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Level Up

(#gaymers #4)

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  661 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material, and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey turns out to be not
ebook, 132 pages
Published May 17th 2018 by Annabeth Albert (first published March 13th 2018)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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 ·  661 ratings  ·  120 reviews

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Start your review of Level Up (#gaymers, #4)
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I love Annabeth Albert but Level Up, a novella in the #Gaymers universe, isn't quite as impressive as her usual stuff.

I mostly struggled with Landon, who had a troubled sexual history. I felt for him for all that he went through, but I still hated how he treated the infinitely patient Bailey. Landon kept Bailey at arms length and though Bailey was very considerate of Landon's feelings, Landon didn't give Bailey the same respect.

I liked the mild kinkiness and heat, and I liked the side story wi
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
I'm Annabeth Albert's biggest fangirl. Her stories are the perfect blend of spicy and sweet. But, sadly, this story lacked any sort of oomph to make it stand out.

Level Up is a novella about a physics professor and photographer, both gaming geeks, who meet at a photo shoot. Bailey and Landon flirt virtually for weeks before they meet. Landon, about to take his clothes off for a charity calendar, is fully prepared to meet Bailey, the petite, pink-haired girl who often appears on Bailey's Instagra
Annabeth Albert is a prolific writer and I've read many, many, of her books. I can honestly say I've enjoyed all of them.

Level Up features Landon who some of you may remember from the #Gaymers series or from the Out of Uniform series since he was Pike's roommate. Landon has a secret that only his very oldest friends know. In his late teens he suffered a horrific trauma that has left him with lifelong panic attacks. These have made it very difficult, nearly impossible, for him to have any type of
h o l l i s
LEVEL UP is a story about healing and acceptance. Albert sensitively tackles trauma and anxiety in a very delicate and understanding way without exploiting either.

Bailey was a cuddly understanding teddy bear, willing to step back, be supportive, and do whatever was needed for Landon's comfort, while Landon struggled with his demons and couldn't always appreciate Bailey's support when overwhelmed. Naturally their relationship was fraught from the get-go but I appreciated the friends-to-maybe-mor
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
You know, I liked it but didn't love it like I thought I would. I mean,

Annabeth Albert + cyberlove + hurt/comfort/healing

I thought it'd be a guarantee, but it was too short.

1. I felt as if the novella itself started at a quarter of the book. We missed out on their first exchanges which were a real shame. We missed out on their initial connection which is a pivotal part of any romance book.


2. The story ends abruptly. So, they made up and decided to give things a shot and then (view spoiler
~nikki the recovering book addict

This was so sweet! Not tooth achingly sweet. Just, heart warmingly sweet 😬

I don’t know why but I expected a short, 5 chapter max novella. So I’m pleasantly surprised that while still shorter than the conventional book, it’s 12 chapters long and fully formed.

I think Bailey is a saint and Landon is a lovable geek. Complete with tragic hang ups that Bailey was so, so awesome and understanding about.

Angst level: low. There still were mildly angst-y moments but it wasn’t overly drawn out. An
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I am a long time fan of Annabeth Albert so I was really excited to read Level Up and I was not disappointed. I adored Landon and Bailey; they were just too perfect together. Bailey was the most understanding, sweet guy there is and considering he's also this bearded giant, it made the perfect mix. Landon is bisexual and he prefers to be with men or women who are smaller in stature. In college he was drugged and sexually assaulted at a frat party and since then he's struggled with panic attacks.

May 16, 2018 rated it liked it
What starts as a short introduction and details about a charity calendar photoshoot turns into a forty-plus email chain about gaming and other things in common with the tone turning very flirty by the time Landon arrives at the Los Angeles’s Central Library ready to meet his crush, photographer Bailey. Really, Bailey is one the main reasons Landon is even willing to go through with a *gasp* nude charity calendar photoshoot.

Bailey Morgan is super excited to meet Landon, and is hoping to take thi
Nadine Bookaholic
Let me start off by saying that I am a BIG fan of Annabeth Albert's books, she is my favorite LGBTQ author and honestly there hasn't been anything that she has written that I didn't enjoy, this book was no different. I love, love, loved the way she had the nerdy yet extremely sexy scientist pose for a charity calendar. When most people think of nerds or geeks or any other term you would use for a brainiac they don't think all! This is sad but true the majority of people think of pocket ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoy the author's work, particularly the #gaymers and Portland Heat books. So was excited to read this.

I liked the blurb and it started well. Bailey, big burly and bearded photographer has a little crush on his "model for the day" Landon. They meet for the first time after an online conversation leading up to the photoshoot, where flirting has ensued and a number of things in common i.e."gaming" has sparked an interest. However, Landon is still dealing with past baggage and is a little
There was something definitely missing from this story.

I don't know what it was but I just couldn't connect with anything in this. Nothing.

It had an interesting premise and began well but, I was bored by the 30% mark and situations didn't improve much for the rest of the story. It was all about Bailey tip-toeing around Landon from beginning till the end with Landon unwilling to make any compromises of his own. That seemed very unfair to me and actually prevented me from feeling any kind of kinsh
2.5 stars

Sorry, but this is MEH read for me. I struggle to care for these characters OR their way of connecting; meaning all the talks about game. Not a gamer. Never will be a gamer. Will also NEVER be interested in gaming one way or another. Plus the aim of them connecting seem to also about executing sexual intimacy because of Landon's panic attack; which kinda bore me

I guess the story just doesn't click with me *shrugs*
Courtney Bassett
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wrote-review, mm
A sweet addition to the series.

I was going to say this was a slow burn, but then I went over the timeline in my head and realized it wasn’t all THAT slow.

Still, it’s sweet how patient one character is over the other’s panic attacks, and it feels realistic that they aren’t magically fixed by love. It’s still something they have to work around and be aware of. They make a great couple, and it was an enjoyable read.
This was sweet. I liked it but for some reason I just didn't feel a connection with either MC or their story. ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
Originally read and reviewed in the Exposed Anthology.

****4 stars****
This story is maybe the longest in this bundle, and it dragged a bit. It's about Landon, who made an appearance in the gaymers and the Out of Uniform series as well. He was Pike's roommate.
I really liked this one, because it wasn't stereotypical. With the name Landon, I instantly thought about a tall and burly guy; and with Bailey, a quirky twink comes to mind. And they were the exact opposite. Landon was a shy man in nature, a
Joyfully Jay
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jay
A Joyfully Jay review.

4 stars

Level Up was originally published as part of the Exposed anthology and is now available as a stand alone novella. It is very loosely connected to Albert’s #gaymers series as Landon appears as a side character there, but you definitely don’t need to have read that series to follow this story. The books connect more thematically in that gaming is a big deal for both these guys and something they do together quite a bit during the book.

This is a sweet story with a litt
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars...sweet, sexy short story...
Angie Elle
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Review to come.
Erica Chilson
I received a copy of this title to read and review for Wicked Reads

Level Up is a story set in the Gaymers universe but can easily be read as a standalone.

*trying to be spoiler-free

With a small cast of characters, Annabeth Albert puts the focus solely on the couple, centering on their budding romance, with nothing else muddying up their evolving relationship. This created a full story within a novella.

While there is instantaneous lust on Bailey's part, the story has more of a slow-building fr
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the story but not the editing.

I liked the premise. The characters were interesting. The sex hot 🔥and fun both.

Bailey's self-deprecating mind set bothered me. He had a father who had panic attacks but he still always blamed himself. He never talked with his very happily married parents about panic attacks. Never asked for insights. He googled panic attacks once and only once. He was always fearful of being the catalyst of another attack.

Landon never discussed, considered or attempted counse
Roberta Blablanski
Cute read. Bailey and Landon are adorable characters. I love how accommodating and aware Bailey is when it comes to Landon's needs and limitations. Their interactions are really well written. ...more
Melissa Rae
Annabeth Albert is one of my go-to authors in the MM genre. When I saw that she was releasing another book about gaming nerds who fall in love, I was totally on board. But, for some reason, I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as her others. I liked it, but I was not exactly in love with it.


Landon, a quirky genius physicist, is roped into doing a nude charity calendar. Something he is very much reluctant about doing. The only good thing about the whole event is that he has been chatting with t
Isabella ~Mikku-chan~
*~~*ARC kindly provided by the author to me in exchange for an honest review *~~*

If I have to narrow down what I love most in books, it's quite clear I love the trope friends-to-lovers, gamers and other geeky/nerdy stuff, addiationally spiked with guys (or ladies ;)) who love animals or have a heart for children.
With Level Up Annabeth Albert gives me almost everything from this said check list.

The book is most exquisite in how it fleshes the characters out; I adored Landon right from the start;
I gotta say, though this book was short, really novella-length, and though I had a problem with ehm too much sex, this felt like a full length story. Landon and Bailey were so adorable together. Bailey truly was the sweetest most considerate and patient guy! He might not have been who Landon was expecting and/or the guy he would think he would fall for - but he sure did.

Volunteering for a (nude) photo-shot for a calendar isn't exactly Landon's cup of tea but he accepts - for science! Also he ha
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story was originally published in the "Exposed" anthology and is loosely connected to both the "Gaymers" Series and the "Out of Uniform" Series. Somehow I missed reading it until now, which is a real shame because not only do I love both of those series but I truly love Landon and Bailey.

Landon is a physicist who suffers from past trauma, which I won't spoil it by going into detail. However, I must say that Ms Albert nailed it with her descriptions of his thoughts, emotions and physical fee
Ruthie Taylor
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
~~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads ~~

This is a very enjoyable novella which has some links to characters in other Ms Albert's series. It could definitely be read as a standalone, but was richer to me for having read the Gaymer books, and the first of Out of Uniform books.

Landon's past has left him suffering from panic attacks and fear of large men, so Bailey is at an immediate disadvantage, given his size and gender, but he really falls for Landon. His pati
Resch Reads
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This read was just okay for me. It was a quick story with an adorable meet-cute misunderstanding. But it just seemed like a lot of back-history baggage to cram into such a short story.

Landon has a lot of trauma, most of which appears he is not working through in any way, shape, or form. In fact, I would suggest his tactic for coping is avoidance. Unfortunately for Landon, he already has growing feelings from Bailey, long before the two meet in person. But the budding friendship turned relationsh
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

This is a romance with a trauma recovery theme, between a bi physics researcher (who you might recognize from the #gaymers series) and a gay bear photographer.

Read the rest of my review on my blog.

Content Warnings (view spoiler)
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is and quirky addition to the Gaymers series. There are sparks from the start between physicist Landon and photographer Bailey but distance and past trauma make a relationship between them difficult.

There are so many things I really liked about this relatively short story. I loved Landon’s easy bisexuality. I appreciated the author’s sensitive and realistic approach to the long-term effects of sexual assault. I loved the
Altivo Overo
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non-panic attack

This novelette deals with the realities and rough spots of a new and complex relationship. That the surprise twist comes at the beginning only makes it cuter. Sweet, cautious, hanging within reach of collapse, the protagonists work their way together through the maze of twisty little passages. The game here doesn't require a console or computer, fortunately. But it does require patience, skill, and finesse.
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Play Book Tag: Level Up by Annabeth Albert - 3 stars 1 7 Feb 12, 2021 01:22PM  

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Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Other books in the series

#gaymers (4 books)
  • Status Update (#gaymers, #1)
  • Beta Test (#gaymers, #2)
  • Connection Error (#gaymers, #3)

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