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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review - Tarnished and Torn

I have been a fan of this series since its debut.  Read my reviews of the prior books:  #1 Secondhand Spirits (click here), #2 Cast Off Coven (click here),  #3 Hexes and Hemlines (click here), and #4 In a Witch's Wardrobe (click here).  I also interviewed the author twice: interview #2 (click here), and interview #1 (click here).  This time Lily is in the middle of a gem fair when a witch is killed. 

Author: Juliet Blackwell

Copyright: July 2013 (Signet) 336 pgs

Series: 5th in Witchcraft Mysteries

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy

Main Characters: Lily Ivory, powerful natural witch and owner of vintage clothing store

Setting: Current day San Francisco

Obtained Through:
Publisher for an honest review

Lily Ivory goes to a Antique Jewelry Fair one morning looking for some baubles to sell in her vintage clothing store.  She meets Griselda, who sells her a box of "junk" and is shortly found dead.  What has Lily bothered is how she was killed.  Griselda died from an ancient method of interrogating witches, "pressing" between boards adding weight gradually, right there at the fair. Now Lily has two men following her.  Did Griselda slip her something that the others and willing to kill to get their hands on?  Then there is Lily's estranged father who seems involved.  Once again, there is a powerful paranormal enemy to fight, an Aztec fire demon, and Lily needs to get her game on.  While this can be read as a stand alone, knowing the running storyline will enhance the experience.

Lily Ivory is trying to adjust to having friends, and a business, and a broken heart. She is dealing with her sorrows by focusing on the clothing store rather than running, which is progress for Lily.  Oscar is still the crazy comic relief Goblin-Gargoyle mix.  Aidan's character is revealed a bit more, showing he may be more trustworthy than he lets on.  Lily's father, Declan, makes a few cameo appearances, but not enough to really deal with that subject. Perhaps more in following books will settle the remaining questions there.  Sailor does finally make an appearance and you won't want to miss the few pages he does get, because they are important to the storyline.  Inspector Carlos Romaro is becoming a favorite that I hope gets more attention as the series continues.

I always enjoy the San Francisco setting. It is obvious the author knows the city and its very heartbeat well as it flavors the story.  The plot and enemy are gradually revealed, which keeps the tension high.  The pacing of the story was maintained through out with the main storyline and the continuing subplots as well as danger to her friend Maya.  The climax seemed a bit scaled back and not as heart-pounding as previous books, although still clever and good. The wrap-up seemed a little rushed and some unanswered questions with Declan and Sailor were left hanging. 

Another solid entry in the Witchcraft series, advancing the personal themes while tackling a murder mystery.  This series never disappoints and draws the reader into Lily's life instantly.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

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