January 2016 Monthly Recap

Hi!Monthly RecapHappy February, friends! Did your January fly by as quickly as mine did? I feel as if I was just celebrating Christmas with my family, and yet, warmer temperatures, blooming gardens, and my third and final trimester of the school year are all on the horizon {related: the psychology of time is an interesting read}. It’s the idea of “losing” time and its opposite, living in the present, that inspired these monthly recaps; through them, you get to catch up on my latest batch of posts, while I get to share what made my month. I haven’t posted one in quite a while, but with the new year now in full swing, it seemed as good of a time as ever to start them back up again! How is your winter coming along?

These Shallow Graves{I love historical fiction and mysteries alone, but together? It’s a combination, as Jennifer Donnelly illustrated with These Shallow Graves, that can’t be beat.}

Reads: Reviews were not as frequent as usual, but I hope the smaller amount is made up by the quality of content. I find review-writing, as crazy as it sounds, relaxing, so when I found a free afternoon or evening, I took the time to write down my thoughts on an impressive Gilded Age mystery, an interesting contemporary novel, and a heart-breaking realistic fiction. Take a peek at them all below!

  • These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly | “Donnelly takes full advantage of what the period offers her, crafting an immersive narrative that combines the personal struggles of her characters with the social and political issues at large.”
  • Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales | “What could easily turn into a story of stalking gone wrong, Sales forms, instead, a well-written observation of how we warp information and memories to fit our needs in the digital age.”
  • Breakaway by Kat Spears | “This is not an easy story to read, nor, can I imagine, that is was an easy story to write; in other words, if it’s an emotional roller-coaster for the reader, then it can only be more intense of a ride for the author.”

January BooksIn regards to what I read last month, I couldn’t ask for a better way to kick off my year! I was able to sneak in eight books in January, and what a range they were: a handful of middle grade mysteries from beloved authors, newly released contemporaries, and a heart-warming memoir. Fingers crossed my reading streak continues into February, particularly during my winter break where I can read the days away.

As always, reviews are on their way!

Fudgy Chocolate Chip Cookies 2Eats: Your cookie jar won’t suffer from a dessert shortage anytime soon with these posts on hand! I started off the month with a recipe for delicious, if decadent, fudgy chocolate chip cookies – they’re not to be missed when you add in a large glass of milk. I then finished off the month with the instructions for shortbread chocolate chip cookies. Clearly, you’ll need to stock up on chocolate if you plan to whip these up :)

Alex Ry{Alex Ry has a creative eye when it comes to her Pinterest feed; I, for example, love the gorgeous samples of typography that she finds.}

More: As is tradition here on Ciao Bella, features were aplenty in January. Picture Perfect, a feature that celebrates photography, aesthetics, and, yes, shopping, made another appearance last month – the new edition’s bohemian mood has me thinking of spring – as did Font Freebies, a series where I round up my recent favorites for you to download. In addition, I took part in Top Ten Tuesday to bring you two new lists: my goals for the new year and novels that caught my interest in the past few months. Finally, I’m a shameless Pinterest fanatic, as I explained in this post of my favorite Pinterest accounts.

Over at Lit Up Review, I highlighted Julie Berry’s newest release, The Passion of Dolssa, in a Waiting on Wednesday; I thouroughly enjoyed Berry’s previous work, so I’m excited to delve into the historical thriller set in Medieval France. I also shared in two Ten Illuminations in January: find novels I’m looking forward to here {Morgan Matson forever} and books for your next snow day here {I’ll never turn down a well-written historical fiction}.

Rowan Blanchard Sorry Not Sorry{via Rookie}

Favorites: Blogging is just as much about the community as it is your individual posts, yes? Here are a few January links from bloggers I admire and bloggers I’m lucky enough to call my friends.

  • As a lover of language myself, I’m smitten with A Love of Sentences, a site created by Rachel to collect lines from stories and essays she’s read. Reading through them emphasizes the power of words, and it’s even inspired me to record the passages I come across and adore in my reading.
  • If I had to choose someone who has made positive changes in the book blogging world as of late, I’d nominate Aneeqah in a second. Her post “Can Book Bloggers Get Paid?” sparked a conversation that’s long overdue – the fact that it’s a well-written argument is only an added plus.
  • Jen has been exploring different avenues with her blog, J'(en) Adore, and I couldn’t be happier that she has found success in doing so! Prime example? Her first fashion post, which illustrates her superb style sense { I’m crushing on that cozy plaid poncho}. I can’t wait to see where this direction takes her.
  • I wrote on Twitter that this Rookie article is “intelligent and inspiring,” but I think that those traits can be applied to its author as well. Rowan Blanchard is one among many celebrities I admire for their advocacy efforts, and her essay on being a girl in today’s society is well worth the read.
  • Finally, I’m such fan of the “new” DesignLoveFest, in which more focus is applied to art and design and less on DIY tutorials and giveaways. I could recommend a number of posts from the January archive, but I liked this interview with Bri and the other DesignLoveFest editors the best.

February Calendar{Because no one can hate on a pretty calendar, I’ll be sharing my dry-erase version in this section every month :)}

Looking Ahead: February happens to be my favorite month of the wintertime, and I think the coming weeks will hold true to that statement! I have several productions lined up {I’m stage managing my school’s Cabaret performances and directing a one-act play festival entry}, a Boden Warehouse Sale to look forward to {spring wardrobe stock-up, here I come}, and a school vacation coming soon {I’ll be rehearsing, reading, and writing like crazy}. What’s on your agenda this month?

Have a lovely start to your week!

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7 thoughts on “January 2016 Monthly Recap

  1. I’ve actually been dying to get my hands on a copy of THESE SHALLOW GRAVES, I’m so glad to hear that you loved it! And those cookies!! They’re making me hungry for sure. ;) Thank you so, so much for giving me a shout-out on my first fashion post!! I couldn’t be more excited about posting more about fashion as well. Happy February, Bella!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Bella! I just recently came across your blog and I have to say I think your posts are great! I really like how unique your monthly recaps are & your overall theme of your blog. Hope to see more content from you soon.. :)

    -Jess @jbelkbooks

    Liked by 1 person

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