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Where Sea Meets Sky: A Novel Paperback – 9 Apr 2015

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books (9 April 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476796408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476796406
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,025,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA TODAY bestselling author of Love, in English, the Artists trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Where Sea Meets Sky

Chapter One



I get an erection the moment I first lay eyes on her. She looks like no one I’ve ever seen before. Tall, curvy, with thick superhero thighs and a round ass, showcased in black Lycra that hugs every slope. Her big, high breasts and small waist are accentuated by her white tank top. Her body has just enough meat for me to grab a good hold of, and I imagine running my hands over her hills and valleys. I want to imagine more than that, but I’m horny as hell as it is and my erection is already inappropriate, considering I’m in public and all.

She finally looks my way, aware that I’ve been staring like an idiot. She catches my gaze, her eyes twinkling a vibrant yellow, her pupils large and wet. She smirks at me, causing a shower of glitter to rain from her cheeks, and brushes her purple hair over her shoulder before she bends over to slide a gun out from the harness strapped to her boot.

I try not to stare into the blinding sun of her tanned cleavage. I try to think of something clever to say to her. Something along the lines of, I think I know who you are, but shouldn’t you have one eyeball instead of two?

But it’s she who comes over to me, gun comfortably in her hand, and stops only a foot away. When she smiles at me, I see fangs.

Now I’m really confused. At least I know what to say now.

“Who are you?” I ask her, happy that my voice is hard and deep. I hope it makes her think of sex.

She raises a perfect brow, and up close I’m struck by how bronzed her skin tone is. I don’t think it’s makeup. Not many people in Vancouver manage to keep their tan into the fall.

“You don’t know?” she asks. She has an accent. I immediately want to say she’s from England but that’s not it. It’s not Australia either.

“I thought I did,” I say. “But your eyes and fangs are throwing me all off.”

“I’m vampire Leela, from Futurama.”

I grin at her, happy that I was half-right. “Shouldn’t you just have one eyeball then?”

She reaches into her other boot and effortlessly pulls out an eye mask. It’s painted white, with a black pupil in the middle. She waves it at me. “I put it on for photos but I can barely see out of it. I walked into a wall, twice.” She raises two fingers for emphasis. “I figured I’ll just be a vampire the rest of the time.”

I can seriously listen to her talk all day. “I don’t remember any episode where Leela turned into a vampire.” Maybe it hinted at my secret nerd-boy status, but I watched the cartoon Futurama religiously.

She wets her lips for a moment and I try my hardest not to adjust my boxer briefs underneath my costume. “I like to think she’ll become a vampire in future episodes. Or maybe she was one once and Matt Groening scrapped the idea. I believe characters have more to their lives than the lives we are shown.”

“Kind of like people,” I say, hoping I come across as somewhat profound.

She gives me a slight nod—indicating I’m not as profound as I thought—and looks me up and down. “I just had to come over here to tell you you’re the best-dressed guy here. I mean, that must have taken some effort.”

I grin at her. “Game of Thrones fan?” I ask.

Another sly nod. “Of course. But who doesn’t love Khal Drogo?”

“Last year I dressed up as George R.R. Martin,” I tell her. “People kept mistaking me for Ernest Hemingway, even though I was carrying a bucket of fried chicken around with me and had a pillow stuffed down my shirt.”

“So you went for something sexier . . .” she says as she lets her eyes trail over my body, which automatically makes me stand up straighter. I haven’t left much to the imagination. Jesus sandals, weird billowy pants that I think some granola dude dropped off at the thrift store, plus a leather corset over my abs and leather cuffs on my forearms. My upper body is bare and covered with bronzer and streaks of blue paint, and I found a black wig with a long braid down the back. It kind of works. I guess if you don’t know the show, I look like some sparkling warrior who wears too much eye makeup.

“Hey, girls can’t be the only ones to slut it up at Halloween.”

She raises her brow.

And once again, my foot goes in my mouth. “I mean, not that you’re dressed slutty or anything, I just mean—”

She laughs. “Don’t worry about it,” she says with a wave of her hand. “Everyone here is dressed slutty. That’s what the holiday is about, isn’t it? Pretending to be someone else? This is actually my first Halloween, so I’m feeling a little overdressed. Or super nerdy.” She looks around her at the drunk girls—referees and fairies and nurses in wonderfully indecent outfits—and shrugs.

“I wholeheartedly disagree,” I say, trying not to ogle her all over again. I pause. “Wait, your first Halloween?”

“First proper Halloween. The North American kind. We don’t really celebrate it the way you guys do.”

I cross my arms, insanely curious now. “And who is we?”

“New Zealand,” she says. “I’m from Auckland.”

“Nice,” I say. “I was going to ask if you were from New Zealand.”

Her lips twitch and she gives me a shake of her head. “No you weren’t.”

“Well, I definitely wasn’t going to ask if you were from Australia. I know how you’d feel about that.”

For a moment her features look strained, then it passes. “Kind of like if I asked if you were American.”


“So,” she muses and steps closer. She lays her hand on my bicep and I suck in my breath. “Are the tattoos real?” She removes her hand and peers at her palm, which is streaked with bronze shimmer shit. “Because your tan sure isn’t.”

Damn, I hope I’m not blushing. I clear my throat. “The tattoos are real, I assure you. I needed a bit of, um, help to get that Dothraki tan going on.”

“And this?” She reaches for my face and I am frozen in place while she gently fingers my goatee and beard. She grabs the end of it, which I had attempted to braid, and gives it a little tug.

“Ouch,” I say, though it doesn’t really hurt. It turns me on instead. Big surprise.

“So it is real,” she says. She sounds impressed.

I shrug. “I had a month to grow it in. I say, it’s all or nothing. But tomorrow everything is getting shaved off.”

She frowns and lets go. “Pity. I love a scruffy guy.”

I can’t help but smile. “Lucky for you, I’m scruffy for at least twelve more hours.”

Her mouth twists into a wry smile. I realize I’m being kind of forward with her, but at the same time she just felt my biceps and fondled my man hair. Then again, I’ve never been very good at reading women. Half of them seem to love my tats and black hair and piercings; the other half seem to think I’m a delinquent from skid row.

I’m wondering what she thinks about me when I realize I don’t know her name.

“I’m Josh, by the way,” I say to her, holding out my hand.

She gives me a surprisingly firm shake in return. “Gemma.”

“That’s a beautiful name,” I tell her. Even though I’m sincere, I’m aware that it’s very much a pickup line.

Gemma snorts and it’s absolutely adorable. “Right. Well, in New Zealand, Gemmas are everywhere.”

“But I bet they don’t look like you.” Okay, so now I’m totally swerving into pickup line territory. I push it further. “Can I buy you a drink?”

And there the question sits, floating between us along with the haze of pot smoke that hangs in the air. The rejection might come fast, or if I’m lucky, not at all. But it’s Halloween, I have a three-beer buzz going on, and I’m feeling pretty good.

Still, when she nods and says “Sure,” I feel my whole body lift with relief.

We make our way through the crowd to the makeshift bar set up in the corner. It’s a house party we’re at, one I try and go to every year. My friend Tobias rents the whole house with three other dudes who go to the University of British Columbia nearby, and every Halloween they go all out with mind-fuck decorations, elaborate costumes, and a haunted house in the basement. This year they even applied for a liquor license since last year ended with a police raid and all of us running for our lives down the street.

While we get in line behind a guy dressed as a one-night stand (complete with a lampshade head) and a girl dressed as some Disney princess, I ask her, “So, Gemma from New Zealand, how did you hear about the party?”

She fixes her yellow eyes on me and I wish she could take out her contacts so I could see their real color. I’m assuming they’re brown, based on her skin tone, and I feel like I could get lost in them if she’d let me.

“At the backpacker’s hostel I’m staying at. I made friends with the guy who works the front desk,” she says, and I can’t help but feel my entire back bristle. A guy? Of course she’d be here with a guy. “He invited me and another backpacker but I haven’t seen them all night.” Her eyes sweep the room then come back to me, sparkling knowingly. “Not that I’m surprised; she’s from Holland and has legs up to here.” She makes a slicing motion with her hand across her neck. “He obviously wanted to shag her.”

“Maybe he wanted to shag the both of you,” I say and then try not to wince.

She gives me an exasperated look but still smiles. She has the cutest dimples. “Maybe. But I don’t like to share. My parents never taught me to play very well with my toys.”

“Sup, Drogo,” the bartender says. I swivel my head and eye him, slightly annoyed at being interrupted. He’s dressed as a hot dog.

“Sup, dog,” I say. “Is that costume supposed to be a hint or something?”

He nods, completely deadpan, which only makes it funnier considering there’s just a small cutout for his face in the wall of wiener. “It’s a complete metaphorical representation of my penis, if that’s what you mean.”

Gemma laughs. “You Canadians talk about your dicks a lot.”

I casually lean one arm against the bar top. “Well, have you seen our dicks? It’s a point of pride for our country.”

“No, actually, I haven’t,” she says and a million clever follow-ups flow through my head. Unfortunately, half of them are serious propositions so I don’t dare say them.

“Oh really,” the hot dog says, beating me to it. “You know, that can be arranged.”

“I’m sure it can,” she says sweetly but her eyes are telling him not to bother. “Could I get a beer please? None of that Molson Canadian stuff, though. Do you have any craft brew?”

The hot dog plucks a bottle of Granville Island Winter Ale from the ice chest and plunks it on the counter. “Seven dollars.”

I sigh and order one for myself, fishing out my money from a small leather satchel around my waist that I thought maybe Khal Drogo would use when he wasn’t slicing people’s arms off. “I thought the point of a house party was to have cheap booze.”

He shrugs, apparently hearing that complaint all night. “Blame government regulation. Still better than being stuck at some bullshit club downtown.”

He has that right.

“Mojo” by Peeping Tom suddenly comes on over the speakers and the rolling beat of one of my favorite songs gives me another boost of confidence. I’m about to suggest to Gemma that we find somewhere to sit, maybe in another room, when she asks if I want to go to the roof deck.

I can’t help but oblige.

“It might be still raining,” I tell her as we squeeze through the crowd of people and up the carpeted stairs to the second floor. “It’s almost winter here, remember.”

“Nah, I love the rain,” she answers.

“Then you should seriously consider moving here.” Suddenly there’s a bit of traffic near the door to the roof and she stops in front of me. I’m pressed up against her ass and it’s like I’ve gone to heaven. It’s so firm and round that I’m starting to think that she’s magic. Of course, I’m also growing harder by the second and I know, I know, she can feel the magician’s wand.

I cringe inwardly. I really don’t want to be one of those guys. In fact, I start thinking that perhaps I need to apologize for my public displays of erection but she actually presses her ass back into me. It was subtle but it was there.

Before I drown in over-analysis of the moment, the foot traffic moves forward again and suddenly there is space and we find ourselves up on the flat roof of the building.The air is sharp, cold, and damp, but I have enough alcohol in me that I don’t mind the chill. It’s stopped raining. There are a few dripping lawn chairs scattered about and scantily clad girls shivering in their costumes, trying to puff down their cigarettes or joints.

In the distance, you can see the dark mass of English Bay peppered with tankers and the night-skiing lights of Grouse Mountain. The glass high-rises of downtown Vancouver twinkle and set the low clouds an electric shade of orange.

Gemma grabs my hand and leads me to the edge of the roof, away from everyone else. Her grip is strong but her hand warm and soft, and before I can give it a squeeze, she lets go. She leans against the railing, not caring if her arms get cold and wet, and stares out at the view.

“I do have to say, I always thought Auckland one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but Vancouver has totally blown it away,” she muses wistfully, her eyes roaming the cityscape.

“How long are you here for?”

She sighs. “Not long enough. Ten days.”

“Did you go to Whistler?”

She smiles. “So I could be surrounded by Aussies and other Kiwis? I was there for a day. Nice place. But we have mountains like that back home.”

I ask her if she was in other parts of Canada and she tells me she originally got a work permit because she wanted to live and work on Prince Edward Island out east.

I laugh. “Really? Why? You a fan of Anne of Green Gables?”

In the dark, it’s hard to tell if she’s blushing. “Actually, yes.”

“That’s cute.”

“Shut up.” But she’s smiling and brushing her hair off her shoulder. “Anyway, work was hard to find there. I guess all the summer jobs were filled, so after a while I had to move on. Went to Nova Scotia, Quebec, Toronto.” I scrunch my nose at the last city and she rolls her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, you guys with your rivalry. Then I went down into the States for a few months. Boston, New York. Flew to New Orleans, drove through the Southwest, then onto California. Disneyland.” Her eyes light up at that one. “San Francisco. Took a backpacker bus up the Oregon coast, spent some time in Seattle, and now I’m here, flying out tomorrow.”

“And you did all of this by yourself?” I ask incredulously.

She purses her lips and nods. “Yeah. Why not?”

“You sound a lot like my sister,” I say.

She frowns. “That’s not exactly what you want to hear from someone you find attractive.”

I stare at her for a few beats, making sure I heard that right. I try not to grin, but I can’t help it.

“Attractive?” I repeat.

“Oh, I’ve gone and given you a big ego, haven’t I?”

“Sweetheart, I already had a big ego,” I admit, still smiling. “And I don’t mean I think you’re just like my sister, Vera. It’s just that she went overseas to Europe last year—Spain, actually—by herself and now she’s living there. It’s just . . .” I try and think of the word, “brave, that’s all. Everyone else I know goes and travels in groups and pairs.”

She shrugs. “People can be a pain in the ass.”

I nod. “True. But I think it takes some sort of courage to go overseas alone. Don’t you get lonely?”

For a moment, I swear she looks lonely. Then it’s gone and her expression is blasé. “Not really. I like my own company and I meet heaps of people this way, people I probably wouldn’t have met if I were traveling with someone. Sometimes you . . . wish certain people were around, and sometimes you wish you could share a moment or two with someone else, but fuck, that’s what Instagram is for.”

I raise my beer at her. “Well, let me just tell you that I think you’re a pretty awesome woman, Gemma.”

She raises her brow and her bottle at the same time. “Woman? Not chick, not girl?”

“You’re all woman to me, as far as I can see,” I say.

She clinks her bottle against mine. “It’s the tits, isn’t it?”

My eyes drift over her. “It’s a lot of things.” The truth is, I’m torn between wanting to tear her clothes off and fuck her senseless or wanting to sit somewhere quiet and talk to her the whole night. It’s a curious war I’m fighting, but I’d be happy with either victory.

“So, you,” she says, turning around so she’s leaning back on her elbows, one boot kicked up onto the other, “tell me about Josh. All I know is you have a sister called Vera who lives in Spain, you watch Futurama and Game of Thrones, and you have a big ego and a nice dick.”

I choke on my beer and quickly wipe my mouth. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who told you about the dick?”

She takes a polite sip of her drink, her eyes playful. “You did earlier. You said it was a Canadian thing.”

“Right,” I say, quickly recovering. “Well, that’s where the ego comes from.”

“Uh-huh,” she says. “And what do you do? You know, work-wise?”

My smile falters. This part is where I kind of suck at life. A big dick can only get you so far. “Oh, I just kinda work. Jobs.”

“Oh, jobs,” she says. “I’ve heard of those.”

I sigh inwardly. “I’m a line cook at a restaurant.”

She cocks her head. “Oh, so you want to be a chef?”

“Not really,” I say, but what I mean to say is not at all. “It’s just something that pays the bills.” The minute I say that, it’s like I’m lying, because while I do pay rent, I pay it to my mother and it’s nowhere near as much as what most people pay. The dirty truth is, I live at home and there’s no woman alive who finds that sexy.

“So then what do you like to do, if that’s not it?”

Here’s the thing. On the surface, Joshua Miles is a charmer. I’m tall, have a good body, nice tats, and a dick that I know how to use. I can be shameless but funny enough, which usually works to my advantage with the ladies. But aside from the fact that I work as a line cook and I live at home, I’m also an aspiring artist. A graphic artist. I mean, my dream job is to either work for a place like Marvel or DC illustrating their comic books and graphic novels, or to just create my own one day. But the moment you tell a girl that you like to draw comic books, they look at you like you just took a shit in front of them.

But I don’t know Gemma, and since she’s leaving tomorrow I don’t have a lot to lose. Besides, something tells me she’s different from the others, and it’s not just her accent.

“I’m an artist,” I tell her, deciding to cut out the aspiring crap. “Graphic design, graphic art. I sketch, I paint, lots of digital work. I’m in the middle of illustrating my own comic book, though I just have half the rough drawings complete and none of the dialogue. I’ve even applied for art school but I’m still waiting to hear back.”

She’s silent for a moment and I peer at her cautiously, expecting to see her eyes glazed over. Instead, she looks extraordinarily happy. Her smile is breathtakingly wide and it’s such a sharp contrast to her ever-present smirk.

“Really?” she exclaims. “That’s so awesome!”

“It is?” I thought she’d tolerate it, not actually think it was cool. Goddamn it, who just dropped this dream woman into my lap?

“I used to paint,” she says and her smile winds down. A wash of sadness comes across her brow and I have this sudden urge to kiss her and hope it brings that smile back.

I wait for her to elaborate, but she doesn’t. “Hey,” she says, brightening up. “Come on, I’ll buy you another drink.” She quickly downs her beer and I can tell she’s forcing some cheer into her face. I can’t say no to another bottle, though.

She grabs my hand again, but this time she’s in no hurry to let go. Neither am I. Just like that, a beer is the last thing on my mind. 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. I want to bring her into a dark corner and let my tongue caress hers before sliding it down her neck. I want to feel her smooth, tight body beneath my hands and make her smart mouth open with a moan. Then I want to glide my fingers down her pants and make her moan louder. I want her eyes to stare at me with lazy lust and beg me to do my worst.

But there are no dark corners on this roof deck, so we make our way through the sweaty mess of people again. I immediately miss the relative privacy and the invigorating chill of the outdoors and make up for it by having a cold beer, and then another.

We find a small living room at the end of the hall where we sit down on a couch and watch a few people play Rock Band in the near dark. I’m buzzed and the room is hypnotizing with the sounds and lights and her warmth beside me. I put my hand on her thigh and try to talk to her, but it’s too loud and the dark is too inviting, too freeing. I go to whisper in her ear, to ask her if she’s having a good time, to ask her what time her flight leaves, to ask her anything at all, and I find my lips grazing her earlobe. I’m losing the war and losing it fast.

She tastes far too good for me to stop. I tease the rim of her ear with my tongue to taste her even better.

She doesn’t shove me away. She doesn’t flinch. She just turns her head so my lips are next to hers, and for one moment I hesitate, my lips brushing lightly against hers, feeling the heady desire build to a breaking point. Her breath hitches in anticipation.

Then I kiss her. It’s sweet and soft and so gentle that all the blood in my body doesn’t know where to go.

Then it hurts.

“Ow,” I say, pulling back slightly and rubbing my fingers over my mouth. What the hell?

“Sorry!” she whispers harshly, flushed from either embarrassment or arousal, and she quickly removes her fangs from her mouth, tossing them over her shoulder. “I forgot they were in there.”

“Good thing we didn’t start off with a blow job,” I joke.

“No,” she says deviously, and her hand goes on top of my erection. My eyes go wide. “That was going to come second.”

“Was?” I repeat, feeling myself get harder under her touch. I can’t even stand it.

She bites her lip coquettishly and once again I am wondering how the fuck I got so lucky. Must have been the eyeliner and dick comments.

I grab her face in my hands and kiss her, not gentle this time, not slow. It is fast and feverish and her mouth is even sweeter than the rest of her. She’s a good kisser, but then again so am I, and I sink into this dizzy well of lust that I’m not sure how to get out of. So I don’t even try.

We make out like that forever, my tongue exploring her mouth, fucking it hard and soft all at once, followed by my lips on her neck and her hand stroking my shaft. I think the last time I had a hand job over my clothes was in high school, but now there’s something so fucking erotic about it that I have a hard time not coming. Maybe it’s the fact that there are five other people in the room, although they’re all concentrating on playing “Helter Skelter.” Still, voyeurism is a total turn-on.

I quickly remember that I had put a condom in my satchel because I figured that pretending to be a ripped, violent warrior might just be walking lady porn. I pull back, both of us breathing hard. “Want to find a room?” I say to her, my eyes glued to her wet, open mouth. Oh god, did I need those lips to finish me off.

She nods and gets up. I do the same, tucking myself up into the waistband of my briefs and making sure I’m not about to poke anyone’s eye out. I take her hand and we leave the room and start exploring the hallway, though I have to press her up against the wall at least once and drive my tongue into her mouth and myself into her hip. I put my hand up her shirt and feel her soft skin through her thin, lacy bra, her nipples intoxicatingly hard. I want nothing more than to pinch them between my teeth and roll my tongue ring over them.

When I’m able to pry myself off of her again, we find a door that’s locked. I’m not one to try and bust doors open, not even for the sake of hot monkey sex, so I take out my credit card and slide it up between the door and the frame. I breathe out a sigh of relief as it clicks open and we stumble into a small billiards room that has been stuffed to the walls with furniture and breakables, all put away for the party.

I close the door behind us and lock it.

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Was quite surprised when this book arrived on my kindle as I couldn't remember pre-ordering it or why. I looked back to see what else if anything I had by this author and low and behold it was Love in English the book which I had loved about Vera who had travelled to Spain from Canada on a holiday job to teach conversational english to Spanish business people and who fell in love with Mateo an older married man. Well I thought ok this story would be good too. I was chapter or so in when the penny dropped and I realized this story was about Josh who was Vera' s brother in Canada that's why I had ordered this book.
Josh is obsessed by a one night stand with Gemma a girl from New Zealand on her last night in Canada and decides on a whim to follow her back to NZ and try and find her with the scant information he has. Of course he does find her quite quickly but she has reunited with her former boyfriend. Despite this she invites him on a backpacker tour with her boyfriend and visiting cousin Amber. So the adventures began of their memorable journey and the rocky path to love.
The author clearly has a knowledge and love for NZ and I mostly thought more was given to the spectacular scenery and tourist attractions than the characters, hence I feel the story got lost along the way. It's a shame really because the storyline was good and I just loved Josh, but personally I would have liked more story less travel guide. However having said that the writing was excellent and you did feel as though you were there on the 'Big Orange bus'. I recommend this book if you have been to NZ and even if you haven't and would like to go. No epilogue always upsets me also so hence a 3 star review. I believe Amber gets a shot next so I will try again.
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Another great read by Katrina Halle. I loved the whole thing! The journey, the love story. I want to go to new Zealand! This was a beautifully written just as Vera and Mateo's story, I am eagerly awaiting Amber's story next. I'm only sorry to have finished it, I'll have a book hangover for some time!
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I was looking forward to reading this book and I'm thrilled to say it didn't disappoint. I always liked the character of Josh as he was the only one who supported Vera in Love, In English so I was eager to read his story.

One of the things I love about Karina's books is how well she writes the characters emotions; you feel everything they do, from the panic and disorientation Josh feels when arriving in New Zealand for the first time, to the fear Gemma feels about loving Josh and the sense of time running out.

The story takes place with the characters travelling around NZ and you feel like you are right there with them. Brilliant description of the country makes me want to go there.

I really liked the characters, loved the references to Vera and Mateo and only wish that the author might one day be tempted to write novella about all 4 characters. I need updates on these characters!!
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This author just gets better and better. This is my favourite to date her descriptive writing had me feeling like I was in New Zealand and the dual POVs were so well balanced it was such an amazing piece. Can't wait to read the next one. Karina you rock!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x96531cfc) out of 5 stars 135 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x962c1924) out of 5 stars One of the finest examples of descriptive writing I have ever read, and I absolutely loved it! 31 Mar. 2015
By Robin Segnitz - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am thrilled to be able to share with you about the latest novel from author Karina Halle. It’s called Where Sea Meets Sky, and it’s her first foray into the New Adult genre. Before I even begin discussing the plot or characters, I need discuss the writing. Imagine taking a tour around the country of New Zealand in an orange Volkswagen Bus. Picture the gorgeous Southern Alps and volcanoes. Clear blue lakes and white beaches. Glaciers. Unique foliage and wildlife. The sights. Sounds. Smells. Maori culture and language. Where Sea Meets Sky is one of the finest examples of descriptive writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

The narrative. This is where Halle blends a beautiful story about two people on the journey of their life with her descriptive style of writing. Halle is unusually creative when she develops a story. Her imagination seems boundless. Whether it be a paranormal horror romance or contemporary romance or romantic suspense, Halle knows how to blend the perfect amount of drama and tension with her trademark descriptive writing which makes her stories so vivid and authentic.

Where Sea Meets Sky is told in first person opposing points of view. Josh Miles is in his twenties. He’s been living with his mother in Vancouver and working dead-end jobs. Josh lacks motivation or energy, and he longs for something he doesn’t understand. Gemma Henare is at the end of a backpacking tour that has taken her across Canada and the United States. She is invited to attend a traditional Halloween party in Vancouver where she meets Josh. Josh and Gemma are naturally comfortable around each other. They have an instant connection when they meet, but Gemma has to return to her native New Zealand following their one-night stand.

After Gemma returns to New Zealand, Josh can’t seem to get her out of his head. She is exotic and full of life. Josh is an aspiring graphic artist. He learns he has been accepted to the art school where he applied, but Josh is also deeply intrigued by the adventure and freedom Gemma experienced on her backpacking trip. Weighing the circumstances of his life, Josh makes an impulsive decision. He quits his job and catches a plane for New Zealand to seek adventure, to search for Gemma, armed with a backpack of his belongings, cash and Gemma’s first name.

This isn’t your typical romance novel. Josh and Gemma are both in the midst of self-discovery as they tour the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Gemma has experienced great loss in her life, and her sense of self-worth is low. She has very low expectations of the people in her life. Josh is completely uninspired until he meets Gemma. He sees something very special in her, so he decides to place his heart in her hands, even when he knows Gemma could destroy him. Where Sea Meets Sky is about taking risks. Self-discovery. Putting your heart on the line.

New Zealand is such an unusual setting for a romance novel. It’s different from the typical settings of Europe or the United States. When I finished reading Where Sea Meets Sky, I was left with a longing to travel to New Zealand. I want to zip-line into the mouth of Waitomo Caves and ride inner tubes on the underground river. I want to hike the Routeburn Track in the Southern Alps. Dive with dolphins. See Franz Josef Glacier. Witness the first sunrise of the world at the remote East Cape. If you pick up a copy of Where Sea Meets Sky and begin reading, I can promise you will embark on a journey which will not only appeal to your senses, but will take you far away from the reality of your life. I have read at least twenty-four novels written by Karina Halle, and Where Sea Meets Sky is decidedly one of my favorites. The writing is impeccable, and I absolutely loved this 5-star novel!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x962c1b70) out of 5 stars Wonderful story about love and self-discovery 31 Mar. 2015
By Misha - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Review originally posted at The Book Enthusiast:

I am pleased to be able to leave my shame corner now that I have finally read a book by Karina Halle. The first word that pops into my head when I think about Where Sea Meets Sky is fantastic. Truthfully, I found everything about this book to be exactly what I want in a story. Before I discuss the characters and the plot (both of which I loved), I have to take a minute to say that I found Halle’s writing and ability to set the scene incredibly impressive. It was as if I was right there in New Zealand with her characters. The writing was beautifully vivid and expressive. I wanted to take a reading break about a dozen times so I could go book a trip for myself. It wasn’t only the setting, though. I felt every minute of Gemma and Josh’s journey. The emotions were intense and palpable.

I was quickly drawn into the story from the first chapter. Those who have read Love, in English will remember Vera’s brother Joshua. He is an aspiring graphic artist working a dead-end job and living at home with his mother. Josh meets Gemma, visiting from New Zealand, at a party. One night with her ends up being the catalyst for a major change in his life. He embarks on the adventure of a lifetime by heading to New Zealand himself. I was impressed that both were brave and confident enough in themselves to travel on their own, especially Josh. It took major guts to do what he did, but I definitely remember what it was like to be in my 20s and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I could absolutely relate to the uncertainty Josh and Gemma were feeling.

The chemistry between the pair was undeniable. Even during their first meeting I could sense something more between them. There seemed to be a genuine connection, and I was excited to see what would happen. As the book progressed the angst factor was definitely high. I loved watching where their trip took them and being a part of their adventures. Everything felt so real: the beautiful scenery, the range of emotions Josh and Gemma felt, and their individual struggles to find themselves. Not only was their story touching, but it was also quite funny. I frequently found myself laughing aloud, especially when I was in Josh’s head. Where Sky Meets Sea was a wonderful story about love and self-discovery that I would highly recommend.

*An advance copy of this book was received in exchange for an honest review.*
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x962c1db0) out of 5 stars Beautiful adventure 31 May 2015
By Southern Belle Book Blog - Published on
Format: Paperback
What an adventure. That’s the word that keeps coming to my mind right now. An adventure for the characters, as well as for myself as the reader. Where Sea Meets Sky is everything you love about a road trip story, multiplied many times over, with emotion that will demolish and mend your heart.

I love love loved the tension and angst in this book! It’s palpable, and you’ll feel it on every single page. The connection between Josh and Gemma is undeniable, and the underlying question of whether they’ll truly pursue it or let it go is killer. Of course, you’ll expect them to have their happily ever after, but let’s be honest – Karina Halle can wreck you as a reader, so never assume with her. The up’s and down’s, the what if’s, the arguments and denial, along with the moments of pure bliss? They all fit together just right. This story is just plain emotional, in every sense of that word.

We all remember that lonely, heartbreaking feeling of time closing in on the characters, and choices needing to be made in Love, in English, right? Time for round two, my friends. These characters are on a trip that will make or break them, but along the way, it becomes so much more. It’s finding true happiness in life. It’s finding what’s important and hanging onto it for all it’s worth. It’s finding your home, wherever and with whomever. You’ll feel Josh and Gemma’s romantic tale deep in your bones, and you’ll want that fairytale outcome for them. They’re perfect for each other, and you’ll want to shake them for not opening their eyes and accepting it sooner. But when they do? Ahh, swoon.

One major element that stands out more than anything is the visual that Halle creates. You’ll be able to close your eyes, take a deep breath, and swear you’re standing on a beach in New Zealand. I’ve never been to the country described, but I feel as if I have after reading Where Sea Meets Sky. She paints a beautiful picture of the mountains, lakes, beaches, cities, and culture. All of it was amazing to me, and I found myself Googling terms and locations as I read. To say I need to visit New Zealand now is a massive understatement. That will happen one day, and it’s all thanks to Karina Halle.

Overall, this is a tension-filled story that has no lack of romantic moments that will make your heart flutter or break you into pieces. No matter the emotion felt at any given time, the knowledge that Halle will pull everything together in the brilliant way she does made the story that much more enjoyable for me. The passion and intensity within their story will sweep you off of your feet, and you won’t be asking to come down any time soon.

<3 Erin
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9eef312c) out of 5 stars "Will You Destroy Something Before You Have A Chance To Lose It? 13 May 2015
By Nelta M - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Karina Halle's writing since taking a chance on her first book in the EIT series....I fell in love with her style of writing and how well developed her characters and story lines were....but with that said.....WSMS just did not make me sit up and want to devour every page because I couldn't wait to see what was on the next page.
Her experience as a travel writer was evident as I felt I was backpacking my way through New Zealand and found myself googling some of the I have New Zealand on my vacay bucket list!
Josh and Gemma.....hmmmm....there were some beautifully written moments shared by these 2 young adults and then there were times when I wanted to toss them off the side of those cliffs they were hiking on.
I'm don't consider myself a prude but the opening sentence of WSMS was an instant turnoff....I know sex sells but,

Some of my favorites....

"I think I ache for things I may never get. I long for purpose, for life and yet sometimes I think I’m too afraid to live ."

“Some people may expect nothing. Most people expect something. But you, you , should expect everything."

"But I will say this . . . if you find that person who makes you feel like everything going forward is worth living, hold on to her.”

"Will you destroy something before you have a chance to lose it?"

"I love you , I think as my heart seems to expand inside me. And you’ll hurt me. You’ll burn me. You’ll mark me."

"However much in love with her I was a few moments ago, I’m more in love with her now. And with each radiant smudge, each beautiful design, the feeling grows. And grows. And grows."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x962c1ec4) out of 5 stars Exception writing but lagged at times 19 April 2015
By Danica Page - Published on
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received an e-galley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I thought that this novel was intriguing and well written, but several parts of the story seemed to lag for me. It wasn't quite as gripping as I wanted it to be.

Having said that, I did enjoy the novel. I thought it was well written, and I loved the travel aspects behind this novel. I loved the backdrop of New Zealand and how the book showed their travels throughout the country. Halle really dove into the culture of New Zealand and I loved that.

As far as the characters go, I really liked Josh. Yeah, he was kind of crazy to go to New Zealand for a girl, but hey crazier things have been done in the suit of love.

Gemma was a more complex character. At parts, I wanted to beat her over the head and knock some sense into her, in other moments I perfectly understood her, and so forth. She was interesting to read about.

This book had me laughing out loud at moments which is always something that I highly enjoy.

This is one that I'd recommend for fans of travel books or new adult.

So why 3 stars? It lagged in some parts. I felt like the pacing could have been faster.

Warnings/Side-notes: Several instances of strong language, sexual content, and drinking. For 17+.

The Wrap-up: A fun book about traveling, adventures, love, loss, heartbreak, and self-discovery.


Danica Page
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