Title: Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Santino Hassell (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 11, 2015 – 230 pgs
Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.
Sunset park is a book that made me laugh, made me mad, made me sad, and made me want to smack some sense in to the main characters.
Ray is 25 years old and in some ways he still acts like he is 16. He has a “I don’t give a flip about anyone thinks about me” but I believe nothing can be farther from the truth. My opinion of Ray is he is insecure about himself. He believes that everyone looks at him and sees that he has not accomplished as much as the next person so he is down on himself and believes that he can not compete with others in this aspect. He is Bicurious and he is fallen head o we heals for his new roommate David.
David is completely different from Ray. He grew up in a home where his parents accepted him for who he is rather then who he sleeps with. Ray is out and proud and doesn’t hide it from anyone.
I am not going to lie and say that there was not times through out this book that I did not want to wring David’s neck because for all the steps forward that Ray took I felt as if Ray was trying to have his cake and eat it too. The reason I say this is because David cannot cut lose his ex and it seems as if he stringing both Ray and his ex along. He won’t let Caleb go because he represents the perfect boyfriend on paper whereas Ray was hot, funny, carefree, and all around a good time.
I found myself rooting for Ray to come out ahead and prove his worth not only to himself but everyone else also because from what I gathered there was a lot more to Ray then what everyone could see. Beneath it all he was loving, caring, and smart. He would also do anything for David and I thought David was just to blind to see that.
This was a great book and now I am ready for book three so I can see what is going to happen in it.
David and Raymond… when you look up the definition of drama – their story appears.They have a sweet story, but there is so much drama that I found it hard to enjoy the actual story behind the drama. You have ex-lovers who are still in their lives, miscommunications galore, hidden feelings, scared of commitment issues…
It’s all a lot to take in when the real story would have been so much nicer had there not been so much drama behind it.
The secondary characters just added to the drama, so they were not great for me either. And, while you do get a HEA, it is a very long and winding road to arrive there.
Overall, this was just an OK story for me because there was so much other stuff going on.
Again, Santino Hassell has delivered a compelling story with flawed men that truly learn who they are with continued growth throughout the story. His writing easily flows between all the different emotional and physical elements that are wrapped in this story.
Raymond, how can you not love Raymond. He may seem to be quite brass, lazy, spoiled when you first meet him, but I have always known deep down there is heart and love. I love how he is so non-chalant about his bi-curious sexuality and that he just goes with the flow and does not panic. He is solid in himself, except for maybe his employment, but his heart is probably one of the biggest yet. I found him all around a loveable tattooed, broody, cursing, laid-back man and definitely one hell of a dirty talker.
David had his ups and downs in my head. I completely understood his fear of not wanting to hurt anyone, including his ex, yet trying to find his own happiness. He tried to be sly in offering himself as Raymond’s test subject. But that first kiss, my oh freaking my, David was done for by Raymond. And the Grindr scene, goes from funny to smoking hot and both are lost to each other.
These two are polar-opposites that at first glance, you may wonder how they met. But, their flirty banter, natural cuddles, touches and smirks were so sweet, you were rooting for them from the end of the Michael and Zio’s story.
Mr. Hassell again wrote with true grit and this raw yet emotional story will fill your heart.
Heartwarming happy-ever-afters are great if you’re looking for a light and fun read. But Santino Hassell is the one to look to if you’re in the mood for something intelligent and gritty as well as romantic and hot as hell. This book is no exception.
The Five Boroughs series is made up of interconnected stand-alone books. But I feel you’ll get more out of them by reading them as a series. In this case, it’s great to know the supporting characters so well from Sutphin Boulevard. It adds extra richness to this story that I feel wouldn’t be there if it was just read as a stand-alone.
Raymond and David are wonderful, complex characters, flawed and relatable. This story addresses difficult contemporary issues very well through their personal growth. Their relationship is tumultuous and angsty, but also sweet and sexy. And Santino writes some of the best sex scenes I’ve ever read.
I highly recommend this book (and the series) to anyone interested in a down to earth contemporary romance that’s a bit rough around the edges.
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 twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes LGBTQ 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.