Sunday, January 5, 2014

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Return to Poughkeepise by Deborah Anastasia


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.

4.5 Star review by Jen Hagen

It is rare for me to find a sequel whose plot and writing comes close to its predecessor’s superior rating.  I wondered how Debra was going to live up to the ranking that Poughkeepsie holds on my all-time favorite book list.   I am happy to say that Return to Poughkeepsie hit the nail on the head with its suspenseful and non-traditional love story.   Return to Poughkeepsie brings back all the characters from the first novel having their own story line, and also being intertwined with the book’s major plot of Beckett’s quest for redemption.

The story begins one year after the conclusion of Poughkeepsie.  Beckett has been in hiding for being wanted in questioning of Chris’s (ex-fiancee of Livia) death, of which Beckett is guilty of.   He has been lonely this entire year being separated from the only family that he has ever known.  He has had no contact with his “brothers” Cole or Blake, and he desperately misses Eve.   In a moment of despair, he risks his life and those of everybody he loves to have a moment of familiarity.  It is with his brief reunion that he comes to term with what he needs to do with his life.

“I’m not worth your heart yet, but I’m gonna be.  Eve, the next time you see me, I’m going to be a man worth it…Just don’t f*ck anybody else.”

Blake and Livia are doing well with their lives.  Blake progressed from playing piano at a bar to having his own recording studio in the basement of Livia’s home they now occupy.   They are parents of a newborn and have entered the barely-functioning-on-little-sleep lifestyle.  Blake seems to have adjusted well to his new life and doesn’t seem to have any problems with his slight disassociation that he had when we first met him.  He is a strong man who will fight for his family.  He still bears a special place in my heart, and I believe he always will, and I don’t think I will ever forget the struggles that he went through to get to this place in his life.  His initial storyline was unique and unforgettable.   There is one instance where see a glimpse of Blake slipping into his fear of the sun, but he fights hard to overcome being controlled by his fears.

The sun crashed in on Blake, fracturing and turning into shards, embedding itself and tearing him apart.

Cole and Kyle are facing a struggle that many couples face.  They are ready to begin a family, but it’s not in their deck of cards for it to happen.  Cole is now a special education teacher and continues to incorporate his faith in the Lord into his daily living.  Kyle still remains the foul-mouthed spirited sister that we adore.

Beckett is trying to live a life of redemption that doesn’t involve using his hands as deadly weapons.  It is difficult for him, but he has developed a life for himself and has taken on the role of making lives better for those who have reached rock bottom.   Is he ready to return back to Poughkeepsie?  Has he finally reached a point in his life where he sees himself worthy of being able to love?   He doesn’t have time to think about these proclamations when he receives a call from Blake.  Beckett flies into his previous Beckett style and calls in favors, makes a plan, and relies on his former douchebags to make certain everything falls into place.  He is going to fix whatever is happening in Poughkeepsie because the lives of people he loves and calls his family are in danger.

Eve is caught in the middle of this melee.  She has been living a double life trying to infiltrate the current drug/gun dealer that is trying to take over Poughkeepsie.  Anybody who knows Beckett is at risk, and with the prominent identical tattoos that the brothers possess, they are easy targets.  Eve handles her protectiveness the same way Beckett did…ferociously and vigilantly. 

“Here’s what you need to know:  Poughkeepsie is mine.  The people. The shops.  The cops.  I decide what happens to them.”

Eve is playing Russian Roulette with the faux romance she has going on with Ryan, a cop who is going “dirty” in order to find the killer of his uncles.  Ryan is a great guy and every once in a while the lines become blurry as to this being a performance or being real.  Ryan’s feelings are easier to read than Eve’s, but there comes a time when Eve’s past comes to full light and it’s an eye opener for Ryan.

“…And I want to make sure you hate me,” she said quietly.
“Well that’s the bitch of it.  ‘Cause I’m pretty damn sure I love you.”

Beckett comes on the scene and tries to take control of this violent situation.  He wouldn’t be who he was if he didn’t take the fall out for everybody he holds near and dear. This is his way of repaying Eve…his independence in exchange for hers.  Beckett finds himself being something he never thought he would be…he is no longer a puppet master, but a puppet.

“You will wear my brand.”

There’s a lot of action and drama to be read and enjoyed.  I was hesitant to embrace this being mainly Beckett’s story, but Debra was able to pull me in and make me love Return to Poughkeepsie as much as Poughkeepsie.  As long as I have my glimpses of Blake, I’m good.  I was surprised to find out that there will be a book 3, release date unknown, but I know that waiting for book 3 will be a reward worth the wait. 

“I love you, Eve.  You’re the only heart I have.”

About the Author

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.

Debra lives in Maryland with her family. You can find her at and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared.

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