Author: Karina Halle
Series: Where Sea Meets Sky #1
Published by: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
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.
Man, do I love Karina Halle’s writing! I knew I would get something fan-freaking-tastic with Where Sea Meets Sky.
Josh and Gemma have an incredible one-night stand, then Gemma goes back to New Zealand the next day. She inspired something in Josh, though, and he decides to take a leap and backpack around New Zealand. Now, his decision isn’t solely based on Gemma, in fact, he’s pretty sure he’ll never see her. That would be a sucky story though, so obviously they do run into each other. And this begins their journey of self-discovery and love.
I absolutely love stories like this, where a character makes an impulsive decision to just go … do something big. I would’ve done this type of thing when I was younger if I hadn’t had a child. I loved deciding out of the blue to just go somewhere, get in the car a drive far. I couldn’t go too far since I was a minor, but I’ve always had that itch to pick a random country and just go. Stay in some hostels and travel to random places by myself. So I enjoyed living vicariously through Gemma and Josh.
The majority of the book is set in New Zealand, and I swear, it felt like I was transported there while reading this. Halle does a phenomenal job incorporating not only the landscape, but the culture as well. It felt like I was one the trip with the characters experiencing all these wonderful places too.
I love the characters. Just like all of Karina’s other characters, they are complex and realistic. People aren’t these perfect one-dimensional beings, and I certainly don’t care to read about those types of characters in books. Josh and Gemma took me through many emotion, not all of them are rainbows and unicorns, but that’s why they feel so real. I grew very attached to all of them! Except Nick the Dick, he could fall off a mountain for all I care. Anyway, I even fell in love with Gemma’s family, especially Amber.
Sometimes I find myself wanting to read a “Karina Halle type book”, because I’m in need of her style of romance. True story, I think that. I know I’m not going to get barfable sticky sweet. Nope, I’m going to get something that puts my heart through a little abuse, and I mean that in the best way possible. Josh and Gemma have incredible chemistry, but there are issues that prevent them from jumping headfirst into a relationship. I loved that, because they were able to spend a lot of time getting to know each other and grow closer. It definitely wasn’t always easy though. But damn, could I ever feel connection no matter what was going on.
This book honestly felt like taking a long journey. I don’t mean that it’s boring or anything, quite the opposite. It’s just that a lot transpires, and there’s tremendous character growth. It’s not like everything happens overnight. Where Sea Meets Sky spans a few months, and where we find the characters at the beginning of the book feels so far gone by the end.
I want to make this perfectly clear: Where Sea Meets Sky very much reads as a standalone. It’s not technically part of a series, but there are overlapping characters. We first met Josh in Love, in English as Vera’s little brother, so I was extremely excited that he got his own book. I was even more excited that we got small glimpses of Vera and Mateo in this book. And now I look forward to Amber’s story in Racing the Sun.