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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

2015: A Year in Review

Another year, another 100 books read. 2015 included some fabulous, memorable reads that I am happy to look back at here. I've also reached the point in my life where I am not afraid to DNF or skim to finish a book that is not proving worth my time. Thankfully, this year didn't include too many of those. 


A complete list of what I read can be found here, but these are the highlights.


Best Reread

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

With so many books waiting for my attention, I do not do many rereads. The main reason this and its sequel found there way into this year's shelves was because I listened to them on audio book. Wolf Hall is the kind of book I could read over and over again. It's intelligent, funny, and paints such an original portrait of Thomas Cromwell that no fan of Tudor history should miss it.


Best Mystery

Lamentation by CJ Sansom

I don't know how it took me so long to discover CJ Sansom, but he has quickly become one of my favorite authors. This has a lot to do with Matthew Shardlake, the protagonist of this astoundingly well written Tudor era mystery series. Lamentation is the latest, but hopefully not last, installment in Shardlake's adventures and brushes with royalty.


Best Self-published Book

The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy

This was one of my favorite books of the year and takes place in England before it was England. If you love gritty historical fiction and want to support an independent writer, I highly recommend this one. It is the 7th century at its best. The sequel, The Cross and the Curse, is also being released this month.


Best Audio Book 

A Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

This was the first book I read by this author and remains my favorite after this one impressed me enough that I went on to read March, People of the Book, and Caleb's Crossing. This novel is based on actual events in England during the 14th century when people who did not understand how to stop fatal illness from wiping out entire villages. This is a book that will remain with me and I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone.


Best Nonfiction

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard

As fast paced as any novel and revealing the intriguing life of a relatively unknown US president, Destiny of the Republic should be required reading. If you haven't read this and are looking for ways to include more nonfiction in your TBR, you MUST pick this one up. You will wonder how you never knew more about James Garfield.


Also Rated 5 Stars:

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Heartstone by CJ Sansom