TITLE: Level Up
AUTHOR(S): Cathy Yardley
SERIES: Fandom Hearts #1
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
PUBLICATION DATE: January 3, 2016
LENGTH: 151 pages
DATE READ: September 2016
READING CHALLENGES: 2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge; 2016 New To You Reading Challenge
THEMES/TROPES: Friends to Lovers, Office Romance, Geek Romance, Unusual Occupations
RATING: 4.25 STARS
Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…MY THOUGHTS:
Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.
Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?
Level Up is an adorable story that I discovered thanks to Sarah over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I have a thing for geeks in romance and, once I learned that the couple worked together at a video game company, I knew I had to read it. And it was super entertaining with an amazing heroine, a sweet, and some fabulous friends.
Tessa Rodriguez dreams of being a video game engineer, but knows that it will take more than her exceptional skills to break into the upper echelons of the company. Thankfully, she comes across the opportunity to create a video game from scratch that will help new friends and, hopefully, impress her bosses. But, as good as Tessa is, she does need some assistance and receives it from her roommate and co-worker, Adam. Adam and Tessa have always gotten along as friends and working together on the project forces them to discover that there might be something more than friendship between them.
I absolutely adored Tessa! She was smart, funny, and completely relatable to me. I really connected with her struggles to be more outgoing and was so excited when she met the bookstore girls. I admired her determination to reach for what she wanted and how she dealt with microaggressions within her workplace. She is definitely a heroine that I wanted to be friends with and I wanted only the best for her.
I thought that Adam was a decent hero for Tessa. He is sweet and understanding though does have a few moments where he needed to be brought down to earth. I wasn't super excited with the way that he dealt with his ex-girlfriend, but I understood why the author made the choices that she did. Adam's character had to do some growing in order to be worthy of Tessa (IMO) and, while he wasn't perfect by the end, I thought he showed enough potential for me to believe in the happy ending.
Besides Tessa, my favorite part of this book was the depiction of Tessa's new friendship who will be getting their own stories later on in the series. I appreciated how diverse these women were in their occupations, appearances, and personalities yet they were able to connect on their love of various fandoms. I have a few friendships like this in my life and the scenes between these ladies felt very real. I am definitely excited to see them get their own stories soon.
Level Up is an easy read that showed a lot of heart. Tessa and her friends were real stand-outs that made the story come alive for me. I enjoyed Cathy Yardley's writing style and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
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