Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Review] The Hook Up (Game On #1) by Kristen Callihan

Release date: September 8, 2014
Published by: Kristen Callihan
Source: Provided by author
Author links:
Buy links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

Some of you may know the wonderful Kristin Callihan from her ah-mazing Darkest London series.  I'll be straight up with you....The Hook Up is absolutely nothing like her paranormal romance/steampunk series.  The Hook Up is all its own and it is New Adult solid gold.  Callihan proves that she is not pigeon-holed into writing one genre and succeeds in writing a deep, intricate new adult romance with the character depth that we have grown to expect from her.

The characters in this book are smart.  Yes.  Smart.  Anna Jones is not some swooning college girl with a silly, little girl crush that she wants to consummate with hot monkey sex.  Anna is focused on school and making something of herself.  She has a problem with relationships and she is the one that wants to love 'em and leave 'em.  Relationships are too messy and complicated for her.  She also has to come to terms with her self image and how her high school experiences have made her into the type of person she is today.  Drew is not some dumb jock.  He is surprisingly book smart and life smart.  He has suffered loss in his short life and how he copes with it makes him a stronger person.  He has lived the life of a college football star and has come out the other side.  Drew knows what he wants and is not afraid to go after it.  

Drew and Anna together are amazing.  There is a bit of a role reversal - Anna doesn't want people to see her with Drew for myriad reasons, while Drew wears his heart on his sleeve.  After breaking down her barriers, Anna and Drew sparkle on the pages.  There are few couples that I have rooted this hard for.  The chemistry is sizzling and I really liked how they both came to terms with their own personal demons on their own.  They were both strong enough to face their fears alone and I really appreciated that.

The dialogue is witty and fun.  I enjoyed Anna's snarky comments and the sarcasm that Drew displays.  This story also had a lot of angst.  There is quite a build up to Drew's and Anna's story, and a few twists and turns are thrown in along the way.  This is not just another new adult book - this is a story with substance and heart that will keep you thinking about it long after you reach the final page.  The story is well-written and fast paced, too.  I flew through this book, eager to see what would come next.  

The only thing I didn't love about this book was Anna's best friend, Iris.  I think she was used to show the opposite of Anna.  Iris is supposed to be in Anna's corner.  Although I think that Iris is supportive of Anna, she sometimes has a rough way of showing it.  

Overall, I loved every angsty, hot minute of this book.  Callihan has proven that she can write anything.  It is very well written and researched.  If you are a fan of the new adult genre, or contemporary romances with substance, then I urge you to pick this book up.  This is definitely my newest "highly recommended" new adult book.


Megan @Reading Books Like a Boss said...

Great review Jamie! I absolutely loved this one! The tension and chemistry between Drew and Anna was INSANE! And I agree with you about Iris. She was annoying!

I'm so excited Gray's book!!

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