Gwenda Bond

2016 Favorites

Movies

Wow, so I did not see many new movies this year. I re-watched a lot of old stuff and caught up on some 2015 stuff. Overall, though, apart from the re-watches of favorites, I didn’t like many movies this year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens– I liked the new characters a lot, but was disappointed by the story so I’m not sure if I would call it a favorite. It was nice to see a new Star Wars, though.

Deadpool– I didn’t write a blog for this movie, at least I don’t think I did. I went through a period there where sitting in front of a computer screen made me physically ill so there were a few movies and books I missed. Joys of pregnancy. Anyway, I really liked Deadpool and was lucky enough to pick it up Black Friday and re-watch. So I guess that’s a favorite for this year.

The Big Short– Really liked this movie, even though it made me mad. Enough that I read the book, then read more by the author, and then purchased the movie even though it was on Netflix at the time.

Star Wars: Rogue OneThis might be my favorite movie of the year, I need to watch it a few more times to decide exactly how much I loved it though.

Books

Book wise I also did a lot of re-reading but I was lucky enough to read several books I loved that were new to me.

Lois Lane: Double Down– This series has become such a surprise favorite of mine. Once again I gave this book as a Christmas present and I’m excited for the next to come out. I rarely find a YA book that isn’t filled with whinny emotional stupid teens and this really fills that void for me.

Carry On– Rainbow Rowell is now a must buy author for me. I’ve loved every book she’s written even though none of them are in a series or like the books I normally read. Her characters are awesome and this book was just perfect.

Stars of Fortune– I was really surprised by this Nora Roberts book. It was like reading an old favorite of hers but for the first time with no knowledge of what was going to happen.

Fire Touched Magic Binds & One Fell Sweep– It wouldn’t be a list of mine without Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews on it. I’m so happy with the speed that Ilona Andrews is able to write at and wish that Patricia Briggs would pick up the pace. I read One Fell Sweep as it was posted on their blog and don’t have a review written, however I did buy the book and plan on re-reading it so I’ll post a review then.

The Last Dragonslayer– Loved finding this Jasper Ffrode series, wish it didn’t seem to end with a cliffhanger, but the first book is awesome.

TV

I didn’t have much patience with TV the second half of the year. These things happen when your hormones are in overdrive though. There were still a few shows that I really enjoyed.

Agent Carter– It still makes me sad that this was canceled. Peggy Carter is such an awesome character and a wonderful role model for women/girls everywhere.

Fuller House– Sometimes you need a junk food show. Something that is fun and doesn’t make you think at all. First episode of the first season was bad, but they eventually found their feet and the second season was really good.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones– Jessica Jones is not a character to look up to, but I thought the show was great. She’d been through a lot and still kept fighting. Hope things get better for her, but if Daredevil is any indication of what happens with a second Marvel season on Netflix probably not.

Marvel’s Luke Cage– This is my favorite Marvel show on Netflix. It was so good. Loved pretty much everything about it.

The Librarians– I wish there were more shows like this out there. It’s like Eureka and Warehouse 13, it’s fun and light and I know that things are going to work out. I really just love it and I’m so glad that it keeps getting renewed, I dread the day it doesn’t.

Dark Matter– This was such an awesome find for me. I miss SciFi that isn’t about the world ending or after the world has basically ended or just a constant sink hole of depression. Dark Matter isn’t light by any means, but it doesn’t fill me with a sense of dread.

Video Games

Stardew Valley– I spent so many hours playing this it’s kind of crazy. I love Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games and this was a perfect version of both with a little bit of Animal Crossing thrown in. It’s like this game was made for me and I loved it. It just came out on PS4 and XB1 in case anyone doesn’t want to purchase it on Steam. There’s also a freakin adorable guide available.

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Double Down (Lois Lane #2) By: Gwenda Bond

double-down

Double Down (Lois Lane #2) By: Gwenda Bond

Plot:

Lois Lane has settled in to her new school. She has friends, for maybe the first time in her life. She has a job that challenges her. And her friendship is growing with SmallvilleGuy, her online maybe-more-than-a-friend. But when her friend Maddy’s twin collapses in a part of town she never should’ve been in, Lois finds herself embroiled in a dangerous mystery that brings her closer to the dirty underbelly of Metropolis.

Review:

This time around I wasn’t thinking about how much I dislike Lois Lane or wondering if I was about to get drowned in teenage angsty drama. Bond already sold me on her world and Lois Lane with Fallout so this time I was just super excited. The fact that it took me so long to read had nothing to do with my anticipation and everything to do with me being pregnant and unable to do pretty much anything but be miserable. The book sat on my shelf for months, since I pre-ordered it, taunting me. I’m finally feeling well enough to read something new and this was the first book I picked up.

I can’t write about a Lois Lane book without mentioning how much I love the cover, even the crisp white paper in the book seems high quality. I love it all.

I’m happy to say that I enjoyed Double Down just as much as Fallout. There was a bit more teen romance this time around, but since I like the characters it didn’t bother me and it was never the sole focus in the story, there was always a lot going on. In fact there might have been too much, I’m actually glad that not everything was completely wrapped up at the end because it would have been too neat.

Lois is still very much an intrepid reporter doing some pretty daring things to get to the truth, though, she never did anything outright stupid. Her main villain this time was a mob boss named ‘Boss’ who I actually don’t even think she ever met. Which is probably a good thing, cause a mob boss with that name is probably not someone you’d want to mess with. Since this is a kids book it never got too dark, though.

The virtual reality from the first book was still used, there were also a few more Sci-Fi elements that I appreciated and a few comic nods. Bond has done a good job making these characters and the world her own without ignoring the source material and I really appreciate that as a fan.

Love this series and I’m excited to see a third book in the works already, but I’m concerned about the long term plan for these. Is it going to be an ongoing series like Nancy Drew that sees new writers come in and the characters never really aging? Is there an end game in mind with a finish for the series? Will there be more books that aren’t comics starring these characters as they get older? That would be pretty awesome, I love comics but to see these characters in full books would be so much fun.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

4.5/5

My 2015 Favorites

Movies:

2015 was not a good year for movies, for me at least. Of course, I’ve yet to see Star Wars so that could certainly change. I gave only two movies 5 stars, Tomorrowland and Mockingjay. I had several 4 stars that I remember very fondly though. Anyway, the following is a list of the movies I enjoyed the most, star ranking be damned.

    1. Tomorrowland– I was not expecting to love this movie as much as I did and I’m so thankful that I rented it. Literally the day after I watched it I went out, bought it, and watched it again. I have it downloaded on all of my devices and will just randomly watch parts of it. I love it and I could easily see this movie becoming one of my all-time favorites
    2. Jurassic World– This movie is another one that I bought, but I haven’t actually watched it yet. Thinking back to the theater I really loved it and I’m excited for more in the franchise like this. Also, Chris Pratt is awesome.
    3. Kingsman: The Secret Service– I think this movie was so great because I wasn’t expecting it. I went in with very little expectations and was pleasantly surprised.
    4. Parallels– I hesitate listing this because, while I liked it, it doesn’t feel complete. I really hope there’s more to come because the world created was very interesting.This was the year of books. I read over 100 books and so many of them were good. I did of course read a couple I absolutely loathed (I’m looking at you Fable: Edge of the World and Murder is Binding) but the majority of what I read I really enjoyed.

Books:

 

    1. Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond– I gave this as a Christmas present, that should really tell you how much I enjoyed it. I can easily see this being the first book in a series I absolutely adore.
    2. Justice Calling by Annie Bellet– This is the first book in the Twenty-Sided Sorceress series and one of my favorite discoveries of the year. Great series and I’m looking forward to reading the most recent installment.
    3. Anything by Jenn McKinlay- I read several McKinlay books this year and I loved almost all of them and the one I didn’t love I still liked. If you’re looking for a cozy mystery I highly recommend anything she’s done. She writes great characters and her stories are light and fairly believable.
    4. Clariel by Garth Nix- Even after all this time Nix stayed true to the world and showed us a great character.
    5. Magic Breaks & Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews- It’s Ilona Andrews, of course these books were amazing.
    6. Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs- Just like Ilona Andrews, Briggs never fails to give me a book I love.
    7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer- Really liked the unique take on fairy tales this series has brought. I haven’t yet read the final installment, but I’m looking forward to it.

TV:

 

I don’t write as many TV blog posts as I should, probably because I watch too much damn TV, but here’s a list of my favorites for the year.

    1. Sense 8 on Netflix– This show suffered some pacing issues, but it didn’t affect how much I loved it. Season 2 can’t come out fast enough.
    2. Marvel’s Agent Carter on ABC– Loved this show. Really loved this show. I want to be Agent Carter when/if I grow up. She’s such a great character and I’m really looking forward to season 2 which starts in January.
    3. Jane the Virgin on CW– When I’m watching this show I’m in freakin love. When I’m not watching this show I can’t really understand why I liked it so much because it sounds so crazy. Every episode delivers and it has continued into the second season, there has been no dip in quality. Highly recommend, more people should be watching this.
    4. Daredevil on Netflix– Episode two has one of the best fight scenes of the year from movies or TV, it was that good.
    5. Jessica Jones on Netflix– I didn’t think it was possible, but this was darker than Daredevil. Not really a huge fan of dark, but they did this very well. I thought Jessica Jones was a realistic portrayal of an abuse victim that happens to have some superpowers. She was rarely likable, but I never hated her, you could always understand why she acted the way she did. Actors were spot on as well, it was freaky seeing Tennant be so evil.
    6. Dark Matter on SyFy– I found this show on Netflix and was pleasantly surprised. It takes a couple episodes to gather steam but when it does it becomes an interesting Sci-Fi tv show. Nice female lead and an interesting story.

 

This has been my 2015 year in review. What did you enjoy most this year?

Lois Lane: Fallout (Lois Lane #1) By: Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane

This cover is freaking awesome and I love it!

 

Lois Lane: Fallout (Lois Lane #1) By: Gwenda Bond

Plot:

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Review:

I’m not a huge fan of Lois Lane, but I love superman and I read a blog by the author, Bond, over on Chuck Wendig’s website and I thought it sounded interesting. I fell in love with the cover, I read half of the kindle sample, and then I decided I had to own this book in hardback.

First off, the quality of the actual book is great. The slipcover is cool and the cover under that looks just as good. The paper is white, not the normal cream color, and because of that the words just pop off of the page.

Next, the book itself is really good. I’m always wary of YA books because you never know when you’re going to have to deal with the stupid emotions of teenagers and all their “issues.” Thankfully there was almost none of that in this book and what little there was, was completely acceptable and actually went with the story. There was no made up issues with boys or adults treating them unfairly just because they’re adults. The book was about real issues, involving bullying in hologames. Err.. Real issues with a cool twist.

I want a hologame now! Give it to me. I must wage war!!!!!

Anyway, halfway through the book I was dreading finishing it and wishing I had started the series when a couple more were already written. Goodreads has it listed as a series, but a quick internet search gave me nothing on the publishers website or the authors. My hope is that Bond is already locked in a room somewhere writing the sequel and that DC is telling her she can have whatever she wants. That’s the dream, we’ll see what happens.

Fallout was one of those books that while reading I told myself this is a solid four star, I really like it, but it’s missing something extra to push it to love. However, as I wrote my review and started to really think about the book my love grew for it. I’m still withholding the full five stars, but it is definitely more than a four.

4.5/5