Monday, March 13, 2017

Release Day Review: Insight (The Community: Book 1) by Santino Hassell

insightTitle ~ Insight (The Community Book 1)

Author ~ Santino Hassell

Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing

Published ~ 13th March 2017

Genre ~ Paranormal M/M Romance, Suspense/Thriller





Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate. 

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.


Freya’s Review

What attracted me to this book? WELL, the blurb contained the words investigation, sarcasm, and scepticism. A gorgeous man also helps.

Slowly becoming reclusive, estranged from his family and in a dead-end job, Nate wonders what the hell he’s doing in Texas. He’s “gifted, powerful and completely fucking disappointed in life” – that is a phrase used by Uncle Dade – a character I immediately liked.

When Nate’s twin brother supposedly commits suicide, Nate knows it was murder; mainly because someone is planting visions in his head. He heads off to New York to find Theo’s killer and encounters ‘The Community’ – a communesque type organisation meant to help those with talent, like psychics, etc. But, there are deeper things going on.

On the way to New York, he is given a lift by Trent – enter gorgeousness, sarcasm, and immediate attraction. Trent also gives Nate warm vibes and a grounding influence. As their attraction grows, so does the awkwardness, until something gives way.

Throughout this first instalment, there are members of the cast to love and hate. Initially, the Black family name seems to reflect their character. But, who knows what will happen in future books. From the off, they come across as odd. That is until other members of the ‘talented’ community are introduced, and they are all sceptical, suspicious, self-protecting and rarely trust.

I liken this story to a couple of jigsaw puzzles in one box, and one forms part of the other. When the box is opened, all the pieces fall onto the table. A bit fits with another here and another there. Then some pieces look as though they belong together, but they don’t. Either way, it takes a while before any of it makes sense.

While reading, I had times when I smiled, periods of hot flushes, a couple of heart in throat moments and a healthy dose of confusion. Some of the muddle was due to the plot being revealed in nibble-sized pieces. However, during some dialogue, some lengthy in the head times made me lost the strand of the conversation. Nate also had a tendency to say one thing and do the opposite, which, more than once, made me want to slap him. Also, with the change of chapter, there’s occasionally a jump in a location which made me backtrack to check I hadn’t missed something.

This story is intricately thought out, and the reader is kept guessing using extremes and character uncertainty. Emotions frequently flip from positive to negative, blunt and hostile to loving, with only a few strands staying constant from one scene to another. There are clues, but thoughts and conjecture keep one unsure. Nate is so focussed on getting information out of people that he seems to forget he can use his talent to get similar (if not as detailed) information out of objects. This is proven at the start of the story, but not used later.

Insight is well titled. It is a reflection of some of the images put into Nate’s head. It also has the characters looking inward to their talents, families, and effectiveness. As the first in the series, it is also an insight into a world that can be twisted at the same time as having the possibility of being good. If you are a person who likes reading jigsaw collage style stories, this is for you.

Purchase Links

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Meet Santino Hassell  



Santino Hassell is a writer of queer romance 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





  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Interesting but confusing-to-me review. I am rather sleep-deprived so that may be why, lol. I'm just not sure if you liked the book, other than the 4 stars given. Kind of like a cautious non-spoilery review. But I appreciate it nonetheless.

  3. I was hooked when I read Freya's review... especially when she said it was 'intricately' thought out though I am worried about getting lost in conversations or losing my place when a setting changes.