Mala’s Best of 2017 Pop Culture Round-Up

2017 was a year where I really needed the escape into pop culture. I buried myself in books and TV as much as possible (gee, I wonder why?) — but it didn’t always work out! I tried and then tapped out of The CW’s Riverdale. Despite all of the X-Men connections, something about The Gifted on FOX just puts me to sleep. I bailed on Showtime’s highly anticipated revival of Twin Peaks after four episodes. There’s only so much self-indulgence and [ominous whooshing] a gal can take (and I don’t buy the ’18-hour movie’ defense). I changed cable packages and lost access to OWN, so I’m behind on Queen Sugar. Plus, I had to put one of my favorite soaps — The Bold and the Beautiful — on pause because it stopped being fun to watch.

But, thankfully, there was still more than enough media to keep me engaged! Check out my faves and raves.

Favorite Books
White Hot by Ilona Andrews
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Stillhouse Lake and Killman Creek by Rachel Caine
An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles
An Extraordinary Union and A Hope Divided by Alyssa Cole
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria
Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai
The Red by Tiffany Reisz
American Prince by Sierra Simone
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Favorite Shows
Days of our Lives (NBC)
The Exorcist (FOX)
The Get Down (canceled by Netflix)
Good Behavior (TNT)
The Good Place (NBC)
The Originals (The CW)
The Punisher (Netflix)
Underground (canceled by those assholes at WGN)
Wynonna Earp (SyFy)

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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
Rogue One

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.

Book Ends: December Reads and a Look Back

RadioSilenceMy last book post about 2014. Gasp. First, here’s what made my hot list in December:

The Companion Contract by Solace Ames (out 2/9, erotic romance, e-book)
Unfixable by Tessa Bailey (new adult contemporary romance, e-book)
The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen (new adult LGBT contemporary romance, e-book)
Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole (out 2/2, post-apocalyptic new adult romance, e-book)
Flirting With Disaster by Victoria Dahl (out 1/27, contemporary romance)
Say Yes to the Marquess, by Tessa Dare (historical romance)
A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong by Cecilia Grant (historical romance, e-novella)
OneKissRockStarThe Obsession, The Enslavement and The Fulfillment by Liliana Lee aka Jeannie Lin (erotic romance, e-novellas)
One Kiss With a Rock Star by Amber Lin and Shari Slade (erotic romance, e-novella)
The Secret Heart by Erin Satie (historical romance, e-book)
Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (contemporary romance, e-novella)

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2012: Year in Pop Culture Review

It’s the last day of December. You know what this means: obligatory year-end navel-gazing! This being me, I’m doing it with books, movies, TV shows and other pop culture happenings!

Best Personal Pop Culture Thing: getting published in both fiction and nonfiction.
Worst Personal Pop Culture Thing: the closure of Soap Opera Weekly.
Biggest 2012 Crush: Ryan Gosling, Jeremy Renner.
Favorite Duchess: Kate Middleton.
Favorite Non-Duchess: Emma Stone.

gentlemanundoneBest Reads: Riveted, by Meljean Brook; The Killing Moon, by N.K. Jemisin; His Very Own Girl, by Carrie Lofty.
Favorite New Author: Cecilia Grant, Ruthie Knox, Juliana Gray.
Favorite Male Character: Micajah Hawke from Karina Cooper’s St. Croix Chronicles, Winter Makepeace from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Thief of Shadows.
Favorite Female Character: Minerva Highwood from Tessa Dare’s A Week to be Wicked.

kahaaniFavorite Movie: The Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall.
Best Movie: Kahaani.
Worst Movie: Snow White and the Huntsman.
Surprisingly Delightful Movie That The Critics Were Wrong About: Mirror, Mirror.
Most Hyped Movie That I Didn’t See: Jab Tak Hain Jaan.
Favorite Male Performance: Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike, Daniel Craig in Skyfall.
Favorite Female Performance: Vidya Balan in Kahaani, Sridevi in English Vinglish.

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