Tag Archives: Santino Hassell


Book Review of Oversight (The Community #2), by Santino Hassell

I received an ARC of Oversight, by Santino Hassell. I read it while traveling from Florida to South Carolina, during my summer vacation.

Description from Goodreads:
Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

This will be a brief review, as I’m on vacation and my internet connection is sketchy, at best. I enjoyed this new Hassell book, as usual. The magic system (for lack of a more accurate, but equally concise description) is interesting. I liked the characters, both old and new, and the writing is engaging. Admittedly, I never felt especially I connected with Sixtus and I don’t know that I would have with Holden if it weren’t for book one, and it was a bit too much of an insta-lust/insta-love for my taste. Plus, the darned thing ended on a cliffhanger. But overall, I liked the book and will look forward to book three in The Community series.

Book Review of Mature Content (Cyberlove #4), by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

I received an ARC of Mature Content, by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell.

Description from Goodreads:
My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think. 

I liked it more than Hard Wired and less than Strong Signal or Fast Connection. So, I guess I’m pretty middle of the road on this, as much as I adore Hassell and Erickson’s writing. As always I found that writing lovely, if somewhat repetitive at times, and the sex was scorching. Plus, I liked that what they did together was characterized as ‘mild kink.’ I feel like a lot of authors write mild kink and then pretend (or honestly think) it’s super hard core. I liked that they acknowledged that they weren’t vanilla, but didn’t pretend to be harder than they were.

The complaints I have are generally personal ones. In the first couple books I really felt like the characters were dealing with deep intra-/interpersonal issues. Here we have two people who just don’t like each-other, but still want to have sex, plus a little bit of external drama. (See where the emphasis is?) Additionally, the first couple books were mostly about regular, relatable guys. Here (and in Hard Wired) we’re dealing with, and in the head of pseudo-celebrities. (I’ve seen the same trend in Hassell’s Five Boroughs series. They started out focused on blue color men and now seem focused on the rich and internet famous. I miss soldiers and dock workers and school teaches. That’s a large part of what I loved about his books. More sensational characters doesn’t necessarily mean a better book. I’m just saying.)

So, I didn’t connect with these characters or their situations anywhere near as deeply as I have past ones and thus, didn’t like the book as much. Now, not liking something as much as something else is a long way from not liking it. I liked the book just fine and recommend reading it, but I didn’t love it. I will continue to follow the series and the authors though. Hassell especially is one of my favorite romance authors.


Book Review of Concourse (Five Boroughs #5), by Santino Hassell

I received a copy of Santino Hassell‘s Concourse from Netgelley.

Description from Goodreads:
Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka. 

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

I am sad. I have to say that this didn’t really work for me. I won’t go so far as to say I didn’t like it, I love Hassell’s writing too much for that. But this is my least favorite of his books so far. And considering my second least favorite is First and First, I have to think that I just don’t love his wealthy dramas as much as his working class boys.

I very much liked seeing a demisexual as a lead character, and I thought it was represented well (as far as I can tell). I liked that Val was from an Albanian culture and that Ashton played into his own androgyny, was open about his love of sex and fetish, and he spoke his mind.

As always the writing is good. But I felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of Ashton and Val’s relationship. What’s more, because Val was already trying to put distance between the two of them when the book started, and was constantly frustrated, if not angry for much of the book, I felt very much like he didn’t even like Ashton, despite everything else. I just never felt their chemistry outside of sex, because so much of it was supposed to be in the past. The sex was hot though.

Lastly, the whole plot line of two people loving each-other, but refusing to be together for whatever reason has never been one that works for me. This is a personal preference kind of thing. So, all in all, I just think this wasn’t a book that was ever going to light me up. I’m glad to have read it, because I want to read all the Hassell-books, but it wasn’t a big winner for me. Not a flop either, mind you. Just not one for the favorites list.