Rotating Header Image


THE DRAGON’S PAWN: The Canaanshades Journey Book 2 ~Mitchell S. Karnes

THE DRAGON’S PAWN is the second book in Mitchell Karnes 4 part series.  TLC Online Book Tours sent me a copy of THE PACT to review previously.   I was working with a fine fellow named Travis with reading, and we immediately opened the book and worked our way through the story.  Travis does not pay Warriors and Thieves but does play numerous computer strategy games.  He so enjoyed the book and we shared that with Mr. Karnes and he graciously sent signed copies of THE DRAGON’S PAWN to Travis and me.  Travis read this book by himself and just thought it was wonderful and is now hopeful for the arrival of the third book in the series.

THE DRAGON’S PAWN seemed a bit of a more difficult read and more grown up themes and I thought I would get a different opinion from my 12 year old neighbor and avid reader Nya.  I offered her an opportunity to publish her review, she accepted the assignment. Mitchell Karnes also sent her a signed copy of THE PACT and THE DRAGON’s PAWN.   So in her own words Nya wrote:

The Dragons Pawn ~A book review by Nya Uberman

The Dragon’s Pawn, by Mitchel S. Karnes is the second book in the four-part Canaanshade Journeys. In the first book, The Pact, four friends make two pacts, the first that they would always be friends and the second that they will always play Warriors and Thieves. Now, twenty-four years later, both pacts have been broken. Out of the four friends only Chris still plays Warriors and Thieves; he is dying of cancer.

After Luke thinks he sees his Warriors and Thieves character Bentheos telling him to set up one last game between the four friends, and Chris starts a new cancer treatment called hypnosensory therapy where he can mentally go into and move about a forest; helping with steady breathing patterns and (hopefully) healing him, Luke convinces the others to play again. Chris decides to hold the game in the hypnosensory center, so that way they can experience the game as if they were really in it.

The four men gather together to play their game in the hypnosensory world of Canaanshade. At first it seems wonderful. They are finally in the world of their childhood game, but when their human consciences start slipping away and threatening to leave them entirely, without a clue about who they really are, the game takes a downward turn.

Bentheos takes over Luke’s mind and attempting to wage war on the rest of Canaanshade’s inhabitants and become king of the entire world of Canaanshade. All seems lost for Luke as Bentheos tries to assassinate his friend’s characters in the hope that that will bring him complete control. Killing the characters could also kill the real players.

Meanwhile, along with Scott’s character, Garrett’s wife – Lea, the three other friend’s characters head away from the elf kingdom to slay a red and black dragon whose destruction is the goal of the game and must be destroyed before they can will themselves out of the game. Little do they know, however, a friend has already ‘sold them out’ to the dragon and the game becomes more deadly and dangerous.

Steve, the man who is serving as game master for this game has been disguised as a stumpy old wizard known as a Gnorf whose job it is to track each player, arrange the game, and serve as a sort of god for the world of Canaanshade. He has been captured by Bentheos who thinks that having a game master under his control will make him even more powerful and fit to rule than before.

Without a game master to monitor the game it gets more deadly than before. Because, little do they know, another force is also trying to get them killed and therefore keep another set of promises and deals. When Chris is almost killed by two of the dragon’s demonic servants and is brought back to life by a divine force he realizes that although the dragon’s pawn is powerful, hope is not lost and with the help of Steve, he and Scott can turn the tide and leave the game with Paul and Luke before it is too late.

The Dragons Pawn, by Mitchell S. Karnes was not the kind of book that I normally read. I personally found it slightly confusing but I think this might be because I don’t know anything about the game Warriors and Thieves and you kind of need to understand the game to get the book.  But, although I didn’t enjoy it very much and couldn’t relate to the characters, the writing was good and it might appeal more to somebody who plays Warriors and Thieves or some other related game.


I thought Nya did an excellent job and I too was confused because I do not play these types of games.   I might suggest that the author write a short companion book of the description and rules of the game.   The book continued with some excellent communication skills and techniques which were begun in the original story when the characters were in middle school.  That the adults were heavy with adult problems and not so emotionally mature when in crisis mode in the second story was not so troubling once they entered into the game.

I look forward to reading books three and four in the series.  Thank you so much Mitchell Karnes for keeping the story moving along and expanding.

The Pact
The Quick
The Lady’s Maid
The Best of Daughters
Mitchell S. Karnes

NOTE:  From Wikipedia, there is a game called Dungeons and Dragons and reading a bit about the gameplay was helpful for me

CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDENCEY: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You ~Darlene Lancer

“SHAME. The torment you feel when you’re exposed, humiliated, or rejected.  The feeling of not being good enough.  It’s a deeply painful, universal emotion, yet is not frequently discussed.  For some shame lurks in the unconscious, undermining self-esteem and destroying confidence, leading to codependency on others.  These codependent relationships – where we overlook our own needs and desires as we try to care for, protect, or please another – are often covering up abuse, addiction, or other harmful behaviors.  Shame and codependency feed off one another, making us feel stuck, never able to let go, move on, and become the true self we were meant to be.”  (From the book cover)

CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDENCY is a good self-help book authored by a family therapist who has years of work in this area of change and development. I liked the style of the writing, it is not preachy or overbearing expertise, rather it is carefully thought out and simply worded so that any reader could find some new knowledge and information about themselves. The demonstrating stories for the steps explored are relevant and understandable; they complete the point and observation.  The format is pleasing with some clear explanation of what might be causing recurring or “stuck” behaviors followed up with some very simple exercises that even young adults can follow and implement without years of therapy or experts.

I believe that CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDENCY could be used in adolescence classrooms as a work book with a teacher attached. Young people a could identify areas where they might be stuck and frustrated in their independence moves and have a resource to remind them when they might need some help in the future.  Shame is also about all those crazy tapes that repeat in the mind, about how foolish one is or how “ugly” they might be, and how we react to those reoccurring mind words.   I have never met a person who has not felt humiliated at some point in their life; it can be reassuring to know one is not alone and have a few tools to change the way one is thinking.

I believe many woman could benefit from owning this resource as so many get isolated at home tasks or taking care of others and may need their thinking refreshed rather than reaching for  a cupcake, glass of wine, or anti-depression medication.  A little mental exercise towards releasing old ideas and maybe deleting despair and moving forward to opening up new ideas and ways to proceed.

The book was a nice refresher course and it helped me dust off some old techniques that I learned over the years.  I was having dental surgery while reading this book, and feeling a big sense of shame over how much my teeth and jaw repair was costing.  My parents were both teachers and proud that my brother and sister had no cavities, whereas they were rather angry about how my pitted teeth dug into the family finances; I just was not taking enough responsibility for their care.  Even though I now save money for healthcare and have dental insurance, when I heard how much my recent co-pay would be all those old messages of failure came up to play a tune – I had failed to do enough! CONQUERING SHAME AND CODEPENDANCY just might be a great companion to keep on your shelf or nearby for relief.   It could be a great sleep aid for those who worry all night long – have a glass of water and do an exercise from the book and get some rest.

The eight steps:

  1. Find Your True Self
  2. Uncover Your Shame
  3. Find Your Shame’s Roots
  4. Disarm Your Shame
  5. Confront Your Shame
  6. Share Your Shame
  7. Build Your Self-Esteem
  8. Love Yourself

tlc logo  TLC Online Book Tours  and HAZELDEN Press sent me an unproofed copy for review and I am very happy to have been on this tour and enjoyed reading this book

“Darlene Lancer, JD, LMFT is a licensed family therapist with over twenty years of experience working with individuals and couples.  She regularly lectures on self-esteem, codependency, and addiction.  Author of Codependency for Dummies and 10 Steps to Self-Esteem, she has also published numerous articles.“

Darlene Lancer Blog 

Little Failure
Mind Without A Home
The Isolation Door 
I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag

LOSING TOUCH: A Novel ~Sandra Hunter

“If nothing is said, the things that often lie like dead flowers under their scarves, their nice English blouses, their neat English shirts, do not exist.  A few tables away an English couple are having lunch.  Does the woman have flowers beneath her sleeves, too?  But English couples are so polite and respectful.  It isn’t possible to imagine slaps ricocheting across those perfectly pink English cheeks.  And the woman’s voice, so gentle and sweet – sounding could never be raised in a screech even if her husband threw a dinner plate at her head.  And he wouldn’t, because he’s English.”  (Page 99 of PDF Final proofs)

LOSING TOUCH is one of the most beautifully written stories I have read in a very long time.  As a person who is in the “letting go” stage of life, it is a new way to enjoy the fragrance of flowers and the charm of a sunny day; it holds the power of retrospective and being in the moment at the same time.  I just walked through this book, enjoying the pace and thinking my own stories.

The Kutkani family has immigrated to England from India to begin new lives. In the beginning, Arjun and Sunila are attending Junti’s, Argun’s younger brother, memorial service.  Junti a London architect has died at age 32 from a genetic spinal muscular atrophy. We discover that mother has already died; they did not leave this in India.  They were rapid decline deaths and now Arjun must care for his sister-in-laws and their children as this is his extended family responsibility.  Arjun has been trained as a nurse in England.  Sunila works in an office.

Arjun begins falling down without any warning, just one leg or the other randomly stops working.

The story progresses from 1966 to 2005, as Arjun and Sunila have various letting go moments or the muscle problems become worse.  We are joining this journey through the inner dialogue of this couple, who sometimes love each other and sometimes they do not.  The teenage struggles with their children are vehicles to share more of the past and their leaving behind another culture and watching their children embrace what they know; how they live this life.  The parents use younger cousins to keep the conversation open and discover their son’s and daughter’s visions of future.  The railroad park experience is a glimpse to the future departures.  I wanted cream cakes and that joy of possibility for myself also.  They want acceptance of being English and not outside, and Arjun and Sunila know that their children are not always treated with respect.

There are numerous cups of tea and biscuits as the process of release continues and Arjun becomes bedridden with Sunila taking care; has he told her he loves her now?  Their son is successful in Australia and daughter and grandson are settled in Boston.  The author allows the reader to go with a gentle push. LOSING TOUCH did not disappoint and leaves the reader content.

From the book:

“Sandra Hunter was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire and grew up in Hayes, Middlesex, England.  A writer and visual artist, her short stories have been published in a number of literary magazines and have won numerous awards including the 2012 Cobalt Fiction Prize and the 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize.  She currently lives in Ventura, California, with her husband and daughter, and teaches English and Creative Writing at Moorpark College.  LOSING TOUCH is her first novel.”

Sandra Hunter on Strikingly
Sandra Hunter on Facebook

tlc logoLOSING TOUCH was sent to me by TLC Online Booktours for review and I so enjoyed this read I am grateful for the opportunity.  Thank you for the gift of LOSING TOUCH.

Supreme Justice
The Qualities of Wood 
In the Land of the Living
Shadows In The Sun

THE FOREVER MAN: A Near-Future Thriller ~Pierre Ouellette

“Your cells are the product of millions of years of evolution.  They don’t answer to you.  They answer only to life itself.” “Through some kind of extraordinarily advanced genetic therapy.  To pull it off, you’d have to raise an entire army of very specialized artificial viruses.” (un proofed copy – at 70% location)

THE FOREVER MAN is quite an interesting read.  I received an unproofed copy for review from TLC Online Book Tours, Net Galley and Alibi books and I am pleased to have had this opportunity.   As much as I like books about the future and thrillers these days, I must say this would not have been on my radar without a gentle prod.  Much of the story takes place in Portland, Oregon after the USA has been devastated by a predicted economic crisis and the nation is being ruled by the extremely rich.  Now the city has been abused and the majority of the people are just hanging on as best they can; regional “gangsters” are running the show and it makes me so sad to even think about.  Beauty only for the few; drugs and starvation the rule of the day, it sometimes seems as though this is a too close reality.

Lane Anslow is a contracted police detective, who has always been his bipolar brilliant, brothers admirable care taker. He is drawn into something amazing by his sibling’s work in genetics.  His brother has been kidnapped after he escaped a plane crash.  Johnny Anslow is the key to this genetic manipulation which is changing lives and will definitely change the future for the very rich.  So the police detective, who has lost his job because he is too old in his 40s, undertakes to understand and help his brother escape.  The backstory is about the boys growing up on the water near Seattle, Washington and all the mischief they recovered from and how they each took different pathways based on their experiences.  There is lots of plastic surgery, prison experience, helicopters and worldwide weapons of mass destruction and I would not want to leave out the politicians.  There is something for everyone and at one point, it made me think of a futuristic Gunsmoke TV series.  The book keeps moving ahead with lots of description about how THE FOREVER MAN became how old he is and what needs to happen to keep it a reality.  Oh yes, and the world has run out of affordable oil.

The writing was “manly” and I found it sometimes sharp and disconnected and then it turned back around to keep the reader on edge – powerful devise. I had to read dialogue pages a couple of times to figure out which character was saying what.  Certainly the editors will clear up those moments before it is released on July 8th, 2014.  I wondered if I believed if life had a beginning, middle and end, would living until your new organs wore out, or these advanced genetic procedures were available to all be something you would want to contemplate?  Would you really want to live forever?

Pierre Ouellette lives in Portland, Oregon and has written a number of science fictions books which have done well. He owned a PR firm for a number of years and also plays guitar.

tlc logo

The Sowing
The Shock Doctrine 
Duke City Split
The Contractors