Book Review ✭ Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle

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.

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Karina takes her readers on yet another journey in this painstakingly picturesque novel, primarily set in New Zealand. Where Sea Meets Sky teaches us about taking chances at the riskiest of times; allowing others in so that we can reach the point of self-discovery. It shows us that we are responsible for creating our own destinies.

This woman seems to be everything I’m looking for and I only have her for one night, 
if I even have her at all.”

One out-of-this-world night between Joshua Miles and Gemma Henare comes to an end in Canada, but it doesn’t quite stop there. Their one night encounter turns into more and even manages to cross oceans. Josh refuses to just forget this magnificent woman who has ignited something within himself. Something that he needs to explore more.

Josh takes a risky chance and jets off to New Zealand. Is he following the girl or is he chasing after the prospect of finding himself? I’d say it’s a bit of both. Gemma is what sparked him to push aside everything and focus on what he wanted and needed. Seeing her once more, spending time around such a vibrant soul isn’t something he wants to pass up.

However, the fantasy and reality of seeing Gemma again turns out to be two completely different visions. The Gemma he met in Canada is the polar opposite of the Gemma in Auckland. Much like Josh, she too is lost and insecure. She returns to the same situation she ran away to Canada for. Safe, predictable, familiar. She resists her true feelings, falling into the arms of her unsupportive, undeserving past. 

I think he can feel it in me, this wildness. I want to pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist 
and the rest of my life doesn’t exist and the only thing that’s certain is here and now.”

Gemma’s push and pull made for a frustrating read, but the uncertainty raking through her non-stop gave depth and realism to her character. She’s tough but incredibly insecure in just about every aspect of her life. She battles some serious inner demons for the majority of the book. Her tragic past and great losses affected her deeply for such a long time and her hesitations stemmed from that. She stubbornly refused to show anyone her layers, but Josh was so determined to expose her in order to help her heal. 

Oh, Josh. I loved Josh in the LIE books, and he came off as very sweet and kind despite his outer appearance. So I was pleasantly reassured of this in this book when he presented a vulnerable side to himself. He started off so lost and confused, stuck in a predicament that many of us can understand and relate to. Yet he acknowledged that he had to do something about it if he wanted to truly see a change. All he needed was a little push. 
I loved the scenes that showed Josh and Gemma together and communicating; even if it was in the form of arguing. It was mesmerizing to see them experience things and places together all while discovering themselves and their desires. Josh’s wit and charm really radiated in every scene they were together. As did the vivid detail of the New Zealand landscapes.

The dazzling locations that were visited in this book made me start planning my own trip to NZ. 
There’s no doubt Karina Halle knows how to write. She is ridiculously talented and she never fails to transport us to wherever her stories are set. She captures every detail of the place taking us on a romantic adventure. We fall in love with the characters, their lives, and the city. It’s a great escape from reality!
That being said, the description of New Zealand was the very thing that kept me from truly falling in love with the book. I appreciated the detailing, but at some point it started to take away from the romance of the characters and their situation. At times it began to read more   like a travel guide rather than an actual fictional romance story. I desperately wanted to see more shared moments and intimacy between them, however small or big they would’ve been. Josh and Gemma as a couple got lost somewhere in the palpable illustrations. 

We see a very sexual first meeting between them and then the rest of the book shows them apart. I actually loved seeing that. It’s so refreshing to see a romance book do that. However again, I wanted to see more of them. By that I don’t mean I wanted more scenes of them having sex, but rather shared moments of simple yet intimate understanding. There were beautiful scenes later on in the book that displayed a bit of this, but not enough throughout. 

Again, Halle is a fabulous writer so I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it.
Don’t miss Karina’s next book, RACING THE SUN, on sale July 28th!

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.

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancé and rescue pup.

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