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R.P. BenDedek

Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 7
By R.P. BenDedek
Mar 12, 2015 - 7:48:18 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. 6

  1. America's "Big Bang" by Patrick J Fornari author of "Commoner Sense"
  2. Have A Zest for Noble Deeds? by Bruce Biller author of "The god-man seed of Satan"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 6

M. Stevens-David Book Review: "The Monster Under My Web" By Charlene Gresham
Mar 11, 2015

"The Monster Under My Web" By Charlene Gresham is a well-illustrated, colorful children's story about Annabel a spider who lives a corner of the ceiling in little Jimmy's bedroom. I found the short story charming and especially loved the stories' rhymes as I'm certain a child would too.

Milt Gross Book Review: "The Clock" by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Mar 7, 2015

The book tells the story of a teenage girl, who in the 1800s was forced by her father to work in a textile mill. The manager at the mill attempted to assault her, but her father owed a lot of money and had her remain at her job despite that attempt. Eventually, she and a friend discovered the mill manager was stealing wool, and Annie told the wealthy owner of the mill.

R.P. BenDedek Book Review: "A Humble Hero" by Jianxin Huang
Mar 7, 2015

"A Humble Hero" is not the sort of book to appeal to the 'feel good' reader since it does not 'edify' and nor is it in any way 'entertaining,' even in a dramatic sense. It is however, for those with a thirst for real knowledge as opposed to popular fictional 'non-fiction,' an excellent insight into the changes that occurred in China during the Twentieth Century. I have lived in China for 12 years and actually live not far from the places mentioned in this tale, and I am well aware that what western people "learn from most books and other media" about China today, is quite different from reality on the ground. While this book does not have the literary merit of the two books mentioned earlier, I have to say that I was more moved by this story, and do express to the author my thanks for such an enlightening biographical tale.

M. Stevens-David Book Review: "Meet Twinkle Toes" by Faye M. Parsons
Mar 7, 2015

This author, "Faye M. Parsons" is a teacher, and she has used her background in education to do a wonderful job in depicting how the world is changing. Not only is it beautifully illustrated but the story is "in the moment" in that, it deals with "being different."

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"Harry One Sigh"

by Gar Mallinson

"Harry One Sigh" by Gar Mallinson
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- With an enthralling plot bursting with colorful characters, British Columbia native Gar Mallinson has crafted a criminal thriller sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

In "Harry One Sigh," Mallinson follows the twisted journey of small-town detective Harry Touchstone as he tries to unravel the murder of a close friend. As haunting details of the case are uncovered, Touchstone finds himself going from hunter to hunted.

While in the throes of narrowly escaping his personal extermination, Touchstone begins to question the society that surrounds him.

"To me, mysteries aren't just mysteries. They're investigations of character, of social mores, of what we do and how we act," said Mallinson.

Mallinson expertly builds a gripping plot riddled with complex characters and unconventional matters by utilizing his professional experience, ties to the Vancouver area and his personal propensity for questioning the norms of society. Readers will be urged to follow Touchstone and his rag-tag gang's quest for answers that endangers everyone involved.

Gar Mallinson is a retired English professor who has continued to explore his passion for writing by writing "Harry One Sigh." A native of Nanaimo, British Columbia, Mallinson enjoys the simultaneous isolation and integrative nature of writing. For more information, visit

"Harry One Sigh"
by Gar Mallinson
iUniverse Inc
Published 20/20/2014
ISBN-13: 9781491746660
402 Pages
Softcover $20
E-book $4

No. 2

"A Fox in the Family"

by Jane King

"A Fox in the Family" by Jane King
Thick woods surrounded the Indiana home of author Jane King and her husband Jim, and woodland creatures often found their way into their house.

Their home was a sanctuary, convalescent hospital and sadly, sometimes, a burial ground for the local wildlife. The tally of the animals in their household fluctuated with the seasons, as neighbors, friends, and would-be friends knew where to take orphaned birds and stray cats.

Besides several horses, dogs and cats, they often had quail, Chukar, turtles, frogs, mice and various small birds residing with them. Soon, two gray fox cubs joined the list.

In her new memoir "A Fox in the Family," King tells the story of Frisky and Friendly, the cubs that were rescued by her family from a barn that was being demolished. The family not only welcomed the fox cubs into their home, they welcomed them into their hearts.

As the cubs matured, King and her family experienced many extraordinary moments that are illustrated throughout her book. Despite the loving memories made, raising the wild foxes was not an easy task. Especially when it was time to return them to the wild.

"When you bring wildlife into your home you are taking away their natural fears and it is very hard to release them safely back into the wild," King said.

An exhilarating story that the King family has experienced, this book will capture readers hearts.

"A Fox in the Family"
by Jane King
Xlibris Corp
Published 6/16/2014
ISBN-13: 9781499037678
96 Pages
Hardcover $22.50
E-book $3.50

No. 3

"Upson Downes"

by Dottie Maley

"Upson Downes" by Dottie Maley
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -- When people speak of retirement, they often consider it a time for older people to slow down and relax. However, the residences at Upson Downes are anything but slow and old (at heart).

Retiree Dottie Maley takes readers behind the scenes of fictitious Horace Binkbottom's sidesplitting and heartwarming journey through retirement at the overwhelmingly exciting retirement community in her new book, "Upson Downes."

"Upson Downes is a place where you'll cancel golf games on weekends in order to play tennis, attend a couple of parties, go fishing or throw a barbeque," Maley said.

The community of Upson Downes is full of quirky and lovable characters that break down negative stereotypes of retirement communities and highlight the perks of having friendships, love and adventures during this new stage of life. With rollicking mishaps and wonderful friends, "Upson Downes" shows life can be unexpected at any age.

The loveable characters Maley portrays are based on some of the wonderful people that have inspired her during her time of retirement.

"I have such delightful memories of retirement, and one day I found a box in the closet with a lot of pictures that brought so many of those experiences into focus," Maley said. "Since all those wonderful people are gone, I wanted to write something that would capture their essence."

Dottie Maley has lived in retirement communities for the past 22 years. She has written several short stories for a church related magazine as well as published the book "In the Shadow of Rainbows." Maley has held many interesting jobs in her life, including a map keeper for the Navy Waves during WWII and designer for ad agencies. She lived in Hawaii for 42 years and currently resides in Couer d'Alene, Idaho. For more information, visit

"Upson Downes"
By Dottie Maley
ISBN: 978-1-49693-540-3
-- Pages

No. 4

'Friends: How many have you got? How many do we need and how do we find them?'

by Liz Davies

"Friends: How many have you got? How many do we need and how do we find them?" by Liz Davies
United Kingdom -- When Liz Davies hit her mid-fifties, her disillusionment with the Civil Service inspired her to quit work and travel the world. But there was a problem; when she returned her friends had moved on, and Davies had no idea where to find replacements. A writer at heart, Davies poured over hundreds of research documents to get to the core of what real friendship actually is, an investigation so eye-opening that it prompted the publication of 'Friends: How many have you got? How many do we need and how do we find them?'. While Davies classes the book as 'old bird lit', this emotive and highly-personal book can be put to use by anyone who has also been baffled by this thing humanity calls "friendship".

Synopsis: Lovers live face to face, while friends stand side by side. But how often since you were a kid have you had a BFF (a Best Friend Forever) -- someone with whom you feel brilliantly and perfectly O.K., with not a sound of a bad feeling between you? It's a wonderful, wonderful thing -- real friendship -- but oh so hard to find. FRIENDS by Liz Davies lifts the lid off this very enigmatic and elusive human relationship.

"I realized how little there actually was written about friendships, so decided to approach the topic from every conceivable angle," explains the author. "I was fuelled by a lonely time in my life when I desperately needed friends of my own. Not just friends -- but real friends. I cover what having friends means, what being a true friend is actually all about, the fruits rock- solid friendship bonds can bring, and how to prevent these bonds from breaking. For those with little hope, there's also a more quirky exploration of how to possibly substitute friends through pets, robots, animals and just about anything else you can talk to. Who knows, one day we may even be able to make our own perfect friends!"

'Friends: How many have you got? How many do we need and how do we find them?' is available now:

Liz Davies travelled the world with a vengeance, writing over 200 articles for the Karachi Evening Star about her adventures. She did low-end travel with budget conscious friends staying in hostels and eating picnics; medium range stuff overnighting in bed and breakfast while eating frugally and then there was high end travel with Hilary Linstead with whom she wrote a book Growing Old Outrageously. But all this travelling took a toll on Liz's friendships. As she tried to reanimate old friendships and find new ones, she read, researched and discovered just how enigmatic and elusive this human relationship is. FRIENDS is the result.

No. 5


By Gurutej Singh Khalsa

"Rajni" By Gurutej Singh Khalsa
SINGAPORE -- When you think of female spiritual leaders, what figures come to mind? Author Gurutej Singh Khalsa believes the role of women in spiritual thought has been diminished, if not overlooked. So when his spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, the Chief Religious and Administrative Authority for Sikhs in the Western Hemisphere, suggested he write about some of the great women from Sikh history, he went at the project with gusto. Khalsa kept at the project for 17 years, sending it to a group of Sikh scholars in India to verify the historical accuracy. Now complete, the fictional work sends readers on a spiritual journey of tolerance, understanding and perseverance to which all readers, no matter their religious beliefs, will relate.

"While Rajni is based on a traditional story from Sikh history, there is very limited information available about Rajni, the protagonist," Khalsa said. "This required considerable research, prayer, and meditation. All great souls have had to work to become the people we remember them as, questioned themselves and their relationship with the divine, and through grit and perseverance achieved their elevated status."

A lifelong student of yoga and a certified teacher of Kundalini Yoga, Khalsa has found the joys of living from his daily meditation, even during his previous work as a police officer and founder of Akal Security, Inc., the second largest privately held security company in the United States and the largest provider of protective services to the US federal government.

"Yogi Bhajan taught me a number of kriyas and meditations personally, which I have practiced for decades," Khalsa said.

Gurutej Singh Khalsa is an ordained minister of Sikh dharma and a yogi, warrior, entrepreneur, poet, healer, and teacher. He has been a personal bodyguard and aide to Yogi Bhajan, a founder of an international security firm, and a worldwide yoga and meditation teacher. Khalsa was born in Atlanta and now lives in Singapore with his wife and son. For more information, visit

By Gurutej Singh Khalsa
Trafford Publishing
Aug 23, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4907-4330-1
ISBN-10: 1490743308
348 pages
Softcover $11
Hardcover $23

No. 6

"A Pissed off Saint"

by Suma Nour

"A Pissed off Saint" by Suma Nour
ORLANDO, Fla. -- According to the U.S. Department of State, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. In order to break the silent struggle of these men, women and children, a survivor of this cruelty speaks out about her experience of mistreatment and path to forgiveness and hope.

A Pissed off Saint recounts the hardships faced by Suma Nour throughout her lifetime, including poverty, physical and mental abuse, abuse of her children, stigma, lack of education, homelessness, and battered woman syndrome. At first, Nour believed the hardships were her own fault. When she realized she was not to blame for all that had happened to her, she began working on her own fears, low self-esteem, and self-love.

"After a long journey of struggles and heartaches, I finally learned to heal myself and became free of all the emotional bondages," Nour said.

The author's healing process included meditation, prayer, Qigong, Ho'oponopono, healthy eating and exercise. In fact, Nour became a life coach to inspire others to find inner strength. In this role, she encourages clients to use some of these practices in their own healing.

"I want to share my story to let everyone know there are ways to work through your fears so you can move forward to experience freedom and peace," Nour said.

Suma Nour is an author, life coach, hygienist and single mother who overcame many, many obstacles on her journey to freedom. Raised in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War, Nour currently lives in the Orlando area with her four children. Nour strives to give other women hope to survive through the message of her story. For more information, visit

"A Pissed off Saint"
By: Suma Nour
Balboa Press
ISBN: 978-1-4525-2297-5
-- pages
Softcover $16
Hardcover $34
E-book $10

No. 7

"Rapture of the Church: Bound for Heaven, BUT . . ."

By Michael E. Pfeil

"Rapture of the Church: Bound for Heaven, BUT . . ." By Michael E. Pfeil
DALLAS -- A former engineer, Michael E. Pfeil scrutinizes every detail of biblical prophecy to establish a sequence of events that will precede the Rapture. In his new book "Rapture of the Church: Bound for Heaven, BUT . . ." Pfeil uses his expertise in end-times prophecy to show that although the Rapture cannot be dated, many of the events that most Christian leaders claim are God's judgments, are actually the actions of the Antichrist before God begins his end-time judgments. Knowing the difference between the Antichrist's actions and God's judgments is critically important, so that Christians will remain faithful and not erroneously think they have been "left behind."

Pfeil challenges the idea of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, which is the prevailing American position in Christian eschatology--the study of Biblical prophecies regarding the end of days. In his book, Pfeil charts more than 50 end-time events that must happen before the Rapture occurs, to prove the Pre-Wrath position.

"Millions of Christians see how this world is fast approaching its end," Pfeil said. "However, most have been promised that they won't have to worry about any events after the prophesized peace treaty. This false promise will leave them unprepared. I demonstrate that the Rapture will occur after the peace treaty, but before God's end-time judgments begin," Pfeil said. "Unlike the proponents of the Pre-Trib rapture, I show that Christians will live to see many of the events that will occur after Daniel's seventieth week begins. With the prevailing Pre-Tribulationist teaching, misinformed Christians may think they have missed the Rapture as they see these events unfold."

"Rapture of the Church" uses an informed and consolatory approach to discuss biblical prophecy in a way that is accessible to both theologians and lay-people alike.

Michael E. Pfeil has long been engaged in Bible teaching and personal evangelism. He is strongly committed to intercessory prayer and providing encouragement to fellow Christians. Taking two years away from his engineering career, Pfeil pursued studies at Talbot Theological Seminary. He has a bachelor's degree in theology from Trinity College of the Bible. He and his wife, Arlene, make their home near Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit

"Rapture of the Church: Bound for Heaven, BUT . . ."
By Michael E. Pfeil
WestBow Press
Nov 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4497-9981-6
264 pages
Softcover $12
Hardcover $25

No. 8

"Conversations With My Soul: Stories and reflections on life, death and love after loss"

by Ellen Fitzkee

"Conversations With My Soul: Stories and reflections on life, death and love after loss" by Ellen Fitzkee
BALTIMORE - You live. You die. You try to have some fun along the way. But, does life offer something deeper? Author and professional school counselor Ellen Fitzkee has helped teenagers and troubled adults work through emotional turmoil for more than a decade. In her new book "Conversations With My Soul," she reflects on her own discovery of peace and happiness in the midst of loss and hopelessness. When her younger sister died suddenly, Fitzkee's life came to a halt.

"Even with my educational background and life experiences to call on to help me through this tragedy, I couldn't move forward and was stuck," Fitzkee said. "At some point, I realized it is not just about me and my world. Each of us can find our own soul purpose by taking an inner journey."

Fitzkee began writing "Conversations With My Soul" about 18 months following her sister's death. Struggling with thoughts of her own mortality, Fitzkee set out to make sense of it all. She realized that looking at the big picture overwhelmed her, so she took smaller steps and was able to get through the pain easier.

"We can go through some tumultuous emotions that border on insanity before realizing we have the power within us to process the loss and even possibly find the silver lining," Fitzkee said. "My book is a documentary of things I try and different experiences that happen to me along the way as I learn how to integrate loss into my life."

Ellen Fitzkee is a professional school counselor within a public high school in Baltimore County, Maryland. She also consults part-time as a licensed mental health therapist. Fitzkee has a master's degree in counselor education from McDaniel College, another master's degree in liberal studies from Towson University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Lafayette College. She aspires to help others and incorporate her knowledge through books, life coaching and public speaking.

"Conversations With My Soul: Stories and reflections on life, death and love after loss"
By: Ellen Fitzkee
Balboa Press
Published 10/15/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4525-2133-6
118 pages
Softcover $11
E-book $3.5

No. 9

"The Soul Comes First"

by Dr. Brian Balke

"The Soul Comes First" by Dr. Brian Balke
LOS ANGELES -- As a Ph.D. physicist, Brian Balke views the world through a different spiritual lens than most.

This unique vantage point has allowed him to make profound connections between his Christian beliefs and the scientific world.

Balke's new book, "The Soul Comes First" focuses on the Bible not as a justification of faith, but as the history of a focused effort to transform human nature so that we can do a great spiritual work.

"A flawed humanity is not the source of all evil in the World, but actually the best hope for its healing," Balke said. "God created earth as a place to allow us to heal ourselves; he reaches out with the infinite power of unconditional love to help his children." For more information, please visit

Dr. Balke received his Ph.D. in high-energy particle physics from U.C. Berkeley in 1987 and has worked in the fields of physics, environmental science and software development for machine control and business systems. The overarching intellectual concern of his life has been understanding love as a philosophical, practical and spiritual principle. Dr. Balke's philosophy of life is recorded at, and he blogs on theological and social issues at He has two amazing sons, Kevin and Gregory, and hopes that his work will provide support to their generation as they struggle with the problems they have received from the past.

"The Soul Comes First"
by Dr. Brian Balke
Trafford Books
Published 6/10/2014
ISBN: 978-1-49073-846-8
84 Pages
Softcover $9
E-book $4

No. 10

"Discovering God's Power in Life's Trials: Walking with the Prophets"

by Rev John Tweedie

"Discovering God's Power" by Rev John Tweedie
City, State (Feb. 18, 2015) -- Rev. Dr. John Tweedie, Chairman of C4I Canada and President/CEO of C4I America, releases his first book, Discovering God's Power in Life's Trials: Walking with the Prophets, March 2015. With his focus on the struggles of the prophets of Israel, Dr. Tweedie shows that these spiritual giants often faced challenges in life common to people everywhere and in every generation. They had to learn to cope with - and overcome - their damaged emotions.

"This is a book that has been on my heart for some time," Dr. Tweedie said. "Most people view the Prophets as being super human, but upon closer examination we discover they were simply ordinary people called to extraordinary tasks. This meant that they often had to cope with personal and family issues which resulted in emotional hurts. While God helped them to overcome their damaged emotions, they were sometimes called around very dark corners just like the rest of us. I want people to see the Prophets as they really were: ordinary people who had to cope with damaged emotions even as they achieved great things for the Kingdom."

Discovering God's Power in Life's Trials: Walking with the Prophets will be available for purchase on the C4I America website at later in March. Dr. Tweedie has also produced six full seasons of the television series Israel: The Prophetic Connection as well as two made-for-television documentary series entitled Israel: A Journey of Through Time and its sequel, Israel: A Journey of Light.

Born in Northern Ireland, Dr. Tweedie immigrated to Canada in 1967 and was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1980. He has served congregations in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. He is also is the Founding Pastor of New Covenant Christian Fellowship in Brantford, Ontario. In 1997, Dr. Tweedie helped to establish the Canadian branch office of Christians for Israel. He continues to serve as its Chairman. In 2012, C4I America was established with Dr. Tweedie serving as President and CEO. Dr. Tweedie continues to share his love for Israel and the Jewish people through his work on the television program Israel: The Prophetic Connection, and through other documentary series and writings.

C4I America is a ministry striving to communicate a biblical worldview of God's plan for Israel and the Church. Through financial aid to Israeli organizations such as Vision for Israel and the Joseph Storehouse, Meir Panim, ALEH, Children of Sderot, The Jaffa Institute, and Kehilat HaCarmel, C4I acts as a channel by which people can show their compassionate love for, and support for the Jewish People. Safeguarding against misinformation is also a top priority for C4I. Its educational initiatives include Israel and Christians Today (Israel: The Prophetic Connection in the U.S.), a bi-monthly newsletter, DVD series productions, and the television series Israel: The Prophetic Connection hosted by C4I America President and CEO Rev. Dr. John Tweedie. C4I America is a sister branch of C4I Canada. Learn more by visiting

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