  Juliet Blackwell
Genre:  Mystery, Paranormal

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780451227454
Berkley Obsidian
336 Pages
$7.99; $7.99 Amazon
May 22, 2009




Lily Ivory is not your average witch.  Her spell-casting powers tend to draw mischievous spirits while keeping normal humans at a distance.  But now her vintage store could give her a chance to make friends in San Francisco.

Lily 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 "myth buster" Max Carmichael and powerful witch Aidan Rhodes.  Will Lily's witchy ways be forced out of the closet?

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Lily Ivory is a witch who really doesn't want to embrace her "witchy" side.  She wants to live among the people in San Francisco, far from her Texas upbringing (doesn't sound much like a Texan to me, whom tend to be proud they are from the Lone Star State, and probably wouldn't be caught dead by someone mistaking them for a Californian, but I digress...)

Anyway, she's minding her own business when an attractive man enters the store and announces he has something for her.  He tells her that he's a male witch named Aidan (hating the term warlock), and shows her a small creature that resembles something between a troll and a gargoyle, and he tells her that it's her new familiar.  While she protests and tells him to take it back, that she doesn't want it, especially since Aidan also tells her that he knows her father - which to her is bad news of the first degree.

When it appears she's stuck with the thing who transforms himself into a pot-bellied pig, she named it Oscar.  Then her part-time employee Maya takes her to see a woman who has tons of vintage clothing she's willing to part with.

Once meeting Mrs. Potts, Lily likes her, but discovers that the woman had a daughter who died young, and when Lily handles a dress it is filled with extreme grief.  Later seeing Mrs. Potts' photo while she's wearing the dress, she realizes it must have been worn the day her daughter was taken from her.

But before she leaves the property, she hears an unearthly wail and a child's scream; yet only she and Mrs. Potts heard the wail, yet the three women heard the scream.  When she and Maya go to investigate, they find that the little girl who was visiting with Mrs. Potts when they arrived has been taken by a child snatcher.  It is the murmured words of "La llorona" that makes her understand where the child has gone.  But will Lily be able to retrieve her before she is lost forever?...

This is the first book in a series, written several years ago, but I haven't had the chance to explore it until now...and it wasn't a huge loss.  While I understand that in paranormal books you need to suspend belief, because they don't follow the rule 'if it doesn't happen in real life, it shouldn't happen in a book,' this one, I felt, was over the top.

First, Lily is a witch but tries to hide it from everyone, and would instead rather feel sorry for herself...repeatedly.  She seems to hate the fact that she's not 'normal' but can't help using her powers.  And, of course, she's extremely powerful.  So why doesn't she already have a familiar?  Because, you know, witches aren't 'given' familiars, they choose their own, one they can count on as their allies and will do their bidding, but apparently she didn't know this and just accepted Oscar right away.  This alone seems off the wall to me, and I couldn't take the rest of the story seriously.

The story didn't seem to hold my interest; and it was extremely dark and melancholy.  No humor or fun in the book, nothing to recommend it to anyone else.  In fact, I have to admit that I pretty much skimmed a lot of it and then passed on to the truly unbelievable ending.  I could have hurt myself I was rolling my eyes so much.  Sorry, but I will pass on the rest of this series.

https://www.amazon.com/Secondhand-Spirits-Witchcraft-Juliet-Blackwell/dp/045122745X/ref

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2685219929

More on Juliet Blackwell's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/juliet-blackwell/

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