Review of The Pride

PrideBookCoverSnagitThe Pride by Patricia Morse

Purchase from Amazon: The Pride

Book Description

Six brave Americans heard their calling after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Evie, Lexie, and the Four Fellas courageously volunteered to become super-human hybrid warriors, to aid the United States against her war on terror. Little did they know, sometimes the terror comes from within.  The Pride will take you on a cross country journey full of action, suspense, and even a little romance, as Evie, Lexie, and their brood take on an enemy that none of them could have seen coming.

Review

Let me start this review by stating that I chose not to finish this book; therefore, my review is premature and should not necessarily deter others from giving this book a chance.

I downloaded this book, excited about the premise. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the military takes a select group of soldiers from various branches of the military and each undergoes a transformation that combines lion and human DNA to create “super soldiers”  known as The Pride. Two of the central characters, Lexie and Evie, are females, and the point of view switches between them (as far as I read).  In many of the military suspense novels I have read, the protogonists are male, so I was looking forward to the story told from a female perspective.

For me, a good story will grab the reader’s attention and pull them into the fictitious world created. The book begins with Lexie describing how she feels upon waking from her transformation and providing background information to set up the plot. I found the exposition behind the story’s permise to be lacking.  Why choose to use lion DNA?  How did scientists and doctors know this would work?  What are the benefits, the risks for everyone involved?  I just learn that it happened. Lexie says, “I stared at myself in the mirror, hardly recognizing the face staring back at me. My hair was luminescent and golden, my skin flawless and glowing, and my eyes the color of emeralds. I guess the combination of lion and human DNA makes for a nice package.”

I use that quote to lead me into the second issue I have with book, the portrayal of Lexie.  She is self-absorbed about her physical appearance and constantly stares at herself in the mirror. As a woman, I understand the desire to feel attractive, and there is nothing wrong with being feminine. However, the way she thinks just doesn’t mesh with the idea of a warrior.  For example, on the group’s first mission, they are doing reconnaissance, and Lexie complains about her situation: “I hated reconnaissance missions with a passion. I’m more the maini, pedi, shoe shopping type of a gal.”  Several paragraphs later, she goes on to say, “Anything was better than laying in pine needles and mud. I’d never get the dirt out of my hair.  I didn’t know why we were here, and I didn’t care….Besides recon isn’t my role in the pride. I seduce the prey and the others flock in for the kill.”  Okaaayy, I’m left wondering how in the world did she make it as a marine with that mindset?

Lexie does make a good point, though…she and I both are unclear about the purpose of the mission and why they are there. The pride members  don’t seem to have a concrete plan for completing this mission. Again, I may be premature in saying this because I didn’t read far enough, but as a reader I wanted more information and details by this point.

My final issue with the story that stopped my reading progression is that the author told me what was going on rather than showing me. In an online article called “Showing Versus Telling,” Pamela Rice Hahn explains the difference between the two:  “Showing in a story merely means that you’re allowing the reader to participate in the events rather than just rattling off what happened. When the reader participates, it creates involvement-he or she can see the events unfolding, and then is left wondering what is going to happen next.”  Hahn then provides a great example of narrative that tells and is then revised to show. I’ll include the link for the article at the end.

I am not one to give up on books very easily, and I try to read the entire book before forming an opinion. However, as I get older, I value my time more, and there are so many other books out there waiting to be experienced.

Other readers’ expectations may differ from mine, and they may find the book enjoyable and satisfying. The plot certainly provides a creative angle on fighting the war on terrorism, so try it to see if it appeals to you.

Link to article

Showing Versus Telling

Rating

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Review of Tall, Dark, and Fearless

Tall Dark and Fearless Cover

Purchase from Amazon:Tall, Dark and Fearless: Frisco’s Kid\Everyday, Average Jones (Hqn)

Tall, Dark, and Fearless by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Description

“Frisco’s Kid” Being a Navy SEAL is more than a career to Alan “Frisco” Francisco-it is his whole world. So when a bullet wound threatens his future in the Navy, he is determined to achieve a full recovery…all on his own. But his lovely neighbor Mia Summerton has other plans for him. She can’t mend his wounded body, but can she heal his heart?

 “Everyday Average Jones” All her life Melody Evans has wanted to marry a plain average man who doesn’t take risks. But when the foreign embassy is taken over by terrorists and she’s rescued by a daring Navy SEAL, Melody blames the extreme circumstances for their ensuing passion. When it comes to ordinary, Harlan “Cowboy” Jones is anything but, and their encounter leaves Melody with a little more than just memories…

 

Review

Tall, Dark, and Fearless by Suzanne Brockmann comprises two stories about Navy Seals who are part of the elite Alpha Ten squad.

The first part of this book: “Frisco’s Kid” centers on Lt. Alan “Frisco” Francisco who was injured in an operation five years ago and has been in intense physical therapy to recover from a knee injury that has left him disabled.  Readers follow him as he mourns the loss of being an active duty Navy Seal who has been dedicated to saving and protecting others.  The central conflict is whether Frisco can accept the fact that he can no longer serve in the field but still serve in other capacities.

Frisco is angry and bitter after he is released from the VA hospital and returns to his apartment to wallow in his despair. He is forced to walk with a cane and endures constant pain as he continually pushes himself to try to regain his former mobility.  He withdraws from his world feeling that he is just an “empty shell” of the man he used to be. However the unexpected entrance of his neighbor Mia and his five-year-old niece, Natasha, who is forced upon him while his sister is in drug rehab.  Mia initially wants nothing to do with Frisco because of his cynical attitude towards life in general. He feels frustrated that he is forced to ask for help and has to rely on others to assist in taking care of his niece. Frisco and Mia’s relationship starts out rocky but as they gradually get to know each other, Mia finds herself drawn to this man who carries so much emotional baggage:

 “He was everything she didn’t need. His wounds so deep and so catastrophic. She could handle his physical limitation… It was his emotional baggage-the bitterness and anger he carried with him-that had the bulk and the weight to engulf her and drag her down too.” (pg 209)

The plot is further complicated by a villain who kidnaps Mia and Natasha forcing Frisco to call upon his former teammates for help.  A powerful story that reinforces the concept that you are only helpless if you refuse to ask for help.

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The second story in this book is called “Everyday, Average Jones” and focuses on Lt. Harlan “Cowboy” Jones who is part of a rescue mission that brings home three hostages who have been help captive by terrorists in a foreign country. Cowboy takes responsibility for assisting one of the hostages, Melody Evans in returning to the U.S. As they work together to escape, Melody grows to trust and depend upon Cowboy to keep her safe.  The attraction between them intensifies, and once the rescue mission is complete, Cowboy and Melody spend six passion filled days together before Melody returns home, and Cowboy is sent on another mission. Melody enjoys their time together but considers this to be just a fling, and she has no plans to continue seeing Cowboy ever again. She tells her sister, Brittany, “What I felt for him wasn’t love. It was hero worship.”

Jump ahead seven months later and we find that Melody has become pregnant with Cowboy’s child. She plans to keep the child but does not tell Cowboy about the pregnancy. She’s up to being a single mother. However, over these past seven months Cowboy realizes he doesn’t want to let Melody go. When the team is sent to Virginia for a training assignment, Cowboy decides to look Melody up.  Eventually Cowboy discovers that he is going to become a dad and the central conflict resolves around whether he and Melody should marry for the sake of the child. Melody believes that passion and lust are not enough to make a marriage work, while Cowboy believes that a child needs a father in his or her life.  The story line isn’t original, but what makes the read enjoyable are the ways Cowboy tries to convince Melody to give him a chance.  He takes a rather unconventional approach to try to woo Melody.

Rating: 

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Related to Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne Brockmann Website

Goodreads Author Profile

Music to Accompany the Stories

Here is a song that may help readers relate to what Frisco was going through during his darkest time:

Here’s a song for Cowboy and Melody  “Forever Don’t Seem that Long” by Tracy Allen

*Thanks to Soulmusik69 for musical selections that complement the book.

 

To leave a comment, click the small green link “Leave a comment” located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

Review of Safe Haven

Safe Haven book cover

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

Purchase from Amazon: Safe Haven

Book Description

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful, yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But as Kate begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her…a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards…and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

Review

Nicholas Sparks is a bestselling romance author with a dedicated following. Safe Haven is not his latest publication as it was released in 2010, but it has had a resurgence of interest since the book was made into a movie this year.

After suffering years of physical and emotional abuse from her husband, Katie Feldman has managed to escape the marriage with the hope of starting a new life. After bouncing from state to state, she decides to stay awhile along the coast of North Carolina in Southport.

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However, Katie is all too aware her stay may only be temporary as she must hide from her unstable police detective husband. Kevin. Although she lives in constant fear of being found, Katie manages to find a job as a waitress and she finds a place to call her own, a small cottage nestled in a secluded part of the town where she can maintain her privacy and heal from her physical and emotional scars.

womanafraidandalone

Katie isn’t looking to make friends or to become a part of the community. Her goal in Southport is to remain as inconspicuous as possible and save money in case she needs to run again. Her isolation is short-lived when Jo moves in next door and slowly eases her way into Katie’s life. Through her caring and supportive nature, she coaxes Katie into revealing bits about her past.

female friends

Another Southport resident, Alex, also seems determined to become a part of Katie’s life. Alex is a widower with two small children who owns a country store on the outskirts of town. He cannot help but notice the lovely Katie whenever she stops by the store to shop. Alex is curious about Katie’s skittish nature and evasiveness when he tries to engage her in conversation. He senses Katie wants to be friendly but is too scared to do so. During one of her visits, Katie intervenes when Alex’s son becomes endangered. Her involvement during this crisis causes Alex and his children to reach out to Katie, to encourage her to become a part of their lives.

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This is a big step for Alex, since he is only now beginning to consider getting involved with another woman since his wife died. But Alex sees something in Katie, and although he knows she has secrets, he still wants to take a chance with her to see where the relationship will take them.

The pacing of the novel is slow in order to show the development of Katie’s relationship with Alex and his children. As they get to know each other, their mutual attraction grows, and Alex’s children are accepting of Katie, and she comes to care for both them.  Yet, Katie is still afraid to become too involved with this family because of the dangers from her past. Early in the relationship, she tells Alex, “…I do want to see you and it scares me because I know deep in my heart that you deserve someone better. You deserve someone you can count on. Someone your kids can count on. Like I said, there are things you don’t know about me.”  Katie doesn’t think Alex will want to continue their relationship once he knows the truth, but she believes that Alex deserves to know about her past. The flashbacks to significant episodes in Katie’s marriage describe a vibrant woman who eventually crumbles under the control of a selfish husband who uses criticism and violence to keep his wife submissive. Although, she has been traumatized from the marriage, Katie is a survivor, a strong character who refuses to succumb to a life of pain and loneliness.

To Katie’s surprise, Alex is understanding and even accepting of her situation and vows to keep her secrets in order to keep her safe. Alex is an admirable man who isn’t afraid to put his heart out there for the woman he has grown to love. He is open and honest about his feelings for Katie, which is refreshing.

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As predicted, Kevin eventually tracks Katie to Southport, and even as he searches for her specific location, he remains in a perpetual state of drunkenness. His extreme mood swings leave readers wondering whether he will kidnap Katie and bring her home or kill her since she has betrayed him by leaving and being with another man. Throughout, the novel, we get Kevin’s point of view about his marriage to Katie whose birth name is really Erin until she obtains her new identity.  Although at times Kevin becomes mournful and cries about losing Erin, it is hard to feel much sympathy for a man who is bullies and physically assaults a woman without accepting responsibility for his actions.

Kevin’s arrival in town builds towards a suspenseful and dramatic climax that impacts the future of Katie and Alex. Just when you think you have the ending figured out Sparks throws you for a loop with neighbor Jo’s role in the story. The ending leaves you reaching for the Kleenex, yet feeling optimistic about rare second chances we may be fortunate to be given in our lifetime.

Rating: 

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Related to Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks Official Website

Goodreads Author Profile 

Safe Haven Movie Trailer (Movie Released February 2013)

I’m a North Carolina native, and although you might consider me biased, I do believe Southport is a great place to visit and vacation.

Learn more about Southport, North Carolina: Southport

For some great recipes check out the online magazine Our State: North Carolina