Release Day Review | Concourse by Santino Hassell

It is finally release day for Santino Hassell’s Concourse, and I am so excited to share my thoughts with you and see what everyone else thinks. Today’s Ashton tidbit is straight from his own book, and we finally get a glimpse of Ashton through the eyes of someone who loves him. This one is my favorite:

Concourse by Santino Hassell | Five Boroughs #5
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA
Published on May 1st, 2017
ARC provided by the publisher



Book Blurb:

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

| Book Review |

I didn’t discover Five Boroughs until earlier this year, but I can tell you right now that if I’d known about it before, Concourse would have been my most anticipated read of the year. It was anyway; as soon as I met Ashton in First and First, I wanted his story. I was desperate to know the beautiful man behind the people-pleasing personality and platinum hair. Five Boroughs has left me in awe from the very beginning (I started with book two, Sunset Park,) and even after five books, I’m amazed at how raw these characters are. It’s rare for me to find an entire series where the characters are so flawlessly done, but this one is the exception.

This series builds on itself so the characters you meet in one book will appear in the next and so on, so you’re going into a new book with a bit of a grasp on the character’s personality, and I love that. Concourse was different, because while we’re familiar with Ashton, Val is a brand new character, and when I started this book with Val’s POV first, my excitement kicked up a notch at the unknown.

Val and Ashton’s relationship was different from all of Ashton’s other relationships. Val was the one person who didn’t want anything from Ashton, cared for him just as he was, and spent many nights riding to Ashton’s rescue. But that all changes one night when things between Val and Ashton take a new turn and Val can’t forgive himself for using Ashton the way others before him have. I loved both of these men; I loved their shared past, I loved Ashton’s adoration for Val and Val’s, at first, bitterness toward Ashton because the Townsends had stolen his mother to be their nanny. Just all of it. I love that Ashton has someone who cares about him so much and has that one person he can be open with, because there is no one else like that in his life. Val had a solid support system with his sister, but even she couldn’t help him from being so lost in his head about Ashton. He also had some good friends where he trained for his boxing. (Not to mention a few assholes hanging around.) Like the previous books in this series, Concourse was brimming with emotion as Val and Ashton found their way together. No spoiler because it’s in the blurb, but I will give the author major props for filling the audience in on Val’s secret even while Ashton was kept in the dark. Secrets can be tricky to pull off in a book, because they have to be worth the wait, but sometimes I think we need to see the characters being tormented by their secret to ‘buy’ it, and this author gave us that. I also loved that there was no major ‘coming out’ scene for Val. He accepted his love for Ashton; that’s just the way it had always been. There were a few cameos from Nunzio in this story, and I felt like I got a chance to know him even more in this book. He was a great friend to Ashton even though their interludes were brief, and it made me love him even more. He is such a good guy.

I will say that I wish Ashton’s family had been a bit more fleshed out and that we had more examples of how he was the black sheep in his family. I also feel like this book was a bit ‘bulkier’ than previous installments, and I think Val being hot and cold went on just a smidgen too long. Also, there were parts of this book that felt cliched, and I didn’t get that from the rest of this series. Having said that, those are things I can live with, and even if the book did feel bulky, I want as much of these men as I can get so I’ll take it. This book was still five stars for me, so take my issues with a grain of salt.

Like the previous books in the series, I loved Concourse; it was definitely worth the wait. If you’re a fan of character driven stories and haven’t read the Five Boroughs series, you’re missing out. Santino Hassell is the best the genre has to offer.

| Rating |

Series: Five Boroughs


21 thoughts on “Release Day Review | Concourse by Santino Hassell

Add yours

  1. Oh this sounds so good and I love it when you get a character book for the one that you crave to know more about! I can also usually handle the niggles that those books bring as long as it is an overall good book. Yea, this sounds like a series I would enjoy. Brilly review!


    1. Yes, if the author makes the book so good that I don’t care about the niggles, it is definitely a win!

      Thank you, Melissa. I hope you get a chance to read this series. I love it so much. (In case I failed to mention that…LOL)


  2. I need to read this entire series! Maybe I can start this summer. I love the author though – I just read the first book in his new series, Insight, and loved it and I need to finish up his series with Megan Erickson because that first one was great too.



    1. If it sparks your interest, you really do need to read it! I want to quit life and read his entire back list.

      I haven’t read either of the ones you have, but I am hoping to fit them in soon. I’m glad to see you enjoyed them.


  3. This does sound great and that cover! I am so glad that you have enjoyed each of these books as much as you have. Great review!


  4. And here it is, the latest and so glad you found it worth every bit of your anticipation. These characters do sound like the kind to really draw one in.

    Great review, Angie!


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