Book Review: Upside Down by Lia Riley

Title: Upside Down (Book 1 in the Off The Map series)
Author: Lia Riley
Publisher: Hachette
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Links: GoodReads | Book Depository | Lia’s Website


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.

Why I picked it up:

This book was sent to me from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I was immediately intrigued after reading the authors note and learning this novel dealt with OCD.  I enjoy issue based novels, so I was interested to see how the author would tackle it.

“No. I mean… I doubt she’s cuter than you.” His voice lowers in pitch and when he briefly worries his lower lip, the flash of his teeth, his tongue, gives me an odd jolt of intimacy.

“I… wait, are you getting flirty?” The unfiltered words zoom from my mouth before I can slam the breaks.

“No! Jesus, of course not.” He stares at me like I’m a total idiot. Which I am.

I really enjoyed the writing style. I liked the authors quirky side sentences that accompanied the dialogue. Like: He makes the single word sound dragged through gravel. The Sphinx is a million times more expressive. Or: I’m practically Rip Van Winkle by the end of his lengthy sigh.

This story was pretty cute. The scenarios were predictable. Nothing I haven’t read before, but it was still a nice read. Talia and Bran were sweet together and I was rooting for them. Plus there were some funny laugh-out-loud moments, which is always a plus.

“Yeah, they make good…” His eyes drop to my chest. The Foreign Student Hall is serious about air-conditioning. It’s like we’re training to forge the Arctic tundra. My nipples have responded accordingly.

Yoohoo! The twins seem to wave. Here we are – boobs!

I think the cuts from Talia’s POV to Bran’s were a little unnecessary. Insights into his thoughts didn’t really add anything new to the story. I think romances are more interesting when you don’t know what the other side is thinking.

Overall, this book started well, but it really dragged in the middle and I found myself losing interest. There wasn’t enough mystery for me – I was never scared that they weren’t going to get it together. And that sort of assurance has a tendency to ruin a romance story. I also found Bran a little feminine. Some of the stuff he said had me rolling my eyes, because c’mon, guys don’t talk like that.

I guess at the end of the day, this one got off to a great start but then failed to really suck me in and hold my attention.

My Verdict – 2 Stars

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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One Response to Book Review: Upside Down by Lia Riley

  1. Abbie Taylor says:

    Thank you for a good book review. I added the book to my Audible wish list and will download it the next time I get a free credit.


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