Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1) by Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell ~ Book Review by Mel

28561501Title: Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1)

Author: Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Natascha Snow

Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars

Publication Date: 02/15/2016

Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

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.

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

My View:

I didn’t care how unbeatable this Samwise fuckface thought he was. I’d figure out how to beat him eventually. And then I’d dance on his green corpse.

Boy, was he wrong.
But that’s how Garret and Kai meet: in a dungeon of Fallen World Online, and well, I think neither expected events to turn out the way they did, neither thought of the strong connection and later love that would arise.

So, Garret is on his last mission in Afghanistan, biding his time to get home, and Kai is living an online life as a professional online gamer. He has a stream and lots of followers and this is how he earns his money.

I think the premise is chosen very well, because the plot develops naturally through these outer influences. While the first half of the book shows how Garret and Kai fall for each other without ever having met in person, the second half focuses on how they can build a new life together, which understandably isn’t easy.

Both Garret and Kai are lovable characters and, moreover, they are extremely well crafted. Three-dimensional, with distinct voices, personalities, and backgrounds. Garret is this grumpy, protective person, and Kai is cute, mature, and level-headed, but since he’s suffering from anxiety hasn’t left his apartment for three years.

I love how the premise also naturally brings forth conflict that, in my opinion, was not only solved satisfactory, but also true to the situation and characters. Getting to know each other online, finding a new job for Garret, dealing with Kai’s anxiety, and be able to start a life together, all these are issues that are addressed, and since I could witness how Kai and Garret grow and take on the challenges, I can believe in their happy ending.

This whole book is super sexy and dirty hot. I absolutely loved that. You are in for a treat, I tell you. Furthermore, both Kai and Garret are very sweet with each other and you can feel their love for each other coming off the pages.

I want to shortly address some more things: The depiction of the online relationships seemed really authentic to me, as well as Kai’s anxiety. Gaymers will have their fun reading this book, although I’d say you will still enjoy this if you don’t play games. I also really loved how Garret’s family was portrayed. It is so great when there are loveable female characters in a book. There’s humour and a lot of entertaining dialogue, too.

Now I am getting a little more personal, because near the end there were two instances where I was strongly reminded about things that happened in my life and made the book even more relatable for me:

The way Kai starts to deal with his anxiety, from the moment he acknowledges that he has a problem, over the time it takes him to get help, till he picks up the phone to call a stranger and ask for an appointment, this all rang so true for me, and was exactly what I experienced over the course of last year with my depression. It is so hard to pick up the phone, to get to this place. It is incredibly hard, you can’t even imagine.

Moreover, Kai and Garret both are desperate to be together once they’ve met. There is this huge hole inside of them when they are not together. I didn’t meet my J online, but he had to move away, to the other side of Germany, after we had been together for a month, and I was still in school, living with my parents. We had a long-distance relationship for the next four months of our relationship, and we hated it so much J moved back and changed universities. From then on, we’ve nearly been together at all times. Till this day, 16 years later, we still hate every day we are separated. Reading Kai’s and Garret’s story reminded me of this and made me wonder whether the beginning of our relationship has anything to do with it, and I am quite sure it has.

Let me summarise, STRONG SIGNAL is a sweet, hot, desperate love story about two real, loveable characters who can be so lucky to have found each other via a medium that made it easier for them to connect. Recommended!

Links

Strong Signal (Cyberlove #1) on Goodreads

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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