Title: Strong Signal
Authors: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Series: Cyberlove #1
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romances
Publication Date: February 15, 2016
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.
I discovered M/M romances last year, and they quickly became one of my new favorite genres to read. It’s been a while since I had read one, and I could feel a reading slump coming on so I decided to dive into one to mix up my contemporary romance reading a bit. Charli has read Santino Hassell’s Barons Series, and really enjoyed them so I knew I wanted to give his books a try. After some browsing on Amazon, I decided to give Strong Signal a try because the idea of a cyber relationship really intrigued me. I ended up reading 60% of this book in one sitting, and only put it down because it was absolutely necessary at the moment!
Strong Signal was the story of Garrett, who was a gruff, slightly angry military man and Kai, a video gamer who was suffering from crippling social anxiety. I loved Garrett for his alpha maleness and his absolute need to protect Kai. It was sweet and sexy, all at the same time. But for me, the character who really shined in this story for me was Kai. Kai suffers from social anxiety that has brought him to a point in his life where he cannot even leave his apartment. He has created an entire group of online friends through his Twitch channel, and until he meets Garrett he’s perfectly ok with his life within the walls of his apartment. One of the reasons I really loved Kai is because I could completely relate to his issues. As a sufferer of social anxiety myself, I can completely understand how Kai got to the point in his life where he was a “hermit.” For me, Kai’s social anxiety made him feel 100% real to me, and I loved these authors for bringing mental illnesses to the forefront of the story.
The story itself was really well developed and I enjoyed how these characters spent a majority of the book falling in love online. Plus I loved that they first met due to a disagreement over a video game! It was a fresh storyline that didn’t follow the same formula of a “typical” romance novel. It reminded me why I loved the romance genre so much and why I enjoy a good M/M romance!
Overall, Strong Signal was a well written, fun read with just enough emotional turmoil to tug at the heart strings. This is definitely a series that I will be continuing with. Book 2 is already on my Kindle waiting for me!
Oh man, do I love some steamy M/M romance! This was such a fresh storyline that made me fall in love with romance all over again! I have read Santino Hassell’s Barons series before and I was eagerly looking for other books written by him to satiate my M/M romance need. That is how I stumbled across this series!
The Story. I felt this was so new and fresh and poignant to the 21st century. It was very well written and had a slow burn feel to it because the majority of the book focuses on the online relationship between Garrett and Kai. It was hilarious how these two first met because it is so unconventional, but so very real. I loved how the authors brought mental illness into the story because it definitely made the characters more real. I felt the characters truly got to know each other before being in the same physical space, which I absolutely adored.
Garrett. Garrett is your alpha male, military man who will do anything to protect Kai. Garrett just wants Kai to be safe and not let him be screwed over in any way by his cyber friends. He also understands Kai in a way that no one else has ever been able to. Garrett is struggling to find a place to work after being honorably discharged from the army, but outside forces might force him to take a job away from the only person he has ever fallen for.
Kai. Kai was definitely my favorite character in this book. He is a “gaymer” who lives his life online. He hasn’t left his apartment in three years due to his debilitating social anxiety. He is sweet and charming, but suffers from panic attacks at the mere mention of being around people. He was perfectly content in how he lived his life until Garrett came barging into his world. Kai took a chance on Garrett, despite how scary it was, and now he isn’t sure how he can go back to the way things were.
I recommend this book to those who love: M/M romance, cyber worlds, military men, and books about mental illness.
Overall Rating: ★★★★/★★★★★