Friday, January 03, 2014

Book Tour - Return To Poughkeepsie (V)


Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?

But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.

“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”

In this emotional and action-packed sequel to Poughkeepsie, Debra Anastasia conjures a tale of love at its most raw and ragged. With Beckett and Eve, how could we expect anything less? But even when it’s messy, not magical, true love perseveres. Real love finds a way—for better or for worse until death does part.

Review—Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

“But when you saw me for the first time, you actually saw me.  You saw me, and then you smiled like I was just the same as everyone else on that platform.”

Livia McHugh takes the train every day to her job in the city, where she is a teacher’s aide and student at the University.  Every morning, she makes a point to smile at the many people she passes at the Poughkeepsie train station, including the beautiful homeless man standing in the shadows.  But there is something different about him.  As the days pass, she finds that she is actually looking for him to be there, waiting for her.  It’s not until the threat of violence against him that she steps forward and actually says something.  From there, things change…and Livia learns that there is more to just what you see on the outside. 

“Livia had trouble concentrating in the mornings as she anticipated Blake looking for her as she came down the steps at the station.  She began arriving earlier and earlier, blaming her change in scheduling on wanting a better parking spot when her family asked.  But it was a lie.  She just craved more time with Blake.  During those minutes each morning and evening, she felt herself becoming someone she’d never been before.  Not someone else, really, but fully herself.”

Blake Hartt wasn’t always homeless.  Growing up in foster care and bouncing from home to home has taught him that family is what you make of it…he and his two brothers, Beckett and Cole, have bonded and become closer than any blood relative could ever be.  Beckett is the eldest, and one badass mo-fo.  He runs the deepest, darkest part of Poughkeepsie and because he is feared and respected, Blake and Cole are protected.  Cole is on the opposite of spectrum.  Spiritually gifted, a true child of God, Cole is studying to be a priest and lives the life of one.  Blake is just different.  Musically inclined and a little withdrawn, he has fears and demons that he faces daily…mainly the sun.  Having an abusive past, Blake has latched onto being in the shadows until he finds a new reason to breathe daily…and maybe one day, walk in the sun.  Livia and her smiles.

Each brother bears the mark of their family; a tattoo.  One that represents each of them and entwines them together.  As Blake and Livia spend more time together, he introduces her to his world.  A world of beauty that lurks behind the curtains of the clouds and shadows.  Taking her through his day is just one way they begin to connect; she meets his family, learns about his markings, and finds his favorite spots.  If only life were simple, and she were unattached.  There is someone standing in the way of Livia and Blake…someone who isn’t used to not getting his way.  And someone who will do whatever it takes to make sure he isn’t made a fool of…even things that could hurt the one he claims to love.

“So, you’re the music clef, Beckett’s obviously the knife, who’s the cross?” She stroked Blake’s tattoo.  “You’re about to find out.  We’re headed to church.” Blake leaned in to kiss her forehead. “Of course we are.  That makes perfect sense.”  From hell to heaven.”
“I feel like I’ve always loved him, and now I just got lucky enough to find him.”

So, when you meet your soul mate, how do you know?  Is it a feeling, a look, a thought?  I think all of those came in to play with Blake and Livia…and Cole and Kyle…and Beckett and Eve.  Three brothers, all fighting inner struggles and working to survive one way or another.  Livia has found her strength in a homeless man, Blake; a man broken and scared.  Livia has found the other half of herself, the one who makes her feel whole…and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect that.  Even kill the one man whom she used to love and thought loved her. 

Beckett, well, he’s a whole different story…and it’s coming.  All I can say right now is that he runs things the best way he knows how and isn’t short on enemies…including a woman who has done more than pique his dark interests.  Eve Hartt. 

Cole, the man who has decided to give his life to God after watching and partaking in the horrific events of his upbringing.  Prayer and peace are the two things he strives for…until Kyle McHugh walks through the church doors.  Just like Blake, he is taken with the McHugh women and starts to second-guess his decision to give up love of a woman for the love of God.  Can he have both?  Can she be the one?  Will the turmoil of their siblings bring them together or ultimately tear them apart?

“Don’t put off happiness you can have today.  Tomorrow is a hope, not a promise.”

And hope is what keeps love going.
I LOVED the complexity of this story.  I feel like even my review is in pieces because there was SO MUCH to absorb.  Following three separate lives, all entwined; disastrous and beautiful all at the same time (their lives, not the story)…I was floored.  This is a book that I would absolutely recommend to everyone.  It has just enough of EVERYTHING you could hope for in a story: suspense, love, adventure, mystery, tenderness, and down-right knuckle-biting angst.  I can’t say enough about Poughkeepsie or Debra Anastasia…I honestly didn’t even know this was considered fan-fiction…I’ve never read or seen anything like this.  Poughkeepsie is in league all its own and deserves to be seen as such.  Beautiful and heartbreaking, yet horrible and soul-mending.  

**5 Better than Fan-Fiction Stars**

Debra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There's dinner, the dogs, the two kids, the two kids, and her ongoing battle with...ahem... digestive issues, which combined with her adolescent boy sense of humor makes for colorful and sometimes cringe-worthy social media updates. Her first love and crowning achievement is her thriving career as the weirdest mom on the block.
Her writing started a decent handful of years ago when--along with the animals and humans in her house--the voices of characters started whispering stories in Debra's ear. Insomnia was the gateway to plots that wouldn't give up, wouldn't let go. Now they stalk her everywhere. Halfway through making lunches, a twist takes hold and--fingers full of peanut butter--she finds somewhere, anywhere to write it down.
She's eternally grateful to Omnific Publishing, which has now published four of her books: two in the Seraphim Series and two in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series, as well as her novella, Late Night with Andres. That one is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) She also very much appreciates her open-minded readers, who embrace everything she has to offer, with a focus on anti-heroes and bathroom humor.
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