From Magic City Morning Star

R.P. BenDedek
Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 10
By R.P. BenDedek
Apr 1, 2015 - 5:55:50 AM

"Magic City Book Basket 2015" brings to the attention of readers via publication of publicity material, various new book releases. This year the frequency of publication and number of books in each basket will vary and while we still have book reviewers at Magic City we unfortunately can't do book reviews for every book. We are still offering to assist authors in promoting their books via a "No Charge - No Pay" self-promotions service. 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.

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 July-Dec 2014 may be found here. At the end of last year our book reviewers cut back on their book requests while waiting to see what changes would occur with a new editor in 2015. With the book baskets now recommenced our reviewers have once again started requesting books and once those books are received and read, will once again be offering us their reviews. (Books Reviewed July to December 2014)

Author Articles Since Basket No. 9

  1. Argumentative Poetry - No. 1 The Making of You and Me by Yemant and Friends authors of "God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 9

Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "The Orange Trees of Baghdad" by Leilah Nadir
Mar 28, 2015

As a "native" born American, I find that we "Americans" with only having experienced the evils that war brings to one's birth country, in our "Civil War" and the "American & Indian War", we really have no perception of what "war" really means. Will the people of Leilah's country ever be "free", one can certainly hope and pray that they will, but only God knows.

Milt Gross Book Review: "Fair Blows the Wind" by Louis L'Mour
Mar 27, 2015

Although I don't usually read stories of the Old World, this one held my attention from the very beginning. It ended differently from what I expected. I thought Chanery would end in the New World. Instead he is back where his roots are, Ireland... L'Amour literally "walked the land my characters walk," states a couple of pages about the author at the end of the book. "Of French-Irish descent, Mr. L'Amour could trace his own family in North America back to the early 1600s and follow their steady progression westward, "always on the frontier," the explanatory pages continue.

Martha Stevens-David Review: "Akio & The Dream World" by Carl Snook
Mar 27, 2015

I found that the tale read well right from the very intriguing beginning about the young man getting on the strange bus, until the very lovely ending. The topic about dreams and not being afraid to question the unknown, brought back memories of when I was a small child and having to listen to my older brothers tell scary tales to each other as we all waited for sleep at night.

M. Wallace Johnson Book Review: "Putting Tradition on Trial" By Patrick Cavanagh
Mar 27, 2015

It was in Chapter 11 that the author's actual position was clearly stated, indicating which day of the week it was upon which Jesus was crucified, how many days and nights he was in the tomb, and when he was resurrected. This is something that I feel was needed at the beginning of the book. For those who might think a discourse on the chronological order of events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ a bit pointless, it is worth noting that were the Christian Churches to adopt this author's conclusions, you would no longer be celebrating 'Good Friday' or 'Easter Sunday.'

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Commoner Sense"

By Patrick J. Fornari

"Commoner Sense" By Patrick J. Fornari
MIAMI-- Nearly 250 years later, these are still times that try men's souls. Patrick J. Fornari reflects Thomas Paine's historic work Common Sense in the contemporary Commoner Sense: The Working Person's Guide to America, with the goal of conveying the importance of politics to the average American. The author's bookshelf reveals a decade plus of political bestsellers and represents time and money he considers well spent in his passionate pursuit of the essence of America. Commoner Sense is Fornari's interpretation of the real life impact of politics on the past, present and future of America.

"Politics is a topic that affects everyone but is only pursued by a few," Fornari said. "I wanted to project this message to people who do not believe politics affect them or do not have the time to investigate the impact."

Fornari has worked in construction for more than thirty-five years, placing him squarely in the world and reality of the average working person's daily life. Spending half of that career outside of America in the Caribbean has nurtured a unique appreciation and perspective regarding American politics, history, society and economics.

"Commoner Sense speaks to Americans in laymen's terms about the history, current state and future of American politics," Fornari said. "I want the book to encourage citizens to recapture their voice in government." Commoner Sense echoes the sentiment expressed in Paine's monumental work that changed the course of America and the world.

Patrick J. Fornari was born and raised in Indiana, and spent the first half of his three plus decade construction career working in the Midwest and Western United States, including Illinois, Wyoming, Washington, Colorado, California and Arizona. For the second half of his career, he worked construction on several Caribbean islands, giving him a unique perspective on his home country. Fornari currently lives in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

"Commoner Sense"
By Patrick J. Fornari
iUniverse Press
Published 3/7/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4917-2273-2
156 pages
Softcover $16
E-book $4

No. 2

"Lottie's Run"

by Dr David Waugh

"Lottie's Run" by Dr David Waugh
United Kingdom -- While most children's books give their audience nothing but a quick thrill, Dr David Waugh's new release transcends its genre's norms to leave young readers with plenty to think about. Waugh has been a prolific education writer for many years, with publications used by thousands of teachers across the country. Now a proud grandfather, he has turned his hand to writing children's books -- each with a bold educational theme. His latest release, 'Lottie's Run', is his most exciting yet. Being lost in the woods is scary enough, especially when your dad is the England captain and supposed to be playing tomorrow...

Synopsis: One minute Lottie Parry was coming cheerfully out of school. She was looking forward to watching her dad playing football for England tomorrow afternoon, and then her friend's party in the evening. But after making one stupid mistake, the daughter of the England captain finds herself alone and afraid in a strange landscape as she tries desperately to escape her kidnappers. With no idea where she is and no-one to help her, can Lottie ever find her way home.

"At its heart, this is an exciting adventure story for children, but I've also woven in some subtle societal themes in order to get young minds racing," explains Waugh, who has also written for The Guardian and the BBC. "For example, the leading family are interracial and embrace all that is wonderful about diversity. While this element doesn't drive the plot, it does give children an extra something to think about as the story progresses. It's not a familial make-up that you see too often in books for young readers. The kidnap theme is also something that will stay with children, and I made sure to approach it with dignity that would make children aware of the risks, without keeping them up at night."

In-classroom tests have been overwhelmingly successful. One recent teacher commented, "Lottie's Run has a thrilling story with a gripping plot that will draw you in right from the very beginning. It is aimed at children of nine and above, as it deals with issues such as kidnap and racism, and had a huge impact on the children of a year five class when it was read to them. They became so engaged with the story that they wanted to continue reading it through their lunch break and they were so enthralled and captivated by it that they were even playing Lottie's Run on the playground. It is a brilliant story for predicting what will happen next as it is full of cliff hangers that will leave not only the children wanting more, but adults as well."

'Lottie's Run' is due for imminent release in both eBook and Paperback formats. For more information, bookmark the author's Amazon page:

Dr David Waugh is a lecturer at Durham University where he is the subject leader for Primary English. He has published extensively in primary education. David is a former deputy headteacher, and was Regional Adviser for ITT for the National Strategies from 2008 to 2010. He began writing children's stories for his grandchildren and has published extracts in some of his books on primary English, as well as in an interactive DVD. His next children's story, Jessica's Other World, will be published later this year. David is married to Rosemary and has two children and three grandchildren.

No. 3

"Akio & The Dream World"

by Carl Snook

"Akio & The Dream World" by Carl Snook
United Kingdom -- Like many great authors, Carl Snook took to writing after losing his mother in 2013. With boundless thoughts and endless dreams, he knew he had an abundance of stories that could captivate others. In his first published release, Snook, still only 25 years old lasers in on the true power of dreams. 'Akio & The Dream World' is vivid, engaging and thought-provoking. Above all, it's a message to the world straight from the author's heart.

Synopsis: "I wish I'd never taken that bus. I just want to get home." He said to Mr. Yama. "Akio my boy, just remember, what saves a man is to take a step, then another step. It is always the same step, but it gets you to where you are. You took that first step on to that bus, and it led you here, now all you have to do, is keep on stepping, and you'll find yourself to be somewhere else. Life is a journey Akio, and we are the ones who choose where to step next." Take a journey into the deep unknown of imagination. Join Akio as he explores a world thrust upon him where in a matter of minutes, even a 'Dream world' is turned upside down and teaches our young hero that not everything is always how it seems.

"My family has always been really close; I'm a film expert and I live with my siblings. But, in 2013, we lost our family's greatest asset -- our mother," explains Snook. "Before her death I already had hordes of stories in my head but, now with a very real reminder that life could end at any point, I decided it was time to put them on paper. This is my ode to my dear mother; a narrative that wraps the reader up in the power of their own dreams and teaches them that nothing is certain or even as it seems. There's a powerful underlying message that will certainly leave readers with plenty to think about."

Carl Snook is a student of the arts and entertainments for many years. He is a film and movie connoisseur. A zest for imagination and a love for a good story. In losing his mother early in 2013, he set out with determination to share his stories and mind with the world. From the county of Buckinghamshire in England, he lives with his older brother and younger sister.

No. 4

"The Second-Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played"

By Drew Bridges

"The Second-Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played" By Drew Bridges
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thousands of miles from home, Charlie Bridges dreamed of an end to war and a quiet, peaceful life -- one filled with the simple pleasures of his wife, his children, and baseball.

In The Second-Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played, Drew Bridges, Charlie's son, contemplates his perception of his father's life by squaring memories of a cherished baseball game from his childhood with Charlie's letters home during World War II. The result is an intimate look at a soldier's return and a touching tribute to a father from his son.

"His letters reveal his heart, mind, and dreams of a future," Bridges said. "I learned things about him I would never have anticipated."

Bridges and his father connected over a shared love for baseball, and the action of the book revolves around a game Charlie organized for his sons and the other boys in their small town -- a game that would serve as a catalyst for the start of a local Little League program.

"An imperfect and in most ways ordinary man can have a profound and positive impact on the lives of others," Bridges said. "I had a unique opportunity to honor his life -- a life that is a story worth telling."

Drew Bridges is a retired psychiatrist who has returned to his English major roots by opening The Storytellers Bookstore with his wife Lauren in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Bridges is also the author of Family Lost and Found and a book about storytelling. For more information, visit

"The Second-Greatest Baseball Game Ever Played"
By Drew Bridges
iUniverse Inc
Published 10/24/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49174-778-0
154 pages
Hardcover $22
E-book $3.50

No. 5

"Several Points from Which to View"

By Texas Jack Cowan

"Several Points from Which to View" By Texas Jack Cowan
DALLAS, Texas -- Jack Cowan has led a charmed life -- he has a loving family, a varied and interesting career, and he's traveled all over the globe. And yet, as natural as his life seems now, there was a time in which all of these blessings were impossibly out of reach.

Without the guidance of a few mentors at crucially important times in his life, Cowan might have never reached his potential. In his new book, Several Points from Which to View, Cowan pays tribute to those mentors and passes their lessons -- along with some of his own wisdom -- to a new generation.

"I'm just a good old East Texan with a need to pay forward all of my mentors' gifts," Cowan said.

In the book, Cowan -- known to many as "Texas Jack" -- uses his life experience and trademark sense of humor to encourage others to find their purpose.

The levels of information, conversation, wildly different places, circumstances, and points from which to view that you arrive at in your life just might be altered in your favor by studying this book (after a couple of rereads). You wouldn't say that you haven't heard similar material if you paid any attention to your elders' conversations. Please go back in your mind to those wonderful people that formed your opinions and life choices. The material is condensed and sharpened so as to knock some of the present-day trash out of your decision-making equipment. Don't forget: you are the most important person in this world! (at Amazon)

Texas Jack Cowan had a long and winding career through the finance, advertising, public relations, and real estate industries. Now self-unemployed, he lives in Tyler, Texas with his wife of 58 years. Together, they have two children and four grandchildren. He is also fortunate enough to have some people who like him and a few more who are trying to. For more information, visit

"Several Points from Which to View"
By Texas Jack Cowan
Author House Pub
Published Dec 12, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-49695-776-4
94 pages
Softcover $12.50
E-book $4

No. 6

"In Silence and Dignity: The Single Mother Story ́"

by Kate Okoli

"In Silence and Dignity: The Single Mother Story" by Kate Okoli
United Kingdom -- While red carpets and accolades are laid out for celebrities, science visionaries and the great minds of any generation, society's real unsung heroes are often the people that struggle the most. With decades of experience as a Human Rights lawyer, nobody has observed life's mavericks better than Kate Okoli. In her compelling new book, Okoli gives attention to the single mothers who, even through their abuse and struggles, emerge with remarkable stories to tell. 'In Silence and Dignity: The Single Mother Story ́ attempts to share these stories with shocking honesty and gripping aplomb.

Synopsis: This book, In Silence and Dignity, tells the story of determination and doggedness of single parents around the world in their pursuit to see that they survive with their children within the community where they live. It shows the determination of a single mother, Chinua, who lost everything during the Nigerian civil war and later came back to live in a city where she has strong ties and connection with the father of her children, who assisted her temporarily to find her feet within the community. This book exposes the shame, tears, and pain of single mothers and their daily struggles and travails with their children. It is a book that lays more emphasis in the African culture and heritage.

"During my career, practicing law in two jurisdictions, I have become more aware and appreciative of the selfless attitudes of many single mothers. In fact, most would be willing to die for the welfare of their children," explains the author. "My book highlights the importance of healthy relationships and also provides solid experience and simple nuggets on how to stop/ and or walk away from unhealthy and abusive relationships during the period of courtship, before it makes life toxic.Most times people tend to fail to desire to be in the right relationships at the right time due to pressures of work , career pursuit and even peer pressure. These categories of people later settle for "anything" as a result of desperation leading to the other partner taking undue advantage .What you see during courtship, is exactly what you get after marriage. The book addresses this, with a specific focus on preventative and curative strategies. Each story in my book oozes with insights/ inspiration and will change the lives of all readers, no matter their situation in life."

'In Silence and Dignity: The Single Mother Story ́, from Trafford Publishing, is available now:

Kate Okoli is a Human Rights lawyer who has dual qualifications in two jurisdictions. She is also an Entrepreneur and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. She presently runs her own law practice in the UK. The author is a member Rotary club of Canary Wharf in London. She is a public Speaker, Mentor and also the Chief Executive of a NON Profit Organization - The Beautiful Mind Foundation - An organization birthed out of a passionate need to give single mothers and their children a voice, while at the same time encouraging young people of marriageable age to desire healthy relationships free from any kind of abuse within the Community. She is a strong advocate of healthy relationships free from any kind of abuse and she strongly believes that a healthy family unit free from any form of abuse is the bedrock of a successful society.

No. 7

"Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing"

By Anna and Eric Gilcris

"Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing" By Anna and Eric Gilcris
BURLINGTON, Vt. -- In 2014, there was an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. This number also brings to mind the individuals' family members and support systems, which can often include children. Eric Gilcris was diagnosed with grade four brain cancer in 2011. This news shocked the young, healthy husband and his wife Anna, especially when considering how their son would react to the upcoming changes.

"As parents, the first thing you think about is your child when you hear news as devastating as cancer," Gilcris said. "We weren't sure how to explain it to our son, how to help him understand the inevitable struggles, but we knew he had to be a part of the conversation."

Inspired by their own journey and determined to support others fighting a similar battle, Anna and Eric Gilcris created a charity jewelry line, Cancer Canknot, as well as a children's book designed to help families discuss the challenges of cancer. "Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing" works not only as an engaging, light-hearted story, but also as parental resource to help foster an open door of communication, strength and understanding among each family member. While not focusing solely on the medical aspects of the disease, the book highlights the child's experiences, perspectives and questions.

Anna and Eric Gilcris' jewelry line keeps the focus on the family and the united front of people affected by cancer, either as a survivor, family member or friend of a person fighting the disease. In partnership with a Vermont jewelry store, the couple will donate a portion of the profits from Cancer Canknot products and the book to cancer research.

Anna and Eric Gilcris are the designers and founders of Cancer Canknot. The couple currently lives in South Burlington, Vermont, with their children, Bryce and Erica. For more information, visit

"Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing"
By Anna and Eric Gilcris
Lulu Publishing
Published Oct 10, 2014
ISBN: 9781483419909
38 pages
Softcover $16.50

No. 8

"The Playground of Life"

by S.R. Lore

"The Playground of Life" by S.R. Lore
United Kingdom -- John Lennon was absolutely right, the world needs more love. Nobody knows this better than S.R. Lore who, after being diagnosed with a long-term health condition, has spent her entire life seeing the world from a critical yet positive perspective. She, like Lennon, is committed to bringing more humanity and peace to life's proceedings. As an accomplished poet, Lore is finally publishing her first collection titled 'The Playground of Life' -- a small book with a boundless and powerful big message.

Synopsis: The poems in 'The Playground of Life' are mostly from personal experiences on reflection. It analyses life and relationships, especially, love. As some of the poems are written at different periods in the author's life the tone and mood changes to reflect that time and situation. Furthermore, because S.R.Lore grew up with a long-term health condition, she started exploring the meaning of life from a spiritual aspect from an early age. The poems also relate to the conflicted role that one has with oneself when it comes to spiritual matters which she call 'the war between the ego and the divine self'.

"I, like millions, have always struggled in a battle between spirituality and the ego. While most let these forces pass them by, I saw it as the perfect topic to focus on through poetry," explains Lore. "It carries a very transformative message that the world needs to hear, particularly at the current time when discord has never been more prevalent. If we can all ground ourselves and our spirit, there is nothing we can't achieve." -- "50% of each sale will be donated to the UCL Hospital and FareShare, two organizations that have benefited me personally yet suffer from a severe lack of funding. My audience is growing every day and, while I have a long history of successful fundraising, helping others in my sole goal for this project"

'The Playground of Life', from Spiderwize, is available now:

About the author, in her own words: I was born in Mauritius and brought up in North London. I was diagnosed with a long term health condition from an early age so I saw life from a different perspective. I took an interest in spirituality and was inspired by all the great spiritual/peace teachers and decided to 'make my life my statement.' My poetry evolved as a form of self-expression about relationships, love, life and the struggle between spirituality and the ego, therefore, some of the poems have deeper spiritual meaning. As a keen supporter of worthwhile charities, especially UCL Hospital where I currently have my treatments. I thought of using my writing to raise money and last year I produced a poetry diary which I sold to family and friends and together we raised a substantial amount of money for UCLH. This spurred me to produce my first poetry book 'The playground of life', which 50% of the proceeds for the sales of this book will go to UCLH and FareShare which I think is another good cause as this charity not only fights hunger and poverty in the UK but also provides educational programmes. This propelled me to also design a t-shirt in conjunction with the quote 'love is my currency, I spend freely' from my poetry book for this charity.

No. 9

"A God That Could Be Real"

by Nancy Ellen Abrams

"A God That Could Be Real" by Nancy Ellen Abrams
SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA - What happens when an atheist philosopher of science with an eating disorder joins a twelve-step program and is asked to call on a "higher power" that she doesn't believe in to help her recover? It works, leaving her asking why -- and inspiring the inquiry of a lifetime. Nancy Ellen Abrams' personal experience of a higher power coincided with her front-row seat to some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of all time. Her husband, renowned physicist and cosmologist Joel Primack, helped create the modern theory of the universe, based on dark matter and dark energy. So she sought a higher power that could be plausible in the new picture of the universe, which is still being discovered.

In A God That Could Be Real, Abrams introduces us to a redefinition of God that is both true to her heart and consistent with cutting-edge science. Abrams approaches her inquiry into the possibility of a real God through the new science of emergence, an idea as central to understanding reality as evolution. Evidence of emergence is found in phenomena from water to anthills to the global economy, and, Abrams argues, God. Abrams abandons traditional arguments for and against God that vilify either science or religion. Instead, she gives a gentle guided tour of the history of God from the ancient deities of a flat earth beneath a heavenly dome to the emergence of a cosmic consciousness born in a Big Bang that never ended.

"Talking to God is not a theoretical exercise for people like me; it can have serious real-world consequences," shares Abrams. According to Abrams, all humans are hard-wired with what Carl Jung called a "god-capacity," prompting people throughout history to seek a higher power, as she did during her recovery. From this understanding, she launches into a deep exploration of an emerging God that can be seen as the guiding force of science. God, she proposes, has emerged from our species, and is as real as the economy, the government, or the worldwide web, which are all emergent phenomena, though God is far older.

Beyond providing individual inspiration to face personal challenges, Abrams makes a compelling case that a shared understanding of a God that could be real is actually a planetary imperative necessary to overcome existential challenges such as the slow-moving calamities of climate change, resource depletion, and mass extinction. According to Abrams, we've all grown up so steeped in tradition, whether we've accepted it or rebelled against it, that it's hard to grasp that the chance to re-define God is actually in our hands. "But it is," she proclaims, "and the way we do it will play a leading role in shaping the future of civilization."

"Seeing the power of God entirely through fictions divides our species at a time when cooperation is the only way we will be saved," she says. But "when we look at the wars that have been fought over religion, it's clear that there is nothing we humans resist more passionately than changing our ideas of God. The divine challenge is to accept the evidence and become open to the possibility of a God that is real. The evolution of the universe, life, and ourselves is our sacred scripture. From a cosmic perspective, heaven is here. We're living in it right now."

"A God That Could Be Real" is Available at Beacon Press for $25.95. or choose other sellers listed at

Nancy Ellen Abrams was a Fulbright scholar and Woodrow Wilson Designate who graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in the History and Philosophy of Science, and earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She has worked for the International Juridical Association in Rome, a European environmental law think tank; the Ford Foundation; the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, and as a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Nancy and her husband Joel Primack, distinguished professor of physics and astrophysics at the University of California, have co-authored two books exploring the explosive human potential of a shared cosmic creation story: The View from the Center of the Universe and The New Universe and the Human Future.

No. 10

"The Me I Never Was"

By Francine C. Still Hicks

"The Me I Never Was" By Francine C. Still Hicks
PHILADELPHIA -- Today is the perfect day to finally be exactly who you were always meant to be.

In her new book "The Me I Never Was," author Francine C. Still Hicks gives reader the tools and confidence to discover the person they should be. She pulls from personal experiences and her professional background to teach others ways to develop their true selves and stray from society's labels.

"I know the pain of struggling to be my true self with family and associates not understanding who I am inside," Still Hicks said. "I wish to bring enlightenment to humanity through the eyes of my soul."

"The Me I Never Was" is a guide to self-discovery meant to inspire and motivate others to stray from stereotypes and labels.

Still Hicks is an active artist, author, musician, inspirational speaker and historical lecturer. She says she has often felt the pressure of society, friends and family members to act a certain way or be a certain person. She turned to self-love and fulfillment to become the person she was truly meant to be.

"I love people and life," Still Hicks said. "If I can motivate and inspire people that have not found their true self, my life's mission would be fulfilled."

Francine C. Still Hicks is a south Jersey native and works as a professional freelance artist, author, speaker, musician and historical lecturer. She attended Trenton State College and the Art Instructional School of Minneapolis, and her artwork is displayed and recognized all over the country. Still Hicks is a part of Amnesty International and the Still Family Historical Society, and is always looking for ways to expand her creative mind.

"The Me I Never Was"
By Francine C. Still Hicks
Balboa Press
Published 1/16/2015
ISBN: 978-1-45259-825-3
290 pages
Hardcover $38
Softcover $19
E-book $4

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