Book Review: ‘Nowhere but Here’ by Renee Carlino

NOWHERE BUT HERE (Image Credit: Renee Carlino)
NOWHERE BUT HERE (Image Credit: Renee Carlino)

I laughed, I cried and I screamed. If I could give Carlino a hug for Nowhere but Here, I would. I felt connected with the characters from start to finish.

Nowhere but Here is a novel about Kate Corbin, a journalist for a popular Chicago newspaper. When we first meet Kate, we find out she hasn’t lived a perfect life. She’s a little spunky and sarcastic and I absolutely loved it. We find out that her mother passed at a young age and that she never met her father nor knew who he was. After her mother passed, Rose, her mother’s best friend, took Kate in and stepped in as her mother.

We find Kate a few months after Rose’s death and she’s in a bit of a funk. She’s dating a crappy guy who treats her terribly. He forgets that she’s a vegetarian and orders her chicken for dinner. He ignores her and cares more about his job than he does about her. Kate tries to ignore his rudeness but still keeps him around for those lonely nights, because of what “Just Bob” tells her everyday on the L train, “You’re all you’ve got!”

Kate’s boss, Jerry, gives her the opportunity of a lifetime (“It only took a moment to change her entire life…”) to head out to Napa Valley for a week interviewing R. J. Lawson, a formerly famous tech genius who fell off the face of the earth and now owns this well-respected winery. Kate has to somehow think of an angle to write up on this guy and why he’s gone missing for so long.

Jerry rents her a car while she’s away even though she doesn’t know how to drive since she lives in the city. This causes her to get into an accident meeting one of my new literary crushes, Jamie, who works at the winery and gives her a lift to meet the ever so rude R. J. Lawson himself. Jamie is a handsome hands-on, can-do-it-all type guy. He basically runs the show for Lawson’s winery.

Carlino brings great imagery of the winery set in Napa Valley so that you actually feel like you’re there with Kate, Jamie and his chocolate lab, Chelsea. I fell in love with Jamie just as much as Kate did. She unfortunately still has a crappy boyfriend back home in Chicago. But that all changes once Jamie sweeps her off her feet.

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies the whole time for Kate obviously. But you’ll just have to check out Nowhere but Here to see what happens.

The one thing I loved most from the novel was that feeling when you finish a book and scream “WHAT HAPPENED??!” and think, ‘how could someone be so cruel as to write 200+ pages and not tell you what happened to your favorite characters?’ I couldn’t have felt more of a relief with the ending of this novel. I felt comfortable after I closed the book knowing what was in Kate’s future. (I may have cried a little more, again… Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good love story.)

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Tara is a New Yorker who collects books and boyfriends. She enjoys making people laugh, but usually fails at doing so. @tarafayy

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