Thursday, September 11, 2014

ARC Romance Mini-Reviews: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins, As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre, and Made for You by Lauren Layne

Title: In Your Dreams (Blue Heron, #4) 
Author: Kristan Higgins
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé's wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero. But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him…
I have mixed feelings concerning this latest from Higgins. On one hand, I definitely feel as if the quality of the novels in this series are declining--largely in part due to the excellence of the first novel, The Best Man, which just can't be beaten. On the other hand, though, I did really enjoy the latter half of this story. I feel as if the characters--Jack and Emmaline--don't share a classic love story trajectory which is refreshing. Emmaline, in particular, has always been thought to be a lesbian due to her muscular body type which doesn't conform with the typical norms of beauty. Thus, to watch her struggle with that perception and to witness Jack fall in love with her and find her sexy and beautiful just the way she was was incredibly sweet. Moreover, Jack's ex-wife--though causing a fair bit of unnecessary drama--nicely clinches the "right" feeling of Emmaline and Jack together in a tasteful manner.

Yet, In Your Dreams is terribly bland and apathetic during the first half. I felt little for either of these characters during the fake wedding date plot thread outlined in the synopsis of the book. Moreover, it fails to truly expand upon the intriguing aspects of the story such as Jack's PTSD which he suffers as a result of being the rescuer, not the victim, which was a unique twist. In Your Dreams does, ultimately, put a smile on your face and the butterflies-in-your-stomach swoons are downright lovely by the end but it isn't a favorite or a must-read of Higgins, I will acknowledge that. (Also, what's up with the snowy/Christmas-y cover? I don't remember all that much winter spirit in this novel...O.o.)

Other Kristan Higgins novels I've reviewed: Catch of the Day, Too Good to Be True, Somebody to Love, The Best Man, The Perfect Match, and Waiting on You

Title: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy, #2) 
Author: Ann Aguirre
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: September 30th, 2014
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.
I enjoyed this novel considerably less than its predecessor, likely because it read merely as a love story opposed to a tale belonging to the New Adult genre. Moreover, I found the conflict--while certainly important--to emerge too late in the story line. We spend more than 75% of the novel believing our characters are working through certain issues only to uncover an entire back story much later. Yet, that being said, As Long As You Love Me is certainly a worthwhile read. Much like its predecessor, it still fails to break new ground in the New Adult genre but its strong female friendships, gentle romance, and tight-knit family bonds make it a tale to enjoy, if not quite remember. 

Other Ann Aguirre novels I've reviewed: Enclave, Bronze Gods, Silver Mirrors, Sirantha Jax SeriesI Want it That Way

Title: Made For You (The Best Mistake, #2) 
Author: Lauren Layne
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: October 28th, 2014
Some mistakes are worth making...
Eh. I love these types of antagonistic love stories but I found the protagonist, Brynn, to be far too selfish and stubborn to truly enjoy this. We met both Will and Brynn in the previous novel in this series but only briefly--enough to know that Will loved Brynn and Brynn simply saw him as a one-night stand. Now, three years later, Will is back in Brynn's life after unexpectedly moving to Boston and, this time, he has plans to win Brynn over once and for all. Brynn, however, refuses to change her opinion of Will despite the efforts he takes to present his true self to her, not the antagonistic rudeness they've grown comfortable with. Unfortunately, I felt as if Brynn takes advantage of Will a bit too much and wasn't a fan of her character the same way I was of her younger sister, Sophie. Not a bad read, just not Layne's best. :/ 

Other Lauren Layne novels I've reviewed: Isn't She Lovely, After the Kiss, Love the One You're With, Just One Night, Only With You, Broken


  1. sorry none of these were SUPER, but it sounds like they were good enough to have plenty of nice points! that's always a plus. :)

  2. Well, shoot. I had high hopes for As Long as You Love Me since I loved the first book so much, so I'm a little bummed it wasn't quite as good as its predecessor. Still, it sounds like a solid enough read even if the real conflict emerges a touch too late. Thanks for your thoughts on all these Keertana!

  3. I'm getting ready to start In Your Dreams. I can't help it - I just LOVE this series to pieces. I think I want to move to this setting. But I'm almost afraid to try this series by Aguirre - such mixed reviews! I'm so used to her sci-fi and paranormal stuff. We'll see, but I'm nervous! Love your thoughts, Keertana! (:

  4. I am sorry you didn't love all of these more, especially the Higgins book, she is one of my favorite authors.

  5. I know how much you like Kristan Higgins so I'm sorry this one wasn't really that great. The PTSD left unexplored would probably bother me too. As for Lauren and Rob, I loved their story because it seemed very true to life to me, which I appreciated. Plus, I thought Rob was a fascinating character.
    Anyway, wonderful minis, Keertana!

  6. Oooh, I'm quite interested to read In Your Dreams and compare notes. I actually liked Waiting on You best in the series thus far, though I really enjoyed The Best Man as well. Still, even if it's a 3 star Higgins book for me I'll thoroughly enjoy it as with all of the others thus far!

  7. So, three three-star reads. Not bad! Though, not fabulous. I enjoyed Ann Aguirre's story, though it was a three-star for me, too. And Kristin Higgins's stories are cute but usually middle-of-the-road for me, too.

  8. Ah, the "fake date" "fake marriage" are tropes overplayed in my opinion. When would this ever happen in real life unless you're a Kardashian *insert eye roll*. Not that I'm saying most of my romances aren't wishful thinking, lol! Anyways, I've never read Kristen Higgins, but I'll chose another if I pick one of her books up.

    As for Ann Aguirre's 2nd book in her NA, I was going to wait until I read the first book to see if the series was for me. However, I'm not much for that last minute backstory. Hmm...

    I'm disappointed to hear about Made for You. I wasn't thrilled with Brynn's reactions to Wil in Only With You, because it seemed he really cared for her and then she ruined it. I chalked it up to setting up their conflict in this one. I have a feeling Brynn's constant pushing will annoy me just as much as it did you. That's a bummer because I got this for review, too. I guess I'll be speed reading through those parts. :(

    Wonderful reviews, Keertana! :)

  9. Oh Higgins is really popular here. I have seen some of her books translated and people seem to enjoy them. I'm not really into that kind of story so yeah. Of all of these I'm only interested into Aguirre's series, but just because I haven't read any of her books. I don't think I'll start with this one either. Still I'm sorry that neither of these was as good as you hoped. Great reviews, Keertana :)

  10. Looks like you went through just okay romance books and are in need of something really good. Still, at least they are all readable even if it isn't enough to shout about. Hopefully your next will rock your sox off! :)

  11. Sorry to hear these didn't blow you away. I have a copy of As Long As You Love Me and I was excited to read it but then all the reviews I read sort of turned me off it. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it enough for 3 stars; maybe I'll give it a try after all. I think I'll pick up Only With You instead of Made for You since I haven't read it and you enjoyed Sophie's story more. Lovely minis Keertana!

  12. Made For You sounds like something I'd definitely have problems with. I hate it when it just seems like someone is trying too hard to not acknowledge their feelings (at least I think that's what's happening). Plus she sounds like she was a jerk and you know, jerks suck.

    I am so sorry to see you weren't a fan off As Long As You Love Me. After reading a certain review I decided it wasn't for me.. especially when I found out what Lauren did but.. it sucks you didn't like it more :(

    Also I am still waiting for Higgins' Blue Heron series to be over so she can write more awesome stand alones :P

    Lovely minis, Keertana!!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato


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