Saturday, July 9, 2016

REVIEW: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell


Shel: I can't believe that this is the first novel I've read by either Megan Erickson or Santino Hassell but I can tell you right now that it has kick started a buying all their books spree. I've been following them on social media and loved their banter and the obvious care and respect they have for each other and so I decided to jump in and try out their first collaborative project (together) and Strong Signal blew me away. I loved how they built the characters of Kai and Garrett and how real they felt. Having met one of my best friends online and (3 years later!!) having not met her in person, I identified with many of the things that Kai and Garrett contemplated and discussed when it comes to reaching out online. I, too, have been burned by a couple of jerks online and the squeamishness that Garrett felt resonated deeply with me. On the flip side, I've felt the excitement of meeting like-minded people online and how addictive that experience can be...and suddenly I've made this review about me. Sigh. Back to Garrett and Kai -- 

Court: SHELLEY! It's like this one was written as a homage to us. Okay, sort of, not really, but I can make anything about me if I want to right? Haha. What'd they call it? Parasocial relationship? We have one of those! And I love you! And I nothing those who left. And I think finally at peace with it. AND THEN BE STILL MY LITTLE GAMER HEART! This book, y'all. The other way it was written for me was the gaming. Twitch (that I continue to be too anxious to stream anything) and while I play World of Warcraft...I was very excited. Can I mention again how much we loved this? Yeah, Shel told me she loved it, and that I would to. And I read it so fast late last night and today, and just feel so happy with this novel I can't contain myself.

Shel: Their relationship was interesting to me--the way it was initiated cracked me up and is how I imagine many enemies/friends/frienemies start out online. I liked how things progressed-- sort of hesitantly, at first, and then at each step Garrett checked in with Kai to make sure it was moving in a direction they both wanted it to go in (this looking for consent is something that you don't see much of in novels and something I greatly appreciate). I liked how Garrett and Kai had dissimilar dispositions --one who was more a scowling growly bear and one who was more outgoing and sweet--and how well they balanced each other out. I also liked how they both had issues they needed to work on and once those things were out in the open, they accepted each other and supported each other. These guys were really two of the sweetest, funniest, hottest couples I've read in a long time.  Court: This was a really refreshing way for them to "meet" and progress from like you said nervous messaging, to friends. As we've been there, it is interesting how some people click and others you think will do for a while and then don't, and others just don't. I loved his 'chat' friends, and how protective they were of Kai, and I really enjoyed the authentic feel of the military too. I liked how authentic Garrett felt about it, and while he was proud of what he did while enlisted, he was genuine about how he felt about the next path in his life. These boys were so different, but so common in their goal to find someone who just "got" it. Got them, their personality, their mind, their heart and most definitely this was a really sexy and steamy book!

Shel: Another thing that made this novel feel fresh and new was Twitch. As a teacher, learning new things is super cool and I enjoyed discovering the world that Erickson and Hassell showed me; I'd never even heard of Twitch and so while reading I did a little research and whoaaaa it's like a whole new world out there!! I had no idea this existed and the whole thing is fascinating; I can see how gamers could get totally sucked into hours of watching. Court: HAHAHA! I have been a watcher, and finding new stuff about the new patch about to go into WoW, so this part made me so excited! So excited! I'm telling you the gaming world is a huge place in cyberspace, and I have been losing so much time there that I now have restricted to NONE on weekdays! My reading is excited about it, as well as I am not #zombiecourtney anymore, but Shel babe you make me smile.

Shel: Finally, I'll end with this--someone asked me if I'd read the next one in this series and I can say without a doubt, yes. I loved how new and authentic these characters felt, how well written, edited and paced it was, and how much fun it was to read. If you haven't read this book, grab it--I really think you'll enjoy it. Court: I am so intrigued by Castigon. And the blurb for it made me even more intrigued. He might just turn out to be an okay guy, but the jury here is still in deliberation! Gimme gimme, y'all!

Interested in knowing more? Read the synopsis before or buy it:

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.

Find out more about the series:

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