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.
Listening Length: 13 hrs 31 mins
Narrator: Robert Nieman
When a book is surrounded by lots of hype, my expectations are set pretty high. Maybe even too high sometimes. I don't know if that was the case here, or if it was the lackluster narration that did it in. But overall, I felt pretty "meh" about In the Middle of Somewhere.
Daniel and Rex met when Daniel was visiting the small town of Holiday for a job interview. Rex took care of Daniel after he got in an accident, and the night ended with a kiss. But Daniel wasn't there to stay just yet. Moving ahead a few months and Daniel took the job and was moving to Holiday. He grew up a city boy, so a small town like Holiday was something completely foreign to Daniel. Getting used to being the new guy in a small town wasn't easy, nor was it easy always looking to see if he'd run into Rex again.
Well, they did. Run into each other that is. They start a slow relationship at a realistic pace. They had a lot to work through and I liked how they did it. Their romance was the focus of the book and things progressed nicely. Nicely... not an adjective I generally look for in a romance. But that's what this was. Nice enough. Not exciting or explosive or particularly interesting. The book was entirely too long for a "nice enough" story. I think if it were at least 100 pages shorter, this would have probably been a 4 heart read. But it was so boring by the middle and bogged down by Daniel's rambling and weird inner-monologues.
The first person, present tense did not work for me at all here. I'm generally fine with first person, but I have to really love the character and I didn't love Daniel. I barely liked him. That's not to say there was anything necessarily wrong with him, I just didn't want to spend 300+ pages inside his head. Like I said, his inner-monologues turned into rambling and he just... bugged me.
What saved the book for me was Rex and the secondary characters. Rex is a saint, almost too perfect in fact. But he's just so lovable that I couldn't help but love him with all his perfectness. He's gentle and kind and loving. And he made Daniel see the good in life and that sometimes things aren't too good to be true, but just good.
The narration was dull and uninspired. I've listened to Robert Neiman and enjoyed him before, but his narration didn't work for me here. I have been listening to some outstanding audiobooks lately and that could have worked against him. But the story was slow-paced and I think it needed more life in the narration.
In the Middle of Somewhere was good enough. I liked it... enough. I have book 2 on my TBR. I have to say I am not excited to read Colin's book. He's a Class A Jerk at this point and I don't know that I want to see him redeemed. But I added it and I'll probably read it in hopes that Will's book will be next.
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