Monday, May 3, 2021

Caroline and Mordecai the Gand ~ Audio Book Tour Review & Giveaway!

By Jeff Gunhus
Narrated by Sarah L. Colton

Genre:  Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12)
Categories: Fantasy, Literary
Publisher:  Seven Guns Press
Pages/Length: 186 pages; 4 hours, 13 minutes
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.

Book Description: 
This novella was written by USA Today bestselling author Jeff Gunhus after he received a devastating diagnosis of stage 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 called 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, and become the active hero of her own story.

"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
Order the Book:
Audio Book Review:

HALL WAYS REVIEW: Audio Book Review. I was intrigued by the cover and premise of Caroline and Mordecai the Gand, and I was drawn to the book because of the author’s motivation to write it. I expected I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to be absolutely delighted by it. This fully engaging story is entertaining, yes, but it’s thought provoking at a deep level, and by story’s end, I sat with tears that threatened, then spilled, from my eyes. Wow.

To begin the delights, readers are treated to audio book narrator Sarah L. Colton’s delightful accent. She is cast perfectly for such an otherworldly adventure, voicing the characters so that each is unique. She reflects the mood of the scenes and emotions of the characters to seamlessly complement the text so that narration and story go hand-in-hand. Her pacing is exactly right for listening at regular speed. Top notch performance and quality.

“If we remain open to life, hold it dear, and celebrate it, then it will forever be an adventure without limit in a new land.”

No narrator can nail a story like Colton if the story is lacking. Caroline and Mordecai the Gand isn’t lacking in any way. It’s amazing that an audio book that comes in at less than four and a half hours in length can pack such a punch, but this one does. The author bookends the story with opening and ending notes to explain the heartbreaking reason for writing the book. Don’t we all want our children (and everyone else) to remember us at our best when we are gone? What a blessing that author Jeff Gunhus decided to share his message of hope and coping to the world instead of just his kids.

“Oh, that was long ago. They rarely eat travelers now.”

The framework of Caroline and Mordecai the Gand is very interesting as it’s a story within a story within a story (within the story). Complex? Yes, but it’s delivered in bite-sized chunks so that readers can easily consume what’s happening. And oh! What’s happening! From the realities of bullying, guilt, and grief to the fantastical elements of magic, witches, and dragons (and cannibals, who can be reality or fantasy, right?), this book has something for everyone to enjoy. A suspenseful, tension-filled adventure on the surface, the allegorical side, coursing beneath, will have readers finding ah-ha moments as they see the parallels between all the seemingly different characters dealing with grief and how destructive and consuming it can be.

A quick mention about the characters – Gunhus’s descriptions are wonderfully evocative so that readers have clear snapshots of each person or creature (or CREACHure), even as they go through changes. This is a real nod to Gunhus's writing skills given the short length of the book. (Side note: as a LOTR fan, I couldn’t separate Mordecai the Gand from Gandolf the Grey. Not sure I am supposed to.)

With its captivating stories and subplots and painfully beautiful ending (here come the tears again), I highly recommend Caroline and Mordecai the Gand to readers of all ages. I think it would be an excellent story as a read-aloud or read-along because it will foster important conversations. Well done, Jeff Gunhus.

Thank you to iRead Book Tours and the author for the audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.


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

Enter the Giveaway:
Signed copy of CAROLINE AND MORDECAI THE GAND & $50 Amazon Gift Card
(USA only; ends midnight, May 17, 2021)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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