Stars and Stripes


A Review of Stars and Stripes by Abigail Roux. (Book 6 Cut and Run Series) by Angela Lannister

Release Date : 13th August 2012.
Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have managed the impossible: a few months of peace and quiet. After nearly a year of personal and professional turmoil, they're living together conflict-free, work is going smoothly, and they're both happy, healthy, and home every night before dark. But anyone who knows them knows that can’t possibly last.

When an emergency call from home upsets the balance of their carefully arranged world, Ty and Zane must juggle family drama with a perplexing crime to save a helpless victim before time runs out.

From the mountains of West Virginia to a remote Texas horse ranch harbouring more than just livestock and childhood memories, Ty and Zane must face their fears—and their families—to overcome an unlikely enemy and bring peace back into their newly shared world.
Book Summary from Goodreads











Stars and Stripes is the 6th book in the popular Cut and Run series by Abigail Roux. Without giving too much away, we get to revisit The Grady family, who we haven’t seen since book 2, Stars and Stripes, and we are introduced to the Garrett family. I have decided that I am in love with Chester Grady. I think I want him to come and live at my house, sit on my front porch and have his shovel handy for any wayward nighttime prowlers. (He might come in handy in around 6 years’ time when my kids enter their  teens.)

Our two hot men race to Ty's parents after Ty's Mum has a little mishap with some shears. Then Zane is urgently called to Texas for a family emergency.  He is quickly followed by Ty.  After all our heros have to stick together.

Each book in the series always has a mystery which needs to be solved and this book is no exception. The mystery  revolves around a cat sanctuary close to the Garrett ranch.  To say that Ty doesn't like animals is an understatement, however he does seem to have an affinity for cats.  Big cats. If you imagined Zane as Ty's teddy bear, then just think how much of a sap Ty would be for a tiger. We have Ty and Zane racing over the ranch to try to solve the mystery of disappearing exotic cats and it is great in that it allows us to witness Zane's family first hand, from his father, Harrison and mother, Beverly, to sister Annie, brother-in-law, Mark and niece, Sadie.  It builds a much more rounded picture of who Zane is and after all the hints in the last few books it is great to finally meet the family
. Zane's father Harrison won my heart when he said:




"Had a gay bull I had to sell last year. That was a damn nuisance. Gay son? That don’t cost me nothing."
 They say the path to love is never smooth and Zane's mother was / is definitely an obstacle in this regard. Best to say that she is not happy that her son has a boyfriend and not a girlfriend. We might see her trying to influence events in the future.


By now our two leads Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are very comfortable in their relationship and this book felt like a natural progression for them.  The book has a slower pace to previous books as Zane starts to grapple with the big questions like, are we going to be together forever (a given in my eyes); will we want to get married one day and even have children? It is worth noting that a lot of this pondering is done by Zane as opposed to Ty and I suspect we may see some kind of angst in the next book as Ty will be put to the test in regards to his commitment to Zane. There was also some foreshadowing regarding Ty’s past in the Recon days. Part of the book really felt like it was a build up to the next book, as it didn't seem as explosive as previous outings. I love, love, love all the sappiness and how clearly our leads are expressing their love. I remember well, those first few years together when you just can’t get enough of the other person and Ty and Zane are clearly in the “honeymoon” phase.


  Abigail Roux continues to outdo herself when writing m/m sex scenes. They are always panty wetting and make your tongue hang out for more. The “reverse cowboy” will have many readers panting for more.  Ty (depending on your view picture Karl Urban or Jensen Ackles) in a cowboy hat, need I say anything more?  My favourite sex scene in this book is broom closet sex.  I love this scene as it felt much rawer and needier then the other sex scenes. 
Come on”, Zane taunted…"Paint the door for me, and you’ll be feeling my cum drip out of you for the rest of the night”.





There is something about Zane saying “Come on”, that sends me weak at the knees. You just know that he wants Ty to cum so that he can finish off.  The other word is "Baby". It would drive me crazy if my husband ever said it to me (and not in a good way!).  But an Alpha male saying to another Alpha male "Baby", makes me want to spontaneously combust and find another pair of panties.  But no sex scene after broom closet sex and I still had half the book to go, so I did grumble a little. Yes I am easily pleased, just throw a sex scene in every 60 or so pages.

I have a couple of bug bears though.  I loved the book so please stay with me a moment.  To me the book felt slightly rushed and I wonder why there was such a rush to put out another book when Book #5, Armed and Dangerous only came out in May. There is also one passage, and yes I will put up my hand and say I was being nit-picky....

 “They had run all kinds of tests and discovered exactly what type of dart had been used. They’d given Ty the appropriate human antidote, and Zane had set the local law enforcement on a hunt for any of the same that were missing from area vets.”
But I felt that we should have been told what the dart was and what drug the law enforcers were looking for. Does it affect the plot? No. Does it impact on the story? No. I just felt it could have been done slightly better. But that is me being picky, so ignore me if you wish.

My other issue was I felt the Gradys were a little off.  This could be because in Book #2, Sticks and Stones, there were two authors of the series and not one, and as such the tone was slightly different. This didn’t worry me so much in Book #2 but this time around, I felt it could have been better and that the Grady dialogue did not run as fluidly.  First time around it felt more snappy and humorous.  People may argue that Zane and Ty are in a different place and therefore the dialogue is going to change.  I think part of my issue with the Grady interaction is I feel Book #2 Sticks and Stones was a better book.

I wanted  more angst darn it. Never fear, you might say, as Book #7 will no doubt have angst by the bucket-load. I will be the first to admit that I may have raised my own expectations on this book too high, as I often do when I really, really like something.  Sometimes you build your expectations up so high that the reality doesn't quite match up.  I can sometimes be a spoiler whore too, which may not have helped.

Overall the book is a great addition to the series and I will be joining the queue to get Book 7 next year.  If you like your m/m alphas hot, sexy and mouthwatering, then this book and the whole series are a must.

***Quotes taken from Stars and Stripes by Abigail Roux.

Comments

  1. Truthfully, I thought the Gradys were pretty bang-on, considering that when we see them they're under the stress of Mara's hedge-clipper incident, then the Chester thing (OMG, I adore Chester!), and then the physical 'costs.' I'm thinking that the Grady folks had more than their share of discomfort, which would make for an odd stilting of dialogue any day. ^_^ But, that is just me.

    As far as the progression, I'm loving it. I don't think it's moving too fast, it doesn't feel too slow, it just feels... fairly natural. But, the point may be that I read all six books in the span of a week, so there wasn't a waiting period for things to sort of settle in between Armed & Dangerous and Stars & Stripes. I find a lot of times that makes a huge difference.

    As far as angst... Well, I'm hoping to see the external angst. I like happy heroes, and there are still so many external factors to resolve that it seems like the internal angst would be unnecessary. Plus, I'd like to see them tackle the 'out' parts of things before they hit on the 'forever' parts, but I strongly suspect that it's going to go the other way - as if there is a need to 'prove' that the forever is possible before they go to the trouble of paving the road for it. But, that's just me.

    I think, truly, I'd love to see a book from more of Ty's POV. I don't know if it's just the formatting of my ebooks that makes it difficult to tell, but after Fish & Chips and part of Divide & Conquer, we don't see much in the way of Ty's emotions. We see, instead, Zane's processing of what he *thinks* are Ty's emotions, but not a lot of what Ty himself is thinking and/or feeling. And let me tell you, I MISS the internal workings of Ty. A lot. o.o;;

    However! I agree with the broom closet (oh WOW do I agree!), and I agree with just about everything else said. I can't help but adore the books, the characters, the condiment-incident... It's a great book, a great series, and I'm anxiously awaiting more to read. <3

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    1. Thanks Care. I so agree with you, that it does feel like we are getting more from Zane's perspective as opposed to Ty's, but I have a feeling the next book might have a lot more from Ty's viewpoint as it is going to include the Recon guys. I am so with you as well on Ty's internal dialogue. We don't know really what is going on in his mind. It did feel a lot like it was Zane figuring out their relationship ie getting married, but we don't really know what Ty thinks. I personally think Ty is all for it, but I just feel that there will be some kind of obstacle put in the way. Abi has been baiting us with some Liam Bell character - a former lover perhaps?

      I loved Chester so much as well. He gave me some real cackling with glee for sure. I guess with books I sometimes have an order of preference and I just really liked Sticks and Stones more at the end of the day. I liked the action it had in it; I loved the interactions as well and that newness of the relationship between Ty and Zane. That is not to say this book wasn't awesome at all.

      I am so glad you loved broom closet sex as well. It still leaves me weak at the knees thinking about it. Bring on January when the next book is hinted to be coming out. Summer time reading. I can't wait.

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    2. In regards to Liam Bell---LaLaLa, not listening *hands covering eyes until Liam Bell goes away*

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  2. Excellant review, Angela! I don't know what else to say, except to bounce off what you and Cara have said.

    Personally, I've felt that most of the series is from Zane's POV (in addition to sex scenes, but I figured out that maybe I just enjoy Zane topping more). I've wondered if it is true that Zane's POV dominates, then possibly the reason for that is that Ty *says* what he's thinking and feeling, while Zane does not. We need Zane's POV to get into his mind and know how he feels and thinks about things. He's busy "crunching the numbers" and not as expressive. However, by Stars & Stripes, Zane is a LOT more expressive than he used to be.

    Matter of fact, that is a good point that Ty's POV might prevail more in the next book because of the Recon guys being in there. Considering the last time I saw those Recon Boys, my damn heart got ripped out of my chest, I'm a little apprehensive about the next book!

    I'm also worrying about the external angst that is sure to come. How is the FBI going to handle it? How do they find out? I can't foresee any internal angst. Zane would have to royally screw up for Ty to ever leave him, and vice versa. They've already done the screwing up in the earlier books anyway. Maybe Abi will drum up some internal angst that is less dramatic.

    Regardless, I flove these books, and I adore Ty & Zane a million times over. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Something *heinous* would have to happen for me to give them any less than 5 stars.

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  3. Loved it Angela! I miss the boys so much. There are so many books I've read since them that it feels like an eternity. And reading this review made my heart beat faster and my eyes going into puppy mode.
    I do believe there's more to Zane's POV because he's the one with the greatest trouble when it comes to relationships. Ty is "too easy", although he's the one telling this to Zane. Ty's intentions are clear, at least to me. I know that with Ty, what I see is what I get. Zane is the enigma. I need to know what he thinks more than I need Ty.
    Anyway, Amanda, Angela, Lisa when are we due for a group re-read?

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    1. LOL Olga. Love your comments and Amanda's. I miss them too. However have a ton of other things to read before I go back to them sadly. At this rate I think November might be good for me. But let me know if you do reread and I will fit it in. Luckily the books are shortish, except when I reread certain scenes. Whistles. I wonder what scenes those are???

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    2. I was planning on scheduling my re-read either before or after the next book comes out (which hopefully Abi will give us a concrete date for before too much longer), but whenever you guys are ready to re-read, I'll be there! Can never have enough Ty & Zane!

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    3. At this point, I'll probably do a re-read before T&G comes out, whenever that might be. :)

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  4. Awesome review, Angela! I LOVED IT! And it made me want to re-read S&S2 again. Well, the whole series again actually, but specifically S&S2.

    "a little mishap with some shears" LOL! I'll say. "Who's stupid now, Earl?" :D God, I love the Grady family. I hope we see lots more of them in books to come. And I totally agree about Chester. He is awesome personified.

    Ty showing up at Zane's family's ranch is still one of my favorite moments ever. ...Okay, most scenes in these books are among my favorite moments ever. It's not my fault! It's Ty & Zane!

    Harrison is my hero. One of my favorite..if not the top favorite...secondary character of all time for me. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Harrison.


    "Abigail Roux continues to outdo herself when writing m/m sex scenes. They are always panty wetting and make your tongue hang out for more. The “reverse cowboy” will have many readers panting for more." YEP

    "But an Alpha male saying to another Alpha male "Baby", makes me want to spontaneously combust and find another pair of panties." YEP

    "Yes I am easily pleased, just throw a sex scene in every 60 or so pages." YEP

    Oh and to touch on the Zane quote (Paint the door) anytime that Zane (or Ty) gets bossy or talks dirty during sex is a most definite WIN for me.

    For me this book was definitely a perfect progression from the earlier books and since I'm not much of an angst-whore at all, it was my favorite in the series so far. I loved the humor in it. I loved the openness between Ty and Zane and all the lovey-dovey going on with them. I loved all the family stuff. The Grady family was excellent as ever for me and Harrison...my Harrison..made the whole book...the whole series better, just by his mere presence in it.

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  6. *oops* Didn't see an edit option, so I had to delete for one minor, but very significant word!

    Great review!

    I admit I was a little apprehensive to spend a whole book with Zane's family. We never heard much about them before, and what we heard wasn't all that great. I thought this was a great book, though, and I loved Harrison.

    I wouldn't mind spending more time in the future at either the Grady's or the Garrett's. And I can't wait for the two families to meet!!

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