Monday, October 6, 2014

Release Day Review: Sideswiped by Lia Riley

Sideswiped by Lia Riley
Series: Off the Map #2
Published: October 7th, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central/Forever
384 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Kobo}
{Read my review of Upside Down}

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 . . .

Upside Down, the first book in the Off the Map series, was emotional, funny, sexy—basically everything New Adult should be. I loved Talia and Bran’s story, and while I was excited to see more of them in Sideswiped, I admit part of me was a bit wary. Sometimes when there’s a series about the same people, it can ruin the feelings you first had for them. You might get tired of the characters, or they go in a direction you don’t like, or any number of other things. So even though I loved these characters and part of me was like GIVE ME ALL THE TALIA AND BRAN, I went into Sideswiped cautiously. I think it’s a testament to Lia Riley’s writing that after reading Sideswiped I love these characters even more and wish I could read about them forever.

It was easy to get invested in Talia and Bran’s love story in Upside Down, and that feeling just grew in Sideswiped. Their relationship is far from perfect, but the love they have for each other is beautiful. The romantic things they say to each other had me alternately swooning and sighing wistfully. Then there were times when they infuriated me so much I wanted to knock their heads together…hard. In many cases, that might make me dislike the book itself, because the characters are just so freaking stupid you wonder how they can function, but that wasn’t the case with Sideswiped. Talia and Bran are so human, so real. They both have issues—together and separately—and they’re legitimate issues people and couples deal with. They make mistakes, they sometimes say things that make you cringe, but it’s REAL, and I love that.

Their struggles were very real and believable—wondering what to do after school; wanting to stay together, but not sure how to make it work; wanting to do things they’re passionate about, but worrying what it would mean for their relationship. I felt for them and wanted things to work out, but wondered how they could. Their situation seemed hopeless at times, and that really came across.

Now, let’s see, what else can I gush about? ;-) This book wasn’t all seriousness and angst though; there was a lot of humour—great banter, plus funny internal dialogue from both characters. I was happy to see more from Bran’s perspective this time around. Dual POV can sometimes be a disaster, but Riley pulled it off seamlessly. 

Something else I love: how Riley doesn’t shy away from anything. She puts it all out there. In the first book there’s this part with a vibrator that shocked me because you rarely read about stuff like that. It was funny and sexy and honest. In Sideswiped there’s a scene in a waxing parlour that had me just about rolling. My mouth was hanging open and I ended up in a complete giggle fit. Riley took scenarios that could be totally shocking and possibly uncomfortable and made them hilarious and relatable. I love the overall messages about pleasure and sex. I also love how realistic the sex scenes are. They’re ridiculously hot, but there are small things you don’t often see in sex scenes that make them real, and make them things you can relate to. They’re not just wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sex scenes, they’re sensual and just SO FREAKING HOT. I appreciated that Talia became more adventurous sexually and enjoyed exploring and knew it was okay to have a healthy, active sex life. There need to be more books like this, where the sex is a natural part of the story and isn’t thrown in as an afterthought or to reach a quota of sexytimes. 

Lia Riley is officially one of my favourite voices in New Adult. The world needs more books like this—honest, real, raw, relatable, funny, sexy, and memorable. I was emotionally invested in Sideswiped from beginning to end. It made me laugh, made my heart ache, inspired me, and made me believe that true love really is possible. Even though I’m going to be sad to say goodbye to Talia and Bran, I’m eager to read the conclusion of their story in Inside Out, and then to see what Lia Riley comes up with after that.


Have you read Upside Down or Sideswiped? What are some of your favourite New Adult books?

1 comment:

  1. I have hit a bit of an NA reading slump lately but this book has me curious from 'rugged and wild Australia' I've definitely got to read this!

    The characters sound great; It's nice when their interactions are believable and affect your emotions.

    A great review Marie! :-)


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