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A Review A REVIEWS Contemporary Romance New Adult

Joint Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Publisher: self-published
How did you get the book: e-ARC from author
Release date: Out now

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

thehookupAnna 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.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

Lou: I know that Has is a big fan of Kristen’s adult romance series, The Darkest London. As per usual, I’m a slow-poke and I’ve not yet dug into that series. But I will, I promise, especially after reading The Hook Up because woah! Kristen Callihan is one hell of a writer and I’m so glad this book received so much buzz on twitter because it’s well deserved. The Hook Up is a wonderful NA contemporary with a couple who scorched the pages with their sexual chemistry. Anna I adored. Drew I adored. Callihan had that rare talent where each POV from the characters was just as strong and equal. I was worried I’d get frustrated with Anna and her stubbornness but that didn’t happen. I understood where she was coming from, especially the issues she had from her teenager years to the young woman she’d become. I don’t think she had made that leap yet, at least when it came to her past, and I was so happy this book was a journey for Anna and Drew.

Has: I really, really heart Kristen Callihan’s books, and when I heard she would be doing an NA series I leapt up at the chance to read it and *Sigh* I so totally agree with you! Callihan has a great gift and grasp on characters battling with realistic emotions and problems. How Anna and Drew dealt with their issues felt so authentic and real, and I was swept into their story from the get go. I also loved the fact that this was genuinely an NA about two people trying to discover their path into adulthood, with Anna figuring her way out, while Drew had his life planned out but then had to deal with a huge set back. I adored how this tied in with their romance because it really illustrated how strong the story was with the themes and how their relationship developed.

Lou: Anna was trying to figure out her life, and that’s why I understood her reticence in making her relationship with Drew more than a hook up. She lied to herself thinking it was only a hook up but it was clear they were in a relationship. I loved that Drew was the guy that had to chase Anna. Anna who was confident and sexy who showed Drew that it was going to be on her terms, and she showed the confident and the cocky Drew that she wasn’t going to allow him to use his charming wiles on her. And while Drew was a confident football quarterback star, he wasn’t stereotyped. His backstory was so heartbreaking and if affected him in many ways and it wasn’t done in a cheesy, angsty sort of way. Anna and Drew bonded over their experiences and also bonded over their scorching sexual chemistry. OMG. This book was fucking sexy to the max. The smexy times were hawt, especially Chapter 5 and the library scene *fans face*
Drew and Anna do engage in instant sexy times but it worked for me because they worked together so well.

And hot. sex. Nuff said.

Has: Oh yes! They both had insecurities, but at the same time were confident and they challenged each other which definitely generated sparks and tension. It was so fun to watch it play out. I loved that Drew was patient and even messed up his first impression to Anna. It was also really refreshing to see the popular guy who could win any girl trying to win Anna who was so reluctant. It was a good twist on this trope. And even though there was a big huge screw-up towards the end of the book, they learned from their mistakes and tackled their problems, even though it was painful and heart-wrenching to read because their characters felt so real and fleshed out for me. I kept rooting for them to get their acts together and work on their issues. It is really hard for me to get sucked into a romance this hard, with the major feels, and I was truly got into them with THE HOOK UP.

I also agree with you about the characters, but then Kristen Callihan is fabulous with her characterisation but I really felt think she also tackled the NA themes really well and along with the hot sexy action which never overpowered the plot. Which is a pitfall for a lot of NA books lately that uses sex instead of plot, and exploring the themes of the genre.

Lou: I loved how Drew was so into Anna. Like she was the girl for him. He simply knew it. And while I’m not a huge fan of the instant love, Anna and Drew’s relationship worked. Like you said, Anna was the reluctant person in the relationship and I loved how she had to learn through a horrible mistake that she was only hurting herself and Drew with believing so deeply in her insecurities. It almost ruined her and Drew, and I’m glad she took the heat and dealt with it like a grown-up instead of running away. I was so happy when she stood her ground after Drew’s…how can I explain it without revealing any spoilers? Drew ends up in a dark place. Anna goes to him instantly. She’s brave and she’s beautiful in standing her ground, especially when Grey, Drew’s best friend, gives her shit for how she treated Drew previously. There is angst but it’s resolved in a way that is believable and authentic. There’s one scene that was really emotive and it pushes Drew to breaking point.

But guess what? Anna and Drew work it out like grown-ups. They actually talk. They learn. They move on. They get their HEA with heaps of smexy times. YAY.

And I loved Drew’s relationship with Gray. Kristen needs to release Gray’s story asap so we can GOBBLE IT INTO OUR BRAINS.

I could talk about this book forever because it was that damn good. If you love contemporary romances, hot smexy times, and two engaging characters who you can’t help but fall in love in, then I happily recommend The Hook Up.

I give it an A.

Has: I definitely agree gushing about this book, and that scene in the end which was so powerful and absorbing. I loved there was no forced angst with their issues, and the reward at the end when they reached their HEA which was believable, heartwarming, and beautiful.

THE HOOK UP was everything an NA should be with fantastic authentic characters who discover their sense of selves. As well as being memorable, this book has a smoking hot romance which was sexy and full of tension that literally set my ereader on fire. This is a book that sets up the benchmark for what an NA should be, and it is going to be hard to top this book, although I suspect Kristen Callihan will take that challenge with the sequel to this series. This is going to be a story that should come with a warning for giving you a book hangover, because now I have one and its going to take me awhile to get over how good this was!

I give it an A.

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

2 replies on “Joint Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan”

I loved this book, my biggest issue with NA is feeling like the angst is over-the-top. In The Hook Up though the angst felt natural. I agree about the book hangover and the fact that Kristen Callihan needs to release Gray’s story asap.

@Amanda: I enjoy reading NA but I have my trust circle of authors–only certain NA authors I will read lol. It’s very rare I step outside of that circle because of what you mention. Sometimes the angst is so over the top it makes your teeth hurt.

Yes! Gray’s story needs to come out soon. Like next week. Or even tomorrow :D.

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