Hello! Today it is my stop on the Ultimate Blog Tour for The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara organised by @The_WriteReads. Thank-you to @The_WriteReads and @Aria_Fiction for sending me a copy of the eBook and allowing me to be a part of the tour!
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…
Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.
I struggled with this book in the beginning. Full transparency, if I hadn’t been a part of the Blog Tour, I likely would have DNF’d. However, I am glad that I did continue the book, it was just took me a while to get in to the novel.
So, after the first 20%, I felt indifferent about the whole book, I wasn’t connected with any of the characters and I just kind of felt a bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing. I’m going to start off with the things I struggled about the novel first, but I first I want to say that once I hit the 40-45% of the novel I couldn’t stop reading.
The biggest reason that I struggled to get into this book was the writing style. It was not my favourite. I felt like Maya had far too many internal monologues that made the story drag in a really odd and jarring way. The rest of the story, especially the first 25%, was really fast paced but the monologues would pull me away from the plot. I wanted more of a focus on the setting and how beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea is; and I wanted more from the other characters in the novel too.
Part of the writing style that I struggled with was that we, as the reader, were being told a lot rather than being shown. What I mean by this is that right from the start we were told how much her relationship sucked and we were told how horrible her boss was; but we just weren’t shown it all too much. Sure, we got a short chapter about how her boss made her go on this job that turned out to be a set up for a disaster; and sure, we the whole reason she has this interaction with the Lift driver is because her boyfriend was cheating on her in the back of his cab. But I just did not feel like I was really on the journey with Maya.
When I am reading a book, a key thing for me is to be able to connect to the characters. And unfortunately, I wasn’t able to with this novel. Even with the minor characters they didn’t feel fleshed out – or a better way to put it actually, is that I felt like they were too distanced. They all kind of ended up blurring together for me which then made me become disconnected from the novel and the characters.
One thing that I could relate to Maya about, and did enjoy about her character, was how she was a writer and liked to write down little stories that she would make up about them. I liked seeing the snippets of the stories that she would create for them. And contradicting my earlier point about the writing style favouring telling and not showing – I really liked that when Maya returned to her regular life after the magical 24 hours, she stopped writing down her little tales about the strangers that she would pass by. Then, later on in the novel when she is in Carmel again, she randomly starts writing down her characters again. I just thought that was a lovely way of showing that she was improving and getting to a better situation.
What did keep me interested however, and was a huge reason why I continued reading, was the mystery of the identity of the Lift driver. It was the thing that really kept me reading. Sometimes, I think it is okay to not enjoy all aspects of a book, and really hone in on the thing that did. I needed to know who the stranger was that had captivated Maya’s attention for the last year, despite them only having interacted for less than 24 hours.
I am not a fan of the insta-love trope, so I found it really difficult to connect with the relationship in the beginning.
When Maya started working at the café was when I really started to get invested in the story. I liked getting to know the regulars in vague ways, like who was getting divorced for the third time or who was running a chaotic household – it felt like I was a part of the village gossip which was a nice touch. I enjoyed Maya’s friendship with Celine, and in particular how their friendship seemed to be a buffer for Ethan and Maya.
Ethan is a writer, like Maya, but what is different to Maya is that he is a published author. They meet because Ethan is publishing Max’s (the name the lift driver was given by Maya) version of them 24 hours. Maya is mad about this, and feels like Ethan is stealing from her, but she sees him as a way to get closer to Max. When Maya gets a hold of a copy of the new book that is due to published soon, she learns some more details about them 24 hours, Max and also her horrible ex-boyfriend.
I really liked how the chapters from Ethan’s novel were intertwined with the story. It felt like we were discovering all of this new information alongside Maya. It was also nice to have another perspective, and part of me wishes that the whole novel had been dual perspective because I really enjoyed switching it out.
I really liked Ethan. The only thing that I found slightly annoying was how much Maya hated him to begin with. It was one of those instances where I couldn’t understand where all of this hatred was coming from, so those sections irritated me. However, I did enjoy their banter and their interactions. For me, the story improved greatly once Ethan was introduced and on the pages.
The novel was predictable, but I was honestly okay with that. Even though I could predict what was going to happen, I still needed to continue reading so that it could be confirmed that I was right. It didn’t take away from my reading experience at all.
So, even though I struggled with the first 40% of the novel, I am glad that I pushed through because it was a light and funny novel. If you are a fan of the insta-love trope, and are craving a nice story to round off summer with, I would recommend The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara.
About the Author
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.