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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 29
By R.P. BenDedek
Sep 18, 2015 - 2:01:00 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 has varied and while we still have book reviewers at Magic City we unfortunately can't do book reviews for every book. (List of Book Reviews 2015) 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 all of those authors who have already taken advantage of this offer both in 2014 and again this year. A list of those authors and their articles for 2015 may be found here.

Magic City Morning Star is looking for more writers and reviewers and additionally we invite all book authors to avail themselves of our 'self-promotion' offer.

If you would like to join our team just send an email to me at the address below.

NOTE: As over the Summer Magic City Morning Star received virtually no Publicity Material for new book releases, there has not been a book basket since August 12th. We therefore have quite a few author articles and book reviews listed below.

Author Articles Since Basket No. 28

  1. Autumn in Florida? By Elisabeth Falcone Author of "Mommy, Was Grandpa a Nazi?: Recipes for Tolerance and Understanding"
  2. Five Ways to Make Your Life Matter by Larry E. Ford Author of "God: Accused or Defended?: Solving the Unsolvable Paradox"
  3. A Call to Revolution by Patrick J Fornari Author of "Commoner Sense: The Working Person's Guide to America"
  4. Leaving Pavlovia by Patrick J Fornari Author of "Commoner Sense: The Working Person's Guide to America"
  5. Magic Mirror: Reflections of a Naked Dancer by Rachelle Chartrand Author of "Chrysalis: A Dark and Delicious Diary of Emergence"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 28

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Last Bookaneer" by Matthew Pearl
Sep 13, 2015

A well-written story, Buckaneer, one I thoroughly enjoyed and a tale you should read if any of the details of Stevenson's life at all interest you. Bookaneers were those who borrowed or stole book manuscripts before laws protected publishers and printing houses in the early 1900s. It was a fictionalized account of Robert Louis Stevenson's final days on a Pacific Island.

Martha Stevens-David Review: "You Can Be Lucky Like Me" By Dr. Ron Deigh
Sep 6, 2015

Most people facing child abuse and abandonment would have just given up and let life over take them but not this man. He seemed to have an inner strength that others do not have and he learned from it and this intestinal fortitude has served him well, all of his days. Dr. Deigh's accomplishments are many and he has every reason to be proud. He illustrated that always having optimism, luck and determination to reach a given goal, is the best way to get what you want.

Milt Gross Book Review: "Fear the Silence" by Iain Cameron
Sep 6, 2015

The story was good in the latter part of the book. During the first part, I wasn't sure it was a story. But it got better toward the end. In fact, toward the end, it was a good, readable tale. What made it different from the rest of the self-published novels I've read is that this one is British. This means I'm lucky I know what a "boot" is...not footwear but a part of a car. Another problem that hindered this American reader was that the author used too many initials in front of names or documents. What a DC was I never found out.

Milt Gross Book Review: "Plum Lucky" by Janet Evanovich
Aug 30, 2015

Robert Parker and Evanovich are my favorite two writers, both fiction mystery, murder, and mayhem and both with humor tossed into the plot. The difference between the two is that Parker covers Boston, while Evanovich covers California and other warm places like Florida. In this one, there's crime, including kidnapping of Plum's grandmother, Grandma Mazur, as well as the horsey adventures. It's hard to imagine anyone with the courage to kidnap Stephanie's grandma! I can't loan you my copy, as its going back to Searsport's Carver Memorial Library soon.

R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "Unseen Tears" by Beau Sides
Aug 26, 2015

This book is an easy and quick read with a simple storyline and is full of cultural information and anecdotes. It would not qualify as a 'dramatic tear jerker,' but this fictional story is certainly an excellent vehicle for the author's educational purpose. Some readers may be shocked by some of the things that they will learn from this story, and that is to be expected because westerners naturally view the entire world through their own cultural perspective -- or 'rose colored glasses.' At one point in this story, Anne, the private orphanage director says, "...most foreigners have to be here a long, long time before they can begin to understand." How true that is. And I guess that is why the author has chosen to write the book. Merely quoting facts, figures and statistical information is hardly likely to engage readers with the reality of life in China.

Milt Gross Book Review: "Dog on It" by Spencer QuinnAug 23, 2015

Does a writer become better as he writes through several books? Does he hone his skills for a better tale? I've wondered that and still do. But in Dog on It, Spencer Quinn did a better job on his first, this one, than in the one of his I had read earlier, the seventh one of his dog-and-mystery series. But in Dog on It, Quinn did a much better job of combining doggie humor with the actual story. In fact, some of the story featured Chet, the dog in question, with his being the only action and Bernie, the doggie master, not being present for those parts.

M.W. Johnson Review: "Hope for the Nations" by Dr. Tom HollandAug 18, 2015

This book does not seem to be specifically designed for scholars and theology students. It is not a complicated read. The author's writing and expository style are delightful and illuminating. His presentation on the 'Law' and 'Circumcision' will surely be understood by everyone as will his explanation of the significance of 'Passover' and 'Atonement.' It is my personal belief that most Christians today have, and most Christian Preachers today preach, a poor quality imitation of Christianity. "Hope for the Nations" is not some fresh revelation of Christ but rather the 'meat of the Word of God.' It's purpose is to help the reader UNDERSTAND.

Milt Gross Book Review: "Wolf in Timber" by John Connolly
Aug 16, 2015

The first part of the story was good, a mysterious tiny church in the woods on the outskirts of the town, a mysterious preacher at the church who doesn't preach because there are no services, an evil Police Chief Morland, and a host of Prosperous locals who took in the stealthy goings on that begin the mystery. Maybe I'm just too old and numb to have followed the complicated plot, but I didn't. Parker is the lead character in a series of John Connolly novels, described in a cover page as a "thriller." You may find it really good. I hope so.


No. 1

"To the Sun and Back"

By April Awalt

"To the Sun and Back" By April Awalt
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- April Awalt always told her son that she loved him to the moon and back -- until he found out the sun was actually further away.

Awalt's new book, To the Sun and Back, is a sweet tale of parental love. Awalt lost her son at age ten to meningitis and wrote the book as a way of healing by reflecting upon the love and bond she shared with him.

"I lost my son suddenly, and I did not know how to deal with it," Awalt said. "In writing a happy book based upon a true story, I was able to honor the love that I have for him, even in his passing."

Awalt found healing by remembering the happy times she shared with her son. She wrote those feelings into "To the Sun and Back" so that other parents might use the book to identify similar experiences in their own lives.

"This book does not deal with death, but rather places a focus on special moments that parents share with their children when they spend time together," Awalt said. "I just want to encourage parents to make time for those moments, realize how precious they are, and to cherish them when they happen."

April Awalt lost her son to meningitis when he was only ten years old. This is her story about the love she shared with him, and an inspirational view of the love between a parent and child. For more information, visit

"To the Sun and Back"
By April Awalt
Published April 20, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4567-4264-5
20 pages
Softcover $12.95

No. 2

"The Aerie: Air Strip on Weeks Mountain"

By Marjorie Irish Randell

"The Aerie: Air Strip on Weeks Mountain" By Marjorie Irish Randell
SEAL BEACH, Calif. -- Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff.

After living in an air park in the foothills of the High Sierras near Sacramento, Calif., for 22 years, author Marjorie Irish Randell found the lives of "flying people" fascinating.

Residential air parks, also known as "fly-in communities," are specifically designed around private airports where residents each own and park their planes next to their homes, which are adjacent to runways.

In her novel, "The Aerie: Air Strip on Weeks Mountain," Randell tells the fictional story of an air park community whose residents fall into a tailspin after a mysterious murder is committed within the park.

An in-depth look into the thoughts and actions of pilots, their wives and their families, Randell uses her cast of colorful characters to highlight the dynamics of tight-knit aviation communities and the camaraderie and conflicts that develop within them.

"I have a never-ending interest in people and their relationships with one another," Randell said. "And life in an air park is filled with never-ending surprises."

Marjorie Irish Randell was married to a United States Air Force pilot for more than 67 years. She has published "Searching for Friday's Child," the true story of her WWII P.O.W. brother in the Philippine Islands, and is presently writing her third book. Marjorie has four sons, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

"The Aerie: Air Strip on Weeks Mountain"
By Marjorie Irish Randell
Trafford Books
Published 7/3/2013
ISBN: 978-1-4669-9968-8
406 Pages
Hardcover $28
Softcover $18
E-book $4

No. 3

"Gullible Travels"

By Ronnie Bermann

"Gullible Travels" By Ronnie Bermann
HOUSTON -- Spending money on experiences rather than material items will bring you greater happiness according to this article in The Atlantic.

Enjoying experiences of traveling all over the world and participating in activities such as scuba diving, downhill skiing and big game hunting led Ronnie Bermann to write his new book, "Gullible Travels."

Bermann lives for adventure and believes everyone else should, too. His memoir allows readers to live vicariously through his experiences and will inspire them to get out and get going no matter what stage in life they're in.

These true-life tales will entice readers to create stories of their own and learn about life through Bermann's failures and successes. Bermann has been everywhere from hunting cape buffalo in Africa to catching trophy size sailfish to horseback riding over hundreds of miles in just four days.

After experiencing different cultures, including fine cuisine and wines, live events, and historic sites around the world, Bermann has one piece of advice to his readers: "If you have the time and resources to travel by yourself, do so," Bermann said. "You will never be able to fully live until you go out and see all the world has to offer."

Ronnie Bermann owned and ran Maxim's, an award-winning restaurant in Texas. Bermann finds adventures in touring baseball stadiums, participating in rodeos, hunting in Africa, catching sailfish and playing polo. For more information see Author's Website

"Gullible Travels"
By Ronnie Bermann
Xlibris Books
Published 3/23/2015
ISBN: 1503553523
226 pages
Softcover $20
Hardcover $30
E-book $4

No. 4

"Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans and Orphanages in China"

by Beau Sides

"Unseen Tears" by Beau Sides
Unseen Tears is a poignant, but hopeful, journey through the lives and challenges of orphans and orphanages in China. Even in the midst of overwhelming odds and very limited resources, there are people committed to supporting and transforming the lives of these most vulnerable children.

Set amidst the complexities and contradictions that is modern China, Unseen Tears draws on Beau Sides' nearly 50 trips and teaching tours to China to paint an accurate picture of the challenges - and a glimpse of encouragement - for China's orphans.

Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans and Orphanages in China" is a fictional tale designed to bring to reader attention the plight of orphans in China, especially "special needs" orphans. The author Beau Sides, who has made approximately 50 trips to China, is heavily involved and invested in helping these orphans and the people who do their best to care for them. This fictional tale commences with a former Foreign English Teacher returning to China to attend the wedding of a former student and then moves on to an encounter with the operator of a private orphanage and from there we are lead into the realities of life for orphans and their carers. (Magic City Book Review)

"Although this book is fictional, the story is based on what I have seen, heard, smelled, felt and experienced during my time in China. Anne and her orphanage are real, but the names have been altered to protect the identities of the children and staff," said Mr. Sides.

The author's experiences led him to start Global Partners in Life, a non-profit organization which provides the educational, humanitarian, and medical needs of many orphans. Orphans are all around the world, many of them with special needs. To transform their lives, some of them receive wonderful care, but some are living in deplorable conditions. The reality is that if you invest your time, talent, and resources, these children can have much happier and healthier lives. Unseen Tears is the story of these children's journeys. You can get involved with Global Partners In Life or with one of the many other local and international organizations that help orphans domestically and internationally.

Beau Sides, formerly a manager for IBM, is the founder and president of Global partners in Life, a non-profit organization that helps orphaned children, special needs orphans, and disadvantaged youth with educational, humanitarian and medical needs in China. Since 2004, Global Partners in Life (GPiL) has been giving for the purpose of enabling young lives to prosper. Beau's previous book was "Lessons from China" (April 2014). He has been blissfully married to his beautiful wife Leah for almost 30 years.

"Unseen Tears: The Challenges of Orphans and Orphanages in China"
by Beau Sides
Weaving Influence, Inc.
Published July 30, 2015
ISBN-10: 0692448861
ISBN-13: 978-0692448861
214 pages
Softcover $12.95
Kindle $3.99
Nook Book $3.99

No. 5

"Late Bird"

by Jason Kraus

"Late Bird" by Jason Kraus
Sacramento, California August 21, 2015 -- Late Bird, by Jason Kraus, has burst onto the literary scene by grabbing lovers of reading and never letting them go!

The superb page turning novel inspired by real events leaves readers clamoring for more as the author twists and turns the main character, Falcon Sane, through his life beginning with his childhood in the seventies and into present day.

With the back drop of Vietnam, gas lines, and the ever burgeoning Cold War, young Falcon overcomes bullies and beatings through the support of two parents and his love of baseball. Given strong ethical examples early on Falcon fights his way through his teen-age years while athletics and romance sharpen and soften his hyper sensitive soul.

With the curiosity of a child born free and the experience of an American son Falcon plunges into adulthood tackling child abuse, governmental corruption, and corporate politics to arrive at his ultimate the arms of the woman of his dreams.

His life complete, Falcon takes his experiences as a leader and offers to serve the only reason his dreams ever had a chance. America. With truth, humility, and ferocity Falcon navigates lies, corruption and death threats, to provide America an option and a message. America first. American only.

Jason Kraus is a seasoned entrepreneur, orator, and author of the newly released book, Late Bird. With a B.A. in Psychology from California State University, San Bernardino, Jason Kraus has had an extensive career which includes counseling of troubled youths, law enforcement, and business management. He writes a regular column focused on the purpose of breathing appreciation, freedom, and personal responsibility back into America. Jason Kraus resides in Northern California with his wife. For more information, book information or to book Jason Kraus for a speaking engagement, please visit:

"Late Bird"
by Jason Kraus
M Com Publishing
Published Sept 24, 2014
ISBN-10: 0990574628
ISBN-13: 978-0990574620
532 Pages
Kindle $10
Paperback $10

No. 6

"Love on the Rocks: A Positano Tale"

By Catie Costa

"Love on the Rocks: A Positano Tale" By Catie Costa
FOSTER CITY, Calif. -- There's no better way to learn about people and yourself than by packing a suitcase and taking off to a faraway place.

In "Love on the Rocks: A Positano Tale," Catie Costa tells the story of two best friends, Kit and Bridget, who flee their humdrum lives in the States to spend an adventurous summer in Positano, Italy.

The girls soon learn that no matter where you live, life is still full of drama. While missing luggage, humidity-wilted hair, delectable Nutella and lots of prosecco abound, their vacation is full of anticipatory romance spiked with a bit of heartache and self-discovery.

"Amazing things happen when you can get out of your own way and experience life for what it is," Costa said.

Loosely based on one summer she and a friend rented an apartment in Positano, Costa's novel emphasizes the importance of living life to its fullest and embracing the twists and turns along the way.

"Everybody's journey through life is different," Costa said. "Be who you are, go at your own pace, don't compare yourself and enjoy the journey."

Catie Costa has traveled all over Western Europe, with repeated trips to Ireland and Italy. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area. For more information, visit

"Love on the Rocks: A Positano Tale"
By Catie Costa
Lulu Publishing
Published 3/27/2015
ISBN: 978-1-4834-2324-1
468 Pages
Hardcover $41
Softcover $27
Nook book $9

No. 7

"It Wasn't Like Nothing: One Marine's Adventure in Vietnam"

by Thomas J. Hynes

"It Wasn't Like Nothing: One Marine's Adventure in Vietnam" by Thomas J. Hynes
The entertainment industry has a full arsenal of successful Vietnam War movies, such as "Full Metal Jacket," "Good Morning Vietnam" and "Apocalypse Now." But what was it really like to fight in the Vietnam War?

In "It Wasn't Like Nothing: One Marine's Adventure in Vietnam," retired United States Marine Lieutenant Thomas J. Hynes offers his first-hand account of the Vietnam War and his training leading up to his deployment.

Hynes served three years in the Marine Corps, including seven months as Lima Company platoon commander in and around South Vietnam's Que Son Valley during the war.

By detailing the best and worst of times while fighting an un-winnable war for reasons he did not understand, Hynes hopes to relay to readers the bravery and determination of both the soldiers who were lost and were able to survive, and the camaraderie that existed between them.

Thomas Hynes is a former attorney and district judge. He served three years in the United States Marine Corps, including 13 months in Vietnam. He is married, and has two children and two grandchildren. Purchase from or Amazon

"It Wasn't Like Nothing: One Marine's Adventure in Vietnam"
by Thomas J. Hynes
iUniverse Books
Published May 18, 2015
ASIN: B00Y558Y6S
ISBN-10: 1491765798
ISBN-13: 978-1491765791
270 Pages
Softcover $21
E-book $3.50

No. 8

"Calico Jam"

By Joanne Greene

"Calico Jam" By Joanne Greene
HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. -- The Great Depression is known for being the most dreadful economic downturn in modern history. Joanne Greene was a young girl during this time of hardship and can recall the impact it had on her youth. In her new book, "Calico Jam," Greene blends together true stories with fictionalized details set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and World War II. Emphasizing compassion, tolerance, endurance and forgiveness, Greene covers how a young girl handles love, loss and uncontrollable situations.

This coming-of-age story takes readers into the life of a young girl desperately seeking answers to a family tragedy filled with dark secrets and feeling the burdens of the elder generations.

"The characters in this tale have been assembled from scraps of collective and individual memories," Greene said. "They are as real or unreal as you like."

Overview from Xlibris: This is Joanna's story. A lonely, curious, spirited young girl who spent her young years in the tangle of a loose knit extended family; she lived with a great-aunt and uncle, dutiful but detached who seemed unaware of the needs of their young charge. The dark little secrets, sorrows and regrets are their, claiming the energies of their obsolete generation. Joanna was born during the Great Depression of the 1930's when children were tolerated but not taken very seriously. Her journal became her companion and comforter. As she tries to understand her part in a family tragedy that destroys her mother, she seeks solace circle. Joanna feels exiled herself and becomes fixed on the young handicapped son of aunt's household, her increasingly absent father and memories of her lost brother, Toby. Joanna finds an unexpected tutor in Alonzo, the remarkable husband of her grandmother, whose wisdom and humor pull her back to a safer place. Joanna grows up, still trying to understand and still trying to go back to where she was welcomed and sheltered. She is still wise and foolish, happy and sad, curious and afraid. Of course her journey continues.

Joanne Greene has been a writer most of her life. "Calico Jam" is her first published book. Greene is currently retired, living in New Jersey.

"Calico Jam"
By Joanne Greene
Xlibris Publishing
Published 3/8/2005
ISBN: 978-1-41347-607-1
175 pages
Softcover $21
Hardcover $31

No. 9

"Order of Merit"

by Richard Storry

"Order of Merit" by Richard Storry
In "Order of Merit" we encounter a famous guitarist who is loved by audiences all over the world, not only for his masterful technical skill and compelling, instinctive musicality, but also for his charismatic stage personality.

However, his consummate showmanship is all just a cover for his more sinister occupation – away from the concert platform he is also a professional hitman, cold, ruthless and efficient. Cunning and calculating, his missions are always accomplished fully, expertly and without a hitch.

But, when his next target turns out to be a relative of one of his best friends, things can only get ugly...

"Order of Merit" - Who would've thought the music profession could be so deadly?

Richard Storry studied at the Royal Academy of Music for five years, between 1984 - 89, graduating with high honours and a recital diploma - the only guitarist in eight years to be awarded such an honour - and winning the Julian Bream prize. As Richard neared the end of his studies in London, he helped to found the TETRA Guitar Quartet - an ensemble with which he remained for over thirteen years, giving concerts all over the world and releasing four CDs to great critical acclaim. He composed the incidental music to Chekhov's Three Sisters, recently seen in London's West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television, and his music for Rumplestiltskin received over 300 performances in its first year alone. In addition, to being in constant demand as a teacher and adjudicator of musical festivals, Richard has also branched out internationally, writing for the Chinese Orchestra of Hong Kong. A native of the Lake District, Richard now lives in a leafy suburb of South London, where he is working on his next novel, "Order of Merit", but he still relishes the occasional opportunity to ascend some of the more remote Cumbrian Mountains!

"Order of Merit"
by Richard Storry
File Size: 2646 KB
Print Length: 119 pages
Publisher: Cryptic Publications
Published September 16, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
E-Book $3.49
Amazon Membership read it for free

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