#20BacklistIn2020 Challenge: Midway Check-In

Remember when we challenged you to read 20 backlist books in 2020? If you need a bit of a refresher, read this post to find out all about our challenge and take the pledge! While January feels like a lifetime ago, our staff has been keeping calm and reading on. We’ve caught up with some of them (virtually, of course!) to check in with how their challenges are doing. Here’s what they had to say.

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

Reviewed by: Randy C. — Senior Marketing Manager, Harlequin Trade Publishing

Describe the book in 3 words: Jaw. Droppingly. Delicious.

Why you wanted to read it: I love thrillers that feature an unreliable character (or two), and I kept hearing that J.T. is a must-read in that department. 

Who was your favorite character and why? Sutton, but I can’t tell you why. Let’s just say, I identify with characters who have devilish streaks in them.

How long did it take you to read the book? Two uninterrupted reading sessions – and by the end I became a permanent member of the J.T. Ellison fan club.

What’s your favorite thing about getting to work with books every day? I love spreading the word about books we’ve been incubating for months, helping to deliver them into the world.

What’s next on your TBR list? The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. I have a feeling this one’s a winner.

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Reviewed by: Natasha S. — Assistant Digital Marketing Manager, Harlequin Trade Publishing

Describe the book in 3 words: Spine-chillingly tense.

Why you wanted to read it: I just wanted a really fast-paced thriller. I was in the mood.

Who was your favorite character and why? Oh definitely Mia, the wife. Because it’s such a tight story you really only get to see husband and wife the whole book.

How long did it take you to read the book? It was just one sitting! I came back into work the next day ready to talk about it with anyone who would listen.

What’s your favorite thing about getting to work with books every day? I never having nothing to read. I am overwhelmed by all my amazing choices. Plus, I love reading books a little earlier than everyone else!

What’s next on your TBR list? The Silence of Bones by June Hur.

Haunted by Heather Graham

Reviewed by: Scott W.—Assistant Manager, Operations & Inventory Control

Describe the book in 3 words: Calming the dead

Why you wanted to read it: I have always loved mystery novels, but I don’t usually read paranormal investigation novels. The backlist challenge gave me an excuse to give one a try. It also gave me a chance to read Heather Graham, an author I haven’t read.

Who was your favorite character and why? I liked the heroine, Darcy Tremayne, mainly because she was the driver of the action, with the hero playing catch up. She was an investigator that did investigating (not always a given in a mystery novel) with a balance of intelligence and empathy.

How long did it take you to read the book? I found the books moved at a good pace and read it over a weekend. A good book to sit on a deck with.

What’s your favorite thing about getting to work with books every day? Being in an environment where discussion about books is the norm. It creates the happy stress of an ever growing reading list.

What’s next on your TBR list? I have a couple of nonfiction technical books to get through, but for those rare quiet moments I have, I decided to read By Gaslight by Steven Price. It is one of those larger novels that tend to get missed in when life is busy. Summer seems like a good time to read a chase through foggy wet London.

The One by John Marrs

Reviewed by: Lindsey R. — Digital Marketing Manager, Harlequin Trade Publishing

Describe the book in 3 words: Tests Equal Chaos

Why you wanted to read it: I’ve seen the book everywhere and I figured (with lots of time to read), I’d finally give it a go and I’m SO glad that I did!

Who was your favorite character and why? Hands down, my favorite character was Christopher. He is one of the five main characters and he struggles between right and wrong throughout the duration of the novel. He’s an actual criminal and his Match Your DNA pick (who he falls in love with) is a police officer, so watching him struggle with this conflict of interest was the best part of this novel for me.

How long did it take you to read the book? I read it in one sitting. It read like a great dramatic crime TV show.

What’s your favorite thing about getting to work with books every day? I love getting to talk to readers online every day and understand what they like to read and help to pair them with their next book. It’s so much fun!

What’s next on your TBR list? Right now I’m reading a book that comes out in early September called The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim. It’s a poignant mother-daughter story of the realities of being an immigrant in America, mixed with a surprising mysterious angle. I can’t put it down! 

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer

Reviewed by: Lucille M. — Marketing Coordinator, Mira Books

Describe the book in 3 words: Emotional, educational and engrossing!

Why you wanted to read it: Kelly Rimmer has such a wonderful way with words-and never fails to make me cry! (In a good way!) I’ve wanted to dive into her other books ever since I read The Things We Cannot Say.

Who was your favorite character and why? I think it would have to be Annie. I admired her inquisitive and rebellious nature while being in an oppressive cult & her bravery to do what was best for her daughter.

How long did it take you to read the book? About a week!

What’s your favorite thing about getting to work with books every day?Oh, where do I even begin?! I love being able to work with fresh voices in the publishing landscape and ensuring their books get into the hands of eager readers. My love affair with books began when I was 8 and avidly tearing through every Enid Blyton novel I could get my hands on— it’s a dream come true to work in this industry!

What’s next on your TBR list? The Wrong Kind of Woman by Sarah McCraw Crow.

How has your challenge been going? Let us know in the comments below!

    Katie Didow

    Katie's been a book nerd ever since she skipped out on recess to read Harry Potter. When she's not reading, you'll find her sewing, baking or binge-watching her old favorite TV shows on Disney+.

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