Next SFF Author: Algernon Blackwood
Previous SFF Author: Levi Black

SFF Author: Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell is the pseudonym of mystery author Hailey Lind who, together with her sister, wrote the Art Lover’s Mystery series. The first in that series, Feint of Art, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. She also writes the Haunted Home Renovation mystery series. Juliet’s lifelong interest in the paranormal world was triggered when her favorite aunt visited and read her fortune — with startling results. As an anthropologist, the author studied systems of spirituality, magic, and health across cultures and throughout history. She currently resides in a happily haunted house in Oakland, California. Learn more at Juliet Blackwell’s website.


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Secondhand Spirits: A cozy mystery with a magical twist

Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell

Secondhand Spirits (2009) is the first in the WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES series by Juliet Blackwell. The series centers on Lily Ivory, a natural witch who has traveled the world looking for a place to belong, and finds it in the eccentric Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco. She owns a vintage clothing shop, and her magical abilities help her in her business by allowing her to sense something of the history of a garment and thereby match it with the right customer.


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A Cast-Off Coven: Try this series on audio

A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

A Cast-Off Coven is the second book in Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series. In the first book, Secondhand Spirits, we met Lily Ivory, a witch who recently moved to San Francisco after being run out of her hometown in Texas (we don’t know why yet). She has an affinity for old clothes — she can feel the previous owner’s past emotions in them — so she opened a vintage clothing store which is becoming successful because she has a talent for pairing her customers with the exactly the right items.


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Hexes and Hemlines: Comfy cozy

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory has only been in San Francisco for a couple of months, but she’s starting to feel like it’s home. She’s made friends with some fellow shopkeepers on Haight Street, a few local journalists, a cute cop who respects her paranormal talents, and some other quirky folks. Lily’s vintage clothing business has taken off, too, because she’s got a knack for choosing just the right clothes for each of her customers.

At the beginning of Hexes and Hemlines,


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In a Witch’s Wardrobe: Great series for audio

In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell

I’m really enjoying Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series on audio! These are short paranormal mysteries that have appealing characters, are light on blood and violence, feature (but don’t focus too much on) romantic relationships, include a bit of humor, and have a great setting (a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco). Each mystery is self-contained but there’s an overarching plot that advances with each book (so you want to start with the first book, Secondhand Spirits).


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Tarnished and Torn: Another solid entry in this pleasant series

Tarnished and Torn by Juliet Blackwell

Tarnished and Torn is the fifth book in Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES series. If you haven’t read any of the books yet, I’d recommend that you start back at book one, Second Hand Spirits. This is a pleasant cozy mystery series that isn’t going to stun you with brilliant ideas or delight you with its literary finesse, but it consistently does what it sets out to do — it entertains. Its strength is the cast of characters who are likeable right from the start and who grow on the reader as,


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A Vision in Velvet: This series hasn’t let me down

A Vision in Velvet by Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES hasn’t let me down. This is a solid series with a fun setting and great characters. Tantor Audio’s versions read by Xe Sands are terrific and I’m certain that her narration adds a lot to my enjoyment. Honestly, I’ve got a bit of a voice crush on her. I wouldn’t think of reading these books any other way.

In A Vision in Velvet, the sixth installment, Lily’s vintage clothing store is thriving,


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Spellcasting in Silk: Another great audio installment

Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell

Think of Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series as paranormal cozy mysteries. Each stands alone and deals with a relatively non-gory murder committed by a seemingly upstanding member of the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury community where Lily Ivory owns a vintage clothing shop. Being a witch, Lily has some amateur detective skills that Carlos Romero, the handsome local homicide detective, finds helpful. In each installment, Lily, who can be a little nosey (as any amateur detective is), helps solve the case. As the series advances, new characters are added,


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A Toxic Trousseau: Every summer I look forward to visiting Lily in San Francisco

A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell

Every summer I look forward to spending a few days in San Francisco with Lily Ivory, her employees at her vintage clothing shop, her gluttonous familiar Oscar, her sexy boyfriend Sailor, and various other inhabitants of the Haight district where Lily works and lives. These are charming folks who, since they’re set in a paranormal cozy mystery series, tend to bumble into a crime scene every few weeks.

This time, Lily goes to visit a woman who owns a competing vintage clothing shop and who has filed suit against Lily for something Oscar did.


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A Magical Match: Gives us just what we expect (and want)

A Magical Match by Juliet Blackwell

In A Magical Match, the ninth book in Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES, vintage clothing store owner Lily Ivory is preparing for her wedding, but something is wrong with her groom. He’s been acting strangely, and then he is accused of a murder. Witnesses saw him at the scene, and it looks like an open and shut case, until Lily realizes there may be a magical explanation. Can she discover the truth and get her fiancé out of jail before the wedding?


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Bewitched and Betrothed: Another fun few days with Lily

Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell

Anyone who’s been following Lily Ivory’s adventures as a witchy vintage dress shop owner who solves murders as a hobby has been looking forward to the tenth installment: Bewitched and Betrothed (2019).

As the title suggests, Lily is preparing for her wedding. The handfasting will be in a few days and Lily’s grandmother and her coven, as well as Lily’s mother, are in town. Of course, as readers have come to expect, nothing ever goes smoothly in Lily Ivory’s orbit.


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Synchronized Sorcery: This delightful series continues

Synchronized Sorcery by Juliet Blackwell

Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHRAFT MYSTERIES series has been delighting readers of paranormal cozy mysteries since 2009. At this point, it seems unnecessary to keep reviewing the individual installments, but since Tantor Media graciously sends me review copies (something I look forward to every summer!), I will continue to say something about them. But if you’re a fan of this series, all you need to know is that book 11, Synchronized Sorcery (2021), is just as good as its predecessors,


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If Walls Could Talk: Begins another paranormal cozy mystery series by Blackwell

If Walls Could Talk by Juliet Blackwell

I’ve been enjoying the audio versions, read by Xe Sands, of Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES series, so I thought I’d give the audio versions (also read by Xe Sands) of Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES a try. These are also paranormal cozy mysteries which take place in San Francisco and which feature a slightly socially awkward independent woman running her own business.

In If Walls Could Talk, the first HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION book,


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Dead Bolt: Inspired by a San Francisco legend

Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell

Dead Bolt is the second book in Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES. I liked the first book, If Walls Could Talk, well enough, but felt like it was too similar to Blackwell’s other paranormal cozy mystery series, WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES. The best thing about both series is that the audiobook versions are read by the amazing Xe Sands and, I swear, I would probably be happy listening to Xe read the tax code.


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Murder on the House: Mel takes on a haunted B&B

Murder on the House by Juliet Blackwell

In Murder on the House, the third book in Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES, Melanie “Mel” Turner is starting to acquire a reputation as a successful general contractor and ghostbuster. Homeowners around San Francisco are asking for her special services and she’s got some new projects going on while she’s still finishing up some of the historic renovations we got to see in the first two books, If Walls Could Talk and Dead Bolt.


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Home for the Haunting: Delivers what fans expect

Home for the Haunting by Juliet Blackwell

Home for the Haunting is the fourth book in Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION series. Each of these book is a short cozy paranormal mystery. Each story is self-contained, so the books can stand alone, but there’s an overarching plot involving Mel Turner’s personal relationships and each installment adds new characters, so most readers would probably prefer to start at the beginning and read the novels in order. The first three are If Walls Could Talk,


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Keeper of the Castle: Mel reconstructs an ancient Scottish Monastery

Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell

In Keeper of the Castle, the fifth book in Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION series, a famous inspirational speaker has hired Mel Turner to oversee the reconstruction of a medieval Scottish monastery on his property outside San Francisco.

There are a couple of problems with this. One is that there are protestors outside the gates. One vocal protestor, a guy who wears a kilt, objects to the “theft” of a Scottish national landmark.


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Give Up the Ghost: A welcome little twist at the end

Give Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell

Fans of Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES will be happy to hear that Give Up the Ghost, the new sixth book in the series (released today) again delivers exactly what’s expected: a low-stress cozy paranormal murder mystery with a cute premise, a marvelous setting, and a great cast of characters.

For most of the novel there’s nothing unique or unexpected with Blackwell’s formula which, I assume, will please readers who’ve made it this far in the series.


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A Ghostly Light: Changes are coming

A Ghostly Light by Juliet Blackwell

A Ghostly Light is seventh book in Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES series. Like her WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES series, each of these novels is a solid cozy paranormal mystery featuring pleasant characters and an enjoyable San Francisco setting. Fans of either series who don’t care that the books follow a formula should be pleased with A Ghostly Light.

This time Mel is renovating a lighthouse on an Island in San Francisco Bay,


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The Last Curtain Call: Fortunately, not the last book

The Last Curtain Call by Juliet Blackwell

It hardly seems necessary to continue to review Juliet Blackwell’s HAUNTED HOME RENOVATION MYSTERIES because fans are going to read them no matter what I say but, since the audiobook publisher keeps providing me with review copies, I’ll keep doing it. I love Tantor Media’s audio editions of Blackwell’s two cozy paranormal mystery series (this one and WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES) because they’re narrated by the fabulous Xe Sands. They are a pleasure to listen to and I recommend them to fans (or future fans) of Blackwell’s books.


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Kat Chats with Xe Sands

Xe Sands (pronounced EK-see) is one of my favorite audiobook narrators. She performs in many genres, but I’m mostly familiar with her SFF titles such as Juliet Blackwell’s books, Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance, and Kelly Meding’s DREG CITY series. I’ve read several online interviews with Xe in which I learned all sorts of interesting stuff such as:

  • how she got into this kind of work (she is not a professional actress,

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Next SFF Author: Algernon Blackwood
Previous SFF Author: Levi Black

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