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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review - A Vision in Velvet

This is another series I have been a fan of 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), #4 In a Witch's Wardrobe (click here), and #5 Tarnished and Torn (click here).  I also interviewed the author twice: interview #2 (click here), and interview #1 (click here).  Lily finds herself in the middle of mayhem yet again, she is gifted that way.

Author: Juliet Blackwell

Copyright: July 2014 (NAL) 336 pgs

Series: 6th in Witchcraft Mystery series

Sensuality: kissing

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 honest review

Lily buys an ancient trunk full of decaying old clothes from Sebastian Crowley. Not because she can sell any of it, but because of the gold velvet cape at the bottom that is calling to her.  Later, when she tries on the cape, she gets a vivid vision of an old witch trial. And when Sebastian, the junk dealer who sold her the cape, is killed, Lily suspects something wicked this way comes.

Then Lily’s familiar, Oscar the potbellied pig, disappears when visiting the tree in the park where Sebastian was found dead.  Lily is frantic to figure out why the killer is and get Oscar back safely.  She will take some big chances, even risk Aidan's wrath to get Oscar back.

Lily is growing from the loner she once was to realizing she needs people in her life. Oscar's disappearance helps her to understand how her life has changed and won't just let go.  Graciela, her grandmother, gets to play a role in this story.  Oscar, Lily's Goblin-Gargoyle mix familar shows how much he really cares for her.  Sailor is back and I love the developments between Lily and him.  Bartholmew Woolsey is the old man who originally owned the trunk and clothes. He begs Lily to break a curse placed on his family from several generations back.  The California Academy of Sciences gives several scientists in minor roles that are an interesting touch.  Will Chambers, the professor of religious studies, is a friend of old Bart who provides some history to the puzzle for Lily.

San Francisco is always a delight in this series, but we get the addition of Golden Gate Park this time around.  I love the descriptions of the city and neighborhoods.  The plot was engrossing and pulled me right in. The pacing kept my interest from the beginning and didn't let go until the last page.  The climatic showdown had Lily giving it her all and I don't know how Ms. Blackwell can follow this up.  The wrap-up gave a tantalizing hint of a connection between Lily and an ancient witch.

Ms. Blackwell has written another gripping and delightful story, sheer entertainment with all the ingredients: murder, danger, high stakes, love, plenty of suspects, tight-rope walk with Aidan, a tense showdown, and of course, crazy Oscar.  But did Lily pass her GED exam?

Ratings: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

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