Friday, October 28, 2016

To Protect and Serve (Staci Stallings) Book Review

2016 Reading Challenge

38. To Protect and Serve by Staci Stallings

     To save others' lives, they will risk their own.
     Houston firefighter, Jeff Taylor is a fireman's fireman. He's not afraid of anything, and no situation is too dangerous to keep him on the sideline if lives are at stake.
     Lisa Matheson runs a semi-successful ad agency that's on the brink of falling apart. Her employees are incompetent and her schedule has become exhausting. When she takes on a client with a brilliant idea for a big conference, she thinks that maybe, finally this is her lucky break. However, the fire station wasn't what she had in mind for finding conference speakers. When she falls for a handsome but shy firefighter, it's possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can't control Jeff and the death wish he seems to have.

My Review:
     Jeff is a firefighter, whose mission is to save and protect as many lives as he can. I really liked getting to know more about the life of firemen. We always hear in the news the stories of them putting out fires, saving lives when they can, and serving the public. And just like police officers, we sometimes hear about losing them in the line of duty. But we don't get to see the other side of things - what firefighters go through when they lose one of their own or can't save someone despite taking every measure possible, or even how they separate their work life from everything else. It was interesting and insightful to see that perspective. When it comes to police, firefighters and even paramedics, they can be bothered by what they see and do when they get called to serve the public. It can be hard separating that from their personal lives. As the story progresses, you can see why Jeff wanted to become a firefighter and why he wants to protect and serve the community. He has a bit of a sad background and it was heartbreaking to see that side of him come out.

     Lisa owns an ad agency, but has trouble letting go of control and taking no for an answer (the latter of which you'll understand when you read the book). When her work unexpectedly takes her to a firehouse, the last thing she expects is to start falling for a guy she just happened to meet a couple days earlier and finds out that he works at the aforementioned firehouse. They both have reservations about falling in love due to past history. We get to see how Jeff and Lisa try to combine both of their lives together and overcome their own concerns together. With Jeff, that would be wanting to keep his work life separate and opening up about certain things, and for Lisa, it would be learning to give up some control and let others in. We also get a glimpse of what it's like to be a significant other of a firefighter, especially when it comes to losing a comrade.

     While reading To Protect and Serve, I realized how dangerous it can be for a firefighter. Granted, I've always known that, but I found out more in depth. Just like police officers, they don't know if they're going to make it home alive to their family after their shift. And vice versa for their families. This issue was tackled somewhat in this story. I liked that although Lisa worried about Jeff's well-being and safety on the job, she realized that she couldn't tell him to give up his dream. Coming to that realization wasn't easy, but it was interesting to see her go through that process.

This is a light read. Here are two quotes from the book that I liked:

"You have this moment and only this moment. What you do with it is your choice."

"Life's not easy - for anybody. The wind and the waves are right there all the time waiting to knock you over, but the point is you have to step out of the boat anyway. You have to trust God enough, to believe that He sees the bigger picture and would never let the wind and the waves get the better of you."

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


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