My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Received: ARC provided by/from A Novel Take PR
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Point of View: Third Person (Holden)
Genres & Themes: MM Romance, LGBTQ+, Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery Romance,
Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.
Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.
Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.
As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.
A reader said that it’s first a thriller. Second, a mystery, and third, a romance. And that could very be the case for Insight ( The Community #1), but for Oversight (The Community #2), Santino Hassell masters the perfect blend of all three, simultaneously. The perfect coalesced blend of thriller, mystery, and romance. Without one overtaking or dominating the book.
Although, I have to come clean and say that Six and Holden, and their banter and connection was one of the best part of the book. See, I’m a sucker for soul mates (not saying this is what Six and Holden have), strong connections, and just like a bond.
“But you’re gorgeous. The combination of your skin color and black hair is gorgeous. If you weren’t such an asshole, I could probably get lost in your eyes. They’re beautiful.”
“A woman at the Farm told me I had devil eyes, and the description got around.(…)”
Holden Payne comes from a world of privilege. As the son of one of the Community’s founder, he has some leeway, but also the added pressure of having to behave. When his last babysitter turned out to be a Psychic Vampire, his dad decided it was time for a new one. Enter, Cyborg “Sixtus Rossi.” From the beginning Holden wants to get under Six’s skin, as an impenetrable, and one who feels no empathy, Holden is also intrigued.
But coming from a world of privilege, Holden hasn’t been subjected to the full extend of the Community’s reach. And so begins the slowly, and shocking unraveling of who his father is, and what the Community has turned into.
At this point, I should point out that I didn’t read the first book when I picked book #2, and although I would strongly recommend reading book one, to truly grasp everything that’s going on. I’ll say that I still became fully engaged with Oversight, catching up quickly to what went on, but intrigued enough to pick up Insight, immediately after Oversight (review will definitely be coming).
This book is an engrossing read, one that shows how talented Hassell’s writing and storytelling is. How seamlessly he can jump between genres, and how captivating he makes it all seem.
It was intriguing watching the plot unravel for Holden; watching him discover the screen of the Community. It was also heartbreaking at moments, the way that many were keeping secrets. But like I said this is a mystery of a ride. A full-speed type of thriller that keeps reader at the edge of their seat, following along with Holden.
“And you look like Rocky Balboa goes hipsta-matic. What are you, doing a remake?”
As for Six and Holden. I had to stop my third Kindle note of , “I love these two,” and “omg these TWO,” because it was getting repetitive and like I get it THESE TWO. I love the banter, I love their chemistry, I love Six’s dry humor, and Holden’s “seduction.” I love how blunt they both were with each other—in and out of the bedroom. And yes, Santino Hassell always knows how to write the best sex scenes. AND THESE TWO. OKAY, let me be. Let me love them.
Sixtus is my fav, just because that cyborg has a golden heart, and Holden holds the key (idk of that rhymed or it was a pun or idk what, but hey!) I honestly am feeling a little biased, but The Community #3 better have Six/Holden level of shipping, because I just want more of them, and idk how I’ll deal with it.
In all, the writing, the plot, the romance—it’s one of the works of Santino Hassell, and it left me wanting. I can’t wait to see the thrilling conclusion of the series. I’m half scared that the Community’s hold will not go down as easily as we, and the ex-Comm, will have you believe.
“Out of all the men he’d ever been with, no one had ever expressed so much frustration over an inability to show him more affection.”
READ AN EXCERPT OF OVERSIGHT:
He half-expected to be shoved away and for a fist to crash into his face right before the taste of iron bloomed in his mouth, but it didn’t happen. The hands gripping him closed down harder,grinding bone and muscle, but that was the only way Six reacted. He was frozen as Holden stroked his tongue gently and coaxed it into a response before sucking it entirely into his mouth.
A groan muffled against him, low and quickly aborted, but Holden heard it. And he felt the way Six leaned into him. It was barely a response, but it encouraged Holden to pin Six against the door and dive into a hungry kiss. Slicking tongues, frantically moving lips, and a full body press that made it quite clear that Six was into this. His dick was fully rocked up in a way that could not be explained by anything other than arousal for Holden.
It was right about the time triumph usually exploded in Holden’s chest with invisible banners and balloons celebrating a conquest, but this time he felt apprehension. He didn’t want to end this kiss. He wanted Six to keep exploring the inside of his mouth with a delightfully frantic lack of finesse, and he wanted a genuine fucking smile once they were done. But that wasn’t in the cards. That wasn’t what this was about.
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.