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there's more to life than reading books

“What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do.”

Dirty Red (Love Me With Lies, #2) - Tarryn Fisher Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

The Opportunist took my breath away. In fact it inspired me to write my first ever review on Goodreads. So I guess it’s fitting that I feel the same compulsive need to write this review for Dirty Red as I did for the Opportunist. I think I need the cathartic release.

I wonder if some readers will be so used to drama-filled stories with twists and turns and confrontations on every second page, that they may not appreciate the subtle story-telling and rich character development that Tarryn delivers. I know it will be difficult for some readers to relate to, let alone like, Leah. The thing is though you don’t need to relate to or like Leah to enjoy the sometimes awkward and uncomfortable experience of getting to know her and better understand her role in this story. Don’t worry about whether you’ll like or her hate her, just enjoy the ride.

How many wrongs can ever make a right?

Let’s face it, even after finishing Dirty Red, I still think Leah doesn’t have a redeeming bone in her body yet her honesty makes me feel closer to her than I should or even want to. I kept thinking that had I read Leah’s book first, surely I’d be on her side in her battle for Caleb as neither her nor Olivia are that much better than each other. I often found myself wondering why I even want Caleb to end up with Olivia. What makes her deserve him anymore than Leah does?

I learnt that Leah's heart is in this messed up love triangle just as much as Caleb and Olivia’s. However, just as I would find myself relating to the past Leah, particularly how hard she fell for Caleb, I would be yanked back to the present to be reminded what a low, cold, conniving bitch she had become. Tarryn manipulated me to feel things for Leah that I really didn’t want to feel. One of my favourite moments in the book was Leah’s light bulb moment – “I decide that I hate the colour of maple syrup. I’d rather choke and die on a mouthful of dry pancakes, than ever eat maple syrup again.”

Leah is an unapologetically flawed character with desperate insecurities. Just like with Olivia in the Opportunist, I found myself relating to some of Leah’s most unappealing traits and feelings. Tarryn describes Leah’s jealousy so accurately it’s almost scary, like she has peeked into some of my most shameful thoughts and brought them to life.

I enjoyed getting a better insight into Caleb's personality. I used to feel sorry for him, but Caleb stepped up for me in this book. He may be playing the game just as much if not better than Leah and Olivia. Can’t wait to get a glimpse inside his head.

This game that Olivia, Leah and Caleb are playing (and who knows who else) is bigger than I even imagined and I’m really not sure who is on top at the moment. All I do know is that Olivia and Caleb should be warned - a woman scorned is truly a frightening thing. I personally, cannot wait to see what Leah unleashes.

There are still so many things to discover in this story – is Noah a pawn or a game player? Who is Estella’s father? I assume it’s Seth but who knows? Why did Caleb walk away from Olivia in Italy? What was her birthday present from Caleb? What role will Sam, Cash and Courtney play in all this? How will Tarryn redeem the seemingly unredeemable? Or will she? .

Tarryn, thank you for creating this story and doing it so well. Your writing has me riveted to every page. Also, can there be a fourth book (pretty please) because I really need Noah’s POV now.