Category Archives: Armchair BEA

Armchair BEA ~ Ask the Experts and The Future of Book Blogging

Today’s topic at Armchair BEA is the Ask The Experts. But I wanted to tie in the other feature posting on the Armchair BEA blog, the future of book blogging, which is a great post in itself. I started this blog in 2008, and there were blogs out there but they were not as respected as they are today. I remember some rants going on about the definition of a book blog versus book critic and how the critic was professional and book bloggers were all just a bunch of morons wanting free books. I see the whole industry of Book Bloggers as proving ourselves worthy of praise, and I would love to remember who those critics were four years ago so I can see where they are now. Because, ya know, some of them were pretty mean.

Since I really don’t have a question to ask an expert, I’ll offer a tip. Don’t get caught up in the drama. Just walk away. It can really ruin your day. Sometimes a silly comment aimed at your post or review is uncalled for.
I’ll share a fun example.. Something that will confuse the heck out of you because the commenter was really off her rocker… but a teeny back story here:
One of the things about historical fiction and reviewing books that deal with ‘real life’ people (that lived hundreds of years ago) is that some folks dispute the evidence/facts/theories.
I reviewed a novel by Philippa Gregory once (the horror!!).. and all of a sudden a troll out of nowhere started commenting on all of my Tudor era-themed book reviews and ripped apart anything and everything that she wanted to.
Slightly psychotic rants, on a book review no less, such as:
“For the benefit of those who don’t know I have today on You-Tube slapped down Phillipa Gregory not once but five times.

Isn’t there something in the States called the Freedom of Information Act?”

“What a chapter of amazing coincidences.

Not only was I born under the sign of the Ox but Georgette Heyer happens to be one of my fave authors only one of six.

For the record the remaining five are Conan Doyle, Wilde, Sayers, Stephen King and MR James”

“As the saying is ‘Walk into my parlour said the Spider to the Fly’

Thanks for walking into mine. For the record I don’t rant and rave. Why should I when you and so many of your fellow contributors do it so much better than I ever could?”

Moral of this story:
1. Don’t feed the trolls (like the one above).
2. Be careful what you put out there on your blog and comments elsewhere. The internet is here to stay, and so are your words.  (like the words of the troll above).
Previous Armchair BEA posts:
GIVEAWAY (today is the last day to enter!)
I had a lot of fun at the Twitter parties, and I enjoyed ‘meeting’ everyone!
I’d love it if you’ll follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads
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Armchair BEA ~ Beyond Your Blog ~ Day 3

Hello again Armchair BEA bloggers! Welcome!
Here are the posts for the event that I’ve created this week:
Today’s prompt is how has owning your blog helped you get other opportunities besides free books. Do you write/freelance elsewhere? etc…
Nope, I don’t monetize, I don’t offer advertising for a fee, I do not provide any fee-based promotional services, and I try not to participate in blog tours that are not big bonafide publicity companies (I stick with those who pay taxes and file for tax id #s etc). There are tax implications to receiving any sort of compensation in affiliation with a blog, and I would really like to not get on the IRS radar; this is another reason I have decided to not become a Mommy Blogger/Product Reviewer. (You are supposed to report income received on your tax return and I am not even going to attempt to distinguish tax laws between products, their value and money). I do have an Amazon store, but no one uses it. It’s there for show to list cool books, and I don’t link to Amazon within reviews with the ‘special’ link etc.
So, how about freelancing? I do indeed want to become a writer someday, and blogging has helped me see how my writing has developed over the past three-four years. I do have the opportunity to write as a Dallas Literature Examiner, but I haven’t really done anything much with that. Their publishing tool is hogwash and there are so many nitty-gritty rules for posting articles on Examiner that I would rather not waste my time.
As a result of reviewing books, I have become a member of the Historical Novel Society and I have been reviewing for them since last fall. I also have the opportunity to review for the brand new Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers group, but that would require learning WordPress and I am not too keen on that endeavor yet. Oh yeah, I forgot I did do a sweet little article as well for the HNS, in which I try to get history lovers to try Christian historical fiction.
So as you can see, I see the blog as a hobby. I already work full-time, have two kiddos, and a cat. There’s only so much time in the day, and going beyond the blog anymore than what I’ve mentioned above would only be if I was writing a book. Which I would like to do.
I have loved meeting so many new bloggers, and wanted to share my other social links so we can stay connected:
Feel free to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads

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Armchair BEA discussing Networking

Armchair BEA

“For Day 3, we want you to share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community.  This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area.  We want to hear it all!”

I don’t have a positive experience, but I didn’t want to ignore this post because of that, that wouldn’t be fair.
So consider this a Public Service Announcement to potential authors or even bookstore owners or librarians who work with the humble blogger.

Here’s my experience:
Once upon a time, in August of 2009, I was really into the blogging aspect of  my little book blog. Nowadays, I have simply been immersed in my review schedule rather than thinking of ways to network outside the norm. Working full-time, raising two kids, (youngest is starting Kindergarten in August!!), reviewing for the Historical Novel Society all has me pretty busy. When am I supposed to cook and do laundry?

So, networking in the community has been zilch.

But.. I tried. I really tried. I really feel like I went over, above and beyond to feature a local author in my little area of Texas. I recorded a speech she did at our local library, and I uploaded it to my blog in three separate posts. “So You Wanna Get Published” part one, two and three.

She spoke of her Publishing, Writing and Marketing Journey, a fabulous tool for newbie writers. And she promoted the workshops that she spearheaded and charged money for, etc. And I recorded all her person advertisements and uploaded it to my blog, free of charge for her.

I feel like I spent a lot of time on this series, and I felt like it was an awesome promotion opportunity for the author. I stayed up late trying to get the posts just right.. you get the point.

I worked hard on it.

And I barely got a thank you from the author.

And this author is very very very very socially online. So she had lots of opportunity to add a link here and there to the videos I created of HER. To the posts I did spotlighting HER. And nothing, zilch, zero, slap in my face.

Once bitten twice shy, they say.

And well, now the videos wherever I uploaded them to are gone off into cyberspace never to be seen again. Because they were too big to go to YouTube, they were long videos and I didn’t want to have to separate out the posts into a zillion little videos, and I used a now obsolete service. At this point, I see YouTube would have been the way to go. Live and learn.

As you can see, three years later, it still hurts that I didn’t get the recognition I felt I deserved for the free promotion for this author. So, if you are an author faced with an opportunity to work with a blogger who is promoting your image for free, please be nice and say thank you. And ya know, a free book would be nice, too. (We see you have piles of them there on the table as we record you.)

Speaking of FREEE BOOOKSSSS .. YES! Please see my giveaway post, because I am giving away tons of them. Hurry, because it is an Armchair BEA Giveaway, and ends soon!

And hey, bloggers… Thank you. You’re awesome. Keep up the good work.

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Armchair BEA 2012: Giveaways Everywhere!

Last year I had some fun with the Armchair BEA and did a scavenger giveaway with my favorite fellow Historical Fiction bloggers.. and this year I wanted to still do a giveaway but offer up some of the other genres that I’ve collected this year as well as my favorite Royal Themed Historical Fiction.

The trick to this giveaway is that with every ten responses/separate entrants ONE book will be given away, and the sky is the limit! I have tons of books I can give away, and I will update this post to add more books to the pot if the number of entrants warrant it!
Which means I want more followers! =)
More followers looks fabulous to potential publishers and authors, which means more review opps! Help a fellow blogger out  and follow me!

First up in the choice pool…
A contemporary women’s fiction, with a bit of a Christian theme thrown in..
Need You Now by Beth Wiseman (a used finished copy)
Read my review

A historical Christian fiction To Have and To Hold by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller (a used finished copy)
Read my review

More Christian Fiction, Bees in the Butterfly Garden by Maureen Lang:

This will be a used ARC copy (review is pending Historical Novel Review publication)

A New Release! Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

Used Finished copy, review set to go next week

Next up for lucky followers to choose from..
Tudor Historical Fiction At The King’s Pleasure by Kate Emerson  (new finished copy and a new ARC, 2 separate possible winners)
Read my review

More Tudor Historical Fiction, In A Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener

New finished copy

Historical Fiction based on Claude Monet’s life and love, Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell (a used ARC)
Read my review

Decided at the last minute to add these two to the mix:

Pendragon’s Banner (Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, #2)
Shadow of the King (Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, #3) (This is an ARC)
I never got around to getting Book One, so maybe someone else out there needs these two. I’ll never get around to reading these. These are used copies that were passed to me.

Showing just these.. there can be many separate winners, one for each book.. so please comment here telling me which book you would like to win. You can put first choice and second choice in the comment section if you would like, but please limit yourself to one single comment
The number of winners will depend on the number of responses I get from bloggers.
10 different entrants means 1 winner of any 1 book of their choice above.
20 different entrants means 2 winners of any 1 book each of their choice.
30 different entrants means 3 winners “
40 different entrants means 4 winners “
50 different entrants means 5 winners “
etc
(if I get more entrants, I’ll edit this post to add more books to the spoils per every ten entrants! Something by C.W. Gortner, perhaps? Or For The King be Catherine Delors? Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory…etc!)

Post my blog button for extra entries (see rafflecopter!).
 Burton Book Review

 New followers included! PLEASE ENTER YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in your comment in a combat-spam format such as youremail at yahoo dot com
AND STATE WHICH BOOK IS YOUR FIRST CHOICE etc

Using the commenting system will help me differentiate how many different bloggers are entering (& to choose who gets which book), so please comment only once.
Use Rafflecopter to record your extra/multiple entries, as Rafflecopter will choose the winner.
Tweeting and facebooking will help promote the giveaway, therefore increasing chances of more winners.
The more entrants = more books = more winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please remember:
Any winners must be a US resident, a GFC follower, and leave their Email address in the comment with their book choice. Winners will be emailed and will have only 48 hours to respond, or their prize will be forefeit. I want to make one single big trip to the post office, since it means standing in line for 30 minutes!

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Armchair BEA~ Introductions First ~ Day 1

It’s Day One of the Getting to the other Bloggers participating in Armchair BEA.. and I welcome newcomers to my home on the web!

Instead of interviews this year, we answer a few questions about us with a networking blog hop.

Pasted from the main site:
“All we ask is that you answer five of them and spend the rest of the time meeting others. After all, getting to know one another is the most important part of this process! Here are the possible questions:

  1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
  2. What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
  3. Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.
  4. What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?
  5. Where do you see your blog in five years?
  6. Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
  7. If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
  8. What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
  9. What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
  10. Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?”

1.  ABOUT ME
Hello! I’m married with two kiddos and I work full-time. In my precious spare time I love to read, of course! I read historical fiction and it’s sub-genres such as Christian Historical Fiction. I review for the Historical Novel Society but my main goal is to get caught up with review books so that I can read some of the books I’ve collected over the past almost four years of blogging/reviewing.

2. FAVE BOOK OF 2012
I have read some fabulous books so far! Sneak peeks of my Best of 2012 list would include The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen (upstairs/downstairs/Austen-feel) and Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick (an unexpected fabulous story of a woman, family, faith, and flowers). A surprise favorite would be Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

5. BLOG IN 5 YEARS?
At the currrent pace, I would guess that my blog in five years would be linked to about 500 of my historical book reviews!! I have about 198 right now, a master list of them linked to the reviews can be found here. I would still see myself still reading primarily historical fiction, but perhaps with a bit more Christian Historical than what I started with. I have wanted to branch out of England a bit and read more French Revolution and American Revolution reads, we’ll see if I can make that happen.

8. LITERARY LOCATION
I read a lot of historical fiction set in England. The Wars of the Roses with the Plantagenets who came before Henry VIII (The Tudors) are one of my favorite topics, as well as the Medieval Era. I would love to go on a literary tour that followed along some of the important families of British history, such as the Nevilles, the Beauforts and Montforts; and of course Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine. A summer abroad researching all these families sounds like heaven.

9. FAVE PART OF BLOGGING & CHANGES
I love how bloggers are not afraid of speaking their opinions, and they do it in the nicest of ways! (Most of them, anyway, I’ll ignore the trolls for now). The community of bloggers is vast among the different genres, and I love taking a peek inside some of the young adult reviewers’ communities because they have so much enthusiasm. There are so many bloggers out there, and I cannot keep up as much as I would like to since I have limited free time. It is so different than what it was four years ago, though, with the ease of creating blogs there are quite a few book bloggers now.
And now with Twitter and Facebook, it is so much easier to connect with author and publishers, in ways that I never thought possible.

Another fave part of blogging are the guest posts or interviews that I get to do with favorite authors. Those are a lot of fun to do when it is about a historical topic that I am passionate about.

As far as changes go, I would love to see more book conferences being held closer to Dallas, TX. I’m sure there are other bloggers who live in places where bookish events do not normally reach them, and they would agree that more bookish events held locally would be awesome.

I would like to see publishers making the effort to reach their readers with conferences other than New York or California. How about somewhere in the middle?! As far as BEA, why is it always New York? I understand the publishers’ corporate offices are located there, but it seems every now and then they can spread the love.

And I’ll be spreading the love tomorrow, with book giveaways! Be sure to stop back in to enter, the giveaways are located here! I will be following along my fellow Armchair BEA bloggers, so I will see you on the web!


And if you are a newbie to my blog, I give you easy access to follow here…
or check out the left sidebar for more subscribing options.

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Blog about Blogging! End of Armchair BEA~ Rules? What rules?

It is over. The end of my posting daily.
 (And my Email subscribers rejoice worldwide!!)

The BEA 2011 is over, so we will go back to normal programming of book reviews next week. This post is not completely thought out, I am running on empty and need a triple espresso to wake up.. but here goes.

Armchair BEA 2011

Today, the Armchair BEA Panel asks us to Blog about Blogging! There is a Book Blogger Convention today in NYC (come to Dallas!!) so the theme seems right.
There were lots of writing prompts, like how to social network, how to balance reality from your online life, tips on technique, etc.

One of those prompts was “a rule list”:

Create a “rule list” of things you should and shouldn’t be doing on a book blog.

That stuck out for me.. because we blog for us. We blog because we want to. We do not get paid to blog. We do not have to cater to one particular genre if we do not want to. We do not have to post if we don’t want to. Lots of people have their own niche’s and their own set of general do’s and will not do’s for their own life. You should set your own as you see fit, and never let anyone else set boundaries for you. Barring explicit and offensive/prejudicial content, you should aim high! Or aim just as you see fit. Your blog is your creation and you should let it be a reflection of yourself, if you want it to.

My personal set of rules:
Be happy.
Enjoy the experience.
Only accept review books that I am extremely interested in.
Converse with other bloggers as time permits.
Cultivate relationships with favorite publishers.
Make my reviews informative and interesting, while using spell-check.
*Stay away from reviewing the same books that every one is reviewing. *

That last one is a toughie and I’m trying to move in that direction as the summer comes along. Even though blog tours can be fun for the authors, I have to wonder how many times we really want to see the same book over and over and over again. The plus is most of the time there are giveaways that go along with the tours, so I would think that those who do want to win that book would follow along on the tour to enter for the chances to win. So, I’m still on the fence on this one. As a blogger yourself, what do you think are the pro’s and cons of Blog Tours? Are they redundant to you?

Back to my “rules list”.. there are a lot of technical tips that I could go into such as twitter and facebook pages to help promote your blog, but all that should be a personal preference. It depends on how far you want to take your blog, and how much time you have to devote to it. Build it, and they will come.. but you can’t just let it sit there and expect people to show up. You will have to market yourself. You will have to comment on other blogs. You will have to get out there and insert yourself into that niche that you want to be in. You need to want it, you need to have a passion for it, and you need to not expect greatness if you are not. And no, I am not greatness, but someday I will get to where I want to be, though I am still working out what that is. We shall see. There was a point when I felt like I didn’t want to write one more review.. so it just depends on which way real life is blowing at any particular time.

When I started branding my blog, it became important to have a specific graphic, something identifiable as your blog, to represent you. So, @BurtonReview is my twitter handle. I signed up with Gravatar so the same image comes up when I comment on wordpress blogs. Certain little things like that go a long way.
If you are a newbie, I would definitely say to watch for the bloggiesta events that come up, as they suggest things you may have forgotten to work on which helps clean up and focus your blog in the right direction. I did participate once and got a lot of work done on my blog one weekend.

Lastly… the extra special BEA Giveaway has ended.. those 9 books are going to a very special lucky winner. One of my partners in crime for this giveaway was Historical-fiction.com and she will announce the winner on her site as soon as I and Lucy from Enchanted from Josephine tally our semi-finalists. It was grand fun, and I hope you liked the scavenger hunt we set up for you!
Hope everyone has a fabulous long weekend planned.. sun and surf and turf?? Or, sun and mowing and week-whacking.. ugh.. I will definitely get a few hours of reading by the pool. I will have to restrain myself to not pick up Lady of the English from Chadwick, or maybe I won’t. We’ll see.

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Armchair BEA~ Relationships

Today at Armchair BEA, it is all about Relationships. The request is that we write about our experiences with building relationships online with other bloggers, authors, and publicists. I tend to go off on tangents, so bear with me.

I was one of those bloggers that participated in a survey that resulted in the Best Practices of Pitching Book Bloggers. This focused on relationships between Bloggers and Publicists and Authors. Don’t you love it when you see “Dear Blogger”? When you get pitched several times from the same person about the same book, doesn’t this get annoying?

When publicists contact us for review, and then we get asked for our webpage stats, does that annoy you? Doesn’t it peeve you that the person has clearly not read your review policy? These and other pitching pitfalls are covered in this handy pdf, which is free to book bloggers.

It’s a strange world out there for those authors who are new to self-promotion. They don’t realize the netiquette that has developed along with the bookish blogosphere. If you know one of these newbies, point them to the Best Practices. Help build that relationship of trust between you and author instead of ignoring them. I know of several authors that remember me as one of their first bloggers that helped them through the book blog quagmire. It’s a great feeling to be able to help them.

Over the past few years, I have seen the blogosphere quadruple in size. It normally starts as a reader who was looking for a particular genre of books, looking for ideas on what to buy next, and they stumble across a book blog. How neat, they think! A regular person talking about books! And then they discover the blogroll. And then they find more blogs in their preferred genre, as most blogs tend to link to blogs of the same interest. Then the reader realizes you can comment on all these posts too! Which brings reader to realize, how hard can it be to open a blogger account? And a blogger is born.

(That was my experience.) The relationships I developed in those early days of blogging still sit with me. I actually mentioned three of those historical fiction blogs that inspired me in yesterday’s post. Two of these ladies I feel a kinship and bond with that I know will last a long time. If I don’t get daily texts from one of them then I feel like my day is incomplete. And I know of other bloggers who get to meet up in NYC at conventions and more relationships are forged. It is quite powerful, actually, when I think of how much my life has changed since I became a book blogger. All these potential allies at my fingertips. And how amazing how many genres of book bloggers there are! General lit, feminism, young adult, graphic novel, romance, historical romance, classics, fiction…AMAZING!

It’s been almost two and half years of reviewing books for me. It’s a commitment. Sometimes it’s a struggle as I look at the ARC Bookcase. You know, that ever present TBR pile that you should have conquered last year. So, it’s a juggling act; especially for those of us who work full-time, have kids, a husband, animals and a house to take care of. Where does the blogging come in?

Better yet, where does the reading come in?

Somehow, I manage to do a little of everything. Which means I am not the best at anything. I can say I am a well-rounded individual, because I cannot spend too much on any one thing lest the next thing gets abandoned. I balance it out. Little by little. And with a little help from my friends. (Queue the music.) The support from the community of bloggers is there, if you ask for it. It’s a big world out there. And book bloggers have really become a force to be reckoned with, even after all those professionally paid literary critics knocked us all down and said we were just a phase.

Go forth.. read.. review.. blog… communicate.. and kick butt. I am proud to be a book blogger. It has opened up my world to people and books I would never have otherwise come across. It’s pretty awesome being a book blogger. We even have book blogger conventions! And if we can’t go to the conventions, we can sit at our favorite chair for the Armchair BEA and still have a ton of fun! It’s a great community, and I am happy to be here. Don’t forget the amazing giveaways book bloggers host! (there’s one going on right here!!) XXO

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Armchair BEA– Favorite Blogs!

It’s Armchair BEA Time!! As part of the event, there is a fabulous giveaway going on right here for some fantastic historical fiction titles, as well as one you can pick out for yourself from the Book Depository! Check out the giveaway link here to get the scoop on the required scavenger hunt!!

Today, Armchair BEA is all about Working the Network!! Visit Armchair BEA to see all the different interviews of bloggers going on. I won’t be one of them, I was in la-la land when the signup was taking place. So, for those of us who are not doing the interviews, we get to participate today by writing a post highlighting some of your favorite book blogs and bloggers – and I think I have done this before, a few times probably.. but since you may be new here (hello and welcome!!).. let me tell you who I like to visit. The following blogs have been around for a few years (and even longer than my blog which is about 2.5 years old), so they have some major staying power. And these are the ones who inspired me on my path as a book blogger as well.

Historical-Fiction.com – Arleigh’s site is a clean, concise book review site that features..you guessed it.. historical fiction. Her reviews are intelligent and not at all flowery and over the top like some tend to be. She is to the point, and always manages to intrigue me with her reflections of her books, even if I read the same book. And of course this is my favorite genre, so this is a great place to be. Giveaways too!

Another favorite blog is..
Enchanted By Josephine: Celebrates Women in History – Lucy writes compelling and passionate reviews and always offers me something a little different than the current books that are being promo’ed around the blogosphere. Lucy also has an artsy blog that is beautiful to explore. Giveaways too!

Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books – Daphne’s is a one-stop shop for upcoming releases and reviews of Historical Fiction. I love her Weekly wishlist feature which gives me the heads up on books I might need to make room for. She also does a monthly bookmark giveaway that I had to give up entering because I’ve been disappointed.. but these bookmarks are handmade and beautiful. She is in the process of moving so her posting may be a bit tilted in the near future, but this is another blog you need to follow if you enjoy historical fiction. Warning: if you do LOVE Historical Fiction, please don’t be mad at me for directing you to the place that will cause your wishlists to explode!!

There goes my top three HF blogs!
And just to add something a little different just in case you’re not all that into Historical Fiction (gasp!!), I also like to peruse the following blogs which offer intelligent content and interesting posts that aren’t always about historical fiction:
Chick With Books
Jenny Loves to Read
Unabridged Chick

 Hope you find some great blogs during your Armchair BEA Blog hopping! Dang, how many times can I type historical fiction in one blog post?? Eight times. Seems like more.

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Armchair BEA Event!!

So, as you know, I am forever continually stuck either in my work or home environment. It really isn’t that bad.. but it means I don’t get to go to the BEA in NYC. This week, there is the Armchair BEA event with meme style posts and giveaways for the poor folks like me. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it out of Texas again, but I sure wouldn’t mind a mini-vacation.

Vegas calls..

AH!! Instead.. let’s focus.

Yesterday, we announced the big event with three HF Blogs: Burton Book Review, Enchanted By Josephine, and Historical-Fiction.com. Be sure to enter by Thursday night!! BEA non-partygoers only!! =) It is a great opportunity to win some of the best titles of the past year thus far.

Speaking of.. Armchair BEA asks today (here comes the meme thing) What books have you read that are your Best of 2011?

So far on my “semi- finalist” list, for different entertainment value reasons, we have:

Elizabeth I: A Novel by Margaret George (click for my review)
Finding Emilie by Laurel Corona (click for my review)
The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham (click for my review)
The Tudor Secret: Book 1 Elizabeth I Spymaster by C.W. Gortner (click for my review)

These are listed in order of my most favorite of the year, yet I gave them all the best rating of 5 out of 5 stars. But, the year is not quite half over yet, so I cannot wait to see what will be next on my list! Will it be Karleen Koen? Elizabeth Chadwick? Sharon Kay Penman? Probably.

What do you think? Did you get a chance to read any of these picks? Would you agree?

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