Thursday, February 11, 2016

THE HOMETOWN HAZARD [Book Tour Stop] - Dawn Lanuza {Review + Excerpt + Giveaway!}

TITLEThe Hometown Hazard
AUTHOR/s: Dawn Lanuza

PUBLICATION DATE: 29th  of January, 2016

Last week, I raved about how much I loved Dawn Lanuza's The Boyfriend Backtrack for my first ever #FilipinoFriday post (check out my review HERE!) Today, I'll be sharing my thoughts on the author's second book - The Hometown Hazard!

Just a quick info: I've read this one first before The Boyfriend Backtrack although I've reviewed it earlier so technically, this is my first Dawn Lanuza book and I can say that I am not disappointed!

As part of my 2016 goals, I pledged to more actively support Filipino authors this year by reading, reviewing, and promoting their works and I can say that so far, I've been doing well :) Click the Share the love banner below to check out other ways on how you can help Filipino Indie authors :)

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?

Often times, I decide to read a title when it feels like it has a good, swoony romance in it (#confession) but this time, I will admit that the thing that actually made me want to read Dawn Lanuza's The Hometown Hazard was its mystery plot. Of course, introducing Kip in the blurb didn't really hurt either ;)

I don't really know how to put my thoughts into words because two weeks after finishing it, I believe I'm still a little bit [book] hungover. To say that it was 'okay' would be an understatement.

I'll try to get the mystery part out of the way first. As I've said earlier, this was the aspect that actually hooked me from the beginning. I always love a good mystery and this one proved to be something worthwhile. Yes, I might have guessed a thing or two from the overall plot twists in the story but the author still managed to pull the rug from right under my feet several times through - just the way I like it :) The big reveal in the end about (semi-spoiler) Kip's true parentage didn't really surprise me since this often happens to local telenovelas I've watched haha! (end) What I didn't really see coming was when the breaking-in-the-room culprit was revealed. 

The thrill of the chase also kept me going through the pages. From one clue to another, I try to figure things out in my head. The resolution wasn't actually as big as I initially thought (spoiler) nope, Kip's father wasn't having an affair - as I had suspected nor was he involved in some gambling or illegal business (end) Oh and also that reveal on what made Jules leave her hometown and how it is connected with the current problem? Totally not expecting that. Awesomesauce!

And now for the other part: the romance. Kip and Jules' relationship was...complicated. Maybe because it definitely feels weird dating your childhood best friend's younger brother or because you haven't seen him in a long time or because he had grown to be an annoyingly attractive man or because so much things are happening and you just think that you ain't got time for that. Or probably because of a deep secret you've been hiding. Whatever reason that may be, I'm glad that Miss Dawn had explored the relationship between the two even after the actual story conflict was resolved.  I may not have approved of every decision that Jules has made but that doesn't mean that I didn't really like her. We might just have different tastes and approaches especially when it comes to certain things.

I loved the snarky banters between the two characters! It added effective humor that actually enhanced the swoon-worthy moments in the story especially since Kip is portrayed as a cocky daredevil whose past time involves climbing walls and sneaking into offices and yet, as the story progresses, some light is shed to another side of him: someone who is sweet, caring, and thoughtful and someone who just wants to be treated like an adult.   

Now that I've mentioned it: Kip. He isn't exactly my type when it comes to book boyfriends but I would be lying if I say that I wasn't...charmed by him. I believe that he compliments Jules' character very much and that the conclusion in the romance part of the story was well executed. They handled it in a very matured manner with minimal swoon, which I -surprisingly- enjoyed a lot. Even as much as I have enjoyed reading overly swoony and cheesy endings. If I could describe it in one phrase, it'll probably be: calm and beautiful. Like a sunset.

"It's like telling someone you love them (...) You don't say that just because. You want to know if the person feels the same." -Kip

"You don't come back for someone if they're not important." -Kip

"I think it's possible for you to love someone but not necessarily like them at times." -Kip

"I was no longer waiting for forgiveness. Not when I've already learned to forgive myself." -Jules

"If I haven't forgiven myself, I wouldn't be strong enough to love someone this much." -Jules

I still cannot get over this book's awesomeness. Really. It simply just have all my fave 'genres' rolled up into one (especially since I'm a big fan of mystery stories and swoony ones!) Yes, I admit that it felt a little bit 'older' and more mature than the usual ones that I read but is not really steamy to make me *cringe* The dialogue was amazing, the characters and the plot were as beautifully written :) This book deserves to be read!

Glad that my first Dawn Lanuza book was superb! Definitely adding her to my auto-read authors just because <3 

Four-point-five out of five rating for Dawn Lanuza's The Hometown Hazard

4.5/5 Rating! :)
Here's a little something you guys might enjoy :) Buy the book if you wanna see more of these two adorable beings :)
Sweat trickled down from my forehead. I craned my neck to find a store so I could get myself a bottle of water, but when I turned around, I saw Kip standing nearby. He was leaning on to a bright red motorcycle, weight shifted on one side, the other knee bent. His black pants were torn too, partially exposing his left knee. Ripped piece of clothing apart, Kip still looked well, and seemed like he had just stepped out of the shower, even with this heat. 
Our eyes met. Then he frowned. 
“You’re everywhere,” Was my form of greeting, voice loud enough for him to hear me as I crossed the street to get to his side. 
There’s a slight breeze that made me realize that he even smelled like he just got out of shower. 
His eyes were focused on the dancers, but responded to me with, “How am I everywhere?” 
“You’re here.” 
“And what are you doing here?” Kip asked. 
“Same thing you’re doing,” And with that, I meant snooping on the dancers. 
He finally looked at me, eyes narrowing, “So you’re here to do something sneaky?” 
Kip straightened his back, licking his lower lip, “It’s because I live here, you know.” 
I frowned, “Crispin, train of thought. I don’t follow.” 
“I’m everywhere because I live here. You don’t.” I didn’t argue. He threw me a side glance, “Why? Does it bother you that I’m around?” 
My mouth twitched. “Well, considering that I caught you doing things one shouldn’t be doing more than once since I got here and a part of you thinks my dad is a thief, yes. I don’t exactly find that cute.” 
“Well, I wasn’t trying to be...” He crossed his arms over his chest, looking like he’s enjoying teasing me, “Do you think I’m trying to be cute?”

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.

There's also an International giveaway for you guys! Don't forget to join for a chance to win your own copies of Dawn Lanuza's The Hometown Hazard! :D

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