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Tarnished and Torn: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell: Review/Giveaway


FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andCynthia Chow,
andFantasy & Fangs,
andMysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of Tarnished and Town at the end of this post.

As the owner of the San Francisco vintage clothing store Aunt Cora’s Closet, attending the Cow Palace Gem Faire was akin to being a kid in a candy store for Lily Ivory. Beautiful, antique jewelry and decorative ornaments, all at wholesale prices! Who could ask for more? However, her blooming witch senses go abuzz when she encounters Griselda’s Antique Jewelry and Gem booth, where the gypsy-like Griselda offers an athame ceremonial knife along with her bargain opals and gems. Despite her sense that something is off around Griselda, Lily can’t pass up a good deal and it’s just in the nick of time as a distinctly mystical fire disrupts the exhibit. During the aftermath of the ensuing chaos, she and security discover Griselda’s body pressed to death in the usually fatal method used to force a confession from suspected witches during the Salem witch hunts.

Having been shunned as a child, sent to live with her witch grandmother by her own mother and forced to leave her home in Texas, Lily definitely fears that Griselda’s attack may be only the beginning of another witch hunt. As a result, while Lily cooperates with the mostly witch-friendly SFPD Homicide Inspector, Carlos Romero, she also seeks guidance from her psychic friend, Hans Wilhelm Brach in Germany, in addition to Aiden Rhodes, the sexy local witch godfather with whom Lily is feuding.

Far more disconcerting is the news that her father was seen at the Gem Faire and may be implicated in Griselda’s death. Having abandoned Lily at her birth and again after a devastating confrontation when she tracked him down fifteen years previously at the age of seventeen, Lily has serious trust issues and is even more protective of the friends she has made in her adopted town. Her good friend and employee, Maya, has recently become enamored with fire dancing and its instructor. Guru Gene from Jersey has a suspiciously supernatural hold over his followers. So Lily definitely hands her hands full as she must contend with the murder of a witch, a break-in at her store, a rush order for quincenera dresses, the return of her estranged father, two inept stalkers, a creepy cult lead and a missing Aztec ring, all without the aid of Sailor, her one-time maybe-a-boyfriend psychic boyfriend. What she does have is the assistance of her stubborn and gluttonous familiar Oscar, a goblin/gargoyle who takes the Cowan-friendly form of a Vietnamese potbellied pig.

The fifth in the Witchcraft Mystery series continues to build on creating a very strong mythology around Lily and her continually growing powers as a witch. Blackwell incorporates an impressive amount of fascinating Aztec lore and builds a very believable world where different myths collide and yet still coexist. Lily herself has grown into a very sympathetic character whose background and persecution for being different has left her wary and distrustful, but also still very vulnerable to her need to develop bonds with her family.

Although Aiden and Sailor are unfortunately largely absent this allows for more focus on Lily, as she must rely on her own wits to discover why Griselda was murdered and whether this portends the further hunting of witches. Lily does still find the time to provide the perfect dresses for a fifteen year-old’s extravagant birthday celebration as well as hilariously terrify a pair of thieves with a witchy performance. The social insecurity of an extraordinarily powerful witch is very craftily explored in this enjoyable and exciting paranormal mystery that features plenty of romance, fashion, thrills, and humor.

To enter to win a copy of Tarnished and Torn, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Torn,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 3, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories, including more fashion related mystery reviews & giveaways in this very issue, in our mystery section.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bn100 July 27, 2013 at 3:06pm

Interesting sounding series


2 Lori July 28, 2013 at 9:35am

Another fashion mystery that sounds great!


3 Lynn Demsky July 31, 2013 at 10:11am

All these great choices of books is really adding to my “to do” reading list! And, I always love the chance to try new authors (at least me to me) out — then I get further behind because if I like them I have to get all their books and read them also! Thanks for wonderful opportunity!


4 Christina July 31, 2013 at 2:11pm

I would love to win this book. I have read this author’s books and they are fabulous


5 Arianna
Twitter: @ariannagrainey
July 31, 2013 at 11:32pm

Love this series. Juliet is such a sweetheart too!


6 Lynn Brown
Twitter: @Meche64
July 31, 2013 at 11:59pm

I love this series; it’s fun and just a little bit mysterious. The characters are just eccentric enough to be helpful and not plot breakers. Waiting for the rest of Oscar’s story.


7 Debbie August 1, 2013 at 2:38am

WOW! That sounds like some kinda action filled plot.


8 Rachel Mustain August 1, 2013 at 2:40am

I love both series under this pseudonym! I can’t wait to read this latest entry.


9 Linda
Twitter: @lnchudej
August 1, 2013 at 5:33am

“Tarnished and Torn” sounds like it has a great on-going plot that is unique to the genre. I’m looking forward to reading it.


10 Susie R August 1, 2013 at 2:07pm

I love Lily and the rest of the magical beings from the Haight. Can’t wait to see what happens between her and Sailor!


11 Elizabeth Schroedle August 1, 2013 at 3:44pm

I will need a whole room for my To Be Read pile.


12 kate217 August 3, 2013 at 8:45am

I love this series. I have been eagerly awaiting the next book.


13 SC Stickley
Twitter: @yelphets
August 3, 2013 at 9:03am

I love this series and can’t wait to read Torn.


14 Kathy Mondragon August 3, 2013 at 9:16am

Love, love, love this series!! I have read them all except this one, so looking forward to reading this one also!


15 Brenda Benson August 3, 2013 at 9:52am

It is a great series and she has others as well, love them all


16 Rita Wray August 3, 2013 at 10:21am

I’m looking forward to reading it.


Twitter: @fraserkr
August 3, 2013 at 10:30am

I adore this series. Great review!


18 Miranda August 3, 2013 at 10:30am

I love this series and thought it was over. I can’t wait to read the new book!


19 Linda R. August 3, 2013 at 11:09am

Definitely adding series to my TBR list! Thanks for the great review and giveaway chance! Appreciate both.


20 Snowy August 5, 2013 at 9:49am

Who won? I’m dying here! 😀


21 Lorie
Twitter: @mysteryrat
August 5, 2013 at 1:45pm

We have a winner and they have been notified! Thanks all please keep coming back
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher


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