Reviews: The Hook Up & The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Posted November 5, 2015 in Review / 8 Comments


I sort of feel guilty that I’m putting both of these book reviews in a single post.  For one, each book will be on my favorites list of 2015 this year.  They are both that good.  And second, each book needs their own limelight, their own little space under the spotlight so everyone notices this series.

I enjoyed Kristen Callihan’s writing before.  She is now unquestionably one of my favorite authors.




Reviews: The Hook Up & The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

The Hook Up

Series: Game On #1
by Kristen Callihan
Published by Self Published on September 9 2014
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
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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

2015 Fave Addictive New Adult Page-Turner Sexy


I’ve had this book sitting in my Kindle for about a year.  Seriously.  I bought it back on October 16th, 2014.  And then it did what a lot of my eBooks tend to do on my Kindle… get lost among the masses.  I actually got this book confused with Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series.    When I saw book three of Ms. Callihan’s Game On series coming out, I looked and saw that I hadn’t actually read the previous two books.  Oops.

I literally binge read The Hook Up in about one day.  I could not step away from this unique and engaging romance.  Oh sure, you’re thinking you’ve heard this one before.  Girl and guy hook up and one of them wants a forever relationship while the other just wants friends with benefits.

Oh, this is so not quite the case.

Drew Baylor is the quarterback at a large southern university where he’s won the Heisman Trophy and helped lead his football team to two National Championships.  He has his own hastags (#battlebaylor), his own Wikipedia page, but he can’t seem to get the girl he wants.

Anna Jones is coasting through school, hasn’t figured out what to do with her future, but she does know she doesn’t want all the attention that comes with being near Drew.  She also can’t seem to figure out why in the world he wants to be with her.  To her, she IS only a hook-up until he graduates and is off to the NFL.

Gradually through the first third of the story, my dislike of Anna grew.  It’s hard for me to read a book where I don’t like the “heroine”.  But the story is so well conceived, plotted, executed, and written that I started to notice that at the climax of my anger towards Anna, trickles of information about why she was the way she was is revealed to the reader.  Then the story turned and quite quickly, my gut was wrenching for these two to get their “act together”.

Kudos to Ms. Callihan for crafting a full, intense, and completely engaging story.  Ms. Callihan is, IMHO, one of the best writers of romantic stories today.

Definitely not meant for the reader under 17 years of age, this story is extremely passionate, hot, and sexy.  Oh, the words that would come out of Drew’s mouth.


As soon as I was done reading The Hook Up, I immediately downloaded…



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Reviews: The Hook Up & The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

The Friend Zone

Series: Game On #2
by Kristen Callihan
Published by Self Published on May 5 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 296
Format: eBook
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.

The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.

Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…

Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to get himself out of the friend zone and into Ivy’s heart. Game on

2015 Fave Addictive New Adult Page-Turner Sexy


As soon as I read the last word of The Hook Up, I made haste to the included sneak peek of The Friendship Zone.  I was dying to see who was getting paired up as a couple next!  I had no clue what so ever.

So imagine my chagrin when I saw it was Gray Grayson, Drew’s player (in more ways than one) best friend.  Blech.  Yuck.  Groan.  Ugh…  I was worried this wouldn’t be good.

I didn’t care for Gray and his “ways” during The Hook Up.  Turns out it’s all perspective.  Hooking up with different girls every night, not remembering their names, never any girlfriends, that was Gray’s modus operandi.  But one thing was always consistent, he was Drew’s best BEST friend and he would do anything to protect and take care of those he loved and cared about.  Drew was just the only one Gray had in his life anymore to care about.

Because of his commitment to Drew, Gray had lent Drew his truck to use.  In the meantime, Gray had to borrow a man-card crushing pink Fiat 500 from a potential sports agent’s daughter whom Gray has never met.  When texts start arriving on Gray’s phone from an unknown texter demanding that there “be no shenanigans taking place” in the Fiat, Gray can’t help himself but to respond smartly back.

What starts out as bantering back and forth between Gray and Ivy MacKenzie, the owner of said pink Fiat 500 and daughter of the sports agent, quickly turns into a long distance friendship.

Ivy is like Gray’s other half when it comes to intelligence, wit, and gutter mouth.  She is exact opposite, though, when it comes to relationships and sex.  But it doesn’t matter because they end up being awesome best friends and neither wants to mess that up.

THIS STORY, right here, is by far my favorite in the trilogy.  Who knew?!?!?!  Take the character I liked the least, give him a fabulous personality and back story – Gray has a genius I.Q. among other things – throw a fantastic girl he realizes he wants but can’t have and BAM!  You have another super sweet, captivating romantic story from Ms. Callihan.

Don’t even get me started on Gray’s dirty mouth.  OMG…  you wouldn’t think it would fit but damn!  ∗foot stomp∗

All I’ve got to say is if you can’t read all three books in this series and you can only pick one, please pick this one.


About Kristen Callihan

Kristen Callihan

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.



About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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8 responses to “Reviews: The Hook Up & The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

  1. I am so excited to read the second book!! I loved the first one and Kristen Callihan is fantastic no matter what genre she writes in right?? Fabulous reviews. I just love the multiple review feature.

  2. I loved The Hook-Up so much!! I didn’t expect to; I don’t read a lot of NA, and only picked this one up because I’d been hearing so much about it. But, wow. It was so good!! I have the second one lined up now and I bought the third one a few days ago, because – that cover. That cover is amazing.
    Great review!
    Heather B recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Anything for You

  3. Nereyda is always confusing this series with the Off Campus series because they are so similar as well so you’re not alone! I did too at first! But I’m getting the hang of them now. 😀
    I’m so glad you enjoyed both books! I completely agree with your statement about Anna. She wasn’t always the most likeable character, but the story was addicting! The chemistry!! *fans self*

    I was surprised by how much I liked Gray myself! I love how devoted he was to Ivy and yes to the dirty mouth! HAHA! 😀 I wasn’t a fan of the story line very much though, but it didn’t take away too much from my enjoyment of the book!

    Fabulous reviews! 🙂
    Nick recently posted…Review: The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

  4. I always get The Hook Up and The Deal mixed up, but I loved them both. I also need to read the second book in both series. don’t remember a whole lot about Gray, but I remember he was supportive of Drew. I want to read his book pretty bad now, though.
    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted…Break Me Down by Roni Loren

  5. Cyn

    Glad to see you enjoyed this series! I love Gray and Ivy! They totally won me over. Can’t wait for next book! Great reviews!
    Oh, if you like this series, you should check out Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus series! Hockey players instead, but oh so charming. Plus there’s little mentions of Drew and Gray in that series, haha.
    Cyn recently posted…Review: The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman