Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Left My Heart In Poughkeepsie...

Published: November 22nd, 2011
By: Debra Anastasia
Omnific Publishing
ISBN-13: 9781936305940

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?


   Livia McHugh is living a comfortable and mostly happy life.  She is a graduate student with a great boyfriend, good family relationships and a career path she loves.  Livia never questioned the depth of her happiness, until she met Blake Hartt at the train station.  When she begins talking to him and building a friendship, she decides to take control of her own life.  Even if it means breaking up with her boyfriend and falling in love with emotionally damaged Blake.  All of this while trying to save her self-destructive younger sister Kyle, and get to know Blake's brothers Cole (a priest in training) and Beckett (a dangerous gangster, along with his head hooker Eve).  But will they all come out the other side of their struggles happy and whole?  Or will they be destroyed by them?  This book had so many layers to it!  It shocked me, especially when I heard that it started out as a Twilight fanfiction.  I could definitely see some character parallels, but this book was shockingly true to real life with all of its issues, not even needing to touch on paranormal themes at all.  I fell in love with Blake and Livia, with all their sweet innocence and romance in a rather detached way.  Cole and Kyle were a little too otherworldy with each other for my empathy.  But Beckett and Eve were by far the most damaged and the ones who crept into my heart immediately.  Beckett, who became a tough murderous thug to protect his brothers after they all aged out of foster care.  Eve, who has lost everything and become hard as glass (just as fragile too).  Also, Mouse who works for Beckett and has been friends with him since schoolyard days.  I loved that all of these characters were real people, with real issues.  This book broke my heart and made me cry.  I was especially invested in the endings of all the characters - happy or not.  Highly recommended, but not for the faint of heart.  Very strong language, violence, some sexual situations, homelessness, abuse and abandonment. 

VERDICT:  4.5/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available online as an e-book.*

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Comments are much appreciated and I always read them with a smile on my face! :) While I appreciate the thought, this an award-free blog as well. I just don't have the time to keep up with it. Thank you for my smiles and please share your thoughts! Also, sorry for the Captcha, but I've been getting a lot of spam lately!