Published by Megtino Press on February 15th 2016
Also by this author: Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Overexposed (In Focus, #4), Daring Fate (Silver Tip Pack #1), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4), Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1), Sunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2), First and First (Five Boroughs, #3), Interborough (Five Boroughs, #4), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4)
Reading Challenges: Contemporary Romance Challenge
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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
Honestly, this was my first M/M New Adult book and I was so impressed with the writing from Erickson and Hassell. This book kept me completely glued to the page from start to finish. There’s tons of positive things to say about this read, I really don’t know where exactly to start. I guess I’ll say this: if you’re looking for a mature and hot read featuring a military man and a video game geek, this is for you. I know this sounds super specific, but it’s just a great feel good book that also has some serious depth to it. Kai and Garrett are both well rounded and fascinating. You’ll love them both equally, I didn’t have a favorite.
I wasn’t sure if the whole military and video game thing was something that appealed to me. I gave it a shot anyway because I’ve heard positive things about Erickson’s M/M books and so I started here. I’m SO glad that I tried it because these two worlds colliding work in a compelling manner. Kai has serious social anxiety and has barely left his apartment the past three years. Instead he hides behind the safety of his video games and makes a living from his Twitch stream. Basically, he has a large enough following on this popular streaming site that he makes a decent amount of money. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of ignorant when it comes to video games and I thought that the authors had made the site up because I know that gamers release YouTube videos. However, I had no idea that this community existed and it was surprisingly intriguing reading about it. Though I did love Garrett just as much as Kai, I felt a special connection to the latter because I know how crippling social anxiety can feel. I really enjoyed Kai’s personality and his character growth that gradually develops throughout Strong Signal.
On the other hand, Garrett is a man who works on military vehicles over in Afghanistan. I absolutely adore his strong personality that shines through the pages. He doesn’t feel like he belongs in the military, he just went there to avoid being stuck in his small town in Pennsylvania. This was also something that I could relate to, not wanting to live in the same place you grew up in for your whole life. Anyway, playing video games becomes a distraction for him as he tries to make it through the rest of his deployment and then never go back. While playing his favorite game, he gets killed by a popular and experienced streamer. Of course, this turns out to be Kai. More on Garrett’s character though, he’s a gruff guy who has a totally incredible heart. I really felt for him concerning his romantic life. He’d never really connected with another guy on a romantic level before. He was just being used by guys in the past and then he comes across Kai and everything changes for both of them.
So the relationship begins by Garrett emailing Kai and then the basic friendship between them quickly grows into more. I had no idea how hot this relationship could be before the two even meet each other in person. In today’s world, it’s very much believable to me that this could happen. The emails turn into instant messaging which then turns to Skype. Obviously, these sessions get rather steamy. Truth be told, Garrett’s dirty talk is a major reason why those sessions get so intense. Beyond the physical stuff, the two just get each other and want to be together in person. Eventually, Garrett comes back to the states and the first place he goes is to Kai’s apartment. Kai’s initial reaction is not a positive one, he slams the door in his face because he is definitely overwhelmed by him just showing up there. What comes out of it though is a fabulous scene between the two that you don’t want to miss! All I can say is the swoon is pretty amazing. I love them as a couple, they balance each other out. Garrett never pushes his boyfriend too far, he respects that his social anxiety is a very difficult and real thing. I could ramble on about it more, but I’ll let you judge for yourself.
This was a book that I couldn’t put down. I told myself I’d read just a few more chapters, but that quickly became more and more until I reached the end and wanted to read another romance like this from Erickson. Though I have no idea which author wrote which voice, I feel like they were both filled with personality and heart. I’m interested in reading more from Hassell now, and I’ve read some reviews saying that his writing style is more gritty and a little on the darker side while Megan has a lighter (well besides Focus on Me) style. Regardless, I ended up enjoying it. This was a well written story that has a fabulous HEA. So if you’re a fan of those, I’m sure this will be something that you will like. I can’t wait to read Costigan’s story, a character who was over in Afghanistan with Garrett and struggled with his sexuality big time. Admittedly, he’s a douchebag with a strong personality from what we can see, but I still want to see him find his own happy ending like Garrett was able to have!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: