Title: Strong Signal
Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Rating: 5 Stars
First off I want to say I’ll be doing a big cross-section of reviews from non-fiction to romance to YA to LGBT because that’s just my eclectic reading style. I wanted to start with this book though because I finished it recently and loved it!
Freaking. Loved. This. Book. And no I don’t always write like that! But I really loved this book! I read across a wide variety of genres because I just love books and I’ve read quite a few partnered author books. Some just don’t work, just like there are plenty of books that don’t work. Some work really, really well (Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy I’m looking at you!) and I’m happy to say this partnership definitely worked well. I have no idea if one author was writing one character and switching back and forth or just writing different pieces. That’s what made this book so good – I had no idea where Megan Erickson stopped and Santino Hassell began in terms of writing!
I’m a fan of complicated characters. Messy characters with believable issues and complicated lives. These two main characters definitely fit this for me. I hate when a main character is just too perfect. These two are not that at all. Megan and Santino both have a history of writing achingly believable flawed characters in their previous books I’ve read. Garrett came off as the war weary guy who is just over his multiple tours. He has no desire for any connection beyond sex until he meets Kai in an online game which is his only outlet while on active duty. This felt realistic to me – the boredom and apathy that was portrayed just seemed to me as something that would be so easy to fall into after a few tours.
Then to combat that portrayal is Kai. Who seems to be Garrett’s total opposite – upbeat, outgoing on the surface, and ridiculously sweet. But when we get to know Kai there is so much more going on there. He’s got even more issues to deal with than Garrett. Their cyber attraction starts out slowly and completely unexpectedly – okay, not that unexpectedly because this IS a romance but still I enjoyed that it was somewhat unexpected. There was a slow-ish build that I appreciated. I’m not always a fan of the insta-love that can happen in romances.
The issues this couple faces from the distance to overcoming their own demons were handled so well by the writing duo. I was really impressed and when I was finished I immediately looked at the fact that this says #1 and squee’d because that HAS to mean there are more coming, right!? To tide me over I may have to go listen to the Trust the Focus audiobook (written by Megan Erickson) which just came out or Santino Hassell’s Sutphin Boulevard, which is also out in audio! Both are awesome LGBT books and deal with flawed characters as well.
ARC provided by the author in return for an honest review.