Review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Hey all, Dani here.

So the book I’m reviewing today is one I read back in December as part of Diverse December, and it was such a powerful read, especially as it is a true story. I was sold on the book based on the title, then the cover, and finally the summary. Because it is so easy to get me to read books if it is about libraries or bookstores, etc.

Anyway, let’s just jump into the review.



Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

As I mentioned before, the title of this book caught my interest, and the summary drew me in even more. I appreciate stories like this, and getting to learn more about some of the experiences of those who lived through the Holocaust is something I consider to be important.

To read about Dita, who risked her life to protect just a few well used and battered books was nothing short of inspirational to me. It is also worthwhile to note that the author of this book actually had the opportunity to sit down with the real Dita and hear her tell her story, and to get details to help expand the story that he was writing. I appreciate that there was so much attention to detail, and I honestly feel like I am getting a story that is more like a biography in a partially fictional format.

Honestly the only reason I marked the rating down a little bit is because I think the book’s writing felt a bit distanced, but that is likely because it is a translated text. It is still a worthwhile read, and I definitely recommend it to those who enjoy historical reads as well as those who appreciate books about books.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.


Guest Post: FADVERSITY – Diversity as a Genre by Hannah Carmack

Hey all, Dani here.


Okay so today I am excited to bring to you a guest post by an author I’ve been speaking with recently. I shall also have a review up for her newest release within the next week based on my currently scheduled posts.

But I’ll start off with giving you some details about Hannah’s book.


In the midst of the cold war, the CIA’s finest and most fatal female agent, Diana Riley, vanishes. Kidnapped by the KGB and taken to the backcountry of North Carolina, she and her team of unsavory partners are forced to undergo illegal experimentation.

But, when the experiments leave them horribly deformed and unable to reenter society without someone crying monster, the previously glamorous and high-maintenance spies must escape KGB captivity and avoid recapture at the hands of Nikola, a ruthless KGB agent with an intense and well-justified grudge against her former flame.

You can snag a copy of this book right now from Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

And now I’m going to pass this post over to Hannah. Enjoy.

I’m going to open right away by saying these are some deep waters. In no world is a 300-500 word post going to cover the intricate details of the recent viralization of #ownvoice/Diverse Voices manuscripts. I’m coming at this simply as a debut-author publishing through a niche, #ownvoices dedicated press.

To say that navigating what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable in the genrefication of diversity is difficult is an understatement. From MSWL to Twitter Pitch Scandal, there’s no right way to talk about it. The only thing we can know for certain is although diversity shouldn’t be a fad, it is.

In a perfect world, diversity is just a way of life. Our world is diverse, so our fiction is. Currently, there is a push for more diverse book, which I think is good! More marginalized voices are being heard. I would have never found my publisher and gotten SEVEN-SIDED SPY published if not for the active search for LGBTQIA+ voices.

That said, there’s also anxiety in the publishing world that sometime soon diversity is going to go out of style. I was at a literary conference not too long ago. While there I was able to grab lunch with some fairly reputable authors, all of whom were talking about when the “vampire bubble” burst. You know, that sweet spot in literary history where the vampire boom from Twilight was finally over. A lot of authors, and readers rejoiced (As someone who loved Vampire’s Assistant I was –slightly- bummed). But, there’s no denying that for a while it seemed like you couldn’t pick up a YA book without a bloodsucker jumping out of the pages at you, and then just as sudden as it started, it was gone.

The conversation seemed normal, until everyone then transitioned into talking about “the diversity bubble.” In which case, all the wheels in my mind came to a screeching halt. I want to say that there will be no end to #ownvoices. That in this good perfect world our books will always be as diverse as our world. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think they were right.

“Trends” in literature come and go. For a while it was vampires, then it was zombies, currently, it feels like we’re in the ending days of dystopia, and soon we’ll be ushering in an era of #ownvoices. It’s no secret that one of these things is not like the other. Diversity shouldn’t be shelved alongside “dystopia” and “paranormal romance,” but it very well could be if we don’t keep speaking up and demanding our voices be heard.

The authors at that conference were right. We’re in a “diversity as a trend” bubble. Which has its pros –easier to find books featuring different races, religions, abilities, genders, ect, ect- and cons- trivialization of serious topics, problematic representation. It seems like the best thing we can do at the moment, is keep writing. Don’t shy away from your all-queer cast or your genderfluid track star or your coming of age about a girl with an ileostomy. Keep writing and keep reading books that speak to cultures that aren’t your own, the unconventional, the often shyed away from. There is a “trendification” of diversity going on. It’s up to readers and writers, to make sure it lasts even if this “bubble” bursts.

All right, Dani again. So tomorrow I’ll have two posts up: one on my underwhelming reads of 2017 and one for my top reads of 2017 (the July-December edition).

Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Hey all, Dani here.

I am finally getting around to posting some of my Diverse December book reviews. I did a lot of reading at the end of November and it made the first couple weeks of December pretty interesting for my post schedule. So look for more Diverse December reviews scattered through the rest of this month and continuing into January.

Anyway, Diverse December was created by Kathy over at Books & Munches, and the goal is to read as many diverse books in the month of December as possible. These can be diverse in terms of race, religion, sexuality, mental health, etc.



Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

The only reason I marked this one down a .5 star was because the format just threw me off throughout the book. I was fine with just dialogue during the debate portions of the story, but in person or on the phone, it would have been nice to have descriptors and observations of body language and movement.

Otherwise I think this was a pretty powerful read, especially with its short length. I know there were many actions and words spoken that grated on me or made me feel a bit uncomfortable because of how blatantly and racially charged some of them were.

There were characters all across the spectrum, from white kids who recognized their privilege and tried to speak up for minorities, and privileged white kids who thought there was no racial divide, even as they spoke blatantly racially charged statements. You had characters of color who were frustrated and upset for some of the situations they were put in simply because of the color of their skin, and there were characters of color who tried to let racist remarks slide because reacting would not have helped their situation at all.

I appreciate how varied the characterizations were, and how much of an impact this story had with so few pages. I’m also glad for the changes a couple characters went through by the end of the story. It was nice to see that living through these situations did have an impact on them.

Overall I would definitely say this covers an important topic and it is something I recommend for people to pick up and read.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of Dear Martin from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.


Purge that TBR #24

Hey all, Dani here.

Welcome back to another TBR purge post. I have the next 30 books from my to-read list on Goodreads to look through and decide what to keep and what to remove from the list.

Oh, and I’ll also say that I did decide to join in on the Readathon by Zoe 24 Hour Readathon that took place yesterday, December 9th, and I did pretty good for not really having a lot of reading time. I finished 4 books, though they were pretty short, and three of them were actually comics. I’ll talk about those more in upcoming reviews and my December wrap up.

Okay, well I guess it’s time to jump into this purge. Let’s get to it.

A World Without Princes, The Last Ever After, and Quests for Glory by Soman Chainani. This is a cute middle grade series and I enjoyed the first book, so I want to keep reading. I am keeping the second book on my list but for now it just makes sense to take books three and four off.

The Last True Hero by Bec McMaster. This is the second book in her Burned Lands series and I haven’t read the first one yet, so this one can go for now.

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston. I can’t believe that this one is still on my TBR. It is about a lady gladiator. I need to read this one soon, especially with the sequel coming out in a couple months.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. I own this one and it does still sound kind of interesting, so if the mood strikes I’ll still pick it up, but for the moment, I’m going to pass on this one.

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis. This one still sounds pretty interesting, and at some point in the future I’ll probably get a copy and read it, but I own a couple McGinnis books already and I should probably read those first to see if I like her writing style. For now I’m going to take this one off my TBR.

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu. I picked up a copy of this one because it sounds interesting and sometimes reading magical realism type stories is interesting, but I have to be in the right mood for them. This book will be taken off my TBR for now, but when the mood strikes, I’ll still probably pick this one up.

A Closed and Common Orbit and Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. Okay, so technically I have Orbit on my Diverse December TBR, so it will be coming off the list soon, and then I’ll just be anticipating the release of the third book. But I absolutely loved the first book, so I’m hoping to feel the same with these.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Come on, of course I’m going to read this one (hopefully sometime soon). But I do tend to like circus type stories, and the reviews for this have been pretty decent, so hopefully I’ll enjoy this.

Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet. This is the third book and I haven’t even read the first one yet. I can say goodbye to this one for now.

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich. Another book on my Diverse December TBR, so hopefully I’ll be able to read this one this month.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I have been putting off this book for months, yet hearing amazingly wonderful reviews about it. Also, I have this one on my Diverse December TBR. I really want to read this one before the end of the year.

Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines. First Hines is one of my favorite authors. Second, this is basically a story about janitors in space, and that just sounds amusing to me, especially since I enjoyed the web series “Space Janitors” on Geek & Sundry.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates. I still like the idea for this story, and at some point I may still pick it up, but I kind of need to be realistic with my massive TBR at the moment. For now I shall pass on this.

The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad. Okay, so technically this one I’ve read about half of it. So I don’t think it should actually be on the TBR list, but I do need to finish reading it.

Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller. Yep, I am definitely still keeping this one on my to-read list.

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn. This book still intrigues me, so I still want to pick it up. Plus, the cover is really cool.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe. I have heard great things about this, and I do believe I have a copy sitting on my bookshelves, but for the moment, I’m going to pass on this one. I’m feeling more like I want awesome fantasy reads and light fluffy reads, so when the mood strikes I’m sure I’ll pick this one up.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. Sometimes I feel like I want to pick up more historical fiction, like when I stared watching the TV series based on this book. But I don’t know if/when I would actually pick it up. So for now it’s a pass.

Kings or Pawns and Heroes or Thieves by J.J. Sherwood. I picked these up at Cincinnati Comic Expo in 2016, and I also won a giveaway for book three, so I pretty much need to read these. I’ll keep the first on my to-read and take the second off for now.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. Obviously I have this one on my most anticipated releases list. I can’t wait to read it.

Beast by Brie Spangler. I’m just not feeling like I want to read this one right now.

This Song is (Not) for You by Laura Nowlin. I think I just went through a list of books categorized as diverse reads and added a bunch of them to my to-read list without necessarily thinking about if I would be in the mood or have the time to really fit them into my reading schedule.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. Another book I added from the diverse reads list. I’m finding plenty of diverse reads these days that I really want to read, so ones I added to my TBR just for the sake of diversity don’t rank up there much.

Andromeda Cycle #1 by Jay Kristoff. I have a few other Kristoff books to read before I get around to this one, and technically this one doesn’t even have a title or anything yet. So it could pop back up on this list next year, but for now, I shall pass on it.

Spectacle by Rachel Vincent. This is the second book in a series and I still need to read the first one. It does follow a circus of sorts and the characters are all part of the freak show, so I am really interested in it.

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard. I am very intrigued by this book, a modern take on The Phantom of the Opera, and I’ve actually read almost half of it, so I don’t know that it necessarily qualifies as to-read anymore, but I do plan to finish it at some point so I will keep it on the list.

All in all today was a pretty good purge. I only kept 13 of the 30 books, so I feel pleased with that. There are just four more of these posts to go…maybe 5 with some of the recent additions to my to-read list, but still that’s not too bad.

Until next time, have a nice day everyone.