I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Geek Actually by Cathy Yardley, Melissa Blue, Rachel Stuhler, Cecilia Tan
Published by Serial Box on June 7 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Buy on Amazon
Big thanks to Wunderkind PR and Serial Box for the chance to review this hysterically funny and geeky series!
When I was first pitched Geek Actually, the latest from the innovative folks at Serial Box, I was a little hesitant. After all, the covers scream “Contemporary chick lit!” which is definitely not my thing. But upon closer inspection, I realized this could be a lot of fun. And so I dove in. Geek Actually is laugh-out-loud funny and has plenty of things to geek out about. I love the publishing story line in particular (is anyone surprised?), and I was impressed with the female-centric cast of larger-than-life characters. Each episode is a bite-sized glimpse into the lives of five main characters who are online friends in a group chat called Rebel Scum. The entire story arc takes thirteen episodes, and today I’m reviewing episodes # 1-4. If my review whets your appetite to try this series, then head over to Serial Box where you can read Episode # 1, WTF for free!
Geek Actually is a sexy, geeky contemporary women’s fiction series that follows the lives of five diverse, nerdy women as they navigate work, love, life, and the internet. For fans who love both Sex and the City as well as Star Wars, for anyone who knows that sci-fi can be sultry and that “gamer” is not gender specific – this serial will turn you on, rile you up, and leave you with five new friends.
I’m having a blast with this series so far, and like other Serial Box stories I’ve read, these are all bite-sized episodes that last about the same time it takes to watch an hour television show (each episode is about 45-60 pages long). The story follows the lives of five very different women of various ethnic backgrounds and occupations, who are all good friends and help support each other. Think Sex in the City with geeks and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Meet the geeks:
Michelle – an editor who works for a science fiction publishing company, she’s currently working on her good friend Aditi’s debut novel, which her company is positioning as a potential bestseller. Michelle is also newly divorced.
Aditi is about to publish her first novel, and she’s working on her second, but the ideas just aren’t there yet. In addition to all the pre-publication stress of her book, she’s hiding a big secret from her very traditional Indian parents: she’s married to her gay best friend, a marriage of convenience that allows her husband Druv to pursue his love life under the cover of being straight.
Taneesha is a talented coder whose gaming company has just been bought out, and now the new management is forcing her into the background. Sexism sucks! Taneesha knows she’s the best and most creative coder in the company but no one will give her the chance to prove it.
Elli still lives with her parents and goes from job to job, staying just long enough to make enough money for her next cosplay costume. She’s a free spirit with a knack and a passion for costume design, but her parents are anything but thrilled with her life choices.
Christina is a young assistant to an actor in a TV show, a job that gives her the freedom to go after her passions. And right now her passion is her latest charge, a beautiful and spoiled actress named Viv.
Each episode is divided up into chapters that focus on each of the women, so the reader gets to move back and forth and get to know them. The authors helpfully label the chapters with their names: “Michelle” or “Taneesha” so it’s easy to jump back into each girl’s story. I found myself looking forward to each of the stories for different reasons. I think I’m most intrigued by Taneesha at this point. She’s the underdog at the moment, and the injustices she’s experiencing at her job are really pissing me off! But I can tell her sharp and creative mind will make her come out on top eventually.
I also love Michelle’s story line. I love reading anything to do with publishing, and it was fun to see some insider action. One of the funnier moments was when Michelle tells Aditi that as part of her publishing contract, she’s obligated to write a certain number of guest posts for blogs—but she’s struggling because she has to keep saying the same things over and over. I’m sure any book blogger who has hosted an author will get a kick out of that!
I’d have to say my least favorite character right now is Christina. She’s pretty far from my own personality so it was very hard to relate to her. She does drugs, has impromptu sex with women, and pretty much seems to live the clichéd Hollywood lifestyle. But speaking of sex, and at this point I have to mention that this is definitely an adult story, there are some smoking hot sex scenes, which I was not expecting!
And if you’re a gamer, you are really going to enjoy Geek Actually. Taneesha and her brother are heavily into gaming, and there are several chapters in the first four episodes that revolve around gaming. I’m not a gamer myself, but there is a lot of name dropping and anyone who’s ever played a video game is going to find something familiar here.
Elli is probably the funniest character. She’s just naive enough that her fumbles with finding and trying to keep jobs made me laugh out loud. I won’t go into details, but one of my favorite chapters involves Elli getting a (very short-lived) job at a mattress store. And that’s all I’m going to say, you’ll have to read it for yourself!
Each episode is written by one of four authors, and I have to say I love the way their writing styles blend together seamlessly. I’m also impressed that each author can write in all five of the characters’ voices and make these episodes read so smoothly.
Geek Actually is off to a great start! This is definitely popcorn fiction, so if you’re looking for some quick, light summer reading material, then this is a perfect series to start right now. The authors have introduced several story arcs and I am curious to see where they will go, although at this point I don’t yet have a sense of the “big picture.”
About the authors:
CATHY YARDLEY has traditionally published 18 novels in women’s fiction, Chick Lit, romance, and urban fantasy. Her upcoming releases allow her to showcase her inner fangirl, acting as writer and “showrunner” for Serial Box publishing’s episodic Geek Actually and publishing her geek-inspired rom com series Fandom Hearts with St. Martin’s Press. She’s been quoted in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, and the SF Guardian, among others. Cathy has presented workshops at the Emerald City Writers Conference and the New England Writers Conference, and at several RWA chapters, including Sacramento, Monterey Bay, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle. She was the only speaker representing the romance genre at the California Writers Club’s annual “East of Eden” conference. In 2017 she was a speaker at the Surrey International Conference in Vancouver, B.C. and the Writer Unboxed UnConference in Salem, MA. She has written for large circulation blogs such as Helping Writers Become Authors, The Book Designer, and Leo Babauta’s Write to Done, and is a regular columnist for Writer Unboxed. Website | Twitter
MELISSA BLUE‘s writing career started on a typewriter one month after her son was born. This would have been an idyllic situation for a writer if it had been 1985, not 2004. She penned that first contemporary romance, upgraded to a computer and hasn’t looked back since. Her published works include the Under The Kilt and Dirty Sexy Geeks series, among many others. Outside of writing, Blue is a mother of two rambunctious children. She lives in California where the wine is good and, despite popular belief, is not always sunny. Website | Twitter
CECILIA TAN writes about her many passions, from erotic fantasy to baseball, from her home in the Boston area. She is the author of many books, including the award-winning books Slow Surrender, Daron’s Guitar Chronicles, and The Prince’s Boy. Her upcoming urban fantasy series with Tor Books launches in September 2018 with the first book, Initiates of the Blood. She has edited over 50 anthologies of erotica for Red Silk Editions, Thunder’s Mouth Press, Blue Moon Books, Masquerade Books, Ravenous Romance, and for the publishing house she founded, Circlet Press. Her short fiction has appeared in Ms. Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine, Best American Erotica, and many other places. She has served as publications director for SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) since 2011. Website | Twitter
RACHEL STUHLER hails from Rochester, NY and has worked extensively in the film business. She was a writer on Hallmark Channel’s “McBride” series and has written on a dozen more movies for television, including Lifetime’s popular Kristin’s Christmas Past and the TV adaptation of Janette Oke’s Love Takes Wing. In 2015, her first novel, Absolutely True Lies, was released by Touchstone. She continues to work in TV while living in Los Angeles and is busy plotting her next move in world domination. Website | Twitter