Monday, September 12, 2016

Have You Heard?

Today, Sandie Herron reviews the first audiobook in Juliet Blackwell's Witchcraft series, Secondhand Spirits. Spirits
A Witchcraft Mystery #1
Written by Juliet Blackwell, Narrated by Xe Sands as am
Unabridged Audiobook, Listening Length: 8 hours and 15 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio Release Date: March 8, 2012

When I finished reading Juliet Blackwell's first Witchcraft series book SECONDHAND SPIRITS, I knew I had found a new author to love.  I started with this book because I wanted to get to know Lily Ivory from the beginning, although I suspect it wasn't really necessary.

Lily is just starting a new phase of her life by moving to San Francisco, my favorite city. Lily runs a vintage clothing store. It comes in handy, then, that her magical powers include being able to read the vibrations from various textiles. She has quite a ritual around preparing the clothes for sale. She must do the obvious cleaning and mending, and then she'll remove any bad vibrations. It makes shopping at Aunt Cora's Closet a pleasant experience with all those bad spirits and vibrations gone.

Life is never dull in the neighborhood of Haight Ashbury. Lily is invited to dinner near her shop by an older woman who lives in a huge, deteriorating, old home. She has a basement full of lovely vintage clothing that she wants to sell to Lily. She also has clothing in the attic, including two wedding gowns. The ladies are joined by the older woman's lawyer for a relatively pleasant evening, but Lily learns that a particularly nasty spirit snatched one of the older woman's daughters many years ago. Unfortunately, the next day reveals the older woman dead, lying in a pentagram drawn in blood on the attic floor. Down the street a young girl is snatched from her doorstep, and Lily and her familiar--a pot-bellied pig named Oscar for his human interactive persona--start work on a plan to find her.

I found Juliet Blackwell's storytelling quite enjoyable. I listened to the audio version, and the narration by Xe Sands really adds a dimension to the entire book. I especially enjoyed how she portrayed Oscar, the familiar given to Lily by a more powerful witch. Oscar is a very old goblin/gargoyle in his normal state, but when Lily takes him out with her, he changes to a miniature pot-bellied pig. The narrator does not overdo the variations in voices, from Oscar to Lily to her friends to the nasty witch.

The ending requires Lily to ask for help, a very difficult thing for her to do. We learn things about witches I never knew, and they save the day, because it's the right thing to do.


Kay said...

Oh this one sounds delightful! I love the idea of a goblin/gargoyle who turns into a pig. And I do listen to a lot of audio. Xe Sands is a narrator I've heard before, but can't remember exactly what book she was narrating. Anyway, I'll watch for this one. Thanks!

Lesa said...

I love Oscar, Kay. He's a great character, and he gets better as the series goes on. I think you'll like him.

Sandie Herron said...

Good morning ladies. I'm delighted to hear you found the review helpful. Oscar is truly a wonderful character. There is an e-book that Juliet Blackwell published that combines her witchcraft series and her renovation series via Oscar. It is number 4.5 in the order of things. I can't wait to read that myself! Oscar is hundreds of years old, as well, so he's a fascinating character. There will be more about him...