Published by Atria Books on 5th May 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
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 jump-start her career. The assignment: to interview the famously reclusive R.J. Lawson, a wealthy tech genius who disappeared years ago but recently re-emerged 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.
*I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Nowhere But Here is my first Renée Carlino novel but Joanne has read and loved Sweet Thing so I knew the author was one she recommends – always a good start! When Atria contacted me to offer a review copy, Nowhere But Here sounded too good to pass up and I’m happy to say that it was a real treat to read and I loved it. Renée Carlino is an author whose work I’ll read again.
I’m not going to recap the story because the first half of it is pretty much summed up in the blurb, and anything I tell you after that would spoil it. I’m going to try and tell you about everything else I liked though.
I started reading Nowhere But Here while I was away for the weekend with my family a couple of weeks ago. I hate to admit this since I ended up liking the book so much but when I first picked it up I couldn’t get in to it and I was worried what that would mean for the rest of the book. I decided that it wasn’t the book and it was me, and the environment I was trying to read in. We were all in each other’s pockets and I couldn’t concentrate. So I started reading something else, something that didn’t require as much of my attention. When I got home I sat down in my favourite reading spot – my warm, sunny conservatory – and started reading NBH…and then I found it hard to put down! I am so glad I set it aside when I did and waited until I could properly concentrate because it made the reading experience so much better.
The main character, Kate, is tired of life and all the crap she’s been thrown recently. She’s feeling unfulfilled in her job, her boyfriend is distant, and the lady who raised her after her mum died has also just recently died. Kate is worn out and lost. I really felt for Kate in these times. She just needed something to spark her interest, just something tiny to get her feeling things again. She definitely wasn’t going to get it from her job writing uninspired articles, or from her boyfriend who seemed like he couldn’t care are less about her. And then her boss sends her to investigate a story at a vineyard in Napa Valley and her whole life changes when she quite literally crashes in to Jamie, a vineyard employee.
I absolutely ADORED Jamie. He was just such a nice, down to earth guy and he was also incredibly romantic. HE was the something that Kate needed. HE was the one to get her living and feeling again. And boy did she feel! Reading about Jamie’s attempts to win Kate over was just really…lovely. I will say that it was fast but I guess when you feel something is there then you don’t waste any time getting started, especially when you’re not sure how long the object of your affections is going to be around. His goodnight messages to Kate make me tear up and wish for things to be different for them and I was willing Kate to fight herself out of her funk, fight for him.
I loved the detailed descriptions of Napa Valley. It made me want to Google images of the area so I could see for myself what Kate fell in love with. And now I want to go there myself! Thanks, Renée, something else to save up for! I also loved the writing style. It was easy to read, it was descriptive but without unnecessary detail, there was the perfect amount of dialogue (I really struggle with books that are all about the internal monologue for huge chunks of the book!) and the addition of a loveable cast of supporting characters just sealed the deal for me!
Jerry was a real gem and a father figure to Kate, and the catalyst for her whole adventure.
Dylan was a gentleman in the making and he was just adorable.
Paul made me cry! What a nice guy, and so welcoming to Kate.
Darlene! I loved her! She was a tough cookie with a heart of gold! I had a tear or two appear when she gave Kate the t-shirt.
There’s a hidden twist in NBH, a big one, but also one that I thought was really obvious and worked out from the start. Kate doesn’t work it out straight away, in fact it takes her about half of the book, and when she does she didn’t have the reaction I was hoping for. Looking back now I can see that her reaction was the most likely one, given what had happened, but it didn’t stop me shouting at her!
The second half of the book is where things really pick up. There’s more happening – there’s a shocking event that changes things for Kate and Jamie, Kate learns some truths about her past, and there are some decisions that need to be made. By this point I just couldn’t read fast enough, I needed to know more and I needed to know it NOW!
When I finally finished I had a huge smile on my face. It was just so good to see how far Kate had come since those first few pages and to see how happy she now was. She’d fought her demons, put some things in her past to bed and come out of it stronger.
When’s the next one out, Renée? I need it now!
“What shall I call you? Captain Jamie?”
“Or Captain Fantastic. Either one will do.”
“Kiss Me,” I said strongly.
He took a staggering step back and then scanned my face but didn’t respond.
“You heard me.”
“Is that how you ask nicely?” One side of his mouth lifted.
“Please kiss me.”
“You have a boyfriend.”
I didn’t hesitate for a second. “Not anymore.”
And then his lips crushed mine.
When he kissed me, no one existed but us.
“Did you have something you wanted to ask me?” he said with a sly smile.
“You did that on purpose just to distract me.”
His lips flattened. “Katy, I want to kiss you like that every second of the day, even in my sleep.”
Love is a thing that you can’t take out of you. Once it’s there, it doesn’t go away, no matter what. Love can morph in to hate and resentment, but it will always be there, buried under bad feelings.”
“Hmm, very poetic, Jerry, but I think love is just a feeling.”
“That’s lust. That’s why dolphins have sex.”
“I knew in five fucking minutes that I had to know you, that I needed you in my life. I’ve never felt that way about anyone, ever. Whatever happens will be up to you, but I’ll be a different man if I can’t have you […] That night in my truck […] I knew without a doubt, even though I had never been in love before…I knew that I was in love with you.”