Mystery Blogger Award Round 3

The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto of Okoto Enigmas Blog, and the purpose of the award is to honor bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging. Since this is my third go-around, I am not going to be tagging anyone today, but I really appreciate the lovely Ally of Ally Writes Things for nominating me! I’ve been friends with Ally since the beginning of my blogging days, and she provides awesome & unique book recommendations.the-mystery-blogger-award

3 Things About Me:

1. I am currently busy as ever at university. This is the second semester of my sophomore year of college, and it’s definitely been my busiest one yet. Between working three jobs, homework, and you know, going to class, my days are non-stop. But somehow I’ve been able to read 20+ books so far In 2018 and March isn’t even over yet??

2.Over my spring break, I finally tried an Acai bowl. My sister is obsessed with Playa Bowls, an Acai bowl chain that is taking over the NYC area and Jersey Shore, and she finally convinced me to try it out. I love fruit and I’m always on the lookout for healthier options (pizza being the exception), so I wasn’t too surprised to find out that I loved Playa. I had the tropical bowl, with Acai, granola, honey, coconut flakes, bananas, and pineapple.


3.I cannot wait to go to the beach this summer! My need for the beach probably has something to do with my semester stress, but I am so excited to kick back on the sand with a good book .


Ally’s Questions:

If you could change one thing about a book, what would it be?

I’m not sure if this question is posed toward a specific book, so I’m going to lean towards books overall. When it comes to physical books, I would love if they stayed open on their own when you multitask—for me, I’m talking about when I’m snacking & reading.

What’s a bookish turn-off — something that will make you not read a book?

Books with vampires. I never got into the whole vampire trend, and I never understood the Twilight hype when I read the first book.

If you could attend any bookish wedding, which would it be?

Harry Potter & Ginny Weasley. Hermione as the maid of honor, Ron as the best man, Neville as a groomsmen, Hagrid as the ring bearer, and maybe Luna as the oficiant??

What’s your favorite type of tea?

I basically live on green tea, right after water. I don’t mind hot green tea, but I prefer iced.

Who’s your favorite Disney princess?

Ariel. I know Belle is supposed to be the bookworm answer, but I loved watching The Little Mermaid and The Little Mermaid 2 on VHS growing up. My favorites also include Mulan and Rapunzel.

The Librarian of Auschwitz Review & Recommendations

Summary: Basted on the story of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, Antonio Iturbe’s The Librarian of Auschwitz follows fourteen-year old Dita as her and her family are imprisoned at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Dita has been placed in charge of the camp’s small, but highly valuable and prohibited book collection under Fredy Hirsch, Block 31’s Jewish leader. Contrary to the Nazis officers’ knowledge, Fredy runs Block 31, the hut thought to be a sort’ve daycare, as a school for the camp’s children, and it is Dita’s responsibility to give the books out for lessons as well keep them hidden from the Nazis.

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars


My Thoughts:

 The Librarian of Auschwitz is a unique story for its focus on books, a subject that typically isn’t discussed when addressing the Holocaust. The book reminded me a lot of Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray in that I had never heard of Dita Kraus’s story and Block 31, or schools, taking place within concentration camps. While The Librarian of Auschwitz is considered a young-adult novel, it’s a book that does not have to be sorted into an age category. Yes, Dita is fourteen years old when the novel begins, but she’s forced to grow up and mature under the inhumane conditions she must live through—there’s a lot of discussion in the novel, as well as in interviews with Dita Kraus, that she didn’t really get to have a childhood due to all the restrictions on Jewish citizens in Prague. The novel not only focuses on Dita, but other members in Auschwitz.  Many of the characters are based on people who were in Auschwitz with Dita, but Iturbe also incorporates real-life figures from the time period.

If you enjoyed The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, I think you will enjoy The Librarian of Auschwitz because both novels are quite and rightfully dark takes on the World War II and the Holocaust period. Additionally, both have an emphasis on books. Both books are definitely not a quick read—they’re quite heavy stories, between their page length and detailed stories. Each novel contributes something that the other novel doesn’t do with the time period; while The Book Thief focuses on civilian life and the danger of hiding Jews for both parties, The Librarian of Auschwitz tells what could’ve happened if The Book Thief took an even grimmer turn for the worse.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I often reach for books that take place during World War II and the Holocaust. Since I wrote a bit shorter of a review than I normally write for the sake of spoilers, listed below are a few books that I was reminded by while reading The Librarian of Auschwitz and highly recommend if you’re looking for books that take place during this time period: 

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys- As I mentioned above, Ruta Sepetys often tells forgotten or less-discussed stories. Salt to the Sea focuses on the worst maritime tragedy in history, the Wilhem Gustloff, as thousands of individuals race to escape the Nazi takeover and Soviet advance in East Prussia.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah- The Nightingale was one of my favorite books of 2016, and it focuses on the different lives  of two sisters in WWII-era France. With her husband away on the front, Vianne is left to raise her child in occupied France and things become even more stressful when she is forced to provide room and board for a German soldier. Vianne’s younger sister, Isabelle, wants to have a purpose in the war and joins the French resistance effort.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne BlankmanPrisoner of Night and Fog is a quite unique YA novel for featuring a main protagonist who grew up in the Nazi Party. When she meets a Jewish reporter, Gretchen begins to suspect that her upbringing, including  her father’s murder, isn’t all what it seems to be

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys- My favorite Ruta Sepetys book, Between Shades of Gray is just so heart-wrenchingly beautiful and again tells one of the less-discussed conflicts of the WWII era, following the Soviets persecution of people from the Baltic States. Fifteen-year-old Lina and her family are forced to leave their life behind in Lithuania and live in a work camp in Siberia. I’m really looking for to Between Shades of Gray’s film adaptation, Ashes in the Snow.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- The Book Thief is probably the most widely read out of these books, and like The Librarian of Auschwitz , it focuses on the power of books, as Liesel finds herself addicted to the books the Nazis so heartlessly ban. I also recommend watching its film adaptation.

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz or any of the books above? Share in the comments! 

I Like Words on Screen: What I Watched Winter 2018


While reading is my #1 way to relax, I love being able to escape to movies and TV shows. When I have free time during the school year, I love relaxing with some Netflix and Amazon Prime because it takes less concentration—being an English and Communications double major means a lot of time with words (which I obviously love) so it’s nice to time a break here and there. And while I do admit that I feel guilty sometimes about choosing film over reading, I’ve watched SO many great things between from December and February that it’s been completely worth it. The following movies and tv shows do not include rewatches (we’d be here for a while if I counted all of my Parks and Recreation time) or Christmas specials that I watched in December.


Pitch Perfect 3– While I love Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, I admit my sister and I went into with low expectations. Since the Bellas are finished with college, I didn’t know how the storyline would continue. While the plot wasn’t the most realistic, I soon fell in love with the music and even though I missed not having Skylar Austin and Ben Platt being in this installment, I really appreciated the focus on our female characters and characters. The soundtrack for this movie is actually my favorite out of all the Pitch Perfect movies because it really higlights Anna Kendrick’s talent. My favorite songs include “Freedom! ‘90” , “Toxic”, and “I Don’t Like It” and I was soon inspired to make a Spotify playlist with all my favorite songs from the movie.

Ocean’s ElevenOcean’s Eight is one of my most anticipated movies of 2018 for its female cast. In order to prepare myself for Ocean’s Eight, I know I needed to watch the movie that started it all, Ocean’s Eleven. If you’re a Six of Crows fan and need some more heists in your life, I highly recommend checking this one out.

The Big SickThe Big Sick kept popping up on Amazon Prime whenever I logged in, so I figured it was a sign to watch it. Even though there’s plenty of comedic moments, The Big Sick is not a light & fluffy comedy, as the movie is based on Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s real-life experience with Emily’s illness. I grew up watching Everybody Loves Raymond with my parents, so it was really fun to see Ray Romano play Emily’s dad.

The Greatest ShowmanThe Greatest Showman is my surprise and absolute favorite out of the movies on this list. Beforehand, I kept referring to The Greatest Showman as “that circus movie” but so many of my friends and fellow reviewers kept giving it such rave reviews that my sister and I had to see it. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have listened to the soundtrack everyday since—it’s my favorite thing to listen to when I workout! The cast was absolutely phenomenal and the movie just felt so magical and surreal. I highly recommend at least checking out the soundtrack if you haven’t already and I cannot wait until it’s released on streaming services or DVD.

Fun Mom Dinner– In my opinion, Fun Mom Dinner is the funnier and a tad more realistic version of Bad Moms. By no means am I bad-mouthing Bad Moms because I loved Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn as its leading ladies and I will probably watch Bad Moms 2, but the comedy in Fun Mom Dinner felt so much less forced. I absolutely loved the cast – Toni Collette is becoming one of my favorite actresses, I’ll watch anything with Adam Scott, AND LET’S HAVE MORE MOVIES WITH ADAM LEVINE, PLEASE- and like the name, it’s the perfect movie if you’re looking for something fun.

Miss You Already– I cannot tell you the last book or movie that made me ugly cry as much as I did during Miss You Already. Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette star as two best friends, and I figured I was in for some tears from the get-go, as Toni Collette’s character, Milly, is diagnosed with breast cancer. I loved this movie so much, especially for its the emphasis on Milly and Jess’s friendship and the focus on their family and romantic relationships. I cried SOBBED for the last thirty minutes and continued to cry afterwards (reminder that I need more Kleenex for my dorm room).

TV Shows 

The Good Place– I talked about The Good Place in my February Wrap-Up, but I basically started TGP because so many people on Twitter were talking about ALL OF THE PARKS & REC Easter Eggs. While a comedy, TGP is so thought-provoking, as the show follows a group of characters who mistakenly end up in ‘The Good Place’ after their deaths, for its discussion on the meaning of good and bad. The cast is phenomenal, and I love all of the guest appearances, especially from the Parks & Rec cast — I loved Maribeth Monroe as Mindy St. Claire & Maya Rudolph as Gen and please let there be more Adam Scott in season 3.

Ghosted– February 25th was the third anniversary of the ending of Parks and Recreation, and besides some season 6 rewatching, I knew I wanted to watch something with the P&R cast. As I’m sure you can tell from above, Adam Scott is one of my favorite actors, so I decided to continue watching Ghosted. The show features Craig Robinson and Adam Scott as detectives for a government agency that montiors paranormal activites. I watched the pilot back in September, and the Parks & Recreation anniversary inspired me to pick it up again. I’m excited to see more episodes come out in March because of Craig Robinson and Adam Scott’s chemistry and the flow of the show grows more with each episode.

What shows or movies captured your heart this winter? Any from above? Share in the comments!

Amanda Lovelace & Cyrus Parker Event + the princess saves herself in this one

On Saturday, my best friends and I spent our second-to-last day of spring break right by attending a poetry reading at our local Barnes and Noble. The best part? The event was in honor of Amanda Lovelace and Cyrus Parker, the cutest poetry-writing married couple. Amanda is known for her debut collection, the princess saves herself in this one, and both authors just came out with new books last Tuesday: Amanda’s the witch doesn’t burn in this one and Cyrus’ debut DROPKICKromance.

The event kicked off with Cyrus reading a few poems from DROPKICKromance. The collection tells his experience being in a toxic relationship and then transitions to his much healthier and happier relationship with Amanda. One of the poems he read was about Amanda and he looked at her while he read (*major swoon*). I didn’t pick up a copy at the event, but I’m hoping to borrow it from the library really soon. After his reading, Cyrus discussed his inspiration behind the collection—it’s named after his favorite move when he was a pro-wrestler (!!!)- and the work behind his writing.

thwitchdoesntburnAmanda then read a few poems from the witch doesn’t burn in this one, starting off with her dedication. I love that Amanda dedicated the princess saves herself in this one and the witch doesn’t burn in this one to fictional characters, respectively to the boy who lived (Harry Potter) and the girl on fire (Katniss Everdeen). I’ve been trying to slow down my book-buying habits due to my lack of shelf space, but the fact that Katniss and The Hunger Games were large inspirations for her collection made me buy it immediately.

After Amanda’s reading, there was a Q&A with both authors. My favorite poems in the princess saves herself in this one were about the protagonist’s  relationship to words and fiction, so I asked Amanda and Cyrus what their favorite books were. Amanda discussed her love for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, as well as her latest read, Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough, which she blurbed. Cyrus talked about his love for Leigh Bardugo and Six of Crows and that they were married by Leigh herself!! * INSERT PSA FOR MORE AUTHORS TO BECOME WEDDING OFFICIANTS HERE*

The event was in serious need of chairs so my friends and I separated when it came to seating. Blame my friend’s head for blocking out Cyrus’s face 

 Toward the end of the event, Amanda signed my copy of the witch doesn’t burn in this one and we talked more about Six of Crows (Amanda loves Nina and Cyrus loves Kaz and Inej) and Book Expo/Book Con- I will always find a way to work this into any conversation ever. If you’re attending Book Con in June, Amanda and Cyrus are going to be on a panel during the convention!

 Overall, I’m so happy that I attended this event and that my B&N is holding more and more author events (I met Jennifer E. Smith here back in September!). I can’t wait to read the witch doesn’t burn in this one and DROPKICKromance in the near future.

In anticipation for the reading & signing, I read Amanda’s the princess saves herself in this one over my spring break and you can check out my mini review below.


the princess saves herself in this one


My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

the princess saves herself in this one is the first collection in Amanda’s women are some kind of magic trilogy. Fun fact that Amanda discussed at the above event: the final collection is going to be about mermaids, entitled the mermaid’s voice returns in this one!

The collection is divided into four sections: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. the princess saves herself in this one can most definitely be read in one sitting (I separated into two just because of work, other reads, and a Brooklyn Nine-Nine marathon tiredness). The book addresses numerous, heavy topics, including abuse, death, and self-harm. Amanda’s writing is largely inspired by her own life and her writing just felt so real. I think this is why so many readers have been able to resonate with her poetry. Personally, I related the most to the book-related ones, like the one below:


I admit that I don’t read a ton of poetry so this might be more common than not, but I enjoyed how the titleswere placed at the bottom of the poem. This technique often made me have an a-ha moment and it was interesting to see what each poem was really about AFTER reading. My biggest problem with reading poetry is figuring out how the poems should be read. Amanda’s poetry heavily use spaces and while I don’t mind this practice, I often had trouble figuring out how the poem should be read aloud. I know it can be up to the reader’s interpretation or can be easily solved by listening to the audiobook.

Have you read Amanda or Cyrus’s poetry collections? Share in the comments!

Monthly Recommendations: LET’S DISCUSS *EVERY* DUOLOGY I’VE READ

In a world filled with standalones, trilogies, and more, duologies are considerably rare. Today, I’m going to be discussing my duology recommendations, which has basically formed into a list of almost every duology I’ve ever read. Please give me more duologies and less trilogies where the second books act as plot fillers (and if someone can do this, can they also get me more bookshelf space???)!

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Monthly Recommendations is a group on Goodreads and each month, there’s a new theme for recommendations. The group is for Booktubers and bloggers alike, and I discovered Monthly Recommendations through Cece of Problems of a Book Nerd.


Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo– A duology that I’m sure will deservingly top everyone’s list, Six of Crows is a perfect example of a series that just needed two books to both break and warm our hearts forever wrap up this story in the Grishaverse. However,  if Leigh Bardugo wants to write a third book, I would be the first in line. Honestly, I’d read a whole book of Wylan and Jesper living together or Inej and Kaz just staring at each other or Nina kicking butt.

This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria SchwabThis Savage Song was my first Victoria Schwab book and it made me understand why everyone loves her books.. little did I know then what Vicious would have in store. While I still enjoyed Our Dark Duet, I wasn’t completely crazy Our Dark Duet. I think my feelings would have differed if I read TSS and ODD back-to-back.

 Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman– While I have fuzzy memories of Gayle Forman’s Just One Day duology, having read it back in 2014, I remember loving its travel and self-discovery aspects.. I’d say Gayle Forman is better known for her If I Stay duology, a series I also loved at the time of reading it and I definitely don’t have fuzzy memories of me sobbing in my backyard while doing so.

Warcross by Marie Lu- While we don’t yet have the second book, I’m including Marie Lu’s Warcross because I don’t think I’ve ever anticipated a duololgy conclusion so much. As of right now, Warcross is set to be a duology, but Marie Lu has said that she will write a third book if she thinks it’s needed (she talked about this in an Instagram story Q&A in February). I’m interested to see if Warcross will stay a duology, especially since her other series are all trilogies.

Prisoner of Night and Fog and Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman – Definitely the least talked about on my list, I loved Anne Blankman’s Prisoner of Night and Fog duology for its unique story during the rise of the Third Reich, as Gretchen questions everything she’s ever known growing up in the National Socialist Party. While the plot is not entirely historically accurate, you can easily tell how much research Anne Blankman put into these books and it was interesting to see how she intertwines historical accuracy with her own spin.

Wolf by Wolf and Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin– Another historical fiction-esque duology, I adored and I admit was a bit freaked out by, is Ryan Graudin’s alternate history and genre-bending take on what would have happen if the Axis Powers won World War II.

The Monthly Recommendations Group can be found here on Goodreads


Have you read any of the duologies above? What are some of your favorite duologies? Share in the comments!

I’m Ready to Play More Than the Wii: Ready Player One Review

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. 
   But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.


My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One is a much-loved book among my fellow readers and reviewers that I knew would one day pop into my own reading. The book earned a priority spot on my TBR when I saw a trailer for its film adaptation and after finishing, Ready Player One has become one of my most anticipated film releases of 2018.

Ready Player One takes place in a world and virtual reality immersed in video games and sci-fi & fantasy content. While a lot of the games and films are from the ‘80s (reminder that I must watch every John Hughes film now), I was reminded of my own video game experience. I really enjoy playing video games, and by video games, I basically mean Nintendo. I grew up playing GameCube and Sony’s PlayStation 2, and the Wii continues to be my favorite console. My favorite way to play Animal Crossing is on my DS (let’s take a moment of silence for the disappointment that was Animal Crossing for iPhone).

Returning to Ready Player One, I loved the separation between the real world Wade lives in and the virtual world set within the OASIS—the world building overall was phenomenal! The book physically takes place in a near-future United States destroyed by energy/fuel consumption and basically any non-Earth saving ways you could imagine. I really liked learning about this society and how much the way of life is influenced by the OASIS. The OASIS is an even more mind-blowing, with all of the different worlds set inside. I think it’s safe to say many of us would be spending our days in a virtual stimulation of Hogwarts! I also loved learning about the creators of the OASIS, Og and Halliday, and seeing all of the pop cultural references.

I liked when Wade and his avatar, Parzival, team up with his friends and fellow gunters (people who make it their mission to find James Halliday’s egg) for their quest, and it was just really fun seeing them talk and play games. Art3mis was definitely my favorite “secondary” character—I loved how she was a blogger and that she could solve Halliday’s clues just as well as Wade. However, I was a bit frustrated when Wade or Art3mis magically came up with the solution to one of Halliday’s clues. Obviously, we would be reading Ready Player One all day if Ernest Cline had given us their entire thought process, but sometime it felt too easy, even for experts. I also had trouble visualizing some of the action scenes, which may have resulted from my own unfamiliarity with most of the games.

Lately, there has been a ton of hype over Ernest Cline’s confirmation that a sequel to Ready Player One is in the works. While I think the novel works really well as a standalone, I wouldn’t mind seeing Art3mis and Wade’s relationship develop and I’m curious about the future of IOI. I would even love to just have a novella to see what the winner of the Hunt (no spoilers for you!) does with their winnings.

Overall, I highly recommend reading Ready Player One if you’re looking for a unique dystopian read or if you have a love for video games and all the sci-fi things! I am more than excited to see Ready Player One in theaters when it comes out on March 29. 

I received Ready Player One from Blogging for Books for this review.

Have you read Ready Player One? Are you looking forward to the movie? Share in the comments!

Top Five Wednesday: Most Anticipated 2018 Movies


I’ve recently realized that 2018 is THE year of movie releases.There’s so many book-to-movie adaptations (especially YA), my childhood is returning to the screen, and there’s at least one movie coming out this year for plenty of fandoms. I created a thread on Twitter of my most anticipated releases and will definitely be going back to add more on– feel free to comment what films you’re looking forward to this year there as well!

Since today’s Top Five Wednesday prompt is a freebie, instead of going back and choosing an old topic, I’m going to be discussing my current top 5 anticipated movies of 2018.


Love, Simon (March 16) – It’s absolutely crazy to think that we’re only 10 days away from Love, Simon, the adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I am here to admit that I am jealous of anyone who’s been able to see an advanced screening (why of all days did I have to have night class and miss the one closest to me??).

Ready Player One (March 29) – I’ve just finished reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, so I’m prepared to see its film adaptation soon or NOW. Like most book-to-movie adaptations, I feel like there could be a few changes between the two: I think the movie will favor action over the instances where Wade is watching old movies and TV shows or trying to think his way through the Hunt.

Ocean’s Eight (June 8)- Ocean’s Eleven is one of my favorite movies, and I am more than ready for Ocean’s Eight female take and kickbutt cast! I cannot wait to see their heist at the Met Gala play out, and I ’m interested to see Danny Ocean’s role in the film.

Incredibles 2 (June 15)– While I love Disney, I am a Pixar girl at heart. The Incredibles is one of my favorite childhood movies (along with with every Pixar film ever), and it’ll definitely be a family movie day.

Mary Poppins Returns (December 25)- Just say Lin-Manuel Miranda and I’m there. Aside from LLM playing Burt, I cannot wait for Mary Poppins Returns because Mary Poppins was definitely a favorite movie of mine growing up and it was actually my first Broadway play. Like the above-mentioned films, Mary Poppins Returns has an amazing cast, between Emily Blunt, LMM, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep.

Honorable Mentions:

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (TBD)To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is only an honorable mention for the time being because we don’t have a release date just yet. Amidst all the YA releases coming out this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie didn’t come out until 2019, but I would love a fall or winter release (but summer would be an amazing choice too).

The Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16)– I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I get a bit nervous about new stories in the Harry Potter world, case in point being The Cursed Child.  However, I am interested to see where Fantastic Beasts will take us and Dumbledore’s role in it all.

Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.


If you’re still wondering where my spending money in 2018 will be going, I think it’s safe to say that it’ll be going straight to my local movie theater.

What movies are you looking forward to this year? Share in the comments!