Friday, June 7, 2013

Guys, I am so pleased to be included on the Born of Illusion Blog Tour.  That gorgeous cover initially drew me, but the story and concept are equally good!  The awesome ladies at Rockstar Book Tours have put together another great tour, complete with some lovely giveaway prizes.  So check out my review of Born of Illusion and then enter to win a vintage spoon bracelet and an eyeshadow trio inspired by the book.

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Title: Born of Illusion
Author: Teri Brown
Series: Born of Illusion, book #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Anna Van Housen has a secret. A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

"I recognize in Dr. Finneas Bennett a snake-oil salesman of the highest caliber.  Of course, it takes one to know one."

I love a good historical fiction, especially one set in the Roaring Twenties. I still maintain that I was a flapper in a previous life.  =)  This particular time period was so rife with change, so imbued with culture, and it makes for some of the more intriguing historical fiction I've had the pleasure of reading.

Inevitably, I couldn't help but compare this novel to Libba Bray's The Diviners.   Both books are set in New York during the 1920s and both involve séances, spirits, and the like.  But I can honestly say that Born of Illusion holds its own against the work of one of my favorite authors, and it does so in measurably fewer pages. I'm in no way complaining about the length of The Diviners; I just know that some readers found the sheer number of pages in that book rather daunting.  But that book had so much ground to cover and so many characters on which to focus, that its length was necessary to build the complete picture.  Not so with Born of Illusion.

Anna's story is magical, literally and figuratively speaking.  She might be the illegitimate daughter of Houdini, but she's also a magician in her own right, and a damn fine one at that.  Yet, her mother refuses to share the spotlight with her.  Their rocky relationship made it hard to like Marguerite, especially when she was forcing her daughter to take advantage of innocent people, but I eventually came to understand their dynamic and even understood Marguerite's position on a lot of decisions.
"She's a terrible snob for someone who swindles people out of money for a living."
That includes Anna's love life.  I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the romance in this book takes on a bit of a triangular edge, but the way it was presented made it essential to the story line.  It wasn't simply a ploy used by the author to create unnecessary drama; the love triangle actually serves a purpose in this novel.  And it's resolved by the end of the waiting until the next installment to see who Anna chooses, though for me, I don't think there was ever any question.
"And Cole is the only one who can teach me.  Cole, who vacillates between aloof and caring faster than a magician can say, 'Abracadabra.'"
"Owen sighs, his eyes remorseful.  "I'm sorry, I'm just so jealous I can't see straight.  I've been trying to let you know how I feel about you, but I'm such a klutz it never comes out right."
The book is a tad predictable, obviously, if I was able to figure out who Anna would end up with from the get-go. I also determined the identity of the villain pretty early on, but neither of these facts detracted from my enjoyment of the novel.  In fact, knowing these things actually made it easier to appreciate the rest of the novel and focus on other aspects I might have paid less attention to, including that Houdini fellow.  ;0)

All in all, I consider Born of Illusion to be a commendable entry in the YA historical fiction genre.  The author captured the essence of the 20s beautifully, and made the allure of magic and illusion even more so before setting the stage for an engaging sequel.  And this time, the story will focus on Rasputin.  Color me intrigued...

Rating:   photo 4-1.png

About the author:

Teri Brown is proud of her two children but coming in a close second is the fact that she parachuted out of a plane and beat the original Legend of Zelda video game.

She is a word scribbler, head banger, math hater, book reader, rule breaker, food fixer, novel writer, kitty keeper, and city slicker. Teri lives with her husband and way too many pets in Portland, Oregon.

Find Teri:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

To celebrate the launch of BORN OF ILLUSION, Teri is giving away 10 sets of BORN OF ILLUSION earth mineral eye shadow available for a limited time only from Glamour Doll Eyes. You, too, can get the glam look of the twenties!

Teri will also be giving away not, one but THREE grand prizes that Cari Cucksey, (of HGTV’s Cash and Cari), picked out from her RePurpose shop especially for the BORN OF ILLUSION launch!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is US/Canada.

Follow the rest of the Born of Illusion Blog Tour:

--Week One--

June 3rd - Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Guest Post
June 4th - Mostly YA Books Obsessed - Review
June 5th - Hobbitsies - Interview
June 6th - YA Bibliophile - Guest Post
June 7th - The Starry-Eyed Revue - Review

--Week Two--

June 10th - Supernatural Snark - Interview
June 11th - Between the Pages - Review
June 12th - Icey Books - Guest Post
June 13th - Larissa & Friends' Bookish Life - Guest Post
June 14th - The Irish Banana - Review

Thanks for stopping by & happy reading!


  1. I find the mystery and magic the most intriguing.

  2. I like the underground world of magic

  3. I absolutely love the 20s, so anything in that time frame is wonderful to me!

  4. Sounds awesome! Haven't read much set in this time period so it's fun to see something new.

  5. Definitely 1920s time period is most intriguing!

  6. the medium and seances storylines!! and of course that it's historical! thank you!!

  7. I was really curious about this one, I honestly am not a huge historical fiction fan and I tend to get bored with the plots but, this one sounds so intriguing that I just might break down and give it a try! Awesome review!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  8. Def the underground world of magic and the cover! XD
    Mary G Loki

  9. What a cool concept! For some reason, the 20s is a time period that doesn't get me going, but I understand why others love it. Very cool w/the Houdini connection.
    Great review!

  10. The love triangle ofc! And the magic :D

  11. The powers Anna possesses as well as the society that studies people with powers like hers intrigue me the most! The book sounds very interesting!

  12. The title sounds very interesting.

  13. I likw paranormal books. So with the main character being an illusionist, as well as there being other characters that are mediums, magicians, and mentalists makes it very interesting to me. And I have to say, the cover art is GORGEOUS!

  14. I love how the story is set in the 20's and links Harry Houdini in it! Magic is all around her and puts her in a predicament of helping her mother or getting used by her, tough choice. Her powers are probably something many people, including me, are truly interested in and wished they had. This really sounds like a wonderful story to read!

  15. the time period and the underground world!

  16. I love the setting of the story. It's the 1920's!! :D

  17. Def the underground world of magic and the cover too :D Thank you for the giveaway!!!

  18. I have always been intrigued by the 20's and the flapper era. This book looks intriguing. Thank you for the giveaway!

  19. Definitely the time and the setting! 1920's NEW YORK?!?!? Wowieee :D I'm sure this one's amazing! Thanks for the amazing giveaway :)


  20. The time appears to be so glamorous. I've always been told I'm a young person with an old soul. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  21. Looks like a fun read and I love everything to do with the 1920's! Thanks!

  22. EVERYTHING about this book sounds amazing! I adore the 20's setting and the glamour and the magic and ahhh!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  23. I love books that have magic in them! ; )

  24. Ooh, so glad you liked it, although it was predictable. I wish there were more YA historical books, I'm with you on the 20s flapper ;)

    And I guess all of the elements: magic, 20s, the COVER.

  25. I'm not a big historical reader but I do love the 20s! Also magic and Houdini's illegitimate daughter! But the mother won't share the spotlight! Mean! Glad the love triangle is cleared up. I really hate when the drag.

  26. The three key words that have always stuck out to me about this book are "1920s" "New York" and "illusionist". So excited to see how awesome this book really is! :)

  27. I like the magician plot and incorporating the types of shows they did back in the day.

  28. The magic in the book and the amazing cover intrigue me the most

  29. 1920s and Houdini count me in!!!!

  30. I like that its set in the 20's and I love a good paranormal mystery :D

  31. The setting, for sure! I have a strange fascination with the 1920's and devour any books in that time frame. Plus, add in a dash of paranormal and some juicy mystery, and I'm set! It's why I loved The Diviners so much, and this sounds like a similar type of read :D

  32. I've read a lot of paranormal books, but this one is totally different. I LOVE that!
    Michelle Tucker

  33. I'm a mystery lover and I love the historical setting.

  34. This sounds really fascinating. I've read a few mixed reviews but I still really want to read it. I mean, MAGIC!!!


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