22 September 2015

Today's Read & Giveaway: The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg

The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja YoergWhat if you were looking forward to a couple of weeks in the wilderness by yourself but your live-in, non-outdoorsy boyfriend insisted on coming along too? Would you easily adjust or be put off? Liz Kroft, who had wanted to hike the John Muir Trail alone, had mixed feelings.

Liz hopped from foot to foot and hugged herself against the cold. She glanced at the porch of the Yosemite Valley Wilderness Office, where Dante stood with his back to her, chatting with some other hikers. His shoulders shrugged and dropped, and his hands danced this way and that. He was telling a story--a funny one, judging by the faces of this audience--but not a backpacking story because he didn't have any. His idea of a wilderness adventure was staring out the window during spin class at the gym. Not that it mattered. . . . Liz had know him for over two years and still couldn't decipher how he captured strangers' attention without apparent effort. Dante was black velvet and other people were lint.
The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg (Penguin Group USA / NAL Accent, 2015, p. 1)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: Mostly Yosemite National Park and the John Muir Trail; modern times
  • Circumstances: Liz and Dante's rigorous but peaceful backpacking trip turns into a terrifying nightmare as they begin to suspect someone on the trail is determined to harm them. Meanwhile, their relationship is as rocky as the terrain. Liz has secrets and Dante has family issues. Will they be able to work out their differences?
  • Characters: Liz, 29, a medical engineer; Dante, her boyfriend of 2 years; Paul & Linda, 50-somethings, hiking the trail for fun; Brensen, an upcoming actor, hiking the trail to prepare for a part; Rodell & Payton, brothers, hiking the trail with no particular plan; day hikers, rangers, and other peripheral characters.
  • Genre: outdoor adventure; thriller
  • Themes: honesty, relationships, parenting, nature, trust, survival
  • What I liked: The descriptions of the park, the outdoor scenes, and life on the trail. The story took a little time to develop, but the creep factor was there. I had a bad feeling from the beginning and was wondering about whom to trust. Would both Liz and Dante make it out of the park alive?
  • What I didn't like: I thought maybe there was a tiny bit too much foreshadowing, but that absolutely didn't take away from the spooky, scary parts. Because I'm an experienced backpacker, the camping scenes held my attention more than the flashbacks to Liz and Dante's life back home and the parts about their relationship issues. But that's just me; I wanted to get back to the action and the trail!
  • Something to know: The author hiked the entire 200+-mile trail herself, so her rendering of what it's like to be on the John Muir Trail and in the national park is authentic and personal.
The Giveaway

Thanks to NAL Accent, I'm able to offer one of my readers with a USA mailing address a copy of The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner on October 1, using a random number generator. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the mailing information on to the publicist, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good Luck!


julie barrett 9/22/15, 7:22 AM  

Sounds like a great book, please enter my name into the giveaway, thanks


Vicki 9/22/15, 7:31 AM  

I have this on my tbr list. I love adventure stories.
Thanks for the chance to win!

PD Workman 9/22/15, 8:05 AM  

That one sounds funny!

Mine this week is from a kidnapping thriller set in Afghanistan: http://geni.us/devilsdue

Emma Littlefield 9/22/15, 8:23 AM  

I think I'd give it a go...although I'm not one for hiking!

Catherine BookClubLibrarian 9/22/15, 9:01 AM  

Thanks for sharing this new-to-me book. I'll be looking for it at the library.

bermudaonion 9/22/15, 9:05 AM  

I can't imagine hiking a trail like that alone. I'm looking forward to this book.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 9/22/15, 9:12 AM  

I would read more from that intro - I like the sound of this one.

Nise' 9/22/15, 10:09 AM  

The intro did immediately grab me, but the quick facts did.

Sally Whitney 9/22/15, 11:51 AM  

Sounds a good set-up for a thriller, and if the author has actually hiked the Muir trail, the descriptions should be good, too.

Claudia Arroyo 9/22/15, 11:53 AM  

What a coincidence! My little girl and I are actually working on a report on John Muir and his many escapades. The Middle of Somewhere sounds like it would be a book full of endless adventure; that's for sure! Thanks for sharing and for hosting a Giveaway :)

My Teaser

Laurel-Rain Snow 9/22/15, 12:02 PM  

You had me at the setting...could there be anything more gorgeous than hiking in Yosemite and on the John Muir trail?

The BF sounds really annoying, but the story probably needs such a foil to make it even more intense.

Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “PRETENDING TO DANCE”

Alice Audrey 9/22/15, 12:12 PM  

I wouldn't want to take along a total noob, but it's never a good idea to go more than a few hours into the woods by yourself anyway. People die that way. With or without someone dangerous on the trail.

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 9/22/15, 12:13 PM  

I like the sound of this one and I liked the writing style in the intro...I'd keep reading!

readingdate 9/22/15, 12:23 PM  

I've been eager to read this one- I like these books about hiking and the outdoors even though I'm not outdoorsy myself! Very cool that the author took the trek as well. Thanks for sharing this awesome spotlight and giveaway!

Suzie Quint 9/22/15, 12:35 PM  

Love the velvet and lint line. Sounds like an interesting book.

Margot 9/22/15, 12:56 PM  

I'm an experienced backpacker too so I know I'd at least enjoy the setting of this book. I can't think of another thriller that has a hiking trail as a setting so that would be unique. BTW, I just saw A Walk In the Woods yesterday. Its fairly humorous for old backpackers. I think you'd like it.

Monica's Bookish Life 9/22/15, 1:51 PM  

I like the writing style in the intro. Thanks for sharing this book because I'm not familiar with the author.

Kathy Martin 9/22/15, 3:24 PM  

Interesting image depicting that character. My YA teaser this week comes from What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. Happy reading!

Daryl 9/23/15, 9:59 AM  

i think my advenures in girl scout camp oh so many many years ago colored my feelings about hiking, camping and the great outdoors ... so while this sounds good, its not my cuppa .. but thanks!!!

Diane Markowitz 9/26/15, 11:05 AM  

Sonja, you're a wonderful author. Looking forward to reading more of your books. What is the next one about and when will it be available?

Sonja Yoerg 10/2/15, 10:15 AM  

Thank you, Diane! My next book should be out Fall 2016 and is about magic, madness and misfortune in three generations of Vermont women. Happy reading, everyone!

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