Google+ YA Romantics: 90s Boy Bands + NA = I Want It That Way and As Long As You Love Me

Sunday, September 14, 2014

90s Boy Bands + NA = I Want It That Way and As Long As You Love Me

Sometimes, when I want a good laugh, I go on YouTube and watch old Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync and New Kids on the Block music videos. The big hair! The overalls! The breakdancing!

So when I heard there was an New Adult series with 90s boy band songs as book titles, I laughed. And when I Want It That Way showed up in my mailbox, I decided to read it.

I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1)
by Ann Aguirre
Published by Harlequin
on August 26, 2014

Source: ARC sent by publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B. Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other. 
My take: I don't read a lot of NA, but this book avoided a lot of those typical NA tropes.  The characters were refreshingly normal -- mainly college students trying to juggle classes, homework, and romance. No one had a Dark and Tragic Past.

I have read a lot of romance novels, and to me, this book seemed to straddle both mainstream romance and NA.  Single Parent Finds Love is a big trope in romance novels, and I haven't seen it a lot in NA. I didn't really understand the whole deal with Daniel and the mother of his child, even after he explained it to Nadia, but I just went with it. I'm also a fan of the Gorgeous Mysterious Neighbor plot in romances, and if he's cranky, that's only a bonus. I enjoyed watching these two circle around each other.

I guess my only complaint about this book was that it felt long. It felt compelled to tell me lots of things I really didn't need to know about working at a day care center. And I didn't understand why so much attention was paid to the hook-up between Nadia's roommates Lauren and Max. But then I realized there was another book....

As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2)
by Ann Aguirre
To be published by Harlequin
on September 30, 2014

Source: eARC from NetGalley

Synopsis from Goodreads: Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons: missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there's the reason Lauren can't admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend's older brother. Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He's the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever, until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.
My take: I thought As Long As You Love Me was even more anti-NA, and I loved that about this book. A slightly overweight heroine? A hero who's a washed-up, underestimated former football player? An angry ex-girlfriend who might not be what she seems? Plus home improvement themes? All I can say is this: I wholeheartedly approve of all of the above.

I was initially dismayed that Rob started out the book with a girlfriend, because in my reading experience, that's never a good thing. There's either icky cheating to come, and/or the girlfriend has to be demonized into a psycho-bitch. I really appreciated the fact that none of that came to pass. This story is a slow-burn, friends-to-lovers romance, which was a plus as well.

The thing that I didn't feel was set up well enough was Lauren's social anxiety. I wish it had been worked into the story more at the beginning, because it seemed to come up out of nowhere. She seemed fine, and then the next minute



But I decided I could get over that, due to all those surprising and refreshing elements I went over in paragraph one: relatable characters who were not the Shockingly Gorgeous Yet Deeply Dysfunctional characters that usually populate the pages of NA.

I wish book three of this trilogy were called Bye Bye Bye. Or Step by Step. Dear Ann Aguirre: Where is the love in this series for NKOTB or 'NSync, I ask you?  The third book is actually called The Shape of My Heart. And I'm a little nervous, because the synopsis promises some NA staples: a girl with a past of "meaningless encounters" and a guy with "damaged bad boy vibes." But I'm willing to give it a try!

25 comments:

  1. I have seen these all over but haven't tried them. I do love Ann's work though, I just have to wonder how she is when it is not like dystopian YA!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. Ha -- I'm the opposite. I've read these and not the Razorland series...

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  2. Considering these don't have the whole "dark and tragic past" thing going on, I may just give them a try. I really like NA, I'm just over all the angsty-ness.

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    1. If you want less angsty NA, then I'd say give one of these a try!

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  3. I loved that these books went against the NA grain . I adored Avery from As long as you love me. Yes I am waiting for Max's story too.

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    1. I'm not sure about Max. I'm going to read the reviews of his book first.

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  4. I heard these felt too long, I do adore her science-fiction and steampunk and dystopian novels.

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    1. I think IWITW felt long to me while ALAYLM didn't because I was much more interested in home improvement projects than day care details. Just my opinion!

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  5. Haha, I hadn't heard of these books before now. I totally just want to read them because of their names. I'm glad to hear that they aren't just like every other NA novel out there. :)

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  6. I noticed the amount of details that didn't need to be there as well, not to mention the fact that I had the Weird Al Ebay song (to the tune of 'I want it that way') stuck in my head for days. ugh.

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    1. Ha ha -- I don't remember that Weird Al song but will Google it!

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  7. I enjoyed I Want It That Way even though the bad case of instalove made me not like it as much. I liked the single dad aspect. And omg yes, there was so much about Nadia's life that I was so bored reading. Those parts needed to be weeded out.

    I didn't like Lauren in the first book. She was all over the place with her partying, sleeping around but then she's supposed to have the huge anxiety issues? I didn't buy it. I didn't like her character. Rob was cute but the fact that he would flip out every time he didn't understand something annoyed me. This one was a DNF for me.

    And Bye Bye Bye would be an awesome book title! I'll always be a BSB fan (the 90's era) so it was cute having these titles bringing flashbacks. It was a good marketing ploy :)

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    1. Yeah, I think you and I discussed how a lot of readers liked one book and not the other and vice versa. I guess the insta-love didn't bother me because ... isn't that what NA is all about? Two people with Dark and Tragic Pasts who have an electric, instant connection??

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  8. I saw I Want it That Way a while ago and immediately followed it up with "tell me why, ain't nothing but a mistake" in my head. I had no idea there was a series of 90's boy band songs. I may have to read them for that reason alone. LoL
    Kristin @ Book Sniffers Anonymous

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  9. Well... I was going to give this series a try but then I read Nereyda's comment and it put me off! I think I'll pass on this series but thanks for the review! :)

    Book Maniac Reviews

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    1. Well... if insta-love isn't for you, then IWITW probably isn't. And while I do agree with Nereyda about the anxiety, that didn't ruin the book for me.
      But too many books, too little time, right? I get it.

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    2. yup, it's definitely too many books issue! :D

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  10. I loved both of these books, to me they are the best that came from NA. Ann Aguirre is such a great writer I had faith she could pull it off and she did. Everything felt so real, no unnecessary dramatics and angst. I look forward to Max s story. Great reviews :)

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  11. lovely reviews!! i have the first one on my shelf to be read.

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  12. I beta read the series and TBH I was afraid of Max's story too, but like the first two, she doesn't go the predictable route so I hope you end up enjoying it.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  13. I think it is so cool that they are being name after BSB.

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  14. I really enjoyed these two and found them refreshing enough and actually found myself loving both books! I've never been much of a romance reader and these are the first proper NA books I've read, I think!

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  15. I don't read a lot of NA either but I did request the first one in this series to give it a shot. I occasionally will do that. I'm glad you liked it and hopefully I will too. :)

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