Beat the Backlist 2019: Check-In No. 1

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Remember back in January when I said I was going to join this “Beat the Backlist” challenge so I could finally really all of the books on my shelves that I haven’t gotten to yet?

Haha yeah… about that…

Technically, I have done well in the Beat the Backlist Challenge. The only requirement is to read book which have been published before the current year (2019). I’ve read plenty of books that aren’t new releases! Out of the 22 books I’ve read so far this year, 16 of them were published in 2018 or earlier. Many of which I have been meaning to read for quite some time. The problem is that they aren’t ones I already own…

This is what happens when you put in a ton of requests for books at the library and you forget about them and they all arrive at the same time. Whatever plans you had for books you’ve already purchased go out the window.

Here’s what I’ve read so far though!

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Certain Dark Things* by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Horror/Urban Fantasy, Published 2016


This is a book where people have been telling me to read it for FOREVER and for some reason I never did. Then, I finally put a hold on at the library and it was wonderful!


One Day in December* by Josie Silver: Contemporary Romance, Published 2018


I saw a ton of people reading this book over the holidays so I had it in my head this was a Christmas book. The first chapter or so is Christmas, but the book actually expands over a 10 year time period. When I learned that I put a hold on at the library. The wait list was FOREVER long, but totally worth it. I loved every moment of this book.


My Favorite Half-Night Stand* by Christina Lauren, Contemporary Romance Published 2018


I’m officially a Christina Lauren fangirl. I’ve read two of their books this year and have been obsessed with both. With this one, I adored the friend group and there were a lot of elements which really hit home for me and got me super emotional in spite of how light and fluffy it is. It was wonderful.


Kill the Queen* (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep, Epic Fantasy Published in 2018


This book came out at the end of last year and I’ve been itching to get to it but for some reason I never did until now. However, there’s something to be said about reading books at certain times and when I did read it in April, it was the perfect timing! I’ve been trying to find fantasy authors who have similar writing styles to mine who aren’t YA, and this fit perfectly! It’s dark, rich world building, and wonderful characters. Yet, it doesn’t have the same dense feel as some other fantasy writers like George RR Martin or Patrick Rothfuss. I loved this book SO MUCH and I can’t wait for the next one.


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)* by Cassandra Clare, YA Urban Fantasy, Published 2016


Lord of Shadows* (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare, YA Urban Fantasy, Published 2017

I’m super late to the train for this trilogy in the Shadowhunter world. But I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite. I love the concept but something isn’t striking a chord with me.


But it didn’t stop me from reading book two! It almost did because there were a few times I almost DNF’d this one. I kept going though. I”ll get to last one… eventually.


A Hope Divided* (The Loyal League #2) by Alyssa Cole, Historical Romance Published 2017


Then we have the amazing Alyssa Cole! I love everything this woman writes and this was no exception! If you want awesome historical romance set during the Civil War (or just historical in general to be honest…), read The Loyal League series. It’s so amazing.


The Sisters of the Winter Wood* by Rena Rossner, Fantasy Published 2018


This was a book recommended to me because it’s a fairy tale-esque book which features sisters like the one I’m currently writing. I’d seen it around but hadn’t picked it up, so I got it from the library. This book was lovely. If you want a “quiter” fantasy that isn’t all sword fights and dragons and could be comparable to Naomi Novak’s Uprooted or Spinning Silver, you’ll enjoy this one.


Lethal White* (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith, Thriller/Mystery Published 2018


Technically, I started this book last year but read a majority of it this year so I’m totally counting it for this challenge! This one is a beast of a book so it took me forever. I also found the audio went much better for me than reading the physical book. My favorite of the series is still Career of Evil, but I love these characters and the ending was SO GOOD.


The Kiss Quotient* by Helen Hoang, Contemporary Romance Published 2018


This book was on a lot of people’s “favorites” list for 2018 and it’s a PitchWars success story and I knew I had to read it at some point. Oh goodness! I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! This gender bend Pretty Woman style love story was adorable, sexy, and I couldn’t get enough!


Muse of Nightmares* (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor, YA Fantasy Published 2018


I finally read the sequel to Strange the Dreamer! It didn’t quite suck me in as much as the first book did, and these books definitely have the feel of being all one book which had to be divided into two parts, vs. being a first book and a sequel. I loved seeing these characters again though and how it all wrapped up!


Alanna: The First Adventure* (Song of the Lioness #1) by Tamora Pierce, Middle Grade/YA Fantasy Published 1983


I feel like I’m the last YA fantasy fan of my generation who hasn’t read anything by Tamora Pierce. I finally did! This book was good. Not an all time favorite, but I wish I’d read it when I was younger and the age it was targeted at. I think I would have adored this book as a young teen or pre-teen. I can see myself keeping this book to hand to my niece when she’s old enough.


Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating* by Christina Lauren, Contemporary Romance Published 2018


YES CHRISTINA LAUREN! I love this book so much. I am such a Hazel sometimes and a sucker for friends to lovers romance and aaaaahhhhhh I need more.


A Week to be Wicked* (Spindle Cove #2) by Tessa Dare, Historical Romance Published 2012


If you want straight up historical romance - look no further than Tessa Dare. This is the second book in her Spindle Cove series and it was delightful. At first I thought I didn’t like it as much as the first book, but as I look back I’ve found I think about this couple and they dynamic way more than I did the first book. I love how our heroine is a scientist and a wallflower and our hero is this playboy adventurous type and they are so cute together!


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo* by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Contemporary & Historical, Published in 2017


I didn’t plan to read this book this year, but everyone was talking about it and it was the Kindle daily deal one day so I got myself a copy. Then, about a week ago I had a quiet afternoon and was like “I guess I can give it a shot and see how it goes.” Well…. I didn’t want to do anything else once I started. This book was totally worth the hype and now I want to watch all of the golden age of Hollywod movies with glamorous “it girls” of the time.


Save the Cat! Writes a Novel * by Jessica Brody, Non-Fiction, Published in 2018


Can you believe I’ve never read a book about the craft of writing before this one? I know… it’s awful. But this was a fantastic place to start! I’m the worst at plotting and this book helped me figure out what was going wrong and what to do and now I’m shoving it in all of my writer friends faces and being a total pusher. Every writer needs to read this book!


So, there you have it! The 16 books I’ve read so far for the Beat the Backlist Challenge. I haven’t read as many books on my own shelves as I’d liked, but my goal was to have read 16 books published before 2019 by the end of April which I totally accomplished! Now I just need to get to the ones I actually own…

Like what you read? Consider buying me a coffee.