Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Goodnight, Brian by Steven Manchester (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Providence Book Promotions, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes back Steven Manchester, author of Goodnight, Brian!

Author Guest Post

Top 10 Things You Love About Writing / Being A Writer

1. That I can prove to my children that dreams do come true (though we never really get what we wish for; we get what we work for).

2. That I can pour my heart and soul into something that touches the hearts and souls of others.

3. That a family trait—perseverance—has come in handier than any other.

4. (Forgive the cliché) That being a writer really is a journey—and has so much less to do with where you end up.

5. That my passion never loses its sense of challenge.

6. That I can share my thoughts and feelings with my family for generations to come.

7. That I feel a stronger sense of accomplishment by writing than nearly anything else I’ve ever done.

8. That it affords me the opportunity to help others—at many different levels.

9. That I am able to fulfill my sense of purpose on this planet.

10. And that it’s only getting started…

About The Author

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestseller Twelve Months and Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy, and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing.

Steven Manchester ~ Goodnight, Brian ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Providence Book Promotions

Book Review

Goodnight, Brian by Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Format: Paperback - 308 pages / Kindle - 580 KB / Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 1611880610
Genre: Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: Goodnight, Brian

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Providence Book Promotions.

Book Description:

Fate was working against little Brian Mauretti. The food that was meant to nourish him was poisoning him instead, and the doctors said the damage was devastating and absolute. Fate had written off Brian. But fate didn’t count on a woman as determined as Brian’s grandmother, Angela DiMartino – who everyone knew as Mama. Loving her grandson with everything she had, Mama endeavored to battle fate. Fate had no idea what it was in for.

An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive, Goodnight, Brian is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option.

Book Excerpt:

Enough time had passed for the shock of Brian’s condition to wear off. Joan had stumbled beyond the grieving process and had given up negotiating with God. She was now at a place called rage.

Mama sat with her daughter at the kitchen table, trying to help her make sense of it all. “Maybe Brian’s a test from God?” Mama suggested.

“Why would God test a little baby who’s never done a thing wrong? Why would He test an innocent child?” Joan snapped back.

Mama shook her head. “I didn’t say God was testing Brian,” she said evenly. There was a thoughtful pause. “Maybe He’s testing everyone around Brian?”

“I don’t want to hear that!” Joan roared. “My son will never be able to enjoy the life of other people who don’t…”

Mama slapped her hand on the Formica table, stopping Joan in mid-sentence and turning her face into that of a seven-year-old girl’s. “Not another negative word, do you hear me?” she yelled back, quickly grabbing her daughter’s hands and holding them tightly. “Positive, Joan – everything must be positive! Negative calls for negative and positive brings forth positive. Brian’s already facing some unfair challenges. We have to be positive, Joan. We just have to be!”

Joan wiped her eyes. “But what if the doctor’s right, Ma?” she muttered in a tortured voice. “What if…”

Without letting Joan’s hands go, Mama took a deep breath and started in on her own tirade. “The doctors don’t know what the hell they’re talking about! I had a grandmother who lived her whole life as a brittle diabetic, but she ate anything she wanted. She died three days before her eighty-fifth birthday. Your grandfather supposedly had cirrhosis of the liver, but lived with his bottle for forty more years until old age took him. They don’t know beans! Besides, we need to have faith in a higher source.” She pulled her crucifix away from her neck and kissed it. “You have to believe, Joan. Before any of the healing can take place, you have to believe that it will.” She nodded and lowered her tone. “Only God knows how… and that’s enough.”

Joan placed her face in her hands and began to cry. She was now completely removed from her rage and safely returned to the stage of grief. “I’m…just… so…scared,” she stuttered, sobbing. Mama stroked her hair. “Don’t you worry, love. They say that children are raised by a village.” She nodded her gray, curly head. “I think it’s about time we had a village meeting.”

My Book Review:

In Goodnight, Brian, author Steven Manchester weaves a heartwarming and inspirational tale of one grandmother's strength and power based in faith, determination and unending love to pull her family together in a strong bond to help her youngest grandchild have the same kind of life like every other child enjoys.

The story begins in Rhode Island in the winter of 1976, when Joan and Frank Mauretti are blessed with the birth of their second son, Brian. From the beginning of Brian's infancy, Joan has worried about his ability to get enough nutrition from his feedings. Her mother's intuition and concern becomes a reality when she switches Brian from breastfeeding to a milk-based bottled formula. With each bottled feeding, Brian becomes more and more irritable, with non-stop crying and vomiting. A pediatrician claims that Brian is lactose intolerant and replaces the feeding with a soy-milk based formula called Neo Mulsoy. But with the change to the soy-milk based formula, Brian gets worse when he suffers from diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy. Joan keeps a strict vigilance over Brian and keeps a medical diary. The pediatrician insists that Brian will grow out of this, but they get a second opinion and the final diagnosis is Metabolic Alkalosis, a blood disorder that affects an infant's ability to digest properly and gain weight. Tests show that Brian has some abnormality in the frontal area of his brain, he has irreversible brain damage, and he will never be able to walk, talk or communicate effectively. The primary cause of his mental disability is from the soy formula, Neo Mulsoy, because of a sodium deficiency within the formula. Heartbroken and devastated, Joan and Frank don't know what to do but accept the diagnosis. But the family matriarch, Angela DiMartino, lovingly known as Mama, refuses to accept the diagnosis and believes that with the power of faith, determination, love and support from the entire family, young Brian will grow to be like every other child and enjoy the same kind of life like they do. This is the story of Mama's life mission to prove the doctor wrong with love, determination and the power of faith in God to help Brian live a meaningful life.

Goodnight, Brian is a beautifully written and deeply touching story that will simply tug at your heartstrings. Author Steven Manchester has once again been able to weave an inspirational story that makes you believe that miracles can happen when you rely on the strength and power of love, faith and determination.

The author transports the readers back to Rhode Island in the late 1970s with a richly detailed and descriptive storyline written in the third person narrative. The reader can't help but become emotionally bonded with Brian, Mama and the Mauretti family, as they follow along with this family's emotional and uplifting story. Your heart just aches for this family as they learn to deal with Brian's traumatizing medical condition, and help him overcome very difficult obstacles as he grows. This deeply moving story flows seamlessly, you will experience the full gamut of emotions, make sure you have a box of tissues nearby as you will definitely shed tears of pain and joy throughout the story.

The author has created a wonderful cast of characters who are realistic and easy to relate to. I absolutely adored Mama, she is the type of grandmother and family matriarch that every family should have. Her undying love, strength, determination and belief in the power of faith and family is simply inspiring. Brian stole my heart, this little guy's journey to learn the basics simply tugged at my heartstrings. With engaging dialogue and interactions; and a storyline that demonstrates a family's love, strong bond, determination and dedication to overcome life's obstacles to find the joy and blessings of one special little boy and his strong-willed grandmother; Goodnight, Brian is a story of family and faith that is simply a must read, you won't be disappointed.



  1. Another extraordinary review and post. Thank you. I, too, loved this book. After reading "Twelve Months", Mr. Manchester was put on my "favorite authors to read" list. Great job. KUDOS!

    1. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. I loved this story, it was so heartwarming and inspirational. Thank you for your kind comment on the review, I appreciate it. :)

  2. As always, I absolutely loved reading your review. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this book.

    1. Hi Gina! Thank you for stopping by and posting your kind comment, I appreciate it. :)

  3. I wish I had a grandmother like Brian's :)

    1. Hi Teena! I would have loved to have had a grandmother like Brian's too. Thanks for stopping by! :)