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Game On #2

The Friend Zone

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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

309 pages, ebook

First published May 5, 2015

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About the author

Kristen Callihan

27 books13.2k followers
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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,986 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,055 reviews12.2k followers
July 15, 2015
5 Stars

You are the happiness I never realized I needed.

Have you ever started a book and from just the first few pages known that you have a 5 star on your hands? You know what feeling I'm talking about. The permanent goofy smile, the warm and fuzzies in your stomach, the I'll-just-read-one-more-page-and-before-you-know-it-you're-done, book butterflies kind of feeling. That's exactly what happened to me. Now I loved The Hook Up and I was equal parts dying and dreading this book. Why? Because it's hard to follow up on a book that you loved. But honest to gawd, I think I loved this one even more. Why?

1. There was Gray

If you love the manwhores but hate about reading all their conquests and about them generally being a giant douchebag for most of the book until they hit their epiphany, well my picky friends, meet your holy grail hero. Gray was absolute perfection from the very start. Well, don't get me wrong, he's not perfect perfect. But there were NO other women. None. Not even flirting. But oh was there texting. Which brings me to my next reason.

2. The banter/texting.
Oh. My. Gawd. The texting!

If you don't have a goofy grin on your face reading each of the texts between Ivy and Gray, we're not reading the same book. Seriously.

3. Ivy
I loved her. No seriously. I loved her. She was sassy, sharp-witted, 6ft of awkward dancing awesome. I just loved all her quirky imperfections and the fact that she wasn't your typical dainty tiny heroine.
And, God help me because the truth is Ivy has become a craving in my blood, racing through me hot and thick.

Clearly Gray had no issues with that.

4. The friends-to-lovers trope
Gah. Just gah. I think this may have been my favorite friends to lovers romance I've read this year. That slow burn, that sizzling sexual tension. Perfection. I loved that their friendship was what developed first but with a clear underlying of attraction. And if you follow my reviews than you know I love me my slow burn. Why? Because when it finally implodes, it's bound to be delicious...

And for my curious fellow perverts out there, yes there's a verra good dose of steam here. I got two words for you: Bar. Scene. You'll see.

So in case my list of feels wasn't clear enough, I loved this book. I loved everything about it. Even the little thing that happens towards the end. To me, it fit the story and just added a little more depth to the characters and their romance.

Kristen Callahan hit it out of the ballpark once again. (Get it? Sports metaphor. Ha!) And I absolutely cannot wait for more in this series. Like maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed, Dex? I do love me those lumbersexuals.

Would I recommend this book? Hell yes! Read it, fall in love with the characters, laugh like a loon, and not regret a perfect second of it.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for • Lisa •.
555 reviews1,531 followers
May 5, 2015

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.


What can I say about this book without sounding like a complete loony. I fell in love with this book like most girls fall in love with chocolate; delighted, with a feeling of finding a new best friend. Ok, so maybe not everybody feels that way about chocolate, but I'm sure you get where I'm going with that? I was so delighted with this diamond of a book. I wanted to squeeze this author after every single chapter and tell her how much I loved her style of writing. Right from the off I knew that this book and me were a match made in reading heaven. The banter, the friendship, the slow burn, the sexual tension, everything was just deliciously gorgeous and I couldn't have been more pleased.

What's it all about?
When Gray Grayson and Ivy Mackenzie are pulled together by the sweetest 'meet cute' an author could dream up an addictive friendship is quickly formed. Following this books fabulous beginning is the epic journey of a gorgeous twosome where they are both firmly convinced that the friend zone is where they should stay. But when you've met someone who you don't want to stay away from, who you can't keep your hands off and who starts to look like your best dream wrapped up in a gorgeous package, the friend zone is a hard place to be. Ivy and Gray both start to fight their growing feeling towards each other until in the end they have to make a choice about whether taking a risk is worth it. Sexual tension, insecurities and a determination to do what's right make for a very interesting (and gorgeously told) story between two people who couldn't be more right for each other.


What did I love?
Oh the sweet, sweet (and very sexy) story of a friends to hot lovers story never fails to make my heart fall quickly in love. If you think you won't be entertained by another story of this trope in the ever growing new adult market that you are mistaken. Kristen Callihan is quickly making her mark in the romance writing world and I can fully understand why. 'The Friend zone' had me on full alert from the beginning anyone who can put together witty, 'hold onto your tummy' funny banter together like this book does deserves a medal for that alone. It wasn't long into the book, (I think it was after the first chapter) and I was falling in love with both the heroine and hero. A dual point of view made it easy to follow the story and it's quirky love development and I was happy to take front row into cheering for this couple to fall helplessly in love. But it wasn't all love in the cottage this author dotted some well placed drama and hiccups along the way, but I have I say whatever was included in this novel was all played and plotted out well. As for the characters, well I'm not sure you'll want me to drone on and on about how much love I had for them both, but understand this; Gray Grayson is a hero that melted my heart (and lady bits) completely and thoroughly. He has my new adult reading heart all locked up as his and that's not to mention the love I had for this books heroine. Ivy Mackenzie is a new adult reading dream, as the fabulous leading lady she took the role by storm and I was giddy excited that not only did Kristen Callihan have me ga ga over the story telling but helplessly happy over the characters too. 'The friend zone' had my heart racing, I couldn't stop smiling and I never wanted it to end. A book that is fully worthy of a full out and out five star rating. I'm one happy reader and I'm over the moon for other readers who get to fall in love too.

Final thoughts ...
It feels like this author has had a thorough rummage in my brain, (stick with me this is not as gross as you think) and had a little look-see into all the things I love most about reading a new adult romance and placed all those bits and bobs right into this novel. What I'm attempting to tell you, is that I couldn't have loved this book any more if I tried. Everything (and I mean everything) about this book won my heart and I'm seriously contemplating camping outside this authors house until she gives me something else of hers to read. I want to bottle up the way I felt whilst reading this story and save it for when I'm having an eeyore type of day, so I can always remember how it felt to have this fabulous reading escape. To sum up how I feel, (if you haven't quite grasped my 'In love' feelings just yet) I feel mushy gooey inside when I think about these characters, I want to press rewind and read this book for the first time all over again. Kristen Callihan has now got a fan for life and I applaud her for producing a gorgeous new adult series that I'm sure will be winning over more hearts than she could ever imagine. I hope you love this book as much as I did however, I'm not quite convinced that will be possible. Go grab it on release day fellow addicts. Enjoy ... Kisses.

*ARC generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews10k followers
May 11, 2015
{BR with Mel, Dee, and Sharon}

"The fact is, Ivy, for me, there is one absolute truth. The sum of my existence equals you."

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Well, I was literally blown away by how much I ended up loving this book. I had my doubts that this could top the first one. This was mainly because I didn't really warm up to Gray until the last 25% of "The Hook Up". I thought he was a shallow manwhore for the most part. But, hell if I wasn't 100% WRONG !!! I fell head over heels in love with Gray Grayson aka CUPCAKE. I highlighted so many excerpts of the book and let me tell you, it was so very hard to limit the amount of quotes I wanted to add to this review!! That is when I know that I've read something pretty freaking A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!

Gray and Ivy's relationship starts through a series of hilarious texts. Ivy's in London, helping her mom out with her Bakeries. Her dad is a famous sports agent who is trying to sign on Gray as a client. His way of winning Gray over is to lend him Ivy's little pink Fiat since he lent his truck to Drew and Anna to help them out. Gray and Ivy develop a fast friendship, but all the while it is apparent that there is a strong chemistry building between them.

Eventually Ivy comes home to the states and the two become inseparable. Time and time again Gray proves to be so much more than just delicious man candy. Don't get me wrong, the man is beautiful, with a dirty mouth and outstanding sexual skills, but the author made this guy so much more!! He's a mathematical genius, has a knack for quoting 80's movies, tells amazingly horrible jokes, and when he falls in love, he gives it everything he's got!! I think his ability to love is all wrapped up in his painful past with his mom. I really dig the way Kristen Callihan's book heroes are never the stereotypical Jocks you usually read about or see on TV.

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Ivy and Gray are crazy for each other, but they try their hardest to keep those feelings at bay. They're afraid if they take things beyond the friend zone that they run the risk of losing what they have now, which means everything to them. Ivy is the one who fights it the most. The sexual tension between them and angst was killing me!! At one point, I felt like my heart was being shredded for what seemed like an eternity.

Thank god Drew was around in this book because without his help, Ivy and Gray may never have taken the next step in their relationship. When Gray finally makes his move, LOOK OUT!! Let the SHMEXY TIMES BEGIN!!!!! The sex is INCREDIBLE!! Let's just say it's been many years since Ivy has been with a man and Gray hasn't touched another woman since the two started texting oh so many months ago. Pent up sexual energy makes for some panty melting action! Gray is all about fulfilling every one of Ivy's sexual fantasies.

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These two will face several major challenges along the way that will test the strength of their love. I almost rated this book lower because I felt at one point there was just too much angst being thrown at us. In the end I did see why all the drama ended up being pivotal to the story.

I know I've gone on enough about this book and honestly I haven't covered nearly as much as I'd like to. All I can say is that I HIGHLY recommend this series to all of you who haven't given it a chance yet. I mean, look at the cover!! The cover alone, should have you all chomping at the bit to read it!!

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Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,066 followers
May 6, 2015
Unknown: Mr. Grayson, my father tells me he lent you my car. I don’t really care if he’s going to sign you or not. As said agent’s daughter, I know football players and their ways. So let me be clear. There will be no shenanigans taking place in it or you’ll answer to me. You want to hook up with one of your women, do it in a bed and not in my car. Sincerely, Ivy Mackenzie.

This book had me from that very first text exchange between Gray and Ivy. I knew it was going to be good when the banter keeps on coming and sexual tension just kept on rising with every page.

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The Friend Zone is about Gray and Ivy. If you've read the Hook-Up, Gray is Drew Baylor's tight-end, best friend. When his agent asked him to "take care" of his daughter's car, Gray never thought he would immediately hit it off with Ivy MacKenzie. But they did, and at the expense of sounding trite and clichéd, that laid a foundation for their friendship. But Gray never had female friends before. Ivy was the first. She was funny, snarky and more importantly she seems to just want to be friends with him too. Just friends.

^^Still cracks me up every time.

When they finally met face-to-face, all bets are off because the more they spend time together, the more Gray wants Ivy.

“Truth? Had we met before the texts, I’d have tried something. She’s funny and smart and hot. Who wouldn’t want her? Shit, I don’t know, man. I just like her. I really like her. She’s the first person I want to talk to. Every day.”

This book surprised me in every way. Or should I say Gray surprised me in every way. This was a guy who had a reputation with zee ladies and the nickname Glamour Gray doesn't exactly win him points either. BUT I was WRONG about Gray.

For those who are worried about Gray holding on to the idea that he's not good enough for Ivy or worried about Gray pushing Ivy away because he's a typical manho, fear not. He is totally swoon-worthy.

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But Gray isn't the only reason why you should read this book because hello! The heroine is no slouch either. In most cases with NA, the heroine always gets overshadowed by the hero. But not here because Ivy is the bomb. She speaks her own mind and can hold her own against Gray or anybody else for that matter. She's a 6 feet tall of AWESOME!

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And can I just hug Kristen Callihan for writing about positive female relationships in this book. Ivy's relationship with her sister Fiona adds a fantastic layer to the book as well as their complicated relationship with their father. Same goes for Gray and his parents.

Gray's teammates, are featured a lot in this book. And Kristen Callihan seems to be giving us hints as to the future storyline for some of these characters, which I am 100% down with especially 'Londo's story. (Oh please, please, Kristen. Write 'Londo's story. Please.)

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I'm not even going to touch on how hot this book is because the cover alone should already clue you in. But in all seriousness, this book ticked all my yes boxes. Gray and Ivy's relationship was fantastic to behold. Yes, their relationship is sweet but they also went through some pretty intense moments in the book, which in most cases, don't always work with me but it did in this book. It succeeded in showing me their evolution as a couple and it should their individual strengths. I can't say anymore because it would spoil too much but I will say this: Kristen Callihan handled that particular moment magnificently.

I can't recommend this book enough. Read it.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kristen.
834 reviews4,769 followers
October 31, 2016
5 "I Devoured This Book" Stars


The Friend Zone is the best "friends to lovers" trope I've read to date. It encompasses everything I want and love in a romance book. It had a solid and credible plot, excellent writing, engaging dialogue, multilayered characterizations, intense chemistry, steamy love scenes and a couple I could root for and fall in love with.

The two main characters, Gray and Ivy, are why I fell in love with this story. Both were so richly developed and relatable that they breathed life into each and every page. What I loved most about this book, however, is it wasn't your typical clichéd friends-to-lovers plotline. The hero didn't sleep his way around town while the heroine secretly pines for the love of her life, the hero, her best friend. Once the hero and heroine met (texted) and became friends, there was no one else for either of them. They both acknowledged their feeling and, each in his/her own way, tried to figure out how to move from friends to lovers. It was pure perfection for me.

The Friend Zone is a wonderful, upbeat, humorous and an engaging story. It's why I read romance.
Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,412 reviews4,662 followers
May 7, 2015
4.5 “Every Inch” Stars


This story has one hot as hell football player who becomes texting friends (the texts were hilarious, sexy and very cute) with Ivy, his soon to be agent’s oldest daughter.

“Truth? Had we met before the texts, I’d have tried something. She’s funny and smart and hot. Who wouldn’t want her? Shit, I don’t know, man. I just like her. I really like her. She’s the first person I want to talk to. Every day.”

This story was friends to lovers trope that was extremely well done, believable and so much fun to read. The dialogue and banter throughout this story was completely on point!

”Dude I’ve just been compared to Thor I totally win.”

”Man…That’s some impressively bad dancing.”

The author carefully takes her time bringing this friendship out of the friend zone and when she does, it was smoking hot. Gray is a very talented ball player but his dirty talking skills were up there as well. I can’t review this book without mentioning the phone sex scene nor the fantasy scene.

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Gray and Ivy were simply terrific together but for me Gray was the stand out favorite with his honesty, vulnerability and confidence that made one hell of a swoon worthy hero.

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”I want it all with you.”

Overall this was an enjoyable read that was not only well written but highly entertaining. Special thank you Mysza, Nikki and Arlene for the buddy read!

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Profile Image for Mysza.
476 reviews396 followers
June 17, 2015

I floved this book!

I adored Glamour Gray. I mean come on, this guy looked like freaking Thor, who wouldn't? He was confident and strong, yet tender and vulnerable. I was scared that he will be in his MO as in The Hook Up, but no, yay! he wasn't whoring around:)))) That's what I like in Kristen Callihan's heros, they are good people - good friends, good boyfriends, simply good.

Ivy was not bad herself either. She was sweet, funny and caring and she was a wonderful friend to Gray. I liked how strong she stayed when the drama at the end was a little OTT. She was not your typical petite girl in her 6 feet tall body, but feminine nonetheless. And that badass dance moves? Yeah, I totally dig her.

The friends to lovers trope was very well done here. I loved the messages that started their friendship. I loved how they had a romantic relationship already without even realizing it. I loved how they were true friends to each other. I loved how they called each other Cupcake and Special Sauce.

Together, they were freaking hot mess. The sex parts were steamy and dirty talk was involved too. Fantasy scene and sex phone was scorching hawt!
And for real, Gray, give me a call, I want what Ivy had.

Once again, Kristen Callihan proved that she can write NA and do it good. Damn woman, your stories and characters never seize to amaze me. Keep writing cause it's a fine job you're doing.

Buddy Read with my girls Arlene, Nikki and Jennifer. Thank you girls!
Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,974 followers
May 11, 2015
5 Pink Stars.


Gray and Ivy started an unlikely friendship when Ivy texts Gray about his using her car, that was lent to him by her father, since she is away. They start talking every day, about everything and soon become pretty close. It’s all good when she’s living far way, but when Ivy returns everything changes between them.
Now they are best-friends attracted to each other and the feelings between them grow even faster. Neither of them wants to do anything about if afraid it’ll ruin their friendship, but they also will soon realize that some things can’t just be ignored.


I don’t know exactly how to tell you how much I loved this book. It was freaking amazing!
Completely addictive, well written, funny and steamy it has all the elements to make you fall with New Adult all over again. This book hooked me from the first page and I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the last page, way in the middle of the night. This series started well and are just getting even better. So… are you a fan of NA? Are you a fan of sexy athletic dudes? Are you a fan of steamy and funny books? Are you a fan of some drama / angst? If you answered yes to all (or some) of those question go read this series now.


Rating: 5 Stars.
Characters Development: I loved Drew, but I believe I loved Gray even more. Damn these footballs players that steal my heart in every book. He was a little broken, sweet, sexy and an amazing friend. How could I not love him? Ivy was a great heroine, she was sweet and honest and supportive. It was pretty good to see more of Drew and Anna.
Steam: Some hot scenes.
Sensible Subjects:
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,473 reviews976 followers
April 12, 2022
Re-read on 4/12/2022
Listening Length: 10 hours 20 minutes.

GIVEAWAY: a kindle set of both books in this series.
Play here-> http://wp.me/p4uAPW-1lc (ends Friday, May 8, 2015 at 5 pm PST)

✻DISCLAIMER: My pre-review is a little misleading. Prior to reading this book I assumed it would be about wild college days. While it is about a college football player it isn't filled with partying.

Since my pre-review makes me laugh...I'm leaving it up. Now, that I'm done with the book I don't want to give the wrong impression about what to expect from this one. :)

YES!!! I'm going OLD SCHOOL and heading back to my college days




WOWSERS!!! The prologue is the da' bomb!!

The Friend Zone opens with several pages of amusing text messages between Gray and Ivy. The text messages are their first interaction with each other. Just like Drew from The Hook Up whose mother gave him advice… Gray’s mother also provides him with some wisdom:

“Live every day to the fullest, Gray. Appreciate life to the fullest, promise me that.”

Gray may have interpreted that differently than his mother intended,

’It simple, really. I party because it’s fun. Enjoy women because I love them. Love their sweet scent, their musical laughter, and their soft curves. Play football because it’s the greatest f*cking game on earth. And it’s worked for the most part. I’ve had fun.’



GAH!! I LOVE reading other people’s text messages and these didn't disappoint. As evident from the above exchange Ivy is mature for her age. She’s the typical first born... who also completed college a year early and started working towards her career path. On the other hand, Gray is a little more free spirited than Ivy. He likes to live each day to the fullest.

Their relationship is a friends-to-lovers romance with a slow building romance. When they finally give in and admit their feelings to each other...it’s on like “Atari Pong.” Another bonus to this couple is their ability to communicate with each other instead of letting unnecessary drama overshadow their relationship.

I read this one during the 2015 Draft Day and that made The Friend Zone seem more real. I was watching the draft because my player, Marcus Mariota, was in the draft. He was second picked and I guess I’m going to be a Titan’s fan now. I’ve been following Marcus’s college career and I’ve often wondered what his college romance story would be?! If Marcus was a character in this book he would have been a mix of these two characters- Ivy’s overachiever self-mixed with Gray’s charm and awesome football skills. :)

BTW.... since this is May and Mother's day is around the corner I wanted to say, "Happy Mother's Day" to all the moms on here! And if you aren't a mom...hug your mom because mom's rock!

RELEASE DATE: May 5, 2015

The Hook Up (Game On, #1) by Kristen Callihan The Friend Zone (Game On, #2) by Kristen Callihan The Game Plan
Can be read as standalones. Each following book is secondary characters from the first book. To find out when more will be released click here.

**Complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.**

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Profile Image for Eda**.
700 reviews442 followers
July 8, 2015

** 4,5-5 “The sum of my existence = U” STARS **

GrayG: I feel like I can tell you anything.

IvyMac: You can. That's what friends do.

GrayG: I've never been friends with a girl before.

IvyMac: I'm honored to be your first.


How could Gray Grayson have known that borrowing his agent's daughter's bubblegum pink car would have such a domino effect on his life? That the car which ended up being the reason for his ridiculous nickname "Glamour Gray" would also be how he meets his best friend, his first close female friend, his first...love?

How could Ivy Mackenzie have known that texting the guy her dad lent her beloved car to would have such a domino effect on her life? That she would click with the guy so quickly? That he would become a friend, a necessary part of her day...a strange addiction?

I’ve just officially met Ivy Mackenzie, and I realize I’ve missed her for what seems like years.


But the feeling of belonging they felt while texting with millions of miles between them was NOTHING apparently, because when they first see each other, when their arms first wrap around each other...it feels like home. Yes, HOME. One they never want to leave.

The problem is...now that they are friends, will dreaming of MORE ruin their friendship?

“I’m crazy about you, Ivy. You have to know that. I’m so lost in you, I don’t ever want to find my way back.”


OVERALL: I can NOT explain how deeply in love I am with this book! Seriously you guys, I rarely enjoy second books in series like these and I am still in shock of how awesomely sweet this one was. Glamour Cupcake (ehehehehe) was PERFECT! And I really liked Ivy as well.

Plus, Ivy is five foot twelve, JUST LIKE ME, which is enough reason to fan-girl over this book for me because tall heroines are very rare happenings in romance books. (Quite annoying, to be honest...)


Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews880 followers
April 18, 2017

That’s it. It’s official. Kristen Callihan has now joined the ranks among Christina Lauren for one of my favorite authors of NA/Contemporary reads.



If you know me, you know one of my favorite things to read is friends to lovers, and this book has joined Beautiful Player as one of my all-time favorite friends to lovers reads. I mentioned this in my review for The Hook Up, but as of late, 'light' reads have held zero interest from me. I was beginning to give up hope on finding a series that was light, funny, sexy, but also contained some emotional aspects. Where the quotes I highlight aren’t just silly banter and sexy lines, but quotes that get you right in the feels. AND THIS IS IT!


It was fantastic. Amazing. Hysterical. Romantic. Not only did Kristen have me ga ga over the story telling but enamored with the characters, too.


I can’t even tell you how many times I squealed like a child from the sweet and sexy things Gray said. He is a hero that melted my heart and had me wrapped around his large delicious finger.


Ivy Mackenzie is a fabulous leading lady who was just too sweet for words. This whole book was PERFECTION. I’m not even going to go into plot details. JUST.READ. IT.


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Profile Image for Sophie's Reading Corner .
827 reviews330 followers
November 3, 2015
5 **EVERY INCH** stars

Grey Grayson is a football player and his soon to be agent gives him his daughter's car, a bright pink Fiat to use temporarily, since he has given his own car to his best friend.

Ivy Mackenzie texts Grey because of the car and they become text buddies, since she's helping her mom with her bakeries, back in England. But Ivy is coming back at States and it's about time these buddies to meet each other.

"I have the reflexes of a cat."
I snort, totally enjoying myself now.
"If you mean Garfield, then yeah."

The comfort of their friendship is about to change, since they don't exactly see each other as a sibling. They will try to depress the sexual tension, because they don't want to destroy this beautiful friendship and because Grey's about to make a business deal with Ivy's dad and this could also risk it. But they are not the only reasons, since also Grey has the fame as a notorious ladies man and Ivy is going back to England. Will they succeed though?

"You are the happiness I never realized I needed."

I don't have to say a lot about this one, so I'll try to be fast, but to the point. This is an AMAZING read!! It was funny -I laughed out loud many times and that says a lot, it was cute - I awed also a numerous times and also the chemistry between them? I have no words, they were simply meant for each other!! The writing was so good and their dialogues were GOLD, MAGIC! And when they finally got together?

This is a MUST READ book, guys!! I'm sure you will fall in love with Grey and his shenanigans ;)

PS: I know that Fi & Dex are next, but can the next one be about Rolondo?? I bet Kristen Callihan can write a M/M romance just as well! :D
Profile Image for Patrycja.
639 reviews3,794 followers
May 3, 2015

Title: The Friend Zone
Series: Game On #2 Can be read as a standalone
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Date: 5 May, 2015
Rating: 5 stars
Cliffhanger:. No

I love friend to lovers themed stories when they are done just right. I adore the slow built up, characters discovering their true feelings, the push and pull between them, the unbelievable sexual tension. The sparks, the drama, the banter. I am very happy I can say I found it and more in the newest Kristen Callihan’s release.

Meet Gray Grayson – fantastic football player, sweet, loveable guy and yes, ladies A Manwhore. But to his defense, Mr. Grayson is not a jerk and through all book didn’t even flirt with other girls.

Then there is Ivy Mackenzie, a daughter of future Gray’s agent. They form a cute friendship that is just delicious. But there is also attraction there – clear, strong, dazzling lure that was absolute perfection!

Wow! Wow! Wow! I am still gooey inside. This book was just so perfect! The Friend Zone seriously surpassed my expectations. I did like The Hook Up, but didn’t feel like I fell completely, utterly, astonishingly hard in love with it as I did with Gray and Ivy’s story.

After reading the first chapter, I was positive The Friend Zone will be at least a good follow up in the Game On series, but after a while I was shocked to realize it’s not only a decent novel but a ‘make-you-smile-make-you-crazy-and-all-gooey’ masterpiece I won’t be able to forget.

It was flirty, sexy and so damn cute. The sexiness oozed from the pages! And the main characters were the best couple I’ve ever read about. They were so adorable, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. There was so much goofiness involved I think I looked like a psychiatric run away must of the time. I am sure some people were looking at me with their ‘WTF’ faces. But guess what? I didn’t care. I had too much fun to be worrying about it. Gray and Ivy were more important at that moment. (I guess I should mention I was reading The Friend Zone while being on my History and Culture of USA lecture?)

The best part of the book, though, was for me Ivy. She was character I instantly connected with. She was witty, smart, adorable and badass! I loved how much she reminded me of… myself. I must say, it was very nice to read about heroine who was not petite – I am, just like Ivy, six feet tall and I understand her insecurities and everything that’s connected with being so damn tall! It was refreshing and nice to read about.

You are the happiness I never realized I needed.

Summing up, The Friend Zone is absolute MUST READ. I loved it with every fiber of my being and I will be definitely rereading it in the future. It’s just one of those sweet stories that leave you full of hope, love and dreams.


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Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
965 reviews1,248 followers
January 16, 2016

Title: The Friend Zone
Series: Game On #2
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release date: May 5, 2015
Cliffhanger: No

To say that I was excited to get my hands on this book would be a monumental understatement. But I was also a little unnerved about the follow up book to The Hook Up. We all know the danger of how much more cutting the disappointment can be when high expectations aren't met. I was ready for that magic that I felt before, the excitement and the butterflies that I felt for Drew and Anna's story. Kristen Callahan had a way of blending witty banter, incredible sexual tension, and well developed characters into one unputdownable package. Would the Friend Zone deliver? My short answer...yes

After reading the prologue, which consisted entirely of Grey and Ivy texting each other from England to America, I was giddy and had a permanent smile on my face. I have no words to explain how adorable these two were with their snarky text messages and lovable, (sometimes dirty) teasing.

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.

Their quick friendship leaves Gray feeling confused yet exhilarated. For the life of him, he can't understand this bond that's growing with Ivy, a girl he's never set eyes on, but there's something about her that fits and makes him feel right at home with her.

Drew? He's like a brother to me. So why do I feel this intensity in my new-found friendship with Ivy? I'm not sure. It's only been a little over a week of non-stop texting, but already she's become essential-a bright spot in my life.

Ivy has been abroad visiting her mother in England for a year learning the baking business in preparation for taking over running one of the stores. She arrives home for a three month visit and is amazed to find out that her buddy is a huge, golden haired, ripped adonis. Suddenly those cozy, friendly feelings are blurring and she doesn't know what to do with that. Grey is feeling all the same things and it only makes you want them to surrender to their true desires even more.

Ivy was a great heroine, smart, witty, and the kind of girl that stands for what she believes in. I loved her for Grey, and the more I saw them interact, the more I felt that there couldn't have been a better matched pair. This was not an opposites attract type of situation. These two have so much in common, they were like one of those sickening couples that finish each other's sentences, call each other super sweet nicknames, and like all of the same things. You know, the ones that usually want to make you puke because they're so perfect? But Grey and Ivy? You can't help but be charmed and giddy and ready to beg them to get with the program.

Once again, KC has built the anticipation and sexual tension to amazing levels. I was so impatient waiting for the inevitable crash and burn of their platonic relationship I almost couldn't take it. Grey was so obsessed, tender, and protective of Ivy, I knew they would be setting my kindle afire when the tension snapped.

But they had more than one valid reason why crossing the line would be a bad idea. Her father is his potential future agent. He's a star athlete with a reputation and his mother's death has made him afraid to risk his heart. She's moving away to another country permanently in the not too distant future. Then there's the obvious: if they try a relationship and fail, they'll lose each other for good. With all of that stacked against them, it wasn't enough to deter them. They both fell and they fell hard.

What I feel for Gray? It isn't comfortable. It's so intense and so enormous, sometimes I fear my soul can't contain it.

So. On to why I didn't rate this 5 stars. It REALLY hurt me to knock anything off my rating, but toward the end, there was a conflict that popped up that unfortunately is one of my pet peeves. A little "surprise" that not only bugged me, but the way it happened...No. Read at your own risk, it's a pretty significant spoiler.

Overall, I had a great experience reading this book. We really get to know Gray and Drew's teammates in more depth and get a little lead in for future books. There's a lot of potential there for more amazing stories. I'm guessing that we're getting Ivy's sister Fiona and Dex, the bearded, tatted, artist who's on the team. I'm so excited for that one!! I would highly recommend this book, even though I found issue with one or two small things, I absolutely consumed this book and left it feeling very satisfied and on a book high. Grey-Grey and Ivy Mac are one of the cutest couples I've come across this year. You're going to want to check these two out.



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Profile Image for Katy Loves Romance ❤️.
434 reviews724 followers
May 9, 2015
5 ***** Cupcake and Special Sauce stars

Oh My Gawdddd how I love this genre!! I have to say this is hands down my Favourite lordy be this was all finds of good fun times mixed with sexy moments and then the Feels oh the Feels.

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I would say to me this book was what a call a special treat made me dive in with both feet and quell the plot, the friendship the gradual love they shared, the sex but mostly the writing and how abundantly clear to how much these two characters were falling for each other from go except for us as readers although I felt they were meant t be it was a gradual progression for their relationship. I would say Kristen were true to people Gray and Ivy were.

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Back in The The Hook Up Drew broke his leg and Gray being the special person he was lent his car to him therefore he was carless except Ivy's father is lending Gray Ivy's pink car which leads to Ivy texting Gray.....

Lets say...
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Bring on the Shenanigans. I was left after that prologue a big happy smile on my face expecting a fun light hearted read, what I didn't expect was a book full of the FEELS.

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To begin with they embark on a friendship where they need each other and they don't want to ruin the friendship they have nor they need, to them they want more than sex and so to begin with there is a light-hearted fun read that had me laughing, smiling and enjoying the ride that was them. They were truly loving something that they have never had someone they could depend on and although Ivy had her sister and Gray Drew this was something new and different and something they really don't want to ruin. Except feelings start to seep in.

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Through their friendship they are there for each other to talk to daily and become the best of friends there was also moments of solitude and peace within themselves that they knew (I felt) they were more but above all were home to each other.

I devoured the first half I read when' I could' and when I couldn't I was thinking when I can I grab some reading time. I LOVED the gradual process to their relationship and how natural to each other they were, likewise this was such an easy enjoyable read that had me drawing in everything about them I could at this part of the book.

And the Change
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Then it turned and became HAWWWTTTT and much much more deeper, I think because I was so gripped to their friendship that when it turned to more I FELL for them a little more if that's even possible because I felt I was involved in their gradual growth.

OMG he seemed from the outside while reading The Hook Up as an easy breezy ladies man and yes I suppose that was true before but when Ivy came along he changed and became himself. Ivy just enabled him to be him. He was such a sweetheart and I loved his tender loving moments, his kisses and love that poured from him and I wanted to kiss him myself never mind Ivy Mac.

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I loved Drew but Gray gray can I say I loved him more?? Geesh he talked to my heart and to me this story was all kinds of lovely.

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Although this is a sports Romance and I loved being with the gang again and loved the theme of the story the friends to lovers story was a pleasure and delight to read.

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Profile Image for Phuong ✯.
631 reviews5,837 followers
December 15, 2022
– 4.25 stars

this friends-to-lovers story really won me over. my favorite part was when Gray (H) and his friends went out with Ivy (h) and saw her atrocious dancing and Gray jumped to save his girl by dancing even worse than her and matching her energy. 🥺

When the song ends, Gray leans close, the clean scent of sweat coming off his skin. “You want to sit down now?”
“No way,” I shout back, because another song has started. “I love dancing!”
He grimaces–the poor guy probably hates dancing since he does it so baldy–but then pulls me close. “Then that’s what we’ll do.”
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,255 followers
February 4, 2021
4.25 Every Inch Stars
* * * * 1/4 Spoiler Free-Warning, Long Ass Review
I am fascinated by an author's ability to create people from scratch. To think about a person... give them the physical characteristics and then, more importantly, the inner makings of who they are. That to me is an art form.

There are authors who give us these people; they are there...We see them in our mind...yet when push comes to shove... could we be there in their heads...deep down and see how they feel about the little things or in critical moments. Would we immediately understand their reactions and want to comfort them...That only happens when we have bonded and felt as if these characters are real.

Kristen Callihan has this gift; she impressed me in The Friend Zone with how she introduced me to all of the characters, not just Gray and Ivy. For me, this was the delight and strength of this book.

From the first page, she brought us in on the first meeting through text of Gray and Ivy.
We first felt the pissed off Ivy from London and then the playful tease of Gray from the US. The arc of the text and way these two played off each other was smart, easy and a little leading... like how it could be in "real life" versus "book calculation". We were curious, we felt the pull both of them had from that first taste...and then we were in each of their heads through the POV that followed.

We go on a journey of two people who become very close through texting... never actually talking... just becoming each other's touchstones over a period of time...With things being online and digital...it is so easy to feel as if you are connecting and sharing through this method...it is instantaneous; safe yet intimate and very addictive. There is false freedom as the person you may be sharing a little bit of yourself with doesn't see how important those few words could be...It is in the learning of the other person... this dance which can be revealing, scary and special all at the same time.

These two become so close and each other's safety net... that when Ivy comes back from London, she doesn't tell Gray because she is nervous about what will happen when they finally meet in person. He finds out she is arriving through her father...who once again is taking care of "Business" and cannot pick her up. Gray is so angry no one is there for Ivy at the airport, he cannot see straight. He rushes to the gate looking frantically for her and then thinking he missed her, his whole body caves for a moment...

At this moment, once again, we are given everything about these two... the description of Gray... how he moves through the sea of travelers, his weaving in and out...determined and searching....the description of his body and the way it moves... how the muscles ripple and tense when he needs to turn on a dime to get where he wants to be...We then are given his emotional state through the pull of his hands down his face...and then the first glimpse of recognition... of his relief and delight in seeing Ivy...this leaped off the page and we were being embraced just like her in his arms... never wanting to be released either.

Ivy is not ignored or second fiddle in this book...she is fully developed and we are there with her insecurity of whether she and Gray can remain, friends, once they are in the same country. We see her through his gaze time and time again... his delight in her being tall... long toned legs and soft woman curves... the delight to be able to look at each other without the strain of bending or crouching...her shoulder-length hair and sexy flirty bangs... eyes dark and searching...we see her and she is wonderful...a grown version of the girl captured in the picture on the father's desk.

These two are linked yet they are walking on eggshells; afraid to lose this close friendship. Afraid to acknowledge the chemistry and feelings they obviously have for each other. It is overcome with a couple of reassuring jokes from Gray...and immediately both breathe a quick mental sigh of relief... they will be ok... they will not lose each other... they will be each other's best friend....

Well, this works sort of...

From the moment Gray introduces Ivy to his group of pals and teammates...they all see what he and Ivy are denying... these two are a couple...and they are destined to be as strong and cute as Anna and Drew were in The Hook Up (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...).
It is in this group hang out at a bar where we see first hand how my Gray feels for his Ivy demonstrated in his joining her on the dance floor. His friends watch in awe and then back him up with their actions.

In this one moment, something like this is pivotal for a character; it is a way to actually show the reader the intense connection one character has for the other... that they want their friend to feel great and never be in an awkward position... and to support no matter what.

Gray does this time and time again...and Ivy feels it; basks in it and wishes Gray could be a relationship guy...wishes he and she could be together... but she also knows who she is- not a "friends with benefits girl" or "an at the moment sexual partner"...she is not wired that way and Gray up until Ivy... has been an at the moment, have the fun and move on guy.

Gray's family history is not pretty. We learn early on... he watched his mom die of cancer. She told him to live and feel everything, to not let anything slip by. It seems from our perspective, Gray took that advice to heart and may have missed some of what she meant. He also was surrounded by other darkness we learn later... his family was not encouraging in a positive way... and he has serious scars from it. But what wasn't scarred was his immense love of Football; it is his everything... his home on the field. There, his life is Three-Dimensional. There he is in control and alive. He reigns supreme and the rush is like no other. But this is no ordinary jock... this is a man who has an understanding of real concepts... and a man who has an affinity to math, calculations, and mind-expanding sciences... this man is more than the sum of his parts.

Ivy is no slouch either. Her childhood has been held in airports... going and coming from trips to Europe and back... the result of her parents divorce. Her father was driven and famous as The Sports Agent since retiring from his professional career. He was a player...on the courts and most definitely off... and the off-court activity caused a lot of pain for her mother. Her mother finally decided enough was enough and moved to London reinventing herself as a famous baker with 3 bakeries through the area. This was what Ivy was doing while in London... interning and learning the bakery business. What she learned was two fold: she learned she hated the actual running of a bakery. She didn't like the early rise and early to bed life...and she also learned through her talking with Gray... she loved the guiding of the team to make smart decisions while playing... to watch who are their agents... how they handle their money and lifestyle. Gray was encouraging and made her think of what she really wanted...

So... this is a budding friendship to lovers' story and it was a very fast read up until 2/3 of the way in for me. I loved all of the build-up; the realization of what they meant to each other. What caused some slowdown and issues for me will more than likely not be a concern for others...
the dramatic ying/yang of misinterpretation of feelings, the introduction of Gray's family drama and then their other critical issues... felt like a lot at the end. The overall results of these situations all handled well...and there was the completion in a very timely not drawn out manner which was a huge plus. Again, these issues were more me than the story... so the read would for most wouldn't contemplate them.

If you love to have fully fleshed out characters with a strong sense of humor and ability to make you relate to them fully, then this is definitely a perfect read for that. All of the secondary characters feel real, too. They are given their due with scenes that tease us into wanting more. Dean is scheduled next but I would also bet on Rolondo... his is a story which must be told, too.

The talent of a writer is to take a blank sheet and create a living breathing thing... Kristen Callihan has the gift and this is another example.

The Hook Up (Game On, #1) by Kristen Callihan The Hook Up (Game On, #1)
The Friend Zone (Game On, #2) by Kristen CallihanThe Friend Zone (Game On, #2)
The Game Plan (Game On, #3) by Kristen Callihan The Game Plan (Game On, #3)
The Hot Shot (Game On, #4) by Kristen Callihan The Hot Shot (Game On, #4)
Untitled (Game On, #5) by Kristen Callihan Untitled (Game On, #5)

When you wish upon a star...(or for a book)
Makes no difference who you are (even readers of sexy romance)
Anything your heart desires (yup, really)
Will come true...
And I am here to tell you...


I just received my arc for THE FRIEND ZONE!!!!!!!!!!!
twirling, twirling, oh....getting dizzy... :DDD

What the Hell???
How am I supposed to wait patiently for the release with that Cover...
I think I am having a case of the vapors...and I don't even know what that means, hahahahhahaha

~~~~ Before Cover Reveal ~~~~
Have I been on another planet???
How did I not know this was coming...
May is becoming a favorite month and I Cannot Wait!

A gifted copy was provided by the author for an honest review.

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Profile Image for S.M. West.
Author 39 books1,171 followers
May 6, 2015
4.5 Shenanigans STARS

Lately,I’ve been in a whirlwind of wickedly wonderful NA reads and this has totally taken me by surprise!!

This second book in the Game On series is just as brilliant as the first. The prologue sucked me in… I don’t know how Ms. Callihan does it…even though Ivy and Gray were just friends at the onset; from Ivy’s first text to Gray, the chemistry, the “click” between these two was so evident and so natural, perfect and beautiful.

I’d fallen for Gray, the insanely gorgeous and funny tight-end and BFF of Drew’s in The Hook Up and so I was already a goner and anxious for Gray to find the one.

From across the pond, Ivy Mackenzie, daughter of Gray’s potential agent and owner of said Pink Fiat 500, captures Gray’s heart before either of them knows it.

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Ivy is a relationship type of girl. She’s only had one boyfriend and believes that sex is an intimate act that should mean something. Gray couldn't be any more different. He lives for football, the now, for casual hook ups and for fun. He does NOT do relationships or love.

Their friendship is a thing of beauty and so engaging and enthralling.

Both Ivy and Gray are so likable, real and there was no over the top drama or angst. Just two people stumbling along in life, bonding and before they know it, finding out their best friend is the ONE. They had cute nicknames for each other and while you might think it was annoying, it wasn't. My fave was Ivy calling Gray...

I really enjoyed how Ivy meshed with the guys on the team and that we got to see how Drew and Anna fit into their story. There were some great, hot and steamy scenes with these two...

“Everything we’ve done – every dirty, sweet, raunchy thing- passes between us like a shared secret.”

and one of the best, unintentional phone sex scenes ever...HAWT...

This book just gave me everything I'd want in a fantastic read: laughs, friendship, love, sex, a little bit of angst and just an all around feel-good vibe.

“I’m crazy about you, Ivy. You have to know that. I’m so lost in you, I don’t ever want to find my way back.”

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“The thought of you not being in my life tears me up. I …You are the happiness I never realized I needed.”

I`m already marking my calendar for the next one, The Game Plan...please be Dex`s story!

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Profile Image for ~♡AB♡~.
974 reviews667 followers
May 5, 2015
★★★★ 4.5 Stars ★★★★

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1GF5YLn
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1JSnzQv

"You've owned me from 'Shenanigans,' Ivy Mac."

Gray, Gray, Gray, Gray, Gray. Loveable and affable, he is both a heart and panty melter that's for sure.

In book 1 The Hook Up, we learnt that Gray Grayson is not only a football player on the field but a bit of a player off the field. However, from the minute he texts Ivy Mackenzie he's smitten. Ivy is the daughter of his soon to be sports agent, and when he is in need of a car to loan he is lumbered with Ivy's bubble pink Fiat Cinquecento.

Ivy is in London with her mother, but when she hears that her father has loaned her car out, she texts Gray to warn him to look after her car, and here forth start the texts.

The TEXTS are a funny and cute interlude to their friendship, and we are gifted with a book full of banter, chemistry and feels.

Gray has never found a woman who can make him feel all the things that Ivy is invoking in him, he spent his childhood living with his harsh football coach father and even though he was pushed into the game, he loves it with a passion. Nothing has ever come close until Ivy.

Ivy has seen what being in a relationship with someone from the game is like, her parents marriage ended because of her fathers hectic work schedule and the tempting women that are part and parcel of the lifestyle, so she is happy that her and Gray are firmly established in the friend zone.

Slowly but surely, their relationship lines begins to blur and Kristen delivers some beautifully intense sexual tension, delicious dirty talking along with some hot as fuck sex.

_ _ _ _

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, the complex characters along with the supporting cast made it an absolute pleasure. Looking forward to reading about Gray's team-mates.

And just because it made me crack the fuck up, here is a tribute to one of my favourite scenes - The dancing scene :)

This is a standalone, told in dual POV but part of a series of interconnected characters.

ARC gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Hulya Kara Yuksel.
932 reviews1,093 followers
August 14, 2022
Oh my goodness!

This book was smoking hot and now I'm just as wet as Niagara Falls because of the amazing Gray Grayson. :D Ahhh I loved him a lot... <3

Ps. I’m officially addicted this series, so I’m moving onto the next book! Dex, wait for me babe! I’m “coming”….Literally! :D

Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,154 followers
November 24, 2018
Cupcake pushed his Ivy Mac out of her Zone and it was Game On...

I am again burdened with guilt that I have maligned the genre of NA when books like The Friend Zone are out there. I now admit I'm a fan of NA...well Kristen Callihan NA. So far this series has filled me with emotions. I have laughed out loud at the characters shenanigans, teared up at the pain the characters felt, impressed with the hot and sexy scenes and content that we see this couple connect and communicate in and out of the bedroom.

First off I need to disclose that I know absolutely nothing about American football which is my excuse for not remembering Gray's position. The Friend Zone is the story of Ivy and Gray. They meet because Ivy's Dad lends her car to Gray while she is overseas. Ivy contacts him by text to warn him not to hurt her precious car, which then turns into them texting each other on a regular basis. When they finally meet they are both excited to make their friendship a real one, not just a texting one. We see the journey they take to cement their friendship...but they can't deny their attraction.

Grey is dealing with the pressures of training, choosing an agent and keeping everything moving smoothly. Ivy is at a bit of a crossroads in her life. She has an opportunity to work overseas, but what once was her dreams, no longer has the same appeal. I loved that this couple was not afraid of sharing their feelings or emotions.

Some hard subjects are dealt with and we see why and how the characters are the way they are. Again, we get to meet intelligent and strong men who know they are capable of violence but generally know how to control it. These are not football players who use their ball skills to avoid hard work and study. They put in the time and effort to be the best at what they do whether it's on the field or in the classroom.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ivy and Gray's story and will definitely be reading more in this series.

I've been Hooked...visited the Zone...and now I'm heading to the Game.
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews796 followers
January 5, 2016
Ivy has been living in the United Kingdom with her mother and helping in her bakery, she is scheduled to come home soon when she receives a text from Gray Grayson. Gray is a college football player who will hopefully be playing professionally soon.

It’s simple, really. I party because it’s fun. Enjoy women because I love them. Love their sweet scent, their musical laughter, and their soft curves. Play football because it’s the greatest fucking game on earth.

That is how he enters Ivy’s life, her dad is a sports agent. Gray has borrowed Ivy’s car while she is out of town. They begin texting and it is all in fun, but they quickly develop a real friendship. When Ivy finally arrives home both are nervous about how things will progress between the two of them, while they have been getting to know each other by text. They have never met in person or even talked on the phone. Turns out their nerves were for nothing and they hit it off even better in person.

While they are in The Friend Zone their connection is undeniable. As time goes on and they spend more time together their attraction becomes too much to ignore. The time that Ivy and Gray spend in the friend zone is one my favorite parts of the story. I loved how protective they were of each other and how they accepted every part of each other. These two were genuinely friends first. They looked out for each other and even helped each other discover things about themselves.

Ivy’s my girl. She always will be.

The buildup between these two was perfect and when they finally got together I was ecstatic. Gray is one of my favorite heroes. He is a man’s man, but so incredibly sweet. He wasn’t afraid to admit to his feelings and he completely owned how much he cared about Ivy. Ivy was thoughtful and self-sacrificing. Unlike most women in Gray’s life she wanted what was best for him. She wasn’t stereotypically beautiful, but she owned who she was and even when she wasn’t confident she didn’t let it show. These two together are perfection.

This friends to lover story was perfect in every way. I loved the dual POV, the steamy scenes and the crazy sweet friendship. The text messaging added so much to the story. I loved how they were flirty and witty, reading them put a huge smile on my face and had me so excited for things to come! I highly recommend if you are looking for fun, sexy friends to lovers story.

Every inch, Ivy.

ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Eliza.
664 reviews835 followers
May 4, 2015

Title: The Friend Zone
Series: Game On, #2
Author: Kristen Callihan
Release date: 5th May, 2015
Rating: 4.5 "Cheerios will never be the same" stars
Cliffhanger: No

Reading The Hook Up was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. I believe I said “Kristen Callihan gives good NA!!” After completing The Friend Zone, I can safely say this was not only a repeat performance but in fact worthy of a standing ovation.

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The Friend Zone focuses on Grey Grayson, best friend and teammate to Drew Baylor whom we met in the first book. An act of kindness for his friend Drew sees Gray with temporary possession of his agent’s daughter’s car. Did I mention it’s a bubblegum pink car? Ivy Mackenzie is the proud owner of said car and a simple text from her to Gray is the beginning to what will be an amazing friendship.

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Ivy and Gray are two of the most compatible characters I've read about in a long time, they compliment in every way. From page one their text filled banter induced grins and laughter that could not be subdued. As their friendship developed so too did the sexual angst until the self proposed “friend zone” status is no more.

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I realize my review is not very descriptive and rather vague but I find found it really hard to highlight its best bits without giving it all away. Excluding one tiny factor I really did love:

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Profile Image for [~Ami~]♥Sexy Dexy♥ .
501 reviews454 followers
May 6, 2015
4 stars

I enjoyed this but I lost interest after a while. I hate what happened at the end. It rates as one of my top pet peeves. Also the amount of lusting over Gray's body was mentioned a tad too many times. Granted I was the same throughout the book!

Despite my nitpicking, sometimes these are the type of books you need to escape. Loads of banter, great sexual tension, a good amount of sexy time, fun characters, and a friends to lovers feel good romance that felt believable.

ARC provided by the Publisher
Profile Image for Melissa.
361 reviews624 followers
June 5, 2015

I think this might be a case of it's me, not you...

I just realized that maybe this author just isn't for me. In my opinion it was a great idea but with a poor execution. As I've mentioned before I love the whole best friends to lovers trope. It really does win me over but sadly not many authors have rocked the idea leaving me wholly unsatisfied.

First off, the writing. Lately I've noticed that some NA authors completely reel me in with how they tell a story no matter how cliche or ridiculous the story is. I don't think it can get more cliche than Isn't She Lovely and still, I loved that. I find authors like Elle Kennedey, Lauren Layne, Linda Kage, or Sarina Bowen-just to mention a few- in my opinion, really know how to tell a story. They're able to draw me in, of lulling me into their world, their minds, their emotions and desires. And sadly that is something Kristen Callihan is incapable of doing to me. I couldn't for the life of me get into this book. The narration for some reason kept throwing me off and it just wouldn't click.

I also hated the fact that every single girl that could have competed for Gray's attention is portrayed as a royal witch. It's ridiculous that authors need to constantly put the female lead down by other girls so we can automatically side with her or to make her look like a decent character. It's kind of sad that this is the only way to make the female leads stand out. Otherwise they'd be as unremarkable as a dingy alley.

And finally, this book is too long. Too repetitive and way too boring. Personally, I don't thing NA romances should be more than 400 pages, heck, to be honest they should stop after 300. Especially if you're just going to fill the pages with unnecessary filler. To be completely honest I started skimming like hell those last 11 chapters or so.

So I'm not saying this book is bad, I just feel it really didn't work for me. It did have it's moments like the first couple of sex scenes. A definite thumbs up, because you know, I'm a perv like that. No shame. And Gray was kind if adorable when he blushed. He truly was a great character, hence all those stars up there.

I guess when you don't like a book right off the bat even the dog in the story annoys you.

PS: That drama at the end? NO GO.
Profile Image for Apoorva .
166 reviews183 followers
December 26, 2020
Kristen Callihan sneaked this onto me! After reading The Hook Up, I had decided Drew Baylor was going to be the ultimate book boyfriend, but dear God I absolutely love Gray and the main reason? He is a maths and engineering major. While I don't judge on the basis of your favorite subject(ha, I totally do) but I, being one of the math nerds, really almost cried reading that. Gray Grayson: A man after my own heart.
I loved him and I loved Ivy too. Their friendship and relationship felt easy yet so deep. Gray's reputation as a manwhore/player (a well-deserved one) precedes him and of course Ivy is reluctant to a relationship but he proves himself by the end.

And really, they were best friends first and lovers next. So there was the comfort of a relationship yet reluctance of losing a great friendship. The both had tough decisions to make, mostly Ivy but dear God, I loved Gray for being with her at every step. Also, his love for his mother set him even higher in my perspective. He was just a soft and lost guy behind all the charm and indifference he adopted and there I can relate him to Drew so much that I actually understand why they are best friends and good for each other. I just wrote a long sentence, didn't I?
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,593 followers
May 5, 2015
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1GF5YLn
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1JSnzQv
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/1zogya3

5 Gray and Ivy STARS

This is my first book from Kristen Callihan and I read it in one day so you can understand how much I loved it!! It had exactly what I needed! It's funny,sweet and hot!I didn't want to finish it, I wish it has more!I'm a fan of books that start with the characters as friends and then become lovers!And did you see the cover??? Wow..


This story begins with Ivy and Gray texting hilarious messages.
Due to the fact that Gray, a football player, has her car while she is out of country.When Ivy is finally back you can see that there is instant chemistry between them since they have already spend time texting.But only as friends because they're afraid to break those boundaries and they don't want to lose their friendship.The sexual tension is so obvious...Can they resist their feelings and be only friends?


I don't know what to say first..how much I loved the story or how much I loved Ivy and Gray??

Let's start with the story which has the best beginning I have ever read in a book!!The text messages are so hilarious!!I couldn't stop laughing while I was reading them!We have Ivys and Gray's POV and this makes the story much better because we know them better and this make me love them so much!They become one of my favorite couples!!Their bond is so strong and their chemistry full of sexual tension!!The sexy times were out off charts and especially the phone sex!!


If you are up for a funny story and lovable characters this is exactly what you need!!I'm excited for the next book!! Please October come soon xx (But until it comes out I need to read Hook Up :)) )

*ARC generously provided in exchange for an honest review.*
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