Review: Shelter Me by Catherine Mann

20645291Shelter Me
(Second Chance Ranch, #1)
By: Catherine Mann
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: Aug. 5, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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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.


1thoughtsWhile fighting overseas, Mike’s Colonel and unit befriend a stray dog. Mike’s Colonel gets attached to the dog so much, that he asks Mike a favor, if anything were to happen to him, make sure the dog makes it to his family back in the states. So when things go south for the Colonel, that’s exactly what he does. He breaks rules, jumps through hoops and puts his career on the line to get this dog back to the states. It should be an easy task, however, the Colonel’s daughter is the love of his life that he left behind and the family is falling apart at the seams. Mike decides that the family could use a man around the house to not only help fix things but to help run interference when life comes knocking on their door.

This was one of those stories where you get multiple points of view. We not only have Sierra and Mike, but we have Sierra’s mother and the local vet, who just so happens to be in love with the mother. Oh, and the rescued pup also has his story mixed in throughout. So I liked that the story didn’t just focus on one story line. However, I found myself bored with Mike and Sierra’s story. I didn’t feel like their problems were really problematic enough to cause all the drama. I mean, her father passes away and instead of grieving or acting out, she’s sleeping with the one guy she knows is leaving. They have a temporary relationship while Mike is around, but the looming date of him leaving hold them both back from really jumping in. I don’t know, I just wasn’t that into their story. Plus, they had some corny lines. It just felt a little scripted to me.

I did however gravitate towards the mother’s story though. She was grieving her husband. A man who she buried a few months prior. However, he had been gone for a year on his deployment. So she had been running the family and her business on her own for a year. She starts to develop feelings for the young vet but she’s still grieving her husband and feels guilty over her feelings. I think I liked her story because being a military wife myself, you kind of do go through a “single” period while your spouse is away. You can eat dinner when you want instead of waiting until 8pm when he comes home, you can do what you want to without having to check someone else’s schedule. So, in the end I really just wanted to read the mother’s story.

I also liked the grandfather in this story. He too was in the military, he was a General. He actually sometimes reverts back to his time in the military and has flashbacks due to his Alzheimer’s and possible PTSD. A lot of the time it was just sad to read because the General would get disoriented and embarrassed by his actions. Like one time Mike found him hiding under the bed because the fireworks were bringing back some old memories of warfare. So after the General yells for Mike to take cover, Mike climbs under the bed with him. Once the General realizes that he’s not in a war zone he gets really embarrassed and him and Mike climb out. Only to find out that in all the chaos going on in his head, he’d urinated on himself. Those moments were really sad. However, there were some funny ones too where the General would tell his grandson about “them hookers” and would just sort of go off on random tangents. Like the time when Mike landed with the dog and there were news crews everywhere and Mike tried getting the General to go to the car by telling him to lead the way. So the General starts marching off yelling cadence.

“I was born in the back woods, raised by a bear… Gotta double bone jaw and four coats of hair… Got cast iron balls and a big steel rod. I’m a mighty paratrooper. I’m airborne by God.”

I’m glad that at the end of the book you get an epilogue from the dog. He’s been with the family for 10 years and sort of catches you up on things. He also preludes that the mother is now married to someone else, but you have to wait to read her book to find out. The only down side is, her book isn’t next. So maybe she marries the vet? Or, I think it would be cooler and more of a spin if she DOESN’T marry the vet and instead finds someone totally new. Who knows.


1favequote“Now ladies, that was one fierce Chihuahua girl. I’ve learned to listen to a lady, no matter the size.”


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