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A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

Blog Tour: Sideswiped by Lia Riley {Review, Excerpt,+Giveaway}

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Welcome to my stop on the Sideswiped blog tour hosted by Forever!
Today I am excited to share my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway with you all!

Sideswiped (Off the Map #2)
   by: Lia Riley

Publication Date: Oct. 7, 2014
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC received from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 384 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM! | Kobo | iBooks | Google Play
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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 . .

Bran and Talia's love story continues in Sideswiped, but this time the couple faces some very real life problems as a couple and will have some hard decisions to make that could upset the balance they have fought to achieve in their relationship.
Buckle up folks! It's going to be a bumpy ride! Even though Talia has been reunited with Bran in Tasmania, they have a lot of trials to overcome and work through as a couple. Talia is only in Australia on a temporary visa and is fearful of what will happen once her time there draws to a close. She is also struggling to control her OCD- some days easier than others. She loves Bran desperately and is happy that she's with him, as he is her anchor and feels she can truly be herself with him. I felt for Talia. She has so much going on in this book and it really messes with her head. She knows Bran loves her, but she still has jealousy and insecurity issues, and that really irritates him.
Bran has always been a prickly fellow, and this book is no exception. He still closes himself off, even despite Talia's begging not to. He's an avoider, where she needs him to communicate. He is restless with his spot at the university, but refuses to entertain the possibility of taking a better opportunity, because it would take him away from Talia and that is NOT an option. He believes they are enough together, but what he doesn't realize is that Talia is ALSO restless- she has always dreamed of going into the Peace Corps and making a difference and wants to give it a shot. Every time she brings up their prospective opportunities, Bran refuses to listen, as he doesn't believe their love could survive the long distance, as he's seen too many instances of love failing for one reason or another.
I get where Bran would have his reservations, but I hate that he doesn't believe in them, especially seeing how much it tears her apart. Talia really shows her strength in this book, because she refuses to let them sacrifice their dreams for one another, as she knows they would end up resenting one another for it later in life.
There is a lot of back and forth with Talia and Bran in this book, and their bickering definitely irritated me a bit. It seemed a bit unnecessary at times and could have been resolved in a more mature way had Bran not been such a pain in the butt. Still, my heart ached for him because he just has so much trouble opening up to her.
I do feel that ending was a bit rushed, and I would have liked to see more deliberation and perspective on Bran's part, so we could see what led to his revelations at the end. Other than that, I love how fun the dialogue is. Riley does write some great banter between Bran and Talia, and that is what made their bickering a bit more bearable. Not to mention, Talia is just such a great female character, despite her insecurities. I love that she doesn't hold back and that she is willing to make the hard sacrifices, even at the cost of losing the person she loves most of all. I really admire her as a character, and I think she will be happier in the long run over the choices she has made.
They are both intensely passionate people and that passion extends to one another as well. I loved their tender scenes together and how Talia is the one that Bran clings to like a talisman when it comes to their time with his family. His solution to keep her in the country is a desperate one and I felt it was all wrong for the two. This book does not end on a cliffhanger, but Lia does provide the first chapter of the final book, Inside Out, and THAT is where I was left with heart palpitations. I am in desperate need of the final book because I do want to see how Talia and Bran's story will conclude.

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark. Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.

“You sure about this?”

“Yes. Well, sure enough.” Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one. Maybe two, tops.

“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”

I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”

“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”

“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”

“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”

The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?”

No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet. “Have you ever been to Rome?”

She takes my hand. “No, not yet.”

“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”

Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze. “You ready?”

She squeezes my hand in reply. We paddle out. “Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light. “Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”

“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”

“Science is cool, Captain.”

“I never said— Oh, crap!”

Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung. “We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”

“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”

“You want it?”

“It’s all yours.” I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her. “You looked great.”

“That was good.” She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”

“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”

“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”

We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water. Hard not to believe in magic on such a night. She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”

I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”

“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression. I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”

“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”

“What do you mean?”

“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”

“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”

“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”

“I never said you had to.”

“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”

“Do you?”

“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”

“We can travel through Africa someday.”

“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”

“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”

“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”

“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other. “But in the future—”

“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”

Better to orbit far away from black holes.



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 fourex 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. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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  1. I love good bickering but I hate when it is done in place of a more mature conversation and when it surrounds serious discussions. This still sounds pretty good though so I may give the series a shot one day. Great review!

  2. Great review!

    I remember when I read the first book, I felt the ending was a bit too rushed for that one. But overall I did enjoy the book. Though I'm not sure if I will continue the series (too many books to read as is LOL). I'm glad you did enjoy this one and I wish the ending was paced better.



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