Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle
This is probably the most difficult review I’ve ever written. I want to start off by saying that Karina Halle is one of my all time favorite authors and she will remain on my automatic purchase list because, well, I love her work. I went back and counted, and I’ve read a total of 17 books by Ms. Halle so far, and of those 17 books I rated eleven of them 5 stars, five of them 4 stars, and only one of them 3 stars. I’m making this known before my review so there is no doubt about the fact that I love her and her books. I just didn’t love this one. And that’s okay, because how often do you find an author who can literally make you love not just one, but sixteen of her books?
Where Sea Meets Sky follows the journey across continents of Josh and Gemma. Gemma is from New Zealand and has been traveling through Canada when she meets Josh at a Halloween party. The two ignite a spark almost instantly and have a steamy and hot hook up at the party, which then turns into a night of marathon sex and even more pleasantly unusual, a night of just talking to one another. Both Gemma and Josh find one another easy to talk to and connect with, but the problem is, Gemma flies back to New Zealand the next day.
After Gemma leaves, Josh reflects a lot on his life and what he wants to do with it. Upon hearing good news, Josh quits his job, scrounges up every single penny he has and sets of for New Zealand for an adventure…
I was incredibly excited going into this book. I loved Love in English, and Josh was a character we got a glimpse and who was such an amazing brother to Vera that I couldn’t help but fall for him a little bit before he even got his own book. This book had a really strong start for me and although the characters basically slept together right off the bat, I was intrigued by the two of them. The point at which the book made me come to a screeching halt was when Josh found Gemma in New Zealand. From here on things will not be in spoiler tags so read at your own risk.
[ I was honestly beyond shocked when Josh goes to New Zealand to find out that Gemma has a boyfriend. I know that Gemma and her boyfriend weren’t technically together when she was traveling the North American continent, but I was flabbergasted. Upon returning to NZ, Gemma and her guy were together again, and since she didn’t feel comfortable telling her BF that she slept with Josh, it obviously means it was not an okay thing to do. I don’t really care that her BF was a total douche. I know it wasn’t technically cheating but it was dishonest, especially to Josh who she encouraged to come to NZ.
Then Gemma invites Josh on a road trip with her and her cousin, even though she barely knows him, which prompts her boyfriend to come along. At this point I was wondering where Ms. Halle was going with this. Cue super awkward road trip where Josh has to listen to Gemma have sex with her dick guy. That sucked. But you know what was worse? It was worse when Gemma broke up with her guy and then still wouldn’t get together with Josh again because he made out with her cousin. How freaking hypocritical of her! And so incredibly unfair to Josh!!!
About 75% in was when I stopped rooting for Josh and Gemma as a couple, because I honestly felt he deserved so much better than her. I loved the character of Josh throughout the book, but I couldn’t stand Gemma. And I’m pretty easygoing when it comes to difficult heroines. It also was hard for me to believe that their one night stand was a strong enough connection to keep them fighting for each other because they didn’t really know each other. And to me this was different from Love in English, because so much of that book was Vera and Mateo talking to each other and discussing their lives that they grew to understand and love one another for their faults. Josh and Gemma slept together, talked but it was mentioned after, and then rode in a van but didn’t really talk there either.
Last peeve, and it was pointed out to me by another fellow reader (who shall remain anonymous). The plot of this book was eerily similar to Love in English. Except in this it’s a guy (Josh/Vera) who goes to a foreign country (NZ/Spain) and falls for someone (Gemma/Mateo) who is unavailable because they are currently with someone else. Except for some technicalities, this book was fairly the same as the first book. (hide spoiler)]
So via the Goodreads rating system, I am giving this a 2, because it was just okay to me. I didn’t love it or like it, but I didn’t hate this book. I debated giving this book a 3 for a long time because of fear of the backlash, but in the end I wanted to be honest. I still love Ms. Halle’s work and will continue to read it, but like I stated earlier, this wasn’t the book for me. I still encourage others to read this book and make up their own minds, because things I didn’t like may be something other readers will love. So read more reviews than just mine, read the book and make up your own mind.
ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review