Thursday, 14 January 2016

Level Up (Review, Tour & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Level Up (Fandom Hearts #1)
Author:  Cathy Yardley
Publisher:  Self-published
Published Date: 3rd January 2016
Rating: 5 stars

*Thanks to CBB Book Promotions for the review copy*

Synopsis: 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…

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?

Review: 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*
*giggles*
Me: I’ll read another chapter and then stop
*one hour later*
Me: ASDFGHJKL THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD
Me: NEVER STOP READING
*reads, giggles, adores book, wants to inhale it*
Me: Finished! Oh goodness… when did it become 1am?

If that doesn’t show just how much I loved this book, I think maybe this review will.

I immediately fell in love with the writing style of this book. It opens with a skype conversation where Tessa is talking to her best friend who is living abroad for her studying course. I just loved how their conversation just sounded so realistic and flowed so well. From that point onwards it was easy to tell that the writing style would be fun and not deter from the reading experience at all, but instead add to it all the more.

The book was also very true to the series title. It was about fandoms. Tessa meets a wonderful group of girls who are all nerds at heart. And by nerds, I mean they reference shows like Doctor Who, Sherlock and Supernatural. (Superwholock, basically! And if you know me, you know I love ALL those shows.) They also mention some shows I don’t watch and generally are girls who love their fandoms. I could really relate to that as being a dedicated fangirl myself, so I was chuffed to see it so well translated into a novel.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. Tessa is a gamer, and it is a pretty difficult business for a girl to break into. Cathy Yardley manages to make time to five into the whole feminism aspect of needing to work very hard as a female to reach the top of the game in a most testosterone run business. Tessa sticks up for girls and other minorities as well, which you can see reflected in her character and some of the happenings in the book.

The secondary characters weren’t the most developed characters in the world, but it was okay because what we got to see was their relationships. You could tell that all the girls had such a close bond even though their personalities were very different – as you can tell as soon as they are each introduced. One of them, called Cressida, is even an agoraphobic (someone who never leaves the house.) That wasn’t given a large focus, but it was nice to see it in passing.

But there were Adam’s friends too! He had a lovely guys gang which again, the author captured perfectly. I loved the way the guys were all fun and games and teasing, yet underneath you could tell that they all really cared about each other too. I really liked seeing the dynamics of their close knit gang.

Being me, I am not someone who is interesting in gaming and all the video games people can spend hours playing. I am especially not interested in coding (it’s so hard to prompt myself to do it for the blog) and I was a bit nervous reading a book where the main character is centered on that. However, somehow the author got even me excited about coding, which was surprising to me!

Now for the best part! The romance! The whole time the author was very teasing and there was quite a build-up. There were challenges set by friends, rules and near-misses which Tessa and Adam seemed to experience quite a lot. They had a few moments that made me want to bang their heads together and say ‘just DATE already!’ But the romance truly was heated and teasing. I will say that it is more a light NA kind of romance than a YA one because there are explicit scenes with detail to them as well.

To summarise? This book ticked all my boxes. I’ve been in the mood for contemporary romances lately, and this one was all I wanted with a mix of fandoms in there too.

About the Author: Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing, she is probably cruising the Internet, sleeping or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She is a closet fangirl for Supernatural, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and too many others to name. Her family is considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture. Want to read more of her writing? Sign up for her notification list, and get a free novella, Hooked, from the Fandom Hearts series! 

Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Giveaway: Enter to win a $25 Amazon Giftcard! Open internationally!



Olivia’s Question: What’s your biggest fandom?

Olivia-Savannah x

57 comments:

  1. This sounds adorable! I love geeky romances because they're so easy to relate to. If you love this maybe try out Maggie & the Mercury Retrograde. It's an adorably geeky romance about a female gamer too. And I think my biggest fandom in Harry Potter, cliched I know but the truth.

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    1. I will have to check that out! After reading this one, I know it sounds like my kind of book :3

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  2. Thank you SO MUCH for review this book. It's going straight onto the pile. O_O It looks like such a fun read! I really can't wait to get to it.

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    1. It really is! I hope you love it just like I did when you read it :D

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  3. loved your review Olivia - particularly your descriptions of yourself reading the book ;)

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  4. Sounds good! I love it when a character is geeky and talks about the same things I like!

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  5. [ Smiles ] Nice book review.

    If I was your next-door neighbour, I would have raided your library (Hmm. It is a good thing that we live thousands of miles from each other).

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    1. Ahaha yes it must be a good thing in the end :D I am glad to know that I have you interested in reading though!

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  6. OMG! I knew when I saw that awesome cover that this would be a great read. I want want want!!!! It seems to be an amazing blend of all things geeky and sweet. Awesome review Olivia!

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    1. BTW, my biggest fandom is Divergent, but Twilight comes in at 2nd place. Yes, I still communicate with all my twihard buddies.

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    2. The cover was the first thing that caught my eye, and then when I read the synopsis I knew I wanted to be on that tour! I hope you read it and love it too <3 I am part of both of those fandoms and love them both <333

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  7. This book sounds sooo cute. I'm snatching it up. I love books with nerds and geeks. I like to think I'm one myself! :)

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    1. Please love it just as much as me <3 I like to consider myself one of them too ahaha :D

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  8. Olivia, thanks for such an awesome review! I'm so glad you liked the book. I loved writing it, and can't wait to share more about the girls in the rest of the series. Thanks again!! :D

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    1. It was a brilliantly written book and I can't wait to read the rest of the series! Definitely looking forward to it ;)

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  9. Yep. I need this. This sounds perfect.

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  10. So happy to hear you enjoyed this one! Thank you so much for hosting a tour stop and sharing your thoughts!

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    1. It was my pleasure! I will be looking out for other promising books like this one in future tours too :D

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  11. Aww I love books with Geeky characters in them! This book actually seems pretty funny.
    Let's see...What’s your biggest fandom? I would say The Sweet Series by Wendy Higgins. I'm in love with those books.

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    1. Andrea, I just want to say thank you for all the support you give my blog and also all of my social media sites! I need to look into that series because I don't think I have heard of it before?

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  12. I love the sound of this. And that it kept you up til 1:00 am reading it is even more of an indicator. Great review. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. When a book keeps me up all night then I know it is epic for sure ;)

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  13. I haven't heard about this book before your post and even from the synopsis I know that I'm going to like it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention :)

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    1. I am glad you've been introduced to it now! You should definitely try and read it :3

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  14. this book really sounds like such an adorable and fun read and who doesn't love geeky references while reading? I sure do! Fantastic review Olivia! And my biggest fandom is The Potterheads. Today it hasn't been the greatest for us but I love how the community stands together <3

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    1. The more geeky references, the happier I am! It was so sad to hear about Alan's passing :( It really has been amazing to see you all coming together though <3

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  15. OMG. Sold! I'm completely sold. Where do I sign up?!

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    1. YAY! Please read this and love this something fierce :D

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  16. Really enjoyed reading your review, thank you!

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  17. I jumped to click on this review right when I saw the title and the cover, because I knew it would sound just adorable! Geeky and romantic, just how everyone likes it ;) Great review!

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    1. And adorable it completely is! Hope you read this one and give it a chance too x

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  18. Haha this looks like a really fun read. Relatable on some levels too!

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  19. Sounds like a good one and that it sucked you in

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  20. Oh my goodness. This book sounds fantastic! You had me at Superwholock! <333 Great review!!

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  21. So happy to see you loved this one. It sounds absolutely wonderful and my kind of read. I will definitely be adding this to my TBR!!! :)

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    1. Hope you love it too! It's just so wonderful :3

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  22. I don't think I would have given this book a second look if I hadn't read this, but you make it sound like such a fun read - I'll definitely be checking it out now!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. It is a book I think many people could overlook, but I hope some will give it a chance and find the inner gem to this one ;)

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  23. Ooh I've had my eye on this book for quite a while!! I thought the concept sounded very endearing.

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    1. Can't wait to hear your thoughts when you're able to get to it.

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  24. The cover is really cute! It also just looks really good for a self published book! Most of the self published books I stumble upon have horrible covers...
    I don't read a lot of contemporary, but this sounds like a one I would really enjoy ^_^ I will have to add it to my way too long TBR...

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    1. It can be hard to find the golden ones among the sea of self published books, but I try and keep an eye out and this one is good! Hope you love it x

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  25. Thanks for the review. I somehow like the story.

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  26. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    I would really like to win to buy many many books!

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    1. Reading is the best thing to spend the money <3

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