Where Sea Meets Sky
By Karina Halle
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: New Adult
A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.
Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can’t get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.
It’s not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma’s name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go—even when you know you have to say goodbye.
“Gemma,” I whisper softly. Before I know what I’m doing, I’m raising her palm to my lips and kissing along her scar. She smells so good, feels even better.
She lets me do it for a moment then she awkwardly clears her throat.
Don’t make me let go, I think. Please don’t make me let go.
The rustle in the bushes is back again. Gemma jerks her hand away, as if we’re about to be caught by Nick the Peeping Tom, as if we’re doing something wrong.
Are we doing something wrong?
Suddenly the air around us fills with squeals, and the rustling increases. The nearest bush to us at the base of the yard, near the fence, starts to move back and forth.
I stand up out of my chair to get a better look and see what looks to be little creatures waddling out of the bushes and heading for the side of the house. Once they hit a patch of light coming from the house, I can see what they are.
Little blue penguins.
“What the fuck?” I say softly, feeling like my mind has just imploded. “What the hell are those?”
“Little blue penguins,” she says proudly.
I turn to her in disbelief. “Are you serious?” I thought I was making that up. In my head.
She nods. “Yup. Little blue penguins.”
And she’s right. They’re about a foot high, miniature versions of the ones I’ve seen on TV, and they’re entirely blue in color. I thought it was just the darkness playing tricks on me but no, once they hit the light, you can see the color on their oily feathers.
“I don’t get it,” I say, watching as the last of their group quickly scampers out of sight. That might have been the cutest and weirdest thing I have ever seen.
“You never head of them?” she asks. “They probably have a burrow under the house. It’s actually quite common for beach houses.”
“Look, I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t do a whole lot of research about the country.”
“I can see that,” she says. “Well, how about that, then.”
“How about that,” I say, sitting back down. The penguins’ magical appearance has somehow taken Gemma’s heartbreaking story to another place, and she’s quick to jump on the transition. She tells me all about the interesting birdlife in New Zealand, from yellow-eyed penguins on the Otago Peninsula down south, to the Kea—cheeky green parrots that live in the snow-covered Alps. She’s animated as she tells me all she knows, and I absorb it like a sponge.
I drink my beer and she goes back to drinking hers, and before Nick, Amber, and the Irish show up all sloshed, she’s painted a beautiful picture of what’s to come. I can only hope I’ll continue to be part of the picture.
I would like to express my appreciation to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to read and review Where Sea Meets Sky.
I am thrilled to be able to share with you about the latest novel from author Karina Halle. It’s called Where Sea Meets Sky, and it’s her first foray into the New Adult genre. Before I even begin discussing the plot or characters, I need discuss the writing. Imagine taking a tour around the country of New Zealand in an orange Volkswagen Bus. Picture the gorgeous Southern Alps and volcanos. Clear blue lakes and white beaches. Glaciers. Unique foliage and wildlife. The sights. Sounds. Smells. Maori culture and language. Where Sea Meets Sky is one of the finest examples of descriptive writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading!
The narrative. This is where Halle blends a beautiful story about two people on the journey of their life with her descriptive style of writing. Halle is unusually creative when she develops a story. Her imagination seems boundless. Whether it be a paranormal horror romance or contemporary romance or romantic suspense, Halle knows how to blend the perfect amount of drama and tension with her trademark descriptive writing which makes her stories so vivid and authentic.
Where Sea Meets Sky is told in first person opposing points of view. Josh Miles is in his twenties. He’s been living with his mother in Vancouver and working dead-end jobs. Josh lacks motivation or energy, and he longs for something he doesn’t understand. Gemma Henare is at the end of a backpacking tour that has taken her across Canada and the United States. She is invited to attend a traditional Halloween party in Vancouver where she meets Josh. Josh and Gemma are naturally comfortable around each other. They have an instant connection when they meet, but Gemma has to return to her native New Zealand following their one-night stand.
After Gemma returns to New Zealand, Josh can’t seem to get her out of his head. She is exotic and full of life. Josh is an aspiring graphic artist. He learns he has been accepted to the art school where he applied, but Josh is also deeply intrigued by the adventure and freedom Gemma experienced on her backpacking trip. Weighing the circumstances of his life, Josh makes an impulsive decision. He quits his job and catches a plane for New Zealand to seek adventure, to search for Gemma, armed with a backpack of his belongings, cash and Gemma’s first name.
This isn’t your typical romance novel. Josh and Gemma are both in the midst of self-discovery as they tour the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Gemma has experienced great loss in her life, and her sense of self-worth is low. She has very low expectations of the people in her life. Josh is completely uninspired until he meets Gemma. He sees something very special in her, so he decides to place his heart in her hands, even when he knows Gemma could destroy him. Where Sea Meets Sky is about taking risks. Self-discovery. Putting your heart on the line.
New Zealand is such an unusual setting for a romance novel. It’s different from the typical settings of Europe or the United States. When I finished reading Where Sea Meets Sky, I was left with a longing to travel to New Zealand. I want to zip-line into the mouth of Waitomo Caves and ride inner tubes on the underground river. I want to hike the Routeburn Track in the Southern Alps. Dive with dolphins. See Franz Josef glacier. Witness the first sunrise of the world at the remote East Cape. If you pick up a copy of Where Sea Meets Sky and begin reading, I can promise you will embark on a journey which will not only appeal to your senses, but will take you far away from the reality of your life. I have read at least twenty-four novels written by Karina Halle, and Where Sea Meets Sky is decidedly one of my favorites. The writing is impeccable, and I absolutely loved this 5-star novel!
It is no secret that Karina Halle is one of my favorite authors. She is one of my go to authors and I never miss a book. She is known for her edgy characters, her graphic descriptions that bring her stories to life, her unique plots, perfect sense of timing & delivery, adrenalized action scenes, and red hot romance. Her characters and their stories come to life and jump off the pages. Each and every novel is fresh and unpredictable.The reader lives and breaths the story right along with the characters. It is an incredible gift for a writer to evoke this kind of reading experience. The reader always walks away from a Karina Halle novel with a sense of overwhelming satisfaction. My expectations for Where Sea Meets Sky were very high. I was anxious to see how Karina would deliver a New Adult genre novel when she was well known for romantic suspense and paranormal/ horror romance. I may have set my expectations and hopes too low. Where Sea Meets Sky blew me away. It is Karina’s best writing to date. She reached deep within herself and tapped into an emotional vault that had me floored. She took two ordinary people that had very ordinary issues that they would face at their age and made their story epic. I think every reader will be able to identify with each of these characters on some level that makes it very personal.
We have all reached that path in the road where we question what we are doing with our lives. Is this direction we want to go or is there something else? We have questioned our choices, reflected on our actions, changed our dreams, and struggled along the way. There comes a point where we have to stop the path we are on and look for something different. We have to face our realities, dig deep for our true desires, and then have the courage to change. This is something that every person will experience. It is a natural part of life. It is the one gift as humans that we have. We have the power of choice. We have the opportunity to learn from mistakes. We have the power to change. We have the power to grow mentally and emotionally.
This is where Joshua Miles and Gemma Henare’s story begins. An accidental meeting and one night hook up will lead both of these people down a new road in life. Gemma has been touring the United States and Canada, living moment to moment, searching for the next path to take in her life. She meets Joshua the night before she is going home to New Zealand. Even though they have an incredible night together they both accept the reality of their meeting. For Joshua it is the moment that makes him start to take inventory of his life. He admires Gemma’s bravery to step outside of her life and do something that is just for her. He has never done that. He has always just muddled along and accepted what came his way. He never reached out for something he wanted or had the courage to change the life he was living. This meeting was the kick start to Josh’s road of self discovery. He quits his job, drains his savings account, buys a plane ticket, and heads for New Zealand. He isn’t really looking for Gemma, he is looking for himself. He knows this trip is going to be the defining factor that changes his life.
When Gemma returned to New Zealand she fell into the same rut she was in before she left. She didn’t allow her new experiences to shape and mold her into something different. She doesn’t have the guts to let go of the familiar and grab onto something new. Part of it is her self esteem and the other is the fear of the unknown. When she runs into the sexy Canadian she spent her last night abroad with, a yearning is kick started once again. But what exactly is she yearning?
A road trip through New Zealand in an old VW bus with Josh, her American cousin, Amber, and convient boyfriend Nick will be an adventure of a lifetime and eye opening experience for them all. They will discover their true colors. They will tap into hidden dreams and desires. They will get to know the people that they are. And they will get to experience the natural and beauty of New Zealand.
At the end of the trip, each of these people will be affected in some way. For some it will be life changing, for others it will be the stepping stone, and for some it will be clarification.
I will say that Where Sea Meets Sky is a passionate love story. Although there is a bit of a love triangle, it does not have a sense of betrayal or cheating. It is a discovery of the heart.
Karina’s writing was phenomenal. I felt like I was in the VW bus right along with all the characters. I experienced the beauty of New Zealand in my mind. The emotional journey that this book took touched my soul. I could easily empathize with the characters. I felt the passion and sense of wonder at discovering what true love really is. I laughed, cried , and fretted right along with Josh and Gemma. I sympathized with Amber’s plight.
Where Sea Meets Sky was a rich reading experience. I highly recommend this book.
I am looking forward to Amber’s next fork in the road. Racing The Sun is Amber’s story. It will release on July 28, 2015.
Release Date: July 28, 2015
From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky comes a new adult novel about a young woman who becomes a nanny in Capri and falls for her charges’ bad-boy brother.
It’s time for twenty-four-year-old Amber MacLean to face the music. After a frivolous six months of backpacking through New Zealand, Australia, and Southeast Asia, she finds herself broke on the Mediterranean without enough money for a plane ticket home to California. There are worse places to be stuck than the gorgeous coastline of southern Italy, but the only job she manages to secure involves teaching English to two of the brattiest children she’s ever met.
It doesn’t help that the children are under the care of their brooding older brother, Italian ex-motorcycle racer Desiderio Larosa. Darkly handsome and oh-so-mysterious, Derio tests Amber’s patience and will at every turn—not to mention her hormones.
But when her position as teacher turns into one as full-time nanny at the crumbling old villa, Amber finds herself growing closer to the enigmatic recluse and soon has to choose between the safety of her life back in the States and the uncertainty of Derio’s closely guarded heart.
Karina Halle is the New York Times bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, The Pact,Love in English, and other wild and romantic reads. A former travel writer and music journalist, she lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.
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