Shelf Esteem: January Reads

I’m kicking off 2016 right! This month, I read books that scared me to pieces (Okorafor’s), books that made me hungry (Rochon’s and Rosso’s), and books that scorched Lagoonmy Kindle (O’Keefe’s and Perry’s). What they all have in common is that they’re highly enjoyable page-turners that I’d recommend to anyone! Also? Emma Barry’s fictional election cycle is way more entertaining than our actual election cycle.

Party Lines by Emma Barry (contemporary romance)
Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe (erotic romance)
The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe (erotic romance)
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (science fiction)
One MAllYouCanHandleore Night With You by Lisa Marie Perry (out 3/1, contemporary category romance)
Unteachable by Leah Raeder (erotic romance)
Her Cowboy Protector by Roxie Rivera (romantic suspense)
Blank Canvas by Kit Rocha (postapocalyptic erotic romance, short story)
All You Can Handle by Farrah Rochon (contemporary romance)
Countdown to Zero Hour by Nico Rosso (out 2/22, romantic suspense)

Mala’s Best of 2015 Pop Culture Round-Up

Recapping a year in pop culture is HARD — especially since real-life circumstances resulted in me consuming a heck of a lot more media than usual! I found myself reading a ton, avoiding the movie theaters — and dropping TV shows if they made me unhappy or failed to hold my interest.

This is the year I broke up with Arrow, Nashville, Once Upon a Time, The Americans, The Blacklist and Broadchurch. I flirted with a Days of our Lives reunion, but it didn’t last. I bid a tearful goodbye to Hart of Dixie and Justified. I tried Daredevil, The Fall, and Master of None but couldn’t sustain relationships. Haven and Defiance soured for me, and for the network, too, since they were both canceled.

But it wasn’t all disappointments and downers! Here is my look back at what worked, what I loved the most, and what got me through 2015. I’ve even linked to extra squee!

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Exit Page Left: December Reads

The last books of the year. Wow. I did a count, and I read 116 good books! I didn’t keep track of my blah reads or the DNFs, so you’ll just have to wonder what the overall total would’ve been.

LuckontheLineVision in Silver by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
Luck on the Line by Zoraida Cordova (new adult contemporary romance)
Love on the Ledge Zoraida Cordova (new adult contemporary romance)
My Reckless Valentine by Olivia Dade (contemporary romance)
Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare (historical romance)
Sleeping With Her Enemy by Jenny Holiday (contemporary romance)
Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan (historical romance)
Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan (historical romance)
Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope (fantasy romance)
Dark Desires by Eve Silver (historical romance, gothic)
Against the Wall by Jill Sorenson (out 2/2, new adult contemporary romance)
Slamdunked by Love by Jamie Wesley (contemporary romance)

Minimum Page: November Reads

Man, it’s amazing how reading round-up lists look so much shorter when you remember to do them one month at a time! But I’d like to think November was about quality, not quantity. I read some stuff that really knocked my socks off. You can see me raving about two of the books below over at my new YouTube channel.

TinyPrettyThingsA Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner (historical romance, e-novella)
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (young adult fiction)
One Little Thing by Kimberly Lang (contemporary romance, e-novella)
The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean (out 12/29, historical romance)
A Gentleman’s Game by Theresa Romain (out 2/2/16, historical romance)
Priest by Sierra Simone (erotic romance, e-book)
Bollywood Fiancé For a Day by Ruchi Vasudeva (contemporary category-length romance, e-book)

Backlist adventures: Feed by Mira Grant, Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore, and Pleasure Rush by Farrah Rochon.

Page Before Beauty: September and October Reads

This is what happens when I forget to do a September solo post. You get a book list longer than my arm! And I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t shout out to the books that stood out a little extra in this stellar roundup. Menagerie by Rachel Vincent might just be one of my favorites of this year, and I think 2016 is going to be the Year of Beverly Jenkins. Forbidden is everything you could want out of a historical romance. (Also, anything by Alyssa Cole is awesome. But I’m probably a little biased.)

ForbiddenMixed Signals by Alyssa Cole (new adult contemporary romance, post-apocalyptic)
Mind Games by Laura K. Curtis (out 11/17, romantic suspense, e-book)
Harlot by Victoria Dahl (historical erotic romance, e-novella)
Maverick Sheriff by Delores Fossen (category-length romantic suspense)
Hold Me Close by Megan Hart (out 11/24, erotic romance)
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins (out 1/26, historical romance)
Jefferson Blythe, Esquire by Josh Lanyon (new adult LGBT contemporary, e-book)
A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner (historical romance, e-book)
Craving Flight by Tamsen Parker (erotic BDSM romance, e-novella)
Murder on the Last Frontier by Cathy Pegau (out 11/24, historical mystery)
MenagerieSharing Space by Nina Perez (contemporary romance)
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn (young adult horror, romance)
The Lover’s Knot by Erin Satie (historical romance)
The Lady Taken: Part Four by Vivienne Thorne (historical erotic romance, e-serial)
The Lady Taken: Part Five  by Vivienne Thorne (historical erotic romance, e-serial)
Menagerie by Rachel Vincent (sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal)
So Sweet by Rebekah Weatherspoon (erotic romance, e-novella)

Backlist adventures: Best Kept Secrets by Sandra Brown

Wake Me Up When October Ends

You know how there are some dates and days that are tainted? Like when your gaze lingers on a digital display as the numbers blink “9:11” and you instinctively shudder? For me, that’s Tuesdays. For me, that’s all of October.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?” – Anne of Green Gables, Lucy M. Montgomery

No, it wouldn’t. Because I’d like to scrub Octobers from my memory. I’d like to forget a Tuesday morning phone call and a shaking voice — choked sobs from a throat I always knew as stoic and strong — and a plane ticket booked blindly and a car taken numbly. I’d like to forget that flight, where I fought not to lose it and a well-dressed lady complained about sitting next to two people of color when she’d paid for the extra-legroom seat. I guess it didn’t occur to her that we’d paid for our seats, too. That, for me, it was the only one available as I frantically checked the airlines…as I still hoped Dad’s heart attack was mild and not fatal.

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