This Time You Lose

Rated 4.67/5 based on 6 reviews
What would you do if street thugs invaded your home? What if you’re a daycare provider, caring for a dozen children at the time?

Lisa Kaamp, a most unlikely heroine, faces just such a nightmare in This Time You Lose, the terrifying story of one woman’s struggle to survive when she and the children she cares for become victims of a home invasion gone terribly wrong. More

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About Chris Stralyn

Chris Stralyn never intended to be a writer. Short-order cook, security guard, safety officer, childcare provider, and teacher were all titles she’d worn – but never writer. Then she entered an essay contest for “The Worst Vacation Ever” and won. Writing became her new hobby, and soon she had several articles in print with local publications. This was followed by a short story, The Khaki Pants, which was published by RDR Publishing in an anthology that went on to sell over a million copies.

A suspense thriller was her next undertaking, and in 2008 This Time You Lose was named a finalist in the TNBW Strongest Start Novel Competition. Four months later it earned the distinction of being a TNBW Readers Choice Top Ten Novel, and has remained on the Top Ten list ever since.

Chris Stralyn continues to put pen to paper in her endeavour to appease the Muse within. She lives in Michigan with her husband and family.

Learn more about Chris Stralyn


This Time You Lose
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littlecrazer reviewed on March 26, 2012

This was a very well written story. It was faced paced suspense that kept me reading into the night.

The story line is one that could happen to anyone. Four intruders break into Lisa Kammps house and victimize in the middle of the night and then takes children, their parents and Lisa herself as hostages in her home. The victims do everything can to get out of the situation but nothing works.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves suspense novels. Chris Stralyn did an excellent job with this novel. Will look for other books by her.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
Mobile Minx reviewed on March 6, 2012

This Time You Lose is the perfect choice for a suspense seeker. If you want to have a tense, tight and terror filled read from practically the first page to the last, you've found the right book.

The story relates the occurrences, over a day, in the life of child care provider Lisa Kaamp. She is accompanied by many supporting characters and one seriously sadistic antagonist. It is difficult to discuss my experience of this story without revealing key elements of the plot. Suffice it to say, there is a conflict that consumes the entire novel and is resolved very quickly at the end.

Herein, for me, lies the problem. The writing is done in real-time and presents an hour-by-hour capture of the action. However, it was sometimes unclear what the chronology was as events described occurred concurrently. The book would be well suited to a time stamp for each chapter, so that the reader can keep the timeline straight. I also found the unanswered question, which is threaded throughout, an unsettling feature. It's not clear if it is intentional, but the reader never knows why TITO, the depraved aggressor, targets Lisa so vehemently. I was left to wonder and this was not good when there was so much that transpired that seemed inexplicably evil. I don't mind some uncertainty, but this seemed to be an excessive amount and it detracted from my enjoyment of the story. As the novel reaches its climax, we have to hold our breath as we wait to find out how the situation is resolved. This state of protracted agitation is precisely the condition I was in for the whole book. It's the reason that I didn't award five stars.

Chris Stralyn is a very good writer. She uses language that is real, raw and appropriate for the character. She reveals dimensions of their personality through thought insights and memory recollections. Aspects of all ring true and the reader can find areas of relateability. The main characters are equally determined, though their goals are at odds. She writes TITO in such a way that one feels no mercy towards him. The insertion of her daycare charges and their families only layer the sensation assault, by displaying heroics and humanity simultaneously. The story is told through Lisa and her thoughts foreshadow as well as retell. Her singular focus drives the story and mirrors the accompanying police action. One wonders if they too would be able to withstand the travesties brought upon her and similarly survive.

Though we get to know the characters, the lack of exposition leaves the understanding to be situational. It would have been helpful to have more background. The story could have been a richer read and less break neck in its pacing. Though it would have made it a longer book, with those additions, we'd care about the characters because we know them and not because we know right from wrong.

This Time You Lose is a worthy effort and a worthwhile read. I would read this author again and recommend that thrill hunters find their way to this book.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Taylor Wilmering reviewed on Dec. 29, 2011

The premise of this book sounded intriguing, and it lived up to my expectations! I'm so glad that I decided to give this book a chance - it's EXCELLENT! "This Time You Lose" grabbed my attention from the very first page, and I read it in one sitting! (Went to bed, and was up reading under the blankets until the early hours of the morning!)

Very well-written book, a fast-paced and suspenseful read that kept me on the edge of my seat. Found myself actually saying "OH CRAP!" out loud at a few points.

The writing is superb, characters are believable and likable (hateable in the case of the hostiles!), and descriptions are vivid and visible - I felt as though I was right there alongside the characters.

There is foul language (mainly from the kidnappers) and some violence, but it is tastefully handled and nothing is overly graphic.

If you enjoy thrilling, suspenseful stories, definitely give this one a chance. You won't be disappointed.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Jessica Chambers reviewed on Dec. 4, 2011

Can there be anything more terrifying than shooting awake in the dead of night to find a group of armed intruders in your home? Imagine then that you have a dozen children in the house along with you—children who have been entrusted to your care. This is precisely the nightmare Lisa Kaant is plunged into in this gripping debut.

This Time You Lose is a tension-filled novel packed with action and emotion, which had me biting my nails the whole way through. More than that, however, it’s the story of one remarkable young woman. With her ability to show both courage and compassion in the face of terrible danger, Lisa is a true heroine and she will stay with me for a long time.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
Craig Fallon reviewed on Dec. 1, 2011

Very rarely do I give out five stars to a book. For me four usually signifies it was a favorite. However, This Time You Lose definitely deserves top marks. I could not stop reading. From the first page I was hooked.

It has everything an avid thriller fan may want in a book: tension, suspense, twists and a fast pace. The characters were believable, quirks and all. I could easily envision the scenes. The bad guys ranged from pure evil who you just wished would die quickly to ones who got caught up with the wrong crowd. Yes, they were bad, but you could almost relate with them.

There were only two things that slightly bothered me in the story. First, it is not explained how the bad guy in the story got hold of the cop's gun. Are we to assume that a veteran police officer would leave his service pistol unlocked in their house, which doubles as a daycare center? Perhaps it was locked up, but if so how did the home invader find it? I know the story talks about laws allowing the weapon to be kept in the house, but I still would think it would be in a gun safe.

The second thing only had to do with ebook formatting. The page numbers did not match between the book and what my ereader said. On average each page of the book was 3 pages in the ebook.

If you are looking for a great thriller, This Time You Lose is the one to pick.
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
Rachel Michaux reviewed on Nov. 30, 2011

Wow! This story takes off with a bang as you basically wake up alongside Lisa and are instantly thrust into her living nightmare. The tension is there throughout the entire book and it has the feel of watching some horrible hostage situation unfold on the news before your very eyes. This book actually gave me goosebumps at times! I was definitely on the edge of my seat, biting my finger nails. I admit I even had to walk away from it a couple of times because it got so uncomfortable as I felt the intensity of the situation these people were going through. I'm a little embarrassed to say I think I even squeaked at a few scenes where I wasn't sure how a tense situation was going to play out. The story was definitely unpredictable. Nicely done Chris Stralyn! Another thing I loved about this book was Lisa herself. What a tough cookie! She easily ranks high on my 'Bad-ass Heroine' list. I could only hope and pray that I'd have half the courage and cojones this woman possessed in time of true crisis.

Would definitely read more by this author.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)

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