Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 21, 2008

Teen FIRST-Chosen By Ted Dekker

It's April 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 21st, we will feature an author and his/her latest Teen fiction book's FIRST chapter!

and his book:

Thomas Nelson (January 1, 2008)


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. To see a complete list of Dekker's work, visit The Works section of

Here are some of his latest titles:


Black: The Birth of Evil (The Circle Trilogy Graphic Novels, Book 1)




Our story begins in a world totally like our own, yet completely different. What once happened here in our own history seems to be repeating itself thousands of years from now,
some time beyond the year 4000 AD.

But this time the future belongs to those who see opportunity before it becomes obvious. To the young, to the warriors, to the lovers. To those who can follow hidden clues and find a great
treasure that will unlock the mysteries of life and wealth.

Thirteen years have passed since the lush, colored forests were turned to desert by Teeleh, the enemy of Elyon and the vilest of all creatures. Evil now rules the land and shows itself as a painful, scaly disease that covers the flesh of the Horde, a people who live in the desert.

The powerful green waters, once precious to Elyon, have vanished from the earth except in seven small forests surrounding seven small lakes. Those few who have chosen to follow the ways of Elyon now live in these forests, bathing once daily in the powerful waters to cleanse their skin of the disease.

The number of their sworn enemy, the Horde, has grown in thirteen years and, fearing the green waters above all else, these desert dwellers have sworn to wipe all traces of the forests from
the earth.

Only the Forest Guard stands in their way. Ten thousand elite fighters against an army of nearly four hundred thousand Horde. But the Forest Guard is starting to crumble.


Day One

Qurong, general of the Horde, stood on the tall dune five miles west of the green forest, ignoring the fly that buzzed around his left eye.

His flesh was nearly white, covered with a paste that kept his skin from itching too badly. His long hair was pulled back and woven into dreadlocks, then tucked beneath the leather body armor
cinched tightly around his massive chest.

“Do you think they know?” the young major beside him asked.

Qurong’s milky white horse, chosen for its ability to blend with the desert, stamped and snorted.

The general spit to one side. “They know what we want them to know,” he said. “That we are gathering for war. And that we will march from the east in four days.”

“It seems risky,” the major said. His right cheek twitched, sending three flies to flight.
“Their forces are half what they once were. As long as they think we are coming from the east, we will smother them from the west.”

“The traitor insists that they are building their forces,” the major said.

“With young pups!” Qurong scoffed.

“The young can be crafty.”

“And I’m not? They know nothing about the traitor. This time we will kill them all.”

Qurong turned back to the valley behind him. The tents of his third division, the largest of all Horde armies, which numbered well over three hundred thousand of the most experienced warriors, stretched out nearly as far as he could see.

“We march in four days,” Qurong said. “We will slaughter them from the west.”

Dynamic Uno here: "Chosen" arrived late last week and I didn't think I would finish it in time, but I found that once started, I was sucked into the story and could not put it down! It was a little confusing at first because of the whole "football game," but once the leaders were chosen for the Forest Guard and sent on their mission, things started to fall into place. The writing is very descriptive and I could picture everything happening in my head as the story progressed. I'll probably stop at the local Christian bookstore on my way home so I can pick up the next book in the series to find out what happens next! (I can't wait to read more about the Roush and their families--Gabil seems to be a cutie--"Hayaa!")

Readers of all ages will enjoy this story, although I think it's a better fit for the upper elementary school through high school levels. This is definitely a series I will be adding to our school shelves--after I read them of course.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis

Published by Zondervan
Released May 2008
ISBN-10: 0-310-71554-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-71554-2

A dynamic introduction to the new Echoes from the Edge series by Bryan Davis, Beyond the Reflection's Edge will leave you riveted to your seat as you enter the fast-paced world of sixteen-year-old Nathan Shepherd.

Nathan has an ideal life. Travelling world-wide with his parents for their careers in music, he also has become quite the violinist--almost an equal to his mother's talent. During an evening performance, his parents suddenly disappear and are found murdered down below the staging area.

With only a piece of mirror and his father's notes, Nathan flees for his life and goes into hiding at Tony's (his father's best friend) house. Tony's daughter Kelly is swept into the adventure as she and Nathan determine the significance of the mirror and the reason behind his parents' deaths.

Dynamic Uno here: Zondervan had a couple extra Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis, and I volunteered to read it and post about it here for them.

When I first cracked open the book I wasn't sure what to expect. After all, I read more chic lit and mysteries rather than fantasy, so I figured that I would read through the book and hope I understood what was happening in between the pages. Imagine my surprise when I came across two murders within the first couple of chapters and people running for their lives with car chases and wrecks. (Now that's my type of book!)

Nathan and Kelly are realistic characters and could be the kids next door. (Although with their problems, I'm kind of hoping not. My neighbors are weird enough without having people jump through dimensions and having murderers on the loose.) Their adventures between the different dimensions and interactions with the various doppelgangers had me trying to figure out who were the "bad guys" and who were the "good guys." I was hooked and couldn't put the book down until I reached the last page, and even then I can't wait for book two in the series because I want to find out what happens next.

Teens of all ages will enjoy this wonderful book and I plan on purchasing this series for our school's library for my fantasy and even non-fantasy readers. Pick it up and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy(?) Tax Day

May your refunds be great and your taxes sent in on time! Happy Tax Day!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Over already?

I'm sorry for neglecting you dear readers. My Internet connection is still intermittent (more out than in), and I have taken over my parents' computer to keep you abreast of what's been happening the past couple of days.

You see, I'm a bit out of sorts because this time last week I was celebrating with every other teacher in this school district because Spring Break was upon us, AND I didn't have to deal with anyone under the age of 21 for a whole week! Now, as I look back on this week, I am utterly disappointed. I had this awesome "To Do" list which mainly featured me reading and scrapbooking with a couple of errands thrown in to balance things out. Instead, I ended up saddled with car repairs, talking on the phone for literally hours with the Internet people, and having to do my taxes, which incidentally are due in a few days, for those of you who are still back in September of last year with me. (Is it really April already?)


One of the highlights of my week however, was meeting author Angela Hunt at our local library! (God was really with me that day.) I decided to run by the library to pick upthe book that our school book club is reading this month and just happened to see the flyer that advertised her being there that evening. I was really nervous to meet Ms. Hunt because she's an author. No, I mean, AN AUTHOR! I felt like a kid in the candy store when I first walked into the lobby that evening and saw her sitting on one of the benches in the lobby. I knew she was busy just because she was talking on her phone and flipping through some pages,so I tried to play in cool by walking back into the library and waiting until it was time for the lecture to begin. Thankfully I wasn't the only one there that felt the same excitement. There were a few ladies in front of me that were bouncing in their chairs from their excitement. (Thank you Lord for heeling in my excitement so I didn't make a fool of myself.) I must admit I felt the same way inside, but since I was the youngest one in the room, I didn't want to make myself stick out even more by acting crazy.

Ms. Hunt is absolutely delightful in person! Since has a musical lilt to her voice, which is no surprise since she was a music major in college. She even gave us a short demonstration of her opera voice--which was very cool! Ms. Hunt discussed how she became a writer and how God works when she's paying attention in her life. She also discussed some of her upcoming novels and her most recent ones--Doesn't She Look Natural?(takes place in Mount Dora) and The Elevator (which is set right here in Tampa). Then she had time for questions and pictures and book signings. I felt dumb because I didn't bring any of my books to have her sign, but thankfully I did have the flyers which announced her lecture for the library, so I asked her to sign those and then asked if she would mind taking a picture with me. (I know, I couldn't resist though. And that will teach my family not to laugh at me for carrying my camera with me all the time! I'll post them if I can ever get my computer to stay online for more than five minutes.) Overall, I was really impressed with Ms. Hunt's ability to speak in front of an audience and her professionalism, despite the "groupies." I'm sure she was a little disappointed that she didn't sell as many books while there, but I honestly don't carry money with me, otherwise I would have bought another copy of The Novelist. It's awesome--like her other works!


Answer to Prayers!
Thank you all for praying! Here are some updates:

Nadine, my friend who was in a car accident a few months ago, has finally finished up with physical therapy. Unfortunately, she still cannot do anything more than walk or swim, but thankfully she is still able to do those things. She will have to wear a brace and continue to take medication for the rest of her life; however, she does not have to take pain medication and is absolutely thrilled that things were not worse.

I still have a job! Our principal is awesome! He has decided to delete a job that was going to be vacant in a month or two instead of getting rid of one of us in the library. Instead, he's taking that tech job and making a half position and taking one of our media positions and making it half so that one of us can take that spot and not have to worry about being sent elsewhere. (Our tech person was going to quit within the next month because she wants to stay home with her two babies instead of work, so it works out perfectly.) My co-worker decided that she would take the half and half job because she's more techie than I am. Plus, her husband writes programs for a living, so she's pretty much set. That means, I'll get to learn the tech stuff too because we'll be helping each other out all of the time. It also means, she will have control of the tech funds for the school...hee!hee!...hello, new computers! :) Okay, so maybe we won't go that far, but it is a thought. Yippee!! We all have our jobs! (The electric bill will actually get paid this month!)

Please continue to pray for my aunt--her job situation is getting worse and with her depression and housing situation, things are going downhill quickly.

Please also continue to pray for my mom and her job situation. One of her supervisors is a complete idiot (aren't most of them?) and she's taken to singling out my mom for things which has placed my mom on probation until the end of the year. Please pray that nothing serious happens until her probationary period is over. (My mom has been with this company for about 20 years and they're trying to get rid of people so they can hire new people at a lower price.)

Please pray for my little sister. She just turned 29 this past Wednesday and is having issues with turning that age. She doesn't make the best of choices, but she's been a somewhat decent path this past year and I'm hoping that she doesn't mess things up for herself. I'm also praying that she comes back to the Lord. they've been distant for quite some time now.

Please pray for my friend's daughter, Hillary. She's going to be starting college soon and I know she's nervous about going away from home to place where she doesn't know anyone. please pray for wisdom and guidance for her. Also, please pray for her parents who will be empty-nesters.

I know that there are many other prayer requests out there. I still haven't figured out how to make a prayer request section within my blog. I may have to make a separate blog for prayer requests. If you have any requests, please let me know! Thanks for praying for mine!

Tomorrow is our Family Picnic. While I hate everything outdoors, I like to see everyone in the family and see how they're all doing, so it will be fun. Tomorrow will be a bit somber since my dad's aunt passed away a few weeks ago ans won't be there, plus her memorial service is Sunday, but I think with all of the crazy cousins and all of the kids, we'll have a blast!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


It is April FIRST--no foolin'--, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

The special feature author is:

and his book:

Ryan Watters and the King's Sword
Creation House (May 2008)

Illustrated by: Corey Wolfe


Eric J. Reinhold is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. The former Naval officer writes extensively for a variety of national financial publications in his position as a Certified Financial Planner® and President of Academy Wealth Management. His passion for writing a youth fantasy novel was fueled by nightly impromptu storytelling to his children and actively serving in the middle and high school programs at First Baptist Sweetwater Church in Longwood, Florida.

Visit him at his website.


Angel’s Visitation

It first appeared as a gentle glow, almost like a child’s night-light. Heavy shadows filled the room as the boy lay face up, covers tucked neatly under his arms. A slight smile on his face hinted that he was in the midst of a pleasant dream.

Ryann Watters, who had just celebrated his twelfth birthday, rolled lazily onto his side, his blond hair matted into the pillow, unaware of the glow as it began to intensify. Shadows searched for hiding places throughout the room as the glow transformed from a pale yellow hue to brilliant white.

Ryann’s eyelids fluttered briefly and then flickered at the glare reflecting off his pale blue bedroom walls. Drowsily, he turned toward the light expecting to see one of his parents coming in to check on him. “What’s going on?” his voice cracked as he reached up to rub the crusty sleep from his eyes.


Under a pale half-moon, Drake Dunfellow’s house looked just like any other. A closer inspection, however, would reveal its failing condition. Water oaks lining the side of the curved driveway hunched over haggardly, like old men struggling on canes. The lawn, which should have been a lively green for early spring, was withered and sandy. A few patches of grass were sprinkled here and there. Rust lines streaked down the one jagged peak atop the tin-roof house. The flimsy clapboard sides were outlined by fading white trim speckled with dried paint curls. Hanging baskets containing a variety of plants and weeds all struggling to stay alive shared the crowded front porch with two mildew-covered rocking chairs. Inside, magazines and newspaper clippings both old and new were carelessly strewn about. Encrusted dishes from the previous day’s meals battled each other for space in the bulging kitchen sink. In the garage, away from the usual living areas, was a boy’s room. Dull paneling outlined the bedroom, while equally dreary brown linoleum covered the floor. The bedroom must have been an afterthought because not much consideration had been given to the details. A bookcase cut from rough planks sat atop an old garage sale dresser.

Moonlight pressing through the dust-covered metal blinds tried to provide a sense of peacefulness. Instead it revealed bristly red hair atop a young boy’s head poking out from beneath a mushy feather pillow. His heavy breathing provided the only movement in the quiet room. Tiny droplets of perspiration lined his brow as he began jerking about under the thin cotton sheets.

Starting at the edge of the window, the blackness spread downward, transforming all traces of light to an oily dinginess. Drake was slowly surrounded and remained the only thing not saturated in the darkness. Bolting upright to a stiff-seated attention, Drake’s bloodshot eyes darted back and forth. He stared into the black nothingness shuddering and aware that the only thing visible in the room was his bed.

“Who . . . who’s there?” Drake cried out, puzzled by the hollow sound that didn’t seem to travel beyond the edge of his mattress. Beads of sweat trickled down his neck, connecting his numerous freckled dots. He strained, slightly tilting his head, ears perked. There was no reply.


Neatly manicured streets wandered through the Watters’s sleepy, rolling neighborhood. If someone had been walking along in the wee morning hours of March 15, they would have noticed the brilliant white light peeking out from around Ryann’s shade. Below his second-story window the normally darkened bed of pink, red, and white impatiens was lit up as in the noonday sun.

Ryann was fully awake now and quite positive that the dazzling aura facing him from in front of his window was not the hall light from his parents entering the bedroom. Golden hues flowed out of the whiteness, showering itself on everything in the room. It reminded Ryann of sprinkles of pixie dust in some of his favorite childhood books. His blue eyes grew wide trying to capture the unbelievable event unfolding before him.

“Fear not, Ryann,” a confident, yet kind, voice began. “I have come to do the bidding of one much greater than I and who you have found favor with.”

Rapid pulses in his chest gripped Ryann as he struggled to understand what was happening. Instinctively he grasped his navy blue bed sheets and pulled them up so that only his eyes and the top of his head peeked out from his self-made cocoon. Squinting to reduce the brilliance before him, Ryann stared into the light, trying to detect a form while questions scrambled around his mind. What had the voice meant by “finding favor,” and who had sent him? As Ryann struggled to work this out, the center of the whiteness began to take the shape of a man. Human in appearance, he looked powerful, but there was a calmness about his face, like that of an experienced commander before going into battle. Ryann recalled hearing about angels in his Sunday school class at church. He wondered if this could be one.

“Ryann, thou have found favor with the One who sent me. You will be given much and much will be required of you.”

Still shaking, Ryann was fairly certain he was safe. “S-s-s . . . sir, are you an angel?”

“You have perceived correctly.” “And . . . I’ve been chosen by someone . . . for something?” Ryann asked.

“The One who knows you better than you know yourself,” the angel answered.

Ryann knew he must be talking about God, but what could God possibly want with him?

“What am I supposed to do?”

“Thou must search out and put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s schemes. For your struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

“The devil? Forces of evil? I’m just a kid,” Ryann said. “What could I possibly have to do with all of this? You’ve got to be making a mistake.”

“There are no mistakes with God. Thou have heard of David?”

“You mean the David from David and Goliath?” Ryann asked.

The angel nodded. “He was also a boy chosen by God to accomplish great things. God chooses to show His power by using the powerless.”

Ryann tried to comprehend the magnitude of what this mighty being was saying to him. Realizing he was still sitting in his bed, covers bunched around him, he pulled them aside and swung his feet out, never taking his eyes off the angel. Landing firmly on the carpet, Ryann’s wobbly knees barely supported him, the bed acting as a wall between him and the angel.

“Who are you?”

“I am Gabriel and have come to give you insight and understanding.”

“Wow!” Ryann couldn’t believe this was the same angel who had appeared to Joseph and Mary in the Christmas story he heard every December. The lines of excitement on his face drooped as he fidgeted, thinking about the angel’s words. “I don’t want to . . . seem . . . ungrateful,” Ryann hesitated, “but . . . is there any way you can . . . ask someone else?”

“Only you have been given this trial, Ryann, yet you shall not be alone.”

“Who will help me?”

“As the young shepherd boy David spoke, ‘The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. For He commands His angels to guard you in all your ways.’” Gabriel’s twinkling gaze rose as he stretched his arms heavenward, “And these will assist you along the way.”

Beckoning Ryann from behind the bed, the angel glided effortlessly forward to greet him. Walking to within a foot of Gabriel, Ryann bowed humbly, basking in the radiant glow that emanated all around him. Reaching out, the angel grasped Ryann’s left hand firmly and slipped a gold ring, topped by a clear bubble-like stone, onto his finger. Before he could inspect it, the angel took his other hand and placed a long metal pole in it. Ryann’s hand slid easily up and down the smooth metal finish. Its shape and size were similar to a pool cue. Bone-white buttons protruded from just below where he gripped the staff. They were numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Mesmerized by the gifts that begged for more attention and questions, Ryann hardly noticed Gabriel loop a long leather cord through his arm and around his neck. From it a curved ivory horn hung loosely below his waist, resting on his hip.

As Gabriel finished and backed away, Ryann continued marveling at each of the gifts. Reaching down to inspect the horn, he ran his hands along its smooth, yet pitted surface, until he reached the small gold-tipped opening. He wondered how old the horn was and if it had been used before.

“What do I do with these? How do I use them?”

“It is not for me to reveal,” answered the angel calmly. “You shall find out in due time.”

“But what do I do now?”

“Thou must seek the King’s sword.”

“How? What King? Where do I look?” Ryann blurted out, panicking as questions continued to pop into his head.

“The Spirit will lead you, and the ring will open the way,” the angel replied as he began floating backwards, the light peeling away with him.

“Wait, wait! Don’t leave—I don’t know enough—where do I go now?”

“Remember,” Gabriel’s clear voice began to fade, “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that you may be thoroughly equipped for all good works.”

Clutching the mysterious heavenly gifts he had been given, Ryann collapsed in a heap on his bed, body and mind drained from his supernatural encounter. He drifted into a welcomed sleep.


It seemed Drake’s bedroom no longer existed. Only his bed remained, an island floating in a sea of darkness that completely surrounded him. His eyes bulged, darting about for anything that would give him a hint of what was going on. A cool draft drifted down his neck, chilling him despite the safety of his covers. Caught between reality and a nightmare, he let loose a scream that normally would have been heard throughout the house and beyond, but now was absorbed into the heavy darkness enveloping him.

“Who’s there?” he said again. He pinched himself to see if he was dreaming.

With a loud swoooooooosh, huge wings shot out of the darkness surrounding his bed. Drake dove for the safety of his covers.

A thunderous, commanding voice ordered, “Come out from hiding and stand up!”

Drake hesitated, knuckles tense and white as they curled tightly around the edges of his blanket.

“Now!” the voice thundered.

Jerking his covers off, Drake scurried to the edge of the bed, lost his balance, and awkwardly fell face-first onto the cool floor. Petrified at what he might see, yet too scared to disobey, he raised his head slightly. Half expecting some hideous beast, Drake was surprised at what he was facing. The black-winged warrior towering over him was imposing enough to paralyze anyone with fear, but his face was what captivated Drake. Instead of a hideous three-eyed ghoul with fangs, like Drake imagined, he stared into one of the most ruggedly handsome faces he had ever seen. Drake froze, mesmerized.

“Sit up and listen closely, human,” the dark angel began, closing his wings in an effortless swish. Lowering his voice, he spoke in a precise, but less threatening tone. “I have chosen you to carry out my wishes.”

Drake raised himself to a clumsy crouch. The face he looked intently into was perfect in almost every way, except for a long thin scar that traveled from his left ear to his jaw. He was convinced now that this wasn’t a monster trying to devour him.

“Why me?”

The angel’s scar became more noticeable when he smiled at Drake. “I have been here before with great success and have reason to believe you will serve me well.”

“What do you want me to do?” Drake blurted.

“The one who seeks to bind me must be stopped!”

Drake stumbled backwards, putting a hand on the floor to keep from falling. Swallowing hard, he could feel the black, penetrating eyes staring deep into his.

“You are the one,” the creature said confidently.

No one had ever chosen Drake for anything, yet this powerful being wanted him. He didn’t know if he could trust the dark angel or not, but the chance for power excited Drake. “How do I do it?”

The dark angel continued to smile, sensing the blackness in Drake’s heart spreading murkily throughout his body.

“I will be your eyes and ears, a guide to lead you in the right direction, and,” he hesitated, “I will give you these.”

The dark-winged angel stretched out his hand, his index finger pointing toward the empty floor in front of him. Immediately three items appeared before Drake’s eyes. He blinked again. They were still there. Drake’s hand shot out in a blur to grab the closest item.


Drake froze, and then cowered, his eyes shifting back to the booming voice as he slowly retracted his hand. His eyes darted back and forth between the three items and the dark angel in the awkward silence.

“You move when I tell you to move. Now . . . kneel before me, child of the earth, while I make you ready for your task.”

Still hunched-over, Drake pitched forward onto his knees with his head bowed, eyes glancing upward in anticipation.

“My first gift to you is a cloak of darkness. It will provide you with cover at night. You and the night shall become one.”

Drake reached out his hands to receive the cloak. It felt smooth and slippery. Looking intently at it, the cloak seemed several feet thick, as if it was projecting darkness.

“My second gift to you is a ring of suggestion. With it you will have the ability to project persuasive thoughts to those who are weak-willed or in the midst of indecision.” Powerful hands with long curled fingers took hold of Drake’s hand, spreading an icy chill from the tip of his fingers to his wrist. As the creature slipped the black band onto his finger, Drake briefly noticed a red blotch on the top. His hand felt stiff, then the numbness traveled up his arm and throughout his body. Chattering clicks from his own teeth broke the silence as he awaited the angel’s next words. “Lastly, I provide you with a bow and arrows of fire. These arrows were formed in the lake of fire and will deliver physical and mental anguish to those they touch.”

“Thank you . . . uhh . . . what should I call you?” Drake asked.

“I am one of the stars that fell from heaven. My master is Shandago and I am his chief messenger. You may call me Lord Ekron.”

“Thank you, Lord Ekron, for these gifts. I may be young, but I’ll do as you ask to the best of my ability.”

“It is expected. Also, these items I have given to you are not for use in this world. When the time is right, you will find a passage into another land. There you will put these gifts to work.”

The darkness in the room began to rush toward Lord Ekron, as if he were absorbing it, except he wasn’t getting bigger—only darker. Drake kept staring at him, trying not to blink, so he wouldn’t miss anything. Despite his efforts, the dark angel began to fade, and Drake found himself peering into the darkness at the blank wall. When he was sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him and enough time passed so that he felt safe to move, he stood up.

Drake would have thought this was all a bad dream, but the items he held in his hand were proof that it was real. He ran his hands through the dense blackness of the slick cloak, wondering how he might use it. Drake was anxious to try the bow and arrows as well. He didn’t dare pull the arrows out of their quiver right now, but decided that he would have to buy a regular bow and quiver of arrows as soon as possible so that he could begin practicing. Looking down at his hand, he examined the unusual ring he now wore. The entire band was a glossy black, except for the unusual red marking on the top, which resembled a flying dragon.

Not much had gone right for Drake during the first thirteen years of his life. “Now things are going to be different,” he thought. The smile inching across his face looked evil. He knew with Lord Ekron at his side no one would be able to tell him what to do.


Dynamic Uno here: This book arrived about a week ago and I wasn't sure I would have enough time to read it--after all, it IS a hard-back book and it IS a fantasy...Ok, so I wasn't sure with my crazy work schedule. Thankfully, the story is very entertaining and a delightful, quick read. I also like the fact that it takes place in Mount Dora. I've only been there once, but the people were very friendly and happy to sit back and watch everyone on the streets go by, or even chat with you about living there--oh the stories! Hmmm...I think I'm ready to go back--I'd love to see the town through the characters' eyes. Especially since there's alittle map of Mount Dora in the book with the character's houses and so forth.

My middle schoolers would have enjoyed this book--even the ones who are not fans of fantasy because it dealt with real-life situations such as friendships and enemies at school. My high schoolers that I would recommend this book too, probably wouldn't enjoy it as much because the vocabulary is above their heads--yep, my high school kids are very poor/low readers, but this book has a high interest appeal and I think they would identify with the characters if the vocabulary was "dumbed down" a bit. (While I normally wouldn't request this in a book, I can't use it as a whole class novel because it is Christian fiction and I would have parents crawling my case since I'm in a public school. Grrrr....)

In any case, you don't want to miss the first book in this series--it's great for middle schoolers and above! (Yes, I'm a middle schooler at heart!) Let me know what you think of the book after you've read it!