Thursday, November 10, 2016

Interborough by Santino Hassell


The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated — in more ways than the obvious — whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

NOTE: This title is best enjoyed as a continuation of the Five Boroughs series.

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Book 4
Buy Links

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Riptide Publishing



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah☆☆☆☆☆
Santino Hassell may write compelling, realistic, and completely unforgettable characters, but his characters aren’t always easy. Or good. Or...likeable. The fourth book in this series catches up with Raymond and David. Raymond has been a difficult character since the first book. He wasn’t easy to warm to in his own book and he is possibly even less likeable when we catch up with him a couple of years later. Granted, the pothead slacker in the first book has become a workaholic attempting to balance two jobs, college, and a long-term relationship. But Raymond is still all about Raymond and I’m still not sure whether I found anything at all to like about him in this book.

There is a reason that fictional happily ever afters happen after a brief, intense romance and courtship. The short path to fictional true love offers redemption from character flaws and bad habits. In the short term, the promise of true love inspires sacrifice and brings out the best in characters. It is only a very brave writer who would dare to bring readers back to an improbably matched couple well into a committed relationship. And Santino Hassell is brave.

Raymond is a hot mess. Juggling his translation job during the day, college in the evenings, and working the docks at night, he doesn’t have much of any time left for sleep or his relationship. He is stressed and exhausted – and when I read that he was mainly working his second job to pay off a crazy expensive car, I wanted to scream at him.

David is still more heroic than his first appearance as Michael and Nunzio’s third in book one would suggest. Struggling against the bureaucracy of the New York School system, his life isn’t easy and his battle for tenure is intense. I love the character, but in this story I felt mostly pity for him. With Raymond barely home and taking increasing liberties with their relationship, David comes across as an inhumanly understanding partner. I’m not sure if a book is still considered a romance when I spend much of it willing one partner to grab a backbone and walk away.

Actually, I’m really not sure this actually is a romance. Most of it is uncomfortable realism. To keep any relationship going, someone has to compromise. And like Raymond and David, the uncomfortable truth is that the more selfless partner is usually the one who bends and allows the relationship to survive. This can be read as a redemptive story of surviving the difficulties encountered in a long-term relationship or it can be read as a more cynical lesson in forgiveness and compromise. Either way, it is a gritty, unflinching, and well-observed study of a long-term relationship.

Santino Hassell’s writing is always elegant and beautifully crafted. His characters may be infuriating but they are immediately recognisable. If I didn’t necessarily enjoy this story, I certainly appreciated his careful insights into human relationships.



Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school-cutting grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Connect with Santino

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https://www.netgalley.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Interborough (Five Boroughs #4) by Santino Hassell to read and review.

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