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Christian Book Basket Magic City (14)
By R.P. BenDedek
Oct 10, 2014 - 10:10:15 PM

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On Sundays we publish the regular book basket which highlights (no more than 15) new book releases by providing publicity material sent by publicists.

It also features links to whatever articles book authors have sent in for publication that week, and additionally displays links to whatever book reviews have been published.

(No one at all at Magic City receives any financial gain from any of the services we provide in relation to new book releases or reviews.)

To ease pressure on the regular book basket, in March we inaugurated the 'Christian Book Basket Magic City' which is published irregularly on a Wednesday. In that basket we highlight whatever Christian books have come to our attention during the previous weeks. We also occasionally do a 'Childrens Book Basket.'

We offer all authors a "no-pay no-charge" self-promotions offer to provide 'stand alone' articles within which we will publish bios, book cover photographs and links to purchase pages for their book release. This is not an offer to rehash publicity material, but to offer our readers something interesting to read. As we have no regular contributor to our Christianity section, Christian writers are welcome to write on any Christian topic.

We have two regular Christian book reviewers; Laure McCourt Lopez and Estelle Parke.

Most Recent Christian Book Reviews:

R.P.BenDedek Book Review: "A Covenant People" by James P. Eckman
Aug 10, 2014

This book by James P. Eckman is a very informative and many faceted presentation of the history of Israel. If it were to be given a different title, then 'History of Israel 101' would be a very appropriate one. Because of my over-familiarity with the subject matter, halfway through I was tempted to write my review. I'm glad I didn't! Chapters 12 through 15 were for me somewhat of a revelation, and I eagerly sat at the master's feet and soaked in as much as I could. It provides the reader with what I consider to be an evenhanded academic approach to the realities on the ground.

Estelle Parke Book Review: 'In the Spirit of Elijah' by Trevor Payne
Jul 31, 2014

He has managed to write the book in such a way as to present the characters, especially John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus Christ and assorted disciples, as real, human, genuine people. In this regard, I feel that the author is to be commended for a job well done. He has included a variety of small, personal accounts and incidents which help to humanize the Biblical characters and 'bring them to life' for the reader. I was disappointed to discover that there are numerous grammatical and other errors of writing throughout the work...

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Does It Really Say That in the Bible?"

By Katie Hoyt McNabb

"Does It Really Say That in the Bible?" By Katie Hoyt McNabb
PHILADELPHIA -- The Bible is not the easiest book to read. Spanning over thousands of years, it was written at many different times and places and by different authors. Historical considerations, linguistic idioms and the difficult spiritual and philosophical principles can make it tough for seasoned and scholarly theologians to read properly, not to mention someone who may be reading it for the first time.

Katie Hoyt McNabb has published a book to help people read the Bible more accurately. Having studied religion at Yale University under the prominent biblical scholar Brevard Childs, McNabb wrote "Does It Really Say That in the Bible?" as a resource that readers could use to supplement their reading of the Bible.

"I walk the reader through the scriptures book-by-book, pointing out the important 'sights' and demonstrating that although a single spirit animates the narrative, we hear different voices telling the biblical stories," McNabb said.

For seasoned Christians or those just beginning to investigate the faith, McNabb's book contains insight into the historical backgrounds of biblical stories. McNabb educates readers in the cultural context and literary style of the times in which the chapters and verse were written.

"Although the Bible does have a unifying message, the books are very different," McNabb said. "Some parts are historic documentation; some parts are poetry. The Bible isn't just a holy book, it is a rich and diverse work of literature... and when you start to learn more about it, it becomes even more beautiful." For more information, visit

Katie Hoyt McNabb has developed a strong background in language after studying Latin, classical Greek, and biblical Hebrew, in addition to German and French. At Yale she studied under Brevard Childs, one of the most influential biblical scholars of the 20th century. She then went on to earn a master's degree in secondary education from Temple University and now lives with her family near Philadelphia.

"Does It Really Say That in the Bible?"
By Katie Hoyt McNabb
ISBN: 978-1-4908-4321-6
Softcover: $30.95
Hardcover $43.95
E-book $3.99

No. 2

"All In God's Glory"

by Curtis Cliff Kell

"All In God's Glory" by Curtis Cliff Kell
On the outside, everything was seemingly perfect--full of youth, a loving family, football stardom, and admiring fans. However, life is not always what it seems, and perfection is perhaps an unattainable feat.

In "All In God's Glory," Curtis Cliff "Chip" Kell takes readers on the lifelong journey of a football hall of famer and two-time Consensus All-American football player and Southeastern Conference legend. Kell openly and candidly shares his story--from the start of his life, being adopted by two loving people, through a premature, unexpected, unprepared, career-ending injury. Kell's story culminates in his becoming a wiser person and closer to God.

"From early in my life, I was taught to never quit, to avoid depending on sports enhancing drugs and to never make excuses. Finally, I realized that GOD really gave me the strength to bust through the barriers to a lifetime VICTORY! This is my story," Kell said.

  • I would probably have to say that the thought of writing this book came from my induction into the College Football Hall Of Fame. When I was in New York for the induction, the one thing I remembered the most was running into all the coaches and players that I've read about and watched all my life. One of the most amazing things I got to experience happened when I was in the line-up getting ready to go onstage for the Induction Ceremony. I was sitting on the first row with my head down listening to all the information that was being given out when I heard the announcer say, "Sam Huff will be introducing the existing Hall Of Fame coaches." I immediately looked up and there stood Sam Huff right in front of where I was sitting. When the itinerary had been given out, I went straight to Sam and introduced myself as the 10-year-old boy who had written him a letter asking for an autographed picture. Forty-seven years later I was able to thank him for sending that picture to me!

"All In God's Glory"
by Curtis Cliff Kell
ISBN: 978-1-49690-828-5
Published by Authorhouse
Published: 6/2/2014
Hardcover $28
E-book $4

No. 3

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

By Chris Conrad

"Why Did Jesus Have to Die?" By Chris Conrad
SALT LAKE CITY -- It could easily be argued that Christianity is mainly based on faith without evidence to prove it -- and Christians seem to be okay with that. Although we demand hard facts to back up scientific theories, with religion we tend to simply believe what we believe.

Author Chris Conrad thinks we should use reason and logic in religion just as we do in science. In Conrad's new book, "Why Did Jesus Have to Die?," he takes a critical look at biblical history to explain why God does the things he does, and to illustrate to readers that you don't have to be a theologian to understand the Bible.

"I taught science, math and Bible for a number of years," Conrad said. "I understand how people see God and why they fear him. I also know that people demand logic and evidence to back up scientific theories, but accept religious views without either."

Conrad said it's unacceptable to see Jesus' crucifixion as a legal swap. He said, "The main reason Jesus had to die was to demonstrate the truth that had been challenged by Satan -- a clarification of what God told Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden about the consequences of sin. Using train tracks and a damsel in distress challenges the logic of the traditional view of the cross and salvation."

"Why Did Jesus Have to Die?" attempts to answer questions about who we are, where we came from and where we're going. Conrad also hopes to alleviate the fear many Christians have that God is a disciplinarian with no remorse.

"God prefers we have a friendly, loving relationship with him, not one as a servant to a king," Conrad said. "He wants us to do what is right because it is right, not because we're told. Only by love is love awakened. Try force with your kids and see what you get."

Chris Conrad earned a bachelor's degree from Colorado State University and a master's degree from Wichita State University in geology. He has taught math and science while also leading Bible studies for the past 30 years. Conrad specializes in creation versus evolution issues and is a professional geologist currently residing in Utah.

"Why Did Jesus Have to Die?"
By Chris Conrad
ISBN: 978-1-4834-0938-2
Price $14.99

No. 4

"From Darkness To Light"

by Donna Thorpe

"From Darkness To Light" by Donna Thorpe
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Even after losing her house, losing her job, her husband's death and her own struggle against breast cancer, poet Donna Thorpe never felt totally defeated.

"After losing my house, I was moving around a lot. I never felt alone though. God has sustained me through the rough times and I praise him for nurturing my growth," Thorpe said. "Because he brought me through, I have the honor of praising him through my poetry."

Thorpe's new book of devotional poems is called "From Darkness To Light." Her poetry follows her own path out of darkness to a state of illumination. After struggling in life's rough waters, Thorpe recently married a wonderful man named Paul and has found strength in volunteering her time to her church and community.

"From Darkness To Light" is a collection of poems inspired by faith. Praising God's love and seeking truth, forgiveness and God's presence in our lives, Thorpe pours her rich words onto the canvas of hearts everywhere.

"I hope that my reflections will touch the hearts of those who may need to be uplifted or who are feeling distant from God," said Thorpe. "He's always there to help you."

Donna Thorpe has been published in several poetry anthologies including The Colors of Life, a compilation of poetry published by the National Library of Poetry. She just recently shared a two-year anniversary with her husband Paul. They have six children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

"From Darkness To Light"
By: Donna Thorpe
Westbow Press
Published May 19, 2017
Soft cover price: $9.95
ISBN: 978-1-4908-3637-9

No. 5

"House of Living Stones"

by Katie Schuermann

"House of Living Stones" by Katie Schuermann
Saint Louis, MO--In the quaint college town of Bradbury, change doesn't come often, and it certainly doesn't come easily. So when Pastor Fletcher hires Emily Duke as the new choir director at Zion Lutheran Church, he unknowingly sets in motion a chain of events that turns the life of his congregation upside down. Concordia Publishing House returns to the adult Christian fiction market after a lengthy hiatus with a beautifully written and incredibly relatable story about small-town life, the dangers of misconceptions, and the power of forgiveness from author Katie Schuermann. Her debut novel, House of Living Stones is a charming story centered on the many personalities living in Bradbury. From the crusty church secretary and the pompous organist, to the new choir director and the young pastor, Schuermann introduces her readers to a delightful and amusing cast of characters familiar to us all.

"Katie Schuermann's venture into fiction breathes a breath of fresh central Illinois air as her pen travels along a road less traveled," says Rev. Mark A. Miller, president of the Central Illinois District of the LCMS. "Her tale of life and love, meddling and music, rebellion and reconciliation in the fictional college town of Bradbury, Illinois, is entertaining and insightful."

An accomplished musician and a pastor's wife with strong roots in the Midwest, Schuermann writes about what she knows and loves. She says, "The point of the story is to celebrate our rich Lutheran doctrine and practice, relish the quirky personalities and idiosyncrasies of our smaller congregations, geek out a bit on the choral arts, point out how gossip kills the reputations of our neighbors, and encourage readers to rejoice in Christ's forgiveness of sins." With its host of lovable and relatable characters, House of Living Stones will find a special place on readers' bookshelves and in their hearts.

Katie Schuermann is a writer, speaker, and singer and the author of He Remembers the Barren (Lutheran Legacy) and Pew Sisters: Real Women, Real Lives, Real Stories of God's Faithfulness (Concordia Publishing House). Learn more about the author at

Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. For 145 years, CPH has provided individuals, churches, and schools with products that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. From books and Bibles to church supplies, curriculum, and software, CPH offers more than 8,000 products to support the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. Visit CPH online at

"House of Living Stones"
by Katie Schuermann
Paperback 352 Pages
Price $11

No. 6

"Perilous Times: Blow the Trumpet in Zion"

By Jim D. Costello

"Perilous Times: Blow the Trumpet in Zion" By Jim D. Costello
JACKSON, Tenn. -- A recent article in The Economist likens the Catholic Church to a $170 billion business. The article has left many wondering if it's positive for a religious organization to draw such staunch business comparisons.

Pastor and church founder, Jim Costello worries that many religious organizations are so focused on raising money that they often fail to meet their primary objective of spiritualty assisting those in need.

This book, heartfelt and God-given, focuses on the dangerous times we live in. God's very elect are being deceived by Satan. Our churches have become businesses; the love of money has waxed cold because pastors aren't paying the price of praying. Our churches aren't houses of prayer, but places of buying and selling. This book was written to warn the elect that we are living in dark times. The rapture is now upon us, so look up--our Redeemer draweth nigh.

Costello's new book, "Perilous Times" warns that modern religion has reached a moral tipping point. It stresses the importance of maintaining tradition al biblical values and calls on readers to recognize mistakes made my many churches.

"Modern churches are no longer places of worship, but instead places of buying and selling," Costello said. "It's essential that Christians prioritize the well being of those in their community before all else."

Jim D. Costello served in the Vietnam War where he received 25 commendations and was decorated with several medals, including the Bronze Star. After war and a civilian career, he founded a church in Little Rock, Arkansas and served as a pastor for 15 years. "Perilous Times" is Costello's first published novel.

"Perilous Times: Blow the Trumpet in Zion"
By Jim D. Costello
Westbow Press
Published 6/11/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49083-040-7
194 Pages
Softcover $18
E-Book $4

No. 7

"A Brief Outline of Religious History and the Growing Danger Ahead"

By M.M.

"A Brief Outline of Religious History and the Growing Danger Ahead" By M.M.
The religious and political tension has reached an all time high. Fear from Islamic extremist action in the Middle East has caused worldwide concern and increased demand for a solution. Author M.M. provides insight into the religious/political clash in his new book.

"A Brief Outline of Religious History and the Growing Danger Ahead" by M.M. may be brief, but it is a comprehensive and pertinent read for the masses. M.M. walks readers through a history of religion, religious wars, our place in the world and the seemingly endless conflict between Christians and Muslims.

"The paper was written because I believe a great threat to world peace is imminent. The subjects raised in leading to, and in support of, this belief are intentionally brief and included only to lead to the conclusion," M.M. said.

Culminating in the author's solution for a peaceful future, pluralism, "A Brief Outline of Religious History and the Growing Danger Ahead" is an important and timely read in a time of religious war in the Middle East and the major perceived threat on the world.

"The potential solution to the threat will be extremely difficult to accomplish for many reasons but must be attempted," said the author.

M.M. was raised a Catholic and taught to believe the Catholic Church to be the true church and the pope to be the successor of Christ and thus infallible. While serving in the US Army, M.M. used his free time to read and study the Bible. After his time in the army, M.M. was consumed with raising a family, advancing in his career and earner a Bachelor's of Art in business management. Additionally, he made a Cursillo, became a lector/commentator at Mass, and for a short time, taught a religion class for high school students. His work required travel to 65 countries, giving him the opportunity meet many interesting and education people. The learning of their history and religion was enlightening.

"A Brief Outline of Religious History and the Growing Danger Ahead"
By: M.M.
ISBN: 978-1-49073-295-4
Softcover $8.10
Hardcover $18.10
E-book $3.99


No. 8

"God's Romantic Getaway"

by Jemma Regis

"God's Romantic Getaway" by Jemma Regis
When Jemma Regis was seventeen and faced with the sudden loss of her mother, she knew that her relationship with God would need to move beyond casual; to become a bedrock of life based on love, trust and a very special kind of relationship. The book is entitled God's Romantic Getaway, which superficially suggests a break or time out of the hustle and bustle of life. But in actual fact we read of a young lady 'Getting Together' with Jesus and her journey to get to know and love Christ intimately. The book equally highlights the dual nature of our relationship with God; that of Father-child and as the title itself suggests, that of Husband-wife i.e. Christ's relationship with the church. Once read you too will examine your own journey and relationship with Christ or wonder why you have not yet asked to go on that getaway and be alone with Him.

Though she spent most of her life in church, she has had her fair amount of encounters with what Christians call "the world." As a young and successful entrepreneur, she had it all. The home, the car, nice clothes and a thriving business, but it was easy to use these things to mask her pain, depicting to the world all was well. But the truth was inside she was dying. Condemnation, low self-esteem, hurt, loss, lack of self- confidence, broken and damaged emotions ruled the areas of her life she wanted God to rule, causing her to drift from His path on numerous occasions. After years of small bouts of relief followed by even longer bouts of depression, enough was enough. If the God that she read about was as real today as He was in the bible then not only did she want to get to know Him she wanted her life to be totally consumed by him. She wanted to stand and stand strong in the face of adversity, she wanted to be free from depression and the damaged emotions, and she wanted to be free from her past nightmares of a dysfunctional and unbalanced childhood.

God's Romantic Getaway journals Jemma's quest for a deeper relationship with God, in which she is not shy of exposing the personal highs and lows of her journey and struggle. In this book the author shares in depth the lengths she was willing to go to fulfil that desire. Jemma does not have extraordinary faith, nor does she have extraordinary strength, but what Jemma does offer, is an extraordinary invitation into the intricacies of her relationship with her Papa in her first ever book entitled, 'God's Romantic Getaway.'

Jemma Regis, known to many as Jems or Jemz was born in the late 60's into a typically strict Caribbean family. Baptised at the age of thirteen, her genuine search for a relationship with God began aged seventeen after the sudden death of her mother. Faced with many obstacles, challenges, a damaged past and numerous distractions her search for a relationship with God that was more than just church became a lifelong goal. She longed for a walk with God that was sincere, honest, intimate and more importantly real and admits the lack of this contributed to her underlining depressive trait, which before long became the dominant force of her life. Depression robbed her not only of her joy, but life itself and more importantly the relationship with God she so desired.

"God's Romantic Getaway"
by Jemma Regis
Publisher: Ministry In Art Media
Published 1 Nov 2013
ISBN-10: 1907402586
ISBN-13: 978-1907402586
Paperback: 276 pages
Softcover $19
Kindle $12

No. 9

"The Healing Tree"

by Ellen Jones

"The Healing Tree" by Ellen Jones
As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice." Whom and how we love in life is an important decision that inevitably affects each and every fragment of our lives.

This Healing Tree is about feeling God’s presence today, recognizing his presence in your past, and using this to give you hope for a future.

In "The Healing Tree," author Ellen Jones shares the powerful love story between Lily and Jared, a young single woman and a man recently ordained to the Catholic priesthood, find choosing to love each other is easy, but searching for the path to God's love is a challenge.

Working to maneuver through their human frailties while embracing God's love, the couple uses past experiences to make the proper choice for a joyful and hope-filled future.

"Our love should reflect the personal commitment we have for the other, knowing that this love is a reflection of God's love for us," Jones said. "The puzzle of life is to find the path that can fill our hearts with love, not only for another person, but for God."

It is Jones hope that "The Healing Tree" will represent the truth of God's presence while inspiring readers to harness the power of relearning life lessons through remembering.

Ellen Jones was born and raised in Texas and lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She is a wife and mother and has served as a high school teacher and a youth minister. She enjoys sporting events, reading and music. She finds inspiration in songs of faith and is moved when she hears or reads of courageous acts by others. These things are her motivation to continue to improve and strive to follow the path that God lays out for her each and every day. Her family and friends are her encouragers, her loves, and her hope for her future. (Read More)

"The Healing Tree"
by Ellen Jones
Westbow Press
Published 5/9/2014
180 pages
Softcover $14
E-book $6

No. 10

"The Adventures and Life Lessons of Wolfy"

by Lane Franks

The Adventures and Life Lessons of Wolfy by Lane Franks
Inspired by the stories used to tell his son, inspirational speaker for Heart Line Ministries and single dad Lane Franks' new book, "The Adventures and Life Lessons of Wolfy," does more than entertain before bedtime. Wolfy shows the importance of good values and a loving family.

This book tells the adventure of a little wolf pup named Wolfy. It talks about his family and his sweet friends. It captures the fun and adventure of a narrow escape (Wolfy has an almost-deadly rattlesnake bite) while instilling the deep Christian values and beauty of the gospel of Christ.

Franks also wishes to show that God, the Bible, and prayer should be of central importance to establishing noble values early in life. "I wanted to instill in my son the same values I gained from attending church as a young boy," Franks said.

Lane Franks has served as an inspirational speaker for many years. He has spoken in various venues, such as in youth camps, churches, universities, prisons, radio, and television. His travels have taken him from San Diego, where he has spoken to the United States Marine recruits, to the remote jungles of Africa, where he has spoken to remote tribes. His passion is to help people of all ages and walks of life to enjoy a sincere and personal relationship with Jesus Christ as savior and friend.

Lane believes deeply in the importance of helping children at a tender age to fall in love with Jesus and to know the great principles of the Bible to help them establish their firm foundation in life. His number one disciple is his precious son, Landon, who helped Lane coauthor this book. For more information, visit

"The Adventures and Life Lessons of Wolfy"
by Lane Franks
Trafford Books
Published 3/19/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49072-843-8
Pages 34
Softcover $15
E-book $4

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