Blog Book Tour | “Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago” by J.B. Rivard

Posted Monday, 16 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary Collector’s print edition copy of “Illusions of Magic” direct from the publicity firm JKS Communications (of whom I also regularly review for) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this title interested me to read:

I grew up watching David Copperfield on television – quite entranced by the art of illusion and the way in which magic can give us such a light of joy to observe. Illusion is meant to inspire and to entertain; never to harm or takeaway and I think that is what I loved about the art behind the acts so very much. In recent years, I’ve been re-inspired by the magical acts featured on America’s Got Talent – which is a variety act series I can either take or leave depending on the year. The reason I like seeing the new talent stepping forward is because there is such a lot of talent out there you might never get the chance to see; as they perform across venues and geographic locations. The series is a way in which everyone with a television or streaming capability can view the same act at the same time. In some ways, I think it draws everyone a bit closer; as we’re championing the talent, inspired by the acts themselves and leave the experience a bit more enlightened.

Of all the performers, one this past year truly touched my heart, as he took light and magic to a new height by combining it with illusion, theatrical interpretive dance and the joy of fusing heart into one’s act. The performer I am speaking about is Viktor Kee – although I am unsure how many would consider his act part of illusion when he has such a commanding presence on stage through the combined elements he puts into his artistry. To me, the illusion is the mastery of the elements – to create an experience for the observer that is not entirely part of our perception and transcends us into a different place if only briefly – to me his artistry is brilliant for how he evokes art out of passion. To see a video of his AGT performances, please visit his website and scroll down for the video.

When I first read the premise of the novel – there is just something about the plot and the setting being in Chicago that felt alluring in of it’s own. The winding down of vaudeville and the backdrop of the Great Depression is such a stimulating cross-section of where everyday people were trying to sort out the impossible: how do you go forward when even time itself appears to be standing still!?

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Blog Book Tour | “Illusions of Magic: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago” by J.B. RivardIllusions of Magic
Subtitle: Love and Intrigue in 1933 Chicago
by J.B. Rivard
Illustrator/Cover Designer: J.B. Rivard
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

The withering of vaudeville was bad enough in 1933. Because of the Great Depression, bookings for stage magician Nick Zetner disappeared. With his marriage cracking under the strain, Nick reluctantly accepts a devious banker’s deal: He earns a generous reward if he retrieves photos stolen during a break-in at the bank. Along the way, a love he thought he’d forever lost reappears. Despite his skill in the arts of magic, penetrating the realm of the thieves grows increasingly perilous, especially when it endangers his newfound romance.

Illusions of Magic seamlessly merges this tale with the true-life assassination attempt on President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt resulting in Chicago’s mayor, Anton Cermak, being shot. His lingering death and a lack of legal means for his replacement causes great civic and social upheaval in the city.

In modern style, this novel propels the reader through emotional highs and subterranean lows with knife-edged dialogue, easy humor, page-turning action and authentic history.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by Gray Dog Press

on 17th April, 2016

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 233

Published By: Gray Dog Press
Available Formats: Nearly exclusively E-book released; except for the Collector’s Print Edition

Converse via: #HistFic + #IllustratedStories

About J.B. Rivard

J.B. Rivard

Almost everyone is familiar with the illustrations in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. However, the number of illustrated novels published–for adult readers–declined steadily from the beginning to the middle of the 20th century, although not for lack of popularity. “Illusions of Magic” dares a return to the edgy, swirling arts of the illustrated story, with pen and ink illustrations by the novel’s author, Joseph B. “J. B.” Rivard, supplementing this exciting story.

As a young child, Rivard began drawing by copying newspaper comics. In his teens, he drew illustrations for his high school’s award-winning yearbook. He attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and his artworks have appeared in more than fifty juried exhibitions, earning many prizes and awards. He’s an artist-member of the Salmagundi Club of New York City.

Rivard’s writing draws on wide experience–he served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from the University of Florida, worked as a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and on the engineering staff of a U.S. National Laboratory where he wrote and co-authored many technical papers listed on Google Scholar. His broad background supports a wide array of significant publications, from short stories to song lyrics, from essays to novels. He calls Spokane, Washington home.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 16 January, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Chicago, Crime Fiction, Domestic Violence, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Second Chance Love, The Great Depression, Vulgarity in Literature

#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!

Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Twelfth Night Readathon badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: Ahead of Christmas 2015, I received a beautifully lovely gift: a specially released anthology celebrating Speculative Fiction authors and the gift of charity. Indy Reads Books is an independent bookstore in Indianapolis, Indiana giving back to authors, readers and members of their community on a yearly basis whereas the other half of “Indy Reads” is a non-profit literacy organisation. This is a bookstore I have come to know through the authors who are behind this anthology: Mr (RJ) Sullivan, Mr (John F.) Allen and Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison) of whom I have had the joy of interacting with both on blog tours or outside of them for Tomorrow Comes Media and/or Seventh Star Press.

This particular book was offered to me knowing how much I love holiday stories and the beauty of having such a strong presence of Speculative stories contained in one singular anthology with the heart of the holidays a central theme running through them! I personally love reading anthologies within the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Cosy Horror genres, which in of itself felt like a good fit to read this collection. I was unexpectedly taken ill during December 2015 (my infamous thirty day flu!) and this past December, whilst I had re-scheduled this to be a part of my #ChristmasReads and #WYChristmasReadathon series of posts, I was otherwise distracted by the recovery process after my Dad’s stroke. You can read about the first twenty-four hours after his stroke (per this post) and a bit of a background on my inability to read during December (per this anchour section of a recent review). Thus, my idea of recapturing the Christmas Spirit during Twelfth Night weekend was bourne!

I received a complimentary copy of “Gifts of the Magi” direct from the author R.J. Sullivan in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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#TwelfthNightReadathon & what sparked the idea:

I personally love reading holiday stories around Christmastime, however, this year, proved to be quite a unique year all the way round; starting Thanksgiving weekend. I dearly wanted to dig inside these lovely stories which are winking at me to read but with a heavy heart and a mind weighed down by anxieties attached to stroke patient’s recoveries, you could say the timing was definitively ‘off’ this year for posting anything remotely lit with the Christmas Spirit in December. I had to fight my way back into reading just to secure a passageway back into the hours I love spending inside stories and the journey of characters; as let’s face it, I had a lot on my heart and soul this year.

The blessing is being able to find my bookish joy emerged through a succession of Rom Novellas through a blog series I entitled: #MidnightChocLit (see the thread). This enabled me not only to retrieve my bookish heart but my bookish joy – the curiosity about stories and the lives of characters started to renew inside my imagination and it started me off again on solid ground. Spending this past week tucked inside an INSPY #HistRom also provided me with the hours I needed to heal my nerves and resume enjoying the hours I could spend inside a fictional world (see also Review).

Despite my progress back to my blog and back into an active reading life, there were ebbs of guilt murmuring inside my heart because more than anything I had wanted this to be a December where I could fully embrace reading stories of the season. This is when a lightbulb flashed in my mind – wait! The Christmas season isn’t fully extinguished until Twelfth Night and Twelfth Night is a celebration of the three kings! I knew I should start by reading and live tweeting my responses to Gifts of the Magi on this particular Friday, as it marks Twelfth Night officially! Ergo, all the lovely stories of Christmas Spirit across genre and literary selections could now be happily read during my own personal #TwelfthNightReadathon!

Except to say, Mother Nature had other plans in store for me – we had an epic storm arriving in the afternoon hours of Twelfth Night itself and it continued into Saturday; therefore, my tweets were quite a bit delayed – thus kicking off this readathon as a ‘weekend’ celebration; perhaps it was meant to be all along, as this is what I had put on the badge I created to celebrate the series of reviews! My readings of this anthology truly were encased during #TwelfthNight weekend, however, my reviews I wanted to feature over the weekend are running this week instead. The best part for me – is to be able to recapture stories of a season I cherish so dearly during a year where my heart was full of anxiety and now just a stone’s throw in the New Year, I can reattach the joys of soaking into stories of Yule & Christmastide!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This of course, would have remained true if my dear Maine Coon / tabby hadn’t been struck quite ill whilst I was trying to kick-off this readathon. Turns out, as a senior cat of nearly 13 years he’s developed horrid food allergies and was quite miserable; his sister-in-arms is one year his junior (my little Tux!) of whom now has ‘food intolerance’s’. Despite being earnestly hopeful to find something that would work for them (as in their kittenhood and early years of growth, they had (as did their two siblings) multiple health issues which is why Mum and I were consistently ‘on the road’ to new places to purchase high quality pet foods whilst the Vets and my fam were growing more discouraged by the hour when even the best quality you can find isn’t working for your four cats. Hence why we were advised to go with what worked for our darlings and not worry about what is working for everyone else. This worked out quite well – until now.

Turns out!? The *best!* cat food our cats need was developed by Rachael Ray! Her Nutrish line for cats (esp the Chicken and Potato dry food!) is what turnt this crazy insanity around in *one!* feeding! ONE! Our Coon / Tabby who was *always!* Alpha is now a Beta cat whose so relaxed and happy, his Tux of a sister is still trying to get used to him being less playful around her and just go with the flow. All his issues are gone as are hers, to such a degree it’s a true miracle. They used to eat only wet food, but this dry food has done so many marvels for their health (i.e. vision, fur, digestion, etc) I cannot see them returning to wet food! Their so happy right now, it’s a beautiful thing to see – ergo, I am continuing this readathon in the spirit of Twelfth Night – as a closing of the holiday season and the stories of Yule.

This is why you’ll see my tweets stopped for a short break – as everything prior to Unraveled was written by the 9th before I was able to resume and conclude my ruminations.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com#TwelfthNightReadathon | “Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection” an anthology with a charitable heart benefiting Indy Reads Books!Gifts of the Magi
Subtitle: A Speculative Holiday Collection
by Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison), R.J. Sullivan
Source: Direct from Author

Stories for Christmas-- authors for the New Year!

Find within this magical tome 14 NEW original holiday-themed stories of fantasy, horror and science fiction by a talented group of authors--plus one holiday essay. The tales from our Magi vary from the light and satirical to the dark and serious, and we've shuffled the deck to keep you guessing.

· A time guardian may have to choose between preserving reality or destroying the man she loves.
· A snowman comes to life, but he's not a happy soul.
· Santa makes a terrible bargain in order to save Christmas.
· On Christmas Eve, a furious fairy princess attacks a double-decker bus.
· Two secret agents attend an exclusive Christmas party with an unusual price of admission.
· Soldiers in the midst of the zombie apocalypse try to find the Christmas spirit.
· A boy and his father confront an alien creature on the Longest Night.
· A mercenary packing magical pistols battles a monster while Christmas shopping for her werewolf boyfriend.
· Steampunk detectives find themselves fending off Christmas "elves."
· Humans exiled to an alternate world blend alien and human holiday traditions.
· A banished prince with a magic chicken finds a nearly drowned soldier--so says the storyteller.
· A bounty hunter searches for a rogue elf.
· A traumatized punk girl confronts the spirits from the worst night of her life.
· In a dystopian future, Christmas is outlawed.
· ...And Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author Nicole Cushing reveals the holiday specials that she feels deserve "lumps of coal."

100% of all proceeds from this book benefit Indy Reads.

Indy Reads is a not-for-profit organization that relies on volunteers to provide basic literacy tutoring to illiterate and semi-literate adults. Indy Reads operates a bookstore in downtown Indianapolis. Learn more at www.indyreads.org.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1502902528

Also by this author: Blue Spirit, Guest Post (Restless Spirit), Restless Spirit, Virtual Blue, Darkness with a Chance of Whimsy, Author Interview (Red Lotus, Vol.1), Commanding the Red Lotus

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction


Published by Speculative Fiction Guild

on Halloween, 2014

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 196

Published By: Speculative Fiction Guild | Facebook | @sfg2013

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SpecFict + #anthology (or #SpeculativeFiction)

About Ms Chris (E. Chris Garrison)

Ms Chris Garrison

E. Chris Garrison writes Fantasy and Science Fiction novels and short stories. She used to publish as Eric Garrison, but has since upgraded.

Her latest series is Trans-Continental, a Steampunk adventure with a transgender woman as its protagonist. Chris’s supernatural fantasy stories include the Road Ghosts trilogy and the Tipsy Fairy Tales published by Seventh Star Press. These novels are humorous supernatural fantasies, dealing with ghosts, demonic possession, and sinister fairy folk.

Her novel, Reality Check, is a Science Fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013. Chris lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, with her wife, step-daughter and cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

About R.J. Sullivan

R.J. Sullivan with his characters

R.J. Sullivan’s novel Haunting Blue is an edgy paranormal thriller and the first book of the adventures of punk girl Fiona “Blue” Shaefer and her boyfriend Chip Farren. Seventh Star Press also released Haunting Obsession, a Rebecca Burton Novella, and Virtual Blue, the second part of Fiona’s tale. The short stories in this collection have been featured in such acclaimed anthologies as Dark Faith Invocations by Apex Books and Vampires Don’t Sparkle. His next book due out very soon will be Commanding the Red Lotus, which collects the series of science fiction novelettes in the tradition of Andre Norton and Gene Roddenberry.

R.J. resides with his family in Heartland Crossing, Indiana. He drinks regularly from a Little Mermaid coffee mug and is man enough to admit it.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #TwelfthNightReadathon
  • #WYChristmasReadathon
  • Sci Fi Experience 2017
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Posted Saturday, 14 January, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BlogTalkRadio, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cosy Horror, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Futuristic Fantasy, Guest Author on the Chamber, Indie Author, Parapsychological Suspense, Podcast, Supernatural Fiction, Telepaths & Telepathy, The Star Chamber Show, Vulgarity in Literature

Cover Reveal w/ Extract and Notes! | “Solomon’s Bell: No.2 of Genie Chronicles” by Michelle Lowery Combs; a new YA Fantasy novel published by #IndiePub World Weaver Press!

Posted Thursday, 12 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I must admit, I had such a wicked sweet time residing inside the world of Helene Wecker’s epic saga involving a Jinn and Golem, I was quite hopeful (long before now!) I might have been able to dig inside a few more since that fateful day I brought home her debut novel from my local library. The irony of course will not be lost on devout readers and bibliophiles alike who are now earnestly blogging their readerly lives (such as I am) when I state it took me until ‘now’ to find the proper time to give to another story of the Jinn – the very last year all of us are awaiting the sequel by Wecker! One thing I will say, it’s better late than never!

When it comes to world-building in a Young Adult novel, I am quite particular about what I’m seeking out (if my latest YA review can clue you in a bit) as I like to feel as if I’ve properly been transported ‘elsewhere’ to such a degree of certainty – the experience knits itself into your mind’s eye and extends itself into your permanent memories. Because stories which give us that curious stretch of imaginative blissitude allow us the smallest of joys to step into the threshold of someone elses shoes and live their life for a spell!

I find myself drawn more into epic sagas & layered world-buildings in Fantasy; I have recently (er, since I’ve been a book blogger) found I lean more towards Science Fiction or Sci-Fantasy releases but at the heart of what I love most are Magical Realism stories alongside a fairy-tale re-telling, a legend of lore or an Epic Fantasy that simply carts you off into the depth of a novel that is so wickedly long in length you might need a month or so to fully invest yourself into it’s folds. (herein I am hinting towards my soon-to-be shared readings of “A Turn of Light”; writ by a favourite Sci-Fi author of mine: Ms Czerneda)

My appreciation of genies truly goes back to the infamous television series – where an astronaut and a genie fall in love whilst trying to ‘fit & blend into contemporary life’ – to such great folly you cannot help but laugh along with the characters or feel their misery when things go terribly wrong! Since then, I try to turn my eye towards literature and root out stories of the Jinn (and nowadays golems) which have the depth of journey and an honest world built out of their legends where story-crafters entreat to take us.

Thus, when I heard there was a sequel to “Heir to the Lamp”, I knew it was time to put aside my readings of Ms Parrish’s delish anthologies and hold off on the murderous kitchen novella, to see how Ms Combs has chosen to alight us inside her world! I am featuring this ‘early preview’ ahead of my readings of the stories themselves as a precursor to the readings & reviews which are following lateron this month. I am also hoping to put together an author guest feature which I hope you all shall enjoy, too!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Thursday, 12 January, 2017 by jorielov in Ancient Civilisation, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogs I Regularly Read, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Bookish Discussions, Doing Dewey, Equality In Literature, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Futuristic Fantasy, Indie Author, Magical Realism, Speculative Fiction, Travelling with T, World Weaver Press, Young Adult Fiction

Author Q&A | K.V. Dominic answers my questions regarding one of my favourite poems from his latest collection!

Posted Thursday, 12 January, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Good morning, dear hearts!

I am happy to give a warm welcome to Mr Dominic, of whom is the poet who truly captured the spirit of convicting poetry & shared experiences of our contemporary world through his poignant eye for not only detail but for clarity of thought on how to expound and express one’s opinions in an ever-changing world!

I am thankful to re-highlight key portions of my review, which not only ascertain to the poem being featured today through our conversation but on behalf of the Professor’s writerly style and how he augments his thoughts into his poetry.

I am unsure if you remember, but in the Autumn I had the joy of reading his latest poetry collection wherein I found myself marvelling at how connected I felt to his words & to the ways in which he found a voice through prose to articulate his innermost thoughts & feelings on the topics he was disclosing. The beauty of course is the fact this collection would delight readers who already appreciate modern poetry whilst being a good introduction to those who enjoy cross-cultural expositions.

I am so very thankful to be a part of this second tour featuring his collective works and for having the honour of asking him about his poetry. Even though as you will see, I mistook the inspiration behind the poem itself, it still translates a strength & magnitude of spirit irregardless of how it impressed us on first reading.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Professor is a deep thinker, social commentator and poetic fusion of his socio-religious beliefs, wherein he bleeds his heart into his ink. He is very much connected to the events that shape History whilst allowing for a pause of personal vexation to tip his pen towards finding understanding or at the least, an exposition of the anguish that could fill a multitude of souls. His aim is to educate and inform, to own the emotions he feels and to convey his earnest beliefs that we are all connected in his words through Man, Nature and God. A similar concept I have conveyed myself on my blog – where the natural world and our living sphere are inter-connected whilst living a faith-centred life. I appreciated his honesty and his ability to separate his ideals with his passions whilst attempting to continue the conversation forward. I believe that is the greatest hope of a poet – to get a social conversation started and to leave the readers impassioned by what they’ve just read. He prompts his readers with study questions throughout the collection as a guide left behind to encourage a hearty discussion where his topics can be dissected and conversed about openly. I felt this was a good addition, as sometimes it is hard to know where to begin when broaching topical poems and this felt to me like a good window into how a discussion could begin even in a book club who primarily reads novels.

-quoted from my review of KV Dominic’s poetry collection

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Q&A | K.V. Dominic answers my questions regarding one of my favourite poems from his latest collection!Essential Readings & Study Guide
Subtitle: Poems about Social Justice, Women’s Rights, and the Environment
by K.V. Dominic

K. V. Dominic "Essential Readings" gathers for the first time the three most important works of poetry from this shining new light of contemporary Indian verse in English: "Winged Reason," "Write Son, Write" and "Multicultural Symphony."

A fourth collection of 22 previously unpublished poems round out a complete look at the first 12 years of Dominic's prolific and profound verse. Each poem includes unique Study Guide questions suitable for South Asian studies curricula.

Written in free verse, each of his poems makes the reader contemplate on intellectual, philosophical, spiritual, political, and social issues of the present world. Themes range from multiculturalism, environmental issues, social mafia, caste-ism, exploitation of women and children, poverty, and corruption to purely introspective matters. From the observation of neighborhood life to international events, and everyday forgotten tragedies of India, nothing escapes the grasp of Dominic's keen sense of the fragility of life and morality in the modern world.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 9781615993024

Also by this author: Essential Readings & Study Guide

Genres: Poetry & Drama


on 1st September, 2016

Published By: Modern History Press
an imprint of Loving Healing Press (@vvolkman)

The next Essential Readings series release will feature the works of T.V. Reddy!

Read an interview feat. T.V. Reddy about his writing career!

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #Poetry

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Posted Thursday, 12 January, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Equality In Literature, India, Indie Author, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry