August 2015 Monthly Recap

Hello!Monthly RecapIt’s never ceases to amaze me how quickly a year can go by, and this statement resonates now more than ever; I can’t believe my first day as a high school junior is tomorrow! Before I switch my attention from making s’mores and Netflix marathons to taking history notes and Student Council meetings, I wanted to revisit the events and posts of my August. Catch up on any of the reviews, recipes, or features you missed, and then share about your month – was it a good one?

P.S. I Still Love You{Jenny Han’s novels were put in the spotlight not once, but twice, last month! I adored the follow-up of Lara Jean’s love life, but I was less impressed with the popular contemporary story The Summer I Turned Pretty.}

Reads: The majority of my summer reads were of the lighter, contemporary variety, a fact reflected in my August reviews! From a middle grade’s delightful coastal town setting to the cruise ship where a satirical horror story takes place, books set near or along the water were also in high demand. Summer reading is the BEST.

  • The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland | “Whether it was the gradual growth in the sisters, the Cape Cod charm, or the endless stream of cute events, I can’t say, but the book’s plot had me smiling from beginning to end.”
  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han | “Both of the books starring Lara Jean capture the messy ties of first love, the close bond between family members, the mistakes of the past and the promise of the future.”
  • The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan | “A strong sense of atmosphere is key to transporting readers to the time and setting of the story. Hannigan nails it here with her small doses of historical detail alongside the high action of each case.”
  • The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman | “Like a towering ice cream cone on a warm summer’s day, The Stars of Summer can only be described in one way: a delight not to be missed.”
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han | “What I was hoping for was different from what I read, and though this situation can sometimes lead to a pleasant surprise, I was only left conflicted over my thoughts upon finishing.”
  • Sweet by Emmy Laybourne | “Squeamish readers, take note: no one does the weird, the disgusting, and sometimes, the downright horrifying better than Laybourne, a fact I quickly learned when I devoured Monument 14 in one afternoon.”
  • The Truth Commission by Susan Juby {a throwback review posted on Lit Up Review} | “The Truth Commission is seemingly light, but the themes and questions it presents are far more than your average ‘beach read.’ I highly recommend it.”

I think road trips were made for reading. With the help of the drives to and from Virginia in the middle of the month, I was able to read sixteen novels in August, bringing my yearly total to eighty-eight books. I didn’t cross off my summer list goal of reaching one hundred books, but I’m pleased nonetheless! It’s hard to be disappointed with as good of a batch as the reads below.

August BooksI’m currently drowning in book reviews, but I hope to write and share my thoughts on these all in the coming months. There’s nothing like the start of a new school year to jumpstart review-writing motivation.

August RecipesEats: August went by without a single new recipe – how did that happen? I suppose heat waves and family vacations don’t bode well for time in the kitchen, nor does my obsession with autumnal recipes {as soon as mid September hits, I’m pulling out the pumpkin puree, apples, and spices!}. To make up the lack of new recipes, here are a few I’ve bookmarked from this summer. Bake to your heart’s content.

Peanut Butter Apple Banana Bread | Sweet Pizza | Peanut Butter Brownie Ripple Ice Cream



{One of my biggest accomplishments in August was completely redesigning Ciao Bella! Illustrator is such a handy tool, and I am glad to have taken a class on how to work hand lettering into the program.}

More: There’s more to Ciao Bella than just recipes and reviews; I enjoy writing and creating a number of features too! To kick August off, I explained how I make blog images in PowerPoint in the latest edition of “Do Tell.” It’s easier than you may think, and it’s also useful for school study guides and birthday cards. Win-win, if you ask me. I also wrote about my school supply obsession in a new Style Snapshot; I’m always happy to chat a pretty planner and good pens.

Following my mid-month hiatus, I participated in Top Ten Tuesday and shared some of my favorite historical fiction books just in time for the back-to-school season, and later, I highlighted three more creatives I love in August’s Eye on Art. Finally, I want to thank each and every blogger who assisted in Summer Lovin’ this year! Be sure to catch the August participants here: Emily and Paulina.

Belle of the Ball{via Belle of the Ball}

Favorites: Once again, I’m at a loss of words when introducing my favorite reads of the month! So, yet again, I’ll keep it short. I really like these posts and articles, and you will too. If you haven’t grabbed a snack already, now’s the time as you go through the following links.

  • If I haven’t made it clear already, I love office supplies – fortunately, my friend Paulina shares in my obsession! While all of her back to school themed posts make for fun reads, my personal favorite is her back to school haul and preppy binder covers freebie. I’ll be sharing my own organization advice in the coming week, but in the meantime, we can bond over the wonder that is a well-designed binder cover :)
  • I have a whole school year to get through before I have to worry about senior photos, but if they can be even half as cute as Abby’s, I’ll be happy! Abby, the blogger behind Belle of the Ball, looks stunning in her bright Lilly dress, and her photo shoot inspired me to give summer one final hurrah.
  • I am so happy for my fellow Lit Up Review writer and book blogger, Willa, as she had a crazy impressive summer! Working in a bookstore would be an absolute delight, so I enjoyed her insights into her job at Barnes and Noble, but I also enjoyed her foreign language enthusiasm and Boston shout-out. YES for productive and fun vacations.
  • Emily, another regular Lit Up Review author, recommended bloggers who inspire her in a post earlier in August. I was honored to be chosen as one of the four {thank you again, Emily!}, but furthermore, I completely agree with her list. I love everything about Grace’s site and Instagram feed, find Jamie’s post hilarious and relatable, and adore Jen’s reviews and graphics as they pop up in my reader feed.
  • Finally, you likely have seen it already, but the recent posts from Rowan Blanchard, the star actress of Disney’s Girl Meets World, are worth another read… or two! She touches upon the controversial topic of white feminism with intelligence and grace, making me forever a fan of hers.

September{via My Cute Graphics}

Looking Ahead: September is shaping up to be a terrific month, and I have plenty to look forward to! I’m hoping for an excellent start to my junior year, but with classes like Yearbook and AP English on my schedule, I don’t think I’ll have an issue. Later, I’ll be attending the semi-annual Boden Warehouse Sale in Boston, and to finish up the month, I will be seeing Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Do you have any fun events lined up for September?

Have a lovely Tuesday!


6 thoughts on “August 2015 Monthly Recap

  1. Hi, Bella! Love the redesign; it’s more sophisticated, though youthful…it’s you! Your photography is always great, as well. Good luck with your junior year; it’s a fun time. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your posts make up day, honestly they do! I loved your wrap up! It looks like August was such a great month for you, you read so many books that I want to read and buy soon! 😄
    And good luck with school, it’s such a exciting time where you can let your obsession for stationary and organization go WILD.
    xoxo 💋

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! August was a terrific reading month; I’m happy I was able to fit in so many great books. And yet another thank you for the good luck. I only went back for two days, and then I had a long weekend, but so far, so good! :)

      Liked by 1 person

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