Book Review: Sunset Park by Santino Hassell


Title: Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2)
Author: @SantinoHassell
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: M/M Romance
Length: 230 pages
Rating: 4.25 stars


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.

Grace Review

Going into this story, I fully expected this to be a story of one man exposing another’s deep desires, or “turning him gay”.  Yes, I fully realize the last part of that statement is ridiculous, but it is mentioned in the book so don’t come at me.

Here are the facts.  If you read book one, you know:
David is gay and proud
Raymond accepts his gay brother, Michael.  But he is straight.


Starting this book, it became obvious that several of the other characters and I, didn’t know Raymond so well.  His interest seemed to run a lot deep than being bi-curious.  That interest is exposed when he moves in with David, with the family home being rented out.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of David’s in the last book.  Sometimes he seemed to be the catalyst to send Michael over the edge, and I didn’t like how he didn’t respect boundaries.  However, I did like how he was there for Raymond when everything was falling apart, so the idea of this story intrigued me.

Raymond is an interesting character.  He lacks any real motivation to make something of himself.  It seems his only reason for working is survival, paying the bills.  If he had a choice, he would stick to gaming and smoking pot, with the occasional hookup.  David sees potential in him, or just wants to push his own personal drive on Raymond.  Either way, he forces Raymond to take action and man up and get a job, no matter how bad it may be.

What I didn’t understand with these two was that David seemed like the adult in the relationship when it came to work, but acted like a child when it came to their emotional/physical interactions.

“. . . you want to make everyone fit into certain boxes and that’s unnecessary.”

Given their close confines, the chemistry between them is too much to resist.  T

heir scenes together are ultra-steamy, yet have something else underlying beyond the lust.  And it shocked me who drove that emotional feel.

While I wasn’t certain about David for a good part of the book, especially with bringing his ex, Caleb, back into the fold, I like how David is forced to come to terms with his feelings for once in his life.  I get his initial reasons for wanting to commit, but it took him time to put someone else before him and take a chance. How things progress and whether these two can make it work for the long haul, remains to be seen.  Since book four in this series is also about this couple, I expect some rocky roads ahead, but am hopeful, that will only bring them closer.

– Grace

Book 1, Sutphin Boulevard: Amazon USAmazon UK
Book 2, Sunset Park: Amazon USAmazon UK
Book 3, First and First: Amazon USAmazon UK
Book 4, Interborough: releases October 24, 2016


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