Once Upon A Romance

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Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith


Cover art: Tantalize Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: Tantalize
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN-13: 978-0-7636-4059-0
Release Date: July 2008
Genre/Sub-genre: Young Adult
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 14 and up
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: 14 and up
Year/Setting: 2008, Austin, Texas
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Cynthia's Website: www.cynthialeitichsmith.com

Dear Readers:

I should let you know ahead of time that I am not a Twilighter. Yes, I read those books. Yes, I, too, think the guy in the movie is extraordinarily pretty. However, not since Bram Stoker and the immortal and unbelievably talented Bela Lugosi, have I truly cared about a dark count’s existence. This book, though, I have to say, I enjoyed. Not only is this a good read for 14 year olds but I believe that mothers will truly enjoy the wit as well.

We begin our story with Quincie Morris. Quincie is a young girl who has a forty-year-old trapped inside her body. She is more than responsible; the child could probably run an entire country without the help of any adult. Her parents passed away and she has lived with her irresponsible uncle ever since. She’s been okay. She toils at school and works all hours to keep her parents’ restaurant afloat. The only semi-strange thing in her life? You guessed it! Her hybrid-werewolf best friend is leaving her to join a pack. (Visions of Twilight dancing in your head).

Quincie and her uncle try to save the floundering family business by turning it into Austin’s first (wait for it) vampire-themed restaurant. Dark cornices flickering in the shadowy alcoves – wait staff with black eyeliner and fangs – etc. Now, you must have a chef who will fit in with your theme in order to save the family business. Well…don’t you? Location isn’t everything, after all. The restaurant does have to serve excellent cuisine if they wish to continue running. Enter Henry Johnson. Henry is a fresh-faced, twenty-something who wants nothing more than to join Quincie’s team. Quincie struggles to turn the regular Henry into the Dark Lord that will preside over the kitchen and entertain the diners. But, yes, this fresh-faced chef has his own hidden agenda and soon life will imitate art.

This book is fun. It doesn’t take itself seriously. There’s no whining and deep Romeo and Juliet love – just an old story with a fresh face. Have fun with it!

Until Next Time...Amy

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