Reading Reviews From Member: Alopex
751 Reviews Found

Review #1, by AlopexOvercoming Obstacles. : Overcoming Obstacles.

6th April 2013:
This was a really touching story for me. Neville has always been one of my favorite characters. Your story actually reminded me a little of one of mine, though not because the plots were similar at all. Just because they are both stories related to death that feature Hannah.

Anyway. I think that was a good choice, choosing to have Hannah be the narrator. That allowed you to focus on her reactions and the children as well, without having to go into a lot of detail regarding how Neville was dealing with it all. I imagine it might be a somewhat complex time for him, and showing that through Hannah's eyes meant you didn't have to focus on it to make the story seem truly believable, if that makes sense.

The story overall was quite touching. It was well written and flowed well. More importantly, I believe you managed to make intense emotions come alive on the page without resorting to sentimentality. That can be a difficult feat to achieve.

Well done. I'm impressed.

Author's Response: Oh wow, thank you! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :)

Yeah, I don't really know why I chose Hannah to be the narrator to be honest, but it just seemed like it fit really well. I knew she would have been very upset if Neville's parents died, but I think your absolutely right about Neville being more upset and really only being able to focus on that. I think you got why I wrote Hannah narrating this better than I did :P

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. I'm really happy you liked it :)


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Review #2, by AlopexIn My Dying Breath: In My Dying Breath

6th April 2013:
I'm pretty sure you qualify as someone who joined Gryffindor before 2012. :P

I enjoyed this piece overall. I liked the way you came up with extra memories for Snape to relive. They seemed to align with the actual canon memories, but weren't just rehashing them. It's nice to come up with original things within the existing framework. I especially enjoyed the film strip memory.

I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of flashbacks, and I can hardly ever resist complaining about them (or at least bringing them up) when I come across them. I find that they are almost always clumsily done. It is difficult to lead into them without announcing them abruptly, but if you don't announce them, the change is still abrupt.

You did have a rather abrupt lead-in, but the context made sense. It wasn't some random memory stuck in there to explain some drunken escapade or what have you. Also, since much of the chapter consisted of the flashbacks, that improved the flow as opposed to just having short ones sprinkled here and there. I think that means I can't complain too much about the flashbacks, haha.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. Nice work. :-) It's cool to see you writing some.

Author's Response: Hey Alo,

I'm glad you thought the memories I created fit in well with the canon memories. I did try to keep this story as canon as possible so hopefully that was successful. I'm sorry you don't like flashbacks in stories. I actually really enjoy them because the history of a character can reveal a lot about their current mental state and personality. I agree the first jump to the flashbacks is a bit abrupt, though I thought it was still fitting for the story since I wanted to bring across the instant connection between Snape's current thoughts and jumping into memories of Lily. I was going for the 'life is flashing before your eyes' idea, but that might not have come across quite as clearly as I had hoped. Thank you for taking the time to review!


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Review #3, by AlopexBetween Us Girls: Between Us Girls

5th April 2013:
Awww, this was super cute! I like how you had a mixture of kid stuff (as viewed through the parents' eyes) and adult stuff (since Hermione was the narrator, after all). It rang true, as far as I could tell, which I'm sure is largely due to the fact that you are a parent yourself.

I figured from the beginning that this story was going to have Scorpius in it, but then I changed my mind partway due to Hermione's assumptions. That would have been an interesting, unique approach to take, actually. However, who can give up the potential tension and messiness of Ron discovering his daughter has a crush on a Malfoy? :P From the outside, it's fun to imagine observing, which no doubt is one reason so many people write about it.

I liked the approach you took here as well, having Rose be so young still. That gives the story a different flavor than if the kids are older, like on the Hogwarts Express for the first time, or teenagers, even. It made the story seem more cute.

Nicely written. I enjoyed this story. :-)

Author's Response:


Gosh, this was written quite a while ago. I still have a teensy bit of editing to do on this that I have totally forgotten about. Thanks for the reminder. :)

Yes, who can resist the mess? I couldn't. Life is messy, after all. But I liked playing around with Hermione's assumptions. She'd be the type who would decide that her first assumptions were right until proven wrong.

I needed the kids to be younger for this to work the way I wanted it to. There's an innocent enthusiasm that kids this age have that goes away too quickly. I wanted to capture some of that.

Thanks so much for the review! :)

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Review #4, by AlopexFind the Words to Explain: Find the Words to Explain

4th April 2013:
Hi there. I don't think I have ever reviewed one of your stories before. Anyway, I chose this one partly because it is a one shot but partly because I find the Dursleys rather interesting. My first story I posted here was about Petunia and Vernon, actually. I hardly ever read about them, though. Maybe they're not written much? Anyway, I have often wondered what it would be like if Dudley had a magical child.

Now I know! I really enjoyed this story. First off, I thought you did a good job with the characterization of Kaden. He did come across as eleven to me. His sullen attitude at times, the way he reacted to things, the teasing with his sister . . . it all seemed to fit.

Dudley was well characterized as well. I very much believe him still caring so much about what his parents think. Vernon does have a rather forceful personality, after all, and I think most/all of us do care what our parents think. It was sort of lousy that it took so much convincing from his wife before he was willing to tell his parents, but at least he stuck with it and was firm once the news was finally shared.

Vernon and Petunia's reactions also seemed in character. Plus, I got a kick out of Vernon going on and on about Smelting's.

Lastly, I have to appreciate the cameo appearance by Neville! :D

Quick question: I haven't read your next gen stories, so I was wondering if Kaden appears in them?

Author's Response: Alo! Hi! Thanks so much for reading and leaving such a lovely review!

The Dursleys are so interesting! I loved all the extra info on Pottermore about them, although I wrote this long before Pottermore existed. Oo, I'll have to check out your Petunia and Vernon story. I don't think they're written much, either. I've rarely seen them in the queue. There are a few others where Dudley has a magical child, though.

Kaden is one of my favorite characters to write, just because he's so exuberant. That comes out a bit more in my other stories. I'm glad you liked his characterization!

Dudley, Vernon, and Petunia were all really fun to write. I can't imagine Dudley being as bad as his father, but I think Vernon's influence is still there, as is the desire to please him. After all, I doubt Vernon and Petunia ever stopped trying to influence every aspect of Dudley's life.

Neville is awesome, so I had to add him in! Kaden is in all but one of my next gen fics. This fic was a spin-off of Albus Potter and the Tracks They Left Behind, and Kaden appears in all the fics except Albus Potter and the Secrets Within (as he is one year behind Albus).

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Review #5, by AlopexFlames of Calamity: Brave.

3rd April 2013:
I chose this story for several reasons. First, you're a prefect and you were online, and I'm participating in a Gryffindor game that requires reviewing a prefect. :P Secondly, it was a one-shot. Thirdly, it was relatively short. Then two more reasons clinched it. This was your 50th story posted, which makes my jaw drop in total awe. Also, it was from the House Cup. I read a bunch of these over the summer . . . mostly Ravenclaw, I guess. Anyway, I always do like to support the House Cup stuff. ;-)

Well, that was chatter and not real reviewing. On to the story! I thought you did an excellent job of incorporating all the prompts! A lot of them were kind of tricky to work in (which was on purpose :P ), and a lot of people struggled. Some, however, did it quite smoothly, and you were definitely one of those. The paragraph with the wand information did seem a little choppy or out of flow with the rest of the chapter, but overall you did great.

I also was touched by Susan's growth or at least courage during the battle. Of course, that was a theme of the task, if I'm not mistaken, because I remember it coming up in a lot of the stories I read. However, it seemed rather convincing, rather than cheesy.

I also enjoyed how you kept tucking canon characters into the chapter. Those mentions are nice in fanfiction, because they serve as a reference point of sorts, at least for me.

Anyway, I enjoyed this story. I would have found it well-written either way, but the fact that you met the prompts so well (and that it was your 50th) makes it all the more impressive. :-)

Author's Response: AH!! Thanks so much for that, Alo! I really can't tell you how much that all meant to me.

Thanks SO much for stopping by! I'm glad this story caught your attention!! And then I'm glad that you found it fairly smooth. It really was pretty difficult to get it all worked in, and eh, I figured there was no way I could get it ALL in there without it being a little rough. :P But thank you! Really, that does settle some nerves I had about it.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for mentioning the things you did! Such as the canon characters. I find it kind of hard to predict just what everyone else would have been doing during the battle, so input like yours is great and inspiring to hear!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! :D

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Review #6, by AlopexFreshly Mown Grass: Freshly Mown Grass

3rd April 2013:
Hahaha, oh my goodness, I loved the exchange at the end between Ginny and Hermione! That was hilarious. The way the twins teased Ron was pretty funny too, and it seemed like such an accurate older sibling infuriating thing to do! Also, I can bet just how impressed Ron was with his mother's argument about character building. All the exchanges and dialogue seemed so realistic and/or funny.

Somehow, I feel like the story might have been even better if Ron had been using one of those old rotary mowers. On the other hand, with Arthur Weasley around tinkering in his shed, of course he's got to play with a lawnmower sooner or later.

I've seen this story recommended many times, but I've never read it myself (as you know, by now I am ridiculously behind on reading your stories and everyone's stories, really). I'm glad I finally did! It definitely is a cute and fun story . . . short and sweet, as the saying goes.

Author's Response: Yay it's so nice to see a review from you! This really made my day. I'm sorry it took me a while to respond, I've not been assiduous about it this last week. Ah poor Ron, he gets teased a lot. And so does Hermione ;) And of course he doesn't believe in the character-building thing at all haha

I thought about that, using an old rotary mower, but I decided against it because (1) I thought Arthur was likely to have an old motor one that he couldn't get working and required charms instead of actual petrol, and (2) I couldn't remember what they were called. XD I imagine Arthur couldn't resist picking up an old broken mower out of the trash and tinkering with it. He does own a car, so I thought a mower wasn't outside the range of possibilities.

It is a very short story, but it was fun to do one this short after writing Rose novels sort of back-to-back for the past few years. Thank you so much for reviewing, I'm really glad you got a chance to check this one out!

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Review #7, by AlopexIn The Black: Joining Up

18th January 2013:
I think this is the last review for tonight. I'll continue later on.

I have one itsy bitsy nitpick (you may have noticed by now that sometimes I fixate on tiny things :P ). The note Dumbledore sent was addressed to Sirius, which surprised me a tiny bit considering that he had addressed him as Mr. Black in the previous chapter. The professors also seem to refer to students by their last names most of the time in the books, though there are some exceptions.

Anyway. I like how this chapter continues developing information that is relevant to the outside world, as well as to the lives of your characters post-Hogwarts. I know I've said similar stuff already, so I won't keep discussing it.

I wonder if Lily is going to be involved with it all soon as well?

Speaking of Lily, I'm actually glad that she wasn't present in this chapter. I know I remarked before that you were doing a good job of incorporating her into the circle of friends. However, I am also enjoying that she still sits with her own friends at the Gryffindor table sometimes, and that the Marauders + Beth still have their own little meetings and activities and such without her.

I think it was also a good call that Severus wasn't present either. Sure, the Snape/Beth romance angle has to be advanced somehow, but you had a couple of chapters that did quite a bit of that. Now you are turning the focus elsewhere and advancing something else for a little while. No doubt Severus will be back soon. :P Changing the focus around is a decent way to slow the story down, develop multiple angles, and build up to them all fitting together in different ways down the road.

Author's Response: I have never noticed that Dumbledore addressed Sirius as 'Sirius' in that letter -- and I have no idea why I would have written something like that in the first place. :P Thank you for being astute enough to point it out!

When I started writing this, I was a bit worried about getting in enough of the information about the world outside of Hogwarts, the war and all that -- because it did affect the students, and it's not something I've seen in a lot of Marauder fic. So the fact that you're commenting on it and noticing its development is actually a relief on my end! :) And it's the same, I think, with Lily, the feeling of relief after seeing that your impression of her was kind of what I was wanting to get across. It's another common theme in Marauders stories that I sort of wanted to omit. There seem to be a lot of those, I've come to find in responding to reviews!

Severus will definitely be back soon, but he does need a break every once in a while, as it were. :P I'm looking forward to seeing your opinions of him when he next crops up! Thank you, as always, for your lovely Christmas reviews. I'm glad you took the time to read such a significant amount of this story for me!

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Review #8, by AlopexIn The Black: A Chance Meeting

18th January 2013:
Wow! Amazing chapter! This is the first time we've heard from Sirius, if I'm not mistaken. I really enjoyed that. As with James, Sirius is a character I usually don't greatly care for in fanfiction (let's face it: I usually only care for Remus, and not always). However, this was an interesting portrayal.

First of all, I liked to see that he was experiencing some consequences from his horrible, misguided prank. He's a bit alienated from his friends right now and feeling sorry for himself, and that seemed realistic. Also, sneaking about with mice in his pocket to set loose in the girls' bathroom . . . immature prank, which is typical but you didn't belabor it.

At the same time, it is obvious that he's trying to grow up a bit, despite his immaturity. Yeah, I'm sure Dumbledore just got "lost" and all. :P That seemed like the perfect Dumbledorish encounter, though! I was impressed by the scene and interaction between him and Sirius. Also, it served to advance the plot in the outside world. I'm glad that you are keeping sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes it is so easy to forget what is happening outside the walls of Hogwarts and focus only on the little details of the characters' lives.

I'm working a bit backward here, but I just wanted to talk about the Sirius POV section first. I also enjoyed the Snape POV section. I can't resist pointing out that he was involved in a near-collision for the second time in this story so far. :P However, the conversation he had with Lily was really interesting.

I remarked on the previous chapter that I liked Lily trying to warn Beth, and this seemed like a logical progression. I think the scene showed that Lily still has some positive feelings/memories toward Severus, even though she doesn't have illusions about him anymore, really. She's leaving the door open for him to do the "right thing," I guess.

I'm now starting to ramble around without really knowing what I'm saying anymore. At any rate, I found this to be an excellent chapter, definitely one of the best so far.

Author's Response: I'm so glad that you enjoyed this! And yes, this is the first time that we see at least part of a chapter from Sirius's perspective. It's not the last, either; he ended up being a rather integral part of this story, more than I think I expected!

I thought it was important to show the sort of realism of the prank-pulling. When you think about it, you would be really pretty mad if one of your friends did the same thing, and so often in fan fiction things like this are blown over. I don't quite know where the idea for mice came from, of course. :P But he does want to be taken seriously, despite the fact that he has a penchant for the immature, and I think Dumbledore can see that in him. For all the times J.K. Rowling mentioned his eyes as being like x-rays, I figure he must have been able to see straight to the heart of people, and especially people like Sirius, who truly do wear their hearts on their sleeves.

And speaking of Dumbledore, it is absolutely fantastic that you thought that scene was, well, Dumbledore-ish! He is a bit tricky to write sometimes -- he has such a distinctive voice -- and reviews like yours make me think I'm getting it right. :)

I mentioned this, I think, in a response to another review on this chapter, but regarding Lily, I almost think that at this point she would have been jealous of Snape turning his attentions to someone else. You know? She's a smart girl; she couldn't have been totally oblivious to the fact that Severus paid some attention to her. If he was moving onto Beth, it really might make her feel... I don't know the word for it. Insecure? Envious? I hope I'm making sense.

I'm seriously so happy you enjoyed this chapter, Alo! Thank you, as always, for such wonderful reviews. ♥ I'm grateful for them!!

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Review #9, by AlopexIn The Black: The Letter

18th January 2013:
Ok, I am finally getting to the final batch of the Secret Santa reviews. Sorry it took me a bit longer than planned . . . the whole PMing back and forth to find out how you wanted your round two "coupon" redeemed dragged out longer than I had anticipated and ate up the gap of time I was planning to use. Since you know who I am now, there's not much point in doing them anonymously. :P

Anyway, typo first: You wrote "friends of him" instead of "friends of his" when mentioning Severus's friends.

I totally have to agree with Sirius about the postal service. Even though the owl post makes JKR's wizarding world unique, I've never been a big fan, personally. I know some people have birds that they dearly love, but I happen to find birds messy and disgusting. They often have little mites, and they poop everywhere. I don't want a bird flying over my breakfast, thank you very much.

Rant over.

I guess this sort of serves as a continuation of the previous chapter, where we are beginning to see Beth and Severus interact more. I like that you have allowed this to come about slowly, but now that it's chapter 11, we can see some progression. Obviously, the fact that they now have a shared secret for the time being also brings them together.

The owl mix-up was pretty obvious from the moment Beth saw an owl she thought was hers at first, and I'm always suspicious of coincidences. :P However, I'm not going to complain about it seeming unrealistic because you worked hard to make it all sound plausible rather than just expecting readers to swallow unexplained coincidence.

I liked that you had Lily try to warn Beth about Severus. That was a good touch.

That's all I have to say for the moment. On to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Oh, no apologies are necessary! I'm afraid that I'm actually a little behind in responding to reviews -- they piled on quite before I knew what to expect -- so I actually owe YOU an apology. I'm really glad you came back here at all! And I'll start out by thanking you, as always, for catching typos; no matter how many times I read over my old chapters, there always seem to be things I miss.

Using owls for the postage service has ALWAYS bugged me, for the exact reasons you point out -- when you get to thinking about it, it's so gross! I think that's probably why that bit's in there at all, really. A bit of the author leaking into the characters, as it were. (And now I'm just imagining everything that could be nasty that could happen as far as they're concerned... ugh.)

I definitely didn't want to rush Severus into any sort of romantic relationship, mostly because... that's really not him, you know? So I'm really glad that you seem to appreciate that. :) The owl mix-up was never intended to be anything less than a lead-in to something bigger, either, so your being suspicious of coincidences was probably a good thing in this case! I'm glad that it seemed realistic to you anyway, because that is something I definitely try and put in all my writing.

Thank you so much for such a nice review! ♥ And again, sorry it's taken so long to respond. Looking forward to responding to your other reviews, too!

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Review #10, by AlopexRecipe for Disaster: A Recipe for Disaster

18th January 2013:
Wow! This is exactly the sort of thing I hoped my challenge would produce! If you had finished it at the time, it definitely would have been prize-worthy. This was a delightfully funny, endearing story.

I love that you chose two unexpected (for me) characters. I really enjoy more unusual characters myself for writing, and I was hoping someone would pick someone unusual for the challenge--I even made suggestions in my opening post, as far as I remember. :P Anyway, nice choice using Dumbledore and Dobby together. Either one alone could have been amusing, but together, they complemented one another nicely.

Dobby already is a little goofy and comical all on his own. Dumbledore can sometimes be very stern and competent, but he definitely has something of a silly, childish streak that comes out sometimes. I can just imagine him wandering down to the kitchens to try out this extraordinary experiment, and then Dobby is intrigued and bold enough to join in.

Naturally, Minerva was the perfect choice to serve as a contrast to the situation. I got a kick out of the way she automatically assumed it was the twins (nice way to get them an almost-cameo, by the way :P ) causing the problems, but then couldn't deliver her blistering lecture as planned.

You know what I was thinking when I read about the oozing, sticky pots, and then later after the explosion? Thank goodness they have magic to clean that up! I suppose the poor house elves may have to contribute a bit of elbow grease, but imagine cleaning that up without magic! What a nightmare.

I loved the last line, by the way, about Minerva deciding to Owl in sick. Haha.

I did spot one typo: "trialed off" instead of "trailed off."

Author's Response: Thank you! I was hoping you would like it! I wish my muse would have cooperated and got it done on time, but oh well. At least I finally finished it, and you liked it. That’s better than any prize. :D

I know I tend to be rather predictable in who I choose to write for, so every once in a while I like to try and surprise people by picking unique characters to write for. Very glad it worked here! Writing Dobby and Dumbledore was surprisingly easy…McGonagall, she turned out to be rather hard. I’ve always kinda felt that Dumbledore had a soft spot for Dobby, considering he let him stay at Hogwarts and humored his wanting to be paid. I just thought they might make a good pair.

I love Dumbledore’s goofy side. I feel bad that we got less of that as the books got more serious, although I suppose that’s rightly so. But his little quirks are one of the things I loved most about this magical world JKR created for us. And school where the headmaster was willing to cancel final exams as a treat, and where students could encounter three-headed dogs and have it marked up to receiving a complete education.

You caught my twin almost-cameo. I just can’t seem to help myself, LOL. And it was a really good lecture she had ready! So good, I might have to let her save it and actually use it in some other story. Hehehehe.

Yes, magic, so nice to clean up. Although, knowing Dumbledore, he might insist on cleaning it up the Muggle way, just to complete the experience…

And thank you for the spot on the typo! I will get that fixed. This is what happens when you don’t run things by your beta before you post.

Thanks again for giving me the idea, and for such a wonderful review!

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Review #11, by AlopexPerfect: That is Me.: Perfect: That Is Me.

24th December 2012:
I chose this story because it has fewer reviews than most/all of the others on your page and also because it's been podcasted. Seeing as this is an HPPC gift exchange, it seemed appropriate. So I am actually listening to the podcast and reading along at the same time.

One thing I noticed: Typo in "Unblemishing Charm" (you left out the N).

Well, the male character is pretty obviously Draco, so I'm going to have to guess that the female character is Pansy. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about her characterization. This level of vanity and self-centeredness is pretty extreme. She's also pretty convinced everyone else notices how beautiful and perfect she is.

I don't really think this is how other people would necessarily see her. However, I can buy that she'd see herself this way. Also, I definitely think she'd be pretty annoyed by Draco not paying her enough attention. :P And honestly, he really didn't have enough free time that year to have a social life, so I can totally understand her refusing to put up with it (even if she is a bit of a . . . well, you know).

I'm also glad I listened to this as a podcast rather than just reading through it. If I had only been reading, I don't know if I would have been able to get past how off-putting Pansy was. In the podcast, though, you were able to really show her attitude, which made it more believable (if that's the right word, which it isn't quite).

Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing!

I am glad you listened to the podcast too while reading this story, thanks :)

Oh I did? Thanks for pointing out that typo.

You guessed it all right :) My aim in this fic was to show how Pansy saw herself, not how others see her, which is why she is convinced that she is so awesome and perfect, lol.

Haha I totally get that yeah.

I am glad you liked this overall and the podcast made it more believable of sorts for you. Thanks!

{and I am sorry I am so slow in responding to all your reviews, my sincere apologies!}

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Review #12, by AlopexThe Three Generations: Sorting Ceremony: Scorpius Malfoy

24th December 2012:
Aw, that was cute. Maybe it was because Scorpius seemed a lot more uncertain than either his mother or grandmother did in their sorting stories, so I just wanted to hug him and comfort him. The scene on the platform reminded me strongly of the epilogue scene between Harry and Albus. Like Albus (and countless other kids, I'm sure), Scorpius was worried about which house he'd be put in, and then his parent reassures him with some surprise news about her own sorting.

Draco I think only had two lines, but you did well with it. I'm not talking about the dialogue itself, although it was just fine. Just the way you described his behavior seemed in character with the way I imagine him. He's not all that affectionate, but I think he's trying to be a good dad.

I do have one little math and/or typo bone to pick with you, though. :P In the first sentence, you mostly use numbers to write out Platform 9 and 3/4. However, you also stick the word "quarters" in there, so it's Platform 9 and 3/4 quarters. Technically, 3/4 quarters is 3/16. :P Of course, this is a pretty minor detail.

Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing!

Aw, 11-year-old Scorp is definitely cute, and I loved writing him, so glad you liked him here!

I was worried about how to go about writing Draco, even in the little bit he had in the story, so its good that he seemed in character to you.

Lol, I didn't realise that typo! Thanks for pointing it out! I'll edit it :)

Thanks again!

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Review #13, by AlopexThe Three Generations: Sorting Ceremony: Astoria Greengrass

24th December 2012:
I too typically assume that Astoria was probably in Slytherin, but since she's essentially a blank slate, authors are free to to what they like with her, as you have done here. By the time the end of the story rolled around, I was not surprised that the Sorting Hat put her in Hufflepuff. Even though this chapter was also quite short, you did manage to infuse it with a sense of Astoria's personality. She just didn't feel like a Slytherin, and Hufflepuff did seem like the best fit the way you chose to portray her here.

I do have to admit that I am not the hugest fan of the boat scene, where Astoria helps the other girl. The scene served its purpose, being an obvious way of showing Astoria's non-Slytherin tendencies. It just didn't seem to flow as naturally as I would have liked. I think that's partly due to the length of the chapter. The focus was on the sorting, not the boat, so developing the scene to a larger extent would have been distracting. At the same time, it takes up enough of the chapter that it's not just a passing thing. I don't know if that makes sense. :P

Something I find interesting is that you chose Astoria instead of Draco for the middle generation of this collection. However, I do think you made the more interesting choice. I suppose it might be interesting to know more about Draco's sorting, but I think writing about him is more limiting (since we know more about him). I also suspect it would have been easy or tempting to sort of echo Narcissa's sorting, in a way, if you had decided to write about Draco.

Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing!

I wanted to try something different for her, definitely not Slytherin, so I wrote this. I am glad that within the short chapter you could see her fit into Hufflepuff.

Hmm, I wasn't sure how to fit it in the flow, I did try my best, but I'll see what more I can do about it. As you said, after all, the focus was the sorting and not developing other scenes largely. It definitely makes sense xP

I did think about writing Draco, but then as you said it would have been quite limiting. Plus, I wanted to explore Astoria :)


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Review #14, by AlopexThe Three Generations: Sorting Ceremony: Narcissa Black

24th December 2012:
Hi, Aditi! Alopex here with your HPPC Secret Santa reviews! I just hope you are sleeping in your part of the world, rather than obsessively checking reviews, so that you won't see these before I get them all posted. :P

All right, with that little intro out of the way, I'll get down to the actual story. I rather like short story collections, which is why I chose to read these. The three generations idea is interesting as well, so I'm looking forward to see what sort of connections (if any) you make between the three chapters.

This chapter was fairly short, so I guess I don't have a huge amount to say about it. Narcissa doesn't get a lot of face time in the books, but I did always think of her as rather cold and distant in some respects. Here you're showing the roots of that behavior as training to be aloof and haughty--a proper Black family lady. I think here too we see the roots of Narcissa's commitment to family, or at least the importance she places on it.

This reminded me a bit of Harry's sorting, just because the hat suggested a different house as a possibility, but then allowed Narcissa to choose.

I think in fanfiction, we often see characters who are slightly older, so it was nice to read about the Sorting ceremony, to see the uncertainty and fear (even if suppressed/hidden) of leaving home and having to adjust to a new situation.

Author's Response: Hi Alopex! Sorry for the delay in responding to your awesome reviews, I was quite lazy xP

I am glad you like short-story collections, this was my first attempt at doing one.

Its good to know that you see the semblances of the Narcissa we see in the books with the one in my story. I haven't ever written 11-year-olds before so I wasn't sure how to go about setting the whole character.

I am glad you liked this. Thanks!

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Review #15, by AlopexThe Star of Kazan: The Star of Kazan

13th September 2012:
Before I address the questions that you posed, I'm going to mention a couple of grammar/typo issues I noted down while reading. I think "more real" is a more accepted way of saying "realer." "Chocking" should be "choking." In the italicized line about the light on earth, you should use "is" instead of "are" (because light is, not light are).

I can understand why you have had some readers remark that this is a nice piece in terms of imagery but doesn't seem all that substantial (I guess in terms of plot?). I suppose I have to agree, in general. I think the chapter overall has a very nice flow to it. As you said, it is rather floaty. It is rhythmic. The beauty of the flow almost overpowers the extreme suffering the character appears to be undergoing.

However, it is a bit difficult to tell what is happening or why. There is a lot of pretty description of a character suffering extremely, but we don't really gain a very good understanding for just why she feels so darn sorry for herself and why things are so extreme. It almost seems like she is suffering for the sake of suffering.

Then again, I could have missed the point. :P I've been known to do that. I actually like that you have a story here that is approaching a more proper short story format (short story as I understood the term in literature class, not as HPFF defines it by word count). This story did remind me a lot of short stories read for class, and generally to answer questions about those, I have to think about it longer than I have for your story. That said, I do feel like a lot of short stories I read in school packed a little bigger punch at the end, even if it took a while for me to understand. I do think this story suffers from a bit too much ambiguity, or not enough backstory (maybe I would feel differently if I had read the other pieces you mentioned in your author's note).

Now I'm going to finally try to answer your questions. What do I think happened at the end? I think Death Eaters came and took Florence. I also got the impression that she wished for them to come for her.

I do feel some sympathy for her, because it is difficult not to feel some sympathy for someone who seems to be in so much pain. However, I don't feel that I care a great deal for how she got there. I would like some more details to make me feel more invested in her story, because as it is, her pain feels rather abstract to me, and difficult to relate to or understand. She obviously feels some great guilt, but I need some more hints (or leading questions, haha). That last line also leads into my answer about why I think she did what she did: out of guilt, I suppose.

For all my criticism, I did find this a pleasing story to read (despite all the suffering!). As I said before, it has a pleasing, rhythmic flow, and the imagery is indeed nice. I do think it is difficult for the average reader to make the connections you wish, though.

Author's Response: Thank you for your honesty! It was definitely something i was worried about if anyone would actually 'get' this piece because although the connects are glaringly obvious to my eyes, it probably only because i know the whole story and i know what each sentence or hint is pointing too. It seems like those connections however were only happening in my mind. :/ .

So, in leu of that, i've edited it and added on a few hundred words trying to give that backstory and make some of the connections clearer. It's still a bit ambiguous but i'm hoping with what i've added it grounds the story a bit more and makes it more concrete.

I know i have the tendency, especially when i write third person to have that weird floaty style of writing and i'm not sure how i feel about your comments about how it's just so pretty, especially with the amount of suffering going on. I hope that it isn't distracting or purple prose as that would be a nightmare.

I suppose the whole idea behind this was her guilt for sacrificing the stranger with the red lips in hopes that it would bring back her sister. I don't think i made that story line clear enough or why she thought that was possible. Which, in my head, there is this myth that says you can replace one for another. In the story i'm writing solely on her there will be a lot of that back info about that myth (one i've made up) and how Florence goes through this whole journey trying to bring back her sister and it plays with some actual theories of time (not actually time-travel though). Anyway, without that story I realize this scene probably makes no sense so i've tried to clear it up a bit in the edits i've made. Hopefully it's not quite as ambiguous.

Thanks again for your opinion and taking the time to read this! I really appreciate your input :D

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Review #16, by AlopexTales from the Crusadiverse: Hermione's Wand

13th September 2012:
One little grammar thing I noticed before I get to "real" stuff: In the bit where you say they had been searching Malfoy Manor for Hermione's wand, "she, Ron and Harry" should be "her, Ron, and Harry."

So you asked if the explanation of why Hermione chose to keep Bellatrix's wand in this story is believable. I think I have to say yes, because an awful lot can be explained with wand lore. What little we know of it in canon appears to indicate that it is rather complex, which also makes it quite adaptable for fanfic writers. This idea of the wand choosing the wizard/witch is a powerful one and can be used to explain a lot (heck, JKR used it to contort an interesting ending out of her series).

We know that Bellatrix Lestrange must have been a powerful and formidable witch. I think it is an interesting parallel you have created here with Harry struggling with his similarities to Tom Riddle--many of which came about because of the Horcrux, but still. Anyway, the point of all this rambling is to say that, yes, I think you've concocted a well-enough-plausible reason, especially given the whole "wand chooses" thing.

I personally don't like the idea of Hermione keeping the wand, but I think also that it was important for Hermione to realize she is different, just like it was important for Harry. In this story, the wand provided that vehicle.

Besides, who doesn't like a good Molly Weasley cameo? :P

Author's Response: Alo!

Thanks so much for the great review. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but I was out of town when you posted this.

Grammar - grrr! Thanks for catching that.

I'm pleased you think it works. And, I think you're right that wand lore gives us a lot of running room, but I was always concerned that I'd run a bit far - Hermione still having Bella's wand is key to the entire Crusadiverse and Hermione's research regarding it becomes crucial in another short story "The Tipping Point" that occurs just two weeks before Crusade in which I explain how Yaxley managed to get Riddle's old wand. So, in short, a lot is riding on this chapter/one shot.

I never noticed the Harry/Voldy Hermione/Bella parallel until you pointed it out - but, in retrospect, it seems obvious - I must have done that subconsciously (or unconsciously;)

And, yes, a Molly Weasley Cameo is never a bad thing.

Thanks again, great to hear from you


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Review #17, by AlopexEyes of a Survivor: Blown Away

8th September 2012:
Before I get into proper reviewing, I want to note a couple of grammar/spelling issues. I did notice a couple comma splices in this story. For example, this sentence: "They'd go to their meadow, sometimes she'd even leave through the window if she was too frightened to walk to the front door." You also had a typo in spelling "Apparate" and also I think once you meant "colleagues" instead of "colleges."

You asked about whether Draco's and Astoria's reactions seem realistic. I will address Astoria first. I did find her behavior to be realistic. I'm no psychological expert, but I did find her realistic. The making excuses for her father, the feeling sometimes of deserving it even though her head knows better, and basically hoping that things will change or get better seems realistic.

I also found it fitting that when she was faced with making a quick decision, that she ultimately chose to escape herself rather than to help her father escape--something he deservedly brought on himself. By that point, she was an adult and also had spent several years of "normal" time at Hogwarts, so it seemed like an appropriate time for her to make that step. Burning down the house was rather impulsive, and for a Muggle I might question it (authorities would obviously be swarming around at that point, giving a Muggle no opportunity to set a fire in the first place, most likely), but certainly it is a cleansing and symbolic move.

Draco didn't feel as realistic to me. I guess a lot can be explained with the ol' "he's been in love with her since they were kids" line, but I didn't feel him as strongly as I did Astoria. Then again, I suppose I can buy him channeling his anger, helplessness, and desire for revenge into something like this.

I think one thing that does bother me a little was that if Draco had been so concerned for so many years and even tried to talk to Daphne about it, why did he never bother voicing his concerns to anyone else? True, he had his own problems going on during his teens, but I felt like for him to be exhibiting that level of concern at the age of 12, he might possibly have let something slip to someone rather than waiting eight or nine years to act.

As you said, I did feel sad for Astoria, despite the more hopeful ending. Her journey is really just beginning . . . or at least, the next stage of her life is beginning, but leaving behind the past won't be so easy.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for stopping by!! So, I've thought a lot about Draco and I think I need to bring out more of the darker things that played in my head with him. In my head, there was very little involvement with Mr. Greengrass and Voldemort. Draco's entire purpose for becoming an Auror was to find enough evidence (or make up) to have him arrested. Now that I read through it, there is no indication of that, and I think that was an important part of realizing that Draco's still not the *best* person.

Your review got me thinking how I can work with Draco, without him saying anything. So now I'm thinking about adding in something to play on family loyalties. If anyone would understand the loyalties it should be the Malfoys, so maybe I can play on that? That may also make Draco feel more in character, okay I'm like thinking out loud to you. BUT that means that your review really got me thinking which is the best thing I can ask for from a review!!!

Thank you so much for your help! And for stopping by, and I'm so happy that ultimately you did feel bad for Astoria because that's what I wanted the most. I am so excited to get the opportunity to request from you again, your a really perceptive and wonderful reviewer! Thank you!!!


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Review #18, by AlopexOver The Edge: Chapter Five: Viktor Krum

18th July 2012:
Well. I read this all from start to finish in one sitting. I was a bit excited since I've read one or two of your stories before and liked them, but also because I am very rarely given free reign to be as harsh as I'd like. :P I don't need to be too harsh, though, because my overall impression was quite positive. Still, I hope I've managed to give you a couple of things to think about.

I have to admit that I usually don't particularly care for pairings with such an age gap. However, we haven't really reached that yet, for one thing, and for another, since these are such minor characters, it doesn't feel the same to me as, say, Snape/Hermione or Sirius/Hermione or something like that. I'm actually interested in the details and how this story plays out.

I thought your opening chapter was good for drawing readers in. There are a lot of things we can infer from that chapter, as well as the summary, but there are hardly any details filled in. I think that always tends to draw readers in, making them wonder how the characters got there, what's the background, and so on. The end of the chapter seemed poignant to me as well . . . it packed an emotional punch, for sure.

Some authors have a hard time not crossing the line that separates emotion from sentimentality, but from my perspective, you are on solid ground. You have many scenes that evoke emotion in the reader as well, not only having us observe emotion in the characters. That is not always easy.

I do, however, have a small criticism in this area. There are some scenes that do seem a bit . . . I don't know how to describe it, exactly. Overdone? I am specifically thinking of Joseph Heart's screaming tirade, and also of Rose and Mr. Brooks' meeting (the beginning of it) and how embarrassed/irritated Rose was. Especially with Heart, the hollering and profanity is an essential part of his characterization. However, I can easily see this going overboard. I am not so sure that this is such a big issue that you need to think about editing what you have, necessarily, but it's something to consider for the future. Same with Rose's blushing, perhaps. It made more sense when she figured out the Heart had manipulated her, but something about the beginning of that scene seemed slightly off or . . . not as smooth as other parts. That was my personal impression.

Let me veer off into something unrelated and easy to address for a moment. I'm not surprised that you've had typos or small errors like that pointed out to you in reviews. I'm not going to list out ones I saw, since that isn't your concern anyway, but also because I rarely bother doing that (way too boring and tedious unless I'm beta-ing; I'm not an automated grammar-checker, after all). The later chapters seemed more polished than the beginning ones. But in the grammar/spelling/mechanics department, I did notice that your dialogue isn't always formatted correctly or in the best way. Again, the later chapters were better. An editor or beta could help with that, as I know you are aware, but I thought I'd point it out since it seemed like a repeating issue.

That brings me to your question of the dialogue being natural. For the most part, I think it is. It can be hard to judge these things, for is dialogue in a story ever exactly the way it is in real life? At the moment, I can't think of any particular passage that seemed unnatural to me, though. Maybe Heart is sometimes a little overdone, but his dialogue didn't really seem unnatural.

However, I again have another side of the coin, and that brings me back a bit to what I was saying about the formatting of dialogue. One thing I have often said in reviews is that adding little descriptions alongside dialogue tends to improve the scene, making it easier to imagine and keep track of. You definitely do that, which is good. I think there are some places where your dialogue and the descriptions are split up a bit too much, though. Sometimes you have a description, then a line of dialogue, then a line of description. It's this pattern you have: Describe something (a character blushing, sitting down, doing the hokey-pokey, whatever), have a line--or even paragraph--of dialogue, and then describe something again.

Often it works, especially when the person being described is not the same person speaking. However, there are some places, like when the same person is speaking and being described, that it could all be in one paragraph, in my opinion. Also, like I said, it's a bit of a pattern. Nothing glaring, but something that seemed like a pattern to me when I was looking for that sort of thing.

Speaking of things I was looking for, one thing I was keeping an eye out for was repetitiveness, since that's usually easy to spot. :P I actually only found one instance that jumped out. In Albus' chapter, when he is sitting on the stoop, you have three sentences in a row describing him that all start with "his." Overall, though, you have a nice variety of sentence structures and length.

I don't think the descriptions are over-written either. Some writers go down this path of describing every tiny little thing. Others barely describe anything at all. You seem to have found a good middle ground. I never felt like I had trouble picturing the setting. (Now that I've typed that, I've come up with one exception: Rose's flat. For some reason, I was assuming she was living in a wizarding area, so it took me a bit to catch on about the downstairs neighbor and all that.) Anyway, like I was saying, I feel like your amount of description is good. Not too much, not too little.

I'm bumping into my character limit here, so will be brief. Your scenes do seem well-developed. You lead into them, they are detailed, and then you lead out of them again (or else leave a cliff-hanger).

Overall, this is an impressive start.

Author's Response: First, thank you so, so much for this. I can't believe you read the whole thing in one go. I hope it wasn't too torturous! I'm going to do my best and try to respond to all your comments one by one.

I knew the pairing wouldn't be for everyone. I'm not a Snape/Hermione or Snape/Sirius fan myself. Still, I'm glad it offered a *little* something new, even if you wouldn't seek it out if you weren't reviewing it for me. And yes, I'm a sucker for a teaser prologue. Hopefully it isn't too gimmicky. I tend to write longer stories that can take awhile to get to the "good stuff" so I try and give readers a taste of the potential of the story.

I'm really glad you commented on the emotion, both the positive and the negative. I'm such a left-brainer, analyzing and reanalyzing each chapter and scene that I'm afraid that it will end up cold. And not being an overly emotional person myself, I don't always gauge how someone might "normally" react in a situation. The fact you didn't find the story super flat is encouraging. I can also totally see where you're coming from with the scenes you mentioned, though I may pick your brain on that more some day. Heart is too much. Too big, over the top. I have trouble sometimes with minor characters. I try and give them substance/unique personalities but I think they too often become caricatures. I didn't notice, however, about the Rose blushing or being too sensitive, so I'm glad you pointed it out. I took that into consideration when writing chapter 6 and tried to find new ways to express her discomfort. To both points, Rose being easily dominated by overbearing men is an underlying theme, not having the courage to stand up to them, but I'll be more aware of making that more subtle instead of so in your face.

I have a theory on my typos problem: I'm always re-reading my chapters, looking for errors. However, I always end up making minor tweaks as I go through, which only creates more errors. That, at least, is the excuse I'm going with!

As to the dialogue, thank you so much for mentioning this. I looked into it over the past few days and I HAVE been doing it wrong. I totally agree with your comment about adding descriptions alongside the dialogue, and I've always tried to do that. What I was *trying* to do was have those little additions without always qualifying the dialogue, ie., "It's so nice to see you," Rose said, sitting down. "You too," Albus replied with a smile while doing the hokey-pokey. It gets to the point in some stories where no one just says something. Every line qualifies the one before it. So I tried to put some distance between them. "It's nice to see you." (Then a break) Rose took a seat at the table, watching as Albus did his silly dance. So on and so forth. But (and I assume this is what you mean), even if I do that, they still belong in the same physical paragraph. I ran into one or two spots that might prove a good exception, but you're totally right. On the whole, they need to be grouped together. Also, I'll be more alert to messing up the flow with too many "actions" in the middle of the speech, if that seemed to be a problem too.

I'll look at that Albus line. I'm usually good about repetition but maybe that was another byproduct of "when edits attack!" And I'll see if I need to add a line or two about Rose's neighborhood. I'm glad the rest of the descriptions struck an okay balance. I'm not one for flowery language. I try and stick with a rare metaphor or nice simile on a few occasions. But doing that, I worry about ending up with descriptions that are too dry. I don't want to write a textbook.

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Review #19, by AlopexTask One Challenge: After the Interrogation: After the Interrogation

12th July 2012:
Hm, this is a different approach than I have seen before. None of the Ravenclaw stories I've read so far have brought Fudge or the Ministry into it (as far as I can remember, anyway). It actually makes sense that the Ministry would stick its nose in, although I would expect them to go to the school rather than summon the student. However, if you had done it that way, Cho wouldn't have gotten to overhear the conversation in the Atrium, and the whole flavor of the story would have been different.

Anyway, nice work on fitting in the prompts. I was especially amused by the bored man yawning as he gives Cho back her wand.

Author's Response: Thanks! (2 years later...)


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Review #20, by AlopexTask One Challenge: From Spectator to Examinee: Something Oddly Familiar

12th July 2012:
The first line of the summary, about what kind of Ravenclaw would she be if she refused to take an exam, was great! It made made me laugh a bit. That definitely can be a Ravenclaw trait! The way Cho was performing during the not-exam also reminded me of Hermione. :P I liked that she wasn't amazingly confident right away, though. You did a good job with the dialogue, so that I was able to tell that she was hesitating a bit.

The end of this chapter really was sad but touching! I'm not necessarily the biggest romantic, but that was sweet, and I hope it afforded both Cho and Cedric some degree of closure.

Good job overall! :)

Author's Response: I have to admit, I created the summary when I got ready to post and realized that I needed to put down something! This story was a bit of a struggle for me since I never really wrote Hogwarts-era before and am not as comfortable with those characters. Thank you for leaving this review, reassuring me that I didn't completely botch the whole thing!

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Review #21, by AlopexDreamer: Task One Challenge: Dreaming of Dragons

12th July 2012:
Hm, this is interesting, reading a story that takes place BEFORE the Triwizard Tournament's first task occurs! (If I haven't confused the timeline, which is possible.) I think this is the first of Ravenclaw's stories I've read that takes place so early chronologically, aside from one involving time travel, which doesn't quite count.

I thought you worked the prompts in pretty well. The way you worked in the uses of dragon's blood was different too, having someone talk about it in their sleep. I liked that you had Marietta be an important or "big" character in this story too. She's not often featured, so that was different. Good job. :)

Author's Response: Wow, really? I hadn't actually noticed that. Interesting(:

Thanks! One of my main goals while writing this was to work the prompts in originally, since there were so many entries and I didn't want mine to be almost identical to someone else's:P Personally, I really enjoyed writing Marietta simply because she's portrayed as the bad guy in OTP, so I had fun getting to explore her character:D

Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #22, by AlopexTask One Challenge: Facing Down a Dragon: Beast of the Skies

12th July 2012:
Hm, I haven't seen this method yet in the Ravenclaw stories of killing a dragon. Arrows in a vulnerable place are scarcely an unheard of method, but no one has used it so far. I guess maybe that's because archery doesn't exactly feature prominently (or at all) in the HP books. Also, I thought the setting in the snow was unique.

A lot of stories have featured a dream as yours did, but you have given unique events to the dream. Nice job! :)

Author's Response: Thanks for the review, its much appreciated :)

I wouldn't be surprised if someone else had their champion use a bow, but it certainly seems rare enough in HPFF to be a usable idea. As for it featuring in the books, the only mention is the centaurs, but I only remembered that after writing.

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Review #23, by AlopexExam Day: Exam Day

12th July 2012:
Wow, a lot of people have gone the dream route! I guess that does allow for some more unusual scenarios, though, which does help to work the prompts in. Also, I am quite intrigued by the way you invented an unusual type of dragon . . . a dragon made of paper that spits ink? It seems like a logical extension of the HP world.

You managed to slip the prompts in nicely, and wrote a creative story to boot. I enjoyed reading it, and the dream sequence went well also, I thought. Nice job! :)

Author's Response: Ahaha, I just told maskedmuggle this, but I had no idea how many people wrote their stories as dreams before that was mentioned to me. :P That probably is why people wrote dreams, and it's definitely why I did -- I'm not a huge Cho fan, but I wanted to contribute, so this just happened in a little more than an hour. :D Coherency was more than I expected from it, too, so I'm pleased!

I think it's really commendable you managed to review all the Ravenclaw entries -- seriously, I don't know how you managed it. ;) I really do appreciate your taking the time to read this for me, and I'm really, really happy you liked it! Thank you very much! ♥

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Review #24, by AlopexTask One Challenge: Abra Kadabra: mumbo jumbo

12th July 2012:
I'm seriously starting to repeat myself (maybe starting isn't the right word :P ) in reviewing all these entries. But there's something I've got to say about your entry. First off, all the entries have similarities, obviously, since everyone is working with the same prompts. There's one part of my brain that, after reading a few in a row, is saying, "These stories all seem the same." Then there's the other part of my brain that is saying, "Wow, what a different take on the task! I haven't read that yet!"

So that's what my brain is saying right now regarding your story. I've read a few where Cho was in the future, but none that focused on her life with her Muggle husband this way. It was fun to read about him! He'd be a fun character to encounter in a longer story, I think.

I just realized it, but I think one reason your story suddenly stood out to me as different is that there wasn't some sort of dragon battle or symbolic dragon in it. Which is fine. It was a very enjoyable story (I enjoyed Michael more than a dragon anyway), and it's sort of refreshed me to keep pressing on with the rest!

Author's Response: I totally understand that everything can tend to run together in your mind when you're reading so many fics structured around the same elements (I felt it too, and I read only a handful). It's the differences in approach that I loved seeing, so I'm really happy this stuck out!

I'm actually kind of surprised that there aren't a lot/any fics involving Cho and the Muggle JKR said she married, but it is, I suppose, an obscure path to venture down when there are dragons and such to incorporate too (... which is why I didn't have a dragon lol). Michael is a fun character, but I feel like Cho sees him sometimes in an immature light; he isn't childish or whatever on his own, but she sees little behaviors and categorizes him as such. Which could be interesting to explore in a longer fic, definitely, but to be honest, that's not something that interests me right now.

Anyway, so glad to see your review! I'm glad you enjoyed it, dragon-less though it was.

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Review #25, by AlopexBetween Fire and Water: Fire, Water, and Dust

12th July 2012:
I enjoyed reading this story. It had a flowing, dream-like quality, which is something I enjoy and that nearly always pulls me in like I'm floating through an otherworldly stream.

Yeah, there's some purple prose for you. :P I don't really know how to describe what I mean. Anyway, I thought you did a nice job of working the prompts in. That bit about what Cho thinks is a Foeglass around Aberforth's neck was creative. I haven't seen anyone do anything like that yet to work in the mention! Also, I think Aberforth was a good person for Cho to talk to, even if the conversation was limited to just a few brief words.

Nicely done. :) This was an enjoyable story to read.

Author's Response: Hee I appreciate your purple prose fully ♥ I was trying to sneak in the prompts as subtly as possible (Umbridge was a stretch of stretches). I literally had a checklist of the prompts and was just squinting at all the places I could sneak one in through a metaphor.

Thank you!

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