For What It's Worth

Monday, July 10, 2017

monday minis: triple threat - santino hassell

I’ve been a huge fan of Santino Hassell’s Cyberlove series, co-writen with Megan Erickson, (another favorite author of mine). I reviewed the latest installment in that series, Mature Content, here.

While I’ve read all of the Cyberlove series so far, Hassell has quite the backlist that I've been making my way through over the last few years.

In the past month or so I’ve managed to keep up with his current releases and they are ALL fantastic! I think his writing just gets sharper with each book.

Here are his three latest titles. The first two are out now - the last comes out in August.


30364779Concourse (Five Boroughs #5)
Goodreads

Purchased

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.

My thoughts: I didn’t expect to like Ashton, a spoiled socialite who Instagram’s his every moment and is most famous for a sex tape, but I fell hard for him. he’s just SO good. Like, a genuinely kind human being who’s a lost soul. I loved his relationship with Val but also how he changed his friendships over the course of the book. They started out as his party pals but really stepped up and became so much more as they opened up to each other and matured.

Val was keeping a big secret that really fucked with the dynamics of his relationship with Ashton but I loved how it all played out.

I had only read one other book from this series, and while previous characters/couples pop up, you can read Concourse as a stand alone.


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Oversight (The Community #2)
Goodreads

e-ARC provided in exchange for an honest review

Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.

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.


My thoughts: I really enjoyed the first book in this M/M, PNR trilogy. It has a great combination of paranormal elements and romance. I think Oversight was even better than Insight! More action, more romance, more revelations about The Community. Think of this series as X-Men (an underground community of people with special powers) and Scientology. Once you’re in The Community – your loyalty is to the community and it’s quest to change the world. If you deviate – you go to the *farm* for reprogramming.

We met Hayden in book one and as an empath he didn’t always use his power for good. He wasn’t exactly a bad guy but he did use his abilities to influence and stay ahead of others. Hayden was so not what I was expecting. He was a total arrogant douche in Insight. It was fascinating to read just how vulnerable he is and how much he was shielded from the truth as the son of The Community founder. He went through so much character growth.

Six was…gah…loved him!. Strong, silent and awkward when it comes to human emotions and feelings. As an invulnerable, he is also impervious to Hayden’s attempts to get in his head. He has next to zero social skills and no empathy but when he talks in his matter of fact way it’s so much sweeter than any purple prose, manufactured bullshit. My hero catnip!

There’s a lot to love about this series. It’s just plain fun! but also has a lot of deeper messages and metaphors for today’s society (if you wish to see it – Hassell doesn’t hit you over the head with them).

I don’t recommend reading this series out of order. There is a lot of overlap with characters and plot so start with Insight before picking up Oversight  and get ready for Sightlines – the conclusion to the trilogy – out October 9th, 2017.


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Illegal Contact (The Barons #1
Goodreads

e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: August 15th, 2017 Intermix

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over.


My thoughts: I've read quite a few sports romances and I can't say that this broke any new ground on that front but Hassell's writing is so good and the characters so vibrant you can't help but be drawn in to Nash and Gavin's story.

My favorite thing is that both guys were so refreshingly honest - they didn't always admit things to themselves at times but were always upfront with each other - even if it hurt to hear.

I did wish there was more to the ending - maybe an epilogue but I loved it..

If you're a fan of Sarina Bowen/Elle Kennedy's M/M sorts series - you should love this.

*If you haven’t gotten enough of Santino from this post – or want to know him a little bit better – check out Shelf Envy: Santino Hassell over at Joyousreads. I LOVE looking at author’s bookshelves and hearing what influences their writing.






29 comments:

  1. I'd never heard of Santino Hassel before your review. I love that you were able to fall for a character you'd normally hate (and so would I). I need to add this series to my TBR list. :)

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    1. I REALLY love his Cyberlove series co-written with Megan Erickson. It's a bit lighter while his solo work is a bit darker/edgier but I love both.

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  2. I've really been loving Hassell lately too. I hadn't heard of his books until I read the Cyberlove series written with Megan Erickson (who I also love! lol), so I decided I wanted to give more of his books a try. I'm really loving his The Community series. I can't wait to read Chase and Elijah's story! I NEED to know what happens. lol. I also read Illegal contact. I didn't love it as much as The Community series Cyberlove series but it was pretty good. I need to try the Five Boroughs next. Great reviews!

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    1. I think IC was pretty standard so it wasn't as WOW but I love the characters and relationships that he writes.

      Also, like I said in an above comment - he tends to write edgier while with Megan the books have more humor.

      Both great! Just a reader preference. It end to like more humor.

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  3. I really need to read all of Santino's books. I loved the first Cyberlove book - but need to read the rest - and I need ALL his Five Boroughs books. I'm glad to hear you liked Illegal Contact. It sounds great. I LOVE The Community series, and I do think the second one is better than the first.

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I haven't read all of the Five Bourough's series yet and I'm kind of mixed when it comes to those books but I did love Concourse.

      The Cyberlove series is one of my absolute favorite series though. It's so fun and emotional.

      I thought the romance in Oversight was better developed than Insight.

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  4. He's an author who just came on my radar with Illegal Contact. I recently read that book and really enjoyed it and look forward to trying his other work. Which series so far has been your favorite of his?

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    1. Definitely the Cyberlove series he co-writes with Megan Erickson https://www.goodreads.com/series/171513-cyberlove That's where I would start.

      I like his Five Bouroughs (Concourse) but to varying degrees and I haven't read them all yet. It's way more angsty but that's dependent on what you like. I like more humor.

      The new Community series is fun if you like PNR and a X-Men vibe with romance mixed in. There's a new couple for each book but an larger story arc that continues with each book. The last book in the trilogy comes out later this year.

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  5. I'm planning to read the Santino Hassel series. Angie has been book binging it and made me so curious. The only thing that made me not start it yet is it seems like a long series and I don't like skipping a book but I have ARCs to read this month. :(
    Ahhh it's so tempting! :)

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    1. WHICH ONE??? I'm guessing Five Boroughs? I haven't read them all yet. Just the first and Concourse I think but I have the others on my Kindle.

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  6. Sounds like you had a few good ones there.

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    1. Yeah, it's weird to do a binge for an author with three different series and they're all good.

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  7. I haven't seen this series. I am gald that you continue to enjoy it and that it is evolving. I love when I can keep up on a series and that I continue to enjoy it.

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    1. Each book is from a different series of his. They are all quite good.

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  8. Ashton must be a good character if you like him so much since you're right, he doesn't sound very likable. And ooh, I like empaths! I might have to check out that second series.

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    1. There's so much more to him than being an socialite/online persona. He is that and he enjoys it to a certain extent but he's also super kind hearted and generous to his friends. I was totally won over by him.

      The Community series is a lot of fun!

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  9. Hm...this looks like an author I really need to read. I am so glad you found an author to devour. I'm so putting him on my must read list.

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    1. I would start with Illegal Contact or the Cyberlove series and then go to the Five Boroughs if you're ready for more angst (it's good angst though! lol) or The Community series if you want PNR.

      I think his writing and books have gotten better with each one too.

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  10. I haven't read much by this author so thanks for putting these on my radar! Fantastic reviews!!

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  11. I couldn't read your review for IC because I haven't read it yet, but yes for the other two!

    Ashton was such a wonderful character. I loved his story ARC from First and First to Concourse.

    I LOVE Holden and Six together. I love that Six is hilarious when he doesn't mean to be. LOL

    Great reviews. I'm glad you're enjoying Santino Hassell's books as much as I am! :)

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    1. I've only read the first Five Boroughs book and I didn't remember Ashton but he's so wonderful. I wanted to wrap him up in a hug!

      Yes, Six was so cute when it cam to his *jokes*

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  12. Replies
    1. Good for binging when it's the same author!

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