Tag Archives: Lia Riley

Book Review & Giveaway | With Every Breath by Lia Riley

BOOK REVIEW | WITH EVERY BREATH

cover73778-mediumTITLE: With Every Breath

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

PUBLISHER: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

RELEASE DATE: December 29, 2015

GENRE: New Adult

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO

BREATHE DEEP . . . AND JUMP IN

At the ends of the earth, Patagonia is a land where ambition trumps reason and the savage summit of La Aguja lures the most determined climbers. It’s also the last spot a “play-it-safe girl” like Auden Woods expects to find herself. But she’ll lace up her brand-new hiking boots and do whatever it takes to secure a dream job at an adventure magazine . . . even if it kills her. And it just might. When disaster strikes, her only chance at survival comes in the form of the surliest, sexiest mountaineer ever to come out of Scotland.

After a climbing accident cost him his brother, professional mountaineer Rhys MacAskill is at the end of his rope. Redemption is not in his future. That is, until a terrifying storm blows a budding journalist into his tent and it’s up to him to make sure they both survive until morning. Despite the demons weighing on him, Rhys can’t resist the temptation of the charming American and one wild night just isn’t enough.

Auden and Rhys soon learn there are no shortcuts as they navigate their way between life, death, and atonement, and discover something they never expected-love. (Description found from NetGalley.com)

MY THOUGHTS

Do you like rugged men? Do you like outdoorsy men? Do you feel like you might need more adventure in your life? Well, With Every Breath by Lia Riley is packed full of adventure, regret, redemption, love, and of course…a sexy mountaineer. Every new book I read of Lia’s makes me more of a fan and she’s getting another thumbs up from me on this one.

The story is told in the perspective of Auden Woods and Rhys MacAskill. Auden is a girl that isn’t known to take risks, but when there’s a chance for her to land a job with a popular magazine she steps out of her shell in a big way. She decides to write a story about climbers braving the La Aguja in Patagonia by going there herself. That’s how she ends up meeting Rhys in a way that forces her to take her clothes off…but it’s not what you’re thinking.

Rhys is quite a mysterious character and the exact opposite of Auden. He lives on the edge and gets his kicks climbing dangerous mountains. You can tell that he keeps a lot to himself and has a hard time opening up to other’s, but his past haunts him and is one of the reasons he pushes people away.

The book didn’t end the way I thought it would, but the ending gave it more emotion and added more to Rhys character.

Overall, I loved With Every Breath. It had the right amount of romance, adventure, and drama to keep my attention and left me wanting more. If you get a chance to read the book please let me know what you think.

OVERALL RATING

5-gold-star-rating

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After 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.

Thank you to Lia Riley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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December New Releases

DECEMBER NEW RELEASES

Here are the upcoming December releases I’m excited about and have added to my TBR list.

cover73778-mediumTITLE: With Every Breath

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

PUBLISHER: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

RELEASE DATE: December 29, 2015

GENRE: New Adult, Romance

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO

BREATHE DEEP . . . AND JUMP IN

At the ends of the earth, Patagonia is a land where ambition trumps reason and the savage summit of La Aguja lures the most determined climbers. It’s also the last spot a “play-it-safe girl” like Auden Woods expects to find herself. But she’ll lace up her brand-new hiking boots and do whatever it takes to secure a dream job at an adventure magazine . . . even if it kills her. And it just might. When disaster strikes, her only chance at survival comes in the form of the surliest, sexiest mountaineer ever to come out of Scotland.

After a climbing accident cost him his brother, professional mountaineer Rhys MacAskill is at the end of his rope. Redemption is not in his future. That is, until a terrifying storm blows a budding journalist into his tent and it’s up to him to make sure they both survive until morning. Despite the demons weighing on him, Rhys can’t resist the temptation of the charming American and one wild night just isn’t enough.

Auden and Rhys soon learn there are no shortcuts as they navigate their way between life, death, and atonement, and discover something they never expected-love. (Description by Netgelly.com)

What new releases are you excited about this month?

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Friday Finds | With Every Breath by Lia Riley

For today’s Friday Finds, I’m sharing another Lia Riley book that’s set to release in December. I’m very excited to read her new book and LOVE the cover! Look out for my book review and spotlight in December during release week.  

cover73778-mediumTITLE: With Every Breath

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

PUBLISHER: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

RELEASE DATE: December 29, 2015

GENRE: New Adult

PRE-ORDER LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO

BREATHE DEEP . . . AND JUMP IN

At the ends of the earth, Patagonia is a land where ambition trumps reason and the savage summit of La Aguja lures the most determined climbers. It’s also the last spot a “play-it-safe girl” like Auden Woods expects to find herself. But she’ll lace up her brand-new hiking boots and do whatever it takes to secure a dream job at an adventure magazine . . . even if it kills her. And it just might. When disaster strikes, her only chance at survival comes in the form of the surliest, sexiest mountaineer ever to come out of Scotland.

After a climbing accident cost him his brother, professional mountaineer Rhys MacAskill is at the end of his rope. Redemption is not in his future. That is, until a terrifying storm blows a budding journalist into his tent and it’s up to him to make sure they both survive until morning. Despite the demons weighing on him, Rhys can’t resist the temptation of the charming American and one wild night just isn’t enough.

Auden and Rhys soon learn there are no shortcuts as they navigate their way between life, death, and atonement, and discover something they never expected-love. (Description found on NetGalley.com)

 

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Book Review | Carry Me Home by Lia Riley

BOOK REVIEW | CARRY ME HOME

Riley_Carry Me Home_E-NovellaTITLE: Carry Me Home (Off the Map #3.1)

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

PUBLISHER: Forever Yours

RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2015

GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY

Love doesn’t have to be perfect to be true…

Years ago, Tanner Green loved Sunny Letman. She was meant to be his first kiss, first love, first everything. Then their world spun upside-down and out of control.

Free-spirited Sunny doesn’t do commitment. Sure, guys are great for a night or a week, but she always leaves first. That is, until professional skateboarder and town golden boy, Tanner Green, unexpectedly walks back into her life.

Despite their broken history, a fragile and undeniably electric connection still holds them together. Now Tanner has to convince Sunny that even though love isn’t always perfect, it’s worth sticking around for…(this stand alone novella is part of the Off the Map series) (Description found on Amazon.com)

MY THOUGHTS

I’m a huge fan of Lia Riley. Over the last year she has become one of my favorite authors, so I’m always up for reading anything new of hers. Carry Me Home is a novella focused on a few side characters in her Off the Map series.

Tanner and Sunny’s story started years ago when they were children. They understood each other and what their situations were, but drama between their mother’s pulled them apart. As they got older they grew even further apart. It’s not until later that they finally start developing that relationship again. That’s where their story begins in Carry Me Home.

I enjoyed reading the story that Lia Riley developed for these two characters from the Off the Map series, especially Tanner. They both had difficult back stories that, in the end, brought them closer together. Sunny was one of the more frustrating characters. I kept saying to myself, “Ugh Sunny! Why don’t you just give in already. You know you like him”. Her noncommittal and stubborn attitude kept pushing Tanner away, but thankfully he wouldn’t let her. I liked Tanner because he knew exactly what he wanted and was fighting to obtain it. I believe their differing personalities balanced each other out and they eventually gave into their feelings.

The only thing I didn’t enjoy was how short it was, but that’s the nature of a novella. I definitely wanted more. I wonder how the story would have developed if Riley wrote it as a full novel. I guess I’m just going to have to ask her.

Overall, I would highly recommend Carry Me Home especially if you’re a fan of the Off the Map series. Even in it’s short length it showed you how love can develop no matter how different people are or how dire their circumstances might be.

If you’re interested in reading the Off the Map series, you can check out my reviews below.

Upside Down (Book #1)

Sideswiped (Book #2)

Inside Out (Book #3)

FAVORITE QUOTES

“We’ll never be the same again. We each carry a piece of the other. The way he watches me, I know he’s in this for a long time, not just a good time. And that idea doesn’t seem so scary anyone. In fact, I can’t wait.”

“Sunny is like her name. you can’t hope to hold sunshine. You can only bask in it for as long as it’s there. But weather changes. There are storms. Night always follows day. I know what I want can’t happen, but who ever said wanting needs to be reasonable or even sane?”

OVERALL RATING

5-gold-star-rating

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti HommeAfter 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.

Thank you to Lia Riley, Forever Yours publishing, and NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Upcoming Book Review | Carry Me Home by Lia Riley

UPCOMING BOOK REVIEW

Riley_Carry Me Home_E-NovellaTITLE: Carry Me Home (Off the Map #3.1)

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

PUBLISHER: Forever Yours

RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2015

GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY

Love doesn’t have to be perfect to be true…

Years ago, Tanner Green loved Sunny Letman. She was meant to be his first kiss, first love, first everything. Then their world spun upside-down and out of control.

Free-spirited Sunny doesn’t do commitment. Sure, guys are great for a night or a week, but she always leaves first. That is, until professional skateboarder and town golden boy, Tanner Green, unexpectedly walks back into her life.

Despite their broken history, a fragile and undeniably electric connection still holds them together. Now Tanner has to convince Sunny that even though love isn’t always perfect, it’s worth sticking around for…(this stand alone novella is part of the Off the Map series) (Description found on Amazon.com)

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Print Release Blitz & Giveaway | Inside Out by Lia Riley

Inside-Out-Print-Release-Blitz

The third book in Lia Riley’s Off the Map series is out in coming out in print! Inside Out is a great book and I would definitely recommend it and the rest of the series to those who enjoy New Adult novels. As part of the Print Release Blitz I had a chance to ask Lia a few questions.  I’m really happy I had this opportunity because she’s easily become one of my favorite authors.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Riley_InsideOut_ebook

TITLE: Inside Out (Off the Map #3)

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

GENRE: New Adult

PUBLICATION DATE: July 28, 2015

PUBLISHER: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY | KOBO | BAM

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?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Q: Was it always your intention for Bran to propose to Talia?

Great question and No!  Nope! No way! In fact, the first draft had no proposal and for Talia and Bran to be happily living together in San Francisco but it was missing something. This is why a good editor is worth a million billion dollars. She challenged me to go bigger, dig deeper. I scoured the last few chapters and when I had them get lost backpacking, “off the map” all of a sudden I knew what I had to do. The characters were MUCH happier as a result.

Q: Did you have other proposal sites in mind or was it always going to be Yosemite?

Like I said, this was as much of a surprise to me as to the reader, but since I was married in Yosemite, I’m extra special happy that was the location.

Q: How did it feel to submit the final edits on Inside Out?

Surreal! I lived and breathed Talia and Bran for the better part of the year. and still miss them. They were a blast to write and I might have snuck Bran into my upcoming novella “Into You Arms” (out September 8th) because I wanted to see him again.

Q: How has the blogging community helped you get to the point of printing the series?

The blogging community has been so much fun to get to know and interact with! Writing is such a solitary activity and it’s so wonderful that there is this whole tribe of avid, supportive readers out there. I’m so grateful for these friendships.

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for your chance to win the either the Off the Map set or a copy of Inside Out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti HommeAfter 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.

Check out my reviews of each book in the Off the Map Series:

Upside Down Book Review

Sideswiped Book Review

Inside Out Book Review

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Print Release Blitz & Giveaway | Upside Down by Lia Riley

UpsideDown-Print-Release-Blitz

The first book in Lia Riley’s Off the Map series is coming out in print! Upside Down is a great book and I would definitely recommend it and the rest of the series to those who enjoy New Adult novels. As part of the Print Release Blitz I had a chance to ask Lia a few questions.  I’m really happy I had this opportunity because she’s easily become one of my favorite authors.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Riley_Upside Down_TPTITLE: Upside Down

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

GENRE: New Adult

PUBLICATION DATE: May 12, 2015

PUBLISHER: Forever Yours

“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.”

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | BAM! | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY

*****

Without further ado here are my interview questions with author Lia Riley.

Q: What are you currently working on?

Lots! I’m wrapping up edits on my brand-new contemporary Adult Brightwater series (three sexy cowboy brothers), as well as edits for a stand alone New Adult, WITH EVERY BREATH, that releases in print on December 29th and stars a sexy, broody Scottish mountain climber.

Q: Where did the characters Bran and Talia come from?

They both sort of just waltzed into my brain…but Bran is a clear nod to my love of the Byronic hero…moody, broody, and imperfect with the ability to act heroically. Talia probably draws on my own sense of humor, struggles with mental illness and the fact I did study abroad in Australia at twenty-one.

Q: How has your life changed with the publication of the Off the Map series?

It’s a lot busier! I have actively chosen to make writing a career which means keeping work hours, sitting at the computer even during glorious weather days and basically living in yoga pants J Also…I couldn’t be happier!

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

Hmmm…good question. I often drink tea while writing so litter the house with forgotten cups. Also, I realized that I often fast-draft with my eyes closed or while intently staring in the distance. This is a little awkward in coffee shops.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t wait for the muse, get words on page. There is no magic, only work. Okay, a little magic but you have to be working for it to come.

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for your chance to win a prize pack featuring a $10 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Upside Down, and Off the Map themed goodies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After 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.

Check out my reviews of each book in the Off the Map Series:

Upside Down Book Review

Sideswiped Book Review

Inside Out Book Review

Launch Day Blitz & Giveaway | Carry Me Home by Lia Riley

Carry-Me-Home-Launch-Day-Blitz

Ever since I read Lia Riley’s Off the Map series she instantly became one of my new favorite authors. Not only are her novels great, but she’s also great to her fans. I’ve appreciated that she responds to emails and Facebook comments and interacts with her fans often.  She’s also been very generous by providing me with copies of her books as giveaway items on my blog. Lia Riley is an amazing person and (of course) writer.  With that said…I jumped at the chance to help promote the release of her new book Carry Me Home…it’s out today!

ABOUT THE BOOK

AMAZON | B&N | IBOOKS

Riley_Carry Me Home_E-NovellaTITLE: Carry Me Home

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

GENRE: New Adult

PUBLICATION DATE: May 5, 2015

PUBLISHER: Forever Yours

“Love doesn’t have to be perfect to be true…
Years ago, Tanner Green loved Sunny Letman. She was meant to be his first kiss, first love, first everything. Then their world spun upside-down and out of control. Free-spirited Sunny doesn’t do commitment. Sure, guys are great for a night or a week, but shealways leaves first. That is, until professional skateboarder and town golden boy, Tanner Green, unexpectedly walks back into her life.

Despite their broken history, a fragile and undeniably electric connection still holds them together. Now Tanner has to convince Sunny that even though love isn’t always perfect, it’s worth sticking around for.”

GIVEAWAY

Now what would a launch day be without a chance to win the book!

Enter here for your chance to win a digital copy of Carry Me Home by Lia Riley.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITEFACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After 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.

Congratulations Lia Riley on your new book release!

Book Review & Giveaway | Inside Out by Lia Riley

BOOK REVIEW | INSIDE OUT BY LIA RILEY

Riley_InsideOut_ebook

“Lia Riley made New Adult readers fall in love with her breakout debut, Upside Down. Sideswiped, the second of her series, made readers clamor for more. Now, with INSIDE OUT, Lia Riley brings her evocative Off the Map series to a stunning conclusion.

When Talia first moved from California to Australia to study abroad, she never dreamed she’d find the love of her life. Bran understands her like no one ever has before. And despite the numerous challenges they’ve faced, they’ve always managed to figure out how to stay together. But this time they’ll face their toughest hurdle yet. Is their love strong enough to keep them together?”

***

*PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*

Inside Out was my all time favorite book of the Off the Map series.  I tend to love books that are set in California and contain love, romance, and a little naughtiness.

This book is about love. It’s about family. It’s about letting go of your fears and embracing the world around you. It’s about believing in yourself against all odds.

Lia Riley has really taken Bran and Talia’s relationship to another level with this last installment of the series.  When Talia contracts malaria during her short time with the Peace Corps, Bran immediately comes to her aid, flying all the way to Africa.  He was there when Talia finally woke from her coma.

Bran helps Talia relocate back to California when her father insists that she recover in the states.  Living under the watchful eye of Talia’s father was tough, but the toughest part for Bran was getting Talia to open up again.  After returning to California she became very distant and thought of herself as a failure, but Bran was patient with her and knew that it would take time for her heart to open again.  Thankfully she did.

This book explores the relationship between Talia and Bran, but also the relationship she has with her parents. And I can’t forget to mention a certain perverted creature named Chester.

Everything has come full circle since they first met in Upside Down, book one of the series.  They’ve gone through so much and helped each other grow throughout each book.

***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***

Now for the number one reason I love this book! Drum roll please….

Talia and Bran get engaged at Yosemite National Park in California.  Why is this so significant you ask?  Well, it just so happens that my fiancé proposed to me in Yosemite as well.  Yosemite is one of my favorite national parks.  I couldn’t believe that I was able to say “yes” to the man I love overlooking beautiful Yosemite Valley with a view of Bridal Veil Falls, which is mentioned in the book.

Once it was revealed that Talia and Bran would be taking a trip to Yosemite, I jumped up to tell my fiancé.  I was so excited! I just knew that Bran had something planned and couldn’t wait to find out how it ended.

And with that I want to share a picture from when my fiancé proposed in Yosemite.

Thank you to Lia Riley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for allowing me to read a copy of this book for an honest review.

Favorite Quotes

“She makes me want to be the best version of myself.”

“She’s it for me, forever, the last girl I’ll ever love.”

“One day, you’re sleepwalking through life, and the next you meet someone who wakes you up.  A person who makes you want to try to dig in for your best self.”

Giveaways

Take a chance at winning the Inside Out Prizepack! You seriously can’t miss out on this giveaway.  This awesome prize pack includes the following:

  • One digital copy of Upside Down (Book #1) Off the Map for you or a friend
  • TimTam’s (Australia’s best cookies)
  • Chocolate Koalas
  • Santa Cruz women’s hoodie (choice of S, M, L, XL)
  • Off the Map “If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found” rubber wristband
  • Signed Off the Map Swag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, I have been given an extra digital copy of Inside Out to give away via Net Galley. All my fellow Net Galley users please take advantage of this giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Overall Rating

5-gold-star-rating

About the Author

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti HommeAfter 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.

Buy Links: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlayKobo

Social Media Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Tumblr

Publishing Company: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Release Date: December 2, 2014

Genre: New Adult

Inside-Out-Blog-Tour

Check out my reviews of the first two books in the Off the Map series.

Upside Down

Sideswiped

Upcoming Book Review Excerpt | Inside Out by Lia Riley

To get you pumped for tomorrow’s book review and for TWO chances to win prizes, I wanted to share an excerpt from Inside Out by Lia Riley.  Don’t forget to check back tomorrow because you don’t want to miss the amazing prize pack!

BOOK EXCERPT | INSIDE OUT BY LIA RILEY

Riley_InsideOut_ebook

Who was I when I first fell in love with Bran?

A person who had courage to stare down an unfeasible situation and say, Sure, I’m up for the challenge.

Who was I when Bran threw himself at me like a wounded animal, all claws, abandonment fear, spit, and fang?

A person who accepted that the moon has two sides, light and dark.

Who am I now?

I feel like a lost soul rocking in the corner, fresh out of ideas.

Bran pushes me through the long line until it’s our turn at the passport desk.

“How long do you plan to stay in the United States?” The customs official glances from Bran’s face to his passport photo and back again.

My stomach squirms like a writhing snake. We’ve avoided any discussion about future plans, focused instead on the short term. I had to accept the reality that I couldn’t return to the Peace Corps, even with the medical separation. I was too sick, too shattered. Our discussions about the logistics of leaving Africa were easier to concentrate on than the looming issue of what we were going to do with each other. I treated the topic like an abandoned lot, filled with weeds and rusting cars, a subject to walk past and pretend to ignore.

Now a stranger is forcing the issue.

“Until this one gets better.” Bran cocks his head in my direction.

The woman scoots forward, peers at me with a faint frown. “May I see proof of a return ticket, sir?”

Bran digs out the photocopy of his itinerary. When we bought the tickets, he had to borrow money from his dad. He hasn’t said much, but I know the fact must eat at him. Add another bitter drop to my guilt bucket—soon it’s going to overflow.

“You’re on a temporary tourist visa.” The customs agent flips the passport to a blank page and stamps with obvious relish. “You have three months, starting now.”

Here we go again.

Visa issues.

Ticking clocks.

People imagine international romance is excitement, hot accents, and adventure. They don’t want to hear about the bureaucratic drudgery that threatens to harden the arteries of even the most passionate hearts.

I thought I was going somewhere.

Nope.

I am an idiot Icarus who flew too close to the sun.

Bran leans forward, his lips hover an inch from my ear, his breath a hot caress on my cool skin. “You okay, Captain?”

“Fine.”

“What are you thinking, thinker?”

“I’m just sitting here, a sitter.”

We roll past an American flag overhanging a framed photo of the president. His smile seems smug, as if to say, You really thought you’d get away?

Yes, sir. I kind of did.

“We’re up next.” Bran hands a final customs form to yet another officer who waves us toward big silver doors that open and shut like gnashing teeth. On the other side is California. I can’t shake the disorienting sense we’re heading in the wrong direction.

“Ready?”

Nope.

Bran crossed an ocean for me. I have to find the way out of this black swamp, but I’m manacled to an island of self-doubt, and the tide is rising.

***

Thank you to Lia Riley and Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for allowing me to read a copy of this book for an honest review.

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