Book Reviews of Tantalize

Tantalize
Tantalize
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
ISBN-13: 9780763627911
ISBN-10: 0763627917
Publication Date: 2/13/2007
Pages: 336
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 38

3.2 stars, based on 38 ratings
Publisher: Candlewick
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

12 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Tantalize on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
The title is intriguing, the description fascinating. Werewolves, vampires, a vampire-themed restaurant, a love triangle... sounds like a recipe for an amazing book, right?

Not so, unfortunately. TANTALIZE does not live up to its hype, and I was deeply disappointed in it. The book is a hurried jumble of underdeveloped characters and too much action. Smith's attempt to probe into the highly popular genre of paranormal romance is commendable, but not anything too special.
reviewed Tantalize on
Helpful Score: 4
The storyline is basically Twilight taking place in Austin, TX. The story is cliche, boring. Poor writing and I couldn't get into the story at all. However, if your're a Texas native, or an Austinite like me, the familer setting is cool.
reviewed Tantalize on + 724 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Writing was very weird,still I got through it quickly.I don't think I will read anymore from this author.
reviewed Tantalize on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Karin Perry for TeensReadToo.com

Quincie Morris leads a stressful life; playing the part of a responsible adult since the death of her parents has left her the owner of the family restaurant. Fat Lorenzo's was a successful family business until a large Italian restaurant chain moved in down the street. The small business couldn't compete, so in order to keep the doors open, her Uncle Davidson, now her guardian and manager of the restaurant, decided to change Fat Lorenzo's into a vampire-themed Italian restaurant called Sanguini's. The chef would be the center of the act, leading a midnight toast every night. Quincie's close friend, Vaggio, has been with the restaurant for years as its chef and is looking forward to the new challenge.

Quincie works late many nights a week. She is either working with Vaggio, taste-testing for the new menu, or organizing some of the many tasks left to do before opening night. One night while she is in the office reviewing her "To Do List," she hears a noise from the kitchen. Thinking Vaggio simply dropped something, she continues to work. She is also waiting for Kieren, a half-werewolf that has been the love of her life and best friend for years. She is startled when she hears Kieren's frantic cry calling her name from the kitchen. Immediately going to meet him, she is horrified by the site of Vaggio dead on the kitchen floor, bloodied and mangled as if torn apart by wolves. Kieren is bloodied from attempting to help and is desperate with worry about Quincie. He quickly pulls her from the restaurant and goes down the street to call the police. Once the police arrive, they return to the scene of the crime to answer questions.

Quincie feels her world closing in on her. She has lost her parents and a dear friend within a short period of time. Her Uncle Davidson has been preoccupied with Ruby, his wannabe vampire girlfriend, so much so that he isn't ever home and rarely spends time with Quincie anymore. Now, she learns that Kieren is planning to leave. He is going to join a werewolf pack for support while he learns the ways of his culture. Once he joins, he will never be able to come back. The thought of never seeing, touching, or talking to Kieren again leaves her shaken.

Quincie is in a vulnerable state when the new chef for Sanguini's shows up unexpectedly. Uncle Davidson hired him without even consulting her, which irritates her since she is usually considered a partner when it comes to major decisions. Henry Johnson is the new chef and as he and Quincie work together to make him more vampire-like, they grow closer. The first thing they change is his name, and Henry Johnson becomes Bradley Sanguini. Bradley cooks for her daily, constantly trying new recipes for the possible menu. He also introduces her to wine. Never one for drinking, she quickly develops a taste for it, seeming to always have a glass of wine in her hand while she is working. She is surprised that her uncle doesn't say anything about her drinking. She is even more shocked when Uncle Davidson allows her to drink wine at home.

Quincie's life seems to flash before her eyes. Her mind is occupied with thoughts of the restaurant so much that her grades at school begin to fall. She loses interest in any activity that isn't surrounding Sanguini's. She begins to spend less time with Kieren, both because she is afraid of her feelings when he is gone for good and because Bradley and Uncle Davidson plant the seed of suspicion in her mind that Kieren might have lost control of his change and killed Vaggio himself. All of these thoughts distract her to the point that she is lured into a dangerous situation where there is no way out. Her life will be forever changed.

TANTALIZE by Cynthia Leitich Smith is a stimulating paranormal mystery mixed with romance. The relationship between Quincie and Kieren is touching and so deep that the reader feels Quincie's pain at the thought of losing Kieren, while at the same time understanding Kieren's reasons for keeping Quincie at arms length and never following through on the emotions he feels for her. There are a few loose ends at the end of the book that leave the reader begging for more, which will most likely lead to a sequel.
reviewed Tantalize on + 504 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I read Eternal which I found lacking and went back to read this one to see if Id enjoy it any better. I should have known better.

The writing is still very off putting and the world building just as lame and inconsistent as book #2 in the series. I cant quite put into words what is wrong but I feel a disconnect between myself and the characters which is annoying and frustrating.

This story is set in a world inhabited by humans, vampires and werewolves but the whole dynamic between the three is sketchy and the author just throws it at you without bothering to explain anything. It drives me nutty when an author does this sort of thing as it just screams lazy to me. I figured with this being book #1 shed do some decent setup but its a no go, instead she spends time describing more important stuff like clothing and food. Anyway, Quincie is a teenager trying her best to woo her werewolf/human hybrid boyfriend into holding her hand before he runs off to join a wolf pack, never to be seen again apparently. She is being raised by an uncle because her parents are dead and is helping him reopen the family restaurant which has been reinvented as an Italian vampire diner. But, uh oh, the head chef (and her close confidant) is found brutally murdered. She is at the restaurant when the poor guy is torn to bits.

A major problem with this book and its sequel is that it sets up these huge dramatic moments that should be emotionally painful but are just . . . not. The books are emotionally dead. Quincie has two friends, the werewolf/human guy who wont touch her and the dead chef. Supposedly she admired the chef but when he dies his dreadfully painful death she just go about her day, worrying about getting the restaurant going and wondering if the new cook can pull off the whole vampire diner dynamic because he doesnt have the right look. Never mind the fact that hes only 20 and is going to be the head chef (wheres Chef Ramsey when you need him?!). Im supposed to believe this girl is in her late teens and has the emotional capacity of a mannequin? I havent been a teen for awhile but come on; teens are just as emotional as the rest of us jaded [cough:] slightly older, world-weary folks, if not more-so. Much more-so in my experience. Im supposed to swallow the fact that she doesnt have even a mini emotional meltdown after this drama? Is she that incredibly shallow? Yes, she is and thats why I will not bother finishing this book.
reviewed Tantalize on + 380 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The best part about this book is the cover. I have a tendency to pick books up off the shelf at a bookstore based purely on the cover, and this was one of them. I was drawn to it. The story wasn't worth it though. It was a disappointment. Everything was cookie cutter, including the ending. I could have predicted what happened. This book came out on the tail feathers of Twilight with the hope that those that were reading the teenage vampire books would buy it, I don't recommend it.
reviewed Tantalize on + 2292 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is about food and vampires, so I thought it sounded interesting. I mean the two things don't usually go together all that well. Overall it was a mediocre read, nothing fantastic but okay.

Quincie's parents are dead and she and her uncle run a restaurant that was previously owned by her parents. Only thing is the restaurant isn't doing well, so Quincie and her uncle decide to redo the restaurant into a kitschy Italian Vampire restaurant name Sanguino's. Unfortunately a few week before opening the lead chef is murdered in the kitchen and it looks like it was done by an animal. The police are all over Quncie's best friend, a werewolf name Kieren, but he swear he wasn't involved. Then a new chef turns up and Quincie is stuck juggling school, work, and the task of turning the new chef into a passable vampire chef. While all this is happening the police are still struggling to figure out who murdered the original chef and are getting increased reports of disappearances.

Everything about this book was mediocre. The characters are kind of halfway characterized but not very engaging; there weren't any character in this book that sparked my curiosity or made me want to know more about them. The plot was very predictable. The writing was straight-forward but didn't deliver any of the sensual description for food or otherwise that I expected given the title. The development of a vampire menu was a main point in the book, yet the food was treated in a very cursory way. The world itself (and the inclusion of vampires and were-animals) was never really developed and was very limited in scope, basically we rarely see outside the restaurant.

That being said, the book was nothing special but was somewhat amusing. It is a very quick read, so I didn't feel like the book was a waste of time...it just wasn't anything all that interesting or special.

I probably won't read any more books by Smith. There was just nothing in this book that felt at all creative, inspired, or even engaging. The book didn't offend me either and was an okay read, but just kind of blah.
reviewed Tantalize on
Helpful Score: 1
This book is horrible there is a lot of cursing in it. And the plot is sad. If you want an unhappy twist to twilight lovers then this is your cup of tea but if not I would skip it and move on to some thing else.
reviewed Tantalize on + 11 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book and was sad that it did not have a second book to follow it. If you like Twilight, Vampire Diaries and House of Night, you will like this.
reviewed Tantalize on + 87 more book reviews
Enjoyed this book. Werewolves, Vampires, shifters and vampire restaurant owner.
reviewed Tantalize on + 158 more book reviews
Tantalize is a very interesting book. After I closed the cover for the final time, I poked around on Amazon to see if others shared my view, and found a surprising number of single-star ratings. Although the book isn't perfect -- and the characters are far, far, FAR from perfect -- I don't think Smith's novel deserves that strong of criticism.

In Tantalize, 17-year-old Quincie has a lot of balls in the air. She's just starting her senior year and is trying to juggle school, her frustratingly slow-moving romantic relationship with her best friend, Kieren (who just happens to be half-werewolf) and the re-opening of her family's restaurant after her parents' recent death. She's a highly organized and ambitious girl, and a very likeable character. In the world Smith has created, were-creatures and vampires are a somewhat accepted part of life, although still running on the fringes of society. That's why Quincie thinks her new vampire-themed restaurant will be a huge hit in the more accepting community of Austin, Texas.

Unfortunately, just days before opening, Quincie's long-time family friend and head chef, Vaggio, is brutally murdered in the restaurant kitchen. This violent event begins a series of changes that leave Quincie reeling, and change her life forever.

Smith does a fantastic job of making her heroine into a dynamic character. She changes dramatically throughout the course of the novel, and the writer is gifted at slowly changing her voice and language throughout to reflect those deeper changes. There's a major plot twist toward the end of the book that I somehow completely missed, too, so I found the book to be full of surprises.

I enjoyed the short chapters - they really helped move along the pace of the book -- and the newspaper clippings, menus and other devices used by the author also added a lot of interest. However, I was very disappointed in the abrupt and unsatisfying ending. It reminded me very much of the "resolution" to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series books. To put it simply, there isn't much of one. As readers, we're left hanging to hope that Smith ties up some of the obvious loose ends in her subsequent books.

Overall, Tantalize is a delicious read -- but it did leave me wanting a little more. It did a good job of wheting my appetite for the next two books of the trilogy, but I felt this first portion of the story could have been a little more developed.

One word of caution, however: as an adult reader of YA novels, I had no problems with this book and really enjoyed some of the spicier content. However, as a mom, there are a few things in the story that would curl my toenails if I found out my 12 or 13-year-old were reading it. I think this book is more appropriate for older teens, as there is a fair amount of drinking, gore and mature subject matter in the later chapters.
reviewed Tantalize on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Karin Perry for TeensReadToo.com

Quincie Morris leads a stressful life; playing the part of a responsible adult since the death of her parents has left her the owner of the family restaurant. Fat Lorenzo's was a successful family business until a large Italian restaurant chain moved in down the street. The small business couldn't compete, so in order to keep the doors open, her Uncle Davidson, now her guardian and manager of the restaurant, decided to change Fat Lorenzo's into a vampire-themed Italian restaurant called Sanguini's. The chef would be the center of the act, leading a midnight toast every night. Quincie's close friend, Vaggio, has been with the restaurant for years as its chef and is looking forward to the new challenge.

Quincie works late many nights a week. She is either working with Vaggio, taste-testing for the new menu, or organizing some of the many tasks left to do before opening night. One night while she is in the office reviewing her "To Do List," she hears a noise from the kitchen. Thinking Vaggio simply dropped something, she continues to work. She is also waiting for Kieren, a half-werewolf that has been the love of her life and best friend for years. She is startled when she hears Kieren's frantic cry calling her name from the kitchen. Immediately going to meet him, she is horrified by the site of Vaggio dead on the kitchen floor, bloodied and mangled as if torn apart by wolves. Kieren is bloodied from attempting to help and is desperate with worry about Quincie. He quickly pulls her from the restaurant and goes down the street to call the police. Once the police arrive, they return to the scene of the crime to answer questions.

Quincie feels her world closing in on her. She has lost her parents and a dear friend within a short period of time. Her Uncle Davidson has been preoccupied with Ruby, his wannabe vampire girlfriend, so much so that he isn't ever home and rarely spends time with Quincie anymore. Now, she learns that Kieren is planning to leave. He is going to join a werewolf pack for support while he learns the ways of his culture. Once he joins, he will never be able to come back. The thought of never seeing, touching, or talking to Kieren again leaves her shaken.

Quincie is in a vulnerable state when the new chef for Sanguini's shows up unexpectedly. Uncle Davidson hired him without even consulting her, which irritates her since she is usually considered a partner when it comes to major decisions. Henry Johnson is the new chef and as he and Quincie work together to make him more vampire-like, they grow closer. The first thing they change is his name, and Henry Johnson becomes Bradley Sanguini. Bradley cooks for her daily, constantly trying new recipes for the possible menu. He also introduces her to wine. Never one for drinking, she quickly develops a taste for it, seeming to always have a glass of wine in her hand while she is working. She is surprised that her uncle doesn't say anything about her drinking. She is even more shocked when Uncle Davidson allows her to drink wine at home.

Quincie's life seems to flash before her eyes. Her mind is occupied with thoughts of the restaurant so much that her grades at school begin to fall. She loses interest in any activity that isn't surrounding Sanguini's. She begins to spend less time with Kieren, both because she is afraid of her feelings when he is gone for good and because Bradley and Uncle Davidson plant the seed of suspicion in her mind that Kieren might have lost control of his change and killed Vaggio himself. All of these thoughts distract her to the point that she is lured into a dangerous situation where there is no way out. Her life will be forever changed.

TANTALIZE by Cynthia Leitich Smith is a stimulating paranormal mystery mixed with romance. The relationship between Quincie and Kieren is touching and so deep that the reader feels Quincie's pain at the thought of losing Kieren, while at the same time understanding Kieren's reasons for keeping Quincie at arms length and never following through on the emotions he feels for her. There are a few loose ends at the end of the book that leave the reader begging for more, which will most likely lead to a sequel.