Audiobook Review | Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

If you’ve poked around my blog at all, you’ve probably seen me pimp Five Boroughs in some of my features. With the next book in the series, Concourse, looming on the horizon, I figured it was time to put my money where my mouth is and review these suckers. So I’ll be posting about each installment right up to the release date, and to sweeten the pot, I’m going to include a little Ashton tidbit in hopes of swaying you to read this series! Ashton was first introduced in First and First, and I can’t wait to finally get to know him better in Concourse! (Cover your keyboards, because this cover causes major drooling.)

Today’s Ashton tidbit is brought to you from Oli, and as you’ll find when you read First and First, Oli’s temper can be a bit mercurial. He was having a hard time keeping a leash on it right here when he was expressing some concern over Caleb spending time with Ashton…

Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell | Five Boroughs #1
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA
Published on July 31st, 2015


Book Blurb:

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.

| Book Review |

Though Five Boroughs begins with Sutphin Boulevard, this wasn’t my first in the series. But after I read Sunset Park, I knew I’d be going to back to find out where this all began. So Sutphin Boulevard kicks off with a bang, and because it’s so early in the book, I’m not going to consider this a spoiler – while Nunzio and Michael have never messed around together (that they remember,) they break that seal the night they bring David home. Warning: mini-rant ahead. Since I read Sunset Park first, I was already head over heels for David. Not impressed when he went home with two strange men without telling a soul. I’m all for a sexy hookup, but David, David, David. Be safe about it. If anything bad had happened to you, my heart would have shattered. /End rant. Since I’m in Sunset Park mode, I might as well get this out of the way now, too. I already knew I loved Ray, but this book made me love him even more and gave me more insight into his character before he started really trying to get his life together. OK. Moving on to the book at hand…

Sutphin Boulevard was deliciously filthy and so damn sexy; I loved every second. Michael and Nunzio had a great friendship, and I love that Michael’s family  was there for Nunzio when his own couldn’t be bothered, or worse yet, was there in a terrible way. Michael’s family certain wasn’t perfect, but his mother had tried damn hard. This was written solely from Michael’s point of view, and I think this was a brilliant move on Santino Hassell’s part. Was there more I wanted to know? Sure. I wish there had been some resolution with one of Michael’s troubled students, but it shows just how far gone Michael is that he doesn’t follow up. And Michael is such a caring man, it’s hard to believe he doesn’t. And I wish I’d known what exactly the blow up that made Nunzio walk away from his family for good was about. But if I’d gotten Nunzio’s POV, it wouldn’t have been so clear that Michael was on a one way path to self-destruction. And I’m not sure his rock bottom would have been so jarring. I think this story was fantastic. Pacing was perfect, and the fact that Michael and Nunzio cared about each other was so obvious. It boggled my mind that Michael had never entertained being with Nunzio, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at how affronted Nunzio was by that revelation. I also have to laugh, because I never gave much thought to what my teacher’s did outside of school, but I certainly never pictured them getting as down and dirty and Michael and Nunzio did. This was a beautiful story about brokenness, healing, and surrounding yourself with the people who really matter.

Sutphin Boulevard was a wonderful kick off to the Five Boroughs series, and I can’t recommend it enough. I do want to mention one last thing: I love angst. The angstier the better for me, and this book was about as angsty as it gets. So if you’ve read this one and it was too much for you, I urge you to give the next book in the series a shot if you liked the author’s writing. The book has a lighter feel to it, and the story is phenomenal.

Narrator: This narrator didn’t cut it for me – not with this book anyway. He’s a perfectly fine narrator, but the thing is, I listened to the second book first. And I feel like that narrator was able to better depict who Ray, Nunzio, Michael, and David were. So not to knock this guy; he just wasn’t the other guy.

| Rating |


Series: Five Boroughs


14 thoughts on “Audiobook Review | Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell

Add yours

  1. I will someday break open a book by this author. I’ve heard good things and I just have not gotten around to it. A pair of down and dirty teachers in their free time. LOL, I wouldn’t have thought that about my teachers either back in the day. 🙂

    Loved your review, Angie!


    1. I am holding you to that, because I think you are missing out some some spectacular reads. It just can’t go on any longer. LOL

      Yes, it really makes you wonder what goes on once the school empties!

      Thank you, Sophia. 🙂


  2. This sounds like a series to try. Too bad the narrator wasn’t as good as the one used for other books in the series.


  3. I love angst as well when the story is well written and the main characters are still the focus. I love that Michael and Nunzio start their relationship as friends first. Hohoho I can’t stop laughing when you mentioned that you never gave much thought to what your teacher did outside of school. SAME HEAR. So, they both are teachers? 😁


    1. Yes, they are both teachers. And I can’t believe I didn’t clarify that in my review. I need to go back and talk about that some more.

      The angst here was so well done, and I loved every second. If you love it, too, this book was written for you.


    1. I think I would like him narrating anything else. It’s just that the narrator for the subsequent books was amazing. I hope you get a chance to read this one, Kim. It’s wonderful.


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