From Magic City Morning Star

R.P. BenDedek
Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 17
By R.P. BenDedek
May 21, 2015 - 6:03:29 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. 16

  1. Six Lessons I've Learned After Two Tragedies by Bonnie Lee Mahler author of "Embrace the Moment"
  2. Why do good people lack blessings in life? by Esther V. Shekher author of "All the Commandments of God"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 16

Milt Gross Book Review: "Western" by Frank Yerby
May 17, 2015

In 2012, The New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote an article telling about an at-risk child whose life was turned around by reading Yerby books that one of his teachers was secretly providing to him. Yerby left the United States in 1955 in protest against racial discrimination, moving to Spain (then under the Franco regime), where he remained for the rest of his life.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Be the Alchemist of Your Life"

By Stine Koppernaes

"Be the Alchemist of Your Life" By Stine Koppernaes
OSLO, Norway -- The first step to transforming one's life is changing how one understands the mind.

For meditation and yoga teacher Stine Koppernaes, meditation and changing the relationship to her mind have been invaluable tools that allow her to experience more peace and freedom from anxiety in her life. She has been a teacher since 2006, and through the years she has experienced what truly transforms her inner state of being.

"I love sharing this way of finding true, lasting peace," Koppernæs said. "For me, and for everyone, it starts from within."

Her new book, "Be the Alchemist of Your Life", provides readers with the power of gratitude, acceptance, love, and freedom. It condenses her expertise into a single volume that empowers anyone seeking spiritual guidance.

Most of us identify strongly with this judgmental voice in our head, and the more aware you become, the more you will notice how it is commenting on pretty much everything you experience. Everything you are, everything you do and everything you say. It has an opinion on everything, and has a need to put a label on everything: this is good, this is bad, that is beautiful, this is ugly and so on. To see this only as the bad habit it is, and instead choose to create a distance between you and the inner judge, will make life so much more magical. In this state of non-judgment life is more in flow, it is easier to create, happiness is a natural byproduct and your heart stays more open. To have an open mind like that, without believing any preconceived ideas, will give you the power to receive what life offers in gratitude and wonder. To experience life without having to define experiences, things and people, makes life more interesting and filled with awe. The Universe is constantly changing, so how you experienced something yesterday might be completely different to how you perceive the same experience today. (Preview at "Balboa Press)

Stine Kopperaes has been a meditation and yoga teacher since 2006. After searching in different spiritual directions for several years, she finally found teachings that resonated with her. Information about her meditation and yoga teachings can be found at

"Be the Alchemist of Your Life"
By Stine Koppernaes
Balboa Press
published 1/21/2015
ISBN 978-1-50432-634-6
158 Pages
Softcover $14
Hardcover $31
E-book $4

No. 2

"Still the Cicadas Sing: A Boy Comes of Age in Nazi Occupied Athens"

by Gregory Gregoriadis

"Still the Cicadas Sing: A Boy Comes of Age in Nazi Occupied Athens" by Gregory Gregoriadis
United Kingdom -- Greece's recent troubles within the Eurozone, potentially leading to their exit from it, continues a long history of the nation's dominance on the world's stage. But few are actually aware of Greece's contributions, especially during World War II, which saw the country exert all of its power to help defeat Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. Gregory Gregoriadis lived through it all and, in a book, the only of its kind, re-tells the story through a unique blend of fact and fiction. 'Still the Cicadas Sing: A Boy Comes of Age in Nazi Occupied Athens' is as thrilling as it is true.

Synopsis: Alkinoos, an Athenian boy, is growing up in the shadow of Parthenon, in his own innocent world. It is the 1930s and Greece is ruled by the dictator Ioannis Metaxas. In October 1940 Mussolini demands passage of his armies through Greece. Metaxas refuses and Italy declares war. The Greeks are victorious, pushing the Italians back. Seeing his Axis ally Mussolini humiliated, Hitler invades Greece. The dreamy world of Alkinoos turns into one of brutal occupation, of famine and executions. This is a story of the boy's coming of age, of romance with the enemy, a German girl, a Circe with violet eyes. It is a story of things that are not what they seem to be. Of daring undertakings under the nose of the Gestapo, of Odyssean heroism, wiliness and wisdom...and of eventual tragedy. An ancient Hellenic world of pathos and nobleness revisited and relived. 'Still the Cicadas Sing' is the story of a boy's spirited survival within a world of darkness and pervading death. It is a literary novel that will take the reader on a fascinating journey in Nazi occupied Athens, blending the history of Greece of that period, a little known chapter of the War, with adolescent love, with passion and intrigue.

"Most people have no idea of the contributions Greece made during WWII," admits the author, who wrote two novellas as a young adult. "Our country made huge sacrifices and endured insurmountable suffering to bring peace to Europe and the rest of the world. I saw it as my duty to tell this story before it's lost to the history books forever. I remember the occupation of Athens as if it were yesterday, along with all of the emotions that engulfed me at the time. I saw unjust arrests, public executions but also the heroic wisdom all Greeks deployed as our secret weapon. I pull no punches when depicting it all in this book."

  • 'Still the Cicadas Sing: A Boy Comes of Age in Nazi Occupied Athens' from Matador, is available now:

Gregory Gregoriadis was born in Athens, Greece. He is Professor Emeritus at University College London, and is the Founder of Xenetic Biosciences Inc., a USA-based biotechnology company. He lives in London. Still the Cicadas Sing is his first novel.

No. 3

"White is the Coldest Colour"

by John Nicholl

"White is the Coldest Colour" by John Nicholl
United Kingdom -- Nobody will deny that child sexual abuse has become a toxic epidemic in society -- though few are aware of just how gruesome this dark corner of humanity's evil really is. In his intense new psychological suspense thriller, former police officer and child protection social worker John Nicholl exposes all.

'White is the Coldest Colour' may not be an easy read, but it's a story everyone needs to hear. Similar events could be taking place next door...

Synopsis: The Mailer family are oblivious to the terrible danger that enters their lives when seven-year-old Anthony is referred to the child guidance service by the family GP following the breakdown of his parents' marriage. Fifty-eight year old Dr David Galbraith, a sadistic predatory paedophile employed as a consultant child psychiatrist, has already murdered one child in the soundproofed cellar below the South Wales Georgian town-house he shares with his wife and two young daughters. Anthony becomes Galbraith's latest obsession, and he will stop at nothing to make his grotesque fantasies reality.

"White is the coldest colour is entirely fictional, but draws on my experiences as a police officer, child protection social worker and manager" says Nicholl. "During my career I was faced with case after case that left me incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality. The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children. I won't hide it -- this novel contains material that even the hardiest of readers will find disturbing from the outset. But the premise is far from fiction; evil predators lurk in the most unexpected of places, often assuming positions of trust within the community, and that is what makes the whole thing so ghastly and deplorable. I dedicated this book and its story to survivors everywhere, and I hope it raises vital awareness for the plight thousands face each day. It's certainly a thrilling literary adventure that is guaranteed to be unlike anything you have read before."

John Nicholl worked for the police, the department of child adolescent and family psychiatry, two social services departments and the NSPCC. He has also lectured on child protection at several colleges and universities. He lives in West Wales and has written a multi agency child protection manual, articles relating to child protection for newspapers, and a national social work journal.

No. 4


by Dyna

"Aftermath" by Dyna
United Kingdom -- Temptation is one of the universe's most powerful forces and, while sometimes bringing good, it often drags its victims into dark corners that turn their worlds upside down. In a searing and punch-packing new novel by Dyna, readers experience the harsh realities of temptation's evil side. 'Aftermath' is based on the author's own life story. It's unlike anything readers have ever indulged in before.

Synopsis: The book you are about to read tells the story of life's challenging moments we had to endure. We had some good times, some bad and some laughs along the way... And by delving into the unknown we would suffer the aftermath of our dangerous adventure. As the mist rises over the cobbled yard the wind echoes its soft groan. In a bedroom, four young and naive girls gather around their makeshift ouija board. But something is watching from the shadows as darkness descends upon them. This true story takes you on a journey of harrowing events and the aftermath of giving into temptation.

"My over-riding goal is to showcase the dangers of engaging in things you don't really understand, and to urge readers to be aware of the consequences of their actions," explains the author. "My life was changed irreparably after I dabbled in dark forces with some friends; we just didn't think about it at the time, and I'm still picking up the pieces today. I can absolutely, unequivocally attest to the fact that dark unknown forces exist. I'm so adamant that I'm even prepared to take a lie detector test to prove it. You'll see many people who claim to have experienced these forces, but only a few are confident enough to prove it through science. Nobody is ultimately safe, giving this novel true universal appeal."

About the author, in her own words: I was born in 1959 in the beautiful countryside in Lancashire. I'm one of eight children the youngest of six girls. I married in 1982 and have been blessed with three wonderful children and now a very proud nana of three boys...Unfortunately my marriage ended in 2010. Most of my adult life I have worked as a caregiver. I enjoyed my job immensely, but through health issues I had to retire from doing my work. However it has allowed me to have the time to take you on a journey of my turbulent true story.

No. 5

"Gold in Quartz"

By Ronald von Freymann

"Gold in Quartz" By Ronald von Freymann
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- Jewelry thieves, a terrorist plot and a race around the globe. These are just a few plotlines in Gold-in-Quartz, Ronald von Freymann's latest novel since leaving the corporate world to write mystery thrillers.

"I don't know how anyone can retire and do nothing creative," von Freymann said. "Writing has been more than rewarding, especially when I tell my "busy" friends how I spend my time in retirement: two books published and the third less than a year out."

In Gold-in-Quartz, a Jewelry Hunter Thriller, it has been a year since an Islamic cleric declares a fatwa against Bill and Jenn for averting a terrorist plot to blow up two fully loaded passenger ferries off the southern coast of California. Now, the Watsons must contend with another group of murderous thugs. While on a jewelry buying trip in Northern California's Gold Country, the Watsons inadvertently stumble into a gruesome shooting that sends them into witness protection. But their new enemies are never very far behind. They are forced to rely on the FBI, the French police, and hefty measures of their own quick wits, intuition and marksmanship to survive.

This is von Freymann's second installment of the Jewelry Hunter series, which grabs attention from the start with fast-paced action and crisp dialogue.

Ron von Freymann grew up on Long Island's south shore. He graduated from the U.S Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission in the U.S. Army. He earned a Master's Degree from The George Washington University. Von Freymann resigned from the Army to accept a position with Xerox Corporation and held successively more responsible management positions in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles. He resigned from Xerox to found Pioneer Business Corporation and served as PBC's Managing Partner for more than 20 years. Concurrently with his position at PBC, he was appointed a Professor in the University of Phoenix's MBA program. Subsequently, he sold PBC, resigned from the University of Phoenix and joined Prudential to prepare fee-based financial plans. He now writes mystery action thrillers. Ron and his wife, Janet, live at residences in Nipomo on the California's Central Coast, in Huntington Beach and in Avalon on Catalina Island. Other novels by Ronald von Freymann:

  • Avalon Bay, A Jewelry Hunter Thriller (2012)
  • Larimar, A Jewelry Hunter Thriller (2015)
  • Tourmaline, A Jewelry Hunter Thriller (2016)

"Gold in Quartz"
By: Ronald von Freymann
Author House Corp.
Published 7/31/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49691-793-5
314 pages
Softcover $20
Hardcover $29
E-book $4

No. 6

"Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities"

By Steve Lawson

"Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities" By Steve Lawson
GREENVILLE, Tx. -- What is it that some people succeed while others fail? How do we break through glass ceilings and win during hard times? What characteristics do we need to develop so we can increase our chances in this world?

Pastor Steve Lawson says many of us get caught in the web of dream killers with no idea how to fight our way out, or how to prevent getting into that situation in the first place.

Lawson's new book, Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities, takes a look at one of the greatest leaders and kings of all time: King David.

"He faced down a giant that had an entire army shaking in their sandals," said Lawson. "He then went on to become the greatest warrior in Israel, build an army out of social rejects and establish the greatest kingdom in the history of Israel."

Lawson examines five key character qualities David displayed that helped him be successful, and shows us how we can develop those same characteristics.

"Though we may not have a Goliath in our lives, we have our own giants," Lawson said. "Giant Killers will help you confront your own giants. Whether you are dealing with a crisis or taking on new opportunities, these character qualities will help you face them with confidence."

Steve Lawson holds a master of divinity degree from The King's College and Seminary, a master of business administration from Amberton University, and completed the Doctor of Strategic Leadership program at Regent University. He is senior pastor of Grace Community Church in Greenville, Texas. Steve and his wife, Karen, have three grown daughters.

"Giant Killers: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities"
By Steve Lawson
West Bow Press
Published 1/12/2015
ISBN: 978-1-49086-249-1
164 pages
Softcover $14
Hardcover $31
E-book $10

No. 7

"Face Value"

by Ian Andrew

"Face Value" by Ian Andrew
United Kingdom -- After serving in the British Forces as an Intelligence Officer for two decades, Ian Andrew uses his background and experience to provide a texture and authenticity that few authors can parallel. Now retired, his next move was obvious -- mix it all up into a cocktail of punch-packing fiction and release a novel unlike anything else on the market. That novel is 'Face Value', the first of a new series starring Wright and Tran -- two private investigators who have seen the dark side of humanity. What they don't know is that they are about to see it again.

Synopsis: Kara Wright and Tien Tran, former members of an elite intelligence gathering team active in Afghanistan, Iraq, and places still classified, now make their living through Wright & Tran, a PI service that tracks errant spouses, identifies dishonest employees and, just occasionally, takes on more significant cases that allow them to use all their skills. When siblings Zoe and Michael Sterling insist that their middle-aged parents have gone missing, Kara and Tien are at first sceptical and then quickly intrigued; the father, ex-intelligence analyst Chris Sterling, appears to be involved with an enigmatic Russian thug. Using less than orthodox methods and the services of ex-colleagues with highly specialised talents, Wright & Tran take on the case. But the truth they uncover is far from simple and will shake Zoe and Michael as much as it will challenge Tien and anger Kara. An anger she can ill afford for she is being hunted by others for the killing of a street predator who chose the wrong prey. The only constant in this darkening world is that nothing and no one can be taken at face value.

Andrew, who has since moved to Australia said, "It's actually the second book I am bringing to market. The first, 'A Time To Every Purpose', is a cross-genre thriller that will keep any fan of time travel on the edge of their seats. This latest book is a little closer to my own heart, much more gritty and grounded in reality."

  • 'Face Value' is due for imminent release. Pre-orders are currently being accepted via Amazon:

Ian Andrew, was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland but grew up in the small coastal town of Larne. He left to join the Royal Air Force at age 18 and worked initially as an aircraft technician before being commissioned as an Intelligence Officer. After serving for two decades he relocated, with his Australian wife, to the rural South-west of Western Australia. Surrounded by a resident mob of kangaroos, he is currently working on the second novel in the Wright & Tran series of detective stories. He is the author of the action-adventure thriller, "A Time To Every Purpose".

No. 8


By Merima Jackson

"Schicksal" by Merima Jackson
MELBOURNE, Australia -- "Schicksal" is the German word for fate and describes perfectly the journey author Merima Jackson went through when writing her first historical novel.

When Jackson's father passed away ten years after her mother, Jackson became an adult orphan, which she felt keenly.

"The death of my mother shocked me, shaking me and leaving me vulnerable, but the death of my father ten years later left me without my best friend," Jackson said. "He had apologized for not leaving me enough, but I replied he had given me more than enough. I realized this included their story, which became Schicksal."

Jackson was inspired to write a historical novel by the stories her mother and father had told her of their pasts during World War II in Europe and their immigration from Germany to Australia. "Schicksal" seemed like the perfect title, as the two characters suffer from the carnage of war, yet still have faith in the universe that they will get a happy ending.

Schicksal conveys the human cost of war and the role of forgiveness as a transformative bridge.

"It took me awhile to piece together my parents' past," Jackson said. "Through the work, I found myself progressively less helpless in the face of the unknown and found a platform as I increasingly understood where I really came from."

Merima Jackson is a physiotherapist with more than three decades of experience in rehabilitation, critical care, and community health. She is intrigued by recovery, health and spirituality. The author is married, has three children and lives in Sunbury, Australia. For more information, visit

By Merima Jackson
Balboa PRess
Published 1/9/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4525-2553-2
210 pages
Softcover $16
E-book $4

No. 9

"Freddy and Mrs Goodwich"

By Adena Trevor

"Freddy and Mrs Goodwich" By Adena Trevor
AJAX, Ontario -- Even the littlest of children might get tired of The Three Little Pigs if the tale is the only one they hear, night after night. That is why bedtime stories are as many and varied as the families who share them.

Adena Trevor's mother told her the story of a boy named Freddy who made wonderful pancakes, and Adena secured the tale for future generations by telling it in her new children's books, Freddy and Margewich and Freddy and Mrs Goodwich. Adding another generation to the mix, Adena's granddaughter has illustrated both stories.

"Hearing stories as a child helped me develop a love of reading," Trevor said. "With this project, we keep our family reading for generations."

Tales about Freddy have already influenced those outside the family as well. Trevor, a registered nurse who owns and operates her own holistic nursing business, told the stories to one patient over and over throughout treatments to get the young patient's mind off her health.

"She loved the story, and it helped her endure many tedious procedures. She asked me to repeat it many times," Trevor said.

Adena Trevor is an octogenarian, but that does not slow her down. Trevor is a registered nurse and owns and operates her own holistic nursing business. She loves canoeing, swimming, reading, writing poetry, sewing, gardening, golfing, traveling, and cooking pancakes with her husband Stanley, two sons, and three grandchildren. For more information, visit

"Freddy and Mrs Goodwich"
By Adena Trevor
Xlibris Books
August 13, 2104
ISBN: 978-1-49905-712-6
24 pages
Softcover $16
E-book $5.55

No. 10

"Lost Hierarchy"

by Khurram Arman

"Lost Hierarchy" by Khurram Arman
United Kingdom -- While everyone chases autonomy, the harsh truth is that religion and society almost always dictate life. Nobody knows this better than Khurram Arman, who grew up in Karachi-Pakistan and experienced a world that is boldly imbalanced. Wanting to reach out to those who are suffering in silence, Arman has penned a most unique novel that is far from hiding universal truths. It's not an easy read, but a message that is vital to humanity.

Synopsis of 'Lost Hierarchy': With vague images on the canvas of his mind, Hassan moves to Rijja villa at the age of eight. Being the only child in the family with two loving parents, he is bestowed with all the blessings one could dream of. Knowing his family values and status, he looks down upon dysfunctional families which struggle to uplift their pride in society. He does it, without knowing what destiny holds for him. But the bubble is about to burst when dreadful shadows surmount from the past. For the time being, he travels abroad, finds solace in a different land. In search of his identity, to find the truth, he travels back to Karachi-Pakistan, where shocking revelations await him, surprises bring in new twists. History overturns its pages to unravel the missing link and form an image on a jigsaw.

"The issue is that, while millions are suffering around the world, hardly anyone will raise their voice and try to affect change," explains Arman, who now works as both a novelist and banker. "I am raising my voice on their behalf to bring much needed attention to a whole host of social injustices. We need authorities to see and acknowledge what is going on in their home nations. That's the only way we'll ever change things. In 2012 I was overcome with this passion, put pen to paper and began to write the novel that we see today. It reaches out to anyone who feels that they don't have a voice - to not only let them know they are not alone -- but to give them comfort in knowing that people out there have their best interests and welfare at heart."

'Lost Hierarchy', from Paragon Publishing, is available now:

Khurram Arman is a Karachi-born British novelist and banker. He has been associated with the financial industry for over 10 years, after earning his Master's degree in Business Administration. He spent his early life in Karachi-Pakistan, where he observed how society and religion dictate people's lives; only a handful of people raise their voice against social injustices. Seeing an imbalanced society, where authorities ignore the practice of 'honour' killings, shun people born out of wedlock, allow people to misuse blasphemy law for personal benefits, he began writing his first novel in 2012. He grew up reading the poetry of Allama Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib, Sheikh Saadi and Qateel Shifai.

No. 11

"The Woman at the Well: A Rauch Elohim Parable"

By: Georgette Prime-Godwin

"The Woman at the Well: A Rauch Elohim Parable" By Georgette Prime-Godwin
Georgette Prime-Godwin's new book, "The Woman at the Well: A Rauch Elohim Parable," is a fast-paced fictional story that reveals how personal acceptance and forgiveness can be found.

"I wrote this book as a fictional story ringing with biblical truths," Prime-Godwin said. "It captures a new wave of imagery and draws the reader into each character's life."

As an accomplished facilitator of spiritual formation, Prime-Godwin hopes her messages will reach an audience beyond the church walls so she can influence those who have dismissed or are unaware of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Nazarene.

This allegory of the woman at the well perpetrates the story of all who live their life's lie as truth. "The Woman at the Well: A Rauch Elohim Parable" will evoke a need for self-forgiveness that will allow readers to fully operate in their predestined purpose.

Georgette Prime-Godwin received an associate degree in business administration from Dean Jr. College, a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership and management from Regent University and a master's degree in pastoral leadership from Payne Theological Seminary. Prime-Godwin has also authored "The Nehemiah Prototype: A Complementary Guide to Organizational Leadership for the 21st Century Church." Prime-Godwin is married with one daughter and currently resides in Bermuda. For more information, visit

"The Woman at the Well: A Rauch Elohim Parable"
By: Georgette Prime-Godwin
Xlibris Corp
Published 12/5/2014
ISBN: 978-1-50352-213-8
76 pages
Softcover retail price: $12.99
Hardcover retail price: $19.99
E-book retail price: $3.99

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