Bookish Podcasts

Bookish podcastsTo make the most of a busy March I’ve been listening to podcasts during my commute and food prep time. True to the book nerd that I am, some of these are bookish podcasts and I’m here to share them with you!

The Penguin Podcast

Hosted by Penguin Books UK, I really enjoy the conversational interviews between the authors and podcast hosts. I’ve listened to Richard E. Grant’s sessions with both Neil Gaimon and Paula Hawkins. I learned a lot about the authors and their books and especially enjoyed that each one shared a few items of significance.

What Should I Read Next?

Anne Bogel, the founder of Modern Mrs. Darcy (a wonderful blog that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already), hosts the podcast. During sessions that range between 20 and 40 minutes, Anne chats with different guests and gives them recommendations based on what they have already read and what they liked/didn’t like. It’s a great podcast and Anne has a huge range of bookish knowledge!

Modern Love: The Podcast

This podcast is produced by WBUR and based on a New York Times series of reader-submitted essays. Even though it isn’t about written books specifically, this podcast shares a series of stories just like any book. The podcasts focus on romantic love, familial love, self-love, and are very touching and unexpected. With episodes that are about 20 minutes long, the podcasts are the perfect length to listen to while I get ready for work. I highly recommend Modern Love: The Podcast; it’s one of my very favorites!

What about you all? Do you listen to podcasts?

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

No One Knows “Insanity is filled with wishful thoughts.”

Aubrey was devastated when her husband disappeared without a trace 5 years ago and she still feels the loss everyday. Even though his body hasn’t been found, the court has officially declared him to be dead. With the declaration comes a $5 million insurance payout and information that leads Aubrey to believe that there may have been more to her husband than she knew…

When I first started reading No One Knows by J.T. Ellison I wasn’t sure about the story because the flow was a bit choppy and at times the dialogue felt forced, but I was intrigued enough to continue. I’m glad I kept reading though because the story picked up and I was gripping the book through the very last pages.

No One Knows As with many psychological thrillers these days, No One Knows has been compared to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and while there are similar components of deceit and trickery, I would end the comparison there because it isn’t fair to either book. There are many psychological elements to this story, throwing me for a loop when I thought I had my head wrapped around the situation. I ended up really enjoying No One Knows and definitely recommend it!

Here’s one more quote that stuck out to me: “Everyone came to this town with a dream, and ended up kaleidoscopes together into a single shifting, pulsing entity.”

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison will be released on March 22, 2016.No One Knows

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Turner House“Turners seemed incapable of doing anything in moderation.” This was one of the many quotes from The Turner House by Angela Flournoy that stood out to me. Flournoy has successfully created a story that examines the dynamics of a big, complicated, prideful, and loving family. I was very interested in the different roles and relationships between the 13 children, each of whom had a very distinct personality.

When the children claimed to see a supernatural presence one night in the Turner house, their father Francis denies the possibility of a ghost, saying “there ain’t no haints in Detroit.” Years later, when the siblings have become grandparents themselves, the mysterious haint is still present. This is especially true for Cha-Cha, the eldest sibling who took on the paternal role when Francis passed away. When their mother, Viola, becomes sick and the value of the Turner house crashes with the housing market in 2008, the siblings come together to decide how to move forward.

I really enjoyed The Turner House and the role that each of the siblings played, especially the youngest child Lelah. A terribly lonely woman, she’s addicted to gambling and the stillness that it brings her. Although her downward spiral disappointed me, I found myself rooting her on towards recovery. Because there were so many siblings, I had a tricky time keeping them all straight, but that’s to be expected with 13 children in one family.

Here’s one more quote from the book that really struck home with me:

“What parts of their worlds would crumble if they took a great look at their parents’ flaws? If there was no trauma, why not talk about the everyday, human elements of their upbringing?”

I definitely recommend The Turner House for a thought provoking read! Enjoy!

The Turner House

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Inside the O'BriensFrustrating, heartbreaking, and eye opening, Lisa Genova brings us Inside the O’Briens, a story about the impact of Huntington’s disease. Genova, the author of the award-winning novel Still Alice, has an incredible talent in her ability to personalize terrible illnesses and create stories that strike a chord with readers.

The O’Brien’s, an Irish Catholic family, are from Boston, Massachusetts. Joe O’Brien, father of the family, is a tough cop with a knack for swearing who learns that Huntington’s disease (HD) is the cause behind his jerky movements and mood swings. HD is a lethal neurodegenerative disease without a cure and is passed down genetically, meaning that Joe’s children each have a 50% chance of testing positive as well.

The story is told from two perspectives, from Joe and from one of his daughters, Katie. Through Joe’s eyes we see the devastation of the disease and the terrible guilt he feels for possibly passing it down to his children. Katie, Joe’s youngest daughter, struggles with the decision of whether to take a test to determine her HD status. That decision weighs very heavily on her and causes her to put her life on pause because she feels unable to move forward. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Katie:

“Everything she’s ever done has been in preparation for her real life, and she’s itching to get started.”

I admire Lisa Genova for her incredible storytelling abilities and for raising awareness for a destructive disease. An informative, engaging, and heart wrenching book, I absolutely recommend Inside the O’Briens!

The Forgotten Room by Beatriz Williams, Karen White & Lauren Willig

The Forgotten RoomThe Forgotten Room is a multigenerational story of three women spanning the decades between the 1890’s and 1940’s in New York City. To make the book even more special, it’s written by three wonderful authors, Beatriz Williams, Karen White, and Lauren Willig. It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Beatriz Williams’ work so I immediately jumped at the chance to read and review The Forgotten Room.

The story begins in the 1940’s when the wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought into the hospital where Dr. Kate Schuyler works. Kate is unable to deny the strong connection she feels with Cooper and is shocked to find a small painting in his duffle bag that looks exactly like her. While trying to understand her connection with this new mysterious man, Kate unearths the mystery of three generations of women in her family. Kate discovers the story of her grandmother Olive, a woman who served as a maid in the very mansion-converted-hospital where Kate now works. Through her search, Kate also learns much more about her mother and the forces that brought her parents together.

Despite the fact that the story was written by three people, the scenes flowed together smoothly. It took me a bit of time to keep the characters straight due to the similarities between the determined heroines and their love interests, but in the end all of the loose ends were brought together.

This is a story of fate. A story of love lost and love found. I was completely absorbed by The Forgotten Room and definitely recommend it!

I received a copy of The Forgotten Room from the Berkley New American Library Group in exchange for an honest review.