The UHQ Nasanta's Reviews > Stars & Stripes

Stars & Stripes by Abigail Roux
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3.5 stars

To be honest, I actually just Liked this book more than I Really Liked it. I am not quite certain why I chose to rate upwards. I think maybe it had to do with the fact that I really liked seeing both Ty and Zane in Texas. Zane in cowboy boots and a Stetson, Ty in Stetson and pendant and not much else, etc. - those images were likely part of the reason my subconscious urged me to rate upwards. The other reason had to do with Barnum and Sadie, but most especially Barnum. I thought they were absolutely adorable. I really loved the scenes with Ty and either one of the two. It was so sweet. I wish Sadie had more screen time.

The beginning felt a bit slow to me. The book in general didn't get much action and excitement until the last 1/3 of the book, but it was peppered with delicious sexual tension and heat. While I did not feel that it was as sappy as the previous book, Armed & Dangerous, it was pretty touchy-feely for the most part, especially in the beginning. I could definitely sense a female writer behind the narrative; I'm not sure I liked that because it somewhat interfered with the vision I had of Ty and Zane from the earlier books. There seemed to be more introspection, but the story and the words seemed to flow more smoothly. The writing style, compared with the earlier books in the series, seemed different, and I wasn't too sure I liked the changes as much as I thought I did in Armed & Dangerous.

While I liked visiting West Virginia and Ty's family again, and while I really liked seeing both Ty and Zane in Texas, it felt as if the author was attempting to write for the fans rather than what seemed to make sense realistically. Basically, the events that occurred in West Virginia and Texas regarding their relationship seemed a bit too much for one book. I found it unrealistic that (view spoiler) Furthermore, what's with both sides of the families calling people doll? It didn't help make the voices of the families distinct.

I found it a bit anticlimactic that Zane's reluctance to talk about family and to visit Texas was due primarily to his mother. I know that he had previously mentioned a particularly strained relationship with his mother, but for the most part, my impression was that his past and relationships in Texas overall made him feel ill at ease. After all those allusions to Zane's troubled family relationships in previous books and the fuss about him not wanting to speak about them or to visit, it was a let-down to see that he appeared to have fairly good relationships back in Texas with everyone except his mother. It made his previous reluctance to mention family and Texas confusing. There were, also, the memories of Becky, but I hardly felt her presence in Zane in this book. It appeared that not only had he let go of the past, but that now, compared to his relationship with Ty, his previous relationship with Becky was apparently not as strong. Given the fact that he apparently spiraled down the path of destruction after her death, to now be told that his relationship with Becky was not on the same level as his relationship with Ty did not make sense to me. (view spoiler). Why appear to trivialize his heterosexual relationship and put his homosexual one on a pedestal? I found this disappointing.

The humor seemed just a tad bit more subtle, but it was still present, and I appreciated it. Some of the jokes did seem to go over my head, but I suppose I can live with that. The sex scenes were pretty hot. In this book, it seemed to focus more on Zane topping to Ty's bottoming, which was the opposite of "Dine & Dash" and Armed & Dangerous. While I get that they enjoy switching positions, there's something about the way this was executed that makes it feel as if something was off. I really like Ty as the bottom. I think this is partly because he usually did bottom, especially in the earlier books, and because of Nick's shrewd guess that Ty was a "big ol' screaming bottom" in Divide & Conquer. My feeling that the sex felt a bit unrealistic is mostly due to reports that some bottoms find it uncomfortable being penetrated after they've orgasmed. Perhaps Ty and Zane both happen to enjoy it but I wasn't able to buy it completely.

I liked the mystery, not for its plotline, but more for the fact that it felt as if the mystery and romantic plotlines were given almost equal weight. I didn't feel as if it was totally ignored in favor of advancing the romantic plotline. I spent some time trying to figure out who the bad guy was, and remember feeling utterly stumped. I had not even considered the right suspect because I had completely forgotten about one of them!

I liked the formatting of the book by Riptide Publishing. It looked really nice on my Aldiko for Android app. The paragraph separator, which I am assuming was meant to be centered, was not centered though. In night mode, the chapter images still retained the white background. The story did feel rather polished, overall, but I did come across a couple of niggles. I noticed an inconsistency in a West Virginia scene. Earl went from holding a bag of frozen broccoli to a bag of frozen peas. I went back to reread that scene more carefully, and I didn't see any mention that he had taken said bag of frozen peas from Ty. Did I miss something? Also, I ran across at least one instance of my very top grammar pet peeve - the use of the nominative "I" pronoun in the objective case: "He dogged my steps out there, tried to convince you and I to go after the tiger instead of the poachers...". . It makes me cringe really badly. I will try to let it pass as it being Ty's particular speech habit.

In short, I did not think that this was as much fun as the last book but I did like seeing Ty and Zane out together, feeling more comfortable with each other, and slowly acknowledging a more permanent relationship and planning a future together. I really liked Ty in this book. I liked his craziness, his gentleness with Sadie, his ability to attract dangerous felines (lol).... I kind of wished that Mark could see that Zane was dangerous as well, just as Earl and Deuce did in Sticks & Stones. In a future book, perhaps?
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Lori K (new)

Lori K Ah, the infamous review...


The UHQ Nasanta O_o I've got an infamous review? I'm not certain I should be thrilled by my newfound notoriety or worried.


Perpetua I feel exactly the same way!! I just need to find the words


The UHQ Nasanta At least I'm not the only one! :D


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