Showing posts with label Marya's Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marya's Reviews. Show all posts

July 23, 2015

Maria's Review!! Sutphin Boulevard, Five Boroughs #1 by Santino Hassell

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.

Raw, intense and sensual, "Sutphin Boulevard" will take us through the maze of New York streets, following the complicated life of one Michael Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican teacher, who thinks that hiding his feelings is his best card and who believes in family values and in a man who was there with him through the bitter and the sweet. It is a journey that will make us discover how magical it could be for two friends to realize the love they hold for each other.

Nunzio, a sexy, very possessive Italian teacher is the best friend Michael would've ever asked for. The two bonded over their parents’ abuse, while comparing their "battle scars" and they stayed close even after 20 years. Michael has never thought of Nunzio other than his friend for life, but after a steamy encounter on a hot July night, his thoughts take a new dangerous turn. 

Even though we get to experience the book from Michael's point of view, one can only assume that he is going to be the star of the story. Nunzio is a force daring not to get recognized and I fell in love with his stubbornness, his sex appeal, and his foul mouth. He is what you could only hope for a best friend to be - caring, protective and always there.

I also loved the dynamics of Nunzio and Michael’s friendship. They are always honest with one another but they also show a massive but shy side of affection. Nunzio's unlimited love for Michael is endearing, him always putting Mickey first and always coming back to him no matter what.

I did relate to Michael's case. When he starts feeling like he’s suffocating, he sinks into the numbness offered by alcohol and pills, but in my case it's hiding from reality by disappearing into the universe of some book. Also, the brilliance of the writing made me go through series of intense emotions from one chapter to another, from the immense pleasure of two hot dudes getting it on, to the extreme amount of distress when it started getting angsty, and, last but not least, the tears escaping now and then because I'm a sap and I can't really rein my emotions in when I’m too immersed in the story.

What I appreciated more in this first book of it’s the deep exploration of every dimension in the life of the characters, Michael's tense relationship with his family, and, of course, his fellowship with Nunzio. Hiding his struggles, doing his best to be a role model for his students, even if it's weighting him down.

But, most importantly, I loved being there every wrong or right step of the way Michael has taken through every circumstance life has thrown on his way, leading to the epiphany of his life – that to try harder and put together what was torn apart.

All of this was offered in one package by Santino Hassell, with an extremely straightforward and blunt language, honest enough to make you believe it, mysterious enough to let you anticipate and drink from its hands till the last drops of letters.

I can only say that this book is yet another brilliant work of Santino, who never fails to surprise us from his fluid and easy-on-the-eye storytelling, to the deepest darkest corners he would let us explore. "Sutphin Boulevard" is now classed as one of my favorite books of 2015. It deserves to be read, to be on top of the TBR lists, to be known more. I would undoubtedly recommend it for anyone wanting to read a time worthy and excellent story!

Santino Hassell 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.