Friday, 5 December 2014

Review: Inside Out By Lia Riley

***** 5 Stars

I am so excited to be part of another Lia Riley blog tour. The Off The Map series is truly the best trilogy I have read all year, I loved the series right from the very first chapter of Upside Down. Inside Out is the final book in the trilogy and I read it with great anticipation and trepidation hoping that Lia Riley gave the series the ending it deserved.

The Blurb

When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she'd find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they've faced, they've always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they'll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?

My Thoughts

Inside Out picks up exactly where Side Swiped left off, Riley immerses us back into Talia's story in Malawi. Talia has followed her dream to Africa to be part of the Peace Corps, she's followed her dream but maybe not her heart. At the end of Side Swiped, Riley left us with a major, jaw-dropping cliff hanger. I literally sat in bed in the early hours of the morning when I finished the book not knowing what to do with myself.

Whilst Talia is still in Malawi, Bran is still following his own dream in the Antarctic, saving whales. At the end of the last book he had given Talia an ultimatum, insisting that he wasn't prepared to have a long distance relationship again seeing as his last one failed so miserably. However once apart from Talia he has realised he has made a mistake and that he doesn't want to lose her, he's been in touch to say his sorry for how things ended but will Talia accept his apology?

So that is how things stand at the start of Inside Out. Talia is considering what to do about Bran when she taken seriously ill and from there Riley takes us on yet another roller-coaster ride as we hurtle to the conclusion of Bran & Talia's story.

I hate her uncertainty. I hate even more that I'm not bloody Prince Charming, who can bestow a bullshit Disney kiss & transform this sterile room into happy-ever-after land.

In this book Lia Riley takes you on an adventure, a journey - exploring Bran & Talia's relationship, looking at how they are together & how they are apart. What makes them tick? What draws them together? 

Once again the story is told from both points of view and that is one of the things I like most about the books. You really get to know the characters & I love both Talia & Bran so much, they've grown on me with each book & I feel that I lived each step of their journey with them. I've loved seeing how far Bran & Talia have come both as individuals & as a couple. They have worked hard to make their own way in life, both following their dreams & ultimately being pulled back together when the going gets tough.

They've finally both realised finally realised that life isn't perfect & they are prepared to weather the ups & downs in order to be together. The flaws that they both have are still there but they've learned how to embrace them & make them work for their relationship.

When we get what we want, the dream becomes real, and real life is never perfect.

Talia is still battling with her OCD & how she feels about herself. She is still struggling to find herself & is searching out who she really is & what she actually wants from life. Talia really came into her own in Side Swiped but her illness in Inside Out really sets her back.

Bran really shines in this book in the same way I saw Talia shine in Side Swiped. Gone is the whiny, stroppy boy determined to get his own way instead he shows himself to be a truly loving, patient, caring & strong individual, he doesn't lose his Aussie charm & hotness though.

He's broody, unpredictable, and twists my brain like a pretzel, but my love for him isn't a word, it's an involuntary, instinctive act, like breathing

Side Swiped, gave us a good insight into Bran's family, we got to see why Bran acts the way he does. Inside Out has more of a focus on Talia's family, we meet her parents again & it is great to see her reconnect with her father & his new partner.

This book left me both happy & sad at the same time - happy that Bran & Talia find their happily ever after and sad that my journey with them is over. Inside Out continues the drama from the other two books in the series and it's packed full of it along with plenty of humour, hot sex, suspense, romance & let's not forget the chinchilla.

The Off The Map series is up there at the top of all the 150 books I've read this year. Lia Riley is one of my favourite new authors and I am looking forward to reading what she writes next. She has a fantastic writing style and her dialogue is brilliant. She has an amazing ability to draw you right into the conversations happening on the page. Once again Lia has found the perfect balance in telling an intensely emotional story by sprinkling with just enough humour.

Inside Out was unexpected & it didn't go the way I expected it would, it was much better. Sometimes our dreams change and following them can take you on to bigger & better things, the path that you plan to take doesn't always work out.

This was a wonderful conclusion to an awesome series. Bran & Talia overcome so many struggles and hurdles to be together & now their journey is over. Although I am secretly hoping that Lia Riley isn't able to leave it there for them & will revisit them at some point. I will now be patiently waiting for the Off The Map novellas.

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About Lia

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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