Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Caroline and Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus - Book Tour & Review + Giveaway


Join us for this tour from Mar 31 to May 11, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title: Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
GenreFantasy, Literary
Publisher Seven Guns Press
Release date March 31, 2021
Content Rating: PG: The language is G. There is one scene with the main character punches a bully resulting in a bloody nose. The emotional treatment of grief and the death of a loved one can be somewhat intense.

"Readers of all ages who look for ethereal, haunting stories of recovery and courage will find Caroline & Mordecai the Gand may hold the trappings of a fantasy adventure; but inside there is so much more. Make the right decision, to read this!" - D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

"Caroline’s story is profoundly sad, and yet hopeful, magical, and yet rooted in reality. There is magic, mystery, and daring adventure." - BooksCoffee

Book Description:

This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of state 3 cancer. The story is a message to his five children on how to deal with grief and a plea for them to grasp onto joy and love even in the darkest of times.

Caroline loses her spark. It takes a great adventure for her to find it again.

Caroline loses her father in a car accident for which she feels responsible. Consumed by grief, she has a difficult time readjusting to a world that has changed so dramatically for her. On the anniversary of her father’s death, a strange window opens in the middle of the small lake behind her house. She climbs up an old oak to peer inside, but falls out of the tree and discovers that the window also serves as a door into a different world.

Enter Mordecai the Gand, a mysterious traveler who befriends Caroline and promises to help her find a way back home since the window she fell through has disappeared. The two set out on a series of adventures that include visiting a tree village populated by a tribe known for eating travelers, running into a witch under a spell of her own making, hiding in a cave with a dragon encased in a wall of ice (prone to melting by campfire), all the while being pursued by a mysterious entity call the Creach which promises to devour Caroline and trap her in an eternity of despair.

As they navigate these adventures and this new world, Caroline slowly discovers that she is meant to help each of the characters she meets. As she battles internally whether to stay or return home to the sadness and grief waiting for her there, she must regain perspective and open her heart to the act of caring and to the joy of love itself. In the end, she must demonstrate great courage, loyalty, and caring as the plot unfolds, becoming the active hero of her own story.
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My Review
Caroline and Mordecai the Gand is a middle-grade fantasy novel full of adventure and heart. And, at its core, there is a message of hope. Of learning to heal when grief brings you down into a dark place you feel there is no escape from. Seeing as how the author wrote the book after receiving a grim cancer diagnosis, the story packs an even more powerful punch (especially that ending). I may have shed a few tears (or more) after I closed the book.
The story follows Caroline, a teenage girl who is dealing with the loss of her father. She's hurting, and not just from sadness and grief. She blames herself, and the guilt is eating away at her. Escaping into the woods for some alone time, Caroline discovers a strange window in the middle of the lake. And when she tries to get a closer look after climbing a tree, she falls throw the window (actually a doorway) into a strange, new world where she meets Mordecai the Gand.
Caroline's journey through this new world, with Mordecai as her guide, is filled with a unique tribe of people who may or may not eat travelers, a witch who may be more similar to Caroline than she knows, a dark, mysterious shadow creature, and yes, even a dragon. Along the way, Caroline learns an important lesson: trying to forget the bad also takes away the memories of he good. You can't have one without the other, and if you try, then life just isn't what it's meant to be. 
I really liked this story. It's written from the heart, and it definitely will hit you right in the feels. It's magical. It's wondrous. And it's emotional. 
A quick, easy read for tweens and teens, and even young-at-heart adults.
4.5 stars

Guest Post

Where do you get your ideas? is the most common question asked during conferences, book signings, and even over beers with friends. The question comes up so often that most authors usually have a few good one-liners stuck in their back pocket. Fake answers that try to be funny “I just watch my crazy family” or “I used to watch the news, but that’s stranger than any book nowadays.” Yeah, not great answers. The reality is that the real answer is a bit scary.

Nobody knows.

And everyone is just a little afraid that at some point the ideas will stop coming.

it's kind of like a golfer or a baseball player trying not to think too hard about their swing while they’re in the middle of a game. Once you start tinkering, once you start over-thinking, you're sunk.

That's not to say that during the offseason or in practice before the game it's always worthwhile checking on your mechanics and trying to find ways to improve. That's what writing is, constant evolution. And that's really where ideas truly live – as part of the writing.

What I mean is that you could give five different authors the exact same premise of an idea, even one built out quite a bit from a plot perspective which characters detailed out, then send them all away into cabin in the woods for six months only to have five vastly different books come out of it. So, the idea of a plot, is not where the real action happens. But rather in the execution.

Still, you have to start off with an idea of some kind. My favorite sources tend to be from real life experiences, newspaper clippings, weird dreams, my kids. The key is a constant vigilance in life always asking the what if scenarios.

Reminds me of a time I went into photography. What I loved about carrying a camera with me was that suddenly prosaic landscapes and simple buildings turned into interesting opportunities to find just the right angle to create a cool image. Instead of my eyes wandering across an open field of rolled up hay bales in Iowa, I would stop my car and trudge across the field in order to get an interesting photo of them lined up in a geometric pattern. That constant mindset caused me to look at the world differently than if I did not have the camera in my hands.

I have the same experience when approaching life with the intent of always being open for new story ideas. It's hard for me not to walk into a beautiful cathedral and not look for an interesting place for a clandestine meeting, or a bomb to be placed, or some symbolism or imagery that could speak to a character. Sometimes the smallest thing can trigger the idea.

The truth is that just like with photography and the endless number of images that could be created, authors tend to have piles and piles and piles of ideas and just not enough time to decide which to pursue.

Like most things in life, the success is being open at all times to the possibility what might be. And then, if you're lucky, recognizing the idea that will capture your imagination for a year or more as you write it.

But the next time your author friend invites you for drinks, just know there’s a great chance you’re about to end up in her new book!


Happy reading!


Jeff Gunhus


Meet the Author:

Jeff Gunhus is the USA TODAY bestselling author of thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade fantasy series, The Jack Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year-old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 30 on Amazon, have been recognized as Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists and reached the USA TODAY bestseller list.

Jeff wrote Caroline & Mordecai the Gand after receiving a devastating diagnosis of stage 3 cancer. The novella was meant as a private story for his five children on how to face grief by holding onto joy and love. He leads an active life in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of Old Fox Books in Annapolis working on his next novel or on

connect with the author:  website  twitter  facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads ~ bookbub
Tour Schedule:

Mar 31 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
Apr 1 – Lisa's Reading – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Apr 5 – Freda's Voice – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Apr 6 – Because I said so -- and other adventures in Parenting – book review / giveaway
Apr 7 – Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Apr 8 – pick a good book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Apr 12 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / giveaway
Apr 13 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Apr 14 – michellemengsbookblog – book review / author interview / giveaway
Apr 16 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / guest post / giveaway
Apr 20 – Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 21 – Sefina Hawke's Books – book spotlight
Apr 22 – Kam's Place – book review
Apr 23 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 26 – I'm All About Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 27 – Cover Lover Book Review – audiobook review / giveaway
Apr 28 – Icefairy's Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
Apr 30 – Books for Books – audiobook review
May 3 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review / giveaway
May 4 – High Society Book Club & Review – book review / author interview / giveaway
May 5 – Westveil Publishing – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
May 5 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 6 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
May 7 – Reading is My Passion – book review
May 7 - Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
May 10 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
May 11 – Laura's Interests – audiobook review / giveaway
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1 comment:

Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.