Needless Sacrifice? + Giveaway



Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 12.28.35 PMIt’s no huge secret that I take fairly significant breaks between NA novels. Six months ago I told myself this was for no other reason that to offer the author a “fair shake.” Even though I am a fan of the genre, I tend to find myself lashing out at the blatant similarities between them. (Aka: if I read them back to back, chances are I’m going to mentally slaughter the second, third or fourth book I read. Not because it’s “bad” because chances are I will find crumbs of book one between it’s pages.) However, it wasn’t until the beginning of July that I realized I was no longer avoiding the genre to maintain my truthful air and dignity…I was avoiding it because I was just flat out bored with it. (Cue dramatic music.) So I backed off. Starting diving back into thrillers, fantasy, even contemporary YA which I’d been shunning lately due to the onslaught of YA dystopia. Not wanting to leave my NA lovers dangling in the wind though (in regards to my blog) I decided to stick with guest post and a few blitzes to tide the crowd over for a while…UNTIL I got an email from Kelly Simmons asking me if I’d review Ann Aguirre’s newest 2B novel “I Want It That Way.”

I agreed for various reason, but the most important being that (despite my unfamiliarity with this particular series) I am a fan of Ann Aguirre. (Most specifically her Razorland series, or more recently “Mortal Danger.”) After several books I have become dependent on her solid, fast paced, intricate way of telling stories. Not to mention her solid characters. 

Which is why I am saddened (and to be honest a tad confused) by this sub-par addition to a now stumbling genre. (Man, I’m gonna get crucified for that “stumbling” comment…I can just feel it.)

But first, about the book.

Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she’s determined to make them come true. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, dating’s the last thing on her mind. 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, the last thing he wants is noisy students living in 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.

For those of you still with me (and not seething in a corner like a rabid raccoon preparing to attack my face) let me explain why this book is both interesting in concept and atrocious (eek, that’s a harsh word) in execution.

There is this quote written on a poster on the wall of the children’s section of my local library. It says: “Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.” I’m going to assume it’s posted there to encourage parents to read so that their children will follow suit, but I couldn’t help but think of it while reading this novel.

Here’s why.

All of Ty’s decision in this book are based solely around what he thinks is best for his child. As a mother of 2 small children, that is an admirable trait. (Bravo.) BUT, are the decisions reflecting what he wants them to?

Ty (as well as his son) were burned pretty badly by a past love. Because of this, Ty is careful about keeping his “personal” life separate from his “home” life (meaning – anything pleasurable for him…love, work, school vs. all things involving his son.) Again, it’s an admirable trait to try and spare your child from unnecessary hurt by introducing him to every female that walks into your life (I get that) but what about the one that you truly love? Have admitted you love? That your child has an honest affection for…completely OUTSIDE of your relationship status? How is that benefiting your child? It seems to me that instead of demonstrating true compassion, love and affection for others (aka the “something great to imitate”) you’re asking your child to imitate isolation, sadness, and needless sacrifice. 

A needless sacrifice (mind you) that is NOT one sided. What about the person you are essentially throwing into the pit of snakes? Offering up to the Gods? Making unfair propositions to. For instance: “Let’s be friends with benefits.”


N/A (hell, romance in general) feeds off of the “separation after affirmation” concept.  It’s what drives the story. When will the couple get back together? How? It’s the reason you keep reading after that first big “I love you” bomb. You KNOW something is going to happen and you need to know what. But to take a situation that is (for the most part) nonsensical to begin with and then turn it into something much more vapid? (FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS??!!) I was not impressed. There was nothing but hurt feeling standing in the way of this loving (and yes, they were loving…despite being total idiots) couple. Refusing happiness because you made someone else (years ago, and who obviously had bigger issues) unhappy is pathetic? Blah ditty blah blah…cry me a river! 

These characters had such GREAT moments! For example: their quiet, tension filled balcony conversations. I wanted more scenes like these. They are what kept me up reading until 4am. But ALL of that was ruined with a few words. The connection I felt with Nadia? Gone when her internal dialogue switched from witty strong protagonist to paragraph after paragraph of “I’ll fake the friendship thing for him.” The urgency I felt for Ty to reappear on the next page? Gone when he made such a insulting decision. 

“I Want It That Way” started out brilliantly. There was angst, and angles and all the things you would expect from a quality book. Then it just imploded and I found myself pissed AT the couple more than happy FOR them. 

So why a 2.8 instead of going for the gold with a 1? (As my rage filled review would indicate.) Because there WERE those brilliant moments. Moments that had me entranced, flipping pages as fast as I possibly could. Moments where my heart fluttered and I signed out-loud despite who was in the room. The beginning was great, the ending (thankfully) even better. It was the guts I had problems with. The 5 or 6 chapters of unadulterated stupid. I don’t think the book deserves a 1, just a really hard slap on the wrist. 

I say pass…unless you are one of those hardcore NA fans that will devour anything and everything and not bat an eye. If that’s you…knock your lights out. 

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Add it to your Goodreads shelf / Amazon wishlist

Read Excerpt

“Where are you from?”

Ah, an actual question. That means I can ask one back.

“Nebraska, toward the South Dakota and Wyoming side, if that helps.”

“I’ve never met anyone from there.”

Michigan was a long way from home. “I usually get ‘not in Nebraska anymore’ jokes, and then I have to decide if I’m going to remind them that’s Kansas or play along.”

“What do you usually do?”

“Play along.”

“You don’t like conflict, huh?” He sounded normal tonight, as if talking to me wasn’t an unpleasant chore anymore.

That was a relief since I’d come to look forward to these moments with him so much. More, maybe, than I’d like to admit.Right. Friends. I distracted myself by considering his question. “Not if it can be avoided. I’m not what you’d call pugnacious, no. But I like to think I don’t back off important issues. What about you?”

“No.” His voice was bleak and quiet. “I don’t. Even when I should.”

Wow, that took a dark turn.

If I could’ve jumped onto his patio without breaking an ankle or waking Sam, I’d have been down there like a shot. The distance between us seemed intolerable, and from the knot in my throat, I didn’t see how I could live another second without touching him, finding out if his hair was as soft as it looked or what he smelled like. I wanted him in a way I never had before.

In high school, I had a boyfriend who played basketball, and we broke up when I left the state. It was a rational decision, and I didn’t miss him that much once I was gone. My freshman year, I went out with a lot of different guys, one date here, two dates there, but I never clicked with anyone enough to focus on them. Sometimes there were hookups with no strings, no expectations. Classes, friends and work seemed a lot more important. The intensity of this attraction was foreign and frightening, if exhilarating. I might already be backing off if I had the faintest sense that Ty was jerking me around on purpose.

Wish he didn’t make me feel this way. It’d be so much simpler if I could friend-zone him.

I realized I still hadn’t touched his verbal grenade. “We all have things we’d do differently in hindsight.”

“What is it about you?” he asked in a wondering tone.


“You make me…better. Calmer.”

“Like a sedative?” I snickered. It was the least sexy thing a guy had ever said to me, including a junior high squeeze who said my face wasn’t actually that bad.

He laughed, too, a sheepish sound. “I didn’t mean it like that. Just…I’m worried pretty much all the time that I’m dropping the ball somewhere, about to face-plant, but when I come out here and hear your voice, everything backs off like ten steps. I can breathe again.”

Rating Report
Overall: 2.8




About Ann

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author 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. She likes books, emo music, and action movies. She writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens.

Stalk Her: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr 


BEA 2014 Podcast: Ann Aguirre on I Want It That Way




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Books by Ann: 

(I have read a TON of books by Ann. If you haven’t, but would like to catch up…here is a list of her work to get you started. (Psst… her Razorland series is my favorite. *wink*)


N/A – I Want it That Way, As Long as You Love Me, The Shape of My Heart

The Sirantha Jax series (SF, completed) – Grimspace, Wanderlust, Doubleblind, Killbox, Aftermath, Endgame

The Dred Chronicles series (SF, Jax universe) – Perdition, Havoc, Breakout

The Corine Solomon series (UF, completed) – Blue Diablo, Hell Fire. Shady Lady, Forbidden Fruit (novella), Devil’s Punch, Agave Kiss

YA novels – The Razorland trilogy (dystopian, completed) – Enclave, Outpost, Horde — The Immortal Game trilogy (paranormal / horror / romance) – Mortal Beauty, Dire Charm, Dead Lovely — YA romance series (contemporary) – The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things

Steampunk series (as A.A. Aguirre, with husband Andres) – Bronze Gods, Silver Mirrors

Paranormal romantic suspense as Ava Gray (completed) – Skin Game, Skin Tight, Skin Heat, Skin Dive

Apocalyptic romance with Carrie Lofty as Ellen Connor (completed) – Nightfall, Midnight, Daybreak


About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.