Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroads, confused, without a road map. The choices we make in those moments can define the rest of our days.– One Tree Hill
HOLY GREAT BALLS OF FIRE…I LOVED THIS BOOK! I never wanted it to end and when it did, I was sick with grief. How can a book do this to me?

This is by far the best book I’ve read all year! Can I give this book more than 5 stars?

If an opportunity presented itself would you take it regardless of the consequences? Even if it didn’t matter if it was the right move or wrong move, so long as it furthers you along, would you still take it?

Olivia has a bit of a mean jealous streak in her. But honestly, who doesn’t? She loves Caleb beyond what she can comprehend. So she’ll do what she has to in order to have him in her life. When she runs into him at a music shop three years after their bitter breakup, she realizes she never let go of the feelings she had for him. How could she? Caleb is intelligent, attractive, caring, an all around good guy. She believes the choices she made ruined them. But what Olivia doesn’t know is how manipulative Caleb can be: almost as manipulative as her.

Sadly for Olivia, Caleb has no recollection of who Olivia is when they speak at the music shop. He was in a car accident after their break up and lost his memory. Olivia is heart-stricken over this. How could he forget all the good times they shared…their love…how they met? Everything! Olivia quickly recovers from the initial shock of Caleb not remembering anything. She sees this as an opportunity to make things right again and start over. Unfortunately for her, again, Caleb is dating someone else. He’s been with Leah since before the car accident, so Leah tells him.

What transpires after the first few chapters is mind blowing. There is so much that happens I don’t even know where to begin. Just know this: Caleb and Olivia share a love like no other. A love that runs so deep it tears them apart over and over. A love that made my chest ache with anxiety to the point of agony. They exploit every situation they have to work in their favor until it backfires on them. Until there is no time left. But don’t think it’s just Caleb and Olivia. Oh, no, no, no! There are a few other opponents playing as well. The question is which side are they on?

Olivia is a manipulating little wench. But so is Caleb. He is not the Saint he is painted to be. BELIEVE ME. He plays a huge pawn in this game. What he did was a total and complete shock, like a slap to the face. I did not see it coming! Actually there were many things I didn’t see coming. But that’s the beauty of this book. You will be taken on one hell of a psychological ride the entire time reading The Opportunist.

This book just goes to show that all it takes is one wrong move and your life will be irrevocably changed forever. Tarryn Fisher is a fabulous story teller and writer, but an evil little thing for creating this book. I don’t know whether I want to slap her senseless or kiss her speechless for creating this intoxicating story! The way she spun the lies and deceit, the love and hate, the story line and full character development was amazing. This story weaved through the past and the present just right. You were not left confused with each chapter, only that you wanted more. MORE! MORE! MORE! Don’t get me started on the angst…oh the angst! It’s what I live for in a book. If you want and love angst, then read this book. You will be choking on it.
Once you start this book you won’t be able to stop. It’s addicting, captivating and appealing to all ages. The Opportunist is the kind of book you love to hate- and I mean that in the nicest way possible. The Opportunist should come with a warning label. It’s the kind of book that takes every ounce out of you, sucking you dry, and yet you’re still begging for more! The kind of book you want to read over and over and never want to end. The Opportunist is like a mind trip. It plays with your brain.

I stayed up until 3am reading this book. My husband woke in the middle of the night and looked at me like I was crazy. I had my kindle, which I was gripping so tightly in my hands and my eyes nearly popping from my head. He couldn’t believe I was still awake reading.

When I awoke the next morning after finishing this book, the first thing I did was look up Tarryn Fisher. I mean, as soon as I cracked my eyes open, I had my phone in my hands and I was looking her up. I needed to know whether this story actually ended or not. Because honestly, I did not like the ending, but then again, I think that’s why I loved the book so much. She really squeezed and tugged on my nearly pulverized heart with that ending. It couldn’t possibly end…. It just can’t!

I am happy to say there will be another book! A sequel! I am beyond happy you can’t even begin to imagine! The only problem? It won’t be released until April 2013. 2013! That is too damn far away for me. She needs to hurry up.

Lily of the Springs by Carole Bellacera


The hardest reviews to write are for the books that hit me the deepest, the ones I love the most. Let me tell you, this review took me weeks to write! I couldn’t get my thoughts together on it or decide which part to review. This definitely was the hardest review to wrote to date. So here goes….

“I knew my marriage was in trouble the night my husband brought home a streetwalker to teach me how to satisfy him.”

Once I read that line, I was hooked. Just by that one line, I knew I was going to be on a rough and stormy ride of emotions that would pull me in opposite directions the entire time. And I was right. Those words hit me with such force I swear I could hear and feel what the heroine felt.

It also happens to be the first line in the book.

Lily of the Springs isn’t my typical read. I usually read heavy romance books. Occasionally I’ll branch out to other genres, but any book I read must keep me enthralled in order for me to keep reading it…making me forget all those steamy love scenes I so very much look forward to. And this book did. I could not put it down! I loved every minute of it and if I could give this book more than 5 stars I would. This is one of those books that captured my heart and will never let go…and I don’t want it to. I simply loved it and didn’t want it to end. Just thinking about this book brings a bittersweet smile to my face.

Carole Bellacera takes the reader back in time as the story takes place over the course of three decades- the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. The story starts off in Kentucky and travels through the mid-west as the story unfolds. The story follows Lily as she searches for independence and love- not only from her husband but from herself as well. All the while Carole does an excellent job of describing the settings as the story develops. She pulls the reader back in time. I felt as if I lived through that time period. While there were a few words that I had never heard before, I found her overall choice of words to be right on point.

Lily falls in love with her high school sweetheart and plans to get married. The young couple was very much in love. They agreed to give themselves to each other until one night Lily’s boyfriend didn’t want to wait anymore. So he sought out someone else, devastating Lily. After finding out what happened, a heartbroken Lily turned to a childhood friend. It’s been years since she’s spoken with him…after all, she was not allowed to speak with him. He’s the one friend from long ago who she connected with during her childhood years in Kentucky, Jake.

Jake is the stereotypical white trash boy of the town. The kind of bad boy you want your daughter to stay away from. He comes from a bitter family. He’s learned from watching the actions of his abusive father. He does what he wants when he wants. It’s his way or the highway. When he sees Lily walking down the street, he wants her. Which isn’t a problem for him since Lily goes willingly and openly into his arms. One night of passion turns into a secret romantic relationship that grows hot and sexy, until shocking news sets their fate in motion…news that Lily thought Jake would be happy with but clearly wasn’t.

What Jake attempted nearly gave me a panic attack. I really believed Jake would have been happy with the news, but he wasn’t. In a way I was glad he didn’t accept the news with happiness. It would have been too easy….

“You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it,” is what Lily’s mother told her. And she does, trying to make the best of her marriage to an alcoholic and abusive husband. Jake was abusive on all levels- physically, emotionally and verbally, and Lily took it all. Yet she forgave him many times for his actions. Lily loved Jake and did whatever he needed, being a dutiful wife for many long years. I truly believe Jake loved Lily at times. I think you would too if you read it even though he was abusive. I know it doesn’t make sense but you have to read it to understand.

Unfortunately, Lily doesn’t get much in return in the form of a loving and caring husband. Instead of flowers and chocolates, she gets fists flying into her head and verbal degradations spewing from Jake’s lips. He oftentimes would embarrass her, sometimes in situations with other women who he obviously lusted for. It’s not what she thought her marriage would be. She often wondered what marriage would have been like if she married her high school sweetheart instead….

Even though there were years of deceit and abuse, there were good times too for Jake and Lily. I found myself rooting for Jake plenty of times, thinking he’d really changed. There were times when Jake would really impress me. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was a long time coming. Lily finally snapped. She lasted way longer than I would have, but it was different during those times so I understood why she did. I was in a state of shock when I found out what Jake did. I mean…I expected some form of it but I didn’t want to accept it. Carole Bellacera kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time so when I found out what Jake did, I was like, oh hell no!

This review could go on and on but I’m going to stop now. There is so much that happens that I don’t want to give it away. There were so many turn of events in this book…never a dull moment….I can assure you that!

I feel like this book is somewhat personal to the author….it’s just a feeling I have. I could be wrong but I don’t think I am. Every once in a while I’ll read a book where I get this feeling, like it’s reaching out to me, letting me know these are real words form a real person. A fictional story yet underneath the lining is the true life of a real person. I strongly believe there is truth in this story somewhere for the author.

This story does have a happily ever after, in case you’re wondering. Yes romantically….and in other ways too. Lily was pushed down so many times but she never gave up. She was fighter, a soldier. She did what she had to do and in the end it paid off for her. Its funny how things come full circle… you get what you deserve in the end. I have always believed in karma and this novel just goes to show that it.

Lily of the Springs is the kind of book I love the most. The one I look for and have the hardest time finding. The kind that really get down in the bones, take root and never let go.

Every once in a while, a song will play that makes me think of a book. This time it was Carrie Underwood’s, So Small. I have played that song so many times since reading this book. Perfect.

Pulled by A.L. Jackson

5 Stars!
Make sure you have plenty of boxes of tissues available when you read this book. Pulled is a very emotional, heart wrenching read.  It is a story about mistakes, heart break, soul mates, healing, forgiveness, and true love.  You are drawn in from the first few chapters.  Melanie is a trophy wife who is emotionally abused by her successful husband.  From the start you know she misses the love of her life, Daniel, and that a tragedy happened that had separated them nine years before.  Daniel, is a doctor who is in practice with his father, who is also broken emotionally  from the pain he feels from missing Melanie.  He tries to temporarily forget but can’t, he only wants his girl back and nothing and no one else can ever replace her in his heart.  He has made mistakes, one big one that will play a major role in their lives and could heal or hurt their relationship.
I love a book where I can actually feel the emotions the author is trying to portray, and have a connection to the characters from the start.  I was pulled, no pun intended, immediately into Melanie’s pain and heartbreak.  You know something bad happened that broke her and her heart but not what and for me I just wanted to somehow reach into the book and hold her and tell her that it will be okay.  You want to reach out and smack Nicholas, her abusive husband for the way he treats and talks to her.  You feel the same sense of loss when you are reading Daniel’s point of view.  When by fate they find each other again when Melanie’s husband is trying to get the contract to build Daniel’s new building you already start routing for them to begin to heal, but it is never that easy.  Enter Vanessa, she is pregnant with Daniel’s child after trying to trap him into a relationship that he doesn’t want, she is like a bad rash that just doesn’t go away.  She refuses to take the hint that Daniel doesn’t want anything to do with her and really doesn’t want the baby either.
The struggles that Melanie and Daniel go through, not just to be together but to heal, is heart wrenching because you learn how strong their relationship was from the moment they first met and you know that they are soul mates in the truest meaning of those words.  They have this connection that can not be described, they are pulled to each other by a force stronger than can be explained in words.   The heartbreak that they go through, and when you find out what that was, you are in awe that they are even functioning especially apart when they needed to be together.  You can begin to feel the healing of their hearts and souls from the moment they reconnect and promise their love to each other once again.  Forgiveness plays a huge role in the healing and reconnecting of their hearts and souls.  When Melanie suffers the last time at the hands of Nicholas, you think it can’t get any worse for their relationship, that is, until Vanessa gives birth to her and Daniel’s son.  The events that happen after that are the final steps in the healing of their wounds, the ones that were obvious to the world and the ones that they held deep inside.  This story was a true happily ever after but only after heart break and pain.

I had to stop reading this from time to time because I would get so emotional and start crying.  I literally was pulled, again no pun intended, into this book and felt like I was there.  It brought up feelings and memories from my past that were painful that I thought were long buried.  I strongly believe in soul mates and fate playing a role when we find our one true love, the one person who completes not just our hearts but our souls as well.  I also believe that there is a connection like Melanie and Daniel had, when you find your other half, and when you find that connection, there are not words to describe the feelings you have.  This is how a great love story is written, life is not all hearts and flowers, but it is also tragedy and hurt but it is also healing and forgiveness.  I will defiantly be putting this book on my reread list and will be recommending this to my friends to read.

Pulled by A.L. Jackson

5 Stars

Wow. I think my heart can finally beat on its own again. What an emotionally intense and addictive story….and I loved every minute of it! THIS is what I look for in a romance book and yet it’s so hard for me to find.

Nine years earlier, Melanie relocated to a new town with her father. She met Erin who introduced her to her brother, Daniel. They started dating immediately. They were inseparable and fell madly and wholly in love.  Their love instantly captivated me. It was a love so strong, it not only enveloped everyone around them, but me as a reader. I swear I could feel the love…a love that seemed to be too good to be true. Even an unexpected pregnancy, which I thought would change everything, did not distract the two from their initial feelings. It was all going as planned until one tragic agonizing night when the force that kept them together was torn away. 

Fast forward nine years later and Melanie is now in a loveless marriage to a man named Nicolas. Melanie finds herself playing the role of a trophy wife to a man who only cares about himself. Nicolas is too caught up in a battle with his ego to notice how distant his wife has become. He’s abusive and demanding and expects Melanie to be a pawn in his game of success. Oh how the unexpected can change our lives like an unpredictable tornado can violently rip through a town in minutes, leaving that town as serine as it found it, yet with a new identity.

Meanwhile, Daniel did not have the bitter-sweet luxury of finding a new mate after the unthinkable tragedy. When Melanie and Daniel parted ways, Daniel became an empty shell floating through life. He did what he was supposed to but never fully recovered from losing his one and only love. Even with them being separated for nine long years, he was never able to give his heart to anyone else. Right before an important dinner meeting, Daniel finds out about some unexpected and unwanted news that will change his life once again. To top it off, he runs into Melanie at the dinner with her husband, who he hasn’t seen in nine years. What a way to twist the knife that was placed in his heart nine years earlier.

Joining Nicolas and Melanie at the dinner meeting is also Shawn and his wife Katie. Shawn and Katie are wonderful supportive friends that came as a surprise. At the dinner, you can feel the electricity developing between Daniel and Melanie once again. Nicolas knows something is up with Melanie, so she’ll have to pay for it later. But when Melanie and Daniel are finally brought together after all those long and hard years, it was one of the most beautiful passionate moments I’ve ever read.

Nicholas is just what I love in a character. Yes, he was abusive and demeaning, but he brought more drama and tension to the story line. I also loved that Katie was there through thick and thin for Melanie no matter what. Melanie and Daniel have almost a love at first site relationship, which is not my normal thing. I usually tend to stay away from those kind of reads, but the author made it work so well weaving their past and present story together. Right before Melanie and Daniel were about announce her pregnancy to her father, something traumatic happens that nearly brought me to my knees. The pain and agony they were both experiencing was so strong I could taste it. Life at times can be hard and unfair….and it was so unfair in this moment. That’s what I love about this author. She has a way of bringing the emotions and surroundings of the characters and story to the surface, as if you’re really there going through it yourself. Her books are so deeply moving, you’ll feel it down to the marrow in your bones.

I think there’s something captivating about this author’s writing. I truly loved every minute of this book. My heart was pulled and torn in opposite directions the entire time. I wanted so much for these two characters yet they both lost so much in the blink of an eye. It was agony to read- but in a good way, if that makes sense. I love heart-wrenching, emotionally engaging, angst-filled romance stories with characters I can understand and relate to on some level. And that’s exactly what I got. Pulled is such a vastly different story then Take the Regret, which is also by this author. I can’t even begin to say which one is my favorite except that I loved them both in different ways. But I think Pulled may have won by a few inches. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the future. 

Favorite lines of mine:

He stood above me, his body trembling. “This is forever.”

When I look back now, though, I would never change it. There had always been a reason, and I would never regret where the path had led. Here, loved by this man, his body burning into mine, our spirits consumed by a fire that could never be quelled. Here, where out son slept peacefully in the room across the hall. Here, where we were home. Here, where we were pulled.

I woke every morning with my heart laid bare, wounds torn open, fresh pain oozing from every pore in my body.

I squeezed my eyes, willing them shut a moment longer, unable to tell what was worse-reliving the nightmare every night or waking to the life I didn’t want to live.

The energy that bound our souls together was suffocating, her fire roaring through my veins.
“Melanie, you feel so good.”

Take This Regret by Amy Lichtenhan

5 Stars
Amazon link- Take This Regret

Absolutely amazing! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

There have been a number of break out authors this year, and Amy is one of them. In my opinion, I feel that Amy Lichtenhan is the female version of Nicholas Sparks. Whenever I pick up a book by Sparks, I am immediately sucked into his world as if I’m really there living it; it’s very realistic. And that’s how I feel about Amy’s book. I was instantly hooked from the beginning. I started this book at 10pm last night and didn’t stop reading until I finished the entire book, which was at 2 in the morning, with blurry eyes no less. But I didn’t care, I was determined to finish it. I was too involved in this story to put it down. Why is it that I love the tear-out-your-heart kind of novels the most? Maybe because I am able to feel so many emotions going through me while reading them? Maybe because it makes it feel so real…oh, I don’t know. I felt love, hatred, joy, sadness, pain, betrayal, contentment and so many more. This is truly a great read and I am so glad my friend, Katya, recommended it to me. I know this author also has another novel out called Pulled, and I can not wait to get my hands on it. I just know it’s going to be amazing.

Take This Regret is about a young college couple madly in love. With plans in place to go to law school together, an unexpected surprise forces each of them to make a decision that could alter their plans. Since Elizabeth wants to be a child advocate, she already knows her answer and she expects the same from the man she is in love with.  She expects him to be there and work things out…together. Well, they both were in for a rude awakening when Christian forces Elizabeth to chose between him and the baby. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine it would come to this. But oftentimes decisions are made with regrets soon to follow.

Having been a young mother myself, I instantly felt the connection with Elizabeth. I knew my decision instantly, just like Elizabeth did when she found out; I was going to have a baby and my life was going to change irrevocably. I was 18 when my first son was born, whereas Elizabeth was about 20 or 21. It’s a struggle beyond what most can imagine: to support and love your child, while taking care of your youthful self.  I lost a lot of friends along the way, but the most important ones stood by my side, just like Matthew did for Elizabeth. You make the sacrifices necessary in order to be there for your baby, even if it means a change of plans.  Elizabeth was unable to go to law school, just like I wasn’t able to go to college. The thought of having to put my baby in daycare was unacceptable, just like it was for Elizabeth. You will find ways to make it work. I was lucky enough to have my love stand by my side, whereas Elizabeth was without her love for five years. I think this novel is somewhat personal for the author. She was able to evoke so much out of me (and fellow readers) and I feel as though she had to have lived it to understand so much. Maybe I’m wrong…I don’t know. Raising a child so young was the most difficult thing in all of my life, but I wouldn’t change it if I could. Things work out the way they are supposed to, just like they did for Elizabeth and Christian….even though it took 5 years for them to realize it.

I just want to thank Katya for telling me about this author. I loved it so much and if you hadn’t told me about it I may have never found it. xoxox