Title: Beauty by Elizabeth Culmer
Fandom: Fairy Tales
Pairing: Grace/Ricky
Categories: romance, friendship, family
Length: ~11,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
From the author: "A retelling of 'Ricky of the Tuft,' with a greater focus on what a curse of stupidity might have done to the princess's family, and an attempt to make the ending seem more something the characters earn and less a predestined result of the fairy godmother's meddling."

I'll be honest, I'd never even heard of Ricky of the Tuft before reading this story, and I think that made it even more enjoyable to read, because I had no idea what to expect. Based on this fic, it's a very interesting fairy tale, one which explores the value of beauty and intelligence and family. I love both Ricky and Grace and I really enjoyed their (very fairy-tale-esque) romance, but what I love most about this story was the way the author fleshed out the characters more than most fairy tales bother to do, giving them motivation and feelings and complexity.

If you like fairy tales in general and/or Ricky-of-the-Tuft specifically, this is the story for you!

Beauty
Title: A Disney Prince Consort by Mithrigil
Fandom: Tangled
Pairing: Flynn Rider/Rapunzel (but basically gen)
Categories: fluff, humor, family, post-canon, tiny bit of kid!fic
Length: ~1,300 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
From the author: "In which Eugene Fitzherbert deftly and graciously contends with such highfaluting concepts as cognatic primogeniture, morganatic marriage, inter-state relations, and a spunky brunette wife who somehow knows how to manage everything including him."

I once enjoyed a very long e-mail exchange with lothy about all of those bits of royalty trivia that people who live in countries without royalty just don't understand. This story reminds me about this e-mail in all the best ways. Eugene's voice is spot-on and hysterical when he's panicking, Rapunzel kicks ass even when she is panicking, and Max never panics, but Rapunzel might have a point about the head of the navy being a horse.

Fun, fluffy, and wonderfully lighthearted, this is the perfect tidbit to brighten those winter blues.

A Disney Prince Consort
Still alive, but not reading as much (damn you, RL!) Since I only rec about 0.5% of what I read, that's going to cut down on recs. On the plus side, I have a few recs saved up, so here's a really belated Christmas present for ya'll. (Side note: it seems LJ is fucking up again. Some more. So, as a reminder, this comm does have a DW mirror.)

Title: The Certain Stakes I Gained by Tom Cranver
Fandom: Nikita
Pairing: mostly gen
Categories: drama, family, friendship
Length: ~16,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Nikita loses Michael, finds a family, and keeps on keeping on.

Branching off from canon in mid-season 2, this is an different way that Nikita could have come to what eventually turned out to be the canon ending of that season (and mad props to Tom Cranver for figuring out exactly where the show was headed from halfway through the season). The biggest difference is that Michael departs pretty early on to be with Max and Owen comes back to stay. If I'd known that going in I'm not sure I would have given this story a chance, so I'm glad that I went in cold, because this is the best Nikita fic I've read to date. The character voices are fantastic, the writing is fast-paced and fun, and I adore the family that Nikita builds up around her, even if Michael isn't one of the crew.

One warning: this is a yuletide story, and the limited writing time is evident in a few rough patches and the occasional dropped storyline (hello, Percy). Still, it's entertaining and well written and the character relationships are captivating. A great read for Nikita and found family fans.

The Certain Stakes I Gained
Title: Ain't Seen the Sunshine (Since I Don't Know When) by emungere
Fandom: Sherlock
Pairing: John/Lestrade (pre-slash)
Categories: AU, kid-fic, humor, drama, action, family, favorite
Length: ~26,500 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Back from Afghanistan and struggling to make ends meet, John gets offered a very unusual job: nanny for a five-year-old Sherlock and a twelve-year-old Mycroft.

This one just makes me smile like crazy. I love Mrs. Holmes, who has decided (quite rightly) that surviving a war is perfect practice for being a nanny for Sherlock and Mycroft. I love John, who feels utterly unqualified but who loves his two charges immensely, even when they're being irritating. I love Lestrade, who is sweet and wonderfully calm under pressure. And I absolutely adore the young versions of Sherlock and Mycroft, who are unique characters all of their own though you can clearly see the seeds of the men they will grow to be. A brilliant AU that makes me smile every time I read it.

Note that there are sequels to the original fic. I'm not reccing them specifically (since they are more focused on the growing relationship between John and Lestrade and less on John interacting with the kids, which is my favorite part of the series) but they're enjoyable stories and the link to the series is below.

Ain't Seen the Sunshine
Sequels to Ain't Seen the Sunshine
Title: Darkness, Flooded in Light by galaxysoup
Fandom: Thor
Pairing: gen
Categories: friendship, family, fix-it, angst, humor, hurt/comfort
Length: 42,000+ words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Loki falls from the Bifrost down to a small town on Earth. Redemption, self-discovery, and friendship ensues.

I find that there are two types of stories that rely heavily on OCs - those that completely suck and those that are incredibly awesome. Fortunately this fic is one of the latter, with Loki landing in a town full of richly drawn, realistic, and wonderfully entertaining OCs. They are the framework that makes this story possible, giving Loki the space he needs to realistically grow from the erratic, sorta evil villain of Thor into an interesting, fully three-denominational person. I do wish more time had been spent on Loki's inevitable meeting with Thor (actually, the ending as a whole feels abrupt) but that is a minor quibble next to my overwhelming love of his new town, his new friends, and the brilliant backstory that not only makes this story shine, but which puts a fascinating new spin on canon.

For anyone who enjoys small town stories and/or found family fics, this is definitely the story for you.

Darkness, Flooded in Light
Title: The New Deal by Closer
Fandom: Suits
Pairing: Gen (with a side of canon-level Harvey/Scotty non-dating)
Categories: AU, family, angst, drama, homeless
Length: 33,500 words
Warnings: pre-story child abuse

Review:
In his second year of law school, Harvey finds a homeless teenager on his doorstep.

Anyone who followed my recs over at epic_recs knows that I love homeless!fics, due to their inherent trust issues and angst. The New Deal has both of those in spades, but what really sucked me in was the way Harvey and Mike started out as strangers and ended up family. I adore found family fics and this is an exceptionally good one, with great characterization and some very entertaining Harvey (and Mike!) at law school moments. A great fic for Suits fans.

The New Deal
Title: The Tin Man by James
Fandom: Leverage
Pairing: Eliot/Hardison
Categories: AU, angst, family, friendship, favorite
Length: 21,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
Eliot is a cyborg. No, really.

This is the first Eliot-centric fic I've ever liked (actually, it might be the first Eliot-centric I ever *finished*), and the reason why I like it so much is the same reason why I like all good Leverage stories: it's all about how the Leverage crew is not just a bunch of random strangers who work together, but instead a found family, with friends who would do anything for each other. Every one of the crew is awesomely in character (including cyborg!Eliot) and I love all of them. Best of all, Eliot Spencer is not a woobie; he may not be strictly human, but he's strong and capable and cared for. Anyway, being a cyborg is a lot less weird than being Parker.

Well-written and full of friendship and love, this is a fic for anyone who enjoys tales of acceptance, found family, and/or Leverage.

The Tin Man
Title: The Ties that Bind Job by Hickumu
Fandom: Leverage/Angel
Pairing: gen
Categories: action, casefile (sort of), crossover, drama, family, friendship
Length: 40,000 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
When Eliot stumbles into a nest of vampires, it's sheer luck that Faith is there to save him. The only problem is, he's now in a coma and Faith (and Angel) thinks that he's Lindsay McDonald. The Leverage crew, on the other hand, have never heard of this 'Lindsay' character (and don't get them started on the subject of 'vampires'). Thus begins one epic tale of friendship and family drama.

I've had a streak of bad luck with fics of late, so I my expectations were low when I opened this story, especially since I'm not a huge fan of Eliot or Angel centric fics. Fortunately for me, this story is a perfect ensemble piece with everyone getting a chance to shine and with plenty of attention paid to team dynamics. Even better is the fact that everyone is beautifully in character, with the two worlds tied together so seamlessly that I had a tough time remembering which bits were canon and which were crossover. Finally, I really appreciated that the crossover is weighted on the Leverage side of things; fans of both shows should be satisfied, but for a Leverage fan a well-written epic is a special treat.

If you like team stories, or tales of found family, or friendship fics, or just plain like a good, well-written crossover you should give this fic a try.

The Ties that Bind Job
Title: This Thing of Ours (It Needs a Better Name) by leupagus
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0
Pairing: Danny/Steve
Categories: AU, friendship, family, drama, action
Length: 35,800 words
Warnings: n/a

Review:
AU in which Danny is a mafia man who moved to Hawaii with his daughter and his (equally mobbed up) ex-wife and her husband, and who finds a great deal of entertainment in poking a stick at Steve and the rest of the 5-0 task force.

This fic is very reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can and was apparently inspired by a White Collar fanfic, which means that it's really a whole lot of fun. Criminal life suits Danny; in this fic he's less bitter than in canon and his cross-legal-lines banter has just enough edge to give it some emotional impact. Rachel is even better: ruthless and witty and utterly awesome. Between the two of them and Gracie and Stan (both great -- yes, even Stan), Steve quickly finds himself outclassed and charmed despite himself. The end result is cute and deeply satisfying, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

This Thing of Ours (It Needs a Better Name)
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