Thursday, October 27, 2016

Virtual Tour ~ Interborough by Santino Hassell ~ (Reviews + Giveaway)

Virtual Tour ~ Interborough by Santino Hassell ~ (Review + Giveaway)

About Interborough

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.

Interborough is available from Riptide Publishing.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Interborough is book 5 in the A Five Boroughs series by Santino Hassell, while I suspect it might be best if read in order, if you, as I was, are curious about the book/series and jump in by starting with this book, I can assure you the author gives you enough information so you won't feel too lost (I was ready to grill my co-blogger Tracy, who had read the previous books, but I didn't need to). That's not to say that after reading Interborough, I'll certainly make sure to read the rest of the books, even if slightly out of order as I'm eager to read how Ray and David got together now. 

Ray and David have been together for a year, and while they'd had their fair share of trouble adapting, the main problem is that Ray is working/studying for nearly 18 hours per day, and they barely see each other. Add to that, that Ray barely acknowledges the issues that David brings forth and their relationship is sitting on a powder keg about to blow up. 

I wanted to strangle Ray so many times during the course of the book, but even then I couldn't not like him. He was trying so hard to provide for David and for himself, trying to prove he was better than he'd been before, that he'd changed. I hated that he had so many excuses not to come out and how he brushed off David's issues until David exploded and that he was so oblivious, but when he had to, he did all the right things... finally. LOL 

I loved David. My heart broke for him so many times. He was so supportive, always trying to be there for Ray, even when Ray wasn't there for him in the same way. He was flawed and real, but the good in him certainly was more than the bad. 

I enjoyed the glimpses into the other characters in the series, especially Ray's brother and Nunzio. *happy sigh* And I really wanted to kick Trey, Ray's supposed friend. 

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Santino's gritty, realistic writing style and I simply couldn't put down the book until I was done with it. (Who needs sleep, right?) It was entertaining and I simply couldn't get enough of Ray and David as they worked for their HEA. Highly recommendable!

Rating: 5 Stars!!!

4.5* Best of the series, I think, as it focuses on emotions, not on the grittiness of what may be the IRL NYC gay lifestyle. 

I can't say that David stood out as a character in book 1 or even in his own tale, but here, in the follow-up to his own tale, which gives him the start of his true HEA, I liked him, saw him and sided with him, even though I didn't not side with Ray, as he was a decent guy who'd tried to better himself and who loved David as much as David loved him. It was great to catch up with these guys and to see that a relationship needs work, that it needs belief in each other, sharing, commitment and honesty, which I'm not saying these guys didn't do/have/feel, but, they allowed RL to take over and didn't make time for each other. 

It is a tale that I suppose you could read as a standalone, but it kind of felt like a mop-up to the series, with Nunzio and Michael's relationship taking an extra step in what was, for me, a female reader of romance, the right direction, and with Oli and Caleb seemingly happy, secure together and able to laugh/eye roll at each other's foibles. 

I liked that both guys, when pushed, came out with what they'd been holding back, that neither bore grudges, that neither felt the need to score points and that neither felt as if he needed or wanted to always come out on top and be right, and that when they needed to apologise, they did so without using the, 'but' get-out. Why they allowed things to come so badly between them did seem the tiniest trivial to me, sorry Mr Hassell, but all ended well. And, the issues that seemed so important that Ray would put them before his and David's relationship, also seemed a tiny bit, 'Really? That was what meant so much to you???'

There wasn't a ton of sex in this, despite the series being pretty heavy on the sex front throughout, but that's not a complaint. When the guys did come together again, their sex was healing, connecting, and was meaningful and emotional. I loved the ending, showing the other HEA I mentioned, and I am pretty sure that David and Ray would end up with something similar one day. I wondered if this would be the end of the series, as it both sounded so and not, given that a couple of other characters got some page time. 

Had the teeny, tiny trivial things I mentioned been a bit more realistic, I'd have rated this a 5* tale. 

ARC courtesy of Riptide Publishing for my reading pleasure. 

About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction 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.

Connect with Santino:


To celebrate the release of Interborough, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 29, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. I love reading reviews. They do help in deciding.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Great reviews!

    lckarge92 (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. I love this series!!!! Thanks for the awesome review and giveaway!!!

  4. This will be so much fun!


  5. V. cool review. I do agree that, out of all four books, this one works best if readers have finished Sunset Park (at least.) Though I think it was inevitable that, the more books Santino published on the series, the standalone quality would diminish somewhat. As interconnected as all the relationships have become,(as friends, exes, significant others, etc), it makes sense that there would be a bigger emotional payoff if the readers know about everyone's backstory.

    Mazingergirlie (at) gmail (dot) com

  6. Thank you for the dual reviews! I am looking forward to reading Interborough.


  7. I realize they all can be easily as standalones, but you'd miss so much if you didn't read all of them.


  8. I love David and Ray, and loved this book.

  9. Thank you for both reviews!
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  10. love santino's interborough series
    jmarinich33 at aol dot com

  11. Thank you so much for the review


  12. Double reviews! Thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts. Some interesting reading about a book I absolutely loved.

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

  13. Found this series because of the tour. Thank you for the reviews. I've added the books to my reading list!

    1. Forgot my contact info: peachescon(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. Congrats on the new release. I love this series! I’ve been waiting on this one and can’t wait to pick it up. Please keep them coming, they are a definite addition to my library. Great review. Thanks for an opportunity to win a copy.
    flutterfli01 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  15. Congrats. I loved CoS, and have to get started on this series. It sounds as if I'll like its urban feel.
    Purple Reader - TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  16. Congrats on the release, I have this on my wishlist!