Monday, January 12, 2015

Love Me With...Everything You Have

"Men avoided me.
Cammie told me once that 
I had a kind of fierceness in my eyes that scared people away."
--Tarryn Fisher, The Opportunist

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 278
Publication Date: November 14th, 2011
Source: Gifted by Betty :)
Previous Books in Series: First in series
Goodreads Description

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

Um...okay. SO I don't usually do series reviews but after binging this series, Love Me With Lies, in a joke, less than 24 hours, I feel like I'll do it more justice talking about it as a whole and breaking it down per book a little more. So this series is...emotional. Super intense. Destructive. Crazy. SO many different things. 

Alright, so this is the story of Olivia and Caleb. They were in a relationship after they met in college and haven't seen each other for 3 years. Olivia sees him in a records store, decides to go up to, only to realize he has amnesia due to a car accident. From there we get alternating chapters of The Past, when they met up to their breakup, and The Present, with Olivia and Caleb reconnecting like nothing happened because she sure as hell isn't telling him they used to be very involved. She feels like she got a second chance even if she knows it's short-lived because he'll remember eventually. Another plot twist? Caleb has this legitimate crazy girlfriend named Leah. More on her in the next book but this bitch is insane aaaaaand I hate her. 

The Opportunist is told in Olivia's voice and this.was.amazing. I loved Olivia. I GOT Olivia. Olivia is my spirit animal. She is manipulative, cunning, smart, broken, doesn't take bullshit, and 100% standoffish. See? Spirit animal. I shouldn't admit to being able to identify with her so much buuuut I know myself too well not to call a spade a spade. I loved this woman. This is a bitch that you do not mess with and it is only solidified as the series progresses. She is not perfect. She makes stupid and rash decisions that inevitably end up changing (and ruining in my opinion) her life. But that's what I love. She is messy and complicated and complex because that's what life is. Olivia is broken (you know how much I love my broken characters) and is fiercely independent and emotionally insecure. I empathized with this and my heart broke for her because I understood exactly why she would do the things she did. She is just my brand of a good way...nobody wants a boring chick, right?

Caleb and Olivia meet in college and she starts off by resisting all of Caleb's obvious charms. LOVE THIS! Caleb wades through shark infested waters (figuratively) in order to break down some of Olivia's barriers. She, in turn, does not make it easy for him. She is sarcastic, prickly, stubborn, and wants none of what he is throwing down. I loved their snarky way with one another and their courtship is not conventional, but the "grand gesture" on both their parts is pretty amazing if not unrealistic on his part. Not making sense, I know, but read the book people...READ THE BOOK.

The relationship between Caleb and Olivia is deeply emotional and intense. These are two souls who are so deeply connected that life keeps forcing them together. The beginning of their relationship...ok, well EVERY part of their not easy. Caleb fights for every emotional inch Olivia gives him because she has abandonment issues and was never made to feel worthy of anyone else's love. Olivia is fierce and fights all her feelings for Caleb. It was heart-breaking to read. chest actually hurt reading about what finally ended it for them. It's days later and I'm still hurting when I think about it. It's just so...heart-wrenching. They both make mistakes and fight the other but at the core of each of them is such an intense, soul-deep love, that they keep coming back for more. Their story is the series of unfortunate events. For real. The ending is heart-wrenchign and makes you wanna read the next book immediately...which I did...

"Love is simple...
The more pomp you add to a wedding, the less sincere it becomes."
--Tarryn Fisher, Dirty Red

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 265
Publication Date: December 21st, 2012
Source: Gifted by Betty
Previous Books in Series: The Opportunist
Goodreads Description

Dear Opportunist,

You thought you could take him from me, but you lost. Now, that he's mine I'll do anything to keep him. Do you doubt me? I have everything that was supposed to be yours. In case you were wondering; he doesn't ever think about you anymore. I won't let him go....ever.

Dirty Red

Leah Smith finally has everything she has ever wanted. Except she doesn't. Her marriage feels more like a loan than a lifelong commitment, and the image she has worked so hard to build is fraying before her eyes. With a new role and a past full of secrets, Leah must decide how far she is willing to go to keep what she has stolen.

...and now we get Dirty Red, Leah's story. Oh holy sweet Heaven in the high, I haven't hated a book character so much in a long time. Leah is a bitch. She is crazy. She is beyond all levels of normal and fun manipulation. She will do anything to keep Caleb. She goes to lengths that are so far beyond normal thinking, it's nuts. We get Leah's story with flashbacks to her upbringing and present day when she and Caleb have a daughter. Yes, my friends, the Wicked Witch of the West spawned a human...who she hates. Who hates their own baby? This bitch.

I thought I would dislike this book because of how much I can't stand Leah but I ended up liking it more than I thought. I couldn't put it down for one and while she is crazy, it was so interesting to read things from her perspective. She is obsessed with Olivia and deflects blame for her own shortcomings on her. I actually loved reading about how insecure she was. And I loved reading that she was not ignorant to the fact that Caleb doesn't really love her. This was extremely enjoyable for my cold, black heart and soul.

Leah's past is not an easy one. While she grew up wealthy, her home life was pretty loveless. I should have felt bad...but I didn't. I couldn't understand Leah the way I did Olivia because everything with Caleb was just a competition to her. I will never understand the female mentality of fighting for a man against another woman. You shouldn't have to fight for attention or to keep him from another woman. If he wants to be with you, he will be. Every woman deserves to be number one to a man and why Leah didn't seem to grasp this just pissed me off about her. She's smarter than this. And her awful family encouraging her to "do whatever it takes to keep him" is just fucked up. And not the fun kind. Nothing against the book or the writing because obviously it makes for a great plot, just my personal irritation at women in general like this.

Betty told me before reading that by the end I would understand Leah and maybe even like her a little...sorry (not sorry) to say that didn't happen. I really enjoyed this book because I got a front row seat to watching her relationship with Caleb crash and burn. I loved seeing her father and mother both manipulate her into fucking her over. I didn't empathize with her before this happened and I didn't feel compassion for her afterwards. It sucks she had an emotionless upbringing but we are our own masters of our choices. There are a thousand times things could have been different and she keeps manipulating to get her way. And it's NOT in the same way Olivia does. Leah does it as a challenge just to get her way, Olivia just nudges fate in the right direction.

I loved how this book ended and I actually laughed out loud at Leah's final bomb drop. So I knew I immediately had to read Thief...

"But you are valuable enough for any 
and every man in your life to drop everything to protect you.
You shouldn't have to be forced to be strong on your own
because no one will stand with me."
--Tarryn Fisher, Thief

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 273
Publication Date: July 21st, 2013
Source: Gifted by Betty 
Previous Books in Series: The Opportunist & Dirty Red
Goodreads Description

Note to Self

Love is patient; love is kind.
Love doesn't boast or brag.
There's no arrogance in love;
it's never rude, crude, or indecent-it's not self absorbed.
Love isn't easily upset.
Love doesn't tally wrongs.
Love trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
Love will never become obsolete.
I'll fight for her.


Caleb Drake never got over his first love. Not when he got married. Not when she got married. When life suddenly comes full circle Caleb must decide how how far he is willing to go to get the aloof and alluring Olivia Kaspen back. But for every action in life there is a consequence, and soon Caleb finds out that sometimes love comes at an unbearably high price.
Wow. Wow. Wow. Ok, I had a migraine throughout the last few hours of reading Dirty Red but I powered through and I KNEW I needed to at least start Thief, even if I was feeling like hell. I so did not want to stop even though I was beyond miserable. That's really neither here nor there but I had to point it out to show how fricking invested I was that I was near close to vomiting and I still wanted to keep going. Ok, moving on.

Thief. Caleb's perspective. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dying in anticipation of his side of the story. Thief was everything I wanted and more. Really, truly, a phenomenal conclusion to the series and consistent throughout with all our characters. Caleb and Olivia are victims of fate, the original cast of a series of unfortunate events, and definition of missed connections. These two just cannot seem to catch a break and with this book, knowing their story finally in its entirety, it makes you rage with the injustice of it all and make you want to murder these characters for their lack of listening skill and jumping to conclusions. However, when I think back and look at the story as a whole, they really did have to go through all of this. I loved Caleb's perspective because the way he sees Olivia is beautiful. He sees her for all the good she has in her that she doesn't even believe exists in her. I love how patient he is with her and how he pushes her, too far at times, but pushes her nonetheless to accept love.

This story is not easily won and these characters demons are not easily conquered by a knight in shining armor. These people are the antithesis of a fairy tale and I loved them the more for it. What I loved about this series is that it is real. It is crazy and messy and fucked up. It is raw and honest and organic. People's feelings and emotions are not black and white but infinite shades of gray. The characters are not perfect. They make mistakes, oooooh do they make mistakes, but it's all in the name of love. Well, except Leah, she's just crazy.

The plot of Thief progresses us further into the complicated lives and consequences to their life choices and I couldn't have been happier with how how things worked out and what happened to get them there. Ok, I'm lying a LITTLE bit because while a small part of me would have LOVED a happy ending 500 pages sooner, we obviously wouldn't have had these books so I digress. Very few books give you a 360 degree circle of emotions with their characters and those special books are the ones that are closest to my heart. I love books that give you characters that at different points in time you love, hate, get ecstatic with, get angry with, and experience ALL ranges of emotions for. The Bronze Horseman and The Sea of Tranquility are the only other two books I know that do this for me. And while I don't normally enjoying hating my favorite characters, that is what makes them real. People are stupid, they make mistakes, you want to shake them, but that's what life is and when are imitates life it's the best kind there is. This series does that. I felt all emotions at one point or another for these characters and THAT is why this series will stick with me for a long, long time.

Back to this book specifically, a lot of plot and situations happen and I will not spoil, but I loved it all. Emotions are laid raw, love is given, love is returned, love is taken away, love chooses another. It's all there and it hurts so good. These books make you feel. These books make you questions your own moral compass and where you point in decisions regarding love. Maybe you all are better people than me but like I said, Olivia is my brand of crazy and I was picking up what she was throwing down.

Ok, this is totally not really a review of Thief and more of a flail over the series as a whole and what it meant to me and for that I apologize. I don't want to give any spoilers as to the plot resolution and conclusion so instead I just tell you that this series overall is worth reading. It explores the lengths we'll go for true love. The good, the bad, and the ugly. 

Overall, this series is VIP status. It is emotional, intense, makes you look at your own definition or good vs bad, the lengths we all go for the ones we love, just SO MUCH! You really go through the range of emotions with this series and it is INTENSE, that's the best way to put it. I'm still thinking about this series days later and if you're up for an emotional ride...this one's for you.


  1. I thought I would hate the second book, but I ended up liking it too! Great review, and I'm really glad that you loved it because it's one of my favorite series :)
    Kim @ Divergent Gryffindor

  2. YES!!!!! I'm so so glad that you loved these, Kelly. Tarryn and her books hold a special place in my heart. This is one of the series that I need to re-reads this year. :)

  3. I fucking love these books! I loved reading from Leah's POV and I still hated her the whole time. So freaking much! I'm dying for these to finally be out on audio (soon!).

  4. Kelly!! I am so glad you loved these books! I am right there with you with not empathizing with Leah. I loved her character but she was terrible and I didn't like her. I will be buying all of these on audio when they come out next month!

  5. Awesome review! This is my all time favorite series so I'm glad you liked it and I seriously think your review did it justice! SO GOOD!!!!! No one is like Olivia -- and no one writes like Tarryn Fisher

  6. It's kind of fun to see your thoughts on a series that you binge read! I'm not sure I'd ever read The Opportunist, but it makes me happy to see that you so thoroughly enjoyed it and the rest of the series.

  7. I don't think this series is for me, but dang if you didn't make me kinda want to read it! I loved this series review, and I laughed so hard at: "This was extremely enjoyable for my cold, black heart and soul." LOVE YOU, KELLY.

  8. SO glad you loved! Re: what you said at the end of your dirty red review -- I didn't go as far as like but I liked how I understood her and what I liked was that she knew she was a bitch. and embraced it. she was... INTERESTING. haha. I really really want to reread this series because I think when I first started the opportunist I was expecting something different and the drama was almost TOO much for me. but then as I kept going, it was just so real and raw that I ended up LOVING everything. so I feel like if I reread I'll have different thoughts. (and HMMM I wonder who's doing a reread challenge?? haha)


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