Friday, February 12, 2016

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Title: Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1)
Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: February 15, 2016
Source: ARC from Author
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&NKobo
I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions. 

But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.

Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s Strong Signal was a complete surprise in so many ways. It was that book that I absolutely didn’t expect. I loved this story, and I loved this romance, and I loved these two men. There was nothing about Strong Signal that I didn’t adore.

Garrett Reid is counting down the days until the end of his deployment. Until he can go back to Pennsylvania and leave everything about the army behind him. To pass the time until he can go back home, Garrett spends all his free time playing video games. But when someone attacks him in the game, Garrett is determined to find out who that person is and give them a piece of his mind. That’s when Garrett finds Kai Bannon’s Twitch channel. Kai spends his days streaming video of himself playing video games, making money from subscriptions and donations. Despite his appreciation for his subscribers and viewers, Kai has always kept a certain degree of separation between himself and his online following. But when Garrett reaches out to him, something compels Kai to respond. Neither one expected a few emails and instant messages to grow into a relationship. But what’s going to happen when they’re no longer on opposite sides of the world? What happens when they take their online relationship offline?

When one of your favourite romance authors has a new book coming out, you get excited. That’s just how it works. Even if that book was co-written with an author whose books you’ve never read before. And after reading Strong Signal, I will definitely go pick up some of Santino Hassell’s other books. And I’ll obviously also be not so patiently waiting for Megan Erickson’s next book. But back to Strong Signal. Here’s the thing: I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect when I first started reading the book. I mean, I love all of Megan Erickson’s books, especially her m/m romances, but I wasn’t sure how that was going to work with another author involved. But my worries were absolutely unnecessary. From the moment I started reading, I just couldn’t put the book down. I couldn’t stop reading. Work that day was basically spent counting down until the moment I could dive back in and see what was happening with Kai and Garrett. That day pretty much felt like it would never end. But when it did? I dove head first back into Strong Signal and didn’t come back up until I was done with the book. Even if I didn’t want to be done. Because I would have gladly kept reading about these two guys forever. I ADORED this romance. It was unexpected and I loved the way that romance played out. It was unexpected, it was touching, it was heartbreaking and it was heartwarming all at once. I don’t think I possibly could have loved Garrett and Kai any more than I did.

Who knew that a gruff military man and a professional gamer could capture my heart the way they did? I honestly did not expect to love Kai and Garrett as much as I did. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I expected to dislike or hate them. I just didn’t think I would fall for them as hard as I did. Because I totally fell hard for them. I loved seeing their relationship develop. I loved seeing their initial online interactions, the way that they opened up to each other in a way they didn’t think they could open up to another person. I loved seeing their excitement over finding someone they could really talk to. I loved seeing their hesitation about going forward with this relationship. I just loved the way these two people who on paper were complete opposites work so absolutely perfectly together. As weird as it sounds to say, I loved seeing them struggle because it made them stronger when they came through it. Bottom line, I loved Garrett and Kai. Together and as individuals. One of the things I loved most about Strong Signal and its two protagonists is the realistic depiction of anxiety it offers. Not just the way it affects the person who suffers from the disorder, but how it affects all those around that person. It was something that both Kai and Garrett had to deal with and at the end of the day, their struggles with it just made them stronger. And have I mentioned that I loved them?

You should all do yourselves a favour and read Strong Signal when it comes out. Prepare to fall completely in love with this story and these characters because there’s no way that’s not going to happen. In the meantime, I’ll just be counting down the days until I can read Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell’s next collaboration.

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