Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Review: Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle

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Where Sea Meets Sky
    by: Karina Halle

Publication Date: Mar. 31, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 384 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars

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.

Oh man. I have the absolute worst case of wanderlust after finishing this book. It's bad enough that this one is set in New Zealand, where I have been dying to visit ever since the first Lord of the Rings movie came out. To actually take a road trip with Halle's characters only ignited my need to go even more. I even found myself stopping to pull up the different places Josh and Gemma visit on my phone! I WILL make it to NZ someday and I am definitely using this book as guide to check out several places! (Especially Cape Reigna!)
The traveling aspect was absolutely my favorite part of this book. I did enjoy Gemma and Josh's romance, but I found myself a bit frustrated with some of the characters' actions and decisions. This is very much a character driven novel, which I love, so watching Gemma and Josh figure out their direction was definitely worth the angst and longing. I wasn't sure I would emotionally connect with these characters, but some of the things they said resonated a little close to home, so I did end up understanding them on a deeper level.
"I think I ache for things I may never have. I long for purpose, for life, and yet sometimes I think I'm too afraid to live."
Gemma and Josh first meet at a Halloween party and end up sharing one night together, before Gemma heads back home to New Zealand. The two are certainly not lacking in the passion department and Gemma's leaving is definitely bittersweet. Josh ends up applying and getting accepted to art school, so he decides to live his life to the fullest until then, and embarks on a journey to New Zealand. Sure, Gemma is one of the reasons for his destination, as he can't get the woman out of his head. However, I don't think he goes there solely for her. He is trying to fill the void in his life, seek out his purpose. Sure, Gemma is a perk and he wouldn't mind finding the woman that he can't get out of his head, but finding her isn't the explosive reunion he thought.
This is where my frustration with Gemma came in. She is dating a guy named Nick who is a complete possessive jerk and all I could think was 'WHY?!' It's nice to see the role reversal here though. Instead of the guy being the emotionally unavailable one, it's the female. Gemma is the one who has her own issues to work through and maintains her distance from Josh. They embark on the most awkward road trip in history- Gemma, Josh, Gemma's 'boyfriend' Nick, and her cousin, Amber. Sharing a VW van, the four set out to experience New Zealand. Gemma is with Nick for a good portion of the trip and they don't exactly keep it secret that they're together, if you know what I mean. I felt for Josh, as he really likes her and has to endure knowing she's physically with another man. Amber is cute and single, but Josh really only has eyes for Gemma. There is one instant that something occurs between them and when Gemma finds out she's upset and hurt and I just wanted to yell at her for being a hypocrite. Josh calls her on it though so good for him! Still, Josh should have put a stop to her advances with a quickness, especially knowing his feelings for Gemma.
"Sometimes I think I'm just a shell of who I used to be and I don't think I'll ever feel whole."
While Gemma and Josh's relationship start off with an explosive one night stand, theirs is actually a slow burn relationship, primarily because Gemma is involved with someone else (but thankfully no cheating ensues) and she isn't ready to make that jump with Josh. He knows she will break his heart but he can't help but wear it on his sleeve for her anyway. She is so fragile in certain instances and I really felt for her. She has known pain and loss in her life and now she doesn't feel she can ever be the girl she once was- the girl who was so full of life and loved to paint. This is definitely a book of self-recovery and I loved that. Josh and Gemma help the other find purpose and meaning in their lives and it isn't an easy road to traverse, but the outcome is so worth it.
"Gemma." His voice is rough and heated. "Some people may expect nothing. Most people expect something. But you, you should expect everything."

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  1. Love that you really enjoyed this one! Though the characters, at times, drove you a bit mad, you enjoyed it so much! I've had my eye on this one, so I now know I'll have to give it a try!

    Lovely review!

    1. Thanks Magen! It was my first experience with the author, but it won't be my last!

  2. I think this one would frustrate me to no end. I always struggle when the character has a boyfriend but then likes someone else and then gets jealous. It's just something that makes me crazy. But I do like the whole road trip thing so there is that. Great review.

    1. Haha. That part did annoy the pants off me. I was like... why are you still with this jerk? Sigh. But the road trip really made this book shine.

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! I definitely did, too. Karina's books always want to make me travel. New Zealand – and the little blue penguins – sounds fantastic, doesn't it? Like you, I loved the role reversal here with Josh with his heart on his sleeve and Gemma locked up tight. Oh, and Nick? There's a reason his name rhymes with another certain four letter word. So not a fan of that one. Of course, I wasn't supposed to be!

    Great review! :)

    1. Hahaha. Nick the Dick. Perfect. I need to go back and read Karina's other books, the Love in Spanish ones about Josh's sister!

  4. Karina Halle is not the author for me, but I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Jess! I do love the sound of the traveling though. I love it when I can go on an adventure on!
    Lovely review!

    1. I do love traveling, so I think that's why it worked so well. I haven't read any of her other books, but I may give them a try at some point.

  5. I have been dying to read this. I'm glad you enjoyed it

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    1. Thanks Michelle! I hope you do too when you get to it!


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