Saturday, November 28, 2015

Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia *~*~*~*~*~* Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway


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.

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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. 


Poughkeepsie Begins by Debra Anastasia
Review by Wennie Connedy
Stars: 5

** Advanced Readers Copy provided for an honest review. 
** Not suitable for children under 18

The Poughkeepsie series ended where it all began. By the vagaries of fate, in a run-down house located in a downtrodden neighborhood, three teenage boys, and two young girls are fostered by an abusive drunk. Acting as protectors, these three young men, Beckett, Cole, and Blake, established an "understanding" with their foster father. They would deliberately and solely endure the beatings, scars, bruises meted out by their foster father as long as he would leave the younger children alone. 

Born on the wrong side of the tracks, these three brothers-by-choice, watched out for each other and acted to protect the innocent young children under their shared roof. 

Poughkeepsie Begins lays out the background on how the brothers came to be, and how their bond was born and grew. It gives us a glimpse of what motivated Beckett to pursue the lifestyle he chose. The story also showed us the fragile nature of Cole's mental state, and why the woods and music are so important for Blake's sanity. And most of all, it helps us understand why, in spite of all the hideous situations and circumstances they have to face, they are always together, and never ever alone. 

"Brothers?" he asked.
"Brothers," Blake responded, smiling.
"Forever," Cole added solemnly.

Anastasia's characters are flawed, endearing, and very human. Each one has his own challenge to face. Beckett's overly protective nature goes hand in hand with his recklessness. He doesn't care about what happens to him, as long as he is able to provide for his brothers and ensure their safety. 

Cole is broken and abused. He has endured unspeakable acts, against his person and his sanity. To help him cope, he ventures deep into the recesses of his mind. He stops functioning. He stops feeling. He lets lose his beast, a beast capable of dark, horrible acts. 

And Blake? Blake is labeled as strange. but he truly isn't. As a very young child, he experienced a trauma that left indelible but undeniable scars on his psyche. Top that with his musical ability that borders on genius? Well, that makes his behavior strange to a lot of people - but not to his brothers who love and embrace him for who he is -- scars and all. 

Poughkeepsie Begins does give us an understanding on how this band of brothers got started. But truly, this story is about Beckett, and his transformation from a young, rebellious teenager, to a young man who turns to the dark side of the law. It broke my heart to see him sacrifice his first love and see that moment of when stepped over from being a punk kid to a hardened person who turned towards the dark side of the law.

In the Poughkeepsie series, Debra Anastasia gave us three remarkable and hard-to-forget characters. Brothers by choice -- Beckett, Cole, and Blake. I must admit that in Poughkeepsie Begins, Beckett stood out as the most endearing character -- flawed, alpha, dark, yet soft, loving, protective, and sacrificing. 

I read all four books in the series, andPoughkeepsie Begins, interspersed with humor, emotionally charged scenes, and sacrifice made me laugh, made me cry, made me want to hug all three of these boys and keep them safe under my roof. 

My only regret? We will not hear from Beckett, Blake and Cole after this book. Thankfully, they are immortalized in the four books of the series.

For me, Poughkeepsie Begins is best of the series.