I had a wonderful bookish year in 2011, reading 34 books in total, most of them really good, a few of them not so much. It has been wonderfully rewarding to have the time for so many books over the past twelve months, and I hope that 2012 will hold just as much book-filled fun.
My top 3 favourite reads of 2011, which I share with you now because I highly recommend you read them yourself, are as follows:
1. My ultimate favourite reads this year was the Trystan and Isolde series by Anna Elliott. Although three books (Twilight of Avalon, Dark Moon of Avalon and Sunrise of Avalon), they're the continuation of a single story; you can't just read one without the others, and they must be read in the correct order. Each novel is beautifully written with wonderfully inspiring and endearing characters, so if you've not read these yet then I suggest you add them to Mount TBR for 2012: You will not be disappointed.
2. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory was my second favourite read of 2012, and my favourite of her Cousin's Wars series. It tells the story of Jacquetta Woodville, mother of Elizabeth Woodville from The White Queen, in an enticing, gripping and wonderfully magical way. I will be posting a review of this book sometime this month with a giveaway, so if you want it on your 2012 reading list then keep an eye out.
3. My third favourite read of 2011 was Smuggled by Christina Shea. An inspiring and heart-warming novel set in post-WWII Hungary and Romania, I was extremely privileged to read and review this as an ARC from Netgalley. It's one of those novels that stays with you long after you've turned the last page.
In 2011 I also took part in two online reading challenges: A Seconds Challenge hosted by A Few More Pages, and an Ireland Reading Challenge hosted by Books & Movies.
I only managed to successfully finish all reads for the Seconds Challenge, but unfortunately ran out of time to get through all the books for the Ireland Challenge because I got distracted by other books (notably the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris).
For the Seconds Challenge I successfully read all 3 books on my list: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery, Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier, and The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory.
For the Ireland Reading Challenge I'd planned to read 4 books, but only completed 3: Meeting the Other Crowd by Eddie Lenihan, Dracula in Love by Karen Essex, and Dance Lessons by Aine Greaney.
In 2012 I have decided to participate in just the single online reading challenge, although it will entail having to read 12 books to successfully complete it.
The Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 is hosted by My Reader's Block and participants have the option of 6 levels, the lowest being 12 books and the highest being Mt Everest, where the aim is to read more than 100 books.
The catch for this challenge is that all books must be on your TBR (to be read) pile as of the 1 January 2012. I am aiming for the lowest level of 12 books (Pike's Peak) as that is all the unread books I currently have sitting on my shelf. They are (in no particular order):
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
To Die For by Sandra Byrd
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
Dissolution by C.J. Sansom
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
March by Geraldine Brooks
The Lute Player by Norah Lofts
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris
Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
I think this challenge will be just the inspiration I need to start reading those books I already have, rather than keep ordering new ones. Wish me luck!
Will you be taking part in any reading challenges this year?