Skip to main content

Review of "Level Up: A Geek Romance Rom Com, Book 1" by Cathy Yardley

Level Up
Wow.  I literally just finished this book and I have all the thoughts.  Many many thoughts.  Thoughts about how good this was and how it could have been improved.  Thoughts about how I loved the female protagonist and only sorta liked the male protagonist for most of the book.  Mostly I have thoughts about the number of fandoms present in this book: Doctor Who, Sherlock, Supernatural, Sailor Moon, and possibly more that I'm forgetting.  With the exception of Sailor Moon, sorry, Nicole, but I never could get into that one, I am  right there.  Although I've never seen Sherlock (bad, geek that I am), I get why it is popular.

Tessa wants to be a coder and to have the respect that the male coders have simply because they have the right genitalia.  She hates having to crack that glass ceiling, but that's the world she's living in and she doesn't see any way out of it.  Then, she meets some new friends, propelling her out of her Netflix nights and into a new project that could change her life for good.

A year after being dumped by his ex, Adam is still hung up on her.  He likes Tessa and thinks she's got skills, but he's never seen her as anything more than his roommate and coworker.  Suddenly, he's more attracted to her than he's been to anyone in a long time.  The problem?  Tessa is ambitious and he's already been burned by one woman who put her career ahead of their relationship.  He doesn't want to go down that road again, but as the attraction he feels for Tessa grows, he might not have a choice.

Three weeks ago, I was listening to the DBSA Podcast and SB Sarah and her guest, Bree Bridges, were squeeing over this book and I knew that I needed to read it.  Of course I was in the middle of Alone in the Dark and then went straight onto Brotherhood in Death, so I had to wait before getting into Level Up.  It didn't help that I started a new job (yay!) last week.

I started this book last night and though it took me about a half hour to get into it, I soon didn't want to put it down, mostly because I loved Tessa.  She's every geek girl I've ever known.  Adam is alright, but as I said above, I only sorta liked him.  There may be people out to get me over this, but I think he was a little sexist.  For instance, after his friends bugged him to start dating again (he moped around for a year after his ex dumped him), he grudgingly created a few dating profiles online and the woman he wanted was basically a pretty piece of arm candy, who only wanted to take care of him.  Totally boyfriend material right there.  He does get better, but it only happens once he realizes how he feels about Tessa and sees what she goes through in order to get their male coworkers to even pay attention to her.  I like that he was willing to defend her to the other engineers when they started giving her a hard time, but what I liked even more was that he was willing to let her fight her own battles.  Yes, she had to explain to him why that was important, but once he understood, he didn't go all macho lunkhead and step in when she didn't want him to do so.

One of the things that bugged me about him was something that his ex pointed out in one of the final scenes.  He doesn't fight for anything he wants.  He waits for things to happen.  The ex is absolutely right.  At one point, he tells Tessa that he's tired of chasing her and she needs to let him know what she wants, but he never chased her.  She was the one who initiated anything physical.  She was the one who kissed him.  She was the one who nearly jumped him.  He never started anything and never would have had Tessa not surprised him with their first kiss.  He's so Beta, he's almost dead.  Now, I hate Alpha's and a character like Abraham, the head engineer at Adam and Tessa's company, would have had me running in the opposite direction.  Also, anyone else reading the description of Abraham think of this guy?  Maybe it was because I recently saw some of Captain America: First Avenger on FX or because I've been watching Agent Carter, which must must must get a season 3.  (They can't leave us hanging with our very own Who Shot J.R. moment from the end of the finale.  Seriously, ABC, DO NOT LEAVE US HANGING.)

While I really did like this book, I find some of the things that happened in it to be completely unrealistic.  First of all, Tessa is supposed to be severely shy (her only friend was a girl she skyped with and Adam, although he was mostly just her roommate), but suddenly she's the most popular girl ever after a group of friends just drop into her lap.  Has that ever happened to anyone?  I'm not exactly the friend having type, unless you count internet friends, because those I have, and never have I ever found myself with a ready made group of friends and I'm pretty certain that every girl (or guy) that has felt like an outcast would agree with me.  I mean really.

Then, there is the whole thing with the game.  I'm not going to spoil it (you're welcome, Sweeties--what, did you think I was going to make it through a review of something with Fandom in its title without making a River Song allusion?), so I won't get into what happened, but that would never happen.  Ever.

My last gripe is about the editing/formatting of this book.  They were pretty bad, especially the formatting.  Sections are supposed to be separate.  It makes things much easier on the reader.  While reading there were several times that I had to go back to make sure I didn't miss something because suddenly it would be days later or narration would jump from Tessa to Adam.  It was jarring and annoying.  Not enough to stop me from reading, but it was not good.  As for the editing, there were whole sentences that didn't make sense.  The words were so jumbled it was as if an Aphasic person was dictating them to Siri.  Luckily, this only happened a couple of times, but it was enough to make me wonder if I was suddenly Dyslexic at the age of 29.  It was weird.

I think what I enjoyed the most about this book was searching for all the little fandom things.  I smiled so wide at the Jensen and Jared line that I could have been mistaken for the Cheshire Cat.  Don't get me started on Tessa drinking from a Doctor Who mug in the very first scene because I was sitting there drinking out of my Doctor Who mug as I was reading that.  A big part of what made it so much fun to pick out the references was that none of the characters thought it was weird that women liked science fiction or video game.  I loved that the stylish Stacey was a SuperWhoLockian and that no one said anything about the fact that she and Tessa had a whole conversation about it.  Adam was a bit confused, but he didn't think less of either of them because of what they liked to watch.


Level Up was a quick (about 150 pages), fun, and light read.  It was exactly what I needed and I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes.

3.5 Stars


Popular posts from this blog

Throwback Review: The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts

There are some books that stick with you no matter how long it has been since you first read them.  For me, the Dream Trilogy has always been in the back of my head.  I probably read them a good 15 years ago and the last time was a good 10 years back.  As a matter of fact, that trilogy was part of the first round of books I purchased when I got my first kindle for my 24th birthday (I never actually read it after buying the digital version; I guess I just needed to know that I could read them if I wanted.

The first book of the trilogy, Daring to Dream, was released in 1996 when I was just 10 years old and more concerned with passing math (I did, but not without many a night of struggling to remember what the E in PEMDAS meant) than I was with the goings on of fictional characters inside the pages of a book.  In fact, if I read at all during that time period it was to get a free pan pizza through Pizza Hut and the Book It! program.  I've mentioned this a few times before, but I act…

Review of "New York, Actually" by Sarah Morgan

Title: New York, Actually
Author: Sarah Morgan
ISBN: 0373804105
Publisher: HQN Books
Series: From Manhattan with Love #4
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96 (Audible)
Rating: 🐶🐶🐶🐶1/2

If you follow me on social media, you'll have seen my posts about this book over the last week.  For the most part, they weren't very positive -- until about 20% into the book, I hated the hero.  If I could have set him on fire, I probably would have.  It was only Ms. Morgan's prose and the fact that I had been looking forward to this book for 6 months that kept me reading.  For once, I am glad I was so wrong about a character.

From the PublisherOne man. One woman. Two dogs.  Meet Molly—New York's most famous advice columnist, she considers herself an expert at relationships…as long as they're other people's. Still bruised from her last breakup, Molly is in no rush to find happily-ever-after—the only love of her life is her dalmatian, Valentine.  Meet Daniel—A cynical divorce …

Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review of "Lord of Chance" by Erica Ridley

Title: Lord of Chance Author: Erica Ridley ISBN: 1943794049 Publisher: Webmotion Series: Rogues to Riches #1 Price: $7.99 (paperback) $3.99 (e-book) $9.97 (Audible Audio)
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

I was recently given the opportunity to take part in a Blog Tour for the newest Erica Ridley novel, Lord of Chance, and as I've liked her books in the past, I decided to do it.  The publisher quickly provided me with  a whole folder full of goodies, so without further ado:
The Excerpt
'Charlotte harrumphed to hide her amusement. “How are you at pressing wrinkles from gowns?” “Let me assure you,” Mr. Fairfax informed her with utter seriousness, “that I have never worn a wrinkled gown in all my life.” “Very gentlemanly.” She tried not to smile. “Let’s see your skill as maid-of-all-work, then. My gowns are in the wardrobe, as is my traveling iron. See what you can do.” “At your service.” He bowed, then turned and marched to the wardrobe like a soldier off to war. Now that he couldn’t see her, she let her…

Review of "On the Surface" by Kate Willoughby

Title: On the Surface
Author: Kate Willoughby
Publisher: Carina Press
Series: In the Zone #1
Price: $4.99 (e-book) | $12.47 (Audible Audio)
Rating: DNF

From the Publisher
NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After “Bottlegate,” he’s traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he’ll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.
Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who’s never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim’s autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.
Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of an…

Review of "The Thing About Love" by Julie James

Title: The Thing About Love
Author: Julie James
ISBN: 0425273776
Publisher: Berkley
Series: FBI/US Attorney Book #7
Price: $10.99 (paperback) $8.99 (e-book) $15.74 (Audible Audio)
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2

From The Publisher
Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.
After spending six years in Los Angeles—and the last six months wondering how her marriage fell apart—FBI Special Agent Jessica Harlow is looking for a fresh start. When she finds out that the Chicago field office has an opening for an undercover agent, returning to her hometown seems like the perfect answer. But her new partner, John Shepherd, is someone she never expected to see again. Six years ago, the cocky Army Ranger was her top competition at the FBI Academy, and the one man who got under her skin like no other. 
Just one assignment away from joining the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team, John isn't g…