Reading Reviews From Member: magnolia_magic
245 Reviews Found

Review #1, by magnolia_magicFour: Four

12th December 2014:
Hi Leigh! You're in the review hot seat, yay! I hope you enjoy your day of review-bombing, and I'm happy to come and be a part of it. This story caught my eye right away, and I'm so happy that I got a chance to read it!

I loved all four sections of this, but the first one was my favorite. I can see little Blaize adoring his mother and stepfather, and your descriptions of the piano are enchanting. Which makes it all the more sad when Geoff never returns. That line, when his mother says that the third husband will "fill his place nicely" is just chilling. Such a great job there!

If I can make one suggestion about the first section: if I were you, I would take out the line, "Until the third husband came along." I think it breaks up the flow a little bit, and distracts from the grief that comes a few lines later, when Geoff is gone. Taking it out would create a more seamless flow into that heavier subject matter, I think. If that makes sense.

I can relate to Blaize's use of the library as a retreat and escape, so I thought that section was lovely as well. And who doesn't see Hogwarts as a safe haven? That part will really resonate with your readers, as we're all such huge HP fans :) Most of all, though, I loved the little hints you dropped that Blaize has a soft spot for Hermione. I love that you don't show them interacting, and instead provide a sort of outside-looking-in perspective. It made me smile to imagine him admiring her from afar :)

Your ending is so lovely! I love the way you tied it all together in those last few lines and ended on a hopeful note. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, Leigh! Thank you so much for sharing it with us :)


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Review #2, by magnolia_magicchristmas eve.: spending time with family.

11th December 2014:
Hi Aimee! I hope you're having fun in the hot seat today!

Aw, I loved this! I can never resist a story about family and Christmas, and this one is well done. I loved all the characters you pulled in; even though there aren't really any connections to the HP characters, they still felt very real to me. I especially loved Betty! I know several precious old ladies like her, and I pictured her as my own grandmother :) I was glad that Brooklyn had someone to talk to during such a stressful time.

I'm very curious about the falling-out among Brooklyn's family. Is this a oneshot, or are you planning on continuing? If you do, I'd love to see some more light shed on that situation. The relationship between Brooklyn and her granddad was so heartwarming, though, and I absolutely love the way you ended this story. The image of them in the hospital room is so lovely; they have all the family they need when they're together :)

Great job with this! I hope today has been a great Hufflepuff love-bombing for you, and I'm so glad I could read this story and be a part of it!


Author's Response: Maggie, hey! :)

Yeah, I had a lot of fun in the hot seat :) It's put a massive smile on my face.

Trust me, the next few chapters will hopefully include HP canon characters so they'll be coming soon :) Yeah, Betty really reminded me of my own Grandmother (who taught me how to knit as well) so I thought I'd add her to the story.

Yeah, it's a short-story but the other chapters won't include Brooklyn and her family (maybe in passing) but the story won't develop from this point.

~Aimee xxx

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Review #3, by magnolia_magicA Time of Heartache and Healing: Failure

10th December 2014:
Hi Erica! I hope you're having fun being in the hot seat today!

So from your summary, I fully expected this to be a sad story. But I wasn't prepared for the powerful emotion here. I really felt for Molly; the way you described her thoughts about her son's death felt so realistic and so heartbreaking. This story really speaks to the nature of depression; it can be a vicious cycle that is very difficult to break.

Even though it was a sad note to end on, I like your choice not to really resolve things between Molly and Arthur by the end. I wanted a happy ending so much (I always do, haha) but with this story it does fit the theme better to end things in the middle of all the complex negative feelings Molly is experiencing. That kind of thing can't be resolved with fluff, really, and I loved your choice to keep things realistic.

Great work, Erica! Enjoy the review-bombing today :) I'm so glad I could be a part of it! Congrats on tackling something new; you did a really good job!


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Review #4, by magnolia_magicYear Five: Loose Lips

7th December 2014:
Hi Roisin! It has been far too long since I've gotten to pick this story back up. RL has been cray cray and I just sort of left my review thread to die...But. I'm so glad you took me up on my swap offer! I loved getting back into the swing of your story :)

Eeee, a Tristan chapter! I just want to give him a hug, even though I feel like he would hate it :P I can definitely relate to Emily's desire to just "rationalize him into being happy." But he's at a tough age, and even though Hogwarts is warm and fuzzy and magical (especially the way you write it), sometimes things just aren't okay. I really love the way you preserve that nice, nostalgic Hogwarts feeling while simultaneously getting into the darker, more complicated headspace of your characters.

So Tristan isn't a pureblood after all? That was a surprise to me. exactly did he get into Slytherin with so much Muggle in him? Things are brewing here. I'm excited to dig deeper :) The altercation with Wood during Herbology class was well done; in fact, it's something I could see Harry doing during his angsty phase in OOTP. I wasn't expecting such a mean-spirited Wood, but then again he is a Gryffindor, and he has to protect his pride, I guess. Fred and George had a great attitude about it, at least, and you wrote their reactions and mannerisms so, so well.

I enjoyed this, as always! I hope I can carve out some more time to keep reading soon, because I'm dying to know what's going on with these kids. There are still so many questions and mysteries. Hopefully you will see me again before too much longer! And in answer to your question in your response to my last review, yes, you can feel free to use that line whenever your heart desires :) Thanks for swapping with me, Roisin!


Author's Response: Hello!!!

Ah! I'm so happy you feel like there's Hogwarts nostalgia here, despite a pretty heavy thematic emphasis elsewhere. I really wanted it to feel like the same world, and have a tangible connection to the Philosopher's Stone. And then since I had zero familiarity with fanfiction when I wrote out the first draft, I kind of came up with my own interpretation of what that meant, so there are a lot of references to the books (sometimes by like, re-using a phrase or concept, but changing its meaning). Basically, its very aware that it's fanfiction, so meta references are common :)

'Rationalizing someone into being happy' is such a thing! I've done it for sure, and it's been done to me. Like, trying to debate someone out of whatever they are feeling.

Tristan is very much a Slytherin, but the traits manifest in him differently than what we see in the books. I loved the idea of a reluctant/rebellious Slytherin, who could be just as elitist, but in different ways (namely, being a music snob). There's more later about exactly how he came to be a Slythrin, wot with his parentage.

I was definitely channeling Harry's OotP angst in this story! I think it's a tough age, and Rowling wrote it really well, so Harry being super frustrating at times is very much mirrored here :)

Yee! Thank you so much for the swap!


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Review #5, by magnolia_magicThe Minister of Magic's Daughter: Prologue

6th December 2014:
Here for review swap!

This chapter was not at all what I expected based on your summary, I have to say. But I think I enjoyed it even more because of that! This is the start of a really ambitious project, I can tell, and you've finished it! Props to you for that undertaking, first of all. I'm so glad I got the chance to start at the beginning.

This reminds me a lot of Greek mythology; maybe it's the subject matter, or maybe it's the way your writing flows. It feels like an epic, or a legend. Your prose is beautiful, very sweeping and grand, and it fits this prologue very well. I'll be excited to see how the style changes when we get into more concrete, present-day events.

The change in focus at the beginning felt a little abrupt to me. Hopefully this will make sense: you start off by having the narrator talk about herself, and then all at once we're in the distant past learning about the origins of magic. It was a little confusing at first, but once I adjusted I was fully drawn in! Your ideas about the initial separation of wizards and muggles are fascinating, and I love the idea of some higher beings governing the magic in the world.

Your last line is just great. It brings us back to the present and sets up this burning question of this narrator's place in the grand scheme of things. I am definitely planning to devour the rest of this as soon as RL allows!

I'm so glad I got the chance to read this! Thank you so much for swapping with me, and like I said, I'll definitely be adding this one to my reading list :)


Author's Response: Thanks for the review swap. I always like seeing what other stories and ideas people have out here.

This has been a pet project for a long time and I'm so excited to be putting up the chapters. It took me a long time to write the prologue as there's a lot to hint at, without giving everything away. Its really good to hear things from someone reading afresh. I will have a look at it again and see what I can do about the 'abrupt' change and see if I can smooth it out a little.

This story does become kind of epic...much more epic than I first perceived it to be. I'm really happy you enjoyed this first chapter and I hope you go on to enjoy the rest of the story.

Thanks so much for swapping with me also :)

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Review #6, by magnolia_magicMoon River: Prologue: Breathe

5th December 2014:

This is a great opening chapter! I'm so intrigued already. I like the idea of the Potters having a unity event; it seems like the kind of thing they would do to keep the peace going. And you did a great job of pulling me in right from the beginning with your descriptive language. The line about comparing the heat with honey is wonderful, strong imagery, and I almost felt a little suffocated just reading it! It helped me to empathize with Rose, especially toward the end when she began to get sick.

I can't wait to see the explanation of Rose's mysterious illness and how it affects her character. This prologue hits just the right notes; you offer a small glimpse into Rose's life while leaving us wanting more. I loved the sensory experience of Rose's illness--you did a great job portraying it! Description is a great strength in your writing, I can tell, and it makes for such a vivid experience :)

It's hard to get a good sense of characterization in this short of a prologue, so I'm very excited to get to know Rose much better in future chapters. I can say with certainty right now, though, that Liam is not my favorite. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt in case he ends up being a nice guy, but he's just a little too condescending for my taste. And how does he not realize that Rose has this illness? Isn't he her boyfriend? Shouldn't he know these things? Haha, I have so many questions! Also, saying that I don't like him is by no means a criticism! I'm excited to see how (if?) he develops and how he plays into the story.

Great chapter! I'm so glad I got the chance to review it!


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Review #7, by magnolia_magicComplicated: In Which Christmas Is Not The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

3rd September 2014:
Hi! I'm finally here with your requested review! I'm really sorry to have made you wait, but thank you so much for your patience. And now on to the review!

I'll be honest, it took a while for Olivia to start growing on me. But I think that's what you were going for, right? She's very...prickly? Difficult to deal with, and with her family background it's very easy to understand why that is. But you showed us tiny cracks in her defensive shell, like the mention of her friends and the moment with Katie at the end. Those things helped to make her a more relatable, fleshed-out character. Her voice is really witty and sharp, and you established a good pace--fast but comfortable.

And Jason! I liked him! He never seemed like a moron at all, despite Olivia calling him that. Instead, he came off very likable (for me, at least.) He reminds me a lot of the way Oliver was portrayed in the books :) And I loved the moment at the dinner table when he picked up on the tension and diffused it. And Olivia's little acknowledgment that it was a good move. "I suppose he's not always a moron." So cute! That was the moment that Olivia became tolerable for me, because you showed just the perfect amount of vulnerability without changing her personality. Really nice characterization technique for both Olivia and Jason there :)

Oh goodness, what to say about Olivia's parents. Pansy is a hot mess. I was just in disbelief that she brought Draco up in front of her husband and daughter. I mean, kids can tell when there is trouble in paradise, but aren't parents supposed to at least try to protect their kids from their marriage troubles? But clearly Pansy is not an ideal parent. And I was furious at the little digs she made about Olivia's weight! If you had left her as this completely one-dimensional "clueless parent" character, I would have been perfectly happy just hating her.

But. You threw us a curveball with the cheating revelation. And suddenly Pansy is a sympathetic character, at least for that one scene. I got used to seeing her as a straight-up villain, and suddenly she became the victim for a minute. It was a twist that I was not expecting, and I enjoyed the surprise. Even though the scene itself was dramatic and heavy, I thought it was fun to be thrown off a bit.

And her dad is now my least favorite of the two. It was going to take something truly heinous to strip Pansy of that title, but you sure delivered! What an absolute jerk! :/

I was a little miffed at Olivia for taking the situation and making it about her ("Stop dragging me into all your rubbish"), but it's to be expected. She feels betrayed too, and she seems to have a natural temper. I'm looking forward to seeing her with her friends, and I hope it's a healthier situation than what she has at home.

I like the image you leave us with, of Olivia flying away from the Madhouse on her broom, towards the sanctuary of her friends. It was a lovely, peaceful note to end on after all the chaos. But for me, the very last line about hating Christmas sort of disrupts that image. It feels a bit out of place to me, and it took me out of the moment. I think it's something about placing the strong negative emotion of the word "hate" right after the hopeful image of Olivia smiling as she flies away. I figured you were going for symmetry between the end of the chapter and the beginning, but I think the effect would be better with that last line cut. It would leave us focused on what's ahead in the story, instead of what's already happened.

I enjoyed this a lot! I kind of have conflicting feelings on whether I like Olivia, but that's good: she's not really supposed to be all that pleasant. And it means you've done a great job of introducing a complex character. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better, and I plan on adding this to my reading list. Great job and feel free to re-request!


Author's Response: Hi Maggie!

Thanks so much for the lovely review. Don't worry at all about the delay, it's not a problem

I'm glad you're unsure about Olivia. She's not supposed to be a perfect character but I hope I've given her room to develop and as you get to know her more I think/hope she gets more likeable.

And her parents are all round awful, but Katie's family is hopefully some kind of redemption. Jason's one of my favourites, which makes it difficult to write from Olivia's point of view because she dislikes him so much, but I just don't think they'd get along at this point in the story. Olivia's too determined to hate her family and also Gryffindors :)

That's such a good point about the last line interrupting the hopefulness of her flying away. I'll have a think about it and probably cut the line when I come back and edit. Given that it's not a one-shot I definitely would rather focus on what's coming than on what's happened, so thanks so much for pointing that out.

Thank you for all the feedback. I'll definitely rerequest if that's okay :)

Emma x

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Review #8, by magnolia_magicYear Five: R

31st August 2014:
I swear the people who post in my thread must have the patience of saints. But to make up for the wait, I have a feeling this review is going to consist of nothing but gushing compliments :) You're doing an awesome job with this story, Roisin!

This chapter is my favorite so far by a mile, but that may just be because Emily is my favorite character so far. She seems so kind and approachable, exactly the kind of person I would like to meet. I like that you took a little time to explore her past (in fact, I find myself wishing you had done a little more of that with Isobel in the last chapter. But there's a lot of story left for me to look forward to!) I can see the influence that Tonks must have had on Emily; she seems to share that spirit of inclusiveness and fun, even if Emily is quite a bit more reserved.

Speaking of, I LOVED the references to Tonks! If Helga is the queen of Hufflepuff, then Tonks is our princess, and I was thrilled to see your take on what she must have been like at Hogwarts. I can definitely see her being a sort of hero to the misfits of the school, and it's got to be sad for them to lose her. Also, I can relate to the surreal feeling of taking the reins after an older class of people has graduated. Definitely a weird place to be.

I feel like I know Tristan a little better now. Seeing him from Emily's perspective probably helps with that, as he seems to be more open with her than the other girls. His interest in Muggle music and books is intriguing, especially now that we know he's in Slytherin. To me, it seems like a way of rebelling against his pureblood heritage. I've already been suspecting that his home life is not ideal, and now the evidence mounts to support that. This kid has some layers, for sure, and I cannot wait to uncover some of them. And my head is spinning from the ominous hints you dropped about him in this chapter! Okay, so there is some sort of deal with Neville Longbottom. And something with his middle name. R. Riddle maybe? Regulus? Rumplestiltskin?

Okay. Guessing is clearly not my strongest suit. OR IS IT? Haha, I really want spoilers now!

Laurel worries me a lot. I really want a Laurel chapter to happen, just so I can get inside her head a bit more. And like I said earlier, I'm looking forward to more Isobel soon! I feel like she is sort of fading into the background so far, but that's natural. With several main characters to balance, they can't all take up equal space at all times. But I couldn't help but feel the difference between this chapter (in which Emily reveals quite a bit about herself) and the previous (in which Isobel focuses almost entirely on the people around her.) Maybe Emily is just a more open person than Isobel? In any case, I hope that more will be revealed about both her and Laurel in the coming chapters.

The story is definitely hitting its stride now! I loved everything you did with this chapter. The pacing is comfortable, the characters are super compelling, and you've got the Hogwarts vibe absolutely note-perfect. I'm officially hooked! Fantastic job, Roisin!


Author's Response: Hello! Thank you for this wonderful, encouraging, lovely review!

Emily is probably my favorite too :) I love Hufflepuff, and I think a lot of people write it off/don't celebrate it enough, so I wanted to write a very Hufflepuffy Puff to show how awesome it is.

Helga's the queen and Tonks is the princess--I loved that! In fact, can I borrow that line when I revise???

And yes! I loved the idea of a reluctant Slytherin who's obsessed with muggle culture :D He's definitely verrry rebellious.


It's going to be a while before we get into Laurel's head, which was an intentional decision. I really wanted to build up the perspectives other people had of her first. I really loved the way JK withheld and revealed information in Casual Vacancy, and how she gave simple details a lot of weight by how she introduced them. I SUPER tried to emulate that here :)

And AH! I'm so glad you thought the "Hogwarts vibe" was on point! That was a BIG thing for me writing this!

Thank you thank you thank you for all of the kind words!


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Review #9, by magnolia_magicTrixangela Snape: Year 1: The Prologue

30th August 2014:
Hi! Maggie here from the forums with your requested review! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to get here, but I'm very glad you requested in my thread. I am a Snily shipper myself, so I appreciate seeing a new take on how they might have had a relationship. Thanks so much for your patience, and now on with the review!

I really liked the way you structured this chapter, first of all. The use of flashbacks was very effective, and I like that you started off with the point of Lily's death. The initial mystery of how Harry had brought his mother back to life was a great hook--I had to read on to find out! And the scene with Snape and Lily in the hospital was very well done. I loved the moment when she put her hand on his arm to reassure him. It seemed very Lily to me. It's the little things, I guess :)

I do have one suggestion for improving the flow. The "9 Months Later" section felt a little bit disruptive for me, mostly because I didn't understand why that scene had to be set so far ahead of the hospital scene. Also, having one flashback in italics and the other not confused me a bit. I'd suggest maybe merging that "9 Months Later" section in with the first flashback somehow. Try to work that passage of time into the narrative, instead of creating a time jump. That way the whole flashback would flow more smoothly, and then we could transition out of it without confusion.

Knowing Snape as we do from the books, I can understand his reluctance to be a father figure to Harry. He's very harsh in his refusal, but I think it's totally believable. I think you did well with his character in this chapter. It can be hard for canon characters to seem believable in AU stories, but I can see the effort you put into keeping Snape in character. And I have to say I loved the moment when he's alone with his daughter. That tenderness is something we never get to see in the books, and I think he would be a doting father to any child he had with Lily. I love that you ended the chapter on that note, and I'm excited to see how your Snape grows and changes as a result of being a father.

One little dialogue suggestion: when you have Snape calling people "git" and "prat", it doesn't really seem to fit the context. To me, those words bring to mind an ignorant person, or someone who's just acting dumb. I'm not sure it's the best way to describe infant Harry? Or even Voldemort, really--I think a stronger word would be more appropriate for a mass murderer.

It might sound odd, but one of my favorite things about this chapter is the way you wrote Dumbledore. You really did a terrific job portraying him as a wise mentor figure to Snape; never judging, but instead offering sound advice, whether or not Snape chose to take it. It was very true to his character, I thought :)

I think your plot is off to an intriguing start! You covered any questions I might have had in your author's note, so I won't go there. I'm excited to see the kind of person Trixi grows up to be, and how it could complicate things to throw Harry into the mix. And most of all, I can't wait for the flashbacks of Lily with her children, and the four of them as a family. You're giving us a lot to look forward to, which is exactly what you want out of an opening chapter. Thanks again for requesting! I enjoyed this!


Author's Response: Thanks for reviewing. You now gave me an idea for this that could very much work, I would think. Since I am flashing back in the past with future chapters anyway, perhaps I don't need the 9 months later scene just yet, as it's already assumed the two got married. I could squeeze the 4 paragraphs into a different chapter that covers this same topic.

I thought git/prat was okay given the fact that it's Harry. Other than "swine" I am not sure what Snape called James. But maybe I can come up with something less... slangish.

You will see a few more moments between Dumbledore and Snape, I am loving these scenes together... :)

Glad you liked it! Hope you like the rest!

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Review #10, by magnolia_magicWhat next?: Chapter One

30th August 2014:
Hi! I was scrolling through the recently added list and your summary caught my eye. I just wanted to drop by and say I'm so glad I picked this story to read! I enjoyed it very much, and I think you're a very talented writer. Rose has a great voice, and she seems like a very well-thought-out character. I like that she is dedicated to her studies but still has a sense of humor--always a great combination, in my opinion :) She seems very perceptive, too, and sensitive to the people around her. I really like her perspective and I'm looking forward to seeing more!

Ruth is great too; she seems like a great friend for Rose. I loved the personality quiz scene on the train. It's those kind of random things that can really set the tone for a friendship, and I loved the laid-back atmosphere that scene set up. Rose is clearly worried about her future and taking the right path, but she isn't neurotic about it; she still takes the time to goof off with Ruth and Al. Loved it :)

I'm very curious about what actually happened between Rose and Scorpius. That was the one thing I wanted a little more clarity on. What was their relationship like before things got weird? It seems like they are just sort of awkward acquaintances, and Rose is having trouble defining what their relationship actually is--or what she wants it to be, maybe? ;) If this does turn out to be a ScoRose, I think you have a very original take on them. Usually I see either star-crossed lovers or complete hatred in ScoRose fics, so it's refreshing to see a dynamic that's a little harder to label.

My suggestions aren't about the quality of your writing (which is excellent), but about what you could do to make this story more eye-catching. I want to see other people reading this! Do you have a forums account? If not, I hope you'll consider making one, because you can request feedback from other members and just generally get the word out about your work. We're all super friendly over there, and the staffers will answer any questions you might have. It doesn't take too long to get the hang of things :) Secondly, I'd consider getting a banner. The super-helpful people at the forums can direct you in how to go about that; there is a whole site full of talented artists who take requests.

(If I'm telling you things you already know, feel free to disregard all that. But I would hate to see this story get lost in the crowd, because I really do think you have a great start!)

But anyway. I think this story has amazing potential--you've got a great main character who is going through a tough rite of passage. The pacing is great, the supporting cast is great, and you've set up the tension with Scorpius well. The thing I like best about it is that you don't try to throw out any gimmicks. You're telling a real story about issues that real people face, and you do it in a straightforward, compelling way. I think if an author just tells the truth (and maybe throws in some funny dialogue, like you've done), that's where true originality comes in. Haha, sorry this review was so rambly! But again, I really liked this chapter and would love to see where you go with it. Keep up the good work!


Author's Response: Hello Maggie!

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to write this wonderful review. Even if it weren't a positive one, I would be grateful. So you can imagine how happy I am now! :)

I am so glad you like the characters, especially because I have grown to love them over the course of writing this (and it's been quite some time now). I was actually planning to leave out the personality quiz scene because it seemed so random but I'm glad that the point I was trying to make has come across (as you so perfectly described it in your review.)

As for the relationship between Rose and Scorpius, the next chapter will hopefully clarify some things. I consider their situation rather complex and I was hoping to lay it out gradually, layer by layer, instead of clumping it all in the very first chapter. So if you do find the time and will to read the second chapter, I would appreciate any thoughts on this particular subject!

Thank you so much for your suggestions on how to make the story more eye-catching. Just the fact that you care about that amazes me, really. I do have a forums account but I am still too scared to ask anyone for help, haha. The chapter went public yesterday so I wanted to see if anyone would even notice it (hence my astonishment with your review) before I requested reviews or, more importantly, a beta. But I will definitely start doing something about that soon. :)

Once again, thank you for the lovely review! I was terrified of posting the first chapter, despite the fact that people here seem to be really kind and helpful, so this means a lot to me. I loved how rambly your review was so I will not apologize for mine being even more rambly, although I probably should. :)

- Andy

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Review #11, by magnolia_magicLife As We Know It: chapter one

29th August 2014:
Hi Erica! I'm here from Hufflepuff review tag!

Aw, I liked this! Normally I'm not a Dramione person (and I bet you get super tired of hearing that from people), but I'm open to broadening my horizons a bit. And I've heard good things about this story, so I wanted to take the opportunity to check it out! I loved the way you delved into Hermione's emotions after seeing Ron and Lavender together. I just wanted to go and give her a hug. I know I've been in her shoes, and I'm sure many of your other readers have been as well. You described her humiliation and hurt so strongly; it felt very true-to-life. I know that a lot of readers will be able to relate to your portrayal of her.

I also loved that you brought out some uncertainty in Hermione. She is so often seen as a Strong Female Character--which she is, of course--but that sometimes means we forget that she's a young girl first and foremost. She can't be strong all the time. I think a lot of smart girls feel the way Hermione does here, like their ambition and love of learning might be keeping them from a different kind of life. The grass always looks greener on the other side, especially when your crush is kissing another girl right in front of you. Poor Hermione. It's rough out there sometimes :(

And the way you introduced Draco at the end was great! I like the cliffie, and I can just see his smirky little attitude when he says "Hello, Granger." Ugh. Making him into a likable character will be a tough task, but judging by this opening chapter, it looks like you're up for the challenge! I hope I can make some time to read on soon, because I really enjoyed this chapter. Great job, Erica!


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Review #12, by magnolia_magicKnight Takes Queen: Rook

27th August 2014:
Oh Laura. You beautiful soul, you.

I can't believe you wrote Founders! Alsjfkdskl I am so excited!! And you did such a beautiful job with it. I absolutely loved this from start to end. Rowena is just how I would imagine her. She has some big regrets, and as a perfectionist, that would be extremely difficult for her to deal with. But the merman provides the spark of hope that the story needs. The narrative builds so nicely to that pivotal moment, and ends on a "smile through the tears" note. So perfect :)

I will admit that second person POV is not my cup of tea. It pretty much tops my list of things I would rather not see in writing. But there was so much to enjoy here that it wasn't even a dealbreaker for me. Your imagery is so gorgeous and evocative; I just sort of sank into the scene along with Rowena. And the moment with the merman was so, so well done. I held my breath while he reached out to touch her hand; it was such a surreal moment, and you described it so beautifully.

I love you for this! Wonderful job, and I can't wait to tell you what I think of the other two stories in the collection. (SPOILER: I read them already and loved them! Hopefully I can carve out some more review time soon.) Well done, Laura!


Author's Response: Maggie! Thank you so much! I'm so so glad you stopped by this because your DCtN is pretty much my headcanon for Salazar and Helga and I loved it so much that I couldn't help but think of that when I wrote this.

I'm so happy you liked Rowena as well! I loved the idea of portraying her as struggling because she's famous for sort of having answers, you know, but also refusing to admit weaknesses, like Helena and the diadem. The merman... omigosh, i loved writing that bit, it was so much fun! :)

Second person... yeah, it's not for everyone, but I felt this sort of needed second person - it fitted. I'm so glad you could ignore it, though - it really is amazing to me that you like this, because you're so brilliant at this era :) A lot of this was just things I really like writing, haha, but I wrote it surprisingly quickly, so I'm so happy you like it :)

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review, and I'm so glad you liked all of them - I was so nervous about the third when I posted it! Thank you again! :)

Aph xx

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Review #13, by magnolia_magicFanged Revolution: Chapter the First

25th August 2014:

I have to say I've never read a vampire story on HPFF before, and I'm glad yours turned out to be the first! I'm super intrigued by this opening chapter, and I can't wait to see more.

I love the brooding feel you've set up here. It has just the right amount of drama and mystery--perfect for a prologue. I can't wait for the woman (the minister's daughter?) to play a more central role in the story so we can get to know her better, as well as Ignatius. You don't give away much detail about his personality or his past, and that just makes me that much more excited to read on.

I really like the premise you have going for this story. While I'm not necessarily that interested in vampires, I do love a good underdog story, and I think this one has the potential to be really inspiring (in a dark sort of way, of course.) You describe the plight of vampires so well; my heart goes out to them. Even though they're really creepy and dangerous, it isn't their fault when you think about it. Sad times :( But I'm looking forward to seeing how Ignatius and the other vampires choose to deal with their circumstances.

You've got me hooked! I will definitely be stalking this one for updates :) Keep it up!


Author's Response: Hello!

I'm glad you're intrigued. I wanted a mysterious feel with this prologue, and I guess I succeeded :)

The woman does play a central role, just not while she's alive, and we do get to know her better (I read your PM).

This is definitely going to be an underdog story. I'm still working out how this is going to fit in with canon, as well as the direction the plot is going to go.

I will definitely update again once I find my muse and get a break in coursework.

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Review #14, by magnolia_magicYear Five: The Hex Head Express

21st August 2014:
Hey, I'm finally back for chapter 2! Thanks for the re-request, and for your patience with my molasses-slow reviewing...

Obviously, the first thing I noticed about this chapter is that you're using different characters' points of view to tell the story. I think the technique can have its benefits and drawbacks. This chapter and the first felt a bit disconnected to me, but then again I also really enjoyed this chapter from Isobel's point of view. I can't imagine Tristan being as perceptive a narrator, because he had headphones in the whole time. And you included the part with the girls talking about Tristan's misadventures over the summer, which was a good way of tying the chapters together. Verdict: I think the POV switch allows us to see the story from different angles, which is all kinds of interesting. And I approve :) Haha, I had to work out my feelings about it, and I thought you should see all that was going on in my brain. Hopefully it was somewhat helpful :)

It's pretty jarring for me to think of students using mood-altering charms on the Hogwarts Express. It sort of shatters my wholesome image of the train rides in the books, and it's hard to wrap my head around. But even so, I had fun getting acquainted with all your OCs. I think Emily is my favorite of the new ones; she seems like she'd be a really good friend, and since she's a Puff, I find myself identifying with her :) And like I said, I really liked reading this chapter from Isobel's point of view. She has a very reliable narrative voice and seems like a very trustworthy person. She seems to prefer being on the edge of the action rather than right in the middle of it (compared to Laurel, anyway.) You did a really good job of giving everyone distinct personalities and mannerisms, which can be difficult to do with just one introduction. Great job with them!

Fred and George are SO Fred and George in this! You really have their dialogue down to an art. I find them really hard to write, personally, so I'm always impressed with a good portrayal of them! They seem older than thirteen, but maybe that's just because they hang out with an older crowd. I can tell that it's going to be fascinating to see the Hex Heads' influence on the twins as the story goes on.

I loved that this chapter was so dialogue-heavy, because I think you're really, really good at writing natural dialogue. You convey more expression with just one line than many authors do with a whole paragraph of description. The slang, the caps lock...things like that really paint a great picture of what it would be like to be there in the room with these characters. And it makes for a great flow and lively pace.

Loved this chapter! I had fun with the new characters and the references to the Sorcerer's Stone (Fred and George telling their friends about poor lost little cute and nostalgic!) I'm excited to see the plot take shape, and I'll look forward to reading on! Re-request any time you want!


Author's Response: Hello!

I'm really glad you think the shifting focalizations is ok! And yes, hearing your reasoning is helpful indeed!

I worked really hard to keep a consistent format (new POVs are ALWAYS indicated by capitalizing the characters name), and every chapter shifts POVs between the characters at a regular rhythm during the first half.

Haha, yes, suggesting there was a shady teenage element going on behind the scenes was a VERY fun idea for me indeed! I realize it might not be to everyone's taste, so I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter regardless!

And I'm so glad you found them distinct! I know I sort of overload the reader with three brand-new girls all at once, so I'm really pleased you got unique senses from each of them! (Emily is probably my favorite, too! Hufflepuff is my favorite house, so I wanted to write a really wonderful-and also smart-puff character).

AH! Writing the twins was so daunting, so I'm SOSOSO glad that the reaction has been good, and you think I did them justice! In a way, even though it's scary, writing canon character was almost easier for me, because I felt like I knew them all so well already. It took me writing this whole thing out to really get to know my OCs, so then I went back and made a lot of tweaks before uploading this story :)

I agree the twins seem a little old for their age--I think it's because they seemed old to me when I first read HP (I was like 9). I've definitely justified it to myself by thinking how there are definitely some precocious thirteen-year-olds who hang around older crowds.

Ah, the dialog, THANK YOU! I think having faceclaims in mind for the characters helped a lot. They're all good actors, so I tried to write lines that I could realistically imagine them saying.

Oh man, there are SO MANY nods to Sorceror's Stone here--well, since this is happening in the background. I had a LOT of fun with those, and I think they are among the funniest moments :)

Definitely will be re-requesting! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such an awesome review!


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Review #15, by magnolia_magicThe Lost Wolf: A Wolf at the Door

14th August 2014:
Hi! Maggie here with your requested review! Thanks so much for requesting this story. I'm looking into writing something action-y myself, so it will be very educational for me to read your take on the genre. I really enjoyed getting the chance to read your opening chapter!

I like Cassandra so far. She's a little abrasive for my taste, but with the hints of backstory you've given it's understandable. I think it was a smart move to include a lot of information about her background early on, because it puts some vulnerability behind the tough-as-nails soldier persona she has. Great job with her so far!

The flashback at the very beginning was especially good--I think it's my favorite part of the chapter. Seeing Cassandra as a little girl (especially a scared, defenseless one) helps us to sympathize with her. And it's just really well-written, too. I was transported into Cassandra's world, feeling her guilt with her and seeing those horrifying images. I wonder if she repressed those memories, or if she was maybe Obliviated? Haha, I just have to speculate. So many unanswered questions! I love the mystery you're setting up with regard to Cassandra's origins and childhood.

On the surface, Cassandra is kind of difficult to like. She's aloof, and we don't see her interacting positively with anyone in this chapter (but that's probably due to her "father" being so utterly awful.) That's why I like the little moments where you hint at what's beneath the facade. The mention of her wanting to get rid of her Army uniform in favor of a long skirt was a great way of showing us that Cassandra is more than just a hardened soldier. That image of her as a normal girl opened a door for me to connect with her :)

She does seem to have a lot of special abilities for someone so young, and I'm curious about where they came from. You might need to be cautious about Mary Sue-isms with Cassandra. I can get on board with the genius/child prodigy thing, but a fully-fledged doctor and soldier at seventeen? It's a little difficult to swallow. But if you keep going with the interesting character development that you've already started with this chapter, I'm confident that Cassandra will continue to be a compelling main character.

Ugh. The Colonel is just awful. A straight up piece of work. Adopting Cassandra and using her abilities for his own personal gain? Dastardly indeed. I hope he's gone for good, that's all I can say. What kind of "behavior" is he yelling at Cassandra about? That's one thing I wished was more clear. Does being attacked by a wolf count as "behavior?" That's the only thing he really mentioned (that I picked up on, at least), and that definitely isn't Cassandra's fault.

Oh my goodness the ending. What a way to hook your readers! Now I HAVE to keep reading, just to see what the Lupin thing is about. Is Cassandra connected or related to Remus in some way? I have to know! I'm very excited to read on :)

I enjoyed this! I think you have a really interesting plot going (especially with the "Lupin" bombshell at the end), and it's definitely unlike anything else I've read. I'll be interested to see how Cassandra develops over time. Keep up the good work and feel free to re-request any time!


Author's Response: Hi! Thank you for your review!

It may sound strange to you, but I'm glad you told me how much Cassandra may seem "unpleasant" at first, because that is what I wanted to gain. Cassandra is a soldier, a doctor, a really intelligent girl, that's true, but she's also a teenager who has not been raised properly. As other readers pointed out, she is capable of dealing with "professional" social interaction, but has difficulty to deal with friendship, affection, and so on. She is rough, instinctive, has an inner discipline due to her military upbringing but at the same time does not hesitate to express her judgment on people, sometimes unfairly so. I am aware that in this first chapter she can appear as a Mary Sue, but I can assure you, the areas in which she excels are limited. I am trying to develop her character a chapter at a time, and I hope you'll be there to let me know what you think about her. In the meantime, think of her as a grown up, grumbling Hermione, minus Ron and Harry.

Regarding the Colonel's part, the awful git considered "behavior" the fact that, instead of preserving her physical appearance -the only thing which he considered valuable about his daughter-, Cassandra fought the wolf losing permanently that quality. He would have preferred to see her in a coffin rather than alive and useless to his purposes.

Again, thank you so much for the review! I'll certainly re-request!

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Review #16, by magnolia_magicYear Five: Prologue (1991): Dozens of Little Televisions

11th August 2014:
Hi! Maggie here with your requested review! Sorry it was a long time in coming, but I'm very glad you requested this story. I've never seen anything set during this period in the HP universe--pre-Harry, but close enough that the timing almost overlaps with the books. I was super intrigued by that premise from the get-go, so I was excited to read your first chapter. And now I'm so glad I did, because I enjoyed it very much!

To answer the question you asked in your AoC, I'm already looking forward to reading on! Tristan and Sophie are both very compelling characters, and I want to get to know them better. I almost wish the chapter had ended a little less abruptly, with a line that starts some forward momentum into the next chapter. But the strength of your characters alone makes this opening chapter super intriguing, which I know is what you were going for :)

I love Sophie already. You've set her up to be a complex character, and so much about her is endearing to me. Even though the chapter opens with her doing a shady thing--leaving Tristan alone without any explanation--you give the backstory behind it. You show us a vulnerable, sensitive young girl who is trying (though maybe not in the most ideal way) to reinvent herself. It's a sympathetic portrayal that a lot of people will be able to relate to, I think. Breakups are tough, and Sophie is upset about not only losing her boyfriend, but being branded with an image she doesn't like. I suspect that she found much more than she bargained for with Tristan, though! Even though the mind-wipe happened, I really hope Sophie and Tristan can reconnect sometime soon. I might be getting ahead of myself here (it's the romantic in me, what can I say?) but they have the makings of a precious couple :)

Tristan is a little more difficult to figure out. And I love it. The picture you paint of him is very lonely so far, and I hope to get to know this troubled child better soon. I loved seeing him from Sophie's perspective as well as his own. Sophie's impressions of him are a little vague, understandably, but she definitely noticed a darkness in him. He seems to feel things very deeply and intensely; I can totally see the depressive tendencies his mother mentioned. I look forward to uncovering a little more about Tristan in the future, because I can tell he'll be a bit of a tough nut to crack.

And the parents. Oh, the parents. They seem completely at a loss for how to deal with their son. I kind of wanted to shake them by the shoulders a little that bad? I don't understand why they were so blase about Tristan smoking in his room and bringing girls home overnight. And then they let him go out again, no questions asked! I was amazed. And really, now that I think about it, this chapter might not be the right time or place to address Tristan's relationship with his parents in much detail. But I still would have liked one interaction between them, just to get a better feel for what the dynamic is like.

I have to compliment you on the way you handled Sophie's transition from full alertness to the sort of dazed state that the Oblivator finds her in. (Did Mary slip her a potion or cast a spell of some sort?) It was so subtle that I didn't really realize what was happening until the line about Sophie not registering the sound of the owl. It was just a very vague sense of drifting away, and you conveyed it so perfectly. I also loved your descriptions of the magical photographs as "moving televisions." It's so fun to see magical objects being discovered from a Muggle perspective--we so rarely get to see that! I'm glad you showed it to us here, even if it led to Sophie's mind-wipe.

To be honest I'm not even sure what kind of concrit I can give you at this point. I enjoyed every word of this opening chapter, and I can't wait to read the next. Wonderful job! You are obviously very talented, and I'm really glad to have the opportunity to read your story. Keep it up!


Author's Response: Hi! Thanks so much for leaving such a detailed review, I super appreciate it!

Ah! Unfortunately Sophie really isn't a big part of this story, more of a device to introduce the characters (I really liked the idea of seeing a mixed wizard/muggle house through a muggle's POV). Much more on Tristan, though! There's sort of an 'ensemble cast' for this story, but Tristan is something of the main character.

And yes, Tristan is a bit of a tricky young man. I'm glad you think so, because I wanted this to be a very character driven story.

The parents are definitely at a loss when it comes to Tristan. I'm glad you had the issues that you did, because those are points that get further examined. And thank you for the note about wanting further interaction between them. Another reviewer noted that the chapter seemed rushed at the end, so I think I'll be fleshing out the conclusion a little bit when I go back to revise :)

Thank you so much again for leaving such a hefty review! And I *wish* I could take the compliment for setting this pre-Harry, but alas, I cannot. This story unfolds during the timeline of HP&tPS--but Harry and the trio only crop up in passing, and as the subjects of wild rumors. (A later chapter is titled "Troll in the Dungeons!")


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Review #17, by magnolia_magicGolden Meadowes: Chapter One: Sometimes Goodbye Really Is Forever

6th August 2014:
Hi! Maggie here with your requested review! Thank you so much for being my first request :) Normally I don't read a ton of Marauders stories, so it's nice to be able to try something different. I like what you did with this opening, and I'll be excited to see where it goes!

I really, really liked your opening paragraph. The phrasing is beautiful and it felt very reflective, which is an appropriate mood for someone who is leaving school for the uncertainty of the real world. Just out of curiosity, why did you choose to make it its own separate section? I almost feel like it would flow better without the break. Seeing a section break after one paragraph felt a little disorienting to me, and I think it would transition seamlessly into the next section if you put them together.

Your introduction to the three girls was a lot of fun to read! They are obviously very close, and it was really heartwarming to see their friendship. They seem to compliment each other well. Marlene is so much more outgoing and fearless than Dorcas or Lily, which is great because every girl needs a friend that can push her out of her comfort zone :) Lily is a sweetheart, and I can tell that Dorcas and Marlene like to "mommy" her a lot. Dorcas herself is going to be a great character, I can already tell. She is smart, talented, and capable, which explains why Dumbledore picked her for the Order. And I'm glad you added the line about her wishing she had let her hair down a bit more in school. I think that's a common regret for studious people, and it gives more depth to Dorcas' character. And it's clear that she is an amazing friend who would do anything for the peop she loves. You're doing a great job with her so far! I think she's going to be a really interesting, likeable character :)

My one suggestion for the way you portray the girls would be to tone down the descriptions of how beautiful Lily and Marlene are. I do think it makes perfect sense for Dorcas to see her best friends as the prettiest people in the world, but I felt like the adjectives you used at the beginning were a tad over the top. For example, the phrase "stunningly beautiful" seemed a little much. Taking those descriptions down a notch will help them to seem more human.

Plot-wise, I think you've got a great start. I never considered how the secrecy of the Order might affect the people who were recruited, and you did a great job of showing the constant unease of having to keep such a huge secret from friends and loved ones. Dorcas is about to start a double life, and I think you really captured all the stress of that. I also loved the "transition" theme of this chapter. I think anyone who has ever gone through an adjustment period in their life, or had to say goodbye to close friends, will really identify with what you've written. I, for one, am totally hooked :)

In my opinion, the only section break you really need is the one right after Dorcas meets with Dumbledore. That break felt natural to me because there was a bit of a time jump. But I think it would improve the flow of the chapter to take out the rest of the breaks. Sections where the setting and time don't change can be merged into one, so it doesn't feel like we're pulling back from the story and then returning to the same place.

I absolutely love the last line of the chapter! It perfectly captures Dorcas' uncertain situation and looks ahead to what will come. Yo You have a knack for ending on just the right note :)

Thanks so much for requesting! I enjoyed this chapter a lot, and I look forward to seeing what happens next. Feel free to re-request any time!


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Review #18, by magnolia_magicGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 8

30th July 2014:
Farmgirl, hi! I've been meaning to come by and review this story again, because I'm caught up and waiting eagerly for the next update! Not to pressure you or anything, I know the must can be tricky sometimes. But I really love this chapter, and the story in general!

I wish I knew how to describe what I love about your writing. It's just so...conversational, maybe? Effortless. That's a good word. Nothing feels forced or contrived in your writing; it all flows very naturally. It would be very easy to make a Mary Sue out of a character like Sadie, but instead you've made her down-to-earth and perfectly relatable. You let your characters get introspective and emotional without being melodramatic. Your tone is so pleasant, even when addressing the unpleasant things. It's just a joy to read :)

I still adore the way you write the twins! And Arthur as well. I've never seen anyone write the Weasleys as well as you do, Farmgirl, honestly. Like this little snippet here:

'"We need to go to Diagon Alley."

"To get some..."


I can just see them finishing each other's sentence, and it warms my heart. And I laughed out loud at some of the little moments at the dinner table, especially George and Ginny's bickering. And he was so sweet with Sadie! That's what I love about your George, you let his sweetness shine through.

Arthur is wonderful in this chapter. This is how Arthur is meant to be written; sentimental, wise, dryly funny. I'm so, so impressed with your Arthur. And the farm things! They made my farmer's daughter heart so happy! The fact that Sadie and I share that particular distinction just makes me love this story that much more :)

I loved this! I'd love to see a new update on the horizon *wink wink* Excellent chapter as always!


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Review #19, by magnolia_magicHogwarts Reclaimed: Hufflepuff - SereneChaos

29th July 2014:
AKDLFAKDSF SERENE YOU WROTE A DEAN/LUNA. I love you for this! And you wrote them so well! Ugh my Dean/Luna shipping heart is so happy now :)

Your Luna is absolutely spot-on. You got her eccentricity just right. I'll definitely be looking back at this for inspiration when I write her again. And Dean! He's just how I imagine him to be. The dialogue rings true to both characters, and their sweet conversation gives the story heart. And I love the message about the resilient paper clip! Even if Luna doesn't quite give Dean the explanation he expects (which is so Luna, really), the theme of shaking the dust off and moving on still shines through.

I loved this! You did an awesome job with it! Very uplifting and adorable :)


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Review #20, by magnolia_magicWhen The Storm Breaks: Good Night, Good Luck

29th July 2014:
Hi Lia! Maggie here from the TGS review exchange!

I will admit that stories about the Malfoys are usually not my thing. So I absolutely never would have chosen this story to read, but that's the great thing about the review exchange! I'm very happy I got the chance to read this, because I really enjoyed this opening chapter and what you did with it.

One thing I thought was really effective was the opening few paragraphs, where you set the scene. I like that you take your time with it and really allow us to sink into the details. The rainy night, the sunset, the overgrown plants around the grounds, and Lucius gazing out the window. It's a great image, and it really gives off a pensive vibe to start the story off. That seems to fit Lucius' inner voice very well, and I appreciated your use of physical details and imagery to reflect his mood in this chapter. It's a skill I'd like to work on :)

Here and there I did notice a few grammatical issues. It was mostly comma splices, and there were only a few. It didn't distract me too much, but it could be something you want to look over later.

I think you did a great job portraying pureblood aristocratic life. Everyone seems so gloomy except when Livia and their mother are sharing gossip. They don't seem to have a lot of other outlets for entertainment, probably because they are so consumed with keeping up appearances. Your portrayal of the Malfoy family seemed very much in keeping with how I'd imagine them: very haughty, proud, and set in their ways.

I'm really impressed with your Lucius! He's a sympathetic character (I definitely don't envy his position, as he seems to have an incredibly amount of responsibility on his shoulders), but you kept him appropriately aloof and Malfoy-ish. I'm really looking forward to reading more of him. And Felix is a really interesting character as well. The contrast between him and Lucius is very well done. The scene at dinner when he talked about his new magic carpet was a great way to show the vastly different experiences two siblings can have in the same family. The older son has to bear the burdens of wealth and status, while the younger one gets to reap all the benefits. Really compelling stuff :)

I enjoyed this! I'm looking forward to reading on and seeing the difficult pairing you mentioned in your author's note :) So glad we got paired together, Lia! Keep up the awesome work!


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Review #21, by magnolia_magicOf Pygmy Puffs and Lingerie: In the Hogsmede branch

12th July 2014:
Hi! So I was scrolling through the Recently Addeds and your summary caught my eye, so I decided to come check it out. I am so happy I did! I loved this oneshot, and now I super hope you have other stories for me to check out as soon as I can :)

You dialogue was spot on from beginning to end. George's lines completely rang true to his character, and it all sounded so natural. I couldn't keep the grin off my face. And you packed so many funny details in that kept me engaged the whole time. The "Boy-Who-Lived" lingerie? Of COURSE George Weasley would come up with something like that! I LOLed at "You'll be his Chosen One tonight."

It's hard for me to imagine a thirteen year old boy actually asking to have "the talk." But I could see it being more plausible with a cool uncle than with a father figure (like Harry...I could totally see him being just as awkward about it as you described :P). I mean, it's a good thing Teddy is so proactive about getting the facts, and it sounds like he definitely came to the right place.

I think it can be kind of hard to pull off George's character in a true-to-the-books way. It's easy to make him too zany and over the top, almost more like a cartoon character than a real person. You avoided that trap. You kept his sense of humor but gave him other traits that make him well-rounded, such as the typical Weasley devotion to family. And I definitely do think he would end up being "that uncle."

Great job! I really, really enjoyed this :)

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hiya! I'm so glad that you checked this story out! I agree with you that George's characterization is often a little over the top. I didn't realize how hard he would be to write, to be honest. I'm glad you thought he seemed true to the books!!
In reality, I think a 13 year old wouldn't go to an adult and start asking for the talk. But I picture Teddy as very curious. Plus he's at a boarding school...maybe he stumbled upon something that raised some questions? And who better to answer those questions than George! As for the lingerie... can you picture Harry's face when he finds out?? I want a fic like that :D Thank you so much for leaving a review and I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!!!

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Review #22, by magnolia_magicAnd Love Prevails: Epilogue - Carry Me Home

12th July 2014:
Drue! How did I not notice that you'd posted an epilogue! I'm super ashamed of myself :( But I wanted to come by and tell you how much I enjoyed it, even though I'm sad that ALP has come to a close.

You've packed an entire lifetime into one chapter, and yet I never really felt rushed. I was just dying to know as much as possible about Dominique and Ignotius' life together, so every detail felt like a gift :D The pacing was great, everything flowed well, and I think the moments you focused on were well-chosen.

When Dominique died I legit thought I might cry :'( That scene felt just like a movie, Drue! So, so sad, and yet there was this sense of rightness about it. It must have been eerie for Dominique knowing the year of her death, but when the time came she accepted it gracefully.

I JUST HAD A THOUGHT. What if Dominique's calm acceptance of death was what gave Ignotius the courage and inspiration to do the same? Maybe the story of the Brothers Peverell would never have ended the same without Dominique, because she showed Ignotius how to "greet Death as an old friend"? WHAT IF THAT'S WHY SHE WAS SENT TO THE PAST? IS THAT WHY? This story has always had a sense of fate about it that I have loved, so I think it's entirely possible :)

Anyway, you know how much I love this story, Drue, and I'm so excited for you that you finished it! I hope you're really proud of it, because I know it has made a lot of people really happy to read it. You've done great things with your characters and tackled some tough subject matter with complete grace. Wonderful, wonderful job :)

House Cup 2014 Review

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Review #23, by magnolia_magicThe Art of Small Talk: An Exit with Oliver

10th July 2014:
Whoa. Hot Oliver alert! Haha, I should have expected it, but it still caught me a little off guard. In a good way, though, definitely! It's fun to see familiar faces. And I think you're doing the right thing by playing coy with us and not jumping into Percy/Audrey right away. It makes the journey much more fun :)

I was surprised to see Jemima turn up at Audrey's workplace acting so completely different from how I imagined her character. She seemed so straight-laced and cautious in chapter 2, but clearly that is not the case. I'm excited to see how the rest of your characters develop, and what surprises they have in store. I'm not sure how to think about Jemima now, but I think her character will start to take a more defined shape as she appears more. Looking forward to it :)

The getting-ready scene could have been shorter, I think. While it was funny and perfectly showcased Audrey's zany inner voice, I personally would have preferred to see some of that space used at the party scene, moving the plot forward. Those kinds of scenes are where this story really shines, I think, because we get to see Audrey's "small talk" misadventures in action. It's amazing to me how fast her mind works and the sheer amount of thoughts she can have at any given moment. The things Audrey actually says are just the tip of the 'berg in comparison :)

Anyway. That was rambly. Haha, Audrey must be rubbing off on me :P

I was really happy to see Audrey start to form a slightly more positive opinion of Percy at the party. Her view of conservatives is really unforgiving, and it shows that she has strong and passionate opinions. I just hope she starts to rethink her opinion of Percy eventually, and I can't wait to see it happen!

Another great chapter, Kiana! Keep up the awesome work :)

House Cup 2014 review

Author's Response: Haha, yes Oliver does pop up a lot more from now and you can expect a few other familiar faces from canon to through Audrey and Percy a little off track for the moment in time, so don't worry too much about them for now as they will be developed a lot more later on!

Haha, yes, Jemima is a tricky one to gauge as she has shape-shifter qualities in a way and you can never really be certain of what she'll be like next but I hope you like her in the end.

Hahaha, yes I know what you mean about the getting ready scene and I definitely will review it soon as I might actually have some time then. I'm glad that you liked the party scene and Audrey's small talk woven in then as it was really funny to include that.

Hmm, Percy, Percy, Percy, I wouldn't think that that too quickly shall I say but I guess though their relationship starts badly it does develop and go upwards from this point.

Thanks for a fab review, Maggie! :D


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Review #24, by magnolia_magicThe Art of Small Talk: The Morning After the Night Before

10th July 2014:
Kiana! I'm making it my goal in life to completely catch up on this story, because I had such a great time reading the first chapter. And if this chapter is any indication, the rest of it is definitely going to be a fun ride :)

I'm still loving Audrey's voice. I definitely feel like I'm listening in on her thoughts, because the narration is so random and scattered at times. She goes off on tangents and obsesses over little details, and clearly spends a fair amount of time feeling self-conscious. I love being able to tell those things about her personality just by the tone of the writing. Awesome job!

Audrey seems like such a wild child, so it was a relief for me to see that she has level headed friends to balance her manic energy. Jemima is adorable, and Verity is very practical (and a little sly--love it!).

The only minor (very minor) issue I had with this chapter is the length, and the amount of jumping from scene to scene. Maybe it's just because I haven't taken much time to sit down and read in a long time, but I felt a bit overwhelmed with how much was going on in this chapter. But I loved all the content, so I wouldn't suggest cutting it out. And I've seen that all your chapters are about this length, and consistency is good. I'll just have to get used to the pacing :)

I loved all the supporting characters you brought in (and there were so many!) Penelope is just deliciously evil, and I can see a catfight coming in the future. And Audrey's family is funny--especially Granny Lucy!. I can definitely see where she gets her oddball tendencies :) Wonderful job at fleshing out these characters with just one introduction. I'm looking forward to seeing more of them!

Great chapter, Kiana! I can't wait to read on!

House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hey Maggie, yay I hope you do as that would mean a ton from me :D

I'm so glad that you liked it because it was so much fun to write. It also means a ton to me because this was written during NaNo so sometimes her warbles were rather excessive, so trimming them down was rather hard.

Yes, her friends aren't very prominent in this chapter but they will continue to develop further on and hopefully rein Audrey in.

I know, this is a lot bigger than my usual chapter size too, but I just couldn't help it because no matter how much I tried to cut it down it just wouldn't go down :P OH well, at least I was consistent as you said.

Penelope, Penelope, Penelope, erm yes, you could call her that but wait and see as she may be a little worse than that ;) Yay for Granny Lucy, have no fear she'll continue to appear in this no matter what!

Thanks for a great review! :D


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Review #25, by magnolia_magicThe Dream Sequence: Prologue

16th June 2014:

First off, you should know that I was riveted by this chapter from the very beginning. I love the technique you used with the really philosophical statements about evil and magic, interspersing them with threads of Isabelle's story. It was just a really effective way of drawing me in, and I thought those lines were beautiful in their simplicity. "Energy, like evil, and most other things, simply is." Gorgeous, and haunting.

Your premise is super intriguing, and I'm very interested to see more of Isabelle's dreams and how they affect her life. I think you nailed the description of her mother; I was super scared of her, and my heart broke for Isabelle and the rest of her family that they had to live in that volatile situation. The fire scene was just so, so sad. It was nice to see Henry being protective and supportive of his sister, though. Goodness knows she needs someone on her side in all this.

I do have a bit of CC to give about the end. The jump between the cat story (a really nice, grotesque section of description, by the way), and the Ministry of Magic scene is kind of a jolt. I think it would flow better with a little more lead-in to present events. For example, you could expand a little on what exactly has changed over the years between Isabelle and her father and brother. During the chapter you portray them as sort of a united front, protecting themselves against the mother. But at the beginning you sort of hint at a more troubled relationship. What ultimately drove the wedge between them?

Also, I'm not sure it's entirely necessary to mention "breaking the fourth wall". Unless it's going to play more of a role later on (which is entirely possible, and in which case, carry on :) ), I would avoid using that technique. It took me out of the moment when I saw that; up until the very end, I was fully engaged in the story you were telling, and forgot the world around me (which I mean as a high compliment.) The direct address sort of jolted me out of that state of mind, and it took some power away from that ominous last line.

I'm very glad I got to read this! I loved it and I'd love to see where you go with it. I'll be on the lookout for updates, for sure!


Author's Response: I'm really, really glad you enjoyed this. This was actually my first time trying to write a thriller-horror sort of story, because I usually write just angst. And I'm actually glad you're asking that question about her family, because that's what's going to be answered throughout the story. But in all honesty I understand what you mean, I need to go back and fix my transitions and all that. And I think by adding that 'breaking the fourth wall' thing I was trying to go for a Isabelle trying to be humorous, but I may need to take it out when I go back and edit it. But thank you for reviewing, I'm honored that you liked my story and reviewed it, because I've read some of yours and I really love them :)

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