Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Caroline and Mordecai The Gand Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

This morning, I have a middle grade fantasy novel in our book review feature! Fantasy novels have long been favorites in our house. What did I think of Caroline and Mordecai the Gand? Read my thoughts, learn about the book and author Jeff Gunhus--and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

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

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About the Book

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.
My Review


Caroline and Mordecai The Gand Appeals to A Varied Audience. While I love fantasy novels--I found myself drawn to the characters and the life lessons learned (and evolved) as the story progressed. The story is a novella-length, and it is written with a middle-grade audience in mind. The author does an incredible job weaving a great deal of life and depth into the scenes and adventures. You could read this book repeatedly at various ages and stages of life--with the reader's life and experiences leading to more profound and even different meanings and realizations at times. Even if you are not a die-hard fantasy fan--this book blends reality, human nature, and life quite nicely into the fantasy world and quirky supporting characters.



Caroline and Mordecai The Gand Offers an Emotional Journey for Readers. Again, I think this journey's depth depends a bit on the readers on life experiences with loss and grief--and healing--but the book follows Caroline and Mordecai on an emotional path as they venture through Mordecai's world to find Caroline's way home. While the book does focus on loss and grief--it also focuses on hope and finding the courage and light to heal and see the beauty and love of life again. 


Would I Recommend Caroline and Mordecai the Gand? This book was impossible to put down from the very first pages. While short--the characters and the novella's messages and emotions will remain long after the last page. It is a fantasy novel--but, using the fantasy world interactions to teach life lessons and lead his characters to heal was the perfect blend of fiction and reality. I enjoyed the storyline, I loved the characters, and I would definitely recommend it to middle-grade readers and families coming to terms with loss and grief.

Buy the Book

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