Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: Inside Out by Lia Riley

Inside Out by Lia Riley 
Series: Off the Map #3
Published: December 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central/Forever
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, then bought a copy on release day
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Kobo}

{Read my review of Upside Down || Read my review of Sideswiped}

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 heart is a bit broken right now. Why? Not because this book was anything short of perfection, but because it’s over. This series is over. *weeps in a corner* I loved all three Off the Map books, and finishing this series felt like saying goodbye to friends…friends whose heads you happen to be inside of and watch have sex on a regular basis. Wait, that sounds creepy…but if you’ve read these books, you’ll likely know exactly what I’m talking about. And you’ll likely join me in bowing down to Lia Riley’s greatness for writing such fearless, funny, frustrating, and freaking amazing books. These are without a doubt three of my favourite books of 2014, and among my favourite New Adult books, period.

As much as I loved Upside Down, I was slightly wary when I found out Off the Map wasn’t a series of companion novels, but a series about the same couple. I adored Talia and Bran and thought they were great together, but I wondered if I’d get tired of them or if something would happen that would make me dislike them or ultimately not want them together. After reading and loving Sideswiped, I realized I could happily read about this couple forever. And by the time I finished Inside Out, I knew this needed to be a series. One or two books wouldn’t have been enough (hell, three books isn't enough!). We needed time to watch Talia’s and Bran’s personal stories as well as their love story unfold so it would be believable, to really feel the depth of their love. And I did feel it, on every single page. I rooted for them from beginning to end, laughed and cried with them, and fell so hard for them. I loved watching their growth, individually and together.

Besides being a beautiful love story, Inside Out is also as ridiculously sexy as the first two books. Lia Riley knows how to write sexytime scenes that leave you needing a cold shower (or a steamy shower with Bran...heh). It doesn’t hurt that Bran is unbelievably hot and you can easily hear his deep, accented voice in your ear, and…*goes for that cold shower* This book is also laugh out loud funny. Lines like “Sweet Jesus on a tricycle”, “My mind hesitates, but my body is straight up HELLS TO THE YEAH, HI-HO SILVER”, and “Jiminy Fucking Christmas”, just to name a few, had me in hysterics. Give me a book that not only makes me swoon and fan myself and sigh happily, but also laugh like crazy? SOLD.

Something I mentioned in my reviews of the first two books, and that holds up in this last book is that I love that Riley doesn’t hold back. These characters leap off the page - they’re far from perfect, but they’re so real, which is part of why I love them. Everything about these characters and their stories feels so authentic, from the self-discovery, to the super hot sex, to the fights and obstacles and hardships. Their flaws make them perfectly imperfect, and also make Lia Riley one of my writing heroes. It’s one of my new goals in life to write brave books like the Off the Map series that just lay everything out there and are brutally honest, even when it’s hard and messy and hurts like hell…or potentially awkward like buying (and using) your first vibrator, getting vajazzled, or masturbating in front of your significant other…(all things I loved, by the way, because they were so honest and I’d never seen anything like that in books before, hence Lia Riley being my writing hero).

Inside Out turned me inside out in the best ways possible. It was the perfect ending to an absolutely fantastic series. I can’t wait to see what Lia Riley writes next.

If you know me at all, you’ll know U2 is my favourite band. They’re basically the soundtrack of my life. Their music has gotten me through the worst of the worst and the best of the best. If you ever see playlists for my own books, you’ll likely notice they’re at least half U2 songs. Anyway…I don’t give U2 songs away easily to other books (lol), but when I heard Song for Someone off their new album, I thought ‘I want to write a book inspired by this song’. And then the more I listened to it, I realized it’s MY theme song for the entire Off the Map series. Lines like this are SO Bran and Talia to me: 

You’ve got a face not spoiled by beauty
I have some scars from where I’ve been
You got eyes that can see right through me
You’re not afraid of anything they’ve seen
I was told that I would feel nothing the first time
I don’t know how these cuts heal
But in you I’ve found a right


You let me into a conversation
A conversation only we could make
You’re breaking into my imagination
Whatever’s in there, it’s yours to take


I’m a long way from where I was, where I need to be
If there is a light you can’t always see
And there is a world we can always be
If there is a kiss I stole from your mouth
And there is a light
Don’t let it go out

Have you read any of the books in the Off the Map series? Did you love Talia and Bran as much as I did? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? What are some of your favourite New Adult books?

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