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 May. So work on enhancing the to-read piles and enjoy…
Please note this book was reviewed prior to the revelation of author’s identity and actions. Please read this statement from Riptide Publishing for more information.
Rafa: Top of the Stack for me is hands down Concourse by Santino Hassell. I was excited at the prospect of more of the Five Boroughs universe beyond the Rodriguez brothers, and Hassell certainly delivers with Ashton and Valdrin. Socialite sexpot Ashton Townsend struck me as an unlikely hero when he was first introduced in First and First, but Hassell takes us behind the glitz and glamor of his Instagram-perfect life to reveal the lonely man desperate for the love of his best friend, amateur boxer Valdrin Leka. The demisexual rep in the book had me in a puddle, and hullo, the cameos by Nunzio didn’t hurt either.
Gillian: I am very much looking forward to reading Concourse as well. Ashton has always been an intriguing side character to me and I can’t wait to get to know him a little better in this book. Also, his bestie is a sexy boxer guy and I am here for what Santino does so well – friends to lovers.
Kristie: I’m excited for people to read Concourse because when I read it, I went on a rollercoaster full of feels. I love it when a book does that to me… it made me feel all the emotions, it cut me up and put me back together again. And in the end, I didn’t want to maim the author. I count that as a big plus.
Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.
Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.
When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.
The Seafarer’s Kiss, by Julia Ember
Release Day: May 4, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Michele: I’m incredibly excited for everyone to read The Seafarer’s Kiss! It’s been getting a lot of buzz (and rightly so) as a retelling of The Little Mermaid from Ursula’s point of view, but it’s so much more than that, and one of the most fascinating and unique faerie tale subversions I’ve ever read.
Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s fortress. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.
Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.
Summer Stock, by Vanessa North
Release Day: May 15, 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Kristie: Summer Stock is a hot little summertime romance that sucked me in from the first pages, all through to the end. Vanessa North is an auto-buy for me and she’s never let me down. With Summer Stock, I think I’ve fallen head over heels in love with her. The writing is wonderful, the story is heartfelt and drives home all the feelings of true relationships, how they work, how they don’t, and the work that needs to be done to keep them going. I read this right at a time I really needed it and I’m so grateful.
Tabloid scandals have driven TV star Ryan Hertzog to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where he’s hiding out doing summer stock at his cousin’s seaside theater. When a hookup with local handyman Trey Donovan results in Ryan being photographed butt naked, he vows to keep his pants on and his hands off Trey. How was he supposed to know Trey would turn out to be the summer stock set builder?
Trey isn’t looking for a relationship; he’s still recovering from the emotional fallout of an abusive marriage. But Ryan’s laughter draws him in again and again, and he’s not about to say no to fooling around.
As the summer heats up, the paparazzi catch Ryan in increasingly compromising situations. Ryan might be too much drama for a summer fling—and Trey might be just an intermission from Ryan’s Hollywood life. But if they take their cues from Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.
The Love Interest, by Cale Dietrich
Release Day: May 16, 2017
Publisher: macmillian Publishers
El: My most anticipated read of May is The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich. It takes the overdone YA love triangle trope and flips it on its head, and I absolutely adore books that invert common tropes in very unpredictable ways. This is a book that doesn’t take itself seriously in a lot of ways (my favorite quote so far: “Wouldn’t it be better to send us in when we’re a bit older? No one finds the love of their life while they’re a teenager.” “You haven’t read any YA novels recently, have you?”) but also seems to be about teenagers discovering autonomy and discovering who they really are away from adult influences, which… yep, checks all my YA boxes!
Michele: Trope subversion FTW!
Gillian: The Love Interest has captured my attention for all the reasons El mentioned. I’m definitely here for great YA books that manage to surprise us in interesting ways.
Kristie: I’m very intrigued by The Love Interest for all the same reasons as my fellow reviewers. And the fact that it’s YA makes it even more appealing. I’m always going to be on board for more teen books.
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?
Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.
What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
Arrivals, by J.M. Frey
Series: The Accidental Turn
Release Day: May 23, 2017
Publisher: REUTS Publishing
Rita: For me, it’s all about Arrivals this month. Ever since I read J.M. Frey’s Accidental Turn series I’ve been dying to know more about Forsyth’s brother Kintyre, and his companion Bevel Dom. We get a taste of Bevel’s unrequited feelings in Ghosts but it left me chomping at the bit for the rest of their story and a hopeful HEA ending.
After seventeen years of adventuring, Bevel Dom and Kintyre Turn are finally returning home.
Forsyth Turn—brother to Bevel’s long-time questing partner and newly Paired lover—has left both Hain and a hell of a lot of responsibility behind. He’s bequeathed the Shadow’s Mask and position of the king’s spymaster to Bevel, and the seat of Lysse Chipping to Kintyre. It’s a lot to take on, and it will mean an end to questing forever if they do.
But it might also mean a chance for Bevel and Kintyre to find a Happily Ever After of their own.
Unfortunately, Turn Hall seems to be infested with eligible young maidens out to snatch away the freshly returned Lord of Lysse, determined to destroy the fragile happiness that Bevel has built. Faced with more decisions than he was prepared for, Bevel battles with foes unfamiliar, making him wonder if life on the road really wasn’t all that bad.
But if there’s one thing Bevel Dom isn’t afraid to do, it’s fight for the man he loves.
An Accidental Turn novella set between The Untold Tale and The Forgotten Tale, Arrivals follows Kintyre Turn and Bevel Dom as they step into Forsyth’s vacated life and face the surprising responsibilities he’s left in his wake.
(aka Mel only let us choose one each, but none of us listened… including her)
Cask Strength, by Layla Reyne, May 1 (M/M, Contemporary, FBI)
Risky Behaviour, by L.A. Witt & Cari Z, May 1 (M/M Contemporary, Detectives)
A Worthy Man, by Jaime Reese, May 2 (M/M, Contemporary)
Noteworthy, by Riley Redgate, May 2 (Bi, YA, POC, Drag, Arts)
The Sun Still Rises, by Laura Bailo, May 17 (M/M, Contemporary, Spain)
The Well, by Marie Sexton, May 22 (M/M, Paranormal, Mystery)
Now it’s your turn: