Wednesday, January 31, 2018

BLOG TOUR: Hostage by Skye Warren & Annika Martin

Publication Date: January 30th, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense


I never knew when he’d come to me. Only that he would.
I’d never even kissed a boy the night I met Stone. The night I saw him kill. The night he spared my life. That was only the beginning.
He turns up in my car again and again, dangerous and full of raw power. “Drive,” he tells me, and I have no choice. He’s a criminal with burning green eyes, invading my life and my dreams.
The police say he’s dangerously obsessed with me, but I’m the one who can’t stop thinking about him. Maybe it’s wrong to let him touch me. Maybe it’s wrong to touch him back. Maybe these twisted dates need to stop. Except he feels like the only real thing in my world of designer labels and mansions.
So I drive us under threat, until it’s hard to remember I don’t want to be there.
Until it’s too late to turn back.
HOSTAGE is a dangerous standalone romance by New York Times bestselling authors Skye Warren and Annika Martin. It’s set in the same world as PRISONER, but can read separately!
~Book Review~
4 Stars

Brooke Carson is celebrating her 16th birthday, but it’s far from a sweet sixteen. When an encounter with a violent criminal puts her face to face with death it’s the beginning of her world being turned upside down.
“A beautiful girl like her, turned on by fear.”
Stone Keaton is on a mission for vengeance. He doesn’t have time for love or relationships. He’s hard and cold on the outside but capable of warming just the same. He’s been his brothers’ protector and their rock as much as he can.
“The ultimate lost boy, leading his band of lost boys out of hell.”
Hostage takes place before Prisoner and after. If you haven’t read Prisoner, this story can easily be read as a standalone, and it might even flow seamlessly at their point of intersection. If you have read Prisoner then you’ll probably notice the jump over that story.  Hostage also provides closure to the overall mystery-action-adventure plot started in Prisoner. On that note, I think the ending to Hostage holds more significance if you’ve read Prisoner first and have the full story.

Admittedly, it’s hard not to compare the two (okay it’s really hard for me as I had picked up Prisoner again for a re-read from the beginning and was about half way when Hostage popped up on my kindle screen). Like Prisoner, the themes and symbolism are woven well; the writing and character development thought-out, and the story a page turner.
“Driving her around as if I’m the one taking her hostage, but really it’s the other way around. She’s the one who keeps me coming back, even knowing I shouldn’t.”
Who’s in control? Who’s taken who hostage on an emotional level?

There are similar internal conflicts that the main couples wrestle with making the temptation to compare Stone and Brooke with Grayson and Abby strong.  In fact, I had a serious bone to pick with Stone over all the grief he gave Grayson in the last book. I was glad when Stone finally acknowledges his hypocrisy and then the guys don’t let him off the hook so easily.
“Maybe it’s a little hypocritical of me to warn him away from this girl when I’ve been taking Brooke hostage like it’s a goddamn hobby.”
I must also confess that I’m still partial to Grayson and Abby. I connected more with their characters and sensed a deeper connection and chemistry. So hands down, my favorite moment in this book was Abby’s appearance. That scene rocked. She just keeps getting more and more bad ass! And I gotta say, I’m not above begging the authors for an outtake of what followed between her and Grayson (“‘You are in so much trouble’”). 😉

In contrast, Brooke is pretty young and thus she projects a mix of naivety, idealism, restlessness, and some teen angst.  Told via her and Stone’s alternating first person POV, the romance is a bit slow burn.  Even though there’s a nice resolution to the series, I still hope to see the other guys get romances, especially Nate. 

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It’s him or me. It’s stand here and let a man die, or do something—for once in my life, do something that’s not wearing a dress and smiling and getting it all wrong.

So I run out there. I watch myself do it, like a movie almost. “Stop it,” I yell.

The attacker just keeps on, a dark storm, all fists and fury. My presence means nothing to him. My words don’t touch him. It’s as if I’m yelling at thunder.

My heart beats out of my chest. I’ve risked everything, come out in the open, but it’s not enough. I stamp my foot to get his attention, crushing gravel beneath my mother’s Louboutins.

“The cops are coming,” I say.

The man stills and looks up. It’s a shock when it happens, even though I’ve been trying to get him to see me. His eyes seem to blaze into my chest, hot and bright.

Breathless, I back away.

He stands, leaving the man in a groaning, whimpering heap.

I retreat slowly, showing him my phone, as though that might protect me. “Cops are coming,” I say again. A lie. I couldn’t punch in the code.

He’s coming at me, expression unreadable. He’s a few years older than I am—late twenties, maybe.

My back hits something hard. The van.

He keeps coming. I try to spin and run, but he grabs my arm and slams me back into the van. “Where do you think you’re going, little girl?”

I stare up at him, panting.

His warm breath is a feather on my nose; the heat in his eyes invades me. He grabs my hair and tilts my head back, forcing me to stare into his face, as if he’s trying to read my eyes.

A moment later, he looks up at the night sky. He seems almost wolfish, and I’m conscious, suddenly, of my bare neck so close to his snarling mouth. I wonder if he’s staring at the moon. It’s like he’s going to howl or something.

Then I get it. He’s listening for sirens.

“You’re a little fucking liar.”

~Also in the Series~
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Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance such as the Endgame trilogy. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
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Annika Martin loves fun, dirty stories, hot heroes, and wild, dramatic everything. She enjoys hanging out in Minneapolis coffee shops with her writer husband, and also likes birdwatching at her bird feeder alongside her two stunningly photogenic cats, especially when she should be writing. She’s heavy into running, music, saving the planet, taking long baths, and consuming chocolate suckers. She’s worked a surprisingly large number of waitressing jobs, and has also worked in a plastics factory and the advertising trenches; her garden is total bee-friendly madness and her most unfavorite word is nosh or possibly fob. A NYT bestselling author, she has also written as RITA award-winning author Carolyn Crane.

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