Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

My Thoughts

One of the best books I’ve ever read.
Powerful. Introspective. Suspenseful. Gripping. Heartbreaking.
An emotional powerhouse perfectly crafted and brilliantly written.

6stars

Synopsis

MudVein coverWhen reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken.

If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

 

 

My Review

“It’s your darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein. But sometimes having a mud vein will kill you.”

I experienced this book, alone, in a quiet house on a rainy day, which I felt was ominously appropriate. A dark, cold day listening to the melodic spattering of rain as the words from this story battered my thoughts more forcefully. Gripped me. I was immediately taken. Held captive myself, by the raw power of this book. The trickling of information, clues, truths, secrets, all half-exposed, half-shrouded as the story unfurled. It’s difficult to convey what this story is about, but I think the best, most succinct word I can use is truth.

This is a story about truth.

The truth we seek to uncover. The truth beneath the pain. The truth we bury deep inside and are too blind to see. And finally, the truth we find … often times, too late.

“This is a game, and if I want to get out, I have to find the truth.”

Senna awakes to a real-life nightmare.  She finds herself imprisoned without chains, but locked up in a cabin encased by snow, trapped with a person from her past who ignites old feelings she meant to keep dormant.  Unclear clues taunt all around them. The game is ingeniously staged for them to figure out. There are many facets to this story, ribbons of the plot untwining gradually, and during this part of the book, I found myself caught up in the suspense of their situation. I found myself observing and deliberating, elements twisting and clicking into place. Waiting. Watching for the nuances of their environment, clues hidden in the subtext of words and hiding in plain sight.

“Who will live and who will die? It’s the worst form of torture a person can imagine — the wait to die.”

But the more I worked to decipher the mystery, the more I found myself intrigued by the enigma that is Senna.  I was lost in her, unraveling her complexities to better understand her essence. She defies normal, reveling in the anti-current of society. She’s a writer. An artist. She takes in the world through a different lens. She’s also one of the most tragic characters of which I’ve read. Pain has defined her. Abandonment has shaped her. She destroys before she can be destroyed. But the more I tried to untangle, the more I wondered whether perhaps I was trying to uncover something that already laid bare. To me, she was both exceedingly vulnerable and entirely shielded. She’s worked so hard to smother the sum of her painful experiences that she lives behind the haze of a thin veil, obscuring her emotions.  There’s only been one person who’s been able to lift the fog and see right through her.

“She can’t see the landscape anymore. It’s all painted in her grief.”

(Florence and The Machine, Landscape)

Dr. Isaac Asterholder. This is the man she finds in the cabin … the man from her past … the man she pushed away. He met Senna in a moment of chaos and vulnerability, in the raging aftermath of pain. He forced his way into her life, helping her in a way no one had before.

“Isaac was a stranger and he had seen more of my wounds than anyone else. Not because I chose him… He was just always there. That’s what scared me.”

We are transported back to a time where we can better understand Senna and Isaac and the charged dynamic between them. Isaac pushed through all the walls that Senna erected, but he never pushed too far, just far enough to make progress. He was her lifeline at a time her life seemed to permanently dim. Senna’s way of dealing with life was seeing what happened as an indisputable fact. Something she just had to deal with. She was broken. Disfigured by fate and circumstance. She didn’t relent to the pain, but she saw herself as permanently scarred. Isaac was selfless, fixated on healing those broken parts of her he could, bringing color, feeling and intensity to a life painted white, stark and cold. A person from Senna’s past said that she was a “daughter of winter” and I think if she personified winter, then Isaac was someone who thrived in the cold uncertainty of the season. He was a fixer who understood more about her wounds and her silence than anyone else. He carried her pain as his own.

“He kissed me with color, with drumbeat, and a surgeon’s precision. He kissed me with who he was, the sum of his life — and it was all encompassing. I wondered what I kissed him with since I was only broken parts.”

Nevertheless, peering into their past didn’t change reality. They were now two people with lives that had long diverged, suddenly so tangled again by a situation they never expected. Trying to survive a looming danger, an anonymous culprit, the pangs of hunger and the insanity of time, was enough to break open the floodgates, bringing a deluge of emotions that Senna had worked so hard to suppress.

“Being stuck on love was a real bitch to cure. Like cancer, I think. Just when you think you’re over it, it comes back.”

What happens in the cabin and the events that lead up to it are for you to experience. These characters are just brilliantly written, each on their own journey to find their truth. As a writer, Senna needed “simplicity to create complexity,” but I think that she was so lost in her own complexity that she couldn’t see the simple truth in front of her.  She was paralyzed by fear – of so many things – but also to feel so much and have it all be brutally taken away. Because Isaac was all feeling. He flooded her senses. And Senna was afraid to feel. Feeling meant being tethered to someone, beholden to something she couldn’t control.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye… Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are these invisible strings…. Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soulmates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them through their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Absolutely and undeniably brilliantly written. The syntax. The word choices. The layers and sub-layers of meaning make it impossible to not get mesmerized by the story.  To me, it felt like a multisensory experience. As if I were walking into a literary butterfly den, not knowing whether to get lost in the beauty of the colorful patterns, or entranced by the soft sounds fluttering in the distance, or be flooded by the smell of the environment around you. I felt my way through this book. I was captivated by all the elements coming together so perfectly. Powerfully. It honestly just blew me away. Is this a romance? No. It’s a novel that defies genre. It’s fiction, suspense, romance, mystery all woven together to create an unforgettable story about discovering the darkest, muddiest, well-buried truths within ourselves… the kind of truth that fills a life with meaning and ultimately sets you free.

“You’ve been silent your whole life. You were silent when we met, silent when you suffered. Silent when life kept hitting you… I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut if off. Your silence, Senna, I hear it so loudly.”

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About Tarryn
Tarryn Fisher Author PicI am a real life villain, truly. I drink sick amounts of Starbucks. Most of the time my hair smells like coffee. I was born in South Africa, and lived there for most of my childhood. I moved to Seattle just for the rain. Rome is my favorite place in the world so far, Paris comes in at a close second. I read and write more than I sleep. When I was eleven, I wrote an entire novel about runaway orphans, using only purple ink. I am addicted to Florence and the Machine and will travel to see concerts. I love scary movies and giraffes. I spend way too much time on Facebook. Meet you there?…
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Review: Thief (#3, Love Me With Lies) by Tarryn Fisher

My Thoughts

Struck. Speechless.
Riveting. Heartbreaking. Soul-searching. This book so undeniably Tarryn Fisher…  who else could so skillfully tell a love story defined by sadness, regret, lies and retaliation? But nonetheless, Caleb and Olivia’s tale is story of love and one I won’t soon forget.

5stars

Giveaway at the bottom of post! Don’t miss the book trailer exclusive to VBB and the excerpt below!

Synopsis

thief coverNote 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.

Thief

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.

My Review

“Life does not accommodate you, it shatters you. Love is mean, but it’s good. It keeps us alive.”

Ummmm… yea. How the heck do I start this review? I’m still processing it all, trying to connect the dots in the story line, trying to process my own feelings. I have a white sheet of paper here in front of me with notes I jotted down as I read, capturing all the random thoughts and questions that swirled in my mind as I felt my way through this book. So I’m going to ramble. Ramble quite a bit I imagine trying not to give away anything… although truth be told, it’s almost hard to tell you what this book is about. It’s simply Caleb and Olivia’s story. A story about addiction, deceit, love and perseverance. It’s the end. The in-between. The beginning.

“She’s mine. She always has been, she always will be.”

Caleb has given up. He’s given up with trying to live a life without Olivia in it. Whether it be distance, women, silence or convoluted lies that separate them… it’s useless. Seeing the story, both past and present, unfold and be analyzed through Caleb’s eyes was riveting. He’s as intelligent and manipulative as are Olivia and Leah. Two truths I took away as irrefutable are: 1) the passion he feels burns brightly fueling his relentless pursuit of Olivia and 2) nobody knows Olivia Kaspen like Caleb Drake. I often found myself thinking that their love was like an intricate, choreographed dance that no one else seemed to know.

“Forget all you know — I said to myself. This is the one you belong with. I don’t know how I knew that. maybe our souls touched underneath that tree. Maybe I decided to love her. Maybe love wasn’t our choice. But when I looked at that woman, I saw myself differently. And it wasn’t in a good light. Not a thing would keep me from her. And that could make a person do things they never thought themselves capable of. What I felt for her scared the hell out of me. It was a consuming obsession.”

The tone of this book felt different to me. It was undeniably Tarryn Fisher, undeniably Caleb and Olivia, but I felt the emotions much stronger… crashing in vacillating waves of hopelessness and determination. There were times where Caleb was singularly focused on getting Olivia back…

“You and I are happening. no one is keeping us apart again. Not Noah or Cammie, and least of all, fucking Leah. You are mine. Do you understand me?”

… and times where it seemed it just wasn’t destined to happen, and I felt so hopeless…

“I’m running away, and I just don’t give a fuck anymore… No. I’m starting over. I need it. If I can help it, I’m never going back there.”

But even in his despondency, Caleb finally realizes there is no life for him without Olivia. She is an addiction, as necessary as the air he breathes and there’s not point in finding yet another failed distraction to mask his feelings.

“If I can’t have Olivia Kaspen, then I’ll be alone. She is a disease I have. After ten years, I am finally realizing that I can’t cure it with other women.”

At one point in the book, I honestly thought, maybe they really do need to be apart. Maybe they are just too unhealthy despite the twisted but true love they feel. But I couldn’t make the leap. I really thought that if they didn’t end up together, all the hurt they caused each other would be wasted… would be for nothing. And I was surprised to see just how much Caleb loved Olivia.

“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.”

As more truth comes to light in this book, I was in awe at the cycles of deceit, the layers of lies, the choices that became triggers to major things occurring. Olivia drove me crazy sometimes. As hard as Caleb tried to be forthright and tell her just how he felt, she continued to disappoint him, pushing him away just when you thought progress was to be made. But then again… the way they BOTH express love is through the lies they tell to save the other one from additional pain.

“Olivia loves you with her lies. She lies about how she’s feeling, how she’s hurting, how she wants you when she tells you she doesn’t. She lies to protect you and herself.”

There are things that I am continuing to work through… Tarryn is not the type of author that is going to answer all our questions, connect all the dots for us. It’s part of her style, I think. We have to find the clues and see the story through our own eyes, making our own assumptions. But… wow… the feelings that the story evoked were powerful. So many times I felt absolutely crushed. As I reflect on the series as a whole, I think it’s almost the antithesis of a love story. Whereas a typical romance shines the spotlight on feelings of hope, we felt hopelessness. Where there was love, there were lies. Where trust was needed, we got deceit instead. But in the end, this IS a love story, however the journey to the end was paved with these allegorical elements of how their love came to be. To me, this really shows how genius Tarryn Fisher is… the way she told this story, with its twists and turns (and there are BIG ones) is just so unique and brazen and unpredictable.

The last portion of the book had me devouring the pages with bated breath and in tears. There is a happy ending. But it’s not rainbows, hearts and sunshine. There’s heartbreak and realism and it was done really well in my opinion.

All in all, the series is unforgettable and original. It had me analyzing everything. It had me questioning how I felt. It had me consuming every word on every page, feeling the high highs and the low lows. I loved it all… lies, deceit, heartbreak and love.

“I’ll do whatever I have to do to protect you. I’ll lie, cheat, and steal to make you okay. I’ll share your suffering, and I’ll carry you when you’re weighed down. I’ll never leave you, not even when you ask me to. Do you believe me?”

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Excerpt

Gardenia Bush

Once, during her senior year, she bought a gardenia bush to put outside her apartment. She fawned over that thing like it was a dog; googled ways to take care of it and then made notes in one of those spiral notebooks. She’d even named it-Patricia-I think.  Every day she’d squat on her haunches outside her front door, and examine Patricia to see  if it had bloomed a flower. I’d watch her face when she came back inside, she always wore this look of hopeful determination. Not yet-she’d say to me, as if all of her hope for life was tied in to that gardenia plant blooming a flower.  That’s what I loved about her; that grim determination to survive even though the odds seemed to always be against her. Despite all of Olivia’s plant nurturing, Patricia had slowly started to fade away; her leaves curling at the tips and turning brown. Olivia would stare at that plant, a crease forming between her eyebrows and her little mouth puckered in a frown worth kissing. Florida had an especially cold winter the year. One morning when I got to her apartment Patricia was clearly dead. I’d jumped into my car and sped off to Home Depot where I’d seen them selling the same bushes. Before my little love cracked her eyes open, I’d replaced her dead plant with a healthy one, repotting it over the grass in front of her building. I’d thrown the old one in the dumpster and washed my hands in the pool before knocking on her door. She’d checked on it when she opened the door for me that morning, her eyes lighting up when she saw the healthy green leaves. I don’t know if she ever suspected what I’d done, she’d never said anything. I took take of it without her knowing. Sticking plant food into the pot before I knocked on her door. My mother always put used tea bags in the soil around her rose bushes. I did that a couple times too. Right before we broke up that damn plant bloomed a flower. I’d never seen her so excited. The look on her face was the same as when I’d missed the shot for her.

About Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher Author PicI am a real life villain, truly. I drink sick amounts of Starbucks. Most of the time my hair smells like coffee. I was born in South Africa, and lived there for most of my childhood. I moved to Seattle just for the rain. Rome is my favorite place in the world so far, Paris comes in at a close second. I read and write more than I sleep. When I was eleven, I wrote an entire novel about runaway orphans, using only purple ink. I am addicted to Florence and the Machine and will travel to see concerts. I love scary movies and giraffes. I spend way too much time on Facebook. Meet you there?…

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Review: The Opportunist (#1, Love Me With Lies) by Tarryn Fisher

My Thoughts

Wow. Incredibly unique. A brilliantly crafted story of love, manipulation and lies. This books begs the question… How far should we truly go in the name of love? And more so, if what we do is done for love, can we be redeemed?

5stars

Synopsis

opportunist

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.

 

 

My Review

I mean really — Wow! Wow! Holy Wow! I DEVOURED this book! Could.not.put.it.down. Addictive and brilliantly structured, Tarryn Fisher weaved a complex story layered in lies and mistakes — so much so that it becomes difficult to discern truth from reality, goodness from wrongness, love from manipulation. One of the questions I kept asking myself was… If you make bad choices because you love someone so deeply, does it make it okay in the end? And more so, is it truly love?

“There is more to loving someone than just making yourself happy. You have to want him to be happier than you are.”

Olivia Kaspen had been in love. She met Caleb Drake in college and he pursued her despite her pushing him away.

“Listen pal, don’t think for one minute that I buy that sensitive guy routine you’ve got going. I know bippity, boppity  bullshit when I see it.”

Olivia is one of the most interesting and complex characters I’ve ever read. I mean, this girl is SOMETHING ELSE! Her moral compass is rather defective I think. She’s a product of a broken home that was also fueled by manipulation. She’s ruthlessly driven and focused and likes to be in control. At the same time, however, I think there’s a vulnerability there that’s rooted in her desire to belong and to be loved… but it’s a vulnerability she works hard to keep hidden.

“I was a relationship retard. I kicked, shoved and punched people out of my life, so they never had the chance to hurt me.”

So what’s the story? I’ll let you know up front that it’s almost impossible to tell you about what happens. The story really comes alive with the exchanges and plot twists… and trust me, you want to EXPERIENCE everything this book has to offer.

We start off with Olivia running into Caleb, three years after they’ve broken up. We immediately get the sense that something epic, scarring and painful happened when things ended. But she still loves him and has not been able to forget him… not for one single second. When she finally works up the nerve to “casually” bump into him, he doesn’t know who she is. He has AMNESIA! He was in a car accident just a few months prior and doesn’t remember anything about his life.

“He forgot me. I can make him remember — not what I did to him, but what he felt for me.”

Enter the Opportunist.

Olivia decides to take advantage of the situation. She wants a clean slate to get Caleb back — back that is, from his current girlfriend redhead bombshell and rich bitch, Leah Smith.

Olivia is obsessed with Caleb. Having him in her life after 3 years is everything she needed and wanted. Caleb has always been her weakness.

“He was my crack. I could never get enough and when I had him, I was already thinking about when I could have him next.”

The story is told in Olivia’s POV, alternating between past and present. Understanding their past is a critical key in deciphering their actions and intent in the present tense.

I could talk, disect and argue about Olivia forever. I mean, really, to say this girl is complex is a HUGE understatement. Do I like Olivia? Yes? No? More yes than no I think. Us girls may all have a little Olivia in us… a little bit of that selfishness and laser-sharp focus to go after what we want and who we love. Love is a battlefield, right?! In one sense, you feel bad for the horrible upbringing she had, but at the same time, I wanted to shake her! This girl was NOT hardwired for honesty and transparency! She bounces Caleb around like a “yo-yo,” never telling him she loves him, never consummating their relationship years into them dating. And now, with this “new” Caleb… everything is happy and free of of all the pain and drama they’ve been through. Time, however, begins to run out when Leah becomes a threat in exposing her. It becomes a heated race to get the boy.

“I decide to seize the day. If my time is short, I might as well be with him as much as I possibly can.”

We also learn what happened between Olivia and Caleb when things ended the first time. It’s the kind of awful stuff you can’t let go, the kind of stuff you can never forget.

“I will love again, Olivia, you will hurt forever. What you’ve done is… you are worthless because you make yourself that way. You will remember me every day for the rest of your life because I was the one, and you threw me away.”

Most.painful.words.ever.

And of course, the shit hits the fan in the present tense and she is again forced to see herself for what she’s done. But does she truly see herself an how wrong her actions are?

“Why didn’t I see it before? The person I really was. How had I never know that I was an empty hole incapable of loving?”

A series of OMG events happen, plot twists, more bad choices, more time elapsed and I was left breathless and bereft of clear emotions.

And Caleb — he’s not just a victim, although I absolutely felt for him, but he’s also smart, masterful at reading people and adept at manipulating Olivia an the situations he finds himself in. To be honest, I think he is the craftiest of all. He undoubtedly loves her though, that much is crystal clear.

“I love you… Olivia. More than I could ever love another soul. There hasn’t been a single hour in seven years that I haven’t thought of you.”

In addition, this book is so intertwined in lies and manipulation that I think I’ve yet to uncover it all. It’s a three-way story of deceit and it’s far from over.

Here’s what I learned:

  • I don’t hate Olivia… she makes me angry, but a big part of me sympathizes with her.
  • Caleb needs an award for putting up with Olivia. Seriously.
  • I hate Leah, that red-headed pompous bitch. Damn Dirty Red.
  • Tarryn Fisher is brilliant. Her voice is really unique and her writing flows effortlessly. And since I’m already reading Dirty Red
  • … If she doesn’t release Thief soon, I’m afraid I’ll go all “Olivia” on her and stalk her until she does 🙂

In the end, there is no HEA, but the story is NOT over. Olivia finally becomes accountable for her actions and hopefully this time, her moral compass is functioning.

I can’t recommend this book enough! Go get it! Dirty Red is book 2 in the Love Me With Lies series!

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Review: Dirty Red (#2, Love Me With Lies) by Tarryn Fisher

My Thoughts

Riveting and revealing.
Getting into Leah’s head was a story of pain, manipulation,
want and contradiction. The twists get twistier and the deceit deepens as the saga ensues…

5stars

Synopsis

dirty redDear 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.

My Review

“My name is Leah, and I will do anything to keep my husband.”

At the end of The Opportunist, I hated Leah. She’s conniving, manipulative, mean and seems completely superficial. After reading Dirty Red, I’m not ready to be her BFF, but it shed so much light on her actions and the intent behind those actions. I understood her better through this book. My big AHA moment, however, was just how similar she and Olivia are. Their upbringing has made them somewhat broken and complicated and insecure. They both crave love and a sense of belonging. And so for both of them, Caleb represents everything they desire… love, solace, belonging. Who wouldn’t chase after that fiercely? And Leah, for sure, is in it to win it.

“I have done a number of things to keep this man. I have lied and cheated. I have been sexy and meek, fierce and vulnerable. I have been everything but myself.”

Dirty Red is told entirely in Leah’s POV, and like with The Opportunist, is told in both past and present tense. Her thoughts are not as surface level as I imagined them to be. She’s a study in contradiction. At times, her feelings are pained, real and raw and other times, it’s as if she shields her vulnerability with superficiality and laser-sharp focus. The story begins with the birth of Caleb and Leah’s baby. She feels no connection towards the baby and she unbelievably sees the baby as a threat… competition for Caleb’s attention and love.

“He is mine right now, but I am never enough for him. I can feel it — see it in the way he looks at me. His eyes are always probing, searching for something. I don’t know what he’s looking for. I wish I did. I cannot compete against a baby — my baby.”

I couldn’t believe it. I never said she was a saint, but to see your child as competition is crazy. She is crazy. Slowly, however, you start to see some of the possible reasons for her lack of connection. She grew up without the love and affection of her own mother. Not only that, but her mother didn’t like her much at all, leaving her feeling alone and unloved from the beginning.

“My mother hated most things associated with me — the tangles in my hair after a bath, the color of my hair, the way I chewed, the way I laughed too loud, the way I flicked my fingernails across my thumb when I was in trouble. If you asked me, then or now, what she actually liked about me, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”

Although her insecurities are understandable, with time, they’ve only amplified. When she first met Caleb, he was a challenge that fueled her. The more time they spent together and learned about HER, Leah’s self-doubt skyrocketed. Not only did she feel ownership of Caleb, she was determined to make him forget HER. But Olivia was always the third person in their relationship. She becomes obsessed with Caleb, obsessed with HER, obsessed with winning. She becomes completely consumed with keeping Caleb away from Olivia.

“He didn’t want me. He wanted her. He hadn’t exactly said that, but I knew it down to my marrow. I knew it by the way he always looked away when I brought her up. He wouldn’t even tell me her name. Whoever had ruined him had ruined everything for me.”

It’s hard to tell who the real Leah is… she’s multi-layered… shallow yet thoughtful and smart enough to weave a web of lies to keep Caleb. Leah’s approach is certainly the darker part of this love triangle… she’s just gone off the deep end. I also think it was so interesting to see Caleb in this side of the story. He is such a perceptive, intelligent guy… nothing gets past him.

“Caleb does everything with a purpose.”

I loved seeing the possession, protectiveness and love he had for his daughter. At one point, Leah does something so awful that I wanted Caleb to just tear into her. She’s irresponsible, careless and self-centered.

As the story progresses, it was visible how nerves began to fray, emotions seemed to spin out of control and at the same time, parts of the situation became increasingly clear.

In the end, I wasn’t sure I knew who Leah truly is… in fact, she may not know who she is herself. All she knows is that she has to keep him. The last line of the book is explosive and the Epilogue is riveting and throws down the metaphorical gauntlet. Olivia and Caleb HAVE TO end up together! But things are so much more complicated now and it won’t be easy or clean even if it does happen. Tarryn Fisher is so good at surprising us that I don’t know what to expect in The Thief, but I can’t wait to read it!

“Hate is such a prodigious feeling. It’s hot and oppressive like fire. It starts by burning through your God-given reason until there is nothing left of it but a mound of ash. It moves on to your humanity next, hot tongues flicking across the few remaining threads of innocence until they melt into each other and morph into something ugly. Then, in the rubble of what you were, hate plants a seed of bitterness. The seed grows to a vine that chokes what it touches. That’s where I am; the vine wrapped so tightly around my neck I can barely breathe. One hand is on that vine, and the other is pressed against my chest to keep everything from falling out.”

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