October 2015 Monthly Recap

Hello!Monthly RecapThanks for sticking with me through my hiatus! The short break was just what I needed going into this busy month, and I’m excited to post during the holiday season {Christmas, here we come!}. But of course, I can’t talk Turkey Day and stocking stuffers without first taking another look at October’s events, both on the blog and in real life. Start your week on a happy note, and skim through the monthly recap to find any of the reviews, recipes, or features you might have missed. How was your October?

The Walls Around Us{Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us was all sorts of impressive. I was so taken with Suma’s breath-taking prose that a library trip to pick up her other novels is most certainly in order!}

Reads: Schoolwork took first priority last month, but even with math assignments and English responses aplenty, I still managed to post a substantial set of new reviews. Whether you’re in need of a charming middle grade or searching for your next historical fiction kick, you can’t go wrong with the novels below; each and every one has my full approval. In addition, you’ll find links to my Lit Up Review posts – I’m honored to write with such a lovely group of bloggers!

  • Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson | “Perhaps it’s a form of nostalgia that I’m drawn to the modern predecessors of these classics, those stories with quirky characters, threads of whimsy, and bursts of charm and creativity.”
  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma | “Juvenile delinquents and prima ballerinas may seem like an unlikely pairing, but it only takes the talent of an expert YA author, such as Suma, to weave the two subjects together in a mesmerizing, supernatural tale.”
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray | “In six hundred pages, Bray crafts a story that is equal parts compelling and chilling and, more importantly, one that matches the twisted magic of its predecessor.”
  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee | “Their disguise might have proven an obstacle to strong development for a less talented author, but Lee makes the job seem effortless, weaving their personal journeys with the growth in their friendship.”
  • The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry {a new review posted on Lit Up Review} | “Unlike other historical fiction novels I’ve read where cultural references have too large of a presence, Berry’s research is carefully woven throughout the narration, so it’s effective, not overdone.”
  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han {a throwback review posted on Lit Up Review} | “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.”

Six seems to be the number of the fall, as, just like September, I read six novels last month! Though I only made a small dent in my library stack, I’m happy with my choices {variety, anyone?}, and I hope to continue the streak of good reads into November. Cozy reading weather has begun; I’m convinced books and blankets were made for one another.

October BooksAs if it needs to be said, reviews are on their way!

Pumpkin Chocolate BarsEats: Last week’s hiatus prevented me from sharing another recipe, but I think these pumpkin chocolate chip bars more than make up for the lack of two featured baked goods. Make them once or make them twice, but do remember that pumpkin season only comes once a year :) For the non-pumpkin enthusiasts, I highlighted Smitten Kitchen’s peanut butter cookies in a recent Love List. Those too are worth whipping up a double batch!

@abstractsunday{Social media and I have a love-hate relationship, but one thing I do like about it, Instagram in particular, is how it connects and showcases artists with ease.}

More: Ciao Bella has features galore in a typical month, and October was no different of a case! I kicked off the month with another round of Eye on Art, a series that developed out of my love of illustration and design. If you want to add art to your Instagram feed, I suggest you head on over. I talked fall fashion in a new Style Snapshot {sweaters, scarves, and booties are a winning combination}, and I discussed a day in my life in October’s Do Tell {it was inspired by my fascination with routine}.

Over at Lit Up Review, I offered three suggestions for fans of Adam Silvera’s YA debut, More Happy Than Not in my first “Story Gazing” post. Male narrators, city settings, LGBTQ+ characters were all in the spotlight, and I urge you to give each book a try! I also shared yet another novel I can’t wait to read in a new “Waiting on Wednesday,” this time choosing Paul Rudnick’s January release, It’s All Your Fault. Finally, in blog updates, I added a favorites page a few weeks ago – I’ve listed the books, blogs, and music I adore for your browsing pleasure.

Magic 8 Ball Predicts Design Love Fest{via DesignLoveFest}

Favorites: If the posts are any indication, October was an excellent month not only for me, but other bloggers as well! Here are a few select favorites; read and spread some comment love.

  • Grace has such excellent taste in books that it’s no wonder her good sense extends to other forms of media too! Her recent Tune In post was spot-on; I love a good podcast {On Being might be a new favorite}, and Brain Pickings has become a daily read of mine. Superb recommendations for the win.
  • From Sherlock marathons to Friday-night Elementary watching, it’s no secret that I am one of many Sherlock Holmes fans. I stumbled upon this well-written article on the “pros and cons” of society’s most famous detective and found myself drawn into the history of the character and his creator. Mystery lovers, take note.
  • October’s blog crush? Word Revel, written by fellow bookworm and talented photographer, Joséphine! I’ve become a dedicated reader of her posts, and while I’m shocked that it’s taken me so long to come across her site, I hope to make up for lost time by making you a follower as well.
  • Emily Henderson, whose wit, writing, and sense of style has kept me coming to her blog time and time again, had an adorable baby girl earlier in October. I couldn’t be happier for Emily on the newest addition to her family, and I love her daughter’s name, Elliot {too cute!}.
  • DesignLoveFest has been a longtime favorite of mine, and for good reason; Bri and her team write with humor and honesty, have an exceptional visual sense, and produce interesting columns. I’m intrigued by the new feature Magic 8 Ball Predicts – a series on upcoming trends – and how it will evolve!
  • Finally, Mondays call for cookies, something Sheena at The Little Red House clearly understands. She describes these chocolate chip oatmeal cookies as “not too crispy, not too cakey, just right.” They look delicious, and I’m sure I’ll be making a batch for my family soon.

Looking Forward to November{via My Cute Graphics}

Looking Ahead: I can’t wait for the coming few weeks! Though November is packed with a tech week {I’m stage managing my school’s fall play} and finals week {I’ll be making study guides if you need me}, it’s balanced by my sister’s own school musical, time spent with family at Thanksgiving, and a few outings with friends. What are your plans for this month?

Have a wonderful Monday!


4 thoughts on “October 2015 Monthly Recap

    • Oh, Kaitlin, I love hearing from you – you always leave the sweetest comments! :) My October was wonderful, and my November is going just as well. I definitely encourage you to read The Walls Around Us – it’s terrific! – and those pumpkin chocolate chip bars were addictive, but delicious. Thanks for commenting!


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