Dual Reviews: Sightlines + Birthday Presents

Posted October 26, 2017 by shooting in Book Review / 14 Comments

Sightlines (The Community #3) by Santino Hassell

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: 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. 

Review: I really enjoyed the entire Community series by Santino Hassell, and it definitely makes me excited to read even more by him. While these books do focus on a new m/m couple in each one, they build on each other so it’s important that you read them in order. Otherwise you might be confused about this community of psychics and just why some of them want to know it down. Of course, everything is a little complicated for Chase who grew up on the Farm, being essentially tortured because of his amazing powers. Also, his father just happens to be one of the top people in charge of The Community. Chase knows it can help people – like Elijah – but he’s also starting to realize that he wasn’t the only person in the community that was hurt. It’s much wider spread than that, and it needs to stop.

I loved that by the time we get to Sightlines, we already know Chase and Elijah. This book just focuses on their relationship more, namely whether they really have one or if Elijah is just using Chase as a stand-in for his true love Holden (Chases’ ‘perfect’ half- brother). I think Chase and Elijah’s relationship was handled well in the book. I would like to have had a bit more between them, but this is the last book in the Community series so there is a lot of action and past characters coming together. Regardless, I feel like it all worked fairly well and I love this series as a whole!

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Birthday Presents by Dianne Hartsock

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he’s held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle’s help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, kidnapped from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson’s hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson’s birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.

Review: I didn’t realize when I requested this book that I’d read another novel by this author – Shelton in Love – and that there was a lot about it I didn’t like. Regardless, I still wanted to check out Birthday Presents and see what I thought because sometimes giving an author a second-chance works out well. While I didn’t love this one all around, I did like it better than my first read by Hartsock.

This book mostly follows the point of view Tracey and Gene, so readers won’t get too much from or about Kyle. I think it was still handled well; it’s easy to see how traumatized Kyle is but that he’s also very much a fighter. After all, if not for Kyle, then Tracey would never have been able to escape and tell the police that Kyle was still locked up by a man who calls himself Crimson. Every year on his birthday, he lets himself kill one person, but Kyle is different. He believes he loves Kyle and therefore, he keeps him locked up. He thinks Tracey can join him, but after he escapes, Crimson is determined to find Tracey again and kill him.

Gene is Kyle’s brother, who has never quit looking for him, and I appreciated how much he cared for his brother – it really shown through. Gene’s a cop, but he’s never been on Kyle’s case, but that doesn’t stop him from putting himself in harm’s way to find answers and hopefully bring Kyle home alive.

Now, this book does have horrifying details so if you can’t handle the summary, this is definitely not a book for you. However, I do want to note that this isn’t a horrible read all around. There is plenty of love and light. There were things that I wasn’t a huge fan of in this book though. I thought Tracey was put through a bit too much – I don’t want to give things away – but he’s free and then he’s still put in horrible circumstances to help Kyle. I also wasn’t sure how I felt about Gene and Tracey’s end relationships. Again, I can’t say much without too many spoilers, but it just felt too rushed or idealistic after everything they’d gone through.

14 responses to “Dual Reviews: Sightlines + Birthday Presents

  1. These two books are very different for sure. They are probably ones that I wouldn’t typically pick up in a store. I do love that you read all sorts of books though! That’s fantastic!

  2. Thanks for more great book reviews. I had to laugh, because when I first saw your post title I thought you were going be talking about actual birthday presents (not a book review!). (duh!) lol!


  3. That cover for Birthday Presents is so unassuming but holy shit, that’s dark. Probably too dark for me. Unless you’re reading true crime, I think readers need those light shades or hope woven throughout such a horrific storyline. It sounds incredibly confronting. Wonderful reviews Lauren <3

  4. I appreciate good book suggestions considering my current condition of suffering from a fractured leg. Book reading is something I do the most and this review is really informative.

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