Insight (Renée’s Review)

Title: Insight (The Community, #1)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary/Paranormal/Psychics
Page Count: 331
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level:  3.5 flames out of 5
Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5


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.

Anyone who’s read ICoS knows that Hassell + that touch of “another world as we know it” = book magic. Not that I’d compare the stories, because they’re so different, but Hassell gets me, dammit. He gets what I’m looking for.

I’m not a lover of fluff. It has its place, and sometimes I’m in the mood. But I’m so much more swayed to the grittier side of romance. Flawed characters. Not caricatures.

Insight brought me that edge of grit, a mystery of sorts, and those sweet, romantic moments that I just go

We get to know Nate, who is part of a weird family. And the weird part isn’t that they’re psy. He has a royal bitch of an aunt and a doormat, drunk uncle who both raised he and his twin when their mother disappeared years ago.

Nate’s twin, Theo, who he isn’t close to at all because reasons, dies, and Nate isn’t buying the suicide angle. I don’t blame him for being a little less than ready to think Theo offed himself. It’s all a little shady, but Nate also has a vision of Theo’s murder – something he’s never had before – and this throws him a little.

So, what’s a guy to do when he needs to find out what the hell happened to his twin in NYC, but his car was stolen a few weeks back? Hitch a ride, of course.

Nothing wrong with hitching a ride when it’s Trent who picks him up. Sigh. He’s dreamy. Nate and Trent spend the next several days driving from Bumfuck, Texas to New Orleans (shout out home town!) and then on to NYC. The road trip made me smile. I loved how these two bonded. Trent is the first person that Nate was able to get close to because of his empath abilities. Trent just exudes this calming presence that Nate has been so starved for his whole life. And when an empath can feel both his and Trent’s “feelings,” well…..the smexy times were that much more en fuego, my friends.

Once they arrive in NYC, Nate discovers The Community. He’s been so isolated with his weirdo family that he’s never known other psys exist. But there’s a whole, organized group of them. They seem to have altruistic motives. Bring psys under their wing who have no idea how to live with their abilities in a world of people who don’t know such a thing exists. But there’s something off.

These people knew his brother and didn’t much seem to like him. (Nate can relate since he didn’t like Theo so much, himself), but that’s not what bothers Nate.

It seems the only person Nate really can trust is Trent. But does Trent really like him or is Trent drawn in because of some unintentional empath “thing” that Nate is giving off? This is Nate’s fear because he really, really is getting attached for the first time, and he can’t bear it if Trent’s feelings aren’t real.

This book had me on the edge of my seat, no lie. I couldn’t wait to figure out what The Community was up to. Those are some shady fuckers. Clearly not all of them, but you can’t figure out who to trust and who is cray-cray. I loved how all of that played out. Santino kept me totally engaged with a whole lot of

He totally did my head in trying to figure things out.

Nate and Trent, though young (early 20s for both of them), did get their HFN/HEA. But The Community isn’t done. The ending leaves Book 2 wide open with lots more to figure out. I can deal with that kind of cliffie.

The book was told exclusively from Nate’s POV, and while I didn’t have a single problem with that, I don’t feel as if I know anything about Trent. His character was well-developed, but I never heard a word about his friends, family, childhood, etc. Maybe that was purposeful and maybe it wasn’t. Shrugs. I just wanted a little more about Trent, personally.

Overall, this is an amazing new series. I’m hooked and can’t wait for Book 2!

Community Series

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Galley copy of Insight provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.


I love boys who love boys! I’m in my 30s, from the southern US, and my crack is m/m romance.

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