Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Maybe by Amber L. Johnson

Series: Standalone
Release Date: Feb 12, 2015
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
Genre: New Adult
Source: Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★

Letting go is hard. Admitting you need each other is harder.

Emily Portman loves her job. A writer for Breakout! Magazine, she shadows and showcases up-and-coming bands. When her next assignment takes her to Austin, Texas, she can’t wait to add the city to her map of places she’s visited. Places she’s left without looking back. Her plan is to keep moving on, and the last thing she needs is a man holding her back. She’s not going down that road again.

Tyler Macy is stuck in a rut. Despite his exceptional talent as a musician, he has chosen to take a back seat with his music and let others grab the limelight. Wounded and mistrustful, he doesn’t appreciate his friends’ efforts to bring him back to center stage. Emily comes onto the scene and sees his full potential, but he fights to stay in the shadows, shutting her out before she can add to the scars another woman gave him.

For Tyler to find his music again, he needs to accept the help that Emily and their friends offer. When he discovers that his muse lies underneath Emily’s skin, it is still not enough to keep her from walking away. Neither will admit what they really want until it is too late.

Emily is once again thrown in Tyler’s path when she is assigned to join them on tour. Despite the pain in his past, Tyler sees that she is worth it, even if she’s stolen both his heart and peace of mind. In order for them to be together, they both must discover whether the music and their passion are enough to overcome the obstacles that separate them.

Maybe finding love is worth the risk.

Typically, I go into a book with some sort of expectation.  Maybe was a departure from that. I had none. I had heard about Johnson's Puddle Jumping, but knew nothing really about it or Johnson herself.  While the synopsis gives a good idea of the story, I didn't know if it would be gritty, soul bearing or light.

I was pleasantly surprised by where Maybe took me and the emotions it brought.

Emily has a pretty bad ass job.  She's a scout for a music magazine. Traveling the country, meeting bands, writing them up and then watching as maybe their careers take off.  It's a get in, get the job done, get out kind of gig that works for Emily. No strings, not ties that bind, no chance of getting hurt. Again.

Tyler's life is music.  It's everything he is and everything he has is wrapped up in it.  The things outside of his music have hurt him in ways he does not know how to heal from.  But past hurts are bleeding into his musical life as well, he's lost his inspiration, holing up in the dark places of his mind blocks him from creating anything new. He needs a muse but not the heartbreak that comes along with one.

The connection between Tyler and Emily was something I kind of adored. It felt true, nothing really seemed forced or contrived.  Same goes for how that connection progressed and how it ultimately fell apart.  Emily doesn't make fleeting, life altering, decisions based off of a connection she feels with someone she has just barely met.  She sticks to her bigger life plan.  She sees the situation for what it is, a man scared to commit, scared to take a leap of faith, scared to try for love for fear of losing everything even if never trying means losing it anyway.

Emily understands it because ultimately, she feels somewhat the same.

But sometimes, what is meant to be, will be. Life has a way a of placing you in the path of your destiny no matter how much you fight it. That rings true for Tyler and Emily and when they find each other again the connection they felt before is still there, still strong, still sexy as hell.

Speaking of part of Maybe I really enjoyed was that for a New Adult title, it's not erotic or gratuitous.  The sex is hot but it's there to further the story, it has purpose.  

Johnson does a great job of balancing the fun and light moments with the darker, sorrowful ones.  There were times where I smiled and times where I was truly sad for the turns Emily and Tyler's lives had taken.  Maybe is  not a rip your heart out and stomp on it type story, but it's definitely a story that will make you feel. 

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