Title: “The Hook Up” (Game On #1)
Author: Kristen Callihan
Genre: New Adult / Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 8th September, 2014.
The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.
Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?
Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…
Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she’s shut him down. Completely.
That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It’s a good thing Drew knows all about winning.
All’s fair in love and football…Game on.
***New Adult/Contemporary Romance with a HEA – Recommended for readers 17 and older.
Complimentary copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Well, this NA romance was a really pleasant surprise to me. “The Hook Up” by Kristen Callihan has everything that I could wish for in a romance novel: swoon, sass, and – to be perfectly honest – steam. However, what makes Anna and Drew’s story feel so very special to me is due to development they both go through as their relationship progresses.
The attachment Anna forms with Drew seems perfectly simple at first: one hook up, and that is it. Obviously, nothing seems to go as Anna has planned, because this one hook up leads to the next; and, finally, she finds herself in a friends-with-benefits relationship that she definitely did not see coming. But will she find the strength within to open up her heart and allow Drew to see every part of her soul?
I was thrilled when I found out that this book is written in dual POVs, because I truly believe this particular aspect allows a reader, such as me, the opportunity to fully connect with the main characters of a book. And reading Drew’s point of view, experiencing his determination first-hand – his game plan, if you will – in winning Anna over made me chuckle as well as making my heart go all aflutter because of the romance of it all.
“Love, when it came for me, did not creep. No, it walked up to me, bold as you please, you know, just in case I wasn’t paying attention. It did, however, slap me upside my head.” (Drew)
Anna is a complex character, but that is why I fell in love with her: although appearing as this rather “tough-as-nails” young woman, she, like so many others, have some very deep scars, and the fact that she is completely unsure about her career plans makes her a very realistic character to me. Too often, I find that so many characters know exactly what they want – even though they are only in their early twenties – and that is definitely not believable to me. True, many young men and women know what they want in life, but that was not me ten years ago: I had no idea of where I was headed, work-wise I mean, and I am thrilled to see a heroine who is so much like me. And that is why I connected with her on a very deep level.
“He’s slowly carving his name into my heart. And it hurts.” (Anna)
Drew seems like this very self-assured, revered jock, and he is. But, like Anna, he was forced to grow up very quickly, and his past has defined the path he is choosing to take. In many ways, he is this really confident guy who seemed a bit unreal to me in the beginning, but, as I got to know him, I found a young man who possesses so many admirable qualities, and one who does not let that many people see below the surface of the college star that he is. His is a very sensitive soul, actually, and when I reached the final page in the book, Drew had completely won me over.
What makes Anna and Drew so perfect for one another is the fact that they learn how to lean on each other when times are hard; but, more importantly, they realise that trusting and relying on your loved one when you feel as if you cannot stand on your own two feet is more than acceptable. Yes, they definitely also have a lot of fun, but the way these two characters are so in sync was beautiful to experience. Theirs is not a sappy or over the top love story, not at all. It just is. Anna and Drew are, plain and simple, soul mates.
‘“Why won’t you let me kiss you, Anna?”
I can’t breathe.
“It’s too much,” I rasp.
“Not when I want everything.” He says it so deep and strong, a staking of a claim. “And I want everything with you, Anna.”’ (Drew & Anna)
This is the first book I have read by Miss Callihan, and I admit that she had med hooked from the very beginning; her storytelling skills are very engaging, funny and honest. Moreover, she simply has her own, unique voice, one that draws you in immediately, and her secondary characters – although not the focus of the book, of course – are well-rounded and interesting as well. I have to say that I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in the Game On Series which will feature Drew’s best friend, Gray, and Ivy.
“Life has more color, more flavor, and heat in the few hours I’m with Anna, than I’ve experienced in all the years I’ve partied… With Anna, I feel like I’ve landed right where I want to be.” (Drew)
To sum up my review: if you love the NA genre, I am absolutely certain that you will love this book. It really is a very well written, moving, feel-good romance, but there is also plenty of tears and laughter. I only wish that this book was available in print, because I would snatch up the paperback in a heartbeat! Well, one can always hope it will happen sometime in the future, because “The Hook Up” is now placed on the top of My Favourite Books shelf, and I already know that this is a book I will read again soon. ❤
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather do. She is a three-time RITA nominee, and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.