2011 was a good reading year for me. According to Goodreads, I read 113 books. In actuality it may have been closer to 120. I'm pretty sure there were a few that fell through the cracks of my laziness in adding them online. In fact, any of you who take a peek at my Shelfari page would be ashamed of me. They think I read 56 books since discovering their site in 2010. However, I am very proud of my reading accomplishments for 2011. I could have done better. I completed the 100 book challenge, but failed miserably at the Stephen King reading challenge. This kind of shocked me not only because I own almost all of his published work, but because I LOVE reading his books. In fact, if I had to choose one book read in 2011 as the one that stuck with me, that I liked the most and that really left an impression, it would be Blaze. You can read my full review here.
I also read a lot of series books last year. There were a few I've been reading for a couple of years but also some that I completed. Those were mostly trilogies or four-book series. If I had to choose one as the very best it would be The Rarest Blooms series by Madeline Hunter. If you like regency romance even a little bit, I can't say enough about this series. It has one of my now all-time favorite characters, Tristan, the Duke of Castleford, in it. The only bad thing was I had to wait until book four (the final book) to get his story. However, each installment was a sensual journey through a fascinating time in history. Even if you aren't a big fan of the period, I'd recommend this series to any romance lover.
In the new-to-me category, my favorite of 2011 has to go to Joe Hill. I discovered he was Stephen King's son some time ago but hadn't picked up any of his books yet. I happened upon Heart-Shaped box and was immediately taken in by the blurb. He is definitely a great voice in the genre and stands on his own as an author regardless of who his father is. If you enjoy horror or any type of thrill-ride while reading, this is a must-read.
Another new to me author that must be mentioned is Dakota Cassidy. Now, I've followed Dakota in online social networks for a while, but I'm sorry to day I didn't pick up any of her books throughout the year. It wasn't until I attended Readers n'ritas and sat at her table (where she gave us all a free book) that I picked up my copy of You Dropped a Blonde on Me. To say it rocked my socks off is a slight understatement. It totally blew me away. I honestly didn't know what to expect but from her online personality I knew it would be funny. It was funny, heartbreaking, entertaining and memorable. All around a great read for anyone interested in chick-lit, romance and a good heartfelt story where the underdog comes out fighting.
Most anticipated release that lived up to its name goes to River Marked by Patricia Briggs. For those of you who haven't yet started the Mercy Thompson series all I can say is, why in the hell not?! This is one that can appeal to almost any reader. It's urban fantasy with just enough romance to satisfy the most die-hard romantic. There's action, suspense and paranormal elements. However, its not graphic in any sense of the word. Patricia Briggs has one of the best storytelling voices I've ever read and I honestly can't say enough about her work.
In the much anticipated, over-hyped and pleasantly surprised category, Laurell K. Hamilton wins the trophy. I had pretty much broken-up with Anita Blake after Flirt. That was a waste of my hard-earned money and some damn good trees. However, Anita has this great buddy named Edward that I can't get enough of and LKH was smart enough to put him in Hit List from page one. You can read my full review here.
So, that was my reading in 2011 in a nutshell. I have high hopes for 2012 as I finish two started last year that I had anticipated reading for quite some time. I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Full Dark, No Stars. These are both great so far and the only reason I'm not done yet is because I'm limiting my reading time to get some writing done. After those two I'll be catching up on Lynsay Sands' Argeneau vampire series, finishing Lilith Saintcrow's Jill Kismet series and reading the next installment in Christine Feehan's Sisters of the Heart series. What will you be reading?