Thursday, February 2, 2017

G816 Book Review of Illusions of magic by j.b. rivard

Name of Book: Illusions of Magic; Love And Intrigue in 1933 Chicago

Author: J.B. Rivard

ISBN: 978-0-9968363-0-2

Publisher: Self Published

Type of book: magic, magicians, illusions, magic acts, secrets, marriage, power struggle, assassination attempt, Chicago Illinois, mystery, creativity, thriller, sepia toned novel

Year it was published: 2015


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.


Main characters include Nick Zetner, a loyal and talented magician who is going through difficult times with his act during the Great Depression when his wife decides to dump him. Nick is very resourceful, clever, creative and loyal. Nick also continues to carry torch for Iris, the one who got away. Liver Jack is Nick's wife's brother and he and Nick seem to get along very well. Liver Jack also has high connections which he uses to help those he cares about. Iris is Nick's first love and has her own worries and secrets when it comes to life. She is sweet, a bit impetuous and loyal. Aside from that, the secondary characters are also well written and they also have big personalities and motivations.


Love comes in different shapes and forms


The story is in third person narrative from Nick's point of view as well as Liver Jack's and perhaps few other characters. The story definitely has an interesting arc to it because it starts with one thing but it ends with another mystery being solved. While there is involvement with FDR and the attempted assassination on him, most of it feels like an aftershock rather than being in the epicenter. The characters were not witnesses to the attempted assassination, but they did witness and participate in the power struggle when the current mayor has passed away.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author03_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.
For more information, please visit the Illusions of Magic website.

Probably like others, today people often associate illustrations with something for children, or else with either graphic novels or comic books. It's rare to find a book that has illustrations and that is not a graphic novel or is not designed for kids. While reading the book, I felt as if I went back in time and am watching a movie from the Golden Era of Hollywood; something fun and entertaining for everyone. I'm not sure if its because of illustrations or of how meticulously the story was told, but I really enjoyed the story and the mystery with larger than life characters and I do hope that Nick makes more appearances in the future installments. I think that I also would have liked more instances of Nick's magic acts.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 9
Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, January 10
Review at Books, Dreams, Life
Wednesday, January 11
Review at Book Nerd
Thursday, January 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, January 13
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books
Monday, January 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Tuesday, January 17
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, January 18
Review at Creating Herstory
Thursday, January 19
Review at Laura’s Interests
Friday, January 20
Review at Broken Teepee
Monday, January 23
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog
Tuesday, January 24
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing
Wednesday, January 25
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Thursday, January 26
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Friday, January 27
Review & Interview at Quitterstrip

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Svetlana, thank you for reviewing J.B.'s novel. You may be interested in his February blog, which went live on www(dot)illusionsofmagic(dot)com on Feb. 6. It considers non-conformity, Phineas' final curtain, tuning up the talk, and a madcap man about town. Also, thank you for the good work you are doing with your blog and high quality reviews. In the instance of ILLUSIONS OF MAGIC, there will be a further book--stay tuned. Once again, you are providing a great service, be encouraged! Anya Carlson and J.B. Rivard


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