Blog Tour: Nowhere But Here: Renee Carlino

Renee Carlino 
Expected released May 5, 2014
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Paperback Details:
Atria Books | on-sale July 8, 2014|  320 pages | ISBN: 9781476763972

A Chicago reporter in her mid-twenties unexpectedly finds love in Napa Valley when she’s assigned to spend a week with a famously reclusive genius.

Kate Corbin has lost her spark. From the outside, her life seems charmed. She has a handsome, long-term boyfriend and a budding journalism career at a popular Chicago newspaper. But in reality, her relationship is going nowhere, and she’s quickly losing motivation for what she once believed was her dream job. When her boyfriend dumps her unceremoniously, Kate loses all hope of finding love.

With no living family and few friends, Kate confides in her boss. Trusting that the hungry, ace reporter is buried somewhere deep inside, he gives Kate the opportunity to jumpstart her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently reemerged as a Napa Valley vintner. The week takes an unexpected turn, however, when Lawson refuses to divulge any information. Desperate for a lead, Kate turns to Jamie, a vineyard hand who shows her the romance of wine country—and stirs her aching heart. But his connection to Lawson is ambiguous, and when Jamie disappears before the end of the week, Kate is left to investigate another story: the truth behind the man who stole her heart.

Kate is in need of  a game changer. She is living a pretty solitary life without really feeling. She has lost her zest for life after suffering a loss and is just going through the motions. She has few friends, a lackluster relationship, and is uninspired at work. When her boss at the paper gives her a big assignment, it jump starts her motivation.

Soon she finds herself leaving Chicago and heading to the Napa Valley to interview an elusive tech geek gone winery owner. Her luck does not exactly improve during the trip and then the man she is sent to interview is not exactly a great interview subject.  But she does meet a funny, cocky, winery worker, Jamie. He is charming, attentive, knowledgeable, and tries to meet her every need. He surprisingly helps Kate find her spark and soon they are fanning the flames of desire and developing a connection.

But will secrets, miscommunication, and mistakes bring Kate's new found happiness crashing and burning again? Can Jamie make her see that what they had was real or will it remain just a fling?

I adored Jamie. He was a bit of an alpha, but also sweet, magnetic, sexy, passionate, and romantic. He was like a renaissance man with many talents and layers to his personality. He knew what he wanted and was not afraid to go after it. He was not perfect and made some decisions that had repercussions. But he was persistent even when faced with challenges. 

Kate was lonely, insecure, and vulnerable. But she also had a bit of sass when she let herself come out of her shell. She had a good heart, but was paralyzed at times by her fears and insecurities and closed herself off. She really needed to learn to open up, live, and trust before she could get out of the rut she was living in. Some of her decisions had me rolling my eyes and made me want to smack sense into her. 

Together they had a witty rapport, camraderie, and passion. But they both were vulnerable and had issues from their pasts that affected their present and added complications. 

This was truly a journey for Kate to find herself, her place in the world, learn to accept her past, and be open to the risk involved in opening her heart. It was sweet, frustrating, heart breaking, humorous, and swoony. It was well paced and I felt like I was experiencing it along with the characters. It was told in Kate's point of view, but Jamie is pretty vocal in the verbal and written word so I still felt like I really got to know how he felt as well (and I think I mentioned that I LOVED him!). 

There were quirky side characters  that made me smile. The locations of the winery and Chicago provided interesting settings and became such an integral part of the story itself. There were plot twists and surprises that added more interest and drama. Overall it was a beautiful, romantic story of interwoven connections, the whispers of fate, and the power of love. 

Thanks to Renee Carlino and Atria Books for providing me with a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Reading Nowhere But Here, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the characters, the storyline, the situations, and the emotions they all evoked. 

Kate’s life seemed to be stalled out. With no family, she had been skating through her job, writing lackluster pieces as a newspaper writer. She was dating a man who did nothing but get on my nerves in the few scenes we see him, while mourning the recent lose of the woman who raised her. To put it simply, she is lost. I hurt for her, watching her stumble through her routine thinking all she had was herself.

Jamie intrigued me early on. He seemed to have knowledge of everything that went on at the vineyard and was called on by the other staff members to get things done. His easy going nature was a perfect compliment to Kate’s focus on her story. Even with the way their first meeting happened, stress rolled off him, projecting a happy-go-lucky, carefree vineyard hand. But the knowledge of the science of winemaking, and the technical aspects of the vineyard’s systems he was able to quickly recall and share made me immediately suspicious of the persona he was projecting. 

Renee’s characters have always felt real. They have a variety of moods and traits that make them well rounded people that jump out of the page, and Jamie and Kate are perfect examples of realistic characters. As this story is told completely from Kate’s perspective, we don’t know what is up with Jamie beyond what he shared with her. 

The beginning scenario of why her boss was sending her to California sounded artificial at first. She’s been underperforming, so he sends her to cover a story he’s been trying to get for years? It made me think maybe he knew more about the situation there and maybe was in cahoots with someone else at the winery. The further I read though, the more I think Jerry just really cared about Kate and was trying to shake her out of the melancholy she was living. 

This was heartfelt, sweet, and cute. I love that this wasn’t full of angst for the sake of angst. Every negative emotion was in proportion to the hurt or fear involved in the action. And saying there wasn’t angst doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of tension, fear, and bits of unknown. It was just a perfect balance to remind Jamie and Kate of the feelings that were developing.

Thanks to Renee Carlino and Atria Books for providing me with a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Renee Carlino Website/Facebook/Twitter

USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino explored love and heartbreak in her beautifully written debut Sweet Thing, and her newest novel does not disappoint. For fans of Colleen Hoover, K.A. Tucker, and Katja Millay, Nowhere But Here is a stirring and satisfying romance that you won’t want to put down.

Photo credit: 
(c) Jack and Lola Photography, 2013


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