Feb 21, 2015

Upside Down by Lia Riley


Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying goodbye to painful memories and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll pretend to be a carefree exchange student. Everything is going to plan until she meets a surly 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 slunk back 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. A single semester abroad won't cover something this serious. 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.


I won this book on twitter and instead received the complete trilogy via Netgalley.

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Talia's had a difficult time and because she needs a change of scenery she goes to Australia to study. Ever since her sister passed away her family has been falling apart. Because of her OCD Talia has almost failed her studies and now that she's taking some medication she's feeling a bit better, so she's determined to make things right. In Australia she wants to be the bold, carefree girl who doesn't have any problems, a person who's flirting and having fun. When she meets Bran she's immediately intrigued. He's damaged because of something that's happened with a girl he once loved. He swears never to open his heart again. That changes when he's with Talia, but he fights that feeling with all his might. 

Bran and Talia are perfect for each other. They have such a beautiful connection and perfect chemistry. Unfortunately they have been through so much that it isn't easy for them to connect and to be in a relationship. It takes time to let go of all the defense mechanisms and the question is if they'll be able to do it. Will they make it as a couple?

I loved Upside Down, it's a very strong beginning of the Off the Map trilogy. Talia and Bran are great together and I understood their problems. I liked the amount of depth Lia Riley managed to put into this story. It's not just about the love between two people, but these two people have got so many difficulties and feelings they're struggling with. They are both strong, but they also want to deal with too many things on their own, because that was what they are used to. Because of that there are misunderstandings, fights and lots of sparks. The sexy scenes often mean a lot more than physical attraction and love alone. Talia and Bran never behave like victims, they are both fighters.

 Lia Riley writes about sensitive topics. For example, she manages to write about OCD and not being healthy in such an amazing way, I really admire that. Actions have consequences and sometimes they're almost too much to live with. This theme was present throughout the entire book. It could have been a heavy story, but it isn't. Upside Down is a great read and I couldn't put it down.

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