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Tantalize Paperback – July 22, 2008

2.9 out of 5 stars 118 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Tantalize Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following her parents' death, Quincie Morris was left in her Uncle Davidson's care, and the fate of the family's Italian restaurant was left in hers. Now 17, Quincie, who narrates, and her uncle have renamed the place Sanguini's. They've remodeled it with a "vampire theme," which they believe will sell in their Texas college town since "vampires are a fringe population, and Austin is a tolerant place." A month before the grand re-opening, however, the longtime chef is mauled to death in the kitchen, and the murder suspect is a werewolf. Quincie finds this problematic, since her lifelong best friend and love interest, Kieren, is a "hybrid werewolf" who traces his lupine heritage to the wolves that roamed Ireland with St. Patrick. A new chef shows up who may be talented but is also spooky, with red contact lenses, pale hair and a menu featuring sweetbreads, blood sausage and baby squirrels in honey cream sauce. Best known for her Native American stories, Smith uses advertisements, newspaper clippings and menu pages to liven the pace, and creates palpable tension in the novel's second half. Quincie's story hews closer to the campy Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes (e.g., " 'You ate the police?!' I exclaimed") than to the elegant romanticism of Stephenie Meyer's books, but horror fans will be hooked by Kieren's quiet, hirsute hunkiness, and Texans by the premise that nearly everybody in their capitol is a shapeshifter. Ages 14-up. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Present-day Austin, Texas, is a hotbed of vampires and werewolves in Cynthia Leitich Smith's fantasy (Candlewick Press, 2007). The parents of 17-year-old Quincie Morris, who narrates the tale, died three years earlier in a car crash, leaving her to live with her Uncle Davidson, with whom she co-manages the family restaurant, Sanguini's. A few weeks before the re-opening of the vampire-themed restaurant, the chef is mauled to death. They scramble to find a new chef, hiring the talented but quirky Henry Johnson who prods Quincie into drinking wine, skipping school, and discovering her sensuality. At the same time, Quincie's half-werewolf best friend and long-time crush, Kieran, under suspicion by the police for murdering the chef, reveals that he will be leaving Austin to join a pack of werewolves. There are more murders and, as Henry's and her uncle's behavior becomes increasingly bizarre, Quincie starts to fear for her life as well as Kiernan's. Although listeners will be intrigued by the vampire lore and the life and death ending, they may find the plot development at the beginning of the story a bit plodding. Kim Mai Guest voices Quincie in an expressive, young voice and handles all of the other characters equally well. This audiobook is for mature young adults who are vampire aficionados.—Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Tantalize
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; a edition (July 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076364059X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763640590
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,241,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazon recommended this book to me, so I decided to check it out. The cover art immediately drew my eye, as well as the title. "Tantalize" by Cynthia Leitich Smith has an interesting premise. The main character is Quincie Morris, a regular girl with a werewolf bestfriend. Well, they'd like to be more than friends, but let's not get into that... Quincie's uncle has decided to remodel the family restaurant with a vampire them. It's going swimmingly until the head chef is found dead; the police suspect a werewolf to be the culprit.

I agree with some of the other reviewers who stated that the first half of the book was the best. I liked Kieren, and wished we had seen more of him. The new chef, Brad, was a pretty good character, and his two menus (Predator and Prey) for the restaurant were neat. I'm not sure what bugged me about the end of the book. Again, I agree with other reviewers when they say it isn't on par with Twilight. I think it was kind of in the middle of serious and lighthearted which confused me. One minute people are joking around, and the next minute somebody else is dead. And after the first death (of the head chef), none of the characters really seemed to care.

I'm not sure I'd recommend this to somebody else. If you're looking for serious vampire/werewolf stories, check out Stephenie Meyer's books. If you'd like lighthearted vampire/werewolf stories, check out books by Charlaine Harris. Specifically the first book in her Sookie Stackhouse series: Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Bk. 1)
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not the one to prejudice books based on title or other reviews here - but I feel compelled to review this one... and with that help people save their money. Smith's writing is great - she articulates Quincie's thoughts and attitudes beautifully without being obvious, but I also noticed the type was huge and the pages were small... it kind of told me that the book was not all that long. Quincie's an honest to god Texan girl with red cowboy boots and the protagonist of this novel. She's connected to the 'otherworldly' side of life through her best friend, Kieren, who's a hybrid werewolf. I'm not going to summarize this book.

The first half of Tantalize was great, I loved Quincie's open mind and attitude. The story was sound - a new take on vampires and shapeshifters in the human world. It is hazy thought, the social relations between the humans and the others' though you definitely see some hostility toward vampires and shapeshifers, so you don't get a clear idea of where they stand in society which makes the story a little confusing. As for the second half, thing get a little chaotic. Upon the first reading, I had to force myself to finish because I was confused as to what had transpired in less than ten pages (suddenly she's on a bed wearing sexy lingerie and she's THISTY? Whaaa?) so I had to go back and actually make note of events changing and what eventually led up to a dramatic end.

- Tiny spoiler warning -
The ending was absolutely confusing, rushed and I had to read the last few pages twice to make sure that I had read right, and that Kieren had really gone away in les than two sentences. Two sentences. Suddenly, he was there, making out with Quincie after killing Bradley and next, he was gone.
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Format: Paperback
Cynthia Leitich Smith's Tantalize begins as Quincie Morris, placed into her uncle's care after her parents' death, is helping prepare the family's restaurant for its grand re-opening. Quincie co-runs the restaurant, which is undergoing a renovation to become Sanguini's, a vampire-themed dining experience. When the head chef is murdered, Quincie must decide whether to trust her best friend and crush, Kieran, a half-werewolf hybrid, to not be the culprit. Soon, new chef Henry Johnson sweeps in, complete with quirky comments, red contact lenses, and a wish to make the place as vampirific as possible. Henry also takes a decided interest in Quincie. As things get weirder and weirder, Quincie must decide whom to trust: the now-suspect Kieren or her uncle and the intriguing new chef?

Very rarely have I seen such widely-ranging reviews as I did for TANTALIZE, so I decided to pick up the book and decide for myself. Unfortunately, I fell among those who did not enjoy this book. Smith's writing was stilted and jumpy, and there were little to no transitions between scenes. In the first two-thirds of the book, the plot and setting were somewhat interesting, but the big plot twist that occurred in the final third was very abrupt and unpleasant. The incomplete character development didn't make me care for any of the characters, and the villain was obvious from his first introduction. Overt attempts at sensuality throughout felt forced. Finally, the climax and ending felt very rushed, and the villain and love interest both acted in unbelievable ways.

Underneath these problems, I could see glimmers of what could have been a great story.
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