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Friday, 21 October 2016

Books 'n' Stuff | Interborough by Santino Hassell

"Everyone thinks their tank is running on infinity. And the more time they think they have, the faster it runs out."

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5
Author: Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs
Release: 24/10/16
Genre: M/M Romance

Interborough is by arguably one of my favourite authors, Santino Hassell. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will recognise the name because I have sang his praises before. The third book in this series, First and First, was the first sponsored book review I'd ever done, and then I reviewed the collaboration, Fast Connection, between him and another of my favourite authors, Megan Erickson. You may find those reviews here and here. But first, get ready to listen to me singing his praises once more!

Interborough is the fourth instalment of the Five Boroughs series. However, unlike in the other books we are not meeting a couple at the beginning of their romance. In Interborough we catch up with David and Raymond from book two, Sunset Park. I was so beyond excited for this book because I basically fell in love with David and Raymond - particularly Raymond because I mean... come on. I was also a little apprehensive because when a couple get a sequel you know it isn't because everything is sunshine and roses.

We meet up with David and Raymond more than a year into their relationship. In the last couple of years Raymond Rodriguez has changed tremendously. Growing up the quintessential slacker, he soon found a reason to try once David appeared in his life. Now juggling two jobs and school along with his relationship, it was just a matter of time before something had to give.

David tries his best to be supportive but it's difficult when Raymond is barely around long enough to let him. Left with too much time on his own, David's own frustrations and insecurities are magnified. When they do have a few stolen moments together its obvious the passion and love is still there.

"I knew what he was doing. Trying to be cuddly and adorable because he knew it was my kryptonite. That and his dick. And his lips. And his eyes. Okay. His everything."

But these days when they are able to muster up the time and energy to enjoy it it ends in an argument more often than not. They hope a cruise with their closest friends will mark a turning point in their relationship so they can get things back to where they were before work and stress took over their lives. But the whispered promises between them don't hold true when they're back on dry land. It's obvious David and Raymond are deeply in love but with such glaringly obvious differences, is it enough? Can they find a way to come together and find their true happy ending?

Gosh, I'm not going to lie... this was a hard read. But not for the reasons one might call a book a hard read. It was exquisitely written and had all the ingredients you want from a romance novel. It made me swoon, blush, frustrated and it even tugged right on my little old heartstrings. The characters are so layered and fully realised, even the side characters. Every new character I meet, I want to know their story. I can't wait to see who's next in the series and this book isn't even out yet! Interborough was also highly quotable, which is something I particularly look for when I'm rating a book.

"Come take what you want and as much as you want as long as you come back for more."

No, none of those reasons were why this was a hard read. That was all down to the fact that I fucking love these characters. I think I underestimated just how much. It's odd for me as someone who is usually pretty indifferent to most real life people to feel so invested in characters written across a page. It doesn't happen with every character or every book but Santino has a knack for capturing me that way. As I said, I knew Interborough wouldn't be about catching up with David and Raymond's life of romance and bliss. I loved that though. I loved that Santino revisited these characters and showed us their bumps - or craters considering they had a lot to overcome - in the road. Because that's life. Real life. And that's what Santino writes. He writes real, flawed, layered characters that nothing comes easy for. That's why even though they are far removed from my reality I can still relate to them. So as much as it was hard to read these characters that I feel so much for go through such a difficult time, I also loved it like an emotional masochist because it made the sweet parts that much sweeter and these characters I love that much more relatable.

Most of the books in this series can be read as a standalone in any order if you don't mind spoilers. I read First and First first (try saying that three times fast) and didn't feel like it took away from the book at all. However, I would say Interborough is the first book I'd say you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you read it out of order because it will make certain parts (I don't want to give any spoilers) less meaningful if you haven't read at least Sutphin Boulevard and Sunset Park beforehand. It's not so much you won't understand what's going on or enjoy it but it'll just mean so much more if you've read those two books first. That's all I'll say on the matter.

I must mention, even with David and Raymond going through a tough time in their relationship, don't think that means a lack of hotness. It would easy for that to feel out of place within the context of the story but Santino is able to keep it feeling relevant rather than forced. We still get to see that heat and also the affection between them that made us fall in love with them as a couple in the first place.

Interborough is just another example of Santino's immense writing talent and I thoroughly enjoyed and loved it. I'm really glad we got to see Raymond and David mature as a couple and I totally wouldn't be opposed to revisiting any of the other couples (Michael - cough - Nunzio) at some point, though that may be because I wish this series could go on forever. But since that's not realistic, I'll be happy to get a glimpse into their lives for as long as I can. I can't recommend this series enough, you won't be disappointed.

If you're interested in reading Interborough you can find it at the links below.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eoaryu
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2eANzrp
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2eAMD6e
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2epnijA

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