Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Excerpt, Review & Giveaway- Sideswiped by Lia Riley

Title: Sideswiped
Series: Off the Map #2
Author: Lia Riley
Release date: 10/07/14
Publisher: Grand Central/Forever

Book Description via Goodreads:

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...


Talia passes out hard from the travel and epic reunion sex. I’m too amped for sleep, so I lie in the dark and trace her spine. Can you love someone too much? No point being afraid, might as well jump in it with both feet. I press my mouth to her neck and she undulates, responsive even from her dreams. If miracles were real, I’d swear we were designed to fit together.

I loop my arm around her waist and hold fast, until our breathing syncs. I’m drifting off when she jerks—hard—once, twice. Her body recoils as she unleashes a lung-tearing scream.

“Talia, wake up. Come on, sweetheart, talk to me.” I clamber over her, hunching protectively. “Open your eyes. It’s Bran. I’ve got you. I’m not letting go.” I keep talking while she flays my chest like she’s drowning under ice, desperate to find a break in the surface.

“Can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I…where am…oh God. Bran.”

“I’m right here.” I cradle her while she draws another unsteady gasp. Her hair plasters her forehead in sweaty wisps.

“Give me a minute. I’ll be fine.” She pushes herself to a half-sit and sways with disorientation. “This…this happens sometimes…panic attacks or night terrors…whatever. They seem to come when I drop my guard. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s the meds. Those pills make me feel like a toxic waste dump.”

“Have you been bad this summer?” The muscles in my neck cord. It shreds my guts to see her hurting. I’d do anything, any fucking thing, to carry her pain. I don’t fully understand the inner workings of OCD but she’s explained that for her, the condition comes in waves. Everything will be rolling along fine, more or less, and then bang—a giant squid grips her brain. She fights hard for recovery, a warrior even when she believes she’s nothing but a coward.

“No, not really.” She grinds her eyes with the backs of her hands. “I kinda danced around the edge of the rabbit hole a few times but never fell inside.”

My muscles release some tension. “Try to go back to sleep. You need the rest. Don’t worry, I’ll keep watch, okay?”

“I’m sorry to be such a psych job. It’s totally shaming.”


Her chin tips down. “Can you talk to me for a little while? Get me out of my fuckball head?”

“Hey now, I got mad love for that head, Captain.” I kiss her brow, acting chill even though I’m scared. How can I get her to settle? Then it hits me. “I want to take you surfing again.”

“Mmmm, that’d be nice.”

“Picture yourself out there, in the water, on a board, under the shooting stars.”

“With sharks eyeballing me from the depths?”

“Nah, they’re all busy hunting sea lions or some bloody mischief. This is you, the sea, and the sky. A set rolls in. You can’t make out the wave. The board lifts and you feel the momentum building. There’s fear deep in your belly, sensible, because you can’t see what’s coming or where you’re going. You fight the self-protective instincts, give yourself over, and the next thing you know—you’re having the ride of your life.”

“Thank you.” She flips in my arms so we’re belly to belly. “I mean it. That was beautiful, really, really beautiful. I’m so excited to be here, for right now—to live in the moment. But it’s like I have this…this weird mental stutter. My thoughts keep skipping over the same annoying question like a scratch on vinyl: What will we do?” Tears spill from the corners of her eyes, course silently toward her chin. “My visa.”

Talia’s been granted a three-month student visa to complete her senior thesis in history. In all its benevolent generosity, the Australian government expanded her time in the country by an extra month.

Four months—the sum of our allotted time.

“They’ll make me leave.”

“Don’t believe everything you think.” I wipe her damp cheeks.

“Can you tattoo that on my forehead?”

Maybe it’s my imagination, but the brass alarm clock on the dresser clicks louder.

Another second gone.

Another second gone.

“I’m not losing you to some shithouse immigration policy, Captain. We will be all right in the end.” I’ve no idea how the hell I’m going to solve this drama but I will figure it out. “We have to hope, otherwise we’re sunk.”

She jerks with surprised laughter.


She hiccups and covers her mouth with her hand, shoulders shaking. It takes me a second to realize she’s giggling.

“I’m funny to you right now?” This girl drives me every sort of crazy.

“I’m not laughing at you.” She works her lips together and unsuccessfully smothers the smile. “It’s—”

“Forget it.” I instinctively stiffen.

“Bran the Optimist.” She grabs my wrists, lifts my palms to her face, and plants a kiss in the center of each one. “I like this side of you.”

“Never mind. I was being dumb.”

“You were awesome.” She pecks the tip of my nose. “And for the record, I love your stupid face.”

I give her a begrudging kiss back. “I love yours too.”

Love isn’t enough of a word.
I wasted almost an entire year of my life implementing a scorched earth policy, not caring who I left burned and broken in my path.

Talia was my oasis. My salvation.

“Don’t give the visa a second thought.” I nestle her against me, rubbing her lower back in easy circles. “I’ll sort this out, I swear to you.”

Even if I don’t have the first fucking clue.

About the Author:
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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Five stars.


Lia Riley gave me permission to make my review this simple and self explanatory: soughgosdjglndg GO READ IT NOW.

However, for the sake of professionalism and, you know, a review that's actually useful, I will try to collect my myriad of feelings long enough to formulate a review consisting of complete sentences and thoughts. Bear with me.

Sideswiped picks up where Upside Down leaves off, continuing the complicated love story that is Bran and Talia. Proving that love can overcome obstacles, this story takes us back to Australia, where Talia has a temporary visa so that she can continue her school work. Like the first book, this book is duel POV and it completely works. Both voices are distinct and truly capture the character. I was never left wondering who was talking, Riley made it very clear with her writing. This book is a sequel, but there's a quick recap of book one so that if you haven't read the first part, you'll at least have a sense of what's going on. (But, you should totally read Upside Down anyway. Check out my review here. It's amazing too.)

I love them. I love getting into Talia's head and seeing the gears turn about her OCD and what she wants out of life. Conversely, I adore Bran. I'm smitten. I love the way he thinks/talks about his love for Talia and the fact that he wants to make a difference in the world. The fact that he's gorgeous and Australian is just a nice little perk. I love that they're both flawed- Talia with her OCD, Bran with his romantic past to name a few reasons- but they don't dwell on it. When they start to feel sorry for themselves, the other one boots them in the ass. They're best when they're together, and I think that's absolutely darling.

Much like Upside Down, this book runs you through a gauntlet of feelings. I felt happy when they were together and in a romantic state of bliss. I laughed at their stupid jokes. I wanted to punch Bran when he made some very, very poor choices. I felt my heart sink when Talia had to make difficult choices of her own. But above everything, I was motivated to keep reading because I was cheering Bran and Talia (Bralia?) on, and I needed to know they would be okay. I read this in one sitting, and my girlfriend received random, rambling texts about "Bran" and "Australia" and "Vajazzling".

I was distraught when I was out of pages. I wouldn't go quite so far as to call it a cliff hanger.... But if you want complete closure and affirmation that life's going to be okay, you may be left a skosh disappointed. Apparently, I'm a bookish masochist because I am okay with this ending, and I will sit here impatiently waiting for the next book in the series.

I recommend this to any lovers of New Adult contemporary romance, any suckers for Australian accents, or anyone who likes a bit of humor in their romance. Thanks so much to Netgalley & Forever for my copy in exchange for my honest review.


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  1. I NEED this book, and Upside Down too. With all your feels texts and the hype surrounding this awesome Aussie I know for a fact this book needs to be in my hands and on my shelf. Thanks for the giveaway!