Carry Me Home is the newest story in the Off the Map series by Lia Riley. This novella takes place after the first three books, and can be read as a standalone. I would recommend reading these in order though, as you do get to know both Sunny and Tanner a little from the previous books and it helps to know some of what they have gone through. Tanner and Sunny had always thought that they would be each other's firsts. But things suddenly changed and they haven't spoken for years. Now, Tanner is back and Sunny finds her world turned upside down once again. The last thing she wants is to feel something for Tanner, especially since she doesn't do commitment. But Tanner isn't willing to let her go easily and is determined to show her that what they have is worth taking the risk.
We had seen some of both Tanner and Sunny in the previous books, but I felt like we didn't really know much about either of them. In fact I had no clue that these two had a past, and all I really remembered was Tanner's history with Talia and her sister Piper. But I really liked seeing how Sunny and Tanner had known one another as kids, and I really felt like they had been meant for one another all along. Since we never really saw all the details of Tanner's relationship with Piper, a lot came to light in this story and I felt bad for Tanner. I kind of thought he was a jerk after what had happened with him and Talia, and this book changed that for me. It was clear that we didn't have the whole story and I was glad that Lia Riley showed us more of what Tanner had been going through. I will say that I didn't really connect with Sunny, and I didn't like her for most of this story. I thought that she was pretty callous and she had an attitude that just didn't work for me. She was really mean to Tanner, and I felt like it wasn't justified at all. She had no clue what all he had been through, and he had never done anything to her personally for her to act the way she did. I will say that towards the end of the book she started to change and was better, but at that point I had already made up my mind about her and it was too little too late. I felt like these two should have been together all along and that they did have a connection, it was just an example of life getting in the way. It was nice to see them get a second chance though, and it was easy to see that they had great chemistry and cared about one another.
My biggest complaint with this story though was that I felt like the pacing was off for the entire book. Being a novella, I understand that things tend to happen rather quickly and I expect a bit of that. But the beginning of this one felt pretty slow to me, which only made the rapid change of feelings and personalities seem that much more rushed. With everything going on between these two and in their lives, the conflict and ending seemed to happen at almost warp speed and it felt like this one just ended. I think part of that was the fact that it was only at about 80% when it ended, with the last 20% being author stuff and previews. I felt like this book could have really benefited from a few extra chapters or an epilogue, something to give these two a bit more of an ending without it being so abrupt. While I have liked this series, the last few books haven't been as good in my opinion as the first book in this series. I loved that book so much, so I felt like these were all a bit of a let down coming off of that one. I think that fans of this series will enjoy getting to know Sunny and Tanner better, but if you haven't read the other books in this series I am not sure that I would recommend this one.
**ARC Provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)**