Sunday, January 8, 2012

Eleven from Eleven -
Favorite Reads of 2011

2011 was great year of reading for me. I completed 36 books, and at a rate of about 3 titles a month, this frequency is above any other period in my life. Many reviewers complete far more volumes annually, but for a busy stay-at-home mother of two, wife of a pilot with an odd schedule and owner of one car, this is nothing short of a miracle! Here are my 11 favorites of 2011, categorized, but in no particular order:

Austenesque Fiction

Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers - Such a rich story, great writing, and authentic struggles with faith in the face of pregnancy issues, plus so much more. Great reading, no matter what time of year!  Full review here.

Miss Darcy Falls in Love by Sharon Lathan - Gotta love Georgiana Darcy, and this musician finds this to be my favorite of Lathan's many novels. Full review here.

Expectations of Happiness by Rebecca Ann Collins - I lamented the end of her Pemberley series, and Collins has done another fabulous job, now with a Sense and Sensibility sequel! Full review here.

Mr. Darcy's Secret by Jane Odiwe - Ms. Odiwe's writing is just wonderful. She captures the energy and longing of new love so well.  Full review here.

Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell - This rare Austenesque author of the male persuasion won me over with an unexpected premise-- Pride and Prejudice meets the old West. Really enjoyed this one quite a bit. Pick it up on Kindle while it's on sale for $1.99!  Full review here.

General Fiction 

Venetia by Georgette Heyer - This year began my first forays into the world of Georgette Heyer. Jane Austen reborn in the 20th century. It doesn't get much better than this.  Full review here.

Road from the West  by Rosanne E. Lortz - This was historical fiction at its best. I learned so much about the first Crusade, and it was a highly enjoyable story. Again, grateful there is more to come.  Full review here.

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni - Thoroughly different from any other fiction I read this year. Engrossing and original. Beware the sequel-setting, enticing conclusion!  Full review here.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I cannot say I read this entire book in 2011. I started it some time back, had to put it down, and came back to finish it this year. In fact, the final pages were read in the theater, just before the final film began to roll. It's not my favorite Potter book (that would be Prisoner of Azkaban ), but the series in general has been such an enjoyable ride. J.K. Rowling brought back the love of reading in a way I hadn't felt in decades.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - When I saw the recent Disney edition of A Christmas Carol, its faithful adaptation planted the desire to actually read the book. Actually read Dickens! So to my shame, I just read my first of this renowned author, and to my delight, I highly enjoyed him and truly understood the tale. Now if I can only one day say the same for Nicholas Nickleby, or other Dickens novels I have yet to tackle!


Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo - After all the media hype and record-breaking sales, I wanted to check this one out for myself. Over the holidays I had the opportunity, and I nearly read it in one sitting. Incredible. Hope-instilling. All I can say is, don't knock it 'til you've read it, and come at it with an open heart, if you dare.

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So, those are the best of my 2011 collection! My goal for 2012 is to not only surpass 36 titles, but to get some works finished that have long been sitting on my shelf, partially read. Before I became a blogger, I had a habit of beginning books and then abandoning them when something more interesting came along. The Calico Critic has driven me to greater discipline in finishing books, so I'd like to go back and rescue a few abandoned titles, if for no other reason than to make room for more unread lovelies!

I hope my list has given you a few ideas for your TBR list. Come back soon for the video edition of "Eleven from Eleven", where I'll profile the best in movies and workout videos from last year.


  1. Nice choices! My young son and I read "Heaven is for Real" and we loved it! Very appropriate time for us as we lost a close family member and this was very comforting. Good luck in keeping up with your reading goals in 2012!

  2. Joanne: Yes, that's a great idea-- maybe the new Heaven is for Real for Kids would also be a good read for grieving families. Thanks for your thoughts!


  3. I probably need to snap up some of the "Austenesque" fiction titles! Great-looking list!

  4. Julie:

    Yes, go scoop up Pemberley Ranch while it's on sale. Even if you don't own a Kindle, you can still read it on your computer. That's a fun one, as they all are!


  5. I am looking forward to reading Chirstmas at Pemberley. First I had to read Pride and I would understand the characters!! Now that I have done that I am looking forward to it.

  6. bcrocks:

    Good job reading the source material first! That will definitely enrich your experience. Enjoy Christmas at Pemberley, which has enough within its multiple plot lines to enjoy it any time of year.


  7. Laura, thanks so much for including Pemberley Ranch in your Eleven from Eleven - Favorite Reads of 2011. I hope you'll like The Three Colonels as much when it comes out in March. Thanks again!

  8. Jack:

    Thanks for stopping by! Pemberley Ranch was a fun read. And yes, I'm eagerly anticipating The Three Colonels!


  9. Thank you for including Miss Darcy Falls in Love on your list, Laura. I am very happy that Georgiana's story of love brought you such pleasure. Makes my day!!

  10. Sharon:

    It was a delight-- I was excited when you planted the seeds of the story in the previous book, and Miss Darcy Falls in Love turned out great!

    Thanks for stopping by!


  11. I LOVE Venetia. My fav Heyer so far. Glad you liked it too.



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