Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Review & Giveaway)

Nowhere But Here

“Sometimes people create a world that gives them power. Sometimes people create a world to find friends with similar interest. To me, motorcycle clubs are a rougher man’s sci-fi convention.”

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.

Book Links: Amazon UK | Book DepositoryGoodreads | National Book Store

Personal Thoughts:

When I pick up Nowhere But Here, I wasn’t aware that the story is centered in a motorcycle club. I just know that I have to read it because it was written by Katie McGarry whose previous works I enjoyed reading. Normally, this type of story won’t piqued my interest but if anyone can pull this kind of story, I know it is Katie. I saw it happen in Crash into You and in here she did it again.

“The only way to break free is to understand the past so you don’t continue to follow in their footsteps.”

One of the things that I like about Katie McGarry is the way she weaved her characters. Most of her characters (if not all) that I’ve encountered are well-fleshed out, memorable, and root-able. Even her side characters and bad guys are worth reading. They are all well written – portrayed with depth, emotions, realistic background and compelling story. Emily and Oz are no exception. Like with other Katie’s characters these latest addition to Katie’s contemporary worlds are both well written.

Emily though not easily like-able character is strong and brave. Her journey to self-discovery is an emotional road that readers will surely walk as they read Emily’s story. Oz is the caring guy. I like that he isn’t ashamed to show his soft side. He owned it and so proud of it.

Emily’s biological father surprise me. For someone who is basically leading the tough guys of bikers Eli has a soft heart, especially when it comes to his daughter Emily. All the things he did for Emily will surely melts tough hearts.

Another interesting character is Emily’s grandmother, Olivia. She’s feisty and strong in-spite of her health condition. I love how she value her family.

Isaiah’s dad, James was mentioned too in the story too. When the word “James” first pop up as the name of stuffed toy elephant it automatically remind me of Isaiah’s dad, so when the connection between Emily’s dad and James was revealed it is a much welcome connection.

“Our fears are what stifle us and we’re only scared of what we don’t understand.”

The depiction of motorcycle club in the story is both educational and believable. Katie McGarry seems did a very good job with her research, showing us the in and outs of the bikers’ subculture. It’s like she’s been part of them – people who lives and breath motorcycles and speeds, and who value integrity and family among others.

“Because I’m a part of a family and I’ve been entrusted with a secret that I swore I wouldn’t tell. You accuse me of having no integrity, but integrity doesn’t mean breaking promise. It means keeping it.”

Katie McGarry once again deliver a well written novel. Having read all books from her Pushing the Limits series and her novellas, I feel like this is a natural progression for Katie. Her style though not so much different from her previous books shows level of growth. It’s simple and precise but capable of tugging readers emotions. She really knows how to create drama and throw romance that will make readers feel. In here, she tied up the mystery, romance and family drama into one huge compelling story. There are lots of things that is happening but never feel too much to read. Instead I feel like the more I read the more I want to know more what will happen. I’m literally on the edge of my seat. And the best part, I was surprised with some of the revelations in the story. I really like how Katie plot Nowhere But Here.

With its fast and interesting plot lines, engaging and easily like-able characters, and well research story line Nowhere But Here is another must read novel from Katie McGarry. She is really a talented writer who never fail to deliver memorable, entertaining and riveting stories.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Harlequin (UK) Limited via NetGalley.

Check out the rest of the tour here.


What’s up for Grabs?


The Rules:

  • Open to PH residents only
  • There will be one (1) winner only
  • Winner will be chosen by rafflecopter

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Giveaway: Crash Into You

Crash into You

I recently received a set of bookmarks of Pushing The Limits series from Katie McGarry. Though I actually requested for it, I’m still surprised to received a few from her. Today I feel like sharing them so I decided to throw a giveaway and I’m adding one hardbound copy of the series upcoming book, Crash Into You as well. I already read the book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley, and I guaranteed you all that it is a good read. Though I love Beth’s story in Dare You To more, Isaiah’s story is a beautiful addition to Pushing The Limits series. If you want to know more about Isaiah or just want to try this lovely series of Katie McGarry here’s your chance to read one of her books.

About Crash Into You:

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane.

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

The Giveaway:

What’s up for Grabs?

1 Hardbound copy of Crash Into You pre-ordered via Book Depository (INT)

* Crash into You Bookmark and Dare You To Ribbon-Bookmark (PH Only)


The Rules:

  • Open to everyone / international who can received books via Book Depository
  • There will be two (2) winners. One for the Hardbound copy of Crash Into You and another one for the bookmarks
  • Winner will be chosen by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be announced here on the post & contacted thru email
  • Winner should response with their details within 48 hours
  • Ends Saturday, November 30th, 2013

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!


The contest is now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who has entered. The winners are drawn via rafflecopter and posted in the  raffle forms above. I already sent emails to all winners, you all got 48 hours to reply or else I’ll be forced to draw another. Congrats to the winners and Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

Crash into You

“Life isn’t made-for-television movies or books with happy-ever-afters. Sometimes the choices we’re presented with are bad or worse.”

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that’s who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers…and she’s just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can’t get him out of her mind.

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look.

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they’ll go to save each other.

Personal Thoughts:

Crash Into You is the third book in the Pushing the Limits series by Katie McGarry, which story focus on Isaiah Walker and his accidentally found friend Rachel Young. We’ve known Isaiah as the not so good guy in Pushing the Limits and one of Noah Hutchins’ close friend. Physically Isaiah looks like a gangsters with his earrings and tattoos. He grew up in foster cares, trying to survive life one day at a time. He is now living in a rented apartment with Noah and both still struggling financially. Which pushed him to try drag racing. There Isaiah met Rachel Young, a rich kid who is obviously in a wrong place at the wrong time. Soon Rachel and Isaiah find themselves in a huge situation where they have to race against time and bad people. Can Isaiah protect Rachel from his own world?

I know from the start that Isaiah is a good guy despite of all the piercing and tattoos. Because one of the few things I’ve learned from reading Katie McGarry books is that appearance means nothing. I made a mistake of judging Beth before from Pushing the Limits, because it turned out in Dare You To that Beth is not what she is trying to project. With that I know that Isaiah is just like Beth – masking their real self to the tough world in order to survive.

Still with that knowledge Isaiah manage to surprise me in this book. His facade is so control and well-kept that I didn’t realize right away up-to what extent his projection is. Not that I’m surprised to find out that he can bend himself, it’s just that some revelations about him is unexpected, especially after what he shown in the first two books, Pushing the Limits and Dare You To.

As I’ve said before from my review of Dare You To, Isaiah just need his chance for a better life. Just one shot and I know he won’t disappoint and I’m so happy that that chance came to him. A chance to prove himself and show everyone what he can do, what he is willing to sacrifice and what kind of person he really is.

“She didn’t fit into any cliché or box. It’s like she was a mystery I was in the middle of solving then I was yanked from the case.”

Rachel as what Isaiah said from the above quote does’t fit the rich kid’s box. She isn’t the stereotype kind of character. For one, she’s a girl who know about cars more than most boy characters in this book. She maybe rich but inside she got lots of issues. Her family doesn’t even see her for what she is. For them, especially to her parents, Rachel is just her dead sister’s replacement. Add the panic attack and her over protective brothers, she will surely feel suffocated by their perfected life. If not for her love for cars, I’m not sure how can Rachel battle her family. Because Rachel behind the wheel is courageous and daring. She find peace and strength when she is shielded by her car.

Though that courage isn’t really enough. It is meeting Isaiah that really drives Rachel to do things she never thought she can. It’s like meeting Isaiah fueled her to push more of her boundaries. She found more strength she didn’t know she had until she met Isaiah.

Isaiah and Rachel maybe comes from the opposite side of life but they are not really that different. They are both living their lives in careful facades – carrying and projecting themselves to what people expect them to be. Their passion for cars and speed racing is what brought them together. They complement one another in a way that not bring the best for each others but also let people around them realized that different doesn’t always mean wrong or unmatched.

Noah, Beth, Echo and even Ryan makes an appearance in the story which I think is a good inclusion to the plot. By simply putting them back, Katie McGarry managed to show the importance of friends and family. For a little span of time she makes these characters involved in Isaiah and even Rachel’s life.

Besides with those old characters, we also got the chance to meet few more new faces like Abby, Rachel whole family, and few bad guys that provided conflict in the story. I also can’t help but noticed how Katie McGarry put lots of guy characters in this book. Beside from Isaiah, Noah, Logan, Ryan and Eric’s gang, there’s also Rachel’s four brothers, Gavin, Jack, West, and Ethan. For a romance story this is definitely over-powered by men, add the drag racing plot and gangsters we have a thrilling ride that not only gives adrenaline but also full lots of emotions while managing to be fun as well. I enjoy reading the part where Rachel brothers all go get protective with Rachel. When Rachel barely mentioned she will never going to be kissed by any guy and all his brothers go all panic and protective of her and the conversation almost went like a sex talk or something. It’s hilarious!

Another character that surprised me in this book is Abby. The feisty and very outspoken friend of Isaiah. I had this inkling that she is one of the bad people in the story. At some point I even thought that she’s working for Eric. I misjudged and underestimate her character not because of her appearance but more on because I keep on estimating everyone’s character. Like I need to calculate everyone’s move and their motives.

Katie McGarry writing is simply captivating. I am hooked once again from start to end by her absorbing and perfectly paced writing. She provided enough tension and conflict between her characters that makes the story engaging. Isaiah’s struggle between controlling the situation and protecting Rachel and everyone he cares is well executed. It emphasize the value of trust and acceptance. That sometimes our protection isn’t always enough and we have to let someone choose their own path and experience their own failures.

The story also deal with lots of car race and for someone who don’t know anything about cars like me, I enjoy the story so much. I don’t know anything about mechanics, engines or anything that is car related. I don’t even know how to drive for god sake! But I still enjoyed reading everything car related from this book. I may not really understand all of those car terms nor picture those car talks in details, I am not also an adrenaline junkie like Logan but I surely enjoy the ride with the characters of Crash into You. Reading those drag race and car scenes kinda reminds me of the Fast and the Furious movies, and it gives me high and speed. Liked it fueled me to read more and more until I reached the end even my eyes and body were telling me to stop and rest.

“I should be right beside Isaiah and Logan as they work on my car, but I can’t. Being in the same room is bad enough. How can anyone watch surgery being performed on a loved one, much less hold the scalpel?”

Fueled by engaging characters, tough but realistic situation, Crash Into You is highly engrossing and entertaining read. A wonderful addition to the Pushing The Limits series that shows the value of trust, friendship, love, and family while offering speed and thrilling ride of emotions to all its readers.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Harlequin Teen via NetGalley.

Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry

Crossing the Line

“I wanted to share the big moments with you, but more important the small.”

Katie McGarry captivated readers with her “riveting, emotional”* Young Adult debut, Pushing the Limits. In this gripping novella, she tells the story of Lila and Lincoln, who discover that sometimes it’s worth crossing the line for love…

Lila McCormick, Echo’s best friend from Pushing the Limits, first met Lincoln Turner when tragedy struck both their lives. But she never expected their surprise encounter would lead to two years of exchanging letters—or that she’d fall for the boy she’s only seen once. Their relationship is a secret, but Lila feels closer to Lincoln than anyone else. Until she finds out that he lied to her about the one thing she depended on him for the most.

Hurting Lila is the last thing Lincoln wanted. For two years, her letters have been the only thing getting him through the day. Admitting his feelings would cross a line he’s never dared breach before. But Lincoln will do whatever it takes to fix his mistakes, earn Lila’s forgiveness—and finally win a chance to be with the girl he loves.

Personal Thoughts:

When amazon delivered my copy of Crossing the Line to my Kindle, I am in the middle of reading one of my most anticipated reads of 2013, a book I need to finished and review for one of the reading challenged I joined to. But the knowledge that Katie McGarry’s novella is just few push of buttons away, I couldn’t concentrate much to what I’m reading at that time. As hard as I tried to focus, my mind can’t drive away the fact, that something less complicated read is waiting for me. In the end I give in and just hope that Katie McGarry will give me the same enjoyment I got when I read her book, Dare You To.

Crossing the Line is a novella which story is centered to Lila McCormick, Echo’s best friend in Katie McGarry’s other book, Pushing the Limits. From that book, I’ve seen Lila as the sweet, bubly and loyal friend to Echo. She’s the one who never turn her back to Echo even if it means loosing most of her other friends. I like Lila in Pushing the Limits, and it is nice to see more of Lila’s life beyond being Echo’s best friend. To summarize the plot of Crossing the Line, I’ll give you Lincoln’s words which I think perfectly sums up the novella without spoiling too much details.

“Lila and I were once strangers who met at a funeral. We became friends through letters, bonded by a shared dream of college in another state, and then I fell for her. Could she have also fallen for me?”

After reading the first chapter I’m already at awe how Katie McGarry managed to full so much emotions without giving yet any details of what is really happening. In an instant, she pull me in to the story and makes me want to discover and understand the situation between her characters. Lincoln and Lila are two different people in different situations, brought together by a saddening event, connected by their dreams to study in a different state, and by their shared interactions through letters. In two years of writing to each others their friendship developed and is doing all well until Lila find out that Lincoln lied to her. One lie that made Lila questioned him and everything he’s ever said or write.

Lila is a rich girl who never tried to live alone on her own. She is afraid of being alone but mostly because she haven’t tried it. She is a loyal friend but her best friend Echo isn’t always with her anymore. Everything around her is changing and she need to adopt to the changes.

Lincoln grew up in a family that seems in a constant chaos. Everything around him is a messed but he never lose his temper, never joined the high pitch conversation of his entire family, he just let everything be around him. What I really love about him is how he understand girls or to be more precise Lila. I enjoy reading his inner thoughts, how he thinks everything first before doing or saying something. It simply shows how careful and thoughtful he is.

“Play this right, Lincoln. She deserves a man, not a boy.”

“…going home, it would be running, but not the kind I’ve been doing for two years. it would be running forward instead of away.”

Katie McGarry’s writing is flowing and powerful. For a short space, she managed to make Lila and Lincoln story interesting enough to make me care for them. I’m so caught up with their story that I can feel every inch of emotions they are feeling, especially Lincoln whose inner thoughts shows raw and honest emotions. Katie McGarry also shows characters growth without making it feels too contrive or unrealistic. And the best part is she managed to tackle different issues in a short span of time, such as facing our fears, rediscovering one self, and how we need to cope up with the changes around us.

The use of letters in the opening of each chapter is clever. Not only it highlighted who is the chapter narrator but also layout the growing chemistry between Lincoln and Lila. Their letters exchanged were honest and full of personality.

Overall, Crossing the line is a short and sweet story that tells a journey of self-realization. A nice addition to Pushing the Limits series. I honestly want more of Lila and Lincoln but at the same time I enjoy the story so much that I fell contented and satisfied. Katie McGarry has very quickly become a must-read author for me.

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Dare You To

“Give up on us if you need to, but don’t give up on you.”

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all….

Personal Thoughts:

When I first encountered Beth Risk character in Katie McGarry‘s debut novel Pushing the Limits as one of Noah’s best friend, I honestly didn’t like the girl. She’s kinda sounds bad news to me. So when I found out that Katie McGarry‘s next book, Dare You To is centered to her, I’m a bit skeptical. I assumed that the book will be about her and Noah’s other best friend Isaiah, who is already in love with her in Pushing the Limits. But upon reading the blurb of this book, I found out that it isn’t about Beth and Isaiah, as there is another guy in the picture. So curiosity for the new guy, Ryan Stone leads me to finally try the book and I am glad I did. As it turned out Dare You To is much better than Pushing the Limits.

In Dare You ToKatie McGarry give us a raw version of Beth Risk. She shows each layers of the tough and freak girl we first met in Pushing the Limits. As she peels Beth one layer at a time she open us to a better version of Beth. She unfastened every sides of Beth, from the tough outer appearance to the soft and broken girl that she is. Beth is all about building a tough facade but deep inside she is just a broken girl molded by the dark and vicious life she is living through. She rarely trust anyone because her past experience thought her not to. As her bad experiences escalates she becomes the hard Beth that we know in Pushing the Limits. But despite of her being the bad girl that everyone knows, it can’t be mistaken that she cares for her Mother and her friends. She will do anything for them, even give her own life.

“How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we’re not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?”

Beth doesn’t see who she really is as she is too busy showing to others the Beth that she wants other to see – the Beth that is tough and doesn’t need anyone’s help. But in reality she is just a broken soul that needs some saving and she needs other to see beyond her. There still hope for Beth because there are people who see her more than the tough package, like her Uncle Scott who gives her a chance for a clean slate and start over, Lacy who sees her the same girl that she was when they were a kids, and Ryan Stone who teach her how to trust again and show her that she can do better.

Ryan may not plan it but he sees Beth more than the physical appearance. It may all started as a dare but that dare is the reason why they are into each others life. He wanted to see what Beth’s Uncle Scott and Lacy see in Beth and in the process he see not only the real Beth, but also the potential that she has. He also saw the wall that Beth is building and he intend to demolish that wall no matter what it cost. He may not always understand Beth and her reasons but he never give up on Beth. His winning attitude is what really saves Beth, because Ryan don’t accept defeat. Like what he said, “he always win”, and he intend to win Beth whatever it takes.

“Beth feels likes this storm. Constant and persistent as a whole, but the more I get close and try to clutch the individual drops of rain, the more the water falls out of my hands.”

Like Beth it is easy to lose trust and be molded by our own circumstances in life. Life experiences and people has that capacity to change us. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for worst but no matter what we become we have our chances and choices and it is up to us to take what is best. It may be easy to stay on safe path, be where everyone expects us to be, but staying in the safe path doesn’t always mean the best nor happiness.

I understand Beth trust issues. I really do. Because when everyone you trust turn their back against you, it is really hard to give your trust again. Sometimes it leaves you a scar that reminds you to always hold your guard so you won’t be fooled again. But when you lose your trust to yourself, like what also happened to Beth, that is beyond self-salvaging. You need someone to show you that you can be trusted and that you can trust yourself. In this case, Ryan shows that to Beth. Beth made a lot of mistakes in the past and she is afraid that she is making bad choices again. She is scared that she’ll screwed all up again that’s why she wants the safe route. But Ryan shows her that she is capable of doing the right things. She can’t changed her past mistakes but she can start doing the right things now for her future.

“You’re a lot like that bird in the barn. You’re so scared you’re going to be caged in forever you can’t see the way out. You smack yourself against the wall again and again and again. The door is open, Beth, Stop running in circles and walk out.”

I’m really glad that Katie McGarry didn’t pair up Beth to Isaiah. Not that they don’t worth a shot, but because I know it would be hard for both of them. Maybe it will work for a while but I just can’t see any growth of characters if they end up together. I think they will just get stuck in their old life and bad habit of getting drunk or high. Also, it is too safe for Beth. Being with her best friends Isaiah and Noah is her safest ground but she can do better than be safe. She has so much potential and she needs to know that. Isaiah can’t give her the chance to see her real potential. Even if he really wants what is best for Beth, he is also one hindrance for Beth to get the best. I hope Isaiah will also find his own path to a better life, maybe not with Beth but I know he can. He is not a total lost after all. Like Beth he just need a chance.

I read this book twice in a row, and to be honest I think I’ll be reading the book again. It is not perfect, but there is something in Beth and Ryan’s story that is so addicting. I’m still trying to figure out what is it though. Katie McGarry‘s writing is not really grand or sophisticated but she obviously can write a story that can make you hooked from start to end. Her way with words is absorbing and engaging. I can feel every ounces of emotions her characters went through even the feelings that I usually keep on hold like Beth. I can relate so much to Beth and even to Ryan not because there is something in them that is similar with me, but because they feel so real, like jumping off the pages characters kind of real. It’s like I know them personally that’s why I’m rooting for both of them.

Laced with complex characters, deep and raw emotions, and an engaging plot, Dare You To is a beautiful story of a broken person who managed to see beyond the broken pieces. It is about love, trust, forgiveness and seeing beyond the outside appearance. It shows that sometimes there is so much more to others, and that we are responsible for our choices in life.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Australia via NetGalley