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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Paper Planes Back Home

coverPaper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas
My copy: ebook/print
Number of pages: 147

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.

Gianna wakes up on a cloud, and she’s confused. What was she doing there? Then she meets Skylar, a soldier on another cloud, who tells her that the paper planes that were landing on their clouds were thoughts and messages of people who remember. It turns out they were in some kind of limbo, and the paper planes were their way back home.

I wasn’t really sure what to make of Paper Planes Back Home when I first read its synopsis, because it didn’t seem like the usual romance novel for me. But then again, it wasn’t really just a simple romance novel. Tara Frejas’ debut had love in almost all of its forms – romance, family, and friendship, and this is what makes this book the kind I think people will read regardless of the genre they usually try.

There’s something heartwarming with how Tara wrote this book, and you can see that there’s already a lot of heart in it. I loved the four main characters – Gianna, Skylar, Aaron, and Anna. They had very distinct voices, and they all had different goals and motivations in the story that tied up nicely when you get to the end. In a way, you can kind of see what’s going to happen after all the situations were laid out, but even if it was predictable in that way, you won’t really mind because you just want to have a good ending for all these people. They deserve it, after all that they’ve gone through.

And the world-building in this was on point, too. No one really knows what limbo, or after life is about, but reading this book would make you want to believe that what Tara wrote was real. It was easy to see that the world was lovingly created by the author, and I admit that I always liked it when the book was back on those clouds. There was also an element of fear there, but more of fear for the characters and what could happen to them there.

This book left me with a smile on my face, and some tears, too. It’s not sad, although the premise seems like it. But trust me, warm, fuzzy feelings and happy tears will be around when you reach the end of this. :) And if you happen to be in the same shoes as Aaron in this book, Paper Planes Back Home will give you hope that will make you send more thoughts and prayers, hoping that these will be strong enough to bring the person you love home.

The stronger the love, the stronger the plane.

You can read an excerpt of Paper Planes Back Home here!


Other reviews:
Jay E. Tria | Bookbed

What You Wanted

What You WantedWhat You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra
Chic Manila # 5
Publisher: Bright Girl Books
Number of pages: 137
My copy: ARC from author

It’s the classic one-night stand: Beach wedding, bridesmaid, groom’s friend. When Andrea and Damon meet, sparks fly, and they give in to the attraction. Sounds simple, but Andrea’s still getting over someone, and Damon thought he’d be hooking up with another person that night. It could still be simple, really, if they chalk it up to a weekend tryst and move on.

But one night becomes lunch the week after, and then dinner the next weekend…and before they know it, Andrea and Damon are still together, dealing with the feelings they know they might still have for other people. How hard can it be to get exactly what you want? How do you even know what it is?

The moment I started reading Mina V. Esguerra’s latest book, What You Wanted, I thought: I missed this. I’ve read some of Mina’s Spotlight New Adult books and liked them enough, but there was something that felt like coming home when she’s writing something based in Manila again. And it helped that I read and liked the prequel to this book, Wedding Night Stand, so I was pretty excited to have first dibs on this book.

Andrea met Damon at her sister’s wedding. It was just supposed to be a one-night stand, but days and weeks after the wedding, Andrea finds herself seeking out Damon, seeing and spending more time with him. But it’s not a completely simple romance as both of them have issues of their own: Damon is pining over Geraldine, known as the ice queen who he has been pursuing for a while, and Andrea is still nursing a broken heart from Thad, who dropped her after a weekend together and got married to someone else. Andrea and Damon agreed to use each other to get what they want…but what do they really want, anyway?

I wasn’t even halfway through and I was already charmed by Andrea and Damon, and I was rooting for the two of them to get what they wanted, whatever that was! I mean, I sort of knew what it was, being the reader, but I had such a good time watching things unfold for the two of them. I was a little surprised with how some of Andrea’s angst with Thad resonated with me but I’m not going to go there because that’s in the past. Let’s just say I get what she meant about that, and how awful it feels when there’s a Naomi. I remember feeling all ranty whenever Andrea was alone with Thad and how I wanted to shoo him away. (But other than that, I still think I am more of a Julie, haha)

And speaking of Damon! I liked Damon a lot. There’s so much about him that’s easy to like, in an alpha-male kind of way. Like how he was focused, and how he didn’t resort to manipulation and instead just proved himself to show that he deserved to get what he wanted. I liked how he seemed so dangerous and in some ways, wild, but also can be pretty gentle at times. I would probably be intimidated like hell if I meet someone like Damon in person, but I think I will still be secretly watching him. :P (Haha, see, I’m a Julie.) I liked him so much that I told Mina that it seemed like there’s competition for Lucas of Fairy Tale Fail’s spot in my heart. Gasp!

I really liked What You Wanted. While most of the story revolved around the “extended” hook-up, there’s a lot more in their story that gives reader a chance to see how characters like Andrea and Damon change, find out, and eventually, get what they really wanted. :)

Also – lots of food in this book, so yeah, don’t read this with an empty stomach. Sushi, grilled fish, juice, and siopao. :D


Favorite dog-eared quotes:

“You’re never going to be able to introduce him to them as yours, Andrea. He burned that bridge when he chose someone else. Walk away.”

That was it. This was where my first attempt at relationship feelings went to die. At a table for six, in a restaurant that served really fat duck. It would die among my closest friends, none of whom knew what had happened to me, what I had lost, and who killed it.

Food and coffee, was how you became friends with anyone, I learned.

It was legitimately scary for me to even attempt anything with Thad because when we were good together, it already felt like we were us. Committed.

And now we were nothing.

…If there’s one part of him you pretend doesn’t exist, then you don’t love the man; you love the version of him that exists in your head.

Songs of Our Breakup

Songs of Our BreakupSongs of Our Breakup by Jay E. Tria
Playlist # 1
Number of pages: 180
My copy: ebook

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?

As I mentioned in my Open Road Summer review, I like books with music and bands. So when Jay E. Tria’s book, Songs for Our Breakup surfaced in my radar, I was curious although I was a bit hesitant with the Japanese-sounding characters because I’m not a huge fan of foreign lead interests in my Filipino romance novels. I think I was in line at a bank without a book when I decided to read this, and a few pages in the book, I was hooked.

Jill and Kim have been together for seven years, until their break-up came that ended the relationship that Jill has known for a third of her life. It’s even more difficult to move on, because her ex-boyfriend is the lead guitarist of the band where Jill is the vocalist. And as expected, most of the songs they sing share memories of their relationship and Jill’s not sure how much her heart could take. Her best friend, Miki, stays by her side, picking her up when things get too hard, and then there’s their other friend, Shinta, a Japanese celebrity that they befriended during one music festival. Shinta provides the distraction that Jill needed, as she wrestles with the questions that the break-up has left with her.

Let me get the obvious thing out of the way: the book shares an almost similar title with the Piolo-Sarah movie that came out a few months ago, but like what other reviews said, it’s different from that. I should know, because I watched that movie. :P There’s so much more going on in Songs of Our Breakup compared to that movie, and it was made entertaining because of the fun cast in this book. I loved everyone in the band, Trainman, and how their friendship seemed to spring alive in every page. I loved their banter, how they played off one another and know each other so well that even if there’s this elephant in the room with them, the rest of them fought for their friendship and the band just to keep them together.

And then of course, there’s Shinta, who was a delight to read. I liked him, and perhaps all his screen time made me join his team early on in the book. I liked how he also felt like a member of the band because of his friendship with them, and how he was especially fun and gentle with Jill. His storyline wasn’t so surprising, but it was still a pleasure to watch that unfold and I was really cheering for him at the end of the book. However, I also can’t deny that my heart went out for Miki, the best friend, because…well, he’s the best friend, and I also have a soft spot for those characters! I liked him, and I wished that he did something different in the book to give him his share of the spotlight…but if he did, then we probably wouldn’t have book 2. ;)

As with every book with a band and songs, I wished the songs here were real. I’m not sure if Trainman would be the kind of band I would religiously follow, but I would probably enjoy their songs if I catch them in a gig or something. I liked how the songs in this book fit exactly with the major moments in the book. And because we’re all about heartbreaks and feels for this book, I have to say that the last duet kind of destroyed my heart (and made me almost waver with my team choice haha). If there’s any song in the book that I want to be real, it’s that duet. Please let that happen?

With all those points, plus the great writing, I thoroughly enjoyed Songs of Our Breakup. It gave me so many feelings after I was done (which I realized probably contributed to the feelings I had later that night when I watched Heneral Luna, but that’s another story) that I couldn’t stop thinking about it after. This book also made me kind of appreciate Japanese lead interests, because hey, if it’s someone like Shinta, then why not? :P Songs of Our Breakup is not exactly for light reading because of all the feelings, but there’s something pretty cathartic about this if you allow yourself to indulge and accompany Jill in her story. I can’t wait to read the next book (because Miki!), and really, just read whatever Jay comes up with next. :)


Favorite quotes:

“You don’t really stop loving someone…it’s just that you’re different now from the person you were yesterday. And you can’t go back. Even if you can, why would you want to?”

Why don’t they teach that in school? Emotional Safety 101. How to love without losing your sanity. Instead of people running around claiming they feel it, while not knowing what to do with it, how to handle it, how not to break it, how to keep it whole. It’s a terribly dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

“Oh, you’re not built for depression. You have too much sarcasm in your veins. That protects you.”

So I stand here on the train tracks,
Waiting for you to look back
Turn back
And see me
Sliding in the slipstream
Tumbling in this daydream
But you don’t see me
No, it’s never me.

Other reviews:
Will Read For Feels
Tara Tries to Write