Hello wild ones! Welcome to another hump day book review by yours truly. Last week I read and reviewed the first book in Santino Hassells’ Five Borough series and this week we’re following up with the second.
Sunset Park is Raymond’s, Michael’s younger brother, journey into love alongside David, the third party in Michael and Nunzio’s threesome that launched their story in book one. I was so amped up from the first book that as soon as I was finished reading it I bought the next one and started reading. This one however did not leave me with the burning need to purchase the next one right this second. Don’t misunderstand me, the third book is definitely going on my TBL, I just have some other things I wanna read more at this time.
Okay, so David and Raymond…I loved Raymond. You guys know I’m all about the dark and brooding dude who uses sarcasm to deflect, but I was not David’s biggest fan. But let’s start with my man Ray.
Raymond Rodriguez has grown up having everyone else kind of take care of him, there’s not a lot he has had to do for himself in his 25 years and when he does have to do something for himself he usually turns and runs as soon as things get hard. Who among us has not wanted to run when things get too stressful? I contemplate running for the border at least once a day. He’s known for years that he’s bisexual, but has kept that info close to himself, only indulging in watching gay porn when he feels the itch.
He and David became unlikely friends while Raymond was dealing with his brother’s breakdown. Their friendship is very strange to everyone. They’re super affectionate, constantly taking care of each other, and in David’s case gushing about anything and everything Raymond related. That friendship transitions into a roommate situation that results in cozy cuddling on the couch and an offer for experimentation. David is the only one who knows about Raymond’s bisexuality and offers, so unselfishly (HA), to be his gay guinea pig.
Of course the whole friends with benefits thing quickly escalates into the pair harboring secret feelings that neither wants to fess up to. In Raymond’s case, he’s worried about rejection and constantly struggles with feeling like he’s not good enough. Dude has some serious self confidence issues, but he battles them and his frustration with David over their situation.
Now we get to David. Oh man what can I say about that little baby gay. I kinda hated him, okay maybe not hate, that’s a little strong, but I was not a big fan of the blonde dude who kept flipping the script.
He’s attracted to Raymond, has been from the start of their friendship, but until he discovers Ray’s bisexuality it’s just on the back burner and he tries to steel his heart against falling for his “straight” friend. Of course that all kind of goes out the window once they begin their foray into introducing Raymond to sex with men.
My problem with David is that he was the one causing drama in their would be relationship. He has a complicated ex that he keeps on the back burner as a security blanket and it causes major problems between he and Raymond. It seems every time these two were getting somewhere Caleb showed his stupid face and David refused to make it crystal clear to him that they were not going to be getting back together. Yet, he gets jealous when Oli hits on Raymond and goes ballistic when he finds them making out a friend’s party. I’m sorry you hypocritical ass, you don’t get to be pissy when you can’t be upfront about your feelings.
Honestly, these two would have had a much easier time if they had been honest with each other. Instead we get a lot of jealous back and forth, lashing out at each other when their feelings get hurt and of course hot sex (which I am not complaining about at all).
I did like this book. I’m struggling with the rating. Santino knows how to write characters that feel like real people, which I love. I understand their inner struggles and easily relate to them feeling like they’re just flailing around trying to survive. However, like I said, David really brought the drama in this one, which just doesn’t make me as enthusiastic to read the next one, especially considering the fact that it’s about Caleb, David’s ex, and Oliver, his friend.
Anyway, the rating. I’m gonna go with 3.5 stars. Anything less would feel wrong because as a whole the book is well written, the characters are engaging, and I love a happy ending.
Next week we’ll be reading and reviewing How We Survive by Michele Notaro.
Of course if you have any questions or recommendations feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Remember to go check out my Goodreads profile to see what I’m reading in between posted reviews and follow me on Instagram to catch glimpses into my life.
Until later, stay wonderfully wild!