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.
Four Stars: A heartfelt, slow burning romance with lots of feels.
Lauren is relieved to be back home in Sharon, Nebraska. Even though she knows the town is whispering about the fact that she dropped out of school and returned to this small, podunk town, Lauren could care less. Yes, she lost her scholarship, drank too much and almost screwed up her life, but for once in her life, Lauren feels comfortable. She has a plan to enroll in online college courses and get a job. What isn't a part of her plan is to start crushing on her long time, childhood crush Rob, who just so happens to be her best friend Nadia's big brother. When Rob enlists Lauren to help with his house remodeling project, their attraction becomes undeniable. Can Lauren go home and find love?
What I Liked:
- This is the way more NA books should be. This is a beautiful, heartfelt romance that is slow moving and lovely. There are so many great feel good moments in this one, and not a lot of drama. I loved that this one was realistic. If you want a fabulous NA on the light and fluffy side, this is the one to read.
- The romance was just perfect. It is born between a long time attraction between two life long friends. Lauren crushed on Rob for years as he was the gorgeous, high school star football player, but the problem was he was her best friend's older brother so Rob saw Lauren as a kid sister. As the two come back together, they reestablish their friendship and then the sparks fly. I loved how slow moving this one was. There was no insta love or hurried sex scenes, it takes its sweet time to build. It was just what I was hoping for. I especially enjoyed when the two revealed how they felt about it each other through the years. So adorable.
- Lauren and Rob are fabulous characters. I liked that they both battled with some self esteem issues, but together they reach for their goals and become their best selves. Rob is a true gentleman, kind and caring. I liked how he always took into consideration other people's feelings, and how he did his best to do the right thing when it came to his ex girlfriend. I also appreciated that even though he was the popular athlete in high school, that he struggled with his confidence. It isn't until Lauren comes along that he starts to believe himself. Lauren has her own issues. She suffers from social anxiety and depression. I liked seeing how she worked through her problems. I also loved how even though she dropped out of college, she didn't slink home in shame. Instead she sets new goals and fashions a plan for her life. Both of these characters are likable and easy to relate to.
- One of the highlights for me was when Lauren decides to friend Rob's ex girlfriend, the town mean girl. Even though the friendship gets off to a rocky start (they have a food tussle in the convenience store), the two girls end up becoming close friends, to the point where they are able to share deep dark secrets. I loved how mature Lauren was and how she reached out.
- This is book two in the series, but it can be read as a stand alone since it is a companion novel. You get a complete story with no loose ends. I love that about this series.
And The Not So Much:
- I appreciated that this book for the most part steered away from the overly dramatic tropes that we are so familiar with in NA, however, there was one sticky point for me and that was the fact that just when the romance takes off and everything is going great, there is this big dramatic stumble that irritated me. I hated that the characters decided to be stupid and act immaturely. There was a similar situation in the first book, and I am not a fan of throwing in one last hurdle toward the end.
- I was expecting a little more from Nadia considering that she practically abandoned Lauren while they were at college and that she had never fully reached out and repaired the damage in her relationship with Rob. Unfortunately, Nadia only makes brief appearances. She does fix things with Lauren, but I wanted more from her when it comes to Rob.
- I thought there would be a bit more focus on Nadia and Rob's father and his illness. It is mentioned, but I was hoping for more detail. Even though I was happy that Rob reached for his dream, I was left wondering how he could abandon his parents like that.
As Long As You Love Me was a sweet, feel good romance that avoids the drama and angst associated with NA. This book has realistic characters tackling real life problems. I loved the romance, the story and the friendships. At the end, I had a big smile on my face. If you are in the mood for a terrific romance, grab this one.
"Sometimes I hated my brain and would happily trade if for a beard of bees."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.