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Tantalize    by Cynthia Leitich Smith Amazon.com order for
Tantalize
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Candlewick, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Although it's her senior year in high school, Quincie Morris has a lot more going on than her studies. In fact, school is just a distraction. Even Vice Principal 'Hardass' Harding suggests she complete her requirements for graduation via a homeschool arrangement.

Since her parents' fatal accident, Quincie and the family's Italian restaurant have been in the care of her uncle Davidson. Quincie loves Uncle D., but he's a bit of a flake. When the restaurant begins to fail, rather than go bankrupt they decide to close down and open a new kind of restaurant. Uncle D. suggests a restaurant with a vampire theme which they'll call Sanguini's.

The story opens just five weeks before the opening of Sanquini's, springing immediately into action with the murder of long-time family friend and chef Vaggio. He was killed in the restaurant's kitchen, and the clues point to a werewolf mauling.

Werewolf-in-training Kieren Morales is Quincie's best friend. She has known him all of her life and hopes to take their friendship to next level. While Quincie works at keeping him from falling under suspicion, Kieren tries to protect her from the murderer.

Tantalize is narrated by Quincie and set in her hometown of Austin, Texas. Austinites whose favorite bumper sticker reads Keep Austin Weird - are sure to approve of this darkly romantic, alluring urban fantasy. Readers will, too.

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