January 2011

A delicious—and deadly—treat

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In Tantalize, Cynthia Leitich Smith introduced readers to Quincie Morris, the budding vampire and plucky teenage owner of Austin’s hottest dining spot, Sanguine’s: A Very Rare Restaurant. In Eternal, she introduced them to Zachary, a guardian angel in mourning for his lost love. Now, in Blessed, Smith brings these two stories together, as Quincie—with Zachary’s invaluable assistance—must delve into one of the oldest, most classic tales of vampire lore.

Just before he disappeared (hopefully) forever, Sanguine’s chef and secret vampire Bradley Sanguini served dozens of adventurous restaurant-goers his signature dessert—baby squirrels simmered in orange brandy and covered with a honey cream sauce. This delicacy was also laced with the infection that would turn these unknowing diners into vampires in a matter of weeks. Inspired by her new chef—who is also Zachary’s mentor—Quincie turns to Bram Stoker’s Dracula for clues about how to reverse the effects of the infection. Of course, this is only one of her problems. What with the protests of the Bat Anti-Defamation League, the struggles to find decent help and her own insatiable thirst for human blood, Quincie feels like she’s up to her neck in problems. If only she could get a little divine intervention….

As in the previous installments of this smart, sexy trilogy, Cynthia Leitich Smith doses every page with winking pop-culture references and groan-worthy one-liners. In this final volume, her homage to Stoker’s classic novel is most apparent, as she uses the book’s characters for inspiration, its plot for structure and its themes for a rich background that will lead many readers to (re)discover the original Dracula even as they enjoy this darkly humorous send-up.

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