Top of the Stack: December

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Welcome back to Top of the Stack!

Looking forward to the next book month? You’ve come to the right place then. Here are the top titles that we’re most excited about in December. So work on enhancing the to-read piles and enjoy…

all-in-fear-anthologyAll in Fear, by Steve Berman, KJ Charles, Avon Gale
Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, J.A. Rock
Release Day: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Open Ink Press
Tags: Anthology, F/F, M/M, Horror

Gillian: I’m so excited for the All In Fear anthology featuring stories from some of my most very favourite authors: KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, Kris Ripper, Avon Gale and Steve Berman. It’s like an embarrassment of riches when you can gather those names together in one book. If you’re looking to escape all the Christmas hype, I think this will be the book to do it for you.

Rafa: Everyone’s all “Bring on the holiday shorts” and I’m all “Give me the horror antho!” I’m particularly excited to read Roan Parrish and Kris Ripper’s contribution to this collection.

Mel: I’ve already read the ARC and think there are some exceptionally well written stories here. Recommended!

Horror wears many faces, and its masks can be tantalizing. Some of the top names in queer fiction come together to spin their own versions of horror. Worlds rife with dark beauty and mystery, the familiar becoming terrible, creatures ethereal and alluring—and all bearing the gleam of love. Does hope lie along these grim passages or only doom? It will become clear. All in time—and all in fear.

Six of the top names in queer romance join forces with Open Ink Press to bring you a deliciously unsettling horror anthology slated to release December 1st, 2016. All in Fear will feature chilling new and original stories from KJ Charles, Roan Parrish, Avon Gale, Kris Ripper, J.A. Rock, and Steve Berman. Coinciding with the winter holidays, the anthology will focus on the traditional macabre elements of horror coupled with the possibility for romance.


the forgotten tale j m freyThe Forgotten Tale, by J.M. Frey
Series: The Accidental Turn, Book #2
Release Day: December 6, 2016
Tags: High Fantasy

Rita:  Before I discovered my love for all things romance, I mostly read SF/F. Since making the switch I’ve been primarily reading contemporary romance but I’m finding that I’m missing the wonderful worlds from some of my earlier reads.

When I saw that J.M. Frey’s The Forgotten Tale was going to be released this month I thought this would be the perfect way for me to satisfy my love for fantasy and get my happy ever after too. Turns out this is the second in the series and it continues from where the first, The Untold Tale, left off so I’m anxious to get started on both of these books!

Forsyth Turn has finally become a hero—however reluctantly. But now that Lucy Piper has married him and they’ve started a family in her world, his adventuring days are behind him. Yet not all is as it should be. Beloved novels are disappearing at an alarming rate, not just from the minds of readers like Pip, but from bookshelves as well. Almost as if they had never been. Almost like magic.

Forsyth fears that it is his fault—that Pip’s childhood tales are vanishing because he, a book character, has escaped his pages. But when he and Pip are sucked back into The Tales of Kintyre Turn against their will, they realize that something much more deadly and dire is happening. The stories are vanishing from Forsyth’s world too. So Forsyth sets out on a desperate journey across Hain to discover how, and why, the stories are disappearing… before their own world vanishes forever.

In this clever follow-up to The Untold Tale, The Forgotten Tale questions what it means to create a legacy, and what we owe to those who come after us.


the firebird's tale anya owThe Firebird’s Tale, by Anya Ow
Series: The Ironlands, Book #1
Release Day: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Less Then Three Press
Tags: M/M, Fairy Tales, Fantasy

Rafa: Quite unexpectedly, my December pick is the debut novel by Anya Ow titled The Firebird’s Tale. I’d recently read a few queer SFF shorts by this Singaporean author and was hooked, so I was pleased to note that her first novel comes out this month. The Firebird’s Tale is a cheeky spin-off on your average fairy tale with a good dose of Eastern European folklore thrown in for good measure.

The Firebird’s Tale begins with the end of a familiar story: a Prince who never smiled, and by Imperial decree, has to marry the one who managed to make him do so.

Except that it was all an accident, and the Prince would say he didn’t actually smile at the thief who dared to rob a Tsar, and the thief was not even a woman—or, as it turns out, even human.


One Life to Lose Kris RipperOne Life to Lose, by Kris Ripper
Series: Queers of La Vista, Book  #4
Release Day: December 12, 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Tags: (M/M/M, Contemporary, Poly Relationship, BDSM)

El: My most anticipated release of December is hands-down “One Life to Lose” by Kris Ripper. I mean, I’ve already read it (Riptide had a few advanced paperbacks at GRL last month, and I grabbed one of those up quicker than you can say HELLO YES PLEASE!), so what I’m really anticipating is everyone *else* reading it.

One Life to Lose is… magnificent. It’s beautiful and emotional and it’s about the connections we make as human beings and the way intimacy binds us together. It’s probably my favorite thing that Kris has ever written, which is saying a lot because I’ve re-read all of zir books about a dozen times each.

Mel: Like El, I’ve already read an ARC, and yes, definite favourite book in the series and maybe of all.

Reading One Life to Lose was like receiving a hug; the kind that makes you feel whole, that nurtures and heals you, that strips away all barriers—the best kind.
When reading a book, I want to recognise myself in it and I want to read something fresh and new, and this series is achieving this for me, even more than I thought possible.

Rafa: I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! I’m not sure if anyone can top Emerson as my favorite character in the QoLV universe – oh god the snark on that one – but I’ve heard amazing things about this release. Gimme!

Cameron Rheingold is the kind of guy who takes a book to a bar. He’s a loner by nature, but he has to engage with the community to keep his movie theater business afloat. When two young men stay after a Cary Grant film showing to chat, Cameron thinks he might have made some new friends—but their interest is more than friendly.

Josh is charismatic, and every smile is a little bit seductive. Keith is sweet and kind, with a core of steel Cameron can sense even when Keith’s on his knees. Cameron is willing to be the couple’s kinky third, but that’s it. He refuses to risk complicating things with his growing devotion, even if being with Josh and Keith feels more right than anything else ever has.

When the three of them are attacked by the killer roaming La Vista, Cameron must decide what’s more important: pretending the assault never happened and he’s the same loner he used to be, or coming clean to Josh and Keith about how much he loves them, even if they can never return his feelings.


off the bauble debbie mcgowanOf the Bauble, by Debbie McGowan
Release Day: December 15, 2016
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Tags: M/M, Fantasy, YA, Holidays, Humour, Novella

Mel: I’ve read a book by the author which I really liked and I think this funny fantasy xmas novella with a bi-romantic and non-binary character sounds like a lot of fun.


When nineteen-year-old Kieran O’Sullivan takes a trip to the attic for the Christmas decorations, it proves to be an illuminating experience.

Box includes:
– a hapless but not altogether helpless student
– a pedantic supernatural being (or two, or…well, quite a few)
– a funky older sister
– the coolest mum in the world
– a naughty rescue bunny and her easily led feline sidekick
– an insightful ex-girlfriend
– twinkle lights
– tinsel
– baubles

* Warning – may contain traces of magic and a smidgeon of social commentary (hey, it’s a book by Debbie McGowan – did you expect anything else?) *

Of the Bauble is a young adult, biromantic/non-binary fantasy romance.


so this is christmas josh lanyonSo This is Christmas, by Josh Lanyon
Series: Adrien English Mysteries
Release Day: Dec 29
Tags: M/M, Holidays, Mystery

Kristie: So, confession here… I’m not a huge fan of this series. Not really. The first time I read it, it was difficult for me. I really had a hard time liking the story, the characters, almost everything about it. But as I read, I sort of fell in like with them. Especially Jake. And then I listened to them on audio. Listening to the books gave me a whole new appreciation for the series and I love it now. TOTALLY LOVE IT. As a result, this is 100% the most exciting thing that will come out in December for me. I think. 

Gillian: YES! I love Josh Lanyon and the Adrien English series holds a special place in my heart. I will never get enough of Adrien and Jake. Never never never!

God Help You Merry Gentlemen…

Arriving home early after spending Christmas in jolly old England, sometimes amateur sleuth Adrien English discovers alarming developments at Cloak and Dagger Books–and an old acquaintance seeking help in finding his missing boyfriend.

Fortunately, Adrien just happens to know a really good private eye…


Honorable Mentions

(aka Mel only let us choose one each, but none of us listened… including her)

Lunchtime Nibbles, by Claire Davis & Al Stewart, Dec 1 (M/M, Contemporary, Erotica)
Glass Tidings, by Amy Jo Cousins, Dec 5 (M/M, Contemporary, Small Town, Loner)
Heavy Hitters, by Taylor V. Donovan, Dec 9 (M/M, Contemporary, Sports, POC)
Once Upon a Time in the Weird West, Dec 16 (Anthology, SFF)


Now it’s your turn:

What are you excited to read in December?

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