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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 11
By R.P. BenDedek
Apr 7, 2015 - 5:39:22 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. 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. 10

  1. "Basic Instinct" by Patrick Fornari author of "Commoner Sense"
  2. Which Resurrection Specialist Will You Call? Muhammad, Buddha, or Jesus? by Bruce Biller author of "The god-man: seed of Satan"
  3. Poetry - No. 2: Longing for Care and Kindness by Yemant and Friends authors of "God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 10

Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Between Two Worlds" by J.C. Woodrow
Apr 3, 2015

The story plot is well-thought out and executed and I personally found that I hated to put the novel down for any reason. This author, J.C. Woodrow , has done her research and it is clearly evident in how well this novel is put together. Personally, as a fellow author/writer, I envy her ability to tell a difficult story in such a clear, believable fashion and I hated to see the story end.

R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Perilous Times" by Jim D. Costello
Apr 2, 2015

The author's stated purpose is to reveal what God has shown him about the coming judgment. He decries not just society but more importantly, Christianity, calling it 'lukewarm,' and blames it on the fact that prayer is no longer allowed in school and that the 10 commandments are torn down and that churches have gone commercial; focused on making money with no call to take up the cross of Christ. He calls churches "entertainment centers." There is little in the way author narrative in this book and it appears to me to be aimed specifically at Christians who would understand the meaning of a multitude of statements that are provided without Scriptural references.

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Other" by David Guterson
Apr 1, 2015

The novel, by the author of Snow Falling in Cedars, tells the stories of Neil Countryman, a teacher, and John William Barry, a friend who decides to camp fulltime in the mountains. Countryman becomes a school teacher and marries, while Barry hangs on the wild side of things. One critic thought this was Guterson's best book. I thought Snow Falling on Cedars was much better, but that may have been because I saw that as a movie at least twice.

R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Walk Along with Nostalgia" By Ding Ding
Apr 1, 2015

In order to gain some perspective into the style of writing in Chinese, I showed various poems to my Chinese students and asked for their 'feelings.' Whilst some just 'didn't get it,' others really liked them. One student in particular informed me that one poem made her feel that the day was really sunny and everything was really good and happy. That was an interesting comment given that it was a rainy day.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"

By Yemant and Friends

"God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk" By Yemant and Friends
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- For centuries, humans of all corners of the world have envisioned, embraced, and passed along similar beliefs about their relationship to God. But how often do we challenge what we believe?

In God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality, an anonymous group of retired professors analyze universal convictions -- notions shared across religious borders -- and consider what those concepts say about the human condition.

"Is our creator God, as usually envisioned, watching all of us, evaluating our conduct, and setting our fortunes accordingly? Can humans reach God, plead with God and bargain for favors?" one of the authors said. "How can humans be sure that God listens and cares?"

In addition to these questions, the authors also take a look at the effect of religious belief on morality. They examine the moral and behavioral implications of adherence to a religion in contrast to secular, reason-based systems.

"The book lays out the consequences of believing this or that," one of the authors said. "It is designed to provoke your reflection and help you work out your own stand on the matter."

Most of us have never bothered to find out why we believe what we believe. That's especially true for our thoughts and convictions about religion. Perhaps we were otherwise too engaged. Perhaps we simply adopted what our elders and peers appeared to believe. Whatever the case, isn't it time for us all to examine matters of religiosity more carefully? At least we--a bunch of retired professors, no longer absorbed by professional duties--thought the time had come to ponder why we had taken so much for granted. (Read More at Archway Publishing)

"Yemant and Friends" is a group of retired professors who thought the time had come to examine matters of religiosity more carefully. They opted for anonymity due to the sensitive subject matter discussed in the book.

"God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality: A Critical Analysis in Plain Talk"
By Yemant and Friends
Archway Publishing
Published 11/16/2014
ISBN: 978-1-48081-124-9
282 pages
Softcover $19
E-book $4

No. 2

"Journey From Ego"

By Elizabeth Lehl

"Journey From Ego" By Elizabeth Lehl
PORTLAND, Ore. -- How many times have you wanted to do something, only to be stopped by that little voice in your head telling you it will end in failure?

Elizabeth Lehl grew tired of letting that voice dictate her decisions. The voice, which she refers to as the ego, stirs up fear and doubt and prevents people from living to their full potential. Inspired and guided by angels, Lehl wrote Journey From Ego to assist others in the struggle to identify that voice and unlock their true power.

"Listening to our ego-voice keeps us small and fearful and judgmental," Lehl said. "If each of us becomes aware of that voice and its manipulations we can practice not being influenced by it and instead focus on self- compassion and caring for one another."

Lehl finds comfort in resisting the ego. By identifying and brushing aside the negative feelings before they can take hold, she has experienced greater calm and happiness, and hopes Journey From Ego will do the same for others.

"We must have the courage to live outside of the ego in order to put fear aside and to trust instead in the love and workings of God," Lehl said.

Elizabeth Lehl lives in Vancouver, Washington, where she works as a pediatric Occupational Therapist. She considers herself a student in the practice of avoiding ego identification. More information can be found at:

"Journey From Ego"
By Elizabeth Lehl
Balboa Press
Published 11/10/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4525-9773-7
256 pages
Softcover $18
Hardcover $36
E-book $4

No. 3

"Behind Closed Doors"

By Francis A. Quinn

Behind Closed Doors By Francis A. Quinn
SACRAMENTO (February 23, 2015) -- Many debates have surfaced in the Catholic church in the 21st century, including social justice issues, church authority, homosexuality, sexual abuse and contraception. In partly fictionalized memoirs of bishops, priests, lay men and lay women, Bishop Francis A. Quinn explores these issues through the vantage point of three young men beginning in their early seminary days. In the new novel, "Behind Closed Doors," Bishop Quinn's narrative follows the triumphs and failures of the young seminarians into the diverse paths and challenges of ministry as priests in the San Francisco Bay Area and global church.

The stories include Ladd Franklin, whose friendship with a classmate's sister causes controversy at seminary and who later enters the world of international development; David Carmichael, an ambitious priest who struggles continually with the Guardians of Doctrine; and Tyler Stone, sensitive and caring, who strives to balance the ideals of celibacy with his sensual desires.

Quinn, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., even in the midst of controversy has been an outspoken advocate for the neglected in society and for a continuous, serious study of the policies and practices of the Church.

Bishop Emeritus Francis A. Quinn has dedicated his life to education and ministry in dioceses throughout northern California. Throughout his career, he has focused on parish duties, social justice issues, and encouraging the involvement of laity in leadership. Born in 1921 in Los Angeles and ordained in 1946, Bishop Quinn earned his B.A. from St. Patrick's Seminary and University, M.A. from Catholic University of America, and EdD from the University of California, Berkeley. He began his episcopate in 1978 as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and served as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, Calif. from 1980 to 1994. From 1994 to 2007, Bishop Quinn ministered to two Native American tribes in Tucson, Ariz. Throughout his retirement, he says private daily Mass in his room, administers baptisms, hears confessions, anoints the sick and on occasions witnesses marriage in a private chapel. For more information, visit

"Behind Closed Doors"
By Francis A. Quinn
xLibris Press
Published 12/15/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49174-391-1
464 pages
Hardbound $35
Paperback $24
E-book $4

No. 4

"Between Two Worlds"

by Jane Carter Woodrow

"Between Two Worlds: a Detective Hoban novel" by Jane Carter Woodrow
United Kingdom -- Many believe that Detective Chief Superintendent Dennis Hoban would have caught the Yorkshire Ripper had he not died while the case was still active. Legendary in Yorkshire for his remarkable record in crime busting, Hoban's Aquascutum suits and demeanour of a maverick US TV detective made him the copper that criminals were 'proud to be nicked by'. As well as receiving numerous commendations for his work, he displayed an unerring humanity towards the families of the offenders he banged up. Writer Jane Carter Woodrow discovered the amazing story of detective Hoban's life and career while researching her first book, uncovering a man so fascinating and iconic, that he is now serving as the protagonist in her latest work, 'Between Two Worlds: a Detective Hoban novel'. Brilliantly evocative of the period, the novel fuses Carter Woodrow's elite imagination with a very real depiction of Hoban's unusual methods and skills. The book is the first in the Detective Hoban series.

Synopsis: On a rare day off, Detective Chief Superintendent Hoban sees a former 'client' speeding past in a flash car and is shaken to the core. The man was supposed to be dead. Dropping his rake, Hoban jumps into his car and goes in pursuit of the look-a-like criminal. Thus begins an obsession that will nag at the detective while he's in the middle of running a major murder enquiry. The body of an unidentified girl from a bygone era has been discovered, and another young woman goes missing. Believing there is a connection between the two, Hoban is now in a race against time... Based on the former young head of Leeds CID, Dennis Hoban, the story evokes the murky world of policing in 1960s Britain. Hoban, who was respected by even the criminal fraternity, stood out with his hat, sharp tailored suits and natural charm. He was in charge of the investigation into the first two of Peter Sutcliffe's murders and may well have caught the Yorkshire Ripper had he not died unexpectedly.

"It's hard to do Detective Hoban justice," admits Carter Woodrow. "He was probably the most unique officer in the country. He would use a disguise whenever he needed to and sail dangerously close to the wind in order to track down and catch the offenders. One busy afternoon in a Leeds department store, he single-handedly defused a bomb placed there by a blackmailer. No wonder he won 'Leeds Citizen of the Year' many times and a trophy is named after him, which is awarded every year to the best detective in Yorkshire. You don't see tenacity and bravery like Hoban's very often. But Hoban's character isn't the only factual element of the book -- the entire setting is real. The thrilling narrative plays out in a secret netherworld of Leeds. I don't want to say too much right now, but people won't look at the city in the same way again."

  • Alma Cullen, TV scriptwriter and dramatist of Inspector Morse, says Hoban will take his place amongst the great British maverick detectives.
  • 'Between Two Worlds: a Detective Hoban novel' is now available here at and here at

Jane Carter Woodrow has a PhD from Cambridge University and conducted extensive research with offenders. Represented for TV by Knight Hall, London, and for books by Fox Mason, London and San Francisco, visit her at and

No. 5

"Torn Together: One Family's Journey Through Addiction, Treatment & the Restaurant Industry"

By Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine

"Torn Together: One Family's Journey Through Addiction, Treatment & the Restaurant Industry" By Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine
WASHINGTON -- Scott Magnuson and his wife Shaaren Pine co-own The Argonaut tavern. After twice being recognized as one of the city's best bars in Washingtonian magazine and twice finishing runner-up in the Washington City Paper's "Most Family Friendly Restaurant" award, it is obvious that they know what they are doing. What is not immediately obvious is that one of the best bars in the nation's capital is run by a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. In their new memoir, "Torn Together," that the couple has co-written--Magnuson and Pine describe the bumpy road that led to Magnuson's recovery after battling addiction since he was 14 years old. Their two perspectives join together to form a very real and intense testimony of struggle to save both their family and their business. Now that Magnuson and his family are in recovery, he and Pine have mounted a double-pronged attack in the battle against addiction. They are doing what they can to let people who are struggling know that they are not alone. They are also trying to bring attention to restaurant culture's permissive attitude with regard to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

"We need to take the shame and stigma off of addicts," said Pine. "Addiction is a medical condition, not a moral failing. Unfortunately, it is also a disease that infects everybody in its path. Because of that, everybody caught in addiction's web needs help -- not just the addict."

"Those who work in the restaurant industry know that there is a lot of use of drugs and alcohol," said Magnuson. "Not everyone does it, of course, but those who do are often allowed to by their managers and bosses. Ignoring this behavior not only hurts these people and their families, but often ends up hurting the business as well."

In addition to changing the culture within their own restaurant, Magnuson and Pine have also created a nonprofit called Restaurant Recovery that seeks to assist restaurant employees who would like help in finding and paying for reputable drug and alcohol treatment programs. It also helps the families of restaurant workers, seeking to both challenge and change restaurant culture. For more information, visit and

Scott Magnuson is a recovering alcoholic and addict who co-owns one of the best bars in Washington, D.C. He is also the president of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. He has worked in the restaurant industry and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since he was 14 years old. He has subsequently completed inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

Shaaren Pine, a business owner and manager, is committed to challenging restaurant culture's status quo. She is also determined to bridge the gap between business and community. She is passionate about adoptee rights and advocates for the families of addicts. She has written for The Washington Post and Masala Mommas.

"Torn Together: One Family's Journey Through Addiction, Treatment & the Restaurant Industry"
By Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine
Author House Inc
Published 2/12/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4969-6584-4
202 pages
Softcover $17
Hardcover $28
E-book $4

No. 6

"Where The Bulbul Sings"

by Serena Fairfax

"Where The Bulbul Sings" by Serena Fairfax
United Kingdom -- While millions of Brits believe they have been exposed to the Anglo-Indian way of life, one has to travel to India to truly understand what it's all about. In her sweeping, emotion-punching new novel, Serena Fairfax brings together the unfolding lives of three women to show that the human spirit will always triumph over its cultural roadblocks. 'Where The Bulbul Sings' brings the eye of a novelist to history, authentic dual culture, danger, courage, love and -- most of all -- dogged determination. It's a vivid, compulsive read, with laughs and tears along the way, that enthralls, reveals and moves the reader.

Synopsis: The past and the present interweave - from the last days of the Raj to the present day, and from the small railway town of Ajeemkot and the princely state of Walipur to the cutting edge of the modern city of Delhi, and Sivalik - a pine scented hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas. In this atmospheric, passionate and poignant account of a clash of cultures, caste and creed, divided family loyalties, wealthy heartthrobs and the power of love, the story is told through three women whose lives entwine. Hermie - a sassy and bewitching Anglo-Indian, who dares to dream a different dream - turns her back on the Anglo-Indian community and reinvents herself only to find that a dark secret threatens to send her life spiralling out of control and cost her everything. Sharp-witted Edith, exiled in India from her native Germany by Nazi persecution, faces stark choices in a future very different from that she envisaged. Enchanting Kay, separated by more than a generation from Hermie and Edith, is haunted by a family mystery and risks her prospects in London to pursue a quest for roots in India where fate hurtles her in an unexpected direction. Can they confront the storms or are their dreams destined to shatter?

"This is an intricate and pulsating story," admits the author, who spent her childhood in India before a successful law career in the UK. "I wanted to stay true to the traditional elements of romance that audiences demand, while also stamping my own imprint. Quips, palm-sweating dilemmas and moments where my characters and readers can do a bit of soul-searching together. Ultimately, it's about what it means to be an Anglo-Indian, and how two clashing cultures shaped, and broke, lives. I hope it will take readers to a time they could never have imagined."

'Where The Bulbul Sings' is available now:

No. 7

"The Midwife Factor"

by GiGi Gossett

"The Midwife Factor" by GiGi Gossett
CINCINNATI (March 16, 2015) -- What if someone told you that you had a doppelganger halfway across the world? Would you search for the person to seek answers about your origins? In "The Midwife Factor," 19-year-old Morgan Wellington faces this dilemma. An adopted child from a prestigious American family, Morgan sets off in an adventure to Budapest to find her lookalike and see if she can explain the flashes of another's thoughts, feelings and dreams that she has sensed since childhood.

Traversing from Cincinnati to Budapest to Romania, the book unveils lively characters along Morgan's path: Lynn Davis, the savvy private detective, Flossie Walker, the octogenarian African-American midwife who holds the truth of Morgan's birth, and a sinister sociopath on the verge of release from prison.

"The Midwife Factor" appeals to readers who have ever wondered "what if" about their life, "what if" they had been born in another country to another family. Throughout the book, author GiGi Gossett weaves fiction with thrilling mystery and creates a diverse cast of characters befitting today's modern international landscape. Gossett's inspiration for the book came from twin sisters of hers who passed away when they were young.

"The telepathic relationship has always fascinated me, as has the global role of midwives," said Gossett, "It's my fervent desire to expose readers to a variety of cultures and ethnicities side by side--much like our world today-- and create a work of fiction that readers won't be able to put down."

For more information about the book, visit To learn more about the author, visit

Gladys Gossett Hankins, also known as "GiGi Gossett," is an internationally recognized speaker and consultant on diversity and organizational effectiveness and is president of management consulting firm Telora Victor, Inc. A native of Kansas City, she holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior and Development from Union Institute and University and spent the majority of her career as an executive at Procter & Gamble Company in Cincinnati. Her previous fiction titles, both set in Cincinnati, include pre-teen novel "A Twisy Girls Mystery: The Case of the Dropped Pearl" and mystery title "By Any Other Name." She is also the author of "Diversity Blues, How to Shake 'Em," a business book which examines racism and sexism in organizations and proposes functional solutions.

"The Midwife Factor"
By GiGi Gossett
iUniverse Pub
published 10/22/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49174-391-1
454 Pages
Hardbound $35
Paperback $25
E-book $6

No. 8

"Putting Tradition on Trial"

By Patrick Cavanagh

"Putting Tradition on Trial" By Patrick Cavanagh
AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- The Bible says to let your faith be bigger than your fear, but what if our faith is leading us astray?

In his new book "Putting Tradition on Trial," author Patrick Cavanagh comparatively studies three commonly used biblical doctrines that all claim to be an accurate translation of the ancient Greek texts. He sets out on an endeavor to identify if, where and why there are inaccuracies and whether or not it is possible to rectify them.

"It was obvious that at least two of these doctrines must have been incorrect," Cavanagh said. "Many people base their religious beliefs solely on faith, failing to ever check the facts."

Using ancient Greek texts, history and astronomy as the basis of Cavanagh's study, "Putting Tradition on Trial" reveals that generations of expert theologians have been mistaken about certain religious facts and dates, including the days of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

"The results of these studies were so clear and compelling that I feel I have an obligation to present the findings to as wide an audience as possible," Cavanagh said.

Putting Tradition on Trial challenges the commonly-held beliefs that the Son of God was resurrected on either the first day of the week or the Sabbath day by comparing three popular Bible versions with literal translations of the relevant ancient Greek texts, thus enabling the reader to clearly discern where and how the Scriptures have been altered to accommodate these doctrinally inspired interpretations. It is supported by both astronomical calculations and historical evidence and identifies Jewish customs that no longer appear in the popular versions, which are a valuable aid in determining the correct context of key passages. (at Amazon)

Patrick Cavanagh is retired and currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand. He found inspiration for his writing by examining historical information as well as reliable astronomical calculations through the United States Naval Observatory.

"Putting Tradition on Trial"
By Patrick Cavanagh
xLibris Corp
Published Jan 7, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4931-9194-9
164 pages
Softcover $30
Hardcover $7
E-book $5

No. 9

"The City Bankers' Brothel"

by Sorient Sigba

The City Bankers' Brothel by Sorient Sigba
United Kingdom -- While UK bankers have a less-than-sterling reputation, only those in the industry really know the extent to which they let loose. Not surprisingly, sex has always been high on the list and -- in a compelling new novel by Sorient Sigba -- readers are invited behind the walls of what could be the UK's most unique and unbelievable brothel. It's all exposed in 'The City Bankers' Brothel'. Written for the open-minded, Sigba masterfully recounts the story of one man, his million-pound venture and his dramatic fall from grace.

Synopsis: Mr. Freddie is a middle age man trapped in an imperfect world, his only desire to get the most out of life and make money in the city of London. London being the most enviable capital of the world was to become Mr. Freddie's home for the greater part of his life. He was a man that had ideas, a cool individual who embarked on ideas with a kind of innovation. He set up the 1m-a-year bankers' brothel in the shadow economy and operated it for five years from a beautiful terraced house located in a quiet mews of Holborn in the heart of the city. All the women working at the bankers' brothel worked as prostitutes on a part-time basis. Drivers would drive the city bankers to the brothel from city strip clubs on the promise of sex and drivers would receive commission. Payment via credit card was offered at an increased rate by cardboys. In the United Kingdom, It is very difficult for a person to operate a brothel without breaking the law. Mr. Freddie was arrested and the brothel was closed down. He was found guilty by a jury and sent to prison.

"This is an edge-of-the-seat story for those who know bankers get up to mischief, and wants to be a fly on the wall to their escapades", explains the author. "Mr. Freddie actually had a rather ingenious idea and, while it served him well for a while, its illegalities eventually caught up with him. There's two very distinct sides to the narrative; one being the story of the brothel's operation, and the other being Mr. Freddie's encounter with the law. Both are equally as engrossing and will shed chilling new light on an industry already known to be tainted."

'The City Bankers' Brothel', from Upfront Publishing, is available now:

It can also be purchased from:

Mr. Sorient Sigba is a teacher, software engineer and businessman in the city of London. His life once spiralled out of control. His involvement in the operation of the bankers' brothel ruined everything and lost him his business. He is now actively involved in charitable work at

No. 10

"Deja Vu"

by Jayne Grant

"Deja Vu" by Jayne Grant
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A light shines bright at the end of the tunnel. Even when things get tough, hope can be found.

In her book, "Deja Vu," Jayne Grant tells a thrilling story of danger, adventure and romance. Leaving her home in California, Dora sets out to discover the mystery of her past. While in Chicago, the face of a stranger forces her to recall memories previously blocked out. With life's twists and turns, Dora endures to find the truth of her forgotten past.

When Grant was 13, a car accident left her face paralyzed and in a coma. After waking 32 days later, she had to relearn many of life's basic skills.

"One of the main themes in my book is Dora's struggle to remember lost memories," Grant said, "In my own life, I've found that good can come from the worst circumstances."

Through a thrilling novel, Grant hopes to inspire readers to look beyond their circumstances and persevere through bad situations, finding the good in everything.

Jayne Grant lives in northern California and is the mother of an adult son. After a car accident in her youth left her permanently disabled, she had to relearn many basic life skills and adjust to limitations that came with the disability. Grant graduated from San Francisco State University and she wrote and directed school plays as well as commercials at De Anza College in Cupertino. She volunteered regularly at Stanford Children's Hospital and currently loves cooking, writing, traveling and dogs.

"Deja Vu"
By: Jayne Grant
Xlibris Publishers
Published Jan 16, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4628-7106-3
290 Pages
Retail: $19.99

© Copyright 2002-2014 by Magic City Morning Star

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