on July 21, 2013
Wow. Where do I even begin? I feel like a heroine junkie still high on my fix. This entire series will get under your skin in a way that NO OTHER BOOK ANYWHERE EVER ever could. I have never so eagerly anticipated a book release... never. It is like beautiful torture going into each of the Love Me With Lies books because you know that you are about to be gutted, ripped completely apart, flesh torn from bone... it's going to kill you but it's like Christmas eve and you still can't wait to dive in. I literally fought the urge to throw up with anticipation and fear. What kind of book, what author causes that kind of visceral reaction in a reader? The waiting game alone nearly had me unglued. Must I admit what the actual reading of Thief did too me?
First off, Tarryn Fisher is a genius. She does what so many indie authors attempt to achieve but, sorry to say, don't even come close. Her writing is polished and perfect and awe inspiring. Anyone can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and put words down. Tarryn Fisher obviously swapped out her pen for a wand because she's made magic. Again.
This grand finale was perfection. Contrary to The Opportunist and Dirty Red, where Caleb and Olivia spend most of the books physically distant but emotionally joined, Thief brings them together physically for most of the story. But despite their physical proximity, finding their way back to each other seems improbable and impossible. We all know what we want to happen. Obviously. But Tarryn Fisher rarely, if ever, gives you exactly what you're hoping for. She gives you more. She ends up giving you everything you didn't even know you wanted. So with that said, it is nearly impossible to predict what she will give you in her stories. She is known for her mind games, for trying to throw you off. As a reader you know that a happy ending is not likely, but she could give you just that just because it's what you least expect.
Caleb and Olivia have gone through so much, they've done the unthinkable to each other, they've had other people maliciously plotting against them. For years. Even when their own lies and deceit weren't working against them, the secrets and malevolence of others made sure they never had a chance. It's almost impossible to fathom how a happily ever after could possibly come about for these characters. The hateful things they've spewn at each other, the way they bolt and then crash. As a reader, I went back and forth between praying for that happy ending, and just throwing my hands up and wishing they'd just accept their fate and go their separate ways. Enough already!
Thief has you vollying back and forth between those desires the entire way through. Tarryn Fisher throws so many obstacles in the way, as if the history of Caleb and Olivia alone isn't obstruction enough, that you can never really anticipate where this could go.
Let's discuss the facts:
Bringing Jessica Alexander back made me want to throw my kindle at the freaking wall. I knew it was coming. We PLNs discussed it ad nauseam. But to have it actually come to fruition? No. I was displeased to say the least. Why? She's the one other girl in Caleb's history that came close to holding Caleb's heart. So if he can't have Olivia in the end, who else but Jessica Alexander to help him piece back together his life? Olivia is married to perfect sexy Ghandi. Jessica is the perfect addition to give Caleb his own HEA. It was a perfectly placed thorn to throw off readers and the first nail in the Calivia coffin. Well played, Tarryn Fisher.
Thank you for being a douche bag about wanting kids and putting work over your wife. We knew you were too good to be true. I feel better about hating you now.
The never ending question of Estella... is he or isn't he the baby daddy? Another question for the record books. Just when you think this question has been answered, you are flipped on your head again. He is, then he isn't, then he is... the wicked web Leah has woven... it is heartbreaking. It's devastating enough to have the future of Caleb and Olivia be so uncertain, but to watch Caleb endure his daughter being snatched away again and again is excruciating.
And Leah... oh Leah... You crazy see you next Tuesday. I really thought when Leah came out of that kitchen with that dish towel that things had changed. Dirty Red had grown. Washing dishes and letting toys litter her carpet while her daughter slept... I convinced myself this revealed personal growth. Leah, I am impressed. But no. Another Tarryn Fisher facade... what you see is not at all what you get. Leah is not just a woman possessed, now she's a woman scorned. The lengths to which she has and continues to go to to hurt Caleb know no bounds. I even had myself believing that despite her behavior toward Caleb, she had become a decent mother. No. Who separates their daughter from their father in such a way? Who vacations in Asia without leaving a number? Who starts a fight at a funeral? I am shocked at my own hatred for this fictional bitch.
In between bouts of fear and disdain and heartbreak, were some of the most amazing, perfect little diamonds in the rough... these perfect little tidbits that made my heart leap with hope. Despite the facts pointing toward Caleb and Olivia staying apart forever, these little nuggets of hope kept MY hope alive. Caleb keeping Coke in his fridge for Olivia, Olivia keeping sugar cubes for Caleb's tea... it was as if they were silently awaiting the other's return, keeping a place for the other in their absence. Caleb's rethinking of the name for his boat. I wept at those gestures... so easy to skim right past, but so monumental in the grand scheme of things. Despite their physical absence, they were always there, waiting for the other. They were leading completely separate lives and yet carried on with these tiny little touches that reminded us they never moved on.
Also such a perfect, surprising facet of the story were the insights offered up by Steve and Luca. We don't know much about Steve from past books, only his subtle attempts to rein in the vicious viper, Luca. But Thief introduces us to the personalities of these two that we've never seen. Steve convincing Caleb not to give up on Olivia, learning that Luca's disdain for Olivia is not based (entirely) on Olivia's socio-economic status but rather of Olivia's personality reflecting so much of who Luca is herself, Luca finally telling Caleb to wait for Olivia... I began to convince myself that for Caleb's parents to open up in such a way, for Caleb to look to them for guidance and advice and for them both to subtly lead him back to Olivia, this relationship can't be for naught.
Thief is a jungle. It's rough terrain. It's so frightening, you don't know that you'll make it out. The happily ever after for Caleb and Olivia is so typical Tarryn Fisher. It's not perfect. It's actually quite sad. For me, I can sleep soundly tonight with this resolution, I'm glad for it, and I can appreciate it. Tarryn Fisher is not going to give you the epilogue that every other author hands you on a silver platter. You won't see Olivia in a wedding dress, kids running through the yard, white picket fence.... that's not Olivia and Caleb's story. You can't put Caleb and Olivia in the same box with every other fictional characters... they don't fit in that box! And why would you want them to? There story is years of pain and heartbreak and tragedy, really. It would not be Tarryn Fisher style to suddenly give them a story book ending filled with rainbows and sunshine. There's no miracles here. But that is what makes their imperfect story so perfect. And it is theirs.
I thought I loved these characters in the other books, but after Thief I could not love them more. I don't want it to end, yet I'm glad it has so Tarryn Fisher can't mess with their lives anymore!! The dialogue between Caleb and Olivia is perfect. Everything you wish they'd say, they do... And then some. I could go on and on about how wonderful this story really is. The web, this puzzle, this maze that Tarryn has made in this entire series is seriously in a league of it's own. Tarryn Fisher is in a league all her own. Her creativity and her way with words know no bounds... And who benefits from that more than us?
on July 23, 2013
How do I write this review? How can I make you understand the impact that this book, this series, this author has had on my heart? I can't. It's impossible. The depth of the emotion, the sharpness of the writing, the bone deep connection to the characters...there is no way I can make you feel it...you just have to read it.
Tarryn Fisher slices me open with her words. When I first read The Opportunist I thought it was a standalone book. I ended up hiding from my kids sobbing in the bathroom...and I didn't fully recover my sanity until I found out it was going to be a trilogy! When I found out Dirty Red was going to be from Leah's POV I thought there was no way Tarryn could pull it off...but it was a brilliant anti-romance novel that I thoroughly enjoyed! So when it came time for Thief, while many of my fellow fans were wailing and gnashing their teeth regarding whether there would be an HEA or not, I was surprisingly calm. I had complete faith that no matter the outcome, Tarryn would get it RIGHT! It would be beautiful, and unique, and torturous...and ultimately perfect.
Trust Tarryn. Don't read reviews (after this one!). Don't worry about it. She knows what she is doing. There are no loose ends. There are no inconsistencies or plot holes. There are no poorly chosen words. No cliches. This series is so tightly woven, so perfectly paced, so expertly revealed...it is simply stunning. Tarryn's ability to surprise is one of her strongest assets, but even more impressive is her prose. I don't have the words to tell you how much I adore this woman's writing. I was constantly thinking "oh, no one has ever said it that way!!" - it's just unbelievable!
I refuse to include spoilers, so there is little more that I can say. So I will leave it at this: I read over 100 books a year...I have a list of 6 books/series that are a level above everything else I've ever read. This series tops the list.
on July 21, 2013
I've told all of my friends who read to get this series of books. I warned that Tarryn Fisher is an evil yet masterful writer who would break their heart and leave them begging for more pain. I was pissed when The Opportunist concluded. I was frustrated at the end of Dirty Red. And then I've waited months for Thief. I wondered what the hell was going to happen. I worried that I would stay pissed off.
Five hours later, I want to bow down to Tarryn Fisher. I loved this book. She worked it all out so cleverly and I couldn't put the book down. I had no clue how she would give this series a satisfactory ending without it feeling fake but she nailed it.
on July 21, 2013
Thief stole my heart. There, I said it. After much anticipation on my part, I expected good, maybe even very good, but I didn't expect great but that is what I got. Every unanswered question, every stone I felt was unturned by the first two novels was vindicated. Thief is more than worth its weight and was so much more than the sum total of all of its parts. I didn't think reading Caleb's side, after 2 other books, would make such a difference. But it did, and it does and it changed the way I viewed all 3 characters (although I still have nothing but loathing for Leah-Thief did not change that for me). I rarely give a book a 5, not because I hold myself above other readers, but because I feel they are given too easily and 5's are reserved for the best of the best; to inspire others to achieve that pinnacle. From the very first words I read, my gut screamed 5, and until the last word, that same thought stayed in my head.
"I know, I know, I know that I am the match and she is the gasoline and without each other we are just two objects void of reaction."
The primary focus on Thief is Caleb and Olivia (exactly where I want the spotlight to shine). Olivia is married to Noah, but even that relationship is fraught with drama, albeit understated. Caleb is divorced from Leah, Satan's daughter (too harsh?) having been told at the end of Dirty Red that he is not Estella's father. He has drifted into a sexual friendship kind of thing with a blast from the past, one who hurt him and took away his early chances at fatherhood. Of course she and Olivia despise one another.
Caleb, after all these years of running from the truth, is a different kind of Caleb than he was in The Opportunist and Dirty Red. He is a little wiser and has a lot more clarity regarding Olivia. These two still dance around each other and return to their respective corners. But both know without each other there is no music in their lives. There may be others, but they will always just be the second string until they return to one another again.
"My heart. If my heart had knees that's where it would be -- doubled over, throbbing from the pain. I pull my arm from behind my head and rub my eyes. "
Olivia..." my voice catches."
This story unfolds in a series of chapters past and present. So many questions are answered; why did Caleb do what he did with Sydney knowing Olivia was coming to meet him, why did Olivia run so many times, why did it all fall apart in Rome, why did this beautifully flawed couple, who fell in love under a beautiful tree, never quite grasp that beautifully elusive brass ring?
"Olivia, I once told you that I would love again, and that you would hurt forever. Do you remember?" She nods. It's a painful memory for both of us. "It was a lie. I knew it was a lie, even as I said it. I've never loved anyone after you. I never will."
on July 24, 2013
Caleb and Olivia have one of the most heart-breakingly dysfunctional and yet achingly beautiful love stories I've ever read. They had an irreplaceable love proved unbreakable even by a lifetime of mistakes. They were destructive, made the wrong choices and paid the painful price for their mistakes but you couldn't help but root for them every step of the way. Their journey was an intense, heartbreaking, non-stop roller coaster filled to the brim with every possible emotion you can imagine.
"She's mine. She always has been, she always will be. We've been running in opposite directions for the last ten years, and we collide at every turn. Sometimes it's because we're looking for each other, other times it's fate. She has the kind of love that can stain your soul, make you beg not to have one, just to escape the spell she's put you under. I've tried to break myself of her over and over, but it's pointless. I've got more of her in my veins than blood... We're not over. We'll never be over."
The truth of is that this is a second-chance love story. The difference between this one and the usual ones is that in this story you live through the years of separation and mistakes along with the characters and go through their whole tangled love story with them - start to finish - and because you've been through every moment of heartbreak and pain right along side them, when the happiness shines through you value it so much more and can appreciate it with every part of your heart and soul because you *know* the price they paid for it.
My heart was racing with anticipation from the very first line of this book. This was IT. It was really happening. The last hurdle. And what an incredible opening chapter!!! One of the very best!
Because of the way this story had built from the first book, I really felt like I had lived these characters lives with them. Their memories were my memories. Little things like "the pool where I first kissed her" came loaded with a whole slew of heart-pounding emotions.
This book tells Caleb's POV. Finally we get to see what was going on inside his mind. Why did he fall in love with Olivia? Why did he push so hard? Why did he walk away? Why did he waste those 5 years? What made him hurt? What made him love? What drove his actions? And most importantly we see the true depth of how completely and all-consumingly he loved Olivia.
It's like he finally got her. Or maybe he did all along and wasn't ready to admit it. But either way, this was the turning point. He was ready to fight for her.
"I can't stay away from you. I've been trying for ten years."
But I won't lie, sometimes it hurt to see the raw honesty of Caleb's thoughts. They were... naked. Uninhibited. Painfully truthful. He was no Boy Scout, that's for sure, but it was impossible not to love him. Flaws, mistakes, imperfections and all.
As with the first two books, this one wove both the past and present together - starting from flashbacks of when they first met and going through their lives highlighting milestones and key turnings points that, for better or for worse, changed their lives forever. There was no repetitiveness in the flashbacks but rather they gave new insight into everything and filled in the blanks by giving us answers, clarifications and explanations that slowly brought the last broken threads of this story together.
I absolutely loved that Caleb genuinely loved Olivia for who she was. He wasn't some starry eyed romantic who saw her in a different light just because he was in love with her. No, he saw right into her and he fell in love with her just. as. she. was.
"I tried to break her before. Now, I just wanted her as she was. I wanted every last beautiful flaw. I wanted the witty one-liners and the coldness that only I knew how to warm. I wanted the fight and the friction and the make-up sex. I wanted her to wake up in my bed every morning. I wanted her shitty cooking and her beautiful, complex mind."
Overall I found this book more sad than angsty, unlike the first two. I'd reached the point where my heart was almost permanently broken. I just wanted them to be happy so badly. I wanted them to be together in more than just their hearts. The weight of it all was almost too much. Too sad. Too heart breaking.
"Do you remember the orange grove, Olivia?"
And just when I thought things couldn't get sadder, new bombshells of pain were dropped. There were moments so powerfully emotional that I could do nothing other than just sit there and cry.
"I want your babies, and your anger, and your cold blue eyes..." I choke on my words and I am the one to look away. I bring my gaze back to her face and realize that if I can't convince her now, I'm never going to be able to. "I want to go on anniversary dinners with you, I want to wrap Christmas presents with you. I want to fight with you about stupid things and then hold you down in my bed and make it up to you. I want to have more cake batter fights and camping trips. I want your future, Olivia. Please come back to me."
Caleb and Olivia were just such a heart-breakingly dysfunctional mess - desperately in love with each other and yet forever ruining their chances of happiness. I don't even have words to describe the frustration and pain.
"How many times can a heart be broken before it is beyond mend?"
My heart was yo-yoed with. Toyed with. Trampled. Broken. Shattered. Mended. And broken again.
The book made me angry. Furious. Frustrated. I wanted to punch the wall, scream at the characters and then just sob into my pillow because I loved them so much and their pain became my pain and their precious moments of happiness became seconds I'd desperately cling to.
"I don't love anything more than I love you."
I find it interesting that I loved this story as much as I did (5 stars for every book) because even though it was loaded with nearly everything that usually bothers me in books, I still loved and was captivated by every single word of this trilogy. I swear to you, more than half my book is highlighted.
Tarryn Fisher has a way of making you feel every moment of the story with every piece of your heart. The writing is just phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.
This book is full of these little beautiful things that are just loaded with memories, meaning and emotion. Airport blue. The penny. The tree. Cherry Garcia. The deflated basket ball. The orange grove. Jaxson's. Duchess. Peter Pan. *sob*
The ending was bittersweet. Perfect in it's imperfections... just like them.
I didn't know what to think at first. When I finished (at 3AM, I might add) I actually just sat there on the couch for about an hour staring blankly in front of me processing my various emotions. I needed to come to terms with the story. Then, over an hour later, my heart still heavy and aching, I went back and reread the epilogue and just sobbed. It was like I needed that time to come to terms with it and accept it.
I loved it. I hated it. I loved it. I hated it. I was mad. Mad at them for their decisions in life. If only they'd just made different choices. They came so close so many times to happiness. The pain and devastation that they brought down on themselves and had to go through over the years gutted me. But their love that held strong throughout all of the pain, the mistakes, the wrong turns. It withstood it all and survived. They survived. Together.
"We are gonna be okay. That's what happens when two people are meant to be. You just work it out until you are okay."
If you're looking for a fairy tale, this isn't the story for you. Nothing could erase the past. Mistakes were made, wrong turns were taken, and their promise of a better tomorrow would forever be haunted by the ghosts of `what if's' and laced with regret for the past and for missed opportunities they could never get back. There was hope, happiness and healing but it was won at a heavy price. In the end, I was given the things I needed at the cost of the things I wanted.
I have to say though that it was incredibly well done and I seriously commend Tarryn Fisher's brilliant storytelling for this because I think that in the end, we were left feeling exactly how Caleb and Olivia felt.
They'd had an unconventional romance and so their ending was no different. They were happy and together at the end and honestly, I couldn't ask for anything more. But still, the tears wouldn't stop falling, my heart won't stop aching, and I can promise you that I will never forget this story.
I'm writing this almost a full 24 hours after finishing the book and I have the book hangover of the century. I can't stop thinking about this story. Pieces of it just keep playing over and over again in my mind.
Flawed. Dysfunctional. Beautiful.
This is a must-read trilogy!
on August 13, 2013
I was disappointed with "Thief" after blowing through the first two books as I had high hopes for the conclusion of the series. Caleb and Olivia had an interesting love story but the third book just dragged on. Unbelievable scenarios and unneccesary drawn-out drama. The whole Leah thing was just over-the-top (her Russian mother, Seth, the underage affair, etc.) This book had the potential to really be good but my interest started to wane about midway through. When I should have been feeling sympathetic to Caleb and Olivia's plight - all I did was get annoyed by their games. The author could have gotten by with just two books and kept the Dirty Red portion shorter and just tied up the loose ends with Caleb and Olivia. Would agree with the sentiment of most readers that it would be nice to see Olivia have a baby but then again, life isn't always hearts and flowers.
on July 28, 2013
Every now and then a series comes along that blows you away: Love me with lies is that series for me. Three years ago, I decided to read all the Booker Man prize winners. I was captivated by Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and eagerly awaited her Bring up the bodies, but Tarryn Fisher's "The Opportunist" (the first in this series) was the little book that came in from left field and became my favourite book of 2012. Thief is the last book in the series and it gave closure to an epic love story, full of complicated, difficult and sometimes, unlikeable characters. The first two leads (Olivia in The Opportunist) and Leah ("Dirty Red") were morally ambiguous characters, that made my eyes pop open wide at some of their actions. Thief is from the object of their desire/affection's point of view: Caleb, the man these women went to war over and who himself bears some serious scars from the fall out. This work is different in tone to the earlier books and Tarryn Fisher provides answers to nearly every theory that has been raised in cyberspace debating intentions, motivations, actions and outcomes. This has been an unconventional series and I have enjoyed it from start to finish. It is unforgettable and as indicated earlier, I have read some of contemporary literature's most acclaimed works, but Love me with lies will stay long in my memory.
As an aside: I applaud Tarryn Fisher's word smith, her dense and layered prose, the way she turns and captures a phrase, but most of all, I applaud her courage in writing first person points of view of characters that are not mainstream or fit easily into a box. I am a huge fan of Tarryn Fisher and I look forward to reading more works from her.
I don't give out five stars often - actually, I do this very rarely, but Love me with lies deserves that and more.
on August 25, 2013
The story content was great but the way the author kept flip flopping back and forth from the past to the present was too hard to follow. I never could get into the story because I found the writing style was awkward and highly annoying. Not every author is able to make the transition in this writing style easily and I did not find this author was able to pull it off effortlessly. I was so annoyed at trying to follow the storyline with the constant flip-flopping that I gave up on reading anything but the chapters pertaining to present time just to finish the book. UGH! Why do authors do this? I don't want to have to work so hard to follow the storyline. If this book had been written in the linear format, I would give it 5 stars. I am afraid to read any more of her books because I found this method of storyline highly annoying and would never subject myself to this again. I read for pleasure, to get lost in the storyline. I could never do this with this book. It actually made me angry after a while and I nearly didn't even finish reading the book at all, but what I was able to follow, I did enjoy.
on August 24, 2015
Having read several other Tarryn Fisher books before this series, I was somewhat prepared for the way these books might go. But there is nothing that could truly have prepared me for just how twisted and painful they were. I was appalled, I was angry, I was frustrated. And therein lies the beauty of Tarryn Fisher art. These are not beautiful happily-ever-after stories. Life is not beautiful happily-ever-after. There is more ugly in the world than perfection, and nobody does it better. I absolutely adored these books. I loved Olivia and empathized with how she got to be the ugly that she was. But she is fierce and strong and beautiful. I HATED Leah. Even when I found out why she was the way she was, I still hated her. Leah is weak and selfish and just hateful. No thank you. I liked Noah and thought his character was the perfect addition to the story. Cammie was perfection as the best friend and balance to Olivia's neuroses. And there there is Caleb. He is exactly what a man should be. I adored him. The misunderstandings, miscommunications and general thwarted opportunities that keep Caleb and Olivia apart over the years are frustrating but real. Their own flaws are their worst enemies, but ultimately those flaws are what they appreciate and love in each other, and that's why I loved them so much. So thank you, Tarryn Fisher, for your genius and your willingness to go into the ugly where most are intimidated to try it or terrified of how the world will judge them. I love your spunk and your wit and your beauty in the ugly. Keep it up!
on May 17, 2016
I am so happy to have Caleb's side of everything that happened with him and Olivia, and him and Leah, in the past 10 years. I loved how that past was weaved in throughout the book, it was mixed in with the present. It kept me wondering what was going to happen, and what actually did happen.
Caleb isn't as bad as I thought he would be. He's isnt' a bad guy, he's just been in love with the same girl for 10 years and things just have never worked out for them.
Olivia has changed the most in this trilogy. I feel like she has redeemed herself.
Leah, there's no hope for that b****! Can't stand her lol.