Title: Middle Eight
Author: Audra Middleton
Release Date: February 1, 2015
He’s sex, drugs, and rock and roll. She’s spray bleach, spreadsheets, and check lists. Will their relationship hit the charts, or break hearts?
When the normal life Ray has always dreamed of unravels, she falls for a drummer, comes to terms with her unconventional childhood, and inevitably discovers that normal was never really in her best interest.
The loud clanking of a spoon against a cereal bowl roused Ray from her second slumber. Her nausea was completely gone, but it felt like somebody shoved a few dozen hat pins into her skull. She opened one eye, and found herself staring at someone’s bare feet.
Ray had a thing about feet. Feet were disgusting appendages. Especially hairy guy feet. The Birkenstock trend nearly made her mental. She never even let her husband touch her with his feet. But these feet were different. They weren’t hairy or calloused, for one thing. They were clean, for another, and the right one had a dragon tattooed along the side of it.
“Did you clean my kitchen?”
Ray sat up, squinting with the pain of bright lights and hat pins stirring in her cerebrum. She dug into her purse for the ridiculous aviator shades she’d bought at the last gas station and put them on. Looking up, she saw that the feet were attached to the drummer boy from the band in the bar. Wavy brown hair tucked behind his ear, cobra tattoo hissing on his chest, he wore nothing but a pair of faded jeans. Funny, had she seen this guy in the supermarket last week, she’d have crossed the aisle to avoid him. This morning she couldn’t take her bloodshot eyes off of him.
“Sorry about that. I’m psychotic.” She rubbed her temples, the effort of speaking causing more hat pin sticks. “It’s just, I got up to take some Advil, and I stepped on some Cheerios and so I tried to sweep up the crumbs, but the crumbs were stuck because the floor was sticky…next thing you know I’m scrubbing your floor. It just snowballed. It snowballed and thank God I started to feel sick or I would have moved on to the bathroom, started changing sheets while you were still sleeping in them, who knows. I clean when I’m stressed. It’s my process.”
He smiled and shook his head, shoveling another spoonful of Cheerios into his mouth.
“I’m Ray, by the way,” she said, removing a bobby pin that was poking at her scalp near her temple. Holy crap, maybe those aren’t imaginary hat pins in my head.
“Were your parents hoping for a boy or something?”
“I’m Van,” he said, in between bites.
Van. A flicker of excitement stirred in Ray’s stomach. Might she have stumbled upon somebody else whose parents were too high in the seventies to properly name their child?
“Were you conceived in a van or something?”
He did a combination laugh-choke. “Uh, I have no idea. My first name is Jeff, last name Vandermark. Van’s just a nickname. It’s easier since there always seems to be at least three other Jeffs in any given room.”
Ray sighed. A fun nickname given by friends. She couldn’t relate to that.
“You hungry?” he asked, pointing his spoon at his bowl of Cheerios.
“A few hours ago I swore I’d never eat again. Think I’d better hold off.”
He smiled slightly, and got up to pour himself another bowl. Ray sucked in a breath. When he passed by she got an eyeful of chiseled obliques, angled perfectly, pointing toward the Promised Land. What is wrong with me? Escaping lunatic husband, thirty bucks to my name, dead car, remember? Not the time to drool over drummer boys.
“Thanks for letting me crash here last night. I’d get out of your hair, but I have no idea where my car is. I mean, I know it’s at a bar somewhere in Portland…”
He laughed into his spoonful of cereal and nodded as he struggled with a swallow. “Right. Let me finish eating and we can go see about your car.”
5 Stars From Sammy's Book Obsession
I was provided with a Review Copy/ARC for review.
I LOVED this book!! I couldn't put it down! Still 3 days later, I'm thinking about it and wanting more. I will definitely be checking out more of author Audra Middleton's work since this was my first read of hers.
Middle Eight isn't dark and depressing like some of the stuff I've been reading lately and I found that refreshing. This book was fun and interesting. I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout! Of course there are always trials, struggles, and drama, but the characters in Middle Eight are just so real and down to earth. I loved them all. I won't go into why specifically because I don't want to provide any spoilers.
The writing is fantastic and as seen above, I can't gush enough about how great the characters are. I loved the pace of this story too. I just hate that it had to end at all. Obviously all books come to an end, but this is seriously one that I wish didn't have to. I didn't want to stop reading it! This is for sure going on my favorites and my re-read lists!
I recommend Middle Eight to absolutely anyone! Especially the 70's & 80's babies out there who, like me, feel right at home in the 90's setting ;) Kudos to Audra Middleton for providing me with a brand new favorite!
Audra Middleton was born and raised in Washington State where she lives with her husband and their three boys. She gave up her teaching career to raise her children, and in between diaper changes and baseball games, she began writing books. Once she started, she couldn’t stop, even after she went back to teaching.