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.
©2016 Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell (P)2016 Tantor
"I loved this writing duo. Their writing styles and voices melded beautifully to create two very unique and well drawn out characters with sizzling chemistry." (Fiction Vixen)
I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.
2.5 stars for the narration.
I stand by my original 4.5 stars for the story.
I loved the story, which is why I picked up the audio, but I have to say it wasn't, for me, exactly well-served by the narration. Or, half the narration. Eric London was okay.
Guy Locke's narration just did not work for me. He had a sometimes halting or stilted way of speaking, he spoke too slowly most of the time, had too many pauses, and over enunciated something fierce. Almost like he was trying hard for superb elocution but just comes off sounding stiff.
But his character voices were good, with the exception of Dominic Costigan. He doesn't do a very good Staten Island accent. I'm just hoping he's either not doing the narration for Fast Connection or has markedly improved since recording this.
I enjoyed the chapters narrated by Eric London. Though his character voices aren't really strong, there's definitely potential there. He has good timing and tone.
All in all I half enjoyed the narration, but all enjoyed the story. I absolutely recommend the book, but not so much the narration.
Garrett is finishing out his last tour in Afghanistan while playing an online role playing game and being grumpy. He’s a mechanic and he thanks the military for getting him out of his crappy town but beyond that, he has no sentimental ties to his time in uniform. One night, while playing, his “dude” in the game is killed by some other “dude” and in terms of etiquette, Garrett feels he’s been slighted. So… he stalks the other “dude” and finds out so much more than how to get even.
Kai is an online gamer who gets paid to do it! He sits in front of a camera all day and records himself playing games and he’s so charming and interesting and good at what he does, people pay to watch him do it! (This is a real thing in life!) He finds Garrett’s “stalking” intriguing and they slowly go from reluctantly respectful of one another, to more and more curious, until one day they finally begin to talk to one another as people.
From that point on their relationship moves forward like any sort of “online” dating … a bit of information sharing, some flirting, then more flirting, then a lot of flirting… you get the idea.
By the time Garrett’s time is up, he and Kai are very close and Garrett is sure it will translate into a physical “real life” relationship. Kai knows it won’t….
This is one of the best books I’ve read… It literally has something in it for every single reader.
I’m not gonna give too much more away about the plot because really – that’s for you to discover. The important part of this is the amazing characters that Megan and Santino have created and the way they organically evolve for us over time. The parts of the book where two MCs are apart should feel “uncomfortanle” and be something that – as a reader- you want to race through to get the guys together. But the way these two writers did it, I couldn’t skim, couldn’t begrudge the distance, instead I was captivated by just watching their relationship develop – slowly – as it did over time.
This book is at times amazingly tender and sweet, then raunchy and “dirty”, followed by nerdy and hysterical, then moving and heart-wrenching. It seriously has it all. There were times I had to ask my IT-ish/Gamer-ish husband what the leet speak was so I could figure out what they were saying – but that’s part of the fun!
Kai and Garrett don’t do the “big misunderstanding”, they don’t lie, they don’t communicate super great – but hey – who does? – so their relationship really feels authentic. Kai’s illness is handled with grace and intelligence and Garrett is just about as huggable as can be. I loved them as a couple and enjoyed their online interactions almost as much as their in person interactions.
There are so many great secondary characters in this story as well and one of them gets his own book! I can’t wait to read that…
I highly recommend this book – it is truly wonderful – not surprising given that the two authors involved are so gifted – together their chemistry is off the charts!
6 of 5 stars
I love dual narrators! It was great that we get two distinct and good narrators to tell this amazing story. The narrator that does Kai does a really good job for Kai – sort of softer and more “delicate” and a passable job when he does Garrett’s voice. The narrator who did Garrett did a great job for Garrett – more gruff and authoritative – and a really good job for Kai. I definitely enjoyed his portion a bit more, only because I liked his version of Kai more than the other’s of Garrett – if that makes any sense ;)
In either case, it was easy to listen to, with no technical errors and both narrators did a really nice job with the emotions in this story. I think this is a great way to enjoy this story and highly recommend it.
5 of 5 stars
Overall 5.5 of 5 stars
I don't understand all the complaints about the narration. It was fine for a little gay romance story. This isn't exactly great literature we are worried about.
The story of the soldier and the gamer was cute without any big conflicts. The whole book was entertaining. I would recommend it to my friends who read gay love stories.
Narrator for Garrett sounds like a cross between Forrest Gump & a no-inflection 4th grader.
Love love love Santino Hassell stories, this one no exception. Having to listen to Garrett was nails-on-a-chalkboard tough though.
Sigh...I have a new favorite series. Gah, I liked this book...a lot. This is another one of those books that I spent way too much time obsessing over in just a couple of days, rather than the week or two weeks that I usually try to spread my audiobooks over. But I loved it...and that just meant I listened to it FAST and then immediately downloaded book #2 in the series.
I loved the premise of this story. Both these guys are gamers who meet playing a videogame online...and that first meeting wasn't a good one. Kai totally beat down Garrett's character. So their relationship starts out as an antagonistic one. Garrett wants revenge so he starts online stalking Kai...and then eventually finds himself intrigued and entranced...along with thousands of other gamers who love Kai. That worries Garrett, who's been the target of a stalker before. He sends a message to Kai just as a warning that he needs to be more cautious and their online relationship develops from there.
But things aren't as simple as they seem online. Kai doesn't leave his house...ever. And Garrett is deployed in a warzone. I had so, so much love for this story and these two characters. I loved getting to know them and cheer for them and had my heart swelling as their relationship grew. I loved this book... but there is no smooth sailing for the two of them. There are serious roadblocks in the way of their HEA. LOVED this book.
Note: I listen to my audiobooks at a fast speed...1.5 times. But even with that there were moments in the narration where I really wanted the narrator (I think it was the narrator doing Garrett's voice) to talk faster. I can't imagine how annoying that would have been at normal speed. Other than that, I really liked the two narrators' voices and inflections.
Unlike other reviewers I had no issue with the narrators, I think they did a great job. Yes, Garrett spoke slowly and that would normally bother me but I think it fit his character. Plus I just finished a different book in which the narrator spoke way too quickly and rushed through the good parts which was much more annoying.
A + for originality. I'm sure there are other gamer romances out there but I've never come across one. Don't be put off by the concept, you don't have to understand any if the gamer speak to get into the story.
Both characters were likeable social anxiety is a really serious thing so I think that aspect was handled pretty well.
My main issue is that the major conflict in the book wasn't a conflict AT ALL. When someone works from home in the capacity that Kai did they can live anywhere. Plus, there was nothing tying him to Philadelphia. No family, and a friend that was busy with his own life who he could surely keep in contact with online.
Weirdly enough, I assumed I'd be impatient for the two characters to meet face to face and have real contact, but in fact I think I enjoyed their online interactions better than in person.
I wouldn't consider this erotica by any means, but there were plenty of sexy times. Chemistry was good. Build up was good.
As a huge Santino Hassell fan, I was expecting a little more. Often times when "more" was expected in a book, it deals with character development. However, for me it was character follow-through. One of my biggest disappointments was significant supporting characters just...disappearing - i.e. Sean. Sean wasn't just a neighbor but a friend and pretty much family but he just vanishes from the storyline. The vanishing act also happens with the army guy Garrett used to mess around with while enlisted.
My biggest disappointment, the narrator for Garrett was not very good, rudimentary at best.
Book rates 2.5 Stars for me. I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series.
I would recommend the regular version for Kindle. I would not recommend the audio book version. The narration for Garrett is really difficult to listen through. It's stilted, and the words are drawn out in an exaggerated way - like someone in speech therapy or a non native English speaker. I found it very grating. The voice for Kai 's chapters is ok - but cannot save the book. In terms of the story Kai had his moments of being a real jerk - I get he's got social anxiety however the way he treats Garrett didn't sit right with me. Thankfully that's not the majority of the story but a few isolated incidents.
I loved the story concept itself the best - lonely soldier and a homebound civilian - both looking for something and coming to the table with issues and problems.
I don't know - not sure I think it needs two narrators but if I was going to do 2 I would try for one that had a casual laid back low voice -- and one that was a little peppier and smooth.
Not really - the concept is good but I think it would loose something in translation due to the text and other written communication playing such a large role.
"Could do better Mr Locke...."
Loved the story, 5 stars all the way, and Kai and Garrett definitely scorched the sheets between them. The gamer speak went right over my head I'm afraid, just not that interested, it was the Garrett/Kai love story I was sold on. When I saw that it was being released by Tantor on audio, I pre-ordered immediately, but confess that I hadn't listened to either of the narrators before, although I did hear snippets of them doing other stuff on Audible.
Guy Locke, who reads Garrett...well, I was distinctly underwhelmed [read...won't be listening to anything else he narrates], and I hope to God that Meg/Sonny choose a different narrator to read the next story in the series Fast Connection. His voice was flat and emotionless, his intonation was barely noticeable and he had a weird way of saying certain words, as in he didn't finish pronouncing them....and I see from reviews of his other work on Audible that other reviewers don't rate him that highly either. I live in the UK, and colour me clueless as to how someone from Staten Island speaks normally, but Locke's attempts at voicing Dominic Costigan from Fast Connection just irritated the hell out of me, he sounded like an OTT bit part actor from some old Jimmy Cagney gangster movie.
Eric London, on the other hand, was really good as Kai, and I much preferred his growly interpretation of Garrett when he was reading both voices.
It's a real shame when there are dual voices in an audio book and one of those voices just doesn't work as well as the authors would have hoped, especially when that voice is the main character in the story. Please choose a different narrator for Costigan in the next audio book guys!! 4 stars for this audio adaptation.
"Entertaining, erotic, romantic book"
Brilliant, wonderful, superb
I love Garrett and Kai, both strong m/cs in their own right, both vulnerable in different ways, and I am also looking out for Costigan's story in audio. I loved the dual narrators having different voices for the characters.
I am not really a fan of Guy Locke's as he is quite a sloooooww talking narrator but I think he did a great job for Garrett, really suited him. Never listened to Eric Lomdon before but he did a great job and I would listen again.
I think it's an emotionally charged book because of the vulnerabilities of the m/cs and the worry for returning servicemen looking for work in a difficult economy. We have social anxiety disorder and an outing. Real life choices are a threat to a happy ending, of course I sniffled.
Loved the book, the audio added to the experience. Can't wait for Fast Connection!
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