There is nothing that makes me happier than when I sit down with a book that I am about to read for a review, and the moment I read the first page, I am captivated, engrossed, and swept away into pages before me and eagerly anticipating the pages to come. It isn’t something that I experience often, but it IS something I experienced when sitting down to read The Changing Season by Steven Manchester.
When Steven first approached me MONTHS ago asking if I would read his manuscript (the actual book will not be published until February of 2016), I hesitated because reading manuscripts of books isn’t always one of my most favorite things. Oftentimes due to the fact that they are in a “raw” form, they are replete with typos and grammatical errors. That certainly was NOT the case with The Changing Season.
Steven Manchester obviously not only has a passion for writing, but is a GIFTED writer. His descriptive and lyrical writing and thorough and intriguing character development is among some of the best that I have had the pleasure of reading.
The Changing Season synopsis from the author:
This was supposed to be a simple summer for Billy; one more lazy expanse of time before college began. He’d fill the hours playing with Jimmy-his canine best buddy-going camping and doing all the things he promised Jimmy they’d do before Billy left.
But that was before the accident that shook the entire town.
It was before the summer job that turned into something so much more than a way to get a paycheck.
And it was before Vicki.
This summer was destined to be many things to Billy, things he didn’t truly understand until now. But it was definitely not going to be simple.
An enormously touching, richly textured, deeply moving novel of new adulthood, The Changing Season is an experience to savor.
Allow me to touch on the sentence above. “enormously touching, RICHLY TEXTURED, DEEPLY MOVING novel of new adulthood.” is NO EXAGGERATION. The Changing Season IS “an experience to savor.”
“I’ve been on this earth for more years than I care to admit. Trust me, the truth always comes out.” She smirked. “And justice is karma’s twin sister. They’re both bitches when you keep ’em waiting.”
The Changing Season is not a book where the canine is merely a “device” to make animal lovers want to read a book. Some of the most beautiful, poignant, touching and often funny moments, are conversations that Billy has with his beloved dog Jimmy, who shared his life with him since he was a little boy.
“The trick to a happy life is to expect change and then try to make each transition as smooth as possible.”
When I finished reading The Changing Season (and one evening I was so engrossed that I completely forgot a TV show that I watch RELIGIOUSLY was even on and I completely missed it one night this week!), I have to tell you I was SAD when I finished reading it. I literally was turning the pages in the back looking for more. IT IS THAT GOOD!
When you read The Changing Season, (and believe me when I say YOU MUST read this book), you will be transported back to a time of innocence, first love and lust, uncertainty about yourself and your own thoughts and desires, the excitement of new discoveries and experiences that lie ahead, instances of harsh reality, finding meaning in your life and answering the call of what you are MEANT to do with YOUR life, all while sharing the most beautiful and unconditional love of your beloved canine friend.
After returning home from a difficult tour of duty in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, I stepped back behind the walls of a Massachusetts penitentiary where I battled each day as a prison investigator. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time, and very little opportunity to heal from my wartime demons (or pursue my dreams of being published). I finally decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, my professor, Barry McKee, detailed police work, but barely touched on other topics. I finally raised his hand and asked, “As the criminal justice system is so vast, what about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” Barry smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d done it! In his office, Barry explained, “Except from the slanted perspectives of inmates, there’s no real written material out there on corrections, or prisons.” Barry smiled again and then dropped the bomb that would change my life forever. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?” It was the last push I needed to get writing. Nine months later, I placed the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue (under the pen name, Steven Herberts) on Barry’s desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.
Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in newspapers, magazines, and even penned two collections of poetry. Once I’d found my true voice, I began, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy; an emotional account of the Gulf War that would heal my soul, and the souls of other suffering veterans.
Today, 20 years later, I have been blessed with a beautiful family; my wife, Paula, and our four children–Evan, Jacob, Bella and Carissa. From a professional perspective, I’ve written 16 books (with 12 in publication), and have contributed to more than three dozen international anthologies. My work has been showcased in such national literary journals as Taproot Literary Review, American Poetry Review and Fresh! Literary Magazine, as well as various magazines to include Angels on Earth, Obadiah, Titan, G.F.O. (U.K.), Skyline Literary, Alive Now, Dark Animus (Australia) and Spinnings Short Stories. Hundreds of my essays, poetry and short fiction have been contributed to Internet publications such as Zine5, New Mystery Reader, Wilmington Blues, Heartwarmers, The Murder Hole, Father’s World, and dozens of others.
My work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, BET’s Nightly News, Good Day Atlanta; in the New York Daily News, Newark Star Ledger, Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, Providence Journal, Dallas Morning News, Orlando Sentinel, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Daily Oklahoman; and on 50+ nationally syndicated radio shows from coast-to-coast.
GIVE-AWAY:Steven Manchester has generously offered to give away AN EBOOK TO THREE WINNERS LOCATED WORLD-WIDE AND ONE HARD COVER BOOK TO A READER WHO RESIDES IN THE U.S. (Dollar amount is not available due to the book not being released at the time of this review/give-away). Entering is easy! Just enter on the Rafflecopter below, GOOD LUCK!
In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a complimentary manuscript of The Changing Season in exchange for my honest review.