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Interborough (A Five Boroughs Story) (Volume 4) Paperback – July 9, 2016
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While it was very satisfying getting a book that was so realistic, and I loved the neat little bows being wrapped around Michael and Nunzio, and David and Raymond, I felt this story was a little abrupt. I recognise there was major growth in the characters, but I just struggled to feel it. That being said, I cried twice in the lunch room. And it was f***hot.
I am usually an angst-avoider. I read a lot of erotica when I'm having a hard time, because sometimes romance is just too real. This book was too real. But in all the right ways. I felt grateful for how real it was. There is NOTHING better than a book that makes you grateful, for whatever reading. Whether you're grateful for the sexy, hot scenes, the beautiful romance, the fluff, the character growth, the imagery.. I am grateful this book was so gritty and real, and shows that HEAs aren't just for fluffy romance/eroticas.
I digress a bit, but I want to recommend the whole series, and I feel like it's vital to read the first books before this one to have a full understanding of David and Raymond's relationship.
This particular book is my favorite of the series thus far. It is the second book featuring main characters Raymond and David, and this time the story focuses on the period of time that follows their Happily Ever After. I think that this is why I love it so much. The ins and outs of getting together is always thrilling and fun, and there's a reason that the focus of so many romance stories is just that - how will Characters A and B find love and each other. I find that I often crave more, though; I want the afterword to the fairy tale. I want to see the dirty gleaming guts of the relationship as our beloved characters get to the business of actually living their lives as a couple.
And that's what Interborough does so beautifully. Hassell's writing is as modern, real and on-point as ever, and I personally feel that Raymond's POV is where the writing shines brightest of all. Raymond and David are missing connections left and right, and the true beauty of the story is that though it's always plain how much these two love one another, the fear is still there: will they be able to make this work? The idea that true love might not be enough when it's up against the things that life throws at you isn't the typical sentiment seen in a romance, but it works so well here.
I was thoroughly satisfied with this book, and I truly love the Five Boroughs universe that Hassell has created. I can't wait to see what comes next!
PS: Not for nothin', but this author writes some of the best sex scenes I've ever read. And... I've read a LOT. So you know, if that's your thing, look no further, etc.
Raymond- "My boyfriend. Subtle like a brick in the head."
"Why don't you just do us both a favor and traipse your Sons of Anarchy a** out of my apartment?" (David)
"Newborns could likely identify me as the first alcohol-steeped human they had ever seen." (David)
Ray and David are total contrasts in looks. David is a well-dressed, upper class, pale white guy that is easily identifiable as being gay. Raymond is Puerto Rican, he's dealt with prejudice, he's from Queens, he's tough, broody, sarcastic, and no one would look at him and think he's gay.
They do have a lot of struggles and obstacles so it's great that the PoV switches between Ray and David (win-win). They each can view the same issue in totally different ways. At times it felt like the obstacles might be too much, but I also felt that they both fiercely wanted to be together.
As usual, the writing is wonderful. All the little details that make it feel real were there. The drama and problems these two faced didn't seem made up for the sake of cranking out another book. These guys are still very much in love. And so funny. And sexy! But there are real-life problems that cause the relationship to start to fray at the edges. It's so emotional; the read is just sad but the MCs are not only sad but they are confused, angry, and frustrated.
One thing I wondered about since the first book in this series and it comes back again in this one: does this author teach or have a close friend who teaches? Because he nails that sh!t. From the department meetings to principal walk throughs to 'developing' ratings to assigning book work when you're tired...he just gets it all.
I am 100% glad I bought the book and will not doubt again. :) Five heart-squeezing stars, without reservation.