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: Crosscurrents

Title: Crosscurrents
Author: Adam Phillips
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 266,000 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains m/f as well as m/m; some angst.
Link: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/adam-phillips/crosscurrents
Summary: Andy and Matt, best friends and teammates from childhood, grow together, learn together, and struggle to remain friends when their evolving relationship outpaces their ability to understand it.

Review: A high school story with some autobiographical elements, this is one of the few stories out there that addresses bisexuality in a realistic, honest way. Andy is in many ways the quintessential high school jock, and can come across as arrogant at times, but he’s also remarkably self-aware.

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Rec: Alex and Zach

Title: Alex and Zach
Author: Greg_A
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 100,000 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Angst
Link: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/greg-a/alexandzach
Summary: Alex is attracted to his college roommate, Zach, but he is too scared to do anything about it. Until a car accident changes everything and forces them to confront their feelings. But happily-ever-afters only happen in fairy tales, not in real life.

Review:A college romance that at first it seemed a bit cliched, but quickly overcame that. And reading posts in the author’s Yahoo group, it’s quickly apparent that the story is autobiographical in both spirit and detail. Very richly-drawn characters. If you dislike angst, you may wish to skip the epilogue.

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Rec: Ten Weird Things

Title: Ten Weird Things
Author: Matthew Haldeman-Time
Format: Short Story
Published/Free: Free
Length: 10,000 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None
Link: http://www.matthewhaldemantime.com/1/tenweirdthings.html
Summary: Charles is vegisexual. Shana licks pizza. Eric’s new roommate David may be the most normal thing in his life.

Review: A fun, charming short story in a college setting. Matthew Haldeman-Time (author of the previously rec’d In This Land) is a professional writer and his website works on a subscription basis for his longer novels, but he has a number of short stories available as freebies, including this one. Just the thing for a light quick snack.

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Rec: Fence Sitter

Title: Fence Sitter
Author: Alex_deMorra (Ergo_Sum)
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 100k +
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Child Abuse
Link: AO3
Summary: Micah Swaeler doesn’t fit in. Anywhere. His family hardly speaks to him, his friends come and go, and he can’t quite figure out how to love somebody. Or how to be loved.

Until he does. And when he does, he learns how much support he’s had all along.

Micah’s story is told in a series of short stories that take place from the time he is four until the time he is thirty-four. While the stories go back and forth through time, each one reveals something more about things that have happened to him, things that he’s done, things that he’s told himself. Each story explores identity through family, athletics, friendship, sexuality, of one man’s transition from being a victim to being a survivor.

Review: I started reading it when I looked up for new things to embrace into my subscription list- and stumbled upon one of the parts of the story (the story is divided into a series of short ‘chapters’ in the main character’s life). I decided to give it a chance before I skip over it. I chose to ignore the awfully low number of notes the story got, because I realised it made me miss on so many beautiful stories in the past. (Like, seriously, if you find a story that sounds interesting and has hardly any notes to it- click it before you regret it)

This story is so sincere and honest that you can’t help but fall in love with it. even though there is mention of abuse, and the main character is dealing with it- I found myself wanting to be stronger and shoulder up to whoever tried to harm little Micah. Micah is a wonderful narrator, he explains the world around him in a way that doesn’t need a lot of details in order to feel whole. Alex DeMora made a successful attempt at writing both from a child’s perspective and from an adult’s point of view without it being unnatural and weird to read, in fact, Micah remains in the reader’s head as both the child he was and the adult he is while all this time he is Micah as a soul and as a character. 

It’s true, it’s in your face, it makes your heart squeeze really tight, and it eventually finds its way into your heart. 

It was the first time in my life that instead of feeling frustrated with what happens in a story that deals with Drama, Abuse and Growing Up- I only felt that I simply wanted to read more and more (and more) of it. the little pains in my heart the comes with the what’s written in the story makes it all the more sweeter.

Oh, and as a side note- the smexy scenes of totally smexy.  

Rec: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles

Title: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles
Author: Cecilia Tan
Format: Webserial / Novel
Published/Free: Free / Published (the books are regularly compiled and published)
Length: 1,074,459 words and counting
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Homophobia, drugs, violence, angst,
Link: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/start-here or get the published books here: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/shopping-cart
Summary: Tells the story of Daron Moondog (né Marks) from about the time he was eighteen onward. He arrives at RIMCon (Rhode Island Musical Conservatory) in the mid-1980s, desperate to leave behind a dysfunctional family in New Jersey’s suburbs and discover himself. It’s the advent of MTV, AIDS, and punk versus metal, all of which would affect his journey searching for fame, artistic expression, and the courage to seek out the sex and love he needs.

Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is a bildungsroman, which is a fancy word for a novel where the coming of age process is long and gradual.

Review: This is an other long running series and favourite of mine I was surprised to see had not been recced before (maybe it was, back on livejournal?). Anyway, I’m a sucker for well-written, long, regularly updating WIPs, and this one is one of my favourites. It’s been running since 2009 and it just keeps growing as does the main character and his career and relationships. It has a great balance of action, romance, music industry business, friendships, family problems… And it has a very good path too, doesn’t get too slow, but it doesn’t really gloss over anything. Might be a bit slow for some people, but I assure you, none of those 1000k words are the character rambling just to prolong things. A lot of things happen and the story has been staying interesting all this time. That in itself is worth checking out 🙂
(Sorry if my review is a bit vague, I am a bit new at this reviewing business.)

Rec: Tiger Winter

Title: Tiger Winter
Author: Sasha Distan
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 58k so far
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Hunting and meat eating, stereotypical portrayal of asian-american character
Link: http://www.gayauthors.org/story/sasha-distan/tigerwinter
Summary: Emmett is a Canadian polar bear who loves his job, gets on great with his panda room mate, and gets to have excellent sex with his new boyfriend. So when the panda’s cousin moves in with them, it shouldn’t bother him, but Emmett isn’t so much in control of his imagination as he used to be.

Review: I just love the polar bear shifter dynamics (even though the amount of meat eating and such is a bit of a put off, it’s also refreshing to not have the instinctual part of being a predator shifter washed down like so often is done) and the story has been so far very sweet and entertaining to read, even if the characterisation is not the most important part. The story does seem a bit predictable without a lot of real conflict (even though I don’t know what might come), but it’s a comforting read that should be accompanied with a blanket and some warm tea. I look forward to the updates each week in any case 🙂
(Warning for the use and overuse of the epithet “the chinese man” to describe the love interest, who has chinese ancestry. It feels a bit problematic to me, but I am not really an expert in how these things are considered in the US, and I am white myself.)

Rec: The Telling

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Title: The Telling
Author: Eden Winters
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Published and Free
Length: 63,000 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder, not unusual in soldiers returning from war. Results in panic attacks, anxiety, nightmares etcetra)
Link: Read it for free
or Buy it here – all proceeds benefit the author’s local PFLAG chapter.
Summary: Time in Iraq cost Michael Ritter some of his hearing and a friend whose death he feels responsible for. He’d left Alabama hoping to escape a dull, small-town life, only to return four years later, lugging a duffle full of personal demons.

Cookesville, Alabama isn’t the most welcoming place on earth, particularly for a gay, Hispanic student wanting nothing more than to earn his degree and get back home to Texas. An image of a somber young man that he knows only by name and the stories told by an adoring sister comes to life when Michael returns home, just as Jay is already half-way to losing his heart.

Michael’s biggest battle lies ahead, and he’ll need all the help he can get to find his way in a world where he no longer fits in. Jay’s not sure where he fits either, but it could be next to the war-torn soldier who needs his strength.

Review: The characters are amazing in that it feels like you get to know them as persons. It’s a very well written story all in all, and I’m definitely reading it again in the near future. I’m too incoherent with the sheer joy I feel after reading this book, all I can do is babble about how good it is 🙂 The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it ended 😛 I wanted it to go on and on and on… so yeah.

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Rec: Drop-Out

Title: Drop-Out
Author: Wispus
Format: Webcomic
Published/Free: Free
Length: 53 pages so far
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Suicide, drug use, mental illness, abuse
Link: ComicfurySmackjeeves
Summary: Two girlfriends who go on a road trip.

Review: I stumbled upon a post about this comic on Tumblr, and I was surprised.  Drop-Out is a comic filled with dark, sensitive subjects, and handles them in a very real manner.  Which is rare for most media.  Not to give away too much, but the plot is about a couple who takes a road trip to the Grand Canyon for “reasons”.  It sounds simple, but their journey so far has been filled with heavy emotional turmoil, but the comic also gives you good breathing moments to take everything in so you don’t get too overloaded with drama, which is nice.

The characters are well done.  They are both ill, depressed people who don’t handle everything like they’re in a tragic play.  They are both relatable, especially to people who have gone through similar emotional experiences.  A lot of their character building is presented through dialogue, conversation about their childhoods or some parts of their past, as well as actions.  It is refreshing to see an author giving their characters detailed history rather than sections that would be convenient to the present story.

The art is great.  It has a sort of MS Paint look, but it might have been done in a more advanced program?  The creator has a well developed style that suits the type of comic it is, being simple yet leaving just the right details to make it pop.  The colours are rich, but not too over saturated, and show that the creator has a good understanding of shading.  They really knows how to use colour to their advantage, changing it with the different times of day or to suit the mood.

Overall I have not been able to find anything I don’t like about this comic yet, but it is still a little young.  If you enjoy sort of sad or lighthearted stories, and can handle darker subjects such as suicide and mental illness, you should really give it a read.  It has been very enjoyable so far.

Rec: Cans of Beans

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Title: Cans of Beans
Author: Kupocake
Format: Webcomic
Published/Free: Free
Length: ~190 pages
Status: WIP
Rating: Teen
Warnings: Swearing and a crankypants MC.
Link: http://www.cansofbeans.com/
Summary: Taking place in the fictional Southern Californian campus of Walnut University, Carl Lester wants nothing more than to get through the school year and get on with his life. An unexpected roommate arrangement with an oddly-named Dude Brosmith, on the other hand, might change some perspectives.

Review: The bromance is strong in this one! Well. The budding bromance. Close enough. I love the characters and the art, but Kupocake’s sense of humour is what really makes the comic for me. And the plot is really unexpected, but awesome. So awesome. I’m really not sure how to describe this comic, so just go read it.

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