Inside Out by Lia Riley
Series: Off The Map #3
Published by Forever
Publish Date: December 2, 2014
Source: Book – Publisher, Audiobook – Bought
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon
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? (Goodreads)
Inside Out begins with a load of excitement. Talia and Bran are separated, in a long-distance romance; she is working for the Peace Corps when she becomes gravely ill. Unconscious for a few days, Talia is taken to a hospital and then given leave from the Corps. Bran arrives at her side as soon as he possibly can, as his time with the Sea Alliance has also been cut short for reasons beyond his control. The couple decides to return to California while Talia rebuilds her strength, and they’ll re-align their futures.
When they get back to America, sure the two have some great time together. The banter that I’ve loved is still present and the two still have their charm and sense of humor. Talia still has the OCD issue, though, and she is recovering from a grave illness – so there’s that. They both also still have little issues nagging them that they’ve carried around the world, individually and as a couple. Stuff begins to pop up, one thing at a time, that the two have to navigate together – not all bad, but even good things can be very stressful and trying on relationships. I had to put the book down a time or two because I was like now this! are you kidding me! more than once.
Even so, even with the high stakes and issues, Inside Out never felt too dramatic or cheesy to me – and thank goodness, because it would have broken my heart after enjoying the story so much. I loved seeing resolution or progression with some of the things that kept surfacing for Talia and Bran – for example, issues with Talia’s mom. It feels great that these two can shake off some of the weight that they’ve been carrying! I also love the way that Talia and Bran seem more equipped to talk through and plan for their future; they seem to understand that they will be moving ahead as a one if they remain together as a couple, and they begin to better plan accordingly. This was SO GREAT to see, because I think that they both felt like this was a struggle for them in the past.
Regarding working through their past romantic histories: there is no love triangle here. These two have been committed to one another throughout this series and continue to be. What I meant here is that these two are confronting issues from their own pasts, resolving them, and laying them down forever.
While I omigosh-loved the Australian setting that was present in the beginning of the series, I have to say that I fell hard for some of the California setting in this book. I miss Australia, but if it had to be replaced with something, California isn’t a bad replacement! There is one scene that I especially loved involving a rocky state park and some of the usual craziness that followed these two. I held my breath throughout the scene, but then practically squeaked with happiness at the end of it.
So, yeah, I’m a little sad that my first time reading this series is coming to an end. There are two novellas accompanying, as extras. Talia’s best friends Beth and Sunny get a chance to tell their stories. I’ve read those too. In fact, I stopped reading Inside Out at around the halfway-point because I didn’t want it to be over – then I read both novellas – then finished this one. I’ve enjoyed my time with Talia and Bran, and I’ve found myself a fan of Lia Riley’s storytelling. I’ll be moving onto her other romances, hoping they are just as fun as this one. I recommend Inside Out by Lia Riley and the entire Off The Map Series to readers that enjoy New Adult Contemporary Romance, true series, romances without love triangles, and HEAs.
Audiobook Notes: The audiobook format of Inside Out by Lia Riley is published by Hachette Audio and is 7 hours and 45 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Brittany Uomoleale and Tim Wright. I’ve completely enjoyed listening to this entire series on audiobook, narrated by these same readers, and I’m a little sad that there isn’t another book for me to listen to! I recommend this entire series on audiobook for first listens or for first reads, and I’m so glad that I purchased these audiobooks so I can re-listen in the future whenever I want a fun romance with an HEA!
Romance: No triangle.
Great Setting: Australia