Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1), by Katie McGarry

Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Author: Katie McGarry
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

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."

My Opinion: I first discovered Katie McGarry when I read her Pushing the Limit series, and I can honestly say that I loved every book in that series. When I learned that she was starting a new series, I was right there requesting it from NetGalley because I had to learn for myself whether she could top her first series, and boy did she! I can see why she called this series Thunder Road, but it is also about each and every character in Nowhere But Here pushing the limits of their own lives, but in a much deeper way, which will make sense when you read the book, and I highly recommend that you do.

The story is told from two points of view: Emily's and Oz's. Eli is Emily's biological father who, as she's heard all her life, hooked up with Meg (Emily's mother) and when she found out she was pregnant he took off, wanting nothing to do with Meg or their baby. Meg remarried when Emily was 5 and Eli signed away his parental rights so Jeff could adopt her. They've had a good life, and Emily loves Jeff as much as if he were her biological father, and he loves her back just as much. Emily is 17 now, and for the last 7 years she has seen Eli once a year when he comes to visit her where she lives in Florida, but she doesn't feel a bond with him at all. 

Emily's life changes when Eli sends a message to Jeff containing a copy of his mother Olivia's obituary, saying she has died of cancer. Emily has always heard that Olivia and Meg hate each other and have ever since she turned Meg away when she became pregnant while still in high school. So it strikes Emily as very strange when Meg and Jeff decide to take Emily to Olivia's funeral in Snowflake, Kentucky, especially since Emily never even met the woman when she was alive. Meg has always refused to talk about her life in Snowflake except to say that Eli, who belonged in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, and his whole family are crazy and violent and how lucky she was to escape that life. Now at this point in the book I remember thinking that this story was a bit edgier than the books in Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series, but I was loving it because it was written so well you can't help but feel invested in the new characters. You can feel Emily's confusion over all of this and her wish that they could just stay in Florida since she doesn't want to have anything to do with Eli or his family, but she goes along with what her mother and Jeff want because it seems important to them that she go.

While there, many, many unexpected things happen, and Emily finds out that she been lied to her entire life when it comes to Eli, Olivia, and the rest of her family in Snowflake. She finds out that she and her mother actually lived with Olivia and her husband (Emily's grandfather) Cyrus until Emily was 2 years old. Olivia tells her that they were very happy there until Meg stole Emily in the middle of the night and took off for Florida with no warning at all. Olivia learns that Meg told Emily that Eli's family is crazy and that "the people in Snowflake are the worst kind of evil," which breaks Olivia's heart. Unfortunately, Emily finds out that Olivia is not dead yet when she is saying hello to Eli, who is standing next to the casket Olivia is laid out in, and Olivia, in her excitement to see Emily, sits up and starts talking to her! Apparently Eli accidentally sent a copy of Olivia's obituary (which she had written herself to make sure it was done right) instead of an invitation to the party Olivia was throwing to celebrate her life while she was still alive to enjoy it! To add to the horror Emily experiences, she already has a major fear of dead people because when she was 8 years old she fell in a hole already occupied by a dead person in the middle of the woods and after screaming and screaming for help, she ended up spending 12 hours alone with the body until she was finally rescued. Needless to say, Emily agrees with her mother that this whole family is nuts and she doesn't want to have anything more to do with therm. You can imagine her surprise when her dad, Jeff, and her mother decide she should spend a month or so with them so she can learn about that side of her family! Everybody in Snowflake says she's in danger if a rival motorcycle club, The Riot, learn that she is Eli's daughter, and they feel, since she just showed up there with no warning, word might get out and the best people to protect her are the Reign of Terror. Emily is really not down with this at all but is out voted by her mom and dad. 

This is when we really get to know Oz, who is 18 years old and has only wanted one thing his entire life: to become a full member of the Reign of Terror. Eli gives him the job of babysitting Emily while she's in Snowflake and making sure no danger touches her. This doesn't go over well with either Oz or Emily, since it's not exactly love at first site! But as they spend time together, Oz discovers that Emily's not a pushover, that she has a spark in her that he comes to appreciate and love, and Emily discovers that Oz isn't just a dangerous motorcycle driving Reign of Terror follower and future member, that he has a soft side and a very tender one that she falls in love with. 

I can't say any more about the story, although I could honestly write page after page about this amazing love story. I loved every character in this book, and can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series to come so I can find out about some of my favorites: Razor, Chevy and Violet are at the top of that list!

Emily and Oz grow so much as characters during this story, but Eli also does his fair share of changing too. Emily's life changes so drastically during the book, and in her own words: "Without what has happened, there's no doubt I would have stayed in the same bubble I was raised in and I'm not just talking about remaining in Florida. I never would have experienced anything new in life." I couldn't have said it better myself!

There is so much to love about this book - the characters who are amazing, the plot which contains secret piled upon secret, and the ending, which was so heartwarming that I can't even begin to describe it. I recommend this book to anybody who read Katie McGarry's first series, Pushing the Limits, and to anyone who hasn't read any of Katie's books yet - What are you waiting for, people?! You're missing out on some amazing and heartfelt stories here!

I give this book a very, very enthusiastic 5 stars and I'll be holding my breath to read the next story in line, which stars Razor, and is called Walk the Edge. Nowhere but Here is definitely a must read book of 2015 :D

I received a copy of this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


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