The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman | MOVIE REVIEW + Special Guest

On March 28th, my friend and I had the pleasure to attend an early screening of The Zookeeper's Wife. Thanks to the team at Focus Features for making this possible! Although quite long overdue, today I'm excited to share with you guys my thought about the movie. I started the book prior to watching the movie but still haven't finished it, so I'll save a book review for the next time! My friend, Mandy, will also be joining me on a joint review. She's way more seasoned than I in the time period in which this takes place, as she works in our school's Holocaust museum. I brought her along with me because she was interested in the movie from the beginning, and she's really passionate about educating herself at this time in history. 

Title: The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
Author: Diane Ackerman
Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: September 7th, 2017
Genre: Nonfiction, History, World War II
In 1939 Poland, Antonina Żabiński (portrayed by two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are—and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, the Żabińskis covertly begin working with the Resistance—and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk.

The Washington Post praised the book as being “simultaneously grave and exuberant, wise and playful,” while Jonathan Safran Foer wrote, “The Zookeeper's Wife will touch every nerve you have.”

A Focus Features release, it is directed by Niki Caro, written by Angela Workman.

Buy it now! 

The Holocaust was irrevocably one of the most terrible and tragic events to have occurred in history. Not only did so many Jewish people lose their lives, but many risked their lives to shelter them and fight this injustice. Two of those people were Antonina and Jan Zabinski and their son Rys Zabinski- a family who spent most of WWII hiding away Jews in their zoo. The Zookeeper's Wife is a true story retold through the eyes of Diane Ackerman who perfectly captured the innocent and fragile atmosphere of everyone inside the zoo while the world crumbled around them.

The last time a movie made me cry, I think it was The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I cried during a eulogy, a part near the end of the movie. However when I was watching TZW, I was crying throughout the entire thing. It's sad to admit that I had never studied the facts of what really happened during the Holocaust- how Jewish people in hiding lived from day to day and the fears of citizens who hid them. I responded well to the way director Niki Caro decided to portray the horrifying things that happened in the ghettos. I appreciated how most of the movie's scenes were spoken in silence and dialogue-free. It gave the actions of the animals and the characters all the more power, and that is something I really appreciated. I remember my friend who came out of the theater with me and the first thing she said was, "that was the best movie I've seen all year." I responded by saying, "I couldn't agree more." The Zookeeper's Wife is a moving and emotionally exceptional addition to the cinema. Never in Hollywood have I seen such a raw and truthful piece. I truly believe that this movie brings awareness to the Holocaust, encourages people to learn more about it and states that although this was something that has happened in our past, we have moved past it. 

As time passes, it becomes harder to remember the Holocaust in a non-statistical way. It becomes harder to remember the 6 million victims as 6 million individuals. It becomes harder to remember the others like the main characters of “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” who do not fit the victim nor the perpetrator category. In the Holocaust Leadership class at my school we stress: do not be a perpetrator, do not be a victim, and above all, do not be a bystander, in order to live up to the “never again” legacy. Part of why the bystander role is so important is because of its potential to transform into the resistance like the one the Zabinski couple created. They were willing to risk exchanging their safety and the safety of their children for the hundreds of lives they saved. This film excelled at capturing the dangers of the resistance. I held my breath in fear during countless moments that were so accurately portrayed by the characters. 

#ReadADessen | Best Literary Friendships + GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys! I'm so glad to be apart of this campaign curated by Penguin Teen in anticipation for Sarah Dessen's newest novel, Once and For All. I haven't read much Sarah Dessen in my days, so I thought this was the perfect time to be reacquainted with her. In an effort to countdown Dessen's already published titles, bloggers are going to be sharing some content from her books in their own little posts! This week's post will center around That Summer and Someone Like You

Title: Once and For All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Pages: 400 pages
Release Date: May 29th, 2017 
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance 

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Pre-order now! 

This post is inspired by... 

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen. This novel features two best friends, one who loses someone dear to her and the other who must lend her shoulder to that friend. The relationship between these two young ladies is unparalleled, and it inspired me to reminisce about my favorite friendships in YA history. 

I feel like Cinder and Iko is one of the most iconic duos in YA. Made popular by the Lunar Chronicles series, these intergalactic retellings showed the true power of friendship as well as the lengths one would go to in order to protect each other. Their friendship is valuable because in a world where betrayal is commonplace and trust is not given easily, it's best to have someone you know you can count on by your side. 

Tis' true that Paige and Warden from The Bone Season series get involved romantically in the future, but they begin as friends. Wait no. Friends is maybe too generous of a term. I think accomplices is the best term to describe their relationship. Although reluctant to trust each other in the beginning, they soon begin to realize that their trust towards each other is the only thing keeping them alive. I personally think they have the best literary friendship because their bond is stronger than most. Their hearts and minds are also connected when it is generally shielded from others. Although not quote obvious, I definitely think their relationship was based more on their respect for each other rather than their hatred. 

We Are Still Tornadoes tells the story of two best friends Scott and Cath. Best friends are separated when Cath decides to go to college and Scott stays home. The entire story is told through correspondence as the two are writing back and forth to each other about their different lives, new friends and new relationships. I didn't think it was possible to tell an entire story through letters and emails but authors Michael Kun and Susan Mullen sure proved me wrong. Their letters are extremely detailed and filled with emotion without being too long. I also think if you're into books that take place in the 80's, you'd like this title. It's riddled with old song titles and nostalgic vibes. I really like how through their constant messaging and being apart, they realize that they might mean something more to each other. Their relationship really transcends throughout the novel. 

If you know me at all, this is my favorite classic of all time. I own more than three copies of this book and so, of course, I had to include it. Nick and Gatsby have a friendship that I'm envious of. I think a great thing to note is that Nick isn't Gatsby's friend because of his money, like the reason as to how a majority of people are acquainted to Gatsby- because of his money. It's safe to say that their relationship translates to that of two brothers. They protect and worry for each other. Nick stays by Gatsby's side when no one else does, and that itself is admirable. 

Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for outstanding contribution to young adult literature for her novels: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye. Her newest novel, Once and for All, will be released in June 2017. An NC native, she currently lives in Chapel Hill with her family.


Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

BLOG TOUR | Literally by Lucy Keating: Author's I'd Want To Write My Life + GIVEAWAY!

Title: Literally
Author: Lucy Keating
Pages: 256 pages
Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism
A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.

Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.

It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.

But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?

The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”

Purchase it now! 

Who would write my life? 

In Literally, the author Lucy Keating is a character in the book writing about our main protagonist's life. I had to ask myself: If someone were writing my life and directing everything that happened, who would I want it to be and why?

I've never connected to a book more than I did with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. She actively captured the experience of a twin sister's relationship in college. Now that I think about it, Fangirl could be the story of my life! Rowell has always been really great with writing the relationships of her characters. I think she would capture the bittersweet relationship of me and my twin sister in a brilliant book. 
I'm so obsessed with Renee's writing, that I couldn't think of anyone better to write a beautifully illustrated portrait of my life. Renee's knack for incorporating culture and storytelling into her writing, makes me think that she can make my life seem way more interesting than it really is. I'd also really love her to include some Chinese culture or myths into my story. Yeah, we need to make this happen! 
Kathleen Glasgow's debut, Girl In Pieces, was a reflection of the part of my life that has been locked behind closed doors for years. If Kathleen Glasgow were to write the story of my life, I trust that it would be nothing short of spectacular. Through her own experience with self harm, she wrote a raw and honest piece about her thoughts and her life lessons through her characters. Prior to reading GIP, I had never felt that the books I read captured the realistic and gritty feelings that are attached to self harm. This is getting a bit person, but I truly saw myself in her main character Charlie. I'm sure her book has also touched close to home with thousands of readers besides myself. 
I was on the fence about adding Leigh Bardugo, even though she's the QUEEN. I mean, her books are so angsty and just so emotional. Her writing and characters are indescribable, as in I can't even describe how amazing her books are. But sure, I would love for Leigh Bardugo to write the story of my life. I think sword-wielding assassins, elaborate heists and a rag-tag group of allies will have to do! Maybe then will she write me in my own Kaz Brekker (finally :P)!

Who would write the story of your life?

Lucy Keating 

Lucy lives in San Francisco, California. She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, attended Williams College in the Berkshires, and still misses the East Coast very much.
When she's not writing, Lucy can usually be found obsessing over the latest music, inventing new flavors of ice cream, or having what she feels are perfectly acceptable conversations with her dog, Ernie.
You can follow Lucy on Instagram @lucy.keating, and Ernie The Dog @ernsboberns

Author Links 

Follow the Blog Tour!  

4/3 - Evie Bookish - Tote Design

4/4 - Brittany's Book Rambles - Favorite Quotes
4/5 - YA and Wine - Review
4/6 - The YA Book Traveler - Q&A
4/7 - Book Nerd Addict - Review
4/10 - Little Lillie Reads -Review
4/11 - The Books Buzz - Authors I'd Want To Write My Life
4/12 - A Book and a Cup of Coffee - Playlist
4/13 - It Starts At Midnight - Guest Post
4/14 - Stories & Sweeties - Recipe & Guest Post


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BLOG TOUR | First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy + ARC GIVEAWAY!

Title: First We Were IV
Author: Alexandra Sirowy
Pages: 448 pages 
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Source: ARC from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
It started for pranks, fun, and forever memories. A secret society – for the four of us. The rules: Never lie. Never tell. Love each other. We made the pledge and danced under the blood moon on the meteorite in the orchard. In the spot we found the dead girl five years earlier. And discovered the ancient drawings way before that. Nothing could break the four of us apart – I thought. But then, others wanted in. Our seaside town had secrets. History. We wanted revenge. We broke the rules. We lied. We told. We loved each other too much, not enough, and in ways we weren’t supposed to. Our invention ratcheted out of control. What started as a secret society, ended as justice. Revenge. Death. Rebellion.
Preorder now! 

So glad you could stop by for my tour post! In anticipation of Alexandra's new book, I'm going to share some of my favorite YA thrillers, ones that you can read while you're waiting for this baby to release. 

Alexandra Sirowy

Alexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women's college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.

Follow her! 


Winner of the giveaway will receive one signed ARC of First We Were IV.

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Follow the tour!

Week 1
March 27: Brittany's Book Rambles - Intro Post + Excerpt

March 28: YA and Wine Most Mischievous YA Characters 
March 29: Rattle the Pages - Nail Art
March 30: Book Nerd Addict - Inventing A Secret Society
March 31: Fables Library YA Books with Secret Societies

Week 2
April 3: Emily Reads Everything - Fancast 

April 4: The Eater of Books History of Secret Societies
April 5: It Starts At Midnight - Author Guest Post: FIRST WE WERE IV vs. Alexandra's Previous Books
April 6: BookCatPin - Mystery YA List
April 7: A Book and a Cup of Coffee - Moodboard

Week 3
April 10: The Book Buzz - YA Thrillers You Need to Know About

April 11: The Candid Cover Bookworm Initiation Quiz
April 12: Girl in the Pages - Book Recs for First We Were IV Characters
April 13: Stories and Sweeties - Author Guest Post - Story Behind the Title
April 14: Little Lillie Reads - Playlist

Week 4
April 17: Literary Legionnaire - Favorite Quotes 

April 18: Chapter by Chapter - Author Guest Post: Secret Society Initiation Rituals
April 19: Tales of the Ravenous Reader Secret Societies You Never Knew Existed
April 20: YA Book Central - Author Guest Post:  3 Favorite Books About Secret Societies
April 21: The Bookish Feels Author's March Favorites

Week 5
April 24: Waiting For Wentworth - Author Guest Post: Secret Society Rules

April 25: The Reader and the Chef - Book Inspired-Recipe 
April 26: Forever Lost in Literature - Author Guest Post: What We Do For Friendship
April 27: Flying Through Fiction Favorite YA Friendships
April 28: One Way or an Author - Phone Wallpapers
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