ARC Book Review: Running With The Pack – A.M. Burns & Caitlin Ricci

Running with the packDate of Publication: September 8, 2016
Genre and Themes: LGBTQI, Romance, Young Adult, Polyamory
Format: 180 pages, ebook
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
ISBN: 9781634770644
Characters: Finn, Ivan, Adrian

Blurb: Finn is about to start his senior year of high school when he and his family move from Austin, Texas, to Woodland Park, Colorado. Everything is different—even the elevation—and Finn’s having a hard time getting used to his new home. Life takes a turn for the better when he meets Ivan Dubovasky at a farmers’ market. Finn finds not only a close new friend but a fulfilling volunteer position at the High Mountain Wolf and Wild Dog Center, which Ivan’s family runs. Before long Finn develops an affinity for the wolves under the center’s protection.

Things only get better for Finn when he starts a relationship with Ivan; and Ivan’s best friend, Adrian, who’s asexual, completes their small pack. But it all comes crashing down when the bully plaguing Adrian crosses the line and Adrian goes missing. Finn and Ivan are determined to bring their boyfriend home safe, but they might not be able to do it alone. Luckily there’s a special wolf ready to lend a paw.

***

This book is a very quick and pleasant read. Initially, I thought it involves “shifters” based on how the blurb was written and all throughout the first few chapters so I was surprised (and perhaps a bit disappointed) that it is actually about three boys coming-of-age with the “wolves” as their main link into discovering each other.

The story was told from Finn’s perspective whose family just moved to town. When he decided to volunteer into a wolf’s sanctuary, he meets the charismatic son of the sanctuary’s owner – Ivan and his best friend Adrian. Their friendship soon developed into a polyamorous relationship. Uhm, yeah. I’ll get to that later.

I’ve a couple of issues about the story. First, there’s no real conflict here. I thought the whole thing was focused on Adrian’s insecurity and his continuous need for self-assurance only because he’s asexual and keeps on getting bullied by the these two ‘homeschooled’ brothers who just go to school for a couple of subjects and made it their mission to bully Adrian. To be honest, the story doesn’t even need their characters.

Second, I thought they’re too young for such commitment *cough* the polyamorous relationship *cough* I find the development there way too fast for their age and it feels like it’s more of a set-up for convenience. Though I loved that the author presented it in a very wholesome way (no sex on page – to be honest, I don’t even remember if there’s even any.)

Overall, I thought the three of them (Finn, Ivan and Adrian) are real likable and for me to enjoy a story, I need to be able to like the characters. If I couldn’t relate to them, at least they’re likable enough for me to stick with it and this one did it for me. It’s something sweet, something quick and a good enough read to pass the time.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

BUY LINK: HARMONY INK PRESS

About A.M. Burns
Urban fantasy writer, falconer and all around good guy. Author of the popular Yellow Sky series.

A.M. Burns lives in the Colorado Rockies with his partner, several dogs, cats, horses, and birds. When he’s not writing, he’s often fixing fences, splitting wood, hiking in the mountains, or flying his hawks. He’s enjoyed writing since he was in high school, but it wasn’t until the past few years that he’s begun truly honing his craft. He is the president of the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group: http://www.csfwg.org. Having lived both in Colorado and Texas, rugged frontier types and independent attitudes often show up in his work.

About Caitlin Ricci
Caitlin began writing when she was in middle school but it wasn’t until 2012 that she first got up the guts to submit something to a publisher. That first short story was accepted and later that same year she quit her job and became a full time author. She is forever grateful to her readers for giving her first short story a chance and for their continued support as well.

Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. If she isn’t writing, she can usually be found studying as she works toward her counseling degree. She comes from a military family and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful fiance and their two dogs. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an impartial review.
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