Welcome to my review of the AudioBook from Lia Riley, of the introductory story of her New Adult Contemporary Romance series, Off the Map.
I think this title arrived at the perfect time for me: I needed some angsty drama with two characters who could easily slide into the realm of cliché, but just dance on the edge of the line. Lia Riley managed to bring two very disparate, yet very troubled characters together, and keep me interested and intrigued: I could not stop listening.
Talia is a California girl, desperate to escape the grief of her sister’s loss and the lack of normalcy with her parents. Part of her issues with controlling her own life are expressed in her OCD, and she has several repeated patterns that help to calm and settle her. Her latest opportunity to escape the madness that is her family is as an exchange student in a university in Melbourne Australia. She jumps at the chance of something new and different: away from her history where she can reinvent herself as ‘just’ an American Student”.
Bran is a fairly typical Aussie boy: a surfer, attractive and he’s reeling from some painful issues. But, his coping mechanism is a use em and lose em attitude with women, and it makes him that bad boy you aren’t quite sure is redeemable. When he and Talia meet outside a bar, the scene is gloriously funny in its awkwardness and humor, and the awkward moments never quite end for Talia: she’s like a gangly lamb, not quite sure of her footing.
Together these two explore Melbourne and one another, with plenty of moments where either or both definitely deserved a good shaking. Talia is very open about her story, and while Bran sees her quirks of OCD, he’s careful not to tease or berate her for them (a major plus for him) but seems to understand her need for the reassurance. His story is slower to reveal, and there are bits we have yet to understand from him, but the impact that Talia has on him and the emotions he thought were long locked away: giving us thoughts that the boy has hidden depths. Of the charts chemistry and attraction, solid secondary characters, humor and the ability to throw a few twists into both Bran and Talia’s personalities bring this NA read from familiar to fresh.
A dual narration from Brittany Uomoleale and Tim Wright gives a nice. Accents, tone, inflections and emotion are all solidly presented, and the distinct voices of Talia and Bran are appropriate, with the overlay of bravado (Bran) or tentative expression (Talia). The dialogue is well-suited to a dual narration, allowing it to shine and bring readers into the humor.
A solid NA romance with plenty of positive moments, the fairly typical synopsis does not fully hint at the fun between the pages.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: Upside Down
Author: Lia Riley
Series: Off the Map #1
Also in this series: Sideswiped, Inside Out
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Narrator: Brittany Uomoleale, Tim Wright
Published by: Forever, Hachette Audio
Published on: 12 May 2015
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 39 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
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.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.