A long time ago I heard all about this wonderful author named TJ Klune, and how I needed to jump on that bandwagon. The pressure to love him was high which frightened me. Now he’s my favorite romance author, whom I spend a lot of time gushing about while kicking myself for wasting time!
You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson, but I followed the same pattern again with Santino Hassel. I might have continued to evade if my BBF (Blogging Bestest Friend), Angie Elle from BaBAMB, and I hadn’t stumbled onto the idea of a favorites Biblio-Swap. Her Santino for my TJ.
Because sharing is caring.
If you’re interested in either author, feel free to join us and comment below with your own thoughts. 🙂
About the Book: Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.
Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.
When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.
Five Boroughs #1
M/M Contemporary Romance
Dreamspinner Press | July 31, 2015
“Yeah, but you also haven’t seen me all summer, so I want some attention.”
I watched the edge of his mouth curl up in a smile that he wasn’t quite ready to reveal, as though it was a secret that my words pleased him.
When I first started Sutphin Boulevard, for like 5 minutes, I felt a spark of fear. I was nervous that the writing would be too urban. I didn’t want the dialogue to feel forced. From what I hear Santino’s style is very gritty and tough, which he’s pretty much perfected. I shouldn’t have been nervous at all because his writing is raw and honest enough to feel believable. Other authors attempt to write like Santino Hassel and are usually unsuccessful. I feel like that’s because he writes the way he likely speaks, which is key.
I mostly really enjoyed Sutphin Boulevard. The story was gritty and complicated in the best way. Nothing was rushed through thankfully. Going slowly was really important because the story was difficult, Michael’s life was difficult, and if the resolution had been glossed over this review would have been a lot more negative.
The main characters, Nunzio and Michael, were interesting and three dimensional. They also had an insane amount chemistry. When people tell you that this series his hot, they aren’t lying! It’s scorching! Santino really knows how to turn up the heat, seriously! Sutphin Boulevard had a romance that was both romantic and combustible. Basically, I’d say 80% of the book was exactly what I wanted.
The lack of that last 20% was mostly due to the high level of angst. I really struggle with angst. Normally I find myself getting frustrated and yelling at the characters in my head. Even if the angst makes sense, which it did here. It was understandable and believable. I still struggle with accepting the story when I feel like I know exactly what they need to do to make it all better. It’s a flaw of mine.
I think I also found myself frustrated that after all the angst the reunion seemed to only get about two pages, and most of it was sex. I’m not complaining about the sex, only that I would have enjoyed a little more emotional intimacy.
(Since I’m talking issues on here, can I be petty for a second and just say that I can’t stand the name Nunzio. I don’t even know why; there’s nothing wrong with it. It just feels familiar for some reason, in a negative way. Due to my own subconscious issues, it unfairly made Nunzio feel less attractive to me. I’m weird, I know.)
Even though I decided to go with 4 feathers, because of the angst level, I still thought Sutphin Boulevard felt like a solid start to the series. I’m looking forward to round two!
If you’re interested in Angie’s thoughts on Olive Juice by TJ Klune, click on over to BaBAMB!
So glad to see you enjoyed this one, Birdie. I love Santino Hassell’s writing. And each book just gets better! 🙂
I’m definitely interested in Ray’s book. 🙂
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I’ve come across this book before (wolfwhistle on youtube), so it was already on my TBR, but your liking of TJ Klune and subsequent liking of this book has just inspired me to download it. : ) always in the market for new BL to read
TJ Klune is really special to me, and this was really really good. I can’t wait to continue the series. I hope you like it too!
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