Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: Interborough by Santino Hassell! Happy Book Birthday @SantinoHassell!

Interborough (Five Boroughs #4)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publication Date: October 24, 2016
Published: Riptide Publishing
Source: Netgalley

My Rating:

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.

New York to the heart, but got love for all
Lie and die in the fire, where I learned to ball

I am a New Yorker through and through. I was born and raised and never really left so when I read a series like Five Boroughs, it does something to my heart. Every character feels like I’ve seen them in my every day. The connection I have to these characters run as deep as the Hudson.

We come back in Interborough to Raymond and David from Sunset Park. Sometimes I don’t like when authors revisit a couple but this felt natural. Ray is working two jobs like he did at the end of their last book and David is trying to make tenure. The honeymoon period is over and the stresses of the real world is weighing on this couple. Not only are their troubles with schedules in the way, but old habits are seen to be hard to break when it comes to David and his insecurities and Raymond and his inexperience with relationships, hetero or otherwise.

What I think lends a huge plus to this book, and series, is the realism. The problems that David and Ray face as a couple aren’t over the top and unbelievable. There isn’t some boogeyman coming in between the couple. The closest thing to a boogeyman is real fears. “Is he still attracted to me?” “Is the fire gone?” “Is he bored and going to find someone better than me?” All real fears when you’re in a relationship. No need to make up something.

Another thing that makes this a great read is the characters on a whole. Raymond’s crew from his old neighborhood make large appearances in this one. I adore all of the and firmly believe there should be a spin off just for them. They make sure that our heroes don’t seem like they are on some isolated island and we don’t get weighed down in only Raymond and David 24/7.

For all the angst that this book has, there is a healthy dose of romance. The sex between Raymond and David is forever steamy and that chemistry hasn’t left our couple. When they go on a cruise to help celebrate the launch of David’s ex’s app, they are surrounded by couples galore and it reminds you that these two definitely still have a big draw to one another.

I can go on and on about how Santino marries realism and romance in a way I haven’t seen before. How he has created characters I wish I knew in my everyday life. Or how he can write a sex scene that is filthy one second and jaw breaking sweet the next.

Either way, I’m glad he decided to revisit Raymond and David. Show that after that last page that the HEA isn’t always as cookie cutting as one would think.

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