Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: DRC, from Netgalley
Status: book 2 in the 2B trilogy

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour, which was organized & hosted by Ink Slinger PR.

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And 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 can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.

Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

This series. You guys. THIS SERIES. I am IN LOVE with this series! I Want It That Way was my first Ann Aguirre novel, and after reading it, I knew it wouldn't be my last. I jumped on the opportunity to review As Long As You Love Me because I just fell so hard for 2B!

ALAYLM is book two in 2B, which is a companion series, so I already had opinions formed about both Lauren and Rob. I saw Lauren as Nadia's clearly-dealing-with-some-stuff roomie and best friend, and I honestly wasn't that sympathetic toward her because I was too busy feeling bad for fell-too-hard bad boy Max. And Rob I believed to be Nadia's withdrawn and possibly jealous older brother. I fully believed Nadia's side of the story since that was what I was presented with. After having read ALAYLM...I'm not saying Nadia was wrong, but I loved reading Lauren and Rob's side of things. Interestingly, I now feel like I have much more in common with Lauren than I ever had with Nadia. This is one of the reasons I adore companion novels.

Lauren, who partied it up and crashed hard in IWITW, actually deals with severe anxiety, which is definitely something I can relate to. I have no idea if Ann suffers from anxiety, but her depictions of Lauren's mental process during stressful moments was SPOT. ON. Also, Lauren does a fair amount of self-sabotage, a tactic I am also quite familiar with. When dealing with change, good or bad, sometimes you just want to take the easy way out, even if the easy way actually means failure. Um, yeah. I feel you, Lauren. There are many books that I love because of their relatability for one reason or another, but I really do feel like Lauren might be the single character whose mental state I most understand because I've been there, and some days, I go back. There is a vast spectrum of illnesses of the body and mind, and I feel like so many books only glance over the surface. I love that Ann took the time and care to respectfully address anxiety, which everyone should know is not simple nerves.

And then there's Rob. After Ty, a determined and slightly desperate single dad working and attending school part time, it's definitely a shock to get cozy with Rob. Sweet, thoughtful Rob who is not traditionally "book smart," but is talented and kind, a dynamic duo of traits if ever there was one. There need to be more Robs, I've determined. More Robs, more Isaiah's from Katie McGarry's Crash Into You. There is nothing wrong working with your hands, especially if it's something you love, and there's no reason to be ashamed of dreaming for more than that. In Rob's case, he's a construction worker with dreams to be a furniture designer/creator. I can't stop singing Rob's praises because he's just...the eptome of a Good Guy, and I admit being jealous of Lauren because I honestly do want one. I want a guy who will open the car door and take me out for pizza and root beer and cook for me and teach me how to use tools for house projects and curl up and watch movies with me and call me when he's having a rough day and....erm, other things that happen in ALAYLM. *wink wink nudge nudge* If ya know what I mean... I know I have approximately a billion book boyfriends, but Rob is definitely one of my favorites now!

Another thing that is amazing in ALAYLM is the way Ann portrays female relationships, be they mom/daughter, longterm bff, frenemies, groups, etc. I see now that Nadia definitely let Lauren down just as much as Lauren let Nadia down. I love the cat fight between Lauren and Avery, and their slow transition from frenemies to enemies to friends. Sometimes it IS easier to confide in someone you odn't have to worry about disappointing, which we all know is the worst emotion. THE WORST. And although Lauren and her mom don't exhibit the same charm and wit as the Gilmore Girls (I mean, let's be honest: who the hell can?!), I felt like their relationship was real, honest, and supportive, and I appreciate that just as much as the fast-talking fictional duo from Stars Hollow.

There's a lot going on in this book, but not so much that you feel lost in the story. Rather, there's a lot going on because each character is developed and has their own life. It feels incredibly real. Not only do Lauren and Rob each have their own story in addition to the one they have together, Rob's parents have a story; Lauren's mom has a story; Avery, Krista, and Nadia have stories. I feel like these are all people who are living their lives beyond the pages, like I could go to Sharon and find these people there and see them in their entirety, and that is what I really have grown to love about Ann's writing. I feel that she gives all the characters a well-rounded background that complements the story rather than fighting it.

I have grown to love the new adult genre, but I admit that I find many of the books to be rather repetitive and similar. I feel like Ann is using the genre to address everyday real life situations, both big and small–mental illness, single parenthood, parental illness, sexual assault, alcholism, sexuality, bills, balance, driving stick–in a tender way that doesn't make for a boring book or an after-school special. I am incredibly impressed with this series, and I will for sure be reading more of Ann's books.

P.S. Um...I can has The Shape of My Heart nao?

P.P.S. Extra bonus points for the use of classic Backstreet Boys songs as titles.

P.P.P.S. If you think As Long As You Love Me as anyone BUT a Backstreet Boys song, you and I simply cannot be friends. That Canadian devil WILL NOT RUIN BSB for me! BSB forever!

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The series starts with Nadia & Ty's story

Pub Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Summary: 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.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.

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Pub Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Summary: Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.

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About the Author:
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

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5 signed sets of I Want It That Way & As Long As You Love Me

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