In the Forest of Light and Dark by Mark Kasniak

In the Forest of Light and Dark by Mark Kasniak

In the Forest of Light and Dark

In the Forest of Light and Dark Amazon button

After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill shut down the fishing industry in the Gulf causing Cera’s Step Daddy Cade to lose his job, Cera and her parents find themselves in dire straits when they learn that their local bank is planning to foreclose on their home. Now just when Murphy’s Law seems to be at its all time worst for Cera and her family, news comes that Cera’s grandmother, Lyanna Barrett, has passed. But soon, Cera and her family quickly find out her passing isn’t all bad news. In an inheritance letter that Cera’s mama (Janine) receives in the weeks that follow her mother’s death, she is informed that she is to receive all of her mother’s assets which are to include a house in New York, a new Cadillac, and a substantial amount of cold, hard cash.

Reluctant to leave Saraland and move back to New York, Cera’s mama is torn but sees no other option other than accepting the inheritance that her mother bequeathed to her and make a fresh start back in her place of birth, Mount Harrison.

After arriving in Mt. Harrison, a picturesque, little Western New York village nestled in a valley below the forest covered mountain from which it gets its name—Cera quickly comes to the understanding as to why her mama, at age eighteen, had elected to run away from her home and head for the Deep South.

Nearly all the village’s residence, acting under a curse put upon them by Abellona Abbott (a three hundred-year-old witch that still resides in the forest atop Mt. Harrison and takes the embodiment of her teenage former self) treats Cera and her mama with utter contempt for bringing the Barrett blood line back into the village and thereby angering Abellona Abbott even further because of a grudge the witch still carries against the Barrett family that stretches back to the time of her death.

As Cera and her family try their best to settle into their new home and community, Cera immediately finds out, even before her very first day at her new school, that she along with her mama are not going to be welcomed in their new village which quickly becomes evident to Cera by the lack of acceptance she receives from several of her new classmates and her neighbor’s disdainful attitudes towards her and her family.

If Cera hopes to survive her senior year of high school, then together with the help of another village outcast named Katelyn, she has to piece together her family’s history in Mt. Harrison in connection with Abellona Abbott, and quickly develop her newly found magic skills before it’s too late.

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Witch/Fantasy stories are very difficult to write and many writers do a less than admirable job of putting the events together in a logical plot. The main character and narrator of the book is Cara Singer, a high school student from the Gulf Coast of Alabama. Kasniak does a good job of sketching her character from the first paragraph through the language Cara uses. She has plenty of attitude and isn’t afraid to express it. The Singers are a working class family, and when the Gulf oil spill destroys the local economy, her family become desperate as they seek a way to keep from losing their home. Cara is somewhat rebellions, because of her strong will and a desire to find herself in a difficult world.

There is plenty of black magic in the book, but the author wisely leaves it until he has hooked the reader into suspending disbelief. As the story unfolds, you find yourself liking Cara and her friends which is what carries the action of a good book along to a satisfactory conclusion. I was delighted when I read the author’s note at the end and found that there will be a sequel. This is a great Teen/YA book that the reader will find difficult to put down. I give Mr. Kasniak a well-deserved 5-stars and wish him every success with this and his other books.


Format: Kindle Edition

In The Forrest of light and Dark MORE than becomes its title. Opposite ends of the visible spectrum being an apt analogy of the course of this Mysterious Thriller. The story starts out in the all too well envisioned south coast of gulf shore Alabama. Where the main protagonists(Cera Singer-Barret) largest concern is not becoming another episode of 16 and pregnant.

Some of the early build in the book is well spent establishing a southern girls world viewpoint, and the dire straits that can drive a familly to abandon all they know in pursuit of a good life. It seems the story is going to be about excaping generational curses, and overcoming societal convention, however, a change of scenery, and an intriugeing mystery begins to emerge.

A journey into the history of collonial era America, and the mislead agression of a fearful, and developing community tells the tale of tragedy, betrayal, and shameful deeds. The past comes back to haunt the citizens of Mount(Morris)Harrison New York in a more than metaphorical sense.

In the shockingly powerful conclusion of In the Forest of Light and Dark the building flow of the story reaches off the page and threatens to bash the reader into submission, This final showdown could have easily been a feature length Tarantino film, complete with the kind of powerful imagery , and deliciously filthy descriptive language Grind-house fans love.

I have a suspicion much of the setting from this novel may be easily visited, with a trip up to the Letchworth State Park for a 4d reading experience. the southern setting is probably based around somewhere between Dothan AL, and Gulf Port Miss in the NASCAR loving area surrounding Mobile(pronounced Mo-bull not mo-beel)

All in all I have to say the story is bada$$. It may start like a typical teen angst piece, but hold on to your seat, and grab a box of salt.

Alexander Gabriel.

PS No cats were harmed in the making of this review.


Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

I had to reread the author’s bio. I could’ve sworn this was a woman writer based on how the story was written. I’ve never read a book that’s been written by a man but from a woman/girls point of view and this I hope will not be my last.

Mark did a great job telling his story and bringing the characters to life. The thought of children’s souls being trapped inside of cats is brilliant to say the least. Cera became a part of my life I felt what she felt and I experienced everything around her because of the great descriptive writing by the author.

Ever since my daughter made me read the drek known as Twighlight I’ve been turned off YA books but not anymore. I even picked up another one of his books. Autumn Harvest. I hope I like it as much as I liked this one.

P.S. My daughter just started reading In the Forest of Light and Dark and she loves it.


By C.B. on November 29, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The vernacular used by the ‘white-trash’ teenager, Cera, transfers the reader into a world of the extremely poor in the South of the USA. The author paints a picture of people who, after losing their jobs, struggle to survive. All this changes when the family inherits the Grandmother’s fortune in New York. What happens next is very interesting. The story flows fluently and holds the reader’s attention to the end. The title leaves the reader questioning which part of the story is in the ‘light and which is in the ‘dark’ Leaving the reader with this question adds to the mystery.
I highly recommend.


Format: Kindle Edition

We all know that there are a ton of books starring teenagers and witchcraft out there so, when I started reading ‘In the Forest of Light and Dark’ I was a bit skeptical. I mean, if the book didn’t give me anything new then really it didn’t deserve me wasting my time on a 500+ page story. However, all of my inhibitions flew out the window as I got to know more about Cera Singer and her family history. The first thing you’re going to notice about this book is the language. Mark Kasniak does an amazing job giving Cera a personality that actually feels real. She talks like your typical teenage girl from a rural Southern Gulf town, and it makes the whole story enjoyable.

The plot itself is entertaining as well. The author spends the opening chapters telling us about the environment Cera has lived in and what she feels when she has to move to a new location once her maternal grandmother dies and leaves her fortune behind for her daughter. Mt. Harrison is not your typical little village, one which you can expect from books of such genera. The residents aren’t happy with Cera and her mother coming back, and the horror starts once we get to know about an old witch (who wouldn’t let go of a grudge) named Abellona Abbott. Cera find a friend in Katelyn and together she tries to piece together her family history and it’s connection to the old witch and Mt. Harrison.

In the Forest of Light and Dark is an enjoyable and fast-paced read (regardless of the page count) and reading the author’s note at the end you can be sure it’s not the last readers have seen of Cera. Go read it and follow a teenage witch coming into her powers.



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