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.
There’s nothing but me and Gemma. It feels like we’re the only people left in the world. And it scares me, because she’s all I have to hold onto. I can’t be sure she won’t let go.
There’s no official camping at the lighthouse, so Gemma takes the bus off-roading, much like we did yesterday, and we come to a stop in a small valley in the middle of a field of cows. They all swivel their heads to stare at us with dark, inquisitive eyes. There’s a small house up on the hill but we can barely see it. Horses graze on the hill’s terraced grooves.
Beyond the hills, there’s nothing but ocean. I breathe in deep, feeling strangely nervous and shaky. I don’t think it’s just about being on the edge of nothing, though.
I think it’s that I’m on the edge of something.
We go to bed early, our alarms set for the early morning hour, pre-dawn. Even though the ocean looks to be about a ten-minute walk, I pack a bag with my camera, my phone, my sketchbook and the pastels.
I can’t get enough of her. Our love-making is slow and lazy but necessary. Being inside her feels like being home, it feels like being in love, it feels like everything sweet and beautiful and nice in the world. Every time I come in her I hope I’m making a home for myself, a place where I belong.
The alarm on my phone goes off way too early. In my sleepy stupor I nearly turn it off but Gemma is patting my arm, then punching my arm, telling me to get up. The world around us vibrates with the sound of mooing cows and I wonder how the hell I slept through them.
Even though the days are hot, the mornings by the ocean are cold, and I can barely get on my jeans and hoodie in time. Armed with the pack and flashlights, we jump out of the van. The air snaps at us as if we’re wind-blown flags.
Hundreds of cattle spread out in all directions, bound by the green hills to the south and the lighthouse to the north. I look east, to where the hills part and the sky is a paler shade of dawn. It seems to be growing lighter by the second, and our chances of catching the sunrise are dwindling.
We take off toward the light, cautiously creeping under barbed wire fences and avoiding the epic cow pies dotting the land. The cows, for the most part, seem to be ignoring us, but their piles of shit are like hidden landmines in the dim light. A meandering, narrow stream cuts across us and we have to head up into the terraced hills where wary horses eye us. I get the feeling that we’ve chosen the most difficult route to see the sunrise, and from our vantage point I can’t even see the lighthouse anymore.
Just as the sky seems to grow frighteningly light, we reach the crest of the hill and I nearly collapse, out of breath from the quick, steep hike. A lone filly bolts at the sight of us.
Below us lies an empty beach, laid out like a sheet of velvet. Aside from the occasional hoof print and driftwood, it looks totally undisturbed, like it has been waiting for us all this time. The South Pacific is spread out at the horizon’s feet, a royal blue tinged with saffron edges. The sun is not up yet. We still have time.
We run down the hill and I nearly eat shit, several times, my shoes slipping on the dew-slicked grass, until sand sinks beneath my feet. I grab Gemma’s hand and we run over to the water’s edge just as the sun peeks its glowing crown over the wavering line.
I look at her and smile. We made it. We’re standing on the easternmost point in the easternmost habitable country. We might even be the first people on this whole fucking earth to see this fiery sunrise. Only thousands of miles of rolling water lies between us and the southwest coast of Chile.
I seriously feel like I have not lived because after reading this book, I just want to travel the world and leave everything behind.
Karina Halle captured my heart & soul with this story.
I wanted to be, have & find my own Josh. He is such a strong, caring character, that I wish one day that I could meet someone like him in real life and be swept away into all the passion he has. Especially the passion he has for Gemma.
Gemma is one lucky gal. She doesn't know it but she eventually realizes that she has to live life just like Josh.
Josh & Gemma passion is on fire! Their story is one of romance, finding themselves, discovering & experiencing once in a lifetime experiences with each other. I loved how the author explained each area they visited in such vivid detail that I felt like I was there with them.
I'm a huge fan of Karina Halle from her other books but I will say this book just totally blew my mind. I seriously fell in love with the love she put down on these pages.
Emotionally beautiful story that will capture your heart!
Go read it!
**ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Don’t miss Karina’s next book, RACING THE SUN, on sale July 28th!
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.