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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 14
By R. P. BenDedek
Apr 30, 2015 - 9:33:25 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. 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. 13

  1. Apocalyptic Portraits of Christ: Jesus, the Faithful Witness by Bruce Biller Author of "The god-man: seed of Satan"
  2. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega by Bruce Biller Author of "The god-man: seed of Satan"
  3. Argumentative Poetry - No.5 Blessings off Illusions 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. 13

Milt Gross Book Review: "That Yankee Cat, the Maine Coon" by Marilis Hornridge
April 26, 2015

The book has a chapter on tales of various Coon-cats, one of which is of a woman, Miss Lucinda, whose cat died at the age of 18. The woman "...swore she would never have her another cat, and she didn't for a long time. Then one day during a rainstorm, there came up on her porch a half-grown kitten, gold with dark orange stripes and meowed to be let in. He was all scraggly and scruffy and thin as a pencil and she couldn't resist him, so she let him n -- only for a while, she said, until she could find out who he belonged to. Of course, he took up his residence, and when he grew big, his tail fluffed out and his coat got all long and shaggy...," the homey language of this story is because it was told by another lady in a nursing home.

M.W. Johnson Book Review: "God's Trinity Demystified" by Rev. Adedeji David Adeoye
Apr 23, 2015

Now what is interesting about this book, is the way in which Rev Adeoye examines the issue of trinity, and I feel sure, that of all theological attempts to prove the posit, this book is unique in that its author does some strange investigating into the matter of creation to prove the Trinity. The author's fundamental idea is that God is comprised of three personalities consistently revealed in Genesis to be "Thought," "Word" and "Action." Using Genesis he shows that God thought the world into existence, then God spoke, and then God did actions.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"I Believe in Miracles"

By Deidre Spencer

"I Believe in Miracles" By Deidre Spencer
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Sometimes, it takes a major challenge to appreciate life. Deidre Spencer has met those challenges firsthand and learned from them. In I Believe in Miracles, Spencer shares the knowledge she gained in a fight against cancer that almost killed her.

Spencer has beaten the odds, conquering an aggressive form of cancer that had an additional genetic disorder component, making it difficult for the doctors to treat. Through it all, she demonstrates the strength of conviction to follow through on her beliefs. In I Believe in Miracles, Spencer writes how she came close to dying a second time. She realized then that she had to heal all of herself, not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually; what she calls the "four bodies". Spencer is now in full remission. I Believe in Miracles is a journey of self-discovery, trauma, and self-healing. Spencer believes that if she can do it, so can others.

As a cancer survivor, Deidre has beaten the odds, conquering an aggressive form of cancer that had an additional genetic disorder component, making it difficult for the doctors to treat. Through it all, she demonstrates the strength of conviction to follow through on her beliefs-and through sheer determination, positive thinking, and with support from family and friends, she pulled herself through those traumatic times. Initially, the doctors saved her from the brink of death when she had only two weeks left to live. She then survived a stem cell transplant, finding she was sensitive to the chemotherapy medicine and other drugs used in treating the side effects. She again came close to dying. When she pulled through the second time, she had to learn to eat and walk again. She realised then that she had to heal all of herself- not only physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually; what she calls the "four bodies". Deidre is now in full remission. (Balboa Press)

Deidre Spencer was born in the country town of Mansfield, Australia. As a child, her family moved back to Melbourne and she is based in the southeastern suburbs. After being diagnosed with multiple myeloma blood cancer, her story became an artistic, spiritual, health journey of self-discovery, inspiring hope in others.

"I Believe in Miracles"
By Deidre Spencer
Balboa Press
Published 8/14/2014
ISBN 978-1-45252-441-2
350 Pages
Softcover $23
E-book $6

No. 2

"Just Maagy"

by Virginia Stringer

"Just Maagy" by Virginia Stringer
Grandparents, or grandparent type figures, can play an instrumental role in your children's lives and today many grandparents are now the sole providers for their grandchildren. In Virginia Stringer's new novel, "Just Maagy," she teaches children and young adults the importance of honesty, trust, humility, and personal and societal responsibility in a fun, entertaining way, encompassing the impact adults can have in children's lives. The novel captures how both Maagy's and the author's grandparents were instrumental in teaching honor and other necessary life skills.

Stringer wants to teach children about personal and societal responsibility at a young age and believes every child must learn these important lessons earlier in life, to become an influential and positive citizen within our communities.

Crown Princess Melania Abigail Alice Grace, Maagy, as she is called, is thirteen years old and is willful, spoiled, and tempestuous. She insists on having her own way, no matter what! If anyone argues, she either sulks or has a temper tantrum. Her aging father, King Henry, is at his wit’s end and knows he must take drastic action soon for the good of his kingdom.

He takes her to the Summer Castle in hopes the caretakers, an elderly couple called Grandpa Kris and Grandma Polly, who some consider to be enchanters, will teach her kindness, patience, humility and resourcefulness. As Maagy explores the enormous estate, she meets some odd and interesting people and uncovers delightful mysteries. Slowly but surely, the impetuous princess becomes wiser and more responsible. Along the way, her adventurous nature and insatiable curiosity lead her in and out of trouble, as her life changes dramatically in ways she could never have imagined. (Archway Overview)

Virginia Burton Stringer has been an actor, director, and teacher of theatre art for forty years. Her experiences while raising two daughters and now watching her son raise his daughters served as the inspiration for Maagy. A published playwright, she lives with Bill, her husband of thirty-four years, in St. Petersburg, Florida. For more information visit the Author Website

"Just Maagy"
By Virginia Burton Stringer
Archway Publishing
Published 10/6/2014
342 Pages
Hardcover $40
Softcover $44
E-book $4

No. 3

"Message from Daddy: Healing Your Heart After the Loss of a Loved One"

by Marguerite Vardman

"Message from Daddy: Healing Your Heart After the Loss of a Loved One" by Marguerite Vardman
After her fiancee's death in a car accident, Marguerite Vardman, a nurse practitioner and interfaith minister, was suddenly forced to face an existence without the love of her life, but felt unprepared to cope with her unimaginable loss.

Using her own personal and professional experiences, including both her medical and ministerial training, Vardman wrote "Message from Daddy: Healing Your Heart After the Loss of a Loved One" to help prepare others to deal with death. While detailing her own healing process, she offers a step-by-step guide to acceptance and peace.

Message from Daddy sets you on the path to healing, after the loss of a loved one, and holds your hand every step of the way. Miss Vardman combines her medical and ministerial training, along with her decades of personal experience, to show you how to navigate that path.

Reading Message from Daddy can help you: Develop an understanding of the end-of-life process that will help you and your family cope; Learn how to use affirmative prayer to bring hope to your daily routine; Use the concept of transition of the Spirit to add a new dimension to your healing process after the loss; Find out how to get your life back, through a step by step approach; Discover how to honor your feelings, develop a support network, stay in touch with Love, and trust God; Believe in Miracles again and know that you deserve them in your life!

The words of wisdom and personalized true stories in Message from Daddy will help you create a strong inner belief that you can find happiness after a great loss. (Balboa Press Overview)

"Message from Daddy: Healing Your Heart After the Loss of a Loved One"
by Marguerite Vardman
Balboa Press
Published 8/6/2014
236 Pages
Hardcover $34
Softcover $17
E-book $6

No. 4

"Shadows of Us"

by Sylvia C. Stowers

"Shadows of Us" by Sylvia C. Stowers
SAN DIEGO -- Known as the Age of Disillusionment, the 1960s was a decade filled with extreme transformations and bizarre contrasts.

For the robust post-World War II baby boom generation of flower children and assassins, it was a time bursting with idealism, alienation and rebellion.

Sylvia C. Stowers' new historical fiction novel, "Shadows of Us" follows a small group of professional whose lives are caught up in the cultural changes of the late 1960s.

"Each of the individuals in the novel are hiding secrets that keep them from personal and professional successes," Stowers said. "My book is a story of people living as shadows of themselves that are inextricably linked to the history and societal pressures of the time."

A compelling tale filled with underhanded schemes and deceitfulness, readers will revel with curiosity as they are introduced to a woman who possesses paranormal abilities, a closeted gay baseball player, a banker whose financial dealings are illegal, a powerful district attorney who loves money and a counselor who is the keeper of all secrets.

The first book in an intended trilogy, "Shadows of Us" is a narrative that will not only enlighten, but entertain those interested in the bright lights and riches of a big city.

Sylvia C. Stowers originally authored this book nearly 30 years ago during her professional time in the investment banking and building industry. Now retired from a second career in education, Stowers currently resides in Escondido, California.

"Shadows of Us"
by Sylvia C. Stowers
Archway Publishing
Published 12/8/2014
150 Pages
Softcover retail price: $12.99
Hardcover retail price: $30.95
E-book retail price: $4.99

No. 5

"Lenten Reflections"

By Milton Lopes

"Lenten Reflections" By Milton Lopes
ATLANTA -- Some Christians find themselves attending church yet sensing a nagging emptiness in their spiritual well being. Author Milton Lopes believes this is because they have lost their connection with a loving God. As a spiritual director, Lopes is dedicated to helping men and women who want to become more spiritual and to respond in a deep and sustained way to God's call to holiness.

"I base my ministry on the belief that deep within the ground of one's very being, God is to be found as a 'divine spark'," Lopes said. "My job is to help men and women to discover this spark."

Through his new book, "Lenten Reflections: From the Desert to the Resurrection," Lopes uses a gentle and positive method to extoll readers to "get right with God". Within the framework of Lent he sets out to help his readers experience a deeper awareness of God's presence and to be more attentive to how he is guiding them. Lopes provides the reader with a clear pathway to discerning, recognizing and understanding God's movement in life, within and outside of the Church. Though focused on Lent, his book provides yearlong guidance.

A retired Professor of Public Policy and Organization Studies, Milton Lopes has over forty years of business and academic experience. He is an active member of the Catholic community in Athens, Georgia.

Milton Lopes lives in Athens, Georgia and is a longtime Lay Associate of the Cistercian Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and Spiritual Directors International. He has attended Catholic seminaries in Rhode Island and Maryland and holds an AB from Loyola University in Chicago, an MBA from the University of Dallas, and a PhD (Public Affairs) from Virginia Tech. He is certified in Spiritual Direction from the Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre in Niagara, Ont. Canada and Dream Group Leadership in the Jungian tradition from the Haden Institute in Kanuga, NC. He has taught across the globe, is a U.S. Army veteran, and is married with four children.

"Lenten Reflections"
By Milton Lopes
Westbow Press
Published 10/6/2014
324 Pages
Softcover retail price: $23
Hardcover retail price: $38

No. 6

"The Wizard and the Quient"

by T.J. Lemmer

"The Wizard and the Quient" by T.J. Lemmer
MALIBU, Calif. -- "Why don't you read more books?" is a question we have probably all been asked at one time or another. While most folks would respond with a comment about their lack of time or desire to focus on other hobbies, author T.J. Lemmer had a very different reason.

Lemmer's wife asked him about his lack of interest in reading, so he simply responded "I already have enough stories in my head to last me a lifetime." This statement prompted a challenge from his wife to write one such story down, so it could be shared with the world.

So, Lemmer has turned his ever-active imagination into a new fantasy-adventure novel, "The Wizard and the Quient." The story follows fifteen-year old Thomas Wisby as he is transported into a world of wizards, dinosaurs and much more.

While the book is geared towards grade-school students, Lemmer has written in an adult enough fashion for parents to enjoy diving in with their kids. "The Wizard and the Quient" is the first installment in a series that will see Wisby get into a number of different adventures as he grows up.

"I've always found myself creating my own versions of movies and books when I hear the storyline," Lemmer said. "I thought I would create an open-ended adventure that young students could picture themselves being a part of."

Thomas Lemmer started writing after his wife asked him why he read so few books. Thomas replied, "I have enough stories in my head to last me a lifetime." Knowing that Thomas had a wonderful and wild imagination, she asked him to write one of his stories down on paper. So he did. The Wizard and the Quient is Thomas's first book, and the story doesn't end there. The magical adventure of Thomas Wisby, the books main character, continues in a second book that is soon to follow. For more information, please visit

"The Wizard and the Quient"
By T.J. Lemmer
Trafford Books
Published 5/19/2014
SC-ISBN: 978-1-4120-5686-1
292 Pages
SC-Retail price: $21.48
E-Book $4

No. 7

"A Call to Return" by Dan Alan Rodriguez

A Call to Return by Dan Alan Rodriguez
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Whether we are changing careers, meeting new people, or moving to new locations, change is an inherent part of daily life. As individuals change so does society. One area that has seen great change, according to author Dan Alan Rodriguez, is people's faith. And that is not necessarily a good thing.

Rodriguez, a pastor for 17 years, has noticed a new trend: many people are seeking an easy Christianity. One that requires no accountability and makes no demands.

"A Relationship with the Lord depends on faithfulness, loyalty, obedience and devotion, to name a few. Yet, many of these radical and life-altering principles are being minimized, disregarded and even rejected in some Christian circles," Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, this has lead to a downward spiral and deterioration within society. Rodriguez's new book, "A Call to Return," serves as a prophetic call to return to the things that matter to God. Through his empowering words and examination of scripture, Rodriguez reminds readers of the true nature of a lasting relationship with God. With the guidance from "A Call to Return," readers will tae the first step on the path towards reconciliation and a deeper relationship with the Lord.

"I pray that the revelation of the Lord Jesus found in these pages sparks a zeal in the hearts of readers that burns until His return and throughout eternity. May readers be strengthened in Him powerfully for His glory and kingdom," Rodriguez said.

Dan Alan Rodriguez was a pastor for 17 years, and the owner of businesses on the Virgin Islands. He is an author, preacher and a teacher with a BA in religious studies from the Union Institute, concentrating on first-century Judaism and Christianity. Dan lives with his wife Christine and their triplet sons in Central Florida. For more information, visit or

"A Call to Return"
By: Dan Alan Rodriguez
Westbow Press
Published 1/30/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4908-6214-9
266 pages
Softcover $19.95
Hardcover $35.95
E-book $3.99

No. 8

"Caregiving Full-Time and Working Full-Time"

By Dr. Keith Washington

"Caregiving Full-Time and Working Full-Time" By Dr. Keith Washington
CHICAGO -- The unexpected costs, both emotionally and physically, of caregiving for a loved one with a disease often reach beyond home life to work life. According to the National Center on Caregiving, 70% of working caregivers suffer work-related difficulties and many lose wages, health insurance and retirement savings, among other career benefits.

The dual pressures from caregiving and maintaining an active career presence can lead to a loss of productivity and overall stress. Former Alzheimer's caregiver and current business manager Dr. Keith Washington understands this complex role of a full-time working caregiver. Washington, who cared for his parents when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2005, was forced to make tough decisions regarding his professional goals and his personal responsibilities to family. Faced with balancing the demands of those two worlds, he came to realize that the cost of caregiving goes far beyond the medical bills.

"Many professionals, myself included, have had to sacrifice promotions or continued education opportunities because of the significant time that is required in caregiving," Washington said. "The financial challenges associated with providing Alzheimer's patient care are staggering, whether the patient is in an institution or at home."

His new book, "Caregiving Full-Time and Working Full-Time," sheds light on the pressures and impacts of these positions, as well as explores the options available to caregivers from family members, the government or employers. Combining personal experience with academic research and studies, Washington provides an in-depth look at the problems surrounding today's caregivers.

Dr. Keith Washington has held a series of leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies, including GE Healthcare, IBM and the United States government. He serves on the staff of two non-profit educational organizations and is devoted to adult education. Washington holds degrees from Roosevelt University Chicago and has a doctorate in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. He currently lives in Hinsdale, Illinois. For more information, visit

"Caregiving Full-Time and Working Full-Time"
By Dr. Keith Washington
Westbow Press
Published 1/15/2015
ISBN: 9781490856636
154 Pages
Softcover $14
Hardcover $31
E-book $5

No. 9

"Birth of an Assassin"

by Rik Stone

"Birth of an Assassin" by Rik Stone
United Kingdom -- Post-war Russia, a tumultuous time where allegiances realigned and angst ruled over diplomacy. In 2013, author Rik Stone exploited these forces with his release of 'Birth of an Assassin', a book so well received it is now being released in audiobook format. The narrative follows the life of an elite soldier who is assigned to arrest a band of Jewish protesters, until he realises that this is one job he has more than a vested interest in not carrying out to the letter.

Synopsis: Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, elite soldier Jez Kornfeld is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him. Ordered to disperse and arrest a crowd of Jewish demonstrators in Red Square, Jez is dismayed to find his sisters in their ranks. He sneaks them from under the noses of the secret police, but in doing so he has put his own security at risk; he has to get them out of the USSR. They cross into the Ukraine to a port on the Black Sea and he bribes them passage from Soviet soil. Jez is happy in the knowledge that his sisters are safe, but he is unaware that his every move has been observed and that he has set in motion a chain of events that will plunge his life into a headlong battle to stay alive.

"The novel weaves fact and fiction into a story that depicts the atmosphere of the era," explains the author. "I diligently researched Russia, its people and its diplomacy for many months to ensure I was releasing something true to the times. Many in Europe and North America know very little about just how volatile post-war Russia really was. I hope this gives them a glimpse."

'Birth of an Assassin' is available now:

Rik Stone grew up amidst the slum-lands of fifties North East England and left school at fifteen without academic qualifications. He worked in the shipyards on a local river, spent time in the merchant navy, and went on to work in quarries in South East England. The time came he yearned for change, so he began to study. Beginning with lower level stuff, he worked through to gaining a BSc. degree in mathematics and computing. But he loved reading and because of it, fiction writing had always been his want. After an early retirement at fifty years of age, he was able to pursue the dream seriously. From that dream came his debut novel, Birth of an Assassin, the first in a series.

No. 10

"A Life in Two Worlds"

by Thomas Hughes

"A Life in Two Worlds" By Thomas Hughes
NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Although many people maintain diaries as children, few of those entries contain stories of historical significance. Thomas Hughes is one of the few to share a narrative that sheds new light on the dynamics people experienced during that time.

In his new memoir, "A Life in Two Worlds," Hughes tells the story of his life growing up during World War II, including his abduction by German soldiers who were trying to obtain information from his father, a commander in the military, prior to the sinking of the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee.

To be abducted is a terrifying experience in itself, but Hughes goes on to share more about encountering one of his captors later in life.

"I discovered at a young age that it was easier for me to write about my feelings, emotions and experiences than to express them verbally," Hughes said. "I prompted myself later in life to read those pages; it was a therapeutic encounter to fully accept my past."

Those pages ultimately became the basis of "A Life in Two Worlds." A previously untold account of life during World War II, Hughes' powerful story is one of honesty, responsibility and perseverance.

Thomas Hughes was born in Brazil to parents of English and Hungarian descent. Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, he holds degrees from Sutherland University and Universidad de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Hughes resides in North Miami Beach, Florida. This is his first book. For more information, visit

"A Life in Two Worlds"
By Thomas Hughes
AuthorHouse Pub
Published 11/19/2014
ISBN: 978-1496949479
370 pages
Softcover $24
Hardcover $32

No. 11

"The Cockney Lad and Jim Crow"

by John Sharer

"The Cockney Lad and Jim Crow" by John Sharer
Los Angeles, CA, April 2, 2015 - Debuting at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 18-19 on the University of Southern California campus, The Cockney Lad and Jim Crow is a coming-of-age tale penned by renowned trial lawyer and novelist, John Sharer. The story, loosely based on Sharer's own experiences, follows Peter Mason, an 18-year-old Cockney boy, who leaves the East End of London after World War II and finds himself in Jackson, Mississippi. Through a combination of bravery and foolishness Mason violates the rigidly enforced segregation code that is rampant in the pre-Civil Rights era in the American South, and his life is changed forever as a result.

Sharer will be at booth 201 signing copies of this fascinating new novel at the festival on April 18th and 19th.

Sharer is also the author of Honor Knows No Borders, a thrilling fictional story set in World War II. It follows the experiences of a Jewish boy and his father, as they inadvertently encounter German officers and discover that people cannot always be judged by the uniforms they wear. The novel is loosely based on the author's own experiences and those of his father, who was a British officer and the commandant of a German POW camp.

Ted Olson, former U.S. Solicitor General and one of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, deemed Sharer's first novel "a compelling and historically fascinating fictional account of a pivotal point in World War II. Intense, thrilling and riveting."

John Sharer was born in England, lived in London during World War II and is now a U.S. citizen living in Los Angeles with his wife. He is the author of Honor Knows No Borders and The Cockney Lad and Jim Crow. His father was a British officer and commandant of a German POW camp. He still has vivid memories of his experiences as a young boy living in London during the war, witnessing bombings, deaths and hard living with scarce food.

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