Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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.

"Love never fails."

My heart, you guys. Poughkeepsie made my heart ache in the way very few books ever have. I don't think, no matter how hard I work to properly explain my feelings, that I will come remotely close to explaining how much I loved Poughkeepsie. Here's my attempt...
A young man with no home and a broken soul sits and waits. He believes that he is a monster. And he waits. He waits for the girl who shares a simple smile with him every day as she leaves and returns to the train station. To Livia, it is a simple gesture, an act of kindness. But to Blake, it means everything.
"Me. She sees me."
Livia sees more than a homeless man sitting on a platform. She sees a beautiful soul. A kind soul.
"I feel like I've always loved him, and now I just got lucky enough to find him."
And she doesn't hesitate to come to Blake's defense when he needs it. And so begins Blake and Livia's journey. A journey of friendship, a bonding of souls, a test of courage and an act of faith. Blake and Livia must stand together against outside forces that will force them apart, those who don't or won't understand, and the torment that resides in Blake's mind.
I feel as if I should defend or explain how it comes to be that Livia falls in love with Blake. My only answer to that is "read the book". One chapter, one paragraph will convince you. Poughkeepsie is not a typical love story, in many ways. There are no happy little mistakes, or misunderstandings that test their love. The forces that work against Blake and Livia are dark, deep, and traumatic. But Blake is worth it the trials. Livia is worth the trials. They are a pair that continually defy all that's against them, finding a way to heal and be healed. Love and to receive love. See and be seen.

The secondary characters in Poughkeepsie are simply unparalleled, and could each easily have their own story. Livia's sister Kyle is without a doubt one of the most ridiculously fantastic characters I've had the pleasure of reading. Her talent for crude one-liners is one of the many reasons I loved her. I would find myself busting out laughing, mid-sob, at the jaw-dropping bombs that flew out of her mouth. Most of them are not "review-friendly" but here's one that is (kind of):
"Holy f^*king dogs! You scared the uterus out of me."
You see?! My heart may not have survived without Kyle.

Blake has two brothers, Cole and Beckett. Cole is quiet and haunted. He has worked to build a life that will absolve him of the guilt that plagues him. Cole's devotion to his brothers, and his unwavering, soothing love for the woman who captures his heart made me love him so. And Beckett. Talk about an enigma. On paper, Beckett seems like a man unworthy of love. He's a thug, a hardened criminal who deserves every bad thing headed his way. But in actuality, though Beckett is all of those things, he is more. His love for Cole and Blake is staggering. The lengths he has gone to to protect his brothers will win you over. And as funny as Kyle is, Beckett can stand toe-to-toe with and possibly beat her in a swear battle. To find someone so funny and so proficient in the art of swearing? Be still my heart.

Author Debra Anastasia's tremendous capacity to hold me with her words astounds me. Each sentence, each scene she paints with her words, was a gift. I found myself re-reading lines, trying to wrap my brain around the simple beauty she created. I am at the same time jealous and thankful for authors like Anastasia. but most of all I am grateful.

Poughkeepsie is possibly the most beautiful story I've had the fortune of reading. I simply could not put it down. By the end, I was hiding from my husband, reading with a towel over my mouth so he couldn't hear my sobs. Poughkeepsie is dark and sad at times. It is also full of light and beauty. Poughkeepsie is a story of love in it's simplest, yet bravest form. I am so lucky to have read it.

Favorite Quotes:
I probably highlighted a hundred quotes in Poughkeepsie. So, needless to say, it was hard to narrow it down to two. I hope you enjoy them.

  "Livia struggled to keep her tears to herself. She'd never witnessed such stunning bravery. She could only imagine the full nature of the walls, fears, and pain he climbed over to get to her.
  She wanted to run and meet him in the middle, but she couldn't. He needed to come to her. I will stay put. I will not cry. Come to me. Come to me." (ebook, 42%)

"After a moment Blake looked around his sunny meadow. A breeze stirred the trees high up, and they released a shower of fall colors. In the silence of the day, the leaves hitting the ground sounded like applause. Quiet applause for a quiet victory." (ebook, 43%)

Published November 21, 2011 by Omnific Publishing

Read a sample of Poughkeepsie

Product Details

Watch the amazing trailer.

You can purchase Poughkeepsie at:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble |   Book Depository

Debra AnastasiaDebra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There's dinner, the dogs, the kids, and their homework. The laundry pile turns into a big, heaping monster. When the clothes finally make it into the washer, it gets unbalanced and puts on an elaborate show before it cuts out. This crazy job that never ends is her first love and her crowning achievement. Her writing started a decent handful of years ago when along with the dogs, cat, kids, and husband, the voices of characters started whispering stories in Debra's ear. Insomnia was the gateway for the plots that wouldn't give up, wouldn't let go. In the shower, a twist would take hold and--dripping and frenzied--she'd find somewhere, anywhere to write it down. Debra grew up in New York and got a bachelor's degree in political science at SUNY New Paltz. At the start of her marriage, she moved to southern Maryland with her husband. She still doesn't trust crabs and all their legs, though everyone else in her family thinks they're delicious. Her favorite hobbies include knitting, painting furniture and wall murals, and slapping clowns. Earlier this year Omnific Publishing published her debut novel, Crushed Seraphim, and she's currently pounding out the sequel to angel Emma's adventures. You can visit her website at and find her on twitter @Debra_Anastasia. (taken from GoodReads)

I am giving one lucky, lucky person an ebook of Poughkeepsie. And because she is so awesome, author Debra Anastasia has added some fantastic swag to the giveaway! The swag includes:
-a Poughkeepsie charm bracelet
-Poughkeepsie temporary tattoos (same design that's on the cover)
-signed Poughkeepsie train schedule

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I haven't in the whole boyfriend aspect but I have with a few family members. My mom used to be an alcoholic and pretty much abandoned me for almost 3 years until she sobered up. It was really difficult to open up to her again and learn to love her as a person and as my mom again, I'm still working on it.

    Side comment, you posted the wrong twitter name for Debra! (:

  2. Honestly, not. I just...don`t feel like it`s time for me already, and I`m not rushing time. :)

  3. I can honestly feel your love for this book in your review! The book sounds beautiful and your review is beautiful. I am totally convinced that I need this book. As for the giveaway question, yes, I have taken a chance on love. A few chances actually, but this last one was the one that worked. Hubs and I will be married 7 years on Sept. 4th. :)

  4. When I saw your Teaser Tuesday post about this book (which has been on my TBR for awhile now) and you said it was your new favorite book, I just knew I had to get now. I ordered it the same day :-) What a wonderful review Andrea...

  5. This book is unlike any other story I've read. I loved all the characters. I'm with you on Kyle. She is one of the funniest characters i've ever met! Can't wait for Beckett's story and hope we get to see everyone else again too. Fantastic review love! So glad you loved this!

  6. Great review. This sounds like a really good book. Thanks for the giveaway. As for your question, Yes I have, and I won. Married my high school sweetheart, who I met in the 7th grade, and I have known now for 30+ years, and I love him now more than I did when I married him :).

  7. I think the hardest thing I ever had to do was tell my college boyfriend, who I'd dumped a month before, that I wanted him back. I was sure he was going to say no way, but he gave me another chance. And now we're married. So that taking a chance on love really paid off :)

    This book sounds great, and after reading your review I know I'll love it.

  8. Unfortunately no :( I haven't found the ONE yet. But I'm still young and hopefully I'll find him one day. ^__^

    Thanks for the giveaway, this books sounds amazing!!!!!!!!

  9. I have, and it paid off been with my bf now or almost 9 years.

  10. Yes and it went miserably which is why I don't have relationships any more

  11. Yes! Flew out of state to meet to meet a friend of a friend who was trying to set us up. Thought I would be humiliating myself and he would only want to be "friends" + he's younger than I am. I knew he was perfect for me but never thought he'd feel the same way about me. Luckily I Was wrong. That guy is now my husband!;)

  12. I met my husband on a blind date and we didn't really get along to well the first night but decided to give him another chance and on is own away from his friend he was great! 20 years later he is still fantastic!

  13. I met my husband while on a ski trip with another guy. I think he's the one who took the chance because he got my date alone and grilled him on what was up with out relationship. It was funny to see the guy became a lot more attentive after my husband talked to him. Needless to say my hubby won out!


  14. I took a chance and now been married 11 years with 2 beautiful kids

  15. Good review! I haven't seen this before thanks for reviewing.

  16. That uterous comment had me laughing outloud! The tenderness of this novel just radiates from your review.

  17. I think this is one of the best reviews I have ever read... I HAVE to go and buy it NOW! Ugh too many books, not enough time!

    Thanks so much for sharing <3

  18. Oooohhhh man! This is why I haven't read it. I was tearing up just reading your review. It sounds so good but so sad. I'm such a big baby. It sounds amazing though. I have been really wanting to read it ever since it came out but I know I will be sobbing and have to hide as well. And yes I would say I have taken some chances on love but none have paid off yet :-( There are more chances to take but I'm a bit reluctant. Maybe some day....

  19. I took a chance on love with my fiance, well, we both took a chance on each other really. Five years ago I had just come out of another relationship and was heading off to uni. I'd already decided not to get involved with anyone else before going to uni as I thought it would be too hard to have a long distance relationship and that it was too soon. But when the guy I had held a torch for for a good few years admitted he felt the same, I knew I had to just go for it despite the bad timing. He'd been hurt before and was reluctant to risk that again, but I'm so glad he did because we're so happy now.

    I don't normally read books with a major romance theme but this sounds totally different. Far from the wishy-washy vomit-inducing romances I've seen, this one seems realistic, dark and gritty and so it's caught my interest. The cover is gorgeous too. Thanks so much for this giveaway.

  20. This book is on my to-read list! Thanks for sharing the awesome interview!!

    1. Ooops! I forgot to answer the question. I have taken a couple chances on love. Both times I moved to be with the person and both times it turned out that the guy wasn't in love with me or he wanted someone else. I learned a lot from those experiences, but I gotta say, I am very frugal with my love now.

  21. This story sounds so touching! Gotta love a girl who can making swearing an art. Loved your review and the quotes you pulled, Andrea! I've seen this book around but I've never really paid attention to what it was about. Thanks for enlightening me and the wonderful giveaway! :)

  22. I guess I sort of did with my now fiance.
    We got together at 16 and people said it would never last. We went to separate Uni's when we turned 18, 200+ miles away from each other for 4 years. People said it wouldn't work out. We took a chance that we would make it work despite the distance.
    He proposed to me last year and hopefully (finally) we will be living together for the first time in November!
    Love is worth fighting for

    Fiona @

  23. The characters and emotion sound great, and the cover is very pretty. Glad you enjoyed and thanks for review,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  24. Good work.

    L.H. Marley

  25. I came across a review of this book on a blog a few months ago. The story line grabbed my attention right away and the review was amazing and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Sadly, I read the review in the middle of chaos and my kids busy schedules and my brain couldn't remember the name of the book. So amazingly glad I just came across this, rushing out and adding it to my asap list and I cannot wait to read this. Sounds amazing, beautiful and somewhat tragic. I know it will be a great read!

  26. Taken a change on love?? 26 years ago a I started a new job on my second day one of the managers had trouble pronouncing my name (Juanita). I've now been married to that same lovely man for 23 years and have two of the best children you could hope for. Who said dating your boss is a bad thing? Loved Poughkeepsie!


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