Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck Author Interview & Book Review

Welcome Colleen Houck to StuckInBooks!

Hey Colleen, thanks for joining me at StuckInBook today.  I loved Tiger’s Curse and I’m so excited about Tiger’s Quest.

I love the whole idea of the curse with the Indian lore that goes with it.  It’s unique.  Where did you get your idea for the books?

Thanks, Valerie.  I started out picking a Beauty and the Beast theme and settled on a white tiger for my beast.  As I researched white tigers, I discovered that they are all descendants of a white cub that was captured in India decades ago.  I started looking into Indian mythology specifically related to tigers and found Durga and her tiger Damon.  The story grew from there.
Can you describe Tiger’s Quest in 5 words – you don’t have to make a complete sentence.

 Magical, Heart-wrenching, Romantic, Suspenseful, and Sweet

I know you spend a lot of your days with your characters. But if I could literally spend a day with one of them, I would want to hang out with Ren, even if most of it he was a Tiger.  I love him.  I would want to have him show me around India.  Who would you spend the day with?

I think I'd be too flustered to hang out with Ren, though it's likely he'd change my mind. I'd actually like to spend time with Mr. Kadam.  He fascinates me.  He knows just about everything and has had a very interesting life.

So many authors have playlist for their books these days.  Do you listen to music while you write?  Is there a song that you feel goes with the Tiger series?

I can't listen to music when I'm writing but I walk every day and I have huge playlists of songs that make me think of characters or chapters so that I can brainstorm while I walk. My playlists for both books are on my website under the extras tab. Different songs mean different things in the book but for Tiger's Quest the most important song for me is "I Told You So" by Carrie Underwood.

(Check out the rest of her play lists here).

Do you read the YA genre that you write for? What are you currently reading?

I am reading everything in YA now.  I just finished Keirsten White's Paranormalcy and Sophie Jordan's Firelight and I'm currently reading Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. Next up is Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.

Any recommendations for our “to be read” pile?

I really like Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Paranormalcy and Firelight are good too and if you like sci-fi try Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

 When you're not writing or reading, what are you doing?
I shop with a friend about once a week and I love movies and eating out.  I also like to work on my "World's Best Aunt" status frequently.

Thanks so much for spending some time at StuckInBooks today!  I’m really excited about Tiger’s Quest and I just know it’s going to be fabulous.

Thank you!

Here's my review of Tiger's Quest

My summary:

Kelsey is home from her Indian adventure in Tiger’s Curse and is attending college.  She left her beloved Ren behind so he could choose the life he wants.  Attending a martial arts class, Kelsey meets Li, a perfectly normal boy.  As they get to know each other, Kelsey is faced with a choice between the man she loves and a normal life.  But adventure pulls her back to India where she searches for yet another gift to break the tiger curse.  What she finds is another choice to make between men who love her.  The struggle to choose and save those she loves may prove too much for Kelsey’s heart to take as the adventure continues in Tiger’s Quest.

My thoughts:
3.5 stars – A good read

I loved Tiger’s Curse and was only a little put off by Kelsey’s belief that she wasn’t pretty enough or good enough for Ren to love.  Assuming that he would “wake up” and figure that out, she left to avoid the hurt.  Well, she gets nothing but hurt as a result of her choice.  I spent the first third of this book yelling at Kelsey to wake up and realize how much Ren loves her and to choose him.  Then I spend the last 2/3 of this book with my heart in my throat worried about the characters I have come to love.  I put the book aside many times because I couldn’t handle the stress of reading it. I think I rated this book lower because of how heart-wrenching it was for me to read.  Obviously I love it and will continue the series.

The world that Colleen creates is quite complex.  I loved this aspect of the book in Tiger’s Curse but I became overwhelmed by it in Tiger's Quest.  I think that I really just wanted to know if my characters were okay so I wanted to skip this aspect of the book. The characters were why I finished the book.  I had to know what happened to them.  I love Ren and was truly worried about him.  I have come to care about Kishan.  Kelsey frustrates me but by the end of the book my heart was broken for her as well.  

The story was difficult.  I realize that authors do things to their characters to help them grow and to develop the story but the pain that these characters go through was so overwhelming I can see why Colleen described the story as heart wrentching.  By the end the story it was clear that the characters were left with the same results as life with the master weaver in control.  The book starts out with the masterful poem “The Loom of Time”.  The poem explains the need to trust in the creators hand when life throws the curve balls.  The dark aspects of the weave are important to the story.  The weaver here in this book is Durga.  Just as in life, people often become angry at God and wonder why, so do I want to demand from Durga her reasons why.  All we are left with is the advice of the poem, to wait and see the whole pattern when the weaving is complete.  For this series, that means three more books until the pattern in complete.  I will wait.

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