Melanin Brown Discovers America by Candice Davis
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 96 pages
Genre: Early Chapter/Middle Grade ~ Content Rating: G.
Publisher: Mascot ~ Release date: April 2021
Tour dates: Apr 6 to Apr 19, 2021
Melanin Brown is a girl far beyond her years who observes a brand new student being bullied at her school because of his ethics. This causes her to feel distressed, uncomfortable, and the treatment does not sit right with her. As she is given guidance from her parents, friends, and teachers, she also leans on her desire to treat people in the same manner in which she would want to be treated. Melanin finds how to confront disparate difficult situations while simultaneously navigating her own sense of truth and justice.
Melanin is the friend we all wish was in our group when we were in school. Kind, sincere, and smart, Melanin is a leader for our times whose compassion knows no bounds. Open these pages and accompany Melanin on her path to self-confidence!
Buy the Book: B&N ~ Amazon.com ~ Mascot ~ Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:
Candice Davis is a middle school Special Education Teacher in Washington, D.C., with a background in film. She started her career in education as a Curriculum and Personnel Specialist, writing grants and proposals. Due to her desire to have more of a direct impact with disadvantaged students, she transitioned into teaching. This is Davis’s debut book. She holds a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology with a focus in Social Foundations from the University of Virginia and a BA in Film and Video Studies from George Mason University.
"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
Caroline & Mordecai the Gand by Jeff Gunhus
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction (Ages 8-12), 186 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Literary ~ Tour dates: Mar 31 to May 11, 2021
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.
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: Audible ~ Amazon - Now available in audiobook!
REVIEW by LAWonder10:
This is a fantastical journey ALL should hear/read! I listened to the audio-book.
Caroline’s father died in a car accident. It’s all her fault, or so she thinks. Like so many who experience grief often feels.
One day Caroline discoverers a daunting world, with unusual beings and environment. She also meets an annoying yet lovable man, Modecai.
In this bizarrely, whimsical tale, Caroline has to make choices at several “bends”. She often feels helpless, as though she has no other choice. She is eventually forced to look deep within herself to find answers.
The author adds a note at the end which is truly inspiring. Did this really happen? You, the audience, must determine for your self if such a fantastical journey could really happen.
The characters were well defined and creative. The adventures felt exciting and entertaining.
The Narrator, Sarah L. Colton, did an outstanding performance in her narration.
This book is highly recommended for most ages, not just children.
I extend a Five Stars rating for this book.
*This audio-book was gifted me with no pressure to post a positive review. This is my honest review.
When Death Rears Its Head
Five years ago, I received a devastating phone call from my doctor. Cancer. And while no cancer is good news, the form it takes and the stage to which it has progressed does exist on a sliding scale of relative crapiness. The news I received from my doctor was on the wrong end of this scale. It took me a while to digest the information, because how do you truly internalize the idea that the odds of living longer than two years suddenly became a sucker's bet?
It turns out that there is no good way to do it. Not consistently anyway. Some days are introspective. Some days are emotional nightmares. Others are just numb.
However, after the initial shock, a surgery, and the process of starting immunotherapy treatment, life did settle into more of a routine. Within that routine was my fiction writing. My goal with writing Caroline & Mordecai the Gand was to leave behind (if the actuarial tables had their way with me) a sort of guidebook for my own kids on how to deal with grief.
For anyone facing what seems like an insurmountable challenge, I can offer up a few small things that helped me through.
First, facing one's mortality can lead you to either withdraw or embrace life. Turns out that embracing life is a lot more fun.
Second, the old truism that friends and family are all that count really comes into greater clarity when you face the prospect of losing them all. It sounds trite to say not to take people for granted, but it's an eye opener like this that sometimes make you realize that's exactly what you've done.
Third, realize that it doesn't take a disease to get the clock ticking. The big goodbye can happen at any time on any day, so make the most of the time you have. Longer hugs, more saying I love you, less phones, more being present in the moment.
... And, of course, reading. Because that is also wonderful for the soul.
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 JeffGunhus.com.
Author's Links: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads ~ bookbub
Here is the tour schedule.
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