Love this one!
Tarryn Fisher is a talented writer–her mechanics and style alone are incredible and she wields them spectacularly with this novel The Opportunist. My latest novel This Much Is True has been compared to her story and style (which I have not read until now) so I thought I would finally check out Fisher’s book The Opportunist and see for myself what some reviewers are talking about with this type of comparison.
I was not disappointed nor surprised by what I read in Fisher’s novel The Opportunist. Perhaps the old saying it takes one to know one is essentially true. Fisher likes to serve up angsty story lines as much as I do; it seems. Bonus!
Some time ago, I bookmarked the Urban Dictionary website after looking up the word mindfuck. Now, every time I open the site from the bookmark that word comes up defined for me. It makes me laugh and seems to apply to Ms. Fisher’s story line with The Opportunist as much as my own work. Yes. That’s what we have here with The Opportunist–a total mindfuck. Olivia Kaspen is an opportunist. She is emotionally closed off–although the reader doesn’t know why for much of the novel–and even when we do find out, it doesn’t really explain away Olivia’s cold hearted actions at all and what she’s done to those around her.
Fisher takes a huge risk with this novel in garnering any kind of sympathy for this type of main character/heroine, if you will, but like a car accident that we are unable to look away from, readers will plow through this storyline just to be able to put it all together for themselves by the end. I believe readers will find it a tough go to like Olivia pretty much through the book. The frustration with this girl and her inability to admit to any kind of truth whatsoever must strand a few readers; but the saving grace for many must be Caleb. Readers want to know Caleb and try to understand what happened between these two; or didn’t. I can only imagine the number of readers ready to throw their Kindle/book and yell at Oliva, “Come on! Just tell him!”
Then, just when you think you have it all figured out, Fisher does the unexpected. It’s a risk when she writes a single chapter from Caleb’s point of view that essentially re-calibrates the entire story line for her audience. Nothing is as it seems. Everyone in this story has their reasons and is an opportunist in their own way. Huh…
I bought this book some time ago. I’m sure the table of contents (lack of) has been remedied and some of the formatting that proved distracting has been fixed, but these were minor things that did not take away from the ultimate fascination that I had with this novel. Fisher’s ability to weave back and forth between the present and past was masterful. I liked the brevity of style in terms of detail that effectively allows the reader to fill in the story for themselves.
As readers, we know these two by the end of the book and we want things to work out, even though we’re not sure how that’s going to happen because they get in their own way so often that it seems nearly impossible. And I feel lucky because I waited to read The Opportunist until now because books #2 and #3 are available so I can plow through the other two books and finally learn Olivia and Caleb’s complete story at the end. No waiting. Awesome!
Five Stars – The Opportunist is deep, edgy, dark, and filled with angst. Where have I heard that description before? Oh, and we’re both from Seattle so there you go…
I’ve had this incredible week–the unplanned kind that you start and you’re too far in to turn back? Yes, that kind of week. I can’t even begin to tell you how arduous it was, but the results are this much improved, edited version of Not To Us for both avid eBook readers and print-only ones as well (as soon as next week with the updated trade paperback version). Today, Not To Us will be featured on BookBub, an advertising site that features a finite amount of eBooks and easily catapults novels to the top of bestseller lists for days at a time. People love a good read and a bargain (value; right?) rolled into one. So, Today, June 22nd, Not To Us (the eBook version) will be on sale for the awesome price of $0.99 cents at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo (hello, Canada!).
I don’t put her on sale very much because this particular novel is often misunderstood. Don’t read it, if you have a problem with infidelity and love triangles or books that will make you cry. Do read it, if you like roller coaster stories where it’s hard to guess what happens next. That is this novel.
After reading through the story multiple times for the edited updates, (because; yes, I’m a comma queen) I have to say I LOVE the story of Ellie and Michael. Don’t judge. I think this story is powerful and true and moving. Yes, there’s tragedy, but out of the ashes of these broken people is immense strength and love. So, if you haven’t read Not To Us, you should. It’s fiction for adults. There’s bad language and shocking story lines, but it will carry you away for an afternoon. Enjoy!
Here’s the premise:
There are all kinds of ways for a relationship to be tested, even broken, some, irrevocably; it’s the endings we’re unprepared for. Ellie
Ellie’s perfect world unravels.
A best friend’s betrayal ends her marriage.
An alarming diagnosis threatens her life.
It all leads to Michael…
But, fate soon tests their perfect union.
And, begs the question: if you get a second chance, do you take a different path?
What “they” say… Praise for Not To Us
“Strong characterizations and intriguing plot lines kept me riveted to this novel. The storyline of couples facing midlife crisis that tears them apart and still brings them together is very moving…” Marta Hartman BookRooster
“This book was the epitome of an emotional rollercoaster, and I say that with a smile on my face…I read through this book rather quickly, because it captivated me so much…” Stephanie Goodreads
“… I have to say I loved it. It is the story of how a woman’s life falls apart from one day to the next and how she keeps it together. Or not…” pj “pj” Bookrooster
My answer when asked…
What was the basis for Not To Us?
I wanted to explore a few heavy themes and started with these types of questions: What happens in a relationship that seems to have everything? What happens when one is betrayed? By a husband? By a best friend? What happens to a person when they’re confronted with a life-threatening illness? Does he or she strive to change their course? Choose a different path? These story lines intrigued me and became the basis for Not To Us. In this novel, both Michael and Ellie strive to do the right thing, most of the time, but they both respond to grief in the same kind of way, seeking consolation from others, not trusting each other, or themselves. I wanted to write about how tragedy can change or alter a person’s life, and even, perhaps, change their behavior and choices.
Here’s the cover update coming for the print edition of Not To Us. I went back to an earlier photograph for the back cover. Note the darkened sky and the whited-out couple holding hands as if they’re not really there. This captures the epitome of Michael and Ellie, I think. Also, see the shadowed hands below? I love that. Their shadow exists even when the rest of them doesn’t. It captures the essence of their love story quite well. Love the front cover because the guy looking at the blond is truly a reflection of Michael and Ellie. And, you say you haven’t read it yet? You should. Oh, I said that already; didn’t I?
If you noticed any trends on this blog or my others, you’ll soon discover that When I See You is rarely on sale. Why? It’s my latest release. It’s done well on the sales charts and most recently on the ChickLitPlus blog tour. It is GOOD fiction. I’m proud of it and I don’t necessarily have to give it away. Now, having said all of that, I’m thrilled to announce that When I See You is on sale for the next week or so (through April 4th, 2013- midnight) as part of a promotional effort for new readers that I’m doing as well as a celebration of sorts. (I’m almost done with This Much Is True so WISY won’t be my latest release for much longer.)
When I See You has been well-received by most readers and bloggers alike, so if you’ve been waiting to download this one onto your Kindle or Nook or iPad or Kobo eReader, now’s the time. Enjoy! And, thank you as always for reading my work.
Here’s a brief overview of the storyline:
She believes that love can never last, promises are usually broken, and true happiness is extremely elusive in the long run. He believes most risks are worth taking, the promises he makes can be kept, and love doesn’t factor in his relationships any longer. They’re both wrong.
See more on the BUY The Books tab at the top of the blog.
Editorial blog review snippets for When I See You:
“…I knew going into this book that it wouldn’t be a heart and flowers type of story. When I See You is emotionally charged and I felt every single moment.” The Autumn Review
“…Jordan and Brock have an inordinate amount of bad karma going on…What pulls this story out of the hellish mire it could be stuck in, is this amazing thread of almost palpable hope that winds its way through the narrative…” Dana Burness – Let’s Book It
The title is apropos ~ Thoughtless. It almost serves as a warning sign. I seriously thought about doing a DNF (did not finish) status, but I gutted it out hoping for resolution. It didn’t happen. I’m aware it is not a popular sentiment for this popular book. Read on, if you want.
SPOILER from here on out…
So. That wasn’t necessarily my problem with this book, I’ll keep to specifics here, while it is so fresh in my mind, because I really have to express my feelings about this book.
As a writer, I had these problems with Thoughtless:
underwhelming female character development
too much telling versus showing
too many scenes that did not move the story line forward
too much melodrama (described by Robert McKee in Story as: “Melodrama is not the result of overexpression, but of under motivation; not writing too big, but writing with too little desire.”) Yep; that about sums it up.
Kiera Allen – She’s 21, not seventeen, but she acts like she’s still in high school. She has two years of college under her belt and a great boyfriend; and yet, in the very first chapters, she is whining about the long car trip (they move from Ohio to Seattle) and missing her family. NONE of this side show stuff is followed upon. Her family, that she is so close to and would die without, doesn’t even factor into the book until late in the story, when her sister Anna comes and pulls the story line out of the muck that it’s fallen into by this point. I mean, within the first few chapters, she’s practically having sex with her boyfriend in a strange guy’s house and it turns out to be the bad boy rocker singing on stage that she was instantly attracted to. On what, page four? Where’s the love and devotion for Denny? I just never saw it. Ever.
Kiera has too many thoughts in her head and acts out sexually too many times to actually be considered a good girl. I had a problem with the whole I’m offended by swear words and yet cheating on Denny was no problem at all. It never really seemed to come back upon her. She never experienced guilt that I could see. So the whole offense of swear words just made her unbelievable as a character. OMG. And, her inability to make a decision about ANYTHING, including these two guys as well as what classes to take at the UW, which if she is two years in she would have a major, just didn’t ring true. Again. OMFG. I mean, my God, Kiera, make up your fucking mind already and move the fuck on.
Denny Harris is a non-factor. He starts out strong, but he is the oblivious Aussie from the get go and willingly leaves his supposedly plain girlfriend with his hot guy friend, Kellan Kyle, while he goes off for job in Tucson for a few months. The whole angle of intermittent phone calls was never explained. Why was Denny drifting from Kiera? Why? I thought there might be something with the other character Jenny in the story line, but no. Nothing. In the end, we find out Denny’s not quite that stupid, but he certainly took his chances with leaving Kiera knowing full well what Kellan was like around all women.
Kellan Kyle, the only redeeming character in the story, who saves this story from the dregs of repetitiveness and the long boring descriptions (I don’t need to know what everyone is wearing in every flipping scene). It’s HIS story line about his childhood and his own personal character change/arc that takes place in the story that Stevens did get right.
This book got picked up by a traditional publisher that just published the story as is and I found numerous mistakes, two of which involved Kellan being referred to as Kyle. WTF.
Anyway, this story line is an interesting one. It’s amazing that I would say that after all I just said before; huh? It just got mishandled. This book should have been about half as long. A good edit would take out all the unnecessary scenes and get rid of the telling versus showing sections that took place throughout the book, especially at the end.
Most readers will love it. They’ll ignore their inexplicable dislike for the heroine and focus solely on their insta-love for the bad boy rocker, Kellan Kyle. And, who could blame them?