Thursday, December 15, 2016

Challenge Wrap Ups: Rock My TBR Challenge

Last week I did my first round of an end of the year wrap up where I do weekly posts and challenge wrap ups. In addition to doing a favorite books of the year thing, once a week in December I am going to do a challenge wrap up to talk about some of my favorite books in the categories that I did challenges for. I did a total of four challenges this year. This week I am doing my back list books or the Rock My TBR challenge. I will be reading one more backlist book this year but it's in a series so I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts.

My goal for the year was to read 25 backlist books that I already owned. And while I did read 27 backlist books, I think only about 20 of them were books that I already owned but I am calling this one a win for the Rock My TBR Challenge hosted by The YA Book Traveller. But I did read 153 books so far for the year which means about 1/6 of the books I read were all published before 2016. I think that is still pretty good considering so much of book blogging is about the newest books.

And honestly I loved so many of these books. A few of them will probably be on my list of favorite books of the year. There were a handful of them that I had been waiting a long time to read and am very glad that I took the time to read them, Here is the list of some of my favorites.

1.) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - My Review
(Amazon / Goodreads )

I have wanted to read this book for years. Years. That is not an overstatement. Like I have wanted to read this book for at least 10 years. I probably had it on my Amazon wishlist when I first set up said wishlist. But I never actually read it until now when I picked up a copy at a Goodwill. And seriously, what was I waiting for? This book is phenomenal.

As many of you probably know, I am kind of picky when it comes to mysteries. I like being able to solve it but not too quickly. I also like being surprised but because there wasn't clues. I feel like with the mystery here I wasn't able to solve it, there were not many clues, and I still loved it. It messed with my head and caught me off guard and I loved it. It was so good and I need to read more Agatha Christie because seriously, why did I wait so long to read her books?

But I would absolutely recommend this one. If you are like me and have for some reason not read any Agatha Christie, take the time to read this one. Especially if you like mysteries. It's amazing, I loved it.

2.) Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin - My Review
(Amazon / Goodreads)

I considered not including this book on this list because it is one of my favorite books of the year, like top three favorite books. But if I am being honest I have to include this one on this list because it is my favorite book from this challenge. I read it because of this challenge and I will forever be grateful to this challenge because of that. Whatever the reason, I read it and I loved it.

Because honestly this was a really amazing book. It is full of phenomenal characters (LUKA LOWE, you guys!), insane amounts of action and adventure, and it may have me reconsidering my thoughts that I don't like alternate histories and road trips. What I'm saying is that this book is not one I expected to love. It's almost the perfect storm of things I don't usually like all working together to create something I did like. Is that a thing? I feel like it should be a thing.

If you are interested in this book I would definitely suggest listening to the audio. I think it kind of made it what it was for me. It's a great read and perfect for the audio format so yes, listen to it.

3.) The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce - My Review
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Okay so once again a book, or well series, that I wanted to read forever and haven't. Also another book that I can't believe I waited so long to read this book. I feel like my elementary/middle school librarian let me down by not somehow ensuring that I read this series instead of whatever else I was reading.

Because as I am sure all you fans of Tamora Pierce know, this is an amazing YA fantasy series that kind of set the tone and stage for what we know of today as YA fantasy. It's got an amazing world and great characters that we get to grow and develop with throughout their life which I always enjoy. It also has a really cool fantasy world that we get to explore which is full of magic, adventure, and mythology. It's a classic sword and sorcery series and I loved it.

 I would totally recommend this series. If you were somehow living under a rock called Goosebumps and The Babysitter's Club like me in the 90's and missed this series take the time to read it now because it's totally worth it.

4.) Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley - My Review
(Amazon / Goodreads)

This is another one of those books that am kind of surprised and ashamed that I hadn't read until this year. I wanted to read it when I first learned about it back in 2014. I even had an advance copy that I picked up my first year at BEA. But for some reason I didn't read it until this year.

But I am really glad that I took the time to finally read it because this book was really fantastic. It's a really great piece of historical fiction as it takes the reader to Virginia in the 1950's during the segregation process and tells a really honest story of some of the horrible things that occurred during that period. But the diversity with this series goes even further with LGBTQIA characters. It was really complex and interesting and I really loved it. It's a total me book and I'm not sure why I waited to read it. I don't even have a good excuse.

If you haven't read this book and you are at all interested in it, definitely read it. I think it's something that will appeal to a broad audience because of the many different themes about diversity and acceptance. This is one of a few Robin Talley books I read this year and I definitely want to read more.

5.) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - My Review
(Amazon / Goodreads )

I know so many of you are obsessed with this book and honestly I was a little worried about it for that reason. I didn't want to hate it and then have the collective blogosphere shun me because I didn't enjoy this book. But rest assured, I loved it. It also made me sob while in a car with all my coworkers driving to a statewide meeting, so there's that.

But to be honest, everyone who loves this book is totally right, it's everything. Not only does it have an amazing story full of great themes and surprises that kept me engaged and interested, but it also has gorgeous images as well. It's not quite a graphic novel or a short story but is probably something in between. That in and of itself made for a unique and interesting read.

I would definitely recommend this book. If you are like me and putting off reading it for some reason or just haven't yet, you must change that immediately. This book is everything everyone says it is.

Honorable Mentions:

6.) Elantris by Brandon Sanderson - My Review
What favorites list is complete without a Sanderson book? (My audiobooks list, apparently). I had plans to read more Cosmere books this year but I didn't end up doing that for some reason.
But anyway, I did really enjoy Elantris. It is not my favorite of his books but it was really fantastic.

7.) You by Caroline Kepnes - My Review
I could have included this above, and honestly I initially did. But I moved it to honorable mentions because I explained much of my affection for it last week in my audiobook wrap up. Just know, it's amazing.

8.) The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger - My Review
I had such a hard time deciding if this should be on the main list or not. I ended up putting it down here just because I'm not finished with the series and also because I didn't love all the books. I mean I did but also I didn't.

There you have it, all my favorite backlist books of the year. I loved so many of them that at least a few will end up on my favorites of the year list. Not to mention that this was a great year for reading books I had wanted to read for a long time and somehow did not. I marathoned some full series, and I read some books that have been in my TBR for a decade. If you want to see the full list on all the audiobooks I listened to this year and to find my thoughts, check out the Rock My TBR Challenge page HERE. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, too. I haven't read The Parasol Protectorate series, but I did read Gail's YA series called Finishing School. She has such a great style of writing. I love reading her books!

    Dena @ Batch of Books

    1. The Parasol Protectorate books are fantastic. I read her YA series first as well and I'm really enjoying this one. It's much more adult but it has the same lighthearted tone and adventure as the Finishing School series. If you liked that you will probably like this series, especially if you like her style.