The Next Chapter
Author: Melanie Young
In a flash of a second or even a nanosecond, your life can take on a different direction. Each day brings with it many unexpected events that can alter the way we think, act or live the rest of our lives. As we turn the pages of a book and begin each new chapter, the author introduces more information about the characters, develops the plot and excites the reader to continue reading using vivid descriptions of the scenery, the actions of the characters and enveloping the reader and wrapping them so tightly within the pages of the book until the very last word on the last page. This brings me to my review of The Next Chapter by author Melanie Young.
Carol Davidson, wife, mother and wedding photographer’s life is shattered in one brief moment. After speaking with her husband, Jim, not one hour before about their upcoming cruise for their 26th anniversary, the excitement, the happiness and the anticipation of spending this momentous occasion together will forever fade in her mind as the doorbell rings and an officer tells her of her husband’s fate in a deadly car accident. Like many people who lose their spouse, Carol created her own envelope or bubble that completely surrounded her and withdrew into her own world leaving many outside to fend for themselves. With a thriving business, a great next door neighbor and wonderful assistant, she devoted her time to Enchantments, her business and left her daughter and son-in-law outside the parameters of this bubble keeping others just within the walls but not too close.
After four years of mourning Jim, her daughter Andrea and husband Jason visit her with exciting news and want her to come and live with them in Florida. Debating her choices and whether she wanted to give up her home, her tangible memories of Jim and her business, Carol faces some really hard choices and must decide whether a house and material things matter more than her daughter who wants to know her mother and lost the chance with her father due to the accident. What choice does she make? What does her daughter say to her when confronted that finally pushes her to decide?
Visiting Andrea and Jason she meets Andrew a divorced father who Andrea and Jason buy their home and auto insurance from. Immediately taken with Carol he becomes an ardent fan of her moving to Florida. But, that decision is hers and although they seem to bond, Carol is still not ready for a real relationship and Andrew hopes to change that.
As Carol is sorting through and cleaning Jim’s office she comes across a letter that he wrote to her that will forever change her life, her mindset and cement her decision. A sincere, heartfelt, and beautiful letter from Jim to Carol, allows the reader to enter their lives, even for a moment to help understand the strength of their relationship and how strong that bubble that envelopes her formed as a shield to prevent anyone from getting too close and breaking the barriers for fear of being disloyal to Jim. But, after reading his words in his own hand, things will change for Carol, Andrea and her soon to be business partner in Enchantments, Sarah
Andrew the auto and home insurance salesman soon encounters his competition in Eddie the car salesman who definitely resembles Jim. The author takes us on a journey along with Carol with a woman who makes many life changing decisions, including where she will live, whether to have Sarah her assistant buy into her business as a partner, and learning to live life to its fullest. What does happen between Carol and Andrew remains to be seen. Will she prefer the man who looks like Jim? Andrea, Jason, Carol, Andrew, and her new granddaughter Jamie Grace will spend their lives on this exciting journey called life. With her best friend Joan’s sage and wise dating advice, which sounds like what my mother told me, and the support of her family, only time will tell when and if the next chapter in Carol’s life will be written. Dating does mean getting to know someone better to see if you really want to know them, as Joan states so brilliantly. My mother would add, the only thing a man is entitled to is the pleasure of your company and no fringe benefits. A date means going out and having conversation and that’s all. Relationships form over time and require trust, respect and understanding as you learn through Carol and Andrew. Good old fashion values definitely come through in this novel.
Author Melanie Young brings to light the many issues that women deal with when they lose a spouse. Understanding how Carol reacted and feels reminds me of my mom after losing my Dad. She enveloped herself and isolated herself too and did not want to break the walls of that bubble and let the world and the sun back in. But, she did in her own way and now will Carol pop some holes in that bubble and allow it to burst, or will she forever not write the Next Chapter. Well written, with characters whose personalities are clearly defined and the many journeys that Carol takes, the reader hopes that her future will have many Next Chapters with happy endings. Let’s hope she lets the sun shine and back into her life.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious
I give this book a beautifully photographed picture of
Five People: Carol, Andrea, Jason, Jamie Grace and you decide who gets the final spot.
“This is a true story written by a prolific author, about her own younger brother who suffered Encephalitis when he was not more than a newborn. It entails his strength of personality and will to overcome an illness which left him with a so-called, mental handicap as well as physical.
I was filled with admiration for this man, Stanley Robinson and by the time I finished reading, I was in awe. I would recommend reading to anyone but for those who have known or had a person like Stanley in their lives, it will tug your heartstrings. At the least it is a lesson to the rest of the world…Souls come wrapped up in many different packages..all are a wonderful gift.”
This review was written by Sandy
Winds of Gold by Jessa Lee Scott (pseudonym) synopsis: Kyndra Bailey inherits Faircliffe Plantation and is caught in an intricate web of secrets and deception when her brother disappears and her uncle spends her inheritance. With the loss of Faircliffe looming, Kyndra is forced to ask for help from handsome and mysterious Tyler Andrews. From antebellum Richmond to the Santa Fe Trail, Kyndra and Tyler are entangled in danger, adventure, and passion as they search for Kyndra’s brother and a fortune in gold, silver, and jewels. Knowing that Tyler must return to Texas and Kyndra will return to her beloved Faircliffe, their love seems doomed from the start. Yet as the clues draw them ever deeper into the mystery of Beale’s Treasure, their passion cannot be denied. The treasure may be lost forever but will Kyndra and Tyler be lost to each other forever or is their love strong enough to keep them together? According to legend, Thomas Jefferson Beale and twenty-nine Virginians left Lynchburg, VA, in 1817 to hunt on the Western plains. They found gold and silver north of Santa Fe, and two loads were taken back to Virginia to be buried in Bedford County. Each shipment was to be hidden until all of the treasure was transported and could be divided among the men in the party. During his second trip to Lynchburg in 1822, Beale left a letter and three coded messages with Robert Morris, an innkeeper in Lynchburg, with instructions that Morris should read the papers and act accordingly if Beale didn’t return within ten years. When Beale failed to reappear, Morris and others subsequently attempted to break the codes. One message has been deciphered and it lists the contents of the buried treasure, which would be worth millions of dollars in today’s market. The second and third messages supposedly give the names of those in Beale’s party, and the precise location of the treasure in Bedford County, Virginia. These unbroken messages have stumped both experts and amateurs; even the most sophisticated computers have failed to produce the key. Much has been written about Beale’s Treasure. For more than a hundred years people from far and wide have descended upon Bedford County to search for a lost fortune of gold, silver and jewels. Believers can find ample evidence to support the story while skeptics can find discrepancies that convince them it is a hoax. There is a national organization of people who are working on those two coded messages.
Self Defense for Survival: The Road to Empowerment by Leslie Bowman Synopsis Women have all sorts of excuses for not learning to defend themselves. Among them are not having enough time, not being in good shape physically, having various medical conditions, not wanting to learn martial arts, and the worst of all-IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO ME. This book includes statistics that show how easily violence can and does happen and it also teaches awareness in order to prevent violence. Sometimes people become victims of violent acts no matter how careful or aware of potential danger they may be. In cases like this, self-defense survival strategies can save a life. The prevention strategies and self-defense survival techniques in this book are suitable for women and children of all ages. With education and awareness, you can increase your self-confidence and learn to prevent and avoid potential violence attacks.
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW Littluns and the Book of Darkness Mark Glamack, Author Mark Glamack, Illustrator EZ Gift Shopping PO Box 285, West Bloomfield, NY 14585 9780615169972 $29.95 http://www.littluns.net Adventure, courage, and determination surround loyal friends in the fantasy novel Littluns and the Book of Darkness. Movie Producer and Director now Author, Mark Glamack, uses his background in animation and writing to create this family friendly and Christian based young adult novel. With a mission to positively motivate, educate, enlighten and inspire through entertaining content, Glamack uses his own spiritual guiding light to draw his readers into the struggle between good and evil in this debut novel. The Littluns and the Book of Darkness will entertain audiences of all ages with its fast paced, intriguing storyline and elaborate illustrated life of the Littluns world in the Hollow Hills of the land, Terra Fermata. Author, Mark Glamack, shows off his artistic talent with colorful and meticulous illustrations. His veteran motion picture experience shines with expertly written detailed scene changes and engages readers with screenwriting skills that make his audience feel like they’ve been deep inside a high production animated movie. Glamack has exceeded his goal in depicting the journey of life, how to choose between the light and dark side of the world while showing the gifts of friendship and how they can influence us in the shadows of our own life choices. Littluns and the Book of Darkness is a delightful, skillfully written novel that will capture both young and mature readers and leave them with full hearts and the tools necessary to know the difference between good and evil. Littluns and the Book of Darkness is a wonderful gift for lovers of fantasy, for parents and educators who want to offer a faith based book and for librarians who want to expand their offerings. Sara Hassler Reviewer http://www.midwestbookreview.com/rbw/sep_09.htm#hassler
Synopsis: Lori is only ten years old when she and her heavily pregnant mother flee an abusive husband and father. Alone in the Everglades, Lori promises her dying mother she will care for her newborn brother, Michael. Over the months and years that follow she will strive to keep her promise. Not even being unwittingly caught up in a drug smuggling ring between Cuba and London, or the love of two men at the same time, will distract her from the promise she gave to her mother alongside a steaming Fakahatchee swamp. Born into the violence and chaos of Northern Ireland, and after the fatal shooting of his sister Kelly by a British paratrooper, a teenaged Shaun O’Brien is recruited by the Irish Republican Army. Under the expert tutelage of Hugh Devlin, a veteran terrorist, Shaun will excel in his ability to spread death and destruction. Returning from intense insurgency training in the middle east, his talent for organization will bring together rogue governments and terrorist groups from all over the northern hemisphere. While proliferating his destructive creed, Shaun will cross paths with both Lori and Michael, but neither will be aware of their true kinship. Pursued by The Royal Ulster Constabulary in the form of Inspector Pete Doyle, the two men will eventually come face to face in a confrontation that only one can survive. After leaving Lori in Queensland, Australia, Michael, searching for a cause to champion, travels to Santiago, Chile, where he meets, and falls deeply in love with, Rosa, a fourteen-year-old shanty dweller. The two teenagers, after pledging themselves to each other before the Madonna on San Cristobal Hill, are caught up in an anti government rally. Unable to save Rosa’s life, Michael returns to Florida, grief stricken and consumed by guilt. He takes solace in his faith, and after ordination as a Roman Catholic priest, his first posting is to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Charged with membership of the I.R.A., Michael is incarcerated in the notorious Maze prison alongside Ireland’s most desperate terrorists. After the widely publicized, martyred death of Bobby Sands, Michael becomes a willing participant in the hunger strikes. For the love of her brother, and to keep faith with the promise she made to their mother, Lori solicits the help of the I.R.A. to free Michael. The one man that can help her is Shaun O’Brien, but the price of his help is to kidnap a prominent Protestant church leader and hold the British Government to ransom. Michael is dying! Will the plan work, and will it work in time to save Michaels life? The story culminates in Geneva Switzerland, but will Lori, Michael, and Shaun ever find out that they are, in fact, siblings?
Malcolm J. Croan
St Joseph’s College, Dumfriese, Scotland. Boarding school, absconded when I was twelve.
Born: Edinburgh Scotland. Son of a wholesale fish merchant and kipper curer. Hell of a job getting my first girlfriend?
” Gun Law By Hotel Chief ” This was the headline in a national newspaper in Scotland when as a victim of car vandalism I took an empty rifle and perused six drunken young men who were destroying my car. I did not physically harm anyone, only threatened. As a hotelier and local businessman, the court said I should have known better. I was finned one hundred pounds sterling, and none of them were even charged. ‘No I do not suffer fools gladly.’
The Long Night Moon – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Metal hurtled out of control. Drivers slammed their brakes to the floorboard. Vehicles skidded in all directions. An ear-piercing scream went out, laying down an eerie quiet…’
Seventeen year old Darcie and nineteen year old Ian lost their parents in an auto accident caused by the combustion of a tire. Ian was now head of the family. He alone, had to make all of the decisions regarding the future of his sister Darcie. Three weeks after the funeral Ian made his first major decision which was to move Darcie to their mountain home located in the North Carolina mountains just outside of Franklin. This decision was made due to a secret that Darcie carried around with her. A secret that she had no idea her brother knew. A secret that would change the lives of everyone around her, including her own.
As I read The Long Night Moon, I could feel the compassion and closeness between Darcie and Ian. I could also feel the spirit of 17 year old Darcie and her lack of respect for others. She was a person who had one desire in life. That desire was to have fun no matter what the long run cost may be. She was selfish, self centered and very much on the wild side when it came to relationships with the opposite sex. She was a character that, as I read about her “adventures,” I really didn’t like. And when she met Wa’si, a Cherokee Indian whose family had lived in the NC mountains for ages, I formed an even stronger dislike for her. Wa’si lost his wife and child after her car went over a mountain. His emotions were still raw and Darcie’s plans for him were nothing short of more pain.
As I read deeper into The Long Night Moon, I began to understand Darcie a little better. I followed her as she grew into a caring, mature young woman. And I followed her as she was faced with even more tragedy which again made her into an even stronger woman.
The Long Night Moon has everything needed to make a great read. It’s filled with love, pain, sorrow, happiness, tragedy and a shaky ending. It’s also filled with places and sites in the NC mountains that I didn’t know existed. I’ve lived here for 15 years now without seeing that much of the state. After reading The Long Night Moon, I plan on changing that. To me, this was a very enjoyable book.