Published by: Carina Press
Genre: contemporary romance
Reviewed by: Erin
Annabeth Albert has snuck up on me as an auto-buy author. I like her more and more, and her book are somehow always exactly what I’m in the mood for. I was less into her Perfect Harmony series, but this #Gaymers series is hitting all my buttons.
Connection Error is the story Josiah and Ryan, who meet on a flight, bond immediately over gaming and their mutual attraction, and end up thrown together during a weather delay. (You can imagine what happens next.) After their one-night stand, they establish a long-distance relationship that grows into something real.
What I like about this story is that Ryan and Josiah have immense amounts of personal growth that needs to happen before they can get into a serious relationship, and Albert gives them time and space to make that happen. Josiah is in his first management-level job. He’s young, he looks even younger, and he has pretty severe ADHD that impacts his life to the point where he’s still living in his wealthy mom’s pool house. He has skills he doesn’t believe in, and can never quite trust his own brain. He has no filter at all, and can be inappropriate to the point of hurting others, which he knows and is ashamed of.
Ryan is a Navy SEAL who had a double amputation after a combat injury. He’s smoking hot, built, and has lived his life knowing that he is a hot, built, ultra-competent Navy SEAL. His injury is recent enough that he’s still undergoing rehabilitation to get him into prosthetics, and he’s bubbling over with anger and resentment during the times when he’s not brutally pushing himself to get into his prosthetics as fast as possible, get back to walking and running and teaching in the Navy. He hasn’t had the time to come to terms with his disability, and you can see him trying to fill his time with everything he can just so he doesn’t have to think about it.
Ryan’s first impulse is to take on Josiah as a project, another thing to fix because he can’t fix his own life. Josiah doesn’t want to be anyone’s project, and he doesn’t think he’s built for long-term relationships. Their initial hot (oh god so hot) chemistry and instant connection is…well, it’s the wrong one. It’s easy to hook up with a hot stranger at an airport, but it’s harder to grow and change and build something real. Albert lets us see them grow, separately and together, in a way that makes the HEA feel hard-earned, even though they’re together for most of the book.
Nothing is magically fixed for either character, and they don’t rely on each other to do the fixing. They learn to rely on each other for emotional support while trying and failing as individuals. This is a kind of romantic love we don’t always see in romances, and I really enjoyed it.
What you might not like: I’m not disabled and I don’t have ADHD. I can’t speak to the representation here and I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of people from that perspective.
What I loved: This is a well-crafted, interesting romance that I couldn’t put down. The characters are allowed to be individuals who grow and change throughout the book.
Erin is a full time contributor to Binge on Books. She is a voracious reader and reviewer who has been been reading romances since she stole them from under her neighbor’s mom’s bed while she was at work. You can read all her reviews here.
Connect with Erin on Twitter: @booksandjoe