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.
Jennifer Harried’s Review
Holy Cow…what an emotional and intense ride this book was. When you read the blurb for this book you think it will be an emotional love story between Blake (the lonely homeless man who counts smiles) and Livia (the graduate student who befriends the homeless man) but let me tell you…it is so much more then that.
Yes we do get a beautiful love story between Blake and Livia but we also got so much more. This book felt like I was reading many different stories all tangled together in this one big story. I think having the multiple POV’s is what gives it that feel. Plus we get such detailed background information on all the characters. Plus the author threw in enough twists and surprises that it kept you intrigued and glued to the book all the way to the end. This story had me laughing, smiling, swooning, crying and of course yelling. I absolutely love when a book does that.
Livia was an amazing female character. I loved how she always saw the good in people, even when they didn’t deserve it. She had such a pure heart and soul. I loved her connection to Blake. To me their relationship felt real, it went at a great pace to make it believable. I believe they had that instant connection, but they took their time in getting to know each other and then pursuing there actual feelings for each other. Then we have Blake….what can I say about this man, except that he was fabulous!!!!! I loved watching his character grow throughout this story and finally seeing what a strong person he turns out to be in the end. What he went through in his past was horrific. I was so glad to see that through help from Cole, Beckett, Kyle, Livia and Eve, Blake was able to overcome his issues.
Cole, Beckett, Kyle, and Eve were outstanding secondary characters. They were all a tremendous strength and support system for Blake and Livia. What I loved the most about this book was the fact that we got so much of each of their back stories as well. It was interesting to see how all these characters stories and lives all intertwined with each other. Like I said before it was like we got multiple stories all revolving around one main couple….Blake and Livia. I am really excited to read Return to Poughkeepsie when it comes out to see how all their stories continue. I have to say that my favorite out of the secondary characters were Beckett and Eve….those two had me cracking up in so many places. The way they interacted with each other was great. Plus I loved how they could speak to each other by just looking at each other. I was shocked to find out how these two were linked together, but I won’t say anything about that, you just need to read the book to find out.
In regards to some of the other characters in this story, I don’t want to dwell on them because I found the deplorable. This would be Chris and Dave. Their characters were just horrible. I am talking about complete douchebags. What really makes me sad about these two characters, is that even though they are fictional characters, there are really people like them out there in the world. What they do to both Livia and Blake is just unforgivable and immature. They totally reminded me of people who couldn’t grow up and lived in the past. But enough about them.
I would DEFINITELY recommend this book. If you are looking for a very sweet love story that has more to it, then this book is the one for you. I thought it was a perfect length…not to short, where you feel like you are missing information, and not to long where you are overloaded with unnecessary information. I was also very happy with the ending of the book. She left it were the main story was complete but left it open for more to come with Beckett.
The only thing I wish is that I wouldn’t have waited as long as I did to read this GEM of a book 🙂
“I can’t leave.” Green Eyes took a huge breath. “This is the only place where I get to see you.”….Blake
‘When my lips touch her face I like to taste her skin, so maybe the makeup could be on the light side?”….Blake
“Livia you make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.”….Blake
“This lipstick is like icing on the most delicious Livia cupcake.”….Blake
“I’m sorry I didn’t say hello sooner. I’ll never get those days I missed back. But I won’t miss any more.”….Livia
“I’m going commando today, Edward Scissorhands, so don’t cut off anything precious. And leave a wide berth, if you know what I mean.”….Beckett
“Let’s make a plan. You can keep your hands on my nugget sack, though. I find it comforting.”….Beckett
“You saved my life Livia, only you.”….Blake
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About the author
Debra 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.
Omnific Publishing published her debut novel, #1 on Kindle Best Seller’s list, Crushed Seraphim, and its sequel Bittersweet Seraphim about a cursing angel. They also bravely published Poughkeepsie, which a romance about a homeless man who counts the smiles of his dream girl. You can visit her website at DebraAnastasia.com and find her on twitter @Debra_Anastasia.
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