Monday, February 22, 2016

Review: Upside Down by Lia Riley

Book Blurb:

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.

Book #1 in the OFF THE MAP series

My Review:

4 Out of 5 Stars

Genre: New Adult--

Talia has had a hard time coping after the death of her sister Pippa this last year. She is keeping too many secrets from her family and friends, including her out of control anxiety and OCD as well as the fact she won't graduate from college. She is looking for an escape so decides to spend 5 months studying abroad in Australia. She plans to be a better version of herself and to live life to the fullest in honor of her sister. What she does not expect is the attractive and moody Bren to be included in her plans. She is drawn to him despite his prickliness and her hidden issues.

I decided to read this book one morning while running at the gym, as per the norm for my quiet reading time setting. I was shocked to see that an hour had passed and I was 80 pages into the book. This was such an engaging fast read, I found myself completely swept up in the characters and the emotions that the book created. I had been wanting to read this for awhile and I am so glad that I finally picked it up to start, especially since it seems like everything I have read recently has been kind of blah and I have found myself bored while reading. This was a fast read based on a very complex girl who finds herself in a situation that she never expected nor does she know how to react. It was an honest read. Oh and it was also super steamy, so if you want a hot fast romance pick this up.

I really liked Talia. She was aware of who she was as a person, mentally and physically, and had come to terms with the fact she has issues. She accepted herself, even when hiding the truth from others. There was no self denial here, she was a mess and I respected her for understanding. The relationship she had with her mother was terrible and I just wanted to shake her mom repeatedly (and hard) to get some sense into her, even while Talia took responsibility for the shortcomings.

I am unsure how I feel about Bren. I liked his honesty and his abrasiveness, but I was so over his moodiness and his wishy-washy actions and feelings. I liked Talia enough for me to read the story, but at times I really did not like Bren even a little bit and wanted more for Talia. Sure he has baggage and seems to accept her issues (sometimes) but his ideas and actions left a lot to be desired in my opinion. Oh and Jasper was a complete tool, enough said there.

I did not realize this was a series when I started reading, but it is a good thing it is because not a whole lot gets resolved when the book ended. I feel like there are tons of potential problems just waiting to explode and it makes me very concerned for Talia and her OCD. I would like to read more in the series to see what conflicts happen next and if Talia ever gets her much deserved Happily Ever After.

I received this title from the publisher in return for my honest review.

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