Advanced Book Review by Rita: Insight, by Santino Hassell

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.

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Insight by Santino Hassell

Insight, by Santino Hassell
Series: The Community, Book 1
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 13, 2017

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

Cover Design By: Kanaxa


M/M Pairing
Gay & Bisexual Characters
Paranormal Romance
Mystery Suspense
Mind Control

Warnings: Abuse/Violence

Book Review by Rita

Insight is, in a word…gripping. Okay, let’s back it up a moment. There’s a slow build in the beginning but I didn’t mind the sleepy narrative because we learn a lot about Nate and, hello, there’s a road trip. I mean, the entire book could’ve been about Nate and Trent on the road and I would’ve been perfectly happy. The pace picks up rather quickly once they arrive in the bustling metropolis of NYC and we start getting clues to the mystery Nate is looking to solve. That’s when it hit me, friends. There was no way I was putting this book down until I finished it. I needed to know who was telling the truth and who had ulterior motives.

And that’s what made this mystery so compelling. I didn’t trust anyone! With the exception of Trent, it seemed like everyone Nate met attempted to manipulate him by spinning conversations and evading questions. I relished seeing him put his foot down in order to finally start getting some answers and I liked that he was just as skeptical as I was. However, I was frustrated that it took Nate so long to figure out some of the connections. I’m not a fan of uncovering any part of the mystery before the characters do so when I started putting the clues together I was impatient for Nate to catch up. I’d like to see him hone his skills. To learn to use what he’s got and to see just how powerful he really is because I think he has more gifts than he realizes.

My only other complaint is how Nate and Trent leave things in NY after the final conflict. I couldn’t help but feel that the way the events went down seemed too easy. I expected more repercussions, but now that I think about it, maybe there will be? If you have an opinion on this, let me know in the comments.

So far I’ve talked mostly about Nate which is fitting because this is his story but I did wish that Trent had more page time. By the 50% mark, I felt like I still didn’t know much about him, but what little I did know I liked a lot. I’m hoping we get to see more of this couple in the rest of the series as well because these guys are scorching hot together. Nate’s empathy created a bond between them that turned it up to eleven and all I could envision was the intensity of their connection radiating off of them. Just when I think I’m becoming jaded to romance, Hassell comes along wielding supernatural writing powers proving me completely wrong.

“Can you feel what I’m feeling right now?”
“I can feel you.”
“And is that a good or bad thing?”
“It’s good,” Nate whispered. “Like this fucking flood of. . . of light and warmth. It’s almost powerful enough to wash everything else away.”

I am now a firm believer of fate. These two are meant for each other. ❤

I’m also eager to find out just how intertwined all of these people are. Insight is an excellent first look into the world of The Community and I thought the introduction of the side characters and possible future MCs felt natural. This is definitely a Hassell book, no mistaking that, but there’s a different voice here that’s unlike anything I’ve read from him before. I like that. It’s what I was hoping for so you can bet I’ll be reading Oversight when it comes out this summer.

Can you hear that? I’m using my telepathic powers to tell you to read this book ASAP. I strongly recommend it!


Santino HassellSantino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.

Santino writes queer romance 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.

Follow Santino: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

You can purchase INSIGHT from:
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble

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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

10 thoughts on “Advanced Book Review by Rita: Insight, by Santino Hassell

  1. I loved this book so much that I read it twice this past weekend, LOL. It’s one of those uktra-rare unputdownable books, really.

    TBH, I was 100% OK with the ending. After all, Nate got to find the truth about what happened to Theo. To me, he dealt with the aftermath the most logical and emotionally satisfying way how. After all, he literally had nowhere to go back to. At least, not after all the revelations about his background/family history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I felt the same. I usually read at a fairly steady pace but I think I finished this in record time!

      With the ending, at first I thought it was strange that all of those things were happening and then Holden’s just like “go ahead and leave, I got this.” I guess I just didn’t think they’d be able to walk away that easily now that The Community knows Nate’s been poking around (and also, is Beck even still alive?) When I thought about the epilogue more, it occurred to me that we haven’t seen the last of N&T so maybe they didn’t get off as easy as I originally thought. Could be The Community and that creepy-sounding Jasper guy could just be biding their time. Man, I cannot wait until Oversight is released!


      • AFAIK, we will see No&T in Books 2 and 3 but (this is me guesstimating) as secondary characters.

        IIRC, Santino’s mentioned that each book will focus on a different couple yet, at the same time, there’s a larger storyline regarding the Community + conspiracies about it.


        Liked by 1 person

      • Meee tooooo 🙂 and yes, I believe you are correct. Keep an eye out in the next day or two for my interview with Santino where he talks more about his writing and what’s in store for us with the rest of the series!


  2. Pingback: Interview with Santino Hassell, author of “Insight” | Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

  3. Fantastic review and interview, and I agree that this was a story that got its hooks into me early and didn’t let go. I also did an immediate reread to see all the clues lining up more clearly, and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. Ready for Oversight now!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, B! Thanks for the love ❤ I think this series has the potential to be epic so I’m so thankful the other two books come out this year. Still feels like forever to wait tho! I’m going to do a reread too. I ripped through it so quickly the first time that I’m sure I missed some of the little details.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Top of the Stack: June 2017 | Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

  5. Pingback: Release Day Review by Kristie: Oversight, by Santino Hassell | Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

  6. Pingback: Release Day Review by Kristie: Sightlines, by Santino Hassell | Just Love: Queer Book Reviews

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