Top of the Stack: September

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Welcome to our new monthly column here at Just Love: Top of the Stack!

All of the reviewers here at Just Love sat down together (virtually!) and talked about the books we are looking forward to in the upcoming month. Now we want to share our excitement with you.

So have a look at the top ten eleven (we couldn’t help ourselves!) books that we’re most excited about in September, and enjoy!

EmptyNetGale

Empty Net, by Avon Gale
Series: Scorching Chances
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 2, 2016

Rita is a hockey fan, so this one “is a no-brainer” for her! Plus, “it’s enemies-to-lovers, so what’s not to like!”

DMac is looking forward to this one because Avon Gale is a favorite writer and she loves the Scoring Chances series… and because it has a demi character!

A Scoring Chances Novel

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

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Shatterproof - Xen SandersShatterproof, by Xen Sanders
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 5, 2016

Rafa: I believe it’s his “debut” under this name and it’s definitely an “own voices” book. The POC character felt more than just a token “let’s throw in a non-white dude” if you know what I mean.

You can read her review here (4.5 stars)

Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.

Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.

All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.

When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.

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Connection Error Annabeth Albert

Connection Error, by Annabeth Albert
Series: Gaymers Series, Book #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 5, 2016

Rafa: This series has been on my TBR FOREVER. So even though I have some catching up to do, I’m looking forward to it.

KristieI still need to read book one of the series, but I loved book 2… and finishing up book 3 today!

It’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

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Magic and Mayham Magic & Mayhem: Fiction and Essays Celebrating LGBTQA Romance, by Various (Anthology)
Release Date: September 6, 2016

Kristie: Fabulous authors. Fiction and Non Fiction. The stories are based on prompts from GRNW 2014 and 2015’s Character Type Love Match, which was a fun exercise at each conference. And it includes keynotes from past conferences, as well as some new essays. This promises to be a deeply moving, and incredibly fun read.

Mel: Ginn Hale and EE Ottoman are in there. SQUEEE 🙂

Everyone deserves to see themselves in stories, to see themselves get a happy ending. For the past few years, GRNW has helped to see those stories reach more of the LGBTQ community, and gain traction in libraries and beyond.

Furthering that goal is this collection of fiction and essays, including information on how to get books in libraries, letters from authors, why positive and happy queer books are so important, and short stories about tattooists, soldiers, mages, and cyborgs that span the LGBTQ spectrum.

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loving you easy roni lorenLoving You Easy, by Roni Loren
Series: Loving on the Edge, Book #9
Release Date: September 6, 2016

El: I love Roni’s menage romances because her characters are bisexual, and she makes that very clear, so you know you’re getting some steamy M/F and sexy M/M alongside the threesome! This one is about an introverted geek who longs for a kinky relationship, and actually starts as an in-game romance before moving to the real world!

Three lovers really click in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Call on Me—

Cora has an amazing sex life. She’s beautiful, daring, and the most popular submissive in Hayven. Too bad none of it’s real…  

IT specialist Cora Benning has figured out the key to her formerly disastrous love life—make it virtual. In the online world of Hayven, she’s free of her geek girl image and can indulge her most private fantasies with a sexy, mysterious master without anyone in her life discovering her secrets. Until her information is hacked and she finds herself working to fix the breach under two very powerful men—one who seems all too familiar…

Best friends and business partners Ren Muroya and Hayes Fox were once revered dominants. Then Hayes was wrongfully sent to prison and everything changed. Ren wants to get back to who they were. Hayes can’t risk it. But when they discover the new IT specialist is their online fascination, and that she’s never felt a dominant’s touch, the temptation to turn virtual into reality becomes all too great…

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Not Your Sidekick, by C.B. Leenot your sidekick cb lee
Publisher: Interlude Press
Release Date: September 8, 2016

Michele:  This books has a teenager WOC lead, secret identities, is a f/f romance, and SUPERHEROES 😀

Rafa: I am VERY excited about this one.

 

Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, whom Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

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Tied up in Knots, by Mary Calmestied up in knots mary calmes
Series: Marshals, Book #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 16, 2016

Kristie: I’m addicted to Mary Calmes and this series. More Miro and Ian! My little me– that me inside my brain– is doing cartwheels for this book.

 

Miro Jones is living the life: he’s got his exciting, fulfilling job as a US deputy marshal, his gorgeous Greystone in suburban Chicago, his beloved adopted family, and most importantly, the man who captured his heart, Ian Doyle. Problem is, Ian isn’t just his partner at work—Ian’s a soldier through and through. That commitment takes him away from Miro, unexpectedly and often, and it’s casting a shadow over what could be everything Miro could ever dream of.

Work isn’t the same without Ian. Home isn’t the same, either, and Miro’s having to face his fears alone… how to keep it together at the office, how to survive looming threats from the past, and worst of all, how to keep living without Ian’s rock-solid presence at his side. His life is tied up in knots, but what if unknotting them requires something more permanent? What would that mean for him and Ian? Miro’s stuck between two bad choices, and sometimes the only way to get out of the knot is to hold tight to your lifeline and pull.

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pictures-of-you-leta-blakePictures of You, by Leta Blake
Series: ’90s Coming of Age, Book #1
Release Date: September 19, 2016

Gillian:  I’ve heard lots of good things about it plus I really love a good coming of age story.

 

 

Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder. 

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1990—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends, preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices? And will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, open a new path?

Join Peter in the first of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

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overexposed magan ericksonOverexposed, by Megan Erickson
Series: In Focus, Book #4
Release Date: September 20, 2016

El:  I was so intrigued by the glimpses of Levi that we got in the third book, and a novel about two men meeting on the Appalachian Trail sounds like a really unique setting for a romance to bloom!

Rita: Mostly because I’m quite smitten with the series thus far but also because of the Appalachian Trail. I love outdoorsy books to begin with, but I also love it when I’m familiar with the setting/location.

Love runs wild on the Appalachian Trail…

Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he’d planned to do with his sister.

His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs…

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david renewed diana copland

David, Renewed, by Diana Copland
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 21, 2016

DMac is looking forward to this because it features my favorite character archetype: handyman. It also features guys from two worlds who have to work together.

 

 

 

When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.

Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.

David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.

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Where We Left Off, by Roan Parrishwhere we left off roan parrish
Series: Middle of Somewhere, Book #3
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 26, 2016

Mel: The first two books were a total surprise for me and reinstalled my love for contemporary romance, so I can’t wait for Book Three.

Rafa: Not gonna lie, I was anticipating the gorgeous cover nearly as much as I’m looking forward to Leo and Will’s story. Leo stole my heart in Book One but I have a feeling Will’s going to put mine through the grinder.

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

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Now it’s your turn:

What are you excited to read in September?

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3 thoughts on “Top of the Stack: September

  1. Pingback: Top of the Stack: October | Just Love: Romance Novel Reviews

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