Thursday, October 11, 2012

The View From A Rusty Train CarThe View From A Rusty Train Car by DeeJay Arens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Paperback, 322 pages
Published August 20th 2012 by Writers AMuse Me Publishing
ISBN 1927044340 (ISBN13: 9781927044346)
Edition Language English
Available at Amazon

A coming of age and coming out story spanning decades, continents and emotions. Highly recommended for readers looking for a reality check. The sweet moments are contrasted well with overwhelming tragedy in very real moments that really hit home.


As the blade sliced into his skin he screamed. “God, forgive me!”
Jared - Shy, honest, innocent. He narrates part of the story. I love his outlook and his growth and I feel his pain. His strength is apparent in the way he is able to carry on.

”I wish I could be who you want me to be.”
Luke - From fresh and cheeky to confused and remorseful he really got under my skin.

”…I’m not saying ‘no’. I’m saying ‘not yet’.
Derrick - A dream man. Or is he? Wow, I've never been so unsure of a character before. I thought I loved him, then I absolutely hated him. Then.....


There are two timelines going on in this book. One is current, the other relives the past.

”L Loves J – Forever”

Eleven year old Jared is new in town. Luckily, Luke is bold enough to make fast friends. Growing up, they very innocently learn about life, friends, family and love and they overcome youthful challenges together. As the two boys discover their world, and each other, they are inseparable, until they are, indeed, separated. Luke is sent away to "camp" to be straightened out, while leaving Jared behind completely unaware. This is just the beginning to an uplifting yet tragic story.

”It’s just that simple. I love you!”

Be prepared to care about these boys, to get angry at the world and find hope in an unabashed message.


I was impressed with the way the author was able to age the voice of the characters as they matured and the story became more complex. I felt like I was really watching two young boys grow into men and that gave me a connection I didn’t expect.

Some editing issues caused me moments of pause, for instance, some italics were omitted in thought dialog. Overall, I found the writing to move forward quickly.


I ran the gamut of emotions. Everything from adoring sighs to heart-wrenching sobs. I was left with a feeling of completeness but also resolve in my conviction that love is love and there is progress to be made.

Unfortunately real life interfered with my review of this book. I read it and then wasn't able to get to the review for a few weeks. So, I reread the book to make a fresh attempt. I'm so glad that I did. This book really benefits from a bit of a reread. It begins at the end, which is another beginning.

--My thanks to DeeJay Arens for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Flesh Cartel #1: CaptureThe Flesh Cartel #1: Capture by Heidi Belleau
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ebook, 75 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551681
Edition Language English

Per Riptide Publishing:
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:
  • explicit violence
  • forced incest
  • non-consent

Trauma. Shock. It's too big, too fresh to be real yet.

Brutal, graphic, terrorizing and raw. Not a romance and not for the faint of heart.

This book was a sprint, with hurdles. Flying right out of the blocks there was no slowing down until crossing the finish line when I was gasping for breath and shaking.


I found the two main characters to be vivid, real and so likeable that they are quite the antithesis to the crude nature of the story. Fascinating.

Mat - The fighter. The underdog just trying to survive so that his brother can live.

Dougie - Sweet, breakable and intelligent. His gentle nature is heartbreaking. He loves his brother more than himself and is smart enough to know that's a terrible weakness.


I found the writing flawless. I think it would have been easy to spin me right out of the story if the writing hadn't been spot on. With the seriousness of the subject, I was so focused that I would have noticed a lack of perfection.


Brutal erotica focusing on the raw world of skin trade. We start with the abduction of the two brothers which barely gives us a hint of what is to come. Scary, graphic and even gruesome. None-the-less captivating and gripping. The story, in fact, is all the more consuming for it's intensity. Honestly, I don't think this story could, or should be told with less violence and in your face realism.

Mat and Dougie are the only reason I was able to catch my breath. I found myself grasping on to their humanity and begging that they will be able to hang on to it. Which is precisely why I have to read on. Even knowing the story will hurt me, I have to know more.

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