This is the second book in the Off the Map series and could be read as a standalone but I strongly urge you to read the awesomeness from the beginning with Upside Down. I’m not one for spoilers so if you want to know how it ends, you will have to read the book.
So, I have been hanging out for this book – I really love the characters Talia and Bran but what really hooked me is the undercurrent of so many personality traits, confliction and issues. I had high expectations for Sideswiped and it’s both delivered and denied. I did have a fantasy wish for Talia and Bran and their journey but I quickly had to let it go and enjoy the ride.
Sideswiped picks up right where Upside Down ends, they decide to make a go of their relationship with Talia returning to Australia. I was expecting this book to be all happy, ‘honeymoon’ phase … it certainly was the honeymoon period but it quickly disintegrated into the bad kind. I was actually starting to think ‘is this turning into a War of the Roses’ type story. Both parties are hyper aware that Talia’s visa is coming to an end and are trying to work out a plan. This was my disappointed point – it’s very repetitive.
Moving back to the positives, Lia continues to masterfully pen the undercurrent of issues that shape the characters just as she did through the first book. Talia struggles with her OCD and her disappointing lack of parental support. She also has to deal with her jealousy and insecurities while finding her way in this relationship. Bran struggles with his moral ethics and relationship history and its emotional hang ups.
The main message of this book and I hope readers will take from it is the theme of living in the present. These characters (like many of us) spend so much time living in the past or in the future which undermines the joy of living in the now.
From the characters’ perspective, when the love and the romance is good – so very good but when the arguing starts – it’s bad. I wanted to reach into my iPad and slap both the characters – so much angst and time is spent wasted by placing the expectation on the future with these characters and it was like watching a ticking time bomb. I love it when a writer invokes a reaction like that out of me. Like I said, this is the bad honeymoon phase.
The other major theme is about true strength. It was great to see Talia’s shining through. Despite of where the thinks her head is at and where her head chatter is taking her, she certainly knows her love for Bran is strong enough to outlast anything. The saying of ‘it’s not how you make it through the storm, it’s how you behave when you have to get back up that truly defines you’ certainly applies here.
The one thing I absolutely love about this book is the language. I was giggling and snickering away at the sayings because I say them myself. ‘You are the ketchup to my fries’ … ‘He can go fuck himself. In a stable. With a pitchfork’ (yep – I say something equivalent) and the beautiful exchanges ‘Bran and I are two loose ends who found a way to tie ourselves together’.
**sigh** so here begins the long wait for the third book in the series which will be available December 2, 2014.
PURCHASE SIDESWIPED VIA AMAZON