Review: Love Me with Lies by Tarryn Fisher

“You can only give your heart away once; after that, everything else will just chase your first love.” ~ Olivia

Just finished this series—Love Me With Lies—and I feel the need to share this with you, my lovely Wenches and readers. I have to tell you that, even after reading the review that prompted me to pick up this book, I was not prepared for my strong reactions.

My emotions are all over the place! A book series hasn't done this to me in a long time. I read the first page in that first book and BOOM! I was a goner. I finished reading and now I can’t stop thinking about it. I had to sit and write down my feelings.

This story is a wringer of emotions; I was left exhausted after finishing the series.

This is the story of Olivia Kaspen and Caleb Drake, two people with one bigger-than-life crazy, dysfunctional love. This is also a story about choices, decisions, and fate. I think most of us can find a part in the story to identify with. (Please, just not with Leah.)

Follow me after the jump, and I'll try to explain a little more about the books and why they have had such a deep effect on me.

The Series

There are three books: The Opportunist, Dirty Red, and Thief. They are ridiculously well written by author Tarryn Fisher. Ms. Fisher plays with words and with her readers’ emotions brilliantly; she is a master at manipulating emotions. I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall a few times and needed a lot of tissues throughout reading. I highlighted so many parts on my Kindle, it is ridiculous.

Each book is told from a character’s POV: the first book, The Opportunist, is told from Olivia’s POV, the second, Dirty Red, from Leah’s POV, and the last, Thief, from Caleb’s. There are also a few other characters whose POV appears for brief moments. The author tells parts of the same story in each book from the different points of view, tying them all together in an interesting way as she switches between the characters. For example, there are holes in Olivia’s story in the first book that are filled when the story is told from Lea’s or Caleb’s POV in the later books. You find out new revelations to the same tale from Caleb’s POV, you find out things you didn’t know before, because the first time was through Olivia’s eyes, and she didn’t know what Caleb knew. So the pieces fall into place slowly, but they do. It is like putting together a puzzle—you can see most parts of the big picture, the framework and large sections, but there are still holes. One by one you find the small pieces that fill in those holes by providing a new perspective and understanding, until at last you see the complete picture.

The plot moves between the present and the past—one chapter is in the present and the next is a flashback, which tells a story that has a connection to the next chapter, which is set in the present. This writing style of mixing present and past, together with the different points of views, adds up to the finished jigsaw puzzle.

The Opportunist                                                                         

“I am Olivia Kaspen, and if I love something I rip it from my life. Not intentionally… not unintentionally either.”
The story, told from Olivia’s point of view, starts with her seeing Caleb after their disastrous separation three years earlier. They meet by chance at a music store, and she is astounded and relieved to find out he has amnesia and, of course, does not remember her. But they meet again, and again. 

Caleb and Olivia had first met in College. He was one of the most popular guys—the best athlete, girls flocked all around—and she, of course, was nerdy and shy. He came from a rich family, had an attractive British accent, and  she was an orphan, living on a scholarship. He fell for her! Hard! She didn’t believe him, but still fell for him, too. But, guarding her heart, she walked away. And now she keeps running into him again, with her heart aching all over.
“I certainly didn’t care what effect he had on the females on campus. Caleb Drake meant nothing to me. He would never mean anything to me. I was un-shmoozable. The end.”

“I was a relationship retard. I kicked, shoved, and punched people out of my life, so they never had a chance to hurt me.”
And so it continues like any other true romance (alas, not really), like a ping-pong match. He gives up after a while, but in the end (remember, this is just the beginning) Caleb gets the girl. From this part on, their story is a disastrous emotional roller coaster, full of misunderstandings, lies, forwardness, foolish stubbornness, and broken hearts. These two make wrong turns so many times, I wanted to scream at them, “Look what you are doing! Don’t be so blind! This is NOT the right turn, go back, go back!” By the end of the book I couldn’t breathe, it was like a punch to my guts. I just reached for the second book as soon as I could.

Dirty Red                                                                                               
“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. 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 am who I am.

My name is Leah, and I will do anything to keep my husband.”
This book is mostly told from Leah’s point of view. Oh, Leah—can’t do without a spoiler here—is Caleb’s girlfriend, and later his wife! Yes, his wife! This red-haired devil! I read this book as quickly as I could; I knew I had to, in order to get to the third book. Please bear with me here, it’s not easy for me to write objectively about Leah. She is an obstacle in my imaginary happily ever after for Olivia and Caleb. But I’ll try.

Leah meets Caleb when Olivia is out of the picture. Leah does not know of Olivia or Caleb’s love for her. She falls in love with him and does everything in her power to have and marry him. I can’t fault her for that. But if I were in her situation, I wouldn’t be able to continue after learning about Olivia. Leah finds out about Olivia and still goes after Caleb, though she knows he will never love her. Why? Why would you want a man who you know will not love you??? Ever!

This book was a little less emotional for me, but still, I love to hate Leah. She is a cold-hearted, manipulating bitch. She is so self-centered, you wouldn’t believe it. She goes to such great lengths to manipulate, it is gross.
“I want what Olivia has. I want to be enough for him… I’ll never leave him. If I leave him, she wins.”
I will not tell anything about the plot here, as not to spoil the story for those who’ll read it. There are heartaches here, and at one point I thought, “this is the end of O&C”. My heart said it couldn’t be true, I was devastated for a time. I do know that, deep inside, Leah is insecure and has her own issues, but I just could not sympathize with her. She is THE viper!
“No! I think. I am not the poisonous snake. Olivia is. Everything that I’ve had to do is her fault. I am innocent.”
 I was relieved to finish this book, but I confess I felt sick to my stomach. I knew this was a romance, and eventually the ending would be as good as a romance should be, but still, AAGGHH!!!


“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.”
Here we have the final book, Caleb’s story/ point of view. I think I cried in this book more than I can remember—I am still processing my feelings, and they are not easy to write yet. This book is sad and bittersweet; it has all shades of loneliness and anguish. We get to see Olivia through Caleb’s eyes.
“Olivia was so beautifully broken. The hairline cracks in her personality were more pieces of art than flaws. I loved flawed art.”
Caleb evaluates his life. At some point he feels hopeless, he feels he did whatever he could to try and mend the past and leave the lies behind, but in the end he gives up.
“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.”
Caleb is trying to live without Olivia. He has no choice in the matter, and by this time, I was a complete mess. I could read no more; the letters became blurry as I sobbed (me? Sobbing? I still can’t believe it), while trying to go on.
“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.”
Caleb has a true, heartfelt love for Olivia, but their way to being together is full of ups and downs, of pot holes and barricades along the way. They both take the wrong turns all the time, almost until the end. Hopelessness, regret, and sorrow so strong, I felt weighed down, again it was so difficult to breath. There was a time I thought that maybe it was better for them to be apart, they were not healthy for each other, but I could not linger there. They must be together in the end, mustn’t they? After going through so much and still loving one another, they deserve their happiness, they do!
Olivia made me crazy a few times. Couldn’t she see Caleb? Wearing his heart on his sleeve? Have mercy!!! So much angst. But I knew she loved him as much as he loved her, so it would be okay, be still my aching heart.
“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.”
The end is bitter sweet. May I say it is a sad happy ending? No rosey pink-colored ending, but true and realistic, happy, yes! But still heartbreaking.
“Broken people give broken love. And we are all a little broken. You just have to forgive and sew up the wounds love delivers, and move on.”

A Few (Probably Not) Final Thoughts

Two side “tokens” I have to remark on before the end. The first is the pressed penny, early on,  Caleb gives this penny to Olivia. It was a pressed penny from a souvenir machine, and there was a message written on it, “Good for one kiss. Anywhere, anytime”. This penny surfaces throughout the story, at every twist and turn—just like their love, it never, ever disappears.

The second is a murderer and rapist named Dobson. I am not completely sure of his significance yet, Dobson, Olivia and Caleb have an obsession they have to deal with. This is what Olivia has to say about him:
“I felt a connection to him. We were both dealing with our obsessions that day. Dobson and I.”
As you can probably tell, I am still intensely moved by this broken love story. It is a soul-deep love, full of heartbreaks, lies and deception, a devastating journey I took with these characters, flawed as they are and beautifully written. Their love is a first love that never diminishes even after all they go through.
“They spark… when they’re together, it’s like putting a hurricane and a tornado in the same room – you can feel the tension. I didn’t believe in the cliché of soul mates until I saw them together.”

Wench Rating:

So, what do you think, my dear fellow readers? Am I overreacting? Do I sound like a sentimental kind of fool? Yes, I know I do, but this is my messy, sentimental reaction to this haunting tale and I urge you to read it.


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    1. Hi Daniel.

      I just wanted to say, if you wish to contact one of us to read and review a book, you can email us at the address provided in the "Contact Us" section. Thanks.

      Glad you enjoyed Merit's very awesome review!

  2. God, Merit I can't believe what I'm seeing! I freaking loved this series. Read it in the span of 4 days, I couldn't put it down for anything, it kept pulling at me and making me read it.

    I loved your review! You nailed it.

    Olivia's book rocked my socks.
    Leah's book, well with her being a bitch, I'd thought I would hate it, but man, was I ever wrong! I actually could see her side of the story, understand her, and well, pity her.
    Caleb's POV on the other hand, opened my eyes on so many things, his book blew my mind ti pieces I had to scramble off the walls.

    This was such an amazing roller-coaster, and I really doubt I will ever read something similar.

    Along with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, this is a Must Read!

  3. These books are so painfully amazing and Tarryn Fisher is a brilliant writer! I take my hat off to you.

    I don't think I can put into words how these books made me feel. I've never read anything like it, and probably never will again. If it weren't for my ugly crying in the end, I swear I'd start a re-read of the three books right away and then be reading them for every day of the rest of my life. But I'm sure I need a little time to process everything and let my heart resume its beating.
    How did Olivia put it in The Opportunist?
    "It feels as if someone has taken a potato masher to my brain." Yep, that was me after I was done with the books.

    This trilogy is about life and what a bitch she really is.
    It's about bad choices and the consequences of those choices.
    It's about lies.
    It's about hurt.

    But above everything else, it's about love. I feel like crying again just thinking about it. It would seem life itself was against Olivia and Caleb.

    How much and for how long does one fight for the person they love? How many times can one break just to be put together before they shatter irrevocably?

    ”Olivia and I never had a chance. The whole time we were destroying ourselves, someone else was having a go at it too.”

  4. Ahhh Olga, you are soooo right!!! I will not reread this for a while, I need to put some distance between my emotions and this one, but I will def reread them again. Thank you.


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