{Blog Tour} Review+Giveaway: Upside Down

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Title: Upside Down (Off the Map #1)
Author: Lia Riley
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central

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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.

My Thoughts

The cover is what caught my attention first, even though it had people in the cover. I normally don't like the couple-y like covers, but the mix of colors in this one was just vibrantly beautiful. I also love how the explorer map (is that an explorer map?) blends well with the whole thing and doesn't look out of place.

I underestimated the synopsis, actually. Right from the start, the intensity of Talia's grief and loneliness hit me, hard. It was so sad to see her speak to Seymour, a pet monkey stuffed toy. She has a lot of painful memories, but no one is actually helping her situation. Her family, who was supposed to be the one always there, wasn't even there for her. Her mom sucks so much, and she acts like the daughter instead of Talia.

I admire Talia for a lot of reasons. Her ability to stay strong, even though everything seems to be falling apart is truly amazing. She carries so much weight of the world on herself, and it's not only the weight of her world, but also Pippa, her sister's world.

"I pinky-swore my beautiful, brain-dead sister that I'd live enough life for two."

It's so sad because she wanted to do something as a memory for her sister, but she has forgotten how to be herself anymore in the process. She tries to be something she's not, and she's damaged. She also suffers obsessive compulsive disorder, and even though I have no experience in relation to this, it kind of fits the image of what I'd think a person who has OCD. It was worse than what I imagined, though.

The development between Talia and Bran was faster than I thought, and since it's been a whole since I read a New Adult book, it took a little while before I got used to it again. Bran is a bastard. That's all I can say about him. I thought he was like a bastard, but hearing his thoughts just strengthened my impression of him. He is a bastard, but he is a sweet and understanding bastard, and that's worse. He has this ability to make me swoon and ache for him. (I CRY.) The both of them are imperfect, damaged and jaded, but that's what makes the two of them perfect for each other. Each helps the other stand up and grow as a person. They help each other conquer their pasts, and learn how to face the future.

"Bran's not perfect. Neither am I. And maybe that's fine. Maybe that's better than fine. We're perfect only for the other."

I could continue on and on and on here, but all I can say is that, this is. So. Damn. Beautiful. It wasn't just some random boy and girl that met off the street and fell in love right away. It was a love that was healing, a love that was imperfectly perfect. I definitely recommend reading this to all new adult, contemporary romance readers. (YAY! :D)

My Rating

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. 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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