{Blog Tour} Review+Excerpt+Giveaway: Sideswiped

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Title: Sideswiped (Off the Maps #2)
Author: Lia Riley
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

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Sometimes in order to find yourself, you need to venture off the map.

Talia and Bran broke all the rules and navigated dark and stormy emotional waters to be together and now that they finally seem to have found their way back to each other, the winds of change threaten to blow their love off course yet again…


Talia passes out hard from the travel and epic reunion sex. I’m too amped for sleep, so I lie in the dark and trace her spine. Can you love someone too much? No point being afraid, might as well jump in it with both feet. I press my mouth to her neck and she undulates, responsive even from her dreams. If miracles were real, I’d swear we were designed to fit together.
I loop my arm around her waist and hold fast, until our breathing syncs. I’m drifting off when she jerks—hard—once, twice. Her body recoils as she unleashes a lung-tearing scream.
“Talia, wake up. Come on, sweetheart, talk to me.” I clamber over her, hunching protectively. “Open your eyes. It’s Bran. I’ve got you. I’m not letting go.” I keep talking while she flays my chest like she’s drowning under ice, desperate to find a break in the surface.
“Can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I…where am…oh God. Bran.”
“I’m right here.” I cradle her while she draws another unsteady gasp. Her hair plasters her forehead in sweaty wisps.
“Give me a minute. I’ll be fine.” She pushes herself to a half-sit and sways with disorientation. “This…this happens sometimes…panic attacks or night terrors…whatever. They seem to come when I drop my guard. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the meds. Those pills make me feel like a toxic waste dump.”
“Have you been bad this summer?” The muscles in my neck cord. It shreds my guts to see her hurting. I’d do anything, any fucking thing, to carry her pain. I don’t fully understand the inner workings of OCD but she’s explained that for her, the condition comes in waves. Everything will be rolling along fine, more or less, and then bang—a giant squid grips her brain. She fights hard for recovery, a warrior even when she believes she’s nothing but a coward.
“No, not really.” She grinds her eyes with the backs of her hands. “I kinda danced around the edge of the rabbit hole a few times but never fell inside.”
My muscles release some tension. “Try to go back to sleep. You need the rest. Don’t worry, I’ll keep watch, okay?”
“I’m sorry to be such a psych job. It’s totally shaming.”
Her chin tips down. “Can you talk to me for a little while? Get me out of my fuckball head?”
“Hey now, I got mad love for that head, Captain.” I kiss her brow, acting chill even though I’m scared. How can I get her to settle? Then it hits me. “I want to take you surfing again.”
“Mmmm, that’d be nice.”
“Picture yourself out there, in the water, on a board, under the shooting stars.”
“With sharks eyeballing me from the depths?”
“Nah, they’re all busy hunting sea lions or some bloody mischief. This is you, the sea, and the sky. A set rolls in. You can’t make out the wave. The board lifts and you feel the momentum building. There’s fear deep in your belly, sensible, because you can’t see what’s coming or where you’re going. You fight the self-protective instincts, give yourself over, and the next thing you know—you’re having the ride of your life.”
“Thank you.” She flips in my arms so we’re belly to belly. “I mean it. That was beautiful, really, really beautiful. I’m so excited to be here, for right now—to live in the moment. But it’s like I have this…this weird mental stutter. My thoughts keep skipping over the same annoying question like a scratch on vinyl: What will we do?” Tears spill from the corners of her eyes, course silently toward her chin. “My visa.”
Talia’s been granted a three-month student visa to complete her senior thesis in history. In all its benevolent generosity, the Australian government expanded her time in the country by an extra month.
Four months—the sum of our allotted time.
“They’ll make me leave.”
“Don’t believe everything you think.” I wipe her damp cheeks.
“Can you tattoo that on my forehead?”
Maybe it’s my imagination, but the brass alarm clock on the dresser clicks louder.
Another second gone.
Another second gone.
“I’m not losing you to some shithouse immigration policy, Captain. We will be all right in the end.” I’ve no idea how the hell I’m going to solve this drama but I will figure it out. “We have to hope, otherwise we’re sunk.”
She jerks with surprised laughter.
She hiccups and covers her mouth with her hand, shoulders shaking. It takes me a second to realize she’s giggling.
“I’m funny to you right now?” This girl drives me every sort of crazy.
“I’m not laughing at you.” She works her lips together and unsuccessfully smothers the smile. “It’s—”
“Forget it.” I instinctively stiffen.
“Bran the Optimist.” She grabs my wrists, lifts my palms to her face, and plants a kiss in the center of each one. “I like this side of you.”
“Never mind. I was being dumb.”
“You were awesome.” She pecks the tip of my nose. “And for the record, I love your stupid face.”
I give her a begrudging kiss back. “I love yours too.”
Love isn’t enough of a word.
I wasted almost an entire year of my life implementing a scorched earth policy, not caring who I left burned and broken in my path.
Talia was my oasis. My salvation.
“Don’t give the visa a second thought.” I nestle her against me, rubbing her lower back in easy circles. “I’ll sort this out, I swear to you.”
Even if I don’t have the first fucking clue. 

My Thoughts

Honestly speaking, it was hard not to compare this to the first book, Upside Down, where I loved the character and romance development. Here? Not so much.

The first few chapters got me hooked. The care Bran had for Talia is absolutely amazing. He always makes sure that he is there for her, no matter what happens. He wants to be Talia’s life support, and he’d move heaven and earth just for her. As Talia’s OCD gets worse, I love how he doesn’t think he’ll be able to make everything alright. Instead, he believes in Talia, and that he wants her to find her own strength.
I’m dying to promise her that I’ll fix everything. But this isn’t a fucking fairy tale. I can’t rearrange the way she’s hardwired. She needs to deal. Otherwise she’ll crack and what if there’s a time I’m not right there to pick up the pieces?
Every single admiration I had for Bran just went out of my system though. He’s a jerk. An asshole. A douchebag. More than half of the novel, I just wanted to wring his head out and murder him. (I’m not going to say why. It’d be a spoiler.) I completely loved the character growth of Talia, though. Her growth was tremendous, and I’m glad that I was able to see her as someone more mature and who can handle things herself. I love how she loves Bran, but doesn’t think that life only revolves around him. I love how she isn’t one of those girls who follow whatever their boyfriend wants, just because.
Since when do you base all your life decisions on a guy?
Moreover, she wants the best not only for herself, but also for Bran. She is not selfish and definitely not someone who limits the dreams of others. She may have problems with her self-esteem, but she worked so hard to have confidence in herself.
I love you enough to want you out there chasing your dreams. I don’t want to ask you to sacrifice your dreams for me, not ever.
But still, Talia is probably one of the few things that made me like Sideswiped. Reading Bran and Talia’s drama was emotionally tiring because it was very repetitive. It just made me want to skip through the parts, and just go read the ending. Moreover, Bran’s stubbornness was very annoying, and I hate that he couldn’t find it in himself to change for the better and allowing his past to capture him instead. He couldn’t see the beauty of things that he has currently.

Nevertheless, I’m still looking forward to read Inside Out, to see how their story continues. The ending holds much hope, and makes me curious on how the relationship of Talia and Bran will progress further. Sideswiped is a beautiful story about relationships, trust, dreams and sacrifices. 

My Rating

Real rating: 3.5

About the Author

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads || Tumblr
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 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. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.


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