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Level Up

(Fandom Hearts #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  1,931 ratings  ·  395 reviews
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. ...more
ebook, 154 pages
Published April 11th 2017 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 3rd 2016)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,931 ratings  ·  395 reviews

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Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What? A book about gamers that actually portray them as normal human beings?
A heroine who actually has a backbone and (gasp) dreams?
A hero who doesn't sleep with every XX chromosome bearing human in the vicinity?
A healthy relationship between them, unmarred by misunderstandings, unnecessary angst and whatever crap most authors come up with to prolong the story?
And dare I mention... A story with normal sex? No BDSM at all?

Perish the thought!

What is this world coming to?

Oh, the horror! The
Paula M
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
for more reviews, please visit Her Book Thoughts!

“You're worth it. And I'm not just going to quietly let you go. I'm fighting for this one...”

If you want a romance book that would fit to any young adult reader and above, this one is for you. Level Up is the definition of Romantic Comedy. Cathy Yardley just mixed the right ingredients to make a RomCom that stays away from cliche but stays close to absolutely readable. I'm so lucky that I get to review because as I'm writ
“Oh, and Tessa?" Ani smirked. "I love that you combed your hair, but couldn't bother to put on a shirt." Then she hung up.
Tessa covered her bare breasts. "Damn it," she said. "I thought the camera was angled up higher.”

This story was such a pleasant surprise and just what I needed to help me emerge from my 2017 reading slump. With some notable exceptions, I have been having a hard time getting into new stories this year and seem to find comfort in re-reading some of my past favourites. Not s
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***3.5 Stars***

This was cute! My first read by this author and a good introduction! I definitely plan on checking out the rest of this series and more of her books.

Here you get a slow burn between roommates + close working conditions + closer conditions when a storm rolls in and they have to huddle for warmth

I really liked Adam and Tessa. The evolution of their relationship felt natural and honest.

Throw in a bunch of gamer and fandom friends and this was a nerdfest that made me smile from start
Anne Boleyn's Ghost
A delightful darling of a tale. Level Up is both a light and sweet roommates-to-friends-to-lovers romance and a "girl, keep on kicking butt and taking names" affirmation.

The following goodies are in store for you:

*All hail STEM heroines! As a gal who has always, well, sucked at math, I can't emphasize enough my admiration of women thriving in their respective STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. Tessa, a coder and aspiring video game engineer, is dedicated and ambitio
Al George
OMG Darling. This book was darling

Welcome to my world. I live with coders, designers, gamers, and so on. And I loved reading about my world! This book was a super quick read, had some great one liners and was just a ton of fun.

I adored Tessa, the heroine. She's smart. She's confident. She wore a Sailor Moon costume! To work no less. I need to try that. Course, I am to old for that and would probably scare the boys around here, but I bet I would also get their attention! When she decides she wan
"So I guess you're the one using sex to sell, now."

She blushed, her cheeks going a deep dusty rose. "Sailor Moon isn't sexy."

"Are you kidding?" [Adam] laughed. "That short skirt? Long hair? The boots with heels? Totally sexy."

If you've ever been into fandoms, I'm pretty sure this book will be relatable. It's such a fun, geeky book, with mentions of plenty of tv shows, games and anime. And though these characters are into geeky things (like fangirling over tv shows, mentioning conventions and cos
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My first review of the year 2016 and it is definitely going to be an exciting one because I just loved this book to pieces. The process of me loving it was this:

Me: Oh, it’s the last day of the Christmas holiday. I should do some extra studying to stay ahead!
Me: But there is this blog tour coming up, so I should probably start reading…
*starts reading*
Me: I’ll read another chapter and then stop
*one hour later*
*reads, giggles, adores
This wasn't a bad book, per se, but it had a lot of weird moments.

The Good:
- I really liked Tessa a lot, she's an introvert who's working on getter better in social situations but she also is really ambitious about where she wants to be in her career, especially as a woman working in a heavily male-dominated field. I love that she succeeds and is recognized for her abilities!
- I liked that the relationship was one of friendship and mutual respect that evolves nicely into romance.

The Bad:
- I was
~**Anna**~ A Romance Reader
This was a fun, quick, light read. It was just what I needed after reading some darker books recently.

Adam is so cute! I loved him! And Tessa was great too. I really liked the gaming/cosplaying/coding scene. It was very entertaining.

Overall a great read, with endearing characters and a sweet, sexy love story.

My favorite scene from the whole book, thanks to Adam:

"He stopped, then did the most perfect Sherlock hair-ruffle she’d ever seen. Then he reached out, framed her face, and laid the most
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
Update: 8/10/17

It's so unmemorable, I literally don't even remember what it's about anymore. And it's only been a month. Sooo....I think it's time to downgrade....1.5 stars


2 stars

When I got to the 85% mark, I realized that I had read this book before.

Talk about unmemorable.


Geeky/fandom contemporaries are my frakking kryptonite.

Alexis Hall
This was super charming - mostly fluffy, but also ... *briefly leaves lane* ... fairly clear-sighted about the place of women in male-dominated industries (especially women of colour) and male-dominated spheres. I think it struck a nice balance of showing how the heroine, while not dominated by those experiences, was affected them, and deftly managing the needs of the story alongside its more political aspects. The heroine is lovely--introverted, geeky, competent--and the hero is not a dick (at ...more
Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ by: sraxe

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

🌟 I read this for the Yule Bingo Challenge, for the category of Butter-Beer: a sweet book. For more info on this challenge, click here. 🌟 

I'm taking advantage of the holiday break to clean out my Kindle, and LEVEL UP has been a book I've been wanting to read for a while. Not only did it come highly recommended by my friend sraxe, it also features a STEM heroine of color and an adorable romance based on mutual respect and not "dat ass."

Jane Stewart
4 ½ stars. Fun read. I enjoyed the whole thing. Excellent dialogue.

Heroine Tessa is a computer programmer in a company that makes video games. She is qualified to be a coder (programmer) and wants a promotion to be part of the coding group. But so far her job is merely providing sound for video games. Her co-worker and roommate is Adam. Tessa is an introvert. She becomes friends with a group of women. It was fun reading about the friendships and her relationship with Adam.

The plot and conflicts
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute. Cute. Cute.
A pretty real feeling short book about gamers finding love and themselves. Too sweet!
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

Nice and sweet! Some minor quibbles with the writing - some phrases got repeated over and over. I loved the feminist and anti-sexism and anti-homophobia messages but they came out as over-the-top and preachy occasionally. Still, I quite enjoyed this quick read! Yay for female POC game engineer!!!

Full review:

I picked this book for free a couple of weeks ago on Amazon (and it is still free!) because I was intrigued by the premise - a geek gamers' romance with a Latina heroine who is a rea
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never wanted so badly to smush two characters’ faces together! Tessa is an engineer at a game company, and other than going to work, she doesn’t get out much. But events conspire to thrust her not just into a new much-needed group of girlfriends, but into the arms of her roommate, Adam, who is also her coworker. Tessa and Adam have always had a friendly but distant rapport, but when he agrees to help her out with a side project, they start seeing each other in a new light. I’m sure I’m bi ...more
Nerd love!! ❤❤❤

Yeah I got nothing done in the day I spent every spare minute reading this. I had terrible sleeping last night because of the anxiety of ending on a nerve wracking chapter. Loved it like I loved Ruthie Knox's Truly. Yay for swoony adorkable novellas. This one sings the song of my people, can't wait for more of the series!
Amy M.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, ebook
I loved this book! It was funny, sweet and smart. It was refreshing to read a romance without all the misogynistic double standards.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I rated this 4.5 stars, but rounded up to 5 stars on Goodreads.

So I saw that Bark's Book and Nonsense marked this as to read on Goodreads and it looked like the kind of book right up my alley so I went and got this and finished it up this weekend. A very fast and entertaining read. I think that some things could be improved for future books in the series, but this was a solid first book.

Told in the third person, Level Up has roommates and coworkers Tessa Rodriguez and Adam Lond
May 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

I really liked what this book was doing in terms of representation of women in male-dominated industries like gaming, women in fandom, and the misogyny that women often face in these spaces. I also liked that the MC is a Latinx woman because there is often even less representation and space for women of color in these places. Unfortunately, I really did not care about the romance. And that's kind of the point? It's a case of really wanting to love something, but ultimatel
Well, that's a lovely short chick-lit novel with totally relatable main character. I mean it. She's a programmer, she's a geek, she's introvert, she skypes her best friend because they live in different places, e.t.c. She's like the cooler, smarter and more professional version of me lol

I liked the book because it is simple and light. It's not something big but it's enough to spend some time and relax. It is a book about friendship, relationships (healthy relationships without ugly misunderstand
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this one. Sweet and wonderfully nerdy.
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
awww this was cute and perfect. I'm a sucker for a good geek love story! ...more
After a bumpy couple months, I needed a quick, positive, fun read. Level Up fit the bill. The first couple chapters read bit amateurish and trying too hard to be geeky, but Yardley recovers from there to present a pleasant rom-com. Tessa and Adam are a nice pairing with convincing chemistry (though I never could visualize Tessa as Latina. Her ethnicity felt stated vs organic.) The rest of the characters are caricature-ish, but that's ok. The book's not about them. Yardley clearly introducing the ...more
Kate Sherwood
I use the actual translations for the Goodreads stars, so two stars means "it was okay".

But I didn't love it. Maybe another case of having hopes too high, but...

The reason for the first kiss was so out-of-the-blue weird, never-mentioned-again, totally-random that it just felt like the author got desperate and threw it in;

I didn't like Adam that much - I mean, one woman dumps him to pursue her career so he will no longer trust any woman who cares about her job? That's his internal conflict? ((vie
I liked this one. Tessa and Adam were sweet and adorably dorky together. Tessa's crippling social anxiety puts out standoffish signals to the men she works with and she's been relegated to the position of audio tech when she wants to be doing so much more.

What's a girl to do when she wants to get ahead? She shows them how good she is, of course. And somewhere along the way she ends up falling for her roommate. There's an awful lot of kissing involved in their brainstorming, btw. It's adorable.

2.5 stars

Level Up is romance novel about two programmers falling in love. They are also roommates, they work together and they embark on a quest to save local independent bookstore. On paper, the novel sounds great and promising, however the book was mediocre at best and unfortunately even lower than that.
2.5 is the very accurate rating representation of my feelings towards the book but in clear conscience I couldn’t round it up to 3 goodreads stars.

Adam and Tessa are the main characters. Both
Oct 13, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, romance
The concept of Level Up was right up my alley but I was really disappointed with the execution. With shorter romances like this one, I expect that the romance plot take center stage. Level Up focused much more on Tessa's goal to get her dream job as a game designer than the relationship between her and Adam.

Everything about the romance itself was just...meh. Adam seemed like a flat character who didn't have much characterization beyond how nice he was. I have nothing wrong with nice romance int
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The Review Chain: Discussion: Level Up! 5 9 Jul 17, 2017 01:01PM  

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Cathy Yardley is an award-winning author of romance, chick lit, and urban fantasy, who has sold over 1.2 million copies of books for publishers like St. Martin's, Avon, and Harlequin. She writes fun, geeky, and diverse characters who believe that underdogs can make good and that sometimes being a little wrong is just right. ...more

Other books in the series

Fandom Hearts (6 books)
  • One True Pairing (Fandom Hearts, #2)
  • Game of Hearts (Fandom Hearts, #3)
  • What Happens at Con (Fandom Hearts, #4)
  • Playing Doctor (Fandom Hearts, #5)
  • Ship of Fools (Fandom Hearts, #6)

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