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.