05 August 2014

REVIEW: Upside Down by Lia Riley [Plus Giveaway]

Upside Down by Lia Riley

Expected Publication: 5th August 2014 | Grand Central
Genre: New Adult | Contemporary
Series: #1 Off the Map Series
Format: Kindle
Finished: 18th July 2014

Overall: ½
goodreads | amazon | barnes & noble
Summary: If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding 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 moved back home 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. 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 learned about this book from a blog tour I joined and even posted it one week for "Waiting On. . . Wednesday," I was very very excited about this book for reasons even I can't comprehend. It really doesn't sound any different than most other NA books out there. And while reading it, I learned that in fact it wasn't much different than most other NA books out there.

However, I did like it. A lot. I loved that this was mostly set in Australia. However, when they'd mention taking a plunge in the ocean during our summer months, I couldn't help but wonder are you all not freezing your butts off?

But I digress. Getting into this book, I actually questioned if it was new adult or young adult as the writing didn't feel as heavy as other NA's I've read and just a bit naive almost. But once I got into the story, it really didn't bother me, at all. However, the pace... it felt so off and weird for me. I felt like we'd jump to far ahead or something would happen and there was nothing in between or a heads up to lead us into the next scene. It got better towards the middle on, but it still felt off throughout the whole book.

I loved the characters though, especially the MC, Talia and her OCD, rituals and the way she just goes about life. She lost her sister and according to her mother, it's her fault, and for that she is a bit lost herself, but she doesn't walk around like she has a 1000lb boulder on her shoulder or mope about like the world is out to get her.

When she meets Bran, it's not with lack of a little comedy in the form of a boy in a koala suit. They immediately have this connection--but really, isn't that every book--that just doesn't quit. They are drawn towards each other and from then on they keep that connection and I loved that. Though at times I felt like they could spend a little time apart, I loved that they were together so frequently too.

I truly loved the voice Lia Riley provides in this book and actually wish there was more from Bran's POV. Other than the pace of the story feeling off for me, there really wasn't anything I didn't like about this book.

I only gave it 3½ stars because though I liked it, it didn't blow me away. The story was adorable and the characters were interesting, but I didn't feel the pull I would have liked. I feel like the ending was satisfactory enough for me, but I will be reading the next two books in the series. I'm actually looking forward to more time in Australia and hopefully more of Marti (Talia's spunky roommate) and others from this book. And less of her mother and Jazza.

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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