Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ARC Review: Red River by Cardeno C.

Red River (Pack, #2)
Two Alpha shifters join together to lead their pack and build a family.
Commitment, loyalty, and strength aren’t enough to make Wesley Stone’s birth pack accept an Alpha with a physical imperfection, even if it’s a meaningless mark. Putting the safety of his pack above his own wellbeing, Wesley trades himself for another Alpha and agrees to mate with a stranger in a mysterious, insular pack.
Alphas from Jobe Root’s family have led the Red River pack from the first day shifters walked the earth. Now the time has come for Jobe to fulfill his destiny, but to do that, he needs his mate by his side. Spiritual, easygoing Jobe reveres Mother Nature and trusts in fate, yet he can’t help being nervous about how his mate will react to his new life in Red River, his new life with Jobe.
Two Alphas with contrasting personalities, different upbringings, and divergent beliefs come together for the good of their packs. But to stay together, Wesley and Jobe must see beyond the surface and embrace every facet of themselves and their union. 

Todd's rating:

Alllllllrighty now. This book was a serious case of "It's not you, it's me."

This story just never really clicked for me, as 33 y.o. Alpha shifter Wesley was essentially thrown to the wolves (sorry, couldn't resist) because he was different than the other schmucks in the Purple Sky pack.

Plus, the fact that Wesley's Uncle Paul, the 70 y.o. pack Alpha, never straight-up told Wesley that there was zero chance in hell of him ever becoming Alpha of the pack where he was born and raised, when he had over 3 decades to break the news, that didn't sit well with me at all.

Yes, the story got better when Wesley was 'traded' to the Red River pack for an 'acceptable' Alpha to lead them, but other than the mating bond and outward appearances, I never really felt the connection that I *always* feel between Cardeno's MC's in this particular book.

But then the book took a severe left turn and never looked back, which turned my semi-invested interest in the story into full on, "Please, never, ever, ever take me back to this place again" territory.

I can't really give my honest-to-God review of this book unless I let the one big plot twist out of the bag, so if you haven't read pretty much everyone else's Goodreads Shelf tags on this one and don't want to know, now, now, *NOW* is the time to navigate away from the the rest of this review.

I pretty much *always* love Cardeno's books, but...  

Male pregnancy freaks me the fuck out and if I'd known that this one was MPreg up front, I would have MOST DEFINITELY passed.

For me, the MPreg aspect just felt gimmicky and used up pages that might have been devoted to convincing me of a more emotional connection between Wesley and Jobe.

But what I also was not a fan of was how the other barely-past-17 boy with the freaky stomach skin also got pregnant. Was that really necessary? It just squicked me out a bit more on top of it all.

To each their own, but men pushing out babies is not my thing in the slightest.  

I'm really hoping that any future Cardeno C. shifter books come right out and divulge when this particular trope is used, as it really isn't for everyone.

So as hard as it is to admit, this one really didn't work for me at all and only rated around 2.5 stars as far as my overall enjoyment went.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.


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