Top Picks

My Personal Favorites

About me

I started a #bookstagram because I simply love books and have been looking for more bookish people to talk to. Since joining my #TBR has gotten a little out of control. ?⠀

I’m a mom to a two year old and I live in Southern California with my partner, two dogs, bearded dragon, and one fish. We also harvest Monarch Butterflies to help regrow their population. I’ve been teaching fourth grade for five years, going on six.


Recent Posts

Dear America

Dear America

Dear AmericaJose Antonio VargasDEAR AMERICA by Jose Antonio Vargas is a fantastic memoir about...

read more
The Blood Trials

The Blood Trials

The Blood TrialsN. E. Davenport’sThanks @bibliolifestyle for hosting this book tour for The Blood...

read more


Cultish#Bookstagram is an online cultural community on Instagram, where thousands of people take...

read more

I love this beginning of the year math activity I do with the class. I did it last year and the kids loved doing read alouds during math. Several gave feedback this year that it was their favorite part of the week! I got this idea on the internet and I’m hoping to expand the books I get about mathematicians! Super fun and high engagement. The books I use are On a Beam of Light, A Computer Called Katherine, Nothing Stopped Sophie, and The Boy Who Loved Math. #math #iteachfourth #teacher #mathbooks #mathbooksforkids #mathisfun ...

Listen. I had all the best intentions of reading poetry this month but when Babel landed on my doorstep thanks to the amazing @nerdtasticnoms those plans were laid to waste.

Obviously I have no regrets because The Poppy Wars was a warm up to this masterpiece. You knew RF Kuang was onto something there, but here, her thesis feels more fleshed out. I love how she writes her novels with no easy answers. I loved the etymological tidbits in this as well and the exploration of where words come from. Some people may find it a bit much but it has me thinking about language and colonization. Can a translation ever be true to its source material? The magical system in this book as a metaphor for the way power works within colonial systems is outstanding.

There is so much more packed into this chonker, from colorism to sexism and white woman tears. It’s A LOT, but I never felt like it was overstuffed. Kuang is a pro, and says just enough without beating you over the head with it. She clearly knows her stuff and trusts her readers to read between the lines.

This will be one of my favorite books this year. No question.

#Babel #RFKuang #Fantasy #DarkAcademia #Novels #Translation #BooksBooksBooks #Bookstagram #ReadMoreBooks #Academia #oxford

Before reading this book I highly suggest you do some research about “Magdalene Laundries” in Ireland. Without that context this might not hit as hard. I really liked this novella. I think it is beautifully written, I mean Keegan writes the process of baking a cake seem beautiful. Which I guess it is when you really sit with it. This is a reminder that how we live our life and how we treat others can make a huge impact in making sure justice and safety is provided for all. Power and greed corrupt and by now I hope we can all understand that the Catholic Church has those things in spades. This is short, but it packs a punch. I don’t want to say too much because I think this is best left for you to decide and unravel yourself. It’s a quiet one, but moving.

[ID: The novella Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan lies flat on a wooden table. There is an indoor plant next to it in a terracotta pot. The leaves are green with light green streaks going through it. The book cover is also green with the title and snow falling]

#bookerprize #bookerlonglist #bookerlonglist2022 #smallthingslikethese #smallthingslikethesebyclairekeegan #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookrecommendations #bookreview #bookreflection

It is day three of #TheSealeyChallenge and I am emotionally unprepared for what I feel like some of these collections are going to do to me. These two collections have pushed the air out of my lungs wondering if I’m making the right choice by diving head first into more like them. My initial thoughts after just reading these two is that I was surprised they followed some type of narrative. Please keep in mind I’m pretty much a complete n00b right now. However loose the narrative is, it's definitely there in these two collections. It’s clear you can read each poem individually, but the collections work as a whole. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting, bc it does seems obvious now that poetry collections follow themes, much like art exhibits and novels.

#Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora singes the skin. It is raw, emotional, and cutting. Zamora is a Salvadoran poet and activist, he came to the US when he was 9 years old. He has a memoir coming out soon, and I will one thousand percent be reading that. Favorite poems are: Saguaros, Second Attempt Crossing, Cassette Tape, Abuelita Says Goodbye, and June 10, 1999. Thanks @laurathestudent for this rec.

While Unaccompanied is all fire and dust, #DeafRepublic by Ilya Kaminsky is snow and ash. Making your skin prickle and your eyes sting with tears. This was breathtaking in its beauty and stretched my imagination on what this art form is truly capable of. It swallowed me whole. The poems tells the story of a town under occupation, finding ways to communicate and protest after the death of a young boy renders the whole town deaf. It will definitely go down as one of my favorite books this year. Thanks for the push @sethisreading

By the end of August I imagine I will be a puddle. This world can be a cruel place, but damn, look at the beauty we can create.

[ID: Viv’s hands holds up the two poetry chapbooks Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora and Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. In the background are the branches of an old oak tree.]

#TheSealeyChallenge #Poetry #DeafRepublic #Unaccompanied #Poems #Bookstagram #Bookstagrammer #readmorepoetry

This was an action packed summer read I loved! Fans of Iron Widow will probably love this wild ride too. It features Ikenna, a bad ass, foul mouthed MC on a revenge mission. More please! A wonderful fantasy. I can’t wait for book 2! Edit: this can also be adult fantasy. But ya know what genre stuff can be so stupid. Read whatever the heck is good. [ID: The Blood Trials by Nia Davenport rests flat on a porch banister. There are green plants and a fountain blurry in the background.] #YA #youngadultbooks #youngadultfantasy #niadavenport #thebloodtrials #readmoreYA #fantasy #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #epicbooks #adventurebooks #duology #duologybooks #adultfantasy #adultfantasybooks ...

The first week of The Sealey Challenge! I probably won’t get through all of these but I’ll have fun trying and flexing some poetry chops. Pictured in the reel are the chapbooks I got from my library: Don’t Call Us Dead by Danes Smith, Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora, Counting Descent by Clint Smith, Night Sky Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo, Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing, Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed. The point of this for me personally is simply to read more poetry and see what works for me. Hope everyone is having a good Monday! #thesealeychallenge #poetry #poems #chapbooks #readmorepoetry #bookstagram ...


July always tends to be a big reading month because it is summer vacation, but I was sort of underwhelmed by my reading month as a whole. I think there are a lot of reasons for this, some of it is because I was dealing with some personal things in July that made it difficult to really focus and find a solid groove with a book, and another is the books themselves. None really grabbed me, and there were several that I sort of skimmed through because they just did not hold my attention. Again, was it just me? Or the books? Probably both. Of the ones I read, I would recommend The Mountains Sing to generally everyone (I listened to the audiobook and I found myself waiting for moments to keep listening, I thought it was great), the rest I would only recommend to certain people. Trust Exercise was strange, and I can see why its polarizing, but Susan Choi can definitely write very well. Blonde was good, but very long, and JCO said some pretty dumb things on twitter about ¾ through my read so it definitely took the wind out of my sails a bit. But reading that in tandem with She Said was QUITE the experience. More thoughts on those two soon….Cheers to a better August.

[ID: Pictured from top to bottom: The poetry book Field Guide to a Haunted Forest, by Jarod K. Anderson, Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates, The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buelhman, She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, Columbine by Dave Cullen, Just By Looking At Him by Ryan O. Connel, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, and Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley]

#Poetry #Fiction #NonFiction #Bookstagram #ReadingWrapUp #MonthlyWrapUp #TheMountainsSing #Blonde #Nightcrawling #TheBlackTongueThief #SheSaid #JustByLookingAtHim #ReadMoreBooks #AlwaysReading #Books #Bookstagrammer #AAPIBookstagrammer

Lazy Saturday. Am I reading. Or am I on my phone? I’m sure you can guess. [ID: a stack of books rests on a small, black round table. There are sailor moon bookmarks next to the stack. The wall in the background is light blue] #saturday #lazysaturday #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #stopscrolling ...

I was tagged by @theoreads and @pilartyping to share my five star predictions, and finally got around to curating a small stack that is pictured on this table:

1: Stay with Me, by Ayobami Adebayo: I honestly don’t know what this book is about, I just know after reading @readwithemilyg review I had to read it. It’s also a favorite of @thatgoodgoodbook so you know it’s going to be excellent.

2. This is How You Lost the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone: I am book edging this one. Badly. I know its a favorite of so many here, don’t yell at me.

3. Allow Me to Retort: Ellie Mystal: I read the first page and was hooked. Mystal has a clear narrative voice and dispels information in a way that is not only accessible, but also funny. Sign me up.

4. Invisible Child by by Andrea Elliott: It won the Pulitzer Prize and the synopsis alone was enough to convince me. Synopsis: Invisible Child follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani Coates, a child with an imagination as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn homeless shelter. Born at the turn of a new century, Dasani is named for the bottled water that comes to symbolize Brooklyn’s gentrification and the shared aspirations of a divided city. As Dasani grows up, moving with her tight-knit family from shelter to shelter, this story goes back to trace the passage of Dasani’s ancestors from slavery to the Great Migration north. By the time Dasani comes of age, New York City’s homeless crisis is exploding as the chasm deepens between rich and poor.

Now to get to the business of reading them………….

#FiveStarPredictions #Bookstagram #NonFiction #Fiction #GreatBooks #LosAngelesReads #Bookstagrammer #AlwaysReading #ReadMoreBooks #BestBooks2022 #EducateYourself

Someone very close to my family is currently suffering from dementia. It’s heartbreaking on a lot of levels. When I closed this book I had to hold in my sobs. Sometimes when you’re caring for someone suffering from a terminal illness you focus on your own suffering, sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the ways in which you’re hurting. But in the end it’s not really about you. It is in some ways, after all you are grieving for a loss. A loss of a life well lived. Of a grandparent you thought would be around longer to see your kid grow up. An aunt that you thought would tell you all the stories you missed about your father passed too soon. A mom you thought would always be as sharp as a knife, sitting and laughing with you on the porch outside. And yes. It is awful. But what The Swimmers accomplished for me, is it allowed me to crawl inside the mind of this person I love so much. My capacity for empathy grew and my anger subsided. I was able to make room in my heart and stop being so angry at the unfairness of it all. Bc I need to enjoy the little moments I have left. Bc one day. They’ll be gone.

[ID:The book The Swimmers rest on a porch beam outside.]

#TheSwimmers #LiteraryFiction #GreatBooks #Fiction #bookstsgram #Bookstagrammer #ReadMoreBooks #AlwaysReading #juliaotsuka

Wow. I asked for poetry recommendations and y’all delivered. Here is a complete list of the recommendations I received. Please feel free to DM more or add more in the comments. I am so excited to get started and so many of you gave great advice and also commiserated with me about being intimidated by poetry. It meant a lot! The poets or collection with an asterisk by them means it was recommended more than once. Because I’m a tech dummy I can’t figure out how to reformat the google doc pics and make a multiple list so I’m gonna put in my stories and make a highlight.

[ID: Pictures of the covered of the poetry collections Peluda, Black Girl Call Home, Homie, Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude, Mary Oliver’s Devotions, Counting Descent, Obit, A Fortune for Your Disaster, Hermosa, and Bless the Daughter Raise By the Voice in Her Head laid over a forest background]

#Poetry #TheSealeyChallenge #Poets #PoetryCollections #ReadMorePoetry #Poems


Subscribe For New Book Reviews

Skip to content