Publication: October 7, 2014
By: Grand Central/Forever
Amazon | Goodreads
It was only meant to last the summer . . .
Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.
Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite ...
*I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
**This book is recommended for readers ages 18+**
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the pretty that IS this cover?
I really enjoyed Upside Down, Book One in the Off The Map series, and would have been totally fine if Talia and Bran's story had ended there. But it didn't. And I started to get nervous.
So much so, I began bugging Author Megan Erickson every few days like,
"Have you read it yet?"
I was pretty sure Megan was going to "un-me" all over the internet, or throat punch me the next time she saw me. She didn't, thank goodness, but that probably had more to do with the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes I waved under her nose than anything else.
So, WHY was I nervous about reading SIDESWIPED? Well, because most second books involve breaking up the couple we grew to love in the first book. In this case, Bran and Talia, or "Branalia" or "Talian". Take your pick. I felt like these two had already been through the ringer and truth be told, I didn't think my feels would be able to handle it.
Whereas UPSIDE DOWN was really more Talia's story, SIDESWIPED is Bran's. We're still treated to alternating POVs, but we get to see what makes Brandon Lockhart tick, tock, and freak the hella out. He and Talia are both forced to face their fears and for Bran, it's like history repeating itself. For Talia, it's taking chances and living without regrets. And for both of them it's about having faith and believing that the love they share really is the "real deal."
Bran's behavior frustrated me at times, and rightly so. I wanted to tell him to grow the cupcake up, while simultaneously wrapping him in a hug and reassuring him that everything was going to be okay. I understood why he was acting the way he was, but it didn't make it any easier to watch. Talia really comes into her own strength in this book. The choices and decisions she has to make are hard, but they're also representative of what a real-life relationship looks like.
SIDESWIPED is gritty, painful and heart-wrenching at times, but there is hope as well.
What Left Me Wanting More: There were a few spots that felt rushed to me, but not enough to dissuade me from the story as a whole. It does have a bit of a cliffhanger in that a "decision" is made but we won't get to see how it plays out until the next book.
Final Verdict: Great addition to the OFF THE MAP series!
~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 XXXX 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 future 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.