Reading Reviews From Member: magnolia_magic
  
239 Reviews Found

Review #1, 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!

--Maggie

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.

RUMPELSTILTSKIN, you NAILED IT!

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!

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #2, 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!

--Maggie

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 #3, 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!

--Maggie

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 #4, 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!

--Maggie

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Review #5, 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!

--Maggie

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Review #6, by magnolia_magicFanged Revolution: Chapter 1

25th August 2014:
Tag!

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!

--Maggie

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Review #7, 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 Harry...so 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!

--Maggie

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!

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #8, 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!

--Maggie

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 #9, by magnolia_magicYear Five: Dozens of Little Televisions (1991)

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 bit...is 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!

--Maggie

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!")

xoxo
Roisin


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Review #10, 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!

--Maggie

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Review #11, 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..."

"Things."'

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!

--Maggie

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Review #12, 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 :)

--Maggie

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Review #13, 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!

--Maggie

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Review #14, 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 :)

--Maggie
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 #15, 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 :)

--Maggie
House Cup 2014 Review

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Review #16, 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 :)

--Maggie
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

-Kiana


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Review #17, 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!

--Maggie
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

-Kiana


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Review #18, by magnolia_magicThe Dream Sequence: Prologue

16th June 2014:
Tag!

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!

--Maggie

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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Review #19, by magnolia_magicHarry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood: Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology

12th June 2014:
Tag!

I've heard so many people rave about this story, and when I saw your name in review tag I had to take the opportunity to come check it out. I am so, so glad that I did! I can definitely see why everyone loves it so much. (Do you ever get tired of hearing stuff like that? Hopefully not :))

Anyway. I'm so impressed (and baffled, really) by the level of detail that you've put into creating this post-war world, and how you've portrayed the Weasley family as it's evolved. Harry as a doting grandfather just warms my heart; I always knew he would be a devoted family man. And Ron and Hermione make me laugh! I love your imagining of the trio as they've gotten older. They are so true to the characters we know from the books, but it's still clear that they've experienced a lot more life.

I think the buildup of mystery is going at a great pace so far, and I can't wait to see what unfolds from here. I'm so glad to finally be on board with this story! I can't believe I'm just now checking it out, honestly. Awesome job!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hi, there! Very long time, no see.

Ha. I never get tired of hearing stuff like that. It's always good to hear that somebody's reading and enjoying the story.

I started writing this story right after a period where I was reading a lot of post-war fan fiction, so I had a lot of head canon stored up. For better or worse, a lot of it came gushing out in this chapter. I'm really glad you find the characters true to the books. That was more important to me than almost anything else.

I'm pleased as can be that you've decided to give it a try. Look forward to hearing what you think.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #20, by magnolia_magicThe Wizarding World War: Prologue : The Wizarding Hemispheric Conflict of 1979

10th June 2014:
Hi Emma! As a very small thank-you for agreeing to beta read for me, I thought I'd stop by and check out your story! I think you're off to a very intriguing start here, and I'm very interested to see where you go with it. First of all, great summary! The quote from Neville is so weighty and ominous, and it definitely piqued my interest.

I love your narrative voice here. It's sweet enough to fit a young child like Suri, but also sophisticated and precise enough to appeal to older readers. I think you struck just the right note :) And I'm already fond of Suri as a character. Will we be seeing more of her later? Since this is a flashback, I wasn't sure. But I hope we do!

It seems to me like a big group of wizards causing that much activity (and speaking loudly enough for Suri to hear them from her house) would attract more attention? That was my one sticking point as I read this. Why did no one else seem to notice them except for Suri? Kiya didn't seem concerned at all--maybe she knows something we don't?

I'm already excited about the global elements of this story. It can be so hard to incorporate different countries and cultures into stories, but if it's done well I think it adds a lot. I've always been curious about wizards of different parts of the world, and I'm excited to see your take on it. Props to you for taking on the challenge!

You've got a great prologue here, Emma! I'm already super excited to read more. Keep up the great work!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Thank you so much, Maggie! It's funny, I saw this just after a re-read of Dream Catcher's first chapter. Thank you for the super sweet first review!

We won't be seeing Suri or Kiya for a while, but when we do there will be a better explanation for why they could hear all of the commotion. :)

I hope I can pull all of this off! You're very encouraging :)

Thanks again!

-emma


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Review #21, by magnolia_magicJames Potter and the Empty House : Valerie

28th February 2014:
Hi! Maggie here with your review! Thank you so much for swapping with me, I really appreciate it :) And I'm so glad I got to read this! It's a really intriguing start to your story, and I've definitely never read anything like it before.

I'm really impressed with the thought you put into the traps and the detail you give about that aspect. It's such an unsettling thought, waking up suddenly in a house that's out to get you, and I thought you wrote that first escape scene very well. The pace is quick and urgent, which helped me really get into the action. And I liked the little mention of James's palms sweating because he was so nervous. I just thought that was a great touch; a good physical way of showing us what was going on in his head without spelling it out for us. Awesome job!

I also loved the comic relief you threw in here and there. You don't know how much I wish "My Patronus is You" was a real song! I laughed out loud when I read that! And the little bit of banter between James and Valerie was cute too. I have to agree with James; toilets are very important in my opinion as well :)

The one thing I wanted out of this chapter was more buildup at the beginning. I sort of felt like I was just dropped into the action without warning, and it was overwhelming at first. And hey, that may be the effect you're going for here. But personally, I like to have at least a little time to ease into things, to get comfortable with my narrator, and get my bearings. Having that connection with the main character helps me become more emotionally invested in things, and I didn't really connect with James right off the bat. By the end I really liked him, though, so I know you've created an enjoyable narrator. Why not bring some of James' personality in at the beginning? The mention of the party was a great start, and I wanted to see you build on it. Maybe go into more detail about his memories of the event; tell us what he said and did, who was most important to him, things like that. That would help give your readers an immediate connection to the story.

I really like Valerie a lot so far! She seems really down to earth and smart, and I love the vibe between her and James--even if he didn't remember her from school at all! Hate it when that happens :) But anyway, I think you have two solid, likable main characters, and that makes me want to read on. And not to mention the suspense factor! How did they get in that place and why are they there? You do a great job of keeping the mystery alive, which is something I'm really bad at. I love getting the chance to learn from authors who do suspense well :)

Great start! I'm so glad I got to read it. Thank you again for agreeing to swap with me! I've been looking to start getting back into the swing of reading and reviewing, and I really appreciate you being willing to help. This opening chapter was a really fun way to break my HPFF hiatus :D

--Maggie

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you for such a long and lovely review!

I'm going to try and keep that intensity up, although the pace will slow a tiny bit as they get more into the swing of things. The one thing I always have trouble with is showing rather than telling, so I'm really glad you liked that touch of the sweat!

I want this to be dramatic and intense, but humorous too. Partly because humor is how James tends to deal with stress I think.

I see your point. I do want it to feel like the reader is just dropped in on the action and the story takes off running, but it makes sense to give a little more connection to James. I'll see if maybe I can work in a little more without taking away from the pace of the chapter. Thanks!

Suspense is the greatest! Both to read and write! I'm glad you've got a lot of questions, because curiosity keeps people reading right? ;)

Again, thank you so much for this review! It is super helpful and I'm definitely going to be keeping it in mind when I edit. I'm glad that you're getting back into HPFF again! I'll see you around the forums :)

Sam


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Review #22, by magnolia_magicNaive: Chapter the Third

1st January 2014:
Hi Kayla, it's your not-so-secret Santa! And hey, you're my first review of the new year! I've really enjoyed starting this story and I'm glad I got to be your Secret Santa this year :)

And I loved this chapter so much! You're so great at banter and you got the exact right balance of it in every scene, I thought. I was always entertained. And Lily is growing more and more distinct as a character. She's got a great voice, and I can see how sensitive she is even with all the snark :) And I can relate to her struggle to find her place in the real world. It's very realistic to start this story off with a floundering, lost Lily; that's how a lot of new graduates feel, and Lily's experience will resonate. But I also love the moment in this chapter when everything starts looking up. Life tends to throw us a bone every now and then, and I was so happy to see it happen for Lily. Especially since I've come to like her so much!

What an awesome friend Glitter is for helping Lily pound the pavement :) She needed the push, even if it didn't work out. And I loved the scene with James in his apothecary! I never pictures James II in that line of work, so definite props for creativity! And he seems like the typical big brother, sweet despite his boy-ness :P I can't wait to meet Albus now!

And Lily has a job! I was so happy when I read that! Like they say, it's all about who you know :) I'm excited to see how it goes for her, so I'll definitely be reading on! Keep up the great work on this story, Kayla! I'm so glad I got to discover it :)

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hey, Maggie!

I'm glad that I'm your first review of the new year - it makes me feel special :p

Ooh, thank you so much! I'm also a graduate like Lily so I can relate a tiny bit as to how she feels except I knew what I wanted to do and the exact course and stuff, but so many of my friends had no clue so I just used some of their emotions, ahaha :p

It's ALWAYS who you know, I swear! I've had two jobs before and both times it was because I knew someone! It's crazy! :p

Thank you so much for the lovely review, Maggie! You're far too kind to me! ♥

- Kayla :)


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Review #23, by magnolia_magicEquilibrium: Prologue

30th December 2013:
Isobel, hi! I'm here for the TGS review exchange! I hope you get to feeling better soon, but hopefully this review will cheer you up in the meantime :)

At first I thought you were going to go entirely second person with this, and I was glad to discover that wasn't the case. Second person isn't my preferred style. But I think it's really creative of you to do it this way, having Eileen's narration directly address the biographer in the cafe. I've never seen that done before, and I thought you pulled it off beautifully.

I'm really impressed with your prose throughout the chapter. You've painted such a dignified picture of Eileen through your word choice and the flow of the narrative. The part at the beginning when she muses on how the dining experience has changed was one of my favorites, because it shows Eileen's proud, head-held-high air. And when we learn that her hair has fallen out from the cancer treatments, it adds so much depth and reinforcement to her character. Does that make sense? Despite her obvious illness, she still carries herself with pride. That's so telling about Eileen's character, and you conveyed all that with only a line or two. Fantastic characterization! I'm so impressed :)

Two nitpicky things. First, "madwoman" and "questionable sanity" say the same thing; it would be more concise to choose one in the first sentence of paragraph 2. Also, I never thought that cancer would be a disease exclusive to Muggles. I've seen authors take it both ways, so it's really just a personal preference thing. But I'm just not sure why it wouldn't affect wizards just as often as Muggles. But then again, I almost hate to suggest that you change it, because I love the line about Eileen sharing a star sign with her disease. I thought that was particularly clever and beautiful, and I wouldn't want to see it go.

That wasn't helpful at all, was it? Haha, sorry about my contradictory rambles. They happen sometimes :/

I am definitely excited to see you update this! Your summary pulled me right in, and you've done a wonderful job of creating suspense with this opening. I love the idea of Eileen going to a biographer with her husband's story; you've shown us a woman who values the truth highly, and doesn't want people to think badly of her boys without the truth being known. I'm super anxious to hear Tobias's story, and I can't wait till you update! So glad we got paired together for the exchange, Isobel! :)

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hi, Maggie! I'm really sorry for the length of time it's taken me to respond to this review, and I assure you that I'll be more prompt in future with responding! And yes, this review definitely did cheer me up!

Yay, thank you! I'm afraid I can't take credit for this style -- it was inspired by Nicole/teh tarik's one-shot Sanguini, the Vampire, and if you haven't checked that out then you definitely should! Nevertheless, it's fabulous to hear that you enjoyed the style and that you felt I pulled it off beautifully! ♥

Ooh, that's great to hear! I have a really vivid picture of Eileen and her personality in my head and I really wanted to get that image across to the reader so your comments confirm that I did. I grew up with my mum's and grandma's friends forever talking about "the good old days when..." and I incorporated that into Eileen to help make her more realistic, particularly as a woman of her age. I'm really pleased you enjoyed her characterisation!

I see your point about the madwoman / questionable sanity thing, and I'll see if I can edit that out the next time I have the opportunity to. With regards to the cancer, my headcanon is that it doesn't affect wizards very often because they have magic, which helps their immune system to fight most Muggle illnesses (unless they're hereditary, from Muggle-born or half-blood families) and leaves them vulnerable to magical illnesses. Likewise, Muggles don't often suffer from magical illnesses because they don't have magic, which attracts the illness. However, there are exceptions -- Eileen has cancer because while she's a witch, she hasn't used magic or been around it for many, many years so she's become susceptible to Muggle diseases, just as a Muggle who lives full time with their magical family could be at risk of a wizarding illness.

I agree with you about the cancer line though, that's actually one of my favourites! I'm really pleased that you're enjoying this story and that the summary was effective in enticing you into reading, and that the plot's intriguing so far. Thank you so much for such a lovely review, Maggie, it really made my day!


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Review #24, by magnolia_magicThe Last Keepers Of The Light: Chapter One

27th December 2013:
Hi Bella! I'm here for our review swap! Thanks so much for taking me up on the offer, by the way :)

Intriguing opening! I've never read an OC story from this time period before, so I was glad for the chance to branch out a little. And I like your narrator so far. It's hard to get a sense of her character right away, since this chapter is so much about setting the scene of Malfoy Manor and dropping backstory hints. But I'm dying to find out more about her and about the Holy Grail! That's exactly what you want in an opening chapter, for your readers to be excited to read on. And I think you nailed it...there's a perfect amount of mystery and suspense!

Your descriptions of the Death Eaters are so sinister and spot-on. I'm pretty sure a shiver went down my spine when she walked into the dining room and saw all of them there. You did a really great job of setting up an ominous, suspenseful tone with this chapter, and the dining room scene was the strongest example of that.

Some minor CC: I think the description of the dungeon at the beginning could be cut a bit shorter. By the time we get to the dream sequence (which I loved, by the way), I sort of felt like the narrative was dragging a bit. That said, however, I think those descriptions are incredibly strong. I especially loved the sensory detail you included, like her hair being caught in the neck collar and itching. It's something I never would have thought about including, and it helps me get a great feel for the horror that the narrator is going through. So I'd suggest taking another look at that section: decide which statements are the most vibrant and contribute most to the tone you're setting, and just keep those :)

I'm really intrigued to find out more about your narrator, like I've said. Was she a Slytherin? A Mudblood? Possibly both? How did she know Crabbe and Malfoy? You did an awesome job of getting me on the hook, that's for sure! Thanks again for the swap, Bella! I really enjoyed this chapter a lot :)

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hi there!

I'm sorry for the late reply but I just havn't had much time (sigh)

Annyyywayy, I'm glad you liked the narration because I did find it slightly tedious, more so in coming chapters so it's always good to know that you thought otherwise!

Also, I did try to be as baleful as I could be with the characters but obviously I did not want to make them overly disturbing (even though some of them very well may be creepy sociopaths) So again, I'm glad that you liked the discription of them and oh my a shiver?! That's a compliment on my account I think haha :P

Also, I like the idea of cutting down on the quantity a bit, so maybe when I get around to editing all these chapters, I'll take that on board!

Thank for once again for such a lovely review!

Bella x


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Review #25, by magnolia_magicThe Art of Small Talk: Introductory Measures

26th December 2013:
Kiana! I've been meaning to come review this chapter forEVER, and I'm so sorry I'm just not getting around to it. But I think you've got a really fun start here, and I'm so excited to see what you do from this point :)

First off, thoughts on Audrey. She is just cute, that's my first thought :) I can so identify with her lack of skills in small talk (which have made themselves so evident in my dating life as well :P), so I'm finding Audrey to be very relatable. And she has an endearing narrative voice as well; I especially enjoyed her encounter with Draco at the beginning. Her second-guessing everything she said, and her grumbling thoughts about her boss--it all just made me smile. She almost seems like a Luna Lovegood type to me, except a little more down to earth :) Great job with her!

Verity seems a little abrasive. Haha I'm not sure I would mesh with her as a friend! I hope she gets more likeable as the story goes on. But I still have to like her for getting Audrey together with Percy for the first time :D

Which brings me to the man himself. I'm glad you left our first impression of Percy until the very end, because it allows us to get to know Audrey by herself a little better first. But I'm so excites to see how they progress I cam barely stand it! I love Percy to death even though he can come across as a little standoffish. I think you nailed how a first interaction with a stranger would be for him; he's an odd duck too in his own way, after all.

This is such a cute, engaging opening :) I can't wait to see how these two independent people grow together over the course of this story. I'll definitely be back for more!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hi Maggie! It's fine, you're not late anyhow and it's just great to see you here!

I'm so glad that you liked Audrey, as she is a character very dear to me. I'm glad that you found her relatable too because a lot of her characteristics are based on me and what I do in awkward situations so yeah :P I never thought about her being like Luna but I can definitely see it now, but the down to earth side is definitely there because she isn't too into things like gurdyroots!

Yes she does come off very abrasive later on, but hopefully her softer side will come and show itself later on. I would probably have the same thoughts about being friends with her as you do!

Yes, that's what I intended to do instead of ramming Percy right in your face at the beginning. I love Percy too, but I wanted to show how awkward he can be too, he definitely will be nicer later on it's just how long it will take for Audrey to ignore her stubborn ways and see that :P

I'm so glad that you liked the opening and I can't wait to see what you make of the rest of it! Thanks for such a great review, Maggie!

-Kiana


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