Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle

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Available March 31, 2015

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.

It seems like just your typical one night stand when Josh and Gemma first hook up at a Halloween party. But these two hit it off really well, bantering easily with each other and having one of the best "magic time" moments of their lives. It seems like such a cruel twist of fate that they should meet on her final night in Vancouver before returning to her native New Zealand, leaving Josh to go back to his daily monotonous routine. It doesn’t help that his older sister made the break from the family and is living her dream in Spain with her boyfriend. Josh is envious of her freedom while he's still stuck at home with their strict mother. He feels dejected and dissatisfied with life. He does have art school in the spring to look forward to but he needs something now. Memories of Gemma speaking about her adventures through North America inspire Josh to action. Before he knows it, he’s booked his flight to New Zealand with no concrete plans for once he's there. Well, that is aside from look up Gemma. Yeah, it seems a little stalkerish but he's not just going there for her. He's doing this so he can break out of this rut he's in.

When Josh does find Gemma it’s apparent that they still have that sizzling connection. However, there’s the inconvenient problem of her boyfriend, Nick with whom she reconciled with upon returning from abroad. But in a desperate attempt to be able to spend time together, she invites Josh to go on a road trip with her and her cousin, Amber, who's also visiting from the States. Nick invites himself along since he's not too keen on Josh hanging out with his girlfriend.  

In a beat up orange van, aptly named Mr. Orange, they travel through various scenic locations all over New Zealand. Things are awkward and tense to say the least. Nick and Josh don’t like each other and Gemma and Josh have to fight their attraction. Josh can't believe that she would be with someone like Nick who is not very good to her. (Josh has a few choice names for him that I can't repeat here.) Gemma for her turn is going through an identity crisis which is explained later. At some point something has to give. In the meantime, there are plenty of fun adventures to delight and distract them.

I recently mentioned to BiblioJunkie Nat that I’ve been anxious to find a New Adult novel that has a different feel to it. I know angst and romance are part of the package but I’ve been wanting something more.  I mean there's the hot "magic time" when it happens but a large part of this story takes place on the road trip. I love the dynamic of these two people so physically attracted to each other but off limits to each other. And with two other people in close quarters with them I didn't feel like I was trapped in Josh or Gemma’s heads the entire time. Seeing the four of them interact with each other showed different facets of their personalities that I don't think I would have seen if it was just the two of them alone the whole journey. 

Where Sea Meets Sky gave me what I was looking for – a different kind of romance and a ton of adventure. I really enjoyed Josh’s arrival in a different country and that initial feeling of “oh my god, what have I gotten myself into!”. Living vicariously through him, I got to experience traveling on a budget in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Through his artist eyes, I saw and felt his sense of wonderment at everything he encountered. 

If any of you have read the Off The Map series by Lia Riley and enjoy reading about life Down Under, then I highly recommend Where Sea Meets Sky. If you're a fan of hands on, nature adventures, you'll get an extra kick out of it. You may also want to have a map and the internet handy so you can look up some of the gorgeous scenery yourself! 

~ Bel  
      Where Sea Meets Sky

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