Top of the Stack: August 2017

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JLR Top of the Stack

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 August. So work on enhancing the to-read piles and enjoy…

spectred isle k j charles green men

Spectred Isle, by KJ Charles
Series: Green Men, Book #1
Release Day: August 3, 2017

Mel:Spectred Isle might just be my new favorite book by KJ Charles. It seems that I am saying that with every new book that she is publishing, but, seriously, you all, it was incredibly good.

As always, the historical setting is palpable, which is a given with the author. This book additionally shines through both the main characters and their romance as well as the paranormal aspect that was a pure delight.”

Gillian: “All the yes for a new KJ Charles book!!”

Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.

Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.

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Barrel Proof, by Layla Reyne
Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey, Book #3Barrel Proof Layla Reyne
Release Day: August 7, 2017

Gillian: “My pick for August has to be Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne. This is the last installment in the Irish & Whiskey series and I think fans of the books are really going to enjoy seeing how things play out between Aidan and Jamie, as all the secrets Jamie and Mel have been keeping from Aidan start to come to light. I thought this was the strongest book of the three and really loved how everything wrapped up. This is a worthy finale to a fun series.”

Rafa: “I’m excited about this book too and hope the trilogy comes to a satisfying conclusion. The first two books were solid 4-star reads for me, and I’d love for the final installment be a 5-star home run.”

FBI agents Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.

Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.

But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

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Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper VaughnPermanent Ink, by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Series: Art & Soul, Book #1
Release Date: August 7, 2017

Rita: “I’m most looking forward to Piper Vaughn and Avon Gale’s Permanent Ink this month.

Piper is a long time favorite and I’ve learned not to miss anything by Avon. As it is, I think together they’ll be a powerhouse writing duo, but add in tattoos and graffiti and I won’t be able to click that buy button fast enough! I cannot wait for this book!”

Pixie: “Same. This is literally the only book on my TBR list for August.”

At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.

Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.

Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.

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Textual Relations by Cate AshwoodTextual Relations
, by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: August 10, 2017

Pixie: “I like the idea of responding to a wrong text by actually showing up.  I mean… the effort.”

Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by lunch with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?

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long-winding-road-tj-klueThe Long and Winding Road, by TJ Klune
Series: Bear, Otter, and the Kid, Book #4
Release Date: August 11, 2017

Kristie: “My pick for August is The Long and Winding Road (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #4), by TJ Klune. The anticipation I have for this book to come out is so high. This also puts me in a situation where I really want to hold off on reading it because I know it’s the end of their journey… at least their journey that I’ll get to read. I’ll be so sad to see them go, probably be a sobbing mess by the end of it. But I look forward to seeing how the lives of these characters are written off into the sunset. I’ve loved them from the first pages of BOATK. I’ll love them forever.”

El: “I’m going to second “The Long and Winding Road”. At first, I didn’t want to read it… because it means it’s really The End for Bear and Otter, and I just don’t know that I’m emotionally prepared for this book? But then I realized that I trust TJ Klune wholeheartedly to take me on a gorgeous and hilarious ride, and leave me whole and happy at the end. So yeah, this book is definitely one that I can’t wait to dive into!”

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.

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Illegal Contact, by Santino Hassell
Illegal Contact by Santino HassellSeries: The Barons, Book #1
Release Date: August 15, 2017

Rafa: “Even though it seems like everyone and their mother got their paws on an early copy (myself included oops), Illegal Contact is still one of the most highly anticipated releases of this month and my Top of the Stack pick – because it was THAT GOOD. It has a low-key burn and sweet kisses (KISSES! ) and real-world problems (as opposed to manufactured drama) specifically in pro sports. There’s actually very little on-field action (by that I mean ACTUAL SPORTS, get your mind out of the gutter lol), so I would happily recommend this even if you aren’t into sports romances.”

Kristie: “Best first kiss I’ve ever read. Like EVER. I’m completely in love with this book.”

Rita: “This might very well be my favorite contemporary romance I’ve read this year. Hassell continues to prove that his skillz are legit. This book is not one to miss!”

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

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Sidebar by Carsen TaiteSidebar, by Carsen Taite
Release Date: August 15, 2017

Caissa: “It’s the enemies to lovers trope in a new setting – a courtroom. This looks interesting. Also, the cover looks HOT.”

Judge Camille Avery, newly appointed to the federal court, is finally back on her dream career path. She’s determined not to let any mistakes, past or future, get in her way, but a complex murder case and undeniable attraction to her rebellious law clerk threaten Camille’s carefully planned future at every turn.

Attorney West Fallon is a social justice crusader, reluctant to put her career plans on hold to clerk for a federal judge, even if the judge is the man who saved her life. When he’s suddenly forced to retire, West is stuck clerking for Judge Camille Avery, an infuriatingly stubborn—okay, brilliant, intense, and sexy—law-and-order jurist who seems just as unhappy to be saddled with her.

As Camille and West explore their growing desire and challenge the boundaries of their work and personal relationships, a big case threatens to destroy both their careers. Can their love survive?

Top of the Stack

Pins and Needles by A.J. ThomasPins and Needles, by A.J. Thomas
Release Date: August 25, 2017

DMac: “This has the whole hurt/comfort vibe to it PLUS a tattooed nerd and some mystery. Can’t wait to read it.”

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

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Honorable Mentions

Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1), by Annabeth Albert, August 1
Weekend Getaway (Daniel and Ryan #7), by Tamryn Eradani, August 7
Antisocial, by Heidi Cullinan, August 8
The Lamb Will Slaughter The Lion (Danielle Cain #1), by Margaret Killjoy, August 15
An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (The Risen Kingdoms #1), by Curtis Craddock, August 29

Top of the Stack
Now it’s your turn:

What are you excited to read in August?

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2 thoughts on “Top of the Stack: August 2017

  1. KJ Charles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (That pretty much says it all. Sidebar looks good – I’m a sucker for pretty women with short hair on romance covers. The Annabeth Albert looks interesting and I’m moderately interested in the Heidi Cullinan, even though I tend to not like her na. And I’m excited for the Satino Hassell even though I don’t care about sports).


  2. For sure: Illegal Contact, Spectre Isle, and the new Annabeth Albert.

    Thinking about it/On the fence: Permanent Ink, Pins and Needles.

    AFAIK, there aren’t any other books I’m rarin’ to snag. #Mywalletshappyforonce #LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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