Title: “Nowhere But Here”
Author: Renee Carlino
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: 5th May, 2014.
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.
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.
Butterflies in my stomach. A goofy smile on my face. And a deep-seated feeling of satisfaction in my entire body. This, dear reader, is me trying to convey my feelings after having read this book! Once again, I find myself almost lost for words after having read a romance novel that took my breath away, but I will do my utmost to write a worthy review and express all my thoughts and feelings without, of course, giving you any spoilers.
When we meet Kate, she is in a rather unfulfilled, empty relationship with Stephen, a guy from her apartment building, and she is feeling lost and alone. Her mother died when she was only 8 years old, and she has suffered a great loss again: her aunt Rose, the woman who raised her since her mother passed away, has now also left her. Kate knows nothing about her father, and besides having a few friends at the paper she works at – the Chicago Crier – it is fair to say that she is lonely. Oh, and a bit of a pessimist, too:
“There is no one to take care of me, no matter how many people surround me. I’m all I’ve got.” (Kate)
Now, having been in a sort of limbo since Rose died, Kate is given a major chance of finding her “spark” again when her editor, Jerry, sends her off to California to do an exclusive interview of philanthropist R. J. Lawson. A child prodigy turned computer-genius; this man suddenly fell off the face of the earth for several years only to turn up again a few years ago – this time as a vintner in Napa Valley.
Kate knows that she needs to get her act together if she wants to truly succeed as a journalist, so even though she is rather apprehensive, and feeling a bit insecure on top of everything, she chooses to see this assignment as her chance to really find herself again.
Then…everything goes horribly wrong – but, somehow, some way, everything seems to fall into place at the same time. And, in short, things seem that way because of a young man, Jamie, who she meets in a somewhat unconventional manner.
Right. I promised you no spoilers, so I will not add much to the actual story line in the rest of my review.
There comes a time for everyone when we may find ourselves at a loss, or at a crossroads of sorts, and it does not have anything to do with how old we are. We are only human, after all, but we can be so hard on ourselves. Kate’s past losses and her depressing, yet understandable, mantra – “I’m all I’ve got” – really hit home. I found myself able to connect with her from page one because even though she truly is a strong character, you can also sense her despondency and loneliness right away. And the fact that she chooses to stay with a man who cannot really give her a truly loving and committed relationship says a lot about how much this woman longs to be loved. She is simply afraid to allow herself to let go, and even though I found her reasoning to be incredibly sad, I could really understand her at the same time.
As I kept reading Kate’s story, though, I came to see several different sides to her as well. She has an inquisitive mind, a bit of a temper, and the fact that she does not allow anyone to trample all over her had me doing a fist pump more than once. She evolves from a lonely, sad woman to a feisty one, one who is willing to take risks, and one who is ready to take on the world, and I admire how Miss Carlino is able to show us this transition through her words.
Let me talk a bit about Jamie now. He has a bit of the “bad boy vibe” that we, as readers, have come to appreciate in our book heroes; but first impressions can be very deceiving, and I am not afraid to admit that I was completely fooled by him! As I got to know him through Kate’s eyes, I saw a very sweet, sensitive, funny young man who yearns for the same as Kate does: love.
“Just being your friend is going to be hard, but I’ll try. It’s just that…I like you. You’re witty and sweet, and you happen to be the most infinitely beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” (Jamie)
The way Jamie sees the world is very simple, but he is, by no means, naive. The mystery of Jamie had me so intrigued that I found my stomach turning into knots, and my heart completely broke for Kate when she leaves Napa Valley after their romance is over. (Or is it? *wink*) Jamie had me frowning in frustration, shaking my head in wonder, and laughing like a loon over the way he behaves sometimes. Yes, everyone, I have found my new book boyfriend, and I am not so sure I want to share him with you. (Joking! Well, maybe…)
“His eyes glanced down to my lips. ‘There have been no women before you and there will be no women after you,’ he said, seriously.” (Jamie)
One of the reasons I have fallen head over heels in love with Kate and Jamie’s love story is, of course, due to the author. Miss Carlino’s way with words is mesmerising, beautiful, and engaging. She has created a full cast of characters who you, as the reader, can believe in because they all seem so real. I love how she kept the twists and turns coming until the very end, because I love being surprised when I read a book. Last, but not least, I simply love a sweet, funny, feel-good romance, and, again, Miss Carlino delivers 100%.
This is the type of romance novel that will make you cry – both sad and happy tears. It is the kind of romance novel where you will find yourself completely immersed in the lives of the main characters and you so badly want them to have their happy-ever-after. It is a romance novel that will, I believe, leave you like it left me: with butterflies in my stomach, a goofy smile on my face and with a true sense of satisfaction in my entire being. Yes, I do realise that I am repeating myself here, but I just want to emphasise how in love with this book I am! And even though I am a bit sad now that the final page has been turned – because I just know that I could keep reading about this couple’s life and never get bored – I also feel that their story has come to a perfect end; I would, however, like to see them again at some point. (Just a small hint, Miss Carlino…)
“Love cannot be taken out of you because it changes you. I woke up when I met Jamie. The world became louder, crazier, more exciting, and more achingly beautiful.” (Kate)
So to conclude my review, I will leave you with this: yes, I suffer deeply from Book Hangover Syndrome, but I would definitely not have it any other way. Miss Carlino: I am in awe of you and your writing. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for giving us Kate & Jamie’s love story.
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