How is the first month of the year over already?

My goal for January:

“In January, I have some travel planned and I’m beginning my final course for the editing program I started last summer. I’ll set a goal of 4 books for the month.”

Let’s see what I actually read… (Link to my Goodreads 2017 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

Zen and the Art of Happiness – Chris Prentiss – 5* – (Jan 2):

This was my annual re-read of what’s become one of my favorite books. It’s such a great way to center myself for the new year. Especially since this is a year full of uncertainty and chaos. I’ve chosen to focus on mindfulness this year and this book fits right in.


I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh -4* – (Jan 4):

This book is in two sections and involves a twist at the middle that I didn’t see coming.

The first section seemed like nothing special. A woman runs away to start over after a horrible hit-and-run accident. The police are investigating.

Then, the twist that sets up the second half, which involves more flashbacks to what happened as the police continue their investigation.

Part of me really enjoyed the twist, but when I looked back at the lengths the author went to in order to achieve it, it felt a little cheap to me. I felt slightly cheated at having been made so foolish.

Still, 4 stars for that amazing moment of “Wha?!?!?!”.

The Secret Place – Tana French– 3.75* – (Jan 11)

This is my least favorite book from the Dublin Murder Squad and Tana French. I’m not sure if it’s the focus on teenage girls, the slight supernatural content (that didn’t advance the plot), or something else.

Still, a less-than-amazing book from French is still miles above most other options.

The characters – and there were many of them – were fairly well developed. The relationships were complicated but realistic for the most part. The investigation takes place over the course of just one day but there are many twists and turns.

I’m giving it a 3.75 because I expected more of this book, but it was still pretty good.

11th Hour- James Patterson – 4* – (Jan 20):

I didn’t realize I had gotten so far behind in this series. They’re quick reads with short chapters – perfect for travel so you’ll see a few more down the list.

I didn’t love it like I loved the first few. The personal stuff wasn’t as interesting to me (she’s pregnant – is she putting the baby at risk for her career?!?!?) and the one mystery plot that sounded most fascinating (involving severed heads and movie stars) wasn’t very compelling. The cop-as-killer storyline was the main hook for me.

Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware – 3* – (Jan 25):

The setting here drove the tension and the plot. A “whodunit” set at sea, which means a limited cast of suspects. However, there’s a lot of question about the reliability of the narrator.

I’m deducting an entire star due to the ridiculousness of the conclusion and another half a star for sloppy editing – there’s a major plot device that disappears, which is a big deal. However, there’s a point after that when the main character has that item again.

12th of Never – James Patterson – 4* – (Jan 26):

Lindsay’s baby is born so we transition from “is she putting the pregnancy at risk” to “she works too much and, also, mystery illness!” Barf.

However, the crimes in this book were more unique: A serial killer leading cops on a goose chase for missing bodies and a professor who dreams about murders before they happen.

I deducted one star for “my baby!!!” and the ridiculousness of the professor storyline.

Unlucky 13- James Patterson – 4* – (Jan 30):

Here’s a murder method I haven’t seen before: a bomb that detonates when activated by stomach acid because it’s hidden in food. This book also involves Cindy, the reporter, being infinitely stupid in tracking down a killer. And, for extra fun, Yuki (the attorney) has a run-in with pirates. Yeah.

Four stars because… C’mon, that’s a crazy mix. Whatever Patterson was on when he outlined this one? I’ll have what he’s having.

14th Deadly Sin- James Patterson – 4* – (Jan 31):

This time, the personal drama is “Does Lindsay work too much, putting her career before her husband and baby and friends?” Except loyal husband Joe decides to solve a case for her. Also, a gang of dudes dressed like cops are robbing and killing all around town. It’s yet another investigation into their own office.

I felt like with all the officers and players in the cop gang, there were just too many characters to really care about or keep straight. But at least the personal drama was minimized.

I have three reading goals this year:

  1. Read 40 books: – Currently at 8, which is 5 ahead of schedule according to Goodreads.
  2. Complete the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge: There are 24 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 5 (set somewhere you’ve never been, set in a school, thriller, library, kick-ass woman protag/female author)
  3. Decrease my TBR: 
    1. January 1 – 88 physical/29 digital
    2. January – 91/29 (read 2 physical, added 5 – 2 were gifts)

Diversity? Considering I read 8 books, not a ton of diversity. I was traveling for 10+ days so Patterson novels are a quick, comforting read. Everything was suspense/thriller with the exception of my annual mindfulness re-read.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 1 books
  • 4 stars: 4 books
  • 3 stars: 3 books
  • 2 stars: 0 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 0 books

Pages read:

  • January – 2936

I’ll set a goal of 4 books for the month again. If you haven’t joined the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge yet, there’s still plenty of time!