Mija Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Mija PodcastMija Podcast created by Lory Martinez

Release Date: September 25, 2019

Episodes: 14 (Across 2 Seasons)

Summary: Hosted by a narrator known only as Mija (daughter in Spanish), each episode tells the story of how members of her family experience immigration.

My Thoughts: Mija is a phenomenal podcast everyone should listen to! With each episode, our charming narrator delves into her family’s history, Colombian heritage, and what it means to a Latina living in New York City. Martinez layers such deep character profiles across the series, weaving together a heartfelt tale of family, growing up, and the meaning of home!

Where audio drama fiction is filled with an abundance of sci-fi and fantasy tales, its nice to see podcasts like Mija that delve into modern-day contemporary to deliver a story so heartfelt and authentic, it reminds me why podcasting is one of the best spaces for fictional storytelling right now!

Throughout each episode of the Mija Podcast, our narrator (Mija) chronicles her family history from parents to cousins, even brother and grandparents! In doing so, she delves into her Colombian roots and heritage, while also exploring what it means to be a Latina (Colombian-American) in New York City.

The writing is charming, moving, and delivers personal, complex character profiles in under 10 minutes. From the very first episode I fell in love with this podcast because as someone with Latin-American roots, there’s such deeply interwoven messages about family, that really is are at the heart of Latinx culture. One of the most distinct messages that really builds over the course of this first season is that family really is connected, regardless of distance.

While each of the 8 episodes does chronicle a different family member, you begin to see how they overlap as you delve deeper into Mija’s Colombian roots, especially as we travel with Mija across different timelines.

Sound design is fantastic, not only when it comes to the exceptional soundtrack and sfx, but also Mija’s narration in general, as it explores Latinx-American culture, touches on Colombian history, immigration, and spotlighting Colombian representation. Also its no surprise that Spanish is organically woven into the narrative, but just having it spoken aloud in a fictional (but very real) story was just beautiful to hear.

Told through a first and 3rd-person perspective, the storytelling really is beautifully written and so heartfelt. You can’t help but feel such JOY when listening to Mija as it puts the focus on family not only its history, but legacy and the important values that family passes down.

In fiction, I personally feel like there is still such a long way to go in terms of Latinx rep., but podcasts such as Mija remind me that is happening little by little. Stories of hope, joy, family, are important to hear from all cultures and Martinez has really made that a hallmark of this series.

From the values, stories about traveling to visit relatives, how each family member is connected to Mija, etc. these are all pieces of much larger story that I really felt connected with and hopefully you will to.

I won’t delve into too many plot-specifics because this really is a story you need to experience for yourself! You won’t be disappointed.

While my family isn’t Colombian, hearing Mija’s stories in a way felt like hearing my family’s stories too.

Also what makes the Mija Podcast such an accessible one is that it’s available in French, English, and Spanish. Even more wonderful is that Season 2, focuses on a Chinese family who now lives in Paris!

Podcasts such as Mija are absolute gems in audio drama fiction that deliver stories you really can’t get anywhere else. Please listen to this fantastic podcast, I got through the entirety of Season 1 in 1 sitting and can’t recommend it enough, add this one to your list!

Mija Podcast is a heartfelt tale about family and home! The writing is poetic, charming, and explores deeply complex themes! With each episode, Mija delves into the life of a different family member and tells their story. Martinez has crafted a truly unforgettable podcast you don’t want to miss!

Victoriocity Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Victoriocity PodcastVictoriocity created by Chris Jugden and Jen Sugden

Release Date: October 6, 2017

Episodes: 17 (2 Seasons)

Summary: A detective comedy drama || Even Greater London, 1887. In this vast metropolis, Inspector Archibald Fleet and journalist Clara Entwhistle investigate a murder, only to find themselves at the centre of a conspiracy of impossible proportions.

My Thoughts: Victoriocity is a triumph in audio drama fiction! Set in 1887, Even Greater London, crime journalist Clara Entwhistle and inspector Archibald Fleet find themselves teaming up to solve a murder and along the way, become tangled in a conspiracy! Those who enjoy ensemble casts, and clever humor, interwoven with murder mystery should NOT miss out on this spectacular podcast, now in its 2nd Season!

Today I’m bringing a podcast review that was (*let me check my calendar) about 3 months in the making! Its only because I feel like audio drama reviews require a different muscle than writing book reviews for me personally. But, I also wanted to make sure this review makes it clear that I adore this podcast with all my heart and more people need to listen to it! Do you  LOVE dynamic characters, characters solving murders, conspiracy, a brilliant and comedic duo? How about witty humor and even more quirky characters all spotlighted through fantastic storytelling? Then let me introduce you to: VICTORIOCITY 🎙💖✨

Victoriocity delivers the kind of charming and clever storytelling that just cannot be recreated! The fusion of steampunk, murder-mystery, and comedy wrapped up into the setting of an alternate-Victorian London, doesn’t cement Victoriocity into one specific genre and that’s its beauty.

Set in 1887 Even Greater London, right away we’re introduced to inspector Archibald Fleet who’s tasked with meeting up with prominent scientist, Dr. Salik on his return to London. But, right away we can tell Salik is a prime target, perhaps its for his groundbreaking work on the Tower, which powers much of London?

Next were introduced to Clara Entwhistle who is a spunky kind of character, she’s unconventional and eager to break away from societal expectations thrust upon her by her mother. She finds herself taking up the position of a crime reporter upon her first visit to London, arriving from the countryside and ready to get started.

Early on in Season 1 you can sense their equally dynamic personalities when they’re doing their own thing, but it’s when they come together you see how brilliantly Clara and Fleet’s partnership takes the story in the best of directions!

Throughout the first season, they team up to gather clues and find potential suspects in order to figure out who killed the scientist, and why.

“Describing the richness and scale of Even Greater London, is a task that has sent many people quite mad…”

The writing is descriptive and the comedy that’s present not only in the dialogue, but interwoven throughout the 3rd person narration, is absolute genius! The quirks and details of this sprawling metropolis you’re introduced to as the series goes on, build pockets of the world in unique ways that set each place apart as you follow Clara and Fleet on their journey.

Moments of silence, repetition, or in-the-moment detail craft a distinct comedic undertone that’s present throughout the entirety of the show, even in the most dire situations.

A podcast like Victoriocity, knows the amount of care required to delve deep into its characters, world, complex mystery and that’s highlighted with each episode. It’s brilliantly ambitious in its storytelling and is unlike any other fiction podcast out there! With each quirky new character that Fleet and Clara meet on their trail to solve this mystery, the more we as listeners get immersed into the unique setting and atmosphere that’s crafted.

I also appreciate that because this series is very story-driven, it’s the kind of podcast where you really need to listen to each and every line. Without that, you may miss on key details that help you to figure out more to Even Greater London, Clara, Fleet, or the underlying conspiracy.

The jokes and humor are structured in a way where they always deliver and that’s because of how cleverly the plot/dialogue work together to make each episode unforgettable.

Let me tell you, if you adore ensemble casts, quirky characters, and detailed, expansive settings, you’ll want to listen to Victoriocity and get introduced to what Even Greater London has to offer.

The voice acting is phenomenal! Each voice actor brings a distinct energy to each and every character present in the show and really brings them to life! Clara and Fleet are 2 of my favorite characters in this series and seeing them grow along the journey of Season 1 and cementing their partnership just left me in tears by the last episode!

As someone studying journalism myself, Clara is easily the character I identified the most with! She’s like me and so unlike me in many ways its hard to describe. But, I will say its her confidence, enthusiasm, and inspirational / positive attitude that resonated deeply with me throughout this first season. I can’t wait to see what adventures her & Fleet get into next.

Victoriocity is a brilliant audio drama that introduces you to the sprawling and expansive world of Even Greater London! You’ll get immersed in the conspiracy that the inspector and journalist duo are eager to solve, all the while getting captivated by the magnificent storytelling, humor, world-building, and genius cast of characters! Start listening to this podcast right now, you will not be disappointed!

Author Interview With Lauren Shippen {The Infinite Noise + Being A Podcast Creator}

During Yallwest 2019 which ran from May 3-4, I had the opportunity to interview podcast Lauren Shippen Author Interview Infinite Noisecreator and debut author: Lauren Shippen!

Her upcoming novel The Infinite Noise is the first book in a trilogy, which will focus on different characters based on her science-fiction audio drama podcast, The Bright Sessions!

For those who don’t know, The Bright Sessions can best be described as people with superpowers going to therapy― however it goes much more beyond that, actively discussing/exploring mental health and featuring a diverse cast of characters.

The Infinite Noise is set to be released September 24 and as a big fan of TBS, I’m honored to have had the chance to chat with her all about her upcoming book and of course, podcasts (thanks Lauren💞)!

This interview took place on the last day of Yallwest on May 4! Here’s Lauren sharing The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippenwhat The Infinite Noise is all about:

“It’s a dual-perspective story about two boys in high school who are grappling with different types of mental health issues. We have Adam who’s a run-of-the-mill kid in a a lot of ways…he’s a little bit nerdy, lonely, struggles with depression, he’s gay and feels a lot like an outcast from the world. Then on the other hand we have Caleb who seems like the sort of classic football jock, but he’s actually dealing with supernatural empathy. He has extreme empathy, which means he can feel the feelings of others around him at all times. [The Infinite Noise] is about the two of them meeting and learning more about each other and themselves…”

In the world of The Bright Sessions, there are everyday people with supernatural abilities called Atypicals. The series focuses on a unique group of therapy patients who are in-fact Atypical. Told via audio recordings (mainly therapy sessions), we learn more about their mysterious therapist Dr. Joan Bright and her patients, who are all trying to better understand themselves and their abilities.

An interesting fact Shippen shared as to why the story was framed that way, was that she was originally the one sound-designing. She felt it would make sense to give an in-world reason as to why the recordings would be “lo-fi.” That set up the narrative framing early on in the show, and added a good sense of mystery as to why Dr. Bright was recording these sessions. However, eventually  Shippen broke off that format around the last few seasons and especially in her spin-off series, The AM Archives.

Its obvious that fans of the podcast are incredibly excited for the release of Shippen’s novel, however we delved into specifics when it came to those who maybe haven’t yet listened to The Bright Sessions and whether they can still get into The Infinite Noise as a standalone. She even went on to discuss a little bit more about the timeline of this novel (with the podcast having already been completed at this point):

“Definitely, yes! There are certain Easter eggs that listeners will find and enjoy, but it very much is intended to be an introduction into the world…”

Shippen also mentioned that the The Infinite Noise “starts a little bit before the podcast…” to build on that introduction for readers who haven’t heard of The Bright Sessions. While listeners will be familiar with the already established world-building, she hopes it’ll be done in a new way that doesn’t necessarily “[retread] old territory” for listeners looking to get into the book.

We even discussed more of the specifics when it came to the timeline of The Infinite Noise and how it compares to that of The Bright Sessions:

“The Infinite Noise is more true to about the first 26 episodes of the show…there are also scenes lifted directly from the podcast and expanded upon, however for future books there’ll definitely be a looser timeline…”

Within this trilogy, she will delve more into the head space of specific Atypicals and this first novel will focus on Caleb Michaels! I then asked what inspired her to delve more into his story and how she knew his story would kick-off the trilogy:

“I actually think that the reason this one was the first book and the one I wanted to tell, was that I wanted to get that non-Atypical side of the world through Adam’s story/perspective…”

Half of the novel (Adam’s perspective) is something listeners never really get to hear in the podcast and this was Lauren’s opportunity to delve more into his character!

Shippen mentioned that the early ideas of this novel actually began getting written in 2015 (when the podcast first aired). She discussed more about what writing this novel meant for her characters as the podcast was still on-going at this time:

“As I was working out Caleb’s story, [I knew] we only heard his voice in the podcast initially. Adam eventually became a character, but he was never intended to be a voiced character in the show. I wanted to do 2 things as an exercise: figure out how Caleb’s empath ability functions and get more into Adam’s head (because Caleb was spending so much of sessions talking about Adam and his connection with him).

Initially, I even shared the first couple of chapters with the actors who play Caleb and Adam (Briggon Snow & Alex Gallner) and since the book tracked closely with the first few seasons of the podcast, it didn’t feel like too much of a departure…”

Next, I asked her what delving more into both Caleb and Adam was like and what she wanted to focus on in this first book. Additionally, how being a big fan of love stories offered her inspiration on how to explore The Infinite Noise:

“The realities of having someone close to you who can feel all your feelings, [what would that be like?] I wanted to explore both the struggles and vulnerabilities in that.

I suppose this isn’t really a spoiler, but I love love stories and reading them! So, being able to tell those 2 sides, their clumsy romance through their perspectives to see what the other is thinking, making assumptions, and all that miscommunication seemed like something super fun to dig into…”

Shippen then discussed her writing process and how she approached this change when going from a script format to prose:

“It was certainly very different! I did find myself getting lost in the prose at times, because when compared to a script format, its all dialogue―for the audio medium you don’t have to worry about setting up visuals. Though I don’t think its actually changed how I approach writing scripts, because in the back of my mind I’d always been thinking about what becomes the prose in a book: how the characters are sitting, standing, looking at one another― I always think about those things when getting into scripts anyways.

I think I became more specific in my imaginings, but I don’t think it actually shifted my script writing too much.

The Bright Sessions

I then asked her how exactly the timeline of The Bright Sessions influenced how she plotted this first book:

“Because this was a meet-cute story in a lot of ways, it had to take place in a specific part of the podcast…”

Shippen really wanted to focus on the Caleb and Adam relationship and through that she knew she wanted to tell the story of them getting to know each other and getting together!

I then asked her about the canon in that of the novel vs. podcast and it was fascinating to hear her discuss them both:

“I would say the “book canon” is sort of separate from that of the official podcast canon, which I would consider the true Bright Sessions universe…”

It was interesting to hear because in reality, through an audio drama (unless its stated within the audio), specifics such as appearance are never defined. So, Shippen discussed what it was like comparing the canons of both stories:

“There are certain elements being defined, like appearance. We’ve never really defined what anyone looks like in the show and I love that―giving people the freedom to imagine what they want to imagine. The fanart that’s come out of this series has been amazing. But, even as the show progressed I had this vision of what these characters look like, their backgrounds, etc. 

Getting more into these specifics was something I could only ever do in the books, because in the show its not something that can be done through dialogue.

However, because people already have established headcanons for what these characters look like, I don’t want people to think “oh, now knowing Caleb’s eyes are this color, I can’t make fan-art of him looking this way anymore”―No, I still want you to do that, you can still imagine however you want to imagine. So, with that I can say that the podcast is the truest form…”

The Bright Sessions podcast is known for its focus on mental health and delving into psychology (which is one of my many favorite aspects). So, I then asked Shippen if she found herself focusing on that in the novel or if she found the specifics in that translation from podcast to book as challenging:

“It’s actually a lot of the novel because throughout it, Caleb is in therapy, but its less of focus I would say. You know, so much of the conflict takes place in the therapy room and Dr. Bright having all these patients. Where for Caleb, its really much is just an element of his life, which is my intention. Because in the show (therapy) is such a driving force, within the novel I explore the idea that “Yes! This can be a part of your life, while you still have all these other things going on.”  So, its something you can use to check on things and figure something out…”

It was important for her to show this positive representation of therapy. Because it can be such an intrinsic part of our lives, she wanted it to be showcased in a different way, but still highlighting that its as much a part of the book as it is the podcast!

I then asked her if she ever found herself re-listening to the show or rereading scripts to get back into the headspace for the novel:

“It’s funny! I actually haven’t relistened to any Bright Sessions episodes since they were released, because by the time their released I’ve listened to hours and hours of them. I don’t sound-design them, but I do edit all the dialogue so I’m listening to the same lines I’ve recorded over and over again.

But, I did go back and re-read some of the scripts, especially since I needed to reference them for certain moments in the book. There’s been an instance where I would go back and listen to Briggon’s character on the podcast (or even call him) to get back into Caleb’s voice. Adam was someone who was very much like me in high school, so his voice was an easy one to hop into. Caleb overtime, has become a little different and increasingly overtime became a blend of Briggon and I…”

Then within the second part of our interview, I chatted with Lauren more about her background as a podcast creator. She’d been listening to 2 audio fiction shows, Welcome To Nightvale (which she mentioned has been many people’s entrance to the audio fiction world) and a BBC Radio For Comedy called Cabin Pressure:

“I  was really enjoying both of these shows a lot and thinking about stories that I wanted to tell, also making something I could have completely my own. So I thought “okay, here’s this [wide] spectrum of different ways of doing audio fiction…” I began thinking about characters, then the idea of including therapy came to me. It made sense for me to have it be 2-person conversations and go from there…”

There was also this one quote that really stuck with me throughout our interview when I asked if she started out wanting to have certain messages or ideas get across through her podcast of The Bright Sessions:

“I more think about the human stories I want to tell and telling them in a way that is interesting and authentic to me…”

Shippen then shared that if there was a message she wanted to get across as she developed the show, it was this:

“I think if there is one thing I wanted to communicate because this was the intention I had in making it is helping people feel less alone. That’s both from a character and audience perspective, what The Bright Sessions is really about is these people who feel very isolated, feel very different, and alone, then finding themselves, others, and realizing they don’t have to lonely…”

I then asked Shippen if there were any episodes in particular that we’re personal or memorable for her:

“Every episode is personal to me in some way, maybe not necessarily because I personally experienced it, but because of the way I approach in writing those scripts is coming from a genuine place. 

As for memorable, we did a musical episode for our 50th episode which was hugely memorable. The writing process was incredibly different for that and I worked with my composer Evan Cunningham on the songs. I also think the Season 3 Finale episodes 39 & 40 were hugely memorable because that was the first time we ever recorded in a professional studio (we’d be moving as the characters would and did 10 hours of straight recording).

Those remain as my favorite episodes of all time because everyone just knocked it out of the park!”

I then asked Shippen who her favorite characters in The Bright Sessions were, if she had to pick:

“That’s so hard, I really do love all of them because they’ve all surprised me in different ways. I think Mark is one of my favorites (& easiest) to write because he’s snarky and charming, very much in the same way that Damien is― and I loved writing their dynamic specifically.

Andrew Nowak and Charlie Ian who play Mark and Damien had such amazing chemistry that it went in directions none of us were expecting and it was wonderful! 

Similarly, Julia Morizawa and Ian McQuown who play Dr. Bright and Agent Green, have brought layers and depth to their characters in ways I didn’t expect, so exploring their characters and dynamic (which is a huge part of The AM Archives) has been so fun! 

In the end though, I really do love them all!”

Next we talked a bit more about any difficulties when it came to developing any part of The Bright Sessions world in particular and Shippen said that the hardest character to write from a mechanical perspective has been Chloe (the mind reader, voiced by Anna Lore):

Your always writing two conversations on top of each other. She’d be having a conversation with someone she’s talking to, but then she’s hearing their thoughts and responding to their thoughts.”

“When it comes to the mechanics of writing someone who’s reading everyone’s thoughts, that was very challenging…”

We then got into theorizing where podcasts would be headed in the future and Shippen shared that this is something the community and creators are often discussing:

“We’re definitely going to see more large studios getting into the medium…”

With the audience of podcasting growing, she shared that it wouldn’t be surprising to see these companies begin to create more of their own original content.

Shippen then explained that what you often see in television or film, can (and already is) finding its way to podcasting, for instance through subscriptions. The most recent example is that of Luminary, a podcast subscription app where listeners can find her continuation to The Bright Sessions world, The AM Archives!

“I’m sure we’ll also see a diversification in the way podcast and their creators are supported from listener support, ads, touring, merchandise because, not any one way is sustainable for all creators…” 

I’m thrilled to have had the chance to chat with Lauren about The Infinite Noise, her wonderful podcast The Bright Sessions and delve more into her work as a podcast creator! Its exciting to see this podcast coming to life in book form and I hope readers will check out her debut!

If you haven’t listened to The Bright Sessions, what are you waiting for? Do you love relatable and complex character-driven stories? An ensemble cast you’ll fall in love with? Superpowers? Then check out Lauren Shippen’s podcast! 

If you are a fan of TBS, also keep an eye out this week for a special giveaway of The Infinite Noise! 💡🎙✨

Are you looking forward to reading The Infinite Noise? Have you listened to The Bright Sessions podcast? 🎙📚❤

Fictional Faves: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno

Hey everyone 24hr.YABookBlog here! (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 Have you ever wondered what your favorite fictional characters would enjoy from our world? I know I sure have, that’s why today I’m so excited to share with you Fictional Faves !! 🎉🎊

Don't Date Rosa Santos by Nina MorenoI was inspired to create this post because as an aspiring YA writer, my favorite part of the creation process has always revolved around my characters!

So, the introduction into today’s post will feature Rosa Santos from Nina Moreno’s Don’t Date Rosa Santos! If you’re interested in reading my thoughts on this lovely contemporary you can check out my full review here!!

I’ll be listing books, video games, and other fun fictional stories that I think Rosa would really enjoy!

Books

Rosa has got a lot on her plate from finalizing her college plans, setting up for her town of Port Coral’s Spring Fest, while also trying to explore more about her family’s past to feel more connected to her Cuban roots, and maybe even find love along the way!

Analee, In Real Life by Janelle MilanesThat’s why I feel Rosa would really love books by Janelle Milanes! Milanes is a YA author who also writes contemporary stories centering around Cuban-American main characters (who also have anxiety)! With her most recent book being: Analee, In Real Life!

Rosa would feel such a deep connection to her books because she even mentions in Don’t Date Rosa Santos that although she’s grown up in Port Coral that has a Latinx community, on a personal level she still hasn’t found that connection to her own Cuban history!

Not only would Rosa easily devour Milanes’s books in one sitting, but she’d also be able to relate to them on such a personal level. Also considering that Rosa is graduating high school, she would find Milanes’s younger characters incredibly brave and inspiring (Victoria: 15 and Analee: 16 or 17 I think?). Reading about Cuban-American protagonists just like her that overcome their own obstacles, would also inspire her to to the same!

Podcasts

If Rosa were in the mood for a podcast, I think she would really enjoy the urban fantasy audio drama: Return Home!

return-home-podcast

Return Home, created by Jeff Heimbuch centers around Jonathan Barker who is told to “return home” to his home of Melancholy Falls, NJ. From there he reunites with his best friend Buddy and former girlfriend Amy as they uncover the mysterious and supernatural happenings of their town!

Rosa would really enjoy this podcast because coming from a small town herself, she’d relate to the tight-knit community presented in the show! Also, it would have her wondering maybe Port Coral has some of its own supernatural mysteries left undiscovered? (especially when she’s heard of the town’s hidden Golden Turtle).

Video Games

I’ll honestly find any reason to include Kingdom Hearts on my blog every now and again, but I truly believe if Rosa were to play video games, she would really love this series!

joyce-mccown-791673-unsplash books

Kingdom Hearts is a JRPG that follows Sora on his adventures to travel across different worlds inspired by the Disney films! Its a story about friendship + the bonds between, as he fight monsters and learns more about the light/darkness the tie the worlds together.

With Rosa’s dream to explore more beyond her small town, much like the themes within Kingdom Hearts, she would relate to the main characters of Sora and Riku! Also, I believe she’d appreciate a good adventure with unique and immersive fantasy lore, and complex storytelling!

I also feel she would listen to the Destiny Islands theme on repeat–I know I sure did while reading Moreno’s book (it gave me such Port Coral vibes)! 😂🎧💖

So those are the fictional stories Rosa would absolutely love!

What are your thoughts on today’s Fictional Faves? Any recommendations for another fictional character I should create a list for?

The AM Archives Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

The AM ArchivesThe AM Archives created by Lauren Shippen

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Episodes: 1 (Ongoing)

Running Time: 24 Minutes

Release Schedule: Weekly

The AM Archives Podcast is available through Luminary

Summary: This sci-fi series picks up where hit podcast The Bright Sessions left off. The original series followed a group of therapy patients with supernatural abilities as they uncovered the secrets of their therapist, Dr. Bright. Six months after The Bright Sessions concludes we begin again with The AM Archives, a Luminary exclusive that tracks the mysterious Dr. Bright as she tries to reform the institution that once betrayed her. Along with time traveler Sam Barnes and ex-enemy Owen Green, Dr. Bright helps “Atypicals” learn how to use their abilities. But in an effort to defang The Atypical Monitors, the trio comes face to face with a patient unlike any other…

My Thoughts: The AM Archives brings you back into the world of The Bright Sessions with an all-new story to tell! This first episode reintroduces the listener to familiar characters like Dr. Bright, Sam, & Agent Green! The world of The AM was shrouded in mystery, however this series shows a new perspective to this core setting of The Bright Sessions universe!

This is a series that I’ve been really looking forward to because it is a spin-off to a favorite audio drama podcast of mine, The Bright Sessions!

The AM Archives Episode 1 is a new chapter in this universe that will leave listeners ready for all that’s to come next in this series.

Six months have passed with Dr. Bright, Sam, and Agent Green finalizing their work to the new AM facility.

Throughout the episode there is a lot of discussion (with ideas they bounce back & forth among each other) to ensure the new facility works in the best interest for not only its new image, but being more inclusive/personal to Atypicals as a whole, and the patients especially!

When fictional universes have continuations, sequels, etc. it can seem like there’s often rehash or excessive reminder of past events. With The AM Archives that is not the case!

The information that’s relayed to us, in my opinion, offers important reminders listeners ought to keep in mind (about the AM facility, Tiers, dynamics of the AM) that will be vital as the story progresses.

The world-building was definitely a highlight of this episode. While we’re all familiar with this universe of The Bright Sessions with Atypicals, the AM facility, etc., The AM Archives really symbolizes the growth to the organization and all the progress that’ll surely follow.

What I loved about this first episode was that I could hear the excitement, also anticipation that these characters are working towards and the change they are eager to bring to the world of Atypicals.

I’m looking forward to the new AM and how they really want to be more inclusive of Atypicals in their division now!

We’re introduced to a couple new characters right away–there’s Jackson Crawford, a new agent assigned to the facility who came all the way from The AM’s HQ.

From my perspective I see how his introduction may sort of symbolize this “old vs. new” view of The AM, but he’s very eager to help the organization as much as he can.

There’s also Maggs, Operations Manager for the AM! She’s also wanting to bring change to the AM as well and I loved that she’s all for making The AM feel more personal and inviting!

Overall I loved both Maggs & Jackson, their great introductions, and their interactions with Agent Green, Sam, & Dr. Bright! I can’t wait to learn more about them. There was also a new character named Dr. Sharpe who listeners get a small glimpse of in this episode and I can’t wait to learn more about her to!

The dynamic between Sam, Agent Green, & Dr. Bright was also great to listen to its something we got a lot more of near the end of The Bright Sessions, so I’m really looking forward to hearing how their relationships develop among each other!

To avoid major spoilers for the rest of the story I will say that the voice acting (writing/script included) and sound design really immerse you into this world and new adventure of The Bright Sessions! Everything comes together fantastically!

I’m incredibly excited to continue exploring The Bright Sessions universe and see where this new story is headed!

One thing to mention is that I found it funny that I hadn’t noticed until the end, the show is no longer in the format of audio recordings 😂🎙

The AM Archives is a must-listen for fans of The Bright Sessions! This first episode lays the foundation for what looks to be a great continuation to the series! From the return of past characters, to new introductions, immersive/detailed world-building of The AM, and a plot that will have you hooked, this is an audio drama you don’t want to miss! You’ll finish the first episode of The AM Archives wanting the next one right away! 🎙💡✨

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen Cover Reveal + Thoughts {The Bright Sessions}

Hey, 24hr.YABookBlog here (~˘▾˘)~ 💞✨📚 I’m back on the blog today to discuss a cover reveal I’ve been highly anticipating!

The Bright SessionsBased on The Bright Sessions science-fiction audio drama podcast, it was announced early last year that the creator Lauren Shippen would be adapting it into a YA trilogy!

The podcast, told through therapy sessions, among various audio recordings, focuses on therapist Dr. Bright who provides therapy for the “strange and unusual” or those with supernatural abilities. The show delves deeper into Dr.Bright’s past and more about her patients!

The podcast explores and discusses mental health in such an in-depth way and presents a brilliant and incredibly developed cast of characters–So, I HIGHLY recommend checking out this podcast if you haven’t already!

The first Bright Sessions novel, titled The Infinite Noise had its official cover reveal today via Lauren Shippen’s Twitter and today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this cover & a little bit more on why I’m really looking forward to this book!

Here is the cover
Cover Artist: Victo Ngai

 

Here’s a full summary of The Infinite Noise:

Caleb Michaels is your average sixteen-year-old. He goes to school, plays football, teases his little sister. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”

Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand. 

Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.

This is a fantastic cover & I can’t believe this book will actually be releasing this year!! The colors, the art-style, it captures and really illustrates Caleb’s ability (as an empath) and with that, Caleb as a character!

I’m beyond excited to read this book, not only as a big fan of the podcast looking to get more background into some of my favorite characters from the show, but also seeing how many more people will discover this amazing podcast through Shippen’s novel!

I’ve been a fan of this podcast for years and its amazing to see Shippen expand on the wonderful characters she’s created with this upcoming trilogy!

If you haven’t yet listened to The Bright Sessions, what are you waiting for? Go listen to it if you love stories with a complex plot & characters, superpowers, thorough exploration of mental health, and ever-present themes of friendship + family! 💡🎙✨

The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen is set to be released September 24, 2019!

What are your thoughts on The Infinite Noise cover?

Have you listened to The Bright Sessions podcast? & If you have, are you looking forward to this book?

Flyest Fables Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

flyest fables podcastFlyest Fables created by Morgan Givens

Release Date: October 1, 2018

Episodes: 8

Running Time: Episodes range from 15 to 26 minutes

Summary: Flyest Fables brings you anthology style and critically acclaimed hopepunk fables for the 21st century. Created by Morgan Givens.

My Thoughts: Flyest Fables is an anthology audio drama podcast! There’s a magical book and an even more magic tale inside, just waiting to be read! Merging contemporary with fantasy, this is an inspiring podcast that showcases brilliant storytelling!

As my audio drama podcast lists grows as high as my TBR, I’ve made it a goal for 2019 to get back into listening to podcasts and review them more!

My first podcast of 2019 is a 2018 debut titled, Flyest Fables!

Created by Morgan Givens, this anthology-style audio drama is a podcast that focuses on black and brown protagonists who encounter a magical book with their name mysteriously engraved on the cover and get immersed in a fable that’s more than it seems upon first glance!

Episode 1, “Like Little Mice Mocking His Humiliation,” follows 6th-grader Antoine leaving class before the final bell! He’s trying to outrun bullies who’ve bothered him since kindergarten and luckily finds a fence near the school with a hole he hadn’t noticed before.

From there he passes through to escapes the bullies, but as he continues walking he soon finds a bench and a book with his name on it!

Filled with blank pages, it isn’t until he finds his moment of peace when he starts singing that the book quickly fill with words!

Not just any words, but a story of a far away land and a princess on a quest!

He looks at the book one more time and gets lost in the story of the Princess Keisha from the Kingdom of Orleans.

It turns out she’s been on a quest and to return home with a flower that would heal her mother, the Queen.

But as she trudges through the desert, she’s unsure if she’ll make it back in time because the journey itself was filled with lots of misfortune. As weeks pass though, she thinks back to the quartermaster and her mother’s words that stay with her as she finds her kingdom slowly getting closer and closer!

“I am not behind you, why do spend so much time there?…Or [is it that you] spend so much time looking at the past?…”

“It would be so easy to turn around…but I will not…”

As the story starts getting good, Antoine’s phone starts ringing from his mother to pick him up and realizes he’d been transported into that story for hours! As he tries to explain to her what happened, he keeps the book by his side waiting to return to that magical tale!

The writing was incredibly atmospheric! Through the 3rd person narrative, there is such depth to the unique world of this podcast and especially the main characters Antoine and Princess Keisha, but also the Kingdom Of Orleans.

Givens brilliantly juxtaposes his main protagonist with that of the fictional character to offer them and the listener with inspiring messages of hope and courage!

Antoine is a boy who’s running away from his bullies, but he gets introduced to a brave heroine who is facing her obstacles and not giving up!

Though I’ve only listened to this first episode, I can’t wait to hear more!

The voice acting was great! I haven’t looked too much into it, but I think creator Morgan Givens does all the voices and all the characters are given so much depth where I feel I know a good amount about them from just a few lines!

The atmosphere of Flyest Fables itself also delivers a feeling of optimism and hope which I love! The inspiring tales and the main characters who come to life are also sure to inspire listeners!

This young adult anthology above all showcases and spotlights positivity through its storytelling and I love that!

Speaking of storytelling, that is definitely another fantastic element to this audio drama! Even when faced with challenges, its the power of tales that remind our protagonist of his courage!

I haven’t taken a look at the other episodes yet, but I see the overarching theme of protagonists finding this magical book and with that, the stories remind them of the magic they have within themselves to channel their own strengths & bravery!

Flyest Fables is a brilliant podcast that spotlights the power and importance of storytelling! The fantastic and atmospheric writing deliver not only a unique world, but great protagonists who offer inspiring messages of courage and bravery! If your looking for a wholly unique tale that weaves contemporary with fantasy brimming with hope, I highly recommend this podcast!

Flyest Fables introduces fictional heroes while also reminding the listener of their inner hero! ✨🎙

Girl In Space Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Girl In Space PodcastGirl In Space created by Sarah Rhea Werner

Release Date: September 9, 2017 (Trailer)

Episodes: 11 (Ongoing)

Running Time: 27-41 Minutes

Release Schedule: Bimonthly

Summary: Nothing fancy here — just the simple audio diary of a girl in space. Also, there’s this weird and potentially ominous light in the distance that seems to be growing steadily closer. Listen twice a month for science, guns, trust, anti-matter, truth, beauty, inner turmoil, and delicious cheeses. It’s all here. In space.

My Thoughts: Girl In Space is a brilliant and thought-provoking audio drama set aboard the Cavatica spaceship! We follow X as she’s lived her entire life in space aboard her parents research vessel, but we soon learn she isn’t alone.

Girl In Space is easily one of my all-time favorite Sci-Fi/Space audio dramas of all-time! It will forever hold a special place in my heart and continues to be one of my favorite on-going audio dramas!

If your looking for a thought-provoking, introspective, character-driven, and immersive story set in space, this podcast is a must!

X is a girl in space! She’s lived aboard her parent’s research vessel led by Caldwell Enterprises, the Cavatica, all her life. Now, she is continuing her parents work by researching Ra (a star) that has connection to X herself + more mysteries to uncover about it as the series continues. She spends her days continuing research, making delicious cheese, & watching her favorite movie, Jurassic Park!

The descriptive and thought-provoking writing really brings the character of X and the world of Girl In Space to life! With the podcast presented as an audio diary, she makes you feel like your part of the journey alongside her! Overall, the writing is fantastic!

The plot is incredibly complex, leads you in suspense, and just leaves you wanting to know even more about the story with each episode!

We soon learn X isn’t entirely alone, because a fleet of ships led by The Enforcer One finds her and needs her + her work. The only problem, she isn’t exactly sure why.

Left with her wits, clever + quick thinking, and friendly AI Charlotte, X learns more about The Enforcer One, its crew, and their mysterious agenda as to why they are so curious about her and her ship!

The world-building is equally phenomenal! From the sun Ra, to the intricacies of the Cavatica and the mysterious fleet that’s found her, The Enforcer One.

You learn more about X’s work on the Cavatica, from her monitoring of the radiation of Ra, which is her main assignment aboard the ship, and ensuring the overall maintenance of the Cavatica.

From the politics, intrigue, science, and technology, so many different elements are explored with such depth that you see more to the world of Girl In Space with each episode!

The cast of characters are also so utterly phenomenal! This podcast has got a stellar plot and it shows through its fantastic characters!

Of course we have the main character X, Charlotte, Captain Miles Chen (who is in charge of The Enforcer One), alongside Kai, Thor, & Chance, who are soldiers aboard Enforcer One! Aside from them, there’s also more characters to come throughout the series (Dani!! She’s also one of my new favorite characters!!)

The characters who X encounters aren’t all they appear to be over the course of the series, you see how they grow and change with X now being their main concern, and that they become X’s closest friends/confidantes as she uncovers more to the secrets behind this government ship and what exactly her purpose is in their investigation!

Out of all the characters, I love X & Miles! Their dynamic and growth throughout the series has easily made them my favorite audio drama duo! X is a really thought-provoking and introspective kind of character, she’s very formal in her way of speaking and having the podcast delivered through such a fascinating character, is also what makes Girl In Space so worth a listen!

Miles is also another one of my favorite characters in this audio drama! He’s the captain in charge of learning more about X and her ship’s research! He’s mainly just focused on getting answers from her, but the more X gets involved in the mysteries of The Enforcer One, the more we see from Miles!

Both X & Miles so complex and interesting–I love them so much!! The development they undergo doesn’t seem apparent at first, but the more you listen, the easier it is to see how they grow and change as they both have to find a way to work together to get what their searching for!

What also makes the plot so unique and brilliant is the way secrets get uncovered in ways you don’t expect! You begin to question and learn so much about this world, but how the answers are revealed and just the overall way the story is delivered makes you want to keep on listening!

Alongside the plot and characters, what also makes this audio drama so incredibly immersive is the atmosphere it delivers through the sfx, even the execution of its plot and characters! It gives off an eerie but wholly unique space atmosphere!

While the story grapples so much from loneliness, family, friendship, and government secrets, it also brilliantly delivers comedy through X and her witty and clever personality!

It may seem that the story is slow, but that’s really because the pacing at which it goes, really allows the characters and world to really build! The story itself is also incredibly complex with so many pieces that each episode lends so much to the overall story and mystery of the show!

So without giving too much away, that’s all I can really say about Girl In Space!

If your looking for an immersive, character-driven story set in space, this is the podcast for you!

Girl In Space is a brilliantly crafted sci-fi audio drama podcast that explores adventures in space! There’s politics, comedy, intrigue, mystery, fantastic characters, & a brilliant plot! With so many complex layers to this fascinating story, Girl In Space is perfect if your a fan of space, crews in space, thought-provoking characters, sci-fi, and so much more!

That concludes my 3rd audio drama podcast review! 🌌✨ Its always so much fun creating podcast reviews because they always continue to inspire me with their wonderful storytelling & my goal is to spread the word about these amazing shows! If you’ve listened to Girl In Space or are planning to, lets discuss in the comments below!

I do hope to post more podcast reviews in the future so definitely keep an eye out for them! Any podcasts you recommend? Any your listening to now? 🎙✨❤ 

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch Review

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff HeimbuchInterludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 by Jeff Heimbuch

Publisher: Create Space Independent Publishing

Release Date: January 4, 2018

Pages: 108

Available Through The Book Depository: Interludes From Melancholy Falls Volume 1

Summary: How much do you really know about the town of Melancholy Falls, NJ? Its citizens, its history…it’s all probably a mystery to you. Peel back the curtain and crack open an interdimensional portal into this book to learn more about the things that inhabit this strange place.

Based on the serialized audio drama RETURN HOME, Interludes from Melancholy Falls: Volume 1 contains 16 tales that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you scared, and make you hungry for more.

Whether you’re a long-time fan of the show or a new visitor in town, there is something in here for everyone. But be careful…you may not want to leave.

Isn’t it time for you to return home?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 is a collection of 16 short stories based on the audio drama podcast, Return Home! Centering around different characters and the setting within the show, Melancholy Falls, NJ, this is perfect for listeners of the podcast looking to get more background on the world of  Return Home!

If you’re unfamiliar with this fiction podcast, Return Home centers around Jonathan Barker who is told to ‘return home’ to his town of Melancholy Falls, NJ. From there he reunites with his best friend Buddy & former girlfriend Ami, as they solve the supernatural happenings of their town! Within each episode they meet new characters, discover new creatures, and secrets about Melancholy Falls, additionally the interlude episodes tell the stories of characters besides the main cast, and allow you to learn a little more about the creatures and odd occurrences of the town!

If you’ve never listened to the podcast, I definitely recommend checking it out! Its got a great cast of characters, unique story that’s filled with mystery, comedy, fantasy/the supernatural, & if your a fan of small town supernatural mysteries, this is definitely a podcast to listen to!

Considering it had been a while since I listened to the podcast, I did re-listen to a couple episodes for some of the short stories, (I think the book covers up to Interlude 6). However, you don’t have to! This is an immersive short story collection that gives more insight into side characters and the town of Melancholy Falls!

Heimbuch delivers these short stories through various mediums which build on the world of Return Home. Speeches, first/third person narratives, poetry, transcripts, excerpts, etc. will allow you explore the world of Melancholy Falls from a different perspective!

One of my favorite aspects of these stories was getting more on the history of Melancholy Falls, because throughout the series it’s clear this town has quite a past! However, through Interludes, it’s great to be able to have additional tidbits of info that build more into the show!

With each story you’re automatically immersed into a new character or setting of the world!

Because these stories are more character-driven and are very quick-paced, within the ones focusing on characters specifically, the setting and world-building description is a bit minimal.

What I really enjoyed about Interludes was that even though Jonathan, Ami, & Buddy were mentioned from time to time (ex.  Jonathan + Buddy were included in story 4: The Day After), it was great to get more background and backstory on just the characters and places we maybe aren’t too familiar with from Return Home!

I also loved that some stories built up to episodes from the podcast or added to the ending of certain episodes! It really added more detail to the podcast and I was immediately thrown back into the world of Melancholy Falls, but through different perspectives!

Some of the short stories that I really loved include:
– “Big Joan” Which centers around Big Joan, the owner of Big Joan’s diner (a popular hang-out spot in the series) and what led to her running it!
“Here Comes…” which focuses on how The Raggity Man came to be!
– The Woman At The Falls, which explores a legend of Melancholy Falls
+ – The Melancholy Falls Visitor Guide!

Interludes From Melancholy Falls Vol. 1 is a must read for fans of the Return Home podcast, looking to get more info on the interesting characters and places of Melancholy Falls, New Jersey! 

Dark Ages Podcast Review {Literary Listens}

Dark Ages PodcastDark Ages created by Brandon Kraemer

Release Date: May 17, 2018 (Trailer) & May 24, 2018 (Episode 1)

Episodes: 1

Running Time: Currently Episode 1 runs to 1 Hour & 9 Minutes

Summary: High fantasy. High culture. Low attendance. For the staff of the Rivercliffe Museum of Mostly Natural Histories, the only thing harder than attracting patrons is suffering each other…until a new exhibit results in a world of trouble marching up to their front gate.

My Thoughts: Dark Ages is a comedic, high fantasy audio drama! With an expansive world, solid cast of characters, brilliantly written, and complex story, this newly released audio drama is one to definitely check out!

After finishing The Bright Sessions series finale, I was on the look for even more audio dramas to add to my already filled subscription feed.

As I was browsing twitter, I came across Dark Ages!

The summary sounded so unique and interesting and because of my love of the Audio Dime Museum, I was definitely intrigued to check out another museum-centered podcast!

It was fantastic and easily one of my new favorites! I am beyond excited to see where the next episode and series as a whole, is headed!

The story is very intricate and complex, that I was worried it would be difficult to follow along, but with each passing minute I found myself understanding even more of the intriguing story and world!

Episode 1, The New Exhibit (aka The Crown of Shadow’s Dawn), begins with the Dark Priest conducting a ceremony that brings back The Dark Lord. And after his 999 year slumber, he’s ready to reclaim and conquer worlds, alongside his goblin army, and his Crown Of Shadows Dawn.

But, to his surprise its gone!

Though its clear its a very expansive world in just this first episode, the backstory to how the museum got the crown was weaved in so perfectly and expanded on what we heard in the previous scene through The Dark Priest & Lord!

As we learn of his plan to get the crown back, we are then taken to the city Rivercliffe, located on the planet of Middle Elsewhere.

The local museum suffers but not on new exhibit day! However, as it turns out the new exhibit is for none other than, the Crown Of Shadows Dawn!

The lore of the crown expands as we learn that one of the employees of the museum worries that they should look into it more before setting it up for display!

Now as we are introduced more of the staff, we learn of the great threat outside their museum doors, The Dark Lord and his army, eager to find the crown!

The descriptive writing not only builds a paranormal and fantastical setting, but also easily introduces you to the expansive world of the Dark Ages Podcast!

Characters, from their very first introductions, are incredibly developed and well rounded, and while this is the first episode there is quite an expansive cast of characters which is great!

I did find it hard to keep track of them all at some points (name-wise), but of course it is just the first episode and after reaching the end, definitely had a better understanding of each character!

The dialogue is so clever and brilliantly executed that each of the voice actors delivery, really allowed each character to stand out!

There were so many amazing characters and I really loved them all! I can’t wait to see how they develop even more over the course of the show!

For example, Nick! Though he is an employee of the museum, he is tasked by Marwood (the curator) with staying away from the crown.

According to the Marwood, he’s a thief who has been known to steal exhibit pieces due to curiosity.

I just really loved how his character was introduced and overall he was such an interesting character!

Again, while there were so many interesting and wonderfully developed characters, I also loved Malison (the legal attorney to the museum), Marwood, and the Dark Lord!

Malison is introduced in the beginning, but I loved how her character is developed in an interesting way near the end! Getting more to her backstory and how it played into the plot made the ending to the first episode surprising and overall a great set up for the rest of the series!

As Marwood tries to keep his museum safe from the invasion, we definitely learn more about him and just how much he cares about the museum and how important the crown is for the future of it!

The writing brings so much life and personality into each character, the setting, lore and fantastic comedy that’s weaved throughout the entire episode!

As the plot progresses with the Dark Lord’s arrival, the whole museum scene where the staff gets split up and tries to trick or go after the goblins was so well done and hilarious! I loved that entire scene, which basically runs for the majority of the episode! It really revealed more about the characters and was just so incredibly well executed!

The end of the episode its revealed Malison is also a sorceress and used dark powers/legal work (& help of the underworld) to keep the crown from returning to the Dark Lord, when he, his army &the museum staff finally reach the exhibit.

As the episode comes to an end, its revealed that the Dark Lord compromised to get his crown as long as he stays as an exhibit alongside the it.

The employees are now in charge of looking over him as he’s stuck for a year in the exhibit.

Now its clear he will regain his power alongside the crown as he plans to use that time and wait until the contracted time is up.

The ending left me wanting the 2nd episode right away and with so many theories on where the story is headed!

The Dark Ages podcast starts off on an incredibly high note with its first episode! The superb writing delivers a stellar cast of characters, brilliantly weaves comedy with fantasy, and delivers a plot that clearly has so much in store! The Dark Ages audio drama podcast is definitely one to listen to if your a fan of comedy, dark/high fantasy, intricate lore, and vast world + wonderfully developed cast of characters! ✨🎙

That concludes my 2nd audio drama review! There are definitely more audio drama reviews I plan to recommend & can’t wait to share! I hope to continue with this new addition to Literary Listens because there are just so many great audio drama podcasts out there that do such a phenomenal job with storytelling and I’m hoping my posts have inspired you to check them out! 🎉✨

Are you interested in the Dark Ages podcast? Are there any audio drama podcasts that you recommend? 🎙✨