Title: Strong Signal
Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publisher: Megtino Press
Publication date: February 15, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, LGBTQIA: Gay
Source: Purchased eBook
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.
What I liked:
- I think what I loved most about this book is that Kai and Garrett’s relationship started online, where they met through a mutual interest in video games and formed a strong bond. These types of relations are so common now in our technology-dependent society, and are real and valid, but I rarely seem them portrayed in contemporary books, especially in a positive light.
- I found Garrett’s online pseudo-stalking of Kai to be a little concerning at first, but he does comment that if Kai ever expressed discomfort or asked him to leave him alone, he would stop immediately. I appreciated that this was addressed, as these innocent interactions can easily turn unhealthy and obsessive.
- I love found families, and Kai’s older brother-type relationship with his teenage neighbor Shawn was heartwarming to read about. I loved their interactions and how fiercely they protected each other.
- Garrett was an Army vet, but the authors managed to avoid the typical tropes we often see in this type of character in a M/M romance. He was not a self-hating or homophobic. I found his interactions with fellow soldier Costigan (who was both these tropes) to be infuriating to read but really interesting. I was excited to hear that Costigan is getting his own companion novel. There is a lot of potential character development to see from him, and I can’t wait!
- Kai and Garrett respected each other’s boundaries. Kai’s anxiety was a big obstacle in their relationship, but Garrett was never less than supportive and encouraging. Garrett struggled with some big decisions in the later half of the book, and Kai never pressured him or tried to influence his decision making either.
- Despite the serious topics that were addressed in the book, it wasn’t full of angst.
What I didn’t like:
- Kai’s anxiety recovery felt rushed for the sake of the HEA.
- Often a complaint of mine in New Adult, there was too much sex, sexting, and naked video chatting for me. I don’t mind it in small doses, but I don’t need an explicit sex scene on every other page. They bore me and I end up skim reading when there are a lot of them.
About the Authors
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she’s probably listening to the characters in her head who won’t stop talking.
For more, visit meganerickson.org
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.
For more, visithis official website: http://bit.ly/16sgcSu
I’m interested in checking out other books by these authors now, so if you’ve read any of their other works, please let me know where I should start.