Tag Archive: Urban; Madeleine

Sep 13

Review: Sticks & Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Sticks and Stones by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Like I said when I read Cut & Run, I’m always looking for a new good series.  And I thought I had found one.

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And honey was I wrong.

So, I know the series is hugely popular as an m/m romance series.  I can get behind that (I obviously can get behind that).  But since they’re both kind-of bad asses and in the FBI and whatnot and the first book centered around solving a serial killer murder spree and there was a lot of action…I just assumed that that is what the whole series would be like.  But that was not to be.

 

Okay, so this book takes place like three months after the events of Cut & Run.  The boys are still a little psychologically scarred from the events in New York, but they’re being tough about it.  They’ve been assigned to desk work, but Zayn has failed his psych evaluations, so they go on enforced vacation for a month.  Ty invites him to go see his family who lives up in the mountains of West Virginia.  The family is described (repeatedly) as being so weird and zany, but they just seem typical Southern: homebody mom, military distant dad, and black sheep brother who’s a therapist.  Anywho, they decide not to just hang out at home but to go hiking in the woods.

You remember how everyone’s favorite part of the Harry Potter series was the extended camping sequence in book 7?  Yeah, me either, and that’s the problem with this book.  Camping isn’t exciting.  It’s not exciting to go camping, and it certainly isn’t exciting to read about camping.  Even if it is camping with a lot of emotional issues to work through (and oh my we have issues to work through).

Yes, there is conflict up on the mountain.  They run into a snake.  They run into treasure hunters that have booby trapped the mountain and who kidnap them.  They run into a cougar.  But it’s all very “so what?”  The snake is flung away to no effect.  All of the treasure hunters die in very quick, non-spectacular fashion.  The cougar attacks Ty but he gets med-evaced out just before dying.  There’s never any fear for the main characters because we can’t harm them because they’re special.  George R. R. Martin would spit.

I know this is just supposed to be light reading, and I was really into the first half.  But, then, I was waiting for the awesome mystery to start.  Awesome mystery and sexy time…is that really too much to ask?  Apparently.  And I was let down.

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The only saving grace is that the nice characters are all likable enough.  Ty and Zane still spend way too much energy dancing around saying I love you, but I guess that’s drama for another day.  Falling in love just isn’t this hard, boys.

I seriously had this entire series on my list, but if it’s going to be more plots with the dramatic art of a dead man’s pulse, then I’ll skip it for something else.

JMF Rating: 5/10

‘Til next time,

-JMF

Sep 05

Review: Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

Cut and Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux

It is hard to motivate me to work out.  My desire to not be a butter troll is constantly outweighed by my desire to not be sweaty and sore.  But, an audiobook series can get me out the door and to the gym if I just force myself to only listen to it while I’m there.  That’s how I blazed through the entire Jim Butcher Dresden Files in less than six months: one hour at a time, mostly on the elliptical.

So, in an effort to find a new series to latch on to, I picked up Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux.  One of the most highly rated gay romance-ish books on Goodreads, and it’s already got like five more books in the series.

The story follows Zayn and Ty.  They’re both FBI agents, but they couldn’t be more different.  Zayn is all straitlaced and by the book while Ty is kind of a slob and shoots from the hip.  They get partnered to pursue a serial killer who kills randomly with elaborate staging in New York City.  Hijinx ensue.

Okay, there’s a bit more to it than that, but I’ll be the first to admit that the setup doesn’t sound the most promising.  The character types are cliche, but that doesn’t make them not fun.  Rather, Urban and Roux give the boys detailed back stories, secret pasts, and a penchant for emotional turmoil.  This makes the stereotype fresh, and it makes following the boys on the case more engaging.

Anywho, as previously mentioned, it’s has a gay romance subplot where the two partners fall for each other.  And I applaud the book for not shying away from bisexuality or from how relationships can get complicated.  Also, kudos to the two ladies for making the romantic leads in their 30’s and 40’s.  Not a fresh-faced twink or innocent to be corrupted in a ten block radius of this story.  But sometimes this was just a little too emotionally heavy.  Sometimes new relationships aren’t that hard.  Scratch that–almost always, it’s not that hard.  Calm down and see where it takes you.  Like someone’s grandma probably says: “Worrying is like a rocking chair.  You can do it all day and not get anywhere.”  These two seriously needed to chill.

But aside from the romance plot which was only average, the story was actually pretty good.  The mystery was engaging, the murders were original, there were enough side characters to provide a bevy of suspects, and I felt myself constantly trying to figure it out.  I was a little disappointed (Dale will say that I sighed loudly in semi-disgust, but it wasn’t that bad) when I figured out the killer so early, but that didn’t take away that much of my overall enjoyment of the book.

This book was a thriller in book form with explosions and car chases and some sexy time and drugs and banter and anything else a girl could possibly want.  I’ll be giving the next one a shot.  After all, I can’t walk the dog or do lat lifts in silence.

JMF Rating: 7/10

‘Til next time,

-JMF