Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review ~ JUST A TASTE by Shannyn Schroeder

Just a Taste (The O’Learys, #5)
by: Shannyn Schroeder
Series: The O’Learys
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 19, 2015
Source: Publisher ~ Kensington via NetGalley

Grief has brought them together again—will love open the door to their future? When it’s an O’Leary in the picture, finding out is just part of the adventure…

Carmen Delgado is left reeling when her father dies. Taking care of him has been her sole purpose for so long, she’s forgotten what it’s like to have dreams of her own. And with steady, sexy Liam O’Leary inheriting a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life’s possibilities. She never expected Liam to provide the kind of temptation she’s not sure she can resist…

A talented chef, Liam O’Leary has been itching to open his own restaurant for years—and the death of his mentor is a reminder that time passes too quickly. Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but he can’t desert Gus’s daughter. Working side by side is an unexpected pleasure—and grownup Carmen is alluring in all new ways. Is love on the menu—or will old fears and insecurities drive them apart?
Just a Taste was one of those books I liked from the start.  Having read all the books in this series, except for one, Liam was the only O'Leary family member who was a mystery to me.  Unlike the other male members in his family, Liam doesn't own a bar.  He's actually a chef and has worked his way up from dishwasher to executive chef at various restaurants throughout Chicago.

Liam is at a crossroads in his professional career.  He wants to open his own restaurant, but he's a little leery to do so.  A chance to be his own boss comes his way when he receives news that his first boss and mentor Gus Delgado has passed away, leaving him as part owner of Gus' Taco Taxi food truck.  The other owner is Carmen Delgado, Gus' daughter.  Gus knew that Carmen would have a hard time with his death and would also be lost.  In a letter to Liam, he asks him to take care of the food truck and Carmen.

At twenty-seven, Carmen has lived her life for her parents.  After their deaths, she doesn’t know what to do with herself.  She never truly wanted to be in the restaurant business.  In fact, she tries to avoid the food of her culture like the plague.  Carmen sees herself as fat and not the beautiful woman she is.

Carmen and Liam start a friendship that blossoms into a full on committed relationship.  Having remembered what it was like when he lost his father, Liam wants to be there for Carmen, who has now lost both of her parents.  I liked that this was a story about finding yourself.  Liam is so good for Carmen. He has the ability to see through the image Carmen wants the world to see.  He manages to get her to fall in love with food and step back into the living world.

The story brings up racism with Liam and Carmen being a couple.  He's first generation Irish American and she's first generation Mexican American. Honestly, that’s life and I understand that.  The person who had the issue actually surprised me.  I was disappointed that the issue wasn't addressed fully. To me, it seemed the issue was brought up and then simply dismissed.

I was also surprised by how the story played out.  I was sure the conflict for these two was going to be another person coming into the picture.  But that wasn’t the case at all.  I loved that Shannyn didn’t follow the blueprint for a lot of romantic stories.

I felt as though Just a Taste ended too quickly, which could be a sign that this was a really good book.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

**Received a copy from Kensington in exchange for an honest unbiased review.**

Rating: 4

Purchase Just a Taste from:

The O’Learys Series:

Review ~ More Than This (Book 1)
Review ~ Something to Prove (Book 3)
Review ~ Catch Your Breath (Book 4)

Places to find Shannyn Schroeder:

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