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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 20
By R.P. BenDedek
Jun 12, 2015 - 7:50:35 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. 19

  1. My experience in nursing vs. holistic nursing By Adena Trevor author of "Freddy and Mrs Goodwich"
  2. What's my motivation here? by Patrick J. Fornari Author of "Commoner Sense"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 19

Milt Gross Book Review: "Running with Scissors, a memoir" by Augusten Burroughs
Jun 9, 2015

The book is kind of quirky, weird, about a young man, the author, Augusten Burroughs, and his years as a teenager. Actually the book is a memoir, not fiction, and it is crass, describing many indecent scenes -- according to me -- of how Burroughs mother was mentally ill, his living a good part of the time in the house of the psychologist who is treating her, and the weird occurrences that took place.

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1.

"Charlie's Cream Tea"

by Victoria Hart

"Charlie's Cream Tea" by Victoria Hart
"A fun packed full colour illustrated book by a first time children's author." Charlie is a very happy-go-lucky crocodile. He decides he would like a cream tea and goes shopping, only to discover the scones come in packs of 10. He buys them along with the cream and jam. On his journey home he meets some of his friends and invites them to join him for tea. A couple of his friends invite a friend of theirs too, which doesn't go down very well with Charlie...This is a happy story that reinforces positive behaviour, numbers, kindness, and sharing with groups of friends

Victoria Hart is a qualified Child Behaviour Specialist with 18 years' experience in Early Years Education. She feels passionate and enthusiastic about promoting positive behaviour in children and the behaviour patterns that they have to cope with. Victoria Hart likes to be thought of as a helping hand to give parents the confidence to understand and deal with challenging behaviour, acknowledging it is a very sensitive subject. She has a real attachment to the characters in her book and feels that every child will have their favourite.

This book is published by Victoria Hart in conjunction with WRITERSWORLD, and is produced entirely in the UK. It is available to order from most bookshops in the United Kingdom, and is also globally available via UK based Internet book retailers.

"Charlie's Cream Tea"
by Victoria Hart
Published May 1, 2015
ISBN-10: 0993257003
ISBN-13: 978-0993257001
24 Pages
Kindle and Paperback

No. 2.

"Adventures of The Great Marlo & The Blue Pearl"

by Gary Markwick

"Adventures of The Great Marlo & The Blue Pearl" by Gary Markwick;
United Kingdom -- When David Galloway Lindsay was just twelve, he packed up what he had of his life in Edinburgh and left to join the circus. Little did David know that these first faltering steps would lead to an action packed life and a career that would touch the hearts of thousands. Fifty years after his story ends, David's Grandson, Gary Marwick, is recounting it to the world in an engrossing new docu-fantasy novel. 'Adventures of the Great Marlo & The Blue Pearl' sends readers on a global journey where they will see David's life inside the circus, through two World Wars, hunting for the 'Blue Pearl' and later finding international fame with his daughter as "The Great Marlo and Georgina" duo.

Synopsis: After the success of his first book 'Now It Begins', Gary Markwick has ventured into the world of docu-fantasy, chronicling the life and times of his grandfather's adventures in America, Canada and Europe. With his new offering, the 'Adventures of The Great Marlo and The Blue Pearl' Gary has opened up a 'Pandora's Box' of delights. Journey with 'The Great Marlo', Marko the Magician and the many friends and foes they meet along the way, experience the thrills and spills of life on the edge as well as the spiritual enlightenment that comes to them. This is a book like no other you have read before, part documentary, part fantasy it manages to mix the two in a sympathetic and bold manner that leaves the reader hanging out for more. The story unfolds, as seen through the eyes of David -- "The Great Marlo", who left his home in Edinburgh, Scotland at the age of 12 to join a travelling circus where he met Marko a magician who tells him the story of 'The Blue Pearl'. Deep below the surface of Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini lies the sacred Buddha Stone, which holds the secret of the Blue Pearl! What is the secret that the Blue pearl possesses? Through his adventures all is uncovered and brought to light Filled with mysticism and intrigue the great adventure unfolds, covering the period from the late 1800's to the 1960's and crossing the continents of India, USA, Canada and Europe. We see truth and enlightenment on a spiritual journey revealed before our eyes. David Galloway Lindsay later became well known as an escapologist (The British Houdini) a magician, a palmist, and a performer with mind reading skills. Working with his son Roy, and later on his daughter Georgina, he performed with the BBC and theatres around Great Britain, and some parts of the USA, going on to become famous as "The Great Marlo and Georgina".

"My Grandfather had a fascinating life; but few know the real story," explains Markwick, a renowned palmist and spiritual healer. "It all started for me when he sat me down in 1962 and started to tell me about his life joining the circus, living through the wars, stowing away to Canada, working at sea and then finally carving his own fame by performing escapology outside the Tower of London which was the prelude to his television career." But this book isn't just about his life; he has a powerful message to share. My grandfather's experience was one ruled by magic, mysticism, self-awareness and enlightenment. The journey continues throughout India and Nepal in search of the Blue Pearl. We can all learn a thing or two from The Blue Pearl's boundless power."

No. 3.

"A Touch of the Underworld"

by Dr. David Trucker

"A Touch of the Underworld" by Dr. David Trucker
A story unique in American History is that of an 85-year-old working physician in Wisconsin who admits to having been part of the Underworld, a system that began as the Cleveland Syndicate and subsequently became the prototype of the Mafia in America.

"A Touch of The Underworld" by Dr. David Trucker, the pen name of Dr. David Florence, is an historical document pointing out the ingeniousness and violence, which led to many economic and cultural developments in America by the underworld and the role of his family and himself in the process.

Incorporating both the history and humor in a unique fashion makes this read a cliffhanger, along with Dr. Florence's interactions with many celebrities from Hollywood and around the nation.

I did not set out on the course of my journey through life planning to one day reach the age of sixty-nine and living alone with only my thoughts, memories, frustrations and disappointments to keep me company... I did not get involved in the entertainment and promotions business, insurance, construction, real estate, property development and transportation businesses along the way because I was planning to spend my senior years holding my hand out. I did not plan to be broke and have to live on Government welfare and financial assistance...

Dr. Trucker is the pen name for David W. Florence, MD, a practicing orthopedic specialist in the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota for the last 50-years. Dr. Florence overcame the excitement and disasters of growing up in the underworld to become a successful physician and surgeon in both military and civilian life and yet continued to serve as an agent for his friends and associates in the underworld.

"A Touch of the Underworld"
By: Dr. David Trucker
AuthorHouse Pub.
Published 1/30/2015
ISBN: 978-1496962300
112 pages
Hardcover $24
E-book $4

No. 4

"God is NOT Happy"

by Flo Taber-Brown

"God is NOT Happy" by Flo Taber-Brown
PHOENIX, AZ -- There's a reason many people believe we are living in the end times. Flo- Taber-Brown believes God is angered by the moral decay of the United States as well as the government's removing of God from schools, government offices and the treatment of Christians in this country. In her new book, God is NOT Happy, Taber-Brown reports on the sins that are common in this country's society today, especially as it relates to the moral and Biblical truths being transferred to our youth, and is followed by suggestions for returning our society to the country under God it was at this country's inception.

"This book should be read by all Christians who realize that changes have taken place in American that threaten freedom of religion and that people in this country need to wake up to what it means to be a Christian," Taber-Brown said.

Ideas for improving Christian education, the behavior of Christians, their behavior within the church and the importance of mission are just a few of the topics that Taber-Brown takes on in her book.

"The goal of this book is raise awareness for Christians about un-Christian behavior, and how to positively change so that America returns to the Christian nation it once was," said Taber- Brown.

This book was inspired by God. He is angered by the moral decay of the United States as well as the government's removing of God from schools, government offices, etc., and the treatment of Christian and Christian organizations in this country. Ideas for improving Christian education, the behavior of Christians, their behavior within the church, and the importance of mission are among the areas covered. The goal of this book is raise awareness for Christians about un-Christian behavior, and how to positively change so that America returns to the Christian nation it once was. (Overview at WestBow Press)

Flo Taber-Brown is an Anglican Deacon with 50 years of education experience. She has authored two books and a chapter in a third book plus many articles on special education technology. Currently, she is working for an additional degree in theology. She and her husband live in Florida. They have 9 children, 27 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

"God is NOT Happy"
By: Flo Taber-Brown
WestBow Press
Published 1/15/2015
ISBN: 978-1-49085-878-4
84 Pages
Softcover $10
E-book $4

No. 5.

"A More Christlike God"

By Brad Jersak

"A More Christlike God" By Brad Jersak
PASADENA, Calif. --Millions of North Americans have left the organized church in the 21st century. Has God been misrepresented to them?

Author Brad Jersak takes Jesus at his word that if we have seen him we have seen God. So, "Who is God really like?" The short answer is, "Jesus." But Jesus' claim that God the Father is exactly like him challenges widely accepted ideas of who God is.

"Millions of thoughtful folks have abandoned the local church, but they do care about who or what 'God' is. In the God often portrayed by Christendom, they see a wrathful God who tortures unbelievers forever. Many of the same people very much like and respect the person of Jesus. So they instinctively know that something doesn't fit," Jersak said.

In A More Christlike God, Jersak points out that Jesus is, in fact, perfect theology for understanding who God is and what he wants from his believers.

From his emphasis on love for individuals to his yearning to form a relationship with each of us, Jesus takes apart the image of God as the wrathful and harsh God of the Old Testament.

"God is exactly like Jesus, since Jesus is God the Son. The good news of Jesus is more beautiful than we have imagined or allowed, proclaiming a God of eternal grace, enduring mercy and infinite love. Whereas religion always attempts to water this down with just a little wrath, just a little punishment, just a little vengeance, Christ came to say a decisive, "No" to retributive religion and "Yes" to super-abundant grace," Jersak said.

Brad Jersak is an author, a core faculty member of Westminster Theological Centre, and senior editor at Plain Truth Ministries. His previous nine books include Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God Who Speaks, Stricken by God? Nonviolent Atonement and the Victory of Christ, and Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hope, Hell and the New Jerusalem. For more information, visit

"A More Christlike God"
By Brad Jersak
CWR Press
April 22, 2015
ISBN: 978-1508528371
278 pages
Softcover $18
E-book $10

Plain Truth Ministries is Christianity without the religion.

No. 6.

"An Unconventional Leader"

by Neill Wallace

"An Unconventional Leader" by Neill Wallace
PORTLAND, Ore.-- Rising up against traditional assumptions, professionals are pushing aside outdated rules in order to redefine what it means to be a contemporary leader.

In the midst of this workplace revolution, Neill Wallace is helping lead the charge. Referencing his personal and career experiences, Wallace provides professionals with a unique perspective on leadership and office politics in his new book, "An Unconventional Leader."

"To achieve a positive personal transformation requires you to challenge commonly accepted and conventional business leadership behaviors," said Wallace. "The goal of my book is to provide existing and potential leaders with an alternative, contemporary guide to help them both manage their career and redefine the modern workplace."

By taking a more progressive approach, readers are able to determine the type of leader they are and learn how to effectively use their natural leadership style to put people first. Wallace argues that by doing this, readers can revolutionize their organization's culture, bring about increased employee engagement and foster a proactive team attitude.

Written in an engaging style with humorous undertones, this career management book is for corporate professionals who believe everyone can contribute to an organization's success. Those that apply the lessons presented in "An Unconventional Leader" will find engaging team members and achieving goals much easier and a lot more fun.

Neill Wallace is a native of Tasmania, Australia who currently resides in Portland, Oregon. In 2004 Wallace took a position as a sales and marketing associate at a leading medical device company. Within ten years, he was promoted several times before finally leaving in 2013 as the head of global sales and marketing. During his career progression, he defied every convention on what it takes to succeed. For more information, visit

" An Unconventional Leader"
By: Neill Wallace
Archway Publishing
Sept 16, 2014
ISBN: 978-1480810228
124c pages
Softcover: $10.79
Hardcover: $24.52
Kindle price: $9.15

No. 7.

"The Tree of Young Dreamers"

By Frank Sousa

"The Tree of Young Dreamers" By Frank Sousa
GRANBY, Mass. -- Everyone says growing up can be challenging... But what if your childhood spanned an economic crisis and the most destructive war in history?

In his first adult fiction novel, "The Tree of Young Dreamers," author Frank Sousa channels his youth through a fun-loving, imaginative group of teenage wannabe heroes growing up during the Depression and WWII eras. Their lively adventures stem mostly from high energy and sexual curiosity.

In the book, Johnny DaSilva and the rest of his gang live out their dreams in a big tree, yet later learn that war in reality was a bolt of lightning that shattered trees and the limbs of young dreamers.

"While there is no way to put a shattered tree back together again, to live dictates that you must try," Sousa said.

The first book in its Tree Trilogy, "The Tree of Young Dreamers" is inspired from actual events and characters from Sousa's past, and emphasizes the passage from childhood into adolescence and adulthood, and the thrills and conflicts that arise.

"My books are a combination of self-experience, that of friends, family and comrades, with imagination tossed into a hat, shaken up and pieced together," Sousa said. "Each novel stands on its own."

Frank Sousa is a retired U.S. Marine, and served in the Korean War. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, and was a columnist for the Springfield Republican for many decades. He married his high school sweetheart, and they live in Granby, Mass. He has recently published his second novel, "The Tree of Lost Dreams," and is currently writing the final novel in its series, "The Tree of New Roots." For more information, visit

"The Tree of Young Dreamers"
By Frank Sousa
Xlibris Books
Published 4/10/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4931-7610-6
558 pages
Hardcover $35
Softcover $24
E-book $4

No. 8

"Much Ado About Shakespeare"

by Jimmy Hartley

"Much Ado About Shakespeare" by Jimmy Hartley
United Kingdom -- After his death in 1616, Shakespeare's reputation languished, with just a few minor rewrites of 'King Lear', 'Romeo & Juliet' and 'The Tempest' keeping his name alive. But one event in 1769 changed all of that, rebuilding Shakespeare's reputation to its immense present day international status which will be emphasised next year by the celebrations for Shakespeare's 400th anniversary, an occasion that will be "the biggest opportunity to put UK culture on the world stage since London 2012," according to Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council. In 'Much Ado About Shakespeare' author Jimmy Hartley tells the astonishing story of the Jubilee that legendary actor David Garrick staged at Stratford-upon-Avon and which rocketed Shakespeare into global status as the world's greatest playwright. "Without the Jubilee," says author Jimmy Hartley, "next year's celebrations would not be happening.

Synopsis: Shakespeare's reputation was in decline at the time of his death. Fellow playwrights Ben Jonson and Francis Webster were buried in Poet's Corner. But Shakespeare gained no such distinction. His reputation continued to fall with one critic complaining that his plays "disgust this refined age." The one event that did most to reverse this downward trend was the Stratford Jubilee, staged by the superstar actor David Garrick (from who the Garrick Club gets its name). This is the story of that Jubilee, a tale of human pride, vaulting ambition, jealousy that catapulted Shakespeare's reputation into its present day stratosphere.

"This is the first major study of Garrick's Jubilee in fifty years," explains Hartley, a show business veteran. "I was able to make full use of original sources to uncover the truth about an event that was as dramatic, poignant and funny as Shakespeare's work itself. As well as being a roaring success, it wasn't without its problems -- including an actor who literally killed another during an argument over a wig! It was a far cry from the comforts of the West End and my book demonstrates just how perilous it was trying to organize an event so far from home soil. Garrick thought that the production would come together as easily as they do in the Drury Lane Theatre; he quickly thought again when the river Avon unexpectedly overflowed as his ballroom was packed with Dukes and Duchesses, Ministers and the top brass of that generation. Miraculously, the entire thing was a roaring success and saved Shakespeare for good."

Jimmy Hartley brings to this study a deep understanding of show business and public relations based on many years' experience in the industry. He was a writer and producer in ITV in London and Anglia. He is a former Exhibitioner in History of Hertford College, Oxford, and holds an MA in History from Oxford University.

No. 9.

"Spirits In The Classroom - A True Story Of A Teacher's Adventures From Beyond"

by Jonny Angels

"Spirits In The Classroom - A True Story Of A Teacher's Adventures From Beyond" by Jonny Angels
United Kingdom --When Jonny Angels decided to leave the UK and embark on a nomadic life of teaching around the world, he expected an adventure awash with interesting people, daily culture shocks and a unique education of its own. Angels got all of that -- including an unexpected insight into people and things "from beyond". In his fascinating new memoir - 'Spirits In The Classroom - A True Story Of A Teacher's Adventures From Beyond' -- Angels takes readers on a real-life journey where spirits make contact with hotel receptionists, spirits fill classrooms and even dead pets mysteriously begin to appear in photographs posted on the author's website. Synopsis: Jonny Angels Spirits in the Classroom A True Story Of A Teacher's Adventures From Beyond Imagine feeling the presence of your student's family members in spirit whilst teaching a class of students. Add to that, discovering the death of a student that should have been in his classroom, never arrived but let him know later in spirit. This is a true story of a variety of unexpected, real life experiences that should interest all of us who always thought it only happened to others. His fascinating journey takes him through several countries via teaching, coming into contact with a whole hive of unusual experiences both inside and outside the schools and colleges. Whether the banging of spirit in an empty classroom to personal objects mysteriously disappearing and then reappearing later you can follow the author on his adventures.

"This isn't the kind of memoir you'd regularly associate with an overseas teacher -- I admit. But I've had a unique platform through which to view both the conscious world and that beyond our understanding, and it's a story that is of interest to all humanity," explains Angels. "I've taught while feeling the presence of my students' families in the classroom, dealt with objects appearing and re-appearing both in and out of the classroom, and even once came face-to-face with a deceased student. It's chilling yet amazingly thought-provoking. Readers will come with me as I travel the world to experience things that are beyond our explanation, but could just shed new light on the life we know. As a result of these spiritual and psychic experiences, I periodically attend a well-known historical, spiritual college in Essex, for mediums and psychics to continue with development."

Jonny Angels embarked on a teaching career which took him mostly overseas up to the present day. Whilst on his travels teaching, both within and outside the classroom he soon found himself being drawn spiritually to certain places, situations and people, occasionally with a message. This often surprised the recipient and in a few circumstances rendered himself in danger which is explained in his book, Spirits in The Classroom, and the chapter 'The Pitfalls of clairvoyance'. Earlier experiences include significant related 'supernatural' phenomena from his youth. Jonny Angels still teaches and periodically attends a registered Spiritualist College in The UK for psychic and spiritual development.

No. 10.

"The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes"

by H.R. Jakes

"The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes" by H.R. Jakes
DALLAS -- Summer is here for schoolchildren across the nation, meaning if they run into teachers, they probably get that curious feeling that something is not right. Wait, teachers exist outside school?

In The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes, H.R. Jakes tells sometimes-embellished stories from his mother's life. Elaine Jakes was a real schoolteacher searching for her way home, a journey that required effort, creativity, and faith.

"She was more than a teacher, more than a wife, more than a mother," H.R. Jakes said. "And luckily, she had an amazing sense of humor."

Elaine Jakes lived in the eccentric community of New Hope, Penn., and in the 1970s and 1980s set out to discover her Welsh heritage, herself, and her God.

"My mother's heritage, her Welshness, symbolizes something greater than itself, in this case the Church," H.R. Jakes said. "She finds not only her way home, but also the redemptive nature of God."

The stories H.R. Jakes shares from his mother's life include quite a few curious elements: a bear in a truck, a frightening cheese plate, a magic sword, a cross-dressing monkey, and a German expert in Jewish mules.

HR Jakes has been writing all his life. He is a polyglot, fluent in English, Italian, French, German, Latin, and Ancient Greek. He compiles his mother's story in The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes, and the two plan several more installments in the series. Jakes lives in Texas with his wife Diana, with whom he has seven children and one grandchild. For more information, visit

"The Curious Autobiography of Elaine Jakes"
By H.R. Jakes
Archway Publishing
Published 3/31/2015
ISBN: 978-1-48081-473-8
268 pages
Softcover $18
Hardcover $36
E-book $7

No. 11.

"STABLE: The Keys to Heaven on Earth"

by April Michelle Lewis

"STABLE: The Keys to Heaven on Earth" by April Michelle Lewis
TRENTON, NJ -- What can near-death experiences teach us about living? How can they help us finally achieve global peace?

April Michelle Lewis believes they contain all of the information needed for peace on earth. Her new book, STABLE: The Keys to Heaven on Earth, illuminates the results of scientific studies of near-death experiences and translates those findings into a personal philosophy for healing and happiness. "STABLE," the name of Lewis's philosophy, is an acronym for "Sound Thought, Always Believe, Life of Excellence."

"The three principles in the STABLE philosophy embody the truths derived from scientific studies of the near-death experience," Lewis said. "By integrating the discoveries of the afterlife in our lives, we can live as close as we can to heaven on Earth."

Lewis was inspired to study near-death experiences after going through a dark time in her life. During her healing process, she discovered a number of common threads throughout society and amongst religions. According to Lewis, those connections are far more important than any conflicts.

"I believe God wants the world to live more in accordance with the ways of the afterlife, and to stop fighting and killing over imagined differences," Lewis said.

"Humans once believed that the world was flat, but scientific study and observation proved otherwise," Lewis said. "The knowledge of near-death experiences will one day remove religious barriers and labels that divide us."

April Michelle Lewis is a spiritual/motivational speaker who captivates audiences with her messages of happiness and peace. She holds a master's education in psychology, and she teaches yoga as a certified instructor to aid individuals in emotional healing. She resides in New Jersey with her husband and five children. For more information, visit

"STABLE: The Keys to Heaven on Earth"
By April Michelle Lewis
Inspiring Voices
Published 12/19/2012
ISBN: 978-1-46240-551-0
Softcover $14
Audio book $4
E-book $4

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