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Review: Concourse (Five Boroughs #5) by Santino Hassell

Thursday, July 20

My rating:
4 Stars…
Quote…There was nothing special about it, other than the fact that my favorite person lived there, and that the lock was broken, which was unsafe but also convenient for me to slide in unannounced. Quote…
Never have I seen such an interesting description of a building.

What I loved:

Ashton is the bees knees in cats pajamas eating chocolate fish. He had such a glorious open heart, he was loyal, he was kind, self-deprecating, humble, loving, and generous. And he was instafamous, which was interesting to read about. I felt so bad for him, always trying to please everyone and make people happy so they'd stay, and all the time he just had Valdrin. I so desperately wanted him to have more people who loved him, because he deserved all the good things.
Quote…Yeah, Ash. Whatever you want."
He grinned like he'd just won a prize. "Thank you. I missed you so much."
I smiled back, fainter. "Me, too."
SH writes some witty banter. So many things about this story made me chuckle snort to myself.

And of course, the writing, the editing, the smut and the peripheral characters were excellent! In my binge read of all things Santino Hassell, I've become kinda spoilt by the character development and human-ness of a Hassell read. I'm dreading my first non-Hassell read.

Ok... is the next book going to be about Brett Decker? Because as much as I hated that Ashton got put in the position he was in - by his own brother - I actually felt a little sorry for Brett. And I want to know what happens with his nephew.

What I didn’t love:
Quote…He'd been so grateful to hear my voice that he'd nearly cried. Quote…
That quote is part of the reason that I love Ashton, and dis-love Valdrin. Valdrin knew how much he was hurting Ashton with his hot and cold bullshit and his fake friendship/crush/love whatever. I just thought it was unfair that for all Valdrin's protective buzz, he couldn't manage to operate without breaking Ashton's heart repeatedly.

Also, for some reason, I didn't connect with Valdrin's sister, or the entire boxing premise. I did like Luis and all the Bronson drama, but there was just a disconnect that I couldn't quite bridge every time Valdrin went to the gym... unless he took Ashton.


Review: First and First (Five Boroughs #3) by Santino Hassell

Tuesday, July 18

My rating:
4.5 Stars…
Quote…And what would those feelings be?"
"All of them," he growled.


What I loved:

How does he do this? How do you take characters like boring, asexual, condescending Caleb and asshole Oli who tries to bang his friends exes and make me love them the most?? So clever.

Caleb was so misunderstood. With his resting bitch face, his own insecurities, and his loneliness, I had him all wrong, and I just want to cuddle the bejesus out of him now. He had so much depth, and so much love to give if he could just learn to open up, and he was so, so much more than just money. He'd spent so long just accepting second place, and trying not to rock the boat, or scare people away, that he'd scrunched himself up into nothing. But when he came out of his shell? Ooooooh, I loved him so hard.
Quote…But I didn't let my confusion show. I didn't do anything that would send him skittering off. I just nodded, and smiled, and enjoyed the attention while I had it. Quote…
Oli! There were times when Oli needed a good kick in the nads, but when he was good - he was so, so good. At everything. He was the perfect complement to Caleb, and I loved that they brought out the best in each other.

So fun to meet Aiden & Jace. I'd totally read that story a billion times.

The Liberty X premise, Ashton, Mere and the rest of the crew. This story had so many memorable things.

Of course, the sexy times and the writing were impeccably done.

What I didn’t love:

There was this one scene. In the basement bar, with a lack of safe word and bit too much pain for the pleasure.


Review: Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2) by Santino Hassell

Sunday, July 16

My rating:
4 Stars…
Quote…Yeah. It is. So just let me love you and stop being a punk about it. Quote…
What I loved:

This is hard.
There were so many things I loved about this story, that it should have been near perfect for me. But, there were also so many things driving me crazy. Let's try and keep this short, shall we?

Raymond. One of my favourite imaginary people of all time. Mr Hassell created such a unique, multi-faceted, wonderful, delicious tower of hotness when he created Raymond. Yum.

David. It was super brave, and really smart, to take a character that wasn't a whole lot of goodness in the first book, and turn him into our love interest in this one. I loved that SH did that so cleverly!
Quote…My jealous streak ran long and wide and was strong enough to decimate small villages. Quote…
The writing. The realness of what Raymond and his whole crew were going through, the genuine relationships, and the way Mr Hassell takes NYC and turns her into a character all of her own! Like, the way he writes, this story wouldn't be the same anywhere else. Also, that'd be dumb because the city setting is in the damn title.

Holy hotness, Batman. Love how freaky this series can get.
Quote…No?" One of his hands slipped down and around my hip, dropping to my crotch. He squeezed, kneading my traitorous, hardening cock. "Feels like you get off on it. Quote…

What I didn’t love:

At one point late in the story, I started skimming. It started to feel like the book was more about Caleb and David, than David and Raymond. I just wanted Caleb to piss off home. And then! When Raymond says the thing, and David doesn't bloody listen and that's the whole reason Raymond ends up in the situation he gets into!!


U guys.

I was maaaaaaad. At David. At dumb Caleb. At Santino Hassell for doing this to my emotions.


I am loving this series, loving these characters, loving the setting, and loving pretty much everything else. Little bit pissed that the next story is about Caleb and Oli - like, the worst parts of this book, but if anyone can redeem those two, Santino Hassell can.


Review: Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs #1) by Santino Hassell

Friday, July 14

My rating:
4.5 Stars…
Quote…Rail this motherfucker while I jerk off on you. Quote…

What I loved:

The first Santino Hassell book I ever read was Fast Connection and I binge read the ass out of the Cyberlove series after that. Then I picked up this one as part of the MMRG TBR Knockout Challenge, and binge read the ass out of Five Bouroughs. What I'm saying is - Mr Hassell is clearly my jam.

His writing style is gritty, the language is dirty, the sex is off the chain filthy, and the characters are raw, real and a little bit faulty.
Quote…You're cute, but phenomenally dense. Quote…
How the major issue in the story plays out. When I picked up this book, I didn't know exactly what I was expecting - but I wasn't expecting this kind of depth. It was awesome!


What I didn’t love:

2 things.

1: Mikey was a bit of a dick. Nunzio was a way better friend to him, than he was to Nunzio. Off the top of my head, I'm remembering 2 times that he bailed on Nunzio when they had big plans. As in - trip to Italy plans. That sucks. And he pushed Nunzio away a lot. In my heart -and, ok, I know it's not a true story but it still hurts dammit - I feel that Nunzio deserved better. Having said that, I wouldn't want to ever see them with anyone else.

2: What happens if you don't speak any Spanish? There are quite a few lines in this story where characters are speaking Spanish, and not a lot of context to help with a vague translation.
Quote…Empieza con la mierda (Bring on this shit)
Quote…No soy tu hijito (I'm not your son)
Quote…Tu suerte cambiara. Tienes a tu familia. (Your luck will change. You have your family)
Quote…Tu madre estaria avergonzada. (Your mother would be ashamed)
That's a lot, and if you can't understand what the characters are saying I feel like you'd be missing out on some decent convo.


Amazing storytelling, exciting pace and even though Mikey wasn't my fave - I loved all Mr Hassell's characters hard. His character development is some kind of amazing.

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