Posted in Romance, Suspense

Poughkeepsie – Debra Anastasia

13038680Synopsis

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.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

My Review

“No one has really seen me in years… But when you saw me for the first time, you actually saw me. You saw me, and then you smiled like I was just the same as everyone else on that platform.”

Blake Hartt spends his days sitting at Poughkeepsie train station waiting to see the girl who has him captivated, waiting to count her smiles towards him. Blake Hartt is homeless, but seeing the girl day in, day out makes his days so much better. Livia always sees him sitting there, in the shadows, never asking for any handouts. She sees him, for him. It’s not until some bullies were picking on him that she stands up for him and that is when Blake and Livia finally meet. She finally gets to see his green eyes up close after nicknaming him for so long.

After that initial meeting, Livia spends more time with Blake before her morning train and after her night train. She has a boyfriend, but she’s been trying to dump him for a long time and when things seem to progress with Blake, she knows she definitely cannot continue the relationship with Chris. Her heart is calling out to Blake. When she finally finishes with Chris, he doesn’t accept it. He won’t be the laughing stock of Poughkeepsie and he feels he’s been shamed by Livia for choosing the homeless guy over him. He decides he’s going to do everything he can to get rid of Blake and get Livia back, thus starting his plan to win her back, even though Livia wants nothing to do with him. This starts part of the story, but you’re going to have to read this book to find out what happens.

Blake was a beautiful soul to read. Albeit, he was homeless and afraid of the sun as he seemed to think it changed his appearance. But he was gorgeous; he never asked for anything and would never accept handouts until he felt he deserved it. He was tormented about his past, but he was charming, chivalrous and well spoken beyond any means. Growing up in foster care, he knew how to look after himself after living on the streets for so long, yet he was a gentle soul. He absolutely worshiped Livia, grateful for every moment they spend together.

He has two ‘brothers’ whom he met at his foster home and they were everything to him. They all had matching tattoos and looked out for one another. Beckett is the naughty brother. His business is anything but legal and being the first out to grow out of the system, he felt it was up to him look after his brothers so trying to gain respect in the community was something he had to do so when Blake and Cole came out of the system, he could protect them and make sure he gave them everything he could. Although what he does is illegal on so many levels, the love he has is fierce and he will do anything, even die for the two of them. Cole is also a tormented soul. He lives in the church and is trying to become something better of himself. His past, as you will read, is horrific and he had been brought up afraid of love as he thinks love is pain. But then comes along Kyle, Livia’s sister, and everything changes for him. He’s found his purpose and he’s found love and those two were a treasure to one another.

The three of them each carry heavy baggage, but together they have come a long way since their childhood and foster care and although they aren’t blood related, they couldn’t be closer or more bonded in any other way.

Livia was a strong, independent, level headed young woman. She didn’t care that commuters would talk about her when she was with Blake, she only cared about him. She was kind, caring, full of love, but she could be tough and wouldn’t hide from dangerous situations, as you will find out when you read this book. I loved how much she felt for Blake. She didn’t care that he was homeless, she saw him, for him. She didn’t care that he had no money, she just knew that she wanted to be with him, homeless or not. She loved him and made sure to help him through his childhood issues, without being judgmental and she was there every step of the way .The love they had for each other poured from their core and with everything thrown at them, it only made they stronger.

Kyle, Livia’s sister also had a tormented soul. She felt it was her fault her mother had left when she was born so she set out to punish herself over it. It’s not until she finds Cole and he tells her she has to be her, that she stops hurting herself over her mother’s departure and she finds solace with Cole. Their journey isn’t one without harm but their love for one another is strong to fight anything. Kyle becomes the woman she was meant to be when she found Cole and Cole became the man he was meant to be with Kyle. A match made in heaven…literally.

I have to say, I completely fell in love with Beckett and Kyle. They seemed like people who I’d love to be my best friends. They had potty mouths that kept making me laugh at the things were they saying and to be honest with you, I can have a potty mouth too, so I would definitely be joining in with the banter those two dished out to everyone. I also loved that they were fiercely protective of their loved ones. You hurt their family and friends and you were a goner. Family was immensely important to them and I really enjoyed how much everyone protected one another, especially when everything blew up with Beckett’s business drama and with Chris’ revenge. The two dramas interact and all hell is blown up that you become engrossed over what is happening. I literally could not put the book down.

I could never say that the characters outside of Blake and Livia were secondary, because you see everyone’s story and it combines into the book. You see everyone’s past and why they are involved the way they are, and how it formed them into the person they are today. All the stories are really heartbreaking.

The ending to me was one of perfection. Blake and Livia got their happy ending after everything that had happened in the book and you could tell that they really were made to be together; they were soul mates. This book has a little bit of everything wrapped into it. It has romance, banter, murders, kidnapping, jealousy, revenge, love, steamy moments, friendship, bonds, midnight mass but most of it, it’s about finding love and protecting those you love. It truly is a beautiful book to read and you would be mad not to give it a read.

It really did captivate me and I cannot wait for book two, where we get to read about Beckett.

Posted in YA

Meant to Be – Lauren Morrill

11721314Synopsis

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).

But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

My Review

Julia is off on a school trip to London for 10 days. It’s the city where her parents took their honeymoon and Julia has wanted to experience the London magic since hearing stories about the city and since finding her mother’s Romeo and Juliet book. She’s completely accident prone but she’s definitely one for following the rules and hates to break them. She takes books wherever she goes and always has her pocket Shakespeare in her pocket. She also has a MTB (Meant to be) in the form of Max Bixford, her childhood crush. He just hasn’t acknowledged her in years, but she’s determined he’s the one for her.

Jason is nothing like Julia’s envision of a MTB. He’s a jock who teases Julia, calling her Book Licker, he flirts with any girl in a skirt and is a total rule breaker. And now Julia is partnered up with him during the ten days – nightmare! But maybe this could be a good thing?

During their trip, Julia is slowly conforming to the ways of Jason. He presses her to have fun and be a rule breaker instead of being a stuck-up book worm and when she ends up getting drunk at a party he takes her to on the first night, and begins texting a guy she met – albeit she can’t remember him – Jason is there to help her find him.

This book reminded me of Bound Together, as Julia was alone on the trip without any friends, much like Zoe, and Jason was the misunderstood jock, much like Matt. Although they were both in different cities, they both were partnered together and grew closer and both Matt and Jason blew hot and cold, making both the girls confused over their feelings for the guys.

During the book, there were times when I loved Julia and times when I just wanted her to let loose and have fun and stop being so prissy. Albeit, her dislike for Jason turned her off following his plans, but I did like that she let her guard down sometimes and the chemistry between them was hard to miss, even through the bickering and the ‘cultural’ hours they went on – like the London Eye and at Stratford-upon-Avon. Boy did I love the rain part! Swooooon.

With the texts, I really thought Jason was sending them to Julia, but alas, I was totally mistaken, and was completely laughing when it was discovered who the texter was. It was a good twist to the ending, seeing I was adamant it was either Jason or one of his friends doing it to embarrass Julia. Thank god I was mistaken, because I loved the confession from Jason at the end of the book. For someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in MTB’s and love, it was a sweet declaration.

Mark – well what can I say about him? He seemed so lovely when he ‘saved’ Julia – I suppose you could say – but the more time spent on him, the more he became an absolute prick. I disliked him as soon as he mentioned the plane ‘gossip’. It just proves that even if you were best friends once upon a time, years can change anyone and it definitely changed Mark into an asshole. Jason repeatedly told Julia about him, but once you have a vision of how you want your crush to be, you don’t like anyone telling you otherwise. It was great to see the jealously steaming from Jason when Matt was mentioned and when the three of them went to Hyde Park. Boy was that totally awkward.

I loved all the texts, and after finding out about the phones at the end of the book, I literally went back and read them all again from SF. Seriously, if you read this book, take note of them, because everything will become clear with them at the end.

This was my Lazy Sunday book, and by God, I fell in love with it. I’m a sucker for bad boy/good girl loving so this definitely gets my seal of approval. It was a cute story about finding yourself and love, no matter how unpredictable it can be.