Contemporary romance that’ll make you melt on the spot! Biker elements! Intriguing story-line! Bottom line: This book needs to be read. Why on earth did I leave it on my shelves for so long before I started to read this book? I need a smack in the head, seriously haha. I got the book somewhere in november/december ’16 I guess? And boy, do I regret not having read it any sooner because I found myself a new favorite author to add to the list with this book; Katie McGarry. In 1,5 week I’ve read three books by this author, with Nowhere but here being the first, and I loved them all sooo much. Let me start off with this non-spoiler review of Nowhere but here..
Emily is on a crossroad in her life and she’s finding out the existence of secrets that will throw her whole world upside down. She always thought her biological father abandoned her and didn’t want her except for the yearly visits he payed her for the past 7 years, so she never really developed a bond with him or his family in Snowflake. Did her mom lie to her all her life and why? Did Eli really abandon her without a second thought or was there more to it? Because everyone in the biker family promised Eli to never tell his secrets, it’s a tough time for Emily to find out the real truth. Thanks to her grandmother Olivia, whom she’s just recently met and starts to bond with, and her ‘bodyguard’ Oz, who she’s madly attracted to but hates his guts at the same time, she keeps discovering new truths bit by bit and starts looking at a completely different way towards this biker community and the way they live their life.
At first she absolutely did not want to stay with Eli, Olivia, Cyrus – her grandfather – and the rest of this biker ‘gang’. And then, of course, she’s getting to know everyone better and she finds herself torn in two because of the feelings she starts to develop towards her long lost family and her bodyguard Oz. Everything Emily’s mother told her about her father and his family may have been lies, and covering up the real truth is causing Emily’s life to turn upside down and now Emily has to find out who she truly is and where she belongs now she knows she has a place in this biker family as well. At the same time she’s in constant danger because of this rival gang ‘Riot’ who are destined to break Eli and the best way to do this is to hit him where it will hurt him the most; his daughter.
It’s Oz’s job to protect her with his life and Oz is desperate to prove himself to Eli and the rest to earn his stripes and become a real member. It’s what he’s been living for these past 18 years; loving his family and becoming a brother in the club. But he finds himself being torn apart when he develops feelings for Emily..
Oz is one of the most amazing ‘real’ characters I’ve come across when it comes to ‘YA-book-males’ and he’s become one of my favorites really fast. I’ve been doing some major fangirling over him while reading this book and afterwards. He doesn’t pretend; what you see is what you get. And I loved following his inner struggle between doing what’s right, and doing what’s right for him. And well; he’s this incredible gorgeous biker.. So, yeah; I’m crazy for Oz, no denying there!
Katie McGarry on Oz:
Oz is a fantastic character. He’s loyal, tough, but has a heart of gold. It takes him awhile to trust, but when he does, Oz is all in. He’s also the same way with love. He protects his family and friends and that’s what makes Oz a great hero.
Emily is a really likable character as well and a perfect match for Oz, despite them starting off on the wrong foot, lol. She’s a kind person but could be feisty at the same time – never in a bad way though – once she learned to overcome some fears. And she grew so much throughout the novel, which is the best part about her I think. She learns to come out of her shell, ask questions –even though they might make someone uncomfortable– and take more risks.
I love reading about biker communities and I’ve read several adult romance books with Bikers in them so I was very curious to see how Katie wrote this YA contemporary novel. And let me tell you; she nailed it. The story-line, romance, relation ship developments and especially writing down amazing main AND side characters. Emily’s grandmother for example: she is hilarious and so awesome. Definitely not what you’d expect from a grandmother but she’s an old lady in a biker community and Katie wrote her character really, really good. She also would have been able to scare me to death as well, lol. Maybe even literally – inside joke, you’ll know what I mean after reading it 😉 But really; I love this side character! Oz’s friends were really interesting as well and from what I’ve understand they get their own stories in the next books, so yay!
I really enjoyed their growth as characters. Emily gaining independence and Oz seeing that there was more to life then just being a part of the motorcycle club. All the characters were diverse, complex and compelling and added an enormous amount of depth to the story.
Olivia to Emily:
“This is your family … If you learn to love us then you will forever have our love in return.”
I love love loveeee the developing of this romance. Both characters really don’t want to have anything to do with each other but they’re forced to spend a lot of time anyway. There’s an obvious physical attraction from both sides, but neither one of them wants to follow up on it because of the repercussions and the fact they don’t like each other. After a while, they discover they were both wrong about judging one another and they start building a steady friendship in which they become each others anchors. And from that friendship they develop steady, intense and deep feelings that go way beyond friendship and is the start of an amazing romance. I love how Emily finds trust in Oz and he finds someone to open up to in Emily. They still continue trying to keep distance of each other emotionally because of all the sh*t that’s going on, but when a developing love is as real as this one is, there’s just no escaping it.. Be prepared for some maaaajor fangirl feels!
“You’re beautiful,” I say, and the honesty of my words stings. “You’re beautiful inside and out. I like how you challenge me. I like how I can never figure out what you’re going to do or say. I like how we’ve thrown weird shit in your direction and you take it like a pro.”
I cup her face with one hand and caress her soft skin. “I like how you smile and how you laugh. I like how you love and defend your family and I like how you’re trying to love mine. I love how you trust. But mostly, Emily, I like how I feel when I’m around you.”
Shit. My heart bursts as the words tumble out. “I’m falling for you.”
This was my first Katie McGarry book and it blew me away – hence the 5 star rating. Her writing is amazing, really! I loved that she wrote from both POV’s; Oz & Emily so you could get a good feel on both sides of these different ‘worlds’. After starting this book, I just really didn’t want to put it down anymore. Every free second I was able to pick up the book, I was reading. Katie’s writing took me away from reality and plunged me into a world full of bikers, an intense slow burn romance and the beautiful presence of a developing relationship between long lost family members and I devoured every page,chapter and word she wrote.
There are so much interested things going on in this story and I loved every second of it. It’s full of angst, excitement, romance, family love, secrets and taking a journey to discover your path in life. So many feelings and emotions are being transferred from the page to me as reader and I want to hug this author for being able to do that. This story and the writing was addictive right from the start. I loved the characters and how the developments they went through were written down. It was an amazing journey, to be there alongside these characters and learn their story and to find all the answers Emily’s looking for while she falls hard for biker-boy Oz. This story isn’t just about romance.. It’s about family, brotherhood and teenagers being on the verge of spreading their wings and Katie McGarry really knows how to write about this stuff. She’s also extremely good at writing down these intense feelings that are woven in this story, whether you’re reading about the Romantic relationship between Oz and Emily or the bonding of Emily and her family.. All of it will take your breath away.
This read was enthralling from beginning till end with a slow burning romance and some perfectly written angst woven into the story. I loved the story line developing and the character developments as well. I thought this book gave an amazing insight on different parts of biker community’s, but aside from that it also shows a lot of beautiful and sad aspects of normal (teenage) life, love, how cruel life can be and at the same time how wonderful and magical life can be if you find the right person.
Extra| Interview with Oz – Copyrights of this Interview belong to the Dark Faerie Tales blog
I came across this Interview on the Dark Faerie tales blog and loved it so much so I asked them if I could share it with you guys, so here we go!
DFT : I am so excited that Oz was gracious enough the stop by for a short interview so we can all get to know him a little bit better!!! Katie already introduced you to us and told us a few things about you, but I want you to tell us what is something that makes you unique from others?
Oz: I’m different from the other people in Snowflake, Kentucky in that I’m a child of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club. My father is a highly respected board member. People know this and, outside of the MC, people treat me like I’m toxic. Doesn’t bother me though, I know who my real friends are and we stick close together.
DFT: I imagine that in your life there have been many people that have influenced you in one way or another. Can you tell us about a specific experience or person that greatly impacted your life?
Oz: Olivia and Cyrus. Cyrus is not only the president of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club, he’s like a grandfather to me. And Olivia—if the club was a body, and Cyrus was the head, then Olivia would be the heart. She’s more than a surrogate grandmother to me. At times, she’s been like a mother. She’s tough, she’s raw, but I love her.
DFT: It is your dream to become a member of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle club. What is the appeal of being a member of a club? Why did you choose this particular club to join?
Oz: To me, the club is family. This is where I grew up. These people know me inside and out. If I ever fell, I’d have a group of guys waiting to catch me. Walking away from them would be like cutting off my arms and legs.
DFT: I know this interview is about getting to know you better, but I can’t help asking a few questions about Emily J! What was your original impression of Emily the first time you met her?
Oz: Trouble. When I first met Emily, I knew she would be nothing but trouble. There’s a world of heartache surrounding her and her mom. A lot of people cut deep by decisions Emily’s mom made. Emily showing up in Snowflake only meant more hurt for the people I loved. Didn’t think I could like someone who caused people I cared for to bleed.
DFT: If you can without spoiling anything , will you tell us one of your favorite moments spent with Emily?
Oz: Without a doubt one of my favorite moments with Emily happened on my motorcycle.
DFT: Since this event is about heroes can you tell me who you think is a true hero and why?
Oz: Emily’s father, Eli. Can’t imagine living the life he has or making the decisions he had to make. That’s a real hero.
I hope you liked my review of Nowhere but here and the additional Interview with Oz, done by Dark Faerie Tales. I’d love to hear what you thought of the book if you’ve already read it and in case you didn’t read it yet; you neeeeeeeeeeeed this book in your life! At the moment this book is on top of my recommendations list! Some books of Katie are already translated to Dutch – Pushing the limits for example – and I really hope some publisher here is going to translate the Thunder Road books as well, because damn.. This read was just insanely good and they need way more attention!
“Sometimes what we need the most is what we fight the hardest: change.”