Please note this book was reviewed prior to the revelation of author’s identity and actions. Please read this statement from Riptide Publishing for more information. [Note: Dreamspinner Press is no longer selling books by this author.]
Sunset Park, by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs, Book 2
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date Book: December 11, 2015
Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo
Release Date Audio: May 24, 2016
Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A Five Boroughs Story
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.
Friends to Lovers
New York City
When I finished listening to the audio of Sutphin Boulevard (book #1 in the series) I was thrilled to get my hands on the sequel. I really enjoyed listening to the first book and I thought the timing was perfect, being that Interborough is coming out in October and picking up Ray’s and David’s story again. Unfortunately, the audio book of Sunset Park didn’t live up to my expectations at all.
It kinda pains me to give such a low rating for the audio book, because I originally really, really enjoyed the story when I read it myself. To be honest, I quit listening to it after being halfway through because I realised it was tainting my love for this book and the characters, and that’s really like the worst thing that can happen.
It all comes down to the narrator’s voice of David. He wasn’t anything at all like I imagined him and the narrator made him sound like an obnoxious brat the whole time and I hated his voice from the very beginning. Women were awfully narrated as well, by the way.
I thought at first it wouldn’t be that bad and the story is so good that I had quite a good time listening to it in the beginning, anyway, but it just wore me down.
Another thing that bothered me was that whenever Ray and David were chatting, the person who wrote was first announced and then came the text. I realise that this is how it’s in the book and I don’t know how to do this better but man, this was so annoying and didn’t make it possible to get into the scene at all.
So, I cannot recommend the audio book at all, but in case you haven’t read Santino’s Five Boroughs series yet, you should totally go for it. It’s a wonderful contemporary romance with very real characters, set in New York City. I’d describe Santino’s writing style as very raw and stirring and he tells a unique story befitting the characters—who seem so real, you think you can visit them some day. And, *cough*, these books are dirty hot, if that’s what you like. And there is cuddling, so much cuddling, *sigh*.
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 twenty-something, 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 queer 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.
You can purchase Sunset Park from:
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble
I received a copy of this audio book in exchange for a fair and honest review.