July 2015 Monthly Recap

Hi!Monthly RecapWithout the busy schedule of the school year, the summertime seems to move at a slower rate – that is, until I look at my calendar and realize we are already a weekend into August! Nevertheless, I hate to miss a monthly recap, especially with as great of a month as July to discuss. Per usual, here are the reviews, recipes,  and other features that appeared on Ciao Bella last month; Monday is the perfect day to catch up on old posts and revisit your personal favorites! :) Did you have a relaxing July?

The Game of Love and Death{Martha Brockenbrough’s The Game of Love and Death is perfect for fans of historical fiction, romance, and everyone in between.}

Reads: The reviews I posted in July showed such a range in style and genre, including a realistic and adorable middle grade story, a hard-hitting young adult combination of mystery and contemporary, and a newly released, teen-focused memoir. The year of great reading continues – snaps for that!

  • The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall | “It proved no easy task, but I hope if you glean anything from this review, it’s to pick up The Penderwicks in Spring {and the three novels before it, if you haven’t already} for your next read.”
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | “If you were looking to increase your LGBTQ reading, I can’t think of a better time than now to recommend Becky Albertalli’s debut, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda… the novel is a significant contribution to the YA genre.
  • Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff | “Lost in the Sun is Graff’s latest release for middle grade readers, and it contains the same elements that made her past novels a success: an engaging and realistic protagonist, complex family relationships, and a tearjerker of a story.”
  • All the Rage by Courtney Summers | “True to its title, the novel opens with an angry tone and retains its gritty style throughout. Summers’ way with words is impressive, and she had me in a mess of emotions by the book’s end.”
  • I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka, Martin Ganda, and Liz Welch | “Books serve many purposes: a lot entertain, many inform, and some, such as I Will Always Write Back, inspire… If you’re in need of a feel-good, do-good story, I Will Always Write Back fits the bill. I’m a fan.”
  • The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough {posted on Lit Up Review} | “A captivating blend of historical fiction and magical realism, the novel showcases the struggles and passions of its characters, as well as the elegant writing ability of its author.”

Summer break serves my reading pile well; I read fifteen books throughout July! Ask me how, and I will honestly answer that I haven’t had the slightest idea. I’ll just thank a streak of excellent books, my fast reading ability, and plenty of time in the car {driving on day trips, down to art classes, and to and from rehearsals adds up quicker than you may think}.

July BooksI’ve set certain dates for book reviews in my new Lilly planner, so my thoughts on several of these reads are on their way!

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Chip CookiesEats: I’ve also used my ample free time to whip up new recipes in the kitchen! For those with sweet teeth, I suggest baking a batch of cookies and cream chocolate chip cookies {even the name sounds sinful} – you may be better off doubling the recipe given how quickly they went in my house! For those who prefer a fruity baked good, blueberry scones sound right up your alley. Use up those fresh blueberries while you can.

Font Freebies 05{Your typographical needs are fulfilled with these free font downloads! If I catch you using Comic Sans instead, we will need to have a nice chat :)}

More: As always, Ciao Bella features made their regular appearances during July. I had a blast creating a musical moodboard for Disney’s Newsies after I saw it on its New England run {that choreography, anyone?!}. Eye on Art brought three more of my creative crushes, including a children’s book illustrator and a world-renowned painter, while July’s Font Freebies highlighted my favorite – and free! – type downloads as of late. I also debuted two new features last month: Picture Perfect, in which I round up products related to an image, and Interviews with Rad People, which began last week with Jean Compton, a stage manager and production assistant.

Of course, July is also my birthday month {I celebrated on July 24th!}, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share my b-day wishlist. I support birthday love, but I’m also a huge advocate for We Need Diverse Books, making this Top Ten Tuesday a no-brainer. I also talked about Elizabeth Bennet, only literature’s greatest heroine, on The Feministas for a discussion on our favorite characters. Finally, many thanks to July’s contributors for Summer Lovin’! Catch their guest posts here: Annie, Caroline, Lulu, and Holly.

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake{via Bake at 350}

Favorites: I’m running out of things to say in this mini introduction! Let’s keep it simple: these posts are well-done, these blogs are worth a read, and everyone could use a little love in the beginning of the week. Read and comment away.

  • I happily call myself an Emery Lord fan. Her books, Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You, are books I’m always recommending to friends in need of a good contemporary read, and my excitement for her next release, When We Collided, is unmatched. All that said, I loved Mostly YA Lit’s week of posts dedicated to Emery Lord. You can catch my own contribution, as well as other bloggers’ thoughts, here!
  • Only NPR would take the time to analyze lists of data to create the wonderful article, “The Most Popular High School Plays and Musicals,” but I’m certainly grateful that they did so! I had fun comparing their conclusions to the history of my school’s drama department, as I’m sure you, assuming you are a theater fan, will too.
  • I’m totally behind the idea of Joy the Baker’s Compliment Club, in which she urges readers to find the positive in other people, hold off on any back-handed comments, and be genuine when giving compliments. Yes to all three, please! The world could always be a little kinder.
  • Bake at 350’s recipe for a Cinnamon Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake had me drooling at the first picture. It sounds all sorts of delicious, if a tad unhealthy, and I only need an occasion before I bake one myself. How does cake for a random Friday afternoon sound?!
  • Finally, Emily at Forever Literary recently redid her blog design. I suggest heading her way; she not only has a gorgeous new purple header, but also a collection of terrific and insightful book reviews! You can’t go wrong with lovely design and a good taste in novels.

August Looking Ahead{via My Cute Graphics}

Looking Ahead: August has already started off strong with a trip to the Newport Jazz Festival last Saturday! The fun will continue as I finish up my classes on typography {proud lover of fonts I am} and Adobe Illustrator, take a family trip to Virginia, and plan a few outings with friends. August also marks my favorite thing of heading back to school: the shopping!

Have a terrific Monday!

12 thoughts on “July 2015 Monthly Recap

  1. Wonderful post! I love your blog and your recaps are always wonderful to read! I really appreciate how you recommend fonts for free! I need to check them out sometime soon!
    And you read SO MANY BOOKS, my goodness. I admire you! It must be all that free time that has you flying through the books! Good luck with school starting up again. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I love writing my monthly recaps – they act as a nice reminder of everything I had posted and/or done.

      And, yes, having no school to worry about definitely helps my reading pile! Thank you for the well wishes :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize you were a huge font lover, too! Thanks for linking to The Start of Em and You week, Bella, and for contributing! PS, I’m totally following now, you have a great writing style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ana, I think you would love it! Let me know your thoughts if you ever choose to read it. And what a bummer that you can’t read in the car! I know my ability is uncommon, but I’m so thankful that I can plow through a few new releases on my family vacation next week. Thank you for commenting! :)


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