Mala’s January 2017 Hot Reads

I have officially retired the punny titles for these posts, as I think I’ve run through all the possibilities! Fortunately, I haven’t run through all the books in the world! January was all about escaping into the pages.

waitforitDeceptions by Kelley Armstrong (urban fantasy)
Hard Knocks by Ruby Lang (contemporary romance)
Wait For It by Molly O’Keefe (out 2/28, contemporary romance/erotic romance)
The Scent of Winter by Tiffany Reisz (erotic romance, novella)
A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (young adult fantasy)
Pretty When You Cry by Skye Warren (dark romance/erotic romance)
Better When It Hurts by Skye Warren (dark romance/erotic romance)
The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman (out 7/25, women’s fiction)

Backlist adventures: Deerskin, by Robin McKinley, The Sanctuary: Volume One bundle of three titles from Moira Rogers, and Shattered by Karen Robards.

I also reread Lisa Kleypas’ Sugar Daddy and Blue-eyed Devil, because sometimes you just need a comfort read!

TNT’s Good Behavior Gives As Good As It Gets

goodbehavior02-533x400TNT’s dark and filthy drama Good Behavior ― aka “Lady Mary’s Come Undone” ― wrapped its high-tension 10-episode run with the same heart, black humor and shenanigans that made its pilot so compelling.

Michelle Dockery’s explosive breakaway from the staid walls of Downton Abbey, as an alcoholic con artist with more wigs than Sydney Bristow, proved worth the binge ― and the hangover! Recently released jailbird Letty Raines, who gets off on stealing, loves to get high, and just wants her biracial son, Jacob, to love her is no scheming noble. She’s painfully honest, unable to be anything but herself, and when she meets a hit man who’s accustomed to wearing dozens of different identities ― played by Argentine hunk-and-a-half Juan Diego Botto ― it’s the catalyst for adventure, growth…and more than a few missteps. All of which make for riveting TV.

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The Bookend of the World: December 2016 Reads

According to my calculations, I read roughly 119 stories this year — not counting things I DNFed or didn’t like. Slacker! I’m a little disappointed that the number isn’t higher, but that certainly gives me a goal for 2017! Gotta do something to pass time in the bunker, right?

ifiwasyourgirlThese are the books I got in during the last month of 2016:

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (sci-fi)
Burn It Up by Cara McKenna (contemporary romance/romantic suspense)
Sin For Me by Lisa Marie Perry (out 2/21/17, erotic romance)
The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz (out 3/28/17, women’s fiction, romance)
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (YA coming of age/romance)
The Young Blood by Erin Satie (historical romance)
Frostbitten by Charlotte Stein (paranormal erotic romance, novella)
Kulti by Mariana Zapata (contemporary sports romance)

Mala’s Best of 2016 Pop Culture Round-Up

It’s amazing how much of 2016 is a blur. I barely remember the beginning of it — what I watched, what I read. I’ve done a lot of “Wait, that happened THIS year?” as I look back on what media made an impact on me.

Winona Ryder made a jaw-dropping comeback in Netflix’s Stranger Things, and I was blown away by Millie Bobbie Brown as Eleven, but the show overall didn’t rank as one of my year-end faves. I binge-watched the first season of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend but bailed on season two. I also gave up on Jane the Virgin season three — and I dumped several of last year’s faves: Quantico, UnREAL and The 100!

Perhaps the most blasphemous development of all: I totally forgot The X-Files came back this year! The revival was so underwhelming and half-assed, with Gillian Anderson the only bright spot, that all my years of fannish nostalgia couldn’t save it.

Here’s a look back at my 2016!

Favorite Books
Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy
Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn
Hold Me by Courtney Milan
The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha
The Young Blood by Erin Satie

Favorite Shows
The Get Down (Netflix)
Daredevil (Netflix)
Jessica Jones (Netflix)
Luke Cage (Netflix)
Queen Sugar (OWN)
Pitch (FOX)
Good Behavior (TNT)

Favorite Movies
Captain America: Civil War
Deadpool
Rogue One
Zootopia

Favorite Guilty Pleasures
The Exorcist (FOX)
Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party (VH1)
Peanut butter Clif bars

MVA (Most Valuable Author): Molly O’Keefe. I honestly couldn’t pick my favorite O’Keefe book of the year. She had so much great stuff come out, and I glommed it ALL. And she even got a cover shout-out in Suicide Squad!

Best TV Comeback: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The introduction of Gabriel Luna’s Ghost Rider revitalized the show after a meh third season.

I’m Out of Book Puns: November Reads

Political fatigue — and then political angst — killed my appetite for books in November…but I still managed to squeeze in some BIG winners!

anextraordinaryunionAlyssa Cole’s An Extraordinary Union is going to catapult this talented author to the next level, and I’m so glad I got to read an early copy! The Edge of the Blade is a gorgeous addition to Jeffe Kennedy’s fantasy series for Kensington, and I can’t wait to see where she takes the characters next! And Beyond Surrender…damn. What do I say about this series-ender that would even encompass all my feels? The team behind Kit Rocha gorgeously wrap up this chapter of their sexy dystopian saga while opening the door to a new one. I would’ve been sobbing at several points during this book if I hadn’t been devouring it in public!

beyondsurrenderAn Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (out 3/28/17, historical romance)
Driven to Distraction by Olivia Dade (out 1/17/17, contemporary romance)
The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy (out 12/27, fantasy romance)
Stealing Mr. Right by Tamara Morgan (out 3/7/17, contemporary romance)
Bad Neighbor by Molly O’Keefe (erotic romance)
One Hot December by Tiffany Reisz (category-length erotic romance)
Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha (out 12/13, dystopian erotic romance)
My Scandalous Duke by Theresa Romain (historical romance)

I also climbed into Judith McNaught’s backlist to read Perfect, which definitely lived up to its name.

Page Fright: September and October Reads

I packed September and October with a lot of over-the-top bananapants reads and sci-fi/fantasy romances — guaranteed to whisk me away from reality for a while. Given the current political climate, we all need a break, right? But the bottom line, in anything that I really enjoy reading, is deep, believable, connection between the characters. Without that, it doesn’t matter how many bananas are in a book’s pants!

gettinginsideGetting Inside by Serena Bell (out 1/3/17, contemporary romance)
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (young adult, urban fantasy)
Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon (erotic sci-fi romance)
Barbarian Alien by Ruby Dixon (erotic sci-fi romance)
Adore You by Nicole Falls (contemporary romance)
Breathless by Beverly Jenkins (out 1/31/2017, historical romance)
lonenswarLonen’s War by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy romance)
Oria’s Gambit by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy romance)
The Tides of Bára by Jeffe Kennedy (fantasy romance)
Hold by Claire Kent (sci-fi erotic romance)
Release by Claire Kent (sci-fi/fantasy romance)
Along Came Love by Tracey Livesay (contemporary romance)
Hold Me by Courtney Milan (contemporary romance)
The Beast Prince by Marian Perera (sci-fi romance)
holdmeMy Scandalous Duke by Theresa Romain (out 11/15, novella, historical romance)
Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso (out 1/16/17, romantic suspense)
Love the Way You Lie by Skye Warren (erotic romance)

Backlist adventures: Angel’s Wings by Anne Stuart, Ravished by Amanda Quick, Wedding? Impossible! by Karen Templeton.

Booking Around This Place: August Reads

August was packed with good reads! I’m pretty proud of myself…and pretty bummed about the state of the world, since that’s what drove me to dive into a pile of books.

I’m really glad I finally got around to Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. It definitely lives up to all the good things I’ve heard about it — and the bad guys creeped me out like whoa!

Mission-ImproperA Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (fantasy romance)
Between a Rock and a Hot Mess by Phyllis Bourne (contemporary romance)
Take Me Home by Lorelie Brown (contemporary LGBT romance)
A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev (contemporary romance, romantic suspense)
Perv by Dakota Gray (erotic romance)
Skin Game by Cara McKenna (erotic romance/thriller)
Mission: Improper by Bec McMaster (steampunk paranormal romance)
emberHer Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz (category-length erotic romance)
Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz (category-length erotic romance)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (young adult dystopian fantasy)
My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas (historical romance)
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (horror)