Music Speaks- The Songs that Inspired Sweetness in Innocence

Below, I will walk you through each song that inspired Sweetness in Innocence: Book Two of the Take me to Church Series. You can also find the playlist I created on both Spotify and YouTube. In this, I am just going to cover some of the songs. There are more songs on the playlist provided, and I suggest you click on those links to listen while you’re reading the book! It just adds to the experience.

Bring me to Life- Evanescence

Lyrics:

How can you see into my eyes like open doors
Leading you down into my core
Where I’ve become so numb. Without a soul
My spirit sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home

This song and band made up my formative years. The chapter where they go grocery shopping is somewhat monumental. It seems so simple, but it was so important for the development of their relationship. It’s the first time Harlan shows trust toward Luka. He gives Luka a glimpse into his life and his problems.

Witching Hour- In This Moment

Lyrics:

Don’t you see the way I look at you
I can see behind your eyes
Can’t you tell the way I reach for you
I wear my halo in disguise
I watch you burn
I can feel you
I watch as you turn
What did you do

I think this is pretty self explanatory. This song coincides with the Halloween chapter and Luka, of course, wears a halo.

Follow You- Bring me the Horizon

Lyrics:

My head is haunting me and my heart feels like a ghost
I need to feel something, ’cause I’m still so far from home
Cross your heart and hope to die
Promise me you’ll never leave my side

When Luka got hurt, I think it made Harlan realize just how much he cared for him. Before this scene, their relationship was almost one sided. Luka always went out of his way for Harlan, and I wanted to see that reversed a bit. Luka needed Harlan, and Harlan was there for him. He followed him to the hospital because he was worried. It solidified their relationship a bit more.

Half God Half Devil- In This Moment

Lyrics:

I won’t pretend that I resist temptation
I think it’s funny when you preach damnation
I’ve been to hell and back and now it’s just a part of me
Without the darkness there’d be no light in me

I just love this song and the lyrics so much. I think this really fits with the Christmas chapter because Harlan finally lets another wall down and allows Luka inside of his home. The dark is a part of Harlan, and Luka sees that now but accepts it.

My Soul- Thrice

Lyrics:

Are you ready for my soul?
What if I’m broken from the start?
And what if I never heal?
Are you ready for my soul?
What if I open up my heart?
And somehow we stumble into something real?

This song is just so fucking beautiful, and I felt it was perfect for their first time. Harlan really allowed Luka inside. He showed he trusted him in some small way, and it was so fucking gentle. I think it reflects Harlan’s thoughts perfectly. He worries that he will never be able to full trust anyone because the wounds from his past run so deep. He is afraid to show Luka everything because he doesn’t want to scare him off with the amount of darkness he has suffered. In turn, Luka is almost afraid of something this real. Every other time he has spent with a guy hasn’t felt this real, and that scares him a lot.

Iris- The Goo Goo Dolls

Lyrics:

And I’d give up forever to touch you
‘Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
And sooner or later, it’s over
I just don’t wanna miss you tonight

I really could have just quoted this whole fucking song. It’s so fucking perfect. Harlan and Luka danced to this in Harlan’s room on New Years Eve and I think something really shifted for them. I can’t listen to this song without getting emotional. It’s a very personal song for me, for different reasons, and I knew I had to use it for such a pivotal moment in this book. The lyrics sum up their blossoming relationship perfectly.

The Judas Kiss- Metallica

Lyrics:

Followed you from dawn of time
Whisper thoughts into your mind
Watched your towers hit the ground
Lured the children never found
Helped your kings abuse their crown
In the heart of feeble man
Plant the seeds of my own plan
The strong and powerful will fall
Find a piece of me in all
Inside you all

Warning: Do not drive while listening to this song. You will probably drive far too fast because the drums are fucking killer. This song isn’t really for a specific chapter, more so the slow demise of Luka’s faith. It also comes into play in the next book. The title that is… but spoilers.

A Reason to Fight- Disturbed

Lyrics:

When the demon that’s inside you is ready to begin
And it feels like it’s a battle that you will never win
When you’re aching for the fire and begging for your sin
When there’s nothing left inside, there’s still a reason to fight

Luka sang this to Harlan during the concert. Harlan has a lot of demons. Luka doesn’t know why yet, but he knows that it’s a constant battle for Harlan. He wants to give him a reason to fight those demons, and this song sums that up perfectly.

Avalanche- Bring me the Horizon

Lyrics:

Cut me open and tell me what’s inside
Diagnose me ’cause I can’t keep wondering why
And no it’s not a phase ’cause it happens all the time
Start over, check again, now tell me what you find
‘Cause I’m going out, I’ll fake what’s real
Can anyone respond?

When Ezra finally confronts Luka about what he’s been hiding, I think we were all holding our breaths. Luka still hasn’t accepted that it’s just a part of him. A small portion of his mind is still telling him that he’s sick for his sexuality and he needs to pray and ‘fix himself’, so I think this song perfectly reflects Luka’s inner turmoil.

Brighter Than the Sun- Poets of the Fall

Lyrics:

Like a miracle you change me, raise me
Brighter than the sun till I’m ready to be me
And your love is the reason, yeah
Like a miracle you wake me, make me
Brighter than the sun when it used to blind me
I know your love is the reason
Love never goes out of season

Harlan compares Luka to the sun more times than I care to admit. I think he is finally starting to accept the positive changes Luka has made in him. I wanted to end this book on a positive note, and I think this song does just that. Luka is the reason he’s happy now, and he is starting to realize his feelings for Luka.

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Music Speaks: The Songs that Inspired Cool for the Summer

Music has always been a huge inspiration for me even though I wouldn’t consider myself an auditory person. For me, it’s the lyrical content that I find the most inspiration in. Each of my books has a playlist associated with them. In this post, I will discuss the songs that inspired my debut book Cool for the Summer. You will be able to find these playlist on both Spotify and Youtube. I will not talk about every single song on the playlist in this blog post, but the ones that really resonated with me.

Cool for the Summer- Demi Lovato

Lyrics: Take me down into your paradise
Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type
Just something that we wanna try
‘Cause you and I
We’re cool for the summer

Of course this one is on the playlist! It ended up being the book title, after all. I explained how this came to be in my previous blog post The birth of my first book.

Here Comes the Weekend- P!nk

Lyrics: Drink some pink champagne
I don’t know you yet
But we’ll forget
So, fuck what they say
Let the rum flow until it rains

I’ve always been a huge fan of P!nk, so I knew I wanted one of her songs as inspiration in my first book. This song summed up how it feels to be at the end of the semester and have your whole summer break ahead of you. The freedom.

Uncomfortable- Halestorm

Lyrics: I did it all to break
every single preconceived notion that you have
I did it all to shake
every single one of your emotions and just to make you
Uncomfortable

This song is very much from Xander’s point of view, and the concept of sometimes enjoying making others feel uncomfortable. I don’t think being uncomfortable is always a bad thing. Sometimes, in order to break outside of your preconceived notions, you have to pushed from your comfort zone. That’s what this song is about. Xander’s blatant flirting with Gabriel made Gabriel feel uncomfortable in the best kind of way.

Colors- Halsey

Lyrics: Everything is gray
His hair, his smoke, his dreams
And now he so devoid of color
He don’t know what it means
And he’s blue

There was something about this song that seemed so fucking perfect for this chapter, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. I think it’s the idea that when you’re upset, you kind of start seeing the world in blues and grays. They were both struggling in this chapter.

Hungry Eyes- Eric Carmen

Lyrics: With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I

This is a very obvious nod to the most classic movie about a summer romance, Dirty Dancing. When I was writing this chapter, this is the only song that was playing through my head. I was just perfect. It really summed up that summer feeling of falling in love for the first time. The innocence. This chapter was huge in the development of their relationship, so I felt this song fit for that reason.

Talk Fast- 5 Seconds of Summer

Lyrics: Leave all of your indecisions with you at home
Don’t say you’re doing me a favor
Why so complicated, won’t you throw me a bone?
I want your love in every flavor

5 Seconds of Summer is probably my favorite band of all time, so they needed to be in this playlist somewhere. I remember being obsessed with their album, Youngblood, which featured this song. It’s the epitome of a summer fling song for me. The push and pull of being in a confusing relationship with no solid ground beneath your feet. There is a begging quality to this song. Like they are begging to be given a chance or maybe just some clarity, but they will take the night.

Let’s See What the Night Can Do- Jason Mraz

Lyrics: I wanna get lost with you
And hide out, out under the light of the moon
I wanna get lost with you
And see what it’s like to spend the whole night
With you, just you
You, just you

This is probably one of my favorite chapters of the entire book. This song is almost whimsical, for me. Like living in a dream. Getting lost with the person you may or may not be falling for and just taking that night to forget all your worries. This is the chapter where Gabriel gives into his feelings for Xander and takes the first real step in solidifying their relationship. Of course, he doesn’t say that. 

1950- King Princess

Lyrics: So tell me why my gods look like you
Tell me why it’s wrong
So I’ll wait for you, I’ll pray
I will keep on waiting for your love

I really felt this song summed up where Xander’s headspace is in this chapter. He knows that Gabriel loves him, but he also knows that Gabriel isn’t ready to admit it out loud yet. He is willing to wait, though. He is going to be patient for Gabriel. There is also another line that really stands out ‘I love it when we play 1950’ which is very clearly a nod to the years where gay romances weren’t accepted in society, so a lot of times gay people were forced to hide their love from the world. This is the first time in the book where they really hid their relationship from the people around them.

Delicate- Janet Devlin

Lyrics: The closer I get to your paper heart; And the tighter I hold on
Gently covered in paper cuts; I’m more stubborn than some
You’re like the first day of winter; Everyday day of the year
‘Cause you’re  too scared to let me in; Never close only near
I’m just delicate, just a little more delicate than you

The title of this song really summed up the entire chapter. I wanted this chapter to feel like everything was somewhat hanging in the balance, and there is a ticking clock over the reader’s head. Gabriel also decided he was going to start pulling away in this chapter, but we all know how stubborn Xander can be.

Eavesdrop- The Civil Wars

Lyrics: Oh, don’t say that it’s over
Oh, no, say it ain’t so
Let the stars watch, let them stare
Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care
For all that we’ve got, don’t let go
Just hold me

This is a devastatingly beautiful song. It’s giving yourself over to someone even though you know you plan to leave. It’s pretending that you’re not and allowing them to comfort you, if it’s only for the night. You know it’s your last night with them, and you just don’t care who’s watching. You’re going to spend it how you want, but it’s so very bittersweet.

It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing- Shania Twain

Lyrics: It only hurts when I’m breathing
My heart only breaks when it’s beating
My dreams only die when I’m dreaming
So I hold my breath, to forget
It only hurts when I breathe.

This song is so heartbreaking. It is the ultimate breakup song, and I decided Xander had to sing it on stage. Everyone has experienced the kind of pain where it hurts to breathe, and you just don’t want to anymore. Your entire being hurts because you’re missing someone. This song is so underrated.

Collide- Howie Day

Lyrics: Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide

I think this is pretty self explanatory, and in a lot of ways, from the point of view of Gabriel. He says he feels like he can’t stop thinking about Xander, that he can’t stop himself from being with him. He wants it, and they were always meant to collide.

The Promise- Sturgill Simpson

Lyrics: I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say
I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be
But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me
I promise, I promise you I will

This was actually my wedding song, so I knew I wanted it to be the last chapter of this book. The one on the playlist is actually a cover. I don’t really like the original. I love the way Sturgill Simpson slowed it down and managed to bring so much meaning to the lyrics. A promise you make to someone. It’s beautiful, and I knew it would be perfect for the final chapter. 

There you have it! A small glimpse into my musical mind. As you can probably tell, my music taste is all over the place. I have put it on two different platforms so you can listen on Spotify or on Youtube. This playlist includes a little bit of everything. Was there a song on this playlist that you wish I talked about? If so, please feel free to message me on one of my social media sites below. I would be happy to explain why I chose a particular song. As always, thank you for reading my ramblings.