Timeline series by Unforgotten (R)

  • Sep. 25th, 2015 at 9:07 PM
Title: Timeline series
Fandom: X-Men: First Class, X-Men Movies
Pairing: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
Categories: Time Travel, First Time, Humor with a bit of angst
Length: Long [31 625words]
Warnings: none

Author/Artist/Creator on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] unforgotten
Author/Artist/Creator Website: Unforgotten’s AO3

Review: This is a series of two fics, “Replay” and “Numbers” and an added collection of snippets and drabbles set in the same verse that highlight some of the moments we didn’t get to see or that were only hinted at.

The premise is that old man Charles Xavier as we know him from the X-Men movies and with all the knowledge, experience and power of his old self travels back in time, by casting his mind into his younger body. It’s his plan to change all the horrible events that made Magneto the person he is and he does it in the best way he can think of: As he knows Erik has been in love for him for decades now, what’s easier than to give him what he wants?

“Replay” is a delightful and sometimes hilarious fic about old Charles having to come to grips with being young again and with the moral dilemma of using his future knowledge to “take advantage” of Erik. He’s so engrossed in his own dilemma and so very Charles in some of the decisions he makes - like not reading Erik’s mind for the entire fic - that makes the little twist here work. Although the author - or Erik - gives the twist away pretty early on to make even more obvious that Charles can be the king of denial if he wants to, Charles never allows himself to pick up on it. It makes all his interactions with Erik very interesting and all the back and forth and paralleling of the things that happened in the future they left behind and what’s happening in their new past is well thought out and nicely used to describe the sort of people they are.

I think I like the second part, “Numbers” a little better even than “Replay” although it’s really imperative to read them in order and preferably together. “Numbers” is Eriks version of that happened in “Replay” and his voice is appropriately dry and a joy to read. Also his reflections on Charles and his obliviousness are just too funny.

Timeline series
Title: The Trouble with Threesomes and Supernatural Soul Mates
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Chris Argent/Peter Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: Angst, AU,Slash, First Time, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Supernatural.
Length: Epic [87983 words]
Warnings: Canon Levels of Violence, Minor Characters Deaths, Age Diference, Alpha!Peter.

Author Website: Akira_of_the_Twilight(on AO3)

Summary: Peter looked at Stiles from the corner of his blue eyes and smirked. Stiles swore he saw a flash of red Peter’s eyes, but it might of have been his brain’s lack of oxygen making him hallucinate. “I’m looking for my soul mate. Christopher Argent. I believe he volunteered to be taken in for questioning.”

An iron fist clenched Stiles' heart. This man was Argent’s—Christopher’s soul mate?

Stiles stared at the Peter’s wrist, examining every detail of Peter's soul mark. Stiles couldn’t find anything different between his and the blond’s.

Stiles lifted his hand and ghosted his fingers along Peter’s forearm.

It was lightning all over again, and Stiles yanked his hand back, only to have it caught in an unbreakable grip.

Frosty blue eyes burrowed into Stiles', and he couldn’t stop himself from gulping. The smirk on Peter’s lips grew as the corner of his mouth quirked higher, and he drew Stiles’ hand close to his face.

Peter’s nostrils flared slightly as he stared at Stiles’ soul mark. He pulled Stiles forward, pressing soft lips to Stiles wrist.

“Now what would your name be?” Peter purred.
[original summary]

Review: I want to start this fic by saying I wanted to find a good Stiles/Peter/Chris fic, and I was surprised to find such a big and awesome one. I love how it has a twist, where the Soulmate trope is not that simple and that the soul marks give an interesting feel to their relationship. The best part of the fic it’s that we get equals amounts of relationship develop and supernatural action.

Basically Chris and Peter are already in a bond, believe they are only soulmates to each other when Stiles stumbles upon them in a very shifty situation. What follows is a mad dash to figure out what it’s going on, with Stiles figuring out the supernatural element in his soulmates and himself. There are two good subplots, one with Kira’s and Scott’s relationship and another with the Alpha Pack. This fic is just the first of a series, and gives a good base to what will develop in the third story, equally as great.

One of my favorite things about this fic is that the author handles so well the age difference; the fic has several points of view on Stiles joining an already established relationship, with older man. We also see through all the series moments of vulnerability on all of them, and Stiles adapting himself not only to a relationship, but to the image his mates present to everyone around him.

I really like their characterization, while the author warns about out of character behavior, I think they gave a great treatment to each character. Peter and Chris are truly amazing portrayed, and only Stiles had for me a little of variance on the more innocent side, less awkward and funny and more insecure and vulnerable.

If you give it a try, do read the other two fics, because they are amazing. The second is very sweet and domestic, and the third one is darker, a case fic where Stiles shines developing his new powers.

The Trouble with Threesomes and Supernatural Soul Mates
Title: Confusion and Consequences
Fandom: Haven
Pairing: Audrey Parker/Duke Crocker/Nathan Wuornos
Categories: casefile, threesome, genderswap (sort of), polyamory, established relationship (het), first time (threesome)
Length: Long, 20,765 words
Warnings: I'm... not sure how to warn. Duke and Nathan end up with some girl parts, but not completely genderswapped, and the fic revolves around the issues of masculinity and sexuality that come out of that. If that's likely to be a problem or potentially triggery in some way, don't go there? There's also a warning for mild mind control, but it doesn't go too far with anything happening consent issues-wise in terms of the main trio. There are maybe a few potentially triggery things happening in the background with the other people affected by the gendermixing Trouble.

Author on Livejournal: n/a?
Author Website: guiltyreasons on AO3

Summary: Nathan thought he had seen everything until a half naked woman walks up to him claiming to be Duke Crocker....

Review: “It’s Haven. Trans hate is the least of our worries...”

Oh, I enjoyed the hell out of this one. Last week I was emailing the link to friends after I read it, so it's still pretty hot off the presses. Yes, there is the odd typo and grammar hiccup, but really, with all the other goodies on offer here, I find myself disinclined to care about those.

I love the stuff that really digs into the questions of sexuality and masculinity and sexual dysfunction and this goes there and then some, as this particular Trouble turns Haven upside-down and Duke and Nathan end up kind of not their usual manly selves. The fic is told from Nathan's point of view, and I love the POV -- getting to watch him angst in his low-key way about all these things, weird sexual situations and hangups and shame, is entirely wonderful. I also love how his senses are used in interesting ways in the smut. :)

The fic is established Audrey/Nathan leading into an Audrey/Duke/Nathan threesome, and while usually I'm more partial to the latter and the Duke/Nathan dynamic, I've seldom loved Audrey and Nathan's relationship more than the way it's presented here. They are so understanding of each other, and such good friends as well as lovers, who talk about all the knotty things and work through the changes that have happened to Nathan's body and how those effect their sexual relationship. And how they make the decision together when it comes to taking Duke on... they are so sweet and down to earth in this.

Anyway, this is just so hot and odd and interesting, with such a good POV, and the issues of gender and questioning sexuality I felt were nicely dealt with.

Confusion and Consequences

Shelter Me Series by ThingswithWings (Nc17)

  • Aug. 20th, 2015 at 11:00 PM
Title: Shelter Me Series
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: Parker/Eliot Spencer/Alec Hardison
Categories: Action Adventure, Friendship, First Time, Hurt/Comfort
Length: Long (20k)
Warnings: Off screen torture

Author on LJ: http://thingswithwings.dreamwidth.org/
Website: Ao3

Summary: Eliot's their hitter, and taking on any physical threats to the team is his job, but there's something beyond professionalism – even beyond the obvious fact that Eliot relishes the fight itself – in the way he puts his body between Parker or Alec and any potential threat. Alec has a good view of Eliot's back on a lot of jobs, and he reads something in the tight line of Eliot's shoulder, in the slow turn of his foot as he steps into a fighting stance.

Something possessive.

Review: This is an interesting take on both a post-canon fic and a fic for our favorite trio of thieves to get together.

Even though the fic is narrated from Alec's POV, it is very much centered around Eliot and his changing role in the team. I'm glad to see it after the recklessness that was shown in the Rundown Job, our only Canon evidence of how a team of just Eliot, Alec, and Parker would function.

The romance is nice and slow building, and different enough to feel right for people who see the world as differently as Parker and Eliot seem to. The first fic covers their getting together.

The second fic in the series is kink heavy so make sure you read the tags

Shelter Me Series

Refugees by china_shop (mature)

  • Jul. 23rd, 2015 at 12:01 AM
Title: Refugees

Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio
Categories: slash, breakup, post-canon, first time
Length: medium, ~12,000 words
Warnings: none

Author on Livejournal: [livejournal.com profile] china_shop
Author Website: china_shop on AO3

Summary: "What? No, Frannie. No! I am not with Kowalski! I am not gay! Jesus, could you concentrate on your own problems? Stella and me called it quits. I needed a place to stay."

Review: Ray looked around at stacks of newspapers and magazines, dirty cups and plates, scattered laundry. There was a half-played game of chess on the coffee table, with a beer bottle sitting in the middle surrounded by pawns. There was a bicycle half-in, half-out the open window, and Christ, there were novelty lights hanging in the kitchen. What was this, Santa's Little Grotto? But more importantly: "Where's Fraser?"

Kowalski threw him a fake careless glance and picked up the beer bottle from the chess board. "He's in Canada. Where do you think he is? What are you doing here, Vecchio?"

Ray stepped over a pair of hiking boots and took the bottle from his hand. "You owe me fifteen hundred dollars. I've been paying your utilities, and I'm here to collect."


So I tend to read these on my e-reader, offline, removed from the fandom response like kudos and comments, and looking this one up now for the links and info, I'm startled to discover how little response this fic seems to have. All I can think is that maybe fics don't so easily win people over if their starting point is the disintegration of canon happy endings. Both Rays' post-Call of the Wild relationships have crashed and burned. Vecchio's split up from Stella, Kowalski's split up from Fraser, and they're back in Chicago and both a mess.

If you can get beyond that concept, I thought this was a delightfully lively, amusing fic that fairly jumped out at me from the many, many Due South fics I'd stuck on aforementioned e-reader to binge read. Ray (Vecchio) discovers that due to the identity confusion hangover from his undercover days, he's been paying for the utility bills of Ray (Kowakski)'s apartment, and figures that as Kowalski owes him the money he'll just move on in and crash there, since he can't face anyone he actually knows and likes or resuming his life in general after the disaster of his marriage.

Inevitably, slowly the enforced company does them each some good and they start to -- somewhat reluctantly -- bond. It's fun.

Refugees
Title: of the nature of the wound
Fandom: Check, Please!/Hockey RPF
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann, Larissa “Lardo” Duan/Shitty Knight, Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin, Past Kent Parson/Jack Zimmermann
Categories/Genres: Angst, AU, Drama, Epistolary, Established Relationship, First Time, Fluff, Friendship, Humor, Romance
Length: Long (33936 words)
Warnings: Homophobic language by hockey players

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: buchanan

Summary:

His first year in the NHL isn't easy, but Jack has spent his entire life playing through the hurt.

Review:

Note: While Check, Please! doesn't require knowing anything about hockey beyond the fact that it's a team sport played on ice, of the nature of the wound does require a functional knowledge of professional hockey and how its seasons are scheduled. Being a hockey RPF crossover, this fic does incorporate real hockey players, and knowledge of those players provides useful context for their roles in the fic.

A lot of the Check, Please! fic I read tends to be of the lighter variety. Humorous and/or cute, and generally threaded through with the pervasive sense of, 'oh, you adorable boys'. Considering how light-hearted the canon is, it's probably not surprising that the fanfiction I choose to read follows in that direction.

of the nature of the wound is not one of those fics. It's also not an easy fic to get through, namely because it focuses on Jack's anxieties about being a closeted professional hockey player. You could, uncharitably if honestly, call it Jack's downward spiral of anxiety and loneliness.

buchanan's fic exemplifies the proverb “it is always darkest just before the dawn” in that it feels very much like the very beginning of a story that we are not (yet) privy to, not just in terms of Jack and Bitty's burgeoning relationship, but also the NHL as a whole upon the coming out of one of its most recognized hockey duos. Hopefully more of that will unfold in buchanan's expected sequel.

And now that I've given you a lot of reasons not to read the fic, I suppose I should mention why I am actually reccing it: buchanan does a fantastic job of weaving the fluffy and fictional Check, Please! microcosm into the much colder real world, where people change and move past who they were and sometimes grow apart, and where they succeed, fail, break, and struggle to mend what is broken. Jack Zimmermann does not feel like a fictional character as buchanan writes him. Nor does Eric Bittle, nor even Chowder, who is something of a caricature even in the comic's canon. It truly is a testament to buchanan's grasp of emotional complexity that I clung, riveted until the end, in spite of the fic's darker tone and truly annoying ten-line section breaks. (No, seriously, keep a finger on the space bar or page down key.)

of the nature of the wound
Title: The Book of Vices and Virtues series
Fandom: D. Gray-man
Pairing: Allen/Kanda, Kanda/Alma, Allen/OMC, Allen/OFC
Genres: AU, Romance, First-time, Adventure, Drama, Historical, Prostitution, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Canon, Pre-Canon
Length: Super-epic (214,460 words)
Warnings: Attempted rape, past and present child abuse, child prostitution, dub-con

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: MSylvatica @ AO3

Author's Summary:
Story 1: In which Allen travels from India to England in search of Black Order Headquarters.

Story 2: "Whenever there is hatred between two people, there is a bond of brotherhood of some kind" - Oscar Wilde, /De Profundis/

Review:
This lovely and long series contains two stories. The first is an AU version of Allen's journey from India to the Black Order headquarters in England. The second is a post-canon story about Kanda, Allen and Johnny being on the run.

The series has a pleasing circular nature. All the people that Allen meets or reunites with on his way to the Order are met again by Kanda on their way from the Order. While the first story is firmly a study of Allen, his character and his bisexuality, the second story is definitely Kanda's. As he asks around about Allen's character in an attempt to understand him better, he also gains much more knowledge of himself, both as he is now and as he was before he was reborn.

I did feel it got a little too philosophical in the middle, dragging the pace down, but I'm always impatient for the happy ending to happen. And it does, in a sweet, hot, and in character way. A great read.

The Book of Vices and Virtues series
Title: Endgame
Fandom: 5 Seconds of Summer (Band)
Pairing: Michael Clifford/Luke Hemmings/Calum Hood/Ashton Irwin
Categories: Angst, First Time, Slash, Romance.
Length:Medium [10,396 words]
Warnings: Unsafe Sex, Sexual Orientation Issues, Coming Out, Minor Homophobia.

Author Website: cyclogenesis (addictedkitten)[on AO3]

Summary: Ashton’s bandmates are petting each other onstage again which is fine, it’s normal.[original summary]

Review: Endgame is a fic Ashton-centered fic, and something I haven’t read before. I usually read Calum’s or Luke’s pov, and to think about only once or twice a Michael pov. The whole fic focus in Ashton realizing his feelings about the other boys in the band and at the same time figuring himself out.

I think this fic is good because it draws out from a experience all of us have when we get into the 5 Seconds of Summer fandom: their affectioned nature, the touches, the glances and the way they speak about each other means something? Or are there units inside of the band, or are them all friends at the same level? We don’t need to discuss if they are or not in a relationship in real life, but what we would like to believe it happens or better, what we imagine it should.

Ashton doesn’t daydreams and berates himself on his thoughts about the boys and the relationship he has with them and how they behave with each other. He is very jealous in this fic and sounds a bit whiny, but it’s fun to see him angsting over the fact no one is touching him.

I highly recommend this fic, since it’s all kinds of bittersweet with a happy ending and you will get tons of shippy feelings, because while it is a OT4 fic, it mulls over all kind of pairings inside the band, including all of them together.

Endgame

The Leonardo Effect by phoenike (NC-17)

  • Jun. 22nd, 2015 at 7:48 PM
Title: The Leonardo Effect
Fandom: Assassin's Creed
Pairing: Leonardo/Ezio, Ezio/OFCs, Leonardo/OMCs
Genres: AU, Romance, Drama, Pining, First-time, Mystery, Prostitution, Historical
Length: Epic (67,378 words)
Warnings: Dub-con, prostitution, period-appropriate homophobia

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: phoenike @ AO3

Author's Summary:
To Ezio’s best knowledge, Leonardo's idea of debauchery was staying up until morning with a bottle of wine and too many sketching supplies. But why would the gondolier have lied? It was a heavy accusation. In both Firenze and Venezia, mere allegations of unnatural conduct had condemned men to be pilloried or hanged.

Review:
After overhearing gossip about Leonardo having apparently been on trial for sodomy, Ezio is tormented by the revelation and determined to find the truth. It's a familiar plot, and this is a well-written and historically minded version of it. It's well-paced, with their budding romance a very slow burn as Ezio struggles to make sense of what he's feeling while trying to uncover Leonardo's past. His preconceived notions of Leonardo as wholly bookish and naive are challenged, leaving us with a much more three dimensional character that is an awesome read to slowly find out about. This is also a fic about Ezio's own horizons being broadened as he gains some maturity.

This fic is a series, accompanied by some equally well-written flashbacks. They contain spoilers for the main fic though, so are best left till after it.

The Leonardo Effect

Thistledown by Violette_Royale (NC-17)

  • Jun. 15th, 2015 at 8:37 PM
Title: Thistledown
Fandom: Merlin
Pairing: Merlin/Arthur
Genres: AU, Genderswap, Romance, Historical, Adventure, Cross-dressing, First-time
Length: Epic (90,547 words)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: Violette_Royale @ AO3

Author's Summary:
South-west England, 1140. Sixteen-year old Merlin is a novice nun. One day, she finds a wounded knight, and offers to hide him from his enemies. When she falls to temptation and shares a bed with him, the consequences are more far-reaching than she could ever have imagined, changing her life forever.

Written for this KMM prompt: Arthur/Merlin historical AU. Merlin is a [nun]. Arthur is a knight who asks Merlin to hide him from his enemies. At first he is happy to sleep on the floor, then he asks to sleep in Merlin's bed, then he cuddles close to Merlin to keep warm.

Review:
This is a romance through and through. Watching Merlin and Arthur's relationship develop is a delight; they're unable to keep their hands off each other, and yet they are also still the bickering pair we know and love. Girl!Merlin, for all that she's a nun, is still completely in character. Both of them are completely clueless when it comes to sex, and the way they learn and mature together is sweet and funny, and always equal and respectful.

Most of the fic is about their pilgrimage to return a holy relic to its place of origin, and their subsequent travels through the holy lands in the period between the First and Second Crusades. Their journey is wonderfully described and just as fulfilling to read as their romance. A beautiful fic in all aspects.

Thistledown

Baby Steps by Moons and Glassware (Pg-13)

  • May. 31st, 2015 at 10:00 PM
Title: Baby Steps
Fandom: The Heroes of Olympus -
Percy Jackson and the Olympians & Related Fandoms - All Media Types
Pairing: Nico di Angelo/Will Solace
Categories: Romance, Fluffy, First Time
Length: Medium [2649 words]
Warnings: No warning apply. Please check the rating at the title.

Author Website: Moons and Glassware(on AO3)

Summary: While Nico spends his time in the infirmary as per doctor's orders, he discovers that there may be a little...something between him and said Doctor Solace. Or a coda fic that takes place right after the events of The Blood of Olympus. [original summary]

Review: I’m onto sweet things now, mixed with my enormous fics, so I decided to change up and review this little one. This fic takes place after Blood of Olympus, and it’s practically spoiler free - you only know what is happening if you read the book. Nico di Angelo, Will Solace and Lou Ellen are featured, which means triple attack of adorableness.

Nico is in the infirmary and Will is taking care of him; the lovely part is that we see Nico trying to figure Will out, while feeling rooted and warmed by Will’s attention. This is significant because Nico is always cold, always disappearing in the shadows, and Will presents, in the smallest gestures, the exact opposite.

Lou Ellen is marvelous in the cannon and this fic translates her well; love her darkish humor and how she is always there to sooth the boys at the same time she smacks their head and makes them see how much they like each other. Her habit of trying to kill people is always nice.

I love how much Nico wavers between his usual black humor and a teen in his first crush - all squeaky and adorable. Be aware this is a sweet and gen rated fic, so we only get a minimum of romance at the end, but it’s quite worth the sweetness of the fic and the overall shortness of it.


Baby Steps

Objective Data by walkandtalk (PG)

  • May. 31st, 2015 at 2:56 AM
Title: Objective Data
Fandom: Star Trek XI
Pairing: Jim Kirk/Spock
Categories/Genres: Pre-Canon, Alternate Universe, Outside POV, Kid Fic, First Time, Matchmaking, Romance, Fluff, Humor
Length: Long (22368 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: walkandtalk

Summary:

A young Vulcan decides to find a mate for his guardian, Spock. After careful calculations, Cadet Kirk is obviously the superior choice.

Review:

Senik, a nine year old Vulcan Yenta, decides to hook up his cousin Spock and Cadet Jim Kirk for fun profit science. It's hilarious.

Writing children convincingly is a tall order for writers. It's one thing to slip into the mindset of an adult character, someone fully formed with their own unique patterns of reasoning and behavior. But to strike the perfect balance of naivete, innocence, and perceptiveness that belongs solely to children seems to escape most writers, per my observations as a reader. Most seem to either fall short of or overshoot their character's intended age, turning a maturing child into a babyish caricature of a child or giving a child maturity and wisdom much too far beyond their years. Some authors even manage to do both simultaneously.

walkandtalk has a slightly easier job of it, since Senik is Vulcan and can already communicate on the level of adults. But there remains a childishness to his perception. There is lightness and innocence in him that separates him from the many adults he interacts with. Senik is slyly obstinate in a very specific way, weaseling without malice around the rules laid upon him by the adults in the way that children do. It is perhaps that, more than anything else, that cemented walkandtalk's characterization of Senik in my mind as one of the most convincing portrayals of a child I've ever read.

I haven't yet finished reading Objective Data's sequel, Subjective Assessment , but from what I've read so far, the collection of timestamps seems to be a perfectly adorable continuation of Spock, Senik, and Jim's (mis)adventures.

Objective Data

La Lune Joindre by Petrawaters (R)

  • May. 15th, 2015 at 8:15 AM
Title: La Lune Joindre
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Scott McCall/Stiles Stilinski
Categories: AU, First-Time, Friendship, Romance
Length: Long (20k)
Warnings: dub-con

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] pterawaters
Website: Ao3Tumblr

Summary: Scott isn't quite sure he's ready to move on after his relationship with Allison implodes, but he attends La Lune Joindre – a two-week retreat for single werewolves – anyway. As much as Stiles loves his dad (and alpha), he hopes by going to La Lune he'll find a mate from a faraway pack. Sitting next to each other on the bus to the retreat starts a fast friendship, and maybe more. When everyone at the retreat is pushing them apart, will Scott and Stiles be able to reconcile what they’re feeling in their hearts?

Review: This is a sweet and fast moving, first meeting fic for Stiles and Scott. I particularly liked the interplay between different packs, and the different ways they were run.

Stiles and Scott are both kept very in character despite a completely different world. And Jackson actually is a good listener in this one. Which makes a nice change from the usual one dimensional explanations for his bad behavior.

The Dub-con is due to them both being high on magic, and full moon. Both of them are interested, but not in the right frame of mind to consent. So if that is triggering, please considering skipping this fic.
La Lune Joindre
Title: Lassiter Learns How to Bend

Fandom: Psych
Pairing: Carlton Lassiter/Shawn Spencer
Categories: podfic, romance, humour, slash, first time
Length: media: podfic, 1hr 30mins // fic: long, 15,418 words
Warnings: none particularly.

Reader Website: dark_dreymer on Dreamwidth
Author Website: Teragram on AO3

Summary: Lassiter is alarmed at finding himself attracted to Spencer following the Drimmer incident. He visits a friend in San Francisco, looking for advice, but Spencer has tailed him. Lust overtakes them in the gayest city in the world, but can their relationship survive returning to Santa Barbara?

Review: Another media rec, this time hailing from the recent Amplificathon podfic spree on Dreamwidth. But kind of a fic rec as well!

I didn't and still haven't had chance to listen to much from Amplificathon, which produced new podfic at a truly scary rate, but I was drawn to this podfic by the bright cover and the promise of a Paul Simon soundtrack, even though it isn't a ship I normally go for.

This is such an exuberant reading I couldn't stop listening, and it absolutely brings the story to life. The recording quality is about as polished as I've heard podfic, and I love the usage of Paul Simon's Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall for the soundtrack, and the echo to distinguish thoughts is nicely done, making it easy to follow in an audio format. The whole production seems to bounce along with the lighthearted spirit of the show and the ever-present slight inanity of the two main characters.

Lassiter Learns How to Bend - podfic
Lassiter Learns How to Bend as text on AO3
Title: Five Times Synaesthesia Was a Problem For Tony Stark...
Fandom: Marvel
Pairing: Bruce Banner/Tony Stark
Categories/Genres: 5+1, Alternate Universe, Pre-canon, Angst, First Time, Virgin, Fluff, Established Relationship
Length: Medium (7009 words)
Warnings: Overt and internalized ableism

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] sonora_coneja
Author Website: Sonora

Summary:

Tony struggles to deal with his synaesthesia most of his adult life. Can he ever find somebody who understands what he’s dealing with? Written for this prompt on avengerkink.

Review:

I've always been fascinated by the brain. It's something we take for granted, calling it a 'noggin' and 'grey matter' like it's little more than a chunk of tissue as opposed to a highly refined structure made of a fragile web of connections that make the finest of lace look thick and unwieldy in comparison. Its complexity laughs in the face of our attempts to understand it, and its adaptability and flexibility mock our attempts to imitate it.

By some quirk of genetics or prenatal brain development, Tony is born with synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Howard, in his bid for the Shittiest Parent Ever Award, is utterly unsympathetic and makes no effort at all to understand Tony's experience, a mentality that Tony internalizes and carries with him for decades.

Sonora, who has synesthesia, takes very deliberate care in her descriptions of Tony's various experiences of various stimuli, from pain and pleasure to music and emotion. There are also graphic descriptions of how alcohol and cocaine affect his synesthesia. Even if you don't ship Bruce/Tony, it's a stunningly good read for how well Sonora recreates the range of sensory impressions, however exaggerated they may or may not be. If you know anyone with synesthesia, or suspect that you may have it, then this is a definite must-read simply to understand what it is that this small minority of people go through, trying to reconcile their understanding of the world with how they learn they are supposed to percieve it.

Five Times Synaesthesia Was a Problem For Tony Stark...

In Focus by sparklyslug (NC-17)

  • Apr. 19th, 2015 at 1:45 AM
Title: In Focus
Fandom: Check, Please!
Pairing: Eric Bittle/Jack Zimmermann
Categories/Genres: First Time, Romance, Friendship, Fluff, Photography
Length: Medium (6097 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: N/A
Author Website: sparklyslug

Summary:

Jack's just taking pictures whenever he sees something worth photographing, something that seems to fit what he's being told in class, about line and shape and color and beauty.

It's like the camera knew before Jack did.

Review:

When reading this fic in preparation to write a rec, I tried to think of words to describe it. Worship was one, voyeurism another. Both discarded; voyeurism was too sexual and worship too single minded. Eventually, I settled upon a word that I've never in my life had cause to use before now: exaltation.

Exaltation, noun: 1) a feeling or state of extreme happiness, (synonyms: bliss, elation, rapture), 2) the action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character, (also: the action of praising someone or something highly)

In Focus is an exploration of Jack's photography, a topic generally glossed over in canon, and what it comes to mean to him. Through the camera's lens he distills the aspects of his life at the Haus and all the people that make it truly a home. In the process, he gains a perspective that he hadn't been able to perceive with only his own two eyes, discovering truths about himself and Bitty that give him the courage to stand his ground and act in the face of his own uncertainty.

In Focus
Title: Marry Me A Little
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Pairing: Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews
Categories/Genres: Alternate Universe, Harlequin, Marriage of Convenience, Fake Relationship, Coming Out, First Time, Miscommunication, Romance, Family, Fluff, Angst, Drama, Friendship, Domestic
Length: Super Epic (154814 words)
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] bessyboo, [livejournal.com profile] thisissirius
Author Website: bessyboo, thisissirius


Summary:

When NHL star Patrick Kane's off-ice antics finally get him into trouble for the last time, captain and best friend Jonathan Toews has one final trump card to keep him from being traded: marriage...to each other. But between being the first openly gay hockey players, facing down a lockout, and the fact that Patrick has been in love with Jonny for years, will these two ever be able to work past their miscommunication to realize that their marriage may not be as much of a sham as they think it is?

Review:

First things first, a disclaimer: I am very new to hockey fandom. As such, I consider myself utterly unqualified to review the authors' characterization of the people appearing in this fic. I'll be reccing this almost as an original work.

But if you're fine with that, and if you love the fake relationship trope and all that it entails, then Marry Me A Little is the fic for you. It features such timeless classics as 'I've been in love with you since we first met', tooootally platonic sleep cuddling, emotional constipation, 'all our friends/family are surprisingly unsurprised by our relationship', fear of exposing one's unrequited feelings, the angstful suppression of said feelings for the sake of the fake relationship, running hot and cold in the attempt to suppress said feelings, and more communication failure than you can shake a hockey stick at. And let's not forget the dramatic reveal of fully requited feelings and the ensuing Happily Ever After.

But seriously, folks. So much communication failure. So much communication failure that multiple side characters in the fic make a point to tell the two of them to pull their heads out of their asses and actually communicate about important things. In fact, my only serious gripe with the fic is how bafflingly resistant Patrick and Jonny are to calmly talking things out. They go through multiple cycles of conflict and resolution throughout the fic, but with so little genuine discussion going on, the resolutions to their issues feel superficial and incomplete, provided that they're resolved at all.

What makes up for it is the sense that other characters notice and have opinions on the miscommunication roller coaster that is Jonny and Patrick's marriage. bessyboo and thisissirius don't just make the rest of the cast silent or blindly supportive bystanders. The vast majority of the people that appear in this fic have their own observations and opinions on the marriage, and though they're all supportive of the relationship, that doesn't stop some of them from expressing reservations about this or that consequence of the two of them being married and out while still being prominent hockey players. That level of detail and consideration creates a wondrously complex narrative that keeps the fic from becoming hyperfocused on Jonny and Patrick and their respective emotional struggles.

But that attention to detail isn't restricted to the people that appear in the fic. Even various news outlets offer their two cents on the relationship through a series of mock articles. Personally, I doubt that the media would be as kind to the first out and married hockey players in the league as they are in the fic, (which is probably why there's no mock FOX News article), but hey, this is fanfiction. We're only required to abide by reality as much as is necessary for the purposes of the story.

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this fic to every hockey RPF fan out there, because obviously YKINMK and I won't assume that everyone is a fan of the fake relationship trope. But if you are, and you've been hesitating to read this because of reasons that may or may not include its prodigious length, then I would definitely say to take the leap. Don't worry, I won't chirp you (much) for taking more than four days to finish it.

Marry Me A Little

Title: If All Else Fails
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG:1
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, Jack O'Neill/Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson/Vala Mal Doran
Categories: First Time, Romance, Crossover, Angst, Action/Adventure,
Length: First installment: 69k, total for series: 221k
Warnings: Violence, Rape/Non-con (off screen and never detailed)

Summary: Technically, it’s known as Operation Phoenix, but that’s a little too optimistic for Jack, who calls it the WAFGON plan: We’re All Fucked; Get Out Now.

Why You Should Read This: This series starts with the Trust taking over the SGC. In response, Jack sends out as many gate teams as he can, instructing them to try for Atlantis. SG1 is off-world when things come to a head, and thus must make their way to Atlantis with the knowledge that they're leaving Jack - and others, such as Cassie - behind on Earth to face who knows what consequences. Atlantis, meanwhile, must deal with being cut off from Earth and struggle with some pressing question: do they fight to save Earth? How can they rescue more of their people, including the families of those posted to Atlantis?

At the moment, there are 5 complete works in this series. The series itself is listed as incomplete, however. The first installment chronicles SG-1’s journey to Atlantis, as well as how Atlantis has begun to deal with suddenly being an independent colony. John and Rodney’s relationship doesn’t happen until the third installment, so be aware of that, but this fic is so good that I didn't even mind. Very well written, with an excellent focus on a broad cast of characters.

If All Else Fails

American Way by Resonant [NC-17]

  • Feb. 16th, 2015 at 9:30 PM
Title: American Way
Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski
Categories/Genres: First Time, Canon, Romance, Case Fic, Humor
Length: Long [17,989 words]
Warnings: N/A

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] resonant
Author Website: Resonant @ ao3

Summary: When crime victims are afraid of Canadians, Ray and Fraser have to do a little cultural exchange.

Review: When Fraser begins spotting people wearing jewelry from a highly valued missing collection, they're unable to get answers because of Fraser's innate Candian-ness. Rather than give Ray a crash course in the jewely pieces, Ray decides it's easier to just teach Fraser to act more American. The results are...pretty hot. Fraser takes his American lessons to heart and goes after what he wants, too! This fic does have humor - it's hard to think of Due South without thinking about humor. It's just a delightful, quick read.

American Way

Title: Paper Cranes (Upstairs, Downstairs)
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Pairing: John Sheppard/Rodney McKay
Categories: First Time, Romance, Humor
Length: Long (18,960 words)
Warnings: None

Summary: “Oh my God,” Rodney says, stricken. “This is —this is one of those British costume dramas Ronon always wants to watch and I’m the uncouth American!”

Why You Should Read This: I am ridiculously enthusiastic about this fic. Rodney accompanies John to his brother’s wedding, leading to moments that are laugh out loud funny. When I read this fic the first time, I was tweeting my favorite lines as I read. There's an unexpected appearance of a member of SG1, Rodney's mouth getting him into trouble, cookie making, and Rodney interacting with children. John and Rodney have this great argument about pets that make them seem so married. There are OC’s, but they're not a main focus of the fic and I really liked them. Rodney becomes an honorary bridesmaid! What more from a fic could you want than that? This a great read, very quick, and I have yet to come across a person who didn't greatly enjoy it.

paper cranes (upstairs, downstairs)

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Length Guidelines

Short: under 2,000 words
Medium: 2,000-15,000 words
Long: 15,000-40,000 words
Epic: 40,000-100,000 words
Super Epic: 100,000+ words

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