Juliet Blackwell A Cast Off Coven Narrator Xe Sands

Witchcraft Mysteries, Book 2
Author: Juliet Blackwell 
Narrator: Xe Sands
Publisher: Tantor Media
8 hours 35 minutes

Xe Sands narrator of Juliet Blackwell's A Cast Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell
Xe Sands 

Juliet Blackwell

Xe Sands, is one of the most versatile narrators with her one woman cast of characters. Sands, never fails to cause a sharp inhalation of breath when you are taken by surprise at one of her stunning characterizations. I especially adore her renditions of children's voices, which always sound exactly like children. Her reading is smooth, transitions are great, and she always manages to move the story along at a steady unfaltering pace. Her own natural voice is charming, soft, feminine and very endearing which makes listening to her narrations a joy to the ears, ear candy to sooth the soul. Sands is rapidly soaring to the top of the charts as a popular and talented narrator. Lots of wow factor going on with this one. Be sure and catch any of her audiobooks.

In a Cast Off Coven, Lily is asked to look into strange goings on at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts. Lily is not about to turn down a trunk of Victorian clothes in exchange for her ghost busting services. Lily swears she doesn't do ghost, but strangely enough her adorable pig Oscar, has unplumbed depths. Oscar has to be my favorite character in this series. Oscar is Lily's familiar, and a familiar is de rigeur for any self respecting witch. In his natural form he is a grotesque looking creature, and completely unacceptable to Lily. So he takes the form of a pet pig. Like any pig, Oscar likes to eat and his main focus throughout the series is food. Aside from his gloutney, and like a good familiar, Oscar comes through for Lily when she's in a real pinch. Sands does a superior, Oscar, giving him more personality than perhaps the author had intended. That is true talent, to pull out a secondary character, and make them the star of the book.

During her investigation Lily finds Jerry Becker's body and is flooded with feelings that someone at the school is dabbling in the black arts and calling up demons. Lily pursues the demonic presence and leaves the solving of Becker's murder to the police. Talk of a previous suicide brings up questions of whether a ghost pushed Becker down the stairs or made him also commit suicide only add to the confusion. Horrible noises are heard echoing in the bell tower sending terror tingling down spines of anyone who hears it. Lily is undaunted and unwaveringly continues her investigations.

Lily doesn't have a good rapport with men and few are very supportive of her. Her romantic interest just are not very romantic at all. They all fail as potential lovers or partners. I would like to see Lily eventually meet a more personable man, that is more caring and supportive. A man that is helpful and she can talk to about her witchy ways. Gee whiz, the guy doesn't even have to be tall, dark, and handsome, but just a nice guy that really cares about Lily. Maybe a nice warlock will show up. Aside from the sad supply of male companionship, the other main characters are well developed and personable.

So for a fun read/listen, I highly recommend this series for its fun factor, interesting cast of characters, and a plot that moves along at a steady pace. The San Francisco location is very informative and accurate, and having been raised in that city it was fun reading/listening to well chosen details of its history. I also enjoy the parts of the story that involve Lily's store, Cora's Closet, where she sells previously loved clothes, her ability to connect with the spirit of the original owners is icing on the cake. I wish there were more of that in the books. I did enjoy the first in the series, Secondhand Spirits much more than, In A Cast Off Coven.  

A Cast Off Coven author Juliet Blackwell

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