Title: Where Sea Meets Sky
Author: Karina Halle
Series: Where Sea Meets Sky, #1
Publisher by: Atria Books
Published on: March 31, 2015
Page Count: 384
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 is a lost soul. Her heart is fragile and she keeps it under some heavy protection. Josh is looking for purpose in life. He is in his 20’s and feels like he is stuck. Meeting by chance at a Halloween party – attraction turns into one night of passion. One night that changes the trajectory of both their lives in ways they never thought possible.
“Life is spreading her legs for me. I’m going in.”
That is basically the center of this book. Josh decides that before he starts school in few weeks he wants to experience life the way Gemma showed him on their one night together. It does not hurt that he may be able to see her again also.
Gemma loved the way Josh made her feel even it was for only one night. So when he shows up unexpectedly in New Zealand, looking not only for her but for an adventure, she can’t help but want to keep him around. Her mind keeps telling her this is a bad idea but her body and maybe even heart are pushing in another direction. They are pushing her towards not only Josh but the safety and freedom she feels with only him.
This story was beautifully written in graphic detail. You feel as if you are on the journey with them through the wonders and beauties of New Zealand. I was felt as if I was watching every sunrise and sunset, like I was hiking with them in the Southern Alps or watching the dolphins play from the helm of a boat. That is not a skill every writer possesses and Karina has mastered it flawlessly.
I will say that throughout the story I found Gemma to frustrating and her own worst enemy. She spent most of the book hurting Josh with her self sabotaging ways but it did not make me hate her. Karina wrote her very authentically so I found her redeemable. You saw the things she was doing but also understood why she did them. I understood where her pain came from and all I wanted to do was hug her and say, “It’s gonna be ok. You are going to be ok.”
“Some people may expect nothing. Most people expect something. But you, you should expect everything.”
As reader, I must say that Karina’s writing really is something of beauty. She has skill at crafting a story that is both funny, poetic and genuine. She makes you feel her characters triumphs, failures and losses to an extent that when you get to end you feel a part of their happiness. She does not make it easy though and I love that. I also enjoy that even if the specific events in the story may not happen to you because it’s fiction – the core lessons in her stories can. The core lesson is Where Sea Meets Sky – its ok not to have all the answers, especially at 22. It’s ok to make mistakes. Mistakes are are the bumps in life that help pave the road to our future so they are inevitable. Do not beat yourself up about them.
I am definitely going to read Love, In English now since I really want to read Josh’s sister, Vera, story. A definite must read from the fabulous Karina Halle.
“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.
Don’t miss Karina’s next book, RACING THE SUN, on sale July 28th!
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.