Joe wakes up in a barley field with no clothes, no memories, and no idea how he got there. Before he knows it, he’s off on the last great journey of his life. With his soul guide Baker and a charge to have courage from a mysterious, alluring, and somehow familiar Stranger, Joe sets off through a fantastical changing landscape to confront his past.
The quest is not without challenges. Joe’s past is not always an easy thing to relive, but if he wants to find peace—and reunite with the Stranger he is so strongly drawn to—he must continue on until the end, no matter how tempted he is to stop along the way.

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Reviewed by Gitte

5++ Beautiful Stars

Wow, so you know that moment you discover a new Author and he blinds you with a beauty so stunning it leaves you breathless?! Well Eric Arvin did just that to me with ‘Woke Up in a Strange Place’, an m/m romance.

The writing is beautiful,  incredibly visual and creative it touched me so deeply, I think I had permanent steady tears throughout. Every single sense awakens in this story, truly inspirational, heart-breaking and thought provoking.

“No, if there was a true hell, it lay at the bottom of the sea and was populated by every regret one ever had.”

I love when I read a story that makes me question thoughts, beliefs and assumptions and this one does just that. Woven into an emotional exploration of the grandest proportions is the journey into an afterlife so vivid and curious. Our hero must make a journey of self-discovery in death to make sense of his life. The people, creatures and situations he comes across and his surprising experiences all serve the purpose of remembering and gaining an understanding; a lesson learned I suppose.

As our unsure hero embarks upon his journey deep into his afterlife, his memory sharpens, he sees with ‘new’ eyes as he looks on with an alternate perspective.

‘All of these memories glided around him like spirits in the night air, as if memory was an entity in and of itself.’

He sees the details and the bigger picture. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if we had the chance to fully examine would we act differently or are we too involved in the moment. Do we let moments slide by through unobservance? Upon reliving these moments is that when we gain a greater comprehension and come to terms with cause and consequence?

 “Well, human beings have always done one thing very well, and that is create their own hells and bask in their own misery. They complain about what they create for themselves; they relish the pain. What they don’t do so well most of the time is find a way out of it.”

Those moments in life where an action or decision taken lightly, perhaps on a whim, as opposed to taken with the weight that it may possibly deserve or necessitate. Well, for our hero and myself the reader, as we joined him on his emotional journey, we had moments with childhood friends, past lovers and family. We learnt of love, losses, pain and true happiness. We learnt that our hero must come to terms with his life as was, understand it, to find and reclaim the love of his life, in the afterlife. Some discoveries made by our hero are so incredibly emotional my heart melted. The exploration and surprising encounters made this journey kind of magical and very sensory.

‘Immediately, it was as if two halves became whole once again. The sky flashed colors overhead as they stood together: day to night, night to day. They stood motionless and kissing for so long a period that they might have been mistaken for part of the landscape, as vines climbed up their legs and grass grew around them; as dirt gathered and buried even more the scattered fragments of the abbey. Only the keepers of time knew that lifetimes did indeed pass, possibly entire eras. And yet it was but a scant moment….. All of it but a simple, longed-for embrace neither time nor death could contain.”

I urge all readers of all genres to read this stunning story and revel in its beauty and poignancy. It’s a very different read, the romance is emotional and not graphic. The story-line is imaginative and heart-felt. The humour is spot on and is threaded perfectly through and amongst the tear jerking moments.

Eric Arvin, you made me cry from a broken heart, a lost love, a destination unknown, a forgotten memory, a discovery, a strength and an incredible courage. You made me laugh through my tears but most of all you made me fall in love. Thank you for writing one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. This will forever be a favourite.

“Here’s where you’re supposed to be.”

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