Thursday, 12 October 2017

REVIEW: Sightlines (The Community, Book 3) by Santino Hassell

***NOTE: (Updated Mar 2018) Leaving my review on this one as I received an ARC for this and I want to hold up my end of the bargain. This is no way a denial of those hurt by the author and and I actually do want to give a shout out to all the brave souls who bared themselves and told their stories. May they find the healing they deserve.)***

Title: Sightlines
Series: The Community, third book in a trilogy
Publisher: Riptide
Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 9th
Length (Print & Ebook): 257 pages/68K words
Subgenre: paranormal, romantic suspense

*Book contains: Violence, attempted sexual assault

Book Blurb:

Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He's the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He's the son of the Community's founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he's nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he's ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn't the haven he'd believed in and Chase was the only person who'd ever truly tried to protect him. Now they're surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant's second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase's mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

What Santino has to say about Sightlines: Anyone can be a hero. Rising up. Fighting back and revolutions. Coming together as a team despite differences.

Quotes from Santino about the book:

“Chase is one of the most vulnerable bad a$$es I’ve ever written.”

“I haven’t written a hero with a mouth as smart as Chase’s since In the Company of Shadows.”

“Chase is one of those heroes who thinks no one reasonable would ever be in love with him, and anyone who claims to be is probably lying.”


They looked at each other for a long moment before, with no warning whatsoever, Elijah stood on his tiptoes for a kiss. And because Chase gave exactly zero f*cks, he kissed back with a low growl.
Elijah drew away with a mischievous grin, turned on his heel, and sauntered toward the bathroom. Chase knew that he was probably about to get stomped by some bikers, but he still couldn’t stop himself from watching Elijah’s a$$ as he walked away. How was it possible for Chase to be horny, cold, hungry, and getting ready to fight all at the same time? He was a bomb multitasker.
“Hey, you.”
Ah shit. Here it went.
Chase swiveled around on his stool to find the whole biker crew staring him down. One in particular, a big dude with pale-blue eyes and a beard long enough to make him look like red-haired Gandalf, had waltzed over to Chase. He was a total cliché in a leather vest, a grimy grease-stained ribbed shirt beneath, and leather pants tucked into monstrous shitkicker boots. He could probably kill Chase with barely any effort. Which meant he could also hurt Elijah.
Chase’s lip lifted in a snarl, and his hands closed into fists. That was as far as he got before the glass one of bikers was holding shattered in his meaty palm. Everyone exclaimed, drawing attention off Chase, but Gandalf the Red didn’t shift his gaze. He just nodded his head once, quirking his mouth up briefly, and said, “We should talk.”
“’Bout what?”

Gandalf jerked his head back toward his boys and lowered his voice to a gruff rumble. “’Bout that mess you just made.”



The third and last book in the series, this is now about Chase and Elijah. You can’t read this without having read the first 2 or you’ll be lost. Chase and Elijah’s story has been building up from the first book albeit peripherally. It picks up shortly after where book 2 ended. 

They’re back to that place which was the root of their problem. They have no choice but to play a part in order to survive. But playing that part wasn’t really playing the part given how they feel about each other. After eventually connecting with the rest of the protags in the series, the ultimate goal is to take down the enemy.

Chase really is full of contradiction from the moment he was introduced. On the one hand, he was gruff and appeared unfeeling. Yet, throughout the whole series, he was really a key to how the events unfolded and how the enemy was taken down. Due to his conditioning, he put so little value on himself. Yet as it turns out, he was the most gifted of them all. I did appreciate all the incongruity to his personality because it really did highlight how a good a person he is whether he believed it or not. And that caustic humor of his definitely added another dimension. I think that’s Santino doing magic with his words.

“They stared each other down, the most emo Wild West challenge in the history of challenges...”

Elijah has a personality larger than life, especially next to Chase. In a way, I thought he was a contradiction himself. For all that sassiness, he’s someone who’s gone thru so much and is a true survivor. As weak as he may sound sometimes, he was an anchor for Chase. And for all that seeming flighty attitude, he felt deeply committed to Chase. Again, I think that’s Santino doing magic with his words.

To me, they’re an unlikely but perfect pair. They balance each other out and they’re good for each other’s soul. 

“They were a pair in safety and in mortal superhoer-mission-type danger.”

It’s a decent conclusion to the series. The other protags I’ve come to love are back and all working together to save the day. The bad guys get their comeuppance. My impatience may have gotten the best of me while reading this as certain points, especially in the middle, left me on the underwhelmed side. I would have also liked more substance to their dynamics while in captivity; Elijah, after all, was supposed to be Chase’ sex toy. But I understood; there was a bigger overarching plot that needs closure. And while the buildup to the climax was awesome, the ending still felt somewhat anticlimactic even though it was full of action. I’m thinking it’s just me, so pay no heed.

Because after all is said and done, Santino weaving magic with his words remains on point. It’s like poetry with an edge. 

“For a moment, stalled in the middle of the wild storm, there was nothing but the two of them pressed together – Chase worshipping Elijah’s body like he was royalty, and Elijah whispering his name like he was a god.”
He gave me a smattering of smexy moments, less than what I’m usually used to with his work, but still. He gave me endearing characters and witty exchanges as usual. Santino created this world that I did enjoy in the end, this unique world that just came alive in my head.

Author Bio:

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr

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