Welcome to one of the May 5th stops on the blog tour for Caroline and Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus, organized by iRead Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
“How You Make Them Feel”
Reviews are the lifeblood of authors. Nothing increases discoverability of their work more than reviews. And nothing is more heart wrenching to an author then having strangers at book conferences or in pleasant online exchanges say they love their book… but have not had a chance to leave a review.
Once leaving this exchange, the author will often hit their head against the wall, gnash their teeth, or go out looking for an adult beverage.
Early in my writing days, I wouldn’t say anything. But now I tend to ask the question as to what’s stopping the person. After some stammering and excuses that don’t really make any sense, it usually comes down to the person not feeling either qualified to write a thorough review, or even knowing where to start.
So, I thought I would share a few quick ideas on the subject.
- Simple is wonderful. Don’t feel like you have to write a literary review as if you were working for the New York Times. A simple entry of two or three sentences is sufficient. Some of the most eloquent reviews of my work have come from people who were short and to the point… and focused mostly on point #2.
- Share how the author made you feel. Often people feel they need to write a synopsis of the plot and get hung up there. Trust me, every author in the world hates writing a synopsis of their own work. I’d rather write entire new novel than try to create a synopsis of a work I’ve already done. Some people have a knack for them. In fact, I’ve asked early reviewers of some books if I could use their synopsis for marketing material because it’s so much better than what I came up with! But what people really want is to understand whether the book is worth reading and, in my opinion, an emotional connection with the work is what makes all reading worthwhile. So, share your emotion, share whether you became invested in the work, share what the book meant to you.
- Keep it short and sweet. Don’t get me wrong, when someone writes a full-page review of one of my books, I enjoy reading it. Heck, I’m almost 50 years old and I still forward the good ones to my mom and dad! But don’t feel that’s an obligation. A two or three sentence review still helps tremendously and is appreciated more than you can know by the author.
The only other things stopping you might be just forgetting or not feeling you have time. Just remember there is some writer out there who poured their soul into the work for possibly hundreds or even thousands of hours. Grab that five minutes, please, and share your thoughts.
About the Book
Caroline and Mordecai the Gand
by Jeff Gunhus
Published 31 March 2021
Seven Guns Press
Page Count: 170
Published 6 March 2021
Narrator: Sarah L. Colton
Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes
Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
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 Rating: 5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
I was granted complimentary access to Caroline and Mordecai the Gand on Audible as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with iRead Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Okay, who’s cutting onions? Caroline and Mordecai the Gand is a beautifully well written novella that explores the grieving process surrounding the loss of a parent or child. Caroline’s father never made it back from running to the store to replace the bag of marshmallows the family dog robbed by the camp fire. Months later, she’s still not handling it well, and while off walking in the woods near the house she falls through a window into another world. This world is full of monsters that feed on grief and sad memories, and Caroline and Mordecai spend most of the book trying to forget the sources of their grief forever, so as to avoid grief entirely, but along the way Caroline learns that grief has a purpose and forgetting everything to avoid a little pain isn’t worth it.
It’s a little bit Alice in Wonderland, a little bit The Shack, and a little bit The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but all working together toward the singular goal of easing the process of grieving a parent (or child.) As a mother, I hope I never have to explore these things with my daughter while she’s still young enough to benefit from getting it in middle-grade story form, but I’m very glad that this exists for everyone who is in the unfortunate position of needing it.
Obviously this book is written with children actually in this situation in mind, but I do think most children would benefit from exploring this theme before they might need it. I recommend this book for all kids who are facing this sort of close relative loss, all children who are otherwise ready to explore these themes or asking questions, and all older readers who enjoy short fantasies full of gut-wrenching emotion.
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.
Win signed copy of CAROLINE AND MORDECAI THE GAND & $50 Amazon Gift Card (1 winner, USA only, ends May 18)a Rafflecopter giveaway
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