Upside Down – Lia Riley

OFF THE MAP series, book 1

Some background info:  Author suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. She started therapy, got diagnosed, and began writing Upside Down. This book features this topic, though the characters are NOT her.  Also a bonus – the book does feature places that actually exist.

The main characters are Talia and Bran. Talia is from California; her sister was killed in car accident (she was returning home due to one of Talia’s OCD issues). As a temporary escape from her off kilter world, Talia goes to study abroad in Australia. While there, she meets and falls in love with Bran who is trying to piece his life back together after a heartbreaking year. The last thing Bran wants or needs is a relationship. Talia and Bran are magnetically drawn to each other.  They are two screwed up people, who for some reason, when they’re together, they’re okay.  Bran’s character was complex and kept me guessing most of the book.  He comes across as a real jerk, but he is actually very caring and sweet, just afraid of being burned again. Talia is very loving and that is something that Bran needs. She has strength along with fragility. Their problems are real and relatable.

At the end of this book there is a somewhat HEA. I wouldn’t say that this is a cliffhanger book, but I felt that there’s more to their life that wasn’t resolved.  So, I guess that’s where books 2 and 3 come in. I knew it was a series but didn’t expect the series as a continuation of their story. Thought it was more of a series with the secondary characters. Oh well, I’ll give book 2 a try. I do have to say that after the first few chapters, I wasn’t feeling this book and almost gave it up.  I just wasn’t connecting to the story. I received a copy of this book in a giveaway from the author and felt the need to read it since it was a gift.  I’m glad that I gave this book a chance, because it turned out to be a good read.

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