Favorite books from June and July

It's gonna be a pretty short list this month! I've had a busy time at work and haven't gotten as much reading done as I would like. That being said, I did devour three books by Santino Hassell in about the space of a week, so... well, it's all relative.

An Unnatural Vice


Boy oh boy, have I been anticipating this book — and yet, it doesn't disappoint. Shitty medium Justin Lazarus gets embroiled in the missing heir plot that began in An Unseen Attraction. He and journalist Nathanial Roy start off as passionate enemies—you know where this is going.

The plotting in this book was extremely tight, and reminded me pleasantly of the intricate criss-crossing from Charles' Society of Gentlemen series. Justin's inclusion in the overarching mystery was seamlessly done, and the trouble that dogs him because of it is delicious and tense. I am a big fan of the main couple as well. Justin and Nathanial clash in all the right ways.


Sutphin Boulevard, Sunset Park, First and First

Santino Hassell is one of those authors I've been meaning to read for a long time. You know, when you're sure you're going to like an author's books and all you have to do is take the plunge and get one, and your foul brain is like, "or, you could avoid it for months."

Well, thanks to a Dreamspinner sale I got First and First, the third of Hassell's Five Boroughs series, for 99 cents. No excuses.

These books all center on queer men in contemporary New York City. I love reading about New York from the perspective of a born and bred New Yorker. The details all ring so true.

And Hassell's characters, as well as feeling like real New Yorkers, feel like real people. He writes about complicated issues unflinchingly and strikes right to the heart of all of them. These books deal with addiction, family and romantic relationships all going wrong, financial insecurity, and way more.

I really enjoyed the characters, with all their glorious flaws. Each book introduces characters who will star in another series entry, but none of the connections felt forced. I enjoyed the few cameos that characters make in each others' books.

I'm absolutely going to continue reading the series, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants some intense, well-written, emotionally mature romance, set in the best city in the world.

What's next?

Right now I'm reading Everyone Behaves Badly, a non-fiction book about Hemingway's arrival in Paris and the drama that led to his writing The Sun Also Rises. I'm still working on Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned, and the already fantastic Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.