Reading Reviews From Member: magnolia_magic
231 Reviews Found

Review #26, 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 #27, 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!


Author's Response: Thank you so much for stopping by again! It's always so heartening to know people are still reading. And I'm sorry you've had to wait so long for both this review response and the next chapter. Life has just been a bit crazy lately. Maybe one of these days I'll figure out a good balance.

You think my writing is good and effortless? WOW! I'm totally blushing, because if you only know how HARD it is for me to write, at least lately. Nothing seems to flow and it's like pulling teeth to get the words to come. Seriously, I think this comment just made my day as I re-read it to respond. THANK YOU!

I do love my twins. I hope that shows in my writing. I want other people to love them and see them as I do, so I try really hard to make them fun characters to read. Thank you for the compliment.

George does have a sweetness to him that is often hidden, doesn't he. And I also love Arthur. I know there are many people in the Arthur/Sirius debate that wish JKR would have killed off Arthur and let Sirius live instead, but I'm so glad that she didn't. Sirius loved Harry, but I really do believe in the long run that Arthur is a much better father-figure for him. Of course, the best deal would have been for both of them to live.

Thanks so much! I'll see what I can do about an update in the near future.

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Review #28, 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 #29, 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 #30, 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 :)

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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 #31, 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 :)

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Review #32, 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 :)

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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 #33, 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!

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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 #34, 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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Review #35, by magnolia_magicHarry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood: Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology

12th June 2014:

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!


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 #36, 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!


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!


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Review #37, 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


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 :)


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Review #38, 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! :)


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 #39, 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 :)


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 #40, 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!


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!


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Review #41, by magnolia_magicThe Fall of the Town : The People of Hamlin

25th December 2013:
Jenna, I have to confess that I devoured this story in one sitting last week, but I didn't take the time to review. I'm such a bad reader, I know :( But I want to make up for it! Consider this my way of saying Merry Christmas :)

I think the main reason why I didn't review as I was reading was because I really didn't know how to express how much I love this. There is just so much to comment on that I don't know where to start! Your attention to detail is incredible. I love that you gave us some back story of how the town formed, because those are details that it would have been very easy to gloss over. By including them, you add so much great context to the events to come.

I was enchanted by Marigold, Trip, and Blind Johnny, but the character I connected with most in this chapter was definitely Stephane. You've set him up as a fascinating character, and knowing Salazar's history as we do, we as readers have to question his motives for suggesting Stephane for the task. But Stephane himself seems like an honorable young man, and I'm definitely rooting for him at this point :) Also, I love the way you portray the Slytherins' relationship with snakes. It's such a uniquely Slytherin thing, and you do it justice in this story. It's a fascinating read :)

I'll try to be back to review the other chapters soon! I love this story so've done an incredible job with it!


Author's Response: Hi Maggie! :) Wow, this beautiful review and finding out that you liked the story are just two wonderful Christmas presents in one! Thank you so much!

It really means so much to me that you liked the story, especially since you're a Founders writer yourself. I'm really glad you liked the details since I was worried they would be a little much or overwhelming, I loved writing about the history of the town.

Ah, Stephane. He's one of my favourites and I'm glad you find him both a little suspicious but an intrinsically honest and honourable person. :) I'm really glad to hear you noticed all the snake references too, since it's not only Slytherin mascot but also part of Voldy's Slytherin inheritance I felt like they would use it as a tool and sometimes a weapon.

Thanks for the amazing review lovely! :) I really appreciate your feedback. ♥

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Review #42, by magnolia_magicPuncture: The Voices

20th December 2013:
Oh Nadia. I'm literally staring at my laptop with my hand over my mouth, just so you can have a mental picture of my reaction. I have a feeling I'll still be processing this one for a while.

What a haunting piece! I absolutely love your description of Mrs. Nott's descent. It's subtle at first, and then it just gets so horrifying. Which, from what I know of schizophrenia, makes perfect sense. I'm honestly struggling to find ways to praise you for your style here. I love that you used really sparse lines in most places, and made powerful statements in only a few words. Like this one:

"You released a bitter laugh. It was funny the way things worked."

^This is one of my favorite parts, because it just packs such an emotional punch. I tend to ramble, and so I always love to find authors who can get such power across with one simple line. Love it, love it!

Personally, I am not a fan of second person. I'm not even sure what it is that irks me about it, but it's definitely not my preferred style. But objectively, I think you did a really good job with the second person in this piece. And for people who really like that particular style (and there are a lot of those people), I think your use of it will be really impressive :)

Just curious: how did you decide to use Theodore as your narrator? He's such a minor character and I see a lot of authors fleshing him out a lot in their stories. What is it about him that made you want to write this? I'd love to know! I do think it was a good decision to use such a minor character, because it allowed us to dive into the story without any preconceived ideas about the narrator. And now that I think about it, I'm not sure I can think of a better minor character you could have chosen. I like the fact that it was a Slytherin character; the fact that this happened in a pureblood household adds an air of secrecy and eeriness to it that I loved.

Gahh, I'm still reeling! I wish I could come up with more words, but rest assured that I really loved reading this piece, and it's very impactful and powerful. You really did a wonderful job with it! So glad I got to tag you, Nadia, it was about time I checked out some of your amazing work :)


Author's Response: Hi Maggie! Sorry it's taken me a week to come over and respond to this magnificent review. I was really excited to see that you'd tagged me!

Wow, thank you so much. It was difficult to stop myself from going all out on Edith, but I wanted her descend into madness to be as realistic as possible. I had some help from Amanda and she really described it amazingly. Google helped tons too. ;)

Aw, you liked that? I really love when people point out lines they liked, because it makes me feel all mighty and clever. Sometimes I fear my writings too.. cliche or something, if that makes sense.

I've really admired second person, only because I feel like it's so much more thrilling to read. I'm glad you were flexible to this piece, and that you enjoyed it in this. That means a lot.

I always wanted to issue a challenge over at the forums, where you would take something that's been mentioned -- told to us -- and *show* it to us, if that makes sense. I was planning on issuing it, and Theo was a prompt for it, and then the Unexpected Voice challenge came out and I couldn't really do that any more :P I didn't make the deadline, but I did manage to finish. I really came to love him in this, because he seems like a great person in my eyes. I really hope I can write about him soon again. I'm so glad you liked him, because I like him too, a lot.

No , no, there is no need for more words! Let me assure you my face is positively burning! Thank you so much for all this praise, because it means so much. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this piece and that it managed to have such a great impact. Thank you, thank you! You are seriously much too kind.

Nadia ♥

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Review #43, by magnolia_magicA Selection of Yellow Things, Including Streelers and Mortimer's Socks: Loony

19th December 2013:
Hi Kristin! I'm here from Hufflepuff review tag!

Okay. I LOVED this. Like, really REALLY loved it! I can never pass up a Luna story, so I knew I had to give this one a try, and I'm so glad I did! I'm not at all surprised that you won your challenge with this's adorable and quirky, just like Luna, and you did an absolutely awesome job creating an OC that's just as weird (and sweet) as Luna is.

First, I have to commend the way you wrote Luna's dialogue and inner voice. Both of these elements were just perfectly done; you captured the essence of Luna so well. She's whimsical, sure, but you also brought out her thoughtfulness (when she takes the time to ask Mortimer about his life, and lends him her umbrella) and her perceptiveness. I just can't stop praising her! Wonderful job!

And Mortimer. Oh Mortimer. What an absolute sweetheart. He really is weird in his own way, isn't he? Even though he claims not to like strangeness, he just oozes strange from the moment we meet him. Mortimer is seriously one of my favorite OCs I've read in a really long time. I just want to hug him! And I have to say, I knew he was from the wizarding world the moment he appeared in the story, despite Luna saying that he must be a Muggle. He's just got that air about him.

The only CC I have is very minor. I was a tad confused at the beginning about the logistics of it all. Was Luna already at Diagon Alley when she met Mortimer? If so, why would she think he was a Muggle? That might just be me not being a very good reader, but I was distracted trying to figure that all out.

Wonderful job, Kristin! I'm so glad to have found such a great portrayal of Luna and such an adorable OC. Fantastic work! :)


Author's Response: Maggie!!! ♥

Aw, thank you - this review just put the biggest smile on my face :) I'm so glad you liked my portrayal of Luna. I was initially quite nervous to write her because I never thought I could capture the balance of weird and perceptive and caring that she has in the books. I try really hard to adhere to canon personalities so it's absolutely wonderful to get a compliment like this.

I'm so happy you liked Mortimer too - one of your favourite OC's? :O EEEP THANK YOU ♥ I'm so flattered! Haha, I'm not sure if he is the type to like getting hugs, I feel like he'd be all stiff and awkward about hugs. Kind of a hilarious mental image though :p Ha, you're absolutely right, people familiar with the magical world do seem to have "that" air.

I'm sorry that was confusing! She was on her way to the Leaky Cauldron through Muggle London (so not yet in Diagon Alley. Actually I'm not really sure why she was there in the first place, because now that I think about it, what would she be doing in Muggle London? Dur. Thanks for pointing that out haha.)

Thanks for such a wonderful review, Maggie - it absolutely brightened my day ♥

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Review #44, by magnolia_magicSanguini, the Vampire: The Vampire Monologues

10th December 2013:
So I saw that this story is featured this month in the CR. And I was like, "I HAVE to check this out. Because it's teh and of course I'm going to love it!" And this story did not disappoint, rest assured. I was mesmerized from start to finish.

The thing I love best about your work is how imaginative you are with word choice. You don't even have to deliberately set out to describe a scene or a mood; you just make it so vivid through the words you choose.

"I can smell you, the different layers of your body: the sweat beading on your skin, the oil glands leaking into your subcutaneous tissue, the salt in the capillaries irrigating the flesh."

^What an intense, rich way to describe life, especially from the point of view of someone who can't remember what it feel like to be human. This is my favorite passage in the entire piece, but there are so many others that I loved as well. I found myself going back and rereading some lines a couple more times, just to absorb the tidal wave of imagery. Fantastic job!

Sanguini (or David, as I should probably call him) surprised me. He seems so...mild-mannered. Not sinister or evil at all. Definitely not what I imagined from him. His sentimentality about names struck a chord with me, and made him a much more sympathetic character. Even though he would probably deny that he was sentimental. His voice says otherwise, though. He's detached, but not as detached as he seems outwardly.

But as soon as I started feeling sympathetic toward him, he kills Eldred. I guess it was inevitable and I was kidding myself to think he wouldn't do it eventually. I was surprised and not surprised when he did it, and I still don't know what to think about it. Haha, I'm sorting it out in my mind; it might take a while :)

I feel like you were hinting at a deeper sinister nature about Eldred, without really saying it. At one point Sanguini "really looked at him, and detested him." And Eldred would make these little comments here and there that just didn't sit well. AND he treated Sanguini like a character rather than an actual being, using him to feed his own ego. All this sort of prickled in my mind, and I never liked anything about Eldred as I read this piece. But you never came out and actually said, "Hey y'all, Eldred is kind of a sleaze." You let his actions and words speak for him, through Sanguini's mind. I admire this so, so much; you painted his character so strongly and never had to hold the reader's hand in guiding us to our realizations about him. I don't even know how to express my thoughts coherently right now on this subject, but just know that I'm in awe of your ability to "show and not tell." Absolutely in awe. It makes each tiny nuance of movement and speech so much more powerful.

There was only one line that didn't sit well with me. It's in the next-to-last section, when Sanguini says, "And I am fine with this." Is he really? Can he really be fine with the prospect of losing himself completely? Granted, it does seem like Sanguini doesn't have much of a sense of self anyway. But I just found it difficult to believe that he wouldn't dread the dead end his life is headed for, at least a little bit. He shows enough emotion throughout the piece, especially toward Eldred and the memory of his own name, that I can't see him being quite so apathetic about that dismal future. If it were me, I might just take that line out and leave the paragraph before as the closing statement of that section. I think that would add the perfect touch of wistful regret, while still retaining the shrugging, cest-la-vie Sanguini voice you've established throughout the piece.

Anyway. I LOVED this, and I'm so glad it was featured this month! Your talent is huge, teh. I love reading your work, and I'm so glad I was able to find some time to give you a nice long review :) Congrats and keep it up!


Author's Response: AHH MAGGIE! !!?! ♥

I've actually been responding to my reviews, and I finished the last one, went 'Muaha, I'm done!' and then refreshed the page, and there was your lovely review!! Thank you so, SO much for taking the time to drop by and read this fic...and it isn't a short fic either, so I'm honestly so flattered and humbled. ♥

Word choice is my life, haha. I had a lot of fun with imagery and diction in this fic; I pretty much didn't try to limit myself /too/ much. When I was writing this monologue-thing, I decided to simply have fun with it. Usually my other stories have far less, and the prose is a bit more tightly controlled.

Your compliments on the characterisation! ♥ I do, indeed, have a greater preference for 'showing' in my own writing; I like readers to think a bit, to dwell on what characters say and do, and imagine them in their own ways. And I'm glad this has come across to you, and that you are able to appreciate the nuances in characterisation a lot more.

Eldred is not the most noble of characters; he's certainly very flawed, but then again, so is Sanguini. They're both rather self-centred, and it was probably quite obvious that their relationship was not going to turn out well. I'm still pondering whether Eldred being dead (even if it was more of an impulse rather than a premeditated thing) is a good idea. Whether I should remove it and the drama that comes with it. Perhaps David should just walk away...but there's a differnet side of Eldred that surfaced when Sanguini tried to, the first time...hmmm. (sorry, going off on a tangent here...)

My intention with writing the 'and I am fine with this' was to show how resigned he is to his fate. Identity and the meaningfulness of his prolonged existence is something that has plagued him for years and years and years (I suppose this is quite a common theme for vampire texts), and I thought that he /had/ to have some sort of moment of acceptance, some sort of mild defeat where he realises that whatever is going to happen is inevitable, and that once he accepts the inevitable, he becomes a little bit more at peace with isn't going to be so simple all the time, however. My belief is that he will continue to struggle with this fate, but other times he will be resigned, possibly rather cynical. (And other times he'll be completely not-aware of anything... :( ). I will definitely look through that section again, to make these things clearer/ Thank you so much on the feedback for that bit, Maggie! ♥

And thanks again for this AMAZING detailed review, Maggie! ♥ Your compliments and feedback are just wonderful, and I loved hearing your thoughts about this!


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Review #45, by magnolia_magicNot Normal: {Chapter the First}

6th December 2013:
Hi, I'm here from review tag! I think you've got a great start here, and I hope to read on soon :)

I'm already loving your idea to have Ellie be a medium of sorts (is that the right term?) I can see her encounters with dead people as great ways to give her some depth beyond the typical OC, and also to help her grow as a character throughout the story. I'll be excited to see what you do with it! I loved the scene with her great-grandmother, and I'll definitely look forward to more of that.

I think the strongest parts of the chapter are the scenes with Ellie and her family. Ellie's voice seems much softer in those parts, but still doesn't lose her great sense of humor. Constant sarcasm isn't my preference for an MC's voice, so I loved seeing Ellie show a more serious side. You also do a great job of showing us what each member of her family is like and how important their bond is to Ellie. I especially love her dad! It might be weird to say that he's my favorite character so far, but he is. I think it's because you did such a great job of showing us his distinctive characteristics (the scattered brain and cute sense of humor), and that made him stand out.

As the chapter goes on, it starts to get more into typical nextgen territory. That's not usually my cup of tea, but that said, I think you're doing a good job of catering to your target audience. I do hope to see more to Albus than the annoying shirtless neighbor who teases Ellie all the time. But you've got time for that development in later chapters, and I'll be curious to see what you do with him as a character :)

Really good start! I don't usually read nextgen (which you probably gathered), but I'm so glad I gave this one a shot. I'm super intrigued, and I hope to make some time to read on! Thanks for sharing this with us :)


Author's Response: Oh, wow! Thank you so much for reading this, even though next gen isn't really your thing!

Yeah, I think medium is the right word! I hope that her "ability" makes her more than your average OC, rather than a Mary Sue, which can happen. I have to be very careful about the way that I write her in that respect.

Yes! You picked up on that! The first version that I had up here was her being sarcastic all the time, with little of that inner monologue which told you why she was acting the way she was. As the story progresses I want it to become more and more obvious that her sarcasm is part personality, part defence mechanism. With her father and brother, she feels comfortable enough to let her guard down and just be as sarcastic as her personality dictates, rather than to protect herself from some perceived threat.

Awks, but there's a shirtless scene in chapter three. I treat it with as much realism as my writing skills allow, but yes. As a next gen story, there are some tropes that I include, partly because I do enjoy reading them myself.

Thanks so much for this review! Even though you don't really enjoy next gen, I hope to hear from you again sometime, ESPECIALLY if you don't enjoy the rest of the story! I'd still like to hear your thoughts on it!

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Review #46, by magnolia_magicGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 1

20th August 2013:
Two words, Farmgirl: Ophelia. Oddsocks. She is now my favorite OC ever, and I'm not even just saying that. I absolutely love the way you've written her; she's really only been in one chapter, and I already feel this huge attachment to her. I know you've had other reviewers say this to you, but Ophelia seems like she could be a character straight out of the HP books, back when everything was more lighthearted and silly. She's just delightfully...odd. But in a sweet way; I can see how much she cares for Sadie. To an outsider she might seem abrasive, but I'd say that her brand of kindness is a little more aggressive than most people's. And you already know that I love her knitting needles :)

Minerva is wonderful, too. Her personality balances Ophelia's so well. I loved her scene with Sadie, and now of course I'm dying to know how Sadie's parents are connected with Minerva!

I'm a little sad to leave NYC, because I've really enjoyed reading the glimpse you give us of wizarding America. But I'm also excited to get to Hogwarts (and to see how our beloved Weasleys will play into all this.) You're doing a fantastic job! I'll definitely be watching for the next update!


Author's Response: WOW! Thank you so much for this! I'm so happy right now!

I had no idea how much people were going to like Mrs. Oddsocks! Now I'm feeling bad that her part in this story wasn't that big. *guilty look* She'll be back, but not until much later in one of the follow up novels. But, the fact you felt like she could have come from the books is the hugest compliment ever. (And I have to say - I know I'm writing an angst fest here, so it's kind of ironic, but don't you sometimes miss the innocence and lightheartedness of the earlier books? When the kids in them could just be kids?)

Love for the knitting needles is noted and logged. :D Thanks so much!

And then to have you turn around and like the way McGonagall turned out as well was wonderful. Her connections to Sadie will be revealed in time, I promise.

It is a little sad to leave NYC isn't it? It's a very important place for setting up Sadie to be who she is, but the actual location isn't in the story for very like, kinda like Mrs. Oddsocks.

Thanks so much for your wonderful review! I loved reading it so very much.

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Review #47, by magnolia_magicTruth Will Out: Breathe.

19th August 2013:
Hi! I'm here for our swap; thanks so much for taking me up on it! I actually saw this in the recently added list when you first posted it, and the summary really intrigued me. So I'm very glad I got the chance to read it!

I absolutely love your writing style here. The narrative feels almost disjointed and broken; enough to mirror Samantha's pain, but not so much that it detracts from flow. I thought it all flowed very well, even when you changed tenses and used flashbacks. I never had trouble following the story, and each transition was seamless. Great job there!

I have to admit that I find it hard to believe that the Potters wouldn't at least ask Samantha for her side of the story. They seem like they'd be fair people; especially Harry, who's been framed for so many things in his lifetime. Surely they would at least be interested in hearing what she had to say, even if she was too afraid to tell them? And Frank's cruelty absolutely shocked me; I'm dying to know how Neville's son turned into such a monster. Hopefully those questions will be answered in future chapters! (You are planning on continuing this, right? I'd love to read on!)

It's hard for me to choose a favorite scene, but the flashback to the party is a strong contender for sure. You described Samantha's fear in such a real, visceral way, and Frank was insanely creepy. I think I actually physically winced as I read his dialogue; the word "monster" is quite accurate for him, I think. That was just such a vivid scene, and I was impressed with the emotion you got across in relatively few words. So I think I'm going with that one as my favorite, although I loved the opening scene in the Potions classroom as well. I was completely engrossed in Samantha's world, and her everyday experience at Hogwarts.

One other thing I loved about this: you didn't give everything away right at the beginning. You let things unfold, gave us a look at Samantha's life and let us wonder what on earth she had done (and gave us some really well-crafted glimpses into her miserable emotional state). I like that you made it a journey for us to find the answer, and didn't just hand it to us.

You've got a fascinating start here! I'm so glad I read it. Thank you for swapping with me!


Author's Response: Thank you so much for a lovely review! Your wonderful compliments and comments really made my night :)

I think the Potters would have taken her silence as guilt. I do think Harry would have been the one to ask her and I'm sure he did. As a parent though, I'm not sure he would have probed much deeper if Samantha didn't deny it. He had absolutely no reason to doubt Neville's son whereas they probably just grouped Samantha with the other 'fan girls'.

I will definitely tell Frank's side of the story whether it's another chapter or another one shot. Haven't decided exactly what yet :)

I'm really glad you like the writing style! I wanted to try something new and was kind of nervous about how it would turn out.

So glad you the story. Thanks again for reviewing:)

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Review #48, by magnolia_magicMyrtle: Myrtle

18th August 2013:
Hi! magnolia_magic here with your requested review, finally!

Okay, truth time. Is this really your first time writing angst? Because if so, you're a natural at it. The emotional intensity of it really got across well, and even though Myrtle is portrayed as one of the sillier characters in the HP series, I found myself fully convinced by your more intense take on her. So in response to your concern about whether this is believable, I would have to say yes!

Let's start at the beginning. I really liked what you did with the italicized words when I first read this, because they really set up a dark feel that carried throughout the story. But they seem almost separate form the rest of the narrative. By the end of the story, I didn't understand how the beginning tied into Myrtle's experience, and I think that's an essential connection for readers to make. The four words that seem (to me, anyway) to relate most to Myrtle are "Broken," "Empty," "Sorrow," and "Lifeless." If it were me, I'd use those four words and take out the rest, just to streamline and clarify.

As for the narrative, I was completely pulled in by your writing! Like I said, I've never really thought of Myrtle as a serious character before, but you've done a great job of exploring the darker side of this "immortality" that she has.

"Come and take my empire of dust, and I'll take your breaking heart and your tears. I will take your pain and your misery, because it is all a part of life. But, I will also take your joys, your firsts and your lasts. I will take your life, if you would wish death over it."

^This paragraph is a killer. I think this is the point when I was totally convinced that yep, this is Myrtle speaking. She loves life; she craves it, even. And it must be torture for her to watch all the students grow and change and live, while she's forced to stay the same forever. You really did an incredible job of getting that across, and I was just so terribly sad for Myrtle. I mean, in the books she always did seem very lonely, but I never really thought about it until I read this. You've really made me think about Myrtle in a new way here, and I was very touched by her story.

One other thing I feel like I should mention: there are some instances when you start to use "you" in the narrative, as if Myrtle is addressing someone specific. In the paragraph above I understood that she was thinking of the girls in the bathroom, but the line that begins, "Alas, your cries won't pierce my ears..." isn't as clear. Who is the "you" in this instance? The writing is beautiful, but a little clarification there might not go amiss; it would make for a smoother read in that spot.

I always like to comment on endings, since that's what stays with me the longest. Yours is brilliant, I think :) Those three single lines are perfectly sparse, and they add to the loneliness and hopelessness that Myrtle feels. Wonderful job there!

I'm so glad I read this, and I can see why Dee chose you as one of her top 3 in this challenge! Awesome job!


Author's Response: Maggie! :) Your reviews do make me smile a LOT.

Thanks a lot :) I know how we all tend to look her over, but when I got the quote, this was all I could think of! It is my first time. I'm glad you liked it!

You have a great point there. I've been meaning to cut down the number of words and establish some sort of link, and you've pointed out exactly how I can go about this.

I'm glad my writing pulled you in. it makes me happy when i'm told that my writing is engaging. I'm glad I left you feeling touched and got you thinking about this!

Well, thanks again. To clarify, the you is said in a very general manner. To nobody in particular, but it could be used to address anybody, because it applies to most people :)

Wow. Thank you! I think endings have that impact. They are lasting and powerful. I'm glad you liked how I chose to end this.

Haha, well thanks :)
This is a lovely review.

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Review #49, by magnolia_magicAnd Love Prevails: And Love Prevails

15th August 2013:



I just want to hug you! And this review is going to be completely incoherent and unproductive, as you probably gathered from the beginning ;) But I just had to stop by and tell you how much I loved this chapter. It was just a gorgeous, perfectly fitting way to end it all. (And I know there's an epilogue coming, so I can't wait to see what you have planned for that!)

For some reason, the very beginning really sticks out in my mind after reading this. There's just something about the image of Ignotius taking to the woods and starting a new life, and watching for Dominique all the while, that just grabbed me. It was a little wistful at first, seeing his incredible devotion--and he wasn't even sure he'd ever see her again! And then she came, and they ran to each other and everything was okay! I love endings where everything turns out okay :)

And the way you ended the chapter was just lovely. Harry gets his cloak back, and he knows that Dominique had a happy life in 1234 (and that she's somehow his ancestor? Haha, that's got to be a little strange.) You wrapped up the plot beautifully, and it's obvious that you put a lot of thought into the structure of this story and how you were going to tie up all the ends.

I loved it, Drue! Can't wait for the final chapter!


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Review #50, by magnolia_magicGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Prologue

15th August 2013:
Oh wow. I can tell I'll have to stalk you for updates on this one. This is such an intriguing start!

I love your description of this girl's experience in the streets. It's such a dreary picture, and I felt so terrible for her. But you did a wonderful job bringing it all to life, with the rain and the cold and her being shooed away from the deli without any food. And the part about her missing the cat just absolutely broke my heart. I had to imagine what it must be like to be utterly lonely, and it was devastating. I hope things look up for her soon! (It seems like this mysterious woman might be able to turn things around for her, and I'm excited to see it happen!)

So anyway. I know this review is just basically a sum-up of the plot, and I apologize for that. But I just wanted to stop by and say that I'm hooked! Great start, Farmgirl!


Author's Response: Oh, thank you! That's probably the best compliment ever! (And just so you know, I plan to try and update every two weeks or so. Slow by most standards I know, but for me it's positively warp speed!)

Thank you. I'm so glad the description worked. It was kind of a risk to start the story this way, jumping into the middle with no explanation, and not even properly introducing the character. But I'd hoped people would like it. And yes, it is a dreary picture, but hopefully by the end of the novel there will be much more hope in it.

Thanks for reading and a fun, fun review! Come back in a few weeks for more.

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