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Witchcraft Mysteries, Book 1
By Juliet Blackwell

Signet July, 2009 ($6.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-451-22745-4

Reviewed by Katherine Petersen

Lily Ivory, a natural witch, has traveled the globe since an incident when she was 17 chased her from her West Texas hometown. Plagued by taunts and persecuted, Lily has fled from place to place, fearing someone will find out she's a witch until a parrot in Hong Kong tells her to go to San Francisco. With an expertise in vintage fashion and a talent for helping customers to find the best clothing for them, Lily opens Aunt Cora's Closet in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, and for the first time ever, thinks she might actually settle down.

But nothing comes easy. Slowly making friends with Bronwyn and Maya, who work with her at Aunt Cora's, she still fears what people will think if they know about her abilities. But the sexy male witch Aidan Rhodes already knows who she is and presents her with the housewarming gift of a familiar, a goblin who can transform into a pot-bellied pig named Oscar. Lily never planned on being an investigator, but the death of a client and the disappearance of children peak her curiosity and she vows to get to the bottom of it.

Lily has her hands full with Max Carmichael, a reporter and myth buster who might end up as a love interest, Aidan, Llorona (a spirit who kidnaps children), and coming to terms with who she is. As powerful as she is though, Lily might be out of her depth against the powerful spirit.

Juliet Blackwell has written a terrific cozy mystery with paranormal elements which is the strong beginning to this series. Fully developed characters, snappy dialogue and extensive research are just a few of Blackwell's talents. Living in the Bay Area, I can attest to her ability to bring San Francisco to life and can just imagine the rest of her material is authentic. There are a lot of paranormal books on the market, but Blackwell's is one of the best. I can't wait for book two, A CAST-OFF COVEN. Fans of Shirley Damsgaard and Madelyn Alt will devour this one.

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