Review: First and First by Santino Hassell

Posted March 26, 2017 by Francesca in Reviews / 4 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review: First and First by Santino Hassell
First and First
by Santino Hassell

4 Stars


Released: April 18th 2016
Series: Five Boroughs #3
Published by Dreamspinner Press
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
Pages: 244
Format: Audiobook

“This book has the trademark steam I’ve come to expect from Santino Hassell.”
~ Under the Covers

I’m going to admit that Caleb’s character has never really been all that interesting to me.  He’s David’s ex boyfriend and the way he’s portrayed in the previous books always seemed like a dud.  I was pleasantly surprised that I saw such a different side of him in this book that I was able to get invested in his story and actually like and understand the guy.

Caleb comes from a wealthy family and he’s not a kid anymore but he still struggles with his family’s expectations and not wanting to disappoint them.  Coming out to them was a big step, but he’s always had something missing in his life and he’s not quite sure what that is until he stumbles into a relationship with Oli.  Oli is the opposite of Caleb.  He understands the world Caleb comes from because he left it all behind to live his life the way he wanted.

It was nice and refreshing seeing a more mature character (late thirties) that is still coming to terms with who he was.  While Caleb dated before, he needed someone like Oli to push him out of his comfort zone in a way that still felt natural and safe.   I think this was a much better match that David could ever have been for him.  Oli was a force to be reckoned with throughout the book.  He bulldozed through Caleb’s insecurities and conditioning to do what’s expected of him.  To let loose and find what truly makes him happy.  It made for a great story and even better chemistry.  This book has the trademark steam I’ve come to expect from Santino Hassell.

I enjoyed both of these characters a lot (even if I did Oli a bit more than Caleb) and the path that this can open up in the series with exploring more alternative lifestyles.  I’m definitely looking forward to more of that and more of Ashton.

Favorite quote:

“Just be yourself,” Oli said easily. “Even if it’s the you that you’re normally too afraid to be.”




Click on the covers to buy the books




About Santino Hassell

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.


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Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
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TimitraAmy RKathy ValentineElizabeth Recent comment authors
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Oli seems like an intriguing character

Kathy Valentine
Kathy Valentine

Great review!! ,shared on all my socials!!

Amy R
Amy R

Thanks for the review, I have the first few books in this series on my TBR pile.


Thanks for the review Francesca