Tag: Game On Series

Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

Posted May 18, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Hot Shot by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Rowena
The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #4
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Friend Zone, The Game Plan

Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 337
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

The Hot Shot is the fourth book in Kristen Callihan’s Game On series and it follows Dex from The Game Plan’s teammate, Finn Mannus. Finn Mannus is a quarterback in the NFL and he’s winning in life. He’s got a great family, supportive friends and he never has trouble with the ladies so when he shows up for a photo shoot for work and meets the photographer, Chess Copper, he’s not prepared for her to stay on his mind long after the shoot is over.

Chess is a photographer who works hard and goes out of her way to be kind to people but there’s something about Finn Mannus that gets under her skin the first time she meets him. She’s all prickly whenever he’s around and he’s around a lot more than he should be since the job she worked with him on is done. Before Chess knows what’s what, her and Finn have become friends and he’s become a daily part of her life.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t my favorite Game On book but it was still a pretty solid read. Finn was the bomb and I adored every minute of getting to know him. Chess was pretty great herself but there were times when I didn’t understand her actions and the way that she thought about things. That’s not to say that Finn didn’t have his moments of WTF because he did. Most of his came through the whole thing with the girl that wasn’t his ex but almost became his baby mama.

I enjoyed seeing Finn so sure in himself and in his feelings toward Chess. It took Chess a little longer to come around and when she finally does, I was glad for it. Kristen Callihan really shines for me with these sports romances. I can’t get these books fast enough and I’m always thirsty for more. That was the case with this one.

This was such an easy read filled with lots of laughs, characters that rocked my socks and a romance so steamy, I about melted into a puddle of lust more than once. Finn and Chess found the real thing with each other and Kristen Callihan captured their love in a way that I just flat out enjoyed. I hope she never stops writing books for this series because it’s my favorite series of hers and this was another fabulous addition. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5


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Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Posted June 15, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

friend zone
Rowena’s review of The Friend Zone (Game On #2) by Kristen Callihan.

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.

Before I get into my review for this book, can we please take a moment to admire the greatness that is this cover? How freaking hot is Gray freaking Grayson? Yumm-o. Now, on to the review…

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book even since I finished reading The Hook Up. I adored both Drew and Anna and I knew that I was going to really enjoy getting to know Gray and Ivy. Kristen Callihan delivered yet another fabulous steamy romance that I couldn’t get enough of. I think I read this book in one sitting, it was so good.

Gray and Ivy are friends. Best friends, even. Gray has never had a friend that was a girl before but when he borrows his potential agent’s daughter’s car while she’s overseas, a friendship forms between Gray and Ivy over text messages. Weeks and weeks later, Ivy returns from overseas and their friendship is still in tact…only now they can get together whenever they want because they like hanging out.

Gray and Ivy’s first meeting at the airport was such a great one. I loved how anxious Gray was to get there and how disappointed Ivy was that nobody was there until Gray showed up and her frown turned upside down.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Gray and Ivy. They were both such strong characters and they made this story pop. I stayed up most of the night reading this book because it was just flat out good. I laughed the night away, waking up the kids in my household but I didn’t care because I loved this one.

I really loved the man that Gray grew to be. I knew that he was going to be a good hero when we first met him in The Hook Up and he made Anna some soup. One of my favorite scenes in this book was when Gray stood up for Ivy against those girls that were being shitty. I loved that he chose Ivy over and over again. You didn’t stand a chance with Gray if you made his friend feel like shit. She was important to him and he protected those that were important to him. Another scene that I really liked was at the end when he lands at the airport and sends a text message to Ivy that says, “Big Daddy has landed!” LOL. I love that his sense of humor stayed true to the character that he was throughout both books. I just adored the hell out of him.

Ivy was a great heroine as well. I loved that she was down to earth and she didn’t let Gray’s ego get away from him. She kept him grounded and I loved that she really came into herself. She found out what her passions were, what she wanted to do with the rest of her life and she grew some balls then went after them. I really like the way that her love for Gray grew over the course of the book and that she wasn’t a complete dummy over Gray.

Together, these two were great. I loved that they were legit friends before they started sleeping together and their romance was just too cute for words. You won’t be sorry to have read this book. It’s good stuff. Kristen Callihan shines once more with this book and I cannot freaking wait for Dex’s book. I’m so anxious!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Kristen Callihan. You can purchase it here in e-format.

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Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Posted May 27, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Holly
The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #2
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Game Plan, The Hot Shot

Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fiction, New Adult
Pages: 323
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 win Ivy’s heart. Game on.

Gray Grayson doesn’t do relationships. He’s all about hooking up for the night, but he isn’t interested in attachments. Until he needs to borrow a car and his soon-to-be agent offers up the use of his daughter’s pink Fiat. When Ivy texts him telling him to take care of her baby, they become surprisingly close …considering she’s studying aboard and they’ve never met face-to-face.

When Ivy needs to be picked up at the airport Gray is happy to do it. He can’t wait to finally see the person who has become really important to him. Until he meets her and realizes they have sizzling chemistry. The last thing he wants is to ruin their friendship by getting physical, but the more time they spend together the more he wants her.

Ivy is just as surprised at the punch of physical attraction she feels for Gray. She considers him her closest friend, and she doesn’t want to ruin that any more than he does. Plus, she watched her father treat her mother like crap, and she has no desire to hook up with a playboy athlete who’ll break her heart. Keeping things platonic is the best course of action…until Ivy gets sick and Gray ends up sleeping in her bed. The enforced physical closeness just heightens their awareness. Before long Gray is trying to convince Ivy to take a chance on him…on them.

Gray seems to have it all: a sport he loves and is good at, looks, brains and a great sense of humor. But he’s harboring pain from his past and wants love just like everyone else…only he doesn’t think he deserves it. He’s afraid of putting himself out there with Ivy and losing her altogether. Ivy doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of her parents. Plus, she’s planning to head back to England in 3 months. Even though neither was looking, if they stick together this could be the start of something beautiful..or it could ruin them both.

I was really looking forward to this book after finishing The Hook Up. To be honest, I struggled with the heroine in the early part of The Hook Up, and thought it was kind of slow in the middle. But I zipped right through The Friend Zone, loving every minute of it.

Gray was everything I’d hoped he’d be – smart, funny and sexy as hell. His ribald sense of humor and realistic outlook on life really endeared him to me. Too often in New Adult novels we see the pasts of the main characters dictating every decision they make. That wasn’t the case here. Gray had suffered and still carried some scars, but he also lived in the moment with an eye toward the future. It’s hard to move forward with one foot stuck in the past, and Gray realized that.

Ivy was still trying to figure out what to do with her life, and struggling to deal with the pain of having a father who was mostly absent. I thought her issues were well written and she was a sympathetic character. She could have come off as too-young or immature, but rather I thought she was entering a new phase of her life and trying to navigate unfamiliar waters.

Despite her issues with her father, they clearly had a lot of love for each other. I really liked their family dynamic and her relationship with her sister. Gray didn’t have a relationship with his family, but his friendship with Drew was important to him and they were more like brothers than not. While that came across in The Hook Up, I think I felt the connection more here. I also loved his friendships with the other guys on his team. They were all close and I liked how they turned to each other when things got rough.

“She’s not…‘this’ Ivy,” I pant out. Dip, touch, turn, sprint. “And what’s to tell? She’s…” I touch the next cone. “My friend.”
“Hmmm…” Drew takes a pull on his straw—Jesus, the drink has an umbrella. I swear he put one in it to fuck with me. It’s forty degrees out here, and he’s acting like he’s on a beach somewhere. “And yet you’re attached to your phone like it’s become your second dick.”
“Don’t see a problem with that.” I grunt. “Two dicks, twice the fun.” One. More. Set. Fuck.

There’s quite a bit of humor in the book, and I laughed out loud more than I expected to. Usually when the team was all together and giving each other a hard time, Ivy and her sister were teasing one another, or Gray and Ivy were texting each other.

GrayG: So as friends, can I still say inappropriate, sex-related things?
IvyMac: Sure. Think of me as just another guy. With a vagina.
GrayG: A. Shudder. B. Yeah, no. C. I had this dream that you were sucking my 8==> But when I looked down, I discovered it was actually a goat…you know. Then I really woke up because I yelled so hard, I fell out of bed. And now I live in mortal terror of goats.
IvyMac: LMFAO! Gray got it from a goat!
GrayG: >:-[
IvyMac: Goat-on-Gray action! Heeeee! *Falls down ded*
GrayG: You suck, you know that?
IvyMac: No, the goat does! *Dies again* My sides. My sides!
GrayG: Laugh it up, Chuckles.
IvyMac: Okay. I’m good now. Aw, Cupcake, I’m so glad we’re friends.

I really felt the connection between Ivy and Gray. The early part of their relationship is shown via the text messages they exchange, and I thought it gave us great insight into their friendship. They got to know each other without any kind of physical attraction getting in the way, and they took their time exploring their friendship in person once Ivy came home. They joked and laughed, traded secrets and fears, and came to rely on one another. I really loved their romance.

“Every inch, Ivy,” he whispers against them.
I open my eyes and smile. My arms wind around his neck, holding him close. “You said that once, before your last game. But you never really told me what it means.”
Gray’s hands move to my waist. “Before you, it meant I’ll fight for every inch of yardage, never give up until I’m in the end zone. But now?” His blue eyes meet mine. “It means I’ll fight for every inch of you.”

I was really bothered by the number of typos and grammatical errors. At one point they agree to meet at 1pm and in the next paragraph it’s 8pm on the dot. That was a minor issue, though, and didn’t really detract from my overall enjoyment.

The story was touching, funny and engaging. I fell right into it and didn’t come up for air until the end.

4.5 out of 5


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Joint Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Posted October 17, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: The Hook Up by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #1
Also in this series: The Friend Zone, The Game Plan, The Hot Shot

Publication Date: September 8th 2014
Genres: Fiction, New Adult
Pages: 352
Buy on 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.

Warning: This is a review filled mostly with Rowena and I gushing about the hero of this book. Read on at your own risk.

Holly:  Let me start by saying I love Drew Baylor. He absolutely,  100% made this book for me. Usually I have to have a connection to the heroine, too, no matter how small. But I don’t think I’d have cared if Anna was a stone-cold bitch. I still would have loved this book just because of Drew. Not that I’m saying Anna was one, but you get what I mean.

Rowena: I agree. I would have loved Drew if Anna was freaking Cruella DuVille but it’s a good thing that I came to like her character. If anyone drove me up the wall in this book, it was Anna. I understood where she was coming from but holy crap, that constant back and forth and doubt drove me bonkers. I wanted her to make a decision long before she did. Was she going to trust Drew or not?

Holly: I got frustrated with Anna, too, but not as much as you did. I understood where she was coming from, especially after she went home to see her mother.  Between her being overweight and a socially awkward dork in high school, and the way her mom latched on to men and gave up everything for them, I would have been surprised if she hadn’t been turned off relationships.

Rowena: Meh, I understood it but it didn’t stop me from being annoyed that Anna kept those doubts long into their relationship. She held back for too long to suit me.

Holly: But we had the added benefit of seeing things from Drew’s point-of-view. Anna didn’t. Even Drew admits he wasn’t upfront about his intentions right now away. Plus, she admits how he makes her feel.

Drew doesn’t make me feel like myself. He makes me feel better than myself. As if there is a little broken part of me, rattling and loose, and whenever he’s near it falls into place and tightens.

Rowena: That’s true, but it drove me bat shit crazy when things were going great and then after a talk with her bestie, Iris, the doubts are right back in our lives.

I wanted to scream at her, “You’re really going to listen to her? SHE’S DATING THAT DOUCHEBAG HENRY!!!”

Holly: Let’s talk about Iris for a second. Why in the world was that girl with Henry? I will never understand why girls stay with d-bags. When she walked in on him with another girl, I cheered. Then I had to bang my head against the wall when they got back together. Had she paid even a small amount of attention to how he acted with Anna, she would have realized his cheating on her wasn’t a one-off.

Rowena: I thought that we’d get Iris’ story somewhere in the series but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. I guess she’s really going to end up with douchebag Henry….sucks for her.

Holly: I wondered if Iris would end up with one of the players from the team. Maybe Callihan will surprise us?

Rowena: This is a trilogy, right? Or is it an open-ended series? The blurbs that I read so far were for other players on the team, no Iris in sight on any of those blurbs. Not even a book for Iris’s twin, George. I liked him.

Holly: I’m not sure if she plans to go past the three books. I wouldn’t mind a book for George and Iris. Maybe novellas?

Rowena: I do want to see what George gets into when he moves to New York but I’d be okay with not getting a book (novella or not) for Iris…I was surprised she didn’t get one but I’m not mad about it. She stayed with Henry. Pukey.

Let’s talk about Drew’s point-of-view for a minute…LOL. I about swooned when he said,

“I’m not going to say that it was love at first sight. No, it was more like, oh, hell-yes-please, I’ll have that. With a helping of right-the-fuck-now on the side.”


Right from the very beginning, I loved Drew. I thought he was a great guy and it was refreshing to find a normal guy with normal guy worries in a NA.  Usually, it’s all gloom and doom in the NA books that I read. It was a nice change, getting to know someone like Drew. I adored him. Of course, it helped that he was super hot…haha and the star quarterback.

Holly: I loved Drew from page one.  Like you, that quote sealed it for me. I loved how he was this super star quarterback who never had trouble with the ladies, but with Anna he was all tongue-tied and bone headed. It was refreshing that he wasn’t closed off to love and relationships. I really just wanted to wrap him up and put him in my pocket.

I think it was good we got to see both of them having struggles, while the other propped them up. I don’t know if I would have believed in the sustainability of their relationship if it had ended with Anna waking up and agreeing to be with Drew. She needed to see his vulnerability to realize she was needed by him as well, and to prove her staying power. She didn’t run when things got tough.

Anna was definitely saved for me in the second half of the book. When she committed, that was it. She was all in. If she hadn’t, there’s no way I could have overlooked how reticent she was in the beginning.I loved how fierce she was, too. When they got into that giant fight and Drew was being such a jerk, my heart melted for Anna. Her reaction was just right. I ended up adoring her.

Rowena: Oh, I forgot about the fight but you’re right. I loved that she stayed and fought it out with him. I loved that she didn’t let her fears from before resurface and push them apart. I loved that she was willing to fight for them, even when he wasn’t. She won me over by duking it out with his coach but you’re right, she was freaking awesome after that fight. She handled that whole thing far better than I ever could.

What about those love scenes though? Daaaaaammmmmmnnnn Drew.

Holly: Oh yeah, the love scenes were smoking hot.  Their first one had me all kinds of warm. And their makeup sex was off the charts, too.

Rowena: I’m pretty anxious for Gray’s book now. Did you read that excerpt in the back of The Hook Up? Awww, it sounds so cute.

Holly: I did read Gray’s excerpt. I can’t wait for his book. Man, I spent the majority of this book just wanting to cuddle him.

Rowena: What would you grade this one? It was a 4.5 for me. If I didn’t stay mad at Anna for a good chunk of the book, this would have been a 5 star read for me.

Holly: I think I’m going to give it a 4.5 also. There were some minor frustrations with Anna and the middle dragged a bit, but Drew. Sigh. Drew.

Rowena’s Grade: 4.5
Holly’s Grade: 4.5 


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