Out of the Pages: Beating the Backlist

If you’re like me, you have tons of books on your TBR pile at home and Want-to-Read shelf on Goodreads. Books gathering dust, their pages slowly turning yellow all waiting to be read.

Okay, that sounds a bit too dramatic, but you get my point.

New-girl-jess-zooey-quotes-18

It’s a bad habit, buying books and forgetting to read (or holding off on them because you found another one to read) and clicking perhaps too happily on the Want to Read button on Goodreads, and I want to beat ’em SO, I decided to join Austine of Novel Knight‘s Beat the Backlist Challenge.

It’s a pretty simple challenge. You get to pick books from your backlist – be it books you’ve put off reading in favor of new releases or older books you’ve only discovered now – read at your own pace and set your own reading goal. What’s more, you get to join a team (there are 4 and I’m on Dewey Dragons 😉) and earn points, kind of like pitting Hogwarts Houses against each other.

I’ve already started with the challenge reading one of the books on my WTR shelf on Goodreads – The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. I’m aiming for a modest 10 books from my backlist this year, since I already have a couple of forthcoming releases waiting for me to read and review them. If you want to join, the here is the link.

I’m excited to know what you decide to read from your backlist.

💗💗💗

Rachel

Out of the Pages: 5 Years, 12 Books

I am back.

new-girl

It’s been a long time since I last posted something on this blog – 5 years to be exact – and with that long of a period comes changes.

I’m 5 years older and a lot more mature (adulting is real and it’s not a joke); I’ve changed jobs, moved (and again deciding on another move – a farther one), lost loved ones, gained an adorable nephew, and a whole lot more. I won’t bore you with the details. One thing remained constant, though – my love for books.

As I attempt to go back to my book blogging ways, I thought it would be appropriate to look back at what I’ve read the past five years and pick out the ones I loved best in the hopes that maybe someone else would love it. Because that’s why we blog about books, right? To share our love of it?

yes

Anyway, before I go on a tangent, here are the best books I’ve read in the last five years. They’re from different genres but there’s quite a number of YA books on this list because I’ve read a lot of them (because you will never be too old for YA). I hope you guys find something here that will interest you.

2013:

2013

Why these books stand out?

2013 was one of the most productive years I’ve had in terms of reading. I was able to read 40 books in total, 10 books shy of my goal. Both Beauty Queens and Where’d you Go, Bernadette are funny, smart reads. While The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a classic Gaiman work – magical, terrifying and vivid.

If you want to check it out, I reviewed both The Ocean and the End of the Lane and Where’d you Go, Bernadette here on the blog before I went on a hiatus. I also wrote a little something about Beauty Queens.

2014:

2014

Why these books stand out? 

I actually didn’t expect myself to love these three books as much as I do. I picked up Proxy during a book sale, while I bought both How to Love and We Were Liars on impulse. (But, really, aren’t half of my books impulse buys???)

It was Reena, the main character, that drew me to How to Love. It was honest and messy and all kinds of complicated. Reena was flawed as a character and I found myself simultaneously shaking my heads at her decisions and rooting for her, which is, I guess a good thing.

Proxy, meanwhile, is a sci-fi, post-apocalytic trip where the wealthy take on ‘proxies’ to sponsor – proxies who are punished for every wrong their rich patrons commit. It’s action-packed, relevant and has a diverse set of characters headed by the story’s protagonist, Syd. I usually recommend this to friends who’re looking for an LGBTQ read.

While I’ve heard of her books, We Were Liars is my first E.Lockhart book so I didn’t know what to expect. It was tagged as a suspense novel, but that description is just too small for this book. I’m not ashamed to say that this book made me cry while reading it.

Okay, funny and embarrassing story. I went to E. Lockhart’s signing at my local bookstore. I try to converse a bit with authors whenever I go to signings. So, there I was in line for her to sign my books, rehearsing what I’m going to say once it’s my turn (because I’m shy and awkward, and talking isn’t my strong suit). I had it figured out – I was going to tell her how much I loved her book and all that – then came my turn and I just blanked out. I was speechless. I apologized for it but the author was really nice and told me there was nothing to be sorry for. Still, I cringed internally. (Please, let me know I’m not the only one who has experienced this. I still go ugh every time I remember this.)

2015:

2015

Why these books stand out?

A Peter Pan re-telling centered on an underused secondary character and a book about multi-verse travel – what’s not to like. I remember reading both these books one after the other, and I just didn’t know what to do with myself after I finished them.

Tiger Lily is a gem. It’s been so long since I’ve read Peter Pan that I actually forgot who Tiger Lily was. I think this one is a great alternate version. It gave a secondary character more life than the original story ever could.

I actually don’t know what genre to put A Thousand Pieces of You. Is it sci-fi? Certainly has elements of it. Historical fiction? Post apocalytic? It’s just a lot of things. I love the whole idea of mirroring parallel universes. I’ve long been looking for a book like this and I couldn’t have asked for more with this one. (Also, this series has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. )

2016:

2016

What makes these books stand out?

Stories about strong but flawed girls and women – I need more of them, and these two books gave me two of my most favorite characters, Eve Dallas and Adelina Amouteru. They’re both strong but flawed, both have their own darkness within them, which makes them utterly human to me.

Adelina dips then plunges more in her darkness as the Young Elites series progress. A negative character arc, I know, but Marie Lu (who is one of my fave authors) did it so seamlessly.

The In Death series has been running for more than 20 years (Naked in Death was published in 1995, so go, do the math) but I only started reading it late 2016. It was recommended by a friend and I decided to give it a shot. Needless to say, I fell in love with it – reading the rest of the books in the series (there were 43 books already out at that time) within the next months. I love Eve. I love Roarke. I love everything about it and now I’m gonna shut up because if I don’t I’ll just blabber about the whole series. I think you get what I’m trying to say, right?

2017:

2017

What makes these books stand out?

These two books tackle things so far apart but I love them equally. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a surprise for me. I haven’t read any of the Taylor Jenkins Reid earlier books but I found the cover pretty and the summary was interesting enough so I picked it up. It was both serious and light at the same time. I fell in love with Reid’s protagonist, Evelyn Hugo – who, somehow, reminds of Elizabeth Taylor. Hugo is a strong, nuanced, ambitious and complicated female character with a secret (Won’t spoil it, just in case). This is another one I recommend for anyone looking for new LGBTQ reads.

Asking for It, now, this one I bought immediately after it was released, but it stayed on on my TBR pile for almost a year, year and a half, partly because I was on a long fantasy phase, the other reason is because I was afraid of it. It was a hard book to read. Emma, the story’s main character, is hard to like. I actually hoped I’d liked her as I go on with the book but, no, I still didn’t like her after I finished reading. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling empathetic – even sympathetic at some points – because what’s been done to her isn’t right whether I like her or not. And I think that’s a success on the author’s – Louise O’Neill – part. This one’s an important book tackling a difficult issue. It’s a must read for everyone. (Yes, even boys. Especially boys.)

Alright, that’s it. My first post in five years. I hope you find this list helpful. If you want to share with me your most memorable reads during my hiatus, please do so on the comments section. I’d love to hear from you guys (and maybe, I can pick up a couple more new reads from your suggestions. *wink wink*) That’s all for now. Next week, I’ll post my review for Courtney Summer’s new book, Sadie.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin