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Title: The Meeting Point
Author: Olivia Lara
Published: 2nd of September 2021 – Aria Fiction
Format: Digital (NetGalley eARC) – 368 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Making my way back to blogging slowly now my internship is done and the crazy past week is over, I have to say that I’m so glad to be able to have more sitting down time to read and blog because I’ve missed it so much!
Today on my blog, I am thrilled to be bringing you my review of The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara for the Ultimate Blog Tour organised by Dave from @The_WriteReads. This was a sweet and heartwarming contemporary romance that I really enjoyed and am excited to tell you all about, so keep on reading for my thoughts!
Thank you so much to Dave for letting me be part of this tour, it is always a pleasure. And thank you so much to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.
What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?
‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’
‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’
And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.
So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…
Trigger warnings: cheating, breakups, divorce, heartbreak.
The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara is a contemporary romance that I would never have picked up had it not been for Dave’s blog tour. If you know me, you will already know that I am a fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, and now more than ever, a horror reader. I love anything dark, spooky, gritty and fantastical, with lots of magic and wonder. But every so often, I delve into the world of romance, and for a book to really grab me, it has to give me all the feels and make me keep on reading. I am happy to report that The Meeting Point is such a book and had I had more time ahead of me, I’m sure I would have read it in one single sitting because I was just hooked from the first page.
This book is set in the U.S. and we get to see a different type of New York. That is, a New York that is not all wonder and happiness such as we see in so many books, but this was a much more realistic New York. A city in which the main character is disenchanted and wants a new start.
But the real story starts and has its focus on Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small coastal town in California. I love when books have settings you can vividly imagine and want to visit, and this was such a case. Carmel seems like such a marvellous place, with such lovely people, so many things to do. I can only think to describe this town and these people pictured as having a sunny disposition that fits with the location and summer setting.
I really enjoyed reading about this small town and especially when Maya went on loads of adventures with other characters or even by herself. It felt very whimsical but also down-to-earth, so I love how the author made this setting so real, vivid and beautiful.
Maya: Maya is the main character and I have to say that I often struggle with the main characters in romance novels and find them annoying, but there was not an ounce of annoyance in any of the characters (except Ethan a few times, but it was more funny than annoying). I found Maya to be very down-to-earth. She is struggling with her feelings when we meet her, but she goes on a wonderful adventure, and this book goes into her feelings and desires in a lot of detail, which I enjoyed because it made her so realistic and believable. She was a great character and I was rooting for her from the start.
David: David is Maya’s boyfriend of 5 years when the book begins, and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I do have to say, wow, what an odious character and thank goodness he is not real, otherwise I would probably have slapped him.
Alissa: Alissa is Maya’s best friend and I just loved their relationship. Alissa is here to help Maya through a lot of hardship, and even though they live far away, they are always there for one another. It reminded me a lot of my own best friend and it really warmed my heart.
Celine: Celine is a character that Maya meets towards the middle of the book, and the two hit it off instantly. I also really loved Celine from the start and I know that this is just a book, but I like to think that there is a person like Celine in Carmel, with her lovely café and her kindness. I really enjoyed reading how Maya and Celine got closer and closer as the story went on, and how Maya was also able to help Celine through some things.
Ethan: Ethan is an enigmatic character whom I can’t say much about for fear of spoiling you, but I just have to say that I enjoyed seeing how everything happened and the interactions between Maya, Celine and Ethan. For a while I didn’t know what to think of him, but in the end, I loved his character.
Her one true love? If you’ve read the blurb, you’ll know that Maya meets her “one true love” through text messages and that they spend the day “together”. I was SO intrigued about what would happen during this day, and I’m just SO glad how it turned out because they both got their happily-ever-after, and it was so sweet.
Needing a new start: When we meet Maya, she is unsure about what is happening in her life and needs guidance, but above all, she needs a way out, to break free and just spend a while discovering the world and herself. I like books that start out this way because I feel like th characters come such a long way, and I love seeing their development. Maya truly grew so much in this story and it was a wonderful thing to read and witness.
Going on an adventure: This brings me to talk about the wonderful adventure(s) she embarks on while she is in Carmel. The author did such a great job with this book that I literally felt like I was following Maya on her trips around the town, and I could vividly picture all the things she did and saw. I also had all the feels at a few points in the book. This is a great story for readers who love adventure and travel!
Being heartbroken and breaking up: I feel like in romance books, it is inevitable that the characters will have heartbreaks, breakups, fights, etc. I just didn’t expect the way it went and I do have to warn you that there is mention of cheating a few times in the book if that is something you don’t like reading about. I feel like the heartbreak was only a tiny part of this book though, and the rest is just so feel-good and wonderful, so don’t be shy to give it a chance.
A one-chance summer romance: These books can be very cliché and badly done, but there was absolutely nothing bad or cliché about The Meeting Point. I was fully immersed in this romance story and I was 10000% rooting for the characters. I often get a bit bored with this kind of plot and even though it was fairly predictable (my only criticism of it), I still thoroughly enjoyed and found it so sweet.
A realistic and enchanting story: I also just want to mention that the author did a truly great job of making this book, the setting, the plot and the characters so realistic and at the same time enchanting. It is very rooted in reality and while it is predictable, I was engrossed in it and wanted to just keep on reading, even when I was super busy, or falling asleep with my Kindle on my head.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, The Meeting Point was a very enjoyable contemporary romance. My only criticism of this book would be that it is quite predictable and I saw the ending coming from about the first third of the book. However, this in no way at all took away from my enjoyment because while I knew what would happen, I was totally swept along for the ride and engrossed in this story, the setting and the characters. I was not annoyed by how predictable it was, because I truly enjoyed my time reading it and just couldn’t put it down when I got to sneak in some reading, so it is only a tiny little critique, but it honestly didn’t bother me much!
I did love the writing style though. It was very realistic and captivating at the same time. It wasn’t far-fetched or bizarre, it was just a perfect balance of realism and sweetness, along with some bittersweetness from the heartbreaks and sadness, but also very human, which I absolutely loved. I also found the pacing to be perfectly done, and I would happily have read another 500 pages of this story after the ending we got because I just wanted to keep on reading and seeing these characters grow, get to know each other and see their love evolve. So Olivia, if you are reading this, please write a sequel, I will be here waiting for it!!!
I gave this book 4.5 stars (full ASPECTS rating below) and I just loved it. It gave me all the feels and I really had to hold back my tears at one point, which attests to how good this book was because you really have to hit it right to get me to cry. I just loved this story, Maya was an amazing character and I truly adored reading about her, seeing her evolve and go on these fantastic adventures.
If you love cute, romantic, sweet but also a tad sad stories about love, life and adventures, and you love your romances to be realistic but also captivating, then The Meeting Point is definitely the book for you. I highly recommend it, it was just great! I still have a smile on my face thinking about it, and that ending was just *chef’s kiss*!
P.S. I am definitely going to be picking up Olivia Lara’s debut book as soon as I can and I can see this author becoming an auto-buy romance author for me.
Thank you once again to Dave, the author and the publisher for giving me the chance to read and review this book, it was such a great experience!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – OLIVIA LARA
As a child, Olivia not-so-quietly ‘observed’ (AKA bothered with countless questions) her grandfather — who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania — edit hundreds of books. And when he wasn’t editing, he read. Everything, all the time. Just like her father, who wrote short sci-fi stories, and was set on building the largest library she’d ever seen and her mother who’s never found without a book…wherever she goes. Her love for words came naturally, and after studying marketing, communications & photography, Olivia worked as a journalist for a newspaper and news television network in Romania.
An unapologetic citizen of the world, she spent a few years in Greece, Sweden, France, before settling in sunny California with her photographer husband and young daughter, where she works in marketing and writes. Oh, and let’s not forget the ever-growing menagerie that completes the family: Pumpkin, the Maine Coon mix, three black cats and a siamese kitten.
When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she reads (across genres), watches old movies and collects vintage books, vinyl records, and eerie paintings. She loves traveling (and can’t wait until she can do it again, safely), swimming, biking, hiking and of course, photography.
SOMEDAY IN PARIS, her debut, published by Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus in May 2020 became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards 2021. Her second novel, THE MEETING POINT, a contemporary romcom set in Northern California, is set to be published as an e-book on September 2, 2021 and in paperback in December 2021 in the UK and March, 2022 in the US.
Atmosphere – 6
Start – 7
Pacing – 8
Ending – 9
Characters – 8
Theme – 7
Style – 7.5
Total = 52.5
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