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review 2018-03-09 22:41
First and First (Five Boroughs #3) by Santino Hassell Review
First and First (Five Boroughs Book 3) - Santino Hassell

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reign and "alternative lifestyles" are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he's still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn't know how... until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn't--risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year's Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

 

Review

 

After reading about Caleb in Sunset Park, I was eager for his romance,. I am thrilled he gets to comes to terms with his own sexual needs in this book.

 

While I am not a huge fan of sex parties in my romances, Hassell, as ever, write a compelling story set in a believable world.

 

All the gang is here for the series and that is a wonderful thing. We get to spend time with Charles who I hope gets his own book.

 

However, Caleb and Ollie are both so emotionially shuttered that it is hard to get to the intimacy part of the romance and for me the book ends too soon. We need more time with them committed and together.

 

Good overall but needed more emotionial connection.

 

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review 2017-11-25 00:00
First and First (Five Boroughs Book 3)
First and First (Five Boroughs Book 3) - Santino Hassell 3.75 - rounded up.

Santino Hassell and his less than perfect characters can always pull me into their drama and angst. For whatever reason, I did not find see the spots of humor as I have in prior books. The characters were solid, and really so was the story, but sometimes the language just affects my delicate sensibilities (I joke, but this one was a bit harder). It had its time and place, but it is just not always for me. I've noticed it before, but it was particularly harsh in this one (lots of sluts/hos/and so on) - I noticed the grit wasn't as balanced with Hassell's ability for beautiful language in this one. In this case, first person may have hurt the book where it's worked in prior books in the series (I know the first was, can't remember if the second was).

Secondary characters loom large and adorable, as usual, this continues to be a strength in his world-building. I'm starting to feel like I know this entire group.

Ultimately, though I really enjoyed Oli and Caleb, Michael and Nunzio won't seem to give up my heart.
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review 2017-11-16 03:40
Fixing
Citywide (Five Boroughs) (Volume 6) - Santino Hassell

This short story collection is set in the series Five Boroughs.  These can probably be read as standalone novellas, but would better read in order with the series.  There are three books included, but for the review purposes we will look at the first story, Rerouted.

 

Chris is trying to move on with his life.  He is trying not to think about his past encounters with both Jace and Aiden.  The couple have a kind of open relationship that leaves room for someone like Chris.

 

Aiden & Jace have been trying to come up with a way to talk Chris into coming back and being with them more.  He has been distant lately, and this is a cause for some concern.  Is  there something wrong?

 

This was such a nice quick read.  Lovely characters I was excited to see again.  Also many visitors from the previous books in the series are present.  I like the fast pace of these books.  I also adore the banter and real world situations that feel like you are right there.  I am always feeling like I am home with this series.  I give this collection a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-06-20 12:16
Shock value
Concourse - Santino Hassell

This is book #5 in the Five Boroughs series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For read understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this compelling series in order.

 

Valdrin AKA Val is Ashton's best friend since childhood.  Val is finding he has sincere feelings for his favorite guy, but he is constantly forced to be in a parental role with him.  He thinks he should try to separate himself from the equation, but Ashton won't let him go easily.

 

Ashton has knows he has been in love with Val since gradeschool.  His family welcomed him more than his own.  Now there relationship is in confused tatters.  Is it possible to get back in sync?  Should he take a chance and admit how he feels?

 

This series is so intense.  Each book with such an amazing story of its own.  I loved these characters right from the get go.  They want the same thing, just have to work it out somehow.  Cameo's by favorites from past books make this a must read!  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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review 2016-12-30 00:00
First and First (Five Boroughs Book 3)
First and First (Five Boroughs Book 3) - Santino Hassell 4.5 stars

SEXY. That's what's up with this book. Of course, the characters have real issues in their lives too. The details of how they work through everything in their lives is interesting. I really like this series. All the characters feel original to me, and the writing style is perfect for my tastes. The characters feel real, and I can empathize with them no matter what their situations are.
Oli=omigodsexarama *eye brow wiggle* Yes, I recommend.
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