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.
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....
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!