Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Rating: 3 stars
Pub Date: September 7, 2014
Publisher: self-published
Genre: new adult contemporary romance, sports
Format/Source: Kindle ebook, purchased
Status: book 1 of the Game On series

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.

A decent beginning (with a healthy dose of insta-hate/lust) fizzled into a mediocre ending. While I really liked Anna and Drew's chemistry together and their characterizations (but not the excessive angst), I feel like The Hook Up's plot was fairly weak and the excruciatingly slow pacing did not help. By about 40% I wanted the book to be over because it was dragging. Then, when I was looking forward to the action picking up, the book ended very suddenly. I think this was exacerbated by a misleading description. The summary makes it sound like it's a game, and that Anna and Drew agreed on the rules. That's not the case. Their rules are pretty unofficial.

I was also bothered by the flatness of the supporting characters. I'm not entirely sure what the point of showcasing the Ivy/Henry and Anna's mom/Terrance relationships so heavily, except maybe for contrast? It didn't work for me. There didn't seem to be a point to the supporting characters. They felt largely unfinished, and then by the end, they had all miraculously disappeared from the story except for Gray.

Other things that miraculously disappeared: school. The timing of Drew's injury seemed to be early December, which means finals. Granted, as an injured football god, Drew probably got a pass from many of his professors, but this was something the book touched on and Drew, as his character had been established, should not have been okay with this, and this kind of inconsistency really plagued the overall work. Meanwhile Anna certainly should not have been able to miss a week of school after the injury.

Speaking of timing, there's no mention of Christmas despite several weeks going by? I get Drew does not have family, but again. This seemed odd. Also, I understand taking certain liberties, but the epilogue confused me. Anna mentions living in New York for "several months" before Drew's draft. As a college senior, Drew's draft would have been in April, while he was still in school. There would have been no living in New York previous to the draft BECAUSE THEY WOULDN'T HAVE GRADUATED YET.

Miscellaneous other things that bothered me: 1. slut-shaming. The Hook Up is rife with it. 2. The Family Issues. I just didn't like Drew and Anna's parental issues. As I said earlier, the angst factor was high, and I just...don't think it was necessary. 3. The instalove. I'm okay with things moving fast in a romance novel. You only have so many page to get together and generally, the more kissing the better, imo, but this... I don't know. Drew is an adorably bumbling idiot in the beginning, but Anna goes fully hostile on him so the fact that they're naked just a couple chapters later is too much for me to handle. I much prefer The Deal's relationship progression. 4. The huge fight. Anna and Drew's characters may have been sassy and playful, and Drew may have liked when Anna gave him a hard time, but the semi-violent fight they get into after the injury and after they move in is a huge deal-breaker for me. I wanted to throw up, it was so uncomfortable to read. It seemed so out of character for them in addition to being horrible. 5. Overall, the inconsistencies and inaccuracies really hurt the story. They were relatively minor things, but things like Drew being on crutches and being able to carry an armful of clothes or bottles of wine? NOPE. I've been on crutches many times. You can't carry stuff because your HANDS ARE TOO BUSY HOLDING YOU UP. The aforementioned draft thing, and the mysterious fluctuation of time. All those small issues add up when there are a lot of them, and it's enormously frustrating to readers.

I know it seems like I'm complaining a lot, and I am, but I did still LIKE the book. Drew is so adorable. Truthfully, as much as I like The Deal, Drew is the kind of guy I prefer over the arrogant Garrett, even though eventually I grew to love him too. That kind of as-shucks humble hard-working thing Drew has going on is sooooo my thing. I also liked that Anna had a lot of spirit and gumption. Sometimes she seemed really brash and abrasive, but when she was defending herself or Drew, it was pretty awesome. And, as I said earlier, they have GREAT chemistry together. I think the author may have tried to do a little too much with the story so it was a bit busy and not everything and everyone received proper attention. However, if you're looking for a fun, sexy read or you're a fan of sports romance, The Hook Up is definitely in your wheelhouse.

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About the Author:
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she'd rather be. She is a RITA winner and three-time 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. 

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1 comment:

  1. I love how detailed your reviews are, including this one. I also enjoy your honesty and directness even more. Based on what you wrote, this book won't be on my to-read list because of the characters.