Blog Tour: The Hometown Hazard – Review + Author Playlist

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The Hometown Hazard by Dawn Lanuza
Published on January 29, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Romance
Goodreads | Amazon | Buqo

Jules Coronado has been away from her hometown for almost a decade but when an intruder breaks in to her childhood home, she finds herself coming back. Changes evidently took place in her small town, including her childhood best friend’s younger brother, Kip – now tall, slightly scruffed, all grown up and caught climbing into their garden wall.

Kip Villamor has a mission and despite Jules’ doubts, they team up: going on fieldtrips, tackling unsuspecting men, and trespassing offices to dig up dirt. But Jules has secrets of her own, one that might be exposed – unless she keeps her walls up. But climbing walls are Kip’s forte, remember?

Will her secrets keep her on his side, or will it force her to disappear again?

TheHometownHazardEbI wasn’t completely sure what to expect with Dawn Lanuza’s The Hometown Hazard, except that it was romance because it seemed like it. I read and enjoyed Dawn’s first book, The Boyfriend Backtrack, and I love spin-off stories, so when the blog tour came up, I signed up immediately.

This was different, definitely. Like I said, I came in expecting romance – and there was romance, definitely – and finished the book finding more. The Hometown Hazard had a small town, childhood friends, secrets, and a mystery that will keep you on your toes, wondering if there is really something in what Kip and Jules were following.

First, the mystery: what fun. I liked how Jules’ small town came alive in this story, and how all the people that the duo contacts rises from the pages, too. It was easy to imagine why Jules left without really finding out why because if you’ve been in a small town for so long, it’s just natural to go to the city, right? But don’t take my word for it, because there’s more in the main character Jules, and even more in the lead interest Kip. The mystery was unveiled skillfully, and like any good mystery, it makes you want to reread to get the clues again.

And of course, the romance: oh, Kip. I think anyone who’s read this will agree that Kip is his own character, totally different from the other boys that Dawn wrote about in The Boyfriend Backtrack. Kip was charming and adventurous and I totally get why one would want to follow him around. In some ways, I felt that the romance didn’t really take centerstage here, but I didn’t mind because it played off great with the other aspects of the book.

The Hometown Hazard has great pacing, lovely characters, and an adventure you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s the kind of book you’d want to bring home to a trip to the province…and then you’d end up wishing there’s a Kip wherever you’re staying. :)

Favorite quotes:

I think it’s possible for you to love someone but not necessarily like them at times. Do you get that?

If I haven’t forgiven myself, I wouldn’t be strong enough to love someone this much.

“How do you undo a ghosting?” Leslie asked.
“You make an appearance,” I laughed. “And stick around.”

Check out The Hometown Hazard playlist:

About the Author:

Dawn Lanuza started writing stories when she was just a kid (they weren’t good or even finished). She works for the music industry by day and writes meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. ‘The Boyfriend Backtrack’ is her first book. She currently lives with her family and an adopted dog.

Author Links: Amazon / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

 

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Blog Tour: Rumor Has It – Review

Rumor Has It

rumor has itRumor Has It by Farrah F. Polestico
Published on November 30, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N 

It’s senior year and it’s now or never. Callie Rivera always wanted to be part of her school’s drama club, and she finally musters the courage to audition for Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Only she got the audition dates wrong and landed a role that only existed in her wildest dreams. And her co-actor? None other than Landon Arcival, theater actor extraordinaire, not to mention Callie’s (former) crush— or so she says.

Callie is living the dream, until she wakes up to a nightmare. According to the rumor mill, she is sleeping with different guys in her school. Of course, it isn’t true, but who would believe her? And the worst part? It may or may not be her fault the rumors spread in the first place.

What to do? Callie finds herself in the middle of a hot mess. But then Landon proposes the perfect plan that can fix everything, but only if they don’t fall for each other first.

First off: look at that cute cute cute cover. It’s so cute and sweet that I wanted to take a bite from it, or at least eat some candy while I was reading it. :D

Callie Rivera finally took the chance to audition for the school’s drama club, but she got the audition dates wrong and found herself landing a role in the club’s major production for the year. What made it even more awesome was she was playing a role with her (former) crush, Landon Arcival, also known as Golden Boy in her head. All seemed to go well, until a rumor that she sleeps with different guys spread in her school. (Not true, although she did lie about it at one point.) As Callie tried to find a way to get out of the mess, Golden Boy comes up with a plan. Should she go for it?

Rumor Has It reminded me of two things: Easy A, and Amy Spalding’s The Reece Malcolm List. There’s rumors, performing arts and so many interesting characters only reminiscent of high school. Rumor Has It has all those interesting characters, from Callie to her best friend Beatrice and to the theater folks. I liked the entire dynamic of their high school — a lot different from what I grew up with but still believable that it was easy to get lost in the entire rumor mill.

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And Landon – I agree with Callie: he was definitely charming. I liked it every time he was on scene, although some of the things he did was a little bit cheesy (or maybe I’m just getting old haha). But he was such a joy to read and all his little ways charmed me, too. I liked how he made his way in Callie’s life and stood up for her, and I was really rooting for him to get the girl (and for Callie to get the guy). And star gazing! That was cute. :)

Overall, Rumor Has It is a book as cute as its cover. Not too candy sweet, but still sweet enough to leave a smile on your face when you’re done. :) Looking forward to reading the author’s other books!

About the Author:

Farrah F. Polestico wanted to be a lot of things in life— an engineer, a nurse, an astrophysicist. But it wasn’t until she was thirteen when she knew for sure she was going to be a published writer. And now she is. When she’s not up all night writing her next book, you can find her reading anything and everything from a Charles Dickens novel to old grocery receipts.

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Blog Tour: Songs of Our Breakup – Guest Post and Excerpt

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I love books with songs. Books with Japanese actors, not so much, because I never really got into the Japanese thing even if I love the country. But I was willing to try this, and I wanted feels, so. You can read more about what I thought about this book in my review! :)

So, break-up songs. Or heartbreak songs, when it’s not really a break-up. when I went through something similar (but also not really, haha, long story) to Jill, my best friends supplied me with an entire playlist of sad/heartbreak songs to help me cope. I had them on repeat for weeks, because of course you need a soundtrack when you suddenly burst into tears in the shower! Or when you’re walking! Or…all those things! :D Some songs on my list: Breathe Again by Sara Bareilles, Call It Off by Tegan and Sara, Wanted You More by Lady Antebellum, and Out of My Head by Ben Rector. </3

So today I have Jay E. Tria, author of Songs of Our Breakup, on the blog to talk about her heartbreak songs. Check out her list below!

Top 5 Breakup/Heartbreak Songs

When I was tasked to choose a guest post topic, I jumped on this one figuring it would be easy. I mean people carry heartbreak songs around with them all the time. My karaoke roster for one is usually 80% heartbreak songs, and those are the best ones to sing!

But when I tried to compose the list of my top 5 songs of sadness, I sat there and watched the cursor blink a few dozen hundred times, my head a blank space. I remembered that I haven’t really been keeping up with new releases, relying solely on the millennial magic of Spotify. But I guess that shouldn’t matter much. Breakup songs usually endure.

So here it is: the list of my favorite songs of heartbreak, no recent hit in sight, in no particular order. Hit play, click shuffle, maybe feel a few things, and repeat. Breakup not required.

The Script, Breakeven

  • Why it hurts. Because it’s a truth universally acknowledged that love is not given in equal measure, and thus when it is broken, the divide is unequal too.
  • The lines that got me. ‘Cause I’ve got time while she’s got freedom /Because when a heart breaks it don’t break even.

Sandwich, Masilungan

  • Why it hurts. I like my Sandwich served raw—simple words and a lazy tune that builds into a violent barrage of feelings as Raimund Marasigan screams the gigantic question of why into my ears. Even the video by Quark Henares is awesome in its simplicity too. Shots of faces, profiles, and movement, proving that you don’t always need tears to evoke sadness.
  • The lines that got me. Wala natayo/Wala natayo/Bakit wala na tayo?

Ed Sheeran, Photograph

  • Why it hurts. You can argue this isn’t technically a sad song, but to me the words are asking someone to hold on to a promise, a blind hope. It makes me think that hope, while a positive thing, can be even sadder than a clean break because it leaves you hanging.
  • The lines that got me. We keep this love in a photograph/
    We made these memories for ourselves/ Where our eyes are never closing/
    Hearts are never broken/And time’s forever frozen still.

Arctic Monkeys, The Bakery.

  • Why it hurts. Alex Turner is a fricking lyrics genius. I’d like one hour to see a normal, everyday scene through his eyes. Here he makes the bakery seem like the most romantic setting for a boy pining over a girl. The line that killed my heart is actually the last one, but I’ll let you discover that for yourself. The following were heartbreakers too.
  • The lines that got me.The more you keep on looking/The more it’s hard to take/Love, we’re in stalemate/To never meet is surely where we’re bound.

The Smiths, Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me

  • Why it hurts. I can’t make a list of the best saddest songs without including the Smiths. Morrissey’s MO seemed to be to wrench sadness from the depths of broken hearts and make the display seem like the most beautiful thing. This song is short and simple in the wretchedness it brings, because hasn’t everyone had this dream?
  • The lines that got me. Last night I dreamt/ That somebody loved me/ No hope, but no harm/ Just another false alarm.

 

Songs of Our BreakupSongs of Our Breakup (Playlist Book 1) by Jay E. Tria
Published on August 22nd 2015
Genre: New Adult Romance/Chicklit
Goodreads | Amazon

Every breakup has its playlist.

How do you get over a seven-year relationship? 21-year-old Jill is trying to find out. But moving on is a harder job when Kim, her ex-boyfriend, is the lead guitarist of the band, and Jill is the vocalist. Every song they play together feels like slicing open a barely healed tattoo.

Jill’s best friend Miki says she will be out of this gloom soon. Breakups have a probation period, he says. Jill is on the last month of hers and Miki is patiently keeping her company.

But the real silver lining is Shinta. Having a hot Japanese actor friend in times like these is a welcome distraction. This gorgeous celebrity has been defying time zones and distance through the years to be there for Jill. Now he is here, physically present, and together he and Jill go through old lyrics, vivid memories, walks in the rain, and bottles of beer. Together they try to answer the question: what do you do when forever ends?

Excerpt:

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Blog Tour: Paper Planes Back Home Excerpt

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Before this very bookish weekend ends, I’ve got something special on the blog! Today is my stop for the blog tour of Tara Frejas‘ first book, Paper Planes Back Home. Tara and I were classmates in the #SparkNA workshop, but only got to talk and hang out when we manned a booth at Eastwood’s Books & Brews. I got a copy of her book then, but I wasn’t able to read it because you know how many books and how little time we have, right? But it’s a good thing, too, because I had just enough time to read it for the blog tour!

But I’m not reviewing it just yet – I’ll save that later this week. :) Today, I’ll give you a sneak peek at this lovely, lovely novel.

coverPaper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas
Published on February 21, 2015 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
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When Gianna wakes up on a cloud, she is disoriented yet fascinated. She thinks she’s only dreaming until she gets a storm of paper planes—”They’re thoughts of people who remember,” a man on another cloud tells her—each pleading for her not to leave. The man tells her these planes are the key to get out of there, and while she thinks it’s hard to believe, she decides everything is worth trying if it meant finding her way back home.

Excerpt:

2

“What is it?”

Skylar looks up from the message on the unfolded paper plane, his expression that of uncertainty mixed with relief. “It’s just . . . I don’t know who this is from. But it’s really nice of them.”

They are silent for a while until he nods toward the new batch of planes around the newcomer.

“Don’t you want to read them?”

“I do.”

“Don’t mind me,” he says with a shake of his head, reading the reluctance on her face. “I’ll be okay.”

She picks up a paper plane, looks at it thoughtfully. “Is it possible to share paper planes?”

A pause. When she looks back at him, she realizes he doesn’t quite know how to answer the question. “Shall we try?” she asks, handing him the plane in her hand.

“No. I can’t do that,” he says, waving his hand dismissively.

“I have plenty to spare.”

“I don’t think that’s how this works,” Skylar points out, his tone unsure. It’s reassuring again when he says, “It’s fine, really. Don’t worry about me.”

She sounds defeated when she finally concedes, turning her attention instead to the plane she has just unfolded. “My name is Gianna, by the way.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Gianna.” Skylar lets his words hang in the air for a while before he asks, “So . . . what happened to you?”

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. This is all my fault, I’m sorry. She runs her index finger over the words. She can almost hear Aaron say them. “Car accident,” she tells Skylar. “A crash. That’s all I remember right now. You?”

Skylar nods, noting a gash just above her eyebrow he supposes she got from hitting the steering wheel. “Just another day on the field. Only I wasn’t so lucky.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

He only shrugs in response and takes a look at his paper plane with a smile. It’s the small things that make a difference, son, he remembers Sam, the old man of about fifty, who had kept him company before he was able to fly back home, say. He was a lively fellow who always had stories and wise words to tell and perhaps, without him, Skylar would’ve already drifted off to sleep.

He stands up and walks toward the plane he’s building, only half-finished and crude-looking at best. There’s the base, the nose, and the tail, but nothing to support wings just yet. Glancing back at Gianna, he calls out. “Hey, do you want me to show you how to build your ride?”

About the author:

Author PhotoTara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. By day, she works in project management and events, and she writes down her daydreams at night. She began publishing fiction for public consumption in 2004, posting her pieces on various online channels like fan forums and Blogspot, eventually exploring other avenues like Livejournal, Soomp!, Tumblr, and most recently, Wattpad.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a 6-month-old male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Paper Planes Back Home is her first novel.

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#JustWritePH: For Love Blog Tour – Excerpt and Review

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And it’s time for another blog tour! I watched the #JustWritePH from the sidelines via Facebook and Twitter, and I want to say how proud I am of this initiative. I’ve always said that the PinoyWriMos were the most inspiring bunch of writers I know, and I’m even more inspired now that this has happened and there are a lot of new stories for everyone to enjoy.

What is #JustWritePH? The #JustWritePH workshop, which ran from July 1 to August 8, 2015, challenged participants to write a story and prepare it for publication in a little under 6 weeks. Tips and lessons were delivered online & in person. The reward? Guaranteed distribution on Buqo, plus marketing opportunities like a bundle launch (held at Bo’s Coffee Megamall on August 22), a Facebook party, and a blog tour.

And since I’m a romance fan and author, I’m going to review the For Love bundle, specifically, Sigh No More by Carla de Guzman. :D

#JustWritePH—For Love
Authors: Beth G., Carla de Guzman, Giselle Bacalla, and Amae Dechavez

Bundle description:

Love is never easy, but the journey to that happily ever after is what makes it worth it. Witness the struggles of these characters as they work their way through both new romances and second chances at love in this four-story bundle. Features “I Still…” by Beth G., “Sigh No More” by Carla de Guzman, “Velvet Valentine” by Giselle Bacalla, and “One Sweet November Day” by Amae Dechavez.

JustWritePH-ForLove-CoverSigh No More by Carla de Guzman
Connect with Carla: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Website

Beatrice and Claudia never thought they would see Benedick and Hiro ever again, not that they wanted to. But when the business opportunity of a lifetime hinges on Ben and Hiro’s work, they find themselves head over heels and crashing into the boys again. But why did they ever have to be apart in the first place? Can Hiro win Claudia’s heart back? Can Beatrice and Benedick ever stop fighting? This book is a modern retelling of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

I read and liked Carla’s two previous works, Cities and Marry Me, Charlotte B! so I was very happy when I saw that she had a story in this bundle. I liked the set up from the very start, with Beatrice and Claudia and their stationery/art store. I liked their friendship and their banter, and they were two very fleshed out characters from the start. Then Ben and Hiro arrived, and madness ensues. But seriously, Ben and Hiro were just as charming characters, and funny, too, especially when Carla brought us back to how they met and what happened then and now.

Ben and Bea were the main characters here, so most of the focus was on their love story, and I loved it. I liked that both their perspectives were shown, and it was very entertaining once some plans went into action. I liked the panic in Ben and the hesitation that Bea felt, and it made me curious why they weren’t together when they were so obviously good for each other. The story unfolded gracefully, and I was really invested in them, so much that I already saw who was the real problem in the story even before the characters decided to do something about it.

Sigh No More was incredibly enjoyable, really, It was funny and romantic with just the right depth to make the story believable and make you wish for your own dorky Ben. ;)

Still need convincing? Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Right. Morning outfit selfie. Here we go.

I really looked awful in the morning, all messy hair and puffy eyes. That last beer really was a mistake. I adjusted the angle of my phone slightly, before I gave the camera my brightest, still-slightly-sleepy smile. I hadn’t really thought about what I was going to wear today (horror of horrors) and I ended up with my loose, ripped drawstring jeans, my favorite chunky sandals and a loose white shirt. It was going to be another hot day in DC, so a pair of plastic cat eye glasses went with the outfit. I put my hair up in its usual half-topknot and grabbed Claudia’s peach lip tint to swipe over my lips. I looked into my vintage full length mirror and snapped the photo.

“Beatrice Noble: Up and ready by 10 am and I’m already working,” I typed out on the phone’s notes. “Had a back and forth conversation with our printer regarding our new greeting card line while in bed, now heading off to meet with Claudia at Petit Jolie.”

That sounded good, didn’t it? I frowned little at myself in the mirror. I widened my eyes until I looked crazy and puffed out my cheeks. Gaze into the eyes of an underpaid, overworked, under-slept self-starter!

Claudia Crowne and I quit our jobs two years ago to start our baby, the Noble Crowne Paper Company. We started out with small jobs, making invites for relatives’ weddings, postcards and notepads. Then the next thing I knew, my life turned into a whirlwind of printers and paints, clients and meetings. Suddenly my social media posts were more important than times in and out, my 9 to 5 had turned into 24/7, and the voice in my head telling my that there was something inherently wrong with doing what I loved had finally dulled into a whisper.

Was it scary? It was still, in a lot of ways. Sometimes I think that it’s all been a fluke, or a dream of some kind, but then I check my ratty old filofax and the list of things I have to do just make me feel happy. It’s so weird.

One of the lifestyle blogs Claudia and I religiously followed finally responded to Claudia’s emails and asked for a ‘day in the life’ article from the girls of Noble Crowne. It was a big deal for us, and both Claudia and I were determined not to screw it up

Which was why, when I arrived at Petit Jolie, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that Claudia was wearing a short, sleeveless tunic printed with orange roses, mums and little red flowers that I used to pick from bushes as a child. Claudia made that dress from a pattern I gave her when I was first starting to paint. Now almost every piece that we produced in our little stationery company featured my hand painted flowers.

“You couldn’t be just a bit more subtle?” I teased, kissing my best friend’s cheek as we sat on our usual table of the corner cafe. Claudia and I lived within walking distance of each other on Kings’ Street in Old Town, Alexandria, a little neighbourhood in Virginia that still had wrought iron street lamps, twinkle lights on the main street, small Victorian buildings, shops and boutiques just by the Potomac River. I loved our neighbourhood. It was so pretty and quaint, despite being a stone’s throw away from Washington DC. Petit Jolie was a small boulangerie in the middle of an American street and smack dab in the middle of the town. It was also where the idea for Noble Crowne was born.

The #JustWritePH – For Love bundle is 75% off (Php45/$0.99) until September 27  from Buqo! You can also enter the raffle below for a chance to win a free copy! :)

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