Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
Book One of the Thunder Road series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. 

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

What I Liked:

Whew. I have been reading a lot of meh books lately! Lots of 3 and 3.5 stars. I think I liked this one! It's probably a 3-stars-but actually-3.5-stars kind of deal. Of McGarry's books, I think this one is one that I think I liked despite the rating. My favorite is still very much Pushing the Limits, the rest are okay (well, I think Dare You To and Take Me On was good. I can't quite remember), but a little on the repetitive side. That can happen, with companion novel series.

In this novel, Emily, your average girl from Florida, is faced with a huge life-changing event: going to Kentucky to her biological father's mother's funeral. A grandmother she's never met, a father she's seen once a year. Her mother and adoptive father are keeping secrets from her, but they let her go. No one will tell her why her mother left Kentucky seventeen years ago when she was pregnant. No one will tell her why Eli (a member of the Reign of Terror, as well as her biological father) gave up custody of his only child. One thing is for sure - Emily isn't safe in Kentucky, but Eli will take no chance with her safety. Eli has Oz, a boy eager to please the Reign of Terror (in order to join) protect Emily. They're not allowed to be together, but they fall for each other anyway. Will they find a way? Will Emily leave Kentucky safely?

This book is extremely well-crafted, I must say that. The plot is very intricate, and it's clear to me that McGarry takes her time weaving story into story to make one large story. No wonder this book is nearly five hundred pages long. I love the layers of stories, the subplots, discovering the background story slowly. 

I liked Oz very much. He doesn't pretend with anyone, and he has an edge of danger and rawness and bad-boy charm. He never tries to act like a good guy, but he is loyal and a big softie sometimes. Especially when it comes to Olivia, Emilys grandmother, who practically raised him. He teases and flirts with Emily, but he's also gentle with and around her.

Emily is... strange. I'm not sure if I liked her or not. She's got fight in her, especially for someone who isn't expecting to be thrown into danger the minute she steps into Kentucky. She lives the life of a spoiled daughter of a doctor, so this new lifestyle is quite different. The Reign of Terror aren't the thugs she expected, but that doesn't mean she likes them instantly.

In fact, for most of the book, Emily wants nothing to do with the motorcycle group. The Reign of Terror are more of a brotherhood, but other motorcycle groups, such as the Riot, do illegal things and violence and whatnot. But Emily doesn't care. All she knows is that she's stuck in Kentucky with her father that didn't want her, the Reign of Terror, and a boy to whom she is very much attracted.

The romance is probably the best and my favorite part of this book. The chemistry between Emily and Oz is there when they meet, but builds gradually and surely, the slow-burn type. They don't like each other, but they are very, very attracted to each other. McGarry is a master at writing romances! The chemistry sizzled between these two, throughout the entire book.

Another thing that I really liked was that this book really didn't feel like nearly five hundred pages. McGarry has a way of sucking you into a story. This book never felt like five hundred pages. I was very engaged and interested. I know I liked this book! There were things I didn't like, but I imagine that I will enjoy the next book more. I have high hopes.

What I Did Not Like:

The main thing was that I didn't like how this book was so focused on Emily. Literally everything was surrounding Emily. Everyone was bent on protecting Emily, or meeting Emily, or kissing up to Emily. Even the grandmother's illness (cancer) was pretty much turned into something about Emily. Everything is Emily Emily Emily! I understand why... kind of... but ugh, it really grates on the nerves. I didn't LOVE her like I hope to with protagonists, so that didn't help. But given that every single character in this book is in some way obsessed with Emily... I was annoyed by this.

I don't know if I liked Emily? Or her mother. Both of them pushed their families away, especially Emily, who didn't even give them a chance. Also Emily kind of panics over everything? Not everything, but it's sad... I don't want to say pathetic because panic is such a real condition, but the way her mother is so dramatic? Definitely carried in the family.

I think I might like the next book more because it won't be focused on a long-lost relative that everyone will be obsessed with yet someone whom everyone will keep the past from. Or, at least, I hope not. But that's one of the reasons why I really do think I will like the next book! Also, given the male protagonist - I'm curious about the guy!

Would I Recommend It:

Mmm, I guess? I know McGarry has a huge fanbase so I definitely think any fan of hers should give this book a shot, they will probably love it! I definitely like the motorcycle club aspect of the book, it sets these books apart from her previous debut series. Overall though, as a contemporary romance novel, it's okay. Good. The romance is steamy, but nothing too special.


3 stars. 3.5 stars maybe - either way, I liked this book, but I'm hoping to like the next book more (if I get the chance to read it)!

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  1. Okay, gotcha! Emily is the center of this books universe and my enjoyment will rise or fall on how I feel about that. LOL!

    I want to read it, but I'm glad to know what I'm getting into when I do.

    1. Yup, that kind of made the difference :/ I hope you enjoy this one when you read it, Sophia!

  2. I still haven't read anything by Katie McGarry, so I guess I ought to start with the other series before moving to this one? We'll see!

    1. Perhaps not this one! Pushing the Limits though, that one was great. But stop there ;D

  3. But.. but.. more three stars? Ugh. This genre doesn't seem to fully be your thing either, lol :D But yeah. This book do look pretty.. But I'm not reading it :p I'm glad you did like a lot of it, though :D But sorry it wasn't perfect. Sigh. Thank you for sharing Alyssa. <3

    1. I know! So many three-star contemporary reviews. We can't say I didn't try :D I don't think this is one for you, Carina! But you're welcome, and thank you!

  4. Not sure about this one. To be honest, I've only read her first book and while I liked it, I didn't love it and I still haven't read any more. Great review!

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    1. I know what you mean! Her books are hit or miss for me, honestly. This was one a near-miss but not quite hit either. LOL. Thank you!


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