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What Can Be

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,682 ratings  ·  186 reviews
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I'll Be Home for Christmas

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he’s again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Cra
ebook, 124 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,682 ratings  ·  186 reviews

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Rosa, really

No one can Mary Calmes like Mary Calmes Mary Calmeses. Many have tried to out-Mary Calmes Mary Calmes, many have tried to imitate Mary Calmes, but only Mary Calmes can top Mary Calmes.

And that's Mary Calmes.

Miss Mary was in full Mary-mode with What Can Be. From the minute I pressed play on the audiobook, I was in the Land o'Mary and it made me roll my eyes and grin in sheer joy. I feel I should warn you to not listen to or read Mary in public -- you may freak people out with your out-of-charact
BMB Reviews - February Author of the Month

Mary Calmes Jizzmas Sugar to be exact?

3.5 stars - O.M.G. I thought this day would never come. Mary Calmes is our AOTM for February!

*flutters her wings like Tinkerbell*

I get like this when I see a new Mary Calmes book:

Happy with precious, don't want to part kinda feels.

I am currently riding a MC sugar filled rush, so I'll just blurt out my feels on this story which was good but not a MC slammer. Because Jizzmas. It wasn't super saturated with Santa cum
Jenni Lea
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jenni Lea by: *Nan*

Yep. It was every bit as good as the first time I read it. Bumping it up a star.


I've had my latest dose of Calmes sugar-crack!

And it was goooood.

I just wanna dance and twirl and bask in the awesomeness that is Mary Calmes.

What? I don't have a problem. I can stop any time, I swear!

Oh! I almost forgot! Mary Calmes is our February Author of the Month over at the blog! SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars

Well, well...a surprising twist from our Queen O' Fluff, Ms. Calmes. "What Can Be" is a bit darker than anything I've read from QoF before. And I quite enjoyed it.

It's about Eli-Jory...a 28 year old young man with secrets...a past life kept secret from his current and a current life kept secret from his past. The details of those secrets aren't revealed until the end, but the build up was quite suspenseful and I was entertained purely by the relationships in the story...both of the MC
This ain't your typical Christmas story. In fact, I think it may have broken my brain. I need a minute to process my likes/dislikes before rating.

24 hours after reading...

Did I love it? Or, did I hate it? I still don't know! Seriously. You can't see me right now, but I have the most bewildered expression on my face.

The writing in this one felt kinda... sparse? But sometimes - especially nearer the beginning of the story as Calmes was establishing her characters and laying the trail of WTF? brea
Bubbles  Hunty Honest & Direct Opinions
very annoying how every character says how much he looks like his dead mother. like in details. the reader gets it, he is physically perfect and everyone loves him. whole book everyone keeps saying how much he looks like his mom, even characters that already said it repeat it. WHY???

although nothing really happened and i didn't like the MC he was 28 but acted like he was 13. Apparently growing up with a drug addict made him perfect. perfect appearance, perfect manners, perfectly flawed, perfect
A nice surprise and not what I was expecting, this had it all drama, tears, courage and love and I loved every little bit. I adored Craig he is my hero the lovable sneak such a smarty who wouldn't give up on his skittish Jake/Eli who runs when he feels overwhelmed and can't cope. What he doesn't realize is it's too late Craig is not stupid he knows everything about Jake and what makes him tick the tactics he uses to find him are clever and I was cheering him on throughout his talks with Jake whi ...more
Amy Lane
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This one made me cry. It was a lovely story of coming home, of facing your demons, and of realizing that the person you love the most is the person who gives you the courage to do just that. Mary Calmes sets her stories in the land of the lovely and the rich and powerful, but that doesn't make her people any less human for all of that. I loved Jake/Eli, and I loved Craig--their dialog was sweet and affectionate, and made all of Jake's healing apparent and possible. Melodramatic? Yes--but I'm a f ...more
T.A. Webb
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Eli left California thirteen years ago with his mother for a summer vacation before school started back. His mother needed a break from the pressures of being a successful man's wife and mother, and Eli needed to be away from a crush gone wrong, and to watch out for his mother. They never came back.

Until now.

Present day, Eli, driving through his home town after hightailing it away from his lover, Craig Zhou, is spotted by his younger brother as he stops for gas. "Funny the people you forgot til
3.5 stars
What I do like ... the idea of love and devotion between Craig and Eli, it's simply awesome, my favorite scene will be when Craig is handling Eli (view spoiler). I also like Eli's brothers. The 'secret' that keeps Eli away from his family for 13 years is dark and heartbreaking. What I don't like, the way Eli refuses to talk about his past is a tad too long after several chapters. Plus, I have to admit that the story is a bit melod
Emma Sea
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
What Can Be a.k.a. Jory/Jin/Julian/Stefan/Noah runs away from home.
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: december-reading
A lovely story that will bring you to tears but with a perfect ending. Poor Eli is a beautiful character, his lover Craig is a real knight in shining armour, I loved them both. Eli's story is heartbreaking but a must read. For a short story this packs a lot in without feeling rushed or feeling like parts are missing. Brilliantly told I had to read in one sitting as I couldn't wait to see all the hows and whys of Eli's disapearence.

Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bmbr-reads, 2015
Maybe 3.5?
As ever with Mary Calmes (for me) it's part YES! and part eye-roll.
Book chat soon, with the unicorns.
Serena Yates
Nov 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay
This story blew me away. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a while, but had a feeling the mystery about to unravel was going to be devastating, interesting, or both. It ended up being utterly emotional on top. Not only was I totally invested in the main character who tells the story in first person, I was also fascinated by the psychology of what was going on, the slow reveal of the reasons behind his behavior and the final revelations and solution had me tearing up. A truly amazing sto ...more
BWT (Belen)
Belens Audio Book Review

I love that there's quite a bit of emotion packed into this novella and that it also includes a sprinkling of angst and some heated sexy times. If I have one complaint it's that I would have liked for the end to have been fleshed out a bit more, but that's more about me being greedy and wanting more of these characters than anything else.

I want some more

Please note: This is classic Calmes - where the main character - Eli/Jake - is beautiful and beloved by all, and...well if you're a Calmes fan you know how it g

I was in need of a little crack this morning and though nominally this is a Christmas novella it worked very nicely in August to pull me from the doldrums of a pretty bad read. Seems fitting as my first Mary Calmes read was also a Christmas story which I wholly enjoyed. It's odd then that though I have a bunch of her books on my TBR queue and own quite a few I hadn't read any more until I recently did Frog. I think it might've been a self preservation thing because though I know I'm bei
Gallic Cheesy Elf, you are truly awesome!! Thank you so much for this gift!! You are spoiling me and I love it :) ~hugs~


For the shortness of the book, there is a lot covered here but I didn't feel like anything was missing at the end. It was nicely wrapped up without being rushed.

This is not a light, feel-good Christmas story. It's about a man with a horrible past who - with the help of his family and his boyfriend - is starting to heal after many years of
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Someone needs to poke me in the eye the next time I try to read a Mary Calmes book. This author is *so* not for me.
This story was great…. The end.

But really, this story worked well for a short. Taking up a few hours at work and making it not so boring. The narrator worked well, giving Jacob/Eli a nice husky inner voice that created quiet reflection rather than chaos and drama.

This was a dramatic story. It was touching and intense, and emotionally draining. I worried for Jacob. I wondered what his damage was, and why he found it so difficult to trust, open up, and not flee from those who loved him.

The story
Dec 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas, mm
2.5 stars

Very confusing story.

I was completely bored and confused for the first half, then something happened that ignited a little spark of interest in me.


But after that it was more boredom for me. It’s not that it was a bad story, it just wasn’t the story for me.

We have Eli, who hasn’t seen his brothers and father for 13 years. He disappeared with his mother when he was 17. Eli left his boyfriend , Craig, behind in Chicago even though it is clear he still loves him.

Eli gets a very warm welcom
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well color my ass surprised. I want to give this 3.5 because there were some moments that felt a bit rushed, over the top, and not developed, but fuck it. I liked this.
I finished.

Jem, L, y'all proud of me or what????
This is definitely not your standard Christmas fare! It's a story with mystery and intrigue as Eli returns to his family after 13 years. As I read the first chapters I was full of questions - why can't he stay? Why has he not seen his family for so long? Why has he changed his name?

This story is very much about Eli reconnecting with his family and gradually his story is unveiled. We don't see much of Eli's boyfriend at the beginning of the story, just being introduced to him by a phone call but
Jan 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
An emotionally driven short story from Mary Calmes with slightly darker undertones than her normal offerings. Like another review I've read about it I agree that the story would have proffered more if it had been longer. There was a lot more to explore from each of Eli's/ Jacobs separate lives, but having said that it was still a satisfying read. Not sure if I would want to reread it again but having read all her others I'm glad I did give it a go.

I like Mary Calmes books and am one of her reade
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mm, pdf, anthology, holidays
I really like this one - 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Very dramatic and dark, but I liked the characters. Eli/Jake is of course damaged and scarred by his ordeal. He still has trouble dealing with the aftermath of his mother's death, but he is ready to close this page and move on to the next chapter of his life - with the help of Craig and his family. I usually like this writer's work, so no surprise here. Liked the closure at the end.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded up

A story made for eye rolling but I fell for it anyway. I teared up, and I smiled, and my heart melted a little.
I really liked it :)

The reactions from Eli's brothers and father got to me. And Craig...he was too good to be true, but I didn't care. The feelings he had for Eli, the things he said? *sigh*
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holiday, 2011, romance, ebook, gay, done
3.5 stars. Good holiday m/m romance about a guy who hasn't seen his father or brothers for 13 years, since his mom took him and left. Since then, he's avoided getting close to people... except he has and now he's running away from that.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That was fantastic! I gotta say this story definitely had its Calmsisms but they were buried pretty deep. The MC's story grew perfectly over the course of the story and it totally worked. I loved the ending.

I listened to the audio version and the narrator (Robert Nieman) was amazing! There was a ton of dialog and he didn't get bogged down trying to do tons of different voices which worked well. I'll definitely check to see what else he's narrated, really nice.
Nikyta *Miss Forgetful*
There is something about Mary's writing and characters that makes me love them even when sometimes I want to yell at them.

This story was actually a bit of a surprise because it's a light, easy read and then it becomes deeper, delving into topics that made me, the reader, feel sympathy for the main character, Eli aka Jacob. I loved Eli from the beginning but his constant need to evade everyone's questions frustrated me beyond belief! Probably because I'm one of those people that hate it when som
MsMiz (Tina)
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbt-all, pdf
This was 3.5 for me. First, I really enjoy the way Mary writes. Her characters come screaming into your life and you cannot help but go along for the ride. That is exactly how I felt with What Can Be. It opens at a gas station and someone calling the name 'Eli'. We are then taken into Eli's world where he has not seen his family for 13 years. The story unfolds to a remarkable and at parts twisted story of how Eli became Jacob and what has happened over the last 13 years. All through the story I ...more
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Mary Calmes believes in romance, happily ever afters, and the faith it takes for her characters to get there. She bleeds coffee, thinks chocolate should be its own food group, and currently lives in Kentucky with a five-pound furry ninja that protects her from baby birds, spiders and the neighbor’s dogs. To stay up to date on her ponderings and pandemonium (as well as the adventures of the ninja) ...more
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