Review: Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley

Upside Down

Upside Down (Off the Map #1) by Lia Riley
Publisher: Piatkus
Release Date: 5th August 2014
Buy Link: Amazon UK
Source: I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb

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.

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My Thoughts

Oh my heart bursts with emotions for Bran and Talia! So much history and pain from their past to get through – a lot of insecurities and guilt….

Talia has got OCD and she strongly believes – as does her mom (and I suspect her so-called friends) – that she’s the reason for the death of her sister Pippa. Pippa is quite central to this story as Talia can’t move forward with this guilt and only goes to Australia as she ‘pinky-promised’ Talia. Also she screwed up her grades and will not graduate which is another blow to take. So she’s going to Australia for a couple of months to study and try to get her grades up.

When there she meets Jazza (never liked him from the beginning, there was something ‘off’) and Bran – Bran is not your first guy you will like from the beginning but grows on you. And BOY does he grow on you!! I wanted to hug him and tell him everything will be ok!
He has his own demons and stuff to deal with and is so scorned by love that he just doesn’t believe in it anymore – then he meets Talia in the most hilarious way ever! That had me giggle out loud, And all he thinks he believes in falls apart!

Their journey and their story is very heartbreaking and you are really rooting for them – or at least I was!
I can relate with Australia, as I have been there backpacking myself and it always brings me happy memories thinking or reading about it. And this story fits right in.

This story has lots of twists and turns and some say the ending is rushed or cheesy – But I was sooooooooo proud of Bran in doing what he did and for Talia to do what she’s about to do. I want to cry, laugh, dance and hug them to death! I didn’t wanted it to end – but I like the way this ended, an ending but still open enough to fill in the rest yourself.

About the Author

Lia Riley writes offbeat New Adult and Contemporary 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 fourex with stationhands in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. 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. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound mighty fine.

She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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