Reading Reviews From Member: celticbard
  
210 Reviews Found

Review #1, by celticbardIn the Mourning: A Gryffindor is Not a Morning Person

25th August 2016:
Hello Bex!
Boy, you sure do know how to draw readers into a story! This was a wonderful first chapter. I love the premise, and, of course, the interaction between McGonagall and Harry. Minerva is definitely one of my favorite characters and to see her faced with such an emotionally-charged challenge seems to show that while she will never give up, she certainly can feel daunted. I mean, I certainly don't blame her! What a situation to be in, with Harry being watched so closely and yet, as Minerva said, he deserves normalcy. I suppose if Harry weren't in the position he's currently in, the request might be taken a bit more lightly. But with Umbridge and the Ministry and Voldemort looking for any chink in his armor, it seems nearly impossible to help him.

Nonetheless, I applaud Minerva (staunch Gryffindor that she is) for standing up for Harry and trying her best to fulfill his wish. It was truly touching to see the old lioness having a conversation like this with the young cub. Harry and Minerva make a great pair (as teacher and student, I mean, of course). I know everyone seems to overlook her influence in favor of Dumbledore, although I've always felt that she had a strong soft spot (which sounds like a total contradiction) for the boy, not only because he was “The Chosen One” or because he was in her House, but because she genuinely liked him.

As I said, I think this is a great beginning you have here. The dialogue was extremely well-written, the characters spot-on and I really enjoyed your descriptions of the early morning, the coffee, the bitter November day. I almost felt like yawning along with Harry, haha. And may I just say, your banners are to die for! You are obviously both a talented writer and artist. :) Excellent job, all-around. I really liked reading this and will definitely come back for more.

Best,
Lee Anne

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Review #2, by celticbardThinking About You: You, You, You

25th August 2016:
Hiya Em!
Umbridge and Lockhart? Wow! How is that for a huge twist! (I have to admit, I had to read the reviews to figure out who it was, my brain is not exactly running at full speed today, I guess, lol.) This is a great little one-shot you have here, Em. It's almost impossible for me to imagine Dolores Umbridge outside of her role in the Ministry, and formally, her position at Hogwarts, but somehow, you managed to pull it off and make it SO believable. Of course Umbridge would pine secretly for Lockhart in school. She does have an exacting, obsessive personality, as shown in this story and in the books by her fixation with Ministry rules. And having Lockhart as our Narcissus, well, that is just brilliant.

Additionally, the switching POVs worked very well in this story. It's funny, because at times, both the lovers (Umbridge being in love with Lockhart, Lockhart being in love with himself) seem to meld into one voice almost, which is seriously creepy. (Now I know why you marked this story as “horror”). It's not your usual “stalker” tale though. You managed to avoid all the tropes that usually make unrequited love stories unappealing. Instead, this tale is truly terrifying considering the possessive nature of both Umbridge and Lockhart's thoughts.

This was another wonderful story, Em. You really have a knack for writing unique, memorable pieces that are so perfectly original. It was a true joy to be able to sample some of your writing. I'll definitely be back for more.

Best,
Lee Anne

Author's Response: Le Anne!! Hiya!

I don't blame you, I've learnt it's more cryptic than I intended and leaves more room for interpretation that I meant for it to which isn't necessarily a negative thing. I'm always interested in how different people interpret this. I am so glad and relieved that you're saying what you are because I laid on the cheese with this one and felt so uncomfortable doing it even though it was meant to be cheese for a horrific purpose.

The challenge this story was written for, I think, was spectacular in that it really forced me to expand my comfort zone writing Umbrigde and Lockhart. That being said, I still wanted to make this realistic enough to be them. I didn't want to change the situation or their characters much. I didn't want to redeem them, so there's this.

I am thrilled you found it creepy despite all the misguiding I am guilty of with the fun song and the pseudo-fluff and the quasi-romance. I am also thrilled that, as an unrequited love story, this isn't as unappealing although it's written to be that way. i want to leave a bad taste in readers' mouths after reading this because I'm a terrible person.

Thank you so, so much for such a flattering review, Le Anne!!!

Cheers,
Em


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Review #3, by celticbardStowaway: 'It'

25th August 2016:
Hi pointlessproclaimations!
Aw! I'm sorry, but I'm such a dog lover, you'll have to indulge me for a minute more. Aw! Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, I love this story! You have a great sense of humor, really. I could not help but smile while reading this story. And might I add, you have a great sense of empathy, as you made me truly feel for both Draco and his son. This story is about so much more than a stowaway dog, I think. Your references towards societal morays and conventions speak volumes, as does that fact that Scorpius is “lonely”. Full confession here; I do have a large amount of sympathy for Draco post-War, so I feel that his malaise, his frustration with the school and life in general, were definitely in keeping with his characterization.

It is so sad that the Malfoy family (and I'm speaking strictly of Draco, Astoria and Scorpius) must constantly face isolation and ostracization from the wizarding community. Of course, it is expected, due to Draco's involvement in the Death Eater movement, but somehow, I feel that he never fully believed in Voldemort or Voldemort's plan for domination of the wizrding world. (Not that the Malfoy's should ever be considered innocent.) Still, I do truly feel for both Draco and Scorpius in this story. Often, we think of Harry, Ron and Hermione as having good memories of their time at Hogwarts, but the fact that you state that Draco's memories of his childhood are painful completely justifies his reticence in meeting with Professor Patil.

And that's another thing, I loved that you used Parvati Patil as the professor and not Hermione or Neville or even McGonagall. We don't know much about Draco's relationship with the other students except that he was in Slytherin and she in Gryffindor, so I imagine they weren't especially close. Still, their interaction seemed completely natural. Parvati was the perfect reserved professor and Draco the obviously harassed parent, which made the scene work so well. And the addition of Pookie, well, I can't help but just go “aw” again.

You have a wonderful story here. I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to read it!

Best,
Lee Anne

Author's Response: I guess between this review and the next you found my name XD.

Lee Anne!!

You're leaving such wonderful words and I'm blushing and regaining confidence in my writing again which is the best thing ever. Thank you endlessly for that.

RIGHT? Why are there no dogs in Hogwarts? There should be! So. . . I wrote it. The plot line came almost immediately when I got my prompt for this challenge. Draco, Scorpius, Dog, Pookie, Parvati! And then came the nuance--the ostracisation of former children and grandchildren (etc) of Death Eaters. What someone like Draco would then have to do is be hypersensitive to how he portrays himself in public--he has to have a heightened awareness to his own every word and move and it wasn't hard for me to imagine his mentality. Glad I'm not alone in this post-war Draco sympathy. He was just a kid. That's how he was raised and he is trying to do better, I think. Basically, perception vs. reality is important to me.

I read over and wrote through this many times over to try to portray a realistic Draco and you're pointing out all the things that was going on in my mind and it's so reassuring. ♥ Draco's time at Hogwarts really must of sucked--crazy people, insane antics, someone slapped his mug (to be fair he was a bit of a prat).

Pookie because what else would Scorpius name a stowaway St. Bernard? :D :D

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! I equally enjoyed reading this review. You're much too sweet and you give me warm, cuddly feelings on the inside.

Cheers,
Em


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Review #4, by celticbardalways: me and you

25th August 2016:
Hi pointlessproclaimations!
To be completely honest, I read this story while listening to Ombra Mai Fu by Handel which made it about ten times more intense. I was nearly crying at the end, which I guess is a very good thing, considering the nature of this piece. ;)

Anyway, onto the review. Let me tell you first, this story is different. And I mean that as a serious compliment, because you've created something that almost reads like a prose poem. Your use of repetition as a literary device (one of my faves, actually) is absolutely magnificent. For example, this sentence, “In the end, I don’t even know if you’d let me apologise because I am sorry. I am sorry for so many things. I am sorry I was your first friend. I am sorry that we were ever friends.” your continued use of “I'm sorry” just works so well. It brings the reader full circle, while at the same time, it continues to deeply explore Snape's true feelings regarding Lily Evans.

And that's another thing I'd like to mention, your characterization. It's incredible. Spot-on, really. The way you explain Snape's deepest fears, his failings, his hopes and his reaction to not having Lily in his life is nothing short of elegant. Like I mentioned before, this piece has all the eloquence of a prose poem and it even follows a very distinct pattern. There is clearly a beginning, a middle and an end. Snape describes his history with Lily much like you would in any story. He starts with mentioning that they were each others first friends (the beginning) and then goes on to detail how their relationship fell apart (the middle) and finally, he tells us where they have both ended up and summarizes his feelings for Lily in that heart-breaking last line (the end). What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that this piece has an excellent flow to it, which is very hard to accomplish in a story written in this particular style. (By the way, I'm just curious, did you write this as a stream-of-conciousness piece?)

Well, if it isn't obvious through my painfully rambling review, I really love this piece. Thank you so much for sharing it with us! I look forward to reading more of your work. :)

Best,
Lee Anne

Author's Response: Handel?! Brilliant. That would do it.

Oh my goodness, Lee Anne, I must tell you: I rarely write sad/angst/anything within this genre. I very nearly didn't post it because of how uncertain I was about it (which is saying something considering how uncertain I am about the majority of my writing that I post anyway).

Repetition and a near-prose poem style seemed the most natural way for this to flow. I think it added a coherence to what would otherwise seem rambling. Thank you for your compliments 'absolutely magnificent' ?!?! My ego cannot take this.

Regret of action and inaction simultaneously is a complex thing that miraculously made sense within this story which, at the time of writing it, to me, made sense because I suppose I kind of felt this, in a much less exaggerated, less poetic, less dramatic, less romantic sort of way. Writing this out was a way of making sense of these contradictory thoughts. Some part of me still wonders how I managed to get this to work. It feels almost like it was a fluke because it wasn't planned. Yes, it was, in the beginning, a stream-of-conciousness piece I refined to characterise the exact nature of Lily and Severus's relationship--or at least my perception of it.

I am thrilled you are finding the flow and the perceived beginning, middle, and end of all of this. Part of me is thrilled that you're finding this has 'excellent flow,' but another is saying that it's a pure fluke. XD I put all the angst into this and it's depleted my capacity for more, I believe.

I equally love this review which isn't painful in the least. ♥ Why are you thanking me for sharing it? I am thanking you for reading it and leaving this gorgeous review that makes me want to write again because you make me believe I can again and that's invaluable.

Cheers,
Em


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Review #5, by celticbardYet: Yet

24th August 2016:
Hi Katie,
Aww, this is very sweet! It is so nice to read a sincere James and Lily that isn't all about the chase (James pursuing Lily, I mean) and instead find a piece that is natural and poetic in its simplicity. Although I know it is based on a song by Taylor Swift, it almost reminds me of “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine. The stars, the darkness, the anticipation of finally admitting their love to each other. It all makes for one very lovely story.

I'm usually not into fluff, but I think you struck a very good balance between the overwhelmingly cute and the very real beauty of falling in love with someone for the first time. The mild undercurrent of tension in this piece also sets it apart. Even though Lily is relaxed in James's company, you still impart, through your very precise choice of language, that she is dying to tell James just how she feels. And I think there is always a bit of anxiety that goes into that, waiting for the other person to respond, existing solely in that moment of anticipation. Again, it's all achingly beautiful, which is very apparent in this story. :)

I'm really, really glad I was able to sample some of your stories, Katie. Thank you so much for sharing your writing with us. It truly was a pleasure!

Best,
Lee Anne

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Review #6, by celticbardBeside Yourself: Beside Yourself

24th August 2016:
Hi Katie,
Oh my, what a devastating story! I have to admit, you had me tricked in the beginning. I actually thought Lily was dead for the first paragraph until Sirius started speaking. You wrote her grief so well that she simply seemed to cease to exist. How dreadful. But still, I love what you've done with this one-shot.

Very little description, mostly dialogue, no setting to speak of, it all works brilliantly. We're completely trapped with Lily in this living-death. I have to say, while I read this story, I felt this overwhelming sense of blindness, as if I were in the dark with Lily, entirely vulnerable and lost and yes, dead. Even when Sirius spoke forcefully to her, his voice seemed distant and inconsequential. By the way, I loved the contrast between his hysterics and Remus's perpetual calm. The completely different reactions to James's death were almost eerie. Sirius is insane with anger, Remus is rational and Lily is just gone. This story, I think, is a great study of the impact grief can have on people. No one reacts in the same manner, which is evidently clear in the behavior exhibited by all three characters.

Also, I love how you showed us just how unstable Lily is when she did briefly interact with Sirius by throwing the picture at him and then rather stiffly attempted to soothe Harry which only dissolved into hysterics. She wavers so violently between different moods, giving me a very clear idea of just how deep her depression is.

This was another fantastic piece, Katie. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your stories. Despite the heart-breaking nature of this fic, I really did love it. Excellent work!

Best,
Lee Anne

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Review #7, by celticbardPurge and Dowse, Ltd.: Welcome to Janus Thickey

24th August 2016:
Hi Katie,
Oh, this is a very, very promising beginning. Very promising. I just adore stories about magical medicine, healers, their patients, etc. In fact, I'm writing a novel that is set solely in a wizarding TB hospital. So yes, this piece is right up my alley and already you have me wanting more, more, more!

I think an interview with a new healer is a great way to start a story. Like Felicity, we are being introduced to the ward in a way that shows us what is going on rather than tells us, which is awesome. Great idea! I also love how you tried to humanize the situation as much as possible. I can imagine, in a ward for mentally challenged witches and wizards, it can be easy to unintentionally err on the wacky side of things, but you didn't do that here. You made the patients real and incredibly sympathetic (in fact, I can already see Felicity is the type of person to form strong attachments with her charges), which is a very thoughtful thing to do. It's obvious that despite their impairments, these witches and wizards are still treated with respect, something that I find very touching and genuine.

Furthermore, your writing is solid, the dialogue realistic and your descriptions well-done. I also particularly loved the interview scene in Miriam's office. I think we can all relate to Felicity being in a high-pressured situation in which she flounders about, looking for the correct words (although in my mind, she did a good.).

Again, I really enjoyed your first chapter, Katie and I cannot wait to see how this story unfolds and meet some of the residents/other healers on the ward. Excellent job!

Best,
Lee Anne

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Review #8, by celticbardTell Me Who You Are: Phase Two: Tell Him You're a Witch

16th August 2016:
Hi Liz!
It's Lee here, with your review for BvB. I'm so, so glad that I'm getting a chance to read the rest of this story. Wow. Mark is an amazing guy. I like him a lot. He obviously cares for Dom very much. I can understand, however, him feeling a little freaked out thinking that Dom might have actually used magic on him. Everyone has their breaking point and I think Mark was being quite generous with Dom, even just by giving her a chance to attempt to talk things over.

Speaking of which, I thought you did a great job writing the conversation between Mark and Dom. I think it's hard to imagine just how someone would explain something so odd in a relatively normal manner, but their dialogue came across as natural. Of course, Mark was rightfully flabbergasted, though at times, he seemed even more level-headed than Dom. Perhaps that is because you hinted at something like this happening to her before with a bad outcome? Well, I'm thoroughly intrigued. ;)

Again, I really like the way this story is going. The plot is strong, it's definitely holding my attention. The characters are interesting and well-rounded. And the dialogue is smart and well-written. Excellent work, Liz! I cannot wait to read more.

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Lee! A name! (Can I still call you Khaleesi? o.O)

I am a Harry Potter nut, so, I've actually had similar conversations with my husband trying to explain certain things about canon or my AU, ect. It's not normally this emotionally packed, though. That I just tried to put myself into the shoes of someone who was finding out that someone they thought they knew was a completely different person. That's also why Mark was so level-headed at times- he was learning new things about Dom, but he couldn't see her as someone he didn't already love.

I'm glad you like it so much! This story was my challenge baby!
-Liz


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Review #9, by celticbardUnapologetic: Of Pride

14th August 2016:
Hi Bianca,
I've never written a Marauders story before, so I know exactly how you feel. I would say, though, you definitely did the fandom proud! This was a great, straight-forward, piece with no over-the-top characterizations and wonderful dialogue. Have I mentioned how much I love your dialogue, yet? I know, I know, I've been focusing mostly on your descriptive abilities in my reviews, but I've been meaning to tell you how well-written your dialogue is. It's appropriate for each of the characters, smart, clean and expressive. And good dialogue means a lot of good “showing” versus “telling”. If I had never read a Marauders fic in my life, I think this story would give me a very good idea of their history and Lily's relationship with James and Severus. And can I just say that I appreciate how you presented us with James's not so nice side (he attacks Snape for no reason) along with his ability to change as a person due to Lily's influence. I really liked the fact that in this story, he's obviously trying to be a “good boy” for Lily, although he's definitely still, well, James.

Again, I think you did the Marauders justice. You're a very versatile writer and I've been thoroughly enjoying your work. :)

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Hello!

Aw thank you so much, I'm so glad you think I did them justice!

Argh you are too kind! Your reviews have been absolutely amazing, and I've been thoroughly enjoying reading them!!

Thanks so much again,

Bianca



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Review #10, by celticbardA Happy Memory: The Swan

14th August 2016:
Hello again, Bianca!
Ah, what a lovely, yet sad piece. Again, your writing is thrilling, fresh and original. You did an excellent, and I mean excellent, job of exploring Cho's isolation, her grief, and her very acute sense of loss. I think, occasionally, Cho is overlooked in the fandom and branded as the girl who dumped Harry, or at least, the one who had a hand in betraying DA. But truly, her actions seem quite reasonable after reading this fic. Not only is she torn by her love for Cedric and her interest in Harry, but also her loyalty to her parents versus her own beliefs.

Furthermore, I was truly touched by her memories of Cedric, which seemed to match her own sensibilities so well. The image of the swan and the crushed flower petal gave this story a delicate and exceedingly mournful feel. Honestly, I loved every word. And the ending was so perfect. Cho finds the memory, but it is a bittersweet one, a moment that mirrors the paradoxes in her own life.

This is a beautifully written piece, Bianca and I enjoyed every bit of it. Once again, great job!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Hello!

I always thought Cho was a little overlooked too, but if you look at things closely in her perspective, she really does have a sad story, and that's why I chose to write about her.

Thank you so much! ♥ ♥ ♥


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Review #11, by celticbardChasing Dragons : But Guys, Dragons

14th August 2016:
Hi Bianca!
Oh my goodness, what a wonderful one-shot! I'm faving it right now! *clicks button* There were so many lovely bits to this piece. The names, Hesper and Hagen, your characterization of the OCs and minor characters that pop up briefly, but still manage to make a statement, and, of course, the dragons! Who can blame Charlie, really? My heart just about flipped over when I read your description of him flying on a dragon's back. ;)

I don't know much about the challenge you wrote this for, but I have to say, I loved everything about this one-shot. Your language was poetic, yet easy to read and very Charlie-ish. I think focusing on descriptions of the five senses, especially the tactile, served you quite well. Charlie strikes me as a very visceral person and I think you did him justice here.

Again, this was an excellent story, Bianca. You should be very proud of your writing skills. Thanks for posting it!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Hello honey!

Your reviews are so wonderful and they were an amazing surprise! Thank you for favourite-ing, this story is one of the early ones I wrote, so to know that people still love it really means a lot.

The challenge had me take a negative Sagittarius trait and turn it positive! The trait was 'tactless' so it was definitely a challenge!

Thank you once again for your kind review! ♥


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Review #12, by celticbardTell Me Who You Are: Phase One: Bring Boyfriend to Dinner

14th August 2016:
Hi SilverMoonFairy!
Don't mind me as I sample some of your stories here. ;) Seriously, I'm so happy that I was able to read and review this. What a great story! I can so relate to Dom, being a seamstress myself. It is very calming to work on an outfit, especially if you're hand sewing it, but I digress. What a steep hill for her to climb! She has to introduce her boyfriend to her family AND tell him that she's a witch. Whew! I definitely admire her tenacity and resolve.

The scene in her apartment was perfect and I think, very easy for a lot of women to relate to. I mean, after all, it makes a lot of sense to comfort and distract ourselves with the familiar (in Dom's case, it's putting together an outfit) in order to think through a problem. You also managed to show us a lot about Dom by leaving little tidbits here and there, like her interactions with her family and siblings, her disappointment over not living up to their expectations, her need for stability and honesty in her relationship with her boyfriend. For example, the mention of Dom not following through with her Obliviator training was a great way to show readers a little of her personality. She's insecure about her talents, obviously and even though I bet she enjoys her job at Madam Malkins, I'm sure she “settled” in a way,when she accepted the position. See, you have me rambling on about Dom as though she were a real person. That's how vivid a picture you painted of her. Excellent work!

As far as nitpicks go, I don't have much, except I think you may have used the incorrect word in this sentence, “Crookshanks the Second, prodigy of Hermione's cat and a stray she had taken in.” Instead of “prodigy”, I think you meant “progeny”, as in, Crookshanks the Second was related to or the offspring of the original Crookshanks. Prodigy implies that the cat is a young genius or exceptionally talented at a young age. Unless Crookshanks the Second is a prodigy of some kind, lol. I'm just kidding! ;)

Anyway, this was a wonderful start to what promises to be a great story. I truly cannot wait to read more. :)

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Khaleesi! (I spelled it right this time. T_T) Sample away! I apologize, I don't have more for you to view. I'm working on it, though!

I was assigned Dom as a random character to write about for the challenge this story was written for. I had never, ever, ever done a Next Gen and was daunted by the task. I am very excited with the reactions I've gotten on this story about her character, so I appreciate that you appreciate her and her talents! (So cool that you are a seamstress as well! I used to do homemade projects.) She is probably one of my favorite characters to write about now and I am so very excited that she seemed so real to you!

Ah, yes... That is a mistake. Oops. Thank you! (I am a terrible Ravenclaw, hahaha!)

Thank you for your wonderful review and I hope you enjoy the story.
-Liz


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Review #13, by celticbardWhispers in the Dark: Prologue- Chosen

14th August 2016:
Hi Jill!
I'm so glad I was able to read this chapter (thank you Review Tag thread!). As I'm sure other readers have mentioned, this is one tense ride! First, we have the immediate threat of Ginny being tortured by the Carrows, which is terrifying enough, at least the way you built it up. And then, adding Seamus to the mix, the boy she is “beginning to love”, wow. It all makes for one great prologue. By the way, have I mentioned that I love stories that start in medias res? This is a great example of that. Here I am, thrust into a very dark, dangerous situation that gets my heart pounding right away, but at the same time, requires me to think a little about the narrator and setting. Also, you did a wonderful job introducing the main plot by literally dragging Seamus into the scene. While the story does begin “in the middle of things”, I did not once feel lost or confused, but rather, was drawn right in by the intensity of the prologue. Excellent job! I very much admire a writer who can so successfully pull off a beginning like this.

Now, I only have a very, very small nitpick regarding this chapter. It's not a big deal, just something that popped into my mind while I was reading and took me out of the story for a minute, so I thought I'd mention it. When Seamus first enters, Ginny states that although the room is dark, she can still see his “eyes clouded with worry and fear”. However, the very last line of the chapter states that, “In the dim torchlight, I knew he wouldn’t be able to see the heartbreak in my eyes”. So that leaves me a little uncertain. Is it too dark for Ginny and Seamus to see facial expressions or can they actually see clearly enough to look one another in the eyes? It's just something to think about. Otherwise, I have no complaints. ;)

Once again, I'm so pleased I had the chance to read this prologue. I love tense, dark stories and this one certainly whet my appetite. I will definitely have to read more of this story soon. Great writing, Jill!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Oh hello there! ♥

I also love stories that start in medias res, but I never felt like I had one that worked well enough until I started this one, and I'm glad I did! I'm so glad that you didn't feel lost or confused by anything; I wanted to make it sort of ambiguous but with enough for you to know who I was talking about. Does that make sense? Probably not, but... :P Oh well. And poor Seamus, literally being dragged in. My heart breaks for him even though I'm the one dragging him.

You know, you're actually the first one to point that out, so thank you! I might have to go back and rework that a bit because I love the last line so much. I sort of figured that she could see him, but he couldn't see much of her, but knows it's her, but you're definitely right that it could be clearer.

Thank you so much for this lovely review! I need to get better at updating this story, oops.

~Jill


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Review #14, by celticbardHouse of Stone: Prologue

13th August 2016:
Hello SilverMoonFairy,
This was a great beginning to what promises to be a very cool story! First off, let me just say that your characterization was spot on. Very good, indeed. Voldemort in particular, I think, exhibited that same cool, detached evil that made him so chilling in the books. The Malfoys were also very well-written—Lucius wavering, as usual, Draco eager to prove himself. I very much liked the little look Draco exchanged with his father, the look of disgust. I think it speaks volumes as to how dedicated Draco is to the “cause” in this fic. The fact that he would so openly express his dislike for his father's behavior really shows (and of course, showing is much better than telling!) how different Lucius is from his son and how this war, like all wars, has splintered their family in a dangerous way. Also, I wanted to mention Voldemort's dialogue. It was very crisp, expressive and well-written. Voldemort strikes me as a character who wouldn't want to waste words and he certainly doesn't in this opening chapter. He says only what is necessary, and reserves his true thoughts for Nagini alone. :)

If I absolutely had to criticize anything in this chapter (and I'm just nitpicking here), it would be your opening sentence. It read a little bit rough, repeating the word “dark” twice, while also including the word “black”. I think it probably could be strengthened to better catch the reader's attention and create mood without using the “dark” twice.

Again, I'm really glad I was able to read this opening chapter and I look forward to reading more. Great job!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Kahlessi, you honor me with your review! *bows*

I thank you for your kind words. I was actually very excited for the responses I've been getting for this prologue and I'm glad you enjoyed it! The opening line was difficult, as it always is. I still haven't found a way to reword it, but when I do, I'll see if you like it better.

Thank you very much!
-Liz


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Review #15, by celticbardWedding Plans: Wedding Plans

9th August 2016:
Hello ImaRavenclaw,
I'm here from HPFT's review tag. It's so ironic that I picked this story of yours to read, since I'm also writing a story about Hermione having doubts about Ron on her wedding day. Quite a coincidence, isn't it? Therefore, I was really eager to read your story and see how you handled the subject matter.

I definitely loved the fact that Hermione went on a quest of self-discovery, by questioning her family and friends and not questioning just herself, which she probably should have done in the first place. To me, this shows a Hermione out of sorts, not OOC, just at her wit's end. She's reacting to a situation she doesn't understand and I think you did an excellent job portraying her confusion. Like any intellectual, she spends her time looking for a good solid, objective opinion. And while I can certainly see why she went to speak with Harry, I have to admit, I'm a bit flummoxed as to some of the other candidates she chose. For example. I think a young woman would speak to her parents over Dean and Seamus. Also, I thought the denouement (Hermione discussing her cold feet with Ron) was a little rushed. Although I know this story is about self-discovery, Hermione didn't really question herself in the end, but rather, relied on Ron to make the decision for her.

Otherwise, despite these nitpicks, I really liked your story, ImaRavenclaw and I'm glad I had the chance to read it. Thanks for posting! You did a lovely job. :)

Best,
celticbard (aka Khaleesi).

Author's Response: Hey, thanks for reading!

Yeah that is pretty ironic, I'm glad you found this then. That's awesome, I'm sure it'll be great!

That was really what I was aiming for. SELF DISCOVERY! Well, Hermione can't exactly talk to her parents because as far as they're concerned, they don't have a daughter! They were obliviated before Hermione went to fight the war.

This was written for an amazing banner on TDA, so everything was kind of rushed, so sorry about that. This is definitely not one of my best works!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have an awesome day!

-ImaRavenclaw


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Review #16, by celticbardBreathing Underwater: I

20th June 2011:
Hi Leslie,
It's celticbard here from the review exchange over on TGS. I'm so glad we got paired up for this round. This one-shot was the perfect summer story. Even though I don't envy Lily's situation, I kinda wish I had a beautiful creek in my backyard to take a swim in. ;)

I find it fascinating that you based this fic on Munch's "The Scream" and ended up coming up with this scenario. For me, "The Scream" has always been about terror, but you really put a different spin on it, making it more about despair and regret and longing. Very creative! I also loved how Lily constantly second-guessed herself throughout the story as she battled her insecurities. And even though she seemed aware of her flaws, she truly came across as a strong character. The last scene in particular reinforces her natural independence and resilience.

Overall, this was a lovely story, Leslie and I really enjoyed reading it. Great writing! ^_^

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Awww, thanks Lee Anne! I'm glad you enjoyed it and thought it was creative. I really had fun writing this and it all came out in one go with very little thought. I just let my mind take off and tell my fingers what to type.

Yes, I think we've all had to battle insecurities at some point in our lives. I'm glad you saw her as a strong character as I really do try to make my characters as multi-dimensional and solid as I can. I feel like characters are what pushes my stories a lot of the time, that keep the plot going because they had conflict and drama to it all. Thanks again! (:


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Review #17, by celticbardOf Demons and Dark Lords: Chapter 1

16th March 2011:
Hi JeanieLee,
I have to admit, I've never watched an episode of Supernatural, although it certainly seems like a show I would like, which is what attracted me to this fic in the first place. That and I also love well done cross-overs. ^_^ Unfortunately, the genre seems to have a rather poor reputation, but I think you definitely proved how untrue that reputation is with this fic. You really did an excellent job merging both fandoms. As someone who isn't familiar with Supernatural, I wasn't the least bit confused by this first chapter. Dean and Sam struck me as two very complex characters and I think the bit of back-story you provided for them was just enough to get readers interested in them.

The only slight criticism I have, and believe me, it's very slight, would be the pacing of the first scene. You did an amazing job introducing the two OCs, however, I felt the sudden intrusion of the demon set things just a little off-balance. The scene works fine as it is, although I think it would flow even better if you just slowed it down a little and added some more dialogue between Natalie and David.

Other than that, I really enjoyed this chapter, JeanieLee, and I'm glad I got a chance to check this story out. Good luck with this fic!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Hey Lee Anne!

Oh, you haven't. Well, if it's the kind of thing you watch then I really recommend it. It's an awesome show. Yes, sadly they do have a bad reputation since there are some bad ones out there that seem to overshadow the good ones. But I'm glad that you believe that I prove that wrong. Yay, I'm glad you weren't confused since you've never seen the show, though I still recommend it. ;)

I was originally planing that scene to be a bit longer, to show more of the relationship between David and Natalie, but this story is definitely one of those that has taken on a life of it's own and very quickly too. The story has been calling the shots since the beginning. ;)

I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks so much for the lovely review!!


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Review #18, by celticbardInsula de Absentis Spiritus: Prologue

9th March 2011:
Hi JeanieLee,
I was checking out the TGS review tag thread and thought I'd drop by to take a look at your story. You know, I have a weakness for dark fics with intense plots and morally questionable characters and this chapter contained all of the above. I already like Aron. For some reason, he seems slightly different from the rest of the Legion members. There's something thoughtful and sensitive about him that I was really able to connect with. And I have to admit, I felt terrible for him when he had to watch Kara die. His desperate attempts to save her were quite heart-wrenching.

In addition, I'm quite intrigued by this Legion organization. I love the fact that you haven't told us whether they're the good guys or the bad guys yet. Although they seem dedicated to stopping dark magic (the necromancer, for example) I'm not sure they're motivations are entirely virtuous. And Soren himself is quite a mystery. Even though he killed Kara, I do feel like he was only attempting to defend himself.

This was a solid start to what promises to be an interesting fic. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. Good luck with your writing!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: hey Lee Anne! Yay! I get a review from you! :) I'm glad you like him. He's very fun to write. And yes, he isn't like the other members. Yes, that part was very hard to write because I like him so much. But I'm glad that you were able to connect with him and felt bad for him.

Yes, more about them will be revealed later in the story. That is what they are dedicated to yes and more about what Soren did and why they sentenced him to death will be explained later. Keep reading and see if you feel that way about him later ;)

Thank you! I'm very glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the lovely review Lee Anne!


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Review #19, by celticbardTom's War: Tom's War

3rd March 2011:
What a magnificent piece! I was quite enthralled by it. Your style is exquisite and, I must say, I think your take on Tom and Minerva is flawless. This story reads like canon. You've perfectly captured the indefinite sense of unease young Tom breeds. Minerva is certain that something is wrong with him, but she doesn't know exactly what it is. Her confusion, needless to say, was artfully portrayed.

The bombing of Glasgow in the final scene just put the icing on the cake. I shivered while reading Tom's reaction to the violence. Furthermore, his little speech at the end was so eloquent and chilling. Really, this whole piece is just breath-taking. I'm so glad I read it. Thank you for posting this!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Thank you so much! I am a huge fan of yours so this means a lot to me :] I hadn't tried a Tom/Minerva before, but I was really intrigued by it. I think it is a pairing that can e approached in an almost unromantic way, more an examination of the characters and their motivations than their relationship. I was really just using the pairing to describe Tom's character in a certain perspective.

When I saw a challenge to write a piece about WWII at Hogwarts, I instantly thought of Tom because I can see how much it would have fascinated him. The parallels between WWII and JKR's stories are no accident and I thought it would be interesting to turn them around.

Thank you so much hon! I am really excited :]


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Review #20, by celticbardAugust Skyline: August Skyline

30th December 2010:
Hi amandatonks,
I just dropped by from the Review Chain thread over on TGS. Since you left such a lovely review for my fic, I really wanted to return the favor. ^_^

I think you did a great job capturing Luna's personality in this little one-shot. Because she's so cheery, and frankly, loopy, I think we often forget just how much she's lost and how much she's suffered during her young life. It was interesting to see her struggling with that pain in this story, and, I believe, quite appropriate to her nature. Even though her head is in the clouds, she's still human and this piece really made it easy to relate to her. However, you did stay true to her character by including her happy memories of her life with Rolf. And that last line was beautiful, so profound and Luna-ish.

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read this one-shot, amandatonks. Thanks for posting it!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Hi there! ^_^ Thank you for dropping by. It was such a pleasant surprise! I am so happy to hear your thoughts about how I portrayed Luna; it puts my mind at ease. Yes, the last line was my absolute favorite part of writing this little one-shot. I'm glad you like it as well. :) And many thanks to you for taking the time to review! It truly made my day and my week. ^_^

Hope you have a very Happy New Year! :)
~amandatonks


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Review #21, by celticbardHeart Finds A Home: Welcome to Hogwarts

29th December 2010:
Oh, what a sad story! How wonderfully creative of you to take a minor character like Filch (who seems to be universally reviled) and give him a believable, realistic and sympathetic back-story. The flashback scene, in which a young Filch awaits his Hogwarts letter, was so heart wrenching. You did a fabulous job illustrating both his intense anticipation and subsequent, crushing disappointment. It's no wonder that Filch is so fiercely protective of Hogwarts, he probably loves the school more than most students.

And yet, despite the overall angsty tone of this piece, you managed to end it on an uplifting, hopeful note. I really enjoyed this, Lia. Excellent writing!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Hi celtic!

You have no idea how surprised I was to see this here earlier but it's a pleasant one, nonetheless :)

As far as inspiration goes, this story stems from one of my one-shots in this year's house collab about Filch. I thought it might be interesting to explore what it was like for him to not get a Hogwarts letter. I knew that there would be some (ok, loads of) resentment on his part when it came to those who weren't Squibs. That is something which I can understand enough to get into words. The fact that he actually got his opportunity after so many years is possibly mind-blowing and not something to be taken for granted.

Haha, universally reviled. Everyone has said something to that effect but you summed it up perfectly.

I'm really glad you enjoyed this! Thank you so much for your review!

Happy New Year!
Lia


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Review #22, by celticbardAll The Pieces: I See Him Too

23rd December 2010:
Hello Shiloh!
Wow. This is an extremely powerful piece. And, as usual, beautifully written. I think you did a fantastic job exploring such a difficult subject, one that most people find impossible to comprehend. I must admit, I cannot imagine losing a child. Molly's sorrow, her literal heartbreak, is very well portrayed throughout this piece. I think writers always run the risk of crossing the line into the melodramatic when they write stories revolving around a character's death, but this fic came across as mature, thoughtful and genuine.

I loved how Molly equates being a parent to having your heart outside yourself. It almost reminded me, in a rather strange way, of Voldemort's Horcruxes. By taking his soul out of his body, he truly perverted all that is good and loving, while Molly herself is the complete opposite. She is selfless and yet she mourns. She lives on her for her other children, and yet, a part of her will always be with Fred. And as you so aptly put it, the loss of a child inflicts a wound that will never heal.

This was an amazing piece, Shiloh. I got goosebumps while reading it. You are a very talented writer. I'm so glad I was able to read so much of your work. Merry Christmas!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Thank you so much! What a lovely review :)

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Review #23, by celticbardCan't Take My Eyes Off You: Can't Take My Eyes Off You

23rd December 2010:
Hello Shiloh!
Oh, I just love Remus. He has to be my favorite HP character and you really did his sweet, caring personality justice with this lovely one-shot. It was so great to see him happy for once. Although Tonks and Remus don't really get a happy ending in the books, I think their short time together was enough to make-up for a life-time of sorrow. This story is a great elaboration on that happiness. I loved how, for once, Remus didn't fight his love for Tonks, but rather accepted it with open-arms (quite literally!).

All-in-all, I thought this story was charmingly romantic. There is so much gentleness about Remus and his tenderness to Tonks came across as realistic and genuine. I always thought that Remus must have tried to compensate for his lycanthropy by being completely restrained, though, considering the way Tonks puts things here, there is more to his make-up than control. He really is a gentleman, in every sense of the word.

This was a great piece, Shiloh. Really beautiful writing. I just loved reading this.

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Thank you! I just love Remus. He's so sweet and kind and I always want to just give him a great big hug and save him. I was devastated when he died. I'm not sure I've ever forgiven JKR for that! ;)

I'm so glad you liked it. I'm not always a big fan of the Remus/Tonks pairing but I did like this piece.

xoxo
Shiloh


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Review #24, by celticbardWhispers of Madness: Whispers of Madness

23rd December 2010:
Hi Shiloh!
I agree with you, Bellatrix's cold madness is indeed fascinating and I think you did a good job portraying that madness here in this story. The vagueness of this piece worked very well. Insanity is not easy for writers to depict, putting something completely irrational down with rational words is quite a challenge and I think you really captured the tone of her particular madness. I was slightly confused at some points, but I really don't think that's a bad thing. Bellatrix's mind is one jumbled heap of confusion and her thought process wouldn't necessarily follow a recognizable pattern.

Also, I loved how you tried to avoid using names in this story. Names are clearly irrelevant to Bellatrix at this point and her inability to identify certain people and memories shows just how removed she is from reality.

The brief conversation between the Aurors and Sirius was nicely done. I love how Bellatrix was pulled back into the real world when she sees her cousin entering his cell. That final jab she delivers, asking him about Worm,y shows her potential to be just as dangerous and deadly outside the walls of Azkaban as she was before.

I really enjoyed this piece, Shiloh. I think you did a marvelous job handling Bellatrix's complex character. You should definitely consider writing her more often. ^_^

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: Thank you! She was an obstacle I wanted to tackle and I'm so happy you thought I did it well! She's kind of a fascinating character, one I just love to hate. I'm not sure if I could do her justice again :)

I think that if, in reality, she saw Sirius being brought in she couldn't help herself but be cruel. It's her nature.

Thank you for such a great review!


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Review #25, by celticbardLost: Will you?

23rd December 2010:
Hi Shiloh!
Yay! Go Lily! Not that I'm a man-hating, extreme feminist or anything, but I'm glad she's making Lorcan win her back. Good for her. She's one tough cookie, and smart too. If she is ever going to recover her relationship with Lorcan, then he really needs to understand just what he did wrong. I'm not anti-Lorcan, but his sudden proposal just seems, I don't know, slightly impulsive. Part of me wonders if he wasn’t just charmed by the romantic mood of the wedding. I'm certain that he does love Lily and perhaps, in his heart of hearts, he really wants to marry her, although I think he needs time to digest his decision.

I loved that Lysander was the same sensible, peace-maker he was in "Hey Lucy". You really have made him a memorable character.

And Lily, wow, what a firebrand. I'm rooting for her all the way, especially since she hates weddings. I have to say, I quite agree with her.

This was a great realistic, romantic fic, Shiloh. I absolutely loved it!

Best,
celticbard

Author's Response: I see Ginny in her daughter, and she is nothing if not tough. And I can see Lily just being completely disgusted with Lorcan. He's such an idiot!

Thank you for reviewing!

xoxo
Shiloh


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