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In the Middle of Somewhere (Middle of Somewhere, #1)
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Contemporary Romance Discussions > Roan Parrish, In the Middle of Somewhere

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Ulysses Dietz | 1219 comments With “In the Middle of Somewhere” Roan Parrish does an excellent job delivering the story of a shy small-town woodworker and a bullied blue-collar boy from Philly who meet in the wilds of northern Michigan. Daniel Mulligan is a newly-minted college professor, having achieved that title through years of hard work and in spite of a complete lack of any kind of support from his family. He is edgy and tattooed and not at all what one would expect of a professor of nineteenth-century English lit. Rex Vale is the very fantasy of a lumberjack, massive and muscled; but behind his outward image of assurance and strength he nurtures a gentle spirit, appalled by violence and instinctively inclined to take care of others.

Both of these men, as one might expect, have secret sorrows locked inside them, and when they meet on a dark country road one night after an auto accident, their destinies begin to intertwine.

Because it is a requirement of the genre, Parrish offers numerous sex scenes, and even though she applies every m/m sex cliché possible, she delivers. These scenes are erotic and emotionally potent. They are about love and pleasure, and the connection that physical attraction forges between these two very different men. I nod to Josh Lanyon’s edict that a book like this should leave you aroused and with tears in your eyes.

Aside from her writing, one element that sets Parrish’s romance a step ahead of many in the genre is her characters, and not just the main protagonists. From Marilyn, the dog that is at the center of Daniel and Rex’s initial encounter, to Daniel’s serious best friend and tattoo artist Ginger, Parrish creates vivid, interesting and believable actors in her drama. They enrich the story and populate the background so that it feels three-dimensional. Even secondary players, such as the lonely teenager, Leo and Rex’s one-time boyfriend Mike are given surprisingly affecting roles to play, and become part of a world that rings true.

The key narrative device in m/m romance is not “if” but “how.” How will Rex and Daniel make it into some sort of a future? One startling plot twist toward the end creates a satisfying ending that manages to leave a wide opening for book 2. I’ll be sure to read it.

message 2: by Octobercountry (new)

Octobercountry | 1168 comments Mod
Another great review, Ulysses. I just finished this book tonight and thought it was pretty good---a cut above the typical m/m stories out there. Recommended.

DANIEL MULLIGAN is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, 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. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.

message 3: by Ulysses (last edited Aug 25, 2015 04:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ulysses Dietz | 1219 comments And there's definitely a book two underway!

message 4: by Octobercountry (last edited Aug 25, 2015 09:55AM) (new)

Octobercountry | 1168 comments Mod
Ulysses wrote: "And there's definitely a book two underway!"

I don't know.... if book two is all about Daniel's brother Colin I'm not sure I'd want to read it. That guy was AWFUL. On the other hand, maybe a sequel would be about Leo---that could be an interesting story...

Ulysses Dietz | 1219 comments But part of what Daniel is grieving over is his loss of connection to his family--I'm a great one for redemption. ANd of course Leo would play in this--he'll end up in NY with Michael (was that his name?) they'd be near Philly. Win-win!

message 6: by Octobercountry (new)

Octobercountry | 1168 comments Mod
But...but... Colin was just so HORRIBLE, I'm not sure I could ever forgive him, if he could ever redeem himself in my eyes. Heh---boy, I'm judgmental, aren't I!

Still, I've read other series (like "The Bristol Collection") in which a villain in one book (or at the least, a character I didn't like) turned out to be okay once you really got to know him and witness a change in character, in a later book. So who knows...

Ulysses Dietz | 1219 comments Well, Elezar Grunito in the Ginn Hale "Champion of the Scarlet Wolf" series is pretty awful in the "Lord of the White Hell" series... (after all, he kills sort of a lot of people)...but we like him OK in this series

message 8: by Octobercountry (new)

Octobercountry | 1168 comments Mod
True enough! But I didn't precisely dislike Elezar in the first two books. Oh, I found him disagreeable enough, but didn't really think him a character of note; he wasn't someone who I was interested in hearing any more about. So, it's very much to Ginn Hale's credit that I was totally won over (almost instantly) when he turned out to be one of the main characters in the Scarlet Wolf books.

And to veer wildly off-topic... Ginn Hale has a story in the great new fantasy collection Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I'm reading the book right now, and am enjoying it very much---has a fantastic line-up of authors that I'm sure you'd like as well.

Ulysses Dietz | 1219 comments I just bought Charmed and Dangerous.

message 10: by Octobercountry (new)

Octobercountry | 1168 comments Mod
Ulysses wrote: "I just bought Charmed and Dangerous."

I bet you'll like it! I've read the first four so far---at this point, my favourite is the one by KJ Charles: A Queer Trade. It's set in the Magpie Lord world.

message 11: by Jax (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jax | 948 comments I'm reading this antho too. It's so unusual to have read all the authors before and seven favorites out of the 10 is pretty great. I knew I should've skipped the first story, tho. Rhys Ford's writing has become like nails on a chalkboard for me.

message 12: by Liz (last edited Aug 26, 2015 06:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz L. | 89 comments Octobercountry wrote: "But...but... Colin was just so HORRIBLE, I'm not sure I could ever forgive him, if he could ever redeem himself in my eyes. Heh---boy, I'm judgmental, aren't I!

Still, I've read other series (lik..."

I lean towards agreeing with October on the Colin situation. He was terrible, really terrible, but I think there's more to Daniel and Colin's story that needs to be played out. This is a bit of spoiler, so... (view spoiler)

There's definitely potential for a story about Leo, that should include Will (Uly, Rex's ex, and Leo's infatuation is name Will.) And while Daniel's colleague at Sleeping Bear, Jay, had a very minor presence, there could be a story for him too.

To be honest, I love Daniel and Rex so much, I'll read any sequel that includes them.

message 13: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz L. | 89 comments I've learned that a sequel to In the Middle of Somewhere, Out of Nowhere, will be released at the end of February. It's Colin's story, so I'm torn on this one. I really could care less about him, but I enjoyed Parrish' first book so much.

The advance reviewer are apparently not permitted to post their reviews until the book is released, but they're posting that they love it. And one noted that this book runs parallel to Middle of Somewhere, so we'll see some of the same events again, but this time from Colin's perspective.

The quality of the first book and my desire to see Daniel and Rex again that has me leaning towards reading this one.

Out of Nowhere

Ulysses Dietz | 1219 comments Liz wrote: "I've learned that a sequel to In the Middle of Somewhere, Out of Nowhere, will be released at the end of February. It's Colin's story, so I'm torn on this one. I really could care less about him, b..."

Colin was such a bastard in the first the story of how he manages to cope and find love intrigues--plus the possibility of a reunion between two brothers so sadly separated...

message 15: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz L. | 89 comments Despite my intense dislike for Colin, the early reviews for Out of Nowhere, the sequel to In the Middle of Somewhere, I decided to give it a try. I did not love it as much as the reviews, in fact, I'm all over the place and when about the story. Writing a review seems impossible because I don't know where to begin.

While I'm wrestling with that, I know there are plenty of people who also dislike Colin and may skip this book, so I wanted to share some things we learned about Daniel and Rex in this book. If you want to know if Daniel got the Temple University job or not, click on my spoiler.

(view spoiler)

So there you go.

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