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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Book Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Who would I be if I did things in order, right? Well lucky for me the books in the Thunder Road Series by Katie McGarry can be read as standalones so it wasn’t an issue for me that I read them out of order! Having read the 2nd book in the series first, Walk the Edge (which I picked up after reading Tanya’s fantastic review of it here), I knew I wanted to continue on with the series. And I’m so glad I did, because as much as I loved Razor and Breanna I couldn’t help but fall even more in love with Oz and Emily in book 1, Nowhere But Here.
o Some of the same aspects of book 2 that I enjoyed so much still apply. I loved the concept of the motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, which could be misconstrued as a gang, but is actually a close group of men who have each others’ back (and their families'). The Reign of Terror operates on the notion that family is more than blood and watching Emily learn that over the course of the book was fascinating to me, because I’ve always felt that way about some of my own best friends or family friends. For me it’s always been second nature to treat those who I’m extremely close with like family. My best friend is like a sister to me and my own sister and me even refer to her as our third sister. And yet, for some people like Emily in Nowhere But Here, all she’s ever known is her mom and dad (who adopted her at a young age after her biological father gave her up) and some friends that have changed over the years. She never felt that close connection with others like Oz does with Olivia, Emily’s grandma, and even the rest of the members of the club.
o Eli: I won’t go so far as to say Eli was a dead ringer for my own father, but I will say it was hard not to notice the similarities between the two as I was reading the book. I fell in love with Eli so quickly because of this, and watching Emily work on her relationship with him during her time in Snowflake was touching in more ways than one. My dad, who passed away from a motorcycle accident when I was growing up, was a lot like Eli: a troublemaker as a youth, a family man as an adult, and an overall good person to have in your corner. Like Emily, I regret the lost time I got with my own dad, so my heart broke for her when she starts to realize the man she thought she knew is completely different from the one she thought had abandoned her all those years ago. Even if you can’t relate to Eli like I did, I think most readers will appreciate him for his personality alone. I’m sure many of us can relate to having an overly protective parent like Eli, who is willing to do anything to keep his daughter safe. I couldn’t help but laugh every time Oz interacted with Eli, because if he thought the guy was tough before, he’s even more scared of him as his feelings for Eli's daughter start to grow.
o Olivia: Olivia is the definition of a badass grandma. #grandmagoals From the moment Emily meets Olivia she’s intimidated by this woman, as are a majority of the members of the club. Olivia has the mouth of a truck driver, doesn’t take lip from anyone, and is consistently bossing around the boys in the Reign of Terror. My respect for her grew when I found out she was dying from cancer and was still tough as she was when Emily first meets her. It made me wonder what she was like before she was sick and I would LOVE to read a novella about Olivia when Oz and Emily were kids. The best part about Emily and Olivia’s relationship is how different they are at first, and how alike they realize they actually are by the end of the story. I remember a scene at the beginning in which good girl Emily corrects her grandma on using the F-word and tells her she should say “muck” instead. By the end of the book though, Emily is almost as equally snarky as Olivia was and it was hilarious to get to see that side of her.