Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review: First and First by Santino Hassell! (@SantinoHassell)

First and First (Five Boroughs #3)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publication Date: April 18, 2016
Published: Dreamspinner Press
Source: Author in exchange for honest review

My Rating:

Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, 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.

When I first read about David’s boyfriend, Caleb, in Sutphin Boulevard, I paid him no attention. In Sunset Park, I wanted him gone. He was the worst coming between Raymond and David. So, when I found out that the third book was going to center around him, my annoyance was at an all-time high. There was no way I would enjoy a book with a stiff asshole like Caleb! Of course, when I finished reading First and First, I had a healthy dose of crow to eat.

.We pick up almost where Sunset Park leaves off, our happy couple from that one is still happy and going strong. Everyone is happy and in love, except Caleb. He’s jobless, boyfriendless, and miserable without a clear direction to go with the rest of his years. He’s kind of up a creek without a paddle. That is until more drinks he could handle, a new years kiss, and a one night stand he didn’t expect to happen or one he can’t stop thinking about.

Oli was both a saving grace and source of frustration for me. I went back and forth loving his sexual free attitude but hating how he couldn’t see more with Caleb than just sexy times. What I did love more than anything, were the moments when you saw his caring nature poke through. On the surface, being disowned by his wealthy pedigree made him jaded, but I saw how he did care for the people in his life and the need for connection was there.

What surprised me the most wasn’t anything that had to do with the characters. It was all the sex! The first two books, yes, there were scenes and they were hot. This made me blush in public. Blow jobs in swinging parties, sex in a bar, and I won’t even go into the machine used. Just thinking about it has me fanning myself.

Santino brings you the heat, character development and makes you care about these privileged men. That may be one of my favorite parts of the series as a whole. You get to see the different kinds of people in New York and how they all come together. Doesn’t matter if you’re a rich tech startup wiz or a teacher in Brooklyn, everyone comes together at some point and is touched.

Give Oli and Caleb a chance. I’m glad I did.

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