Review: 50 First Times: A New Adult Anthology
50 First Times: A New Adult Anthology
by: Julie Cross, J.Lynn, Molly McAdams,, Hannah Moskowitz, Lyla Payne, Roni Loren, Andrew Shaffer, Cole Gibsen, Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Mark Perini, Sophie Jordan, Lisa Desrochers, Tracy Wolff, Lauren Layne, Alessandra Thomas, Melissa Landers, Gennifer Albin, Melissa West
Publication Date: Feb. 25, 2014
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 350 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 4/5 stars
When I first saw all of the amazing authors featured in this anthology, I knew I had to have it! It had some of my very favorites in here, as well as some I've been wanting to try! Being a NA lover, I knew I would enjoy these novellas and for the most part I did! There were a few that weren't my kind of stories, but I still appreciated that this book included some diversity in it as well. A few others just fell short for me, as novellas are tricky to write. There wasn't enough development and a few were kind of ridiculous plot-wise. But then there were the ones I want to hold tight and never let go of! I wish those ones could have been made into feature length novels, because I desperately wanted more!
One such book was Melissa Landers' Under the Seryn Moon. I absolutely adored that this was not a contemporary and instead told of an arranged marriage between two tribes. Lyra has been forced to marry Kai, prince of the Seryn tribe, after her father's lost the war. She is a peace offering and nothing more. Kai surprises Lyra with his thoughtfulness and his tenderness. He wants to make her feel comfortable in a place foreign to her and where it is his right to take her as he pleases, he does not. He is kind and asks for her permission and I just really loved the undertone of this one. There are no declarations of love, instead there is the promise of a love to come and I really liked that.
Another favorite was J.Lynn's Believe in Me. I LOVE Ollie! He was such a great side character in Wait For You so naturally I was psyched for him to get a novella! I also love Brit, Avery's friend, so seeing them together was a pleasant surprise. I really like that Ollie and Brit were friends first and then turned into something more. Ollie and Brit have always teased each other, but things are different now, as Ollie realizes he really does care for her. He is a different guy with her and wants to be good enough for her and I loved seeing that sweet side to him.
Crash by Sophie Jordan was another that made an impact on me. We first met Hunter in Foreplay, so it was nice to see his story. After not getting the girl, his friends insist on taking him to a strip club, which is funny in its own right because Hunter is more of a straight and narrow guy. He is focused on school and went from one serious relationship to having something with Pepper. His friends think he needs to loosen up and live a little, but that's just not Hunter's style. Too bad one night at The Kitty Cave ends up being a far better one than he ever imagined. Brooke is doing whatever it takes to get by and pay her tuition. Following in the footsteps of her mom and sister, she knows stripping will bring in more cash flow than her job at a burger joint. The only problem? This isn't Brooke. She's not cut out for the world of groping, horny men. Seeing Hunter in the crowd, she is immediately drawn to him. He doesn't act a fool like the other men, but instead just watches her with this intensity that does not go unnoticed. She thinks he's too good for a trailer park girl like her and even though he is persistent about getting her number, she doesn't see the point because she knows he won't call.
Other books of note:
Field Emotions by Melissa West and Strike Out by Myra McEntire both have athletes as their MC's (Yum!) Field Emotions is the story of best friends becoming something more and finding the courage to admit their feelings to one another and Strike Out tells of a ball player desperate to get a girl that works in the management office. She stays away from ball players and has earned a rep as being the girl no one could get. Ben doesn't see her as a challenge, but instead genuinely wants to get to know her and spend time with her.
I also loved Alessandra Thomas's With The Lights On. Aless isn't afraid to tackle very real, difficult issues that women face and I love that about her stories. Anna suffers from panic attacks and extreme self-consciousness. After being chewed up and spat out for her curvier figure, her life really took a took turn for the worse. Now, she is seeing a great guy named Tal, but hasn't confessed the reason behind her scar or the reason behind her panic attacks. I freaking LOVE Tal. He is a great guy and when Anna does finally come clean, he doesn't judge her or make her feel any less than she should. He accepts her and loves her no matter what. It is a very uplifting, hopeful story and I really liked that.
Julie Cross's Daylight was such a different story and this is one I wish we could have seen more of. Jack is a broken man needing absolution and Audrey is a preacher's daughter who is waiting for marriage before having sex. Audrey is the light that Jack desperately needs and their wedding night is bittersweet, as Jack has to go away, and doesn't know if he will even return. The storyline felt unresolved even though it does come full circle at the end. I liked that it was different in nature and instead of being a steamy story, it had softer, sensual feel to it.
Finally, Love in an Elevator by Carrie Ryan was such a fun story. I think it's every single girl's fantasy to get stuck in an elevator with an extremely hot guy! It wasn't very realistic, but that's ok because I loved how steamy it was!
Overall, this is one I couldn't read all in one sitting. My brain needed time between the novellas to adjust to a different storyline, setting, and characters before being able to move on. Some stories are very similar to one another in the 'first' department, but every author has a different style and I felt most of them stuck out enough for me to truly enjoy them.