Author: Roan Parrish
Narrator: Robert Nieman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 13 hours and 31 minutes
At a Glance: This book was a pleasure to listen to. Robert Nieman has such a relaxed, easy-going style.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.
When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.
Review: It’s always so happy-making when an audiobook is released for a book that I had somehow overlooked, or had gotten pushed down my TBR list for some reason, and I’m reminded of the fact that I had been intrigued by the book in some way—the blurb, the cover, the author…something about it grabbed me. Such was the case with In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish. When the book was released last summer, my interest was definitely piqued. I mean, did you read the blurb? You guys saw where one of the MCs is described as “tough, snarky, and tattooed,” right? And, the other MC is a shy, muscle-bound, furniture maker who cooks? Yeah, I’m definitely on board for that! *wink* So, I was excited when the book popped back up on my radar when the audio came out.
Daniel is everything the blurb suggests. He’s ambitious, hard-working, smart, and yes, tough, snarky, and tattooed. Philadelphia born and raised (that was a completely accidental channeling of the Fresh Prince), Daniel feels more than a bit out of place when he first arrives in Podunk, Michigan, to start his job as a professor in the English department at Sleeping Bear College. Though a small liberal arts college seems perfect for him, it’s still a far cry from living in the city.
As much as I loved Daniel, though, I have to say, I fell even harder for Rex, who we first meet when he helps Daniel after an unfortunate accident on his way back to Philly after his interview. There was definitely a spark between them that night, but Rex keeps things from going too far—setting Daniel up on the couch—and is then gone in the morning when Daniel wakes up. Fast forward six months…school has started, Daniel is getting settled in town, and who should he run into? You got it. There is an incredibly steamy encounter in the woods, followed by awkward weeks of guys being guys, until at last they began dating.
I dug these guys so much. Rex is Sweet. God, is he sweet. And, basically perfect. I adore how supportive he is of Daniel, and how thoughtful he is. Daniel deserves someone like him after what he went through in his last relationship, not to mention the shit he put up with from his family growing up. Thankfully, he did have the love and support of his FABULOUS best friend, Ginger, back home in Philly, because his home life left a lot to be desired. Rex has got a story of his own—his life hasn’t been perfect, and he’s battling some personal demons—but, together they might just find their happiness.
This book was a pleasure to listen to. Robert Nieman has such a relaxed, easy-going style. At times maybe a bit too relaxed—I felt like I could hear him take a sip of water a couple of times!—and he maybe could have done a liiiittle better distinguishing the separate character voices, but overall, it really was a great narration. The pacing and inflection were both very good as well. I would absolutely listen to more books read by him.
It’s hard to believe this was a debut novel. Everything about it, from the characters and their backstories to the dialogue and the storyline itself, was so well thought out and polished. I was immediately swept up in the story, and taken with the characters. Parrish did a fantastic job with this series debut. I will absolutely be following the rest of this series, as well as her other future books!
You can buy In the Middle of Somewhere here: