Sunday, March 12, 2017

ARC Review: Insight (The Community, #1) by Santino Hassell

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.

Jewel's rating:

Insight is the first book in a new paranormal series by Santino Hassell and it gets off to an amazing start. I could not put this book down once I started reading and I'd happily reread it again. In fact, it went straight to my favorites shelf!

Where to even begin! This story took me places I didn't expect to go. Santino Hassell is just so good at that. There were twists and turns and things that made me question everything. Insight is exactly my kind of paranormal story.

Nate Black comes from a family of rather screwed up psychics in Brookside Village, TX. He's been bullied and beaten and still he gets up every day and goes on. He doesn't much like his family, and they don't much like him, either, so family reunions are super fun. Good thing they only happen for funerals. Unfortunately, the Black family has funerals more often than they probably should.

Nate is an empath, which apparently is fairly low on the psychic scale. Nate hates it. He can't control his talent and so when he touches other people, or sometimes even just being around them, he gets impressions and sometimes flashes of feelings, events, whatever strong emotion they are experiencing. Nate can't much deal, so he stays away from people as much as possible.

His twin brother Theo was empathic, too, but also was a precog and had been having premonitions since he was a child. Twins are supposed to be close. They're supposed to have each other's back -- they're brothers, after all. Them against the world, right? Not so much. They were estranged and had not seen each other in several years. Still, when Theo ends up dead, Nate wants to find out why.

When Nate, rather impulsively, decides to hitchhike to New York, he is picked up by Trent Castille, who is on his way from California, where he attends grad school, to New York City, where he's from. From Trent, Nate only gets feelings of safe and calm, leading Nate to trust him. Trent really is a good guy. He's a few years older than Nate and is stable, which is something that Nate desperately needs. Trent has never been with a guy before, but he has thought about it and is immediately attracted to Nate, but Nate is a bit prickly, so it takes Trent a couple days to wear Nate down.

I loved their relationship from the start. Nate's empathic abilities make for some seriously hot smexytimes. No lie. Even something as simple as a kiss or a handjob is ratcheted up in hotness. You are in for a treat. I also loved just how much of a calming and stabilizing force Trent is to Nate. Once Trent finds out about Nate's ability - and Nate convinces him it is the real deal - Trent takes everything in stride. He never abandons Nate. He wasn't too too perfect, though, because he did get jealous a time or two because Nate was trying to hold back and also because he was meeting other psychics and Trent felt a little insecure being just a void (non-psychic).

When they get to New York, and Nate starts looking into Theo's death and what he was up to in New York, things get super twisty. Nate finds out there is a whole underground "community" of psychics and they are organized. And they gave me the creeps. Cult-like creeps. Nate doesn't know who to trust, except for Trent, and Nate, being so determined, almost gets himself, and Trent, killed trying to figure out what happened to his brother. And he gets a lot more than he bargained for when he finds out things about his own family he never knew. Twisted.

The ending, while an HFN, felt really strong to me and also leads into the next book quite nicely. I wouldn't call the ending a cliffie, at all, but the series story arc is clearly not done. Book 2 features a new couple.

I was enthralled by Insight from beginning to end. It sucked me right in and hasn't yet let me go. I certainly cannot wait until the next book, because I still have questions and I cannot wait to see where the story goes. Insight is Santino at his paranormal best.


ARC of Insight was generously provided by the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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