Friday, September 22, 2017

Series Spotlight: The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries

Today's post is for my mystery-loving friends. I know that many of you have already seen me rave about this series on Instagram this year, but I'm here to tell you that I just love the Lady Hardcastle Mysteries by T. E. Kinsey and implore you to add them to your library.

This mystery series begins with A Quiet Life in the Country, which introduces us to Lady Emily Hardcastle and her lady's maid, Florence Armstrong. Lady Hardcastle is a wealthy widow, who moves to Gloucestershire with Flo to enjoy a quiet life in the rural countryside. Rather than the stuffy, boring types that you might expect of a Lady and her maid in 1908, the two women come with an unusual past. After the murder of Lady Hardcastle's husband, she was recruited by The Crown to work as a spy, and she and Flo led a rather exciting life in various places around the globe. When they come to settle in the country, they expect that they've left all that excitement behind. That is, until a man is seemingly poisoned and the two are recruited by the local constable to help solve the mystery of his death. The series continues with In the Market for Murder and Death Around the Bend and all three books contain both these lovable quirky characters and interesting mysteries to be solved.

I first experienced this series as an audiobook, and fell in love with it almost instantly. I believe I have Elizabeth Knowelden to thank for that, as her voice combined with the cheeky banter of our two protagonists had me smiling for the duration of these books. More than once, I decided I needed to go for a walk so that I could listen to just a few more chapters before turning in for the night.

I think the mark of a good book is when you consider the characters to be like friends, and I am completely serious when I say that the personalities of Kinsey's characters are so charming, bold, and unique that I may just have to re-listen or re-read these books while I await the next in the series -- no word on that yet, but I'm feeling impatient.

I own these books in all three forms: hard copies, e-books, and audiobooks and can tell you that I wholeheartedly recommend them in whatever form you prefer most. However, if you are an audiobook listener, you won't regret listening to the audible versions. You can find them here.


Have you read any of these mysteries? 

Comment below and tell me about your reading or listening experience!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Podcast Recommendations with Hollie Lawder

Today, readers, I am so happy to have one of my dearest friends from bookstagram here to guest post on Top Shelf Text! I mention Hollie on Instagram pretty often because we are actual twins. All of our tastes/habits/preferences align and we came to the conclusion a long time ago that we are the same person. Except for the fact that she lives in Canada, which automatically makes her cooler than me.
If you follow Hollie on Instagram @readingontherun, you may have noticed that she listens to tons of podcasts. After I kept seeing her mention them in her stories, I asked if she would consider doing a guest post for us here with recommendations for podcasts. I am so happy she agreed, and you can bet I've already downloaded a whole bunch of these to listen to this week while I'm at the gym!


Hey there, bookish friends! My name is Hollie, and I am a total book worm. But another thing that I’m completely obsessed with is Podcasts. I love being able to learn something new, or topics that I am interested in. Being at home with my two kiddos right now, I have found that podcasts keep my mind stimulated, and make the mundane tasks of daily life fly by. If you have no idea where to get started, I did a blog post awhile ago on How to Start Listening to Podcasts.

Here is my list of favourite podcasts at the moment. Please feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to hear what you listen to as well!

Bookish Podcasts

Anne Bogel gets to know one lucky reader, who will share their three
favourite books, one they didn’t like so much, and what they would like to change in their reading life. From there Anne does some literary matchmaking and recommends three new books to the reader. It’s great! Every episode is worth listening to, but check out Ep. 72 which features Madeleine, and Ep. 1 with Jamie Golden.

I just discovered this podcast, and have deep-dived the back catalogue! It’s smart, and so
entertaining. You hear Rider Strong (from Boy Meets World), Tod Goldberg (bestselling author), and
Julia Pistell talk books and bookish topics!

Meet the Bookshelf Thomasville staff, and owner Annie! They put out this
podcast on a weekly basis, and there is so much good about it. First off, Anne and Chris always have a hilarious intro, which is usually nothing to do with books. But one feature that they do on this podcast that I love is they always go over the books they read for the month. Get your TBR list ready!

This is the New York Public Library’s podcast, and your hosts are Gwen and Frank. These two are super witty, and have a fun banter back and forth between them. They discuss what they have recently read, and different bookish topics each episode. Check out their latest Ep. The Right Book at The Right Time, on Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger.

Like the title of this podcast says, these hosts are professional book nerds…who work at OverDrive. They chat to current authors, and discuss books that they have read recently. What I love about this podcast is that they ask the authors great questions, and a listener gets to hear the story behind the book. Check out Ep. 105 with George Saunders on Lincoln in the Bardo. It’s AMAZING!!!

Health Podcasts

Whether you like to run or not, this podcast gives a listener amind/body/soul connection point. Kari interviews people from all walks of life, who can give you tips on how to live your best life. What I love about this podcast especially is the last segment, Serena a Registered Dietician, answers questions, and gives great tips!

Join Dave Asprey as he interviews professionals in their fields on what they know
best, and how it contributes and enhances your health. Super interesting, and very fact heavy, you will
walk away feeling educated and in control of the information that will benefit your life. Seriously, every person, male or female can find something that will interest them on this podcast. ! One episode that interested me a lot was Ep. 415: On Women’s Health, Post-Birth Control Syndrome, and Brain Injuries.

Just a warning, this podcast has information that may not be appropriate to listen to with kiddos! The popular blogger Lauryn Evarts, and her husband Michael chat about health, relationships, blogging, and always has great tips to live a healthier life.

Lifestyle Podcasts

This podcast is not just sorta awesome, it’s completely awesome!! Meg, and her
rotating co-hosts chat about everything from motherhood, books, to depression. I always end these
episodes feeling like I just had a great chat with my girlfriends. 
Every episode is awesome… pardon the pun!

Topics include books, home, and travel with Tsh Oxenreider who has travelled the
world with kids, and written several books. The episodes flip flop back and forth between all these
topics with different co-hosts. Two episodes that I enjoyed are Ep. 33 Starting a Book Club, and Ep. 58 The World’s Most/Best cities.

Bestselling author Emily P. Freeman recently released a new podcast, and it’s
wonderful. Her soothing voice will lull you into living your best life. Because it’s recently released… start from the beginning and subscribe to hear weekly episodes.

Okay, this podcast is sooooooo great! Jamie and Knox tackle everything pop culture in the most hilarious way. It’s not uncommon for me to be laughing out loud the whole time. Also, for all you bookworms…. They do a great segment at the end called Red Light/Green Light, which is where they hate on something they didn’t like, and recommend something they did, which a lot of times include books!

Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, and her sister, Liz Craft provide practical, and manageable advice to live your life happier. What is so great about this podcast is that the advice that’s given simple tasks, and so easy to work into your life that you actually can apply it! One episode that was very insightful was Ep. 103: Pick your Moment.

Podcasts for Deep Thoughts

This podcast is all about the invisible forces that control human behavior, on a simplistic level, then diving into a whole new level of deep. It’s incredible, and will leave you wanting to tell everyone about what you just learned! My favourite episodes are: The Secret History of Thoughts, and The Personality Myth.

 So friends… free your calendar and start from Ep. 1, and be prepared to hear a weird, beautiful,
and deeply thought provoking true story. From the producers of Serial, Brian Reed is contacted by John who hates his hometown in Alabama, and decides to do something about it. I was stripping wallpaper in my house while I binge listened to this podcast, and am still so moved by it.

Featuring true stories, told by everyday people live and without notes. Sometimes you will
laugh so hard, or learn new things, or be brought to tears… but one thing is for sure, you will be

This podcast takes a big idea or situation, and tells its story. It starts with the smallest details,
and ends up showing you the big picture. The production is amazing, with sounds, music, science, and a ton of research! Check out this fascinating story on the episode titled: Birthstory.


Thanks Hollie, for putting this amazing, gigantic list together for us! No matter your preferences, readers, I bet you can find something to listen to from the list above. I'll also chime in here to say that I love What Should I Read Next? and S-Town, but I'll add one to the Bookish Podcast section: Overdue -- which I wrote about on the blog waaay back in 2015 and still listen to regularly!