Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Stygian (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Stygian 
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Published Date: 26th October 2015
Rating: 5 stars

*Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*

Synopsis: Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.

Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band's enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.

Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he's finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.

Review: I have been putting off writing this review for the longest time possible simply because I don’t quite have the words for this book. I’m going to try my best, but I’m pretty my flailing everywhere, so hopefully you can decipher what I am trying to convey through reading this one.

This was one of my usual cases of, “Ooh, look at that pretty cover. Let’s read that! Should we check the synopsis? Nope.” And this cover is gorgeous! But I really need to stop doing that because: (i) I don’t read NA. (ii) Certainly not LGBT+ fiction with a few exceptions. (iii) I don’t read books with this much swearing. So basically, this book was EVERYTHING that I never read.

But I loved it. So much so, that I will probably be reading more NA in the future.

This story follows a band of four guys as they go on a music retreat because things seem to be falling apart. The first thing I noticed was that these guys seem to swear an awful lot. So if you don’t mind that in your reading, then you might like this. It was a pretty big contrast from my usual classic and YA reads so it bothered me in the beginning but the more you read, the more you get used to it.

The second thing you quickly realise is that this book is very explicit. You can see it in the first couple of pages. I would love to be able to tell you just how explicit so you can determine whether this is for you or not, but I haven’t read enough NA to have another book to compare this one too. But I will say it is a M/M romance if this helps you decide anything yourself?

Jeremy has been attracted to Kennedy for a long time and even though Quince and Watts (the other two bandmates) seem happy enough together he has been trying to keep away from Kennedy because he doesn’t seem interested. I have to say that this author perfectly knows how to build sexual tension because at certain times in the novel I wanted to yell at the characters to ‘just get together already!’ The suspense got so high that I couldn’t stop reading and I basically devoured this whole book in a single day.

There was a bit of backstory as well. Jeremy has recently lost his brother to suicide, and Watts has had a whole lot of stuff happening in his life as well. At first when they mull over the backstory and the emotional part I wasn’t feeling too plugged into it. It was just there. But then it comes back later on in the story and you realise how difficult it was for each of these characters and that tugged on my heartstrings a bit. You come to notice how much each member of the band really does hold the others up and they are like a little family in that aspect.

The characters all grow a lot as the novel progresses. I wasn’t impressed at the beginning, but hold out, because the more you get to know about them, the more you will feel for them. The more individual and unique they all become.

Aside from that, there is also a bit of a haunted house mystery kind of thing going on. I’m not going to say too much, but there is a creepy side to this novel too. The suspense in the horror-storyline goes a little slower and accumulates the most at the end of the novel because the romance is the focus, but it was still done pretty well. A nice paranormal touch.

The ending was a little bit abrupt and if there was one thing that I could change about this book, it would be that. But this doesn’t deter from the five star rating. I still can’t believe how addicted I was to this book. I even had to tell my friend about it (the poor girl became victim to my fangirling.) I read this on a school day for starters. And then I spent day 2 rereading the whole thing from back to front. THAT’s the extent of my love.

*le sigh* Please, just read the book.

Me after finishing this book.

Giveaway! Enter to win an ebook copy of Stygian or be the winner of book on in Hassell's Five Borough series! Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Author Bio: Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author. Santino writes queer romance that is 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.

Social Media: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: What genre do you usually avoid?

Olivia-Savannah x

40 comments:

  1. there is nothing wrong with getting distracted by shiny covers - I *never* do, of course (shifty glances)

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    1. Hehehe shiny covers always get me! But they usually work out well in the end :D

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    2. and if not, at least you got to look at something pretty ;)

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  2. I usually avoid fantasy for some reason.

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    Replies
    1. I do like the fantasy genre! But I understand that it doesn't work for everyone.

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  3. It sounds interesting, although I get really annoyed by constant swearing in books... If I would be able to finish reading this, it would mean the book is brilliant ;)

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    1. It usually bothers me too. I can only think of one or two exceptions where I haven't minded it - and after a while of reading this became one of them.

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  4. Hi, Olivia - It doesn't sound like a book for me, but as you said, it would not normally be a book you'd seek, but you loved it. So, you never know ... :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. Every now and again I try a book that doesn't usually fit the kind that I pick up. But as you said, you never know ^.^

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  5. [ Smiles ] Oh, I will read that book. I love to explore various styles of writing.

    And, thank you for another lovely book review!

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    1. I would be very interested to see what you will think :3

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  6. I really want to read this. Especially if you wasn't impressed with the beginning, and it ended up a 5 star. Though I've not read but a couple of M/M books, I've not read one in the NA genre.

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    1. This was a first for me to! I know you like NA so I think you could potentially like this. It gradually managed to suck me in.

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  7. Sometimes is good to get out of our comfort zone. I avoided romance and especially historical romance for a long time, but now I discovered that I actually really enjoy it!

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    1. Yes, it can be good to try new things! I really like the historical romance genre as well <3

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  8. This really does have a great cover and an even more intriguing concept. Interesting...great review!

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  9. I'm so glad you liked this one, Olivia! It's on my TBR and I can't wait to read it. Awesome review!
    And thanks for hosting the giveaway! :)

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    1. Usually I avoid nonfiction because I just don't have the stamina for it. But I'm trying to read more of it, especially biographies and memoirs.

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    2. I hope you will enjoy it when you get the chance to read it! Nonfiction is a genre I tend to avoid as well. But I'm getting into biographies and memoirs, like you :)

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  10. I love the cover, but it isn't a book I'd find interesting. As you, I purchased a book because I loved the cover. The blurb was okay, but the cover was beautiful. So far, the book isn't too beautiful. Thanks for your review.

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    1. Not every book is for everyone! And a shame that your cover buy didn't quite work out the way you hoped it could :(

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  11. I am kind of IN LOVE with that cover as well girl! And I have totally been the one where I would buy a book because...OH A GLORIOUS COVER. And then it turned out that I had NO. IDEA. WHATSOEVER. what the book was about so there were all these surprising twists and turns! I don't mind swearing in a book so much, although I don't swear in real life but *shrugs* it's a book and it's only doing its job of transporting us to a new world so..what do I care?

    I'M SUPER DUPER DUPER DUPER HAPPY YOU LOVED THIS BOOK LIV! MMUAHHH

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    1. ISN'T IT BEAUTIFUL? Ah, so good to know I am not alone in doing this! I don't swear in real life either, but I don't mind reading it seeing as I hear it all around me every day as well xD

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  12. Don't worry, I would've bought this only for the cover as well haha :P It's so great that you enjoyed this so much even though it had so many things you don't usually read about! And it does sound amazing!

    Lipstick and Mocha

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    1. The cover is lovely! And I am so happy the book turned out to be just so as well.

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  13. First of all I like this cover very much. Look a little bit mysterious. I'll say somethig abut the book only after I read it.

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    1. It really is a mystery cover, and the house in it hinted at a horror/paranormal aspect to it as well.

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  14. Okay, that cover is just wow! wow! the person who designed that really needs a big round of applause. So many details and so creepy as well. And the story sounds interesting as well. I don't read NA either and it has nothing to do with being uncomfortable around written sex scenes because those are as well in adult books... it's just the feeling that NA is really YA erotica, you know? However, I did read my first NA book in January (Virgin) and I liked it. It was better than I expected but I still feel is a genre I won't venture to much in the future because I do feel is like erotica for younger audiences

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    1. I couldn't agree more. It's absolutely the I-want-to-eat-it kind of gorgeous. To be honest, if I think about it, that's pretty much what NA is. I am glad there is one out there that you could like though!

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  15. I have not read Stygian, but I am a huge fan of the Five Boroughs series. I will definitely put this on my TBR list.

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    1. Glad you could enjoy his other series. Hopefully this one will be just as good for you too!

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  16. Replies
    1. Your welcome! That you for entering :D

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  17. i am excited to read this, thanks for the chance to win.

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    1. Hope you add it to your TBR and get to it whenever you can ^.^

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  18. I love that this book is everything that you normally don't like in a book, but that you loved it! That says so much. :) Thanks for sharing! The cover is fascinating!
    ~Jess

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    1. Sometimes reading a book outside of your comfort zone can be so rewarding!

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  19. That cover is intense!!!! I love that this book was out of your usual reading type and you still enjoyed it. It must be good then! :D

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