Sunday, November 22, 2015

Poughkeepsie Begins (The Poughkeepsie Brotherhood 0.5) By Debra Anastasia @Debra_Anastasia
It ends with the beginning. This legendary, indie, cult-favorite series ends its tale with the story of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood before the tattoo. Before the train station, before the church, before a criminal empire there was a foster home and three teen boys who chose each other as family, because the ones they were born into didn’t exist

Still in high school, Beckett is already laying the groundwork for a grander life ahead, one where his brothers want for nothing and get some respect for once. But even as he plans, Beckett must decide if he’s ready to make that choice—diving in to a life that trades his chance at a future, his chance at something as simple as first love with a girl named Candy Cox, for their chance to find happiness.

Blake, Beckett, and Cole’s devotion to each other is forged by fists and the driving need to belong somewhere, to do more than just survive this life. Readers of the series know they each get there in the end, but before we count smiles, we must first shed tears. These early days of the Poughkeepsie brotherhood will play on your heartstrings before serrating them with a knife; they’ll lift your soul with music, only to leave you with nothing but a desperate prayer for hope.

And when you reach the end of the beginning, you’ll be ready to start the series all over again.

Find the whole Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series here:

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When she ducked under the bleachers, he was a dick, right off the bat. His buzz was wearing off, but he was still high and broken at the closeness of her. “You’re missing your boyfriend during his lawn ballet.” He assumed a stance—douche mixed with confrontational—that he knew stopped people. It set up his walls real nice. With everyone.
Everyone but her. She walked right up to him. She pushed him hard once, twice, until his back hit one of the supports. And then she slapped him.
He took the slap and rolled his eyes. “That all you got for me, pink princess?”
And then she was kissing him. Oh, God. Kissing him and palming him with the same ferociousness he felt. He grabbed the metal behind him to keep from attacking her and nailing her right on the concrete floor littered with cigarettes and chip bags.
She pulled away and slapped him again, growling, “Fuck you, Beckett Taylor. Don’t you ever do that to me again. I’m worth more than that, and you know it.” She stepped back, leaving cold space and his heated erection between them.
He swallowed, his pounding heart trying to beat some common sense into his brain again. It wasn’t working. He let go of the bleachers and advanced. “You have some fucking nerve. You’re the one up there prom-queening it with goddamn Ryler.”
She stood her ground as he came at her. And he knew he was intimidating. Shit, full-grown men stepped aside when he was coming. But Candy raised her chin. He was amazed at the fight in her, right there. He pulled her into a dip, just like fucking Pyler had, except he did it like a man who wanted a woman and knew what to do with her body. Candy needed to push him away; she needed to turn her head.
Instead she groaned and bit his bottom lip hard enough to draw blood. He put his hand between her legs and dragged it up to her breast, squeezing hard so she would feel it through her coat. She sunk her nails into the skin at his neck. She was a buried treasure. He was sure as fuck no one knew about this side of her. Only he could get her panting like she was. He spanked her bottom once.
“Ow.” She was shocked.
He stopped kissing and looked her in the face as he spanked her again, more forcefully this time.
Her “Ow” was quieter, and the hunger in her eyes far deeper than her years.
Again he spanked her. And this time she purred. Fucking purred. He began slow, circular caresses over the denim that covered her ass. He was desperate to see the red imprints from his hand.
“Fuck it.” Beckett picked her up and set her back against the metal support he’d tried to cling to before.
They weren’t alone. Red tips of cigarettes glowed, gentle murmurs of illicit behavior could be heard if you knew how to listen for trouble. Still, he held her against the pole and mimicked the motions he was desperate to do with her. He dropped his mouth to the zipper on her coat, which kept her safe from all his intentions. He used his teeth to pull it down to her cleavage. He buried his face, licking and nuzzling her sweet-smelling neck. He used his chin to move material so he could access more of her chest. She smelled like goddamn candy. His dick could pack gunpowder in a cannon it was so fucking hard.
After a moment, the murmurs added up. Too many. He glanced around and noticed the cigarettes being stubbed out. He let his prize slide down the metal gently. He leaned down to kiss her lips, then her forehead, right under the edge of her fuzzy hat before whispering, “Go. Cops are here. Go.”
And then Candy, sweet-smelling, homework-doing Candy, stuck her hand in his jacket’s hidden pocket and took the gun out. He pulled her hands and his gun close to make sure the safety was on before letting her tuck it into her bra.
“Anything else?” she asked.
And then he slipped the rest of the merchandise in his left pocket into her right one. She turned and left.
“And don’t you ever talk to me again, Taylor. I have a boyfriend!” She stormed away as the resource officer stepped up next to him.
“You have a way with the ladies, son.”
“I’m not your son.”
“That’s the truth right there. ’Cause if you were, you’d be on that field kicking footballs instead of selling at my school.”
When Beckett was let off with a warning due to lack of evidence, his one thought was of her. Candy was so perfect for him it hurt. 

4.5 Stars

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a man that lived in the shadows and counted the smiles of the girl he adored from afar. And thus began my journey to a small town in Upstate New York and into the lives of three brothers, bound not of blood, but by destiny. Poughkeepsie Begins brought me full circle, as Debra Anastasia beautifully recounts the heartbreaking events, trials and tribulations that forged the everlasting bonds between three memorable characters.

Seeing into the horrors they endured during their teenage foster care years, and the flashbacks into the wretchedness of their early childhood, Blake, Beckett and Cole’s stories made my heart bleed with sadness. The abuse, as difficult as it was to witness, allowed me to truly understand their mindset as well as set the stage for the men they were forced to become. The common factor between was the brutality suffered at the hands of the monsters that confined them. However, the experiences set them down separate paths, taking on particular roles, while vowing to remain a constant in each  others lives.  

Cole, the quietest of the three, underwent the most physical and mental abuse. Somber emotions overwhelmed me when seeing his breaking point – the pivotal moment that brought him to his knees while turning to his faith in order cope with the depravity that engulfed his life. It was devastating, yet hopeful knowing his faith brought him peace.

Cole is the dark horse in this series. On the surface he is soft spoken, understanding, pious and gentle. But buried beneath, lays a boy so lethal, it rivals the likes of Beckett’s deadly ways. Polar opposite forces rule his soul and I love the dynamics of his multifaceted persona.
Beckett is one slick son-of-a-bitch with a twisted sense of humor. I freaking love his witty and sarcastic ways. In a blink of an eye, he could bring down any unfortunate bastard who dares to get in his way, with either his cutting tongue or fists. Beck’s loyalty to his brothers is unrivaled. He is cast in the role as protector, and with it comes the responsibility to guard his brother’s well being.  Beck’s rise to power within the crime underworld is not driven by selfish greed or lust for power. It’s for the chance to obtain stability for his brothers. Their world is cruel, and by selflessly selling his soul, Beck tries to secure their future. And in doing so, he foregoes his chance at love by letting go of the one girl who was determined to save him. There’s honorable intentions buried beneath his immoral demeanor, and his self-sacrifice earned my respect.

My favorite hero within this series is definitely Blake. Don’t get me wrong, I have great love for all, but there is something special about the gentle aurora that surrounds Blake’s persona that touches me deeply. The boy, so shattered and riddled with fears, captured my heart from the very beginning. His dedication, compassion and calmness he unfailingly gives his brothers reminded me of all the reasons why I adored this sexy green-eyed hunk. The symphonic beauty radiating from his character’s soul pulled on my heartstrings and I will miss him greatly.

In Poughkeepsie Begins, Debra Anastasia brings to life some of the most outrageous, yet lovable characters. Her unique writing style harmonizes angst, heartache and dark humor with a touch of romance. The Poughkeepsie Brotherhood is one of my all time favorite series and although this novel is considered a standalone, I highly recommend reading all installments to fully appreciate her heroes’ experiences. Bravo, Debra, and thank you for bringing me back to the beginning.

ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review

There are a lot of eyes in Debra Anastasia's house in Maryland. First, her own creepy peepers are there, staring at her computer screen. She's made two more sets of eyes with her body, and the kids they belong to are amazing. The poor husband is still looking at her after 17 years of marriage. At least he likes to laugh. Then the freaking dogs are looking at her—six eyeballs altogether, though the old dog is blind. And the cat watches her too, mostly while knocking stuff off the counter and doing that internal kitty laugh when Deb can't catch the items fast enough.

In between taking care of everything those eyes involve, Debra creates pretend people in her head and paints them on the giant, beautiful canvas of your imagination. What an amazing job that is. The stories hit her hard while driving the minivan or shaving her legs, especially when there's no paper and pen around. Within all of the lies she writes hides her heart, so thank you for letting it play in your mind.

Debra has written a smattering of books in a few genres. There are two paranormal romances in the Seraphim series and now four contemporary romances in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series. Fire Down Below is the first in the comedic Gynazule series, with the second, Fire in the Hole, coming in late 2015. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance, is lurking in the wings, waiting for its upcoming debut, and the last, a novella called Late Night with Andres, is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!)

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