Level Up
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 exactly what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

Level Up Details

TitleLevel Up
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 17th, 2018
PublisherAnnabeth Albert
Rating
GenreRomance, M M Romance, Contemporary

Level Up Review

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 with friends of Landon and Bailey getting together (though I think it got proportionately more page time than it should have), but the combo of the novella format and my issues with Landon really cut back on my enjoyment. All in all, Level Up was a good story with some nice aspects but mostly forgettable. *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
    more
  • ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 Instagram and who Landon assumes is Bailey.But Bailey is not a girl. He's a guy, a big, burly, bearded guy with a kind heart and infectious smile. Unfortunately for Bailey, who's nursing a massive crush, Landon doesn't like big men. Oh, he likes men; he's bi. But he was assaulted in college and carries a fear of being held down and overpowered. This is a slow burn story with plenty of heat. Bailey and Landon bond over late-night gaming sessions and nipple play. But Landon is reluctant to go further lest he have a panic attack when Bailey tries to kiss or cuddle him, even though Bailey is incredibly patient and doesn't push Landon into anything.Honestly, I never warmed up to Landon. I was sympathetic to his past trauma, but his unwillingness to give Bailey a chance was really obnoxious. I was scratching my head wondering what Bailey saw in Landon, who pushed him away constantly and was really kind of a jerk. I kept forgetting that Landon, as a professor, had to be close to 30. He acted more like a college student.There is a side plot involving Landon and Bailey's best friends, Savannah and Rachel, who begin a romance of their own. I didn't think this added much to the story and got kind of impatient with the whole thing. For a novella, Level Up has fairly well developed characters and a shiny, if tentative, HEA. It's a cute story, but I wasn't particularly invested in the MCs or their romance. I was missing that zing.
    more
  • Fabi
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 stable relationship with another person. But he's never met anyone like Bailey.Bailey is the sweetest, kindest, most sincerely giving person. Unfortunately, he's also a big, burly, bearded guy who is sure to trigger Landon.Their relationship is slow going, walking through the minefield of Landon's triggers. But Bailey won't give up. He has endless patience and is earnest in his desire to make Landon feel comfortable. I'm not shy about admitting that Bailey stole the show for me. While I could sympathize with Landon, I really connected with Bailey in his quest for becoming Landon's safe place. That took a lot of work and huge character strength.So, yes, another very enjoyable story from Annabeth Albert.A big thank you to Lori at Indigo Marketing & Design for the ARC
    more
  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    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 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-more slowburn between them and honestly every moment with Bailey was a joy. Despite some of the depth of this short story, it was, as mentioned, a short one and I think I would have liked an expanded version more. But it was filled with a lot of sweetness and I really loved the final chapter of this one. ** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
    more
  • .Lili.
    January 1, 1970
    You know, I liked it but didn't love it like I thought I would. I mean, Annabeth Albert + cyberlove + hurt/comfort/healingI 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. and 2. The story ends abruptly. So, they made up and decided to give things a shot and then (view spoiler You know, I liked it but didn't love it like I thought I would. I mean, Annabeth Albert + cyberlove + hurt/comfort/healingI 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. and 2. The story ends abruptly. So, they made up and decided to give things a shot and then (view spoiler)[ they're buying a bed (hide spoiler)]. How did they get to that point? I blinked, and it was some months down the road. I think that had Level Up been longer it would've been better for me. I felt like we only got the middle part of the book and was gipped out of the beginning of the story and the resolution of the conflict. It was sweet overall though and great if you want a quick romance fix. :) 3.5 Stars
    more
  • ~nikki the recovering book addict
    January 1, 1970
    DawwwwwThis 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 DawwwwwThis 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. And not unnecessarily thrown in just for the sake of it. This would be totally appropriate on a lazy Sunday. But well, guess it ain’t too bad for a madly crazy Wednesday either 🤪
    more
  • Elsa Bravante
    January 1, 1970
    Novella vinculada a la serie gaymers. Bonita, pero no mucho más.
  • Nadine Bookaholic
    January 1, 1970
    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 sexy..at all! This is sad but true the majority of people think of pocket 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 sexy..at all! This is sad but true the majority of people think of pocket protectors, glasses, and possibly even a pimply face, but I am happy to say Annabeth thinks out of the box. Landon was very hot and sexy and Bailey was really taken with him.You can find my full review along with an #excerpt and #giveaway here: https://nadineisobsessedwithbooks.blo...Originally found in Exposed: A Romance Anthology
    more
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 hesitant to continue the emerging friendship when they actually meet. This was a surprisingly slow paced story for a novella read. I did struggle with Landon, a lot. His trauma was awful, but it was still dominating his life years later and I felt like he needed more help around issues he very obviously still had when intimate. Also, being a College Professor, I was surprised he wasn't a little more "grown up" with his wellbeing?? And Bailey. I wanted to hug him and whisper *run, run far away*. I wanted to applaud his empathy and understanding whilst dealing with Landon, but it seemed like he was constantly the one compromising and allowing Landon to walk all over him - it felt very one-sided. Overall, it didn't have the excitement of the other #gaymers books - maybe because it was a novella read and my lack of connection with Landon probably didn't help. It ended on a HFN and left me content, but sadly underwhelmed.ARC received from author via Indigo Marketing And Design in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • BWT (Belen)
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 this burgeoning friendship to a possible relationship. However, when it turns out Bailey is a "he" and not a "her", and Bailey's physical appearance is a reminder for Landon of a past trauma, it seems like the hope they both had for possibly more than friendship is over before it even started. But when Bailey sees Landon have a panic attack it's everything he can do to support, help, and reassure Landon he would never do anything to hurt him.The big question is can Landon work through the trauma of his past to secure a future with Bailey?Trigger Warning: There is mention/discussion of a prior sexual assault, however no on-page violence or assault is portrayed.Told in dual POV, Level Up is a sweet romance sprinkled with hurt/comfort and a HFN ending. Personally, I wish there had been a bit more on page relationship building and it felt like a lot got glossed over in this short novella, but overall it was an easy, quick read.Advanced Review Galley copy of Level Up provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews.
    more
  • Santy
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 kinship with either character. Yes, what Landon went through was terrible but how he handled things with Bailey could've been better.Honestly, I didn't care what happened to the characters (I thought Landon needed to get more help if he still had issues with intimacy and stop yanking Bailey's tail and I thought Bailey was a saint for dealing with all of that), the pacing was a bit on the slow side (especially for a book of its short length) and even the sexy times couldn't salvage this.This was unfortunate because usually, Annabeth Albert writes books that I enjoy reading and prior to this, I hadn't read even a single book from her that I didn't love. Well , I guess there is a first time for everything huh? *** eARC Graciously Provided By Indigo Marketing & Design For An Honest, Unbiased Review ***
    more
  • Ami
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsSorry, 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 meI guess the story just doesn't click with me *shrugs*
    more
  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Alisa
    January 1, 1970
    This was sweet. I liked it but for some reason I just didn't feel a connection with either MC or their story.
  • Lost in a Book
    January 1, 1970
    3 StarsThis is another one of those, I like the premise but the execution fell a bit short IMO. I was hooked on photographer and genius physicist are supposed to meet up for a charity gig but prior to the event, they communicate online for a couple of weeks allowing things go from professional to flirty. Unfortunately my excitement didn’t extend throughout and this became an okay level of enjoyment.As the blurb mentions, Landon is voluntold to help with a nude charity calendar. He begins email c 3 StarsThis is another one of those, I like the premise but the execution fell a bit short IMO. I was hooked on photographer and genius physicist are supposed to meet up for a charity gig but prior to the event, they communicate online for a couple of weeks allowing things go from professional to flirty. Unfortunately my excitement didn’t extend throughout and this became an okay level of enjoyment.As the blurb mentions, Landon is voluntold to help with a nude charity calendar. He begins email communication with the photographer (Bailey) about logistics and then as multiple emails are exchanged, they find themselves in flirty territory where each “man” is looking forward to meeting with an almost giddy anticipation.Their first meet is awkward and isn’t the slam dunk each was hoping for. They decide to be friends and over their love of video games, a tentative romantic relationship forms. Landon has serious issues from the past he must navigate to make it work and Bailey is so patient. He handles him with understanding and care while moving towards a HEA.My hang-ups with this book deal mostly with the lack of depth and fleshing out of the characters. We jump right in when Bailey and Landon are about to meet and miss out on the communication or build up prior. The interactions that take place are awkward and never quite cohesive. There’s a lot of sex, sex talk, “cyber,” etc., when some of that page time could have been spent developing their connection. I like sex but I like well rounded characters with chemistry AND connection even more.This book can definitely use another round of edits prior to release and please heed the Trigger Warning for mentions of past sexual-assault. I’m not sure if these men were mentioned in the #gaymers books since it's “loosely linked” and maybe that would provide more depth to the characters? But if you're a fan of that series, this may work better for you.Copy provided for honest review.
    more
  • Joyfully Jay
    January 1, 1970
    A Joyfully Jay review. 4 starsLevel 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 A Joyfully Jay review. 4 starsLevel 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 little bit of a mistaken identity element at the start as Landon assumes Bailey is a girl and has a bit of a crush on him. Landon is definitely bisexual and out, but he is surprised and also a bit wary due to Bailey’s size. But the guys have a nice chemistry and the relationship grows slowly but steadily throughout the story. Landon shares his history of sexual assault with Bailey early on and they take the time to really work through what works for Landon and what may be a trigger. The issue is handled well and Bailey is patient and understanding and willing to go at Landon’s speed. I enjoyed the photography elements, particularly seeing the way Bailey views people around him through his pictures. And the gaming elements were fun and I liked the mix of playfulness and friendship these guys have together, combined with the romance and sexiness. This is kind of a quiet story, but I found it engaging and really liked both of these guys together.Read Jay’s review in its entirety here.
    more
  • Gabriella (Gabi)
    January 1, 1970
    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 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, and Bailey more confident, but when they got to the sexy part Landon got all bossy, while Bailey just sputtered. So their roles got reversed, and it was fun to witness. There's mention of sexual assault in Landon's past, that's causingsome tension in there blooming relationship, but it just made the sexy times all the more hotter. :)
    more
  • DTM
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars...sweet, sexy short story...
  • Angie Elle
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. Review to come.
  • Erica Chilson
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 friendship, which creates trust and intimacy. Almost a hurt-comfort type read, adding layers of realism to the couple's relationship.Dark events have caused Landon to have panic attacks, specific to Bailey's 'type'. This adds both layers of angst and emotion to the novella. There's no cure-all for Landon, but Bailey is patient. Even with a darker undertone, I found Level Up to be light, quick, and warm and fuzzy. Perfect for a hot bubble bath, which is exactly where I read the novella. What is a pro for me may be a con for another reader: obviously, with the title of the book, one knows to expect gamer-speak. I found this a novelty, seeing games I've played in the past (Gauntlet brought back memories). For those who don't/never have gamed, some gamer-speak may go over their heads or may cause them to skim. I don't know why, but I felt the need to point this out. I highly recommend for those looking for sweet and heartwarming MM romance.
    more
  • Deanna Against Censorship
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 counseling to help him with his panic attacks. He obviously had a doctor who prescribed meds but he never no counseling. They never attempted any couple's sessionsNow for the most influential reason for my rating. Edit. Please edit. When my flow of reading is interrupted by errors, I feel cheated. These errors were words left out when they shouldn't. Words left in, maybe after a rewrite that should be taken. One to e the wrong name of a MC used.
    more
  • Roberta Blablanski
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Melissa Rae
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 the adorable photographer, Bailey. However, the chatty photographer is not at all the pink-pixie haired female Landon was expecting, but rather a big, burly, cuddly guy who has one infectious smile. Gradually, Landon and Bailey start developing a friendship born from late night gaming sessions, love of all things nerdy and … nipple play? Will Landon be able to overcome his panic attacks to try towards a relationship with Bailey? And will Bailey be able to help Landon overcome his pass trauma and realize that a relationship is worth the risk? This was a sweet, short read with a story and plot worth reading. One thing I wish more books would talk about is sexual assault on males. And I feel like this book did that well, especially in terms of the anxiety and panic attacks that come after these events. I wish some of it could have been explored more, especially in terms of Landon’s feeling’s during these attacks and more ways in which Bailey could have helped Landon during the panic, but what we got was amazing for a novella. It was maybe one of my favorite parts of the book. In terms of characters, I felt that the characters of Landon and Bailey could have been better fleshed out. Although, all things considered, I am aware that this is a novella or short story, so I can understand why their characters weren’t as well developed as I would have wanted. I felt Landon was harder to associate with and connect with, regardless of the trauma he had been through. I sometimes wish we could have gotten more insight into his thinking process, especially when he was (view spoiler)[turning Bailey away and telling Bailey he didn’t think a relationship was worth exploring between the two of them. The fact that he jumped from that reaction to the total opposite reaction of wanting to try all in the space of a few hours (in book time) just confused me because I felt like it went against Landon’s character. (hide spoiler)] I found Bailey to be my favorite character to both read about and to read POV from. He was just this genuine, sweet character that honestly just wanted Landon to be comfortable and trusting of him. Plot-wise this book was a slow burn with quite a few moments of heat. I like how the relationship between the two MCs developed and grew, and how Bailey was patient and sweet with Landon, never pushing him to do something he wasn’t comfortable with. I just wish Landon would have been as sweet to Bailey. Once again, I understand that with Landon’s past he is prone to moments where his panic and anxiety runs his emotions, but I also feel that Landon’s reaction after these moments (where he constantly threw Bailey out or freaked out at Bailey for trying to help) was unfair to Bailey. Considering this was just a quick evening read for me, it wasn’t too bad. I wish that a few things had been done differently, but overall it wasn’t too bad. It was a cute story, with a slight HEA. I just didn’t feel as invested or connected to the main characters as much as I usually would be in an Annabeth Albert book. I missed the real spark in the story, the moment where I would go “Oh! There’s that fire I was waiting for.”
    more
  • Isabella ~Mikku-chan~
    January 1, 1970
    *~~*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; *~~*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; actually I was curious in the other #gaymers books when or if he get his book and his HEA, but have also admit I haven't been focussed this much on him.Landon is sweet, geeky and adorable. I was fond of him as a person but also immediately of his looks; his slim, small build, the longish hair, captured in a small ponytail and the delightful frecles here and there. :3The total contrast with having a second main character like Bailey is adorable too. I love burly, sensitive guys who are attentive and take care of their beloved ones. I mean, how swoon-worthy is it, to be protected by someone like him? On the other hand, some parts made my heart ache, especially when it came to the problems Landon has, how his panic attacks due to an sexual, physical assault, are making his live difficult and how he is thinking he's better without a partner, that this way he doesn't hurt anyone and won't be hurt also. It broke my heart several times, the off-page discussion about the topic was heavy enough, and I have to say: thank you for the trigger/content warnings at the beginning of the book - without these I would have been totally blindsided. In fact I liked how Annabeth Albert dealt with the topic in the book. She makes it an important part, but nothing which totally the reason why Landon fears to start relationships. True, it's close connected but Landon's hesitancy isn't just coming from this, and - the most important thing - the author isn't trying to magically heal Landon. In fact, she creates a second main character who's trying to to his best to support, but sees how limited some actions are or can be - but in the end how, if the trust is there and both parts are talking about the issue, about the topic, there is a way to get along with it.Bailey is aware of his helplessness, of how Landon must feel, though as not experiencing he can only try to support and help him, but never take it away from Landon or "cure" it.I really loved how Bailey is displayed as a sensitive guy, as someone who's waiting and giving their relationship a try. Of course, he is aware it won't be easy but he's thinking it's worth the try. I was also very fond of the way how responsive he is - and in so many parts, not just in bed. ;) It's clear Landon and Bailey complete each other pretty well, both are pretty different but share a lot of mutual hobbies and interests. The best foundation for a solid friendship and relationship.I also adored how much conversation was in the book, how many scenes were based on consent and agreement, and even in steamy scenes, they were on the same page, set their limits; explored together their likes and talked and agreed on their no-gos. :)This story was charming and adorable but also heart-clenching emotional and the trigger warning/content warning was really necessary and I give kudos for putting them right at the beginning, just like a lot more books should do it to avoid unpleasantries.5 out of 5 stars for this, a sweet novella in the #gaymers series, and I really hope Annabeth Albert writes more stories - or even a new one - with nerdy, geeky guys falling in love. <3 Review originally posted on my blog with added content Mikku-chan / A world full of words
    more
  • Pati
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 feelings. This scared, sweet genius couldn't have met a better man than photographer, Bailey Morgan. Bailey is about the most sweet, gentle, caring, patient man that I have ever read about in a book. Though don't let that description make you think that he's a doormat because he's not. He knows when to move forward and when to back off. Though he does have his own self esteem issues he doesn't let them control him.I really enjoyed seeing these two adorable, somewhat geeky guys get to know each other and fall in love. I highly recommend this to everyone.I received this ARC from the author by request. This is my unbiased, honest and fair review.
    more
  • Ruthie Taylor
    January 1, 1970
    ~~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 ~~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 patience, caring and subtle seduction of the nervous but sexy man is very romantic and hot. I loved the honesty with which they spoke to each other, even when they surprised themselves. I encourage you to read and enjoy the way that their future takes shape; it was refreshing to read a story which does not need a dramatic incident to cement the relationship.
    more
  • Xan West
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 starsThis 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)[ References to sexual assault in the past (drug facilitated). Descriptions of PTSD symptoms, particularly panic attacks. Discussion of how people responded poorly to disclosure of sexual assault, including family members. MC with PTSD feels that his love inter 3.75 starsThis 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)[ References to sexual assault in the past (drug facilitated). Descriptions of PTSD symptoms, particularly panic attacks. Discussion of how people responded poorly to disclosure of sexual assault, including family members. MC with PTSD feels that his love interest (and really anyone) would be better off without him, that nobody will want to be with him because he gets triggered and has panic attacks. This gets challenged throughout the story, but does not begin shifting til near the end. Sex on the page, including light D/s. (hide spoiler)]
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 geeky friendship between Bailey and Landon. I loved the glimpses of Bailey and Landon’s professional lives and I loved their friends. This is a feel-good romance between two characters who feel very new adult - even if they are actually a bit older. Their West Coast Millennial world is well observed and very familiar. Although it deals with the heavy topic of sexual assault, there is also a light and playful feel to much of the story.
    more
  • Altivo Overo
    January 1, 1970
    Non-panic attackThis 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.
    more
  • Vfields Don't touch my happy!
    January 1, 1970
    I'm fond of this author. I didn't love this read. Try as I might I couldn't get myself to care for these two as a couple or as individuals. They were just too superficial for my taste. No, not superficial just not captivating or something. I finished it because it was so short.
    more
Write a review