Tag: Carrie Ryan

Review: Fifty First Times Anthology

Posted July 22, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Rowena’s review of Fifty First Times Anthology.

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.

Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan.

NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our first times, you’ll have to buy us a pet monkey first.

When I saw that J. Lynn had a story in this book, I was all about reading it.  I’m a fan of her Wait for You series and the story included in here was Britt and Ollie’s story of their first time.  I’m really hoping that this wasn’t it for them, that they were only a nice fling but after reading that the next book, Stay with Me, is not Britt’s book but Calla’s book, I’m glad.  Anyway, that is why I wanted to read this book but I read all of the stories in this book and there were some good ones and some that just didn’t do anything for me.

There were a lot of short stories in this book and I can’t think which book was my favorite.  I’m going to go through each story and jot down a few of my thoughts for each of them.

The Corner of First & Second by Gennifer Albin.

I liked this one.  It was cute story about two best friends who fell out of touch after a disastrous prom night who meet up after almost a year and reconnect.  I liked both Wes and Jac and thought their first time together was sweet.  This is probably one of my favorite reads in the entire anthology.

Daylight by Julie Cross

I’ve never read anything by Julie Cross but I’ve heard good things about her.  I wasn’t really feeling her addition to this anthology.  This short story is about a newlywed couple named Jack and Audrey. Audrey is the daughter of a preacher man and Jack is the mysterious tenant of the small apartment at the Church that her father preaches at.  They come into contact there and fall in love but I thought their story was too short to really get a feel for it so I didn’t really connect with either of the leads.  Oh, well.  I’m still curious about her other books.

A Little Too Scarred by Lisa Desrochers

This story is about a girl who has returned from Afghanistan, disfigured from a bomb that went off near her and killed her friend.  Before she was injured, she started growing closer to a guy that she went to high school with, named Rick.  Rick is two years older than her and used to date her sister’s friend. She was excited to come back home and meet him but now that she’s scarred up, she’s embarrassed and is pulling away from Rick but Rick isn’t having it.  He’s got no idea why she’s pulling away from him but he doesn’t give up on her and his persistence won me over.  My heart went out to Rene in this story because of what she went through but there were times when I wish she had more faith in Rick.  In the end, I liked it.

Once Bitten by Cole Gibsen

This is a story of a couple who fell out of contact with each other with no word.  The girl was left behind and the guy is back and wants to make things right.  I wasn’t too forgiving of Tanner.  I didn’t think there were enough pages to convince me that he was truly sorry for leaving without a word and I thought that Avery fell into his arms too soon, which is what we get for this being a short story but it still didn’t win me over.

Crash by Sophie Jordan

Hunter’s story! We met Hunter in Foreplay, he’s the guy that Pepper had a huge crush on.  But he’s not the guy that she ends up with.  In this short story, we meet Brooke.  The stripper that Hunter meets on a night out with the boys.  I won’t lie, the entire time that I was reading this book, I was singing, “I’m in love with a stripper” by T-Pain and it did make me laugh but really? This story was cute.  I adored Hunter and I liked Brooke.  They were cute together.

Under the Seryn Moon by Melissa Landers

This is Lyra and Kai’s story.  Their countries are at war with each other and to regain peace in the land, their fathers marry their kids to each other to keep it all in the family.  This short story follows Lyra and Kai after their married.  Lyra is scared and feels all alone and Kai is a mysterious stranger to her.  This story was cute and the only historical in the bunch of stories.  I liked both Kai and Lyra and even though I wished for more page time for these two, the pages we were given were good ones.  I liked this one.

How to be a Heartbreaker by Lauren Layne

Story of Annie and the guy that you don’t think she’s going to end up with at first.  Oh man, this is another story that I really liked.  With each passing chapter, I was thirsty for more and I was surprised at how quickly I switched camps from one guy to the next one.  The guy she ended up with was such a good fit for her that I was grinning like a crazy lady after I finished this one.  So cute!

Two in the Morning by Roni Loren

This is my first gay romance short story.  Besides Jules and Robin’s story from Suz Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series and while I loved their story, gay romances haven’t been anything that I read on the regular.  This story was cute and sweet.  Two best friends.  One gay, and one not…or so we’re led to believe until we find out, he’s not so straight.  When these two finally get together in the end, I smiled because I couldn’t help but think, “FINALLY”  Bates was a good guy and I was thrilled for him that Malcolm was not only gay but returned his feelings. Big happy face!

Believe in Me by J Lynn

Britt and Ollie’s story.  The story of their first time.  Ooh, the feels!  I’ve been wanting Britt and Ollie to end up together since I read Cam and Avery got together in Wait for Me.  If you read Be with Me, then you’ll remember when Britt and Ollie meet up at a party that Tess and Jase are at.  It’s before Jase and Tess get together so at the party, Tess gets pretty drunk and catches Jase with that other girl, Stephanie. Well, this story shows us what’s going on with Britt and Ollie.  And just like I knew I would, I loved it. So freaking cute.  My only complaint is that they don’t get a full novel…or do they? I hope so.

Sharing Firsts by Molly McAdams

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book.  I went into it with very low expectations because I hated the other book that I read by McAdams.  I was not a fan of that book, at all.  But this story was heaps better than Taking Chances…but saying that, I don’t think McAdams is for me.  This book was just okay, I didn’t read the other book featuring Kinlee and Jace so I didn’t understand what was going on but I thought their fight was silly and the way that Jace is portrayed as completely pissed off one minute and then does that quick switcheroo to completely in love again didn’t feel believable.

Strike Out by Myra McIntyre

This was another story that was just okay for me.  I didn’t connect with Liza at all, I wasn’t a fan of the way that she lumped all baseball players together and held “being a baseball player” against Ben for no reason other than past experiences with players that are not Ben.  Ben’s been nothing but a gentleman to her and she treats him like shit.  So when she finally decides to give him a chance, I rolled my eyes because she didn’t grovel nearly enough in apology to suit me.  I thought Ben was too good for Liza and when it ended, I still thought that.

This is My Sign by Hannah Moskowitz

I didn’t understand this story, or poem at all.  It was about two deaf kids who lost their virginity to each other before one of the deaf kids goes away forever.  And that’s it.  Meh.

Going for Broke by Lyla Payne

I think this was my absolute favorite story of the bunch.  I thought what Tressa did was completely adorable and brave.  You could tell that she had grown up from the last time that she saw Noel and I thought it was completely cool that she wanted one last chance to come clean about her true feelings for him, without an agenda of any kind.  She loved him and was still in love with him and she just wanted him to know before he got married.  My heart broke, my heart soared and then sighed all while reading this book.  So cute!

For the Sake of Science by Mark Perini

This was another story that I wasn’t a fan of.  I couldn’t connect with the main character, Luke mostly because I didn’t understand what was going on.  The character development didn’t do a thing to make me connect or even care what was happening with Luke and at the end, I was left thinking, “Alright, next.”  So yeah, this one didn’t work for me.

Love in an Elevator by Carrie Ryan

This is a love story about two strangers who get stuck in an elevator for hours and …fall in love.  Yeah, it was so implausible that it was hard for me to get into the story.  They met in an elevator and she’s completely soaked from being sent for food in the rain, with a broken umbrella.  So in the elevator, she’s soaking wet and the hot stranger sharing the elevator with her offers her his button down, she accepts, takes off ALL of her clothes and sits in the elevator with a complete stranger in nothing but his shirt.  No bra, no skirt, no PANTIES and she finds NOTHING wrong with it.

Yeah, not buying it.  So yep, this wasn’t for me.

Bunga, Bunga by Andrew Shaffer

Another gay hook up story? I’m not sure they were in love by the end of their story but they did end up enjoying each other’s company and it was cool.  Not much to the story but I was happy for the main character since he finally got to nail the guy that he’s always wanted to.  Go him! I feel bad because I forgot his name.

With the Lights On by Alessandra Thomas

This is a story about a girl Anna, who has body issues and her relationship with her boyfriend, Tal.  Tal loves her but because of some stuff that went down in her past, she doesn’t really believe that he loves her.  Well, she does but she doesn’t understand why. She’s not a skinny bitch, she’s got curves and she’s unsure of those curves.  Over the course of this short story, we see Anna come to be okay with her body.  This was cute but too short and I didn’t think that the characters developed completely to make me fall in love with them.  Still, it was okay.

Field Emotions by Melissa West

Oh, this was another cute story.  It features Blake and Summer, who have been really good friends since high school.  Blake is the big football star at their college and Summer is a nerd who is not a fan of watching Blake get hurt on the field.  Summer thinks that Blake is a big player but he’s anything but.  Oh man, I love the whole best friend to lovers bit and I thought West did a great job with these two.  They were adorable and when they finally did the deed, I grinned like a maniac.  So freaking cute!

Grind by Tracy Wolff

This was a short story about two lovers who have been a part for the last three years and are now reunited.  Gage and Dyani.  Their story was short and sweet and even though I wished for more, I still thought this was a cute one.

Overall, there was a shit load of stories but I wasn’t mad that I read them all.  I enjoyed some and I didn’t enjoy others but overall, it was a good mix of stories and I’m glad that I picked this up for review.

Overall grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Avon Impulse.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Exclusive Excerpt: Ever After by Carrie Ryan (+Giveaway)

Posted November 12, 2013 by Rowena in Giveaways, Promotions | 8 Comments


Carrie Ryan has a new story out with five other fabulous authors and we’ve got an excerpt to whet your appetite for her story. Check out the excerpt below:

Summary: From five bestselling authors comes five brand new novellas sure to heat up the night.

From Carrie Ann Ryan’s Dante’s Circle series, a demon from the fiery depths of hell must make his choice to follow in the footsteps of his father or love the submissive wolf who lays claim to his heart in His Choice.

From Marie Harte’s Beasts of Burden, Eira, a fierce valkyrie, has spent fifty years trying to get a rise out of her goddess’s guardians. But when the battle-cat shifters give her what she wants, can she handle the heat—and the danger—that comes from loving them?

From Rebecca Royce’s brand new series, the Alphas of each Werewolf Pack are on the brink of war. Travis Michaels will use all in his power to keep innocent Lilliana out of danger and into his arms…away from rival Alpha Cyrus Fennell.

From Lia Davis’s Ashwood Falls series, buried pain, old lies, and dangerous secrets aren’t enough to keep the sparks from flying as Sarah Mathews and rebel leader, Damian Archer, try to survive a new threat against their race.

From Leia Shaw’s Shadows of Destiny series, a war is brewing in the supernatural world. Rebel shifter Dalton’s only passion is protecting the colony, and flirtatious misfit, Eden, is a distraction he can’t afford. But as danger approaches, he learns that underestimating the sexy little wolf is a big mistake.


“You’re a disgrace to the name Devil, son,” Lucifer spat as he paced the long dungeon. “You had such promise and then you’ve thrown it all away. Or at least, you’re planning on it. Don’t lie to me. I know all.”

Fawkes looked up through the blood running down his face, stinging his eyes, and lifted a lip in a sneer.

He was twenty years old—young to most but a grown man to others—and yet the way his father treated him it was as if he was the adolescent who needed a good scolding.

Not that his father had ever acted the caring paternal figure.

“You’re the actual Devil, Dad,” Fawkes said, his voice slightly hoarse from screaming. Sometimes the screaming helped the pain, even if it did annoy him Lucifer enjoyed it so much. “I’m just one of your many sons.”

Lucifer rolled his eyes—a gesture that made him look as immature as he acted—then ran a hand over his red horns that stood a foot out from his head—the exact matching pair to Fawkes’.

“You’re my last son, Fawkes. The others are either fierce warriors’ and soul eaters or dead. None of them however, ever chose the path you’re looking at. No son of mine will. They all died in battle or because they were idiots. I won’t let you sully my good name. It’s time for you to make your choice and eat the souls of humans.”

Though Fawkes was chained to a wall in his father’s favorite torture room, he didn’t feel threatened by the man humans feared more that the things that went bump in the night. Actually, his father was the thing that went bump in the night. Lucifer just wanted Fawkes to fall into his deadly footsteps, taking souls and becoming dark.

Fawkes wasn’t sure he wanted to do that though.

He’d seen what the other possibility could be and, frankly, that looked better.



Once a demon reached twenty, he had a year to reach a decision before his life started to fade. Demons needed souls or a mating bond in order to survive. Without souls, they would die slowly and painfully. Once they reached their three hundredth birthday, they’d fade from existence—excruciatingly. They only had that first year though to take their first soul, or they’d harm themselves to the point that they’d need a true half—the one person, or persons in a triad’s case, that was meant for them and would create the perfect mating bond—in order to survive.

Since demons didn’t find their true halves with other demons—a punishment for their killing existence—they had to venture out into the human and other realms in order to find the person—or persons—who would not only be part of them, but save their lives. Demons could mate with each other and create more demon offspring, like his father had done with the many women who’d given birth to Lucifer’s progeny, but they would never find that perfect…peace within that mating.

Another demon, Balin, had been one of the few to actually choose against becoming evil. The other demon had almost died because he’d refused to do what almost all other demons had done in order to survive. It was only because Balin had found Jamie and Ambrose that he’d survived at all.
Now Fawkes was old enough to make his choice.

Lucifer narrowed his eyes. “Are you even listening?”

Fawkes blinked. “Uh…yeah?”

Lucifer spat then let the fire running through his veins rage from his palms. He spent his energy toward the wall, scorching a line of black soot in an arch before fisting his hands, letting the fire burn itself out.

Fawkes had to learn that handy trick.


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Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Posted December 29, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Amy’s review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

Nothing says Christmas like a good zombie book! LOL

Main Character: Mary
Love Interest: n/a
Series: The Forest of Hands and Teeth #1
Author: Website|Facebook|Twitter|Goodreads

In Mary’s world there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

In Carrie Ryan’s the Forest of Hands and Teeth, zombies (or the Unconsecrated) have taken over and the human survivors have fenced themselves in. This is the world that Mary, our narrator, has grown up in. Her village is smack in the middle of the Forest and surrounded by fencing. The forest stretches as far as the eye can see and everyone assumes that they’re the last people to survive the Return (what they call the zombie infestation).

Mary’s mother grew up listening to stories of how the world was before the Return and she passes on to Mary the stories of the ocean. Mary even used to have a picture of one of her many greats-grandmother in the ocean, so she knows it’s real. Her friends don’t really believe her and think her stories are just that, stories, fiction, NOT REAL.

So our tale begins with Mary washing some sheets. One of her best friends has joined her and he’s basically just asked her to marry him. Mary is looking up at him, thinking of his brother, and she’s just about to respond when the siren goes off – which means the fence has been breached. Mary knows in her gut that something has happened to her mother. You see, Mary’s father has gone missing months ago (into the forest) and everyday her mother watches the forest, waiting for her husband to come back to her. But today, Mary knows she dallied too long at the stream and her mother didn’t wait for her to return before she began her lookout…and got too close to the fence.

Now when someone gets bitten by the Unconsecrated, they become infected. They will die and rise again as a zombie. When this occurs in Mary’s village, the bitten always has a choice – they can be killed or they can be turned loose into the Forest of Hands and Teeth to join the other Unconsecrated. Mary’s mother chooses to join those in the Forest (which leads Mary to believe that her father is also Unconsecrated).

Throughout this, Mary’s brother, a Guardian (those that mind the fences) has been away checking on some fencing further out. He gets back just in time to see his mother rise as a zombie. So Mary’s guilt over not being with her mother and her brother’s anger at her letting her mother make the decision to turn in the first place all result in Mary joining the Sisterhood.

The Sisterhood runs the village. They have the final say in major decisions and they have all the knowledge of the Return and life before it. Mary does not want to join the Sisterhood, but she doesn’t have a choice. (There’s a good scene here where one of the sisters shows her which choices she does have.) And Mary quickly realizes that there is more to the Sisterhood than she knew. There are secrets hidden within the Sisterhood and when an outsider comes through the fence, Mary’s world as she knows it changes forever.

Ok, not sure I did justice to the book, but just know that I loved it loved it loved it!

I picked this book up and did not put it down until I was done reading it. The story sucks you in and doesn’t let go! There is terror, action, romance and zombies! What more do you need?

First the world-building. Carrie Ryan has done an excellent job in creating a post-apocalyptic society. There’s no info dumping and we learn through Mary’s thoughts and experiences.

Second – our narrator. She’s a girl that’s always dreamed about what’s beyond the forest. While everyone around her is content with their existence, she’s heard about the ocean and she wants to see it. She lets her guilt get in the way when she’s forced into the Sisterhood but she’s independent and can think for herself. She makes hard decisions and she’s brave. She’s also good to have around in a jam (like zombies trying to eat you). I like my heroines to be strong and kick ass and that’s what Mary is.

The characters and the way they relate to each other are interesting too. Sister Tabitha is a scary lady, her brother is a redemptive jerk, the two brothers as love interests, her best friend. There’s even a dog. LOL

And the story doesn’t stay in Mary’s village. There’s plenty of action beyond the fence’s borders…

So for those of you who enjoy an excellent story with a smart and strong heroine and you don’t mind a little blood and guts? The Forest of Hands and Teeth is for you.

..and that’s your scoop!

Buy the book: B&N|Amazon|Book Depository|Kobo
Book cover and blurb credit: http://barnesandnoble.com


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