Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Title:        Secondhand Spirits [A Witchcraft Mystery book 1]
Author:     Juliet Blackwell
Rating:     ★★★★
This is my first book review under the 2013 Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge. Today, I took out a book from my humongous TBR pile, Secondhand Spirits, by Juliet Blackwell. I have had this on my shelf for a while, but I never got around to reading it because…well the cover wasn’t too enticing for me. Now that I finished it, however, I’m glad I did pick it up. It was a good starter for the series and definitely piqued my curiosity enough to read the second book (and perhaps the whole series if the second one is even better!).

The plot summary is as follows:

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

The description of the main characters are a bit vague. Lily Ivory’s powers are slowly revealed to be slightly different from the other witches. She apparently has a unique bloodline that enables her to use her own self as a blood sacrifice for certain spells. The reader is also teased parcel by parcel about her family dynamics, enough to make you want for more.

One of the leading men in the story, Max Carmichael, is not endearing for me. I am more pro-Aidan! I mean, if Max is a skeptic, then their relationship seems doomed for me. Sure, he’s hot and seems to be a gentleman, but there’s really not much said about how he is as a person. Honestly, I liked the skeptic Tomas more. He kept saving Lily’s ass (although to be fair Max did save her that one time). But at least Tomas came around and became accepting of witchcraft, whereas Max did not, even up to the end. I’m really not feeling Max. Plus, there’s that other-party angle, which spells trouble…

Aidan Rhodes is this super powerful witch – not warlock. When I think of a character to play Aidan Rhodes in case the book becomes a movie, it would be Simon Baker as he is as Patrick Jane in The Mentalist. Self-assured, powerful, with that smirking smile, and totally attractive. I would love to see how he and Lily would balance each other out – with Lily so afraid and powerful and Aidan, so confident and powerful as well. But then again, there’s that whole being friends with Lily’s dad issue, which is indicated to us, by Lily, that it is a bad thing.

Other characters liven up the book, such as Tomas (whom I already mentioned), the two cops – who seem to take on the bad cop/good cop cliché, and of course, Oscar! Oscar is a gift from Aidan, but what he is, I really can’t tell you. He’s a cross between a living gargoyle that can transform into…different animals. But he sounds so loveable, I kind of wish I had one like him.

I truly enjoyed the book. However, I do wish more information about her was revealed, to further set the down and invite you to get to know her more. I wanted to know what her dad truly is, or what she, herself, truly is, and how and why other witches are already familiar with her, even afraid. Moreover, the pacing was a bit slow for me. It was slightly wordy, and there were some pages when my eyes would just glaze over because of the numerous descriptions.

But one thing I truly admired about this book is the details on the spells and witchcraft practices! It seems well-researched. Also, Juliet did give thanks to some people whom she asked for help with the witchy details. I like that she did so, because part of the pleasure I derive from reading are the new things I learn while being entertained.

I give this four stars, and recommend to all looking for a witchy fiction, without the overtly sexual tones, and for a light mystery book. I’m now reading the second book, A Cast-Off Coven, and so far I’m liking it as well.

Enjoy reading! Ciao! Smile