Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mini-Review + Giveaway: Shelter Me (Second Chance Ranch #1) by Catherine Mann

Shelter Me (Second Chance Ranch, #1)
Series: Second Chance Ranch #1
Series: Second Chance Ranch #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 8/5/14
Format: ARC
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  BN

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Mann comes this beautiful, heartwarming novel about a returning military officer, the daughter of his fallen commander, and a very special dog with a mission. For fans of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery.

Nestled in the sunny fields of Tennessee lies the McDaniel family’s Second Chance Ranch Animal Rescue. Two new arrivals are on their way, but only one is the four-legged kind.

Staff Sergeant Mike Kowalski wants only one thing after he gets home from Iraq: to sleep in a king-sized bed with clean sheets. But first, he has to hand off his fallen commander’s dog, Trooper, to his family without handing off his heart to Sierra…

Sierra McDaniel needs a break. Her family life is crazy, and when she’s not mucking out kennels, she’s slogging through grad school. Sierra certainly doesn’t want another dog, especially one that reminds her of her father. And she definitely doesn’t want to see Mike with that charming smile of his…

But Trooper has a mission of his own. Before too long Mike is moving to the ranch to lend a hand—and hoping for his own second chance with Sierra.

My Mini-Review

I'm going to be honest, I wasn't the perfect audience for Shelter Me. The reason? So many dogs. I know it's really unpopular, especially since the memes on Facebook like to remind me that if I'm not cool with a creature that's just cleaned his bits lick my face, then I'm not a good human. And I'm okay with that. I don't hate dogs, it's just that whenever I'm around them, I break into hives, get wheezy, itchy, sneezy and extremely grumpy. My point is, since I'm not an avid dog lover, the fact that so much of Shelter Me revolves around a shelter, the many daily details of running a shelter, and that the dog on the cover even narrates a portion of the book, didn't exactly work for me. And I know the book does have a dog on the front, but I didn't pick up the all dogs, all the time vibe from the book description.
That detail aside, the love story between Sienna and Mike was so good. The McDaniel family's struggles with coping with the loss of a husband, father, son, was heartbreaking. The author did such wonderful job of creating a strong sense of the characters' emotions, how they struggled with their loss, and how determined they were to move forward, one day at a time. I liked that the McDaniel family's depression, disappointment, anger, and despair were in focus. To be honest, though I loved the human side of the story, a lot of it was overshadowed by the shelter and the dog. I love a good second chance romance, so much. I truly enjoyed the moments with Mike and Sienna and would have appreciated more of the focus landing on them more, rather than the various secondary plot points.
While I've shared aspects that led to my lack of true enthusiasm in regards to Shelter Me, I do believe it's a nice story. I think those who don't mind an abundance of critters would likely enjoy it a lot.

Favorite Quote
  "Suppose I was trying to win you back to my...mattress, not out of impulsiveness--" he paused, squeezing her hand--"but because we had something good. And even if there isn't a future for us, I can't seem to let go of the past. What would you say to that?"
  He couldn't deny how important her answer was to him--too much so.
  "I would say I'm swayed." She stepped closer, until her breasts pressed against him, her face tipped up toward his.
  He slid an arm around her waist, and she didn't protest or pull away, so he continued, "What if I moved my hand down your back?"
  Sierra slid her hand over his shoulder to cup the back of his neck. "I would sigh."

I have two copies (one ARC) of Shelter Me to giveaway. Open to US only; must be 18+ years of age to enter.

About Catherine Mann
Catherine MannUSA Today bestselling author Catherine Mann writes contemporary romance for Berkley, Harlequin, and Sourcebooks, with her work reprinted in more than twenty countries. A RITA Award winner, she lives on the Florida coast where she and her military flyboy husband have brought up four children. An active volunteer with her local Humane Society, Catherine enjoys writing while foster puppies nap on her feet.

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. First for me thank you for the giveaway. Oh good luck!!!

  2. Second chance romances are once of my favorites! I LOVE them.
    I do like animals as secondary characters.

  3. *snort* "So many dogs." Poor girl! I hope you didn't break out into hives reading this book! Now, I do love dogs and dog books (as long as they don't die. Those suck.) but I want more focus on the couple, with the dog(s) as the humorous sidekick.

  4. The dog narrates a part of the book? Huh! Well, that is unique for sure.
    I'm a dog person, so perhaps this would work for me, but on the other hand I'm worried that too many dogs would kill the romance for me.
    I'm glad there were parts that you liked, Andrea.
    Lovely review! :)

  5. I do enjoy second chance romances and pets make for a cute addition to any story! Thanks for the giveaway! :-)

  6. I love animals, so animals in a book is a big YES!!! I also am a sap for the second chance for love romance books. This really looks like a fantastic read!!

  7. I love books with pets, though it's not often you read a book with a pet POV so that should be interesting.... I also like second chance romances depending on the circumstances of the original break up (i.e. if someone cheated I will not read it).

  8. I'm a huge dog lover but a dog to narrate the story just doesn't do it for me. It only worked in one book and thankfully that was just an epilogue! Great review :)

  9. Love them both! I think second chance romance is definitely my favorite!

  10. I"m a sucker for books w/ pets are secondary characters :) Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Oh yes. Hard if there's part you just can't connect with or shy away from. There really are a lot of animals in this one. (I'm about half way through)

  12. I love second chance romances and I also love dogs - especially rescue dogs so this might work for me. Great review!

  13. lol My problem with reading books where animals play such a big part is that I get mad when they get it wrong. I work for a vet and used to manage an animal shelter so I'm all picky picky :-)) "You should NOT train a dog that way!!" etc lol

    Great review Andrea - I know it didn't work for you but you explained it in a way that the book can find the right reader.

  14. I love dogs so that's probably why I loved this one more. Add too much more than dogs and I'm over it. This one touched me though. I'm glad you still enjoyed Mike and Sienna's romance.

  15. I love second chance romances! Thanks for the giveaway, can't wait to read it!

  16. Hard to be fond of a creature that makes you so miserable, Andrea. :) I'm glad that you at least enjoyed the romance between Mike and Sienna and meeting the McDaniel family.

  17. I love animals, cats more than dogs, and they can be a nice feature to a story, a touching feature. But I wouldn't like it overshadowing or taking over a romance story. Sorry this seemed to happen here. I think I'd probably get to the point where I was skimming those bits in favor of getting back to the romance. Great review, Andrea! :)

  18. I like dogs, but I'd be a little put off by the "all dogs, all the time" thing when I'd want more romance.

  19. Yeah and yes. The animal part doesn't phase me at all since I'm one of those people who have always had pets. The few months of my life when I was pet less were miserable not just because of the lack of pets but it didn't help.

  20. Yes, I do enjoy books with pets, and also ones with second chance romance. This book sounds so good. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  21. Your review made me laugh. I love dogs, even have a spoiled rotten one, but I don't like him or any of them licking me after they lick their bits either :)

  22. always! Horses and dogs especially


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