Reading Reviews From Member: long_live_luna_bellatrix
608 Reviews Found

Review #1, by long_live_luna_bellatrixBootstraps: Bootstraps

30th August 2016:
First off-- man, I am so sorry for being here this late! When I said that I was a slow reviewer, I didn't mean this slow. I hope you can forgive me! I'm really glad I made it here, though. This was such a moving story, and Betty feels like she could inhabit an entire novel, not just this short one-shot... You developed her beautifully. I've never been the sort of person to be put off by OC-only stories, so I have no complaints here, nor will I saw something like, "Wow, I liked it even though it's all OC's!" because, well, people don't need to be surprised when an OC-only story is good! But enough on that...

This was the first moment in which I felt like I just got Betty: "I wanted the easy way out. I wanted to work a soft, easy job and lead a soft, easy life complete with a cottage and a quiet husband and too many children. / Instead, I lived in a two-room flat in London and worked for the Auror office. And my Dad, I knew, approved of me." Juxtaposing what Betty's father wanted for her with what she wanted, and then showing us that she somehow ended up doing what he approved of, works so perfectly. The paragraph break is helpful helpful in making that moment feel especially powerful. For me, as a person who follows the characters in a story more deeply than plot or setting or anything, this was where I was really hooked.

In terms of dialogue, I thought there were a lot of effective lines. The way Betty thinks one thing and says another, or says something she knows is out of place, makes it feel so real. Her initial question of, "What healer did you go to?" to her mother's announcement sounded particularly good.

I was surprised at how quickly Betty's mother flies into a temper after Betty suggests they go to St. Mungo's. The sentence "What are you thinking, Betty?" added to my surprise, I think, just because the emphasis on the "are" sounds a little overdone. If anything, I'd imagine the emphasis to be on "thinking" instead. (Soon after, she puts an emphasis on "hell", which again, I found a little more distracting than helpful.) The "never, never," that she tacks onto the end of her big outburst also sounded a little unnatural, to me anyway. Perhaps if Betty could react to this outburst-- does her mother have tempers like this from time to time, or is it as shocking to Betty as it is to us-- I'd better understand if it's an in-character for the mother or not.

One last thing on dialogue-- I love the way Betty's father talks to her. It's got a perfect blend of fatherly love and protection and light-heartedness that comes with years of chatting. I thought you nailed it there.

There was one moment in the story where I felt like the flow was a little interrupted. It begins with the line "I pulled away from her, forcefully. Her fingernails scratched my knuckles" and continues for the next five lines or so. Here, where Betty is having her momentary lapse in trust, everything is conveyed in short, choppy sentences, and nearly every sentence is its own line. Since this is a big moment in the story, it makes sense that it's going to sound a little different than anything else. However, it jumped out at me as being a little too different. If a couple of those sentences were a little more complex, or if they weren't all standalone paragraphs, i think the moment would retain its shock and power without deviating too strongly from the tone of the rest of the story-- if that makes sense. By contrast, when you do the same thing at the end, I think it works really well. Here, it's the moment the entire story has been building for, and I was expecting it to come. So it feels more natural, I guess. Feel free to just call me contradictory and move on!

One general thing that I'll suggest to you, if you don't mind, is to keep an eye out for abstractions or generalizations in your story. This is one example I noticed: "Dad was just the same as ever. Strong, smart, a hero. Immortal." It's sentence that could be pasted into any number of stories or novels or essays and sound relevant. I'd love it there were more specific details in Betty's observation here, something to make us know, without a shadow of a doubt, that she loves her father in the one-of-a-kind way that everyone loves their parents-- similar to the rest of the world, sure, but for specific memories and habits that only they know. You're already getting at that in this scene with the notion of the father loving to work on brooms, but it could be pushed even farther in certain spots, like that particular sentence. There are other scattered in the chapter as well.

Overall, I found this to be incredibly moving, truly. It's not often that I get to read HP fan fic stories that are about real illnesses or conditions (as opposed to, say, Dragon Pox), and you handled this one really well. Even though I knew it was coming, you really sold the whole "He can't be sick, look how well he's doing... Oh my god, he doesn't know his own wife" scene. I think that's inevitable with a story about Alzheimer's, that there's going to have to be some realization at the end that the person with it is undergoing a permanent change. But the scene with her father was so sweet that I got completely pulled in, and then I was subsequently crushed by Betty's realization. You've done a really good job with putting such a shocking moment into words. I think you've achieved at least one of the story's goals-- to pull us completely into that moment and Betty's realization, and make us feel her pain.

Thanks for requesting from me-- and major apologies again for the lateness!

- Sarah

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Review #2, by long_live_luna_bellatrixLoving You: I Still Love You

18th August 2016:
Hi, I'm finally here with your review!

One thing I have to say right away is that I can't believe how many complex emotions you fit into such a short one-shot. As I was reading, my original thought was that I was going to suggest that you dive deeper into their heads and play with some more challenging emotions, and yet I spoke too soon! The final two non-italicized sections have so much going on with them, and it's crazy to see how much Rose and Scorpius' story evolved of the course of 1500 words. The way the love they had for each other got tangled up in all these other problems felt so real. The moment for me that summed everything up with this: "Meeting you changed everything for me, yet you spent the whole time trying to find a way for me to fit into your plan while I let you become my plan." I read that I felt like I just got it.

So, really, this isn't a pointless story! I don't think anyone could ever say that about this. I truly related to bits and pieces of it here and there as I recognized some of my own worries in there.

That said, there are so many more things that I want to see here! I'll tell you about them in case you're interested in continuing to work on this story. :)

I think the main thing is that I'd love to see Rose and Scorpius interacting in the present. Everything they do here is a flashback, with the only thing happening in the present is Rose explaining her feelings. I would be so excited to see maybe one extra section at the end, where she confronts him in person. Action is always more memorable and more powerful than describing things that have already happened or are in someone's head, and I'd love to see more of it here. Rose comes off as a really strong woman here and I think she could really give Scorpius a piece of her mind.

The other thing I'm curious about is what's going on in their lives in the present-- basically, I'd love more details. We know that they're separated because of their jobs, but that's about. But what are their jobs? Are they content with their post-Hogwarts lives other than the fact that they're stuck in a relationship that's not working? What else does Rose wish for? What are her goals? A few more hints about who they are and what they do would really bring this story to life. At the moment, sometimes it can feel too general-- the fact that they kissed in the library or that she played hard to get. I want to know the kind of specifics that round out a person and a moment.

Thanks so much for requesting this story. Like I said, it communicates some really powerful emotions about relationships and love gone wrong. There are a lot of complex thoughts in here, and nuance is always good when writing fictional characters. I think you've definitely got something good going on here.

Author's Response: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I would love to continue this story, but I'm worried to. I love how this is a bit vague and doesn't fill in all the details, because I think it makes it so much more relatable.

But really I want to flesh it all out. I'm thinking I'll leave this as is, but I'll write another chaptered fic with different characters but similar themes. But we shall see if that ever happens. I love one-shots because there's no commitment. I'm kind of like Scorpius and suck at commitment :/

Thanks for the review and ideas!
:) BaletGir

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Review #3, by long_live_luna_bellatrixJulian: Julian

18th August 2016:
Well, you had me at the second line. Alone as innately comforting, safe, and bitterly sweet? Yup. That's me.

You've done a wonderful job with Remus-- you have nothing to be afraid of there! The paragraph where he talks about all these things "in case"-- the details he worries about constantly, that felt so right. Especially because it feels like there's this other layer to the worries, in the reader's head, at least: as with most forms of self-consciousness, we know that most people wouldn't notice all the things he's worrying about, but there's no way to convince him of that.

And his longing for a bit of understanding, and his need for reassurance that he isn't being needlessly self-centered-- that sounds so much like Remus as well. I loved watching him rationalize his return, how he needs to go back if only because he owes everything to the people who made him feel welcome once upon a time. Poor Remus-- he's so wrapped up in his own head, he can't see that being made to feel welcome is something we owe to everyone, that it's not a gift to be repaid with your own life!

It's not only that you captured Remus, though. It's that I felt like this was a stunning and stark portrait of all the Marauders. We Harry Potter fans love to hold them up as the finest group of men Hogwarts ever saw, tricksters with flaws who eventually grew into brave and honorable young men (aside from Peter, of course). And yet your image, of Remus and Sirius clashing, feels so much more real. Of course the quiet, self-conscious one would have issues with the brazen, confident one. Of course it would kill James to see it happen. The line about James-- "James had, in a way, out-grown them all, wise enough to know he didn’t want to die, wise enough to know he might do, no matter what happened"-- was just brilliant. As soon as I read it, I felt it had to be true.

I just need to say it-- the last line is perfect. Not just for the content, which is perfect on its own, and not just for the fact that this long, beautiful reflective story ends in the exact moment when Remus transforms into a wold and temporarily loses all reflective abilities, but also for the rhythm of it, and the way it flows out of the second to last paragraph. I love it, I love it so much. There's so much going on and it all works. Don't touch that when you edit!

As for your question about the lack of plot, I really don't think it's an issue. Yes, we're sitting in Remus' head a lot, but the slight jumps in time marked by line breaks help quite a bit. And the fact that he's thinking back to past events, which lets readers reconstruct everything with him, is also helpful. I love the moment when he begins to think about the incident with Sirius and Snape, simply because it brings a canon event to the surface and shifts the conversation in a familiar direction. And of course, Remus' nerves about his transformation, plus the martyrdom thread, tie the whole thing together, so it feels absolutely complete.

I can't read a story of yours without taking a moment to mention how beautiful your writing is. I have to admit, I'm a firm believer in writing that gets to the point, and I usually stick to reading things with styles that may still be lovely and creative and even experimental, but that are straightforward above all else. I was a little worried that I'd have a hard time with this story just because you have such an eye for language and that's not what I gravitate toward. But I'm pleased to say there were no issues! Your writing is incredibly detailed and imaginative but never superfluous. I'm seriously glad I was able to dive in and enjoy.

A note about the Remus/Sirius aspect-- it really was Remus/Sirius? I feel like I saw you mention somewhere that your relationships are heavily implied, so maybe that applies to this as well. Or maybe I never saw that. Either way, I find it fascinating that you characterize the story this way. Of course a lot of people have trouble expressing certain feelings and it comes out as anger or squabbling when really what they feel is affection, I get that. But still, I almost wonder if I missed something! But, in fact, what I most feel I still don't understand is Regulus and Remus. I felt like they had a sly romantic vibe going. So maybe I'm right and they did... or maybe it's something else. I found that fascinating as well, regardless.

I was a little surprised to learn that Remus reserves the cabin for two nights a month; for some reason, at the beginning, I assumed he was hiding out there long-term. I'm not sure if I missed something early on or not. But I could easily see him doing either.

This has been a really lovely story, Laura, and I'm thrilled I got to read it. You nailed Remus and you nailed the people around him. I love it!

- Sarah

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Review #4, by long_live_luna_bellatrixGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Prologue

10th August 2016:
Hi! I'm finally here with your requested review!

Man, your author's note, it created some high expectations for me. :P And I know this has only just got going, but it's so promising! I get this strange Sorcerer's Stone/Philosopher's Stone vibe here. Small kid alone in the world (literally, this time), having a really rough time, has glasses, saved by magic? I'm in!

Needless to say, you did a great job of creating a lot of sympathy and a lot of intrigue for this girl. We don't even know her name! I'm dying to know how she came to be in such a tough spot, though she at least seems to be able to more or less fend for herself. I can't quite gauge how old she is, though. I feel like somewhere in the 8-12 range? I don't think it's that important to know exactly, and she clearly isn't 4 nor is she 20, but I guess I'll see. Maybe she's 11, prime Hogwarts age, that seems like a reasonable educational guess for me to make. Well, then again, it's set in America, so...

I love the subtle Animagus thing going on at the end. But who is the lady?! When she first appeared I had this strange hunch that she was Mrs. Figg :P Then that was out, because Mrs. Figg is a Squib, right? And it can't be McGonagall, McGonagall wouldn't put on bright pink galoshes if her life depended on it! And, again, this is America. So I'm extremely curious to see about that as well.

I'm especially intrigued by the fact that the girl seems to recognize the woman's wand and know more or less what it does, that was a good detail.

There wasn't anything that jumped out at me as desperately needing fixing, not that I'm surprised. I think this is an engaging first chapter and definitely reeled me in. If you have a strong desire to expand it by three or four hundred words, I think it can definitely sustain that. It moves quickly as is, very quickly, so it wouldn't drag it down too much to have a little more. I'm definitely not saying that it was too vague. But a few more details on the girl's situation might be helpful, because right now it reads like a lot of other stories that feature homeless children: they're cold and tired and have to learn how to go without food. I would be curious to get in her head a little bit more, and see how well she knows the area, why she didn't go looking for another source of food, if she's planning how to get food tomorrow, that sort of thing. I'm also kind of curious to know what year it is, or when it's set, but I also can go peek and see what era you've set it in, because I've already forgotten!

Can I ask one thing? Why did you choose to request a review for this story? It seems like a well-reviewed and well-liked story, and has clearly been in the works for years and years. What made you want to hear more about it now?

Overall, a strong first chapter, I'm sure it's followed by strong story!

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for this amazing review! I so appreciate it!

I think I'm going to respond a little out of order, so I hope that's okay. I'd like to answer your last questions first. The honest truth and answer to why I'm asking for reviews now, on a story that seems to have so many reviews already is that I would really love some feedback on the later chapters. They haven't had nearly as many readers as the first ones did. But I find most people aren't all that keen on reviewing a random chapter of a story they haven't started from the beginning. So, that is the reason. I'm also hoping to start putting up new chapters soon, and I guess I was kind of hoping to rekindle interest in it.

I was a little worried when you started off with mention of the Author's Note. It's a very long one, probably my longest ever, and I usually shy away from including huge notes to start off a story. I was sure you were going to mention how long and in the way it was. But, I'm glad you actually found it helpful! So, thank you!

You are full of very good guesses at all the unanswered questions I left dangling in this beginning chapter. I'm thinking you may have read a fic or two before. :) But, I'm honored that you found my version of things intriguing and engaging enough to make you ponder on it. I have purposefully left things vague in this first chapter, but I'm still very impressed with your guesses!

And I absolutely love that your rationalization for why the woman can't be McGonagall is that she would never be caught dead in pink galoshes. That's amazing, and totally right! I love it!

I appreciate your suggestions for improvement! It is always so helpful to be reminded of how my writing comes across to other people reading it without the full knowledge of what happens in their head. Making sure to include the correct details without dragging the fic down with them is definitely something I can always work on. Thank you!

(As for what year it's set...I can give you that. Think Goblet of Fire.)

Thanks again. I've always wanted to snag a spot on your review thread over the years. I have great admiration and respect for you as an author and reviewer. Thanks again!

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Review #5, by long_live_luna_bellatrixPeriphery: Chapter One

24th July 2016:
Hi again! I'm so glad to be back!

I love how much better we get to know Chloe in just the first handful of paragraphs in this chapter. I totally empathize with her-- in situations like this, I'm never the Emily, always the Chloe (I've never gone to a school with a uniform but I sure have gone to parties in t-shirts, which is nearly the same as what Chloe's done, ie, not changing. Ahh I love Chloe.) :P I do have to wonder, though-- if Emily wants to insult Chloe by insinuating that Chloe hasn't got any other friends, what does it say about Emily that when she gets invited to a party, the only person she wants to go with is her fifth year cousin?

I was just thinking the other day about how students might try to get away with partying at Hogwarts! It's so interesting to consider, and I don't have a doubt that it's something that would have happened. Unfortunately J.K. Rowling had to keep the books kid friendly so we'll never know for sure.

Oh my god... I was on board with the suspicious party, you were doing a good job of showing us that this wasn't going to be just some ordinary fun, but I was NOT expecting Emily's betrayal! Just... horrifying. You did that really well, too, I swear I remembered that Chloe's parents were both Muggles about twenty seconds before I read what Emily did.

It's interesting that Micheal and co. clearly lured Emily (and Chloe) down to the baths for a purpose, and yet, once they'd marked Chloe, they acted like they hadn't planned on doing anything quite so extreme. Given that they were wondering if she'd tell, and all. My read would be that the Black Adder Society are Death Eater wannabes (if they even know what Death Eaters are) and ape everything their parents say about the necessity of pure blood, but are also still immature teenagers who aren't great at thinking about consequences until after the fact. Is that right?

I loved meeting Sirius and Marlene. It was perfect, the way they were sneaking out together at night, but that they also helped Chloe... The perfect cool kids, right? Also, the way you ended the chapter-- you nailed it again. So powerful!

Ok I apologize in advance for the total lack of organization in this review. The above I jotted down while reading; now I'll address some of your areas of concern. Hopefully it won't get too messy. :P

Your comment about the characters and action in this chapter forcing you to change the narrative voice is interesting. Because I think both chapters read really well! So you pulled off the two voices well, anyway. But I totally get why you'd want a more cohesive voice throughout the whole story. In keeping with the jumbled nature of this review, I have a couple different thoughts...

1) Six years separate this chapter from the introduction, and Chloe clearly faces a lot of hardship in between. Considering that, it makes a lot of sense that she would sound more jaded, more thoughtful, and more reserved in the "future" chapter than in this one. So in this case, the discrepancy really isn't that much of a problem. In fact, if Chloe was exactly the same person in both chapters, it would be problematic-- indicating that little had changed her in this six year timespan.

2) Chapters with more action and more characters are going to sound different than shorter, more contained introductory chapters. So again, the shift is rather natural. Also, given that the style shifted on its own for you between the two chapters, and given that the rest of the story will probably sound more like this one than the introduction (just due to the fact that things are going to keep happening, even if it's not always as dramatic as this chapter), you don't want to spend the rest of the story fighting the style it wants to be told in. If you write it naturally, it will sound natural; if you fight your writing style every inch of the way, it's not going to sound natural. So in this scenario, I would again say that that the shift isn't a problem.

3) But then, well, the first chapter's tone was so lovely! So I don't think it would be terrible to play with this chapter a tiny bit to see what changes could be made. Looking back at the first chapter, some of what I loved was Chloe interacting with her deeply familiar setting, plus her own thoughtfulness. Could you show more of her love/neutrality/irritation with Hogwarts (whatever it is she feels about it)? Could you show her not only understanding how Emily works but also analyzing Emily a little bit? That seems like something Chloe could do. Also, there was one moment that caught my eye, which was when Sirius asked if she was all right and she said, "Fantastic." That seemed a little too sarcastic a thing to say for Chloe, especially when she was in so much pain. I'd think, that when a person truly suffers, they show one side of their true personality, you know? So if that was Chloe's deep inner toughness, great. But if not, maybe it should go. That would help keep her in line with the person we see in the introduction, too.

Now, for the action scene. As you can probably tell by my reaction, I think that worked really well. The tense buildup was good, and the horrifying part was, well, horrifying. I personally found her cousin's betrayal almost worse than the physical harm done to Chloe, although both are atrocious. Overall, it was well done in that way. For some reason, I found myself wanting some more basic details in that scene, and that could either be a legitimate thing for you to look into or it could be me reading too fast because I was too into it. But I kept wondering-- how high is the water? up to her waist, her chest? how light or dark is it when they're fighting? how big a space are we talking? I also have some lingering questions about that person who Chloe saw watching, but I think I'm supposed to, so that's cool. :P

I'm seriously running out of space so I'm gonna wrap this up fast. EXCELLENT JOB. Looking forward to the next chapter quite a bit!!!

Author's Response: Hey there! Thank you again, so much, for offering to check out this story. It's such a big help, really! ♥

That's a good point about Emily inviting her younger cousin to a party. I'd imagine that she has a few close friends other than Chloe, so maybe I should mention that they were studying/unable to come? It would make more sense as to why she put so much pressure on Chloe, too.

I always thought that Dumbledore would have purposefully chosen to make it easier for students to get up to mischief. He could have cast spells preventing them from leaving their dormitories after a certain hour, or the portraits could have helped relay information. Even boy-girl canoodling could have been prevented, I'm assuming, because, well, magic. But Dumbledore *does* throw First-Years into the Forbidden Forest as detention and allows them to compete in the Triwizard Tournament without parental permission, so I'm assuming he almost encourages some trouble!

I'm glad that Emily's betrayal was a shock! It was, obviously, quite a shock to Chloe so it was important that the reader felt that way too.

That's a very good assessment of the Black Adder Society. They hadn't worked out an escape plan because of their smugness. They were fully confident that their Silencing Charms had worked, and that Chloe wouldn't tell on them because, as they put it, "Look at her." This scene is a parallel to certain activities that males subject to female counterparts, and often with little to no punishment if they are athletic or affluent enough. The Black Adders are equal parts racist bigoted purebloods and soon-to-be Death Eaters (I mean Walden Macnair is literally right there) and also a "Boy's Club" to try to run their school with little to no punishment.

Those are wise words about not fighting narrative tone! I'm worried that people had been drawn in by Chloe's initial voice and that too great of a shift would cause disinterest (a writer's! Worst! Nightmare!) so thank you for making that point.

The "Fantastic" line has been giving me some angst! I don't want Chloe to be *so* timid that she is almost not worth reading. The characters around her--especially Marlene--are going to be so colorful that Chloe's role might pale in comparison. I think that she is sarcastic, and will become more so as the story continues. But you're right, it could be more apparent. I tried with her saying that she highly doubted that the Silencing Charms of Seventh-Years were stronger than those of Hogwarts staff, but I could dispense a little more cynicism throughout, particularly when dealing with Emily in the beginning. It's difficult because Chloe *is* a doormat, especially to her aggressive cousin, but she's got a sense of humor and wit as well. I'll re-work some of her inner thoughts in this chapter and hopefully that will come across better.

Those are SUCH GOOD POINTS about the action scene. I imagine the water to be about chest-level, and that there are several "benches" along the edges of the bathing pool where Emily and Michael were sitting. It was pretty dark; when the torch was extinguished I mentioned the light from the moon through the glass ceiling being the only light (A FULL MOON, WINK WINK). I think I mentioned that a lot of the steam had escaped through the open portrait, making it easier to see. I imagine a bluish, eerie light from the moon, reflecting on the water, in an otherwise a very dark room. The room was fairly large; about the size of an indoor swimming pool. These are all things that I can make clearer in the chapter, now that you've brought them to my attention!

I'm also running out of space, I think! haha. Thank you again, so so so much! Your review has given me a lot to think about and pointed out some areas where I was already concerned. I really appreciate your help! ♥

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Review #6, by long_live_luna_bellatrixPeriphery: Introduction

7th July 2016:
I was in love after your first paragraph. I don't know what it was, other than that it was a lovely collection of details and I felt like I was there. I also love small village scenes and quiet winter scenes in general. And when you described Chloe's actions, like so-- "There was a dusting of snow on the windowsill and I pressed my fingers into it absently"-- I just felt like that's absolutely something I would do, and I would never had thought to catch a detail like that. Beautiful.

It's such an interesting concept that Lily and James' deaths would inspire an extra fear among other wizards, in addition to the more obvious worries about not being safe anywhere and about dealing with a traitor. But I can totally see that when two extremely talented wizards die, then, well, other people not quite as powerful might become anxious as well. It makes a lot of sense.

Haha this is entirely unrelated to your writing, but at one point as I was scrolling quickly up from the review box, where I was making a note to myself, to continue reading, and I passed the line, "Your father is still lazing in bed." For some reason read it as, "Your father is amazing in bed." And I thought, What kind of mother would say that to her daughter?! But then, of course, I read it a second time. :P

You do an excellent job of establishing all sorts of niggling tensions between Chloe and her mother. There's the issue of Chloe's magic, which is introduced nice and quietly, but other things, too, like the way Chloe acknowledges in her head the various lies she tells. Oh, and the tension with her mother's health. I thought it was wonderful the way you show all these distinct things but also let them sort of intermingle with each other until we get this big, general impression that these two characters still love each other but have too many barriers between them to have an effortless relationship.

Also, I think it was a good choice to keep Chloe's father out of this chapter. He's mentioned enough that we don't forget about him or anything, but I think honing in on this one interaction between Chloe and her mother, alongside Chloe's other worries, works really well. It lets us get invested in the scene without getting distracted by too many moving parts.

I guess I still don't entirely understand Chloe's aversion to Muggle things, though. I totally get why her magic would freak out/displease her mother and/or father for any number of reasons, and why Chloe would be exasperated by their resistance to the helpful aspects of magic (like levitating charms for the fence and all that). But at the same time, Chloe must be a Muggleborn (right?), meaning that she grew up for much of her childhood like any other Muggle. So why does it pain her so much to have to turn on a lamp by hand? I'd think her instinct would actually be to use the lamp, at least in her childhood home, surrounded by her Muggle parents. Or maybe her instinct would be to use Lumos, but she'd still pause for a half-second and happily turn on the lamp. Complaints about something small like that sound like they'd come from a grumpy young teenager who doesn't want to go to her Muggle home for the summer, not a young adult like Chloe.

Oh boy. The end of this chapter. Chloe's best friend is/was Marlene, and she's also friends with Sirius, and yet the last time she saw Marlene, Sirius was trying to use an Unforgivable Curse on her?!? No way. You have to upload the next chapter ASAP. That really upped all the urgency here.

As to your A/N, I love stories that explore how tiny, insignificant actions can have massive consequences! Just another reason to be really into this story. Because really, it's a wonderful introduction. I'm so invested in Chloe's wellbeing (the poor girl!) and also her relationships with the people around her. I guess I would add that I hope you return to Chloe's relationship with her parents in later chapters (in addition to the conflicts she'll obviously be facing with the Order) just because you've taken the time to introduce them here and Chloe's mother is the second person to be introduced in your entire story. Basically, it seems like they're important, and I'd like to see more of them-- which I'm sure you're already planning.

You mentioned flow and voice as areas of concern, and I have no issues with either of those here. If anything, I prefer quiet, thoughtful, uncertain narrators to snarky or extroverted ones, so I'm a big fan of Claire's voice. It was never over-bearing or over-written, it felt very natural. As for the flow, it's a relatively short chapter, so you never really had to worry about it dragging, and it absolutely didn't feel rushed.

I'm very curious to see Chloe go on to interact with Sirius and other members of the Order. What a strong first chapter! I'm totally hooked. This feels just like the kind of story I love to read. Wonderful job! (I'm sorry I couldn't offer up a lot of constructive criticism, but, well, it was very, very good.)

- Sarah

Author's Response: OH GOSH OH WOW I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. This review is such a day-brightener, really! It's nerve-racking to start a new fic, as I'm sure you know, and what if nobody likes it or reads it and then what's the point? But this is so lovely, really. I think it's almost as long as the chapter! :D

I am a total sucker for quiet villages, snowscapes, the everyday life moments like looking out a window. And the village definitely is important to the story in that Chloe's parents live, tucked away, in a (mostly) (as far as they know) Muggle area. They are, after all, wary of the magical world.

Yeah, I was nervous about including the mention of James and Lily, because I don't want the reader to assume that Chloe is going to be Lily's Best Friend! or On the Gryffindor Quidditch Team! or The One Who Sets Them Up! In fact she's definitely on the outskirts of the group. She's in their... *PERIPHERY* DO YOU GET IT

Oh my God I really love the way you misread that line. I'm sure that was a bit unsettling! Haha. I'm glad that the portrayal of her mother's health went smoothly. I'm notorious for dumping information on the reader, particularly in the first chapter, and was trying really hard to succinctly explain that her mother is growing ill and that there is tension between the two of them. Yes! You're spot on with that description: "two characters still love each other but have too many barriers between them to have an effortless relationship." The entire Fairchild family has a very Don't Ask, Don't Tell attitude (for lack of a better phrase) about Chloe's involvement in the Order. Not to give too much away, but her parents know that she is doing something dangerous with other Witches and Wizards, and they have bottled everything up and refuse to talk about it. Hence Chloe quickly hiding her wand when her Mum comes into the room.

As for her aversion to Muggle things, it's because of the aforementioned reason :) She is perfectly fine using Magic or Muggle items, and as you mentioned has become accustomed to using her wand for most things. As a Hogwarts graduate living in a Magical area, she tends to use it for day-to-day things like lighting the stove, etc. I imagine that your wand becomes an extension of your own arm after you've been using it for so many years. So it wasn't that she just *wanted* to use magic and didn't *feel* like switching on the lamp. Much less excitingly: she just couldn't find the lamp and couldn't see and wanted to use a Lumos spell, hehe.

Thank you for pointing that out--I definitely wasn't trying to make it sound like she's exasperated by the fact that she can't use magic around her family.

Ha! Yay, I'm glad that the last little bit about Sirius and Marlene was interesting. I was afraid there would be a lot of table-flipping going on (I am a shipper of those two as well). As for what exactly happened, time will tell!

Chloe's relationship with her parents will definitely be a HUGE portion of this story, especially in the 90s. (Still figuring out the formatting kinks, but basically this fic will span from their time in Hogwarts until 1995-ish, with lots of leaps in time and maybe, if I can get my life together, lots of flashbacks.)

Thank you so much, again! And don't worry about the ConCrit, your review was so helpful, especially mentioning the part about the lamp. (What an insignificant little moment in the story, and still it made her seem like a totally different, more petulant character!) I'm very glad you mentioned that.

Thank you ♥

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Review #7, by long_live_luna_bellatrixSomeone to talk to: May 3, 2005

30th June 2016:
Hi Kapa, I'm here with your review!

I have to say, I was so intrigued by the Dialogue Challenge, and the results have been so good! Every entry that I've come across has been really well done, and this was no exception. I love that I could always tell exactly who was talking, based on the content of their dialogue but also the mechanics. For instance, Hannah's warm, loving nature really came across from the way her words were peppered with "dear" and "love" as a means of addressing people.

Ginny also came across as tough but hurting, which sounds like it's exactly what you were going for. In fact, there was one place where I was surprised she didn't sound a little firmer; it's when she says, "Oh, darn it, now I’m crying anyway." In other places in the chapter she swears willingly, which I think suits her rather fiery temper. Here, I expected a stronger swear word as well, just because, well, it's Ginny, and I'm sure she doesn't want to be seen sobbing in public.

You developed things really well throughout the chapter! There's obvious conflict right from the start, what with Ron's death, and then the complication of Hermione's pregnancy and everyone's difficulties getting along makes things even more tense. The fact that Hannah is so clearly there for Ginny and is so understanding... It just melts my heart! Hannah is the best!

Honestly, I think you could have sustained this chapter for even longer. I have no problem with short and sweet chapters, and this read well as it is, but I would have been happy to see more too. For instance, this right now is a basic outline of what's been going on-- Ron's died, people are a mess. And that makes sense because Ginny is conveying information to someone who doesn't know exactly what's happened. But I guess I'd still love some details. For instance, can Ginny reference how they dealt with people's deaths in the war? Because obviously all of them suffered losses, but also obviously losing Ron is different from any of those other deaths (except maybe Fred's? For Ginny?) So maybe Ginny could talk about that a little. I also wouldn't mind some other, smaller things tossed in. Like some general chit chat just to establish how close Hannah and Ginny are at this moment, and maybe to shed a tiny bit of light on what Hannah's life is like right now. I guess all this goes to show that I'm intrigued by the situation you've set up and want to know more! And I'll also reiterate, I think the chapter can totally handle some of that, even if it is only dialogue.

One really small thing I thought I'd point out: Ginny says at one point, "Harry and I were trying to get pregnant again, so our kids would go to Hogwarts together." I think this caught my eye because I figure, if people want to have children around the same time, it's so they can "grow up" together instead of "go to school together." I get that it's slightly different in this specific situation because Hogwarts is a boarding school and so going to school together obviously includes growing up together, but when I read that, I thought it might sound better without the specific reference to Hogwarts.

I wonder if we'll find out exactly what happened to Ron? It's a question mark left dangling in there and I'm a little curious to know.

Oh, and one last thing-- I really like your first line. It's perfect!

Overall, a great opening chapter. Major props to you for writing a multi-chaptered story for this difficult challenge! I'll be reading on!

- Sarah

Author's Response: Hello there Sarah!

First off, thank you so much for doing this for me, it was really helpful! Second off, I'm so sorry about how late this reply is, I'm a disgrace, etc., etc. And third off, I'm gonna go request a review for the next chapter now that I finally managed to get this done. Phew. : )

It's good to hear that you don't think it's confusing to keep track on who's talking when - though I kind of made this easy for myself by only featuring two voices, didn't I? It's also nice to hear that you think Hannah and Ginny's characters come across in the dialogue, because, hehe. As for Ginny's non-swear, my reasoning was that she's a mother now, and is trying to cut down on swearing so James won't pick it up from her. But your point definitely makes sense, and I'll consider changing that 'darn'. : )

Hannah really is the best, isn't she? It's weird how she can be so clear to me as a character as she's such a minor one in Canon, but I just have this really elaborate headcanon of her where she's such a sweetheart, and it seems most people characterise her the same. Just the perfect Hufflepuff, I guess! : )

And I definitely hear what you're saying (read what you're writing?) about the chapter being longer - it's just so hard to write sustained dialogue like this, it takes so much work. I really like the idea of Ginny (and maybe even Hannah?) refer to earlier deaths, though. When I finally get around to rewriting this I'll make sure to try to work that in! And maaaybe Ginny asking something about Hannah's life - though I think she's too distraught to mind her manners, and I really doubt Hannah would bring it up on her own in this kind of situation. Hm...

As for the line about Ginny trying to get pregnant again, I could change it to “Be in the same year at Hogwarts” I guess, as that's what I imagine them actually going for - and what happens in the Canon timeline. Their children would obviously grow up together no matter what, unless there was a huge age difference between them, so saying that makes less sense to me...

As for exactly what happened to Ron... well, this whole story is kind of a companion piece to another story that I've been working on for a long time, but haven't published yet, with Hermione as the main character. If I ever get to a point where I start posting it, you might find out...

And lastly, hehe, yeah, that first line was the whole first seed of the idea of this story. As soon as I got assigned Ginny/Hannah in the Rare Pair challenge I knew that was how the story was gonna begin! : )

Again, thank you so much for this review, it's really well thought out and helpful! I'd try to implement a few of the changes you suggested now, but I'm in the grip of a horrible case of writer's block at the mo'. : (

Anyway, thanks so much, and see you again!


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Review #8, by long_live_luna_bellatrixI Wasn't Expecting That: Without That Innocent Kiss, What a Life I'd Have Missed

18th June 2016:
(Here for the LGBTQA+ Review Event)

Ahhh Beth you're killing me! To go, all in one chapter, from incredibly sweet to heartbreaking to tearfully sweet?! So many emotions packed into so few words. Wow. But, still, I loved this as the final chapter. I think jumping ahead in time, and bringing things full circle with St. Mungo's, really knits the story together. Otherwise things wouldn't have progressed much from the end of the third chapter to the end of this one. Well done!

I guess I'll just reiterate that it might be helpful to give some more details about Seamus' curse, especially now that we know it becomes relevant to the story's ending. I think those details would help us feel more attached to his situation, because we'd be more aware of what he's going through. And also, if you could give some telltale signs in an earlier chapter (like the hand tremor) and then bring them back in this one, well, the emotional impact of this final chapter would just double. It would be killer!

I love that you stuck with Harry having the same three kids, just with Seamus and not Ginny. I don't know why, that also just added to my emotions at the end. And, of course, having familiar names is nice. Loved the little note about the detective agency.

What a wonderful story! You totally pulled off Harry/Seamus. I almost feel like I want to give the pairing a shot at some point, now. I'm so happy I got the chance to read this.

- Sarah

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Review #9, by long_live_luna_bellatrixI Wasn't Expecting That: I Thought Love Wasn't Meant to Last

18th June 2016:
Hi! Back once again for the LGBTQA+ Review Event!

I love that Seamus gets better extremely quickly as soon as Harry starts coming around, and that Harry is better because of his relationship with Seamus. Like I said, I'm a sucker for that sort of thing. Also, hurrah to Seamus taking the lead at Grimmauld Place! I love that he can take the initiative when Harry is more timid. This makes it all the more interesting that he can take the lead in those moments, but not when it comes to the larger conversation of their relationship. I think it absolutely makes sense that some people can take initiative in some areas but not others.

Hmm, I'm a little curious for more details about Seamus' illness... Nothing major, but just a few, so that I have a better image of what he went through. That might have been helpful either in this chapter or the last.

Fantastic job with Hermione and Ginny coming up for "the talk" and the misunderstanding that ensues. It's a wonderful, light-hearted moment. And totally like Ginny to cut to the chase. Leave it to them to know what's best for Harry!

I thought you did an excellent job portraying a slightly nervous Harry in the latter half of the chapter. It touched on all the nerves that come with a new relationship, not to mention when you've never dated another man before. It gave the story that much more authenticity.

The line about liking him since fourth year-- a great way to top things off. It also explains why Seamus was so into Harry from the start... Harry might have been feeling a little lost since the first chapter, but Seamus knew what he wanted.

I've been really enjoying this, Beth! Can't wait to finish it up.

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Review #10, by long_live_luna_bellatrixI Wasn't Expecting That: I thought you were just passing through

18th June 2016:
Hello again! I'm back for the LGBTQA+ Review Event.

Another lovely chapter! You'll make a Harry/Seamus fan of me yet.

I was a little confused at Seamus' behavior at the beginning of the chapter... I don't know, I guess in my book, when someone kisses you, even briefly, even if it's not square on, well, that means something was going on there. So even though Harry kind of shook it off, I felt like he shouldn't quite have been able to... I'm not sure. I think I would have liked a couple more sentences there to make things clearer.

I liked that people were looking out for Harry, and making him stop. That part about the erratic heart rate and the weight loss, and Harry trying to ignore, it sounded really familiar. It seems like we're all always doing that. So the fact that people paid attention to those signs made me happy.

So I'm assuming that the reason Seamus hasn't been writing back to Harry is because he's been so ill? Would it be possible for you to clarify that somewhere? Also, I wonder-- why did you choose to have this story take place over months and months, instead of weeks or even days? It totally works as is, but I feel like it could work equally well in a more compressed timeline, too, especially for such a short story.

Ha, and then the erratic heartbeat came back-- in a different way! Love it. I'm such a sucker for romances when one person is injured and the other one either sticks by their side or helps them back to health... So this was a particularly great chapter for me!

I'm really enjoying this story so far. It better have a happy ending! (And I suspect it will) Great job, Beth.

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Review #11, by long_live_luna_bellatrixI Wasn't Expecting That: It was only a smile, but my heart it went wild

17th June 2016:
Hello there Beth! I'm stopping by for the Pride review fest, but I'm also just glad I get to read something of yours for (possibly?) the first time.

First of all, I think you did a really nice job summing up the end of Harry and Ginny's relationship at the very beginning of this chapter. I could totally see that happening... And break-ups of that sort, when people love each other but just find the relationship too difficult to go on, make my poor little heart break. :P So I totally had a lot of sympathy for everyone involved right away. Plus, I liked how you described Ron and Hermione's different sorts of advice-- they felt very true to character!

It also made a nice premise, obviously, for Harry to run into Seamus! I loved this line: "Seamus - who’d caused an explosion in nearly every class at Hogwarts (including, astonishingly, History of Magic)." I also liked how Harry's reasons for not needing to get excited quickly morphed into reasons for getting excited; from the exploding boy to the brave man.

In general, I just really like how one small encounter has the ability to brighten Harry's whole mood. I think it's a lovely concept, that even when it feels like everything is going down and you're stuck in a hole you can't get out of, something simple will come along to remind you that life is still moving. I totally felt for Harry!

The only thing that caught me off guard was the last paragraph (the big one, not the lyric). It felt like things suddenly moved very fast. That's not a bad thing necessarily-- I get the sense that you chose to do that for a reason, and that more important things will be coming up in the next chapters-- but it still felt a little abrupt to me. I think it would have felt a little less sudden if there hasn't been the kiss at the end, after the quick summary of the two weeks. Then again, I think that kiss will also help the plot move along. So I'm split! But I would love to see even just one or two more paragraphs in the lead up to that, or even a quick scene of them in the Leaky Cauldron.

Lovely writing so far, and a lovely story. I'm excited to see what happens next!

- Sarah

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Review #12, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Skull Beneath the Skin: Prologue

14th June 2016:
Love the idea of opening a story with not one but two interesting death situations! One, a disgraced grandfather, his own family not bothering to visit his grave. Two, a funeral no one wants to be at. Wonderful setup.

I was confused by something in the first few paragraphs-- you mention Gran telling the narrator something, but then you also mentioned that Gran was "burned" at the stake? Why the quotation marks? Is it because she didn't actually die, and that's why she's around telling the story? I couldn't really tell what was going on there. It seemed like a contradiction with a simple explanation that I was just blanking on.

I also like how you knocked the idea of a relationship with Tibs away right from the beginning. Whereas normally you'd see a boy/girl friendship and immediately think, "They're gonna get together!" this allowed me to at least temporarily put that out of my mind, and focus on them as a platonic unit, which was helpful. This isn't to say they can't become a "thing" later. And even if they do, I like that you're emphasizing their friendship first.

Great line here! "The only real loss sustained is that there's one less Death Eater in the world, and the Mudblood lives." The last line of the chapter is fantastic as well. Way to end the prologue with a bang.

It's so neat to have a character who can only picture herself becoming a Death Eater, given that I really like her already! It's hard to explain why I'm a fan of hers already; I like her matter-of-fact voice, and the fact that she has what seems like a nice group of friends. I think that says a lot about your writing ability, that I've come to like Posy in such a short time and with so little information! I know you mentioned that one of your areas of concern was Posy's narration, and I have to say that it's working really well so far. I'd love to get to know her better.

I suppose at the end of this chapter, I'm kind of wondering what I'm supposed to make of Posy's grandfather, the one introduced at the very beginning. I get how Aurelius' funeral is working in this story; it provides a backdrop for Posy to explain a little bit about her life, and is a good springing board for the rest of the story. I can't help but think her grandfather is still going to play an important role (for no other reason than that the story opens with a mention of his mysterious death... And when you open a story with something, it's got to be important! But Aurelius' funeral kind of pushes that to the background. So I wonder if that's something you want to have happen, or if you want to find a way to incorporate him into a later part of this chapter at all.

I definitely don't think the prologue needs to be expanded, at least not for the sake of a higher word count. I think short and sweet prologues are quite nice, they let readers get a taste of the story without slogging through 4,000 words. And while many short and sweet prologues could use more, you really have packed a lot of intriguing information into this. I definitely want to keep reading!

Overall, I thought this was a very successful opening chapter! Interesting characters, interesting premise. How unusual to see a friend group that's three boys and one girl... I hope Posy can hold her own, and I'd guess she can!

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Review #13, by long_live_luna_bellatrixThe Howler: The Pun Also Rises

11th June 2016:
Hahahaha okay, I am beaming. That was so great!! I've been meaning to read this for awhile. Long story short, I eyed Gina's Dialogue Challenge for ages, trying to decide whether or not to take it on. Eventually, when I subconsciously had decided that I didn't have time/was too scared, I decided to do the next best thing and read some of the entries. I'm pretty sure I clicked on every single link and yours was the only one that I immediately knew I had to read. (No offense to the other participants, of course, I'm sure they all did a great job as well. But this summary caught my eye.)

First of all, BRAVO for taking on more than two characters in a dialogue only challenge! The one thing I knew when I was deciding whether or not to enter was that I wasn't going to be able to pull off more than two. But you did it seamlessly. It all flowed and I was never confused. It was very clever to start with two, move to three, and then back down to two (were there ever more than three? Either way, it all still worked). Not a bit clunky. Natural dialogue all the way. I loved it.

The Harry Howler thing-- also perfectly executed. I LOVE the concept and I think you did a wonderful job with it. That plus the arbitrary puns sound exactly like the kind of thing older Harry would do for a bit of a laugh (not entirely realizing the joke is on him). I can just see Harry and Ron doubled over laughing at some stupid pun while Hermione and Ginny shake their heads, going, "What idiots." But seriously, it was hilarious. All the components worked so well, especially, of course, the way the Victoire part played into the main plot. See, Harry totally knew what he was doing! (Or at least, I can give him the benefit of the doubt Mostly.)

There was only one thing about the story that gave me pause, and before I go into it I want to say-- it's one, tiny, minuscule little thing! Which I really do think is a compliment in its own way because I usually have multiple little things or one or two big things or some variation of that, so only having one small thing is a pleasant surprise. So here it is: I wasn't a huge fan of calling Victoire "Tori". That's it. ;) Now, I totally respect your headcanon and your naming choices, and I hesitate to even mention it, but there it is. I get that Teddy is natural nickname for Theodore and that Ron is a natural nickname for Ronald, but, well, Victoire is such a beautiful name! Maybe that's it, maybe I like her name too much. Or maybe you call her "Tori" in all your stories and all your readers know it and are cool with it but this is (maybe?) the first time I'm reading a story of yours and so I'm having trouble with it. But for me, it's just not a totally natural nickname, and kind of reminds me the way some people use "Mione" as a nickname for Hermione, and... yeah. So I promise, it's not a big deal at all, and I understand that this was obviously a choice of yours and it's subjective and it's not a situation where I can be all, "I'm right and you're wrong" because that's obviously not the case! And now I'm totally rambling. And this is becoming a massive part of the review when it was a tiny, tiny thing in my mind. Sorry about that! But yeah. I did want to get it off my chest. :P

Anyway, the rest of it-- the fluffy romance, the Howler for nothing, the puns, the rash, the dialogue, the awkward way Teddy incriminated himself when he began to go off on Scott... All of it was wonderful. I was inwardly shrieking with laughter the whole time. I love how you took these two challenges, combined them, and added a ton of spunk. Fantastic job!!!

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Review #14, by long_live_luna_bellatrixHero: The Wolf and the Sheep

3rd June 2016:
Wow, very interesting moment with Tom. It was simultaneously full of this strange romantic tension on Tom's end, with his comment on how she was "intoxicating" and Hero's horror that he sees any hint of darkness in her. I think you did a really good job with all those conflicting emotions, I was totally engaged. Then, to complicate it even further with the fact that Hero doesn't mind Tom finding her intoxicating... Gah! Wonderful.

I also loved this line: "I smoothed my hair down self-consciously and looked around the classroom as boldly as I could. Theo was glaring at Tom. Emory looked at me excitedly. Finn began making out with his hand." It just perfectly summed up her relationship with everyone in that moment, in so few words.

I don't even know what to say. You did suck-up Tom and Prof. Slughorn SO WELL! I mean it, they were perfect, exactly as I would have pictured that scene playing out in the books or in my mind. The way Tom flattered him, the way Slughorn tried to be subtle about everything and totally wasn't... Fantastic job!

Haha I'm not surprised to see that after I suggested you introduce more minor characters in the previous chapter, that you go ahead and do it in this chapter. Morgan was exactly the kind of character I was thinking of-- I'll remember who he is, I definitely like him, but I know he's not going to be as important as Hero or Tom or someone. Nice touch. The only thing I noticed there is that Hero groaned when Morgan reminded her about Quidditch-- which felt odd to me given that ten seconds earlier she'd introduced him as her new captain. So I figured if she was going to realize she had more responsibilities coming up soon, it would have been when she saw him, not when he mentioned practice, if that makes sense.

I loved how you wrote Dumbledore as a Transfiguration teacher! Also just as I'd imagine him-- stern but also capable of being a little warm to students in quiet moments.

Love the scene at the very end with Tom. Romance plus mysterious magic plus a little bit of that bad boy intrigue? *Swoons* I liked the last two sentences-- they had a nice rhythm, and they wrapped things up nicely.

You're doing such a good job with this story! I'd say keep it up, but I know you just finished it, so I guess I'll just have to keep reading!

Author's Response: Hello! ♥

This review (and the others, lets be honest) has me grinning like an idiot. I'm glad you pick up on the small things, and thank you for all the character compliments :)

Thank you so much ♥ ♥

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Review #15, by long_live_luna_bellatrixHero: Riddles in the Dark

3rd June 2016:
I'm back! I'm back! Looking forward to seeing what happens!

Hmm, so Noah was seeing doctors for something? And he changed his name?!? Gosh, how many details are you going to drop before you finally spell it out? I'm dying to know here!

Ooh, ooh, ooh! A spider! As in, "Follow the spiders!" What a fantastic, subtle link to the mysteries of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You are crushing this. Between the creepy memory of Noah, the dark library, the spider, I was getting serious goosebumps as the scene unfolded in the library...

One thing I would say about the scene in the library was that as soon as Hero walked in and saw a single, solitary figure studying, I just knew without a shred of doubt that it was going to be Riddle. A) Because it totally suits him, to be alone in the library at night, but I think also because B) There are only so many characters we've been introduced to so far. Hero, Theo, Emory, Tom, and Finn are the five main students we've been introduced to so far, and given that Hero had just left Theo and Emory in the common room and that we can assume she'd recognize her own brother, my instinct also came from the fact that there was only one possibility left. So I think this could be an indication that by this point in the story, you can start to be introducing more minor characters-- people we can vaguely recognize by name, house, or their connection to Theo, but that we know won't be super important. That can keep things from becoming too predictable in moments like that one.

I was also a little confused when Tom asked if he could call her Hero, and also said that he could call her Tom. Is that a time period thing? Because I can't imagine two teenagers ever automatically calling each other "Mr." and "Miss" or something like that.

Tom's interest in having a unique name was a fantastic thing to slip in there. It makes so much sense with his character, what we know he desires, and what we know he'll become-- including his new name. But it wasn't too heavy-handed or anything, it was perfect.

Way to end it on a dramatic moment-- great choice. I can't believe Hero is sorta kinda falling for Tom at the same time as he's behind all the horror at Hogwarts. I love how you're including all this information from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And, on top of it, the intrigue with Noah and the romantic troubles with Theo. This can only get more intense! Another great chapter, Bianca. I'm so hooked.

Author's Response: Hi Sarah! So great to see you back again!

I think there's a few more details to drop still ;)
Do you know I didn't even really make that connection! That's great, I'm glad you picked that up!

Thank you so much for your comments, I appreciate them so much! :D ♥

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Review #16, by long_live_luna_bellatrixHero: Something Wicked This Way Comes

7th May 2016:
Hi again!

Ouch!! "Forgiveness depends on your O.W.L. results."?!?! Gee Hero, just dump those parents and find some new ones. They are the worst!!

This was a really good, subtle moment: "Theo dropped down next to Emory; she grabbed his hand, but he pulled it away and grabbed a piece of toast instead." Like that happens in real life all the time, and sometime it's worth noticing and sometimes it isn't, but the fact that you chose to note it here meant a lot. It said a lot about how Theo feels about their relationship right now.

That thing with the roosters is creepy! Do we think it's Tom Riddle??

It's so interesting that Hero is dealing with these two very different regrets. Making out with her friend's boyfriend on the one hand, and letting (?) a boy drown on the other. Strange, but it also feels right. Ok, so maybe I'd expect her to be a little more focused on Noah and a little less worried about Theo, but at the same time, I get why both would still be bothering her. Especially with Theo still out and about to constantly remind her of what happened. It was also a good choice to have Theo walk into that classroom just as she was thinking about the two of them... The tension was high!

Ahh, Tom walking in was such a great moment! I wasn't expecting that at all. Even more tension! But when they walked out and saw that girl petrified... Well, so, yes. Tom indeed is behind all this. (Not that I'm all that clever for remembering this... We are told all this happens, after all. Like in the books.)

HA, Tom's "peaceful expression as if he were merely at the theatre." Perfect. Exactly what I'd expect of him.

Hmm, the plot thickens with Noah... Still dying to know exactly what happened there! What's this with the bracelet, and the orphanage...?

You do a really good job of returning to the idea of Hero's parents from time to time. It's not heavy-handed, but just enough for me to realize what a strong effect they've had on Hero. It's telling how she thinks of them, and when.

Another great chapter! I think one of your strongest points has been slowly and carefully rolling out details about Noah. You've got me desperate for more information!

In terms of suggestions, again, I have few. I think in this chapter I would have enjoyed bits and pieces from Hero's "typical" Hogwarts life, whatever that may be... A few minutes in a class, or in the common room with Emory, etc. Something so I can get a normal view of her Hogwarts. Because right now, it's pretty abnormal, and while I totally get that that's the point, some pauses might also be nice from time to time.

Also, I think it would never hurt to do more with Tom. :P Specifically, I'd like to hear more of Hero's thoughts about him-- I feel like she's kind of attracted to him, or on her way there, but it could be cool to hear more of her thoughts about him. What makes him so intriguing, what she still wonders about him, how she looks up to him... Pretty much anything.

Looking forward to moving along with this story! There's just so many interesting things happening that there's never a dull moment. I'm curious to see where this Theo/Hero thing goes... But I think for the moment, I'm having trouble rooting for them/sympathizing with him. Just because he is being extremely unfair to Emory right now, so it gives me a bad vibe toward him. But I guess I'll have to see.

Ok! I'll stop rambling now!

Author's Response: Hi Sarah!

Ramble all you want, I love to read it :D

Hm... I have a hunch that everything that's going on is because of Tom Riddle ;)

This review is just... *SQUEE* I can't thank you enough for all the wonderful things you've said, and for your suggestions that I can't wait to take on board! ♥ ♥ ♥

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Review #17, by long_live_luna_bellatrixHero: One Day at a Time

3rd May 2016:
Hiii! I finally made it! And I'm so glad I did.

First of all, I think that counting by "Gryffindors" is so clever. I know it's a tiny thing, but it makes so much sense, and it's those tiny details that I love about a story. Also, I loved how much information you got across just in the first interaction Hero had with her dad. I could immediately digest her family dynamic, her value in her academics, and the fact that something went down this past summer...

You introduced Emory and Theo so smoothly. At first I was thinking, "Oh no, too many names!" but Hero's conversation with Emory immediately settled everything for, as I learned about Emory and Theo's relationship and the fact that something had happened to make Hero very nervous about seeing Theo.

The way you introduced Tom Riddle was SO great. The line, "the same smirk that played on his lips like he knew something you didn’t," is a pretty simple one, and yet it felt so fitting to me. Like I didn't need any more description other than that. Plus, with Tom, the plot thickened even more! It's so neat that he came home with Finn as a friend. It's hard to picture Tom Riddle visiting friends in the summer! And yet he must have!

I'm dying to know what happened with this Noah (he drowned??!) and also what happened between Hero and Theo... Gah, I'm just dying to know everything! Also, the line from Finn, “That you made out with a Muggle or that you killed him?” was so... chilling. And yet also kind of darkly humorous, you know? Like how casually Finn flips it out.

The only thing I can think of to suggest for this chapter is maybe fleshing it out in some way, whatever that way may be. Most of your paragraphs are relatively short, which of course is totally fine and likely part of your writing style, but if you were interested you could perhaps go through and see what other small details you could slip in to bring things more alive. Especially given that we're in a different time period, any context clues to remind us of that could be helpful and super interesting. For instance, more attention to what people are wearing, or perhaps snippets of conversation Hero over hears from other students about what's going on in their lives at the moment...

Then again, I loved how quickly the chapter moved, and how much suspense it created so effortlessly, so there's no need to bog it down too much! I guess I'm a little torn in terms of the question of adding more or not. But regardless, I thought it was SUCH an intriguing chapter, and I will definitely be reading on! (Even though I'm a terribly, terribly slow reader. Very sorry about that!) I can't wait to see more of these characters– Hero, Theo, Finn, Emory, Tom... I've only caught glimpses of them here, but they all seem to hint at more depth to come. Great, great job Bianca!!

Author's Response: Hi Sarah!

I'm going to be honest, it took me a long time to respond to this because I just didn't even know where to begin responding to such an amazing review! But I'm going to try!

I'm so glad you like the characters, I always find original ones can be tricky sometimes,espeically in a first chapter, and I'm glad you didn't think I dumped them on you :D

Thank you so much for your suggestion - especially since it is actually something I'm planning to do! I know of plenty I'd love to come back and add, so thank you for giving me some points to get me started and to focus on.

Don't worry about being a slow reader! It's nice to see you here at all!

Thanks a ton, Sarah ♥ ♥ ♥

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Review #18, by long_live_luna_bellatrixHarry Potter and the Final Year: Chapter 5 : Back to the Burrow

6th March 2016:
Hi! I'm back again, to continue non-anonymously, and this time for the HPFF Review-a-Thon!

One thing you did really well at the start of this chapter was reminding the reader right away that even though Harry has arranged for something absolutely momentous to happen, wizard-goblin relations are by no means instantly smoothed. It's not that I was expecting that to happen or anything, not at all, but I do think it was an excellent choice to get into that right away with the moment with Bill and Slimshanks at the beginning. It was a sobering reminder to the readers to not get too comfortable yet! Following that up with Alicia's reaction worked really well too, in her case as a contrast to the goblins' reactions from earlier chapters. Once again, none of this is coming as a surprise-- more as a, "Wow, I'm not sure if I'd have thought of that myself or not, but it makes so much sense I can't imagine it any other way!" type moment.

"Gringott's has two t's by the way..." Hilarious line. I love the small bits of humor sprinkled in here.

The moment with the photograph of Harry and Lighsthefire was lovely. I thought it was great how you suddenly pulled way back from the present to comment on how famous the photo would become-- it really added a gravity to the moment. Plus, it's such a Harry thing to do-- to do a totally selfless and kind thing, of his own accord, not meaning for anyone to see, and then for the evidence to be preserved for all time. I think this is the kind of thing that used to drive Ron nuts when they were in school together!

The moment with Mrs. Weasley's knee jerk reaction was a little surprising, but it also goes to confirm everything I said above about this not being an easy task. Why did you choose for her to be the one with that reaction, out of curiosity? I think I can picture it-- a woman raised in an entirely magical household, imbued with a wizarding prejudice totally unconsciously... But I'd be curious to hear more of your thoughts.

It was nice to see some of the more light-hearted reunions and family/friend moment as well. I thought Harry and Ginny's reunion was lovely, but perhaps also a little overemphasized. It was very cinematic, but also read a little as if they'd been apart for years and years, rather than what was perhaps a few weeks? It might help if you focused more on their dialogue in that moment, and less on the usual "lovey-dovey" things like brushing hair out of the other person's eyes.

And wow! That prank! I have to say, it was absolutely up to the twins' normal standards. Bravo. It was incredible. However, I admit that I found it a little confusing in the moment in terms of what was physically happening. I think my confusion began with the strange word Harry thought of when George "choked"-- I still don't entirely understand what that means. It kind of distracted me from what was going on. Then I guess I never truly thought George had died, given his goofy dialogue where he almost slips up on the floating/standing bit. And I wasn't sure if you wanted me, as a reader, to be fooled or not. Perhaps the whole thing would be helpful if you could include some more of Harry's emotions throughout: his horror, his shock, a sudden moment of grief before suspicion... Then I as a reader will know how to feel too.

Overall, however, it was another excellent chapter, and I think it was nice to move settings too-- it helped the story also feel as though it had crossed a major bridge. I'm still really enjoying it!

Author's Response: I thought that there would be so many different reactions to this event which is really ground-shatteringly momentous in one way, but really quite prosaic in another; all that is happening in one real respect, is that another eleven year-old girl is going to Hogwarts. The reactions of Humans (and goblins too) would run the full gamut from ecstatically happy, through 'so what', to 'it'll doom us all.' So I tried to fit different reactions to different characters in a logical manner. Half-bloods, especially if they have been brought up more in the Muggle world, probably wouldn't care that much. Muggleborns would probably care even less. So I used the presence of Alicia, who for my purposes I've made a half-blood, to illustrate this. Bill, who has a long history working with goblins, has long thought it unfair, but just accepted it as the status-quo not thinking that it could ever be changed. Slimshanks is worried about what it might do to those humans who worked for them or with them willingly whilst they were 'second class' so to speak. Now that goblins will be allowed to use wands, will these human wizards suddenly turn on them?

So yes, not everything will be smooth sailing, but in a year or two, when it's just one little goblin girl with six more years of study to go then I think things will calm down.

I like that idea of a captured, private moment, something which was done without thought of how it might appear to anyone else. I can see it appealing to people like Mrs. Weasley, honest and good people. An older person, who has seen more than his fair share of evil, comforting a younger person who is scared of the daunting challenges of the future. That it is a human and a goblin is irrelevant in the wider scheme of things.

As to Mrs. Weasley's reaction, what you said is fairly spot on and there is not much more to say, except for two things. I think that hers would be the standard reaction amongst the majority of people brought up in the wizarding community. It would be just one of those assumed little prejudices that they had all grown up with. Once they get over the initial shock, I then think that they’d come around to the fact that it isn't really so bad after all. For the purposes of my story I just had to have her experience the highs and lows in very quick succession. For most it might take longer. For instance, I can see a politician as canny as Slimshanks, organising another photo op at Christmas where Lightsthefire publicly and warmly thanks all the witches of Britain who have written to her in support (even if in reality there hadn’t been many). That sort of thing would win over the readers of Witch Weekly in a heartbeat.

And the second thing, remember when Sirius was revealed at the end of GOF? It was Mrs. Weasley who jumped and exclaimed at his presence. I was remembering that aspect of her character when I wrote her reactions.

Oh yeah, the reunion is a bit over the top and I like how you called it cinematic as that was my intent. I kind of like it though. One thing with it, that perhaps I wrote too subtly, was that Harry had been holding himself back from her a bit too much; emotionally speaking. He had all this stuff that he wanted to do, felt that he needed to do, and like he was prone to do in the books took it upon himself and left the others out of it. I tried to show Ginny's reaction to that here, and we will find out Ron's in an upcoming chapter.

I always thought it was a natural thing to have Fred come back as a ghost. So if he did then I felt sure George would use it in a prank somehow.

Thanks for the cc: there is a crucial place where Harry's reactions should be detailed, I will go and amend it. Was eldritch the word you got stuck on? It basically means magical and occult. Also the audience was meant to be fooled by the prank, but also to receive all the clues that Harry did that it wasn't real too.

And yes, it does feel like a turning point for the story, which it should be.

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Review #19, by long_live_luna_bellatrixNot My Own: The Ultimatum

8th February 2016:
I love the amount of thought you put into the differences of perception between Remus and James. Remus' heightened senses seem like a natural thing to choose to mention, and it's really interesting to see James grapple with it. The part about his dreams was also fascinating. It feels like you've thought of it all, down to every moment of Remus' existence!

I'd be really curious for more of a description of the hovel Remus and now James lives in. Of course from James' horror, I can tell how derelict it is, but I still had some trouble fully visualizing it. Is it a literal shack, with walls and roof and door? Is it some kind of tent? A mattress under an overhang? I suppose all we know of it know is abstract concepts-- how horrible, unlivable, etc. it is-- but I'd something like a little more concrete, if that makes sense. It doesn't need to be a lot, because obviously it's just one moment in the chapter, but you can never go wrong with specific details.

One other question-- early in the chapter, you mention that it's odd for Remus to have a place of his own and that the other werewolves roam freely. Yet later James goes to a place that is clearly Rhea's home. Would you be able to clarify a little what you meant by Remus' "different" habits? What does it mean to have a home base versus to roam around?

I love that you jumped right into a tense situation in this chapter and put James on the spot. It's so awful to see him grappling with this request, all the more awful because he has to act on Remus' behalf! It's such a tough situation, and I really felt for James. You've done an excellent job at moving the story along at a gripping pace.

Again, I really appreciate the dialogue. Every character has a least a slightly distinct manner of speaking, and it betrays their different backgrounds, goals, etc. That attention to detail is definitely something that can pull a story up to the next level.

On the whole, another great chapter! Congrats again on winning the first round of "Guess the Present"! I've enjoyed this story and I will try to return to it, but don't worry if it takes seemingly forever; life gets busy over here and unfortunately reading and reviewing tends to be what gets left behind when things pick up. But you've definitely created an engaging start! Good luck with this story!

- Sarah

Author's Response: Sarah,

I am forever behind on review responses. I am really glad you like how I compared the lives of the two men. The details of Remus' existence is like burned in my brain so to speak having written him for so long. He is a true passion and obsession for me.

You are right that I need to bring my inclusion of descriptions and details to the next level. It is my greatest weakness. I am not an overly visual person and thus my writing reflects that. Still thank you for the critique it is something I hope to take and use moving forward.

Thank you again for the review even if it was for "Guess the Present".

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Review #20, by long_live_luna_bellatrixNot My Own: The Switch

8th February 2016:
Hi there! Congratulations on winning the first round of "Guess the Present"! For your superb guessing skills (seriously, I would never get any of those photos correct...) you have won two reviews! I decided to visit your WIP as I found the summary intriguing, and I thought it might be nice to get both reviews on the same story.

I have to say, this was a fantastic opening chapter. It both set up the rest of the story efficiently as well as got me totally hooked in everything going on in the moment. This feels like such a possible canon situation, for so many reasons: the need to protect the Potters, Remus' supreme loyalty to James, Dumbledore's superior magical skills... It all just fit. I was truly touched when Remus and James were talking to each other for the first time in so long. When James said that he was still counting the days, well, my heart melted. What a perfect detail to include to demonstrate how much he cared and still cares for Remus. And the fact that they need Remus to do this not only because of his defensive skills but also because of how well he knows James... Gah, it just all fit! So good! Although, now that I think about it... If the Potters were already under the Fidelius Charm, weren't they already completely isolated from the world? Who would they need to fool, besides Harry?

One thing you got spot on was Dumbledore's manner of speaking. Everything he said sounded exactly like the Dumbledore we see in the books! I know it's a small detail, but it really enhanced this chapter for me. (Plus the mention of the lemon square! Hilarious but also true to canon) Especially in stories that divulge from canon but try to do so in a believable way, grounding things in canon characterizations is so helpful. Remus and James also felt so real. Remus especially; I can totally see him taking on such a difficult role in the Order, and his descriptions of life as a werewolf were heartbreaking. They reminded me a lot of the way we hear him talk about himself in the Half-Blood Prince.

The switch itself was really well done. The descriptions of Remus felt in James' body and vice versa were so fascinating! Again, felt true to canon. It was also just so, so interesting to think about how different lives weigh differently on different people, and we probably don't even notice it, nor could we ever actually, physically understand what everyone else goes through.

The whole chapter is made that much more interesting because, as we all know, Lily and James are not going to make it. Judging from your summary, I'm guessing Remus goes down in James' place. So heartbreaking! I'm not sure if you're going to jump directly into the future or not, but I would be curious to see what it's like for Remus to live as James in the Potter house. That could be really interesting.

I think my only suggestion for this chapter pertains to the beginning. I guess I understood that Remus was pretending to be the mole and was alienated as a result, but I was less sure what he was doing in the meantime. If they didn't know who the mole was, and he became the outcast of the Order, who was he talking to? What was he doing in the werewolf community? A small amount of clarification on that matter might be helpful so that readers can ease into the story smoothly. And maybe I'm just forgetting something from canon that I'm supposed to already know.

Overall, this was an excellent first chapter, and I'm really curious to see what happens next!

- Sarah

Oh, P.S. Did you have any particular way of coming up with the name of the switching spell? I'm always curious about backstories for those, because oftentimes people have them but can never explain them in the story's text.

Author's Response: Oh wow! I wasn't expecting two reviews! I was thinking maybe one or something else like MTA questions or a profile bomb so getting two reviews is like super exciting! If smileys existed on here I would very much be inserting the super exited smiley with the big eyes. Anyway I love this review and coupled with the other it has like made my day!

I am so glad that everything fit. There is nothing I hate more sometimes than to have a story where it makes 0 sense why the characters are doing the thing they are doing. So for you to say it fits perfectly makes me really happy. Though, with your question about isolation and needing to fool another, the answer I believe will come in the 3rd chapter. While hiding there are still Order meetings and I don't think either James or Lily would want to entirely give up the fight either.

I have to say you deeply honor me with your compliments to Dumbledore! I do worry I get him wrong at times particularly now knowing that he's got some ulterior motives at times when it comes some of the things he does. Fortunately there wasn't too much that he had to push. (Also I'm glad you liked the lemon squares! It was a fun little touch I enjoyed adding.) As for Remus, you have made my heart swell with pride. Remus is my true HP joy. I feel like I have spent far too much thinking about him and what goes on in his life and how it was like for him. Though I suppose that comes with having RPed him and written him for over ten years now. So your most gracious compliments make me feel all squishy inside.

I am glad the switch translated well! You are right on Remus going down in James' place. It was something that wasn't easy to write in the later chapters. With that said I didn't jump ahead and while I know you've read chapter 2, chapter 3 we get to see Remus in James' shoes. It felt only right to show some of that and kind of help set up and remind people of canon a little bit before delving into the future too much and people going "wait what?" I think I do a fast forward of time in chapter 5 I think. I could be wrong it's one of those things that the story blurs together, I know the events that have happened but the breaks are less clear in my memory.

As for descriptions, you are not the only one who has mentioned that. Descriptions is a weak point on my writing and something I desperately need to work on. This of course includes going back and making said edits on this chapter but I kind of want to finish the story before I go back and make these edits because I can easily fall into an editing rut and never advance the story. So further edits aside from typos or simple grammar mistakes I'm kind of saving for once the story is complete. (At least that is the hope and game plan.)

With the switching spell, I invented it oh so so long ago. It is hard to say what I did. Usually what I do for spells I look at what the spell does and then search these key terms in a Latin dictionary (Google for the win here) and then combine bits and pieces of the words to make a new word that sounds good and appears pronounceable. What words I combined here I do not remember.

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Review #21, by long_live_luna_bellatrixJigsaw: Piece #11

29th December 2015:
Hi again!

I was a bit confused by the opening scene, to be honest. I couldn't tell why everyone rushed for the doors as soon as Griffths fell. I wondered if people thought she'd been taken down by Dark Magic or something-- that was the only reason I could see for everyone fleeing. I hate to say it, but I feel like sports crowds are pretty enthralled by bad injuries. Everyone has to stand up and try to see through the mess of doctors and wonder about what's wrong and all that. And then the people who support the injured player's team are moaning about the setback, and the people who are against that team are secretly a little pleased. And Quidditch is a dangerous sport, with Bludgers and all, so injuries have got to happen all that time. I understand that this was an injury of a different magnitude, but I find it hard to believe the game would just be over, and the fans would pour out. They'd paid money for their tickets, after all. I feel like the scene might have made more sense if there was some formal announcement over the loudspeakers about temporarily suspending the game, something to indicate that there will be a big enough delay for people to get bored and go home. That, or maybe everyone stays, but Roxanne is so upset that Louis decides to take her home and they're the only two that leave.

Moving on, though, I LOVED the brief mention of Tinsworth. For some reason I'm constantly curious about the odd intersection of Muggles of wizards-- there must be so many interesting hybrid moments, like the ones in the town you described, and I find them fascinating. I know I've written about a shop that caters to both Muggles and wizards before, and I really like your take on it too. Small moment, but an exciting one for me!

My hatred of Miranda is just so... complete. You've really made her into a piece of work. I squirm so much whenever she's talking, and when Roxanne finally got a small strike back at her, I was thrilled. I was a little surprised at Violet's role in that section of the story though. At times she seems to be totally separate from the Miranda/Roxanne tiffs, and just there for entertainment. At other times, though, she seems to be genuinely on Roxanne's side. I have trouble figuring out why she could be rooting for Roxanne while still sitting back and watching the poor girl get so much abuse. I can see how someone who is truly there listening just for the fun of it could possibly root for the underdog while still wanting to see all the drama, but I still just get this sense that she really is sympathetic of Rose in a way beyond wanting the underdog to win in a battle.

So, so excited to finally hear more about the Jane mystery. You've been stringing it out for so long! Not to mention, I'm ready to learn more about Fred too, and maybe some more progress with Daniel... I really applaud you for juggling so many plot threads at once. You've done an admirable job. Wasn't Fred involved in some illegal potion mention a couple chapters back? Could that be linked to the newer illegal potions mentioned in this chapter? Maybe this is all even more entangled than I ever thought...

Great job on this chapter, nothing new there! Gonna do my darndest to get more caught up!

Author's Response: Hello!

Again, an exceptionally good point :P I feel like sometimes I really need someone to sound all these plot points off before I start writing it, because you're the first reader/reviewer to even mention that. I think you're right in thinking that it's more normal for people to be craning to get a view of the scene, but I kind of imagined it as people panicking about what was happening since there was no reason for it to happen - it was a bit different than just an injury. I'll definitely review that and try and edit the reactions to make more sense when I get chance to go through this story again.

Tinsworth was really fun to write about! It wasn't something I'd really planned to include, but one of those details that came to me when I was writing. I always enjoy including them because I find those details so interesting, but I do worry that other people won't. Now I want to read your story too!

Miranda is just... ugh. I don't think I've ever created a character that I've disliked as much. She's a bit like Umbridge, I guess, and I would be lying if I said that she isn't partly inspired by someone I know, as well. I don't think Violet is really rooting for Roxanne, exactly - more that she does enjoy her entertainment from their tiffs, but at times sometimes she thinks that Miranda goes too far. She's in a position where she's not afraid of stepping in and saying something, but a lot of the time she chooses not to so that she can have an easier life.

Juggling all of the different plotlines is something I've actually been really worried about! When I first began the planning for the story, Jane was spending a year in Australia for some unknown reason, and half of the side-plots didn't exist in any form, so I'm glad that there's enough happening in the story to keep you interested and that it doesn't feel like something one-dimensional.

I've said this each time now, but I do genuinely mean it: thank you so much for supporting this story and leaving such thoughtful and detailed reviews. It means a lot to me that anyone would take the time to do that and it's so encouraging to think that someone's still reading and enjoying this. Thank you so, SO much for these fantastic reviews! ♥

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Review #22, by long_live_luna_bellatrixJigsaw: Piece #10

28th December 2015:
Aagh, sorry for being such an erratic reader. Would really like to make more of a dent in this story!

First off, maybe this is just an example of me being slow, but I feel like I'm only just beginning to appreciate how cool it is that this is a story about a murder mystery from a journalist's perspective. Don't laugh! I mean, obviously I know that that's what this is about. But it's just a unique place to be in for this kind of story. I've read plenty of detective novels before (I really really like this one set of companion novels by Tana French, I can't recommend them highly enough if you're into murder mysteries) but they're always from the point of view of the person assigned to solve the case. Here, we're getting it all from someone who also wants to solve the case, but who also is getting extremely little information from the actual people who know the case's details. You've done such a nice job with moving the story forward even though Roxanne is privy to so little on the murders. I'll chalk this "revelation" up to the fact that I'm returning to this story for the first time in two months.

I hate Miranda so much! At least villains are complex and interesting... she is just awful. (Not to say she's totally one dimensional! She's just, you know, a more minor but also more immediate foe than the real bad guys in the story) I was so mad when I read the line about her grabbing Roxanne's notes and then not letting Roxanne touch hers. You've really picked out some telling details to reveal her true colors.

I was intrigued about the moment where Roxanne mentioned that Miranda seemed disinterested in the case, and that such an attitude was out of character. For a moment I was confused, but then I thought: Okay, she must be putting on a show of disinterest for Roxanne, and trying to lead her on the wrong track, so that Miranda can pounce on some real information and keep it to herself in order to get all the glory. But then it was even worse than I expected when she got Roxanne thrown off the story! God, I was so upset.

I do find it a little strange that Miranda's the only one on both stories now, though. You'd think that now that the two biggest stories of the year are going full force, Higgins would at least replace Roxanne with someone else. I'd imagine he'd choose his true top writer and put him or her on it.

There was one image that was an unexpected and subtle bit of beautiful imagery: "as he folds his long limbs into his tall chair, I get the distinct impression of a spider curling up in its web."

I liked that you broke up the intenseness of the case and the dreadful surprise of Roxanne being thrown off the story with a more light-hearted Quidditch match. You wrote it really well, I was just about as on the edge of my seat as the characters. I liked how you wove in bits of backstory about the things, like the Cannons' one good player or the expectations for the game-- they all fit in fluidly with the actual action. And you even ended the chapter on a dramatic note that was unrelated to the main plot! You always seem to sneak something in there. ;) Well done.

I guess the real question now is what's going to happen to the case, in Roxanne's eyes, now that she's been formally removed from her role in it. I can only imagine, given that I'm not even halfway through the posted chapters, that she's going to get back in somehow-- and in a fashion that gets her right in the heat of things. Wouldn't want to read twenty chapters of her getting tiny snippets of information about nothing, would we? No, I feel like she's either going to get back on the story itself, by somehow ousting Miranda or getting a leg up from someone like Richard, or that she's going to find another way into the case. Something will happen with Daniel, maybe? That could be an interesting angle. That's kind of my hope, but, given that Roxanne is a journalist and a good deal of this story is invested in her journalistic career, my bet will be that she finds her way onto the story again. Can't wait to find out!

All in all, this was another great chapter, no surprise there. As always, the characters have been a joy; a good plot is one thing, and you definitely have that, but there's no way I would still be here if I weren't deeply invested in the characters as well. (Speaking of characters, still waiting to find out about Jane!!) Looking forward to digging even deeper into the story. I'll be back soon!

Author's Response: Ah, is it strange that I'm actually excited to be replying to this in a sort of reasonable time frame, since it's only a couple of days since you left it? :P

Ooh, I'll definitely have to check those books out - they sound really good, and I love a good detective story! I'm really pleased that you like the way that we get a very different perspective on this story with Roxanne being a journalist rather than a detective in the centre of the case; I've read a couple of stories and novels with private detectives and such who haven't been entirely privy to the police investigation, but none with a journalist trying to solve the mystery, so I'm glad that it seems unique but makes sense at the same time!

Miranda is really awful and horrible. She's seen Roxanne as a threat since she really joined the paper and hasn't let up in her campaign against her since then... but at the same time she's a very clever and shrewd woman and knows how to get what she wants from life, whether that's to date popular guys or, in this case, get Roxy thrown off the story.

That is actually a really good point. Ugh, I hate how many plot holes appear in this story without me even noticing them, but thank you so much for pointing them out!

This chapter was actually one I was really looking forward to writing when I planned out the story. Even though I've never written a Quidditch match before and I was nervous about writing it, the whole scene was fun to write and I liked including Louis and Dom here, and the little details about the match too.

Thank you so much for this wonderful review! I'm not sure if you realise how grateful I am or how fantastic a reviewer you really are, but thank you so much for supporting this story and taking the time to leave these reviews!

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Review #23, by long_live_luna_bellatrixJigsaw: Piece #9

17th October 2015:
Wow, I'm sorry for my abrupt disappearance. Here I am, reviewing your last chapter and saying that I really look forward to reading each new chapter of this and that I can't stop thinking about it and then... I disappear. Truly, it had nothing to do with the story. :P I just got slammed when I went back to school and kind of faded away for awhile. But I'm going to do my best to fade back in now. And the first thing I'm doing on my way back in is returning to Jigsaw!

So anyway, here I am again. I love Roxanne's continuing ambition right at the start of this chapter. That line that she's going to be the one to find the link between the murder and the disappearance was fantastic-- all confidence. I really like this girl!

Small typo, just so you're aware: "The only ones who’ll benefit financially from his death are a number of Muggle charities, and it’s unlikely that they were involved; he has *non* family to speak of."

I like the way this story is beginning to play with the boundaries of the definitions of both journalists and detectives, and keeping an eye on where they overlap. On the one hand, you have the media, a profession often viewed as biased and intrusive. Then you have this image of the detective, who's usually more respected and more intelligent. And here you have Roxanne, technically a journalist but toeing the line of detectives and mystery solving. I don't know how much of that is intentional or just a natural extension of Roxanne's characterization, but it could be a really neat tension for you to play around with more if you're not purposefully doing it already. The references to Roxanne reading mystery novels and enjoying solving them halfway through were what initially caught my eye.

Loved this moment: "I had to resist the urge to point out that Armstrong’s death is an even bigger mystery that still is nowhere near being solved, over a week after his body was found. He had been rather tipsy by that point, after all." Pretty typical, hilarious nerd moment, when the doctor is more excited by the mystery substance than the mystery death. Made me smile.

Hmm... Odd that Fred darts suspiciously into an apothecary moments after Roxanne muses about illegal potions. Coincidence...? Or incriminating...? Guess I'll have to wait and see.

I think you tackled the complexities of the conversation between Roxanne and Daniel really well. At first I was a little surprised that you thought Daniel would be willing to talk casually about the case at all to Roxanne, but you quickly made it clear that there were a couple lines he couldn't legally cross and that he was trying very hard to keep them in place. And you also did a nice job of invoking Roxanne's genuine curiosity in the case rather than some evil journalistic greed to land a scoop. If anything, all of that shows that there is some basic level of trust between the two of them, even if, professionally, they're limited to what they can discuss.

At the same time... Throughout Daniel and Roxanne's conversation, she does a lot of analyzing. Most of it seems to be either analyzing his physical movements or expressions and then interpreting (which shows us how well she knows him) or otherwise she's worrying about and overanalyzing everything either of them does in order to try and see where their relationship stands. I totally get that Roxanne must know Daniel well, and I totally get that anyone in her situation would do the same amount of overthinking and overworrying. But at the same time... As a reader, I began to wish there was a little less analysis, just so that I could try and interpret some of the things on my own. It seemed like every single time either character opened their mouths, Roxanne was thinking about something and we heard about it. I wonder what would happen if, from time to time, you just gave us two to three lines of dialogue without any added inner monologue, and let the reader run with it. Just a thought. And I'm sorry that this semi-contradicts what I just said in the previous paragraph. :P I'd be happy to talk about in more detail if you ever want to, or if I notice it again in later chapters.

That said, the two dramatic endings in quick succession worked really well. The interruption from Paul Jordan was really well done, such a quick change in pace that really got things moving. And then the real chapter ending, well, of course that's exciting too. And I'm thrilled that Richard called Roxanne personally, instead of just waiting for Miranda. Neat!

Anyway, I hope this is the start of a much more regular bout of reading and reviewing, and of more regular time spent on hpff in general. Looking forward to the next chapter. Great job with this one!

Author's Response: Honestly, you have nothing to apologise for ♥ I know exactly what it's like when uni gets on top of me, and my updates haven't exactly been consistent lately either, nor have my responses to these reviews. Thank you for coming back to this story, nevertheless!

I think that Roxanne is definitely starting to become more confident in this story - she's often so doubting and unsure of her talent, but the opportunities she's had so far are giving her some belief in what she can do. It's really fun to write about.

There's a lot of things to play around with when it comes to the distinctions between journalists and detectives, and I'm aware that I'm kind of reversing the traditional roles a little bit here with this story, which is fun to do. I think there's definitely some sort of overlap between them and it's fun to play around with - I'm not sure how much more I really go into it, to be honest, but it's cool that you noticed something I've been playing with a bit!

As for Fred, well, I couldn't possibly comment...

I think for Daniel, it's kind of strange because up till now he's had Roxanne there and been able to talk to her about the cases that are going on if he needs to. A lot of the time he wouldn't reveal so many details but she's aware of a lot of things already, so it's quite easy for them to slip into that routine again which they're so familiar with; there are lines he can't cross though. I think he knows Roxy well enough to trust that she's not going to write about it for the paper, but it's still a difficult conversation at times.

No, that's completely valid and I'm seriously so grateful for the CC here! I'm always really aware that I can improve as a writer (because nobody's perfect and I'm very far from it), and this extended narrative is something I'm not really used to keeping up for a novel-length story. The fact that there's too much analysis on Roxy's part makes a lot of sense to me, and I can understand how that would be frustrating as a reader because I'm telling you far too much. In the more recent chapters I've written, I've definitely tried to pare that down and be a little more concise (I'm aware that I have a very verbose style :P) so hopefully that works, but thank you so much for those comments because I'd never even have noticed if you hadn't pointed it out. If you get to the more recent chapters and think that there's still too much analysis I'd really appreciate you telling me so I can work on it more! ;)

I'm glad that the two dramatic endings in quick succession worked! I always worry about whether it seems like too much, especially when I use multiple cliffhangers in a row, but I'm glad it worked here.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed reviews on this story - they're really so fantastic!

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Review #24, by long_live_luna_bellatrixJigsaw: Piece #8

30th August 2015:
Back for Piece #8! Also, congrats on your latest update, it's always satisfying to be able to post a new chapter. My goal is to be able to get to the point where I can be the one to leave the first review on a new chapter-- we'll see how I do, depending on your writing speed and my reading speed, but there you have it ;)

You continue to do such a nice job with your portrait of the life of a journalist. I'm not a professional journalist or anything, so I can't exactly critique you on that, but I do continue to enjoy the little details you tack onto various parts of Roxanne's job. When you mentioned the reactions of Upton's friends to her digging, I really felt like I understood her predicament. And when you described Roxanne churning out an article even though it had no new information and was pressing a point that she didn't really believe in, I felt like I got a little bit of a look into the way that the media can push things out of proportion.

A pretty minor point-- when Roxanne is talking to her dad about his business, part of the dialogue was oddly repetitive. First, he mentions something about Bonfire Night then jumps to Skiving Snackboxes, but then a moment later, he jumps back to Bonfire Night as if he hadn't already mentioned it. I don't know if that's just something that popped up because you wrote the conversation in more than just one sitting, but as a reader, it feels a little disjointed.

Overall, I think you handled the family scene very well. That moment when George intervened, with the comment about how important family is, was a really poignant one. That said, I am a little confused by Fred's behavior. It seems very... blunt? I guess I'm surprised at how hostile he's being in a family setting. I'd imagine him to be a little more polite, for the family's sake-- for instance, being curt but not silent with Roxanne, and then, maybe when the parents leave the room, that's when he gets super surly and uncooperative. But I'm not exactly an expert on family feuds, and I still enjoyed reading it, so I guess I'm split.

I was SO nervous that Miranda had gotten to start covering Roxanne's story! And even now, as I assume the two disappearances truly are connected, I'm nervous that they're going to be competing for a single slot on a story. I'm also incredibly curious that you brought up blood status again... Either something very nasty is going on with these disappearances, or you're leading us in the wrong direction on purpose. :P

And WHAT is going on with that final scene? Gah, just when I think I'm on top of everything, you pop something else in. My first guess is that it has something to do with how odd Jane has been acting, and that Jane could be the young women in question. But that's pretty much a shot in the dark.

As always, I feel like I only have good things to say about your writing. Reading this story has been part of me slowly involving myself back in hpff after being pretty absent for awhile, and for the moment this is the only story on the site that I'm reading... Earlier today I found myself thinking, Gosh, I really can't wait to go and read the next chapter of Jigsaw! I'm honestly treating it like any physical book I'm reading, with me really looking forward to coming back to continue getting know the characters. So you should definitely know that you're doing something right here.

Author's Response: Ah, that would be wonderful! There are about seven chapters left to post, I think, and I had aimed to have the whole story completed by now, but life got in the way so it may take another few months for me to finish...

I'm not a professional journalist either - and I've never even studied it or anything - but I'm glad that it seems believable and you like the way that I'm portraying Roxanne's work as a journalist. There are certainly quite a lot of moral predicaments involved in journalism, I think, and she's facing those more and more now she's reporting on a story that isn't just a minor, insignificant piece.

Again, thank you so much for pointing that out! This whole story needs editing, I'm sure, particularly these chapters as I didn't take as much time on them before posting as the first couple, and when I get chance to go through these reviews are going to help me so much on pinpointing the parts I can improve. I'll be honest and say I hadn't even realised it jumped around like that, so I'll definitely try and change that.

I imagine Fred as quite a stubborn character, and even though his behaviour might seem a little surprising, I think he's in one of those moods where even his parents' influence can't really temper his attitude towards his sister. That sort of thing definitely happens in my family (though not usually with a family feud, luckily!) so I'm hoping it's not completely unrealistic. I will definitely have a look at that aspect too, though, because I really want people to be able to relate to this and for it to make sense.

I couldn't possibly say whether or not the blood status is something you should take note of, could I? That would be giving far too many things away... ;)

Thank you so much! Honestly, I can't tell you how much your lovely reviews mean to me, even though I've been so terrible replying to them. It's making me so excited that you want to keep reading this story and I hope you keep enjoying it. Thank you again!

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Review #25, by long_live_luna_bellatrixto the end of time: New Friends

28th August 2015:
Hi! I'm here for the BvB tag!

I enjoyed the way you opened the chapter. I thought it was amusing how you portrayed the whole Great Hall being really attentive to the Sorting Hat's song, with the first years only feeling half-hearted about it. To me, that really indicated how nervous Parvarti was about the whole thing-- understandably.

You also did a nice job of getting into Parvarti's nerves about her and Padma getting split up. It wasn't something I had considered before-- what it would feel like to be Sorted into a different house than your twin-- but you reminded me of how scary that could be. I would have loved even more detail about Parvarti and Padma during that section; a little more background information on their relationship would have been nice. For instance, are they the kind of sisters who stay up late whispering to each other at night? Or the kind that silently have each other's back? Do they consider themselves extremely similar, or not? That last question in particular could have been handy to explore when Parvarti was wondering how they'd be Sorted. Maybe she assumed they'd be together because they were so similar, or maybe she was freaking out because she knew just how different their personalities were.

However, I can understand if you want to keep the emphasis off Padma given that the story is about Parvarti and Lavender, which brings me to my next point. I also would have loved to see a little bit more of Lavender before the chapter ended, especially if you prefer to not delve too deep into Padma and Parvarti's relationship. How about more details on what Lavender looked like? Or how she was acting? Was she oozing confidence or was she quietly enthusiastic? Did she look at ease or was she still soaking in her new surroundings? I would have been very content to read more about her-- anything you think it's worth knowing. :)

My finally suggestion is a little less specific... When I clicked on your author page, I noticed that this was a short story collection. So I figured I would try and read your most recent chapter, since it has so few reviews compared to the first chapter, and I thought that since this was a short story collection it wouldn't matter. But when I started reading I still felt like I was in the middle of the story. So I came back here. I suppose this isn't really a suggestion so much as an observation... Obviously it totally works to have a short story collection that is meant to be read chronologically. But it might be cool, especially if you'd like more feedback on later chapters, if you revisited some of those chapters and revised them so that they could stand alone more. Like I said, this is totally not a necessity, but it could be something to keep in mind. And maybe I'm the only one who would ever have wanted to read it out of order. But I figured I'd mention it.

Anyway, overall, this was a sweet first chapter. First years are so adorable, especially on their first day of term, and i loved seeing how you envisioned Lavender and Parvarti becoming friends by Lavender comforting Parvarti after the Sorting. You did a great job describing Parvarti's feelings, and also capturing Lavender's warmth. Lovely job!


Author's Response: Hi! Thanks for the review!

This chapter was actually extremely difficult for me to write. I think I wrote the fourth and fifth chapter first and then came back to this because I had no clue how to describe their Sorting since we really never got to see one in the book. There definitely could have been more about Padma and Parvati, but since this is mostly about Lavender and Parvati, their relationship gets explained in later chapters.

I even almost forgot to include Lavender in this chapter by the time I got down to the bottom, so she definitely could have been included more. But I figured with Parvati so focused on Padma and the Sorting, a brief glimpse of Lavender felt right for her focus.

Originally, this story was supposed to be much shorter and be little snapshots of the relationship, but once they left Hogwarts, it all began to read more like a connected story. I could switch it, but a short story collection seems like a better fit than a short story or trying to make teh chapters stand alone more. But thank you for pointing it out, I'll definitely keep it in mind if I do revisions in the future.

Thanks again for the wonderful review!


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