The Midnight Forest

Cynical Wordsmith

The midnight forest
Holds many wonders.
Bizarre creations, happenstance beauty,
A history, a peace,
That warmth in the air,
The sounds and stillness,
The spirits and solitude.
Black earth crumbles in my open palm
And I’ve been gone for far too long.

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Book Review & Giveaway: The Adventures of Molly & Ollie: Moving Day by Sally Beale

Book Title:  The Adventures of Mollie & Ollie: Moving Day by Sally Beale
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  38 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   March, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.


Book Description:

Every child experiences change in their life. Moving can be difficult, but in this Mom’s Choice award-winning book, when eight-year-old Molly Day meets a new friend, a magical owl named Oliver Winston Howell III, her move to a new house in a new town becomes easier than she expected. Be on the lookout for Molly and Ollie’s next adventure!

Buy the Book
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Target
Mascot Books
Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Poor Molly! Her family is moving and she’s not only leaving her home behind but her best friend as well. When she arrives at her new home, however, Ollie (Oliver Winston Howell III) makes the move much easier with magic and wise words.

I had to laugh when Ollie told his full name to Molly. It reminded me of Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island every time it was said. Although this adventure starts kind of sad for Molly, she finds the move easier than she expected. This is a fun book to read and I can see many children being able to relate since so many families move these days. The illustrations are colorful and done very well.

I recommend Moving Day, the first book in The Adventures of Molly & Ollie, for children of all ages whether they’re moving or not.

About the Author

Photo by Adrienne Reich Photography

The Adventures of Molly & Ollie: Moving Day was inspired by Beale’s own experiences as a young child. Her father’s occupation required that her family move across the country every two years. Beale’s childhood was filled with adventures that captured her imagination in each new home. She continued her passion for adventure while raising her two daughters and working as a costume designer for local theaters. Now she is channeling her sense of fun and her youthful spirit into her children’s stories. Beale is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). The Adventures of Molly & Ollie: Moving Day, a Mom’s Choice Award winner, is the first book in the Molly & Ollie series.

connect with the author: website ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of Sally Beale’s THE ADVENTURES OF MOLLY & OLLIE: Moving Day!
(one winner/USA only)

Giveaway

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May 10 – Reading is My Passion – book review / author interview
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May 19 – The Bespectacled Mother – book review / author interview
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May 20 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 21 – The Adventures of a Travelers Wife – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 21 – I’m Into Books – book review / giveaway

Book Review: Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers by M.G. Rorai

Title: CATNIP, TOILET PAPER, AND LASERS
Author: M.G. Rorai
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 146
Genre: Poetry


This purrfectly hilarious cat poem collection while bring back wonderful memories of your feline friends and have you busting with laughter. 9 out of 10 cats recommend this book; the 10th one was Grumpy Cat.

ORDER YOUR COPY
Amazon → https://amzn.to/3rgQQQr

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers is an adorable collection of poems about—you guessed it—cats! I could just picture cats chasing a laser pointer around or falling off a favorite spot. My favorite poem was about the author’s cat, Elsa. I thought it was hysterical:

The poems in this book are fun and make it easy to imagine the antics of various cats. Any cat lover will enjoy Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers over and over. It’s the perfect book to share with children and other cat lovers.

Excerpt

What is the answer?
What will prevail?
Will it be the red dot?
Or will the cat win the tale?

My name is Socks,
and much to my delight,
I chase a red dot
almost every single night.

It travels over bed sheets
and runs across the floor
while I chase to my heart’s content
thirsting for more!

By day I sleep;
by night I chase
when my human comes home from work
and pulls out the laser post-haste!

I hear the clicking of the button
and race into the room
to run after that red dot–
look at me zoom!

About the Author

M.G. Rorai enjoys hanging with her cats and annoying her husband. She’s been writing for as long she can remember and is slightly obsessed with cats.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://www.mgspear.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mgspearwriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mgspearwriting

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus

Book Title: Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
Genre: Fantasy, 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.

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.

Buy the Book:
Amazon
Audible
add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to listen to this book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I have read all of the Jack Templar books by Jeff Gunhus and have always enjoyed his writing so I was looking forward to listening to this book. Just like the Jack Templar books, it is written for middle grade and/or young adult readers, but it’s a story that readers of all ages will like.

Caroline lost her father when she was 13 years old. They were very close and it was devastating, especially since she blamed herself for his death. When she ends up in another world and meets Mordecai the Gand, she goes on an emotional journey with him and learns some important lessons about loss, grief, and hope.

Caroline meets some quirky characters along the way. Mordecai is quirky enough but then there is the tribe that lives in the trees whose people like to eat travelers, the terrifying Creach, and a dragon that started out being frozen in ice…

The narrator, Sarah L. Colton, has a great voice for telling a story. Her timing and pace are also excellent. I hope to listen to more stories that she narrates.

If you’ve experience a recent loss, or even if you haven’t, Caroline and Mordecai the Gand is a book that is full of sadness and grief but is still an adventure that is fun at times and is full of hope. I am thankful that Jeff Gunhus decided to share this book that was originally meant as a private story for his children when he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.

“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

About 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 JeffGunhus.com.

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

Giveaway

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Mar 31 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / 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 8 – pick a good book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Apr 9 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / 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 / giveaway
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Apr 20 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Apr 21 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight
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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 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
TBA – Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
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Book Review: The Legacy by Alison Knight

An unexpected inheritance. A web of deceit. A desperate escape. 

London, 1969.

James has his dreams of an easy life shattered when his aunt disinherits him, leaving her fortune to her god-daughter, Charlotte. He turns to his friend, Percy, to help him reclaim his inheritance – and to pay off his creditors. But when their plans backfire, James becomes the pawn of Percy and his criminal associates.

Charlotte is stunned when she is told of her windfall. After an attempt at cheating her out of her inheritance fails, James tries to intimidate her. But she is stronger than he thinks, having secrets of her own to guard, and sends him away with a bloody nose and no choice but to retreat for now.

Resigned, James and his spoilt, pampered girlfriend, Fliss, Percy’s sister, travel across France on a mission that promises to free James from the criminals for good. But James isn’t convinced he can trust Fliss, so he makes his own plans to start a new life.

Will James be able to get away, or will his past catch up with him? Will Charlotte’s secrets turn the legacy into a curse?

Purchase Link –  mybook.to/legacy

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Charlotte and James are connected through his aunt who is Charlotte’s godmother. When James is disinherited and Charlotte receives what he considers his fortune, he is livid. He does everything he can, short of murder, to get what he believes is rightly his.

I liked Charlotte. She is sweet and kind and a little naive, but she can take care of herself thanks to her godfather. James, on the other hand, had every opportunity growing up but squandered away his inheritance from his parents on gambling. Money is the only thing that’s important to him and although he can be charming, it’s only when he wants something and he is usually a jerk.

Even though I didn’t really feel a connection with the characters, it was a good story. The last quarter of the book was especially good with several twists. The ending had a surprise which I really liked.

If you like a good story, you can’t miss with The Legacy.

About the Author

Alison has been a legal executive, a registered childminder, a professional fund-raiser and a teacher. She has travelled the world – from spending a year as an exchange student in the US in the 1970s and trekking the Great Wall of China to celebrate her fortieth year and lots of other interesting places in between.

In her mid-forties Alison went to university part-time and gained a first-class degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and an MA in the same subject from Oxford Brookes University, both while still working full-time. Her first book was published a year after she completed her master’s degree.

The Legacy is a drama set in 1960s London. Like her previous book, Mine, it explores themes of class, ambition and sexual politics, showing how ordinary people can make choices that lead them into extraordinary situations.

Alison teaches creative and life-writing, runs workshops and retreats with Imagine Creative Writing Workshops(www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk) as well as working as a freelance editor. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She lives in Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor.

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/alison.knight.942

www.imaginecreativewriting.co.uk

www.darkstroke.com/dark-stroke/alison-knight/