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.

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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

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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
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May 3 – Hall Ways Blog – audiobook review / giveaway
May 5 – Westveil Publishing – audiobook review / guest post / 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/

Book Review: One, Two, Follow Through Starring Polly Pivot by Mary Jacobs

One, Two, Follow Through is a powerful story for everyone as it celebrates diversity, inclusivity and the principles of success in both life and in sport. Top celebrities like Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Lorena Ochoa have endorsed the message as it is positive and cheerful for all. Polly Pivot and her friends are great role models for all kids!

Amazon

Website

My Review

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

Polly Pivot likes to golf but when she goes to golf camp, she starts to overthink what she’s doing and she loses her MOJO. After she goes home, she considers what happened and comes up with “One, Two, Follow Through” which she tries the next day and it works!

The motto one, two, follow through is something that not only works in golf and other sports, but it works in our lives as well. It’s a good lesson for children to make things simple. The story also encourages them to try golfing which is something that they can participate in for many years to come.

One, Two, Follow Through is a fun book to read. It’s told in rhymes and the illustrations are cute and colorful. Several of them made me giggle, and I’m sure children will love them.

About the Author

MARY JACOBS grew up in Southern Illinois, the youngest of six with five older brothers. She received a full golf scholarship to Tulane University, and transferred to The University of Arizona in 2005 where she became an All-American golfer. She won a Bronze Medal while representing the USA in the world Olympic Games, and briefly thereafter finished her playing career. She is now a highly esteemed LGPA Teaching and Club Professional in Southern California where she resides with her partner.

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About the Illustrator

RON NOBLE is an Emmy Award Winning Animation Director and lifelong cartoonist. After graduating from Syracuse University and creating an award-winning animated short Living in Ridalyn, he moved to Los Angeles to work as a storyboard artist for Klasky Csupo Studios. He served as a supervising director on Nickelodeon’s The Wild ThornberrysRocket PowerAs Told by GingerAll Grown Up, and Rugrats, where he won an Emmy for directing. He joined Cartoon Network in 2005 as lead storyboard artist by day while creating Nobletown Studios at night. With Nobletown, he has created dozens of animated videos and shorts, and continues to work as a storyboard artist for TV shows such as Space Racers and Legends of Chamberlain Heights. In addition to illustrating One, Two, Follow Through, he is also working on a series of his own called Letter Beasties. 

Audiobook Review: In Case You Get Hit by a Bus by Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer with Gene Newman

When Abby Schneiderman’s brother was killed in a head-on collision by an impaired driver, her family was thrust into a position many families experience: they were shocked, heartbroken, and unsure what to do next. While her brother had made some financial arrangements, her family had no idea what he would have wanted and had to make all sorts of stressful (and expensive) decisions in an incredibly short amount of time.

Out of this tragedy came the focus of Everplans, a digital company that Abby co-founded with fellow tech entrepreneur Adam Seifer to help people of all ages organize their lives and legacy now—so that their loved ones won’t have to later.

Drawing on the wealth of experience from Abby, Adam, and Gene Newman, here is a clearly designed and easy-to-follow program to help even the most disorganized reader take control of modern life’s burgeoning mess of on- and off-line details. Breaking the job down into three levels, from the most urgent (granting access to passwords, outlining a financial blueprint) to the technical (creating a manual for the systems in your home, understanding legal documents) to the nostalgic (assembling a living memory complete with photos, recipes, and significant stories)), IN CASE YOU GET HIT BY A BUS takes the anxiety and stress out of putting your life in order and covers just about any contingency, helping you leave the best parting gift you could ever imagine.

Amazon

My Review

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

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus contains a wealth of information about preparing for your death. No matter what your age, it’s an important resource to get your life in order so that you can ease the burden of your loved ones when you’re gone.

There was a lot of helpful information on getting prepared and I learned a lot. There are so many things you don’t think of when taking on such a monumental task. And there are the little things that are mentioned that are just as helpful. For example, be sure to update important contacts you’ve listed if they die before you.

I like audiobooks but in this case, I was quickly overwhelmed as I listened to this book. I took a lot of notes so it’s not an audiobook to listen to in your car or while working out. It would be very helpful to have In Case You Get Hit by a Bus in the form of a workbook with lists included that could be filled out or copied.

This is definitely a book that everyone should use as a resource when planning for their death, sudden or not.

About the Authors

Abby Schneiderman is an entrepreneur, innovator and visionary leader with a passion for finding ways to use technology to make people’s lives better. Together with Adam Seifer, she is currently the co-founder and co-CEO of Everplans.com, a life and legacy planning company dedicated to transforming the way people think ahead and get their families organized. Everplans is offered by hundreds of financial services companies, insurance providers, and employers across the country.

As an industry expert in the areas of digital estate planning,technology and consumerism, Abby has been featured in numerous publications including the NYT, WSJ, Bloomberg, CNBC, and the Huffington Post. Abby was recently named to Fast Company’s list of the most creative people in business in 2016 (https://www.fastcompany.com/most-creative-people/2016).

Abby lives with her husband and two little girls in NYC. Abby is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
For more information, visit http://www.everplans.com.

Adam Seifer is a repeat entrepreneur, innovator and product leader with a passion for helping people use their real world networks to enable them to connect and collaborate better digitally. Together with Abby Schneiderman, he is the co-founder and co-CEO of Everplans.com, a life and legacy planning company dedicated to transforming the way people think ahead and get their families organized. Everplans is offered by hundreds of financial services companies, insurance providers, and employers across the country.

Adam has helped to create multiple huge online communities and networks and is an inventor on “the social networking patent” now owned by LinkedIn.

Adam lives in NYC with his family and graduated from Brown University.

For more information, visit http://www.everplans.com.

Gene Newman serves as Everplans’ Editorial & Education Director and has spent the past 25+ years as a writer, editor, digital producer, and content leader for media various outlets including Maxim, Hachette Filipacchi Digital, and Thrillist. He lives in New York City.