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: Visioner (The Shifter War Book 2)

Title: Visioner (The Shifter War Book 2)
Author: K K Ness 
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Published ($2.99)
Length: 214 pages 
Status: Ongoing Series 
Rating: Teen 
Warnings: Violence and Death 
Link:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077SLKNB2/ref=series_rw_dp_sw
Summary: Sequel to Messenger, Book One of The Shifter War

As the first ever human custodian, Danil is sworn to protect the strange new magic threading across the deadlands. But the armies of Roldaer are stirring, and when an assassin nearly takes his life, Danil sets out to win the aid of the Amasian High Council.

With Hafryn by his side, Danil discovers that allies are rarely what they seem. Intrigue and betrayal haunt their steps, and soon Danil and Hafryn must use all their wits to stay alive. Meanwhile, a fearsome magic that has not been unleashed since the blackest days of the Great War is reawakened. 

Using such magic could see Danil save the deadlands, or destroy it.

Review: I loved this one too! Can’t wait for the next book!

Rec: Messenger (The Shifter War Book 1)

Title: Messenger (The Shifter War Book 1)  
Author: K K Ness 
Format: Novella 
Published/Free: Published ($.99) 
Length: 150 pages 
Status: Ongoing Series 
Rating: Teen 
Warnings: Violence and Death 
Link: https://www.amazon.com/Messenger-Shifter-War-Book-1-ebook/dp/B06XKMH6YK/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1513694176&sr=1-3&keywords=kk+ness  
Summary: For centuries, the deadlands have separated the kingdoms of Roldaer and Amas, enforcing an uneasy truce. But the deadlands hold their own secrets. 
 
Danil is a deadlands scavenger, his days spent scouring a barren land for ancient battlefield relics and mage-crystals. When the brutal magi of Roldaer take over his village, Danil becomes the key to unleashing a powerful enemy set on plunging both kingdoms into war. 
 
Desperate and on the run, he finds unexpected aid from the Amasian shapeshifters. Among them is Hafryn, an irreverent shifter who fights the magi with sword, tooth and claw. But safety with the shifters cannot last. As the magi set their plans into motion, Danil will have to embark on a terrifying mission to a broken citadel where an ancient enemy awaits. Failure to stop the magi may cost him far more than his life, and Danil discovers that courage and determination may not be enough… 

Review: I loved this! Very well written and left me wanting more! 

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: The Landlord

Title: The Landlord
Author: Asuka Kureru (Askerian)
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 119k words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None that I can think of
Link: http://archiveofourown.org/series/248416
Summary: Fresh-faced university student Sevan picks up rugged, funny Mikhail. Okay, is picked up. Same result – a nice evening for all. No consequences, right?

Only Sevan is a mage, and Mikhail is… well.

Review: Admittedly I haven’t read this one for a while, and feel like I can’t give it a deserving review. However, I remember it being very good and I’ve read it twice. I came across it today in my bookmarks and thought it deserved a little extra attention.

Rec: Judgement, Part 1: Bag of Tools (Series)

Title: Judgement, Part 1: Bag of Tools
Author: Mexta (AO3), Mexta (Blogspot, complete list of her other original works)
Format: Novel (Book one of planned trilogy)
Published/Free: Free
Length: 85,368 words (24 chapters)
Status: Finished
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Violence. Abuse, including underage. Noncon and dubcon. Voluntary submission, masochism, D/s. Large age gap. Sex, mainly implied. Dubious morality. Slavery too (but weirdly consensual, just read it, you’ll understand)
Link: AO3 for book 1, index of complete works (except the third book)
Summary: This is Tom’s story. Born in the near-future and growing up on the desolate streets of one of the last inner city neighborhoods, he’s a local kingpin before he reaches adolescence. Facing a bleak future, he looks for a way out – and finds it when he’s adopted by a wealthy, well-known family. But what happens when a boy who’s never known innocence gets a second chance at childhood?

Review: Absolutely engaging story. 

It’s such an exquisite writing with really advanced characterization and character development. In terms of plot, it’s not grandeur or larger-than-life, but the pacing and the story gradual transformation is so gripping and it’s just pulling you in. The world-building is also absolutely grounded and realistic but also elaborate and creative at the same time. It doesn’t feel like the writer is trying to make an explosive or huge-deal world, but it’s intricate in its own way. 

This isn’t exactly “slash” or LGBTQ+ centered story, but I think that’s the best part of it. It’s so normalized in the universe (including polyamory and everything) that it’s not taking you away from the core message of the story. Being queer here isn’t queer.

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re into morality conflict story, this is the one for you. It definitely deserves much bigger recognition.

Rec: Traveling Blind

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Title: Travelling Blind
Author: Liz and Josey
Format: Series of 3 novel(la) length stories
Published/Free: Free
Length: 172,000 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: None
Link: http://www.emptymirrors.org.uk/tb/index.html
Summary: Two men with nothing apparently in common meet up a year after a single sizzling encounter. Malcolm Cullen, private soldier, ex-special forces, is in New York on business. James, an out of work actor, has sunk lower than he ever thought possible. Now dependent on drugs and selling his body to get by, he needs someone to give him a hand up. Is Malcolm that man? And what will happen when their worlds collide? Can either learn to trust?

Review: This story isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s an old favorite of mine and I’ve wanted to recommend it here for some time. It’s written almost as if it is the result of an RP session between the two authors, one that has a start the reader never actually sees but does get a feel for. I enjoyed the back-and-forth, however, as well as the feeling that I’d been dropped into the story at the second or third chapter. Things move fast so you don’t have much time to wonder what is going on. You take the clues they give you and go with it.

I also really like that the heroes are mature men in their forties, both of them with dark pasts that haunt them still. James is a heroin addict with a history of sex work to fuel his habit, and he’s a little bit crazy with a lot of self-loathing. Malcolm is the big, strong, silent type but his past in special ops has left him with more than a few mental scars. The sex is frequent and includes themes of domination and submission.

There is a lot of fighting between the two, plenty of missteps and falling outs, but all throughout I found myself rooting for them both to stick it through. As rough and awkward as they could be together, their basic attraction to one another felt real. The stories are heavy on angst and hurt and while the first two installments in particular, if memory serves right, it is Mal who provides for the recuperating James, it was very clear to me that both men needed each other.

The writing style is rough and gritty with raw, succinct description. As I said, it does feel like an RP session with the way it goes from one POV to the other, but that was easy enough to get used to and in the end I really enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of angst, hard sex, and men (not boys) you may want to give this series a shot.

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Rec: Between the Teeth

Title: Between the Teeth
Author: youcouldmakealife
Format: Novel / Series
Published/Free: Free
Length: 158,966 words (+ ficlets and more on tumblr)
Status: Complete (+ ficlets might be written)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Homophobia, parental neglect, violence, miscommunication
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/series/64465 and the author’s tumblr http://youcouldmakealife.tumblr.com/tagged/Between-the-Teeth/chrono is also worth checking out (I linked the tag in chronological order, so less spoilery to click)
Summary: From the author: Before they start in the NHL, David barely knew Lourdes, and maybe that was for the best.

Review: I am a big fan of all of youcouldmakealife’s hockey universe, so I would recommend checking all of their work. I was surprised to see only “You could make a life” had previously been recced here, so I decided to fix that.

This series was just recently completed and it is a long journey that seems to start with the trope of rivals become lovers but somehow ends up growing into so much more than that, you will learn to love David’s lovable cluelessness and awkwardness and how he grows throughout the whole series; his relationship with Jake is just as important as the relationships with all of the important people in his life, and all of the characters are as real and well-written as the protagonists (and some of them get their own story, like Robbie). 

So you get some hockey, angst, rivals, friendships, romance, fucking up; and it’s all really well written and engaging.
It’s incredible now to look back and realise how this story made my day for 3 years every time a new update appeared on my inbox!

Rec: Just Don’t Mess With Us

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Title: Just Don’t Mess With Us
Author: Andrew Ashling (aka eurypon)
Format: Short Stories
Published/Free: Free
Length: 21,400 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Explicit sex, mild kinkyness, rape (sort of)
Link: http://www.gayauthors.org/story/eurypon/justdontmesswithus
Summary: These stories are fast food, ice creams, snacks. Right after eating them, you will feel hungry again. They have no nutritious value whatsoever, but I hope you’ll find them tasty.
Ever thought about how it would be if you were in love with three persons at once? And all three were in love with you? And with each other? And you lived together? And you all were guys? Wouldn’t it just be like a family? That is what Alan thinks…
Alan is a bit rude and he sees and has so much sex, that he talks constantly about it, almost without realizing it. If male on male sex, graphic scenes or coarse language offend you, this is probably not for you.

Every chapter is a little story by itself, but in the same setting. Yet it is best to read them in sequence, as each story tells you something more about one or more of the characters.

Review: By giving us an intimate look into their household, Alan tries to argue that four guys living together are a true family. The guys (Alan, Jamie, Jason & Matt) love each other to bits and are very protective of each other. So, whenever one of them is harmed it’s revenge time. With usually hilarious results.

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Rec: Imprint

Title: Imprint
Author: Hermit in the Cave
Format: Online novel, series
Published/free: Free
Length: 258,505
Status: Complete, with 5 chapters of the sequel, Ripple Effect, released. Currently updating, this is an active story.
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Murder, language, rape&other sexual crimes mentioned/implied, group homes, 
Here are the authors warning:
“Okay, two things to know upfront to help you decide if this is something you want to read, or not your cup of tea – I’ll be honest, my work is not for everyone and plenty of people will fall into that latter category.
1. This is going to be long. It’s also not a straight forward sort of story, non linear and a big part of the mystery is what exactly is going on.
2. There will be violence here. I write about troubled characters, not all those characters are nice people, not all of those not-so-nice people are villains either. That last point especially can be a real deal breaker for some, so keep it in mind.
Enjoy smile.png”
Link: http://www.gayauthors.org/story/hermit-in-the-cave/imprint
Summary: In spilled blood and desperation, their fate was sealed; in a quiet corner of the world, far removed from genocidal wars and marauding “demons,” the stage is being set. Tragic soul mates, a human weapon, an elven exile and a tortured empath are pushed into play. Between ancient mysteries, relentless hunters and scheming gods, the truth runs deeper and they were trapped here long ago…

Review: Wow. This is one of the the greatest stories I’ve ever read. It is a fantasy that centers on several main characters as they (and we, as the readers) try to figure out what is going on. It starts a little confusing, but I’m begging you to read through. It starts making sense really quickly. It’s even better on the second read through! I resisted making a rec for so long because I felt that surely someone would rec this Imprint any day now, (and do it much better than I am) but it’s been a while and there is no rec, and a story like this deserves more readers!!

The author is already writing the sequel, ripple effect.