Monday, October 24, 2016

[Review]: "Interborough"

I am aware of the situation with Santino Hassell. While I will no longer be promoting or recommending Hassell’s books, I am leaving up my reviews and ratings for the books I’ve already read. My feelings and experiences with those books at the time are valid and were never connected to my view of the author anyway. Please disregard any mention of “own voice” or similar remarks that may be in these old reviews, as that is no longer true.
Danielle (TBQ)

romance novel cover, M/M romance, Interborough by Santino Hassell
Interborough by Santino Hassell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (October 24th, 2016)
Series: Five Boroughs, 4
Genre: M/M Romance -- Contemporary 

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. 

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Hassell's Previous Novels:

First and First (#3) -- TBQ

Strong Signal (#1) -- TBQ
Fast Connection (#2) -- TBQ

My Review:

Interborough continues Raymond and David's story about a year and a half after Sunset Park ends. Their HEA is in jeopardy thanks to the reality of life -- work, school, responsibilities, and relationship miscommunication (or rather, lack of communication, really). The two are both stressed and worried and fighting over stupid thing, but they can't seem to stop even though they know they should. Things are just boiling too close to the surface, and they're each having a hard time dealing with everything.

The book starts off with a fun scene: David and Raymond are visiting with friends and David's enjoying a Popsicle. Raymond's mind, of course,  can't help but take it extremely dirty. After eye-fucking for a bit, they sneak off for a few minutes of private time.


"I wasn't at first," he said. "Not until you started staring at me like you wanted to eat me."

"I do want to eat you."

"And your dick was hard," David pointed out. "I don't know how no one else noticed."

"Because it wasn't obvious."

"Oh please, Ray. When you wear sweatpants, everyone can see that anaconda."

There are definitely fun moments like that throughout, and the usual snarky wit. But there's also a lot of emotions, too. Things are rough in this book. Mainly, relationship angst, ahoy! But I liked that because it's true to life. Life doesn't stay constant and perfect once the HEA has been attained, so it's always nice to see this shown in romance novels, too.

Hassell is an autobuy author for me, and this series is serious crack, full of angst and snark and so much heat it's not a good idea to read while in public. (Yes, I've learned this the hard way...) And Interborough is no different, delivering everything we've come to love from Hassell -- the fun group of characters, the great writing, etc. -- while showing us the sometimes painful reality of "after the HEA" as Raymond and David find themselves again and restrengthen their relationship.

He tilted my face for a slow kiss, and it still jumpstarted my Raymond hunger. One touch and I was a goner, just like the first time we'd kissed. A single taste and I was hooked.

I was pissed at David every time he would go off and get sloppy drunk again, but I was also angry with Raymond for always failing to listen and believe David about things. Even so, I still loved these two together, flaws and all. They fit even though they had to clash a bit to find the right angle again for all their pieces to fall into place.

"So, you see what I'm saying. When people ask how I knew they'd end up together, it's hard to explain in just a sentence. Since I was a little kid, it seemed natural for them to be together. I understood the love between them before I understood shit about gayness or bisexuality or being straight. I could just look at them and know what love looked like."

(Raymond speaking about Michael and Nunzio)

The epilogue damn near made me sob -- and it's not even about Raymond and David, really. Nope. It's about Michael and Nunzio (Sutphin Boulevard) and it was just . . . gah! So perfect and gave me ALL THE FEELS. Interborough will give you two HEA, both for couples who already had an entire book in which fall in love, and both HEAs will leave you extremely sappy-happy, even if you may curse some of the angst in the middle (because Santino Hassell). To get the best experience out of this, you should at least read Sunset Park (Raymond and David's previous book), but truly, if you're going to try one of Hassell's books, just do yourself the favor now and read them ALL, preferably in order. You will not regret it!

4 1/2 STARS! 

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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Santino Hassell; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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I'm still in a bit of a book hangover from these two. (sigh) And now I'm greedy for the next book. Not even sure if we've been told whose book it'll be, but I don't even care.

Oh, and if you want to see even more quotes, follow this link to see all the highlights I shared on Twitter.

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on October 27th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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