February 2016 Monthly Recap

Hello, hello!
Monthly RecapHappy March! I don’t know about you, but this month seemed to sneak up on me, surely a credence to the statement, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” While the year is moving along quickly, I’m nevertheless grateful for the fresh start and the first signs of spring that March brings. Things are certainly hopping, so I’d thought I would take a moment to pause and reflect on last month before the chance escapes; as always, this allows you to revisit the latest round of Ciao Bella posts and me to have a record of the past few weeks. How was your February?

Paper Wishes{A stellar middle grade fiction can only be made better with as gorgeous of a cover as that of Lois Sepahban’s Paper Wishes.}

Reads: I’m sad to say that I didn’t write many reviews last month! Fingers crossed that March will bring more time for blogging, but in the meantime, take another peek at what I thought of a romantic, French-centered contemporary and a charming historical fiction set during World War II – both debuts earned my thumbs-up.

  • The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt | “Readers looking for nothing more than witty banter {some in French, no less} and cute kissing scenes will take pleasure in Abby and Zeke’s relationship, while those who want a more serious contemporary will appreciate the discussions on social anxiety and secrets.”
  • Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban | “Paper Wishes is one such a book, having me I writing, erasing, and revising my thoughts until I felt they best captured the excellent debut I had read. Sepahban writes with such incredible insight and a profound sense of childhood that I’m not surprised her first novel has been so well-received.”

February 2016 BooksJust as I had a slow blogging month, I had a slow month in reading as well! I had hoped to fit in a few more books than I did – I read six in all – but I can’t complain when they were all so good. Select favorites? Roller Girl, an adorable graphic novel that has been praised time and time again {as it should!}, and The Gospel of Winter, a harrowing, lyrical story set during the time of the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. Reviews will be coming your way soon.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel CookiesEats: Cookies were the word of the month. I was all sorts of excited to invite Lauren, a food blogger at Knead to Dough, to Ciao Bella last week; even a quick glance at her recipe for Honeycomb Crunchie Cookies will have your stomach growling. If that’s not enough dessert for you, pop on over to Lauren’s site to see my instructions for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies, a tasty blend of salty and sweet. Yum and yum!

Rebel Belle{I’m convinced The Hamilton Book Tag was made for me – novels and musical soundtracks make the world go round :)}

More: Of course, recipes and reviews weren’t the only things I shared in February! I kicked off the month with a new edition of Eye on Art, featuring three talented creators in their fields, and I continued the artistic fun with yet another round of Picture Perfect, this time teaming up with Paperless Post to plan my dream birthday parties. I also took part in The Hamilton Book Tag that has been floating around the blog community – take this as your cue to listen to Hamilton if you haven’t already – and posted a springy collection for February’s Style Snapshot. To replace my usual Love Lists, I debuted a new feature just last Friday; I’m calling it “High Five” and plan to share a new post of weekly highlights each Friday.

If you click over to Lit Up Review, you’ll see I wrote a Story Gazing on Robin Benway’s hilarious and well-written Audrey, Wait!; if you like music in your YA, I’ll hope you’ll give my recommendations a try. Finally, I shared two of my favorite literary quotes in a recent Ten Illuminations – I could read the work of Tamara Ireland Stone and Chelsey Philpot all day and never tire of their writing.

Beloved Bluebird{via Beloved Bluebird}

Favorites: In the mood for even more posts to read? I’m with you – it’s the quickest cure for Wednesday blues. Here are a few of the links I bookmarked throughout February; descriptions will be brief – I have a lot to share – but all are worth a visit.

  • I was utterly captivated by the photos in Rookie’s spread, Prom Queen Syndrome, all of which have an ethereal mood that highlights the beauty of the model, Megan. The images may be simple, but, trust me, that’s not to stop them from being stunning.
  • Linguistic study coming your way: “Teens Aren’t Ruining Language,” published at The Atlantic,  traces the patterns of young adult speak and conversation. You don’t have to know what “bae” means to find it interesting.
  • Rachelle’s photographs are, for lack of a better descriptor, gorgeous. She has a way with the camera, as she so beautifully shows in her latest post of images from Camano Island. I’m such a fan.
  • The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens is a fascinating read and reveals the bizarre world that is the Internet. It’s a longer piece – grab a snack! – but if you’re anything like me, it will leave you dumbfounded upon finishing.
  • When doesn’t Sarah Vickers look perfectly put together? While I could steal style inspiration and fashion advice from all of her February posts at Classy Girls Wear Pearls, her sweater-jeans combo was my favorite of the bunch.
  • The Jealous Curator’s site is nothing new, having been founded in 2009, but it was only this past month that I started following her posts on a regular basis. She features some incredible artists who work with a variety of media, providing easy and daily access to art. Is there anything better?
  • Finally, my good friend and fellow blogger, Paulina, consistently shares quality posts, ranging from studying tips to outfit ideas, easy recipes to weekly recaps. I look forward to each and every one of her posts, but her sweet letter to her best friends made my morning.

The Blonde Prep March Title{via The Blonde Prep}

Looking Ahead: March should be a terrific, if somewhat busy, month! With finals and SATs both on the horizon, I’ll have an ample amount of studying to do, but it’s nothing that a new episode of Quantico can’t fix. When I’m not bubbling in multiple choice questions or admiring Priyanka Chopra’s hair, I’ll be rehearsing for the semi-final round of our one-act play competition {our school moved on for the first time in four years – crazy exciting!}, spending time with family on Easter day, and fitting in a novel or two {I’m looking at you, A Study in Charlotte and Mother Daughter Book Camp}. What’s on your agenda?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
B

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