My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
"There is nothing like a good contemporary romance….and PEZ!"
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
No one can argue that books trend. We've seen the vampire movement, the tie me up and spank me movement, and of course the bad boy player doing a complete 180, landing safely between the legs of a virgin movement. I could go on...and on, but I won't. My point is, trends sometimes hurt originality. Let's sprinkle a little bit of this best seller with a little bit of that best seller, and BOOM….instant success, right? Sorry, it doesn't work like that.
Nowhere but Here reminds me of what a good contemporary romance use to be. It was good. It was honest. It was devoid of mainstream hooks and shiny trends. It didn't try to be anything other than what it was, and I loved that! This book truly stood on its own.
In the beginning, the relationship pacing was tough to swallow, but in order to make the plot work I understand that things had to happen over the span of only a few days, but I needed more development, more tension, and a little less awkwardness. When Jamie first kissed Kate (on the cheek), I was like, "Huh? That was awkward, and Huh?."
I have to applaud Renee Carlino's attempt to do the best she could with such a small time frame, but it hurt the emotion that could have been established by a developed relationship. Pacing was definitely that significant factor keeping a really good novel from being a really great novel!
I also figured out "the secret" from the very beginning, but I don't believe the author really intended it to be a secret from the reader. I truly feel we were suppose to know, and the anticipation of it being revealed was its intent. Not shock, anticipation.
The second half did an outstanding job trying to overshadow my earlier reservations. Jamie's fear of losing Kate. Kate almost being lost. The intensity. The drama. In the second half, the expedited relationship was halted, which then allowed it to be developed in a way that I wish could have been possible in the beginning. I found a renewed love for this book that I didn't even realize I had. I was forced to go back and reread what I was indifferent about and saw things in a new light. I needed the emotion that the second half provided.
Was it perfect, no. But it was, without a doubt, a beautifully written contemporary romance novel. It's what I remember a good contemporary novel to be before everyone started to see how far they could push the line. I found romance, love, originality. I found something unique and creative. Despite its good moments, its bad moments, and everything in between, it was a good read.
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Preorder the paperback: July 8th, 2014
Renée Carlino lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog, June. When she's not at the beach with her boys or working on her next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate. To learn more, visit ReneeCarlino.com.
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