At Horizon’s End by Chris Sarantopoulos

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The reason that this is posted on Sunday is the fact that the story has just been released! If you do not feel like reading the review, it is a 5/5 and I strongly recommend that you buy it. You will not regret it. 

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Kindle: $1.21

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The Man Who Fed On Tears always knows whose time it is to pluck from the world of the living. His existence is one of a symbiosis between his need for the tears and woe he causes to those closest to the deceased, and the natural order of life and death to which he is bound. He never questions himself or his actions and has never made a mistake. Until now.

Stella is a four-year-old girl who misses her mommy and wants to see her again. She doesn’t yet understand the concept of loss, so when she sees close family members crying, she tries to stay cheerful and optimistic. After all, Mommy said they’d see each other again when the time comes At Horizon’s End. So if they’ll meet again, why is everyone crying?

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Chris Sarantopoulos once again shows us that he is an absolute master of short stories. I will try my best to keep it spoiler free, as I really do not want to ruin it for anyone.

We are placed in the story right when everyone is gathering at Stella’s house, due to her mother passing away. Stella, being only 4 years old, is already a hint that this story will explore the darkest places in our hearts and minds. And it does. There is sadness that Stella does not understand, she is too young to grasp the fact that her mother will not return, and although she was told by her mother that they will meet again, she does not fully understand that either. She takes it for granted, but does not know that she too would have to die, for that to happen. She tries to explain to her father that they will see her again, At Horizon’s End (an expression her mother used), but as you would imagine, he is way too sad and way too disconnected and, just like everyone else, only manages a smile and a hug for Stella.

The story actually switches between Stella and The Man Who Fed On Tears. Let us talk about him, as he is the main reason for the story that is unfolding. The author gave him that name because, I believe, he did not want to influence your thoughts, and did not want to put religion into the story. I will do it, however, as I will be able to present him better with something you are all very familiar with. The Man Who Fed On Tears in religious sense would be described as a demon. Everyone knows that demons are known to feed on one’s negative thoughts and preferably get them stuck in a loop of negative emotions. That gives them the energy to “exist”, and that is exactly the reason that he is described as the man who feeds on tears, or rather, negative emotions, which sadness definitely is. There is a catch. If you do not let them feed on your negative emotions, as you only display positive ones, then there is no reason for them to exist. And this is when Stella comes into action. Everyone in the house is feeding The Man, but not Stella. She does not have any negativity around her, as she is, in her pure child’s mind, completely sure that she will be able to see her mother again one day. This leaves The Man dumbfounded, as he is not used to that kind of energy, especially on such occasion. Now let me just say this, The Man also plays the role of a Grim Reaper, but not the cartoonish idea or whatever. He is the reason for her mother’s death, he is the one that took her away, so he could feed himself. Now, again, if we follow it through spiritual explanation, we know that evil entities are not dumb. We know that they show great capabilities of thought. And this is also what happens in the story. The Man, amazed that Stella is handling the situation like she is, gets into a moral struggle, whether he did the right thing by taking her mother away from her or not.

And this is the point where I stop. What arrives after this point is the conclusion to the story that would spoil it for everyone, so I will not go any further.

As you can see, you cannot explain this story or take anything from it word for word, because it is not meant to be read like that. It is meant to make you think and incorporate your own knowledge and your own beliefs into the story, and the story suddenly becomes unique to you. I could go on and on, and explain every single paragraph, but I do not want to write an essay and bore you guys to death. With that said…

Book recommendation: 5/5

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Hunt for the Last Wizard (Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Quartet #2) – Melanie Ifield

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price
Kindle: $1.21
Paperback: $9.99      

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In the second book of the ‘Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Series’, Daniel faces more sorcery, even more danger and magical forces than ever before as the sirens of the Glass Sea attempt to drag him into a watery grave. With angry dragons and hungry goblins who would like nothing more than to eat the companions alive, travel in the Land of Novarmere is not for the faint-hearted!
What else will happen as the companions journey north on the hunt for the last wizard of Novarmere?

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If you start to see betrayal in everyone you meet, soon you will be unable to spend any time in the company of others. You’ll be confined by your own suspicions. – Nilofar

The first word to come to mind – Amazing. I loved the first book, but this one took it to another level. I truly believed that if someone were to make a movie out of this, it would be at least as successful as Narnia.

The book starts off with a revision on what happened in the previous book. Now to be honest here, this was not done well. It was more complex than it should be. Instead of trying to connect it in the story, the author should have just made a paragraph in a style of “previously on”.  I remembered what went on in the first book even though it has been some time since I have read it. So if someone was to jump into this one immediately after the first, it would bore him out and make him skip a few pages, and nobody wants to do that (unless you are reading centuries old books for your school project, you are excused to do that then).

The story picks up where it left off. Our little protagonist Daniel is still trapped in Novarmere and his brave heart is still there to assist his friends on the new adventure. Following the events in the previous book, the search is on to find their friend and last wizard, Poe. Nilofar, the little dragon, that we also met in the first book and grew fond of, is still present and still flapping his wings and puffing smoke. We do however meet a few new characters, that still need to earn our trust. After the turn of events in the first book, we just do not like to give it away as easily. You will meet a fewer selection of new characters and creatures, which is not a bad thing. The author took a step back and gave us just enough material for us to comprehend and remember. It is a good way to make us care for and cherish every single character in the book.

As we are used to by now, action and mystery is just around the corner in Novarmere. Our friends have to fight to stay alive and so does our protagonist, Daniel. There is a sense of maturity kicking in, because for the first time in his life, he has to know how to handle himself and how to protect others. So we can account for character growth throughout the book (and probably even series). The book teaches us that we should go over and beyond for our friends and never give up, no matter what danger crosses our path. You never know, your friends might have to do the same for you one day (write this down somewhere, probably the smartest sentences to come from under my fingers).

If we compare it to the first book in a sense of quotable lines, you will not find that many in this one. This book, compared to the previous one, is a bit more serious. They are searching for their friend after all and with so much going on, there really is no time to be a philosopher. You will find some tho and those are more than enough to get you through.

I loved the book and I am off to buy the next part.

Book recommendation: 9/10

The Candlestick Dragon – Melanie Ifield (OLD REVIEW)

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“Sometimes not being where we are meant to be and being where we are not, is just the thing we are meant to be doing.” – Nilofar

Let us make it perfectly clear – this is NOT a book for kids. It is far more than that. If you want your kids to learn the real values of life, give them this book.
I can not remember the time I have last read a book so easy to read, a book that does not waste time and gets you straight into action from the very beginning. But this does not mean that it makes it a book that is only scratching the surface. The story has an immense depth, one that you are not familiar with at the very beginning, but as the story unfolds you can start connecting the dots. There is a huge back story to the story that you are reading, and everything is happening for a reason. It is not a book of violence. It is a book that teaches what respect, equality and friendship are. The obstacles that we are able to overcome, if only we put our faith and good heart into it. No matter what race or creature you are. On the other hand, it also deals with tougher subjects, like the loss of a friend and betrayal.

What surprised me the most was the amount of quotable sentences (like the one included at the beginning of this review). I found myself marking them, not knowing which one to use when I started to write this, because there are just so many that you can relate with in your life.

I must also thank the author, Melanie Ifield, for providing me with a review copy of this book. A book that I will now most certainly buy, with all the sequels. You have managed to restore my faith by showing me that there are still books out there, that do not need violence to teach important life lessons, and I thank you for that.

Book recommendation: 9/10