Off The Map Trilogy by Lia Riley -a review

Off The Map Trilogy by Lia Riley-a review

Off The Map Series

UPSIDE DOWN
Off The Map #1
by Lia Riley
Genre: contemporary, new adult, romance
Release Date: August 5, 2014

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Upside DownIf 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.

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REVIEW: UPSIDE DOWN is the first installment in Lia Riley’s contemporary, new adult OFF THE MAP romance series focusing on twenty one year old American Natalia (Talia) Stolfi and twenty three year old Aussie environmental activist Bran Lockhart.

Told from two first person points of view (Talia and some Bran) UPSIDE DOWN follows Natalia Stolfi-Talia as she is called-to Australia. For six months Talia wants to escape the darkness and oppressive memories back home but there are demons that follow Talia wherever she goes and these demons cannot be controlled. When she ‘accidentally’ meets mysterious, brooding and a not so friendly Aussie named Bran Lockhart, her life will change forever. Bran is hiding a secreted past filled with heartbreak and pain. When Talia uncovers what she believes to be true, she will only see what is on the surface and not the soul deep anguish that controls Bran and everything he does.

Both Bran and Talia’s past are mired in painful heartbreak, loss and dysfunctional family dynamics. While Talia escapes to Australia to hide from her past, Bran has been whoring around town trying to forget about what could have been. These two broken souls will find one another at a time when both need something more but Bran refuses to look beyond the moment until the possibility of losing Talia forever is something he will not allow.

The relationship between Bran and Talia starts off acrimoniously and is slow to build as Bran is cautious of what he wants and where he wants to go. Jazza (Bran’s friend) is attracted to the American beauty but Talia does not see Jazza as anything more than a friend. Bran will become Talia’s protector and a friend with benefits but love will become a real possibility when the hearts knows what it wants. There are moments of intimacy and passion as our couple dance around going ‘all the way’ but the journey to consummation is sensual and erotic.

We will be introduced to Talia’s Bohemian, slightly off centered and destructive mother, and emotionally absent father; Talia’s colorful roommate Marti; and a few of Bran’s friends and frenemies that will make life difficult for Talia and Bran; and Bran’s uncle Chris whose lifestyle is less than ordinary but a man who sees more than most. The world building takes the reader from the night life and parties into the crashing waves of Australia’s surf and the Tasmanian landscape. A little background history into both families will reveal a sad and lonely existence for both of our leading players. Talia’s need to work for the Peace Corps and Bran’s ideology of a greener, cleaner earth will eventually build a wall that may be too high to climb over.

UPSIDE DOWN ends rather abruptly with a happily ever after –for now. Everything is wrapped up neatly with an apology and a promise for the future. Where does that leave Talia’s desire for entering the Peace Corps? Here’s looking forward to book two –Sideswiped.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

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SIDESWIPED
Off the Map #2
by Lia Riley
Genre: contemporary, new adult, romance
Release Date: October 7, 2014

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SideswipedABOUT THE BOOK:

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.

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REVIEW: SIDESWIPED is the second installment in Lia Riley’s contemporary, new adult OFF THE MAP romance series focusing on Talia Stolfi and Bran Lockhart. Their continuing story finds our couple reunited in Australia where life together is anything but easy. From difficult family situations to finishing up thesis papers and more, Talia and Bran will discover that there is more to life than hot sex and moonlit nights. Life has a funny way of getting in the way when desires and past dreams becomes front and center.

Told from alternating first person points of view (Talia and Bran) the storyline follows Bran and Talia’s tumultuous relationship. Talia’s increasing struggles with OCD begin to spiral out of control when family issues for both Bran and herself take a decidedly darker turn. Talia reconsiders what it is she wants from life when the Peace Corps begins calling her name. While Bran has given up his need for the Sea Alliance environmental cause, there is still the hope that one day he will become an active volunteer. Talia will make the decision to move on but not out of Bran’s life; Bran is unable to understand Talia’s desire for something more.

There is no denying Bran and Talia’s love for one another-one riddled with jealousy, concern, heartbreak and mistrust. Bran and Talia’s pasts and their family histories have scarred our couple with emotional and psychological wounds that have yet to heal. Add the potential for loss and Bran will be hurled into the despair of anguish and no hope.

The secondary characters include Bran’s dysfunctional family-from a father who desires a reconciliation with his son and a mother who is more concerned about appearances, Bran must weather the storm that is family. Add a sister whose own marriage is collapsing, Bran struggles with the right thing to do. Talia’s parents continue on their individual journeys of isolation leaving Talia behind to deal with the fall out of her own dysfunctional family.

Lia Riley adds moments of humor, smexy fun and heartbreaking pain to a series that focuses on two wounded and broken souls. The ending felt a little rushed; there is no real cliff hanger but a wait and see kind of finish. Talia and Bran will continue to struggle with their relationship but their love for one another has never been in question. It is only when Talia and Bran will head in opposite directions does the real meaning of love begins to take hold.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

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INSIDE OUT
Off The Map #3
by Lia Riley
Genre: contemporary, new adult, romance
Release Date: December 2, 2014

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Inside OutWhen 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?

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REVIEW: INSIDE OUT is the third installment in Lia Riley’s contemporary, new adult INSIDE OUT romance series focusing on twenty one year old American Natalia (Talia) Stolfi and twenty three year old Aussie environmental activist Bran Lockhart. Their continuing story finds Talia in Malawi, Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer while Bran Lockhart works for Sea Alliance touring the Antarctic trying to stop the dolphin and whale hunting expeditions.

Told from alternating first person points of view (Bran and Talia) the storyline focuses on the rebuilding of Bran and Talia’s troubled relationship but four months into Talia’s Peace Corps program, things aren’t going as planned and Talia finds herself fighting for her life. Bran will say goodbye to his time in the Antarctic to help nurse a reluctant and depressed Talia back from the brink.

Talia is a young woman who suffers and barely survives with several OCDs and in this her inability to let go hinders her relationship with Bran. It is during her recovery where the storyline takes a decidedly different and not pleasant turn when Talia’s constant negativity leaves the reader frustrated and at odds with the character’s fluctuating personality. Bran, as well as Talia’s father, must endure Talia’s unending self-deprecation and loathing so much so that life for Bran becomes difficult and heartbreaking. Once Talia is able to get past this particular point in her life, her relationship with Bran will begin to flourish but not before past issues and future considerations must be addressed.

Lia Riley’s emotional and compelling OFF THE MAP series focuses on one woman’s struggle with OCD and the roller coaster of emotions that threaten her relationship with the man that she loves. Brandon Lockhart fights who he is; who he was; and where he came from and in this he is a man who is constantly moving, looking for a place to call home-he will find his home in Talia Stolfi. Bran and Talia’s relationship is a roller coaster of emotions with passionate and sensual moments of love and understanding; and heartbreaking scenes of helplessness and loss.

Copy supplied by the author through Netgalley

Reviews by Sandy

About The Author Black and White

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Lia RileyLia Riley writes offbeat 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.

A British literature fanatic at heart, Lia considers Mr. Darcy and Edward Rochester as her fictional boyfriends. Her very patient husband doesn’t mind. Much. 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. Right now, Icelandic hot springs and Scottish castles sound pretty sweet.

She and her family live in Northern California.

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11 thoughts on “Off The Map Trilogy by Lia Riley -a review

  1. Great reviews Sandy. Thanks. Lia is a new author for me as well. Great to know all 3 books came out rather quickly so a reader does not have to wait forever for the next installment

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