June 2015 Monthly Recap


Monthly RecapWe are now in the second half of 2015 – how crazy is that?! Since time clearly flies, I like to review each month in a short recap. Today’s introduction will be short and sweet, as you surely know the drill by now; here’s everything that happened last month on Ciao Bella. It’s the perfect opportunity to revisit your favorites or catch up on the posts that you missed!

Almost Famous Women{Almost Famous Women has me rushing to read more short stories, especially those by Megan Mayhew Bergman!}

Reads: I am so pleased at how terrific of a year in reading 2015 has been so far. What I have read has been overwhelmingly terrific, and my June reviews illustrate that fact. From adorable middle grade novels to superb YA contemporaries, the following books all earn my recommendation.

  • None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio | “I.W. Gregorio’s gem of a debut, None of the Above, is one of many examples that best fits the campaign’s mission, but furthermore, it is one of few that tackles identity on the gender spectrum.”
  • Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens | “What they lack in experience, the two girls of the Wells and Wong Detective Society consistently make up in their intelligence, friendship, and, of course, British charm, making this 1930’s-set mystery a stand-out among this year’s releases.
  • The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | “Before reading The Start of Me and You, it had been quite some time since I came across a book that captured my heart in one sitting.”
  • Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman | “Bergman’s newest book is fascinating, and she has certainly proven herself a talented author in short fiction. Though I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, I finished thinking Bergman accomplished her goal.”
  • Evil Spy School by Stuart Gibbs | “Stuart Gibbs is just one of many authors I recommend on a frequent basis, and his latest release, Evil Spy School, illustrates the best of the middle grade genre. I enjoyed it, as I’m sure you will as well, no matter what your age.”
  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman {posted on Lit Up Review} | “I hold the utmost respect for writers who bring [mental illness] to the forefront. Neal Shusterman’s latest release, titled Challenger Deep, is among many of this year’s publications that caught my eye for doing so.”

I’m slowly but steadily making progress on one of my summer list goals: to bring my yearly total of books read up to one hundred by the summer’s end. Fortunately, June was a good month for reading; I was able to return ten more books to the library, as you can see below. Most, if not all, of my recent reads were strong, well-written novels, a trend that I hope to continue into July and August!

June BooksI am behind in writing my book reviews, but I’ve blocked out time to write and post a few of them this month – you’ll see them pop up soon!

Strawberry Rhubarb CrispEats: Though only one recipe was shared last month, I promise that it’s a dish worth making multiple times throughout the summer. I’m sure this strawberry rhubarb crisp will taste just as delicious at a late August gathering as it will at this weekend’s Fourth of July celebration! Even better? There’s no better way to use up your excess backyard rhubarb supply, not that speak from experience :)

Kiernan Shipka{The question is not when, but when do I not, envy Kieran Shipka’s closet?! I would happily wear any of her red-carpet dresses, as I explained in last month’s unique Style Snapshot.}

More: Reviews and recipes were not the only subjects that I discussed in June! Per usual, I honored three more talented artists in last month’s round of Eye on Art; they ranged from a stroke-heavy painter to a character-driven illustrator. June’s Style Snapshot highlighted the celebrity wardrobes I’m constantly eyeing, while the Top Ten Tuesdays I participated in last month included the books I can’t wait to read in the rest of 2015 and my summer to-be-read list {and massive library haul}.

In my list-making fashion, I shared my annual Summer List last week – it’s something I look forward to writing all year long! I also shared my feminist inspiration, the ever-so talented and creative Tavi Gevinson, here at The Feministas, and finally, I introduced a brand new – and seasonal – feature called Summer Lovin’, which Ana, blogger at Butterflies of the Imagination, kicked off on Friday.

That J.Crew Gingham Shirt{via A Cup of Jo}

Favorites: As many bloggers often lament, keeping up with RSS feeds is hard enough, let alone leaving a meaningful comment on each and every post! I hope to improve my commenting skills during this summer vacation {your advice is appreciated}, but in the meantime, here are a few sites that caught my eye last month. As always, read and spread some blog love.

  • Finding well-designed and affordable {i.e. free!} clipart has proven to be a difficult task in the past, which is why I absolutely adore this free download from Emily at Jones Design Company. The seaside doodles are provided in black and white and color, so I’ll be downloading both to use throughout the summer months.
  • Rarely do I see discussion posts on age when it comes to blogging; I certainly interact with a wide range, anywhere from “tweens” to adults, but it wasn’t until I read Annie’s thought-provoking post on the subject that I actually stopped to think about it. Her post is certainly worth the read, but the comments from others in the blogging community are interesting too!
  • In case you are a Nancy Drew fan like me, may I suggest this insightful article on the history of the beloved detective? Reading through it made me smile, and reminded me that one can never go wrong with re-reading a Nancy Drew mystery. My independent study project on Nancy in elementary school fueled this obsession! :)
  • Instagram has quickly become one of my favorite forms of social media, as I love the balance I can find between popular photography accounts and those of my close friends. A Cup of Jo highlighted a few Instagrams to follow earlier in June, including my favorite, “That J.Crew Gingham Shirt.”
  • Finally, doesn’t Sea Salt and Vanilla Fudge Ice Cream sound absolutely delightful?! The recipe {whipped up by the food geniuses at Love and Olive Oil} does look time-intensive, but I’m sure the final result is entirely worth it. Lindsay’s photos are your proof.

Looking Ahead July{via My Cute Graphics}

Looking Ahead: July has plenty going for it: it’s not only the first full month of summer break, it’s also my birthday month and National Ice Cream month! With the Fourth of July this weekend, a performance of the so bad, it’s funny Carrie mid-month, and a handful of parties sprinkled throughout the next few weeks, it seems to me that my vacation is off to a smashing start.

Have a wonderful day!


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