PUYB Spotlight: Awakening by Karen Arnpriester

Posted 20 June, 2018 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

AWAKENING: DREAMERS’ REALM ONE by Karen Arnpriester, Christian Fantasy, 344 pp., $14.99 (paperback)

Author: Karen Arnpriester
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 344
Genre: Christian Fantasy
The horror of her sister’s abduction and

Lucinda’s guilt manifest into years of acute insomnia. She appears to be

miraculously healed when she participates in a test program that

provides restful sleep but awakens a new dream realm … an alternative

existence where Lucinda can create and manipulate any fantasy inspired

by her imagination. Lucinda’s new realm is shattered by a dark evil that

lurks there. Evil that is not confined to nightmares, but a sinister

foe that also hunts for victims in the real world. Lucinda’s discarded

spiritual beliefs resurface and prompt her to begin a perilous journey

against this very real threat; a heartless creature that destroys

innocent lives. The dream realm, spiritual domain and Lucinda’s physical

reality integrate and twist together as Lucinda rediscovers her faith

and confronts the monster that threatens her very life and those she






Lucinda woke to a serenade of singing

birds. She was lying on her back in soft grass, facing a sky filled with clouds

and each was a shape she recognized. There was an elephant, a pirate ship and a

smiling face just above her. She giggled with delight as the childhood memories

of searching the clouds for shapes with her little sister flooded in. The sky

was brilliant blue directly in front of her, but when she turned her head to

the sides, she could see deeper into the sky. The blue blended to a vibrant

purple, filled with stars and swirling galaxies. She didn’t understand how she

could see the layers of the atmosphere, but she didn’t care. Lucinda sat up and

looked around her. This place she found herself in was beautiful and shimmered

with light. It was as if an opalescent sheen had been applied to all surfaces.

When she stood up, she realized that she

was next to the center hub of stone walkways, fanning out like legs of an

octopus. She stepped onto one of the walkways and viewed her surroundings. The

landscape was magical in every direction. She suddenly heard a scraping sound

behind her and turned to see a large ostrich with a peacock tail waddling

towards her, positioning its face right in hers. The bird’s face was tan with

huge turquoise eyes framed in lush black eyelashes. The tan feathers blended

into shades of lavender and sky blue, which then blended into deep jewel tones

of the peacock. Lucinda began to feel uncomfortable with the intensity of the

bird’s penetrating stare into her eyes.

“You are in my way, madam, please get out

of the flow of traffic if you are going to dally about.” the bird disdainfully

said with a British accent. He could have moved around her, but it was clear

that he expected her to give him the right-of-way.

Lucinda gasped in shock when she realized

that the bird could talk. She stepped to the right side of the pathway and

allowed the “peatrich,” her name for the mash-up of creatures, to continue past

her, watching the luxurious mixture of jewel tones in the plumage that dragged

behind the bird. Once the intimidating peatrich was a safe distance away, she

allowed herself to relax and actually laughed. She had always loved the face of

an ostrich, especially the soulful eyes, and the beauty of the male peacock’s

tail was one of nature’s breathtaking displays. Had her imagination blended

these two creatures into one for her delight? she thought to herself.The

peatrich turned and faced Lucinda, extending his tail plumage into a massive

fan. He then humpfed at her, appearing to show distain for her presumption that

she had created him, as if he could read her mind. He turned away and

strutted down the path, with his fully extended tail swaying behind him.

Lucinda considered which path to take, and

decided not to follow the peatrich, as he appeared to be rather grumpy and she

didn’t want to aggravate him. She chose the path to her immediate left, which

led to a village off in the distance. It felt like she traveled for hours to

reach the gathering of buildings that were clearly from the Renaissance period.

The quaint homes were made of stone with thatched roofs, and cobblestone paths

ribboned throughout the buildings. The trees were covered in clusters of

delicate lavender and yellow flowers, as well as dusty green moss that dangled

from the branches. Lucinda was startled to see dragons flying above the

village, effortlessly gliding above the treetops, seemingly unaware of her

presence … at first.

As she stepped into the village square,

she saw a large shadow covering her, and when she looked up, a magnificent ebony

dragon hovered above her. The dragon had positioned his head so that one bright

yellow eye could watch her every move. Lucinda felt her heart clench up and her

breathing became rapid and panicked. She could not outrun his flames if he

decided to incinerate her.

The village appeared to be uninhabited and

the understanding that no one could save her created bile that churned in her

stomach. The dragon appeared to give her a knowing leer and she saw his belly

begin to glow until it was bright red with leathery veins of ebony running

through the hot flesh. It reminded her of pictures she had seen of glowing lava

beneath a black cracking charcoal surface. Lucinda dropped down into a crouch

and wrapped herself into a ball, waiting for the searing heat to melt her to

the bone.

“Ebony, desist or I shall thwart you,” a

deep male voice suddenly bellowed out.

Lucinda looked up in the direction of the

voice and saw a knight dressed in gold armor coming toward her. He shook his

massive jeweled sword threateningly at the dragon that hesitated in his attack,

apparently weighing his choices and the possible outcomes. The dragon slowly

rose; the red fire in his belly cooling into glowing embers.

“Henceforth, she is mine. Any harm comes

to this wench and thou shalt die,” the knight threatened with authority.

A rush of gratitude and relief swept over

Lucinda.  She would not die by flames

that would devour her flesh.

The knight reached down his hand and

pulled Lucinda to her feet. He placed his sword in his scabbard and then

removed his helmet. The knight was tall with long blonde hair blowing in the

same breeze that also caressed her skin. Her eyes scanned his beautiful face

and she knew him, she had history with this man, and she felt her face flush

and become a deep shade of crimson when he grinned at her with impossibly

white, perfect teeth. He was her secret heartthrob for as long as she could

remember … the supermodel Fabio. She felt a wave of embarrassment and lust

sweep over her.

The knight took her hand and pressed his

full, warm lips against her skin. She felt the tingles of excitement begin to

build within her. After his enticing kiss, he lifted her hand up to his

shoulder, which pulled her up against him. She could see the intricate carvings

on his gold armor, scrolls and vines twisting and weaving over the surface. Her

eyes focused on his chest and there was an etched heart formed with vines and

flowers. In the center of the heart was her name, Lucinda, clearly engraved in

beautiful script lettering. He was hers and she was his. She slid her tongue

over her lips to moisten them, and then she lifted her face to accept the kiss

that she knew was awaiting her. She closed her eyes and anticipated the

warm softness of his desire.

WAHHH, WAHHH, WAHHH blasted into her

conscious mind through her ears as Fabio burst into a showering of gold

particles. Lucinda ran from the village, onto the path that had led her to her

secret love, trying to locate the source of the obnoxious sound that

interrupted her interlude with Sir Fabio. She found herself at the hub of

paths. How could that be? It had taken her hours to get to the village, and

only moments to return to the hub. Again she heard WAHHH, WAHHH, WAHHH as her

eyes fluttered open.

Lucinda was lying on her back staring at

the ceiling fan that spun in her bedroom. It took her a few moments to realize

that she had actually been dreaming. Lucinda wrapped her arms around herself

and squealed with delight.  It had

worked, the doctor was right. Not only had she slept, she had dreamed, a

wonderfully delicious dream that was too quickly interrupted by her alarm.

Karen Slimick Arnpriester (October 1953) was born in Alton,

Illinois and moved to California

when she was eight. Karen has owned her own graphic art business for thirty

years. Anessia’s Quest is her first book. Her second book is titled Raider’s

Vendetta. Slimy and Miraculous Relationship are non-fiction books that share

Karen’s years as a bullied child and real-life miracles. The first two books of

the Dream Realm trilogy, her newest endeavor, are now available. Awakening:

Dream Realm One and Deception: Dream Realm Two are available as paperback

and e-books through Amazon.

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