Category Archives: Livia

Review: Return to Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia

Return to Poughkeepsie by Debra AnastasiaBeckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?

But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.

“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”

Release date December 30, 2013


Wow. Seriously. Wow. I don’t even know where to start. I can’t give away jack with this review, which ties my hands quite a bit *snicker, where’s Beckett* but let me see what I can do…

All the stars. Really. Fast paced and riveting, emotional and heart-wrenching, this story started with a bang and really never slowed down. There were moments–just brief flashes–where you could take a deep breath, but then once again, the action picked up again and you were once again thrust into the story. Just like Poughkeepsie before it, I think Return to Poughkeepsie would make a phenomenal movie.

Not only are all the beloved characters from Poughkeepsie here, but we meet new characters and honestly fall in love with a few of them. How much did I love Ghandi? I really would like a Ryan of my very own. And, dude… Trish? I couldn’t have laughed harder at her antics. At one point I cackled and then looked around to see who heard me.

Which just makes my point about this story and this series. It’s not just a story about a couple, or a family, or some friends. It’s happy, it’s sad, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry. You’ll be absolutely infuriated to the point of swearing and consumed with joy that you won’t be sure you can contain it. Or maybe that’s just me. Nah, it’ll be you, too. I’m sure of it.

Beckett owns me. And Eve… she’s even more amazing here than she was in Poughkeepsie. If ever there was a couple meant to be together, it’s them. There’s plenty of Blake and Livia, Cole and Kyle, but to me, the focus was Beckett and Eve. And I’m so glad.

Since my hands are still tied and I can’t say anymore, go and buy it the moment you can. Inhale it the way I did: enjoy the humor, seethe when life’s unfair, cry when your heart heals. Trust me.

*ARC received for honest review.

Find the author on:

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Filed under Beckett, Blake, Cole, Debra Anastasia, Eve, Livia, Poughkeepsie, Return to Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie—Blake’s Cardboard Piano (Day two)


Poughkeepsie Station

Welcome back to day two of Blake’s Cardboard Piano tour. Yesterday we saw some of the interesting part of the Poughkeepsie train station, both inside and out. There are some beautiful architectural elements, including a steel overhead walkway outside and high arched windows on the facade.

But there were a couple of other places I wanted to visit, so I carefully rolled up the piano and headed out on foot, the way Blake would have. Looking out toward the Hudson River and the Mid-Hudson Bridge—or the Franklin D. Roosevelt Mid-Hudson Bridge, officially—you can see the park mentioned in the story.


Mid-Hudson Bridge as seen from Waryas Park

Named Waryas Park, after Victor C. Waryas, former mayor of Poughkeepsie, it sits just at the edge of the river, one block west of the station.

It is peaceful and beautiful and such a surprise to find right there at the edge of the city.

There’s a plaque dedicated to the former mayor that’s built into the front of this very large boulder, conveniently located at the entrance to the park.

Former Mayor Victor C Waryas.

Former Mayor Victor C Waryas.

You may notice that within the park, similar architectural features as the station can be found. The pyramid-shaped roof and steel frame of the picnic area mimic the distinctive walkway from the street level to the tracks at the station. The streetlamps are the same, as well.

Look familiar?

Look familiar?

A few blocks east of the park was a surprise the first time I found it, as I had no idea it was so close to the station.


Church of the Holy Comforter

But as you approach the station, the steeple to a church is visible through the trees for at least a mile. I thought, “No way; that can’t be Cole’s church.” But after checking with the lovely author herself, I was assured that it was, indeed, Cole’s church.


Stunning front doors

Known to locals as Church of the Holy Comforter, this Gothic Revival church built in 1860 is stunning, made of local bluestone with dark red trim accenting the doors and stained-glass windows. The doors are actually red and just gorgeous. I can almost picture Cole throwing open the doors and welcoming his congregation.


Statue of Mary and Jesus in front

At the front of the church, there is a statue of Mary holding baby Jesus, and there are wildflowers and daffodils blooming all around in the spring.


The back door.

The only disappointment was the fence surrounding the church. We couldn’t look inside or even get close enough to the front, so we had to limit ourselves to pictures at the back door, which was really red!

As unfortunate as the fence is, its also understandable. Some of the windows have been broken, and in the few times I’ve visited, haven’t been repaired. Which is sad. It’s a beautiful landmark in the community and it’s a shame to see it mistreated.


One last pic before we leave the church

We tucked Blake’s piano in the fence for one last photo before heading back to the station.

It was absolutely wonderful to have a chance to take Blake’s piano back to Poughkeepsie, back to the train station, where the story began. Thank you Debra and the Poughkeepsie Street Team for their all-around awesomeness in allowing me to be a stop on the tour, and thank you for visiting!


Until next time.


Filed under Blake, Cole, Debra Anastasia, Livia, Piano, Poughkeepsie, Reading, tour

Poughkeepsie—Blake’s Cardboard Piano (Day one)


The writing along the edge of the roof says POUGHKEEPSIE STATION.

I am a member of the Poughkeepsie Street Team—readers and friends who support, promote, and otherwise flail over Debra Anastasia’s novel about a girl who falls in love with a man she meets at the train station.

In April, 2013, I was fortunate enough to have been a stop on Blake’s Cardboard Piano tour, and as a local to the Poughkeepsie area, there really was no question where I’d take the piano for my photo shoot. I’m sure Debra’s got the characters busy while she finishes up Return to Poughkeepsie, so I took the piano back to the station for a welcome-home visit. And we made a couple of little detours while we were there.


A view of the station from the parking lot.

It’s one thing to read a story and to visualize the scenes in your head, and with Debra’s writing, that’s easy to do. But it’s quite another to walk along the path of the character and trace his or her footsteps, seeing what they saw, hearing what they heard. If you know the story, you know that Blake has an aversion to sunlight, and for someone who’s pretty much homeless, that’s an issue. But there are some nice shady spots at the station.


Blake’s piano sits quietly on the stairs, waiting for his return.

There are so many references to stairs, running up them, down them, hiding under for shelter. And there are several different sets of stairs, but I’m pretty sure these are the ones referred to at least a few times. Don’t worry, like Blake, I wouldn’t leave the piano on the stairs unattended. This picture is one of my favorites; it’s simple, yet it speaks of the despair and loneliness that was his life before Livia. 


A shady spot where Blake and Livia must have sat.

And here’s a nice shady spot with a bench. Can’t you just imagine Blake and Livia sitting there?

The shade would keep Blake safe from the sun, and it’s more private–set apart from the rest of the station. I can imagine them sitting on the bench and holding hands.

On a cold day, Blake might have stepped inside the station, although he might have been too proud to seek warmth.

There are quite a few warm corners in the station, some offering a pretty backdrop for the piano. There is a large, not-t0-scale rendering of Dutchess County down one long hallway and a bright sitting area for the weary traveler.



A warm resting place for a weary man.

Tomorrow we’ll leave the station and make two other stops. First we’ll wander down to the park, and then we’ll see Cole’s church. Then we’ll stop back at the station to say goodbye before sending the piano off to its next stop.


Filed under Blake, Debra Anastasia, Livia, Piano, Poughkeepsie, Reading, tour