Book Review: First and First by Santino Hassell


Title: First and First (Five Boroughs #3)
Author: @SantinoHassell
Reviewer: Grace
Genre: M/M Romance
Length: 244 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars


Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

Grace Review

I’ve been on a bit of a Five Boroughs binge, playing catch up with book four in the series releasing later this month. So when I got to book 3, I was a bit surprised about the couple.

And Oli?!
Say whaaaaaaaaaaatt?!

Believe me, I wasn’t the only one surprised by this pairing.
Caleb was surprised.
And David was downright pissed.

How did they get there? One New Year’s kiss and a whole lot of exploring, that’s how.

“I’m not your Prince Charming.  I’m a good fuck, but I’m not special.”

I didn’t expect to like this pairing, since I’ve never been a fan of Caleb’s. So it was a real shock to me that this was my favorite book in the series, so far. While this couple was a mess from day one and couldn’t get their shit together most of the time, I felt like the match worked nevertheless. Caleb needed somone sexually confident enough to get him to loosen up and let go for the first time in his life. And this book has lots of first, other than the bar the two frequent.

“You’re afraid to fuck me because you don’t think you can live up to the first time.”

First time as bottom.
First time with public sex.
First time sharing.
First time with the Black Magic contraption.

“Made for what?”
“To be someone’s cumdump.”
I shook my head, hating the word, but I could feel another trickle sliding down the head of my cock.
“To have that tight fuckhole brutalized.”

If you noticed from all of the above, this book definitely explored new territories within the gay lifestyle. Oli is quick to notice how reluctant Caleb is with adventurous sexual acts. However, unlike the men before him, that doesn’t deter Oli. He’s had a taste of what Caleb can offer when letting go, and that intrigues him. Even if he refuses to declare so.

Oli has become a commitment-phobe, and makes that clear early on. Any hint of Caleb getting closer, only causes Oli to shut down. I sympathized with Caleb, who had a real hard time understanding his place in their relationship. And yes, there were times I wanted to smack Oli. If he wasn’t interested, he should have moved on. But by continually making himself a part of Caleb’s life, what did he expect?

Other than the frustrating by sexy as hell couple, this book also explored the business venture the two started with Caleb’s step-brother. I loved how this started, the concept they developed, and how the whole startup came to life. I’m not part of that tech world, but it seemed very believable to me, and added an interesting side plot for the couple.

Social media had the unique ability to turn adults into immature slaves to drama.

While both David and Raymond are mentioned in this story, particularly with how Caleb struggles with their relationship, they don’t have a big role in this story. So it is interesting to see that the next book is about them again. I wonder if Caleb’s new relationship has impacted them in any way. . . . And I won’t have to wait long for that answer since it’s my next read. *grins*

– 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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