Author: Juliet Blackwell
Secondhand Spirits. I enjoyed A Cast-Off Coven as much as I did the first book in the A Witchcraft Mystery series.
While this book did not leave me filled with adrenaline rush and grinning from ear-to-ear (has that ever happened to you after reading a particularly good book? I know I have!), or having that just-finished-reading-on-to-the-sequel feeling, I do feel mellow after reading the book, and know that I will pick up the next book, Hexes and Hemlines.
Okay, enough dilly-dallying! Here’s the brief plot…
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.
I have to admit, I did not really get psyched with the plot outline. But I pushed ahead with reading this because I did enjoy the prequel and to fulfill my goal of reading Crone status in the 2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge. I have no regrets about reading it, though, as I still enjoyed the book.
The series’ loveable characters are back in full force, and Lily's friends are gradually becoming more accepting of powers beyond our imagination (read my review of Secondhand Spirits for a description of the characters). Except for Max, of course. He’s still the same non-believer that he was in the first book, even with so many evidence already staring at him in the face. I did not like that Lily had to keep herself from showing her true colors to Max, from showing that she’s a really powerful witch. Again, I preferred Aidan, but I’m becoming more wary of him now because of the conversation between Graciela and Lily. I can’t wait to know more about Aidan’s past and background!
This time, I was a wee bit confused due to the numerous men introduced in Lily’s life. A love triangle is confusing enough, but add in some other interesting men…well, I’m not sure I enjoyed that part. Or maybe I’m just really wanting her to end up with Aidan. I was thinking, while reading, how romantic it would be if Aidan’s this bad boy type of witch who turns into a good guy because he fell in love with Lily. Sigh <3
Bronwyn is proving to be a real pal, as is Maya despite her religious upbringing. I am also becoming more fond of Oscar! While he does not play such a major role right now, I’m hoping he’ll play a bigger part in the next books, and that his story will also be revealed. I am so glad this is a series!
One other thing I liked about A Cast-Off Coven is that it felt more of a mystery/detective book than Secondhand Spirits. I kept guessing whodunit, and I truly did not realize who the culprit was until the end. Of course I had my suspicions, but I just didn’t think it would be... - no spoilers :D.
Again, I appreciate the research that Juliet Blackwell has put into this book, indicating at the end of her book that the spells used were based on interviews with practicing witches. Cool, huh?
As with the first book, I am not so appreciative of the cover of A Cast-Off Coven. But I checked out the third and fourth books and they look great! One thing that I do like about this cover is that it shows Oscar, but I wish it shows him in his original form, instead of as a pig, so I can visualize him as I read the book.
A Cast-Off Coven is another recommendable story for those looking for books about witches, with a mystery/detective plot. If you’re interested in the series, it’s better to start with Secondhand Spirits to really know the characters well, and as the books are told in a chronological manner.