Saturday, March 28, 2015

Stars & Stripes (Cut & Run #6) - Abigail Roux

This one is definitely my favorite book in the series (Well, up until the 8th book since I haven't read the last one yet!). As I"m writing these words I feel like crying that I only finished re-reading the 6th in the series when I just got an email saying that since I pre-ordered the 9th it'll soon be available for download! NO!!! I'm not sure what to do! Should I stop the re-read delve into the last one and then what? finish the re-read or not bother? Or should I go with my OCD tendencies and just finish the two remaining books. What to do.. What to do.. I KNOW I"m going to be stressed out until I finish those two.. ah! Should have planned it better!

So now that I've put my complaints behind me, lets talk about this book. The theme here is coming clean to their families about their relationship. It was funny, emotional, sweet, endearing and heart breaking at times seeing the reaction of both their families to their declarations of love. I also think it's the book they most express their love for one another, in words as well as in deeds, it's obvious from their reactions to one another how close they are and how much they understand and trust each other. 

While we already had a few glimpses into the "Grady Bunch", Zane's family was a mystery. Annie (Zane's sister) was mentioned before but only as a name, nothing more. But as Zane flies to Texas to deal with problems on his family's ranch we get to meet all of them - Annie and her husband Mark as well as their little daughter Sadie (That even I liked ;)) and naturally Zane's parents Beverly and Harrison. I loved both Annie and Harrison but disliked Beverly and Mark. Mark for trying to put doubts into Zane's heart about Ty and Beverly for being, well, a bitch! It was heart breaking seeing the relationship between Zane and her as well as Zane's realization to how much he was becoming her before he met Ty. 

As with the previous installments the action / mystery part is quite confusing, not knowing what's really going on till the very last minute / chapter. As I wrote about Zane flies to Texas when he receives a phone call from home telling him of strange occurrences in the ranch as well as his father getting hurt when trying to investigate on his own. They don't know what's going on, yet what they do know is cats, big (!) cats from a wild animal shelter are being taken. Ty isn't very happy to get mixed up with more wild cats but one takes a shine to him and when that tiger goes missing Ty is even more upset and not planning to keep quite about it. 

There were a lot of excellent quotes in this one. A LOT of LOL moments but some of them were just beautiful on the emotional side. 

Like Harrison's reaction to finding out his son is gay - "Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. A Gay son? That don't cost me nothing".
and Annie had my heart squished when she said Zane,” Annie said with a hand on his shoulder. “Go find a state that allows it, and marry that man.”

I loved that mostly their families accepted their son's partner which is quite obvious when one actually looks and sees what a difference the other man had on the other. Both Zane and Ty changed to the better and became actually happy and content in life since they got together. So it was nice to see it appreciated. I'm not saying all went smooth, we are talking Ty and Zane here ;) yet mainly I loved the was everything played out.

Here is a Beverly gem for you -

She saw Ty on the sofa and put her hands over her mouth. “Oh my God!”
“He got shot with a tranquilizer dart,” Mark told her. He and the others were staying out of the way, watching from the doorway. “Will he live?”
“We think so,” Annie answered as she checked his heartbeat again.
“Oh my. We have guests coming, is he bleeding on the upholstery?” 

I've always been "Team Zane" but when Ty shows his dislike to horses it was even more clear to me as I ADORE horses. I believe they are the way to happiness and bliss. Yet it was damn funny seeing all the Ty vs. horse interactions

"They keep... looking at me". Zane looked at Ty for a long moment trying not to laugh. "Looking at you" he managed to say. 
Ty gave the horse a wave "Look at him! It's like he knows something" 
Zane snickered, and the horse mimicked him with a whicker, which just made Zane laugh harder. 
"That shit's not funny, Zane".

“I’m not going back in there with that horse.”
Zane flopped the rope against his thigh. “Ty, the horses are not conspiring against you.”. Ty crossed his arms and shook his head. “He looks at me. And he talks to me! And he knows I don’t know what he’s saying!”

There were also a lot of "hat talk" which was real fun

You know, in high school, if a girl got a guy to give her his Stetson, it was a sure thing they were going steady,” Zane said, his voice heated and smug.
Zane’s attempts at flirting were a never-ending source of amusement. And damn him, they were starting to work. “You saying I’d make a great Texan girl?”
“I’m saying you look damn good in my hat,” Zane growled. 

This book is HIGHLY recommended. It you haven't read the previous installments in the series it's a MUST to read them before hand as the relationship between Ty and Zane and the slow buildup is VERY important as well as actually getting to know them both, slowly slowly through each book. 

I LOVE this series, I can't wait to continue to the next installment up until the very last one. I'm sad but also happy because sometimes saying good bye is better that a series dragging beyond it's "natural course" relationship wise but also plot wise.  There is a certain point in relationships there is no need to write or read about and I do hope that the last book will give us the best closure to this couple whom I love so much.

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 275 pages, 26-27 March 2015 / On GoodReads

Originally Reviewed 30/05/2013:

You know what's the problem with these books? 
They keep getting better! :D
After giving the first 5 stars, it's getting absurd giving this one "only" 5.. :]
This book was totally amazing!

We get to see Zane in his "home ground" see his family and their relationship. and we also get to see a real progression in Ty and Zane relationship which was really cool!
In the beginning we get to see Ty and Zane with Ty's family and how "it goes" there and then we have Ty meeting Zane's family (for the first time).
Ty's grandpa pulled a really nice act!!!

I'm not adding anything in case I absently add some spoiler. 
But I'd say hands down this is the best book in the series (so far ;))

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 275 pages, 29-30 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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