Monday, July 29, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.

Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.

When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she's surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.

Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?

In an interwoven tale of unlikely loves and relationships forged by fire, Debra Anastasia takes readers into the darkest corners of human existence, only to show them the radiant power of pure adoration and true sacrifice. Complicated families and confused souls find their way to light in this novel, which manages to be racy, profane, funny, and reverent all at once.

5 Star Review by Jen Hagen


“Dear Blake Hartt, thank you.  Thank you so much for thinking my smile was worth waiting for.” -- Livia


Poughkeepsie rates high on my list, in fact it would be one of the best books I’ve ever read.  I continue to re-read it and every time I still cry.  It is intensely heartwarming of a love that knows no bounds, a girl who is strong and willing to go after what she wants despite the stigma, and a boy who has nothing to give her but his love.

Livia is a psychology graduate student.  She takes the train every day and every day has seen a man sitting in the shadows of the train station.  She hears everybody call him “crazy” and she wonders what has happened to him. 

Blake is 25 and homeless.
“All he has is what he’s wearing and a cardboard piano." 
 He sits in the shade of the train station watching people.  Livia has caught his interest because she is genuine, she smiles at everybody and is kind to all she meets.  Blake loves her smiles and keeps track of every one that she has given him.   One day Livia defends Blake and suggests that he find a different place to sit.  His reply: 
 “I can’t.  This is the only place where I get to see you.” 
 After their brief conversation, a friendship is formed and they see each other twice a day at the train station.  These brief visits give both of them a sense of hope.  

“Me.  She sees me.” –Blake 

Blake was sent to a foster family when he was 12 as his mother could no longer take care of him.  It is there that he met his friends for life, Beckett and Cole.  They are “brothers” and will stand up and take a hit for the other without thinking twice.  Beckett was the first of the brothers to turn 18 and when he was forced out of the foster care system he made a name for himself on the streets.  Beckett is bad ass, but he did this to make it easier on his brothers when they hit the street.   He wanted his name to mean something so that nothing got carried over onto Cole and Blake.

Blake doesn’t accept charity.  He wants to be treated just like everybody else.  Beckett and Cole have tried to make Blake’s life better, but all Blake asks for is a shower and a change of clothes.  He is content living in the trees and counting Livia’s smiles.  Blake seems to have a mental illness but has not been medicated for it since being in foster care.   Blake never forgets his manners and is a gifted piano player.  His fear is being caught in the sun. 
“Livia, I’m made of glass, but it only shows in the sun.  I can’t be caught in sunlight or everyone will know what I am.” 

“He can’t be a normal husband or father—or man.  He’ll never hold a job.”
Despite these harsh words from Blake’s brother, Livia doesn’t give up on her love for Blake.  She will do anything for Blake, and one night she finds out how far she would go to make certain that no one can take Blake away from her. 

“She positioned her hands, almost an inverted prayer, and committed herself to the act.  Livia pushed her hands straight down from her shoulders, as she’d practiced time after time.” 

This book is not just about Blake and Olivia.  There are stories involving each of the brothers and each one is critical to make the story complete.  I have read hundreds of books in the last year and none of them have come close to this storyline.  It is unique and I love Debra’s writing style – there are a lot of unique one liners coming from Beckett and Livia’s sister.  This could be considered a stand alone, but I am happy to say that a sequel is coming Dec. 7, 2013 titled “Return to Poughkeepsie.” 

How does a foul-mouthed angel end up as the last hope for all of Heaven and Earth?

When Seraph Emma is maimed and tossed from Heaven by a rogue angel who's taken charge, she fears she'll never be allowed to return. Tasked with the impossible job of showing the self-loathing (and not even human!) Jason his worth, Emma is sure she's doomed to fail.

Meanwhile, having wormed his way into Heaven, the corrupt Everett has trapped God in Hell and has designs on unleashing evil everywhere. Fortunately, if there's one thing Emma can't do (in addition to minding her language), it's give up. Determined to save Jason and get back to Heaven-even if it means going to Hell-Emma's plan is simple yet impossible: trick the Devil to save God.

What she doesn't count on is the devotion and, well, humanity she finds in Jason; the spirit, hidden compassion, and raw sex appeal within the Devil; and the vulnerability of her own heart. With the help of two unlikely allies, she'll wage the battle for Heaven. But will Emma be sidetracked by a new sort of heaven along the way?

What's truly more dangerous?

Falling from Heaven, or falling in love?

Suffering is worst when you’re doing it alone. But Emma’s taking Hell like an angel—even though her languishing began with having her seraph wings torn from her back. Now her worst enemy lords his body and his evil desires over her while she tries desperately to remember the words to her favorite prayer.

As Devil, Jack used to have Hell and its women humming like well-oiled machines. Too bad he’s nowhere near the place now. Stuck on Earth as a human, he must work with a ragtag team of exiled minions and half-breeds to save the angel who’s become all that matters.

Rescuing a seraph is the plan, but breaking into Hell means letting evil things out. Once they collide, minions and angels converge in the battle of the ages: good versus evil. But which side is which? Will Jack destroy the world as he fights to save Emma, his true and timeless love, from a damnation he designed?

An action-packed sequel to Crushed Seraphim, this tale reveals—time and again—what happens when the heart’s deepest desires break free. With a story both sizzling and sensual, emotional and enigmatic, Debra Anastasia invites readers to join a battle with nothing less than love on the line.

Nook Poughkeepsie

Nook Crushed Seraphim

Nook Bittersweet Seraphim

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1 comment:

  1. Aw, what a sweet review! I'm sure Debra loves to hear that Poughkeepsie is one of your all-time favorite books.

    Your comment about Blake seeming to have a mental illness made me do a double take. What an interesting thought! I hadn't considered that before. I'm going to have to ask Debra if she intended to portray a mental illness as part of his character!


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