Saturday, February 10, 2018

FAOM: Excerpts & Extras

As a bonus, this weekend I’ve got an excerpt from Life’s Defeat to share with you. It’s always difficult for me to choose what slice of the story to share as an excerpt. Especially when a book is as captivating and as fascinating as this one. How much is too much? What is too revealing? What is just revealing enough? I don’t want too give too much away after all, I just want to give you a glimpse of why I’m so entranced.

My poor brain, people... LOL!!

In the end I settled on two pieces to share. Hopefully neither is too little or too much, and hopefully together you’ll see at least a brief sliver of what I see in this book and in the rest of the series novels as well.


~~~~~~~~~~~ Excerpt 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

            The first time I went up against the man with the cigar personally, it was by mistake.
            I remember being young, the tender age of sixteen and newly made a soldier. We had finished a mission, my comrades and I, sabotaging an act of corruption so deep there was a good chance we had saved many people within a village from a devious fate. Drug production and prostitution were averted, women and children free to return home unharmed while the men worked, feverish, in the mines of the hills.
            For all that I lacked in experience, I was disciplined and well-trained—I knew I had proven myself well. Still, I was unprepared for the outright menacing act of the madman. As my team prepared to leave, I turned, witnessing the criminal step from a secret door out of the warehouse.
            I called out for my teammates, but the words fell on deaf ears as the blades of our helicopter created a small windstorm in the dusty alleyway. Turning back, I stepped toward the man with the cigar’s large black vehicle, seeing him pause before disappearing behind the opened door.
            He stared at me, the faintest of smiles tugging at his lips as he removed his cigar. He threw it, smoldering, to the ground, his pocked-face lightening as his eyes pierced into my soul. I didn’t look away, my youth betraying a defiance I thought I needed to express authority.
            The gods know I was a fool then.
            As he stepped into the oversized SUV, I saw the vehicle dip with the weight of the robust criminal and his accomplices. The doors closed, and still I stared. Then he was there, leaning forward from the front passenger seat, his face again looking at me as his smile became a grin. He gave an order and the vehicle lurched forward.
            To this day I am not sure why I didn’t act, why I didn’t run back to the helicopter and request help, why I didn’t at least pull my gun when I first saw the man and shoot him in the brain.
            It could have saved so much pain, so much heartache.
            Instead, it took me a moment to realize that the man had ordered my execution—the SUV was headed straight for me at a breakneck speed. Two choices flew through my head then, to dive out of the way or to try to take down the men. Stupidly, I chose the latter.
            Time seemed to slow as the engine of the black beast roared with its speed. I reached beside me, pulling my gun, and with a flick of the safety began to shoot. The bullets ricocheted off the windshield with appalling speed, their target shifting as I attempted to find a sweet spot in the glass, any vulnerability at all.
            There was none.
            By the time I figured out the vehicle was impenetrable, it was too close. Despite the speed with which I turned and raced for my own team’s mode of escape, I wasn’t fast enough.
            When the vehicle hit, there was a massive shove, sounds of crunching as the front grill imprinted into my back. I spun around as I fell to the ground. The vehicle bounced as I related a speed bump, both sets of tires driving over my arm. I lay there on the ground, my eyes closed as I reminded myself to breathe, the air coming in short gasps from a pain within my lungs.
            Bursts of immense irritation emerged then, throbbing stabs of agony from my arm and leg, wetness spreading across my head and limbs. I cried out, tears escaping my already swollen eyelids. I heard the engine slow as the vehicle did, felt a tremor within the loose ground as it skidded sideways to a stop. I shifted, my body protesting with pain as I fought to sit up, my eyes opening to focus on the helicopter. They had noticed me, my captain running in my direction now, yelling something I couldn’t catch.
            Rolling over slowly, I forced myself to my uninsured knee, hoisting myself up somehow onto a foot that was shaky at best. I had no choice—I couldn’t stay in the street, and I feared the vehicle would come back if I lay there long enough. My only choice was to get back to the helicopter, no matter how.
            I glanced at the SUV, my neck mobile enough for slight movement, and caught the eye of the man with the cigar. His face peered out the window with a look of contemplation. He nodded once as I straightened my back, my spine blossoming in a pain I barely knew possible. The window rolled up as the vehicle took off once more. This time, it drove away.
                        ~ Life’s Defeat, page 8-11, First Printing, 2015

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Excerpt 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~

            As soldier of the cause, we fought hand to hand, aimed our guns and pulled the triggers with immediate discretion, and used our youth to deceive and betray those who we knew lived to the detriment of others. They were criminals, all of them, slavers and drug dealers, killers and narcotic producers. Their work was to put mankind into a slump of despair and dependence.
            Ours was to take them down.
            And once in the school’s secretive military faction for some time, what I learned StPatrick had told me tong ago was a brotherhood, I learned a truth about myself. I was very good at what I did. Too good.
            It was both thrilling and terrifying.
                        ~ Life’s Defeat, page 23, First Printing, 2015


I hope these little pieces of the story I’ve shared, these early looks at the thoughts and actions of the main character, as well as a small glimpse of the depravity of the “man with the cigar” to come, has intrigued you. I hope it’s been enough to make you consider getting the book and reading the first part of the story of The Life’s series. Because truthfully - it is so worth it.

If you’ve missed my reviews of Life’s Defeat you can see the original 2015 review here, and my new review of it here.

And if you’ve yet to enter to win one of the three great prizes in this month’s FAOM Giveaway, do it now - a copy of Life’s Defeat is just one of the amazing things you could claim on February 28th!

I hope you’ve been enjoying your weekend and I leave you now to enjoy the rest of it!

Happy Reading... or whatever you may be up to.

Friday, February 9, 2018

FAOM: Redux REVIEW of ‘Life’s Defeat’

As must be obvious to you all, I love reading. I love the adventure, the escape, the romance, the mystery, the thought-provoking, the sweet... Well I love everything about it. Growing up on a farm the way I did, a book gave me the ability to go anywhere, anytime, and do anything. Now, with kids of my own and a life firmly routed in my southern Alberta home, it does exactly the same thing. 

I also do a lot of re-reading. When you read as frequently and as much as I do, re-reading a story - and being able to find the same joy and adventure in it as if it were the first time - is a very important, very necessary ability. After all, while there are parts of the year that I only manage a few novels in a month, there are also periods of the year when I end up reading a novel a day. If I had to buy a brand new book every time I opened one to read, I’d be bankrupt in a flash. (And that doesn’t even take in to account the expansive bookshelves of e-books purchased and waiting for me to read, or the ever present piles of paper and hardcover books that linger and collect around the house begging for their turn in my hands...)

So as I pulled out my paperback of Life’s Defeat last weekend to begin re-reading I couldn’t help but wonder if the story would sink it’s claws in me as it has in the past. Would I’d be as equally captivated and horrified of Rochester acts this time as I was when in Fall 2015 when I read them the first time? Would the small but important romance story-line shine through the dark as brightly? Would I love the story, the developed world, the characters, and the thrills and chills of it the way I did before?

The answer is quite simply: yes. 

The Review

Life's Defeat
by Rebekah Raymond

The dark and twisty turns of the plot kept me on edge. Twists I had, within the time since my last re-read of the story, vaguely forgotten, once again shocked and teased me. More than once I had to put the book down and walk away because my emotions or thoughts were amped up. Fear, worry, wonder, sorrow, hope, anger and more... It’s during reading books like this one that I’m sure my kids must think I’m crazy because I’ll randomly shout out (at the book? at the characters? at the universe?) questions - why? what are you doing?!? what’s wrong with you!?! - or frustrations - no! don’t do that! what’s wrong with you!?! - and other such things. 

There was also one unfortunate incident when I threw the book down on the living room floor and stormed from the room, but I’ll simply leave it up to you to read the book and try to figure out when I may have done that. 

Here again, I found myself somehow fascinated with Rochester - even though I know all the atrocities he’s committed and will continue to commit. He’s sort of like a massive accident on the side of the highway and I’m the lookie-loo who stares at the carnage in horror. The depth of his depravity is such you can’t help but watch, can’t help but wonder, but always there is are questions burning: what will it take to stop him? What will it take to end his madness? How far will his evil go before he’s finished? 

As I got to the end of this book and read the last pages, last paragraphs and last words, I found myself closing the back cover and staring at nothing for some time. And it was then I remembered doing the exact same thing after finishing the story the first time around. I sat there contemplating the complexities of the future that these characters would be facing, some of which I’ve read already in the second book and some that has yet to reach me. I stared at the walls of my living room and pictures of the past that had shaped some of the characters danced in my head too, for I’ve had the chance to see some of that already as well. And in those long moments I faced the grim realizations that life for these people, these characters, it would never be an easy one - no matter the good they would be able to create, the opportunities and chances for something better that come their way, they would always be entrenched in a difficult life. Yet in that difficult life, as in their military factions, they would be forever banded in blood, brothers and sisters sharing a common cause and goal. And that -  those bonds are, I think, the one thing that keeps the fire of hope burning so brightly for them all. 

If you’d like to read my original review of Life’s Defeat which was published here on the blog in October 2015, you can see it here


Want to read the story now? Get your own copy of Life’s Defeat here.


And don’t forget to enter the February FAOM Giveaway - included in the prizes are a paperback copy of Life’s Defeat, as well as an e-copy of the book too! 


Until next time... Happy Reading!!! 

Monday, February 5, 2018

FAOM: The Book That Started It All

When I first “met” Rebekah Raymond she was on the cusp of releasing her debut novel Life’s Defeat. We connected online during my August/September 2015 “Featured Author of the Day” promo run on Facebook and on her day, she sent me a message and asked whether I’d be interested and willing to read an advanced copy of her upcoming release. I read the blurb of the book that she sent along with the request and figured what the heck and said “sure.”

Since that fateful day, I’ve gone on to read the second book of The Life’s series and have even read an early version of the third one. Now this month, I’m happy to go back to where it all began, to that first book, and start the journey of discovery all over again. Will I be as captivated by the world, the characters and the drama and trauma of it all as I was when I first read the story? Knowing all I do now, even if slightly vague on some of the details because of the passing of time (and the 100’s of books I’ve since read), how will my reaction change or will it? I guess it’s time to find out...

So today I’m diving into the pages of Life’s Defeat for a re-reading, a re-discovery, a remembering, but before I do - here’s the blurb that started it all.

Life’s Defeat
by Rebekah Raymond

Tragedy places the soldier in St Patrick’s complex, determination to be someone of use keeps her within its walls. When she finally takes her first breaths of freedom, the soldier is sucked back into military servitude, her long, violent capture and imprisonment by Rochester setting her path of physical and psychological terror.

Under his rule she learns the depth of her own depravity, and how far she can go before she threatens to lose herself. But when Tomlin and his team rescues her, she discovers a new threat in the life she chooses to lead.

As the pages of her genetically-altered history are revealed, the solider finds the key to achieving her new goal: revenge.

It’s unfortunate it might just kill her in the end.

This Psychological thriller will lead you to the depths of despair with this young woman, then back as she finds peace, love, and resolution once more.


You can find Life’s Defeat available on a couple platforms...

E-books can be purchased on:

Paperbacks can be ordered/found at:
Directly from the Rebekah on her Website


Don’t forget to take a minute or two and enter the February FAOM Giveaway - prizes include: a paperback copy of Life’s Defeat, e-books of all 3 The Life’s series books, and author-drawn book illustrations and other book swag.

Contest is open until 12:00am MST February 28th and winners will be announced on February 28th.


Now, I’m off to read.

What will you be doing today?