Tag: non fiction

WOW Blog Tour: Houdini’s Fabulous Magic by Walter B Gibson and Morris N Young

Today I am helping end the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour for Houdini’s Fabulous Magic! I will be sharing my review and will be doing a giveaway of an e-book copy! This one was re-released this past January.

Book Description:

Incredible escapes, fantastic sleight-of-hand-Houdini’s most challenging performances are dramatically portrayed in Houdini’s Fabulous Magic. Walter Gibson, co-author, was in close touch with Harry Houdini for a number of years before his death and worked with the master magician in preparing material for the book. It is with the aid of Houdini’s own scrapbooks and notes that this book was written.

The spectacular highlights of Houdini’s career are described-and explained-here. Included are the famous escapes: escapes from a padlocked milk can filled with water; from locked jail cells; from a water-filled Chinese torture cell while suspended upside down; from packing cases weighted under water. Again, in this book, Houdini walks through a brick wall, vanishes a 10,000-pound elephant and is buried alive. Once more, Houdini and his wife Bessie mysteriously exchange places in a locked trunk-in three seconds!

And Houdini the man is not ignored. His impact on the world in the early years of the twentieth century was enormous. He was a public hero who, in his own way, helped sweep out the cobwebs of nineteenth-century thinking. While doing so, he distinguished himself as a patriot, writer, collector of magic, aviator, movie idol, philanthropist, and crusader against fraudulent spiritualistic practices.

This is a technical manual for magicians, complete with illustrations and diagrams, but it is also an astute analysis of the best of Houdini’s magic and a readable biography of a man who turned himself into a legend. It is a book for would-be conjurers, for professional necromancers, for those curious about the methods and means of one of the most enchanting men of the previous century.

Purchase a copy of Houdini’s Fabulous Magic on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list. **Don’t forget my giveaway!**

Houdini’s Fabulous Magic
Walter B. Gibson

Morris N. Young
Originally Published: October 1, 1976
Re-published: January 17, 2023
249 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 12-14, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

THIS is the book to read if you are a fan of magic or Harry Houdini! It is a re-release of a much older version of the book. We have chapters and each are dedicated to one particular trick. We learn just how Houdini performed each trick in detail and it was never simple!  There are drawings, photos and images that enhance each chapter.  There is also a chapter that tells us about Houdini’s life.

At times it could be a bit dry, but it was still intriguing to learn things! Some of the chapters are his box escapes, the mailbag escape, the straitjacket escape, and of course the one everyone knows and also what the cover of the book showcases: the water torture cell. 

This is a book you could inhale quickly or just take your time learning with each chapter, depending on your interest in each trick that Houdini performed. I have a kindle paperwhite, so I feel I missed out with the pictures and illustrations. If you think you may want to read this book, buy a physical copy!

Many thanks to Wow! Women on Writing for letting me end the blog tour and share my review!

About the Authors:

Walter B. Gibson (1897-1985)

Walter, a graduate of Colgate University, was a prolific writer including The Shadow novels under his pen name Maxwell Grant. For a time he was Houdini’s personal secretary. Following Houdini’s death, the attorney for the estate permitted Walter to examine many of Houdini’s private scrapbooks and notes from which Gibson wrote Houdini’s Magic and Houdini’s Escapes. Houdini’s scrapbooks, papers and other documents form the background for Houdini’s Fabulous Magic. Also a magician, Walter toured with and wrote for magicians such as Blackstone (Sr.), Thurston and Raymond. He was a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the American Society for Psychical Research, the Magician’s Guild of America and the Magician’s Club of London.

Morris N. Young, M.D. (1909-2002)

Morris, a graduate of M.I.T., Harvard and Columbia University was Director of Ophthalmology at Beekman Downtown Hospital in New York City. Aside from his numerous professional memberships, he was a member of the Society of American Magicians (to which Houdini had helped him join as a young man), the International Brotherhood of Magicians and a member of the Inner Circle of the Magic Circle (London). He was a founder of the Magic Collectors Association including their publication MAGICOL. Along with his wife Chesley, he established the largest private holdings on memory and mnemonics which now resides at the University of San Marino. Along with his friend John McManus, in 1955 they established the McManus-Young Collections at the Library of Congress, The University of Texas, Austin and the University of California in Berkeley.  Morris’ other book publications include Hobby Magic, Houdini on Magic (with Walter Gibson), Presto Prestige, Bibliography of Memory, How To Develop An Exceptional Memory (with Walter Gibson), The Complete Guide to Science Fair Competition (with John Stolzfus) and Radio Music Live (with John Stolzfus).

You can visit the website created by Morris N. Young’s children, Charles C. Young and Cheryl L. Young by clicking here.


I am doing a giveaway of a e-book copy of the book! I’ll be running the giveaway through both my Facebook and Instagram accounts, so you can enter twice! You won’t have to do much, I promise! And if you win you can learn how Houdini performed!

Giveaway will run through Tuesday the 4th at midnight:


CLICK HERE to go to Instagram to enter!!


#Diverseathon2021: Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator by Jill Dobbe

Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator
Jill Dobbe

Published:  August 2, 2018
230 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 27- December 4, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

“We’re moving to India!”

Travel along with two international educators who take the leap and move to Gurgaon, India, to become principals at an Indian/International school. Excited by the opulent marble hallways and the grandness of the school, they quickly learn it lacks even the most basic supplies, like chalkboard erasers. The couple, however, make a go of it and ultimately adjust to the dizzying day-to-day life of Indian society where sacred cows stop for red lights, women wear glittery saris while planting rice, and dreadlocked sadhus go about renouncing all their worldly pleasures.

Part memoir, part travelogue and part tragic comedy, readers will marvel at all the couple has to endure only to end up leaving the school and India abruptly, without even so much as a Namaste. Despite a catastrophe or two, their go-with-the-flow attitudes and kindred senses of humor help them to endure the overwhelming bustle of India, while recognizing and appreciating its distinctive allure.

Jessica’s Review:

I read Jill Dobbe’s previous memoir of living in Cairo, Egypt titled Kids, Camels, and Cairo several years ago. Having been to Egypt, her writing brought me right back to Cairo and those wonderful memories of my family trip I was on with my aunt, uncle, mother, and sister.  That was to be my final trip with my uncle as he passed from lung cancer just two months later.  Needless to say, I looked forward to reading Only in India and taking a trip without ever having left the house! 

Jill and her husband left Cairo and then India was their next destination in their teaching adventures.  India is not on my bucket list, but I have seen Bollywood movies, movies in general, and tv shows taking place in India and enjoy all the colors that are present.  I honestly do not know much about India, but reading Dobbe’s memoir I definitely learned about the country, culture, religions, and history.  I now definitely want to see the movie Gandhi that stars Sir Ben Kingsley, it is sad to say that this ignorant American did not know about the circumstances of his death.

The memoir actually starts at the end of their time in India when she and her husband had to suddenly leave due to visa issues.  As I read of her time in India, I enjoyed going on her journey of remembrance with her, as I ‘experienced’ India for the first time.  There are definitely huge culture differences and she shows us the culture shock experienced by her and her husband.

It is written similar to a diary, so the memoir is honest and full of their experiences, good and bad while also seeing how the Dobbe’s react to certain situations.  They are presently living in Honduras, so I look forward to a memoir that takes place there, so I can journey to another country I have never been to! 

I have had this memoir on my kindle for a few years, but just now picked it up.  I read it as a part of #Diverseathon2021, and this month’s prompt is a book set in India. December’s Host is Natalie @ One Sleepy Reader and she is hosting at Instagram and You Tube. She is also be having a giveaway: See her You Tube and Instagram pages for information on the giveaway.

For full details on this year long read-a-thon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

If you are interested in travel memoirs or teaching in foreign countries, I definitely recommend looking into Dobbe’s books. I wish it had not taken me this long to read Only in India, but there are so many books and not enough time!  She has one more memoir written that I find myself wanting to read!

Only in India: Adventures of an International Educator is recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: Diary from the Lunatic Asylum by Mary Pengilly

Diary from the Lunatic Asylum
Author: Mary Pengilly

Published: November 2, 2012
28 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

DECEMBER.—They will not allow me to go home, and I must write these things down for fear I forget. It will help to pass the time away. It is very hard to endure this prison life, and know that my sons think me insane when I am not.

Kim’s Review:

So this isn’t a horror story; it’s not even fiction. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed. However, once I figured out that this was an actual diary, written by a real woman who had been committed to a real asylum, I just went for it. It’s definitely not as good as Nellie Bly’s account, but it was interesting and informative. Mrs. Pengilly managed to write an account from a relatively neutral viewpoint, while still keeping a handle on all the problems. It’s a simple, easy to read report on her stay, the issues in the Aylin’s of her time, and a list of solutions. I looked up Mrs. Pengilly after I finished reading this book, and she went on to spearhead some cool movements to try to improve conditions for female patients.

It’s not a book I’d recommend to everyone, but it’s a good personal story that I enjoyed reading.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK