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Book Review : Stick & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux

Book Review : Stick & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux

Click here to get “Stick & Stones” by Abigail Roux

 

Six months after nearly losing their lives to a serial killer in New York City, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett are suffering through something almost as frightening: the monotony of desk duty. When they’re ordered to take a vacation for the good of everyone’s sanity, Ty bites the bullet and takes Zane home with him to West Virginia. In hopes that the peace and quiet of the mountains will give them the chance to explore the explosive attraction they’ve so far been unable to reconcile with their professional partnership.

Ty and Zane, along with Ty’s father and brother, head up into the Appalachian mountains for a nice, relaxing hike deep into the woods… where no one will hear them scream. They find themselves facing danger from all directions: unpredictable weather, the unrelenting mountains, wild animals, fellow hikers with nothing to lose, and the most terrifying challenge of all. Each other.

 

Check out my review on the first book of the Cut & Run series :

Book 1 – Cut & Run by Abigail Roux 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sneak Peek Into The Story : 

 

Picking up right after book 1 ended, “Sticks and Stones” continues to explore the development of Ty and Zane’s relationship as they both try to figure out their feelings towards each other and work through the backlash from their last case.

 

Zane Garrett is not okay. 

 

After all the hoops and loops that they have jumped through in trying to catch the murderer : solve the Tri-State killer case and keep each other alive, it is understandable that all it took a toll on both Zane and Ty. So even when they pretend that everything is fine, the evaluation tests says different. Which is one of the reasons why Zane is called to Assistant Director Burns’ office today.

Zane has expected that Burns would want to talk to him sooner or later. He has also anticipated what Burns would talk to him about. However, even those were not able to lessen the blow of the news. Zane is told that he has flunk the mental evaluation test. Again. While he has no problems passing the academic and physical tests, Zane seems to be struggling with the one test that will clear him for field work.

 

Book Review : Stick & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux

 

With all the things that is constantly bouncing around in his head after the Tri-State killer case, Zane just hasn’t been able to focus. Though when asked, Zane always says he is fine. In reality, he has been fighting insomnia, acute headache and has been suffering through nightmares. He sleeps better when Ty is around at night, but it seems as if Ty has been more and more distant lately and Zane cannot figure out why.

While Zane has recovered substantially well physically, but mentally he is nowhere near fine. Which is why he has been given time off. “A little vacation”, as Burns say it. 3 weeks. Three whole weeks to get himself together and prove to the Bureau that he can still handle this job.

 

Ty Grady is not as unaffected by the case as he make it seems. 

 

It has been weeks since Ty and Zane resolved the Tri-State serial killer case. However, the stress and constant need to be always watching their back and be-on-the-ready seems to linger. Ty has been watching his partner, and he sees how affected Zane is by the Tri-State killer case. At first, Ty tried to help him. Ty tries to get Zane to talk it out. Or even offered to hire a psychiatrist for him, but Zane seem adamant on rejecting all of it and denies that he needs help. And the more Zane resists, the more Ty feels helpless and detached from him.

 

“There aren’t many things left that truly scare me, Ty,” Zane said softly. “But that’s one of them.”

“What is?” Ty asked without looking back at him. 

Zane looked at him longingly, the words on the tip of his tongue: Not being in time. Losing you. 

 

As soon as the Tri-State serial killer case is over, they have been sent straight to desk work. And Ty  loathes desk work. Ty is agitated and in desperate need for some action. However, with both of their state of mind, Ty knows they are nowhere ready to go back on the field. So later that day when Ty received a call from his dad saying that he looks forward to see Ty this week, Ty knows Assistant Director Burns is up to something.

So without preamble, Ty immediately heads ups to Burns’ office, only to find Zane there. At the same time, Ty also finds out about the fact that Zane will be having a 3 week vacation from the Bureau. Another word for, “You have 3 weeks to set your head straight, don’t fuck this up”. Though that is not what surprised Ty. What surprised Ty is that he finds out that he also has been granted 2 weeks vacation.

And when Ty starts to argue about how he does not need a vacation and how the Bureau needs him in the office, Burns simply pulls out a file that contains his evaluation result. It turns out that Ty too, has failed his evaluation test. At that, he turns silent.

 

Book Review : Stick & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux

 

Assistant Director Burns suggest that he goes back home to West Virginia to visit his family, that it would do him some good to spend some time with his family. And Ty does not disagree. It has been years since he last seen his family, and truth to be told, he misses them. Plus now that both he and Zane are both having their time off from work, Ty figures it might not be a bad idea to bring Zane along with him to visit his family.

 

“The thought of inviting Zane to accompany him to West Virginia was appealing, in a way.

If things went south, Ty could throw Zane in front of his parents just like he had the paintballs.

Use him as a sort of human sacrifice.”

 

 

Review : 

 

You know, when I start reading this series, a lot of my friends was so excited. This series has been recommend to me by so many people. And the one thing that I keep hearing over and over again is that : this series only gets better. And what do you know? They are actually right. Remember in my review of the first book – Cut & Run – when I gush about how much I love Ty and Zane? And now after I read “Stick & Stones”, I can 100% assure you that I love Ty and Zane even more after this book. 

When in Cut & Run the plot is more focused on the action and mystery side of the story, in this book, it focuses more on Ty and Zane and the progress of their relationship.

 

Book Review : Stick & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux

 

After Zane agrees to go with Ty to his hometown, Ty tells him that whenever he went back home, he always go hiking in the mountains with his dad, Earl and his brother, Deuce. And to Ty’s – and my – surprise,  Zane admits that he has never went hiking before, which only fuels Ty’s excitement to go hiking together. However, before they can do that, they first have to stop by Ty’s house and meet the family. 

And with that, we are introduced to Ty’s dysfunctionally functional family.

Just like Ty, his family is a joy to read. From his mother, Mara, who is strict yet loving ; his psychiatrist brother, Deuce, and his tendency to psychoanalyze everyone ; to his grandfather, Chester, who goes everywhere with his beloved shovel, they are all very unique in their own ways and definitely adds something to the story with their personalities. 

 

 

“I like your family. They’re absolutely nuts, but I like them”

 

 

I enjoy and love every single one of his family member but his dad, Earl. He comes off as this hard-ass, overly-strict man who practice the word “tough love” like it’s a religion. Now, I personally do not care much for Earl and how he wants to live his life, since I never really like his character. But I don’t like it when that attitude of his interferes with Ty’s life and hurts Ty’s feelings.

Throughout the book, there are a lot of instances where he was adamant to do things his way. Even when it’s clear the chances were against them, he still force down his will just to prove a point. Earl is like that one character in a book who always acts like the alpha but doesn’t exactly have half a mind to back that up. I cannot even tell you how many times while reading this book where all I want is to just go inside the book and strangle some sense into him.

Earl’s character aside, the plot is engaging and intense as usual. Though while reading this book, it kinds of feel as if things are not really progressing somehow. There are a lot of action and conflict going on. Although as far as the relationship development between characters, it remains somewhat slow. Not that I mind, but because of that, it makes me feel more like this book is a filler story that should have been a novella instead of a novel.

And let’s be honest, as far as “vacation” goes, it’s one hell of a stressful vacation. I think it has something to do with me going into the book with the mindset that Ty and Zane are going to have a relaxing time.  I mean, isn’t that what comes to mind when you hear the word, “vacation”? So it kind of throws me into a whirlwind when what I got is an action packed plot instead. Of course, the storyline is wonderful and the world is well built as usual, it just throws me off the loop because it wasn’t what I expected going in.

 

Book Review : Stick & Stones (Cut & Run #2) by Abigail Roux

 

I enjoyed Ty and Zane way more in this book, compared to the first. Of course, the love-and-hate relationship they have with each other is still there. But this time around, it is palpable that they both do genuinely care about each other and are not intentionally going at each other’s throat all the time anymore. The sass, sarcasm and puns that I enjoy so much in “Cut & Run” is still there. I love that even as their feelings for each other gradually turns to something more than friends, they still joke and poke fun at each other.

 

Ty moved toward him, his shirts hanging from his hand. “You a little turned on, Garrett?” he asked with a smirk, his tone surprised.

“More than a little, Grady,” Zane said under his breath. He sighed as Ty approached, eyeing him warily.
Ty hummed wordlessly. “Too bad there’s no wood to chop back home then,” he joked.

Zane shrugged slightly. His smile was just as obvious as before. “I’m sure I could find you some wood to work on,” he said evenly, eyes twinkling.

 

Despite me pointing out that the development between Ty and Zane’s relationship remains slow in this book, I enjoyed it. I think the pace at how their feelings progresses really works well with these two. As they not only have to work through their growing feelings towards each other, but they also have to fend off their nightmares and demons of their pasts that has been brought back to life after the trauma of their last case – the Tri-State serial killer. 

 

 

 

The Verdict :

 

In “Stick & Stones”, readers get a closer look at Zane and Ty’s dynamic. How they work as partners, both at work and out of work. And I must say, I really enjoyed this book. I love it even more than I did Cut & Run. Not only because of all the action and danger aspect of the story, but also because of those precious tender and vulnerable moments that Ty and Zane have with each other.

 

“You’re in love with him, aren’t you?” he stated with a hint of surprise.

“I don’t know,” Ty said. “I don’t know if I love him or not. I think… I think I could if he let me.”

 

The connection that they have with each other is perfect. Every time I see them interact with each other, or when I read about how Ty discreetly watches Zane, or about how highly Zane thinks about Ty, it just warms my heart all over again.

If you follow my progress on this book on Goodreads, I think it is pretty obvious how much I adore and love these two. I just cannot get enough of them. Ty and Zane consumes me, and I don’t mind. Not one bit.

 

 



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