Posted in Book review

Series Review: Game On by Kristen Callihan

Recently I reviewed the VIP series by the same author. As we can see with this being another series review, I had a space of time where I binged a lot of this author’s books. From Rockstars to Athletes… and potentially more in the future, I’m so down to read anything she writes. 

Series: Game On
Author: Kristen Callihan
# of books: 4
Completed series: No

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

*All books can be read as standalones, but past characters do show up and sometimes have decently big roles.

The Hook Up (Game On, #1) The Hook Up

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
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

So, one of the coolest things about this book is how Drew is the one wanting the relationship. Usually when I read romances, especially college ones, the guy is never into having a relationship or settling down — Bachelor for Life, but the woman shows them it can be different. No, Drew knows from the first moment he sees her that he wants more than a one-night stand, but Anna DOESN’T!! A sweet role reversal here. 
Oh, yes, it is a bit insta-lovey with Drew, but Anna takes her sweet time. 

There are some adorably sweet scenes here and I absolutely loved Drew. The ending, their conflict, how they learned to work together I thought was absolutely great. There are a few awkward scenes… one in particular with  strippers that just didn’t need to be included at all and casted my boy, Gray, in a bad light. 

The synopsis at first is what kept me away from this because it made the book seem like they both would want a one-night stand and then Drew would want friends with benefits annnd it would grew, which I really wasn’t interested in reading about. I’m so glad I listened to my GR friends’ reviews because this is so worth the read! 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

The Friend Zone (Game On, #2) The Friend Zone

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
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

I think this book is my favorite out of the lot of them. Gray and Ivy start out as texting friends and have some great banter. Then they became real life friends, before becoming more. Not totally a slow-burn, but enough of one to make their relationship feel more believable. 

It does play on a trope I don’t like, but how it progressed wasn’t how I thought it would be. 

I really don’t know what else to say about this one besides, I loved it and I enjoyed the dialogue. The couple is great and I enjoyed being able to connect with past characters more as well. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Game Plan (Game On, #3) The Game Plan

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friend. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Dex is looking for a forever girl, but they live vastly different lives in separate cities. Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.

Game On

Did I say Gray was my favorite??? Because I got to tell you, Ethan really makes it difficult not to love him. 

So, we are now out of college ball and into the pros. We get a new setting this time with the adorable Ethan and Fiona, the sister to Ivy from the previous book. There is a bit of an insta-love between them, but they have some of the past book to back it up… a little. Another aspect of this is long-distance relationship and the trials of it. I think this bit was done great and I’m sure all people in LDRs wish they had Ethan’s money so they could travel so much.

Another shocker, Ethan has never had sex before– I don’t know the last time I read a romance where the main dude wasn’t having sex all the time, so huge change. He’s got some baggage, she’s got baggage, but together they make it work. I’m not completely convinced with how things came around, but this couple was too cute to dislike. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Hot Shot (Game On, #4) The Hot Shot

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
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?

This is the first guy character who we weren’t introduced to in the first book. Finn didn’t go to school with the other guys, but he is a player on Dex’s team. We did see some of Finn and Chess in Dex’s book, because this book kind of takes place during the same time as Dex and Fiona. 

While I enjoyed this book, I just didn’t feel like I connected to the characters much. Chess kept trying not to grow I think was part of my issue. All the problems seemed to revolve around her stubbornness. Yet, I understand why she would want to protect herself, so I can’t be too annoyed with her. I like how sassy and quirky she is which works with how charming Finn is. 

Their relationship is slow going though. I am always happy when these things take time. Friends -> Roommates -> Lovers. I really liked it and I can’t wait for book 5. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Final Thoughts:

I adore this series. The characters are usually great and the relationships take time to build– usually letting them start as friends first. I’m not a fan of football at all *gasp* but I do enjoy these books, which I think says something. 

These are sweet books, with a great cast, some real life problems, and with writing that makes them hard to put down. 

I’m looking forward to reading book 5 which hopefully 🤞 will come out this year! 

If you like sports romances or are looking for something quirky, sweet, and with heroes who run different from the norm, you really need to check these books out. 

4 thoughts on “Series Review: Game On by Kristen Callihan

  1. I’ve recently gotten into NA again and been reading the Off-Campus series. I was enjoying all of the books. Each couple was engaging and interesting, and I really liked their stories and how the relationships progressed. BUT THEN I started to get bored around book three. Why? Well, they all kind of started to look the same to me, to be honest.
    It might be because I read them all so close together but yeah… I’m glad you had such good experiences with Kristen Callihan and I might give her a go and see if I like her better than… I might also skip ahead to the Briar U spin-off altogether as a lot of people seem to love it.
    Amazing reviews, Sionna! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy the Off Campus series as well, although I’ve only read 2 thus far. I think sometimes romances by the same author or even just the same type (i.e. sports, office, etc.) need to be spread out to be enjoyed more. I will say once I got to four of Game On I was feeling a little burnt out.

      I have also heard great things about the Briar U books! I look forward to getting to them.
      Also, if you do read Kristen Callihan’s books, look out for mentions of Elle Kennedy’s characters 😉 I noticed both authors mentioned each other’s characters in the background.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it might be it… I’m glad I’m not the only one then.

        The first two books were quite good but I’m struggling to finish the third… It just feels so boring? I don’t know. It’s not holding my attention at all and feels very instalovey / unrealistic plus nothing much happens besides sex sex sex family drama sex hahahah

        Nothing wrong with that but I just don’t feel connected to the characters or their struggles so it’s tough.

        Oh that’s really interesting! I didn’t know that. So they’re friends, are they? Hahaha so cool 🙂

        I’ll definitely try both series, I just don’t know when… Maybe when I’m back in the mood for some NA.


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