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Book Reviews

What's in the Book Basket This Week? 'Books with a Lesson'
By R.P. BenDedek
Jan 26, 2014 - 12:15:09 AM

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"What's in the book basket this week?" brings to the attention of readers via publication of publicity material, one or two (OK maybe eight) book titles worthy of attention but which are probably not currently being reviewed by our reviewers and whose authors have not provided us with any other material to publish. We can't do book reviews for every book, but we do assist authors to promote their books via a "No Charge - No Pay" service in which we invite authors to give us something to publish in which their promotional details can be included.

Articles published this week at Magic City written by various book authors include:
(Sun Jan 19 to Sat Jan 25)

  1. Christianity in Our Country by Michael Wright author of 'Death of a Green Soldier'
  2. An Immigrant's First Impression by Ekaterina Yuvasheva author of "I am Angelo"
  3. The Dirty Thirties by LaVera Edick - excerpt from "Four Score and More"
  4. Lost In Teen - (Part five) by Michael Wright author of 'Death of a Green Soldier'
  5. Would You Be mine?.... By Kimberly R. Lock author of "Who You Callin' Silly?"

Book Reviews Published this week:

Milt Gross Book Review: "One Man's Meat To Us by the late E.B. White"
Jan 19, 2014

"I should, I am sure, remember the clear sparkling days, bright and cool, that come toward the end of summer....." White wrote at the end of the book. As I write this, we are in the middle of the cold days of January, which only brings back those end-of-summer days as a distant memory. A distant memory seems to me to be what One Man's Meat is all about.

R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "The Foxes of Caminus" by Laura Burroughs
Jan 22, 2014

The story's hidden and mystical location combined with advanced technology and young people with extraordinary gifts is reminiscent of 'Harry Potter', 'Stargate Atlantis' and 'The X-men,' and its focus on personal development combined with recognition of the divine reminded me of 'The Travelers' by J.L. Sconce. Throw into the mix some spies, detectives, kidnapping, murder and other drama and of course 'love,' and you have a very complex presentation, which the author pulls off quite well.

M. Stevens-David Book Review: "Comes a Soldier's Whisper" by Jenny La Sala
Jan 22, 2014

When I received my latest book to review, "Comes a Soldier's Whisper" I immediately began reading it. It is a compilation of wartime letters written by an American soldier to his sweetheart back in the United States. I couldn't wait to begin reading his letters, but for me personally, they were disappointing. The letters were so "sanitized" that there really wasn't much of interest left in them.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen

by Diana Prichard

Patrick O'Shanahan is an ordinary boy who has always known exactly where his food comes from: the grocery store. Always, that is, until a cow, a menagerie of chickens and some very peculiar trees show up in his kitchen one Saturday morning, making him question everything he's always known about the ingredients that go into Dad's "World Famous French Toast."

In The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen author Diana Prichard presents a fun story aimed at engaging children and their families in fair, balanced farm-to-fork dialogue. Prichard draws on three decades in a rural farming community, a dozen years as a mother, and almost ten years as a farmer to craft the next classic in children's literature.

The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen is a must-read for families interested in responsible farming and food production. In fact, Prichard hopes her new book will be the catalyst to many important family conversations including:

  • Where our food comes from and the farm-to-table concept;
  • Diversity in American agriculture and appreciation for farmers; and
  • Planning family meals around seasonal produce at the farmer's market.

Diana Prichard is a farmer and author who writes at the intersection of farm, fork, and family life. Prichard blogs at RighteousBacon and can be found on Twitter at @diana_prichard. Her work has been featured in/on CNN, NBC's iVillage, Huffington Post, and BlogHer Food. Prichard has presented to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and MidWest Poultry Federation.

The Cow in Patrick O'Shanahan's Kitchen (Little Pickle Press, November 2013) is available at the usual places nationwide and was listed at $13+ at Barnes and Noble.

No. 2

The Foxes of Caminus

by Laura Burroughs

This is an excellent book, the review for which I published last Wednesday - R.P. BenDedek Magic City Morning Star Stand-In Editor.

Succinctly, the story is about a pair of 15 year old twins whose mother sends them off on a plane ride to an unspecified destination which turns out to be an island around which there is a force field rendering it invisible to outsiders. On the island there is an academy which is more than 500 years old and which teaches and develops disciplines hundreds if not thousands of years ahead of the present day.

The story's hidden and mystical location combined with advanced technology and young people with extraordinary gifts is reminiscent of 'Harry Potter', 'Stargate Atlantis' and 'The X-men,' and its focus on personal development combined with recognition of the divine reminded me of 'The Travelers' by J.L. Sconce. Throw into the mix some spies, detectives, kidnapping, murder and other drama and of course 'love and you have a very complex presentation, which the author pulls off quite well.

Laura Burroughs was born and raised in East Point, Georgia. She knew she wanted to be a writer, almost before she knew what writing was. After earning a degree in education from Vanderbilt University, Ms. Burroughs received her Masters and Specialists degrees from Georgia State University and taught science and literature to teenagers in Georgia's public schools for a number of years. With The Foxes of Caminus, the writer's literary talents are on full display. Her second book chronicling the continuing adventures of Harlie and Anya Fox is now underway. Ms. Burroughs lives in the Atlanta area with her husband, daughter and dog.

No. 3

Uniquely Human: The Basis of Human Rights

by Gabriel Moran

Many religions consider themselves champions or the basis of human rights, but according to human rights and ethics expert Gabriel Moran, when they refuse to compromise with one another, religion is part of the problem in confusing human rights.

Moran, a professor emeritus of religions education, explains the problems with the questions we are asking about human rights today and brings up new conversations to help us come to a better understanding of human rights in his book Uniquely Human: The Basis of Human Rights.

This book's introduction is divided into four sections. The first section discusses the idea and historical background of rights. The second section tackles the specific human meaning of uniqueness that situates human rights in history and the natural world. The third section explores the meaning of tradition and the paradoxical claim that there is a human tradition. The fourth section examines the meaning of dignity, which can be best grasped in the context of human uniqueness and human tradition. Read More

Gabriel Moran is a Professor Emeritus at New York University where he has taught for 34 years. He currently teaches International Ethics. He is the author of two dozen books on ethics, religion and education. These titles include A Grammar of Responsibility, Speaking of Teaching, and Living Nonviolently.

No. 4

Green Beans & Ice Cream: The Remarkable Power of Positive Reinforcement

by Bill Sims, Jr.

Ten Minute Video Presentation

The book explains to employers (and parents and teachers) how two seemingly unrelated things are directly correlated, and that the threat of command and control leadership pales in comparison to positive reinforcement as a motivating factor when it comes to job performance. The irony, as Sims points out, is that what employees need the most -- positive feedback -- is often what they receive the least. Green Beans & Ice Cream, backed with human behavioral science and case studies, delves into the specific techniques employers can implement to harness the remarkable power of positive reinforcement.

"Positive reinforcement is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Use it wisely, and performance moves off the chart. Use it poorly, and the results can be disastrous," adds Sims.

Green Beans & Ice Cream is a practical guide for every business leader, helping them to understand:

  • Why positive reinforcement is a better motivator than money
  • How positive reinforcement drive profitability and employee & client engagement
  • Why performance evaluations are total waste of time and money
  • Steps toward changing a negative workplace culture to a positive one
  • Why less than 10% of your workforce is committed, and the rest are complacent, and what to do about it...

Bill Sims, Jr. is President of The Bill Sims Company, Inc. For nearly 30 years, Sims has created behavior-based recognition programs that have helped large and small firms to deliver positive reinforcement to inspire better performance from employees and increase bottom line profits. A sought-after speaker, he has delivered leadership workshops and keynote speeches around the globe, and has built more than 1,000 positive reinforcement systems at firms including DuPont, Siemens VDO, Coca-Cola, and Disney.

No. 5

'Beating the NBA: Tales From a Frugal Fan'

by Motez Bishara

Beating the NBA: As Britain Prepares to Host 13th NBA Game, Londoner's New Book Exposes Basketball's Biggest Foul -- Ticket Prices.

Written by Motez Bishara, 'Beating the NBA: Tales From a Frugal Fan' follows the author's real life adventure as he travels the length and breadth of the United States to see thirty-one NBA games at the lowest possible price. Part gripping memoir and part exposé into the rapidly-evolving ticket industry, Bishara's book makes fascinating reading for any sports fan.


As one of the most powerful sports leagues in the world, it's no surprise that the National Basketball Association is ruthless when it comes to pricing its premium seats. Tickets to watch even the worst teams are touted at hundreds -- and often thousands -- of dollars, pricing out all but the wealthiest fans.

But just outside its glistening arenas, on the city pavements and internet classifieds, lurks the NBA's dirty little secret: Good tickets can be had for pennies on the dollar...if you know how to play the system. For one frugal fan that's when the adventure begins.

A value-conscious professional stock investor by day, and a sports-obsessed haggler by night, Motez Bishara sets off on a madcap thirty-one game, cross-continental quest to buy the best NBA tickets at the lowest possible prices.

When Motez Bishara is not rushing to hit another music gig or sporting event, he spends his time in London managing an institutional stock portfolio and freelancing as a journalist. On the side, he tries to revive the Notting Hill hippie movement through Ashtanga yoga and an acoustic guitar. This is his first book.

No. 6

The Balance Myth

by Teresa Taylor

Are you a parent? Imagine this happened to you this week...

You snuck home at lunch to surprise your new babysitter. The music was blaring while your nanny was busily chatting on her cell phone. Your infant was asleep with swollen eyes from crying, lying in a soiled diaper. Do you fire her? Do you go back to work? Your child needs you, but so does your office. This happened to Teresa Taylor and she had to decide.

The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work/Life Success provides unique yet palpable solutions for women to simplify the complexities of a modern professional lifestyle--from parenting and married life to travel, friendship and business and more. A perfect topic for Women's History Month in March.

Video of M/s Taylor on a recent TED Talk in December:

Teresa Taylor serves on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem, Inc., a financial services holding company with $7.3 billion in assets, as well as the board of directors for NiSource, Inc., a Fortune 500 natural gas and electricity storage and transmission company.

Additionally, Taylor is an executive adviser to Governor John Hickenlooper and serves on the Colorado Economic Development Commission amongst other things. She resides in Golden, Colorado, with her husband. She has two grown sons.


  • Top Female Telecom Executive by Fierce
  • Telecom Top Twenty Female Executives Forbes magazine
  • Top 100 Distinguished Women (2007 and 2010)
  • Women of Distinction Award – Girl Scouts (2008)
  • Current and past memberships in Executive Women Leadership Organizations

The Balance Myth is available for pre-order now or purchase in March 2013 at as well as other online booksellers. To learn more visit:

No. 7

"The Entity" by Norman Harrison

  • This book is currently being reviewed by R.P. Bendedek

According to United States National Traffic Safety Board findings, close to 80 percent of aviation accidents are caused by human error.

Combining present-day realities of aviation with artificial intelligence gone wrong, Norman Harrison has penned the techno-thriller, "The Entity."

"Today, we have drones that can do an entire mission thousands of miles from the aircraft," Harrison said. "It is not beyond one's imagination that someday artificial intelligence might grow beyond the intelligence of its creators."

(At Amazon)

  • Following their first contentious meeting, Special Agent Jake Carbine and Agent Liz Young seem unlikely co-workers ... but things change when an 86-year-old scientist is brutally murdered in Plattsburgh, NY and Agent Young asks the obvious question, Why would anyone go to such extreme measures to kill an elderly scientist? The modus operandi of the Plattsburgh murder seems similar to a case in Paris where a popular right-wing French presidential candidate was brutally assassinated. These two murders, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, unite Carbine and Young with Interpol agent Anaka Donnatello. At first the cases appear to be the work of a cult but that is where the similarity ends. And the Entity has a special prey in its sights ... the tenacious Agent Young. The Entity is a fast-paced and highly original political thriller. There is dark and light in every breathless chapter ... and when the denouement finally arrives, there is still a twist in the tale.

Norman Harrison was born in Wichita Falls, Texas, where he taught high school biology and chemistry for two years before joining the Navy to 'see the world'. During his twenty-six years as a US Navy aviator, he flew to forty-three countries, lived in six and for many years flew missions to and from aircraft carriers at sea. Harrison earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas, Arlington, a Master of Arts degree from Michigan State University, and a Master of Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He currently is an associate professor of aeronautics for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, European region. The concept for 'The Entity' evolved from one of the courses he teaches: Human Factors in Aviation

No. 8

"A Time Not Yet Forgotten a Time Before Hope"

By Billy J. Morris

It's complicated: New novel explores the fate of the modern age
U.S. government specialist offers an enlightening look at weighty subjects

MANCHESTER, Ky. -- When it comes to world destruction, the devil is in the details.

In his new science fiction novel "A Time Not Yet Forgotten a Time Before Hope," author Billy J. Morris offers readers an epic tale exploring human and Martian interaction after an invasion changes the future of Earth.

"I like the idea of watching people learn to live with unsolvable problems," Morris said. "That's when you see what's really driving the world we live in."

Beginning 5,000 years ago, the story envisions six ships sent from Mars to colonize Earth. Quickly accelerating to the future, people on Earth explore the solar system and must decide whether to take warnings of Martians about the dangers they face.

Morris, a contract specialist for the U.S. government and retired U.S. Air Force airman, incorporates his unique professional insight into the complex political environment in the story.

"A Time Not Yet Forgotten a Time Before Hope" explores the present-day technological, environmental and political issues at stake in an increasingly complex world.

Billy J. Morris, a Manchester, Ky. native, currently works in Stuttgart, Germany as a contract specialist for the U.S. government. Previously, he served as an airman in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years before retiring. "A Time Not Yet Forgotten a Time Before Hope" is Morris' first novel to be published. He is working on the next installments in the series.

"A Time Not Yet Forgotten a Time Before Hope"
By Billy J. Morris

ISBN: 978-1-4669-8147-8
Softcover retail price: $18.70
Hardcover retail price: $28.70
E-book price: $3.99
Available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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