Monday, October 24, 2016

ARC Review:Interborough by Santino Hassell

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

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What I thought about Interborough

I love this series and this author's other work, so I was confident I was going to like Interborough and I was not disappointed.  Actually, I really loved this realistic story of what happens after the HEA and it's probably my favorite so far in the Five Boroughs series. 

Raymond and David are still together, going about their lives and while the sparks still fly between them, you might say that the "honeymoon" is over in the sense that real life is presenting many challenges to the couple. The day-to-day grind is putting stress on their relationship in a major way. Raymond is working 2 jobs and going to school, and David is totally stressing out over the lack of quality time they have to spend together causing him to face many of his insecurities. When they do find time together, their conversations quickly degrade to argument because David knows something is wrong, he just can't fix it himself.  If you've ever been in a relationship you can probably relate to this situation -- nothing seems to resolve their friction and even though their attraction to each other is still strong, sex is not solving their communication issues.

Even though it was sometimes painful,  I loved the portrayal of both David and his insecurities, and Raymond and his sharp focus on work and getting ahead causing friction between them.  This book presents the ebb and flow of a relationship with such realism, I loved it. Both play out their relationship frustrations in different ways that I found so familiar and could relate to.  It all kept me turning the pages to see if Raymond and David could get past it all and to a better place.

When a serious situation at Raymond's family home brings many of the stressors to a head, both Raymond and David are faced with some serious decisions, one of them being about whether their relationship can survive long term.  I'll admit to leaking a little during this part of the book, because the pain they are both feeling jumps off the page and draws you right in so that I couldn't help but hold my breath a little bit as I kept reading to find out whether they would be able to make it past this first big hurdle in their relationship.

This is definitely a relationship story -- and it shines a spotlight on the compromises and communication that keeps that relationship going, even when it looks like everything is very bleak. 

Michael and Nunzio also make an important appearance in this book, as do the Qfindr principles, Oli and Caleb. 

The epilogue is just perfect in so many ways, and I really don't want to spoil it  for you so I'm not going to say much more than that. If you like romance stories that really take a hard look at what it really means to be in a relationship, I think you will love Interborough as much as I did.

Five big beautiful stars for David, Raymond and Santino Hassell.

ARC provided for review.

About the Author

Santino 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.

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