Publication Date: 08/05/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Contemporary Romance
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Catherine Mann on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Excerpt from, Shelter Me, courtesy of the authors website (half way down the page)
From the USA Today bestselling Catherine Mann comes this beautiful, heartwarming novel about a returning soldier, 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.
Catherine Mann brings readers the first book in a new series about a pet rescue operation and a family readers won't soon forget. Shelter Me is the heart wrenching story of the McDaniel family and their struggle to maintain their lives and dreams in the wake of losing their father. Readers who love animals, readers who have lost family members, readers who are just looking for a tender love story, will all find something to cheer about in this book. Catherine Mann delivers a powerful and endearing romance!
What I liked:
I am not even sure where to begin with this book. I have read several books by Catherine Mann and have truly enjoyed all of them. Her characters are always easy to relate to, multi-faceted and emotionally satisfying, but there is something about the McDaniel family. The characters in Shelter Me are so raw and real that readers will have a hard time not being completely drawn in by them. To say that I became emotionally invested in this book was an understatement. It was written with such heart and clarity that I honestly felt every heart break and every joy right along with these characters.
Mike and Sierra share a past, that wasn't exactly pretty. He didn't feel worthy of her and broke up with her before he was deployed under the command of her father. As the news shows us everyday, our military is still struggling against aggressor's in Afghanistan and soldiers and their families face loss and grief on a daily basis. I think that was part of what was so poignant about this story. When Sierra's father dies in combat and Mike returns his dog,Trooper to the family, something inside the reader will start to wrench and twist. This book is a love story, but it is a lot more than that. It is about the way a family knits itself back together after such a huge loss. It was just incredible to read about and obvious that the author understands what she is writing about. This is something she lives with and the reader will be able to see it in her words.
I am a huge advocate for animal rescue and I was expecting that to be a minor part of this story, but it wasn't. The Second Chance Ranch and McDaniel family commitment to it, was amazing. Readers will get to take a behind the scenes look at what it really takes to run this kind of facility. The difficulties and the decisions that have to be made. The struggles they go through and the deep and endearing love it takes to provide this kind of care. Trooper was amazing! I loved the parts of this book that were told from his point of view. Yes, that's right, part of the story is told from the point of view of a dog and it is something readers won't soon forget. A powerful look at the devotion and love that people can experience through the eyes of their pets. Just a joy to read!
The secondary characters in this story were told with just as much respect as the main couple. They had depth and feeling and made the reader want to know them better. Lacey, Sierra's mom, was a character just trying to make it through another day. I related to her. She was holding it together by a thread and her struggle added so much to the story. Readers will love her, as well as, the rest of the McDaniel family.
I have to give Catherine Mann props for balancing the many emotional elements of this story. The romance certainly does not take a back seat. It is gritty and edgy and these two characters are both hurting but clinging to each other to help them make it through. I loved the way Mike showed his feelings and relished life. It is too short and I think military men and women have a deeper sense of that than most people. Sierra had a lot of love in her heart and she impressed me as a reader at every turn. I loved the nods she made to some literary greats and her intelligence. A great couple, who deserved happiness.
This is one the best books I have read this year. It will pull at the readers heart strings. It will tear them apart and knit them back together, just like this very memorable family. I can't wait to read more about them. This was an exceptional read. I can't recommend it enough!
Shelter Me is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one a resounding 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Catherine Mann writes contemporary romance for Berkley, Harlequin, and Sourcebooks, with her work reprinted in more than twenty countries. 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. FMI: http://catherinemann.com
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Shelter Me by Catherine Mann.
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