Reading Reviews From Member: Cherry Bear
  
101 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Cherry BearWhispers.: Whispers.

7th October 2012:
Hey there! I'm extremely sorry that it's taken me so long to read and review this. It's entirely unacceptable and I really have no excuse except that you were the last entry on my list, which isn't really much of an excuse at all :( You just kind of got the short end of the stick...sorry!

But, anyway, on to the review! First of all, I really like your main character here. It's very easy to relate to her and to her partially in-denial and partially desperately-hoping-the-rumors-are-true thoughts. And I think the way this is written does a very good job of characterizing her - it's a little bit tangential and random and self-deprecating.

But, even though I enjoyed her randomness and tendency to go off into tangents, it was also a little frustrating at times; it makes this read more like a diary entry or a stream-of-consciousness piece than anything else. But I did enjoy her inner dialogue about how she should start being more social and then how she right away shoots that down; it was quite humorous to see her inner thoughts. I think you did a good job of painting a vivid picture of Alice in such a small amount of words.

Overall, though, this did feel a little incomplete and I would've liked to see more of a plot; I don't think it's the length of the story that matters so much as the content, and this sort of left me pondering what exactly the point of this story was. It'd be nice to read more of a conflict and maybe a resolution and some actual character interaction, if only so I could learn more about your interesting and relatable Alice. It seems almost like this is just a preview you wrote for another story, rather than a stand-alone one-shot.

Don't get me wrong: it was an intriguing preview! But I didn't feel really satisfied after I read this; I wanted to learn more about Alice and this John Taylor bloke and whether or not she's going to somehow end up with Albus just because you mentioned him. And ending with her quest to find food just seemed really...random and inconclusive. I hope none of my criticism offends you, because that is most definitely not my intention! It is of course your prerogative as a writer to write however you want and you can feel free to ignore everything I say, if you wish (:

That being said, I did like how you used the Perks of Being a Wallflower. It seemed to fit really well with Alice's character and it only increased her relatability. I think the reason I like that quote from the book so much is that it is so easy to relate to - who hasn't felt invisible at some point or another? Anyway, I wish there was more to read so that I could know if Alice did eventually realize that of course she was noticed and looked at (well...hopefully, anyway).

I didn't notice any grammar mistakes or typos while I was reading, so good work there. Also, I really liked how you started this piece - mentioning the rumors and sort of building up the reader's interest in what exactly those rumors were. I think first sentences are really important in grabbing attention and yours did that fairly well.

I can't really think of anything else to say. Overall, I enjoyed this - even if I did think it needed to be expanded on. I'm definitely curious to see what else you write about your Alice.
Anyway, thank you for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading this! I hope you enjoyed writing for it.

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: I'm actually extremely happy with this review because everything that you said was exactly what I was going for. As soon as I saw the quote that you gave me, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
I had this idea for a story where Alice and John were characters and they have their own kind of secondary plot, and obviously I don't have that published yet, so I just kind of wanted to do a preview/spin-off thing.
So I'm actually extremely happy with your review! :D Thank you so much!


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Review #2, by Cherry BearHurricane Eyes: One of a Kind

7th October 2012:
First of all, I just have to prostrate myself at your feet in apology because it's taken me such an obscene amount of time to read and review this and it's pretty much unacceptable. Especially because this is such a wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL piece of writing. Perfect reading when you're snuggled up in bed with hot cocoa while it's raining, as I am (:

I've never been a big fan of the Lorcan/Lily/Lysander triangle but wow I think this has converted me. I love the way you handled each of the characters and how you painted such a clear image of Lysander's life in such a small amount of words. It's a weird thing to focus on, but I feel like the way he handled the letter from his Mum just said so much about what kind of a person he is and what kind of mother Luna is and what their relationship is like. And I think it's really amazing that you could convey so much in so little. So really good job with that, and with your characterization in general (:

Objectively, twins feeling a sense of rivalry is cliche. But, even though it's been done before, it hasn't been done quite like this - not with your level of charm and Lysander's realization in the end. It's difficult to choose a favorite part of this, but I think (ironically) mine would have to be the sentence with the Perks of Being a Wallflower quote in it: "But most of all he glares because everyone is always comparing everyone with everyone and he is the worst of them all."

And it's not just because of the quote, although you used it wonderfully. It's the context you've wrapped around this quote and the idea you convey with it - that, yes, people do compare Lysander with Lorcan, but he is the one who is constantly latching onto those comparisons to make himself feel inferior and unimportant. I just found that ending weirdly inspiring, maybe because it was so easy for me to relate to Lysander's feelings of inferiority. Anyway, not sure I'm doing a very good job of explaining why I loved that bit so much, but the important thing is that I did and I think you rocked this angst piece.

I enjoyed the format of this too. The numbers worked really well and it didn't seem too choppy or abrupt or anything. They also helped add an element of humor to the story, with his repeated promises to do his laundry again - especially because the reader knows exactly where his procrastination on laundry is heading and you sort of build up expectation for when he's going to have to wear that dreadful sweater. I like that you mixed in humor with the angst and moments of self-realization here (: Particularly in the beginning, I thought Lysander's in-depth observations of everything were very amusing and did a good job of establishing his quirkiness as a character.

I don't really have much to criticize here. I think you could use a second set of eyes to read this over, maybe, because there were a few grammatically incorrect or semi-confusing things. I'm not really sure why, but I had to read the last part of the first section (about Lily Potter opening her package and how he misses her smile) a few times before I really understood what you were saying. I think it's that last bit ("If he had known, he would have been sorry") that throws me off...something about the tenses or the ambiguity of the phrase, "If he had known". Gaaah I'm really awful at explaining myself, especially when I don't know whether it is grammatically correct or not. Just ignore me and my inability to articulate proper criticisms.

Anyway, that aside, I thought this was very well written and that you handled the transitions between each little segment very well. I think the most brilliant part about this was, as I mentioned before, the ideas that Lysander ponders in the end. The comparing everyone with everyone else bit, but also the endlessly ambitious/endlessly lazy thing. And I know it seems like I'm only complimenting on what you explicitly says wasn't yours, but I'm not complimenting the mere ideas, I swear! I'm complimenting the way you used them and that characterization of Lysander as simultaneously lazy and ambitious, because I just think it fits them very well.

Anyway, sorry this review is no where near as coherent or organized or flattering as you deserve. I feel like I'm sort of jumping all over the place with my compliments and being all sorts of vague so I'm just going to stop and end with this: I really enjoyed this. Your characters were supremely easy to relate to, to the point that I'm left wanting more of your Lysander and Lily and Lorcan and Luna (so many L names!) The quote fit into the story seamlessly and I thought this was a very original way to use it. Thank you so much for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading this! :) I'll try not to take too much longer to post the results hehe.

Cherry Bear

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Review #3, by Cherry BearWhile You Were Sleeping: Training

29th September 2012:
When I read the title for this story, I immediately thought of that rom-com movie with Sandra Bullock. Then I started reading and realized that it was nothing like that movie and I WAS SO HAPPY BECAUSE THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT MOVIE COULD EVER BE. Seriously.

First of all, I love that you chose to write this about Mad-Eye Moody. I feel like there's so few fanfictions that focus on him - I've at least never read any - and I'm kind of amazed that it's never occurred to me to wonder how exactly he got captured, or what his earlier life was like. It really makes your story stand out, especially because you write Moody so well. He doesn't seem like a particularly easy character to pull off, but you do. Especially in the first chapter - his safety reminders and guidelines and just everything that he had thought about and planned for (the wand pointed away from him while he's sleeping, the secret back door, the rooms in the house flowing together instead of turning everything into a maze) made him very believable to me. I think J.K. Rowling would be proud.

But I think the greatest part of your Moody is that, in addition to using what Rowling has already told us about him, you've also made him your own character. I really enjoyed the childhood you came up with for him because I think it fits very well with his character. When I was reading, my brain kept going, "Of course he would have had a lonely childhood, of course his father would've been a Auror-Spy (which, by the way, totally brilliant!), of course his family would've traveled a lot" even when none of these things had ever occurred to me before reading this story. And that is what I consider really good characterization, so I have to applaud you for that.

Overall, I thought the writing in this was very good and the pacing was fine too. The only criticism I have for you is that sometimes your sentences are very long and go off into little tangents and it can be a bit confusing. For example:
- "One person, a woman who kept her black hair cropped close to her head and her robes trimmed even more snuggly to her body since she maintained that leaving them flapping the wind was a death wish, barked something other than a greeting." While I appreciate the vivid picture you paint of Mirabelle, the detail about why her robes are trimmed so snuggly to her body does seem a little unrelated to this story at this time. If it is related and I just don't see it yet, then it might be better to include that detail in a different way. Maybe it's just a personal preference thing, but this just seems like one really long appositive. It is, of course, your prerogative as a writer to keep it the way it is, so if you see no problem with it then don't listen to silly old me :)

In addition, a lot of times while I was reading, I felt that the details Moody was providing were a little unnecessary, or they could've been given to the reader in a smoother way. For example, both uses of the parentheses here: "Gathering the few supplies he needed (Auror training was generally hands-on, in which case the equipment needed was already in the exercise room, or just lecturing. In that case the trainees were expected to provide their own parchment and paper), he once again walked through the desks to reach the trainee room located just outside the actual department. Walking through the unlocked door (the trainees were welcome to arrive early), Alastor placed the attendance on the available desk at the front of the room and flicked his wand so that the title of the lesson was written in big, bold letters across the chalkboard". It just seems like a lot of irrelevant details to cram together into a couple sentences and it was a little tedious to read.

Sorry if any of my criticism offends you, because that's definitely not my intention at all! I genuinely enjoyed this story and that's actually the only criticism I have for you. Otherwise, I found this remarkably well-written and I think you've done an excellent job so far building up my interest in the story.

And, since this challenge is all about the Perks of Being a Wallflower quote, I suppose I should mention that the way you used it worked very well. It was slipped quite effortlessly into the dialogue, so that I actually didn't even notice that was the quote until I saw the little asterisk after. I may be reading too far into this, but when I read that quote I thought that there was a certain irony in Moody saying it - like maybe he had been trying to- hard to control everything in life. If that is what you were going for, that's a very interesting approach and I hope you'll touch on that more later in the story. And if not, you still used the quote wonderfully (:

I feel like I should gush a bit more to make up for my delay in reading and reviewing this (sorry!), but I honestly can't think of anything else to say. This is really, truly brilliant and I hope more people find out about it because it's not getting anywhere near the praise it deserves. Thank you for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading and reviewing this, and I hope you enjoyed writing it.

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Wow- thank you so much for this massive review! And haha- this story is definitely NOT a rom-com. :) I'm so very very glad that you enjoyed it!

Yes, there aren't many stories about Moody, are there? I've seen ones where he's mentioned or where he has a minor role but never one where he's the main character. To tell you the truth, I hadn't thought much about how he was captured or what his early life was like until I started writing this story- which I got the idea from as I was trying to find an idea and character that would fit the quote. I'm so very very glad that you think that I did a good job with his characterization! He's definitely an interesting person to write, since he has a very definite manner that can easily become a stepping stone for humour.

I'm glad that you liked the history I gave Moody. It was very interesting deciding what moments to include in the story and what his life might have been like, to produce such a notable individual. A few of the incidents were canon, others were taken from knowledge about his life and the earliest ones were just guesses at his life. I'm glad that they all worked.

Thank you for pointing out those problems. I guess I do have a tendency to go on little tangents within my sentences, which is definitely a problem... I have to learn how to incorporate those ideas into other sentences instead of fitting them inside the ones already there... And your criticism definitely didn't offend me! One always needs these things pointed out if they want to improve at all!

I'm so glad that you liked how I worked in the quote. I actually built the whole story around it, so it's great to hear that it fit in just fine.

Thank you once again for leaving such a brilliant review! It's not a problem at all about the "lateness" of it- I completely understand about real life completely taking over your life. :) I definitely enjoyed writing this and exploring Moody's character so thank YOU for creating this challenge! Without it I probably would never have written this story.


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Review #4, by Cherry BearThe House of Nightmares: This Night

26th September 2012:
Gaaah this challenge is going to be impossible to judge because all of these entries are so unbelievably fantastic :o If I'm being perfectly honest with you, I thought I wouldn't like this story when I saw it was a Draco/Astoria - not because I have anything against them, but because I've never really read any well-written, memorable stories about them. But this is a well-written memorable story about them and you may have officially converted me to a Draco/Astoria lover.

I'll start with the quote, since that's what this challenge is all about. I think it was absolutely perfect for this story and it really seems like you created the story around it, which is amazing. And I love that you used it with Draco because that's something I never would've thought of. I have a great deal of empathy for Draco, but this - his depression, his inability to let go of the past, Astoria's struggle to help him when she doesn't know how - really made me feel for him even more. I think, overall, your characterization in this was just excellent, with Draco and Astoria and even Narcissa and how she was so cold when she first met her but then she acknowledged just how good for him Astoria was and gah why is this so perfect.

But I think my absolute favorite part of this story is how utterly real it is. I don't know how to properly explain this, but I like that you didn't rely on over-dramatics to tell this story. There's something about the way you write that makes even the dramatic things - like burning a house down on a whim - seem realistic. The slow, normal progression of Astoria and Draco's relationship is another example; there's none of that whirlwind romance or crazy encounters that you usually read in fanfiction, and I love that. You manage to keep everything both realistically simple and realistically complex and this probably isn't making much sense but I honestly don't know what else to say except that you are brilliant. I don't know many writers that can write a real but meaningful story, but you definitely can.

And can I just say that I love the way you write Draco? I love love love that he wanders around in the middle of the night and Astoria has to find him and he has to tell her stories that she doesn't want to hear but she listens anyway. It's something I've never seen before and I think it's such an interesting way for the past to haunt Draco; I feel quite silly actually because it's honestly never occurred to me that he might feel that way after the war.

This is a little thing to comment on, but I also enjoyed how you mentioned the papers and their observance of Astoria and Draco's relationship a few times throughout this story. It's understandable that the wizarding world would follow Draco's life a little considering his surname, and especially understandable that people might react negatively to Astoria because of her relationship with him, and I think you managed to convey this in a very subtle, believable way. You didn't make it the focus of the story, as many authors would've, but I liked that you alluded to it. Again, you kept it real and not overly dramatic. Have I mentioned that I love you? ;)

This is normally about the point where I stop inflating authors' egos and bring them back to the Earth with a little bit of criticism. But this is the only criticism I have and it's just a minor typo/grammar issue:
- in, "The next day we make the papers for the fourth time; but this time we are front-page news," the semicolon should actually be a comma. Semicolons can only connect two independent sentences so they should never be followed by a conjunction. If you took out the 'but', it would work with a semicolon.

Otherwise, I didn't notice any mistakes and I think the writing here was truly spectacular. You have a charming writing style, detailed but not tedious, and - as I mentioned before - you're very good at subtly including the important things. The flow and pacing of this is perfect, and I loved how you alternated between the present and the past and then how they met in the middle because so few authors can really pull that off. On the same note, that transition from the past to the present was very seamless - somehow you manage to summarize her meeting his parents, their wedding, the honeymoon, and their move into Malfoy Manor without boring me; it's very rare that I actually enjoy the more narrative parts of a story, but I did.

So, I guess, overall, I kind of really need to check out the rest of your writing because I absolutely adore this. I want to apologize for the delay in my review and also thank you for entering my challenge, and giving me the absolute pleasure of reading and reviewing this :) You're very talented and I'm honestly flabbergasted that I'm the first person to review this.

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Thanks so much for your review! I'm glad you liked it :)

Honestly, this is my favorite story that I've ever written. It seemed like once I had a vague idea of what I wanted to write about it just kind of flowed out... I must have been really inspired by the quote!

I was really trying to make this as normal and believable as possible, and it was fun to use Astoria because we don't know much about her. I'm really happy that you like the way I wrote Draco, I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed him.

Anyway, I feel like I've rambled on for a while now but thanks again for creating the challenge and for reading this and leaving me such a wonderful review!


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Review #5, by Cherry BearTea, Cornflakes, and Blowing Gum: Pretty

26th September 2012:
I'm so sorry for the delay in reading and reviewing this! Especially because this is amazing. I think you had one of the more difficult quotes to work with, but you did it seamlessly - and in such a unique way I honestly can't even imagine how you thought of it. It's very different from the circumstances of the quote in the novel, and I absolutely love that. I am sort of in awe of your awesomeness.

I also think it's really incredible that you told such a heart-wrenching story in so little words. Sad stories about Neville and his parents have been done over and over, but this one is different; it doesn't drag on unnecessarily and it actually has something more to offer than Neville just throwing a giant pity party for himself over his parents, which is fantastic :)

In fact, I think my favorite part about this is how accustomed Neville has become to the situation he's in. That's not to say that he still isn't upset about it, but I like that he can appreciate and enjoy his simplistic relationship with his mother, because he understands that it's all he will ever have. I think you've truly shown how strong he has become since the war in the way he can objectively remark on everything. I think my favorite example of this is this quote: "It's something that I tended to think about while I drank tea and read The Quibbler during my visits to St. Mungo's. Is it better to have parents that are dead or insane? Parents that you will never see or that don't recognize you?" I don't know why - there's just something about your Neville here that I absolutely adore. I'm glad he's one of your favorite characters to write because you're good at writing him (:

One criticism/typo thing I should point out before I continue my gushing hehe:
- in the sentence, "I crunched cereal one Christmas with my mother when I just heading down the road of middle-age," I think you're missing a 'was' between 'I' and 'just'.

Otherwise, I didn't see any mistakes and I honestly think the pacing and flow of this was perfect. Not too much detail and not too little - the bit about the cornflakes was perfect, and I think including that in your title draws attention. I also really like how you started this. I'm a sucker for good openings and I enjoyed yours; it definitely made me want to read the next sentence and find out what exactly they had discussed. And when I found that out I definitely had to read more hehehe.

And, like I said in the beginning of this review, your use of the quote was phenomenal. It's such a curious thing for Alice to say, and (this might just be me) but I picture her saying it with a childlike innocence. The type of innocence that young girls have before wars and Unforgivables - as Neville points out, "it's as if she had never met Bellatrix Lestrange," which is absolutely touching to imagine. I love that Neville got to have that moment with his Mum and I love that he can at least bring her cornflakes because these are basically the only times that he can see what she would've been like and gah if Neville's not gonna throw a pity party for himself I'm going to throw one for him. I really just want to give him a hug after reading this, even though it ends on a somewhat-happy note (well, as happy as a story with Neville and his insane parents can be, anyway). It's a bittersweet sort of happiness, I suppose.

I wish I had more to say so that I could make up for all the reviews this story deserves but hasn't yet received, but I think if I continue I will venture into the realm of incoherency and start rambling about whether or not it is better to have dead parents because at least Harry never had to see broken shells of his parents and he gets to know that his parents are proud of him but Neville doesn't even get to know that because his Mum can't even remember that he's the one that brings her cornflakes.
*sob*

Anyway, thanks so much for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading this story! You really did an excellent job with the quote and I think Stephen Chbosky would be proud ;)

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Aaah! Stop, you're making me get all warm and fuzzy inside!! I loved this review and don't worry I don't mind that it was a little late. Thanks for the awesome challenge and this opportunity! Oh and the fabulous review, haha.
~cb ")
PS I can't wait to see the film! :D


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Review #6, by Cherry BearThe Star of Kazan: The Star of Kazan

24th September 2012:
Hey there! I'm terribly sorry for the delay in reading and reviewing this, and I have to say that I really enjoyed this. I'm a sucker for ambiguously-written pieces of writing, so when I read the author's note at the beginning I was immediately intrigued. And I loved your ambiguity - the slow trickle of information about Florence's life and her guilt - because it really grabbed and kept my attention.

I read because I wanted to know more about your Florence...and, now that I've finished, I still want to know more. There's a sense of incompleteness at the end of this, and I don't know if that was intentional or not, but I'm still a little confused about a few things. I think I get the general gist (maybe?) but I don't understand who she betrayed or who captures her at the end. But, then again, maybe I'm not supposed to...? At any rate, I may have to read that eventual other story about the events leading up to this, because I'm definitely curious.

I think, in addition to the ambiguity of your writing, I also loved the moral ambiguity you touched upon in this. Specifically, in this paragraph: "She should have known when it, for that is what it was to her now, told her that life and death were the same card that it was a lie. They were two different cards altogether, and although you can't have one without the other you most definitely can't trade a death for life. No matter what tales it told her." It's hard to find a good, thought-provoking fanfiction, but this part definitely made me think, and reconsider the difference between right and wrong.

Does any person have the right to decide someone should die in order so another person can live - to play God, like Florence admits to doing? And now I've just realized that Florence talks about her playing god and she's in a church and ah it just raises so many good questions about religion and blind faith and Voldemort playing god and now I really want to know exactly what happened to her sister and what made Florence think she was doing the right thing.

That's definitely another one of your strengths - you made me empathize with Florence. Even when I didn't know exactly what she had done, I could still see that she wasn't some 2D evil character; she had reasons for her wrongdoings and, because she could no longer justify them, she was now trying to seek forgiveness. It's definitely an intriguing theme and I'm surprised that that quote from Perks of Being a Wallflower inspired it, but I think it works. I liked your use of the quote as well - it fit with the story very smoothly, so good work there.

All that aside, a few criticisms for you. Please don't take them personally as I don't mean to offend you in any way:
- While I love ambiguity and inner musings and such, at times it felt like you were trying to cram too much character reflection and vague, stylistic elements into this. I don't really know how to explain this beyond that, at the end, I was left with too many questions and barely any answers. Which is all fine and dandy stylistically and definitely your prerogative as a writer, but it does make things confusing and there wasn't really a click moment for me, where I suddenly understood every vague sentence.
- Sort of similarly, the flow of this is a little bit choppy at times. You switch really abruptly between Florence's trains of thoughts, so that it reads almost like a stream-of-consciousness. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing (: It's just a little jolting and disorienting and, again, makes things a little more confusing.

Aside from that, I really did like this! Like I said, it was an interesting use of the quote and I really enjoyed the depth of this and the insight into Florence's life. It's so great that you're writing about such a minor character :D Minor character love ftw. Anyway, thank you so much for entering my challenge! I really appreciate it, and I'm so happy I had the opportunity to read and review your story.

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: oh wow! This is such a lovely review i'm floored by it really! I'm also really sorry how long it's taken me to respond!!

I'm actually planning another major edit to this which will cut down on the word count and highlight the actual story that is mixed in here so that it's a tad bit clearer to the readers.

She was taken by the Death Eaters (their shiny, metal masks). Who's she's betrayed is a bit trickier i suppose, i think it comes down to that she's betrayed everything she's ever known, her friends, family, herself by her actions that happened before this one-shot. It stems from her guilt from sacrificing the red lipped woman in hopes that it would bring her sister back. It's based on a myth/legend thing that i'm working on that with the sacrifice of one what was lost can be regained (this was touched on by the quote you actually quoted in your review) that will come up later in the story i'll be writing about her also, why she thought this was morally right will come into the that story. There is only so much i can touch on in this piece :D .

That is the basis of this and i'm happy enough with it being a bit ambiguous as this is just something that will point to this other story, an introduction and preview of the story itself so part of the ambiguousness of it is intentional as i don't want to lay it down point blank and make it incredibly easy for the readers to get what's happening. But at the same time I want the story to be recognizable.

Anyway, i'm pleased to hear that you found it thought provoking. I'm always a little worried when i put up a story that touches on a lot of moral and religious ideas that there is going to be negative backlash or that people will find it too heavy.

Anyway, thank you so much for your insight and your thoughtful response to this! I really appreciate it! I will be going to edit this to try and make that click moment happen where things do make a bit more sense and it hits harder. Thank you for issuing the challenge, it was a lot of fun to write.

-zayne++


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Review #7, by Cherry BearThe Road to Hell.: The Road to Hell.

16th September 2012:
Hey there! I'm sorry it took me so long to get around to reviewing this. And I can't believe I'm the first reviewer :o This deserves more praise than I can possibly fit into one review, but here goes.

I love that you chose to write about Barty Crouch Jr. Firstly because he is probably the last character I would ever associate with The Perks of Being a Wallflower (and with your quote in particular). And secondly because I can count on one hand the number of Barty stories I've seen on this site over the years. He seems like such a difficult, complex character to tackle, so I really have to give you mad props for doing such an excellent job writing him.

I love his characterization here. I love the idea that Barty Sr. neglected Barty Jr. a lot because of the war and how that led to his son's desperate quest for approval wherever he could get it (you write it so realistically that it seems almost like a given and I'm kind of wondering why I've never given their complicated father-son relationship more thought before...it's actually really intriguing!) And I love love love the ambiguity and complexities of the war that Barty identifies - the contradiction in their attitude towards Muggles - and how his own lack of concrete beliefs eventually leads to him adopting the popular beliefs that are thrust upon him by his fellow Slytherins.

I also really enjoyed how you showed Barty's innocence in the beginning, with his naive and overly simplistic perceptions of the war. It was an excellent example of showing instead of telling (: I think my favorite example of his innocence is when Regulus tells him that his father is getting a reputation, and Barty reacting in the way that he does: "My father was being hailed as the saviour of the wizarding world. I was proud of him, I supposed, but being the son of a hero could be rather trying at times, particularly when he kept making it clear he deserved a better son than you." I just found that part amusing and I'm not really sure why - maybe because Barty so clearly underestimates the severity of the war? At any rate, I thought it was a good contrast for later on, when he no longer considers his father a hero.

That being said, there were a few minor nit-picky things that I did pick up on. For example:
- In the sentence, "Whatever the famous Bartemius Crouch wanted from a son, it obviously wasn't me," I think you meant "for a son" instead of "from a son"...?
- In the sentence, "The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was one of the few that caught my young imagination; that and the Department of Magical Sports and Games," I think a dash would be more appropriate than a semicolon. A semicolon is only for when you're connecting two independent sentences ("Barty liked vegetables; his favourite kind of vegetable was a carrot") or sometimes in the place of commas in a list ("Barty listened to a wide variety of music that included pop songs by Rihanna, One Direction, and John Mayer; classical compositions by Mozart and Beethoven; and dubstep"). Hope that makes sense and sorry if I sound too preachy or anything!
- Your transitions between each scene were a little choppy in general; it seems like you jumped forward from one moment in time to another very abruptly and it was a little disorienting. I think it would almost be better if you divided the story into different scenes or sections or something, instead of trying to have everything flow together...? I don't mean to offend you or anything like that; this is just a suggestion (:

I think the focal point of this story and where you really truly shine is your character development. You make it shockingly easy to empathize with Barty and the rest of the Slytherins. I feel quite silly, but I never considered the argument that Muggleborns, with their inferior knowledge of the wizarding world, would slow down the learning of purebloods. I think that's a really fascinating point, particularly because it parallels some education debates in the real world today, about how teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator and whatnot. And it takes some really good writing to make me empathize with the Death Eaters, so good work hehe. Anyway, your character development: you did a really amazingly believable job with it and I loved Barty's gradual transition from loyal admirer of his father to loyal Death Eater. I thought it was especially intriguing that Barty felt this hunger to be admired and feared because that's how his father was treated - it's almost ironic, that his desire to be revered like Barty Sr. drove him to the opposite end of the spectrum.

And like I said, your integration of the quote was really unique and far from any context I would ever imagine it being used in, which I definitely appreciate (: It did feel a bit anticlimactic though. The entire ending, with Barty meeting the Dark Lord and becoming a Death Eater, seemed rushed to me, actually - especially compared with how much time you spent detailing his childhood and his initial relationship with his father.

But, overall, I enjoyed this a lot! I almost wish it was a multi-chapter story because I really did like your Barty, and his strained relationship with his father and his love for his mother and his friendship with Regulus and everything. Massive thank you for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading this! :D

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the long and detailed review. I really appreciate it.

Yeah, Barty Crouch Sr. seems a rather contradictory character. He's so anti-Death Eater and yet, he treats his house-elf just as badly as they treat people, so I was trying to show how that influenced and confused his son, making it easier for others to influence him.

I totally agree with you about the transitions being choppy. It's something I noticed when writing it, but wasn't sure exactly how to fix, because I was going through a long period of time in a pretty short story.

No, I did mean "whatever he wanted from a son", as in whatever he wanted from me, I obviously wasn't fulfilling it. Maybe it's more of a common Irish sentence structure.

You don't sound nit-picky at all. I wish more reviewers would point out minor mistakes and problems with transitions and so on. It's helpful to know what you can improve on and the more minor details are even more helpful, as they are easily fixed. I have another chapter in the queue or I would change that to a dash.

Thank you again for the review and I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

Thank you for your comments about my characterisation and I'm really pleased I managed to make you empathise with the Death Eaters.

I didn't think of the education thing, but yeah, I see what you mean. Inclusion is a comparatively new thing in Ireland, so the whole question of how students with special needs can be included does arise.


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Review #8, by Cherry BearWhen in Paris: Sometimes You've Just Got to Go With the Flow

23rd August 2012:
It takes talent to write a Dom/Teddy/Victoire that's not utterly cliche. But it takes pure genius to write a Dom/Teddy/Victoire that's not utterly cliche even though it works out happily and perfectly for everyone :o And you are definitely pure genius. Because as unlikely and too-perfect-to-be-real as this entire scenario is, you somehow made it work anyway! I honestly can never understand how you do it. You just make all of their confessions and feelings and dramatics fit into everyday life so...undramatically. It's the best!

I'm usually a strict Teddy/Victoire kind of girl, but you really made me root for Teddy/Dom here. And I think it's because this was chock full of such amazing characterization, as your writing usually is. I really felt like I understood Dom and her relationship with Teddy and her sister. And then there you had these sporadically insightful bits that just portrayed all of their personalities so well and succinctly and really stood out to me, like: "Victoire wasn't the kind of person to skip from man to man; she devoted herself fully to everyone she cared about, it was one of her best qualities. She didn't take men for granted, like our cousin Rose. She was true to herself, too; if Victoire loved Dwyn more than Ted, she would know it, and by Merlin she would act on it."

I loved this description of Victoire - firstly, because it doesn't paint her as some evil back-stabbing girlfriend and, secondly, because it's through Dominique's perspective and thus says as much about Dominique as it does about Victoire. How much she really loves and trusts her sister. It made it very easy to understand why she wouldn't admit to liking Teddy and why she hadn't acted on it. And, I have to say, it's very refreshing to see Dominique and Victoire have an actually good relationship. It's weirdly uncommon.

Anyway, like I said, you had me rooting for Teddy/Dom basically from the beginning of this story. Their interaction was so easy (can't think of the right word...non-awkward?) and it just seemed like they really understood each other and Dom noted that they were birds of a feather and squee. And then how Dom liked his normal appearance as opposed to the blonde appearance - and how Victoire's new preference for blondes seems to foreshadow the existence of, er, Dwyn. And then how Dominique makes fun of Dwyn's name at the most inopportune. It was just all-around brilliant and, basically, you're kind of brilliant.

It's interesting to compare this with Welcome to the Circus, which is so starkly different in its take on the relationship between these three. I find it kind of amazing that you wrote both of these with such different personalities for these characters - it seems like it would be difficult to handle different versions of the same characters in different stories, but you're quite amazing so I'm sure it was no trouble for you at all ;)

I think I'm running out of things to praise you about or anything at all constructive for you, but I'll try. The only thing that I can say is that I wish we could've known more about Dominique's feelings. I understand she might've been in denial the whole time and thus unwilling to even think about her feelings for Teddy, but at least at the end it would've been nice to get a peek into her thoughts - beyond her picking the easiest choice. Even just the smallest hint of true happiness or an actual realization that she did have more-than-platonic feelings for him, or something. Maybe something more than just: "I was surprised to find that loving Ted didn't feel as repulsive an idea when it came out of his mouth." Leaving it at that just seems so.objective. Detached, almost.

But that's really about it. I found this very enjoyable; it gave me all the warm fuzzy feelings inside. And your summary is clever but, then again, they always are, aren't they? (:

Cherry Bear

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Review #9, by Cherry BearWall: Wall

23rd August 2012:
Hey there! I think that, for your first attempt at slash, this was excellent. And I love that slash is becoming so much more socially acceptable and Albus/Scorpius is actually a thing in the fandom...does that make any sense? Probably not. Okay, moving on.

I'm usually a Rose/Scorpius shipper and I've never actually read an Albus/Scorpius before, so when I started reading this I was definitely surprised that Albus was the wall between them. It's so hard to find a unique storyline amidst all the Next-Gen that are written nowadays but I think this is definitely unique and I really appreciate that (: So thank you for that, and for writing this from Rose's perspective.

I like that you didn't give it a nice, neat little happy ending by forcing Scorpius and Rose together, even if it is sad. I like that Rose is such a realistic character, that she's trying so hard to be mature and let Scorpius be happy but she can't stop herself from feeling like a third wheel or from bitterly thinking that Scorpius wouldn't have to hide if he was with her or from telling Scorpius at possibly the most inappropriate time ever haha. I think her confession was very realistic because it was so random and awkward, and I liked that.

On the other hand, I think her sudden acceptance of Scorpius and Albus at the end - her sudden positive perception of their relationship - was unrealistic, if only because it happened so quickly and it didn't seem like Scorpius' rejection of her really hurt her at all. She was unexpectedly mature when Scorpius was just like, "Oh. Well, too bad I love Albus"...I guess it just felt out-of-character considering how wounded she was earlier in the story, and I would've understood it better if you had shown her transitioning from wounded to resigned. It almost seemed like you were trying too hard to end on a somewhat happy note when you really didn't need to.

I think the strength of this piece is in how well you convey Rose's emotions in the beginning and how easy it is to empathize with what she's going through. Reading this, I felt legitimately awful for Rose and the way Albus and Scorpius acted only made it worse. I actually sort of disliked their characters here...it seems so wrong that when one of their best mates discovered them together, they didn't make sure she was okay with it or even really stop to consider her feelings on the matter o_O They don't even actually apologize for not telling her or do much of anything but try to leave...it was kind of supremely frustrating and made me think of them as selfish.

The way she found out about them and the way everyone else realized they were in a relationship was a little cliche, but not too bad (: I like that you used the Perks of Being a Wallflower quote to show Scorpius' love and understanding of Albus but, at the same time, it felt a little misplaced and random. I don't mean to offend you at all, but it didn't really seem to fit with the story; there was nothing else to indicate that Albus was a wallflower or anything like that. It just seemed out-of-place to me, although maybe that's just because this story is really primarily about Rose and not Albus or his wallflower tendencies.

But I still liked this overall. I don't know if I said this yet, but I really really really liked how you started - with Rose bluntly laying everything out on the table. I'm a sucker for good hooks and you have one here that you pulled off very well. And, as far as grammar goes, there weren't any glaringly obvious mistakes that I noticed, so good job with that! Not sure there's much else for me to ramble on about, so many thanks for entering my challenge and giving me the pleasure of reading this story (:

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Hi :) It's good to hear that this was a good first attempt at slash. I was really worrying that it was going to be considered cheesy and unrealistic. It does make sense that Al/Scopius and slash are becoming more of a thing here. I'm glad that the fandom hasn't got any major issues with it :)

I too am a huge Rose/Scopius shipper, so it was hard for me to put Scorpius with someone else, even if it was Albus. It was also pretty hard to convey Rose's view of the relationship as I usually do it from one of the participants' POV. I'm glad that it was effective as well as that you liked the idea of the storyline (although I can't take full credit, as it was also for another challenge).

I didn't want to finish with Rose and Scorpius together since I didn't want it to get all fluffy and happy. I figured that random interest from him would be out of place and also defeat the purpose of the angst throughout the story.

I didn't really put her reaction to Scorpius' rejection since I decided that she wouldn't really want to cause a scene in front of him and that she'd like to give him the illusion that she was okay with it. I guess I should have clarified that in her thoughts rather than omitting it in both physical reaction AND thoughts *hides*.

As I said earlier, it was extremely hard to focus on Rose's emotions rather than Albus or Scorpius'. I've never been in a situation when someone I fancied was in a strong relationship with someone else who also happened to be a friend of mine, so I had to imagine what it felt like and kind of go with what seemed right. It was a goal of mine to make Albus and Scorpius both likable and unlikable; likable in the manner that they weren't giving up on each other and unlikable since they didn't really show much compassion towards Rose and her feelings. The point of the scene when she found them was to show that they were reluctant to fully discuss what was happening due to the nature of their relationship, so it's good that that got across.

I agree that the finding out bit is cliche, but I was labouring for hours trying to change it into something else, and it bore absolutely nothing :/ The quote was pretty hard to work with in here. I was originally going to use it in reference to Hugo, but then I decided that it would be far too out of place and random, especially since Hugo isn't really a main character in here, but instead just a supporting one. I decided that it would make more sense to fit it in as Scorpius' view on Albus and sort of point to it as being more of a personal thing between them; I also avoided stating anything that pointed to either of them being very popular or something like that. It was also pretty difficult to make it fit since it was Rose's POV instead of one of their's.

I'm really glad that you thought it was good, which is what I always try to go for. I'm really bad at answering reviews, so I hope this is okay *hides, once again*. Thank you for coming up with a brilliant challenge as well that was indeed challenging to fit in with the rest of the story.

~Anna :)


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Review #10, by Cherry BearYou Are Beautiful: You Were Always Loved

23rd August 2012:
Hey there! Sorry it's taken me a little while to review this. I'm so glad I found the time today, even if this was a little bit depressing. And, in response to your author's note, I don't think anything's wrong with you for writing something depressing (: That might just be because I enjoy writing angst, too, though hahaha.

I really liked how you structured this. That's a little bit of a weird thing to comment on, I guess, but I like that you wrote this in present tense. It's not all that common and I think it's a little difficult to pull off, but you did a good job and it fit the story very well. I also like how you started the story sort of in the middle of the action...it really grabbed my attention, because I immediately wanted to know why her lip was bleeding and what type of relationship she had with Sirius.

I do wish that you could've explored Sirius and Taylor's relationship more. I would've liked to learn more about why Sirius loved her so much, beyond just him reiterating that he did, if that makes sense? I hope this doesn't offend you at all, but I was intrigued by their relationship and wish you would've shown more of how it came to be and the happy times they had, however brief and sparse they were. I did really like the strength of their love for each other and the way you demonstrated that, though, with Sirius' devotion to her even after her death and how Taylor was unwilling to make Sirius sacrifice everything for her because she loved him so much. It was really sweet and made the ending and their separation all the more sad...so I guess good work for messing with my emotions like that? ;) Hehehe.

There were a few nit-picky things I noticed:
- I think you're missing a word or a phrase or something in the sentence: "She squeezes his hand tightly and her brown find his."
- In the sentence, "The rest of the tam was had been hard at work practicing, but their encounter hadn't gone unnoticed," I think "tam" is supposed to be "team," and I think there's an unnecessary "was" in there (;
- In the sentence, "Replace them all with happy ones; ones with him," I think a colon would be more appropriate than a semicolon. Semicolons generally replace periods to connect two complete sentences. Colons, in contrast, can connect a complete sentence with an incomplete phrase, such as in your sentence.
- I think your tenses are a little mixed-up in the sentence, "He came here everyday, but it never has became any easier." Since you've written the rest in present tense, it seems like it would only make sense to write this in present tense too, like this: "He comes here everyday, but it never has become any easier." I could be wrong about this, but something about the way you've written it just seems...grammatically off?
I'm not sure I'm very good at explaining any of these things, so if you're at all confused you should definitely check out the Grammar Guidelines section of the forums. Or you could get a beta, because it's always nice to have a second set of eyes to read things over (:

I thought your integration of the quote from the challenge was really interesting and definitely not what I expected...I think because you used it a lot more literally than the novel did? Not that that's a bad thing, of course! I liked that you used it to make it your own. It gave their relationship an interesting dimension. Maybe I'm just interpreting it wrong, but Taylor expressing her inability to live for him in her suicide note made it kind of seem like she didn't love him enough to stay alive for him. Is that right...? Sorry if I'm completely reading into this the wrong way!

I enjoyed the last line of this. I think it was a really unique way to end this, especially considering how their relationship was so influenced by her father's obvious lack of love for her. I saw that last line almost as Sirius' attempts to make amends for her father, as if to say that his own love for her overshadowed the love her father lacked. Again, I could be reading too much into this or interpreting it wrong, but...I don't know, I thought it was a sweet ending.

I can't really think of anything to say. Even though this was incredibly sad, it was incredibly sad in a good way. Thank you for submitting it for my challenge! I really enjoyed reading it.

Cherry Bear

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Review #11, by Cherry BearBachelor of Science: { ONE }

23rd August 2012:
Hey there! First of all, can I just say that I love your characters here? They're all so amusing and quirky and different from the Next-Gen characters I'm used to reading. I love that your Scorpius is a mad scientist and antisocial and awkward and kind of a selfish best friend. And I love that Albus puts up with all of his madness and their bromance in general, although I do hope that Scorpius learns not to be so selfish in their friendship.

Also, I love how weird and random and unexpected Sophie is. For some reason her interactions with the boys and the half-giant reminded me of a little girl playing with dolls. She's adorable but she also seems a little bit mischievous, like she's manipulating the situation to her liking. Her character definitely intrigues me and I'm excited to see more of her.

I like the story you've started here, too; I don't think I've ever read anything about a search for a werewolf bite cure. I feel like very few Harry Potter fanfictions even touch upon science, since science and magic don't exactly go hand-in-hand, so I really appreciate that you're doing that here. I can't imagine it's very easy, but it's definitely interesting to read about. I guess even magic involves science, like with the discovery of new potions and cures and whatnot. And you did a good job of getting me invested in the story, because now I'm hoping that they actually will figure out the cure now that they know the unicorn blood thing. Although I am a little worried that it's not all perfect yet and there's something else they'll need to figure out...or else why hasn't Sophie discovered the cure on her own, yet?

There were a few nit-picky grammar things that I noticed. For example:
- Some of your sentences seem to drag on a little bit, such as: "Opposite him, hunched over a large wooden table littered with numerous cauldrons and pots of different shapes and sizes, some spewing and spluttering dubious smells and fumes, there was seated one particularly dishevelled looking Scorpius Malfoy, with his head bent down, keenly examining a dubious looking plant." It's not exactly a run-on, but it's a little tedious to read and maybe it'd be better to split into two sentences or get rid of some of those phrases? Also, I think disheveled only has one 'l' in it. I hope my criticism doesn't offend you, because it is absolutely your prerogative as a writer to write sentences however you want (:
- In the sentence, "'That's it!' abandoning the Quaffle, Albus stood up with a determined face (a rarity, for him) and walked over to his heavily caffeinated friend," 'abandoning' should actually be capitalized, since it's a separate sentence from the dialogue preceding it.
- In the sentence, "'I supposing scoring all those O's in Herbology isn't doing you much good now, is it?' said Albus with a snort," I think "supposing" should be "suppose", or you need an "am" in between "I" and "supposing" for it to make sense.
- In the sentence, "He held her hand out, first to Scorpius who ignored it, before holding it out to Albus, who shook it cautiously," I think you meant "she" instead of "he".
I don't know how well I'm explaining these things, but there are some really great guides in the Grammar Guidelines section of the forum if you're confused. I would recommend getting a beta, if possible - it's always great to have a second set of eyes to read over things, for content as well as grammar.

I can't really think of anything else to comment on or to critique. I thought this was a very enjoyable read, from Scorpius' lack of social skills to Albus' weary patience to Sophie's ability to do whatever she wants without any consideration for what's socially acceptable. I'm excited to see you incorporate the quote from the challenge into this and find out who will be saying it. I'm also excited to see what effect Sophie will have on Scorpius; I'm hoping she'll change his character for the better.

Looking forward to the next chapter! (:
Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Seriously can I ask someone for help on how to reply to this because I don't know where to start.

1) Thank you for pointing out the grammar issues! I really need to find a beta. I keep forgetting to get around doing it, and normally I just wing it, but obviously I overlooked a lot of goofs in this one -- so thank you! Will edit in the changes soon~

2) I'm surprised people like Sophie ;D She is based almost entirely on Jess Day and Luna Lovegood, and most people do not like the crazy pixie girl trope that the former is famous for. But she is precious to me and I am sooo glad you like her character!

3) I'm already running out of things to say. It means so much that you took the time off to write such a detailed, helpful critique! I know I missed the deadline for the challenge, but I am very keen on updating this soon -- or as soon as RL will permit. Thank you so much, once again!


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Review #12, by Cherry BearNever Tell: Secrets of the Malfoy Diaries: Scorpius: One

20th August 2012:
Hey there! First of all, I have to commend you for successfully grabbing my attention with your story title and summary; I wanted to know what had happened and what 'it' he was referring to, and that made me want to read your story. And, while your opening paragraph wasn't quite as hooking or attention-grabbing, it was written very prettily. I liked the similes and the figurative language, because it all painted this really beautiful picture of Scorpius' surroundings.

I like, also, that this story is going to be told partially through diary entries. I guess this just seems so challenging to me because, as a girl, I have a hard time putting myself in a guy's shoes to imagine what he would write about in a diary. Especially since most girls adhere to the cliche and just drivel on and on about boys, and I don't really think guys do the same thing hehehe. I'm not sure if you're a girl or boy, but it seems to me that you portrayed a male journal entry fairly accurately. There wasn't girly gushing or anything like that, and you did a good job of telling the reader what had just happened in the story. Although I was a little confused why Scorpius was telling his diary about his Granddad's death if it happened so long ago, considering you described the diary as "worn" - which would indicate that he'd probably had it when his Granddad actually died. Minor nit-picky issue, though (;

To be honest, I wasn't expecting this to be a story with Hermione/Draco, so I was right there with Scorpius when that happened. I do think that you could've gone more into Scorpius' reaction to what was happening in front of him while it was happening, instead of devoting so much to descriptions of what was happening. It would've been nice to have some insight into the the possible explanations that he's coming up with and if he's thinking the most obvious one at all/how he feels about that. But this is purely my opinion and it's definitely your prerogative what you write, so please don't be offended!

I like Rose and Scorpius together, so I was happy that they're dating and happier still that his parents seemed pretty accepting of their relationship - it seems like fanfiction authors rarely allow that to happen, you know? I also liked how you went into more detail about Scorpius' theories the morning after, especially because they highlighted his innocence so well. I think the journal entries are a really great way to provide insight into his character in a more subtle way and you seem to pull them off very effortlessly - like I said before, they're realistically boyish and they're not too lengthy or tedious or anything like that.

I like, also, how you show the changes in Malfoy that have taken place since the war. If there is going to be some Hermione/Draco action in this story (which I'm assuming there is), it makes sense that Draco would have undergone such a serious shift in his morals, to the extent that he would lecture his son about house elves rights and carefully explain all the advances muggle rights activists had made. You did a good job of seamlessly integrating that information about the shift in his character - and how it could be related to romantic feelings for Hermione - into the story.

There were a few nit-picky things that I noticed. To take just the first paragraph as an example:
- in the phrase, "It's ever expanding mouth consuming the light as far as the eye can see", the "It's" should actually be "Its" without an apostrophe, because you're not using the conjunction "it is" but the possessive form of the pronoun "it".
- the sentence, "I sit and watch the light fade into darkness as the crescent moon rises giving the grounds around Malfoy Manor a ghostly glow" is kind of a tedious read and comes off almost like a run-on, which I think is just because it's missing some punctuation. I think it would read a lot smoother if you put a comma after "rises" and before giving, making it: "I sit and watch the light fade into darkness as the crescent moon rises, giving the grounds around Malfoy Manor a ghostly glow."
- the sentence, "I know I should return to my room, mother will be looking for me soon, but the pale light shimmering over the pondís placid surface is mesmerizing and I am unable to pull myself away" is also a bit confusing, mostly just because of the "mother will be looking for me soon" interjection. I think it would be a lot clearer if you separated that phrase with dashes, so that the sentence would be: "I know I should return to my room - mother will be looking for me soon - but the pale light shimmering over the pond's placid surface is mesmerizing and I am unable to pull myself away."
This is all really little stuff that's not too big of a deal but, if you care, there are some really helpful guides in the Grammar Guidelines section of the forums that could help you out, or you could even try to get a beta if you don't have one already - I know it always helps me to have a second set of eyes.

Aside from those small things, the only real criticism I have is that, at times, your writing was almost too prettily descriptive - to the point that it started to drag on. Don't get me wrong: I love descriptions and flowery language and everything like that. But it can get a bit frustrating and tiresome sometimes when you want some more plot and whatnot. Please don't take my criticisms the wrong way, though; I still thought this was very well-written and I do really like what I've seen of your Scorpius so far. Sorry for rambling on for so long!

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: LOL... WOW! Now that's a review! I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far. This is my first attempt at a nextgen, and as for the diary entries, I'm actually writing it for a diary entry challenge (and for the record I'm a girl... LOL) I've been told before that I tend to go on a little too long with my discriptions, but when I write I'm usually describing a picture I see in my head... and sometimes it gets away from me.
This is the first fic I've written in over a year, so a beta would probably be a good idea. But this time I was on a deadline. ;) Might have someone take a look over it later on when I have the chance.
If you flip through my other stories you'll see that I'm a pretty big Dramione shipper, so when given the opportunity to do it again, I just couldn't resist. LOL! I have to admit, this is a different angle though, even for me.
I can't wait to see what you think of the next chapter!
Thanks for the R&R!
~Moon~


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Review #13, by Cherry BearLaugh Your Heart Out: Laugh Your Heart Out

16th August 2012:
This was heartbreaking to read. I love that you wrote this about Poppy Pomfrey and her sister and I love the relationship you portrayed here. As someone with five older sisters, I found it very easy to relate to Poppy here. Especially her adoration for her sister and how she wanted to do everything her sister did - and then the pain of Iris growing up and away from her, of wanting more out of life. And, as always with your writing, this was beautifully done.

It is a bit cliche to make her want to be a Healer because of her sister's death but, at the same time, you did such a good job with this that I can't really complain. I think it's also interesting because if Poppy had been a Healer, there's a chance that she could've saved her sister, that she could've stopped the bleeding with a wand - unlike Muggle doctors, where even all the professional training in the world won't necessarily mean that you can save someone. And now you've got me thinking about how that's part of being magical: you can fix a lot of things that Muggles can as long as you know enough, as long as you can act fast enough. It's kind of depressing because it paves the way for a lot of guilt if you don't.

Anyway. I like the theme of laughter that you started with because it painted such a vivid picture of Iris and really showed why Poppy loved her so much. But I felt like that theme faded out a little as the story progressed, and you maybe could've included more about her lack of laughter in the end - just to tie it back to the beginning and the title better. You did reference the laughter a little bit in the end, but...I don't know. It all just happened so fast, and parts of it just seemed off. Like, with this sentence: "Iris was supposed to laugh. She was supposed to run. She was supposed to go to Asia and scratch her itch." The third sentence just didn't seem to fit very well with the seriousness of the ending, although maybe that's your way of showing how childish Poppy still is. I don't know! I'm all sad and mixed up. Why do you do this to me.

I did like the last two sentences of this piece, Poppy deciding to take control of her own life and stop living through Iris'. It's hard to ever say that someone's death does anything good but, I think, in this case, it did do Poppy good. She would've eventually learned to take her own life into her hands, but this sort of forced her to. And I feel like I'm doing way too much pondering and not enough reviewing in this review...sorry! I think you should be flattered that you're making me think this much when I'm so tired right now hahaha.

I think the most fascinating part of this story is Iris, and the change she undergoes. And, in a way, it's kind of sad that this is from Poppy's perspective because I think Iris' perspective would've been very interesting. I think that everyone gets an itch like Iris does at some point or other - a sudden irritation with all of the familiarity and overwhelming urge to scratch that itch and break from your own bubble. But I really wonder what took her to such extremes. I don't know if I'm reading this the wrong way, but did she actually intentionally run out into traffic? Or are you leaving that up to reader interpretation or something?

I don't really have any solid criticisms for this, besides my semi-confused ramblings, so good work, overall. You really do have a knack for creating believable characters and believable lives for those characters in a short amount of time. Now I definitely want to see what your multi-chaptered stories are like.

Cherry Bear

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Review #14, by Cherry BearAll of Time: All of Time

16th August 2012:
Finally here with your review! Sorry it's taken me so long. I can't believe this is the first writing of yours I've read (besides random snippets you've shown me, that is). I guess I need to sit down and actually read some of your stuff one of these days if it's all this good, eh? Anyway, I was really excited to read this because of what you'd told me about it already and also because I really love the quote, and I definitely wasn't disappointed (:

The beginning was excellent. I think the first sentence was a great hook, because it really raised a lot of questions and then you didn't immediately set about answering those questions. Instead you went into these really great descriptions and provided some insight into Percy's character, and it was all just very well done. I really love the Percy you've created here. I know that he's one of your favorite characters and I think it shows, because you do such a good job of making him your own. It seems like most authors tend to disregard Percy and not spend too much time worrying about his character, but you really made the effort to make him seem real, and I appreciate that so much. You haven't quite converted me to a Percy-lover yet, but I do like him in this. Especially the description of him as a ginger hedgehog bahahahaha.

That aside, I did find this a little confusing at parts. Not just the intentionally confusing stuff, either. You have a tendency to write run-on sentences - maybe because your brain moves too fast for your fingers hehe. For example, with this sentence:
"But he shuts his mouth before the words can leave his lips because standing before him is the Minister of Magic, he still has an earring on, but Percy finds that more comforting then annoying."
That's kind of a run-on, so it would probably be better to split it into two separate sentences by changing the comma after 'Minister of Magic' into a period.
Of the same vein, sometimes it seems like you lose your train of thought in a sentence. For example, in this sentence:
"And right before he is about to say - it all and use the sleeve of his shirt to wipe up the ink before it gets to his important papers, after the all the shirt is already dirty."
You start with, "And right before he..." but you don't conclude that phrase in this sentence by telling the reader what happened to stop him from doing all that. You do tell us that someone barges into his office in the next sentence, but it's a little confusing because it seems like you're about to give that information here.
Ack. Sorry if these criticisms don't make sense! I'm not sure if you understand what I'm trying to say at all but, regardless, these are just little nit-picky things that a beta could fix up for you anyway (:

On to what my challenge was about! I think you did a really great job of integrating the quote into your story and it didn't seem at all out-of-place or anything like that, so excellent work. You actually kind of took the quote to a whole new level, too. I felt like Audrey was saying that maybe it's not sad that those are memories because Percy has yet to experience those memories. But then she could also be saying that because time itself is rather insignificant to their relationship. And since memories themselves are products of time, they don't have to be sad either. Or maybe I'm just reading way too far into this. Regardless, I liked what you did with the quote.

I also really liked how you gave the reader the timeline with the italicized, "That was a Tuesday" and suches. It was kind of cryptic-sounding and cool and it worked very well to clear up the inevitable confusion of a relationship that exists out of a normal time sequence. Although, I do have to confess that I'm a little puzzled why Audrey was in the prison in the beginning, on Tuesday...did she actually get set up for Percy's murder in the end or did the two of them end up running away? And if she did get set up for Percy's murder in the end on that Saturday, why would she be in prison for it on that Tuesday? Maybe I'm just really slow right now or maybe I missed some extremely crucial detail >_< Oops. Sorry! I should really be better at understanding this time-travel business considering how much I love Doctor Who, haha.

Anyway, just one more thing that I was confused about (I know...it seems like everything confuses me, huh?) Couldn't the Ministry people have just Accio-ed the watch out of Percy's pocket, or Stunned him, or something? Or do you think that wouldn't have worked because it was a strong magical artifact, like the Philosopher's Stone or something? Weird things I ponder when I'm reading your story ;P

Wow. I've really rambled on a lot here...sorry. Just one more thing I want to ramble about. I know I gave you that critique about confusing run-on sentences, but you also have some really great sentences in here! :o I really liked this sentence about when the building blew up: "It was a shell and finally for the first time of its existence it was noticeable." It was just so sporadically poetic and just...beautiful. Maybe I find it so striking because it seems like it could also easily be talking about a person, too. Anyway, I also really liked this sentence, but for different reasons: "Or maybe it was the men in suits that were sitting in his living room in this ungodly morning hour while he was dressed in nothing but a bathrobe that his sister had picked out for him." It was just such a funny random image! It made me giggle.

Anyway, I don't have very many characters left so I kind of have to stop...Thanks for entering my challenge! Reading stories about time-travel romance is kind of really amazing and I can only imagine how much fun you had writing this. Despite the bits that confused me, I really enjoyed it overall and, as I said before, I thought you used your quote very well and insightfully.
I promise to eventually check out what else you've written, too! (:
Cherry Bear

Author's Response: OHMIGOODNESS, IJUSTCAN'T, HOWDOIREPLY?

Wow, big review you've got there.
Geez.

It's just so...huge.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked it, there's really not much else you could say besides that. Except in the second to last paragraph you asked, why the man couldn't use magic to get the watch. Probably do to anti-magic spells on it...or something.

I will try to curb the run-ons. :)


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Review #15, by Cherry BearHow to Draw Almost Anything: How to Find Employment

26th July 2012:
Hey there! Finally here with that promised review (: First of all, I have no idea why this doesn't have more reviews; it's such an unique, well-written story! And I don't think I can emphasize that 'unique' enough - I can honestly say I've never read a story about Scorpius the artist (or, at least, if I have, it's not good enough for me to remember right now...). I knew as soon as I'd read the first few paragraphs that your Scorpius was going to be interesting and original, because your observations of the Hogwarts' curriculum were just that. I've legitimately never thought about how Hogwarts lacks those typical extra classes, which is decidedly peculiar since it's the only real education most witches and wizards will receive.

But, anyway, back to the originality of your Scorpius, because there's a lot to be said about that (; He's not good at magic! And he's a Ravenclaw! But he was almost a Hufflepuff! Aaaah non-cliche bliss. And the fact that he'd pretended he wasn't really Draco and Astoria's child was pretty fantastic, too. Overall, I'd say you did an excellent job characterizing Scorpius in this first chapter. I especially liked the realism of his interview with the Headmistress - maybe because I can relate so much to planning everything that I want to say and then choking on the words hehehe.

The only thing that I found even mildly off about this was the beginning. Don't get me wrong: I loved your descriptions - as I said before, this entire chapter was very well-written - but, at the end, I sort of felt like you had spent a bit too much time introducing Scorpius' past. You divulge everything in about ten or so chunks of writing and it is a bit overwhelming. I understand that it would probably be challenging to intersperse that information with the action of the story (especially when you leap right into his interview for the teaching position) but I think that would make it a lot easier to get truly pulled into the story. For me, the introduction was sort of a bitter pill to swallow. Excessive amounts of apologies if I've offended you in any way with this criticism, though! I think you're an excellent writer and everything about this story is, of course, your prerogative.

That minor criticism aside, I think what most intrigued me about this story was what Scorpius touched on in his interview with the Headmistress - about why art is important. I think that's a question that every type of artist - author, painter, potter, whatever - struggles with at some point. Or, at least, I know that I've personally struggled with that question. And I'm legitimately excited to read more of this story and to see you hopefully touch on that question more, because I think it's pretty darn relevant (: And, alright, I'm also pretty excited to see Scorpius actually attempt to teach a class of kids only a few years younger than him teehee.

Not really much else for me to say here except good work, and apologies for this long rambling review. I can't wait to see how you incorporate the Perks of Being a Wallflower quote into this story :D

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: hello! thanks for popping by, your review is absolutely fab :D

I'm really glad you say that - I've wanted to write this story for what feels like forever, but I've never quite come around to it until now, when a series of RL events just spurred me to write it. artist!scorpius is sort of my headcanon, mostly because the first characterisation I wrote of him was heavily based on myself (eek, that's awkward) and so I've sort of burdened his character with my own artsy leanings in pretty much every fic. yeah, it always disappointed me as a kid how hogwarts didn't teach the things I was good at (art, music, english lit) when I was still convinced it was real and I would be going there. so I've had a determination for a while to build a version of hogwarts that could legitimately have a place for the arts.

again, just my headcanon scorpius showing up as usual, haha! I think I've put him in every house except gryffindor now, haha. eek, yes, interviews. I had a couple for art schools this year and I have no idea how I got through them, my mind was completely empty.

ahh, I'm glad you actually pointed that out - I had my doubts about this first chapter too because, even though this idea had been rattling around my head for years, I'd never been able to put it into words until now. I think my main concern was that the premise is so instantly strange - art at hogwarts - that I had to explain a lot of it away, especially scorpius' character. fandom has pretty much accepted the version of him as a sexy, smarmy hunk as canon, so I guess I wanted to establish mine as quickly as possible...I don't know, haha! mostly it was to do with the plot. but I can really see why it would be a bit heavy and I'll take that into consideration for later chapters.

oh, me too. the school I went to was very science-oriented and I had a hard time explaining to people why my subject was as valuable as theres - the art department that ~nurtured~ me was much abused, which was partly why I wanted to write this (scorpius is just a fictionalised, diluted version of my two art teachers and what happened to them, haha). I hope I can touch on it again, haha! I jumped on your challenge right away because perks is a fab book and I'd been thinking about writing a sort of ~self discovery~ story for ages and, well, this is it. plus artists are tortured types by nature - I should know; I am one, and I'm set to spend the next five years surrounded by them ;A;

thank you so much! it was a really lovely review :D the quote...argh, I really hope I can get to that chapter in time for the deadline, but it comes a lot later than I'd hoped. I have a lot of characterisation to get out of the way first, haha.

thank you for reviewing! ♥


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Review #16, by Cherry BearFools and Heroes: Fools and Heroes

26th July 2012:
Gah. I honestly don't know what to say about this to sum up my feelings. It started out innocently enough; you somehow lulled me into thinking that, even though this is a story that takes place in the middle of the war, nothing major was going to happen. In fact, I sort of assumed Astoria would decide to fight, she'd run into her sister and have a brief conflict, and that would be the end of that. So you kind of threw me completely off-guard with that Imperius curse thing, but you did it in a spectacular way. Seriously, this was extraordinarily well-done, so good job.

I think my favorite part about this is the characters you manage to establish in less than 1000 words, which is no mean feat. How you give us so much insight into Celeste and why she doesn't care and how that, in turn, gives us a glimpse of what the friendship between her and Astoria must have been like. I think the sentence, "Astoria rather thought that Celeste saw the war as a deep inconvenience to her studies rather than the serious struggle it really was" really just says a lot in a little, and that's such a hard thing to do but you did it wonderfully. And I also liked your Daphne - so concerned about her siblings - and your Astoria, who wants to fight for all the wrong reasons, it seems. I can honestly say that I've never even considered what the Greengrass girls would do during the Final Battle, but I'm glad that you did and that you decided to capture it here. I've never read any stories about them before (that I can recall) so it's sort of a breath of fresh air to read this now.

That being said, I do have a little bit of criticism for you as well - hopefully it won't offend you, as that's not my intention in the slightest. I thought that the beginning was excellent pacing-wise but, towards the end, you started to rush all the action in a bit. I would've liked to see more insight into Daphne - understandably difficult, since this is told from Astoria's side. But it just felt a little...lacking in something, I suppose?

Anyway, another thing that I really liked about this was, after your shocking ending, I wasn't quite sure what side each of the girls was on. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not, or perhaps I'm just remarkably stupid, but I kind of liked the ambiguity of it all. I thought at first that, because Astoria was heading down to the dungeons, that that meant she was going to join the Slytherins - but then I realized that that could very easily mean she was going to fight them as well. Daphne's inclination to use the Imperius makes me believe that she's on the Dark side, but that's a silly assumption to make - especially since Astoria was also reaching for her wand, possibly to do the exact same thing, or to otherwise prevent her sister from interfering. So I'm really not sure what to think o___o

Which, in my mind, makes this an excellent story! I think this was a very good one-shot and I'm really happy I got the chance to review it...I also really don't understand how it only has 3 reviews, when it's so fantastic :o And with such an excellent title to reel readers in! (Another mystery: who is the fool and who is the hero? Or maybe they're both both...gah!)
Okay, enough of my incoherent ramblings. Good work! I may just have to check out some of your other writing (:

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: First off: I'm so sorry for taking over a month to answer this. My unanswered reviews built up while I was on holiday and RL has been so busy that it's taken me awhile to work through them, especially when they're lovely long ones like this that really deserve a thoughtful answer.

CC never offends me. I don't always agree with it, but it never offends me - and in this case, I totally see what you mean. I was worried about that, too. When I get the chance, I'm definitely going to go back to try and flesh the end out a little.

The ambiguity about which side the sisters were on was definitely intentional. People who've read some of my other stories (particularly my Rose/Scorpius ones) can probably figure it out, but I really liked the idea of keeping it unclear, since we know very little about Daphne and nothing about Astoria. I'm glad you liked it, too!

Thank you so much for the review. I'm sorry again for the delay - it won't happen again. I hope that if you do check out any of my other stories, you like them as much as this. :)


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Review #17, by Cherry BearConsequence: A Matter of Consequence

15th July 2012:
To be honest, Ron has never been my favorite character. And yet, this was a pleasure to read, perhaps because your Ron is different than any other Ron I've read. You still included the small intricacies of his personality that match with his canon personality - like how the first thing he did when he went six years in the past was eat some food, or how how he acted rashly when he first realized that Kendra would die and almost told her, because he didn't immediately consider the consequences. Actually, I think consequence is the perfect title for this story, to sum up the theme: Ron didn't realize the consequences of living in the past until it was too late.

But I digress. I was saying that I like what you've done with your Ron here because it's so refreshingly original - which is something of a theme in your writing, I've noticed. I'm curious why you decided to make Ron your main character here when it could really be anyone. It's so rare to read a story about Ron falling in love with anyone besides Hermione (especially not a Muggle) and I feel like it's even more rare to see Ron portrayed as somewhat intelligent, or at least intelligent enough to know so much about time travel. But it was wonderfully done and I am very happy that you did choose Ron, because it makes the story more interesting for sure.

That being said, I feel almost like there's something missing here. I love the contrast of the past and the present, and what you have Ron going through in the present, but the scenes from the past seemed almost rushed to me. Almost like there's a missing scene there, because you really just jump from Ron and Kendra meeting to Ron telling Kendra that he's a wizard. I would've liked to see you expand on their relationship more and give it a little more depth because, as it is, it's hard for me to understand why Ron loves Kendra so much and to really sympathize with him when he loses her. I know you wrote this a few years ago, though, and you've probably grown so much as a writer since then, so feel free to ignore me if you wish (:

Anyway, I really enjoyed the time-travel aspect of this. I'm quite a sucker for time-travel in general, but especially time-travel romance. This reminded me vaguely of the book The Time Traveler's Wife, in the best way possible. The idea of a relationship between two people from different times is such an interesting idea and I liked that you touched on the complexities of it here - how Kendra could never quite trust Ron again after she found out, how there was a possibility of her seeing a different him, and then of course how he knew what was going to happen to her, and how she sort of took that for granted and believed that nothing tragic would happen to her.

Maybe it was because I didn't understand Kendra's character all that much, but her reaction to her supposedly imminent death seemed a little off to me. I know that she had to die, obviously (or create a time-travel paradox or whatever happens if you change what should happen) but it was hard for me to understand how she justified still driving to her sister's if she knew she was going to die. On top of that, her anger at Ron seemed all over the place - like how she brought up that Ron shouldn't have started dating her because she's not magical. I guess I would've liked to see more insight into her character, maybe?

And I would've also liked to see Ron grapple with what happened a little bit more - how he couldn't save her even though he knew that she was going to die. There's this one part where you write: "It had been meant to be that she died on that day, obviously. He shouldn't have messed with her mind like that. He shouldn't have time traveled at all." I found that to be a really intriguing conclusion on Ron's part and I was sad because you didn't go any further into that. I guess I would've liked to see him question whether her death really was meant to be, and why, and what his role in her death had actually been. But I know that part of the magic of your writing is its realism, as I've complimented you on many times, so perhaps it's better and more realistic that Ron didn't ask any of these questions or try to find meaning in what happened. It is sort of more characteristic of Ron to try to forget, instead of search for answers.

But, all that criticism aside, I really did enjoy this. I loved the level of detail you included about their relationship in the end; it was such a subtle way of creating a history for them. And I thought it was really interesting how you made Ron destroy every trace of their relationship, so that it was like it never happened - because not many people probably know that it did happen, at least in his time. It made me wonder about what kind of life he lived in this universe of yours, that would make him so eager to explore time-travel, and how his family and friends reacted to this? But, alas, this is only a one-shot.

Thank you for another lovely piece! I hope I included a sufficient level of constructive criticism in this to counter all of my compliments ;)

Until next time,
Cherry Bear

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Review #18, by Cherry BearChasing the Keeper: My Variable

14th July 2012:
Hey there! I was really intrigued by the concept of this story, because I feel like Lily is so rarely portrayed as a Quidditch player in Next-Gen fanfiction. It seems like almost everyone assumes that James plays, but you don't see as many authors assuming that Lily plays. And I also really appreciated that you didn't give Lily this picture-perfect life, where she always won all of the games and she immediately got recruited after college. I'm curious to see how she handles the fact that her internship is almost solely because of connections, while Parker's is (seemingly) because of actual skill. But, anyway, I really like your Lily so far, because you've made her your own and not too perfect; it's great (:

This chapter felt like a lot of background and not so much action so it could be a bit tedious to read at times. You did an excellent job of tying all of the information Lily told us together (I especially loved how you kept going back to the theme of beginnings..that was really well-executed!) However, at the same time, it was still sort of an information overload and I almost would've liked to see you release this background information (i.e. what Parker did to her, her three best friends, her entire Quidditch history) more slowly and gradually throughout the story, or at least not quite so chunkily, if that makes sense? I don't mean to offend you at all, as I'm no expert and this is absolutely your prerogative as an author, so if you don't understand what I'm saying at all then please feel free to ignore me!

As I said before, I did really like the theme of beginnings that you tie through this and especially how you tied it all together with the variable at the end. It was really well-done, especially because I think it helped further your characterization of Lily. The way she related everything back to Quidditch really spoke volumes about her character (the way she narrates makes me think that you must know an awful lot about sports and sports lingo or, if not, you're very good at pretending you do). I think you really did an excellent job of showing and not telling Lily's character, which is definitely something that every author strives for. So good work with that!

I thought your descriptions in this were really fabulous (I really enjoyed Lily's first impression of the stadium, especially since it's going to be such a major part of her life) but it seems like your dialogue is a little less strong. For some reason, all of your dialogue came off as a weird and rushed to me, like you were hurrying to get through it or something? Maybe I'm just imagining things. Anyway, I'm going to attempt to make you understand what I mean. In this quote:
"No, Hugo isn't sarcastic, he's a pessimist. I on the other hand enjoy sarcasm, but at the same time have a generally upbeat attitude. I mean I just gave you a thumbs up didn't I?"
To me, it just seems like Lily says a lot here, in a short amount of time. Perhaps it's just that the punctuation feels off for me (I do think there should be a semicolon instead of a comma between "No, Hugo isn't sarcastic" and "he's a pessimist", and "on the other hand" should be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas) or maybe it's just the way Lily talks...? I can't really pinpoint it. I think it might help if you didn't group all your dialogue together as much, and instead allowed more room for the characters to interact in between sentences and such. For example, if you wrote something like this:
"Can I have a banana?" Teddy asked. Lily gave him an exasperated look. "What?" he said, defensively. "I'm really hungry!"
Er...ignore the weird example. My point is that I didn't really see you intersperse your action and dialogue so much and I think it would really add some variety to your dialogue parts and make them a little more fun, y'know? But again, I don't mean to offend you or anything and obviously all of my suggestions are just suggestions, I'm not god, etc. (;

Sort of on that same note, I almost always recommend that authors get betas if they don't have them, because I think it helps to have a second set of eyes to read things over and make sure everything makes sense. There were times when your sentences turned into run-ons and things got a tad confusing. In addition, there are a few lapses in tenses, overall lack of commas, and general typos (in "when suddenly, a voice interrupts my thoughts", 'interrupts' should be 'interrupted'; in "His raven hair, and coal black eyes where way too familiar", 'where' should be 'were', etc.). A beta would probably be really super helpful to you for all of this stuff, so I definitely recommend one! (:

But, all of that aside, I really did enjoy this! I'm excited to see where this Quidditch internship takes Lily, how things progress with Parker, and what exactly the world of Quidditch is like :o I understand sports very little so I have never attempted to write the insanity that is Quidditch, but - from this chapter alone - I get the impression that you'll be a lot better about writing about Quidditch than I could ever be (; Looking forward to the next chapter!

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: I swear I think I could kiss you right now. Ok well that might sound sort of odd, but you have no idea how antsy I've been over this story. I rewrote the first chapter like three times trying to make it sound halfway decent, and then when I put it up the best concrit I've had so far is a few people pointing out the typos. You have no idea how bad I needed someone to look at this and just sort of tear it to peices (ok that might be a little strong for what you did, but you get the point).

The backround thing I totally understand. I'm sure everyone has read a few stories that over load on the backround. In some of my first few drafts I actually started in her last game of her seventh year when she looses, and then having Parker showing up at the internship be chapter 2. My problem with that I guess was that I couldn't manage the transition between the game to the part where she mentions the internship as well as I might've liked to. After reading this, though, I might want to go back and attempt to write the first chapter like that again. That way I sort of could get down her quidditch history, and introduce her best friends (who would definitely have been there) without making it seem like back round.

As far as Lily goes as a character, I'm glad that you liked her :). I tried to tye everything back to quidditch on purpose because that is just totally who she is. And I guess I do know a lot about sports. I have a little brother who obsessively watches sports center in the room where I work on my stories so...

As far as the dialouge I can sort of see what you mean when you say that it seemed rushed. I'm sure it probably didn't help that Teddy and her sort of exchanged like five sentences before the apparated to the Quidditch pitch. Again that was a point that had been bugging me, but now I'll probably go back and edit it

Usually I am a bit better with the grammar than I was in this chapter (I've had quite a few people telling me this) and so I've been strongly considering getting a beta even before you said this. I used snippets of prior drafts when writing this (one of which was in the present tense) so that is why some of it lapses foward, instead of staying in the past. I suppose that I didn't edit it to the extent that I needed to. But yeah I'll probably eventually end up looking for a beta.

Anywho I'm glad to see that you enjoyed my first chatper :). You'll be seeing more of the world of professional sports in the comming chapters, I promise.

Thanks again for the con crit, I really needed someone to do this.

-BoOkWoRm24


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Review #19, by Cherry BearCome, Sugar: I Am Not Saved

12th July 2012:
I've always found stream of consciousness writing to be insanely interesting, but also insanely difficult to pull off. But I really think you managed to pull it off here (: This was incredibly well-written; your writing is not only blissfully free of grammar and spelling errors, it's also rather poetic. I especially loved the italicized lines - the come sugar come parts - because it was a daring stylistic move but it really worked well here. Excellent job!

When I first started to read, I thought that the narrator was Scorpius. I think that, whenever I read a fanfiction with Rose and Scorpius, my mind automatically assumes that Scorpius has to be the one with problems, so I liked that you didn't go that route here. I liked that you made Rose the broken one, and broken in such an awful, awful way. And then the ending! I had to re-read it multiple times because I wasn't sure that that's what had actually happened - because I didn't want to believe that that's what had actually happened. So I'm sort of not really angry at you for ending this that way, but , stylistically, it was beautiful.

I think beautiful is the perfect way to describe this piece, actually - at least in terms of the writing, since what happens is anything but. This is a bit of a weird thing to comment on, but I loved the variety of your sentence structures. You alternate between just simple short sentences ("They say I will be okay. I am not saved.") to longer more complex ones ("Beneath the willows as they moan and whisper, begging for redemption, I am lost.") and it creates this really incredible un-balance that's only strengthened by the come sugar come italicized bits. I loved just about every single line, but these are probably my favorites:
- "I am a stranger in my own skin": I think part of the charm of your writing here is how you manage to be both vague and yet painfully specific. You don't elaborate on this sentence, this feeling that Rose has; you don't immediately tell us why she feels this way or even what this feels like. But you don't have to tell us, because those simple eight words speak volumes, even if they don't give the whole story. I'm not sure if what I'm saying even makes sense but, I swear, in my head, it does!
- "They cannot tell someone in a tangible, definable language the very reason for their existence": Another sentence where you say a lot in a little. I'm sort of a sucker for authors who can do that...and you've managed that really well in general here, considering the complex character you've created in less than 1500 words.
- "I close my eyes, but I donít know if I can say it. In what language is it possible to speak, to make something so concrete- if I send my words into the world, into the wind, I can't ever get them back. I can see the glow from the stars through the dampness of my eyelids. It is broken, it bends and shifts. Unalterable and imperfect, even the stars, they burn and die and plunge to the earth, to the hard soil, to the place where souls drift amongst the secrets on the breeze": This entire paragraph is basically amazing. Like, there are no words. I got legitimate goosebumps reading it and that last line was just so haunting and depressing and gah. You are incredible.
- "The jar that is my soul has shattered, left to grow ancient with moss and fear and the forgetfulness of time": This is also utterly depressing but really beautiful. You really have got some spectacular metaphors in this piece.

Also, reading over this for a second time to pick out my favorite bits, I just noticed something! "Scorpius drops beside me and tries to put his arm around me. I flinch and back away, blocked by the wall of the tower" is kind of like secretive foreshadowing of what happened to her. I definitely didn't recognize that as indicative of anything until I already knew what 'anything' was. I'm not sure if you did that on purpose or not, but, either way, clever (:

I think the way you handled what happened to Rose was also really well done. You kept things vague and it worked really well - not only because it adhered to the ToS but also because actually including that word would've made it almost too explicit, too strong. "It crosses my mind that perhaps he doesn't want to touch me now" really just says it all, combined with Rose's choppy sentences and the hooded figure.

And, on the subject of the hooded figure, the only thing that even felt a little off to me in this piece was your use of 'they' in these two sentences: "We both look at the entrance to the stairs and see a hooded figure. They are large and imposing, filling the doorway with a deeper blackness." Were you trying to keep it ambiguous whether the hooded figure was male or female, or just trying to keep the hooded figure mysterious in general? I was a bit puzzled.

But, overall, I really really enjoyed this - well, as much as one can enjoy something as sad as this. I think one of the difficulties of stream-of-consciousness is having just the right amount of "streaming"; no one really wants to read ten pages of someone's internal monologue, especially if nothing interesting is happening. Rose was a perfective balance of descriptive and to-the-point here, and I loved that. I loved this in general, actually. I may just have to check out what else you've written now (:

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Oh. My. Goodness. -gasps and dies-

What an incredibly wonderful review! Thank you so much! No response I can give will do this justice!

I'm insanely interested in stream of consciousness too! I've found that some people don't like the jilting, random quality that can come of this type of writing - it's nice to find someone who can appreciate stream of consciousness! I'm glad you liked the "come, sugar, come" parts - those are probably my favorite bits of the entire piece!

You know, I never considered that many Next Gen writers make Scorpius the narrator and give him so many problems. Maybe it's because I've had way too many college classes with feminist professors, but I had the yearning to write from a woman's perspective (I am a woman, so that should be natural, but many of my narrators are male). Anyway, I wanted to emphasize, without being incredibly obvious, the emotional turmoil that a woman in Rose's situation would experience - it's not a walk in the park, that's for sure.

I'm smiling like a crazy person over here. I'm really glad that you enjoyed my varying sentence structures. I like the idea of what you call "un-balance" (nice description, I might steal it! :P) - I feel that the humankind, as a whole, is so complex and we don't always think or write, or even feel, in complex sentences. We're simple, but we're complicated and I wanted to mirror that idea in my stylistic choices.

Thank you for noticing those lines! I feel like sometimes readers don't necessarily notice or appreciate them and I just love them (can I say that? Perhaps I'm biased). I love to experiment with the structure of our language and often try to usurp conventions to create such lines - I believe that we are so enamored with the idea of perfection and writing that must adhere to conventions that we don't allow our creativity and language and feelings to flourish.

Yes, I didn't want to be explicit with what happened to Rose. Many woman who have been in this kind of situation won't utter the word - it's almost taboo and so I wanted to emphasize that idea.

As for the hooded figure, I suppose that I wanted to really focus on Rose and he or she is just an catalyst for something bigger, you know?

I'm really, really estatic that you enjoyed this! It's always nice to hear that your work is appreciated! (Oh, you don't want to read my other stuff - this is my first piece in three years so my writing has definitely changed - and I must say that this piece speaks more to my style as a write now - everything else probably isn't nearly as decent, just to warn you!). Anyway, thank you so much for the wonderful review! I definitely appreciate it!

Shelby


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Review #20, by Cherry BearThe Steep and Thorny Way to Heaven: Act I

6th July 2012:
Simply put: I love this. Every sentence seemed so carefully and perfectly constructed that I'm not quite sure what I can say in this review that won't massively inflate your ego. The pacing, the plot, and the characterization were all extremely well done and I don't think I can commend you enough for this story, to be honest. I'm looking forward to reading the other chapters (: But, before I do, I suppose I should give you somewhat more specific, less gush-y reasons for why I like this haha.

Characterization wise, I thought this was perfect for a first chapter (er...first act?), because you told us a little bit about all the characters mentioned. Even though Narcissa and Regulus play such tiny roles in this chapter, I still got a hint of their personalities and I liked that a lot. I also particularly enjoyed Sirius' father, who was so delightfully different than I expected him to be; because this is an AU, I sort of expected you to completely re-vamp him and turn him into this all-around great guy who Sirius idolized or something, and I liked how you didn't make him into this unrealistically perfect character at all. I liked how the first thing he did when he saw Sirius was admonish him for his un-princely ways, but how you still gave him a more tender side. Somehow, you made me feel for him in that one scene, so that I found myself actually sad at his death.

I think one of my favorite parts about this is how you've translated everything from canon into this incredibly unique alternate universe (I'm fairly certain I've never seen anyone do this with Harry Potter, and I gotta say I'm loving it). It just makes so much sense that the Black family would be in charge of a kingdom and I can't wait to see how you translate the Marauders into this - seriously, I am more excited for that part than you can possibly imagine.

But what really charmed me about this was the subtlety of your writing. So far, you haven't really thrown any plot twists out - everything that's happening is sort of standard formula, and I mean that in the least offensive way possible. And yet, you still manage to add your own little spin to it just by the way you write. One of my favorite sentences in this is: "Cygnus felt his lips stretching slowly into a smile as he thought of his late sister and her husband; all Cygnus wanted to do was make Orion happy again." It seems kind of random, but I just love how you can say so much while still saying so little, if that makes sense. In fact, I think that sums up this entire chapter quite neatly; you say a lot in a little. There's not too much description or action or anything like that. It's a perfect balance, and I can't help but envy you for that (:

And my other favorite line in this was: "Cygnus fell asleep easily that night, dreaming of a crown upon his head and his brother's kingdom in the palm of his hand." I just like how poetic it sounds, and the fact that you ended this chapter this way. It worked very well, I thought.

I think I'm dangerously close to inflating your ego to massive proportions, so I should probably stop now. Expect more detailed reviews when I can get around to the next chapter! You are really spectacular.

Cherry Bear

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Review #21, by Cherry BearDay Moonlight: Dead

6th July 2012:
Lavender's life after the war is somewhat of an untold story, which is why I was extremely intrigued by this. We know that Greyback attacked hr but the books don't tell us much else really, and I love that you're taking that little amount of information and turning it into a story; I'm extremely curious to see where you go from here. I also really like the sort of mystery you've constructed in this chapter - how the readers find out what's going on with Lavender as Lavender does, which makes it all the more suspenseful and heart-wrenching. Especially so because you ended this chapter with that discovery.

I was surprised to read that this was your first attempt at first person and writing angst in English, because you did it remarkably well. However there were a couple grammar mistakes, awkward sentences, and generally confusing bits; I'm not quite sure if some parts were lost in translation or what, but sometimes I found myself a bit puzzled, in the beginning especially. In fact, for some reason, it didn't register with me that Lavender was going inside a Pensieve and I thought some weird alien Lavender had taken over her life and I was like, "Woah! This story is even crazier than I thought it would be!"

I can understand wanting to disorient the reader in the beginning (and kind of having to disorient the reader since Lavender herself is disoriented and this story is told through her perspective) but it almost seemed a bit too disorienting and rambling. I liked experiencing all of Lavender's thoughts and emotions, but it felt like I was privy to too much of her mind at times - like she was jumping to so many conclusions about what was happening to her that it threw me off and made me question whether she was ever really right. Another downside to including so many of her thoughts is that it messes with the flow of the story a little, because thoughts are naturally sort of tangential; consequently, lots of thoughts make your story seem sort of tangential. I'm not sure if what I'm saying makes much sense so, if it doesn't, just ignore me. And if no one else has had a problem with feeling disoriented, then please double-ignore me, because I'm probably just exceptionally slow tonight or something ;)

But, even if the first part rather confused me, I really enjoyed the second part and the way Lavender discovers what's happened to her. I especially love how much that "revolting white dot placed besides the 7 marking the day as if nothing was wrong" changes her life - it's such an insignificant little detail that tells her what's happened and it made me incredibly sad. I'm intrigued to discover why it is that she couldn't really remember anything at the beginning of this chapter, and to see how she handles what's happened to her. There wasn't a ton of room for characterization in this first chapter, so I'm curious to see how you flesh out Lavender's character and hopefully take her beyond that stereotypical overly-girlish lovesick role thrust upon her in the books.

I think, maybe, my favorite part about this was the title. That's an incredibly weird thing to say but, as I was typing this review, I happened to glance at the title of this chapter (which I am ashamed to admit I usually forget to look at) and it struck me as remarkably fitting. Lavender begins this chapter believing that she is dead and I feel like she almost comes full-circle where, at the end, she finds out what's happened to her and she probably feels like her life (at least as she knows it) is over. It makes me wonder if Lavender will struggle with that idea - that death might be better than what her life has become - in later chapters, and I hope she does. But, even if you only touch on it here, I think it was definitely an interesting concept to touch on - however intentionally or unintentionally you may have done so, hehehe.

Aside from that, I don't have much else to say. I don't mean to offend you, but I think a beta would do this story wonders. Your writing isn't atrocious and you don't make tons of mistakes or anything like that, but I think it's always helpful to have a second set of eyes to catch any awkward parts or tell you when something seems semi-confusing. But, again, I'm just a lowly reviewer and it is completely your prerogative. All in all, I enjoyed this and I may just have to check out the other chapters to see what becomes of your Lavender (:

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Thanks for stopping by!
Lavender is a very underrated character and when I saw the 'fatal disease challenge' the little we knew of her ending had plunnies running all around my head, and this came out! Hopefully I'll write her as she deserves!

I've been told that the beginning is pretty confusing, and I did want to make the reader a bit lost like Lavender but not that much. I got a beta so hopefully that will be fixed soon enough :)

I'm very happy you liked the second part, and Lavender has definitely changed since the sixth book. It might see a bit drastic, considering I'm not telling her seventh year but it's definitely different so I hope it'll be fine.

Woot for titles! It's definitely something she'll be struggling with, death and all. It's mostly about aftermath, this story, so there will be some stream of consciousness but hopefully without the whole rambling part.

Hoping to see you back and thanks for the great CC!


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Review #22, by Cherry BearHarry Potter and the Mysteries of the Ministry: Leaving for the Last Time

5th July 2012:
Hi there! I was a little confused on whether or not I should read this, because of your author's note at the beginning, but hopefully it's okay that I did. Anyway, I rarely read stories with "Harry Potter and the..." titles (in my experience, they're usually not that good) but I was intrigued by your summary and these so-called "mysteries of the Ministry" so I decided to check this out (:

I like how you begin with Harry relieved that everything seems over, because it's obvious that everything is not really over and it helps to build up a sense of suspense. I also like that you're writing this story about Harry immediately following the war, because I feel like there's really not enough stories like that out there. Most authors seem to feel that there's not much left to say and thus move on to Next-Gen and whatnot, but you seem to have plenty to say about Harry still, and it's refreshing.

There are a few nit-picky things that need some work (and I apologize if they've already been pointed out to you). Mostly, I think your dialogue punctuation needs some correcting. For example, in the phrase, "'I've had enough trouble for a lifetime' said Harry", there should be a comma after the word 'lifetime' (the last word Harry speaks) and the quotation mark. In addition, in other parts, you capitalize the pronoun (i.e. "He said") after the quotation marks, when it should never be capitalized (it should be "he said"). These are extremely minor things that, if you fix up, will make your story look a lot cleaner. And, if you're at all confused, I recommend checking out the Grammar Guidelines section on the forums or even just getting a beta, if you don't have one already. It's always nice to have a second pair of eyes reading over your writing, and it would also help with your spelling mistakes.

All that aside, I really think your strong point here is your descriptions. I love the description, in the beginning, of the destroyed common room - of how the war had wrecked it so much, perhaps because it's honestly something I've never put too much thought into: how much the Final Battle would impact Hogwarts and how someone would inevitably need to clean that all up, you know? However, while I liked how you painted such a great image of things with your extensive descriptions, sometimes I did feel like they were a little too extensive. For example, you basically devote an entire paragraph to the beds in Harry's old dorm, and it just seems a little unnecessarily tangential to the story. In addition, sometimes you cram a bunch of actions into one part, which can be a little tiresome to read (i.e. "Slowly, in an almost dreamlike state, Harry placed on his glasses (courtesy of which, he saw a mop of red and brown hair from the next bed) before slipping on his trainers, lowering the pouch around his neck, slipping the Elder Wand into his jeans pocket, and, with his left hand holding his invisibility cloak, and gripping his Holly wand in his right hand, he headed for the door down to the Common Room.") Sometimes it's better to let the reader infer what Harry is doing or to space out Harry's actions, so you don't have sentences that tedious.

But, even so, I did think you handled Harry's character really well. How it was difficult for him to rest peacefully because he was still haunted by all the deaths - I think that was extremely realistic and I would have been baffled if he had just turned completely back to normal. I also really liked your Ginny. At first, I was a little unsure whether she would truly be that angry to see Harry at first (a part of me argues that she would understand) so I really enjoyed how you turned her anger into sadness, because if I had just lost one of my brothers I would probably be pretty emotional as well.

I stopped reading at your author's note mid-way through, so I'm not sure about any material after that, but I thought this chapter was an interesting start to a story. I would've liked to see more plot and indication of what exactly these mysteries of the ministry are, but you did a decent job of establishing the characters and their attempts to cope with the aftermath of the war. Overall, good job.

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: I have to admit, I haven't touched this story in months. It's the first story I wrote, around two years ago, and then I began trying to rewrite it - which is the reason for the notes. Since then, this had been on the backburner with me planning a new story.

To be honest, I've yet to fully decide upon my mysteries yet, so I'll carry on updating them when I do - and I'll change the title too.

Thanks for the review,
-RH


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Review #23, by Cherry BearMore Than One Way to Destroy a Man: More Than One Way to Destroy a Man

5th July 2012:
I really wanted to find an unloved story on your Author's page, but I couldn't...it seems like all your stories are extremely well-liked, so I settled for this one, because it seemed to have the least (but still impressive) amount of reviews. I haven't read any of your other work, but this is absolutely brilliant. I love the title, because it's eye-catching and intriguing and few authors can pull off such a lengthy title. And I love the first line - in fact, the entire opening is pretty spectacular. There's something about the way you contrast a simple fact ("Azkaban stands in the middle of an island") with the deep insight into Sirius' character that is just magical.

Initially, I was a little put-off by the stylistic methods you used here, but then I fell in love with your repetition and restating and these absolutely brilliant sentences: "He dances around the guilt like he used to skirt around Moony when he realized he was first in love with him. (Moony, a name he clutches to in the shadows of his mind but when the Dementors hover over his tormented body, Moony brings back memories that claw, tear and rip like the werewolf.)" You're very good at interspersing Sirius' instropective, almost nonsensical thoughts with more concrete information. It's something that I think it's often difficult to find a balance between and, yet, you manage to pull it off perfectly. You mix poetry with plot in the best way possible.

There was only one part of this that felt even slightly off to me. Perhaps it's because I'm so used to idolizing Remus, to picturing him as this flawless character (which I know is a wrong, unrealistic impression, considering his actions in DH), but I was a bit shocked by what he said to Sirius when he visited him in prison. It seemed almost out-of-character to me, especially considering the way you portrayed Remus in the next part, how difficult it was for him to let go of coffee, because it was what Sirius liked. I can understand Remus initially reacting with hate (or what feels like hate) but...I don't know. His words seemed too strong or something. I would've almost liked to have more insight into his reaction to Sirius' perceived betrayal before that bit, or even to have more insight into Remus' internal struggle while he said that, or something like that. I'm probably just being nit-picky, so feel free to ignore me, though (:

On a related note, I love the idea of Remus wishing he could hate Sirius, and the line: "the years keep fading as though they were yesterdays and he feels as though heís growing too old too fast and maybe all he needs is Sirius to feel young again. Oh god, Sirius--" I find it incredibly beautiful and I can't pinpoint exactly why, only that it is. Actually, there are a lot of lines like that, and I would quote them all but I would probably end up copying and pasting a majority of this story into this box and that would bore you, so I'm not going to do that.

I really enjoyed how you wrote their reunion and god how Remus realizes that death isn't the worst thing and how you tie it all back to the title and gah major spasms over here. And then that last sentence! I can't even! You are amazing.

So, in case this rambling review didn't tell you, I really enjoyed this. I've always been a closet Remus/Sirius fan but it doesn't seem to be all that common of a ship here, so this was certainly a refreshing read - especially because it explored the darker side of their relationship, the one that it's almost easier to pretend doesn't exist. But I'm glad you were brave enough to acknowledge its existence and write about this, about Azkaban and mistrust and Sirius' death and the cracks in their relationship. It was truly a lovely read and I look forward to eventually checking out your others work (:

Cherry Bear

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Review #24, by Cherry BearEmerald: Emerald

16th June 2012:
Hey there! First, I love how you wrote about Luna and Neville. I honestly never read stories about them and I think they are rather under-appreciated characters in the fandom, so it makes me happy that you at least appreciate them. I also enjoyed your idea of the emerald crystal, and how it tracked faithfulness - that is certainly an interesting idea that I haven't seen done before.

That being said, I do have a few criticisms for you. I didn't notice any spelling errors but you do have a couple of grammar errors, so I would recommend getting a beta (having a second set of eyes is always helpful, believe me) or even just checking out the Grammar Guidelines subforum on the forums. There are some really great topics in there that I think would be of use to you, specifically one about dialogue punctuation - if I remember correctly. In addition, I did feel that the pacing of this story was a little off; it seemed to move really quickly, as if you were eager to get to the end. I would've liked to see you spend more time developing the characters and the plot and showing their relationships. For example, instead of just describing how Rolf had been growing distant about his work in the end of the story, why not show the reader that in the beginning of the chapter? And, of the same vein, instead of skipping over Neville and Luna's catching up, it'd be nice if we could see some of their conversation and interaction so as to better understand their abrupt marriage at the end. One of the most crucial aspects of writing is learning how to show instead of just tell, and I think that's the number one critique I have for you about this story.

Aside from that, I did like what I saw of your characters because (as I said before) it's definitely a fresh take on their post-Hogwarts experiences. Most people seem to portray Rolf and Luna as a perfect match so I like that you decided to be more original and offer a different perspective on their relationship. While your Luna wasn't quite as weird and aloof as I imagined Luna, I did enjoy your Rolf - if only because it seems to me that he's no more in love with Hannah than he thought he was with Luna. To me, there are some serious complexities to his character hinted at in the fact that he falls in love so quickly...perhaps he has some type of dependency issues? (: I would've liked to see more character development of him and Hannah, to see why they both acted the way they did besides finding themselves spontaneously in love. But, regardless, I still found his character amusing him and I liked how you took the time to describe the beginning of his infatuation with Hannah.

As far as plot goes, I do think you could include a little bit more to make things more interesting here. Right now, it all seems a bit straightforward and apparent from the start that Rolf is cheating on her and that you're going to pair her up with Neville. It'd be nice if it was a little more subtle, almost. But, at the same time, I have to admit that there is a certain charm to the straightforward nature of your writing. I feel like it's very easy for authors to get caught up in fancy words and flowery poetry and there were parts of this that were endearing in their directness. I think my favorite part is: "Rolf was pleased to be out of the house. In truth, he wasn't actually going to work at all. In fact, his work with animals had been so slow and boring lately that he had barely been going to work at all. No, that was all a lie to cover up what he was really doing. Rolf Scamander was seeing someone, secretly, and the last thing he needed was his stupid wife messing things up" - if only because it's so brutally honest. I have to applaud you for that, because being that direct is a special sort of art of its own, I think.

That's about all I can think to say. I'm sorry if I offended you with any of my criticisms as I certainly didn't mean to. I think you're off to a very good start with this story and I really enjoyed the originality of the idea; I just wish it was fleshed out more so I could really see your writing shine. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you write (:

Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Wow, that's one big review!

No, you definitely did not offend me with your criticism, actually I love reviewers that give out constructive criticism because they are so helpful, so thankyou :)

I think that the grammar problems are mostly typos which I haven't had time to fix yet, but I will definitely take a look at the plot and the other things you wrote about and work out how to fix things up!

Thanks again :)


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Review #25, by Cherry BearWelcome to the Circus: Welcome to the Circus

10th June 2012:
Hey again! I've yet to read any of your writing that I don't like, and this is no exception. I think my favorite thing about this is how you use a circus as a metaphor for their family. It's incredibly original, it definitely fits, and you manage to pull it off almost poetically - especially in your summary (which, by the way, weirdly gave me goosebumps).
And beyond just the beauty of the metaphor, I love the idea you're exploring here: the cracks in their family. It's not only something that I can completely relate to, it's also something that's not really explored very much in Next-Generation fanfiction but that definitely should be. While it's nice to think that everyone just became One Big Happy Family and everything was perfect and la-dee-da after the war, that's not realistic at all. As messy and painful and devastating as this is, it is realistic. Of what I've read of your writing, realism seems to be a talent of yours. Much like in Uncage, you mix heart-wrenching moments with average activities here, and that contrast only seems to make everything more painfully realistic.
The only critique I have for you (beyond a few of the same nit-picky mistakes you made in Uncage) is that the ending seems a little bit rushed. I absolutely do not mean to offend you or tell you how to write your story, but I think that the ending would've been better if you had not tried to hurriedly conclude things and wrap them up with a nice neat little bow. Dom's acknowledgement that "life will still go on" seems unnecessary to me, and I almost think it would be more realistic if there was no resolution or acceptance of their family as a mess/circus - if they just kept painting without that semi-acceptance. But, as I said, it's definitely your prerogative as a writer and I still think it's a beautiful story, regardless.
I appreciate that you didn't go for the conventional cracks that most people see in the Next-Generation era (and, I'll admit, I'm guilty of a few of them myself). Instead of Dominique being secretly in love with Teddy and jealous of Victoire, she hates Teddy - which is definitely something that I didn't see coming and I don't think I've ever seen before. I think it would've been interesting if you had explored her hatred for Teddy some more, because there has to be a reason for it, whether or not Dominique wants to acknowledge it or not.
But, even more than Dominique's shocking hatred for Teddy, I loved the complexities of their family that you hinted at. That Dominique never heard about Lila, that Teddy would want to name their child Lila (which, honestly, makes me think Dominique has the right impression about him...and that's something I've never seen written before: Teddy as a slimy prat), that Hugo's parents would ride him so much about his grades - all of these little intricacies about their family that you manage to slip into your story so effortlessly I can't help but be impressed. And I think what makes this story such a great read is, as I mentioned before, the relate-ability factor. Because, honestly, who doesn't feel like their family is just a little messed up? It makes sense that their family would have this problem magnified because of their size (that there would almost be factions...those with Victoire and those with Teddy after the break-up). You've definitely made me sympathize with your characters.
I probably mentioned this in my review for Uncage, but I love how your writing has these lines that are just sporadically heavy (that's really the only word I can think of to describe them). I loved the line, "Roxanne asked, to break the thickening silence before it dried and hardened along with the paint." But I think my favorite was, "It was these little cracks in the family that had always gotten to her; they appeared out of nowhere when in reality they had been festering for years, widening despite the paint or plaster thrown desperately over them." In fact, the part where they acknowledge the cracks in their family - where Roxanne demands that Dom tells her what else is wrong with the family - was very well-written and I found it incredibly striking. You have a knack for including the perfect amount of drama and integrating it into the events seamlessly.
I think I've probably rambled on for long enough for now. I really enjoyed this and, as weird as it sounds, I actually want to thank you for writing it. You've made me see the Next-Generation characters in a whole new, imperfect light. Excellent work (:
Cherry Bear

Author's Response: Wow, once again, a huge thank you for such a long, detailed review. I really appreciate the time and thought you must've put into it.

Looking back on this story, I recall a lot of little pieces that accidentally came together to make it what it is. I remember wanting to start out with a different take on the interactions between Teddy, Dominique, and Victoire, and settling on something entirely different than a love triangle. That, paired with a few images of painting a room and the banner and title I found in the UFG section led to this circus show of the family issues. I'm really, really glad it went over well, though I do see your point about Dominique's anger, and I'm with you on that. I'd like to see if I could do more with it.

I also see what you mean about the rushed ending. These days, I find those in my stories which are running rather long and I want to tie them up before someone starts falling asleep. However, that couldn't have been the case here, if anything it's fairly short. ;) That's another thing I'll look into. There's a chance I simply didn't know how to end it, and so attempted to do so too fast. :) Thanks for catching that.

Thanks for everything, really-- I'm far too flattered by all your praise. It's not good for my ego to see you enjoying some of these things so much, or laying so many compliments on my writing style and realistic take on things. :P


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