Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

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3.5 stars upgraded to 4 because gaming rocks, y’all. Albeit far from perfect, Strong Signal made me smile so big, I have to be lenient. Here’s why.

1) RELATABLE STUFF ALERT for my gamer heart –

A message popped through from Samwise – a single wink emoticon.
What. The. Fuck.
The orc once again started dancing in his shiny metallic tunic while my human archer lay dead on the floor at his green feet.
I was so pissed.

*giggles*

I can’t begin to express how much I enjoyed Kai and Garrett’s first interactions. See, Kai’s farming in a low-level catacomb, even though the guy’s got A++ stats. Now that’s just annoying, you know? So when he *GASP* kills that poor Garrett’s avatar, I was right there with him, outraged. Of course Garrett starts stalking him on his stream, but what else could he have done, I mean…. Nooooo, I wouldn’t do that. Nooooo.

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ANYWAY. From Twitch over-the-top chats to near-stalking tumblr posts, everything felt so realistic to me, I loved it. I’d totally watch Kai’s stream, by the way.

There then follows a smile-inducing exchange of emails, during which Kai and Garrett slowly become accustomed to each other, and…

2) THEY ARE FREAKING ADORABLE TOGETHER. For real. I’ve said it before, but online interactions make for the best romance novels when they’re done right, and in Strong Signal it was perfect. First, they acknowledge the different personas one shows on the internet, and what it means in terms of honesty. Sure, there are creepy trolls everywhere, but most of the time we are not so much lying as expressing ourselves more freely, you know? I mean, I already have slightly different personalities in English and in French (no I am not making shit up, look it up), I can’t deny that typing my thoughts rather than expressing them out loud also change my interactions. I’m always Anna, though, as Garrett and Kai always are themselves too. They’re just a bit less introvert, and that was for the best 😉

Secondly, seeing them getting closer and closer was just so damn fun (and hot, alright). And when they do meet… Oh boy… I was scared that their chemistry would falter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Their complicity was just so beautiful ❤ So, sure, the jumps in time do make their love seem a bit insta-lovish, and there are many sex-scenes (I wouldn’t say too many, but other readers might feel differently), but I really rooted for them all the same. Shrugs.

3) NO MAGIC DICK. See, Kai has social anxiety and needs to control his environment in order to feel safe enough to interact with someone. Too often do romance novels make a mental illness disappear in the wake of a love-story, and I really appreciated that it wasn’t the case in Strong Signal. Of course, their burgeoning relationship matters and weighs in his decision to consult someone, but it isn’t magically erased.

4) FAMILY DYNAMICS WOOT! In all honesty, Garrett’s interactions with his sister and his mother were pretty rare, BUT they rang so true and were really heart-warming and funny?

However, the story was a little too short for my liking, and it resulted in a lack of depth in my opinion. Some scenes were rushed, especially towards the end, and I’d have loved to get more details about their every day life, their fears, their hopes along the way. I wasn’t really convinced by Garrett’s deployed life either, only because everything felt so… vague, out-rooted, like a gigantic bubble of glass. Compared to gems like Sutphin Boulevard or Illegal Contact, it did feel a bit superficial, unfortunately.

Nevertheless,  if you ever need to read a feel-good romance without stupid angst, chances are that Strong Signal. will be right up your alley.

TW – social anxiety

Have you read this novel? What did you think? Have you read another book from this series?

9 responses to “Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

  1. Recently I read Illegal Contact and loved it, so I want to read other Santino Hassell’s books. This sounds really interesting, I love books where there is online interactions. Also, it’s good to hear that this has mental illness representation and that it isn’t magically erased by a romantic relationship.

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been laughing for ten minutes over “no magic dick”
    Anyway I gave this 5 stars like one year ago and you say illegal contact is better??? Holy shit I can’t even imagine what better than this looks like, I’m gonna get to that one March if not sooner 💞
    Great review my friend 💝

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 😂 NO MAGIC DICK OMG ALIENOR LMAO
    I honestly love this book so much. Rated it 5 stars because I love the social anxiety rep and the lovely way they fall for one another. plus garret is a big softie. Great review!!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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