Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763627917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763627911
Okay, so here's the thing. Guilty pleasure are supposed to be pleasurable. Tantalize has all the makings of being a pretty hot teen vampire read. Except somewhere in here things fall short.
Quincy (yeah, short for Quincy Morris. From Dracula. Not even a girl's name. also from Texas. uck.) is a senior in high school with a (half) werewolf as a best friend/secret love interest. Like ya do. Anyway, apparently they live in some world where everyone knows about werepeople and vampires and they live in some kind of uneasy truce like in X-men. (Coincidentally, were = man so werepeople is manpeople? boo.)
So Quincy's fam owns a restaurant but now the only surviving family members are her and her passive aggressive Uncle. They are remodeling the place to be Sanguini's (get it?) a vampire themed restaurant. And the chef dies at the last minute and they need a new one and of course Quincy is the one to train him/oversee his vampire routine and creation of the menu.
In short order Quincy adopts a skipping school problem almost as serious as her shiny new drinking problem. She also alienates her were-boyfriend and develops an uneasy crush on the dockers-wearing blond cook who she's supposed to be turning into a vampire chef.
This ends, I'm sure you could guess with Quincy tied up in the bonds of some vamps. There are the makings of some good stuff here, but it all goes kind of flat somewhere around the addition of baby squirrel to the menu and Quincy donning a crazy lady dom outfit.
Not a fan of the characters in here so much, and there's nothing really sexy going on although it really seems like there should be (with a title like Tantalize....just sayin'). Oh, jebus, I forgot to tell you. None of the other werepeople turn into anything cool. Here's a thought for you: were-armadillo. Not Sexy! I want to hit this book's nose with a rolled up newspaper and say "Bad book! No were-armadillo! Bad!"
Here's the thing: I was hoping this would be some nice filler until I can read about Edward and Bella again, but it only made me miss them more. le sigh.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (March 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142405779
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142405772
  • List Price: $6.99
  • I finished this book on Feb. 2
I somehow have never read anything by Neal Shusterman before, though I just got in a bunch of his books in our most recent order. So, I thought I'd give this one a try.
Our narrator, Antsy, tells us the funny and tragic story of the Schwa. Okay, actually, the Schwa's story isn't funny, but Antsy is. He speaks in annoying-ish Brooklynese, but it's not so annoying you're mad at him. Mostly, he's funny. Anyway, the Schwa: he's this kid who's invisiblish. The Schwa takes the normal easy to miss loner kid thing to new territories, there are times when he's in front of folks and they can't see him. His past is as shady as his present, and his mother (according to town legend) either disappeared, or was killed and her body was mailed to all 50 states (ouch).
Antsy, the Schwa and some secondary pals set out to find the limits of the Schwa Effect. It's all pretty impressive until they get big time busted and pull dog walking duty for the town recluse. This of course (because it is a YA novel) changes their lives. There is loving, losing, and truth-telling that is pretty realistic, actually.
Good plot, interesting characters and extra points for a cover that I keep looking at and seeing characters (oh, that's Ira! look, Manny Bullpucky's severed head!). The story was apparently optioned to Disney in 2006 but I don't think anything's come of it yet. Truthfully, I feel the story might be better if kept in book form. But that's just me.
Also: I wish other people would read this so I could call attribute things to The Schwa Effect, because that's pretty BA.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spinx by Robin Cook

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (July 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451159497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451159496
Alright, I know the cover image looks awful, but I had to search out this masterpiece of 80's intrigue for you to see (or for me to criticize). First, shafts of light in the dark = mood lighting. Next, please note our main character's total mom jeans and windblown 80's mop top. She's also totally running like a girl (cause she's in danger, eep!). Next, there is the Arab looking Dracula in either a mirror or a sarcophagus who is supposed to look like Frank Langella and actually kinda does.
Anyway, moving on. I read this because someone I really like and respect gave it to me. This might have been good in 1979 when it was written (and before I was born) but it does not hold up today. Alright: Egyptologist Erica Barron goes to Egypt for the first time by herself and then tries her hardest to win the Darwin Award. Somehow Erica ends up involved in a black market conspiracy involving a Seti I statue and murder (insert dramatic music here: dun dun duuuun!). Also she meets two different older men (with hot 80's chest hair, and as a bonus, one is French) who are clearly both using her for different things. Also there's lots of people following her and she almost gets killed a lot. A ton of other dudes die in her immediate presence and this does not seem strange to her nor does it cause the police to want to jail her in any way. Weird. Oh, and there's a guy who she was dating back in America who they keep cutting to and it's very annoying. He's the worst subplot of all time. So, yeah, there are three potential beaus and not one graphic sex scene. boo!
Also, lots of stuff in here seems vaguely racist, but I have a hunch that it wasn't so bad at the time it was written. This is one of those books where you keep wondering what the characters are thinking (and not in a good way) and then they do the dumbest thing next and all you can do is shake your head.
Oh! And did you know Robin Cook was a dude? And a doctor? And handsome? Moral of the story? Maybe he should have stuck to medical thrillers.
And, cause I know you're interested: here's the movie info (though I caution you that the reviews for that are worse than this one)