Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Book Review: "The Hook Up" by Kristen Callihan

The Hook Up Kristen Callihan
Published: September 7, 2014
ISBN: 9781505690903
Genre: Romance
Source: Personal Copy

You might enjoy this book if you like: New Adult Fiction, College Romances, College Football

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 

My Thoughts:
I'll admit that I was apprehensive about this one.  I'm not a fan of college romance novels and this one sounded a bit spicier than I prefer--and the title was more than a little off-putting, but since I'm doing the whole reading romance experiment, I thought I'd give this one a try.

Despite on where my feelings finally fell on this book, I felt the opening was weak.  For one thing, I'm not a fan of the "casual sex turning into long lasting love" trope.  I'm sure it happens, but it very rarely rings true in novels.  I also find that these stories, when put in a college setting, are really playing on cliche.

The other thing that bothered me about the beginning of this book is that it is written in alternating first person voices.  Callihan hits her stride with this later in the book, but in the beginning I felt like she just kept telling everything twice, once from Anna's point of view and once from Drew's.  I also felt that she didn't have enough distinction between the two voices.  When writing in two different first person voices, the voices need to be easily distinguishable from each other, and that was not the case with this.

My final "technical" complaint about this book is that it peaked too early.  I think Callihan was trying to set up a double dramatic peak, which can be done, but it doesn't work here.  For that to work, the greater drama needs to be with the second peak and, here, it was with the first.  I wish she had either retooled that or stuck to one dramatic peak.

I know all those complaints make it sound as though I didn't enjoy this book.  I stand by those complaints, but the truth is that I ended up really believing the emotion here.  I could feel the love between the two characters and, frankly, that will forgive a number of structural flaws.

I would definitely recommend this to a reader looking for a college romance.  If that isn't your thing, well...I don't know.   It may be that this will be as pleasant a surprise for you as it was for me.

I was not solicited for this review and I received no compensation for this post.

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