~ Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge (2022 Edition) ~

Back in January, I decided to participate in two backlist reading challenges. The first is the TBR Knockout and the second is this Beat the Backlist reading challenge. This challenge has multiple options as there is: counting the backlist titles, following either a 24 or 52 prompt list, following either a 24 or 52 prompt BINGO, or a mix of everything.

Austine Decker created the original post and although this is my first year participating, this challenge is in its 6th year!

The guidelines are simple:

  1. The book must be published in the previous year or earlier (for the 2022 challenge, anything published in 2021 or earlier counts).
  2. You have to start and finish the book in 2022.
  3. Any format, any genre. Re-reads count, and you don’t have to own the book. It’s open for the entire year so whenever you feel like jumping in, you can!
  4. And that’s it!

I did not start with a TBR list or ideas about which novels would fit the prompts, but I did originally plan on going with the 24-prompt version of either just the list or BINGO. While some of my backlist novels over this last year just naturally ended up fitting the prompts, others, like a “mushroom on the cover” needed some work to find a book that would fit.

After going through my titles, I discovered that I actually fully completed the 52-prompt list!

Here are all the prompts and which novels I used for each:

(1) 2+ people on the cover (2 or more people, either models or character art, on the cover)

I began this series in December 2021 and continued it in 2022. While Well Played (Well Met #2) was not quite for me, I still love the concept of the series.

(2) 6+ words in the title (6 or more words in the title, can include “the,” “and,” etc.)

I don’t have a lot of long-titled novels, but one that I happened to read earlier this year was Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words (Chai Masala Club #1).

(3) a book about books (a book that’s centered around books in some way)

No Words is the third novel in the Little Bride Island series that follows authors of novels.

(4) a book in a genre you never/rarely read (a genre you pick up very infrequently, or have never tried)

The Deep originates from a song that came from historical tales. The mix of nonfiction and fantasy/science fiction is what makes this a rare read for me.

(5) a book set in the season you read it in (for example, reading a book primarily set in winter during the winter season)

Once and Future Witches was completed in October, which fit well for this novel set in the fall.

(6) about food or food in the title (either the book’s plot is centered around food in some way or there’s a type of food in the title)

I went with a type of food in the title for this prompt with Blood and Honey (Serpent & Dove #2).

(7) about or inspired by a historical event (a book that’s either about an event in history or heavily inspired by one)

Year of the Reaper was a cool standalone that is based on Princess Joan of England and the Black Death plague of the 14th century

(8) an unusual or unexpected pet (a character has a pet that’s either unusual or something you wouldn’t expect)

Since I read a lot of fantasy and other fiction, there are not a lot of pets that would be unusual. I went with Part of Your World (Twisted Tales #5) as eels could be considered unusual pets.

(9) author has a first, middle, and last name on the cover (no initials) (i.e. 3+ names on the cover, so Karen Marie Moning would count, Jennifer L. Armentrout would not)

Love, Lists & Fancy Ships (#1) fit this prompt nicely as it is written by Sarah Grunder Ruiz.

(10) author has an active podcast or youtube channel (author with a podcast or youtube channel that’s had an episode/video posted in the last 6 months)

Along with writing The Royal We and its sequel, The Heir Affair, Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks both are active on all types of social media, including Youtube.

(11) book about siblings (the plot is strongly focused on siblings in some way)

The sibling relationship between Anna and Elsa is the core of both the original version and Conceal, Don’t Feel (Twisted Tales #7).

(12) book featuring time travel (we’re going back… back… back…)

A Witch in Time is an interesting time-travel paranormal romance.

(13) book with chapter names (no “Chapter One” here, these chapter titles have something interesting to say)

Serpent and Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) and the other two novels in the series all have named chapters.

(14) book written for an age group you don’t belong to (for example, an adult reading young adult or vice versa)

As an adult that loves to read young adult, Once Upon a Dream (Twisted Tales #2) is just one of many that I read this year.

(15) classic novel (pick a classic, any classic)

My selection for a classic novel is one of my top ones of all time, The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings #1).

(16) co-authored (book is by 2 or more authors)

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is written by co-author team Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings who go by Christina Lauren.

(17) debut novel (this was the first published book by this author)

Ash Princess (Ash Princess #1) was the debut novel of Laura Sebastian who I have grown to love as an author.

(18) discovered via social media (because social media is rough on our TBRs)

The Beautiful (#1) is one of the seemingly endless amounts of novels that I have discovered on various social media platforms.

(19) everyone has read it but you (it feels like everyone else has read this book except you)

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) was definitely one of the many novels that I felt everyone else but I have read.

(20) features royalty (I know I left that crown somewhere…)

This entire series features royalty from connected kingdoms where their stories have some characters that tie the novels together. The Princess Companion (The Four Kingdoms #1) is the first novel that got me into the series.

(21) finish a series (reading this book means you’re finishing the series)

The Singles Table (Marriage Game #3) is actually the first novel of the series I discovered. Since I like reading series in order, when I can, I started with the first novel and finished the series with this one.

(22) first in a series you’ve been putting off (this is a callout so get to that series!)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (Brown Sisters #1) is the first novel in the series and one that I had on my TBR forever. I finally read all three novels this year!

(23) forgotten on your shelf or eReader (a book you forgot you had until recently)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) went on my TBR years ago and is one that, unfortunately, kept getting buried among my other reads. I am thrilled that I finally read the entire series!

(24) graphic novel, manga, or web comic (a book that fits one of these categories)

The Promise (Avatar Comics #1) takes place soon after the end of the animated series. I love Avatar, so it was nice returning to this world.

(25) indie or self published (the book was published by the author or an independent press)

The Princess Fugitive (The Four Kingdoms #2) and the rest of the series were self-published.

(26) involves family secrets (this plot is very suspicious… secrets abound!)

Of Beast and Beauty (Daughters of Eville #1) and the rest of the series each feature a lot of secrets about each daughter and how their family connects to the other kingdoms.

(27) longer than 500 pages (tackle that tome!)

Even though Gilded (Gilded #1) is over 500 pages long, it actually went by quickly and did not feel like it dragged.

(28) murder, mystery, or both! (take your pick! murder, mystery, or something with both!)

Dial A for Aunties (Aunties #1) has both murder and mystery mixed in with a nice dash of humor.

(29) mushroom on the cover (find the ‘shroom…)

It took me a while to complete this prompt, but, luckily, Sorrowland, has some mushrooms on the cover, even if they aren’t the most prominent.

(30) new-to-you author (you’ve never read anything by this author, and maybe you never heard of them until recently)

You Had Me at Hola (Primas of Power #1) is my first novel by Alexis Daria which led me to automatically add her novels to my TBR.

(31) non-fiction (your pick of topic but make sure it’s based on facts)

Troy (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #3) is a great non-fiction tale.

(32) novella (often around 200 pages or less, a shorter work that either stands alone or is a novel companion)

A Midwinter’s Wedding (The Four Kingdoms #3.5) nicely fits this prompt as it is 151 pages.

(33) number in the title (as simple as it sounds)

My choice for this was A Thousand Ships.

(34) one word title (only one word allowed)

While Fallen (#1) was part of a series that was not quite for me, the title definitely fits this prompt.

(35) picked by a celebrity book club (any book selected in the past by a celebrity for their book club)

Not only was The Ten Thousand Doors of January a celebrity book club pick, it was chosen by my book club this year.

(36) poetry or anthology (your choice of a book of poetry or book of short stories)

Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul gives a feminist take on classic fairy tales.

(37) protagonist has a profession that twists the truth (the main character’s job involves twisting the truth or lying often)

The main character, Cas, in Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) twists the truth for his job as a ghost hunter.

(38) published in the month you were born (book was released the same month you were born)

Not only was A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1) published in my birth month of January, but I also read it in that month, too.

(39) reading for research, reference, or general interest (pick something that interests you!)

Mythos (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) is all about one of my favorite interests, Greek mythology.

(40) second or fourth book in a series (you’re getting through those series this year!)

Kingdom of the Cursed is the second novel in the Kingdom of the Wicked series and I cannot wait to try the third!

(41) set in space OR on/in the ocean (sea of stars, sea of fish, your choice)

Sea Witch (#1) is a fun reimagining twist on The Little Mermaid.

(42) set in the mountains (the story primarily takes place in the mountains)

I selected A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) as the mountains play a key role in the story.

(43) set on an island (the story primarily takes place on an island)

Island Affair (Keys to Love #1) is set in Key West, Florida, which is one of the islands off the coast.

(44) story centered around a real or fictional holiday (the story is focused around a holiday from our world or a holiday in the world of the book)

So, This Is Christmas centers around the holiday of Christmas.

(45) superheroes/villains OR character in disguise (a story about superheroes/villains or one that features a character in disguise)

In Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1), the main character disguises herself to take part in a competition.

(46) the title is an alliteration (the title features at least 2 words starting with the same letter back to back (excluding words like “the,” “and,” etc.) such as Silence of the Soleri)

For this one, I went with an easy alliteration as it is the same word twice. Mirror, Mirror is the sixth standalone novel in the Twisted Tales series.

(47) translated into your native language (the book was originally written in a different language and translated into your native language)

In Skin of the Sea (#1), the chants/songs/prayers and even the mythology were all translated into English (my native language).

(48) “wolf” or “star” in the title (one of those words appears in the title)

I debated between “wolf” and “star” and ultimately went with A Dark and Hollow Star (The Hollow Star Saga #1).

(49) women in the (fictional) sciences (a book featuring women in science, either from our world or fictional)

In The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2), the main character is in the medical sciences.

(50) you watched the show or movie first (a book turned into a movie/show that you watched before reading)

I actually saw the movie before I discovered this was a book series, so after years of it being on my TBR, I finally completed Practical Magic (#1).

(51) your favorite animal (real or fictional) on the cover (simple as it sounds!)

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) features one of my favorite animals (a cat) on its cover.

(52) your favorite trope on the page (your favorite character or plot trope is in the book)

One of my favorite romance tropes is enemies to lovers. While I read a lot of stories featuring this trope, I decided on The Spanish Love Deception (#1) for this prompt.

I can’t believe that I completed all 52 prompts! The fun part about these is that my list will be completely different from others in the same challenge. Some of them were very straightforward and made matching them to a novel easy while others took a little interpreting. This challenge definitely lived up to its name as it took some work to figure out 52 backlist reads that fit. I am thrilled though that I completed more backlist novels and will have to check out this challenge again in 2023.

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