Reading Reviews From Member: magnolia_magic
  
226 Reviews Found

Review #26, by magnolia_magicDiamonds into Coal: Desire

7th August 2013:
Hi Amanda! I've been meaning to come review the conclusion to this story for so long, and I'm sorry it's taken me forever to get here. And before I start I'd like to congratulate you on finishing it! Diamonds into Coal is such a wonderful piece of work, and I hope you're really proud of it. I know there are a lot of people (including me, obviously) who have loved reading it!

I feel like a parrot every time I comment on your imagery and your beautiful style. At this point it would just be "blah blah blah" if I brought it up again :P But I can't help but talk about it just a little more! I think your subtle, lovely imagery is your biggest strength as a writer, hands down. The pictures you paint stay with me long after I've read a piece of yours.

Now, on to the plot! I LOVE the way this chapter brings the whole novel full-circle, right down to the chapter title (Erised=Desire). Now more than ever, I think starting with a flash-forward prologue was a good move. I still remember how beautiful and mysterious that chapter was, and with this ending you've shaken some cobwebs off of that vague beginning. We now know why the Bloody Baron and the Grey Lady live at Hogwarts. We know the full story behind the image in the mirror. And we know how Venn and Helena fell in love, and how their deaths eventually came about. You've made sure to answer those burning questions we had at the beginning, and you've shown that the prologue wasn't just for dramatic effect or to show off your skill at creating gorgeous imagery (which, as I've said so many times, are just astounding). There was a purpose behind everything in that chapter, and with this ending you've shed some light on it. Diamonds into Coal has been such an incredible journey, and it's hard to believe that we're right back where we started, at the Mirror of Erised.

Although I really, really love the ultimate conclusion to Venn and Helena's story, I have conflicting feelings about the murder scene itself. I mean, this is the climax. This is the event that will go down in history, and define these two people forever. And it all boils down to...a misunderstanding? An accident caused by starvation delirium? I was hoping to spend a lot of time exploring Venn's mindset as he committed this terrible act, but the killing feels like a minor detail compared to the other events of this chapter. And I had a hard time believing that he could have "accidentally" killed her.

But then I thought about it. And really, it makes sense that Venn wouldn't have intended to kill Helena. This story is full of rash decisions and big egos, but neither of them ever did anything with the intention of harming the other. If the killing had been any different, it would have been terribly out of character for Venn. So after reading this chapter a few times I sorted out my feelings: I think you did a wonderful job staying true to your characters during the murder, but the scene itself feels glossed over. I was really looking for more there.

And that's the most concrit I've felt inclined to offer you in a LONG time. Also, I think the rest of the chapter is absolutely incredible, so I intend to fangirl for the remainder of this review :D

The scene with Salazar was really brilliant. It answers a question I never even knew I had! Of course the Bloody Baron would know about the basilisk, and you've explained why he wouldn't have ever warned anyone about it. Venn isn't the slimy, awful person that Salazar is; surely he would have wanted to make sure the basilisk didn't harm any "innocent purebloods." But he is a bit selfish, as you've established, and he values being close to Helena above the well-being of students who don't have personal meaning to him. That part was wonderfully executed, and I just loved it :)

And that last encounter with Helena just broke my heart! Why are you so stubborn, Helena! Just forgive him! It's been years, possibly centuries! (I'm drawing a blank on when the mirror scenes are set...oops.) Ugh, she makes me mad sometimes! Haha, I know you expected that with both of your MCs, and can I just say again how great a job you did with them? You made them both so incredibly complex, and I was constantly re-evaluating my opinion of them. By the end of the story I swore I would figure out which of them was my least favorite. It's a really hard choice, but I think I'm going with Helena. I mean, I get that Venn isn't the easiest person to deal with, but she could have just called the wedding off if she had misgivings. Instead, she ran off into the forest like a child, baiting Venn and then behaving as though she'd done nothing wrong. Get your act together, Helena.

(Oh no. I'm speaking ill of the dead, aren't I? I just can't seem to help it, though. Haha, what must that say about me? :P)

But. Anyway. I'm at a loss for what else to say, Amanda. I think this was a wonderful end to a beautifully written story. And that last line is the perfect way to draw this to a close. It has this tiny ray of hope, because when you "live" forever, there's always time for things to change. But at the same time it carries the weight of years of guilt for Venn, and grudge-harboring for Helena. Will they ever come to any sort of truce? We might never know, and that's one unanswered question that just feels right. Amazing job, Amanda. I feel so privileged to have read this :)

--Maggie

Author's Response: Maggie, you're awesome, as you already know :) I am really proud of this story, and I continue to be surprised by how much everyone liked it. The support I've received means so much!

Anyway, I'm so happy that you liked the imagery. Sometimes I get so into it that I err on the side of purple prose, which then bogs down the plot. I always hope that I've achieved a good balance since nowadays I can go a good couple of paragraphs before I do anything besides work on setting the scene.

I think I always sort of knew we'd go back to the mirror for this last part, the final encounter between Venn and Helena after all that they've been through together. As I was writing this, I kept track of questions that people brought up in their reviews and tried to figure out the answers and weave them into the plot. A lot of it didn't come until the end here, as you observed. I think that's a major benefit of not pre-writing, which I normally prefer, and I think the success of this story is due in some part to the feedback of others.

This answer will probably be dissatisfying, I'm afraid, but the truth about the murder scene is that I was just really concerned about getting too sticky ToS-wise when writing it. It felt much safer to describe it more vaguely in a flashback than to actually do it in real time. I just kept thinking about how these two had a romantic relationship and it could run into a difficult area in terms of spousal-like abuse. I tried to allude to those strong emotions in the aftermath, but I definitely understand where you're coming from, so I appreciate the crit :)

I really hope Salazar emerged as a monster at the end of it all, despite the charming sort of beginning I gave him. It was so interesting to explore his deterioration as he became more and more obsessed with his vision and his beloved pet. While I don't blame him directly for Venn and Helena's demise, I'm sure the energy he emitted throughout the story was toxic, and it negatively impacted everyone.

You're right, we're talking about centuries later at this point. You have to wonder how many times Venn has sat in front of the mirror and dwelled on all of his past mistakes and the life he could have had with Helena. I kind of want to cry now because you're basically saying that I did exactly what I meant to do with my characterization and that's so wonderful because these two are so convoluted! Haha. I do think it's funny that you eventually sided against Helena, because in the beginning a lot of people (maybe you included, but I don't remember) were adamantly against Venn, because he was just kind of spoiled and immature and canon isn't exactly on his side. I think it's hard to choose; I feel sadness and anger for both of them.

Yeah, I definitely wanted to end on a hopeful note, because this story made me so emotional. I do think it's possible for Helena to forgive and for Venn to win his lady's heart again, but as you said, there's a lot of baggage from the past standing in the way. I figure you can write your own ending now.

Thanks so much for your fabulous review!

-Amanda


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Review #27, by magnolia_magicFraternization: Shine

2nd August 2013:
So your forums name is different than your archive name. Of course, you know this. But imagine my surprise when I clicked over to your author page and one of my favorite stories is there! I love the idea of this ship and I've actually been thinking about writing a Dudley fic myself, so I'm very interested in what you're doing with this story. I've been following it since you first posted, but I've never left a review! Yes, I'm one of those lurking readers :/ But I'm so glad you swapped with me...it gives me a chance to let you know how much I'm loving this!

I just really love your Dudley. He's clearly older and a bit wiser, which I would expect to happen after his dementor attack and subsequent encounters with magic. He couldn't stay ignorant forever, no matter how hard Uncle Vernon tries to make that happen. I'm so excited for him to go to university and start his own independent life (and possibly meet Cho? Hopefully?)

I am confused about what's going on with Petunia, though. Is she at St. Mungo's for some reason? What brought that on? Is she sick? Or am I just missing something? Haha, that's pretty likely :) That aside, though, I think it's so interesting that she and Vernon are splitting up. It sounds awful, but I see it as a new start for Petunia. She has suppressed part of herself for Vernon's sake for so many years; maybe now she can begin to let some of that out.

I loved the scene with Harry! It was a little awkward between them, and you made it clear that they aren't exactly BFFs. But they're building something, and I really loved seeing that glimpse into their new relationship. I loved that Harry was supportive of Dudley's decision to go to university; it seems like Dudley needs some support at the moment. Great job with them!

I'm enjoying this so much! I'm so glad you swapped with me; it gave me a chance to finally get my act together and review! You're doing a wonderful job, and I can't wait to see where this goes next :)

--Maggie

Author's Response: I'm not going to hide it - I absolutely love the fact that this is one of your favourite stories and I was so excited to see you adding it as a favourite, because Down Comes The Night is one of my favourite stories of which I lurk over, too! :P

I'm glad you love Dudley! This story has a very particular tone and very particular characters that I feel like need a special mindset in order to write them (hence lack of updates before but they're all coming now!). It was especially challenging to write the second chapter.

Yeah I was meant to mention Petunia and what was going on with her in this current chapter, but it all got replaced and Harry decided to make an entrance, which was...interesting. I had always planned for Harry to be around in this story, but not so early and writing him was really odd considering I'm not quite sure how to present him as of yet.

Not to worry though I do hope to finish chapter 4 very soon and have it up and there you will definitely get to see a lot more of what Petunia is going through as well as a dash of Aunt Muriel! I do genuinely think that Petunia and Vernon were an awful pair especially putting Lily into the mix. I think this will be her tribute, in a way, to try as hard as she can for Dudley and for Harry.

I've got a few things of what I want to happen and everything in between is completely and utterly spur of the moment so just like you I am very much interested to see how this turn out!

You've been lovely and I can't wait to see what you think of everything that is to come!

Hannah ♥


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Review #28, by magnolia_magicWith All Things: George, December 1999

1st August 2013:
I just have to tell you first of all that I'm one of those readers who stalks this story for updates, reads voraciously, fangirls and squeals all over it, and then doesn't leave a review. I've been doing that for the last several chapters, and I feel like it's time to break the silence! You are doing such an incredible job with this story, dear, and this chapter might be my favorite one yet :)

I love seeing George and Angelina so happy and comfortable. Not only does she fit perfectly into his family, as George notices, but she seems to be settling into the commitment thing. (Especially at the end of the chapter. But I'll get to that.) The decorating scene was the most precious thing ever, and I was more than ready for a fluff overload! It does sort of make me sad that Angelina's chapters are taking a darker turn now, but at the same time I have to really admire the poetry of your story structure. It cycles back on itself, almost; George goes from dark to light, while Angelina goes the opposite way. It makes me very anxious to see how they meet in the middle, and to find out what happened between them prior to the first chapter. I'm SO CURIOUS about that!

The proposal scene was just so perfect. That Angelina would be the one to pop the question! *squees* It was absolutely the perfect way for her to show George that she really is all in, that she's ready to commit to him without reservation. I'm so, so happy for them!

What else can I say! You've really brought each of your characters to life for me; I feel very attached to them now. And I'll continue to stalk you for updates (and hopefully I'll stop being a lazy reader and review every once in a while.) Awesome, awesome job!

--Maggie

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Review #29, by magnolia_magicPassing ships : Passing ships

1st August 2013:
Hi Dee! Thank you so much for the swap!

I've never been a Dramione shipper (like at ALL), but I really have a lot of appreciation for what you do with the ship. I've probably said this before, but I can tell that you put a lot of thought into making her split with Ron believable, however it happens. I was so sad to see that they had gotten divorced, but it's an unfortunate reality of life that I think you explored well. Hermione was a young woman in love with her job, and she tried to take on another true love too soon. She wasn't what Ron needed, and he wasn't right for her. It saddens me to think that they might have worked if the timing had been right :( I love the way you show her feelings about the breakup; she knows that they weren't working, and yet she is still heartbroken and doesn't know where to go from here. That was beautifully done.

Now, time to move on to Draco. His arrogance was kind of shocking to me; I guess I expected him to be knocked down a few pegs after all that's happened to him by this point in his life. But in a way it makes sense. Like Hermione says in her narration, he's always had that streak of cockiness. I do wish that I could have gotten to know him a little better before the kiss happened. It seemed that they didn't interact much before that point, and I was really wishing for some more Draco.

But what a kiss, though! Haha, it was a super intense and romantic moment. You really hit the mark with that scene! And I like that Hermione and Draco have a common link between them as they begin their relationship (or at least, I'm assuming a relationship will come out of this.) They have the shared experience of splitting with a significant other; this gives them a lot more in common than they had in the Hogwarts days. It's a game-changer, definitely, and I love that you provide such a solid foundation when you deviate from canon.

Great job with this! I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks again for the swap!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hi Maggie! Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

I do always try to make Ron and Hermione's splits amicable if I'm writing a Draco/Hermione story, I love Ron and hate to see him in a bad light. I'm really glad you thought it was believable, I know that any Dramione story has to have the characters as at least a little OOC as it would likely never happen in JKR's world but I do try to make it as plausible as I can.

I put Draco's arrogance in this down to the alcohol magnifying what was already there, I think he'd be a lot nicer sober ;) A couple of people have said that their transition is a little quick in this so I may well go back and do some editing to include some more Draco, thanks :)

The kiss was something I wrote and re-wrote countless times but was pleased with the end result so I'm really glad you liked it! And yes, I think a relationship would stem from this, I might even turn this into multi chapter one day :)

Thanks for the swap, Maggie, and the lovely review!


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Review #30, by magnolia_magicSoaring through the clouds: The honeymoon

1st August 2013:
Hi! I'm so happy I got a chance to come by and rake a look at this story :)

I'm very impressed with all the information you gave us about the carpets themselves. It's a subject not many Potterheads would know much about, so I found it really interesting to see how they work. Did you find the awesome carpet facts somewhere in canon, or did you make some of it up? (Just curious :) ) Either way, it was a very interesting read, and it gave an exotic feel to the story.

This seems to be more about the carpet tour itself than about the characters, but I thought you had sine great characterization moments here. The way Harry and Ginny each drove the carpet spoke volumes about their characters,I thought. Ginny was all speed and no fear, and that reminded me of her first personality and determination to be right at the forefront of things. The fact that she was so eager to volunteer first added to that as well. Harry, on the other hand, is more cautious and measured, and takes his time in order to get the hang of it. Those little things showed us a lot about who they are, and I think you did a great job with that aspect!

This is a very cute story! You did a great job, and I'm glad I got a chance to read and review!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Thanks!
To answer your question, most of this I made up. We had lee way :)

I did put the emphasis on the carpet tour, so I could fit the travel theme. I could easily picture Ginny being the fearless one and going full speed ahead and Harry being a bit more nervous! Glad you liked!

Thanks for the review


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Review #31, by magnolia_magicAll The Tombs of Egypt Are Empty: Long and blue and forever is the Nile

1st August 2013:
Hi teh! I've actually read this before, during the House Cup, but I didn't leave a review :| (Yes, I'm one of those readers who reads and then doesn't review. You may now commence with rolling your eyes.) But I loved it then and I love it even more now!

What a strange combination of characters you have here. I love that these three unlikely companions happened to meet in one place and time. I've been trying to decide which character is my favorite, and it's honestly difficult to choose. It's definitely not Mundungus, though, I can tell you that. What a hideous person he is. I never liked him in the books (if you can't tell), and I really admire the way you brought that slimy personality to life here.

I think I'll go with Filch as my favorite. I love what you did with him here, exploring his feelings if being outside, and how hard it is for him to see students taking their magic for granted when he'll never have it. And he's so sweet when he talks to Mrs. Norris :) I love that softening we see in Filch whenever they are interacting. And I love that she was the key to getting then out of the tomb in one piece! It just shows that Filch does have something to offer, even when no one expects that to be the case.

This is a great piece, and I love that you were able to bring such an eclectic cast together so seamlessly. Wonderful job!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Maggie ♥

Gah, thanks so much for this wonderful review! I'm incredibly surprised and flattered that you actually read this story earlier! Don't worry about the not reviewing - I'm guilty of this a lot, reading and not reviewing, that is. Eep.

Yeah, this is indeed a bizarre cast of characters. I honestly have no idea what was happening in my head when all this was being produced. :P Y'know, I'm surprised that Filch is your favourite here! He's actually my least favourite, baha! I did, however, try to portray him a shade mellower than how he appeared in the books (y'know, the fearsome caretaker with the whips and all those horrid dungeon threats yelling at small children and all...), but still, I can't quite reconcile myself with him. Though I did try to give him a chance in this fic. I do doubt that I'll ever be writing a serious(ish) Filch fic again, though.

Gah, I'm so glad you thought that the characters were brought together so seamlessly! That is honestly a fantastic compliment and I'm so, so pleased.

Thank you so much for this lovely review, Maggie! It's been so encouraging! ♥

teh ♥


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Review #32, by magnolia_magicDear Al: Park Swings and Chaste Kisses

1st August 2013:
Hi! Here from review tag!

This a very interesting way to tell Snape's story, I think. I really liked your first chapter, where you set up the diary and how fascinated Harry is with Snape's life. I just wonder how this will all connect to Albus (as I assume it will, since the story is called Dear Al.) I can't wait to find out!

I like your portrayal of Snape and Lily as children. You've done a good job with their interactions. Lily is clearly a happy person with a bright disposition, but she's sad about the growing rift between her and Petunia. That, in particular, came out really well in this chapter. And Snape is a little calculating and devious even now, as he plans his future with Lily. But his devotion to her is so sweet that I have to like him :) Good job with them!

I thought the flow of this was good overall. The switch from the summer before their first year to the beginning of their second did seem a little abrupt, though. Maybe a scene about their first year at Hogwarts would help bridge that gap. A Sorting scene, perhaps? I always love those, but you'd have so much room to be creative there :)

I enjoyed this! I think this story has great potential (and I always love a good Snily), so I do hope you update soon! Keep up the good work!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hi there :)
Yes, you would be right. The story isn't called 'Deal Al' for nothing!
i'm glad you liked the portrayal. It was something I was worried about because I really wanted to make sure I got it right. I wanted to make sure it was believable. Having a sibling myself, I'm aware of how you end up being close to them and like sharing things with them. You may not have a deep relationship, but whatever you do share is usually special. So, I do believe that Petunia's disapproval would have broken Lily more than we can know.
I'm glad that it flows well. Thinking back, I guess it is sort of sudden. I'll make sure I add a scene or two in there. I too love sorting scenes!
Thanks for the review :)


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Review #33, by magnolia_magicOnwards! (to nothing): Onwards! (to nothing)

1st August 2013:
Hi Roots! I'm so glad I got the chance to come by and review your story. This review challenge was a great idea, even if Team Yellow is dragging just a tiny bit ;)

Anyway, on to the review! I really love the idea for this story, first of all. I'm just amazed at the creativity in everyone's pieces, and this one is no exception. I think using Karkaroff as your narrator was a bold choice. Usually a narrator needs to be likeable to make a story work, but you've created a compelling story even with a completely unpleasant narrator. I couldn't find even one redeeming quality about Karkaroff. Not even one. He's clearly prejudiced to the point of extremism, as you show from the Durmstrang scenes on. And not only that, he's terribly cowardly as well. He didn't take responsibility for having joined the Death Eaters. Instead, he ran from it; not out of a sense of duty or a desire to do the right thing, but out of pure fear. Ugh. I hated him from beginning to end. And you did such a wonderful job of showing him to us, making his motivations crystal clear. I feel like I know Karkaroff very well after reading this, and I can tell you put a lot of thought into his characterization.

I also love the way you have the scenes set up, going back and forth in time between each one. It all connects seamlessly, and the non-linear setup you have really adds interest. Even though I absolutely hated Karkaroff (which is a testament to your skill in bringing him to life), I really enjoyed reading your take on his life. Awesome job!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hello! I'm so glad that you thought that the review challenge was a good idea- it definitely does make sure that everyone who contributed to that House Cup challenge is rewarded. :)

I'm also really glad that you liked the idea for this story. I definitely agree that everyone's ideas are amazingly unique and creative.

Haha- I think I'm drawn to characters that are less pleasant... I've now written stories about Bellatrix, Argus Finch, Pansy Parkinson and, of course, Igor Karkaroff. There's just something so interesting about characters who are less pleasant than others (especially because they're often more minor characters). There's so much room in their interpretations of their minds and actions. :) And no- I don't think that Karkaroff has many redeeming qualities either. But maybe I just didn't put him in the right situation for them to show. :P

I'm also really pleased that you think that the interchanging time periods work- it was the thing I was the most uncertain about (but also the thing that I was most determined to make work). :P

Thank you for this amazing review! I really appreciate it! :)


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Review #34, by magnolia_magicTravel Bug: Travel Bug

31st July 2013:
Hi Amanda! You did such a great job with this pairing. I've never read it before, and I'm glad your story was my first experience with Hermione/Blaise :)

I absolutely love the way you've written Hermione here. She's still herself, I can tell, but age seems to have mellowed her out a bit. I love that she has to convince Blaise to go along with her wanderlust, and I LOVED their interactions together as a couple.

Your Blaise is my absolute favorite portrayal I've ever seen of him. Granted, I haven't read much Blaise at all, but there's something special about the way you write him. It's hard for me to put my finger on, but he's perfect for Hermione. I guess just the fact that he's a real person is what makes him so likeable. He's not a "brooding Slytherin" type. He's funny, he loves habit, he scolds Hermione for not using a coaster! He's like a little old man :) You've made a really loveable character out of him.

The proposal was so cute! I love how Blaise just read her mind about a summer wedding, and knew the perfect trip for them to take on their honeymoon. You did a great job of showing how in sync they are as a couple.

I loved this! You really made me believe in this pairing, and this story is written so well. Awesome job, Amanda!

--Maggie

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Review #35, by magnolia_magicUnforgettables : Going to Hogwarts

30th July 2013:
Okay. So this review is terribly, shamefully late. I got incredibly distracted by life and then the House Cup :( But enough of my excuses! On to the review!

I am so glad you included this chapter, first of all. I always love sorting chapters, because we get to feel the magic of seeing Hogwarts for the first time, all over again. I think that's the biggest strength of the way you've written Damon's experiences in this chapter--I could really feel his wonder, his bewilderment at it all. The image of Dominique holding her hand out to him and saying, "Welcome to the world of magic, Damon" really drives that feeling home for me. It's like something you might see in a movie :)

I love Damon's narrative voice in this. It's very casual, and I like the little comments he throws in about how unbelievable it all is. When he's at the platform and says: "Yeah, it's times like this when I think I'm being played." I laughed out loud at that! And it was fun to meet the nextgen kids and see them from his perspective.

I like what you're doing with Dominique so far, too. At first I found it a little odd that Damon's mention of the orphanage didn't get even a little bit of curiosity from her. That's something that would start a conversation, I think. But in a way it sort of makes sense. Dominique is from a famous family, after all, and she knows what it's like to have people prying into your life. Maybe she wanted to spare Damon from that feeling. In any case, I like her for Damon because she seems more take-charge about things, while Damon is along for the ride (at least for now.) She seems tough and very kind at the same time, and I love that combination :)

And he's sorted into Gryffindor! I wondered where Damon would end up. He seems like a Hufflepuff to me (and I do take issue with Puffs being portrayed as "indecisive people." But I suppose it makes sense that school kids would describe the house that way.) And I have to disagree with the Hat on one point...I haven't really sensed much ambition in Damon so far. But it's still very early on in the story; maybe it will show up later :) Anyway, I love that you had the hat take his choice into account. And those last couple of lines were so cute! He wanted to follow Dominique! I think that makes perfect sense; he clearly likes her, and she's the only familiar thing in the world to him right now. I'm so excited to see where things go from here for those two :)

This was a great follow-up to the first chapter! I think you're doing well...keep up the great work! And sorry again for the incredibly late review :/

--Maggie

Author's Response: Apologies for the incredibly late response!
But thankyou for a great review :)
I'm glad you liked the chapter and I do agree with seeing parts as a movie, I'm a student of TV so a lot of what I write is initially an idea that can be put onscreen!
I'm glad you pointed out the lack of ambition, I think I'm going to change that bit because you're right, Damon isn't very ambitious so far!
Thanks again
-KO


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Review #36, by magnolia_magicHe's not dead: He's not dead

30th July 2013:
Hi Shaza! This is such a creative idea for a story! That's the great thing about the House Cup; it brings out everyone's originality :) This is definitely one of the more inventive entries I've read, and I'm so glad I did!

I love your Lily, first of all. I love her conviction and determination to find out what really happened with her dad. I was rooting for her, especially since she seemed to be the only one with much hope. It was so interesting to see where her journey took her, and I was glad to see everything work out in the end :)

One thing I would really have liked to see would be a scene between Harry and Lily after his rescue. I think that would have potential to be a really precious father-daughter moment, and I was hoping to see that as part of your ending. But at the same time I like that you ended this with a sense of normalcy, of life going on for the Potter family. You did a good job of showing that they would remain a close, strong family even after their ordeal. Awesome job!

--Maggie

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Review #37, by magnolia_magicThe Globetrotting Garden Gnome: The Globetrotting Garden Gnome

28th July 2013:
Aww, this is the cutest thing! And such a creative idea! I never would have thought to send a garden gnome on vacation, of all things. But the way you wrote him--so disgruntled and appalled with all things human--made the whole thing seem perfectly believable.

I loved seeing the Weasleys from the gnome's point of view. Of course Arthur would be the favorite...he's too soft hearted to throw a gnome anywhere! And it was so cute to see all the little memories he had about misadventures with the kids. When Ginny kidnapped his son! I just had to laugh at that part! And interrupting the wedding...what would a Weasley wedding be without something like that happening? :)

I thought you did a wonderful job with this. Your mentions of the Weasleys kept them in character while still putting a unique twist on them. And your adorable narrator makes the whole thing a treat to read :) Great work!

--Maggie

Author's Response: I am so happy to hear that you thought so! And that you found this believable - it's quite tricky to get into the head of a gnome, so that's such a relief!! :)

Yeah, I definitely imagine Arthur being their favourite! Haha, and I think that a little gnome would be the perfect toy for little Ginny, even if the father didn't quite agree ;) I agree about the Weasley weddings, and I think it's true for George Weasley's wedding, especially!

I am so happy that you liked this story, and that you liked the gnome as a narrator! Thank you so much for this wonderful review!


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Review #38, by magnolia_magicRÍve Voyager: RÍve Voyager

27th July 2013:
Oh wow. I am so happy I read this. Haha, I'm still recovering from it, so I'll try to leave a coherent review :D

I was absolutely fascinated by the way you wrote Alice. There's just something about her that draws me to her. I love that you've left her mind basically empty, but there's all this emotion surging beneath the surface. Her wants and dreams are still there, but she doesn't know how to connect them to reality. And that connection with Frank. I just found that so beautiful. All the lines where she wanted to reach out to him but still had no idea who he was...it just proves that love can defy reasoning sometimes, and I love that idea :)

I was just heartbroken during the scene when she wakes up from her dream and cries because she can't remember it. That was such a powerful moment, because I can't bear to even imagine what that must be like. You did such a wonderful job of painting that picture.

And the dreams themselves were very well done. I loved the glimpses of happier times, and it was a relief to know that the memories were still there. But at the same time, it was even more tragic to know that it's all right at her fingertips and she can't access it.

The only CC I can think of is related to Augusta's dialogue. There are times when she sounds a little more casual than I think she'd be (like when she calls Frank and Alice "you guys"). Maybe another look at that would be helpful?

That last line was incredibly powerful. It seems like a small thing, just saying her son's name, but for a woman who hasn't even formed words in years, it's a huge victory. How Neville must have felt when he heard that! I loved Alice's maternal instincts coming through whenever she thought of Neville, even if she didn't know who to attach them to. It made the ending so much better, a quiet triumph.

I really loved this! You did an incredible job!

--Maggie

Author's Response: Hey, Maggie!

haha, thank you for all your lovely comments! They really mean a lot to me, they do! :')

I think someone else already pointed that out and I will change that. Maybe in a couple of weeks (because of RL) but I will fix that up! Thanks for pointing it out, though!

Thank you so much for this amazing review! You're far too kind! ♥

- Kayla. :)


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Review #39, by magnolia_magicIrrational: Rumor Has It

18th July 2013:
I love this running theme of Audrey having a not-so-accurate view of herself. With Percy assuring her that she's more well-liked than she thinks, and her dad saying she doesn't have the confidence she should, it's clear that Audrey doesn't think nearly as highly of herself as others think of her. I really hope to see her realize what these other people are seeing in her! She really is special to many people, and it would be great to see her start to realize that more. But I'm glad she has people like her family and Percy to remind her of it :)

I love seeing Percy and Audrey get closer in this chapter. I can just feel her embarrassment when he's looking around at the things she's not used to other people seeing (like the romance novel). But that's all part of a new relationship, and I'm so glad to see you explore it with these two.

You've just done such a spectacular job with this story! (I'm running out of adjectives...spectacular is new, right?) It's been just a joy reading it, and watching these two get to know each other better :)

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Review #40, by magnolia_magicIrrational: It's Really Nothing

18th July 2013:
Hi, back again! I love that Audrey's family is so close, and I really do think that's one of the biggest strengths of this story so far. The scenes with Audrey and her family just warm me. They each have their little role to play, and they all just fit together so well. And I think Audrey's father is becoming my favorite character besides Audrey and Percy themselves. He's so wise in such an unassuming way, which reminds me of Audrey. You would never know he was once a hit wizard! And I love that he has a different flower name for all his girls; that's such a sweet and indulgent little thing. It's things like that which really bring characters to life, and I think you've done a great job paying attention to those little details so far. It's just a pleasure to read!

And more Percy/Audrey feels! Awesome! The thing about a good relationship is that the partners make each other better in ways. I loved seeing the beginnings of that with Audrey suggesting that Percy be a little nicer to his co-workers. It's not a bad suggestion for him, as he can be so intimidating, and it was great to see Audrey confident enough to bring it up. And the kiss! Of course I loved that part! I was very surprised to see Audrey take the initiative, but hey, one of them had to sometime. And it all worked out for the best :)

This is such a fun story to read! You've done such a wonderful job on it!

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Review #41, by magnolia_magicIrrational: A New Friend

18th July 2013:
Yep, you guessed it. More squeeing. If I thought the last chapter was precious, it was nothing compared to this first date.

Audrey's nerves were so cute at the beginning. I think you described the feeling well; even though she was looking forward to it, at the same time she really WASN'T looking forward to it at all. I get the whole worrying thing, so that part really spoke to me. But I'm glad she got to see that she'd worried for nothing!

Percy was so sweet here. The part where he complimented her for being nice was just wonderful! It's great to see Audrey meet someone who appreciates and values the traits that define her. And I mean, I know that Vivian and Darcy love her, but teasing would get old after a while. Meanwhile, Percy is the sort of person who would fit well with Audrey's sweetness.

I think a lot of people would be surprised at how normal he seems in this chapter. But I'm glad you're writing him in such a likeable (loveable, let's be honest) way. It really helps lift the stereotype surrounding him. Awesome job, again!

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Review #42, by magnolia_magicIrrational: Damn Lifts

18th July 2013:
Okay. Excuse me while I squee over all the precious Audrey/Percy that happened in this chapter! You've done such a great job at capturing that kind of awkward, kind of exhilarating feeling of having a crush...even if Audrey doesn't really admit it in this chapter. But Percy sure does! I wasn't expecting him to be the one to make the first move, but I thought it was so sweet when he asked her out in the lift. And when he scolded Ron for cursing in front of a lady. That seemed like just the kind of chivalrous thing Percy would do.

I love that you brought up the difficulty of not-quite-friendships. A lot of fics seem to feature their characters bridging that gap with ease, and I'm glad you took a more realistic approach there. Especially for two people who aren't at their best in social situations; they would need to move a bit more slowly. But I'm glad Percy is being so nice to her; even if Audrey isn't quite catching on, it's so clear to me that he likes her, and I just love it!

Sorry for the gushiness of this review! But the next will probably be much the same :)

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Review #43, by magnolia_magicIrrational: Romance By Stealth

18th July 2013:
Hi again! Wow, so much happens in this chapter that I hardly know where to start! Cepheus seems like a good enough place: ugh. You did a great job of choosing a name as pretentious as he is. I really felt for Audrey...but luckily Percy came along!

This chapter is where I really start to fall in love with him (haha, it didn't take long!) He's so precious and awkward here, and you do a great job of showing that he isn't just a Ministry drone. He's a decent guy who likes to talk Quidditch with his friends, and is willing to apologize when he's done something wrong. I love that you've made him well-rounded without diminishing his Percy-ish qualities. That's kind of a trick to do, and you pull it off flawlessly!

The scene with Vivian at the beginning was great also, and I loved seeing their relationship at its best. Audrey is great at consoling her and taking her dramatics in stride, and Vivian is just so much fun to read :)

Another great chapter! I'm on to the next :)

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Review #44, by magnolia_magicIrrational: Something Different

18th July 2013:
Percy makes his appearance! Poor Audrey; I really would not want to be in the unfortunate position of crossing him when he's on a work tirade. I love the line: "The only thing cheerful about him was his hair." What a perfect way to describe the Percy we know from the books.

And I love her new office! It seems like the kind of place I would love to work, though I can see why it takes some getting used to for Audrey. She's so diligent about her job, and I couldn't help but laugh at her reactions to her new boss and co-workers (though I felt terrible laughing at Audrey...she's too sweet for that!) Madeline, especially, makes me laugh; she's Audrey's exact opposite, and it'll be interesting to see how they get along. And that second run-in with Percy. They aren't off to a great start, are they? But it'll be so much fun to re-read and watch things unfold :) Awesome work!

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Review #45, by magnolia_magicIrrational: Monday

18th July 2013:
Hi! I'm not sure if you're planning to update this, but I wanted to stop by and show my appreciation for this awesome story! Percy/Audrey is one of my favorite pairings, and your Audrey is my favorite that I've ever read on this site.

I like her from the very beginning of this chapter. You've made her soft-spoken and even-tempered, and maybe a little lost when it comes to a firm direction in life. I think that's so relatable; Audrey really resonates with me because of that, and I'm sure many of your other readers feel the same way. I was so excited for her when she got offered a promotion. Finally she's getting a change of scenery!

I really love your supporting characters too. You have a real gift for dialogue, I think; you flesh your characters out so well with just a few phrases. Vivian is a perfect example; I can already tell she's a good compliment to Audrey's unassuming personality, and that she'll bring her sister out of her shell a bit. And I just love their dad! He seems so cheerful and loving, just what a great dad ought to be.

Wonderful first chapter! I really do love this story :)

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Review #46, by magnolia_magicS.S. Memoirs: Parselmouth: Chapter 2

17th July 2013:
Joffrey! We have a name! Haha I've been wondering about that kid, and I'm still so curious to see what kind of role he'll play in chapters to come. Meanwhile, I love that you included the story of the Wizard Uprising. It really sets up a context for Salazar's life and the way wizards and Muggles relate to each other.

I really like Salazar's father. He seems like a very good parent, and a responsible role model for Salazar and his siblings to look up to. I do have this sense of foreboding, though, for the future. I hope everything is okay for the Slytherin family, but I feel sure that something bad's going to happen to them. I can't wait to find out! I hope you get a chance to update soon, because I'm hooked on this story! Great job, Becca!

--Maggie

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Review #47, by magnolia_magicS.S. Memoirs: Parselmouth: Chapter 1

17th July 2013:
Hi again, Becca! I loved this introduction to Salazar's life. I've never really seen many fics that deal with his early childhood, and I love your take on it. The scene with Alfred was really cute :) I like that you're keeping a very realistic feel to this; I feel like I really am in a medieval village, and I know that's a hard feat to pull off. Great job with making it feel genuine!

It looks like the problems between wizards and Muggles are starting to affect Salazar. His rage and pride seem to fit with the image we have of the adult Salazar, and I'm glad you included his tendencies toward that sort of behavior. It really makes him feel like the Salazar we've heard of, while still introducing us to a "new" character. Great job!

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Review #48, by magnolia_magicS.S. Memoirs: Parselmouth: Introduction

17th July 2013:
Hi Becca! I remember hearing about this during Keckers season and I thought I'd check it out :)

What an ominous beginning! I'm dying to know who that blonde Slytherin is. And what could he have taken from the room that had such consequences? They mystery surrounding that is great--I love a good mystery, and I think it's a wonderful way to draw readers in. And Salazar is such a fascinating character; I can't wait to read more of his memoir! I love seeing different takes on what split him from the other founders...maybe this story will include that? I'll read on to find out. After this chapter, I can't wait! Great work!

--Maggie

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Review #49, by magnolia_magicAnd Love Prevails: And Then There Was One

17th July 2013:
Wow, what a gut-wrenching chapter this is. I know this sounds dumb, because Cadmus had to have descendants, but I wasn't expecting him to have a son. And now that I know Tyrion and how adorable he is, it's doubly sad to see Cadmus' fate. I wish he could have overcome his sadness about Seraphine and been there for his son, but the legend had to be fulfilled, I suppose. This chapter just broke my heart! I'm glad Ignotius has Dominique to be there for him, though. Maybe that's part of her purpose in 1234--to be Ignotius' strength. I think she's doing a wonderful job of that :)

I loved this one! I should be back soon with another review :)

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Review #50, by magnolia_magicAnd Love Prevails: Lord Callum Conway

17th July 2013:
Oh Callum. Haha, Ignotius' thoughts about him had me worried that he's some sort of player. Even so, I can't help but like him. And clearly, Dominique has caught his eye. Honestly, I see where Dominique is coming from in wanting more from Ignotius, and maybe unconsciously looking for it in Callum. Even though Ignotius is grieving, she still has certain modern expectations about relationships. It must be hurtful to feel ignored, even if there is a good reason. You did a good job of exploring that complex emotion with this chapter. That's why I love it! (And also because Callum makes his adorably cocky appearance.) Great work Drue!

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