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 . . .
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book!
Bran loves Talia. Talia loves Bran. And so they lived happily ever after, right? Right?! Wouldn't be much of a book if that's how it went down, and I think it would have been easy for "Sideswiped" to fall victim to the sophomore slump if that's how Lia Riley decided to write it. Fortunately, this series continues on with the same great writing and realistic characters that I came to love in "Upside Down".
Talia is fortunate to be able to finish her degree in Hobart while Bran works on his research project, and they are also able to play house together. While the relationship is still new and there are a few bumps, they quickly get into a rhythm that works for them. Lurking in the background, however, is the knowledge that Talia's visa will soon run out, and then what? Not only that, but Talia also realizes that Bran is not completely happy with being stuck in a lab all day - she doesn't want to stifle his passionate spirit. And not only that, but Talia has the need to go off on her own and spread her wings, too - she needs to see what she can accomplish herself, without riding Bran's coattails. Bran, meanwhile, comes up with a desperate plan to keep them together, but by holding on so hard, he's inadvertently pushing Talia away.
Ugh, the angst! I could feel the tension with every page! Talia and Bran's situation hit quite close to home as I recalled the early stages of my relationship with my husband - newly graduated with no real clue of what I wanted to do with my future, career-wise, but sure that I'd found "the one" I wanted to be with, and knowing somehow that things would work out.
Talia finally gets to meet Bran's family in "Sideswiped" during the Melbourne Cup, and what a bunch of pompous jerks they are! No wonder Bran wants nothing to do with them! At least Talia gets an insider's view of what makes Bran tick, and I think it makes her appreciate him all the more.
My one complaint would have to be that there was not much said about Talia's OCD. It seems like she's been handling her disorder quite well, and while her struggles were mentioned a few times, I thought there would have been more of a focus on that subject.
I'm not sure what else to say except that this, the "Off the Map" series by Lia Riley, is probably my favourite New Adult series of the year, so if you like New Adult and you haven't picked this one up yet, definitely give it a go!