Duo Review by Cinnamon & Jen B.
TITLE: Hard Wired
SERIES: Cyberlove #3
AUTHORS: Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
LENGTH: 260 Pages
RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2017
My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.
But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.
Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.
REVIEW BY CINNAMON
Wow… what an emotional ride. I love the Megan Erickson, Santino Hassel author duo. They have an amazing writing chemistry that is glowing through all their stories. Hard Wired is the third book in the Cyberlove series and although it can be read as a standalone, I would start from the beginning, if you are new to this series, for better understanding and more satisfying reading pleasure.
The first part of the story overlaps with a few scenes of book two, and I’ve been waiting for Kai’s mods’ story since that scene in Fast Connection, where we could clearly feel the tension between Garvy and Cherrycakes. Let me tell you I so didn’t get what I had expected. I got way more!!! More complexity, more emotions, more heartache, but a very satisfying ending. The story has a unique structure. By one third of the book my heart got some serious work out and I was a bit of an emotional wreck before halfway through. Luckily the balance was never tipped off. We always got back from the edge and all the conflicts and miscommunication seemed natural and believable.
The writing is flawless and very powerful as usual. The complexity of the characters is another signature element in these stories. It’s unbelievable how the writers can pack seemingly ordinary people with so many layers. Ian (Cherrycakes) and Jesse (Garvy)’s story is one of the most thought provoking books I’ve read for a long time, dealing with serious topics from finding our way in life through who we really are in real life and online, to how people in different parts of our lives see and treat us. Showing certain parts, playing different roles in our lives is natural part of our existence, but it also may cause conflicts when those different worlds collide. If you are interested in how these two young men deal with these issues or you enjoy reading about the fascinating world of gamers, vloggers and YouTubers, this is a wonderful read for you. Highly recommended!
REVIEW BY JEN B.
This is such a fun series, and these authors make a fantastic writing duo! I suppose this could be read as a stand alone, but I definitely recommend you read them all to get a real sense of this world and to really get a feel for all the players and their various issues. Jesse and Ian are co-mods on Kai’s Twitch channel. For those who haven’t a clue about gaming, that’s where someone video blogs themself gaming and sharing various aspects of their experience, whether it is simply entertainment, giving tips or reviewing the game. Successful Twitchers actually make livings through their channels, subscribers, gaming companies, etc., so it is a pretty big deal to the gaming community.
Anyhoo, this story takes place during the same timeframe as the previous book, Fast Connection. Jesse and Ian are attending the same con (planning to meet up to host a panel in Kai’s absence) that Costigan crashes to find his wayward sister. There is a slight problem though in that Ian is known on Kai’s channel as “Cherry” or “Cherrycakes,” whom everyone assumed was a girl. When they meet, Jesse sees Ian at his artist’s stand at the con where he is known as “Cerise.” Jesse falls for Cerise/Ian, not knowing he is Cherry.
Much of this story is about Ian and his personas, why he has and needs them, why he is unable to be himself, etc. He has a lot of issues where this is concerned which contribute to his anxiety issues. On the flip side, there is Jesse, who has now realized he is gay and though he doesn’t share the same anxiety issues as Ian, he has a few of his own with standing up for himself (especially where his parents are concerned).
These guys are exactly what each other needs, but there is quite a bit of miscommunication or lack thereof before they believe it. It was easy to see these guys were young and lacked relationship experience, but it was fun to watch them figure it out. They were comfortable with each other physically though, and there were some fantastic steamy scenes, both in person and via Skype/sexting, they just needed time to work out the rest.
So, this was another great addition to the Cyberlove series that continues with the same quality of writing as the previous books. It was great to see some of the other characters again, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s up next in the gaming community. Things seem to be heating up with Beau and Zane, so perhaps they will show us some of their stuff next!