Reading Reviews From Member: long_live_luna_bellatrix
  
615 Reviews Found

Review #1, by long_live_luna_bellatrixNot entirely true: Truth Is Out

20th March 2015:
Hey, I'm here for the Blue v. Bronze review battle.

I'm always curious when it comes to stories about wizards explaining their life to Muggles, as it must be such a difficult and delicate process. So already, I'm intrigued by your story. I think it's adorable that Josh and Maddie have remained friends for so long, and that now that he's an adult, he wants to share his world with her. I was a little surprised that he got permission from the Minister for her to come to the World Cup; I thought the secrecy laws of the wizarding world were stricter than that, and that Josh maybe shouldn't be telling Maddie anything about magic at all. But at the same time, I'm happy to go along with it for the sake of the story.

I'm curious as to why you decided that Maddie would be five years older than Josh. It makes for a slightly more interesting relationship, I suppose, but I'm still wondering if there's another reason. At first I was skeptical; a ten-year-old befriending a five-year-old? But your description actually makes a lot of sense: there are definitely people out there who naturally find themselves drawn to those who are weaker than them. I hope we continue to see that side of Maddie throughout the story. I'm not sure if she would have been aware of that part of herself at such a young age; I'd imagine it to be more of an unconscious thing. That was the one place I was a little skeptical.

I have to say, I'm in awe of you for writing in a language that's not your natural one. Do you mind me asking what your first language is? Purely out of curiosity. I'm majorly in awe of you. This story reads quite well, you did a great job.

Overall, a good start to a story!

-lllb

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Review #2, by long_live_luna_bellatrixStand Tall: Hands Touch

19th March 2015:
First off, I am a huge fan of your chapter titles! I love Wicked, and I've always thought "I'm Not That Girl" was an incredibly moving song. It sounds like it is appropriate for your story, too, so kudos.

I had to read this story when I saw the summary. I was very recently introduced to someone with cerebral palsy, who is also involved in a sort of movement called "disability poetics." So disabilities in literature, especially concerning cerebral palsy, has been on mind for a few weeks. What was your inspiration for this story, and for Alba herself? I like what you've done with it so far. Alba seems believable, and while her disability is quite present, it doesn't seem to consume her or be the only part of her identity that matters. That said, I would definitely like to see even more non-cerebral-palsy-related parts of her personality and her life shine through in later chapters.

The writing was really solid here, it all felt very smooth and was quite engaging. You had just the right mix of summarizing and including the right details. James was amusing; I love his friendship with Alba. I want to punch his girlfriend, though. How can he let her treat Alba like that?! I was actually a little shocked by her reaction to Alba, since I feel like teenage girls' brand of meanness is a little more passive-aggressive than that.

There were perhaps three or four typos scattered throughout the chapter, but nothing major. "He always insisted that with his father being the youngest Seeker in the past centure," for instance: I'm guessing you meant "century"? If you'd like to read it through one more time with a sharp eye, I'm sure you could square all of those away.

Also, there was one line that came off as a little awkward to me: "Long mahogany hair that curled slightly, vivaciously curved, Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team." The way it's currently worded, it sounds like "vivaciously curved" is describing her hair, not her figure. Maybe there's a way to tweak things around there?

I'm intrigued by this Triwizard Tournament coming up. More kudos to you, because I'd be way too scared to try and invent three original, creative, mind-blowing tasks from scratch. I feel like Alba won't enter it, but then again, I'm not positive about that. I'd be interested to see where you take this. Overall, it was an interesting first chapter, and you have some strong characters in the making. Well done!

-lllb

Author's Response: Haha! I love that too, and I kinda always identified as the 'not pretty one' when I was in grade school, so I like it too. +]

Well, my familiarity with CP comes from my cousin, who is very many things other than the disease, for sure. She's had a lot of dreams and done a lot of things people never imagined she would, and she never looked back. It took her a long time to even realize there was something different about her than other girls, and I guess admire her for that. While Alba is much different than my cousin, I would definitely say that's where the character's strength comes from. +] The whole "disability poetics" thing sounds great!

I got a beta! So hopefully I'll get all those little things squared away, and avoid them entirely in the chapters to come.

I have spent many a night laboring the hows and whys and whos of the Triwizard Tournament, and I'm still not sure if I can do it. Haha!

Thank you so much for this lovely review! Hopefully you'll have the time to stop by again and see how things go.


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Review #3, by long_live_luna_bellatrixSo Easy To Love: Chapter 2

19th March 2015:
Hi, I'm here again, reviewing for the HPFF fundraiser.

I really like the direction you're taking this in. I was not expecting this scene in the orphanage at all, and I love being surprised in fan fiction. Too often the same old story lines are recycled. But you're clearly doing something completely new. I love how Harry and Ginny teamed up to help the kids in the orphanage, and how it even managed to bring them closer together. I really feel for them.

I'm hoping to see more of Sirius and Remus, just because I'm not used to seeing them around after Harry's teen years, and I'm sure their relationship with him is great.

Also, I'm interested to see the direction Harry and Ginny's relationship takes. I know the story is titled "So Easy to Love", but all stories need conflict, right? You've demonstrated here that the conflict can come from outside of the relationship, but it seems almost too simple to think that Harry and Ginny will get together without a hitch. After all, she has a fiery Weasley temper, and he's got a temper to match! Then again, maybe you'll prove me wrong. ;)

I like where you've taken this quite a bit!

-lllb

Author's Response: Hi sorry I haven't responded before now, I don't post on this site much. I hope all your questions were answered by the end of the story.

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Review #4, by long_live_luna_bellatrixA Weasley Vacation: Meet the Weasley's!

19th March 2015:
Hi! I'm here to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

This was an amusing start to a story. I like Hugo's voice, and how he interacts with his cousins. It seems pretty realistic to me. Also, Arthur insisting on a Muggle-style vacation?! Priceless. I can only assume hilarity will ensue.

A few technical things: "Weasley's" shouldn't have an apostrophe; it can just be "Weasleys." Also, why does James refer to Rose and Dom as his nieces? Aren't they his cousins? There are also a couple typos here and there, mainly letters missing from words. I'd suggest giving it a hard read-through, just to look out for those.

I love the fact that all the random family friends are getting dragged along (but wait, what about Teddy?). And it's neat that you made up a third Scamander child, I think that's a nice touch. And possible the source of some romance to come?

All in all, a nice first chapter. Good luck with this story!

-lllb

Author's Response: Thank you so much for your review, I love to improve myself!

I do not doubt that I indeed made several typo's and I apologize for that. English is not my first language and though I consider myself pretty decent at it, typo's were inevitable for me in my writing. However, I will use your advice and edit the spelling mistakes you mentioned!

Thanks again for your review, and I encourage you to read the rest of the chapters if you haven't already! It's your choice, but I'd love to hear what you think about the other chapters in a review :) But thanks regardless.

P.S. Teddy came along with the Weasleys actually, and he plays a big part in this story :)


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Review #5, by long_live_luna_bellatrixSave me: Save me

19th March 2015:
Hi, I'm here to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

This was an interesting story. I'm always intrigued by people's takes on Harry and Hermione as a couple, because they always differ so wildly. I liked how they are able to comfort each other in their moment of sorrow, and how deeply they obviously care for one another.

As a reader, however, I was a little thrown off by the speed of the story. Harry and Hermione are throwing around big words, such as "love", but then everything moves so fast. I can understand how Harry might have loved Ginny, and now loves Hermione, but to me that's a transformation that takes time. It's an insult to his love for both of them if he's able to love them both so deeply, almost simultaneously; the same goes for Hermione's love for Harry and Ron. This is just my opinion, but I'd either like to see a longer story here (which you definitely could do; I'm curious to know how Ron and Ginny died), or to tone down Harry and Hermione's language. Instead of speaking of love, speak of comfort, and so on. I think that could be one way to strengthen this story.

Overall, I liked the writing itself: the rain certainly set the mood of the story quiet well. I could tell there was lot of emotion bubbling up in it. I think you could certainly do more with this if you wanted to, but it was still an enjoyable read nonetheless.

-lllb

Author's Response: Thank you for the review :P

The love between Harry and Hermione in my head was a "work in process". The "I love you" part was based on mixed feelings. Its not a pure romatic love its something in between love and friendship. And upon the confusion they had, they ran to each other for support, not so much for loving each other but for conforting. :)


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Review #6, by long_live_luna_bellatrixSo Easy To Love: So Easy To Love

18th March 2015:
Hi, I'm stopping by to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

This story definitely intrigued me from the start; at first I thought to myself all right, Harry and Ginny both end up in this bar, maybe they reconnect after having not seen each other in awhile, and fall in love. But all the differences from the books caught my attention, in a good way. Why did Harry not go to Hogwarts? And if he really didn't, how did he still save the world? How is Sirius still alive? I had all these questions, and I actually checked to see if this was a sequel to something, and I had missed a long backstory. But it appears I haven't. I hope everything is explained in later chapters!

Overall, it was well written. Harry and Ginny's interactions were believable, and I liked how the Harpies were all partiers, except Ginny. It's so interesting to think that even if Harry and Ginny hadn't met at Hogwarts, that they still would have fallen in love.

The mentions of Tonks and Lee Jordan were well done, as well. All in all, after reading this first chapter, I am most interested to hear about the story that came before it, and little less interested in the story of Ginny and Harry. I think that's just a result of having all these new things, and Harry and Ginny become almost old news. But keep it up! I'll try and check back for the later chapters if I have a moment.

-lllb

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Review #7, by long_live_luna_bellatrixChasing my dreams.: Chasing my Dreams

18th March 2015:
Hi, I'm stopping by to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

I've never seen a story quite like this, and it's really cool (also weird, because have also been considering writing a story about wizards and Muggles overlapping). I love how your character thinks that math is magical; I'm not one for numbers, but I can definitely see how someone might think that. It makes perfect sense. I wonder if your character took Arithmancy at Hogwarts? Isn't that a class that has to do with magical math?

I think I was a little confused at the beginning, because it sounded like the narrator was still young, new to Hogwarts, but then later on it becomes clear that she's older. I wonder if there's any way you could clarify that? Even just saying, "Looking back to my first days at Hogwarts, I was so different then..." or something of that sort. Also, there was this sentence, in the first paragraph: "The first few days I passed I awe." I think that should say "in awe"?

Overall, an interesting take on a Muggleborn at Hogwarts. I think you could definitely expand this if you wanted to– to talk about Arithmancy, perhaps. Or talk more about what her life would be like if she were a mathematician. Sure, she wouldn't have a magical job, but there could still be magic in her home, right? Just a few things to think about. But all in all, an enjoyable read!

-lllb

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review! I have at least one! I'll certainly keep your suggestions in mind. Thanks for pointing out those mistakes, I 'll edit them , right away.
Yes, Arithmancy has to do with magical maths, but not enough to take up mathematics as a profession. Just as you said, it has to do with 'magical' math.


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Review #8, by long_live_luna_bellatrixWhy am I friends with you?: Prologue

18th March 2015:
Hi, I'm swinging by to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

I think this was a good start to a story, but I'm eager to see more detail. For instance, everything that happens here seems like a baseline, and there's so much more that we could see. Everyone knows that at some point Seamus and Dean got on their first train to Hogwarts, and that eventually they become friends. And we don't learn that much more than that in this chapter. I'd love to see them getting to know each other a bit more, talking about their families, or have Seamus start explaining Quidditch, or something. Anything that might surprise the reader. It was amusing to see other familiar faces (although in the books, Luna is a year younger than Harry & co., by the way) but we also didn't get to hear much from them. I liked how stern Hermione was, though.

I liked how you've set up Dean as the quieter one, and Seamus as a little more aggressive; it's good to differentiate characters. However, it was a little distracting the way Seamus had an "Oi" at the beginning of many statements, and a "mate" at the end. Most people don't talk like that. I think just one "oi" for this chapter would have been fine, and also just a single "mate".

Overally, this was an interesting start to a story, and it's nice to see you focusing on Seamus and Dean, but I'd definitely love to see more detail. Good luck with this!

-lllb

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Review #9, by long_live_luna_bellatrixHistorically Accurate : The First.

18th March 2015:
Hi there! I'm stopping by to review for the HPFF Fundraiser.

This was a neat start to a story. I think you some strong ideas and some strong characters in the making. For instance, it's really cool that your main character is a History of Magic nut. There's something you don't see everyday! But it makes sense, because even if Binns is known to be the most boring professor on the face of the Earth, the subject itself must be fascinating. I would caution, however, that when your main character is a diehard fan of one subject, it becomes less enjoyable when other character pop up as massive fans of another subject. For instance, I like that Clio is a fan of history; I was nervous that Viv was obsessed with Herbology. I feel like most teenagers tend to be decent at two or three subjects, and only a few are ever fanatics for a single one. Already having two characters who identify extremely strongly with a single subject stands out as a little unrealistic to me. I'd rather see all the focus on Clio, and have her friends display different defining characteristics. (I suppose this is just a general thing you might want to keep in mind in the future, and it's not a massive issue at all, I just figured I'd point it out)

I'm curious to hear about the competition that Clio and Al will enter; I also like the idea, because it breaks away from the mold of "girl tutors guy, they fall in love" a little. I'd hope to see lots of interesting, original wizarding history in there, courtesy of Clio.

One small mechanical thing– when you have lines like this, “ 'Yes, thank you for that reminder!' He snapped" you don't need to capitalize the "he". It should remain lower case. There are lots of helpful lists in the Writing Resources section of the forums regarding dialogue formatting, as well as pretty much anything else you'd need to know about writing rules. But overall everything else was grammatically and mechanically sound.

Lastly, I really liked the tidbit about the troll clubs in the library! Those tiny, vibrant details are often what turn good stories into great ones, in my opinion. And that was a hilarious detail! Definitely keep those up.

Overall, an interesting first chapter. Good luck with this story!

-lllb

Author's Response: Hello!

Thank you so much for this review!

Yes, I totally understand what you mean. I probably just didn't think that through enough, haha! Though later on in the story, the differences as to why they're fanatics for their respective subjects will hopefully make it a bit more realistic!

Yes, I have grand plans for the Tournament! And of course - there'll be a few historical facts sprinkled in here and there (some canon by J.K. Rowling and other's my own headcanons though I try to make them seem realistic for the HP world).

And ah, thank you for the correction (I'll admit grammar is not my strong point, haha)! I'll go back through the story and edit in changes :)

Again, wow! Thank you so much for this lovely review, I really enjoyed hearing your opinions!

Thank you!

- Anni :)


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Review #10, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Orphan's Carol: The Orphan's Carol

18th March 2015:
Hi, I'm here to review for the HPFF fundraiser!

This was a really interesting story. I appreciated the way you left the main character's identity ambiguous for while (all right, so I didn't look at the story's list of characters before I read it, but even if I had, I wouldn't have been certain it was Tom). I really felt for him, having to save up his own money just so that he'd have a present to open on Christmas Day, and all this before I realized it was Tom. And your choice of including Merlin, and the collar Tom had wanted for Merlin, really helped my sympathize with Riddle. Even bad guys can have cute puppies, right?

One small mechanical thing: when you have this line, " 'Only good boys get presents, Master Riddle.' The Dean told him," there should be a comma there, instead of a period, and the 'the' doesn't need to be capitalized.

All in all, I liked how you set this in canon, and mentioned the incident of the rabbit and Milly, but then put your own take on a Tom Riddle Christmas. It's a relatively short story, but I think it works that way. You managed to set Tom apart from the other children not only with the coal vs. dolls and book, or with him being sent to his room while everyone else remained downstairs, but also with his collar idea. Even as a young boy, he was thinking in terms of a bigger picture than the other kids. Well done!

I'm glad I got the chance to read this!

-lllb

Author's Response: Hi!

Thanks so much for the review!

I took the interpretation of an inter-war orphanage from what I've read of Dickens - one of my English teachers was obsessed with him so it sort of rubbed off on me! And that's why Tom has to buy his own present and everything.

Oh, even bad guys have to have something worth living for, don't they?

And thanks for pointing out that grammar :) I'll go back and edit this when I have some time and be sure to correct it. :)

You know, I was so nervous about mentioning Milly and the rabbit because I didn't actually go back and read the relevant bits of the books before writing this up.

Oh, the idea was definitely to set Tom apart from the other kids, not just with magic vs muggle, but at the same time making Tom keep with what we know of the adult Voldemort but also make him a kid was surprisingly difficult, hence the inclusion of Merlin.

I'm so happy you enjoyed reading this :)

Celi xxx


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Review #11, by long_live_luna_bellatrixGoodbye Moon: Goodbye Moon

17th March 2015:
Hi, I'm here to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

This was short but sweet, and I definitely enjoyed it. I think you did a good job of capturing the fighting nature of both Tonks and Lupin, as well as the difficult choices that were almost the center piece of their relationship. Everything was like a tug-of-war, with him not feeling good enough for her, but Tonks wanting to be with him anyway, to him insisting on fighting while she stayed, to her following him... In very few words, you managed to encompass all of that. Part of me likes it the way it is now, short and to the point, but another part of me wonders if there are things you could add to it. More or Tonks' thoughts– does she fear death? Worry about her husband? Worry about her baby? If you ever want to revisit this, I'm sure you could find things to add.

It's interesting, your summary says this is a tribute to their love, but to me it's more of an image of them on the night of the battle. In my mind, a tribute would be more of a survey of their history, hitting the highlights of the relationship, if you will (personally, I like what you've done with it much more than that, though).

All in all, this was a touching little piece. I'm sure you could do more with it if you wanted, but at the moment, it works very well as it is. Keep it up!

-lllb

Author's Response: LLLB,

I think you are right - this story has more potential! I would like to revise it when I feel more comfortable with my writing.

I am glad that you enjoyed the story. Tonks was always such an interesting character to me. She is strong, smart, and independent. And falling in love doesn't compromise those qualities for her. She is willing to follow her heart and love a man who is difficult to love. In her eyes she isn't really sacrificing anything by being with Lupin.

Thank you for your review! I am looking forward to developing this, and other stories, more!

XX


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Review #12, by long_live_luna_bellatrixA DIFFERENT INTRODUCTION: Chapter One: A Special Request

17th March 2015:
HI there. I'm stopping by to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

I have to say, I am really hooked. It never occurred to me that Harry's life might have taken a different turn if someone as kind and loyal as McGonagall was his introduction to the wizarding world. And you've convinced me that it's a situation worth looking into. The writing here was solid; I feel like I have a good grasp on your McGonagall, and I completely understand her reasoning. I like the idea that she's been meaning to go see Harry for awhile, but some behind the scenes work on Albus's part has prevented her from doing so. I also really like the idea of her relationship with Septima Vector.

All in all, this was a lovely first chapter. My interest is piqued, and I can't wait to see what Septima's report inspires in McGonagall! The fury of Minerva isn't to be underestimated, after all. Then again, she clearly has no idea of Dumbledore's plan to literally protect Harry with the bloodline of his mother, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out.

Best of luck with this, and I'll be looking out for future chapters!

-lllb

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Review #13, by long_live_luna_bellatrixSitting Here in Front of Me: The Not So Prestigious Event Of Hogwarts

17th March 2015:
Hi! I'm here to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

Interesting start to a story, here. I like how you've added in Fred's drama to the already canon disaster of Harry, Ron, and Hermione's evenings. I'm always interested to read stories that pair Hermione with a Weasley other than Ron, because given how much time she spends with that family, and how grumpy and immature Ron is for much of the books (I still love him, of course!) I can easily imagine her falling for a different Weasley boy.

One thing that could me off guard was how blatantly you described Fred as "checking out" Hermione. Given that he was just publicly dumped, I would imagine him to be a little focused on his current woes than actively searching for other girls. I think it might be more natural for something along the lines of Fred noticing how beautiful Hermione looked in her dress to happen. This does an equally good, if not more subtle, job of letting us know that the story will focus on their relationship; it also puts Fred in a better light.

Some brief dialogue tips: (there are definitely more in depth threads in the Writers Resources section of the forum, that's where I learned how to properly format dialogue!) First, punctuation: you always need punctuation at the end of dialogue, and it always goes inside the quotation marks. If the dialogue precedes something like 'said Harry,' then you never use a period– always a comma, question mark, or exclamation point. (For example: "How are you doing?" asked Harry. "I'm fine," said Fred.) You only use a period when you're not attaching some 'Harry said' or 'Hermione pleaded' after it. (For example: "I'm tired, I'm going to go to bed. Night, guys." Hermione turned and retreated up to her dormitory). This brings me to the other part: capitalization. There's no need to capitalize the "said" or "asked" or any other verbs used to portray people talking (see my example with the punctuation). Those can remain lower case.

Over all, though, I like the way you've introduced the characters, and the relationship they have. I enjoyed how you described Fred and George being more than brothers, more than friends, but truly compatible and understanding. I can wholeheartedly understand that. Furthermore, I like how you've portrayed Hermione and Ginny as friends; so many people act as if Ron and Harry are the only people Hermione ever spoke to at Hogwarts! But it did really seem, in the books, that by the end she and Ginny were close. So that was a nice touch.

Good start to this one, although I'd definitely suggest you take a second look at some of the dialogue mechanics. Good luck!

-lllb

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Review #14, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Wonders: Magic is Might

17th March 2015:
Hi, I'm back, again for the HPFF fundraiser.

First, right off the bat, I'd be careful about the very first word of the chapter: "she". As a reader, I expect the "she" to be Audrey, given where the last chapter left off. My confusion didn't last long at all, but I'd suggest that, unless you're trying to purposefully jolt the reader, to start with Umbridge's name from the start. Furthermore, this chapter is a jump to the first person, after a start in chapter one with third person. It's not entirely clear from the start who "I" is– we know Percy was with the Ministry, and we know nothing about Audrey, so if anything I was inclined to think Percy was speaking. I would give yourself an excuse to have someone refer to her by name as early as possible in the chapter– that, or make some reference to her gender or something else that's distinct from Percy, so we can be sure.

"Truth be told, I would've been in attendance even if it was optional. I had always thrived on the incompetence of others. I found it entertaining, if not in a morbid way, and this was just the absolute apex of stupidity. A monolith of pure irrationality." These were a great couple lines. I think your writing is even stronger in the third person than the first. I get a great dose of character here.

“All the blokes in that office want to make sure that everyone is on the same side. It’s exhausting trying to keep up.” This was also telling. Actually, a perfect example of "show don't tell," if you will. I felt like I really got the atmosphere at the Ministry from this.

On the whole, I found this chapter to be quite smooth, in terms of its writing, and extremely interesting. I'd say the highlight was definitely the insight into Audrey's character, thanks to the first person point of view. I do need to return to my plea for specificity, though: are we supposed to be confused about who Audrey's boyfriend is? Are we supposed to assume it's Percy? I'll admit, and maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I can't tell. I'd think it was Percy, because that's clearly who the story will star (alongside Audrey, of course) according to the prologue, plus there's the mention of them going to the movies together. But part of me wonders if it's some other man. Be kind to your dim readers like me, and perhaps clarify that a bit?

Best of luck with this!
lllb

Author's Response: Thanks for all the compliments and tips. I'm just sort of having fun with different writing styles and I'm going to jump around time periods and maybe narrators, depending on the demand (and my sanity). Everything will be clarified in future chapters so keep up reading!

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Review #15, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Wonders: Prologue: Collateral Damage

17th March 2015:
Hi there! I'm swinging by to review for the HPFF fundraiser.

This is an interesting start to a story. I think you've got a really good grasp of Audrey; the way you describe her, how she was more than the people she cared for, was sharp and seemed appropriate. You gave just the right amount of information, for the first chapter of a story. I'll admit I liked the healing yet clearly un-self-conscious woman at the beginning more than the crier at the end, but I can understand that things haven't been easy for either character. You made that clear too. It was a neat idea to have the two of them run into each other at a Muggle movie theater, of all places. I'm not entirely sure how realistic the situation is, but I didn't get too hung up on it.

I was a little confused as to why Percy seemed to indicate, when he was first introduced, that he had interacted with Audrey enough in the past to have made her cry. Yet when she first describes him, she provides a more distant description, one that any coworker might give. I'm curious; what are her thoughts regarding their past? I understand that you're not going to reveal everything all at once in the first chapter, but a hint from her perspective might be helpful.

All in all, an interesting first chapter. I'm interested to see what your take on their relationship will be.

Author's Response: From my viewpoint, Audrey and Percy are a weird duo. I think any person who would marry a guy like him would have to be an interesting character in their own way. Their story is one I have fun with, so I hope you enjoy it.

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Review #16, by long_live_luna_bellatrixMeissa: Prologue

12th March 2014:
Wow, what a chilling first chapter. You set the mood and the tone instantly, without any room for doubt. And it's clearly not just the Dark Lord (I can infer that it is THAT lord, right?) and some Death Eater; that twist about the mark is fascinating, and a clever idea. Plus, very much something I can see happening.

One typo, maybe? The girl says "One who bares the mark," but I think it should be "One who bears the mark." Just a small thing.

I'd love to see more description at the beginning, to really cement the mood the story. I'd love to know more about the cottage's surroundings, not just what they looked like, but what they felt, smelled, even tasted like. And perhaps a bit of an insight into the girl's emotions as she approaches. Nervous? Resigned? Excited? Dread? Desperate? There are so many possibilities, then again, I'm sure there are time to develop those later.

At first I thought the character was Bellatrix-- no fear or sympathy to be seen, just unfailing loyalty. But after the twist with the mark, I don't think it's her at all. It was a good move to keep her identity a mystery for now... You have the reader interested, and he/she can move on to the smaller details later, as things flesh out.

On the whole, a great start. In relatively few words you introduced suspense, interesting characters, and a really neat concept with the mark. Congrats on your first NaNo, as well!

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Review #17, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Potter Files (Part 1), Demons: World News

12th March 2014:
When I was scrolling through the "recently added" list, looking for something to catch my eye, I noticed something curious: a novel, marked "part seven." I was naturally interested to see who was dedicated enough to post a seven novel series on the site, and clicked onward. I decided to give this chapter a go, as I was intrigued to see what sort of story you've maintained over hundreds of thousands of words. I was not disappointed.

This was a long chapter, sure, but I breezed through it. The plan, the mysterious magical creatures, the suspense, the characters... All fit together so well, and all moved the chapter along at a good pace. Everything felt fresh, original. You clearly have a good feel for the characters and where they're headed-- perhaps from thorough planning, perhaps after revisions, doesn't matter to me-- and that makes it incredibly enjoyable to read.

At first I was a little uncomfortable with Harry; while Ginny came across very close to the Ginny of the books, and Maddie was your own invention, Harry did not read like the Harry I'm used to. Different style of speaking, different worries, different attitude. I don't read many detective stories, but I'd hazard a guess that he reads more like classic detective than the original Harry Potter. However, I don't have an issue with this. While it'll take some getting used to, his character fits the story, it clearly fits your writing style, and it must work well overall if it's lasted for seven novels.

The only other thing that threw me off a little was the dialogue; at times it felt stilted or odd, mostly because of the punctuation. Many times you used a period in a place where a question mark would naturally go; other times you used exclamation points in lieu of periods, or sometimes no punctuation at all.

What a fabulous chapter, though. A great find, in my opinion. I'll be back for more.

Author's Response: Appreciate your review.

I got the idea of the career a middle-aged Harry would have from an old movie I was watching. It seemed like the sort of lone job he might try.

I had to invent other characters. I couldn't have him constantly talking or meeting the same people from school. And that would get boring.

Sorry about the punctuation. I never pretended to be much good at it. At least my story was engaging enough to keep you going.


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Review #18, by long_live_luna_bellatrixI'm Not Him: The Beginning

11th March 2014:
Hi there,

This is an interesting start to a story. I like how things began with a bang, but you're keeping the suspense alive by not sharing all of Fred's thoughts with us. I'm curious to know why he's so mad. Also, as someone who likes travel, I'm naturally enticed by his open schedule. Egypt and Greece are great, but the whole world is open to him, and that's exciting.

One thing that really caught me off guard was the mention of Muggle condoms. In general, I think that's actually an interesting discussion-- contraception in the Muggle world versus the wizarding one. And I understand why Fred might have packed them. However, as there was no context for the mention of it, no explanation, and nothing else in the chapter related to it, it mostly just stood out as odd to me. I think it would be better to mention that, and talk about it in more detail, when it becomes relevant. For now, talking about condoms is just unnecessary.

Also, one little thing: you talk about him packing a trunk, then later describe him zipping a suitcase. Possibly you mixed up your luggage types?

Other than that, it was a good start. I think Roxanne is cute, and a great sister. I'd be interested to see why Fred is so furious with his father, and how it's connected to Fred I. Kudos to you as well, for writing a collab!

Author's Response: Hi!

Thank you so much! We're really glad that you like it! Yes, that was the intention of having the chapter not really all that clear and kind of confusing? But we're glad it worked! Haha, we love to travel too! Hence the travel fic ;) I'm god you liked it!

Yeah, I do get what you mean :) It was meant to be random, but also have an underlying message, so we will definitely go back and edit the chapter to make the message clearer :)

Ooh god! Thats just me :P Well, I will definitely edit that too! Ty for pointing it out! :D

Thank you~ Rox is a definite favourite for both of us! Haha, well, you'll have to see ;) Thank you! We are super excited and definitely glad that you liked it! :D

-Mae and Ree :)


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Review #19, by long_live_luna_bellatrixNot Normal: {Chapter the First}

11th March 2014:
Hi there,

Before I talk about your writing (that is what reviews are for, I guess), I wanted to let you know that I found your comment on my blog (the one about getting back into the groove of writing) really helpful. The bit about reviews in particular. Most people offered helpful-- but not novel-- advice, whereas the idea of leaving reviews was something I'd never considered. As soon as I read that, I knew it was going to work. So I decided to do my best to leave at least one review a day everyday until I find my groove again-- hopefully even after that. And I figured there was no better person to begin with than the one who had the idea in the first place. So thank you, very much. And onto your story.

This story's summary caught my eye immediately. And once I began reading, I was excited to see the action began right off the bat, along with a plausible history. After all, it does take a significant sense of creativity to make seeing ghosts sound odd in an HP fan fic. Your summary, plus the cool background information about people who are "stuck," did a great job of pulling me in.

You gave Ellie a nice, solid history, and I feel like I know her pretty well. I now know about her parents, her brother, her friends, some of her likes, some of her dislikes, and a vulnerable part of her (having trouble opening up... talk about relatable), and it didn't feel forced at all. The one thing that made me a little nervous (that's the wrong word, but it's the best I can come up with) (sorry for all the parentheses, I promise I usually don't use them this much!) was her relationship with Albus Potter. The quiet, nervous, funny girl meets gorgeous and arrogant best-friend-of-brother, hates him, but will eventually fall in love with him? (Jumping to conclusions about the psychic's prediction, here) It can be done, but it's been done a lot. There are interesting directions in which it can go, and tired directions. I'd just be wary of the two of them, if I were writing this-- but I'm sure you have it under control.

I'm still really interested to see what the Founders ask Ellie to do, and I'd like to get to know her more. I'll swing by again soon. Once again, thank you so much for your advice! Review #1 is done, and I'm already beginning to feel better, writing-wise.

-lllb

Author's Response: I'm so glad you found my advice worthwile! I'm really happy that you already feel like it's going to work out for you. Getting your groove back is the most amazing feeling :) And wowee! A review a day! Good luck! Break all the legs!

I'm so happy that you enjoyed the beginning! I feel like this story is taking a really long time to get to what I call the beginning of the "actual plot", but that's probably because I know where I want to take this story, and also because I'm a super slow writer.

I'm always really worried about people's initial reactions to Ellie. I don't want her coming off as an unlikeable "Mary Sue", although that's often how she views herself. I'm so happy that you found her well-balanced, and most of all, relateable - I usually don't reaad stories where I can't connect to the main character, especially if the story is in first person.

I really get what you mean about Albus. I have the same sort of feeling in the pit of my stomach about him. I don't want their relationship to go in the direction that everyone (including myself) expects it to go, going off what I've written in the first chapter. I find him incredibly difficult to write, and I think some of that... anxiety(?) translates into my writing. I really want to make him more complex than he appears - one of the reasons why I chose Albus as the Potter "love interest" rather than James who is more often portrayed in this way. We'll see where his character goes.

One review down! The road to getting your mojo back has had an incredibly solid start! I sincerely wish you the best of luck and shall stay up-to-date with all new developments - blog posts, writing updates (when they happen in their own good time), status updates... I'm obviously not coming off as stalkerish :P But seriously, I really appreciate this review!


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Review #20, by long_live_luna_bellatrixSomewhere Only We Know: Somewhere Only We Know

7th February 2014:
This is such a touching story. It would have been touching without the final sentence, but I feel as though that put the whole thing into a much sharper focus, enhanced each memory by tenfold. Almost as if everything became tighter. And, looking back, it didn't come out of nowhere: there was a hint in the first line. So, so well done.

I liked how each holiday was it's own little bubble, and had its own emotions attached to it. Greece was healing, Devon was warm-- I truly felt what Hermione felt. I also thought the picture taken in Spain was fantastically described, three generations neatly outlined. In very few words, you traced two decades, touching on the key parts, and I feel as though I absorbed so much even though there was so little.

The only thing that confused me, looking back, was this: "Their wish was granted with the arrival of grandchildren, and to this day she still doted on them as if they were still young and wanting her attention. She knew Ron did too." The way you've worded things implies that Ron still lives, since it notes that Hermione /still/ dotes on the grandchildren. Just a thought.

I'm glad to have stumbled upon this. I really enjoyed it!

-lllb

Author's Response: Hello there! Sorry for taking so long to reply to this, but better late than never.

Thank you! I feel like it's one of those sentences that then changes the entire perspective of the story, so I quite like it too haha. Yes definitely, I'm glad you got that impression about each holiday - I wanted to point out the important ones to show how much they meant to Ron and Hermione and how they changed their lives.

I'll have a look back over that sentence, thanks for pointing it out.

Thank you for reviewing!


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Review #21, by long_live_luna_bellatrixAlice Longbottom and her Great Escape: The Great Escape

16th July 2013:
This was an amusing story, for sure. For one thing, you did a great job with Rose, who was such an exaggerated version of a nerd that it was impossible not to laugh at her antics. One crease forcing her to do it all over? Even I'm not that much of a perfectionist. In addition, I liked how complicated the plan was just to sneak out of class. Most students would just "go to the bathroom" and never return, but instead Alice had to come up with a full-blown, Polyjuice Potion extravaganza. And it was quite a clever plan, too.

One suggestion for you with this story is to get a beta reader. All you have to do is be a member on the forums, if you're not already, and in the Help Needed section is a list of people (under Quick Betas) who beta one-shots. The only real thing that distracted me in this was spelling and grammar errors, of which there were quite a few. A beta would look over your chapter, fix the errors, and give you suggestions on any number of other things to help improve the story. Or, if you don't want a beta, just taking the time to read through it slowly and keep an eye out for errors is something you can easily do yourself.

The only other suggestion I'd give is to add a little something on at the end. For a story that's centered on (and titled after) a "great escape," I almost felt at the end like I was missing something. Like the escape needed another mention. Even simply saying "All that work was definitely worth it," would have left me feeling a little more satisfied. Just a suggestion, but you may want to look into it.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read. I loved that Al created an amusement park in the Room of Requirement! Such an original idea, and definitely a date I wouldn't mind going on ;) Nice work here.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the feedback! Looking back on the one shot I can see so many mistakes now and I am refraining from deleting it! Your constructive criticism and kind words have helped me so much so thank you:) x

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Review #22, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Marauder Years: An Expected Letter

8th June 2013:
Hi! I thought this was an enjoyable chapter-- you depicted a very canon Evans family, all the characters both fitting in with what I know as well as adding details that were strong.

For instance, I thought it was funny that when the juice spilled at breakfast, Petunia instinctively leapt for a mop to clean it up. Details like that are fabulous: details that explain, or at least continue, future character traits. Considering that Petunia is a neat freak in the future, this reaction was a very clever idea.

One suggestion I'd like to make is regarding your dialogue. First, the dialogue is entertaining, but it feels almost scripted, especially in the first half of the chapter. Every remark is perfect, echoing that of those perfect families you see in commercials. I personally would have liked to see new and surprising things about the family. Also, aside from the content of the dialogue, its punctuation could be improved. Try reading your dialogue aloud-- in many cases, I think there are commas that are missing. If, while reading it aloud, your voice ever pauses, you know that you need a comma or some other form of punctuation.

The only other thing I can think of is originality. Like I said earlier, you've described a very canon lifestyle-- however, it's also very predictable. This scene is something many of us have imagined before. So while I love some of your canon details, I think some newer details could be used here as well. For instance, you mentioned Severus and Lily's relationship several times, always describing what we already knew. I would have loved to see your own spin on it-- maybe Lily has been worried sick the last 24 hours, knowing that Severus already has his letter but hers hasn't arrived yet. Maybe her parents actually despise him, or maybe he's approached them in secret to warn them of this letter that he knows Lily will get. Perhaps I just like surprises, but those are just a couple examples of things that are slightly different (but no less canon) that could have made your chapter more interesting.

You've got a strong start here, though. You clearly have an established sense of your characters and you've set the groundwork for Lily's adventures to come. You can do a lot of great things with this; good job.

-lllb

Author's Response: Hi lllb, thank you for the review :)

I really appreciate your CC and suggestions. I will read through the dialogue and edit it - punctuation and content. I am a stickler for canon and prefer stories that keep to canon. I thought about this the other day and realised that perhaps I was being too canon and needed to inject a bit of originality. Thankyou for your suggestions for newer details for this chapter. I have some ideas forming for this chapter now (which won't make it less canon) and will edit it soon.

Thanks again, this review was really helpful :-)


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Review #23, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Call: The Call

12th January 2013:
Ahh, I love it! Thank you! You wrote Colin SO well. The way he held his coin and told himself he's brave-- it was heartbreaking. It's interesting, you always wonder, when you have your big life-altering moments, if you recognize them for what they are and react. If mothers think of the miracle of life when they give birth, if the person taking the bullet for someone else really thinks it through, or if a soldier wants to be brave when he/she dies for his/her cause... And realistically, though heroes are often celebrated for doing these things naturally, I'd be surprised if such thoughts didn't cross their minds.

One of the best things you did here was capturing the emotion of Colin's story. Words like war, soldier, etc really made the story feel like it was on a grand scale, and I felt so much for Colin. The image of the broken suit of armor was chilling, and the smells, sights and sounds felt real. The whole story felt real. It was so well written!

There were flashes of a younger Colin here too, which added to the real-ness of him and the story. When he mentioned how Hermione had commanded them to never ignore the Galleons, I pictured a young little Colin quivering under the imposing older girl. :P His decision to fight, then his doubts, then his ultimate choice to stay were also so realistic, and made his death all the more sad. I was also really glad he got his chance to prove his bravery by disarming one of the men, even if there were two more there to replace him.

This was such a great read, thank you SO much for writing it! A lovely, lovely gift. Wonderful job.

Author's Response: I'm so happy that you enjoyed this! :3 I knew that you liked minor characters, going into writing this, and I think somewhere you mentioned Colin -- but I was a bit worried that I'd be TOTALLY off the mark somewhere along the road. :P

I do think that, towards the end -- or towards a really big life-altering moment -- you would sort of think those things, that this is going to effect you for the rest of your life. It's really interesting to turn over in your mind, though, especially because most of us HAVEN'T really been through that sort of thing yet. Colin's just a boy, but he knows what he's up against; I'm pleased that the emotion translated well here for you!

One of the things I did most intentionally in this story was to keep some of Colin's known traits, while adding in his bravery -- but when I think about it now, that's an old trait of his too, isn't it? He stood up for Harry in the fourth book when no one else would; he didn't even think twice about joining Dumbledore's Army. But then there are times when perhaps the more annoying, lovable Colin we all know emerges, like when talking about Hermione's coin. :P

Again -- I'm just really, really happy that you liked this. Thank you so much for reviewing it! (Which, of course, wasn't necessary, since it was YOUR present.) I hope you had very lovely holidays!!


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Review #24, by long_live_luna_bellatrixWhy?: Snow in December

3rd January 2013:
Interesting start here, for sure. Beginning a story with a break up is so much more unusual than your usual romances, or whatever this is, and the last paragraph especially suggests that this isn't truly the end of Percy and Penelope. You've got so many places you can go from here, and I'm sure you'll bring this story in a good direction.

As good an idea as this is, I found it difficult to immerse myself in the story at times. Part of it was the way Percy and Penelope acted. Their break up, in my opinion, leaned on the generic side, and I was waiting for something new and exciting, to convince me that this was the story I should be reading. That moment did come, but more towards the end, and I'll get to it in a minute. The point is, their whole conversation can be found in countless other stories, and I would've liked more insights, more details, more things that made it unique to these two characters in this particular story.

I also had a hard time with the dialogue, more of a minor thing. If you look back at the chapter, you'll see that Percy and Penelope start out nearly all of their sentences with the other person's name. That's something that does not happen often in real life, and it made their conversation seem stilted. We use people's names to be dramatic, or catch their attention; not everyone time we speak to them. So that threw me off a bit.

However, there were other bits I really enjoyed. The moment I mentioned earlier, the original part, was Percy's promise. Buying her a bookshop. The whole image, of him doing this for her, with her own chair and the tea and everything-- that was fantastic. That's the sort of interesting tidbit that makes a story for me, and I got all warm when I read it because I was thinking, how nice would that be if someone did that for me? Consequently, I understood Penelope's grief following the memory, and really got her character. That's the sort of moment I adore.

So, on the whole, a good start here. There were those things that caught me up, but there were other things, like the bookshop, that made it all worthwhile. I'm also intrigued by Percy's final words! That was a great way to end it, all the more so because Penelope didn't hear him. Nice work.

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Review #25, by long_live_luna_bellatrixRun: Newcomers

30th December 2012:
What really did me in this chapter was your pacing. It was absolutely flawless. All the descriptions rumbled up to these fabulous discoveries, all the speeches settled perfectly, all the events lined up with ease. I can think of few other stories that drag one in so well!

I've heard about this story a lot, and I've read bits and pieces but I do want to come and make my way (perhaps slowly, I'm afraid) through it. It appears to be a fantastic example of great writing coupled with an incredibly original thought.

You also seem to have Cedric down pat. So often he's the darling boy, or the perfect prefect, or the fallen hero-- here he's just a well-meaning, enthusiastic young boy, and I think the image really suits him. To me, this is how he must have been like before the Triwizard Tournament started and before Harry liked Cho and saw him as Cho's boyfriend. He seems, above all, like a nice guy. I really enjoyed reading him.

Really curious about the rules of the afterlife here-- especially how that man knows when Dennis will die. And at 35, too! Not to mention Cliodna's clock and the Grotta, and everything else you mentioned in your summary. On the whole, it sounds like a story well-deserving of it's reputation around here. I'm excited to see how things play out!

Author's Response: Oh my goodness, there's nothing that intimidates me more than to have a reader coming in saying that they've heard about this story before. It worries me that expectations will be higher and I'll end up disappointing. I really hope you continue to like this!

Cedric's characterization was inspired by TenthWeasley and her story "Leaping Obstacles", and I think I wrestled the hardest with his characterization. We really knew so little about him, except that he was a Seeker and a Champion. So I'm relieved that you like how I've written him so far.

Cliodna's Clock has a lot of mysteries - its mysteries sometimes overshadow the actual Duels, as well as everyone's personal issues; the Grotta will be explored in further detail later on. Thank you so much for reading and for your glowing review! It made me smile.


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