Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sideswiped (Off the Map, #2) by Lia Riley [Review + Giveaway + Author Interview]

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 . . .

Now Available in Paperback (Forever Trade) - June 30, 2015 

4 Meant for Each Other Stars

Sideswiped is the second book in the Off the Map series and continues Talia and Bran’s story.  Sideswiped picks up where Upside Down leaves off.  Talia is back in Australia and is now with Bran again. I really enjoyed Upside Down, but I felt like Bran needed to redeem himself a bit. I felt like he crossed the sometimes, which got me frustrated.

This series does have some pull-your-hair moments, but I kind of like that. I know you do too.  Sideswiped focuses on Talia and Bran as a couple. There are a lot of things they need to work through.  First off, Talia continues to struggle with her OCD, but like Upside Down, it’s not as apparent and I kind of wonder if it will be more of a focal point in the future books. I hope so. Bran continues to work on his jealously issues.  So the characters still struggle with inner conflicts.

I’ll fight for you… I’ll never stop fighting for you.

If given a choice, I choose you, Talia. I always choose you.

At the same time, Bran is working on his PHD, but Talia is seriously thinking of joining the Peace Corps.  Bran doesn’t want a long distance relationship because of his past, but Talia truly feels like they can do it, but she doesn’t know if she wants to be away from him. I really like Talia. I feel like she put her best efforts out there and she gave a lot of herself to Bran.

I liked how Bran and Talia still have issues, but they work together in tackling the problems. I like how serious they are with each other and they both want to bring the relationship to another level. I don’t want to give everything away, but I was completely for this. I liked when it got serious and it moved in a positive direction.

Of course there has to be tension and just like Lia Riley fashion, we get angst! Bran does get a bit frustrating again, as his past issues kind of come back to haunt him and he does what he does best and self-sabotage.  I wasn’t happy when he left Talia to drive herself home when she couldn’t drive a stick shift, yes that was a pull your hair out moment for me.

Like I said, the Off the Map series aren’t easy books to read, but there’s something about them, that makes it completely addictive. There isn’t really a cliffy on this one. You will be left very satisfied, but I am definitely continuing with the series. 

An ARC was provided

 What's five facts about yourself?

1.     I’ve visited every continent except Asia
2.     I’m a Virgo but can’t keep a clean house to save my life.
3.     While I’m an avid reader, I LOVE watching serial shows with my husband. Favorites include: Vikings, Game of Thrones, Mad Men (I’ll miss you Don Draper) and Orange is the New Black.
4.     I have a thing for grey characters (as evidenced from my show choices). I’m always fascinated by a world that’s not black and white.
5.     I prefer green M&M’s. They really do taste the best.

 When do you find the time to write?

By never sleeping. Joking! Sort of. I write after my kids go to bed. I write in the morning before my kids wake up. Soon we’ll have Baby #3 so I’ll probably be writing standing up rocking an infant in a sling. Writing to me is part of my mental health program…if I don’t get words out, I get a little batty. No one wants their mama batty.

 What's your favorite part about being an author?

Looking at a finished book and thinking, ”Whoa, I made you. Those words…I wrote those.” It always surprises me.

What inspired you to continue the Sideswiped story?

For me, New Adult is about authenticity. I wanted to show realistically what happens when you fall in forever love at an early age. What might you be forced to give up? Where should compromises be made? I met my own husband when I was twenty-one and struggled with many of these issues. If I have a “book of my heart” at this point, it would be Sideswiped. There’s a lot of me and my feelings (although fictionalized situations) in that book.

 Why did you go to Australia and how did it influence you to write the series?

I wanted to challenge myself with writing a New Adult and at the time, most stories were American-set. I fell in love during a study abroad trip to Australia. It’s where I met my husband and it changed the entire course of my life. So I wanted to explore that rush of giddy love you can have in a foreign country, and then, because I’m a cruel and twisted person, put that love to the test. Throw in geographic distance. Career choices. Visa issues. All the real life icky stuff that forces a couple to decide if what they have is real or a fantasy. I really made Bran and Talia earn their happy ending J

Thank you for answering my questions Lia!

I actually got to meet Lia Riley at a book signing. I told her I felt like I was in Australia after reading her books and she told me she lived there (which makes sense). She also told me she did her best to make it feel authentic. I told her I couldn’t tell if it was or wasn’t. I felt completely absorbed in that country.   I wished I asked her about her OCD issues since some of it was written in Talia’s personality. Next signing! More Photos HERE

From Upside Down

“A few meters more, you’re almost there.”

It’s like we’re at the end of some old-school adventure tale, one where the heroes are stoic even as the blizzard rages, avalanches fall, and death hovers like a benevolent ghost.

Well, Bran is the hero.

I’m like one of the minor sidekicks who goes down during some important turning point. My death might even inspire the hero on his journey or teach him a valuable lesson. But at this point in the flick, the minor sidekick should be well and truly dead. Not white-knuckling a column of dolerite rock, thighs gripping the stone like it’s the world’s best lover.

“That’s it, Talia,” Bran’s voice is encouraging. “You’re holding tight, that’s great. Now, I’m going to need you to release your left hand and reach up a few inches to grab the next hold.”

I grit my teeth. The way he talks, you’d think I’m scaling Everest. Or at least Kilimanjaro. Instead—
“’Scuse, us, we’ll be by in a tic. That’s the way, Andy, right around the lady.”

I’m the lady. Andy is a kid who doesn’t look a day over seven who scrambles past me in a flurry of Spider-Man shoes and gap-toothed smiles. His parents bring up the rear, smiling up at their wild monkey child with obvious pride.

And they aren’t the first group to pass me.

Five Swedish women, a couple, and a guy who looked to be in his mid-seventies have also shot past me during the course of the last quarter hour.

The top is so close I can taste it. Bran is being nothing but encouraging, but below me is a twenty-foot drop. Not enough to kill me, unless I fall with some sort of suicidal intent, but enough to make me feel incredibly uneasy about the boulder field.

Bran eases toward me. “Talia, take my hand.”

“Can’t let go.”


“No.” This is it; this is the reason. Bran isn’t going to admit it here, while I’m bordering on a panic attack on a trail being conquered by elementary school children and senior citizens, but there’s no doubt this is A REASON to lose interest in me. I’m giving him a big capital-lettered reason, but I can’t stop. I physically can’t let go.

“Talia. Take a deep breath.”

“Breath taken.”



“Give me your hand, no bullshit. I want your fingers in mine. You’ll be safe. I’m going to keep you safe. I need you to trust me.”

Somehow I do it. I give him my fingers. He assists me up. We’re doing this together. My head clears the boulder and I can see the steel marker that identifies the summit ahead. Holy shit, he’s right. I’m going to reach the top.

A few more steps, easy now, and we’re there. The kid in the Spider-Man shoes munches a Vegemite sandwich. I want to scoop him up in a smooshy squeeze. Except his parents would likely object, so I switch gears to give Bran a long and passionate kiss.

“I knew you’d get here,” he says.

“I didn’t.”

He turns me to see the view, his hands tight around my waist. “Your place is here, Captain, in the sun,” he whispers in my ear. “Don’t ever forget that.”


Upside Down #1- REVIEW - http://amzn.to/1DBmRC2
Side Swiped #2 - http://amzn.to/1Gw9GEo
Inside Out #3 - http://amzn.to/1P6yGXs
Carry Me Home #3.1 (Novella) 
Upside Down Purchasing Links
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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Side Swiped Purchasing Links
Inside Out Purchasing Links
Love is their best adventure yet . . .

Talia Stolfi is deeply in love with the brooding Aussie surfer who stole her heart-but their infrequent letters only get her so far. While she fulfills her dream of being in the Peace Corps, a dangerous condition jeopardizes her life . . . and threatens to shatter her heart.
After nearly losing Talia forever, Bran Lockhart sailed to the stormy seas at the ends of the earth. Deep down, he knows that all roads worth traveling lead back to the beautiful California girl with the sunny smile. There's no denying that he belongs with her, but to have her by his side means Bran must dare to do something he's never done before: hope.  Everything they've fought for has come down to this moment. Can Talia and Bran discover the courage to claim their future and learn that sometimes, in order to earn true love, you need to venture off the map?
Paperback to be release July 28
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After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. 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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