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Book Blast: Something Like A Love Song

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Author Name: Becca Burton

Book Name: Something Like A Love Song

Release Date: November 19th, 2015

Page Count: 308 pages

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

Publisher: Interlude Press

Cover Artist: C.B. Messer

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TEXT - Book Cover

SLALS 1600px COVER (RGB) - Front

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TEXT - Book Blurb

One tragic night left Landon and Dylan’s dreams of happily ever after in apparent ruin. Forced to overcome physical and emotional trauma, the young lovers turn to a network of family and friends as they attempt to rebuild their lives. But can their one constant—their love—survive the changes both undergo on the road to recovery?

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TEXT - Extract Sample

Landon’s bed is in the center of the room, and Dylan’s heart begins to pound in his chest as he takes a step forward, hesitates. Landon looks so small, tucked into the middle of the bed, and everything about the scene is unnatural and wrong. His head is wrapped with thick bandages, for which Dylan is grateful—he isn’t sure he could handle that. Just the thought of what’s happening to Landon, to his fiancé, is enough to make his throat constrict, his chest tighten.

A ventilator tube parts Landon’s lips, and his chest rises and falls in equal, rhythmic whirrs. IVs line his arms; the wires snake from under his hospital gown. His freckles stand out starkly against the unnatural pale hue of his skin, except where the deep purple of a bruise creeps from under the bandages and swells down to his left cheekbone. It seems impossible that only hours ago they were laughing in the park, holding hands and eating ice cream from the small corner stand; it’s like some distant memory, a fading dream. But the ache deep in Dylan’s chest, the way his stomach is knotting itself, the too-clean smell of the hospital burning his nose, Landon’s face, battered and bruised—Dylan can’t look away—all this is too real to be a dream, no matter how badly Dylan wants to just wake up, wants all this to go away and everything to be okay.

“You can touch him, if you want,” Brittany says, her voice soft. “We need to make sure to reduce extra stimulation, to allow his brain time to recover, but it’s okay to hold his hand.”

Dylan looks up at her. Her smile is kind and understanding. Then he turns back to Landon and takes a small step forward. Landon’s hand is right there, resting above the covers, and Dylan doesn’t know why he’s so nervous; he’s held Landon’s hand more times than he could begin to count. But, surrounded by machines and tubes, Landon has never looked so utterly fragile, as if he could shatter at the lightest touch.

“It’s okay,” Brittany says from behind him, and Dylan squeezes his eyes shut, tears pricking behind his eyelids. “You won’t hurt him.”

Landon’s skin is cold; his hand is unnaturally still. Even in sleep Landon’s hand would always find Dylan’s, their fingers would curl together like a reflex.

Not now.

“I’m so sorry,” Dylan whispers, holding on a little tighter. “I’m so…”

His voice catches, the words bottling up in his throat, unable to escape. Landon’s chest rises, falls, in, out.

In, out.

“You’re so hurt, and it’s my fault,” Dylan manages, his voice barely audible above the machines keeping Landon alive. “It’s all my fault and I’m…” He exhales slowly. “I’m so sorry.”

He swipes his thumb across Landon’s knuckles, over the dips and grooves, and vaguely notes that Brittany has left them alone. He sinks down into the small chair beside the bed, not letting go of Landon’s hand.

“You need to fight, okay? I need you here, with me, and I can’t…” There’s nothing left inside him except an empty, hollow feeling and the knowledge that Landon can’t hear him. Landon’s engagement ring is in a dish on a table beside the bed, along with his watch, and Dylan fishes them out and tucks them into his pocket.

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TEXT - Giveaway

Rafflecopter

Grand Prize: $25 Interlude Press Gift Card

First Prize: 5 e-copies of “Something Like A Love Song”

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TEXT - Review

Book – Something Like A Love Song
Author – Becca Burton
Star rating – ★★★★★
Plot – brilliant, original, heart-wrenching
Characters – relatable and varied

Movie Potential – ★★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Cover – perfect
Suitable Title – still deliberating, but I guess in a Country Song kind of way, yes.
Would I read it again – Definitely. With lots and lots of tissues.

Warnings? – HFN, hate crime, emotional heartache, flashbacks

(Oh, also – no sex scenes. It’s mentioned in passing. I like it this way.)

** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK, BY THE AUTHOR, IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW **

There are a million things I want to say about this book, but I’m not quite sure where to start. First off, I wasn’t planning to take on any reviews with deadlines this year, but the extract and description pulled me in, when the blog tour form came through my e-mail. I was intrigued and I had some time.

In reality, I probably spent only 6 ½ hours reading this book. I started it late at night and could only get round to finishing it this afternoon, after doing other things. I missed it, every hour in between. I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

Truthfully, this was me through about 80% of the book:

It wasn’t about what the characters went through, but the way the author perfectly detailed the emotions, thought processes and difficulties of getting through it.

To help you understand, let’s start with the blurb:

One tragic night left Landon and Dylan’s dreams of happily ever after in apparent ruin. Forced to overcome physical and emotional trauma, the young lovers turn to a network of family and friends as they attempt to rebuild their lives. But can their one constant—their love—survive the changes both undergo on the road to recovery?

Now, although it pretty much tells you that this isn’t going to be your regular M/M romance novel, it doesn’t even begin to hint at the feels that come with Dylan and Landon’s journey. Some of the things that happened during Landon’s POV nearly broke me and I’ll explain why later.

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First, let’s get started on the not so good things, because I like to end on a high note. For me, the first 3-4 chapters just didn’t work. I seriously did not get on with the story, at all, and would, quite honestly, have DFN’d it after Chapter 3, if I wasn’t reading it for review. I always finish review books, so that’s the only reason I kept going and didn’t put it aside to come back to. I literally took a five minute break and thought “do I put it aside for another day or just get it over with”. I chose to get it over with and that’s about when the story really started to take off, for me.

My problems were simple:

Dylan. I didn’t connect with him and, because of what I assume is an attempt at creating mystery and intrigue about the “incident” that happened that “tragic night” it comes across worse for him than if we’d had some details. More on that later.
Third person, with present tense. Eeek! This has never been a method of writing that has worked for me. Sadly, I’ve never enjoyed the plots that come with this writing style, so this was a bad omen that – thankfully – had a happy ending, for once. (Yes, I read an extract before signing up and knew it was 3rd person and present tense, but I clearly forgot because the sample was so good)
The first few paragraphs. Sigh. These were really clunky, didn’t flow well and were heavy – and I mean, really heavy – with the imagine and metaphors. There were far too many in a short space. Yet, once we leave those few paragraphs, it evens out so that that never happens again. Thank God for that.
Disjointed. As I said in the point above, and before, the first few chapters didn’t work. They were super heavy on the short, clunky sentences that sometimes didn’t even add anything, and even heavier on the pointless descriptions, that occasionally leaked into the rest of the story. I don’t always need to know the colour of the walls or what someone else is doing, or that when Dylan’s mother sounds worried on the other end of the phone that he can heard her turning on a light. Those things are kind of assumed, by thoughts, reactions and such. The description felt unnecessary.
Dylan. Again. This time, for being over-dramatic. This was how it read, because we were given no emotional connection to him and no real sense of who he was or why we should care what he was going through. One minute he glances at the clock and we get a really intricate detail of what time it is, with second and minute hands included, then later he has to check the time. He “needs” to talk to someone, but balks when he realises what time it is when he calls his mother, and offers to hang up. He’s told he can see Landon, after the doctor has come to speak to him, yet he tells his mother he’s not allowed to see him. Hmm…
Mystery. Again, I’m going to admit that this did nothing for Dylan. We find out very little about the tragic incident, when it would really help us connect with Dylan. But, because we’re told nothing but the most minor details for a while, it comes across as though Dylan was this useless, pushy person, who did nothing to help Landon during the incident.
Dylan’s injuries. They seem almost pathetic in comparison with Landon’s and we never really get an explanation why, that satisfies me. It mentions him being held back, but it’s not until around 80% of the book that we discover what really happened and it makes sense. Until then, there was always this nagging doubt in the back of my mind that his story just didn’t fit with the injuries that affected him and Landon.
Flowery description. Having spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, often the one in need of medical care and sometimes not, I can vouch for the fact that this is wrong. No one sits in an emergency situation like this and notices the décor the way Dylan does. All the details he describes in perfect detail, during his POV would go be unnoticed. Unfortunately, this reads more like the author trying to fill us in on information rather than Dylan’s actual observations.
Author speak. Again, the author’s voice comes through when Dylan explains the situation to his mother. When he talks about the “tragic night” that put them in this situation, it’s much too flowery and descriptive than a normal person would describe it. It should have gone by in a blur of thought and emotion, with Dylan barely able to keep track of what was happening other than focusing solely on Landon, yet he recounts very vivid and perfect details.
POV. There are too many Points of View in the story. The only POV’s I care about are Dylan and Landon’s. But, I read the others and can attest to the fact that they don’t belong. Helen, Adele, Lana and Logan all get their own POV at some point, but it’s never important. They never tell us anything that we don’t already know/assume or that Dylan or Landon’s POV’s haven’t already shown us.
Rabbit ears on a TV. This was really confusing. I don’t know anyone who still sells or buys a TV set with an aerial anymore. Even my 80+ year-old grandmother threw hers out about 10 years ago. This made me question if I’d read the timeline wrong, if this was the 70’s or 80’s. But, nope, it’s present day. Just a bit odd.

All these problems may seem petty, but they were disconcerting and – if you’ll notice – mostly all confined to the first few chapters that I mentioned earlier. If I were to give any advice to this author, on how to improve the final version, it would be to really look at these chapters and maybe do some rewrites, to address these points. This book could have been so spectacular from the first page, if these chapters were different.

But, I hear you asking why I’m complaining, when I gave it 5-stars, right? For one reason: there are people who will not read past these chapters. People who might DFN because these same issues have them rolling their eyes, as it did with me, or have them questioning how great this book could be, with all these issues in the first 20-30 pages. I honestly would not have continued if not for reviewing it and I would have missed out on an amazing story. So, I’m covering my issues here, to warn people to keep reading. Accept and ignore these problems (unless they’re fixed in the final version) so that you can push through to the amazing story behind it.

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The good things?

Gosh, there aren’t enough words. Maybe it will seem like I have more complaints than praise for this book, but that’s only because I can’t list all of the things I love about this story. There aren’t the words and, if there are, I don’t know what they are.

I won’t ruin the story for you with spoilers, so please bear with me as I tried to explain what happened as I was reading, without giving too much away.

This was basically me:

The only words I can really think of to describe this book are thought-provoking and beautiful. I constantly stopped to take stock of what I was reading and how it made me feel, because it hit home so hard.

The romance was just so:

And the struggles, drama and everything that went on in the background was:

I was so lost in reading this story that I forgot about everything else. Bedtime, bathroom breaks, eating, drinking. I’ve got a dry mouth and blurry eyes as I write this, from sitting being so consumed by my reading and crying so much.

The minute Landon wakes up in the hospital, around Chapter 4 or 5, the story takes off. For me, this is where I feel the author is most comfortable. Everything previous to this almost feels like a different writer, as though the author didn’t want to write those chapters, but knew they were necessary as a lead up to the larger story arc. I absolutely agree, but they feel half-hearted and almost a stepping stone. They’re absent from the story I fell in love with. And I can forgive it taking 50-60 pages to get into the good stuff, knowing that they really were necessary, to ground the reader with a location, time and background to what was about to happen.

There are flashbacks that give you greater insight into Landon and Dylan’s relationship before. Before is also the way that life before the “tragic night” is referred to in the book and I find that really fitting, because the two lives – before and after – really are separate and different now.

I also really love the fact that there are no explicit sex scenes in this book. There’s some swearing and violence, but nothing that stops it from being accessible to the YA market. And I think that’s really important, because this could be a really important book. I think that, if you can read this and not come away feeling lighter, more grateful and having gained something from it, then you were reading a completely different book than I was.

The romance is sweet and the chemistry is clear, both from the flashbacks and from the brief, thoughtful contact they share, as Landon recovers. Every move they make is romantic, in some way or another, and it made my heart melt. Landon’s personality really got to shine through, during these moments, even when he was unable to speak or properly communicate. And the way that Dylan stands by him, no matter the obstacle and never questions running away or escaping, is both heartbreaking and special. Because you know he’s suffering for it, at certain points, but he stays anyway.

There’s some really nice, easy-going banter between the pair, too.

Landon pouts, and Dylan reaches up to poke his bottom lip. Landon snaps at his finger.
“Remind me why I still love you?” Dylan asks, and Landon’s stomach flips in a way he’d thought he’d have gotten used to after all these years.
“Because I make you breakfast?”
Dylan squints, his face serious, and nods. “It helps that you’ve decided clothing is optional while cooking.”
“The kitchen gets hot!” Landon protests, crossing his arms. “Maybe if you stopped moving the fan onto the porch, I wouldn’t be forced to cook naked.”
“Hmm.” Dylan darts forward to kiss to Landon’s cheek. “Maybe that’s why I keep moving the fan to the porch.”

Landon’s recovery is both touching, real and perfect. Dylan’s reactions are spot on and made me cry most of the time. When he met Tate at the bar, I crumbled, but it was the fireworks, the God damned fireworks that really got me.

The most painful part was that Landon’s thoughts and experiences hit home on a personal level, for me. I’ve had the same struggles with my speech and memory, to a different degree, and I have to use a wheelchair for distances. The way the author portrays these things is so real and so perfect that I had to take a moment to get myself together. It was like reading my own thoughts and fears from 10 years ago, when it all started and reliving that moment. It hurt, but it was a good hurt, because – like Landon – I’m getting there. And that’s what’s most important.

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Overall, I just really want to congratulate Becca Burton on a fantastic first novel. This is the kind of debut that should and will win awards and accolades of the highest degree. There’s something special and meaningful in these words that, although the story is fiction, will resonate with so many people. Whether it’s Dylan, Adele, Landon or Helen’s story that touches you – or someone else entirely – the way these characters are crafted and the way the story is told makes this a painful, emotional, heart-wrenching read that is a must for anyone who loves the M/M genre.

I promise you won’t be disappointed.

This is a story of hope, of overcoming fears and a reminder that not all love is fleeting. Sometimes the strongest thing about a couple is their love for one another and how it can get them through anything. Just like Dylan and Landon.

This is, in no way, a Happily Ever After. But neither is life. And that makes this even more perfect.

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TEXT - Purchase Links

Interlude Press

Amazon

Smashwords

Apple iBook Store

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TEXT - Interview

Today, I’m very lucky to be interviewing Becca Burton, author of Something Like a Love Song. Hi Becca, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Thank you for having me. Something Like a Love Song is my first novel, a story about two long time boyfriends who find themselves facing a life changing tragedy and have to find the courage and love for each other to fight through.

While this is my first novel, I have posted many stories online, and have been writing ever since I learned how. I currently work as a nurse in a Neonatal ICU, and medicine has been a big interest in my life, and always seems to find a way into my writing. I am passionate about diverse, LGBTQ fiction, and am very excited to contribute to this genre.

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How do you feel about e-books vs print books?

Honestly, I don’t feel too strongly one way or the other. Personally, I prefer to read a print book when I’m at home, and I love being able to look at all my books on my bookshelves, but e-books are very handy and convenient when I’m traveling or taking the bus, or anytime I might not want to carry around a heavy book. I think both forms of books have merit in their own way, and I can completely understand why some prefer one over the other!

What process did you go through to get your first book published?

I was incredibly lucky and was approached by the IP team about publishing this story. The story was originally written as a fanwork online, and we had many discussions on how I could turn it into an original novel. After that, I just had to put it together and write it, which was definitely the hardest part, and from there the entire team was incredibly helpful in directing me with what I needed to do!

How do you find or make time to write?

It can be difficult to find the time, especially working full time as a nurse. Whenever I have days off, I try and set aside a few hours that I can go to a coffee shop or the library and force myself to focus without the distraction of being at home. When I have a deadline or am more actively working on something, I definitely schedule in more time for writing, but even when I’m not I still try to at least find a little time every week!

Name one person who you feel supported you outside of your family members?

The whole IP team was incredibly supportive during this entire process. I couldn’t have done it without all of them. All of my friends and writing buddies from online have been there for me during this journey, and I honestly can’t thank them enough. So many amazing people have listened to me and helped talk me through areas I was having problems with, or even just offered support through kind messages. I feel so incredibly lucky for all of the truly amazing people who have supported me!

Tell us about a book you’re reading now.

I just finished the book Another Day by David Levithan, who is one of my absolute favorite authors. It’s a retelling of his book Every Day, which I highly recommend to fans of young adult novels with very original and thought provoking ideas.

I am also in the middle of reading You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day, which is an autobiography of her life. I was lucky enough to go to her book signing, and she is the sweetest person in real life. Sje has lead such an interesting life, I have been enthralled by the book!

A book I am really looking forward to reading is Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I am a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell’s writing, and I can’t wait to read her latest book, which was inspired by her novel Fangirl, another book I highly recommend! I could talk forever about books, so I’ll stop myself there!

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TEXT - Author Bio

Becca Burton penned her first Nancy Drew fan fiction at the age of nine and has been an avid writer ever since. Currently working as a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse, Becca is a recent Oregon transplant from the Midwest. Becca has a weakness for coffee, the smell of old books, rainy days and her cat, Luna. Something Like a Love Song is her first novel.

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TEXT - Follow the Author

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