Friday, January 29, 2016

Ride or Die

"What makes any of it wrong 
is when you pretend to be something you're not."
--Katie McGarry, Nowhere But Here


Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 496
Publication Date: May 26th, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher at BEA
Find On: Goodreads | Amazon
Previous Books in Series: First book in series of companion novels
Goodreads Description

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.
Katie McGarry does it again. Don't ask what took me so damn long to read this (and post this review) because I have no idea. All I know is that once I started this book I didn't want to put it down and I couldn't wait until the moment I could pick it back up. Let's do this.

The Story
Katie takes is to a new locale in the great state of Kentucky, that being a motorcycle club in Snowflake. Is that a real place, Katie? Because the irony is not lost on me with all the descriptions of the heat. I digress. Emily is from Florida but her biological father Eli, who she has limited contact with after he abandoned her mom when he found out she was pregnant, lives there. After her mother discovers a close relative of Eli has passed away she make the executive decision to travel back to Snowflake. Cue hit shitting the fan.

Circumstances lead her to spending the summer with her bio dad and getting to know his life. Loved. This. Story. Ok. Contrary to reviews I have read, I LOVED the MC setting. I already knew all the lingo and how things were done. I love Sons of Anarchy and while I thought this book would be full of illegal operations and unnecessary bloodshed that is not the case. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the middle of a legit MC of brotherhood and legal activities. I loved that Katie went there and also showed us a very different MC as well. The security company most member of the MC worked for felt cohesive with the plot and I thought it tied the club and legitimate business and earning a living together seamlessly. I couldn't get enough of read of about their way of life and how things were done. The mystery and secrets surrounding Emily and her mother's past kept me turning the pages immediately and kept me on my toes the whole book. I loved unraveling this mystery piece by piece and I struggled along with Emily trying to find out the truth.

The Characters
Oz and Emily come the same but very different ways of life. Katie continues to impress me taking two people from very different upbringings and stripping away their initial judgements and prejudices and teaching them how to accept what is different from them. Won't lie, it took Emily awhile to get there but I thought it felt very realistic for it to be a slow burn for her to grow to accept the craziness going on around her. Oz was similar in his snap judgements and watching them get to know one another was more than half the fun. I loved Oz and Emily together. Emily is more gritty and direct than I think she even have herself credit for. And Oz has more potential and is more driven than he ever thought he was. The fact that the other person is able to bring out these characteristics in one another and help them recognize strengths they didn't know they had was fifty shades of beautiful. Their love story was one of hate to love and we know how much I love those.

Oz and Emily were only a portion of what I locked though. The supporting cast of Eli, Olivia, Razor, Chevy, Cyrus, and the rest of the club was uh-may-zing. Olivia is brash and takes no shit. I would love to have somebody that fierce in my life. Eli is an amazing guy and does so much we don't know to protect his daughter. Razor is a friend of Oz and the hero in our next book. H is tortured and broken and duh so obviously MY type of book boyfriend. Foaming at the mouth for his story. There is so much I could say for all the characters but know in short, I love each and every one so much. And there is so much more beneath the surface from all our characters. Love love love.

The Writing
As I said before, Katie does an amazing job of writing a slow burn romance that gets you invested in both characters. I thought that this book read more like an adult book in that the relationship dynamic is a perfectly paced slow-burn of attraction with a great balance of outside plot surrounding the romance. It wasn't all about them yet heir romance was not overshadowed by the plot either. The book is long if we're talking about page count but it doesn't feel that way at all. Nothing was rushed or felt superficial, it felt great to just relax into the story and take things as they come. I wish more YA writers would write this type of pacing because I love how this book was done.
Backstage Pass
If you know complex family dynamics, a good secret, and a wonderful slow-burn hate to love romance...this book's for you.

2 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes! I really adored Nowhere But Here. It definitely was something new to me to read about motorcycle clubs, but I really enjoyed learning about them. It was such a treat to meet Oz, Emily and the gang and I can't wait to read Walk the Edge!

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  2. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as I enjoy the books in her PTL series. I like that they are connected, though. I just thought there was too much insta-love in this book and I needed more from the characters. However, I have the next book so I will certainly read it because I think McGarry can write so well it doesn't actually matter about a lot of the things I find missing! LOL! Glad you enjoyed this!

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