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.
David settled on the bed and looked around my room. He’d been over several times in the past couple of months, but only when Michael was staying with Nunzio. They didn’t know a lot about our friendship, and I liked it that way. David seemed to understand. Maybe he knew Michael would question how we had gotten so close, and act weird about it.
“You wrecked your room again. Good job, Ray.”
“Wrecking shit is what I do best.”
“How dramatic.” David went back to petting my hair. “When’s the last time you did laundry?”
“I dunno, Mother. Like, two weeks ago? Feel free to get on top of that shit.”
“Am I going to be paid for my services?”
“Getting to touch me is payment enough, to be honest. Do you know how many people get to lounge around in my bed like they belong here?”
David looked at me, intrigued. “How many?”
“It’s between the numbers negative one and one.” The response put a smile on his face that could have given me cavities. David was a sap, but it was infectious, and I grinned back.
“I knew you liked me best.”
I closed my eyes. “Uh-huh.”
David inched closer until we had no space between our bodies. He pressed a kiss to my jaw. It was brief, innocent, but the feel of his soft lips was enough to send Nunzio’s comments flooding back into my head. The chaste peck burned against my skin, searing down to thicken my morning chubby. I kept my eyes shut, not letting my expression so much as twitch, even as I pressed my crotch harder against the mattress.Sunset Park by Santino Hassell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Can this dude even write a bad book? Seriously!!
Even when I am mad at him for making me ugly cry, it's still fantastic. Thankfully this book didn't make me cry!
I loved the first book, it was raw, angsty and full of ups and downs. This book...this book, I think, was even better, but in a different way. It's like comparing apples to pineapples ((yeah, I switched it up)) It was a completely different feel. Raymond was this laid back stoner type who liked to kick it at the courts, smoke his weed, and play his video games. ((which actually reminded me of my ex's brother who's name happens to be Raymond. I'll drop some irony here, the ex's name is David HAHA, awks!!!))
Anyways... Everyone seems to think one way of Raymond, as this laid back kind of "I do what I want" guy. The only one to really see beyond that and care is David. David treats him differently and sees so much more to him when no one else does. He doesn't handle him with kid gloved or act condescending to him.
The dynamic between these 2 is so unique to me. They are like night and day and it works so well for them. When you look at Ray you see this tall Puerto Rican badass with tatts and long hair. Then there's David, the blond haired all-American, professional twinky. No one would think they would have anything in common, but their chemistry just works. They're so natural together and David brings out the best in Raymond. I adored how Ray would just let David crawl on him, cuddle up to him and be his clingy self and not care one bit. The easy smiles that passed between them and the general camaraderie just made you feel good. It was very endearing to read.
About a little over halfway through though I was shaking my kindle saying "get with the program already you 2!!" They kept skirting around the relationship they could have had. In the end though, i think it needed to be done as they both had growing up to do. Ray was still finding himself and where he wanted to go as an adult and David needed to let go of the past.
Of course, what's a book without a little drama, right?? That's where Caleb comes in. I am not exactly sure what to think of him. I felt bad for him in a way, but the way he was treating David, almost as a thing or a son or mentor, and not as a boyfriend, really irritated me. What was worse was, he wouldn't listen to what David was trying to say about how they wouldn't work. Here he is, supposed to be all grown up and professional, but he couldn't handle the truth of it all. Dare I ask if we will see Caleb in a future book?? He seemed to be pretty heavy in this one.
There is another side character, Oli, that I wouldn't mind getting to know either! I guess we will have to see what the evil genius has planned in the next installment ((I am totally assuming there will be one, seeing as it's Five Boroughs))
Have I rambled on enough? Yes ok good. So, the overall consensus is: This book rocks. Raymond is a cool ass mofo and David is a-freaking-dorable, and you will LOVE this story, even if you haven't read the first! Which I still recommend because, well, NUNZIO!!! ;)
5 freaking stars *****
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Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is very raw. The story was equal parts hot and heavy to angsty and sad.
I love a broken boy who needs to be fixed. I also loved the best friends to lovers aspect of it.
Nunzio and Mikey have been friends for over 20 years, and it takes 2 decades and tons of heartache for Mikey to realize what's been in front of him the whole time. I'm not sure how Nunzio held on that long, keeping it quiet as long as he did, he's a better man than I, oh, wait....
There were some major downs and a lot of misunderstandings in this story. I can't even tell you how often I had tears in my eyes. Or how much I wanted to shake them when things didn't go the way I wanted them to (lol), But it was so beautiful at the same time.
I think Santino did an awesome, awesome job on his first contemporary book. If you've read ICos, you know it has that underlining "darnkness" or "grit", you can feel that in this book still. I thought it was beautifully written and the characters are well developed. Nunzio and Mikey are high on my list. I also may have a major case of penis envy right now.
In the end, I wanted to see more of their relationship as it grows as a couple, but all good things must end. Hopefully we get to see more of them in Sunset Park, the debut of David and Raymond. That is really going to be an interesting story, I can't wait to see where he is going to take them.
All and all, I give this a 4.5 stars
***Given as an ARC for my honest review***
and a HUGE thank you and mad love to Santino for allowing us over at man2manTastic to review it!!
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About the Author:
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.
To learn more about Santino you can follow him on:
Facebook: theonlysonnyhassell | santinohassellbooks
And at his official website: http://bit.ly/16sgcSu