I am so please to welcome LB Dunbar to the blog once again. Today she is releasing Taste Test, Book 2 in the Sensations Collection. I had the pleasure of receiving an arc of Taste Test and LB’s fans will be pleased to hear that Taste Test is even better than Book 1, Sound Advice. Taste Test resonated with me. I highly recommend picking this one up!
In a modern twist of fairy tales, what if the beast is a woman instead of a man?
I was about to find out when a mysterious job led to the secluded home of a horror novelist. I’d lost everything: my scholarship, my education, and my way. In denial of my family inheritance, I took the unusual employment as a chance out of a hole, but I found myself buried in the unknown trauma of another situation much deeper.
I had changed my name and my address to keep myself hidden, but my scars were more than physical. Living as a recluse in the woods, I was used to being alone, so I wasn’t happy when a certain someone was always in my space. Our first encounter was less than pleasant and tension continued at every attempt to tame me.
I knew she was keeping secrets and I wanted to help, but she was cutting me down and cutting me off every time she opened her mouth. Our frustration with one another grew until a misunderstanding changed everything. How can I be the next guy after something so tragic? It was a challenge I wasn’t sure I was willing to take.
About the Author
L.B. Dunbar loves to read to the point it might be classified as an addiction. The past few years especially she has relished the many fabulous YA authors, the new genre of New Adult, traditional romances, and historical romances. A romantic at heart, she’s been accused of having an overactive imagination, as if that was a bad thing. When not reading, she’s usually driving one of her four growing children somewhere. She grew up in Michigan, but has lived in Chicago for longer, calling it home with her husband and children.
I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?
As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn’t keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn’t allowed to read as a twelve year old.
I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.
So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn’t. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created.
I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I’ve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.
It is not often that a book leaves me speechless but that is just what happened with Taste Test. This story brings out the feels. To better express this, here is my favorite quote from the book;
“I realized that within her I saw a beautiful woman who was equal parts strong and vulnerable. She was lonely but confident in herself. She was irrational but focused on her future. She was in need of a friend and a lover; and I wanted to be both for her.”
Ella, while flawed in her own mind, is strong and resilient. She is my favorite character. She has endured a painful, loveless past and is striving to put her life back on track. As Ella says in the book, her plans have been delayed, not derailed. I find her an admirable character.
Ethan, whose plans are also delayed and possibly derailed at the same time, takes a peculiar job with Jacob, Ella’s uncle. Ethan is escaping the disappoint in his father’s eyes and accusing tone he hears, while still staying close enough to help out with his cancer stricken mother.
While Taste Test is the second book in the Sensations Collection, you do not have to have read Book 1, Sound Advice, to follow along. To me, this story is deeper and I felt more connected to the characters this time. Perhaps it was the tragic under tone of the whole book that swept me up. Taste Test is a contemporary romance but it at its heart it is so much more. It is a story of perseverance. A story of carving your path and not just following others; a story of the healing power of love, patience and understanding.