Well, here we are, closing in on the end of January...and I have already stalled on the Off The Shelf Challenge.
For the challenge, I've read three books so far - two I own and one from my To Be Read list.
I started reading six other books that did not make me want to keep reading. So, I began nine books total but only three hooked me and held me until the end.
Two of the three that I read - The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen and A Killer's Essence by Dave Zeltserman - were gripping, peppered with humor and sarcasm, and peopled with great characters. (But this is no surprise to me as I'm already fans of both authors.) I won't name the third book because even though I finished it, I didn't really enjoy it. Why keep reading? Because I liked the writing style and the story just enough, I cared just enough, to see how it all turned out.
As for the other six? I just wasn't all that interested in the characters and/or invested in the story and I think the biggest reason for that was the writing itself didn't pull me in. Sometimes it was too literary and descriptive, other times it was too abrupt and clunky. I read about 100 slow going pages in one book, then stopped when I realized the book was over 400 pages long! No way was I going to drag myself through another 300 plus pages.
If I have to dig deep to find the story buried beneath the writing, it better be worth it. If I have to overlook "head hopping" and stiff dialogue, the story better be strong enough to pull me over that hump. If the story is long and meandering, that's fine but it better show me - sooner rather than later - some great scenery and introduce me to compelling characters along the way.
Now, of course, this is just my opinion. Someone else might read those same books and love them. That's what's so wonderful about books and reading and stories - there truly is something for everyone.
(I actually read four books this month. One wasn't on my shelf/list but I don't care because there was no way I was going to wait to read the new Joshilyn Jackson novel. But that's a post for another day.)