Friday, January 30, 2015

Sticks & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

God, I love this series SO MUCH. Love Zane, love Ty as well, and in this book we got to meet and love the Brady Bunch, mmm, sorry, I mean the Grady Bunch :) Zane and Ty are forced into taking a vocation. Ty suggests Zane comes home with him as he knows that Zane would mostly sulk in his hotel room for 3 weeks. He also misses him as they don't see each other privately (outside work) as they used to. Ty has his reasons for that. He also has his reasons to ask Zane to come and meet his family. Everyone has his own reasons as it seems.

So what do people do when they life near the mountains? They go on a hike! especially since Zane admits to never doing that. Earl (Ty's father) and Deacon (Ty's brother who everyone calls Deuce) also accompanies them. But Ty and Zane can't have a relaxing vocation, they can't have a real vocation anywhere and anytime! So naturally they stumble into life threatening trouble (a couple of times..) yet (since there are a few installment after this one) they get out of it (scarcely) alive..

It was fun getting to know Ty's family. While his His father Earl is overly strict (I wanted to bash his head with a shovel!) his mother Mara is sweet and loving, his grandfather Chester is a total nut job (yet hilarious!) and his brother Deuce is an interesting and funny guy with the same kind of care free attitude Ty seems to have yet with a psychiatrist degree - should watch out with what you say to THAT guy. ;) 

For Zane it's a way to see a total different Ty, a more relaxed one. He is still looking for the "real Ty" - who he REALLY is yet he hasn't a clue where HE fits into all of it. He loves spending time with Ty, he relaxes him and makes him feel safe and happy, yet he isn't willing to really put himself out there emotionally. Ty on the other hand starts to realize how much MORE Zane means to him, with everything that happened in the previous book, and with what he deals with in this one it's obvious to him that Zane is a lot more that his work partner and casual fuck. Yet he too is reluctant to say anything to Zane as he isn't sure how Zane would react.. Though it's obvious to US their feelings or more accurately what they MEAN to each other, they both play it somewhat "hard to get" and don't put their feelings on the table. They mostly try and hide them or make a funny joke rather than say what's really on their minds. I was quite surprised to see Ty's reasoning on the way he felt about Zane as Zane is the one who actually acts on his need for Ty (even if without words). But Ty's sensitive side was really sweet to watch (and easy on the outside to interpret..).

While Ty's brother knows about Zane and Ty having sex, his other family members don't and Ty isn't ready to change that.. which adds to the tension but also hilarious moments such as Mara making the coach for Ty since the both of them can't possible fit in the same bed with how big they are (and Zane ending on the floor is not something a fine hostess as herself would tolerate). 

I loved how this book concluded. While in a way nothing changes throughout the book for both of them as they don't really have time to be open about their "relationship" with Earl and Deuce around (while on the hike) and Chester and Mara (when finally at home enjoying Mara's cooking) there IS a lot of progress for the both of them and it's not only Zane who gets to see Ty in a different light it's also Ty seeing Zane differently when he saves his life in the mountains. He saved his life before yet this time it's somehow different and more significant. In a way it's also a sort of revelation for us I guess. I already said in the previous one that I"m a "Team Zane" kinda gal. I somehow enjoy more the tortured hero, with all his vices, the good-guy-bad-guy facade he keeps changing somewhat like who he used to be and who he turned to be and not being able to return to the "better man" he used to be. In a way I think that him being incapable of dealing with having feeling (for Ty and FROM Ty) has to do with him not being able to deal with who he is now. But what DID came out of this adventure was Ty realizing he really wants Zane to get better and willing to BE THERE for him and not only "sending him away" to get treated and return better. 

The narration in this one was done by Sawyer Allerde, the same narrator who did the previous installment. As I wrote in the previous installment I really enjoyed the narration. There is a distinct difference between Ty and Zane's voices which makes it easier to understand who's talking, and he also did the other character really well. I even didn't think it was strange when he did the voice of Mara (it didn't feel overly done or too feminine with a male voice.. hard to explain - it was just good :))

Additional Details: Audiobook, 8:52 Hours, 28-29 January 2015 / On GoodReads

Originally reviewed 23/05/2013:

After the first book I thought this series will be all about cases these two takes on as agents, this book showed me how this series is about THEM and also the shit that sticks to them :D

So no big case, just a "relaxing" vocation in the mountains with Ty's family. what could go wrong, seriously? 

Really enjoyed this book seeing a little more into Ty and his family, didn't think he was a "family guy" through the first book but it seems he is! 

Being "grazed" by death made Ty realize what he felt for Zane and also added more jokes to be made about him :) 

Something about the ending and how Zane went home and didn't stay with Ty to "see him through" king of annoyed me, but I guess I got it in the end.. they weren't "there" yet and they are still hiding in plain site from everyone except for Ty's brother so...

Loved the scene in which Zane says to Ty's mother that they could sleep in the same room and her laughing that they won't manage being both of them being on the bed together! :

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 322 pages, 23 May 2013 / On GoodReads
Cut & Run is a GREAT MM Romance series written in the beginning by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban and continued from the 5th book with Abigail Roux solo. I really enjoy Ty Grady and Zane Garrett's relationship and since it's quite slow going on the built - the way the relationship was formed and established between them felt very genuine.

Ty and Zane are both FBI agents. Ty being former Marine and Zane having a lot of experience in the Under Cover field as well. They are put together against each others will (doesn't it all start this way? :)). It doesn't take more than 2 seconds for the both of them to realize they are the absolute opposite of the other and it doesn't take a genius to realize it's going to crash and burn between them... and yet they somehow do find themselves attracted to each other and moreover start to trust each other as partners. It takes them a few books to build a "real" relationship, takes them time to "come out" in front of family and friends, and yet they have to keep their romance to themselves when it comes to their work if they want to work together since the FBI doesn't partner couples (it doesn't have to do with them being gay).

I think it's a really good suspense romance as well, though the mystery part isn't the strong part of the books but the building of their relationship with every book that follows. Each book has it's own issue that needs to be resolved but there is also somehow a bigger picture with both Ty and Zane's past slowly unraveling and coming to bite them in the ass with the last three installment rapping up all the major troubles they were dealing with right from the beginning.   

We also get to meet Ty's teammates from his time as a marine. Once a Marine, always a marine, right? and there's also a spin off series of two of Ty's teammates - Nick and Kelly called Sidewinder. I've read and reviewed the first one - Shock and Awe. But sadly I don't feel the connection to the characters as I do with Ty and Zane so I won't continue reading more in the spin off.

Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban published one more book together - "Warrior's Cross". Though it was published in 2009 the "right placement" of the book in relation to the Cut & Run series is before the 5th installment since it gives a better understanding of the couple who appears in "Armed & Dangerous". Julian and Cameron's story is VERY different than the Cut & Run series. It's a sweet love story.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! (Though I admit in my opinion the last two books were the weaker link, I expected more of them and got a bit too much of the new and shiny couple - Nick & Kelly).

This was and will be one of my absolute favorite MM Romance / Suspense Series. Ty and Zane, yeah, mostly Zane, are a couple I'll always carry with me. The road we went through together made them almost real in my mind and I'm really sad to say goodbye to them now that the series is over. Goodbye my friends.

1. Cut & Run (published 1 September 2008) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
2. Sticks & Stones (published 25 January 2010) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
3. Fish & Chips (published 6 December 2010) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
4. Divide & Conquer (published 14 October 2011) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5. Armed & Dangerous (published 18 May 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
5.5 Dine & Dash [ free bonus scene ] (published 8 July 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★
6. Stars & Stripes (published 13 August 2012) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
7. Touch & Geaux (published 8 April 2013) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
8. Ball & Chain (published 17 March 2014) ★ ★ ★
9. Crash & Burn (published 30 March 2015) ★ ★ ★ ¾

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