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Review: Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell (#1 Witchcraft Mystery series)

Review: Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell (#1 Witchcraft Mystery series)Author: Juliet Blackwell
Title: Secondhand Spirits
Series: Witchcraft Mystery #1
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 336
Release Date: 2009-07-07
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
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?
Format: Paperback
Also by this author: If Walls Could Talk
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Secondhand Spirits (2009) is the first book in the Witchcraft Mystery series by Juliet Blackwell.

The main character Lily Ivory is a witch who tries to get a missing child back from the demon La Llarona. Although that seems to be the main goal of the story, the mystery revolves around the child’s neighbor, Mrs. Potts.

Why couldn’t Lily’s magic protect her from being killed? Who is practicing voodoo in Mrs. Potts’ house? Who stole Mrs. Potts’ wedding dresses? Why did Mrs. Potts, who Lily only met one time, leave her entire estate to Lily?

There’s a lot to like about Secondhand Spirits.

1) Blackwell does a good job of casting suspicion on multiple characters. I was truly surprised at the end.
2) Lily has two romantic interests that keep it interesting.
3) She has a familiar that shifts into a potbelly pig. I’m a sucker for cute animals in stories.
4) The story was well-researched. Blackwell is very detailed about what Lily does to cast her spells.

Unfortunately, the level of detail is also a downfall in my opinion. I found myself going, “Blah, blah, blah” in my head during the parts that were just too much information I didn’t care about.

Since Lily owns a vintage clothing store, the book had a lot of descriptions of articles of clothing. That’s boring to me, but someone else might be interested in the details. I also got ADHD when Blackwell went on for too long about the setting. As long as I know where and when the character is, I don’t care about the architecture or furnishings.

Overall, though, I enjoyed Secondhand Spirits.

I’ll read the next one in the series when I get a chance. I’d recommend it to someone looking for a cozy mystery with a lot of supernatural elements and a tiny bit of romance.


Jen Schaper
I am a mom of three kids, a wife, and a wannabe author. For Books That Hook, I review books, create features and discussions, design the website, and do all the administrative stuff.

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