Apr 11, 2014

Fifty First Times Anthology Review

Fifty First Times Anthology
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Avon Impulse; 350 pages
You always remember your first time...

Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade.

Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.

So I've never reviewed or even read a full anthology before so I wasn't sure how to review it. Do I review it as a whole book or do I review each individual story? I decided to go for both. As a whole, this book was a bit too much of the same stuff for me. There were 19 stories about the firsts. Maybe not all of them were the first time of having sex but they all involved relationships. Maybe if I didn't read the whole thing from start to finish - maybe a few stories here then another book then a few more followed by another book and then finished it wouldn't have been too much in my face all at once. I know most people only went in and read the stories they wanted to but I got this book to read in exchange for a review so it's what I felt should be done. There are definitely my favorites and there are definitely ones that I could've done without. Most I could've used being a little bit longer. Maybe had there not be 19 stories they could've had the opportunity for longer stories, I don't know. Regardless - it was an interesting experience.

Now, below you will have each story title with whom it's by a few words about how I felt about each.

The Corner of First and Second by Gennifer Albin – I know these are short stories and while we got the background of these two characters and their insanely long history together, which was sweet – I still felt it was rush. I know, short story, not much time to tell a story but it just seemed insanely short which made it insanely rushed. Couldn’t you write just a few more pages, give it some breathing room? Plus, this story was definitely more YA than NA, in my opinion. It was sweet and that was about it.

Daylight by Julie Cross – I really enjoyed this short story. I’m not sure if it’s characters from any of her stories, since I haven’t read her books yet, but it makes me want to. This had depth to and it was rather dark, depressing but yet beautiful and hopeful. It was just long enough to make you feel satisfied and happy but in the back of your mind, wishing for more. To me, that’s what all good short stories should do – leave you satisfied yet longing. If you felt like you just wasted your time (and/or money) then it wasn’t done right.

A Little Too Scarred by Lisa Desrochers – Oh my gosh! I forgot she had a story in here and when I got to it, I may have fist pumped. This series, I have so much love for it that I never wanted it to end so give me some more, no matter how small. But then I found out it was with Rick and I wasn’t so sure. But Lisa, she has converted me to liking Rick, to really liking Rick. This story was beautiful, heartfelt, extremely realistic and just – if it doesn’t change your opinion of Rick, I don’t know what will because he is a guy any girl would be lucky to be with.

Once Bitten by Cole Gibsen – This was another beautiful story. So much crammed in to one short story that I definitely wanted more. A past destroyed, a present very lonely and a future that is now looking to much different than it used to. Four years of heart break and we find out that his ‘break up’ wasn’t for reasons we thought. Then you mix a lost 5 year old girl in the mix and wow. I’ve never read anything by this author (nor ever heard of her) but it makes me want to look up more of her work.

Crash by Sophie Jordan – I haven’t read Foreplay yet but I became a fan of Sophie’s after reading Uninvited and I want to read her NA stuff badly. Reading this novella definitely pushes me to wanting to read it now. I’m not sure if it spoils the book for me but I’m thinking it does (but I’m okay with that). I freaking loved the characters in these books and I’m hoping we’ll get more of them in either Foreplay or Tease because I’m telling you, this wasn’t enough.

Under the Seryn Moon by Melissa Landers – Deals between royal families have always thrown me for a loop. Especially if we’re not talking modern times or even of a place from here. Negotiating your child into a marriage for the better of your kingdom is just weird. I would think a parent would want their child happy but yet force them in to a marriage with a person they don’t even know in a place that is so incredibly foreign to them. That’s the case here. And while it boggles thy mind, I kind of love it in a weird way. Well, when it works out and most of the times in the stories I read, it works out. This was sweet, charming and downright adorable to read. These are two characters I would love to see their relationship and their family (possibly) grow.

How to Be a Heart Breaker by Lauren Layne – I freaking love the voice of this author. Or maybe it’s just this story, I’m not sure since I’ve never read any of her other work but oh my gosh, it’s full of spunk! This was probably the most entertaining one thus far. Predictable, sure but just so much fun. I am definitely looking this author up to see her other work.

Two in the Morning by Roni Loren – This I liked. All these short stories were girl/guy while this was guy/guy and really, everyone needs love so I was excited to see this story in the mix. I have to say, I didn’t suspect the outcome of this until right before it was revealed. I would’ve definitely liked to see this drawn out a bit more in a longer story because I think it would’ve been brilliant, especially with these characters but alas, I was happy with what I got.

Believe in Me by J. Lynn – Honestly, this was the main reason for me wanting to read this book. I love Jen, I do – she’s brilliant and I will read anything she writes. I love Ollie and I love Brit and I loved the idea of them together so when she mentioned this short story with them, I was like, sign me up! I was not disappointed except they need their own book. Seriously. A short story is not enough to do these two justice.

Sharing First by Molly McAdams – So, I enjoyed this one until the end-ish. It was cute because it was about two people who have loved each other and only each other and are on the verge of tying the knot (like a week away). At age 5, he knew he was going to marry her. I mean, c’mon, how can you not fall in love with a story like this?! It’s adorable and beautiful and everyone wishes it would’ve happened to them. Rarely does it happen. But then, how I interrupted the story just kind of made me go, huh? That’s the first? Then, it redeemed itself and the ending was sweet.

Strike Out by Myra McEntire – I’m not a big fan of a baseball and these guys all sound sleazy except for one. He’s been raised right by his mamma and damn, is he hot? Not talking appearance here, people, I’m talking personality. Just who he is as a person. Seriously – I could read a whole book about these two and everything around them.

This Is My Sign by Hannah Moskowitz – This was probably the shortest story in the whole book. Literally only a few pages long. It was definitely pure Hannah Moskowitz style. As a fan of hers, I liked it. Definitely to the point with a little bit of mystery left there, as well.

Going for Broke by Lyla Payne – THIS I loved but didn’t agree with. I didn’t agree with the main characters timing. But sometimes, you can’t let the thing you love most go even if it was a screwed up relationship from four years ago. If you haven’t gotten over someone in four years then I would say you probably aren’t going to any time soon. But telling this person two days before their wedding is a little bit rude and selfish. Thankfully, she knows this but it doesn’t stop her. While I don’t agree with her on that, it was definitely fun. I wanted more from his friends, more from them and just more.

For the Sake of Science by Mark Perini – I know he’s a new writer and he’s originally known, in the YA world, as the guy on the cover of Julie Cross’ TEMPEST books but I felt his writing was lacking. It felt very amateur compared to all the other stories I’ve read in this book and to have it this far back, made it very apparent, in my opinion. I didn’t even like the story, either – so there’s that, too.

Love in an Elevator by Carrie Ryan – Why can’t I have this kind of luck in an elevator? Or anywhere, for that matter? I’m not asking for a hookup, but just to meet some nice guy at a random time. This story was cute – living in the moment and going after what you want. Being stuck in an elevator doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, right?

Bunga Bunga by Andrew Shafer – Oh my gosh. I am dying! I was joking about how this anthology had every kind of first except ones first orgy. What does this story start off talking about our two characters going to? An orgy. I couldn’t stop laughing. Not because the stories funny but because I had just talked about it. It was an okay story besides me laughing (again, not because it’s funny) and it’s another m/m story (male/male in case you were wondering).

With the Lights On by Alessandra Thomas – Oh, this is definitely a fantastic short story for any of us out there that have self esteem issues. This was beautiful. About a girl who isn't skinny but a woman with curves. A woman who has had every name thrown at her and then some. A woman who has never let herself love because really, she can't love herself. How could you possibly open your heart up to someone else when you can't even love the owner of said heart? Beautiful, beautiful story. I can absolutely relate, 100%.

Field Emotions by Melissa West – A football short story. I’m sold. Seriously. I love football and this story was too good. Seriously, write a full length novel with these two, please! Do guys like him actually exist because if so, I want to find one and claim him as my own. I do believe I had a smile on my face through most of this story. It was very real, very sweet and just very good.

Grind by Tracy Wolff – I get all mushy over stories of first loves finding their way back to each other. I get even mushier over childhood loves finding their way to each but that’s not what this story is. They first met when she was 15 and he 17 and since then (3 years) they haven’t thought about anyone but each other. That is devotion. That is true love. This was definitely one of cuter ones in this anthology.

Thank you so much to HarperCollins/Avon for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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