From Magic City Morning Star

R.P. BenDedek
Magic City Book Basket 2015 No. 8
By R.P. BenDedek
Mar 20, 2015 - 7:05:37 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. 7

  1. "Beware the Ides of March" by Patrick J Fornari author of "Commoner Sense"
  2. MARTYRDOM --Anything More Than a Pain in the Neck? by Bruce Biller author of "The god-man: seed of Satan"

Book Reviews Published Since Basket No. 7

Martha Stevens-David Book Review: "Road to Freedom" by Alfred Lenarciak
Mar 13, 2015

This book details the dangers, abuse and prosecution of their own people by the Communist leaders of Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany after the post-war days of the 1940s. This young man had a dream and that dream was to one day be free and through sheer determination and will power, he finally achieved that dream when he made his way to freedom and Canada.

M. Stevens-David Book Review: "The Belly Bug Bully" by Sabrina Panfilo
Mar 13, 2015

In all my years as a reader, writer and reviewer I cannot say that I have ever come upon another book like this. But after having read the story several times, I realized that the message the author, "Sabrina Panfilo" was trying to convey was that one must be strong and have courage to deal with all the challenges one must face and overcome in this life.

Milt Gross Book Review: "Lake News" by Barbara Delinsky
Mar 13, 2015

What looks like a quiet tale from the shores of a country lake is actually the story of a woman tricked by a city reporter to tell of a friendship with a priest. The reporter turns it into a secret romance, and she flees the city for home, a rural town on the shores of a lake. The author, who lives somewhere in New England, has seen more than sixty novels published.

Martha Stevens-David Review: "Pursuit" by Harry Taylor
Mar 13, 2015

This writer has an excellent command of words and his descriptive phrases of both the characters and story situations were believable and held my interest throughout. I was sorry to have finished both books and find myself wishing that there was another to read because my mind keeps going back to the ending and thinking, "What if..."

R.P. BenDedek

No. 1

"The Wishgranter's Babies"

by Kiru Allwell-Brown

"The Wishgranter's Babies" by Kiru Allwell-Brown
United Kingdom -- The curiosity of kids is adorable; full of questions spanning every weird and wonderful topic known to man. However, there is one conversation most adults dread, the elusive "how are babies made"? Millions of parents who are not yet ready to expose the ins and outs of reproduction find themselves at a loss for a sensible and dignified answer. Now they have it, in Kiru Allwell-Brown's 'The Wishgranter's Babies'.

Synopsis: The Wishgranter grants the wishes of mums everywhere, to have a baby or two. She sends a quarrelsome twin, Tucca and Tucco to an earth mother. A hilariously interesting story to help explain reproduction to children.

"It's never easy for parents to have the conversation about where babies come from, particularly if their child is too young to grasp the truth," explains the author, a popular blogger about her life as a market trader. "So my book takes over the conversation for them, in a way what is both entertaining and tangibly educational. It's all about crafting the message carefully and delivering it in a way that doesn't undermine a child's inherent curiosity. It's not worth lying...and telling the whole truth would overwhelm them. This book is that perfect middle-ground. This isn't just a book for home, but also one for schools, family centres and even churches or youth groups. Its authentic information makes it pertinent to so many different settings".

'The Wishgranter's Babies' is available at £5.99 and 99p on Kindle now: It is listed on KDP Select and for a limited time only it will be available for free download on kindle.

Kiru Allwell-Brown lives in London with her partner and 3 Children: Jasmine, Nosike and Giselle. The mellow yet crafty Nosike and the feisty little madam Giselle are constantly at each other's throat and provide inspiration for this book. She is an alumni of Brunel University and was a pioneer of African street food in London having run an internationally acclaimed food stall in Camden Lock market from 2002-2012.

No. 2

"Another Boring Day in Paradise"

by Malcolm Roscow

"Another Boring Day in Paradise" by Malcolm Roscow
Although it was written twenty-three years ago, 'Another Boring Day in Paradise' has finally hit the shelves as an esteemed published novel. It's the gripping story of retirement twists-and-turns set out among the tropics of Florida and the Bahamas, and author Malcolm Roscow endured 219 rejection letters before seeing success. His amazing story proves that it is never too late to become a published author, and that any great book truly will stand the test of time. Like few Brits, Malcolm Roscow sold a lucrative business and amassed a retirement fund large enough to move to Florida and hunt for a new venture that would provide a retirement most could only dream of. What he didn't expect was to be fooled by a criminal; a story so unbelievably gripping that, in 1992, he fictionalized it in a novel titled 'Another Boring Day in Paradise'. But that's where Roscow's publishing dreams ended. He built up an impressive pile of 219 rejection letters that, twenty-three years later, he now smiles at as he stares at his novel on the shelves. Aged seventy-five, Roscow's story is finally out to the world, and it is engrossing to say the least.

Synopsis: After their visas in Florida expire John and Liz decide to consider the Bahamas as a potential place for investing their retirement fund. When they meet the irrepressible Sybille, who runs a block of apartments, the long standing husband and wife team decide to put their trust in this stranger in order to grasp the opportunity of a lifetime. With some wonderful new friends and a lifestyle only dreamed of, Liz still worries that this win- win situation may be too good to be true. This is a thoroughly entertaining tale.

"The story is very much inspired by the retirement escapades of my late wife and I," explains the author. "We thought we were in the Bahamas to invest in the 'flipping' of a local apartment building but, when our contact started talking about having treasure buried in the ocean, alarm bells began to ring. We should have listened to our intuition as, only after the deed was done did we discover she was a known criminal. But that isn't the only saga surrounding the book. There's an adventure in itself contained within the story of getting it published! I write the book in my mid-fifties and it took over two decades to find a publisher willing to take it on. Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd put their faith in me earlier this year, which proves that struggling authors should never, ever give up."

'Another Boring Day in Paradise' is available now:

Malcolm Roscow was born the product of two Lancashire mill-owning families: a textile mill on his mother's side, and a paper mill on his father's side. This led to a career spanning 38 years in the pulp and paper industry, which took him to 68 countries on 5 continents. He lived for seven years in the USA, where his daughter Laura was born, making her an American citizen, and a year in the Bahamas. He is planning to submit another novel to his publisher in February 2015. Malcolm lives with his partner, Hilary, and their Persian cat, Penny, in Poole, Dorset, where he spends his time writing, keeping fit at the gym, and being amused at weekends by his outrageously entertaining grandchildren.

No. 3

"Chancy Business"

by Ian Hunter

"Chancy Business" by Ian Hunter
United Kingdom -- Let's get down to brass tacks, a challenge to find any man on the planet who isn't pre-occupied with his John Thomas; that thing dangling between his legs that has more influence on his life than anything else. In a hilarious new novel by Ian Hunter, one Chinese student's pre-occupation with his small 'Oriental Member' makes for a diaphragm-aching adventure few will soon forget. 'Chancy Business' turns Hunter's poorly-endowed protagonist into an unlikely local hero. And it all kicks off from the first page -- how many other novels open with a scene of a man measuring his penis in front of a mirror?!

Synopsis: This is the story of the first term of a Chinese student, Chan, at Cambridge University. It is very saucy and very naughty; not the sort of thing to show your wife/husband and certainly not the children; but might be of interest to your girlfriend/lover. Chan is very concerned about the size of his penis, and goes to great lengths to remedy this, with interesting and painful results! His not-quite perfect knowledge of the English language leads to some embarrassingly funny situations, and his total lack of talent at sports produces a brilliant cricketer; but only because he tries to defend his private parts.

"Chan is absolutely obsessed with his penis which, while it may (excuse the pun) fit in at home, has the biggest possible culture shock when stacked up against the organs of his new European peers," explains Hunter. "His attempts to enlarge it are painful, and any possible success is quickly quashed when it snaps back to its original size. However, in the process of his pre-occupation, he does achieve something rather great. He ends up becoming something of a star on the University cricket team. While he can't actually play the sport, his constant obsession with protecting his penis makes him a dab-hand with the ball....the cricket kind! Watch the adventure unfold; I can guarantee you'll be running to find a ruler. From talking openly about "blow jobs" at a WI meeting in reference to a friend's appointment at a hair salon through to Chan's inquisitive feline line of questioning to a vicar about his frequency stroking pussy, the entire novel tries to capture the many struggles outsiders face in our nation"..

'Chancy Business' is available now:

Ian Hunter read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University (Clare College), then went on to complete a doctorate at Oxford University (Wolfson College) and a Fellowship at Wolfson. He lectured for some years in Oxford and performed research into electron microscopy, then moved to a position with EURATOM working for the European Commission on nuclear research, ending up as responsible for investigating cases of nuclear smuggling and the illicit possession of such materials in Europe. The author is married with two children and lots of grandchildren, and a very big dog.

No. 4

"The Perfect Raisin and Pretzel Cousins Club"

by Catherine Tobin

"The Perfect Raisin and Pretzel Cousins Club" by Catherine Tobin
BOSTON -- The holidays have arrived and you find yourself anxiously preparing your side dish for tomorrow's family Christmas dinner. Your parents have just remarried and tomorrow will be the first holiday spent dinning and mingling with your newly blended family. How do you respond? When families combine, children often have confusion on how to handle the differences between them and their new family members. In her new book, "The Perfect Raisin and Pretzel Cousins Club," author Catherine Tobin uses unique characters for children to identify with as they learn how to use cooperation and conflict resolution to embrace each other's differences.

Coming from a large blended family of 70, Tobin has firsthand experience creating cohesive relationships with family members from different backgrounds. Tobin seeks to provide a book that will help children achieve the same love and belonging she has experienced in her own family. "The Perfect Raisin and Pretzel Cousins Club" conveys the importance of individuality and uniqueness, allowing children to learn the importance of acceptance.

Catherine Tobin graduated from the University of Arkansas and University of Mississippi and then went on to serve as a nurse in the US Army Nurse Corps. She has also spent time working as an army officer, medical sales rep and medical educator. For more information, visit

"The Perfect Raisin and Pretzel Cousins Club"
by Catherine Tobin
Xlibris Books
Published 9/12/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4990-6356-1
34 Pages
Softcover $17.50
Hardcover $25

No. 5

"Murder in Marrakech"

by Shefali Wardell

"Murder in Marrakech" by S. Wardell
United Kingdom -- While modern publishing has brought many new writers under the spotlight, critics are becoming disillusioned with lengthy books of straight fiction that often lose their way. However, at a time when the much-loved short story threatens literary extinction, new players are emerging to bring it back to life with gusto. One of these writers is S. Wardell, who is blurring the lines between themes among her own narratives in 'Murder in Marrakech and Other Stories'. Few would place fiction and an exploration of art theory under the same cover, but Wardell has found the perfect balance in a way anyone can enjoy.

Synopsis: Murder in Marrakech is a walk through the city, through art, and most importantly through life. Reminiscences of art shows mix with anecdotes from everyday London and fevered dreams of the fine art world. A regretful workaholic Jools roams around Muswell Hill, trying to get to the bottom of his spiritual crisis. Pumpkin goes to Marrakech to kill. Is it too late to learn to live again? There comes a time when we all have to decide.

Other stories include: Rapunzel in the Smoke -- a mixture of tales about London, art, and modern life / The Ghost of Benjamin -- a fiction / diarist piece about the trendy London art world but infused with a big helping of fantasy. / The Mystery of the Spaghetti Schiff -- five short tales about the past. / Jools and the Muswell Hell Moth -- Death goes on holiday to Muswell Hill. / The Haunted Bookshop -- diarist piece based on an art installation done by the author in London (Ladbroke Grove) in 2010. / Murder in Marrakech -- story set in Marrakech following Pumpkin.

"The important thing about this book is that, even though it is a melding of fiction and contemporary art theory, the stories were written to embrace many different readers -- even if they have no interest in art!" explains the author, who pursues her own art career in London. "It's about celebrating everyday life in the 21st Century city, wherever that happens to be. Locations include Muswell Hill, Ladbroke Grove, the Marrakech Medina, Moenichkirchner (Austria), London in General. Camberwell, Wimbledon, Hampstead Heath, Jardin Marjorelle (Marrakech) and Brittany. If you haven't crossed them all off your list -- now is your chance!" 'Murder in Marrakech and Other Stories' is available now:

Shefali Wardell is an artist and writer based in London. She originally trained in fine art before working in special effects makeup for many years, and then returning to art education.

No. 6

"101 Naked Confessions of a Gay Hairdresser"

by Terry Wilson and Kat Smith

"101 Naked Confessions of a Gay Hairdresser" by Terry Wilson
United Kingdom -- Terry Wilson and Kat Smith make a unique team; Wilson bounds around the salon keeping up his reputation of being the nation's most outrageous hairdresser, while Smith pulls him back in line to ensure that the salon and their clients stay in one piece. Still, the duo have grown Hair Organics Notting Hill into a pillar of the community that oozes with the unconventional.

Synopsis: Terry Wilson is the World's Most Outrageous Gay Hairdresser and has spent the last 30 years working with small-town suburban housewives, urban professionals, celebrities and models and even the Queen. And everyone in between. So he is not short of a story. This book promises to entertain, amuse and inform. Oh - and you might learn a thing or two about your hair along the way. Written as short confessions or observations on life, love and gay domination of the weather, this book is perfect for a quick and dirty read in a spare moment. Guaranteed to get you giggling, and if you are looking for a hair fix, that's included too.

"The content comes from daily emails clients receive, as well as the thousands of conversations Terry has with customers that adore him. He's a character to say the least, and they even once let him loose to work on Her Majesty's hair!" says Smith. "From details of their conversation to tips on, *cough*, certain things in the bedroom (unrelated to his time with The Queen!), this book has it all. And it brings tangible benefits with it, too. The book is interspersed with 30-odd top tips to get hair into perfect condition, and therefore make you more sexy, confident and successful in the process. You'll laugh, cry and then wipe your face up in the bathroom before ruffling your hair into the best condition of its life."

'101 Naked Confessions of a Gay Hairdresser: Quick, Dirty, Uncensored Secrets to Perfect Hair From the World's Most Outrageous Hairdresser' is available now:

Terry Wilson has been a hairdresser for over 30 years and lives with his partner, Jon, in London, UK. He has two grown-up daughters, Emma and Hannah, who want nothing to do with hairdressing. Without Kat, Terry would have not even opened a bank account let alone have a successful salon, but would also have far less worry lines.

Kat Smith is a mum, a wife, a businesswomen, proud Kiwi and half English. She lives with her husband Kelvin, her 6-year old daughter Helena, and their fluffy, white, cat 'Pudding' in Doha, Qatar. Without Terry, Kat would have horrible hair but far less grey ones.

No. 7

"The Monster Under My Web"

by Charlene Gresham

"The Monster Under My Web" by Charlene Gresham
HOUSTON -- Rational or irrational, our fears and anxieties can impede our objectivity, decision-making, physical health and mental well-being.

According to KidsHealth, the best way for a child to deal with his or her fears and anxieties is to overcome them.

Charlene Gresham, otherwise affectionately known as Mama G, knows how important it is for people to face their fears and overcome them. She has written a children's book titled "The Monster Under My Web."

"The more we face the scary things in our lives and learn about them, the less frightening they are," Gresham said.

In the story, Anabel the Arachnid lives in the corner of a little boy's room. She spends her time without a care in the world, catching flies and practicing ballet. The eight-legged ballerina's life turns upside-down when the boy whose room she shares receives a gift that terrifies her.

Thinking her only hope is to sabotage the new toy, she descends from her web one night to face the cause of her fears. Anabel learns a valuable lesson: that taking a closer look at the things that frightens you might just make you see them in a new and less-scary way.

Charlene Gresham is a grandmother and retired schoolteacher who likes to write stories for children. She has faced her own fears and self-doubts successfully, becoming a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a certified scuba diver, stained-glass artist and a world traveler. She lives with her husband near Houston, Texas. This is her second children's book. For more information, visit

"The Monster Under My Web"
By Charlene Gresham
Published 6/18/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4969-1973-1
20 pages
Softcover $18

No. 8

"Operation Aspic"

by Anthony Lomas

"Operation Aspic" by Anthony Lomas
United States of America -- From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, the six men that have portrayed James Bond have amassed a melting pot of sharp skills and good looks that makes anyone's legs quiver. But what happens to each incarnation of James Bond when he is deemed too old to jump out of helicopters and scale buildings? For the first time in history there is an answer -- he joins the elite force in Anthony J. Lomas' new novel to dive thick into...err...Cajun cooking. Don't fret, it's not a typo, but rather the subject of a hilarious, thought-provoking and even slightly deranged James Bond parody titled 'Operation Aspic'.

Synopsis: Imagine all the previous James Bonds reunited as an Elite Force. Their first mission; go to the U.S. and steal a secret recipe from a very famous Louisiana chef in the heart of Cajun country so the British culinary team can win an upcoming World Culinary Olympics. Piece of cake right? Not so fast. Murphy's law intervenes with one disaster after another and HOLY ----! This story will dispel most of what you thought you knew about the Cajun people and leave you contemplating what's real and what's not in your own life. By the way, haven't you always wondered what happened to those decommissioned spies?

"This book has it all -- Cajun culinary secrets, covert trips around the world and six men who will stop at nothing to steal a recipe that could see the Queen achieve her dream of winning the World Culinary Championship," explains the author, himself Cajun and a passionate chef. "They have been sitting by their phones for years waiting for them to ring -- and here it is -- a mission literally beyond their wildest dreams! James Bond and the associated franchise really have stood the test of time. But, along with other spy novels, there's always that mystery surrounding what actually happens to characters when they 'retire'. Here's your answer, and it's going to redefine how you view both the spy genre, Cajun people and many other areas of your life. It's quirky -- but fascinating!" 'Operation Aspic' - United Kingdom - / United States -

Anthony Lomas, a proud Cajun and lover of all things James Bond, has managed, with Operation Aspic, to combine his two loves in a humorous, heartfelt slapstick of secret agents schlepping around in Bayou Country. He also loves cooking Cajun food and is based in Lafayette, Louisiana.

"Operation Aspic"
by Anthony Lomas
Xlibris, Corp.
Published February 7, 2012
ISBN-10: 1469149613
ISBN-13: 978-1469149615
386 pages
Hardcover $27
Softcover $17

No. 9

"The Hall"

by Leonard "Lost Lenny" Nicholas

"The Hall" by Leonard "Lost Lenny" Nicholas
EAST HAMPTON, Conn. -- Every fall tears can be seen following down cheeks on college campuses across the country as parents say their emotional goodbyes to their freshman collegiate students. However, if parents really knew the world they in which they were leaving their children, would the reaction be different?

"The Hall" by Leonard "Lost Lenny" Nicholas is one young man's adventure as he lives through his freshman year in college; exploring the complexities of dormitory life and the collegiate experience.

"Many of the characters are based on real people that I had met in college. Their memories have left a lasting impression on me and I have decided to tell of their adventures, and mine too, in a book that I can share with others," Nicholas said.

"The Hall" is a completely fictionalized story, using names of the author's own invention, and placing events within a fictional context.

Following the protagonist from his home town in Long Island to a fictional college in upstate New York, readers are lead through a myriad of life experiences and adventures with friends, culminating in his first involvement with a young woman.

Leonard Nicholas was born in New York City in 1947 and went to public school on Long Island. After graduating high school, he attended Oswego State University in upstate New York and earned a teaching degree in Industrial Arts. The author is now retired from education and spends his time (when not writing) with his family, riding his motorcycle, or driving his 1931 Model A Ford. For more information, visit or

"The Hall"
By: Leonard "Lost Lenny" Nicholas
AuthorHouse Pub
Published February 11, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4772-8683-8
456 Pages
Softcover $23.95
Hardcover $31.99
E-book $3.99

No. 10

"The Sweet Mystery of Humankind and Climate Change"

by Ed Moore

"The Sweet Mystery of Humankind and Climate Change" by Ed Moore
LAS VEGAS -- What is the biblical meaning of human history? What is the Christian perspective on climate change? In his new book, "The Sweet Mystery of Humankind and Climate Change," Ed Moore answers these questions and more. Through careful bible study in addition to the analysis of historical events, the author uncovers the answers to some of life's most important questions. As a Christian with experience as an engineer employed by major oil and chemical companies, Moore holds nothing back as he shares his unique opinion on climate change.

"We are always asking why we are here and what the true meaning of life is," said Moore. "I hope to be able to shed some light on the answer to that question through the unique perspective of a Christian engineer. The truth is there, if you really search for it."

Moore addresses global warming from the perspective of both a Christian and an engineer, having previously worked on the Trans-Alaska pipeline project. Using this extensive knowledge, the author shares his views on the significance of the human race.

This book is about past, present, and future events in the total history of mankind, told in mysterious ways. Many are not well understood by the majority of people. But they do give us the answers to questions like: Why are we here? Why are things in our world so opposed to our well-being and happiness? Why do we have wars? What happens next? Can we save the planet? The answers, written over many centuries with divine precision, are for us to know! We are certain that only God can show us because his ancients described things in a way that cause us to search for the answers. We know these mysteries are revealed by our recent scientific discoveries--which the ancients could not possibly have understood themselves, even as they wrote about them--such as the invention of computers. (Overview WestBow Press)

Ed Moore is an engineer, trained and employed by major oil and chemical companies. He was also a designer for the Trans-Alaska pipeline project. Now retired, he teaches Bible classes while continuing Bible research. He lives in Kingman, Arizona.

"The Sweet Mystery of Humankind and Climate Change"
by Ed Moore
WestBow Press
Published 10/9/2014
ISBN: 978-1-4908-4727-6
204 pages
Softcover $18
E-book $4

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