Release Week Blitz and Giveaway: Nowhere But Here: Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here - coverNOWHERE BUT HERE (Thunder Road #1)
Katie McGarry
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Release Date May 26, 2015

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.  

From Emily's Point of View. Set up: Emily is riding a motorcycle for the very first time and she's riding it with Oz.

THE MOTORCYCLE ACCELERATES AND THE FEW inches I had established between me and Oz: gone. My body slides forward, colliding into his, and we click together like two puzzle pieces. Heat rushes up my neck and onto my cheeks. My thighs are too close to his, too tight against his body and this is way more intimate than I have been before with a guy.

Even when the two of us kissed.

Oz veers left, away from Olivia’s, away from the main road, and the entire motorcycle pitches to the side. My heart thun­ders and my fingers clutch not only at Oz’s belt loop, but at the material of his jeans, and his hips.

Oz glances at me over his shoulder as the bike straightens out. “Lean with it, Emily.”

Right. Lean with Oz and the bike. Got it. The narrow road curves ahead and this time when Oz and the bike tilt, I move along with it. Oz releases one of the amazingly high handlebars and massages my knee before returning his hand to the grip. Whether in reassurance or to affirm I mastered the curve I don’t know, but either way, I sit higher.

The wind whips through my hair and onto my face and I shut my eyes for a brief second and pretend that I’m flying. There’s something energizing, something hypnotic, something inside me that begs to burst out of a cage in search of freedom.

The motorcycle kicks forward and our speed increases. Beams of sunlight filter through the towering trees and green foliage blurs together as we fly over the road. From head to toe, my body vibrates with the loud growling of the power­ful machine.

My knee still tingles from where Oz laid his fingers on me and I’ve never been more aware of my hands in my life. I should let go of Oz’s body, but I can’t. Belt loops weren’t enough and my fingers have somehow edged up and onto his sides. Oz is solid. Yes, definitely solid. Every inch of him that I touch is tight muscle.

Oz is a year older than me, but somehow he seems older, wiser and hotter than any other guy I’ve known. Just the way he rides his bike creates this overabundance of confidence.

Warm sensations I’ve never experienced before blossom through me. We enter another curve and I lean with him. I like how in sync I’ve become with Oz and the motorcycle. Like we’ve merged into one.

The purr of the engine deepens and Oz eases the bike to a stop. His feet hit the ground and he turns the machine off. It’s as if all sound in the world ceased, or maybe I’ve gone deaf because there’s no way anything can be this still or silent.

The wind picks up and the silence is frightened away with the roar of the trees bending. Both Oz and I shift with the flow of air and Oz doesn’t move the bike until the breeze gentles.

Oz kicks down the stand and the bike tilts, but not too much. He sets a hand over the fingers that I laced together across his stomach. Oh, hell, I’m plastic wrapped to him. I drop my head onto his shoulder and it places me closer, and closer is not what I need.

I go to unglue myself, but Oz squeezes my fingers, send­ing a jolt of electricity up my arms. “You okay?”

I have to clear my throat to speak and that just sucks. “Yes.”

Oz slides his fingers against mine and a fluttering occurs in my stomach. It’s a light fluttering. Ticklish even, and my survival instincts scream at me to get off this motorcycle.

When visiting her biological father's family in Kentucky, Emily is introduced to a different world centered around the Reign of Terror MC Club. Her arrival comes at a time where there is some instability and she finds herself in the center of a storm. Situations occur and soon her father, Eli puts her under the protection of Oz, a young man just wanting to be a prospect in the club.

Emily is naive, sheltered, and likes her safe world and set plans. The idea of even leaving her stable home was anxiety producing. And the intense situations she encounters in Kentucky only make it worse. She is the typical good-girl and is a bit closed off, judgmental, and does not like change at all.

Oz is determined, loyal and focused on his goals. But he is also hurting due to some issues going on in their family. He has grown up in the club life, and feels strongly about the importance of family and club loyalty. Emily is the assignment that will either make him or break him with his dream of joining the club and their security company, so keeping her safe has to be his top priority.

They could not be more different. Their backgrounds and personalities are diverse. But despite challenging each other and causing strong reactions, they also find some common ground and appreciation for each other. Their verbal sparring and rapport was engaging. There was definite push and pull between them and some mixed feelings especially initially. Theirs is a story of an unlikely friendship and young love with a bit of a forbidden aspect due to their circumstances. Not only does Oz have to worry about protecting her, staying in the good graces of the club, but also worry about fall out from her father due to the fact that he is more interested in her than she should be. 

But their family's history is layered with so many secrets, lies, and mysteries. Some people know parts of them, but everyone seems to be keeping Emily in the dark (and the reader as well). She has to figure out who she can trust, what to believe and how to handle this chaotic world with interesting family members and complicated dynamics. There is also real danger and threats to be concerned with.

Both of them also had life lessons to learn about taking risks, expanding their horizons, following their own path, and living life. It focused a lot on  family, respect, love and trust. And all is centered about a MC Club with a core group of young people who all seem to have their own issues. Not only Emily and Oz, but Chevy, Violet, Razor,and Stone. They are affected by the actions of their parents and mentors all associated with the club in some way and the matriarch Olivia has a profound effect on all of them as she does her best to impart wisdom and lessons to them. Their relationships with Olivia were an important aspect of this story. They all have their own fears, insecurities, issues, pain, and feelings about how their lives have been so far.

This is a young adult story told in dual point of view. Although the young couple do have an attraction and some chemistry, it is more about forging a connection than anything sexual. It focuses more about the younger generation figuring out what role they want to play in the club life while also dealing with their own issues and demons that haunt them. Emily especially was learning about family and club life that she was not exposed to growing up and it is whole new world for her. And Oz was also learning to change his own thinking as well. 

I liked this book, although at times I felt like the pacing was a bit slow in places. There was a lot of build up with the relationships and opening up of characters. And the secrets and lies stayed buried much of the story. There were some twists and surprises that I did not figure out on my own. And it definitely got more exciting towards the end.  I liked Oz.  Emily was a bit hard to warm up too since she was stubborn and set in her ways. But her spreading her wings and opening up her mind was all part of her journey. Sometimes I did not feel an intensity with them as a couple, but they are still young and their relationship was really just in the beginning stages. 

Die hard fans of Katie McGarry might be able to pick up a small connection between this series and a character from the Pushing the Limits series. I was intrigued by many of the side characters in this one. The next book Walk The Edge will be about Razor and he is an interesting, damaged character. But I expect we will see one about Chevy and Violet because they obviously have history and pain between them. And there are aspects of the club life and the MC issues going on in this one that will surely bleed into the next books both tying in their pasts and shaping their futures.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Emily has very little contact with her biological father or his family, and her mom hasn’t returned to her hometown in years, so when they learn Emily’s grandmother is dead they plan a trip to return home for the funeral. What happens next is a whirlwind of danger, tension, and secrets that will turn everything Emily knows about her family on it’s head.

All Oz wants is to patch into the MC club he grew up around, and now that he has graduated high school his parents’ one request, he is counting down the days until he will be a prospect. When Eli asks Oz to keep his daughter safe, Oz knows this is his first test, and hopefully the last.

It was interesting to watch events unfold around Emily, though there were also moments I wanted to shake her or one of several other characters. She had several very severe fears that played huge parts of how she reacted under pressure. Early in the book, I was sympathetic to her fears but as the story progressed, it felt like she was using them as excuses rather than as true fears.

As far as MC stories go, this one definitely read NA. It was not overly graphic or gritty and while there was a definite threat of danger, it remained mostly unknown and in the background.

I had a hard time feeling the chemistry between Oz and Emily. Beyond being forced to guard her, I just didn’t feel a connection deeper than proximity. She has several deep seated fears that while understandable, after a while I lost sympathy for her fears and reactions to the danger around her. He was so focused on patching into the club that it didn’t feel like he would have taken that risk to get closer to her, at least until he had some reassurance that he would be patched.

This book was filled with secrets (that were not easily worked out as a reader), threats, and the demands of a dying woman. I loved the surprises that popped up, and the connections that weren’t clear until the very end. While this wasn’t exactly what I expected when I began reading, by the end I was happily entertained and liked the outcome.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Emily and Oz are two teenagers from proverbial opposite sides of the “tracks.” The heroine was raised in a rather guarded environment, while the hero was raised amongst the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club. Our protagonist live two major contrasting lifestyles, making them as contradictory as contradictory can get. Emily comes across as the typical good girl, the golden child per se, and Oz is pretty much the definition of a typical bad boy except with a slight twist. 

Oz has lived his entire life amongst the Reign of Terror. Life with the club tends to be rowdy, wild, and sometimes dangerous. It’s always been his dream to be patched in, following in his family’s footsteps. Family and loyalty mean the world to Oz; they are what keep him grounded, and he’ll do anything to protect what’s his, even babysit a chick he can barely tolerate. 

Emily, on the other hand, has always lived a quiet and sheltered life with her mother and stepfather. She was brought up to believe that Eli, her father who is an important member of the Reign of Terror, didn’t want a thing to do with her. Animosity festered with this belief, that is until her pretty, little bow wrapped world was rocked off its axis and the lies she always believed as the truth started to quickly unravel. 

Both characters were definitely set in their ways and beliefs. Stubborn is definitely a word I would use to describe them. Frustrating would be a close second. Due to this, there were times I was convinced I would end up throwing my tablet against the wall. Oz and Emily felt as if they would never mature properly into their relationship. I just kept thinking sooner or later, something besides their bad blood and witty dialogue has to come about. I needed a bit more romance from them. Something that would sustain me through the long road traveled. Unfortunately, it took some time for them to even consider finding common ground. And while I enjoyed them, these issues made the book drag on a bit. By the halfway mark I felt as though we should be close to wrapping up. 

However, even with all that, Oz and Emily were extremely likable. Looking back, their personalities complimented each other in the best ways. Their diversity allowed them to grow and to learn from each other on all levels. Eventually they let go of the surface and started digging deeper. Emily and Oz reminded me a lot of my younger years, which is why I found it engaging to observe their dynamics as they flourished from butting heads over their preconceived impressions to building a strong foundation of friendship and love. In my opinion, their characters experienced the right amount of character growth, leaving them room to grow into becoming a couple with the rest of the series. One thing I do know without a doubt is that as Emily and Oz transformed, I found myself falling more in love with them by the minute. 

While I thoroughly enjoyed our protagonists, the secondary characters were just as amazing. They definitely held their ground, sometimes outshining our main characters. Razor and Olivia were my favorites. I seriously cannot wait to get my greedy little hands on his book. The mystery and intensity surrounding him immediately captivated me. I was seriously hanging on the edge of my seat waiting to find out his past. It killed me when all the author did was elude to it. Damn it, I WANTED to know everything about Razor right then and there. 

Nowhere But Here isn’t the classic type of Motorcycle Club book. There wasn’t the overabundance of hard core angst, grit, or violence (well there was a tad bit of violence at the end) seen within this genre. I really liked that though. I was nervous and excited going into this book as I really love MC books, and I wasn’t sure how the author was going to pull this off YA style. Let’s face it, no one thinks young adult when they think of motorcycle clubs. I was pleasantly surprised to find I enjoyed the fact that this book focused more on the value of family, allegiance, and dependability, and less on the grittiness of the MC world. 

In my opinion, Ms. McGarry delivered an addictive new spin on a widely known reading obsession. She provided us insight into a world we all wish we could experience while still allowing us the relatability factor to her characters.

While Noah and Echo will always be my favorite Katie McGarry couple, Oz and Emily definitely come as a fun recommendation from me, especially if you are a huge fan of this author's books. 

Thank you, Harlequin Teen, for the complimentary copy of Nowhere But Here.

Katie McGarry Author Photo
Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.
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