Rec: Fallen Hero: Rebirth

Title: Fallen Hero: Rebirth
Author: Malin Rydén
Format: Online text-based Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game
Published/Free: Published
Length: 380,000
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Possible mentions of past abuse, suicide, alcoholism
Link: https://www.choiceofgames.com/user-contributed/fallen-hero-rebirth/
Summary: Become the greatest telepathic villain Los Diablos has ever known! Once you were famous; soon you will be infamous. That is, unless your old friends in the Rangers stop you first. Juggle different identities and preserve your secrets as you build new alliances and try to forget the friendships you’ve left behind.

Review: In terms of interactive fiction, Fallen Hero: Rebirth may be the best one out there. The intricate and seamless writing introduces a world where superheroes are more than simple ‘do-gooders’ and where everything may not be as it seems. The characters you can romance are fully fleshed out and are truly living and breathing in the city that you may very well destroy…

Rec: Bang! Bang! BOOM! [New York]

Title: Bang! Bang! BOOM! [New York]
Author:
Croik (illus: Del)

Format:
Web serial

Published/Free:
Free

Length:
80+ chapters

Status:
Ongoing

Rating:
Mature

Warnings:
Graphic violence/death,

Link:
https://m.tapas.io/series/BangBangBOOMNewYork

Summary:
In the alleyways of 1920s New York, young immigrant and small time gangster Jakub Danowicz meets Cheshire Bloom, an eccentric teen in possession of explosive magical powers. You might not call it love at first sight, but something like it.


Review:
I stumbled across this web novel and consumed the whole thing + the (also ongoing) webcomic in three days. It’s really freaking good. The creators pair strong characterizations with a multi-faceted plot that more than makes up for the excruciating slow burn this romance kicks off with (and boy, is it ever a slow burn). Check it out, and be prepared to lose your weekend.

Rec: Rébellion

Title: Rébellion
Author: Anwise Lanvière
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 3 chapters/?
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Written in French! Dubious consent, mention of violence, mention of child abuse
Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/166116351-rébellion
Summary: Comme tous ceux de son peuple depuis que le grand empire de Fréane a conquis la péninsule d’Uria, Sao est un esclave.
Son indiscipline l’a conduit à être vendu de maître en maître jusqu’à se retrouver au service du mystérieux Friedhelm Archenias.
Si cette nouvelle situation lui permet de retrouver un peu de confort et de se rapprocher de Rébellion, une organisation secrète d’esclaves qui fomente une révolte, il n’en reste pas moins sur ses gardes. Il se méfie du caractère imprévisible de son maître, qui lui accorde de nombreux privilèges mais n’hésite pas à lui rappeler sa condition à la moindre occasion.
Sao et les rebelles parviendront-ils à obtenir la liberté ?
Et qui est cet étrange monsieur Archenias ?

Review: Since I’m the author, my opinion cannot be neutral 😉 If you can read French and you’re looking for a slave/master story with a plot that goes beyond sexual tension and is more centred around politics. Also, steampunk atmosphere, if that’s your thing.

Rec: The Stars of the Pack

Title: The Stars of the Pack
Author: N.J. Lysk
Format: Series
Published/Free: Free with coupon code SLASH
Length: 35k book 1 (300k+ series)
Status: Series complete
Rating: Mature-Explicit
Warnings: M/M/M/M/M/M, mpreg, dubcon, heat, instincts, a/b/o, depression, complicated situations with people trying their best and sometimes failing, later books contain some noncon and graphic violence.
Link: https://www.njlysk.com/the-stars-of-the-pack
Summary:
Five alphas.
One omega.
The fate of their pack is in their hands.
But what about the fate of their hearts?

When Ray presents as an omega instead of an alpha, his life changes forever. As a male omega, he’s expected to mate with a select group of alphas and start a pack of his own. 

The five men selected for him are as different as they are keen. And one of them is his best friend, Josh, who Ray was sure could never return his feelings. But now they all must deal with the mating instinct that the power of the Moon brings out in them; and after that… Ray will have bigger problems than a crush. 

Can Ray become the submissive omega his pack needs him to be? Will the alphas understand how hard it is for him, or demand more than he can give?

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7avAz_ds4w

Rec: Black Sails

Title: Black Sails
Format: TV Show
Published/Free: It’s free with a Starz subscription (so not free technically)
Length: 4 Seasons (38 episodes total)
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature to Ultra mature 
Warnings: Rape (specifically in ep 3, and somewhat through s1. There is very little, if any, outside of that season after), major character death, a graphic keelhauling scene, blood, action violence.
Link: on Starz. also hulu (s1-3)
Summary: This is a prequel to Treasure Island and is set in Nassau during the golden age of piracy. It follows Captain Flint and characters involved with the crew or Nassau as Captain Flint chases after a shit ton of gold–and then turns to a power struggle on pirate freedom. 

Review: This is a very very good show. The first season is a little….clearly trying to attract the straight man audience but then it starts to get gay and the women get very powerful. There are many gay characters and (with the exception of one) they all survive! One of the strongest characters is a queer black woman who came from a slave start (before the show) and ended up so powerful (and spoilers: she doesn’t die). 

The characters are all nuanced and interesting and it is a very good show. The action scenes are tight and exciting. The relationships are so good (and a lot are gay which is what a lot of y’all reading this are looking for haha). The story is good and is not just focused on a hunt for gold. It talks of the problems with England and touches on “othering” (a lot having to do with the queer characters). It’s one big power struggle and it is amazing. There’s also a poly relationship if you’re into that. 

There is a significant rape scene right at the beginning of season 1. It is a gang rape scene so please exercise care if you need it. The good news is–it gets better. Rape is not a main point in anything after that, outside of a few throwaway mentions (and i remember a throwaway line about bestiality in the same vein). 

Basically: pirates! gay! cool! action! 

Rec:  A Dissident Symphony

Title: A Dissident Symphony
Author: Evercee (Hannah Pasedag)
Format: Short story
Published/Free: Up for free on Tapas!
Length: Right now there are two chapters with the chapters being uploaded in small 600 word bits.
Status: WIP
Rating: Teen (some light violence, mentions to sexual themes, and crass language).
Warnings: Mentions of abuse, violence, mentions of self harm, mentions of suicide.
Link: https://tapas.io/series/A-Dissident-Symphony
Summary: This story is about Nisha Kakkar, a young woman who suddenly finds herself thrown into a job she’s never wanted and forced to live on the fringes of a society she would have never willingly joined. It’s also about found family, really cool superpowers, complex social issues, and the journey to self love.

Come join Nisha and her new life as she learns: what makes something worth fighting for, and more importantly, what makes it worth living for?

Review: I feel a little biased writing a review for this story since it’s my own! But what I can say is these characters/world are something I’ve had for years and years and they’re very dear to me. I’ve put a lot of thought into the world building and creating a meaningful story and I would more than appreciate anyone that takes the time to read it!

Rec: The Outlands Pentalogy: A Promise of Return

Title: The Outlands Pentalogy (3/5): A Promise of Return
Author: Rebecca Crunden
Format: Novel, part of a series
Published/Free: Published
Length: 90K words, 244 pages
Status: This is the third book in a series of five and the first with a central m/m pairing. Each book switches POV’s so it is possible to start from this book and not be totally lost. All the books in the series are finished and the last two will be published within the next few months. 
Rating: Mature
Warnings: This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the main character is sold to a gladiator type fighting arena and is forced to kill. So, huge warnings for gore and blood. Plus past mentions of abuse. Scenes of torture.
Link: Amazon (Available on all Amazon sites in paperback and Kindle), Goodreads
Summary: When Thom Anteros is arrested after breaking into the Building of Historical Records, he demands to be taken before the King. A laughable demand for anyone else, Thom’s request is granted and the King spares his life. Yet what’s to become of him is left in the hands of the one person Thom truly fears – Mickey Taenia, the King’s Hangman.

Infuriated by Thom’s refusal to reveal the whereabouts of Nate and Catherine, the Hangman sends Thom to one of the worst places in the Kingdom – the slave markets of Muntenia. It is there that Thom is bought for the Red Arena: a barbaric, gladiator-type competition where the children of convicts and other unlucky souls are forced to fight to the death.

Twenty wins is release. One loss is death.

With the help of Charles Thoreau, a fellow captive, Thom begins not only to survive, but to thrive. A master of words becomes a master of death, and Thom’s prowess in the arena frightens even him.

But death isn’t the only thing haunting Thom. As the days go by, he dreams of his brother, and the promise he cannot forget.

I will return.

Rec: Blue Pariahs

Title: Blue Pariahs
Author: JamieBB
Format: Webcomic
Published/Free: Free
Length: Unsure yet (1 published for now)
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Violence, blood, (minor) mentions of past abuse, casual uses of illicit drugs
Link: https://tapas.io/series/Blue-Pariahs
Summary: A story of two boys, one of who is a dragon leaving his safe but lonely home for college. Follow his journey through self-discovery, true friendship and precarious feelings, but also discrimination and the weight that comes with being (very) different.

The other is a young man about to learn that the world is much bigger than he thought it was, and that he quite likes that.

Review: Writing a review for my own work is quite awkward, but the friends and beta readers helping me out like to point out the black and white aesthetic and how fast they got attached to the characters, there will be lots of feelings, some heart warming, some depressing, but it’s still a feel good story.

Rec: Minu ga Hana

Title: Minu ga Hana
Author: Rana Dorada (me!)
Format: Web Serial
Published/Free: Free
Length: 600 to 1000 words per post
Status: Ongoing
Rating: T
Warnings: Swearing, mentions of drug use, eating disorders, sexual assault, and/or bigotry.
Link: https://minu-ga-hana-story.tumblr.com/
Summary:A web serial following the paranormal investigator Manami Hayase as she struggles to get her career off the ground. The scores of new people she meets along the way make it clear the world around her isn’t quite what she expected. In fact, it may be even better.

Review: It just started, so there’s not much to talk about yet without spoilers. I would know- I’m the author! Also, the plot is primarily about paranormal investigation, and my aim is to normalize the LGBT+ characters therein. Expect lighthearted fluff with plenty of twists and turns through horror and suspense.

Rec: Blossoms Bloom Brightest

Title: Blossoms Bloom Brightest
Author: Reine Works
Format: Visual Novel (Windows/Mac)
Published/Free: Free/Name your own price
Length: 2-3 hours
Status: Complete
Rating: Teen
Warnings: murder, abuse
Link: https://reineworks.itch.io/blossoms-bloom-brightest
Summary: Three strangers are thrust into an unexpected situation together—they awaken only to find themselves on a spaceship called the Blossom.A mysterious journey lies ahead of them; what misadventures will they experience over the next two weeks?

Review: The best aspect of this game is probably the universe. Sadly, most of it isn’t explored since the game is very short. I also felt like the romance was a bit forced at the beginning, but my curiosity kept me playing nonetheless. What bothered me the most in the game was the way jealousy was portrayed. I felt like the author validated (in my eyes already quite extreme) jealousy as a normal, inevitable expression of love and it made me feel uncomfortable. I know this is not an unusual trope in monogamy oriented works, so that might be just fine with you. The designs are neat and the characters are interesting, funny and attaching. Various endings are available (still trying to get one of them, so more warnings might apply). Additional bonuses and a guide can be bought for a few bucks. The game itself is going to be published in October 2017 as a remake under the name ‘Galaxy Girls’, which will be more mature, so if you thrive for more than fluff, maybe wait until then.