Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Taste Me

Taste Me (Underbelly Chronicles - Book 1) by Tamara Hogan

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: Paperback, 384 pp
ISBN-13: 9781402246012

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Tamara Hogan on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter

Excerpt from Taste Me (This excerpt is for adult audiences only!)

Synopsis (Book Blurb):


Ever since their tempestuous fling years ago, Incubus Lukas Sebastiani has known that siren Scarlett Fontaine was meant to be his. But when you're a sex demon with an insatiable desire, relationships are way more than complicated...


Rock star Scarlett Fontaine is in desperate need of a break after a grueling tour. But with murder and mayhem surrounding her band, and the one man she never thought to see again put to the task of protecting her, life is going to be anything but peaceful...

With danger everywhere, and their feelings for each other in turmoil, Scarlett and Lukas may be destroyed by deceit and mistrust if they don't find their way back into each other's arms...


The first novel in the Underbelly Chronicles series, Taste Me by Tamara Hogan is a unique blend of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Readers who are looking a different twist on paranormal genre will love this one. The main characters are not the typical werewolf, vampire combination. With a siren, a succubi, and an alien crash landing, this book takes sex, drugs, and rock-n-rock to a new level. Readers won't be able to get enough!

Scarlett Fontaine is a rock singer and a siren. Her voice literally draws men like a moth to a flame. But she's just finished up a long and drawn out tour and she needs to time to rest and recuperate. Being the daughter of one of the Underworld's most influential families, Scarlett has the added pressure of the councils decision to announce their presence to the human population. When a Were council members daughter is murdered and attacks on the council begin in earnest, Scarlett is thrust into harms way. And old friend and former lover, Lukas Sebastiani is given the task of protecting Scarlett, but can he protect himself from her? Their relationship is passionate and real and Lukas is forced to face the fact that he may not be able to save her from a psychopath bent on murder.

There is so much to say about this book. Being the first book in the series, this is where the reader is really introduced to the characters and begins to see how their world works and what obstacles they are facing. Hogan does such an excellent job with her world building in this one, that fantasy fans will fall in love with it. From the alien crash landing and the beginnings of the council to the supernatural club scenes, Hogan crafts a novel about characters and a new culture readers will want to know more about, setting up for a great series.

This book definitely leans more to the urban fantasy side of things, though the characters are paranormal. This is one a lot edgier and tougher than a normal paranormal romance. I think it is a great blend of the two. I loved the fact that the author gave us new and exciting paranormal characters. There is such a glut in the paranormal genre of were's and vampires, that it's really refreshing when an author goes in a different direction. I had not previously read much about sirens or succubi and I was very interested to see how this would go. I think Hogan really pulled it off well, with characters were three dimensional and easy to relate to. Even the cat had personality!

One of the most interesting things about this novel for me, was the villain. This character will really get under the skin of the reader. It's the villain, it's the person you are suppose to dislike or even hate in the story. But, that definitely isn't the case with one. The villain is so well developed and so realistic that readers will find themselves caring for this person despite how they know they should feel. I think that is a huge accomplishment for a writer, to be able to make even the most vile of characters seem human.

The book started out just a little slow for me, but by the time it got going I was engaged and very interested in how this would play out. I liked the whole rock-n-roll theme and felt it would really find a good audience. Scarlett's running playlist was an excellent idea and readers will be able to hear that music in their heads as they read. This book isn't for the faint of heart, as it contains some very descriptive scenes as well as some colorful language. This one is suited for mature adults. It's very steamy and fiery and filled with passion and I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, but I do think caution is in order where young readers are concerned.

I highly recommend this one to the urban fantasy and paranormal romance reader. It's a great beginning to a new series, with very well developed characters and the plot is amazing!

Taste Me is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Tamara Hogan loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her partner Mark and two thoroughly spoiled cats. When she's not working as a quality and process engineer for a global networking company, she enjoys writing edgy love stories with a sci-fi twist. A voracious reader with an unapologetic television addiction, Tamara is forever on the lookout for the perfect black boots.

In 2009 Taste Me (previously titles Underbelly) won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense, and was nominated for the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Golden Heart award.


Tamara Hogan said...

Thank you so much for your kind words about TASTE ME - especially your take on my treatment of my villain, Stephen. It was important to me that he be a three-dimensional being, with his own goals, motivations and conflicts.

You made my day. ;-)

justpeachy36 said...

I loved Stephen's character! It's really uncommon to find a villain that is compelling.

Thanks for stopping by, it's a really great book!