Title: Upside Down
Author: Lia Riley
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Off the Map #1
Publication: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central (Hachette)
Synopsis: If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found
Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.
Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.
**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher,
but that did not influence the review**
5 stars Loved. This book is special, very special. The storyline drew me in because it had many facets and layers driven by characters that were full of depth, with flaws to make them perfectly imperfect. Without even realizing it I found myself becoming them. So while the storyline was great, it was the amazing writing style that catapulted this into a top notch book.
Both Bran and Talia had the roughest year ever and still had to deal with other underlying issues that plagued them their whole lives, but when they spent time together everything seemed to disappear. This story is about the journey these two characters had to take in order to finally believe finding each other wasn’t too good to be true.
Talia was still strong despite all that she had going on, and oh my, it was a lot. She had some serious OCD to top off all the tragedy, but instead of letting the OCD own her, she accepted it. She didn’t like that it controlled her at times, but she didn’t let it take over either. But maybe that had to do with Bran…Bran let her know he noticed her OCD too, but it was done in such a kind and sensitive way. He skirted around the topic because I don’t think Talia was ready to tackle it all the way…yet. This issue showed how much the two of them balanced each other out.
Bran also was strong despite the year he had. And it certainly was a year from hell. While we knew a little bit about it, we never knew the all details and the emotions that went along with it until he was ready to talk about it. At one point I was going to get upset, but thankfully the story changed direction and we never had to go down that
road. Yes, it’s all vague because I’m a spoiler-phobe! Just know that I love how it all played out. 🙂
So now that I’m totally sold on the characters and their relationship, I want to talk about their actual chemistry. Wowza. It was pretty intense. While Bran might have been a manwhore, he smartened up as soon as he meant Talia because he knew she was special. Their kisses were scorching and their touches were hot enough where I wanted more. It was intense, and their physical connection was just an extension of how much they truly cared for one another. It was life altering for Bran, and totally touched my heart. swooooooooon
Now I am going to switch gears and talk about the ending. I started to get kind of choked up and really did want to throw the kindle at one point as well as slap one of the characters. My poor heart! But don’t fear my friends, I got my HEA. Relief! But you know what I did still want? I would have loved some more time, like a whole additional chapter with Talia and Bran at the end. It just wrapped up too quickly for me. If this was a stand alone novel the ending would have knocked off a whole star because I didn’t get the quality (kissy) time I needed. Yes, I am demanding. HOWEVER, book 2 is out soon so I got over my greedy reader behavior STAT because I’m assuming the scene I want will be the first chapter *crosses all fingers and toes and gives the author puppy eyes* and all will be right in my world.
Would I rec this? YES YES YES! A great start to a series I’m already addicted to. Ms. Riley wrote a love story that spoke to me, and now I will read anything she writes.
About the Author: Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult Romance. After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, she scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live in Northern California.
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From the South Shore of Massachusetts... I'm a mom, wife, dog lover and book blogger to name a few. Right now I'm loving New Adult Contemporaries - emotional ones, gritty ones, suspenseful ones, but always romantic ones, nothing light and fluffy. Let's talk swoony books!
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