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.

SuperWhoLock


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

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fifteen Years Later: Review of "His Sinful Touch" by Candace Camp

Title: His Sinful Touch
Author: Candace Camp
ISBN: 0373789963
Publisher: HQN
Series: Mad Morelands #5
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $5.99 (e-book) $19.96(Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2


Most readers remember their first, the first book of their particular genre that they read, whether they enjoyed the book or not.  I have two firsts--the first romance I ever read was a Harlequin Intrigue written by Amanda Stevens.  If you've read my blog before you probably already know this.  The first historical romance I read was Mesmerized by Candace Camp, which was also the first book in her Mad Morelands series.  

I was a senior in high school when this series began and I remember seeing the paperback version of Mesmerized on the shelf at the Target on Queens Blvd (yes, I spent a lot of time on Queens Blvd as a teenager), and was pulled in by the gorgeous cover.  Apparently, that book has had several covers over the last 15 years, but this is the one I remember:


Isn't it pretty?  Of course from the cover I…

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 …

Review of "A Stardance Summer" by Emily March

Title: A Stardance Summer
Author: Emily March
ISBN: 1250131685
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Series: Eternity Springs #13
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $17.13 (Audible)
Rating:No Stars


Disclaimer: I wrote this review as a part of a Blog Tour, but have since pulled out of it for obvious reasons.  I am not editing the content of the review, so any mentions of the Blog Tour remain.


****
I want to start this review by saying that this is not the type of book I usually read and had I known this, I would not have signed up for this Blog Tour.  While it does not appear as if this is being marketed as a "Christian Romance" that is exactly what this is.  As a New York-born, California-living Atheist with degrees from two liberal universities, I am not exactly the target demographic for this book (or for this author, for that matter).  Despite feeling duped by the marketing, I made the effort to read the entire thing.  Honestly, had I stopped at any point before reaching the end,…

Happy Bookaversary! A Review of "Edge of Darkness" by Karen Rose

Title: Edge of Darkness
Author: Karen Rose
ISBN: 9780399583087
Publisher: Berkeley
Series: Cincinnati Series
Price: $5.98 (Paperback) $7.99 (e-book) $28.28(Audible)
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


It seems like I've been reading Karen Rose novels my entire life.  I remember the day I came across Count to Ten in the Duane Reade on Queens Blvd.  I'd finished the paperback I brought with me to school that day while sitting in the Dining Hall eating lunch and needed something for the long bus ride home.  I almost didn't buy it because it was $9.99 and I hadn't gotten my financial aid money yet, but the cover copy called to me.  Not even the 500+ page count could scare me away.

I recently learned that Edge of Darkness is Ms. Rose's 20th book and in a strange way, I feel like a proud mama watching her child cross the stage to get their diploma.  I'm just a big ball of happy nostalgia, thinking back to all of the other books I've read by her and hopeful about the ones to come, so befor…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year--Christmas in September

The day after Labor Day I woke up to an email from my contacts at St. Martin’s Press, inviting me to review six of their upcoming Christmas books, all of which have release dates in early October. For most people, this would probably be a problem — who wants to think about Christmas before Halloween — but for me, I’ve always had a soft spot for the man in the red suit. Even after I stopped believing in the Christ-Myth, I still loved that one holiday. To me, Christmas represents everything that Thanksgiving is supposed to be, but with better music and no obligatory turkey. Some of my favorite books have a Christmas theme and so I jumped at the chance to review those six books (well, five of them because the sixth has to do with cowboys and if there is one sub-genre I just cannot do is cowboys). I read the first two, With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins and Deck the Halls by Donna Alward, fairly quickly, especially since they’re both novellas. Both are being released in a little o…