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Maybe I Will

  • Posted on January 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

MaybeIWillMAYBE I WILL by Laurie Gray. Luminis Books (www.luminisbooks.com), March 2013.  Ages 13+ ($14.95 Paperback – ISBN 978-1-935462-70-5, $26.95 Hardcover – ISBN 978-1-935462-71-2, $9.95 eBook – ISBN 978-1-935462-72-9)

Publisher’s Description:  It’s not about sex. It’s about how one secret act of violence changes everything—how best friends can desert you when you need them most, how nobody understands. It’s about the drinking and stealing and lying and wondering who you can trust. It’s about parents and teachers, police officers and counselors—all the people who are supposed to help you, but who may not even believe you. It’s about how suddenly all of your hopes and dreams can vanish, and you can find yourself all alone, with nothing and no one. Your only choice is to end it all or to start over…and all you can think is Maybe I Will. 

Reviews: Mike Mullin, award-winning author of ASHFALL and ASHEN WINTER wrote about Maybe I will: “In MAYBE I WILL, author Laurie Gray deals with a difficult topic in a thoughtful, nuanced, and realistic way. A pinch of humor and dash of Shakespeare add flavor to what otherwise might be an overly heavy stew. MAYBE I WILL belongs on teens’ reading lists and bookshelves alongside classics of its type such as Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK and Cheryl Rainfield’s SCARS.”

About the Author: Laurie Gray presents a compelling picture of the realities of sexual assault in MAYBE I WILL, drawing on her years of experience as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, dealing with crimes against children. The twist in the story is that we never know for sure if the victim is a boy or a girl, and we realize that it doesn’t matter, because it’s not about sex.

Round to it

Diane’s Notes: I was scared to read this book and kept putting off getting a round-to-it. I received a request to review Maybe I Will during a time when my world was crashing down. I have been a victim of sexual assault and abuse. I have been in the situation of keeping my worries to myself and wondering if I could handle the depression while trying to hold myself together and pretend to be “good” – just so my family and friends wouldn’t worry. I didn’t want to be seen as just a victim, nor did I want to be seen as a problem that other people would have to deal with. I was even afraid that if I read Maybe I Will, that I might consider giving up. 

I should have trusted the author Laurie Gray and publicist Rebecca Grose. While there is a sexual assault, it is not  graphically over-described. Suicide is not the entire focus of the story. Alcoholism is not the ending of one’s life.  Friends not being there for you is simply another obstacle to survive. The character has to learn to cope, survive, and adjust.

Readers will learn new techniques for surviving the teen years and life’s unfair, unjust events. Maybe I Will is an essential purchase for libraries with young adults requesting books like 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin, A Child Called It, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones . 

The hardest part of reading Maybe I Will was that I had read the twist – that we never know for sure if the victim is a boy or a girl – and that I spent the entire first reading looking for clues to prove the character was one or the other. Pulling that perspective off was a dramatic success. By having the character almost gender neutral, this title will be easier to put in both male and female reader’s hands. While some said they were convinced it was a girl because they were female readers, if someone found themselves relating too closely, they could pretend the character was a member of the opposite sex and build in distance.

Perhaps the best parts of Maybe I Will were the poems and the literary references interwoven. How many teen titles link Shakespeare, Peter Pan, and Amazing Grace? The main character uses a journal to write  through the process of discovering the answer to the question “What is character?” The poems are full of angst and speak to teens – particularly to 8th and 9th graders with stanzas like:

Such a bitter seed I swallowed.

No one saw, and no one knew.

I buried it inside myself

Where it took root and grew.

or –

I feel like I have swallowed a black hole.

The cold and empty darkness never ends.

Emotions trample down my weary soul,

No longer trusting any of my friends.

Maybe I Will leaves the reader with hope. There is hope, there are ways to survive the bad, and there are people out there to help. The reality is that the bad is not always sufficiently punished in our legal system. But Maybe I Will may be the title that helps a teen open up and tell someone, rather than continue to suffer in silence. 

 

Review of White Rock & Question “Do authors rely on bloggers for sales?”

  • Posted on July 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM

I enjoy my summer reading of adult fiction and sharing my opinions of the books I read. Sometimes I blog about the books to share with others. This may help you to add titles to your lists for school or personal reading. Seldom do I expect that my blogs will immediately result in your rushing out to buy the book the next day. Even when I read some of my friends’ blogs, I may wait to purchase due to buying cycles of school, or even personal paydays. Even if I click and purchase the title for my Kindle Fire, I may not take a moment to read it immediately because I am working on a large number of products.

Today I finished reading book 2 in The Eternal War series and wanted to share it with my friends after finding out more about the author. The book is White Rock, The Eternal War book 2. Author is J J Westendarp. Imagine my surprise when I found a link to a post he wrote called “Do Blog Reviews Matter?” The author appreciates the positive reviews but doesn’t feel blog posts result in direct sales within 1-2 days. I wonder if I’m the only one who finds that timeline too short? Should I be feeling some kind of pressure to write a review that forces you to immediately purchase? Should I be linking to the online stores so there is a direct record of my readers purchases? I don’t think so.

Here’s part of the description that drew me to this title:  “Cheryl Erikson’s problems never seem to end. After saving a group of Dallas’ social elite from an unusually brazen attempt at robbery by a group of vampires, she discovers it’s not an isolated incident. The normally hidden and secretive vampires are in the midst of an extended crime spree, and working toward something big. Exactly what is anyone’s guess.”

White Rock was a quick fun read with plenty of opening action. Cheryl, the vampire-hunting character was complex, yet I found myself holding back and watching her from a distance as she battled vampires, demons, and her own history of problems. I appreciated the secondary characters the most as they were well-developed and an intriguing part of a much larger picture. Towards the end of the story, Cheryl’s lover and reporter friend Allison writes: <Cheryl>” is one of the greatest unknown heroes living in the metroplex. ..We have to hope that others will learn from her example. Learn that it’s not always necessary to toot one’s own horn in order to make a difference…” Cheryl’s steadfastness for her friends and helping to always do the right thing is one aspect that makes White Rock so appealing. She is a character of goodness who, like a rock, is there for you to provide a foundation and support.

I appreciated the differences in this vampire series in two areas 1) the vampires are evil and they knowingly embrace this without pretence for good; 2) the origin and purpose of vampires is unique.

As soon as I finished reading White Rock, I clicked to go purchase the first book Spiral and to find a free Smashwords novella Split. I want to see more of the big picture of this story and wonder where author JJ Westendarp will take us next. I do not know if what I write about my reading experience with White Rock will cause you to rush out and purchase these 3 books. If you do, you’ll enjoy them greatly and won’t be able to set them down. I hid in the closet so my family couldn’t find me until I finished reading. (Don’t tell the hubby)

Here are the descriptions from Amazon of the first book:

“Cheryl Erikson is a Vampire Hunter with a problem. A dangerous new drug named Plast has found its way onto the streets of Dallas. She would prefer to let the DEA and local law enforcement handle everything, but since the dealers also happen to be vampires, she has no choice but to step in and put a stop to it.


With the help of her best friend Virgil and a fellow Hunter named Tank, Cheryl must work to eradicate Plast from the streets of Dallas. It’s a task that becomes more difficult as she comes under the gun, quite literally, from a contract out on her head. Coupled with a nosy police detective looking to peg her for a triple homicide, and a sudden interest in her activities from a powerful vampire recently arrived in the area, it’s enough to force her to accept help from the least likely of sources, a mysterious Hunter named Rev. Through him, everything she thinks she knows, and everything she stands for, is challenged in ways she never imagined.”

 

Adult Reads – Forged in Fire

  • Posted on June 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I had a friend say she teaches elementary level, but sometimes she likes to put on her big-girl panties and read for just herself.   Since I know that feeling I have decided to “allow” myself to review, talk about, gush, or pan some of the hundreds of adult titles I read every year. Let’s start with one of the hottest self-published books out this year by Trish McCallan called Forged in Fire

This book caught my eye on my birthday in January with a free opportunity to download it on my Kindle.  I kept running across the title and telling myself to get around-to-it and do it. Today I opened the book and I couldn’t put it down til I was finished. I meandered the house overfilling the coffee and burning my toaster patries while I read with my left hand and tried to function with my right. The dogs made it outside and I like warm pastries, so no harm done. The bruise on my knee from banging into the doorway while walking and reading WILL heal eventually. But I’m going to continue to suffer until late this 2012 when the sequel comes out.

Military men are so sexy. Add one that’s psychic and looking for his soulmate — then you’ve got a secret weapon. Beth dreams of a terrorist attack on an airplane then rushes to the airport to prevent it. Instead of laughing at her, Zane and his equally hot Navy Seal brothers take her seriously and leap into action.

This mystery adventure novel keeps the reader involved and guessing what’s going to happen next. While the heroine begins timidly, she “puts on her big-girl panties” and because an active part of the solution, not just a fainting diva victim. Other women portrayed also show courage and the ability to take action. The military aspects and conspiracy theories are intriguing. The romance sizzles. And, the secondary characters are fleshed out enough for the reader to care about them and want to read more

The only flaw I could mention is how diabolically the author has us hooked so when the book ends suddenly with plenty of cliff-hangers, we want to jump off and find the sequel. I visited the author’s facebook page, blog, and website to find out more. I even found myself chastising the author to stop blogging and get back to writing the next books in this series.

As soon as I was finished reading, I followed the author’s advice and shared my kindle addiction with the fabulous Debbie W. – my reading partner, Kindle-lender, and a great P.E. teacher, too. When will you get your copy? The series will include:

  • Forged in Fire to be re-released by Montlake Publishing on July 1st of 2012.
  • Forged in Ice to be released December 1st of 2012
  • Forged in Fury to be released July 1st of 2013
  • Forged in Betrayal to be released December 1st of 2013

Because of the steamy sex scene, I’m not including this in my YA reviews, but did think I should mention it was hot. Did I say anything about the room getting a little warm? Mm Mm Mm. Fun reading and the cover isn’t too romantic looking to alert anyone reading near me. Our secret will stay between just you and me.