Review: Strong Signal, by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell


cover-meganerickson-santinohassell-strongsignalI 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.

Strong Signal is a standalone, full-length novel with no cliffhanger


Dates read:
Edition read:
February 15, 2016
Megtino Press
Contemporary, M/M, GLBT+
235 e-book pages
1st person, dual POV
Cyberlove, book 1
February 15-16, 2016
Kindle Edition
See the book on GoodReads.

Rating:     ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Oh yeah.

Gaming. Not my thing. At all.

I mean…I played a mean Mario Kart back in the N64 days and nobody could beat me at Frogger back in the Atari days. But the world of gaming has just…exploded…in the last 15 or so years with all the technology. Though it’s totally passed me by, even I can see it’s truly amazing–what I do know of it, that is. The interactive gaming sounds super slick. And streaming just to watch a dude game–who knew?

The first thing I’ll tell you that I loved about this book–was that even as a forty-ahem-something woman who doesn’t know the first thing about what’s what in gaming these days–is that I was SUPER ENTERTAINED. The gaming was not over my head. I wasn’t lost in pages of geeky game-speak. It was just a strong undercurrent of a wave I had a blast riding.

These characters were it. They were the story. And they were both amaaaazing.

Kai–the master gamer, who battles anxiety and agoraphobia is witty and a bit sassy is nothing short lovable and adorable. He’s everything. He’s created a world within the walls of his apartment and his only social interaction is with an online community of gamers and the kid next door. The thing is, he’s not a sad case. He’s brilliant and has such a magnetic personality that he’s become successful doing what he does within the confines of his comfort zone. I got him. I sooo got him.

Then Garrett. Wow. Drool-worthy, broody, man in uniform. What is there not to love? When we meet him, he’s serving out the rest of his tour on deployment in Afghanistan and counting the days to returning home and beginning a new life as a civilian. For those of you who have never experienced that first-hand or at the side of a loved-one–it’s a heady thing. It’s a whole different world going from the rank and file to the private sector. And it can be scary.

The way these two meet online really made me smile. Online matches have been happening for more than 20 years now–since the days of AOL chat rooms. Now I don’t think there’s any corner of the interwebs where you can’t meet someone and find a connection. The funny thing, though, is how there’s still a wee bit of a stigma to falling in love with someone you’ve met online. Maybe it’s just my aging generation and those before me who still think it’s kind of weird. And, yeah, I’ve done the online dating thing…and it was all a fucking disaster of fakeness and disappointment. So…

These guys, though, it was organic. It grew at a good pace that never felt rushed. Part of that being Garrett being half-way around the world in a sand pit.

But when they finally came together face-to-face….well. I’m not spoiling it. I’ll just say it was written beautifully. The hallway scene. That was probably my favorite.

Props to both authors–they are an incredible and dynamic writing team. Santino Hassell always wows me with the depth of his characters and almost always gives me pieces I can identify with–and who somehow happen to resonate with me pretty fucking deeply. And Megan, who is a master of nuanced characters who, from what I’ve read of her other work, are usually fighting some pretty scary demons–yet she fleshes the characters out so carefully that there’s no other way but to be empathetic and compassionate.

This was smart. It was fresh. It had lots of laugh-out-loud moments and a few that brought tears to my eyes.

This first book is an electric start to a whole new series. And. I. Can’t. Wait!

This review also posted on GoodReads.

5 thoughts on “Review: Strong Signal, by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

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