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The Turn of the Screw: A Case Study in Contemporary Criticism (Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism)
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Tiger's Curse (Tiger's Curse (Hardcover))

Tiger's Curse (Book 1) - Colleen Houck This is one of the harder reviews I've had to write...lots of mixed feelings with this one. I really enjoyed the first half or so of the book...Kelsey was a great heroine and I enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes. I also appreciated the folklore and history (laced with fantasy) that unfolded as she learned more about India and Ren's curse. That was something I expected to love - fantasy and India are two of my favorite things to read about.However, once I hit the halfway mark things started to change, and not in a good way. In fact, by the end of the book I was so relieved that I was finished that I forgot to care about what was going on with the characters. And that is a shame, because the book had a lot of promise...and a lot of good things going for it. In fact, it is not impossible that I will give the next book in the series a try.Have you guys heard of bushwhacking? It means to push or cut your way through dense vegetation.Well, y'all. I have to say that I felt like I was bushwhacking through most of the story. I had to shove and fight my way through way too many details that weighed the story down. For instance: food. Okay. She is in India. I get it. The food is different and exotic. I agree and appreciate that fact. Indian food is awesome. If Houck had wanted to go into detail on a couple of meals (heck, even three or four), I would have understood and enjoyed reading about them. But seriously. I did not need to read every morsel of food that Kelsey consumed throughout the entire book. Every granola bar and ball of rice was detailed down to the last bite. In fact, for awhile I was even betting with myself internally on how many pages I'd turn before she'd eat something else - and my guess was never higher than three. (FYI, I was reading this on my Kindle so the pages were really small.) I know I'm writing way too much about the fact that the author wrote too much, but I can't help it. After spending hundreds of pages thinking about it, I needed to vent.I'll move on now.Next...a lot of the dialogue was awkward. It only really bothered me a few times...the writing had a rambling style that helped to mask a lot of the issues. I actually enjoyed that rambling style during the first half of the novel when I was still getting to know the characters and their situation. Next, even Kelsey herself bothered me toward the end of the story. She suffered a lot of loss in her life that made her wary of love and commitment. I got that. But still, for most of the story, she seemed very open and willing in her attraction to Ren. But then - all of a sudden - she became completely and 100% emotionally constipated. I didn't like that twist, because it screamed "plot device!" and not "characterization development!" But, the book really does have several things going for it. The rich infusion of Indian culture is, for the most part, a rewarding factor. I love books set in India, and Houck does a great job of giving the story culture. The plot, when you get down to the bare bones, is also a good one. If I wasn't suffering from "I-can't-see-the-forest-through-the-trees" reading syndrome, I would have thoroughly enjoyed seeing how things unfolded. So anyway, if you aren't scared of getting hit with a freight load of details and over-writing (which, obviously you aren't if you've actually read this whole review), then you should give this story a shot. If I do pick up the next book, I've learned my lesson and will start scanning the paragraphs that begin with "I was hungry" or "meal time."