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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 1.
By R.P. BenDedek
Jan 18, 2015 - 12:23:25 AM

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"Magic City Book Basket 2015" brings to the attention of readers via publication of publicity material, various new book releases.

  • In 2015 the frequency of publication and number of books in each basket will vary.
  • In 2015 we still have book reviewers at Magic City but unfortunately we can't do book reviews for every book.
  • In 2015 we are still prepared to assist authors in promoting their books via a "No Charge - No Pay" self-promotions service.
  • In 2015 we will continue to list in the book basket, the various links to Book Reviews and Author Articles published during the previous week.

We invite authors to send in 'stand alone' articles on a topic that readership might find interesting.

  • This is not an opportunity to rehash publicity material and authors should not use their book title as the article title.
  • When we publish author articles, we do include author bios and a photograph of the book cover and additionally add the link to a purchase page for the book.

We are extremely grateful to those authors who took advantage of this offer in 2014 and a list of those authors and their articles for the July-Dec 2014 may be found here.

In December 2014 Magic City Morning Star Reviewers cut back their book requests while we waited to see what course this site would take in 2015. With the publication today of this Basket, the reviewers will undoubtedly once again put in their requests and once the books are received and read, will once again be offering us their reviews. (Books Reviewed July to December 2014)

Book Reviews Published Jan 1st - Jan 17th

Martha Stevens-David Review: "The Longest Distance" by David Scott
Jan 13, 2015

This is more than a simple love story, it delves deep into our hearts and psyches to reveal hidden truths and desires that many of us wanderers fail to ever deal with or acknowledge in our lifetimes. "The Longest Distance" will take you in hand, take over your heart and your mind and just maybe, leave you asking the simple question, "why not?"

R.P. BenDedek

NOTE: I am no longer Editor of Magic City Morning Star but for the time being I am continuing to irregularly publish Book Baskets.

No. 1

"Who's Behind the Mask?"

by Allen McCray

"Who's Behind the Mask?" By Allen McCray
PHOENIX -- Allen McCray was an angry husband, father and pastor until he transformed his life through the discovery of his true identity.

McCray explains how readers' lives can develop as he shares his personal life-changing journey in "Who's Behind the Mask?," a new book that allows readers to identify their unique personality behavioral styles. McCray's book prepares readers to live in the present -- rather than follow the unconscious behaviors of the past that prevent them from living a high-quality life.

"Through this process, I have had the privilege of working with people from all walks of life and see their total transformation take place when they learn who they are through their passions, purpose and personality behavioral style," McCray said.

By taking responsibility for choices and identifying reasons that drive behavior, readers are able to break away from destructive, habitual patterns.

"Transformation is an inside job," McCray said. "Once you identify the negative values in your life, you can discover your true identity and unlock your potential."

Too often we live our lives on automatic pilot. We make our choices at a subconscious level, and these choices are most often driven by negative or outdated values and beliefs of which we may not even be aware. Our minds drive us to live in the past. By living in the present, however, you can discover the real you and gain an understanding of the underlying elements that reinforce both your positive and negative behaviors. (Read More at Amazon)

Allen McCray, president of Life Impact LLC, has served as a pastor, college president, counselor and certified personal life coach. He received master's degrees in pastoral counseling and marriage and family therapy from the California Christian Institute. McCray received an honorary doctor of letters degree from West Coast Christian College. For more information, visit

"Who's Behind the Mask?"
By Allen McCray
Published Sept. 15, 2014
ISBN: 9781491738771
ISBN: 9781491738788
220 Pages
Softcover $16 at Amazon
Hardcover $37.95
E-book $3.99

No. 2

"Orphan Spirit"

by Maria Star

"Orphan Spirit" By Maria Star
TORONTO -- Years after her schizophrenic birthmother gave her away for adoption, the buried trauma came to the surface for Maria Star. After she scrambled through decades of chaos, Star turned her life around through the help of a loving, supportive relationship.

Star's memoir "Orphan Spirit" tells the trials and tribulations of growing up as an orphan and living in several foster homes before being adopted. As an adult, Star's struggles progressed as she battled addiction, destructive relationships, eating disorders and cancer.

Star describes how early abandonment affected her and how she ultimately was able to find peace.

"Understanding reality is the foundation for personal growth," Star said. "Once you are able to disclose your failures and secrets, you will find your own voice and eventual peace."

Star reaches readers who are struggling with their present lives and shows them that they are not alone. Her journey provides insight and comfort to anyone who has been debilitated by shame, isolation and secrets.

Author Maria Star developed in a schizophrenic's womb for nine months. After Maria was born, she was given to the Children's Aid Society and subsequently experienced life in six foster homes before being adopted. In Orphan Spirit, she narrates the story of her life and how her early abandonment affected her, including her childhood and subsequent psychological treatment and healing. (Read More ar iUniverse)

Maria Star, a breast cancer survivor, enjoys singing in a four-piece country band and spending time with her close-knit family. Star currently resides in a small southern Ontario town, with her husband and dog. For more information, visit

"Orphan Spirit"
By Maria Star
iUniverse Publications
Published 9/19/2014
ISBN: 9781491744857
266 Pages
Softcover $21
e-Book $4


No. 3

"The Dark Tunnel"

by Patrick Henderson

"The Dark Tunnel" By Patrick Henderson
BRIGHTON, England -- This year, the 100-year anniversary of the First World War, people around the world remember their ancestors and those communities affected by the conflict.

Patrick Henderson has always had a passion for both world wars and the Hitler Youth Organization, so writing about a family experiencing all three came naturally. The Dark Tunnel is a story of family, young love, betrayal, and the tragedy of war.

This is a story of a family, young love and betrayal, and the tragedy of war. The story revolves around three cousins-an English boy, a German boy, and a Dutch girl-and their upbringing between the wars. The boys' affection for each other is intense, but as they mature, the natural desire for the love of a girl complicates their lives. During the summer of 1932, when the three cousins are on holiday at their grandparents' country house near the small town of Grave in Brabant, an incident occurs that will have tragic repercussions during the Second World War when they are serving their countries. (Read more at Amazon)

Born in the late 1920s, Henderson was too young to have fought in either war, but personal experiences such as traveling to sites with special meaning played a critical role in the creation of The Dark Tunnel.

"Visiting the small town of Grave, in Holland, led me to imagine the story of three cousins," Henderson said.

The rest, like the grave incidents chronicled in the book, is history. (Read Excerpts at Wordpress)

Patrick Henderson of Brighton, England, has lived and worked in the town all his life. He is married to Rita and has three children.

"The Dark Tunnel"
By Patrick Henderson
AuthorHouse UK
Published July 29, 2014
ISBN-10: 1496987365
ISBN-13: 978-1496987365
478 Pages
Hardcover $41
Softcover $26

No. 4

"Thursday's Child: The Mike Kendrick Story"

by Mike Kendrick

"Thursday's Child: The Mike Kendrick Story" by Mike Kendrick
United Kingdom -- Most authors struggle to find a 'name' to provide a foreword to their books. Most could only dream that Sir Richard Branson would be that respondent. In the hilarious forward Sir Richard claims he is not worried about any revelations, saying he has more on the author than the author has on him! Sir Richard's glowing comments open up 'Thursday's Child', a biography that epitomises success, achievement , failure and doing things most people wouldn't dare. Kendrick's life on the ground has seen him become well known in the British media, through various successful business ventures (including launching the UK's first aerial advertising company with Branson) and, in the air, Kendrick has gone down in history as a pioneer of the UK hot air ballooning scene.

Synopsis: Thursday's Child is a warts and all tale which places a Black Country lad under the microscope as we discover how he achieved success - including becoming Sir Richard Branson's business partner for over twenty years! It is a remarkable story of one man's journey from a poor council house to the dizzy heights of success. Kendrick took up the dangerous and unpredictable sport of hot air ballooning -- because he was terrified of heights. Placing himself in almost impossible situations, just for the thrill of the ride and to push himself to the extreme and beyond! We experience his often shameful and promiscuous life in club land. His obsession with aviation and his discovery of true love. How fortunes were made and lost and his life hanging in the balance as one crash followed another. "Hot air ballooning was one of man's first forms of powered flight, but in the UK it was reserved for the upper-class elite who used it as a status symbol," explains Kendrick. "Then I came along; a working-class boy with a pint of real ale in one hand and a thirst for adventure in the other. I turned the sport around into something accessible, fairly cost-effective and able to be embraced and loved by the masses. My background in business sent sparks flying -- with the idea that these slow-flying and highly- visible machines could be used as a powerful aerial marketing tool. This passion is what led me to meet Richard, become his business partner and develop an iron-clad friendship that still exists to this day."

Mike Kendrick started his career as a fruit machine mechanic, before moving on to impresario work at a huge midlands theatre; during the 'swinging sixties' -- where he took full advantage of the lifestyle before settling with a PR agency. His talent as a showman led him into the elitist sport of competitive hot air ballooning, which brought about the long business partnership with Sir Richard Branson. Mike's adventurous exploits took him to the four corners of the globe. Simon W. Golding has been a professional novelist and scriptwriter for 20 years. Simon started off his career as a freelance journalist, moving into fiction and non-fiction books and most recently writing for the small and silverscreen.

"Thursday's Child: The Mike Kendrick Story"
by Mike Kendrick
JMD Media
Published 2 May 2014
ISBN-10: 1780913834
ISBN-13: 978-1780913834
244 Pages

No. 5

"A Foggy Sunrise"

by David Kimel

"A Foggy Sunrise" By David Kimel
TORONTO -- WWII affected all of Europe, but some sides of this tragedy are rarely remembered. In his new book "A Foggy Sunrise", author David Kimel reveals the drastic changes that the war brought to his home country of Romania, leading to his decision to leave their home, family and country to immigrate to Canada.

Spanning the decade from 1937 to 1947, "A Foggy Sunrise" begins before the war when Kimel was just a child. It reveals a moment in time of his family and the entire country struggled to cope with the rising tide of war, anti-Semitism, famine and a corrupt Communist regime.

"I was really there as a child," said Kimel. "WWII had an effect on the world that we still feel to this day. I want people to understand what it was like in a country like Romania, a place caught between German and Russian influence that people don't often talk about."

Many in North America had never been taught much about the impact of WWII throughout Europe before the popular Italian movie "Life is Beautiful". Kimel hopes that "A Foggy Sunrise" can offer a similar experience for readers, showing how far-reaching WWII and the Holocaust were, and shine a spotlight on the transition of a democratic country to a communist dictatorship.

"One thing I want all readers to take away from my story is that life can be filled with hardship, danger and brutality, but human kindness, good will and faith will remain and shine through it all," Kimel said. "It's only when liberty is taken from people that they must run somewhere else for a better life."

David Kimel is a design engineer with 18 years of experience in Romania, 2 in Israel and over 20 in Canada. He decided to write a book about his true experiences to connect his roots-broken children and grandchildren with their ancestors' life, culture and traditions.

"A Foggy Sunrise"
By David Kimel
iUniverse Publication
Published 10/25/2014
286 Pages
Softcover $18
e-book $4

No. 6

"A Dark Spree"

by Nest Madden

"A Dark Spree" by Nest Madden
United Kingdom -- Crime fiction is a genre cherished by millions, although one also fraught with inaccuracies, stereotypes and guesswork on the part of its authors. Nest Madden may be new to the literary scene, but he's the perfect fountain of knowledge to try his hand at crime fiction -- having spent three decades on the front line as a Government and private security specialist. 'A Dark Spree' pulls no punches when proving that its author knows what he is talking about. Every page is a vivid and engrossing adventure, taking readers deeper into the real world of crime than any thoroughbred author ever could. Crime, mystery, detective, murder, suspense and adventure all feature in equal measure as the author takes us on an exhilarating and roller coaster ride from first sentence to last. As soon as we read this section of the Prologue we know exactly what we are in for:

The man ignored his question and bent down to the bag at his feet. As the man straightened up, he registered with horror that the man was holding a single barrel sawn-off shotgun. For all his fitness, he was slow to react. As he dived to one side the barrel collided with the left side of his jaw. There was a huge flash of white light, a searing heat, and pain. Such terrible, terrible pain! He fell back, knocked off his feet by the blast. The man looked at the figure writhing before him and kicked him as hard as he could in the chest. He didn't realize his lower jaw and tongue were a bloody mush and his screams were just pathetic mews. The man moved forward, removed the spent cartridge case, inserted another shell, and pressed the end of the barrel against the eye socket of his fallen victim. Then fired again. The man stepped back from the gore in front of him, broke the gun, removed the cartridge case, and returned the gun to his backpack. He looked around; he'd crossed the line now. No going back. He was... what? A murderer or an avenger? Got to move, got to hustle; three more calls to make.

Madden's pithy story-telling exudes convincing detail that can only come from first-hand experience. From the scary corporeal detail of murder scenes through the peculiar personalities and ruthless inner politics of Police careers, to the bizarre machinations and prosaic realities of Intelligence work, Madden portrays a gritty reality far removed from most TV detective stories. A Dark Spree intrigues and disturbs in equal measure. We are presented with all too believable characters who might become heroes or violators, or then again just ordinary people viscerally caught up in extraordinary life events. With no other possible redress, what does it take for one person to seek retribution, to extract justice at any cost? In turn, the forces of Law and Order must do just that. A Dark Spree invites us to consider how we would fare when overtaken by unjust events. Would we or should we cross the line?

'A Dark Spree' is available now at Amazon UK:

Nest Madden is a decorated security specialist who has over thirty years in front line security work both in the UK, Northern Ireland and abroad in various countries around the world. He has worked for and with various Governmental departments and also as a security consultant. Now in his retirement, he is turning his talents into stories that are based on true experience.

No. 7

"Light of the Damned"

by F. John Hurr

"Light of the Damned" by F. John Hurr
United Kingdom -- Through his work as a biblical scholar, F. John Hurr has spent countless hours exploring the impact both good and evil has on humanity. Now transposing his knowledge and wisdom into fiction, Hurr's debut novel questions the existence of this unseen spiritual realm, as it tears apart an unassuming small village on the British coast. 'Light of the Damned' makes for an intelligent read. While of course fictional, Hurr weaves in plenty of debate; empowering readers to question how good and evil affect them, as well as how these intangible forces manifest themselves in the real world.

Synopsis: Penrhos Bay was a quiet seaside town, until the demons came. No fairgrounds, no loud blaring music, no tacky tourist shops, or boozy backstreet bars and seedy nightclubs. A place where nothing significant ever happened. It was a nice, picturesque, safe place beside the sea. Now murder, violence, kidnap and drunkenness on the streets despoil this once genial and delightful place. So why did a local Curate jump to his death off a church tower? Why did the Vicar scatter his ashes in unconsecrated ground? Why did the thief steal the church offerings and then put it all back? Do the new Curate and his young wife fully realize just what they are getting into in coming to Penrhos Bay? Despite the clean appearance of whitewashed villas and neat Victorian hotels on the esplanade, the quaintness of Saturday deckchair concerts and the traditional Punch and Judy shows on the old wooden pier, pure wickedness abounds. Unseen by the town's people, a dire struggle is being fought between the forces of good and evil. A struggle which will soon impact every one of the inhabitants, including the angels and demons.

"This story can best be described as contemporary Christian fantasy/suspense, even though dozens of non- Christians have praised the narrative," explains the author. "It's a gripping adventure chock-full of spiritual warfare and references to the real world that will leave readers pondering how it all links up. I've worked tirelessly to make everything as vivid as possible. Reviews confirm that it's an engrossing read!"

Hurr is right. For example, bestselling author Bill Myers comments, "A great book! An imaginative and well- written story of suspense and intrigue set in the land of the Red Dragon. Hurr gives us the most convincing spiritual warfare between angels and demons since Frank Peretti's classic This Present Darkness. This book is perfect for those who want to descend into the spiritual and supernatural world of warring angels and demons. The author's imaginative and graphic style of writing brings his characters to life so convincingly. So much so, that we should all give serious thought to the existence of an unseen spiritual realm. If you thought you knew all about the realm of angels and demons and the supernatural, then think again. Hurr's book uniquely transports the reader into a totally convincing world where ordinary people, angels and demons enter into violent, life and death battles as evil forces attempt to usurp God's kingdom on Earth."

'Light of the Damned' is available now at Amazon UK:

F. John Hurr is a biblical scholar, philosopher and free-lance writer. Light of the Damned is his first book of fiction. Major influences include C.S. Lewis, Henning Mankell, Arthur Conan Doyle and M.R. James. He lives with his wife in Colchester, UK. Before becoming a Christian in his mid-thirties Hurr was a vociferous atheist and opponent of religion and used to rip-up bibles in front of Christians to make his point strike home.

No. 8

"Even the Land Cries!"

by Lainey May

"Even the Land Cries!" by Lainey May
TOOWOOMBA, Australia -- Australia boasts one of the oldest surviving cultures in modern society. While the beauty of the outback is filled with incredible people and stories, it is also dangerous and unpredictable.

Lainey May introduces and writes about the unknown history in her book, "Even the Land Cries!" Two brothers set out on an adventure to discover and thrive off of their designated property. Unbeknownst to them, the brutal power of untamed nature will not be their only battle.

"The book unlocks responses and behaviors motivating two cultures that has had an uncanny influence on the land." Lainey said.

The fictional tale is inspired by her time living and working in the outback. The setting of the book is based off of the property in which she lived. Aboriginal culture and lesser-known Australian history are delicately interwoven throughout the novella.

"I always felt an uncanny "imprint," in the atmosphere around the property and often felt as I was somehow drawn back into the distant past." Lainey said.

Set against the backdrop of Australia in the 1860s - a vast and beautiful land that protects more secrets than it gives up - the displaced peoples of two nations were thrown together in a fierce struggle to exist in an isolated, inhospitable landscape. Caught between the harsh climate, nature, and the darkest sides of man, life in the wild remoteness of south eastern, West Australia was not for the weak of heart. Inspired by historical events from Australia's wild history in the long ago, "Even the Land Cries!" takes readers inside the rugged land and the strong, resilient people who sought to tame it. (Read More at Balboa Press)

Lainey May is an author and painter living in Australia with her husband. Lainey has published two books, "Even the Land Cries!" and "A Place in Time." Her unique experiences regarding the life and culture of the outback inspire her writing. For more information, visit

"Even the Land Cries!"
By Lainey May
Balboa Press
Published 10/2/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4525-2492-4
128 Pages
Softcover $12
e-Book $4

No. 9

"Legacy of Alahdorn"

by D.B. Kaine

"Legacy of Alahdorn" by D.B. Kaine
United Kingdom -- Most authors spend years gaining enough traction for their first novel to justify a second, with many never getting there. However, D.B. Kaine's own unique brand of fast-paced fantasy is so compelling and engrossing that she is well on the way to publishing all five books of her debut series. 'The Alahdorn Series' currently comprises of 'Legacy of Alahdorn' and 'Alahdorn and the Realm of Solace'. Expect dragons, magic and an amulet which could unleash the difference between life and death.

Synopses: 'Legacy of Alahdorn' - A detailed fantasy novel of a young girl name 'Brogan' who holds a magical ability inside of her to replenish the magical lands of a realm known as 'Alahdorn'. To do this she must battle a Black Dragon named 'Kraven' who has had a tyrannical and destructive reign over Alahdorn for the past 10 years. With the help of her Guardian, a Golden Dragon named 'Darwin', Brogan must not only convince creatures of good and evil to join her against the creatures of chaos, but also she has to face her own past and the secrets it holds.

'Alahdorn and the Realm of Solace' - Brogan has travelled to the Realm of Solace in order to retrieve her father before the 'Dormant Sun' closes the gateway, trapping Brogan's father in the prison realm for all time. In the meantime, Shimron has to lead Brogan's army towards the 'Moon Temple' in the 'Dragon Glades', in order to retrieve the amulet of Kasha, the Golden Dragon who was once the protect of the 'Glass City'. The amulet was stolen by Ashen, the White Dragon in order destroy it and weaken the protection of the Glass City. But the possibility of Kraven's tyranny returning to the lands of Alahdorn, looms once again.

"Writing these books was the strangest experience," admits the author. "You'd think that one would spend dozens of hours agonizing at the writing table -- but the entire series actually came to me in my sleep. I furiously wrote everything down each time I woke up and, after a week, I had the series down on paper. All that was left was for me to edit and construct them into something I could release to the public. But it was also a poignant time. During this period I lost six members of my family and I found great peace and solace in my writing. I've dedicated each book to someone different and am so thrilled to be honouring them in this way. I hope it would make them proud."

The rest of the series is currently undergoing its finishing touches and will be released soon. Further volumes are titled 'Alahdorn and the Heart of Vearon', 'Alahdorn and the Blade of Kaithier' and 'Alahdorn, Rise of the Dragon Elders'.

The first two volumes are available now:

No. 10

"The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ - In a single narrative"

by Norman Russell

"The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ - In a single narrative" by Norman Russell
United Kingdom -- While the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the most important stories ever told, consuming it as a single narrative is no walk in the park. For the first time this century, British academic Norman Russell has compiled the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, parts of the Acts of the Apostles and the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians into a single 'story'. 'The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ - In a single narrative' still tells this story in its bare and powerful form, though in our view more succinctly than earlier versions, providing immense value to those both practising and studying Roman Catholicism. Nothing is repeated without a good reason, and, more importantly, nothing is omitted. Hundreds of notes refer the reader to the text of the four gospels as presented in the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims version of the New Testament.

Readers unfamiliar with this rendering will find it an attractive and refreshing translation of the original Latin Vulgate text.

"I'm not claiming to have come up with any new material or analysis, but what I have done is compile everything into a single narrative that can be consumed and understood without distraction," explains Russell. "It's ironic that the world's great story is also one of the hardest to follow and understand, so I've brought everything into one place. I've also interspersed the gospels themselves with some relevant material from the Acts of the Apostles and 1 Corinthians , which have an essential place in the wider Holy Gospel narrative and add a deeper level of understanding to the story. This will naturally be of great interest to any Roman Catholic, but it also has its place in Anglican, and other Episcopalian churches. To that end, it's also going to be a vital resource for those studying religion from a theological point of view. I can't believe it has taken 2000 years for someone to make it this simple!"

'The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ - In a single narrative' is available now at Amazon UK ... and... Barnes & Noble for $23 It can also be ordered from any bookstore. ISBN: 978-1781483435.

Norman Russell, a graduate of Oxford and London universities, is a full-time writer and academic, who has had seventeen novels published. He is an authority on Victorian finance as echoed in the literature of the period, and his book on the subject, "The Novelist and Mammon", was published by the Oxford University Press in 1986. Russell's book, "The Conversion of Monsieur Marie-Alphone Ratisbonne", translated from the French, and with copious notes, is also published by Grosvenor House Publishing.

© Copyright 2002-2014 by Magic City Morning Star

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