Reading Reviews From Member: academica
1,113 Reviews Found

Review #1, by academicaHow to Fly: How to Fly

3rd September 2014:
Hi there, here for this month's Claw Battle!

This was so beautiful in its simplicity. I think you've struck at the heart of what it means to be a first-time mother. I don't think any of us really feel prepared for that, but you learn along the way, I suppose. (Very excited and nervous about one day having my own children.)

Anyway, your characterization is great. It's nice to get inside Hermione's head and finally have that confirmation that she doesn't always feel confident about what she's doing. You can see the little bits of both her and Ron in young Rose, and you can also see her learning a little something new, even from a tiny eleven-year-old.

Great job, I thoroughly enjoyed it :)


Author's Response: Hi Amanda,

I was so excited to see you picked this story!

Haha - I don't think ANYONE can be prepared for motherhood and I think Hermione would find it especially unnerving because she likes to KNOW things.

But Hermione also likes to LEARN things and, she's realized that if she just steps back for a moment, she can learn a great deal from her daughter.

Thanks again for this super sweet review!


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Review #2, by academicaThe Phoenix Song: Birds of a Feather

31st August 2014:
Hey there! I'm here just barely under the wire for our review exchange! By the way, I really appreciated your review and will get around to responding to it as soon as I can :)

I really like your characterization of Luna's relationship with Rolf because it seems very refreshing. Normally, I see them being portrayed as perfect birds of a feather, both quirky and adventurous and in tune without even having to speak. When I wrote them, I also focused on the things they had in common. But your characterization suggests that they're just starting to get to know each other and Rolf isn't quite on Luna's level yet. It's nice to see her take the lead and maintain her confidence.

I also liked how you talked about the realities of a long trek like the one Luna and Rolf went on. It wouldn't be easy or always interesting, and you would get tired and frustrated and think about turning back. I could put myself in Luna's shoes, wanting to see the thing she came to see and being determined to finish the trip, but I could also see Rolf's perspective in terms of knowing how tough a hike like this would be.

The end was great. I was very concerned about Luna's leg, as it sounded like a very serious injury, but it was perfect that the phoenix showed itself then and was able to heal her. I would hope that Rolf's perspective on the situation changed as a result of witnessing this event with Luna, and maybe this was the start of his eventual career as a magizoologist.

Great job! This was a perfect fit for the Cup!


Author's Response: I am so sorry for the rambling in my review but I'm glad that you like it. Take your time with answering it!

I'm so glad that you caught on to the fact that they were just getting to know each other! That was the time that I set this around. I don't think there's anyone quite like Luna so the majority of people would learn to love her for who she is instead of instantly clicking. I like to think that Rolf learned to love her. I think he'd be the one to make sure that Luna always had her feet on the ground no matter what adventure she went on.

A long trek is certainly frustrating and it certainly would've taken a lot of faith for Rolf to follow this girl he doesn't know very well into the forests of India with wild animals in it.

Thanks so much for the lovely review!

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Review #3, by academicaStand Tall: Hands Touch

14th August 2014:
Hello, I'm here from the Claw Review Battle!

The idea for this story looked so interesting that I couldn't resist popping by for a review.

I loved the first part of this story. I thought you wrote Alba's struggle beautifully, and it seems like you've done your homework or at least spent time observing people who actually have her illness, because the way you talked about her behavior made perfect sense based on people I've observed. I especially like this part: She loved when children asked about her. They were so astute, so ready to learn about the things they didn't understand. She preferred their honest curiousity to the gawkers who slyly tried to hide their interest with furtive glances and hushed whispers to others. Maybe it's because it's what I immediately thought or would write if this had been my story, but it seemed so poetic.

I also really loved Chandra's maturity. Again, I think that's what you'd expect from a girl who has already had to endure so much in her short life. Even in the first part of the story, when she was eleven, she handled herself so well, and it only seemed to get better when she got older. It's clear that the disability is a central part of the story, and yet Alba doesn't let it be her whole story. She's very likable and inspiring in that way.

Oh, Chandra. We just can't keep her around. Every potential partner has to pass the best friend test! Hopefully James will figure that out soon.

Nice work! I hope to come back later for more :)


Author's Response: I have a dear cousin with CP, so I do have a rather personal tie with this story. I'm so glad you enjoyed that part! I knew it needed just the right words to come across the way I wanted. It's good to hear it did.

Hahaha! Chandra is interesting. Thank you for such a wonderful review!

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Review #4, by academicaan interlude of you.: thoughts from a prison of stone.

21st June 2014:
Hey Kiana, I'm here for our review exchange :) I'm glad we got paired up this month.

I really like your characterization of Gellert, especially the way he was always a little more intense than Albus, a little more drawn into the relationship. It seems like couples like that never end well, with one person always being more invested than the other. And yet this is only Gellert's perspective; we know that, in his own way, Albus was also quite invested and devastated when things did not turn out as he had expected. It would be interesting to read Albus's response to this progression of thoughts.

Your descriptions and metaphors were really pretty and effective. I really liked the way you transitioned from night to day, with the sense that with the light came the realization that life was not a dream and there were real-life problems to worry about again.

All in all, this was really nice, especially for something you just came up with spur of the moment. Sometimes those end up being the best stories of all :) Great work on this, Kiana!


Author's Response: Hi Amanda!

I'm so glad that you liked Gellert, because he's always a character which has always intrigued for exactly the reasons that you stated, so I wanted to explore what was going on his mind throughout them being together as we rarely ever get the during from an after perspective.

Thank you!! That seriously means so much to me right now coming from you as I've always admired your descriptions so much, and yeah, I'm just squeeing like a mad person right now.

I know! It's so nice to just write a story for the sake of it rather than for a challenge or WIP because without all those constraints I really get to enjoy it! Thanks for this fab review, Amanda :D


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Review #5, by academicaFortress: An Anatomy: The birth, life, and death of stone

9th May 2014:
Hi teh, I'm here with your requested review :)

This is definitely an unorthodox point of view, but I got into it after a while, mostly after I identified who the characters in the story were. I liked the different facets of personality demonstrated by the fortress, first a sort of childlike admiration of Gellert, then a sense of wanting to defend him, and then a loving embrace and self-sacrifice at his death. It was also interested to observe the two intruders from the fortress's point of view. I think you had a gorgeous way of personifying the building; your imagery throughout was my favorite part of the piece (e.g., the way the building fed on the prisoners).

I think the pacing is okay. I read it at sort of a medium pace throughout, though there were obviously more intense moments of confrontation. It would have been interesting--and perhaps more intense--to take the point of view of the wand, but I liked how you were able to take it all the way to the end of Gellert by not doing that.

I liked the characters, too. I thought you did a good job of using context clues instead of stating outright who was who, and you got the defining features of their personalities down well (e.g., Dumbledore's sort of sad, but knowing resignation). I took more of an interest in the interactions between characters than I normally do in stories featuring them, so that's good. It was interesting to watch all of that play out from the perspective of the fortress.

I really liked the mood here, though I'm not quite sure about how to characterize it, and it was nice to see the different phases of the fortress's existence and Gellert's "reign" play out in parallel. Really nice job with this one! I would definitely recommend it to others.

Hope this review is helpful. Thanks for requesting!


Author's Response: Hello Amanda! Thank you so much for coming by to read and leave such an incredibly helpful review! I know how busy you are, and I really appreciate you doing this - fulfilling my request before closing your thread. Thanks again! And I'm sorry it's taken me quite a few days to respond.

I'm glad you managed to get used to the oddness of the perspective of the story; I hope it didn't take too long! That was one of the things I was quite concerned about. I'm so glad you noticed all the shifting facets of the fortress' 'personality'; it's always so weird when I think about it, that this is a building and all. And gah, thanks for your lovely compliment on the imagery. That was so fun to write.

Glad the pacing worked out okay. And yeah, the Wand would have been interesting, though I'm not sure how I could fit two different perspectives into this story. And it's great to hear that you took interest in the character interactions. I like writing character interactions the best, and it was interesting portraying Dumbledore and Grindelwald through an outsider's POV.

This review has been absolutely helpful! Thank you so much, Amanda! ♥


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Review #6, by academicaThe Chaser: Thank you.

18th April 2014:
Hello, here with your requested review :)

Well, this is definitely a difficult theme to take on, and I think it's great that you made the effort to tackle it. I like that you didn't skirt around the issue; you really showed the ugliness of the disorder, and you even put an interesting magical spin on it. I did get the voyeuristic vibe and I think it's appropriate given that much of the symptoms are carried out in secrecy. The only thing more I would have liked would be to get a fuller picture of Angelina's symptoms, like her comparing herself to other women or worrying about what she was going to do at lunchtime. I had a bit of trouble understanding why canon Angelina would be so interested in being thinner.

I'm not entirely sure about the ages. The characters seemed to handle the topic very maturely for being 13, and it was clear that they were very used to what had been going on, which was a bit jarring. I was surprised that Angelina wasn't more upset about others finding out her secret, and that she had chosen to go down to the locker room instead of feigning sickness or something and staying up in the privacy of her own dorm room. Harry's reaction was also a bit surprising to me; I know he's young, but he seemed to be sort of mature in the books, and I was a bit taken aback to see him blurt out the details of what he had seen right away.

I did really like the ending. It was nice to see that resolution and to see a happier, healthier Angelina with more perspective on the situation.

Overall, this was a nice way to address the topic of anorexia. You made some different stylistic choices than I would have, but it was a difficult subject and you clearly showed that the best course of action is to get help. I think that's a great message to promote to others on the site.

Nice work! Hope this review is helpful!


Author's Response: Hey! I'm really sorry that this review took me so long to respond to.

I agree with your points here... I really struggled to make some decisions, like with Angelina's reasoning. I just saw her as being a very internal person, and not sharing her thoughts with them, but I didn't want to go into her POV.

Also with the ages... I wanted an innocent Harry, before he faces Voldemort and before he saves Hermione from a troll and before all of that, but to do that I had to make the other characters young, as well.

Thanks so much for the review.

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Review #7, by academicaClementine: Clementine

6th April 2014:
Hey, here with your requested review!

Great one-shot! I do think it works even with the brevity. You explored Fleur's thoughts without getting too complex in analyzing them and while still being able to provide a light ending.

I really like how you illuminated all the changes Fleur had to make in her courtship with Bill. We know about the overt changes--learning a new language, getting a job--but you delve into the more subtle changes on the inside, the shift from being the object of desire to the one who desires. Seeing her struggle with a seemingly simple choice humanizes her. It's touching to see how much Bill's opinion truly matters to her. She's a far cry from the Beauxbatons starlet.

I also like the double meaning of learning the language of interacting with Bill and her literal learning of a new language when she came to England.

The description works well, even though it's simple. I liked how you described Fleur's uncertainty when actually faced with Bill. There was a palpable tension throughout that was enticing but not overwhelming.

Overall, this was really nice! Thanks for requesting, and I hope this review is helpful.


Author's Response: Hi Amanda! :) I'm always so excited to get reviews from you! :)

Thank you so much! I was so nervous about the 500 word limit because I know I'm so bad at writing things which are short and concise, so it was sort of a test to see if I could do it, so I'm so glad you thought it turned out alright! :)

I'm so glad you liked it - so many fics I've read deal with Fleur being the one who is liked, and I wanted to kinda change it around. I mean, she's obviously eyeing him up in GoF - who's to say she didn't fancy him first? So yeah, it was fun to explore the idea of her being unsure when it's not like her and how she deals with that. It's not really a change I'd done before, so it was interesting!

Thank you! :) It's one of the things I thought up randomly and only afterwards sort of realised the connection-type thing :P

Thank you so so much for the lovely review - it was so nice to get, and especially from you! :)

Aph xx

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Review #8, by academicaBeginning of the End: Never Let Go

6th April 2014:
Hi, here with your requested review!

Kudos to you for being willing to go out on a limb and go outside your comfort zone! That's a great exercise for a writer, in my opinion, and I think you did a very nice job with this story.

I'm going to try to address each of your concerns.

Point of view: I think you did fine. I like how you forced the reader to see things from Lavender's perspective and to endure the ridicule she experienced from the party guests. Second person can be tough to master, but this is a really good first try. I think the hardest thing is choosing when second person is appropriate, and to me, it is here. It has a distinct purpose.

Setting: I love Post-Hogwarts. It's such a cool time to explore because you get to delve into the different reactions of the characters to the war and see some really remarkable personality changes. I thought you pulled those themes in well and did a nice job conveying the mood.

Characterization: Also pretty good. I liked how Lavender had more than just one emotion of "I hate how I look." Obviously it was always there in front of her, but it seemed like she had little moments where she almost forgot, like when she put on her outfit for the party. Of course, one look in the mirror and she was back to feeling like an ugly duckling once again. I liked your portrayal of Oliver as a supportive partner because I think that fits in well with his canon characterization. The few details we got about how they got together also made good sense.

Plot: Here's where I got hung up a little bit. You had a couple moment that seemed to veer a little too far on the melodramatic side, like Oliver's dismissal of Lexie and the ending. I think it helps to try to picture yourself in a real life situation and imagine how people would actually react. For example, I find it a little tough to believe that Lexie would actually be so open about her disapproval in front of a celebrity, let alone a man she wanted to impress. That kind of attitude obviously wouldn't get her far, you know? I think you have a beautiful love story to tell here even without all of that.

Flow: This was good. You did some nice work with imagery (like when you were describing Lavender's surroundings at the end), and overall the story was fairly easy to follow and had a good pace.

Hope this review was helpful! Thanks for requesting!


Author's Response: Hello Amanda! Thank you. It was really challenging, and now that this first one is out of the way, I can be a bit more confident about trying new things out.

The PoV was tricky. There were so many times when it just didn't sound right and I had to keep editing and rephrasing till I thought it did, so I'm glad you think it works well here.

I always felt that Lavender was a shallow character, but even she deserves some moments of peace with herself. Although even that's related to her shallowness. :P

Yeah, I get what you mean about the melodrama of the story. I'll keep your comments in mind whenever I write something new. About Lexie's openness; that's just who she is. There's some explanation about that in my companion fic.

Thank you, your review was extremely helpful!

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Review #9, by academicaGame Over: Four

6th April 2014:
Hey, here with your requested review :)

I am really glad my prediction was right and "Harry" turned out to (potentially) be a Boggart! It would have been tough to cram that much shock into a 500-word chapter. I am curious about James's identity as the "Silent Thief" and I wonder how this short story is going to end.

You did a nice job of building up intrigue with the Boggart and Dann's realization of James's identity. It wasn't over the top but it did make me want to keep reading on. Sorry this review is so short, but I don't have too much critique. You've definitely improved since chapter one.

Good work!


Author's Response: Hi Amanda!

It would definitely have been tough to pull off the actual death of Harry Potter in the next 500 words. Even I'm not crazy enough to attempt that one! I am relieved that the rest of this chapter made sense and I assume that you would tell me if it felt rushed. I might have overdone the overall plot for this story, because even I felt a bit cramped for space in the last chapter. You'll have to tell me your impression once you get there.

Thanks for the review!

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Review #10, by academicaThe Sea Serpent of Cromer : Beginning

30th March 2014:
Hey Jenna! Finally here for the Review Exchange :)

I love your opening, especially those last couple of lines that suggest we are living in the times of something dark, perhaps Voldemort's reign. It's sort of ironic that the old man chooses to soothe his grandchildren's fears by telling them a magnificent tale of a horror further away. I liked the broad, elegant strokes with which you set the scene, painting the picture of a fierce, mythical beast and the man bent on slaying it.

You surprised me at a number of points in this chapter, all of which helped to keep the story lively and entertaining. For example, I was surprised by the assertion that the beast wasn't naturally fierce (although the narrator's logic totally makes sense) and the revelation that Peakes was a vegetarian! Very interesting :)

I was also glad to see us brought back down to canon reality there at the end, because my first thought when the narrator tried to help the Muggles calm down and right themselves was that he was going to get in trouble for helping them with magical means. (That's a bit cynical, isn't it? Haha. Oh, well.)

This seems like a great start to your short story. As always, I appreciate the illumination of minor characters and side storylines, and I have to say that the mood here reminded me of the exciting first few chapters of Goblet of Fire. It's too bad I won't have time to read further for this month's exchange. Nice work!


Author's Response: Hi Amanda! :)

I'm pleased you liked the opening! And yes, I agree about his choice of story - he's a bit out of practice with what is appropriate to talk about in front of children. I really enjoyed writing this, and the first chapter flowed especially smoothly, so it's great to hear you liked the initial introductions.

I'm glad this story was surprising! It's full of little twists and the style of narration helped quite a bit with that. The beast not being naturally fierce was an important clue to the story so I'm pleased it stood out to you.

Haha! The Ministry never seem to change, even three hundred years ago. You were right to be suspicious.

I'm glad you liked the minor characters, and that it reminded you of the opening chapters of GoF. Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

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Review #11, by academicaSapere Aude-Speed Dating Entry: Prudentia

14th March 2014:
Hello, here from the B vs. B review battle :)

This was an interesting look at the organization of the Founders. Do I sense a spark of potential romance between Salazar and Rowena? I admit that I was a little surprised a simple look could change her hardened opinion about him, but hopefully he turned out to be a bit kinder to her than expected, at least before his betrayal.

I also liked the way you portrayed the relationship between Rowena and her maid. Although she seemed a bit proud and haughty to everyone else, it seemed like they knew each other for a long time and got along well, and it was nice to see Rowena take her maid's advice despite their differing stations in life.

Good job with this!


Author's Response: *a month and five days later* Hola!! :D

This was written for the Speed Dating Challenge over Valentine's Day weekend, and as it turns out, neither my partner, Rumpelstiltskin, nor I are very comfortable with writing overt and steamy romance scenes. Still, we felt that there should be a tad bit of romance, hence the "changing minds at first sight" bit. It's a little bit cheesy, I agree, and I think that it could be a bit less so if the romance was played out over a longer story arc. :)

Even smart girls have downfalls, and Rowena's pride definitely gets her goat sometimes. But her maid gives really good advice and provides a balance for her temper (a temper that I imagine her to have, anyways). They've been around each other for a while, and Rowena would only consider it logical to follow good advice, whether given by a subordinate or a superior.

Thank you so very much! :D


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Review #12, by academicaThrough The Darkest: Picking Up The Pieces

14th March 2014:
Hey there, I'm back again from Review Tag!

Well, this was certainly a curious chapter! I'm really interested to see what Gabrielle and Ginny were so afraid of that it would cause such drastic consequences. I get the sense that it's the same thing, maybe something only the two of them knew about or could actually see. And the letter--I can't imagine who would have handwriting like Dumbledore's, and he's dead, so it can't be him--right? Haha. I think it's safe to say that I'm very excited to read more.

I also really liked the way you went through the echoes of Ginny's disappearance and the way it affected others in the family. It was painful to read in places (emotionally, not because of your writing!) but you did a good job of realistically conveying the impact that event would have.

Nice work! Hopefully Teddy and Cress will work well together (although I have my doubts) and solve the mystery of Ginny's location at last.


Author's Response: Hello Amanda! It was great to see you back! :D

Yes, I won't deny that Ginny and Gabrielle were afraid of the same thing. You also can say that whatever it was, no one but they knew and Cress and Teddy have to work it out on their own. And of course the handwriting wasn't Dumbledore's! ;)

That was exactly the purpose of this chapter. I wanted to show the emotional side of the case and Teddy seemed like the perfect idea. Yes, Teddy and Cress will be working together. What doubts do you have? :)

Do come back for more and thanks for the wonderful review!


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Review #13, by academicaNever Too Late: Rest in Peace

9th March 2014:
Hello, I'm here with your requested review!

Okay, interesting start! You're building some suspense here with the narrative of a character who has been alone by her own choice coming back to her childhood home, perhaps to confront the reality of what happened to her. I'm curious to see what her connection to Remus is, but I'm guessing by your summary that they either used to be romantically connected and lost touch or used to be friends and will become something more.

One thing I want to suggest is that you use the Simple Editor when posting chapters. I notice that you have some large gaps of space that are a bit distracting, and that often comes from using MS Word to post straight into the normal editor. The Simple Editor will eliminate that, though you'll have to input your own bolds, italics, etc.

I don't see anything off about the structure. You've done a good job of explaining what your main character's exile was like and how it came about, after transitioning from the present where she got lost in memories. I often see people use really abrupt transitions, like just marking the start of a memory instead of fading gently into it, and I'm glad you avoided that issue here. Your descriptions are detailed enough to bring a rationale to the sequence of events but not so involved that the narrative and plot get lost.

You've got a few typos and missing words that you might want to go back and address, just to improve the clarity. For example, "focus in driving" and "my mind starts to wonder." A beta can help you clear up some of these errors. In the same vein, it's "invisibility cloak," not "invincibility" and "crashing the party," not "crushing." I'm not sure if these are typos or if maybe English isn't your first language, but again, a beta can help you clear all of that up.

I don't think this is too melodramatic. You have some elements of that with the drinking, but again it makes sense given the trauma your main character experienced. She didn't go off the rails and fantasize about killing Death Eaters or rant about how unfair it was that so many people survived that night and her parents didn't. So far, I don't see anything that strikes me as cliche, so good job on that front.

Thanks for requesting! Hope this review is helpful, and feel free to re-request if you like.


Author's Response: Hello, thanks so much for reviewing!

I'm glad that you thought it was interesting! I haven't decided yet what kind of relationship she had with Remus but I'm leaning towards them being friends.I'm still working on a lot of the details of the story line.

I will fix the spaces and the gaps, I didn't think they were distracting because there're many short sentences and I thought it wasn't a problem.Anyway, I will take care of that, thank you.

I'm happy that the transition was smooth and not distracting. I used to write a story that every chapter was half the present and half a memory and though I still like the general idea of it, I think it made the story weaker. Glad I avoided that.

English isn't my fist language, so yeah, I was expecting to be mistakes.I really appreciate you pointing them out, I could never catch them myself. I always confuse wander/wonder and crush is the only word I never get right, don't know why. I will try to get a beta, but I just wanted to have a more specific plan for the story first. I will correct all these mistakes, as soon as possible, thank you!

Yes, I think that fantasizing about killing Death Eaters or being resentful for the people that survived would be over the top and she would have totally different problems then. I want to make her a rational person, very level-headed and calm, now ready to come in terms with her past. Hope I can write her as such a person.

Your review was very helpful and I really appreciate it :) I will definitely re-request for the next chapter when I update.


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Review #14, by academicaFull Bloom: II: Honeybees

9th March 2014:
Hey, here for your requested review :)

One thing that really strikes me is how cleverly you've turned the tables on my expectations about Lucius and Narcissa. I usually expect them to be the respective pride of their families, Lucius as the charming bachelor and Narcissa as the delicate rose, the prettiest and most innocent of the Black daughters. I kind of love how they're thrown together here as a last resort. In just a few years, however, it will be clear that they should have been the target of the families' efforts all along, having produced an heir, maintained a vast fortune, and adhered to their families' values. Given the context that you've built up with the Blacks' debt and Lucius's desperate need for a bride, your unexpected characterization makes sense, and I definitely don't think it's out of the realm of canon. It explains the way Lucius and Narcissa seem more closely connected to one another than they had to be given a marriage based on convenience.

I really love the second paragraph because I think it shows the growing affection between Lucius and Narcissa in such subtle gestures. They're reminiscent of the ways in which "normal" people form a connection: teaching one another new things, discovering similarities, building mutual respect. Both of them seem to be growing less awkward as they learn to accommodate one another, and I can easily see where eventually love could spring from that process.

I just really love this and want to read on! Thanks for requesting, and I hope this review is helpful! You're doing an awesome job so far.


Author's Response: Amanda, I am so sorry for how late this response is! Finals popped out soon after this review and time pretty much vanished over the last few weeks. But thank you so much for your review!

I admit to still finding it strange that Narcissa is apparently portrayed as the perfect, delicate rose. I can't imagine it that way at all, so I'm guessing that's why it was so easy to subvert that characterization! Marriage based on convenience is pretty much the perfect phrase for it. As for their later success with their riches and the heir (especially in contrast to Andromeda and Bellatrix, I think), it's something that Lucius and Narcissa are cognizant of and a bit smug about later on.

Ha, well, they were "normal" at one point or another, right? But I am glad their relationship is coming off sort of relatable at least. Love is a far ways off, but respect and mutual understanding is always a good building block.

Thank you so much for this review! And I again apologize for the late response! I'll try to be more timely in the future :)


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Review #15, by academicaThrough The Darkest: A Case Worth Waiting For

8th March 2014:
Hey there, here for Review Tag!

I've actually been wanting to check out this story for a long time and I'm pleased I was able to tag you!

Okay, the opening scene definitely has been intrigued. This is just a guess--did he give her Veritaserum? I don't remember what the brewing process for that is like, but I remember Snape running low on stores when Umbridge was at Hogwarts, and it's definitely tightly regulated. I guess I'll have to see if I'm correct :)

I loved the way you described the photograph of Harry and Ginny. Clearly she was happy, or at least pretending quite well to be so in the picture. My first thought is that someone else must have forged her goodbye note and kidnapped her. I can't imagine that she would leave her family willingly, especially on such an important day. The contrast you drew there was beautiful.

I'm excited to see what will happen next! I'm going to favorite this so I can return :) It seems like Cress's family is less than supportive of her, so I predict she'll really throw herself into the case to try to prove her worth. I hope it will help her solve the mystery and bring Ginny home, but your last line is fairly ominous.

By the way, your prose is great and it seems like you have a much better grasp of the technical details than you did the last time I read something of yours. Great job!


Author's Response: Hello Amanda! :D

I'm so happy you wanted to read this story for a long time and I'm even more happy you found the chance to do so. :)

I sort of liked your guess. ;) Of course I cannot confirm whether it was Veritaserum, but you'll have to wait for a while until you know what the potion is. :) But it's always great to hear the theories!

The photograph is quite significant. I'm glad you liked it! I put an extra effort in describing it. You surely don't want me to spoil the plot, but I can tell you that Ginny really was happy when the photograph was taken. A glimpse of what made her leave the house is given in the next chapter though. :)

I'm so glad you're planning to read the rest of it! :D And yeah, Cress's family isn't supportive of her profession, but that's not it. The girl has a darker family history which will connect her to the plot and in a way to Ginny's disappearance. Ok. I have already said too much about the plot, so I better stop!

You really think I have improved? Thanks so much! If so, the credit totally goes to this site and the lovely people like you around. :D

Thank you for reading, reviewing and favouriting!


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Review #16, by academicaEvil Will Prevail: Phase One Complete

4th March 2014:
Hey, here for the Blue vs. Bronze review battle :)

Wow, your description of the squalor Ginny is currently living in was quite vivid. It really dug into my senses, and the thought of eating a meal like that while being surrounded by such filth kind of turned my stomach. Nice work!

Ooh, Draco has a thing for Ginny, doesn't he? That must be what Voldemort is referring to. I can see that this isn't going to be a Dramione and you've put an intriguing twist on that tale.

Wow, that message was incredibly creepy! Hermione has really turned into a totally different person. I would love to get more of an explanation of how she became that way before the story is over. I can scarcely imagine what would have made her change so much in so little time. Very clever, by the way, to have Pansy pretending to be Ginny so as to keep everyone in Ginny's family from becoming suspicious. Are she and Hermione meant to have a romantic relationship? If so, I think that's another great twist.

I am a little frightened to see what phase two will bring. This is still a very unique story!


Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much! Your review totally made my day. :)

Yay, it's great to know that my descriptions made such an impact! I'm trying to make them more well-rounded and powerful, and with what you've said in the review, I think I'm making a little progress. :) It's wonderful to know as it really motivates me to write.

Well...not really. *spoiler* Draco's weakness is his fear and empathy. This isn't a Dramione but he does find her extremely alluring. She holds a power over him that way. In the next chapter, Hermione takes steps to remove Draco's weakness. I'm not saying any more. :D

Hermione has just succumbed to the lure of power. Since it's AU, she hasn't really changed. She's been this way from the beginning. I haven't stated it outright, but in the previous chapter, there's a bit about how Voldemort brought her Slytherin traits to the surface. She has a great deal of ambition and cunning as well as bravery and smartness. Once he lured her in, there was no turning back. That's what led to her parents being removed from the picture. Maybe the next chapter will make things a bit more clear as there's a glimpse into Hermione's beliefs and thoughts.

Thank you again! Your comments really meant a lot to me. :) I hope you keep reading on!


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Review #17, by academicaBeneath: summer mood

28th February 2014:
Hey, I'm back -- again, from Review Tag :)

It's interesting to watch the interactions between your characters. They're not quite natural, but I think the stilted sort of feel really builds an intriguing structure into the story. I'm not just talking about Rainne--it's obviously why she isn't smooth in peer interactions--but also about Lily and her conversation with James. Still, she and the others have a sort of system that works for them. It's bizarre to watch Rainne try to fit into that system; I keep getting "Carrie"-esque feelings. (Hope it doesn't go that way, goodness!)

I think part of the stilted feel comes from your writing style. It's very minimalist and different from what I would do, but I like it. I think it captures the disjointedness of Rainne's personality.

The little bit of imagery you do include is great, like Lily mimicking the results of the accident to get through to James and the way you describe her laying around and tanning.

Great work!


Author's Response: Hi! Good to have you back!

I'm glad you feel that way -- at the beginning, I kind of want things to be disjointed. Especially with Rainne, but also with everyone else. They feel awkward about what's happened to her, and don't know how to carry themselves. I actually haven't seen Carrie, but I don't think that it takes that kind of turn!

I've never been very good with imagery, so I'm glad what little I include is good. I'm happy you like it so far. Thanks for reviewing again :)

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Review #18, by academicaMottled Blue: One golden trio.

28th February 2014:
Woo-hoo, review swap time!

Wow, I'm really curious about this whole pattern with the letters, and what happened to the killer to cause him or her to go on this killing spree. I still don't really have any ideas about who the killer could be. As for the next victim, I'm guessing it'll be another of Harry, Hermione or Ron's children. Not quite sure which one.

It is really creepy how the killer is watching Lily. He must be really personally invested in watching her try not to fall apart. She seems like she's handling Rose's death fairly well, but I suspect it may be harder for her on the inside, especially since she's so determined to stay emotionless and avoid things that have to do with living human beings.

I do think this chapter could use a little bit of work to keep it on par with your excellent first chapter. It could be due to the rush with your trip, but it just seems like some of the details weren't as well thought out. For instance--and maybe this is because I'm in her head all the time these days--it's hard for me to imagine Ginny wilting to the floor like that. What, besides her age, made her into that kind of person? It seems more characteristic of Molly. I also had some trouble with believability in the section with Lily and Graham Bonner. He just seemed to be trying a little too hard to get rid of her... maybe that's a hidden agenda of his.

I also noticed some missing words and some formal word choice that didn't seem to fit in with your style and the time period here, like "uncouth." I thought I saw a couple spots where you slipped out of the present tense, too. I don't usually think that you need the help of a beta, but here it might be helpful just to add a bit of polish.

Overall, kudos on tackling a tough storyline. I've learned firsthand how hard it can be to keep track of all the elements in a good mystery. You've got a fascinating plot and I'm looking forward to learning more in the next chapter.

Nice work, Kiana! Thanks so much for the swap :)


Author's Response: Hi Amanda, sorry this response is rather late, the past few days have been very hectic!

I'm glad that your curiosity was peaked because this chapter was certainly of a lot of fun to write because this is when the mystery really does begin to happen. I have to say your idea of the next suspect is very good though.

You do have a good idea of what's going on in Lily's mind though I guess it helps with you studying psychology. We visit her real fears and thoughts a little bit in the next chapter, though when I say real, they're still very far from the truth as Lily is naturally a cold person.

Yes, the trip did hasten the editing process a little too much, and then I tried to fix a few things up on my phone but you can imagine it was a nightmare so I sort of gave up and forgot about fixing them until now. As for Ginny, I really can't stand writing her, so that's why she was a little OOC, but I'll go and play around with that and fix up the typos and hopefully it will eb better!

I know, you always have to think ahead in mysteries which can get a little confusing at times, thanks for the review, it was really helpful!


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Review #19, by academicaWhere Rainbows End: Where Rainbows End

25th February 2014:
Hey! I'm here, albeit somewhat belatedly, with your requested review. Thanks for your patience! By the way, I don't consider the speed dating entries "spin-offs" because, like you said, they're different stories written by different people and in most cases can probably stand alone. I appreciate you checking with me, though!

I liked the rainbow story a lot. It's clearly very personal and I was as curious as Rose to see what the rainbow would have to do with her grandmother. As beautiful as the story was, though, there was something about the flow there that just didn't sit right with me. I think it was the slightly abrupt transition from Rose's grandmother's arrival at the ceremony to after the ceremony when the sun and rainbow have come out. Maybe you could tweak that a bit so that you focus on the second part and Rose's grandfather just adds a note about why his new bride looks so disheveled (and thus why his exclamation is so important and, perhaps, slightly unexpected). Does that make any sense at all? I hope so.

I did really love your details, though, especially the way young Rose really pays attention to her surroundings and the more mature way she looks back on her childhood (e.g. her grandparents cleaning up after her, her naivety as reflected in her slightly disheveled appearance).

I had a little bit of difficulty with the second section. I guess I wanted more background on why the two families reacted the way they did to the engagement, more of a sense of how and why they had changed since the war and what about the relationship they did or did not object to. I know we got a little of that from Draco, but I definitely wasn't expecting him to be so welcoming. I realize you were constrained by word limits for the challenge, but maybe when judging is done you could go back and fill in some of those gaps, especially if others see them, too.

I did like how you portrayed Rose's nerves. Her reaction made the most sense to me, given her prior experience with announcing the engagement to her family, her knowledge of the Malfoys' former prejudices, and the obvious notion that announcing your engagement is nerve-wracking for pretty much anyone. I also really liked the very end, with her telling Scorpius the story of the "rainbow man" in their moment of solitude. That was a nice, light hearted way to conclude the story, and I almost think you could just read it over and over in a perfect sort of loop.

One little thing - what's a sou'wester? Haha.

Anyway, I think this is nice, and best of luck with the competition! I kind of want to go check out your partner's story now to see how they intertwine. I hope this review is helpful :)


Author's Response: Hi! And no worries -- unfortunately, this response hasn't been too prompt either! And that's great, I wanted to check though just to be on the safe side! :)

Thank you very much! I do see your point indeed. I'll try to make that transition smoother, and re-order a few of the sentences. You certainly made sense, don't worry :)

Thank you! I wanted to try and incorporate as many details as possible into the story while factoring in the word count, and I'm really pleased that you enjoyed them.

I completely understand what you mean about the two families' reactions, but this is something that was touched upon in my partner's one-shot and I didn't want to be too repetitive. I'll take another look at the one-shot though, and see what changes I can make :)

Thank you! I've never been engaged, so I was quite concerned about Rose's nervous and I'm glad you thought that her reaction made sense. That was exactly what I was aiming for -- for the story to loop over and over, in an imperfect moment frozen in time.

Heh -- a sou'wester is an oilskin hat that's longer at the back, to fully protect the neck, and is traditionally worn with a mackintosh. I'm not sure if "Paddington Bear" is a British thing or if other countries are aware of him, but if you Google him, then his red hat is a sou'wester. :)

Thank you so much for your lovely feedback, Amanda, I appreciate it!


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Review #20, by academicaGame Over: Three

25th February 2014:
Hello! Sorry for the delay; school has been busy. But I'm here with another requested review :)

Again, nice job narrating the action on this one. You kept a reasonably slow pace without losing the tension of the moment. I liked how you described the plan, as well as the little twist at the end. It seems like maybe we are just getting into the thick of the story! Perhaps now we'll find out what happened to Matt and how James wound up in this very unfortunate position.

At least Dann is trying to keep the situation under control, dealing with the guard like that. Poor James is being deceived by parties all around, it seems, between the issue with Matt and the Traceable Charm placed on the tooth. If he's anything like Harry, I doubt he'll take it well...

Nice work. Hope this review makes you smile!


Author's Response: Hi Amanda!

I hope school is going well for you, even if it's keeping you crazy busy. Anyhow, I'm glad you came by again!

This was one of those chapters where the plot kept trying to grow into a five-armed monster of a thing. It took a lot of willpower to hack it down to a more manageable size, but still, I feel like some of it escaped my control.

I'm glad the narration was clear. That was one of the things I tried hard to focus on, given the crazy word count, and maintaining the tension too.

Thanks again for the review! It did indeed make me smile!


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Review #21, by academicaConnect the Dots: hermione

25th February 2014:
Hey Gina! I'm here with your requested review, and I really appreciate your patience! I'm very excited to read this given the pairing, too :)

I didn't find the story confusing. I thought it had the same ethereal, foggy feel that love stories for young adults commonly do; in doing so, it mimics the haziness of real romance. I actually kind of like the lack of finality you incorporated, in terms of what happened with Ron and where things will go with Krum and Ron for Hermione. You let the reader fill in the gaps for themselves. For me, as much as I kind of want Hermione to show up with her bags packed at Viktor's door, I think she might have just needed one day to work through her pain before she could make progress with her everyday life.

I also really liked your characterization. Hermione had this neat eye for detail that I think fit in well. She can't control the major events in her life right now, so she fixates on little things she sees, like Ginny's pregnant belly or the stains on Rose's baby blanket. As for Krum, he had this warmth to him that I think we didn't really see much of in canon because we didn't have the intimacy that Hermione had here. I really liked his caring, gentle nature, knowing that a tough guy like him isn't always that way. It didn't seem feminine, just... kind? Courteous?

Anyway, yeah, really enjoyed this and thought you did a great job. I hope I addressed your concerns. If you do write that second chapter, feel free to stop by and re-request, because I would love to read it and offer some thoughts.

Thanks for requesting!


Author's Response: Amanda! Thank you for the review! (And I apologize for taking so long to reply)

Praise coming from you means a lot. I really appreciate you addressing my concerns and I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it. Hopefully I'll get around to Krum's perspective soon, but since it's been so long since I wrote this first chapter, I worry about finding the same tone/rhythm. Oh well. I've still got it on my radar.

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Review #22, by academicaThe Adventures of Abigail Higgs and Potter Boy: The One Where James Knocks Me Down

21st February 2014:
Hey girl! Here for the TGS review exchange :)

First of all, congratulations (belated as they are) on finishing a NaNo novel and getting it up on HPFF! That's a fabulous accomplishment.

I think the comic book theme is really cool. I like the normalcy of your characters; they talk about typical teenage things and thus seem very relatable. I love your details, like the way you described Snowball being upset about being caged. That sense of normalcy fits with the way comic books usually read--they're about a normal person who ends up with special powers and becomes a hero, and I can see that potentially happening for your main character. It's a good theme idea.

Leave it to James to awkwardly barrel into a girl :) I liked the cute way you introduced Abigail's relationship with James, again because it seems very normal. It's realistic to think that she's aware of his presence (like the way people were aware of Harry) without really knowing him well.

I would definitely recommend having a beta take a look at this story, maybe when you've finished posting it or even before then. You have quite a few run-on sentences and some punctuation misuse and it does make it a little hard to follow the piece and get into the story. I think a beta's help would improve a good story even more!

Oh, and of course, I love your cute CI as well.

Nice work! Looking forward to hearing from you :)


Author's Response: Heya! I'm so sorry that it's taken me this long to respond! I'm terrible!

Thank you so much! NaNo is really fun I absolutely love taking part in it and I'm glad that I managed to get a few chapters up so far. :D

Aww thank you, I'm glad that they all seem normal and not too OOC and that comic books fits really well in the story so far.

Haha yes, oh James. But at least he apologised. :P I wanted to have them both know who the other is, as I don't find it believable when two characters who have been in the same year at school for a very long time, not know who the other one is. So wanted them to know each other but only distantly.

I definitely do need a beta, it's just finding the time to. :S So thank you for suggesting that. :D

Awww thank you, I absolutely love making them haha. :D

Thank you so so much for this amazing review! I love it so much. :D

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Review #23, by academicaThe Joker and Her: Quidditch Practice

15th February 2014:
Hello, here from Review Tag :)

This chapter had a nice, easy pace to it. I liked seeing Brienne embrace her new life at Hogwarts. Clearly she doesn't share many of the same interests with her new friends, but it was good to see them include her all the same. Hopefully that helps ease the pain of losing her mother. It seems like the group has a lot of fun together.

One thing that seemed a little off to me was the very end. One minute Brienne was having fun, and then she was curled up in bed crying. I get why the change might have occurred--missing her mother, not wanting to be alone, something like that. But the transition seemed a bit abrupt. You might add a sentence to bridge that gap and explain why Brienne's mood has changed.

Great work!


Author's Response: Hi! Thank you very much for the review!

I'm glad you liked the pace of this chapter and that they seem to have a good dynamic. Brienne doesn't really have a lot of common interests with them but their personalities do bounce off one another xD

Her crying jag at the end is about guilt- I know that those who are grieving often feel incredibly guilty if they start to feel happy and have a good time, especially if they feel it's 'too soon.' I'll try and make that more apparent in the chapter XD

Thank you again!

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Review #24, by academicaHouse of Cards: Three of Hearts

15th February 2014:
Hey Laura, here for the review battle!

It's interesting how a chapter in which not a lot ostensibly occurred can hold such drama and raw emotion. I loved how the plot thickened here and suspicion grew, as if it became more restless the longer it was trapped in the house just like the physical family members there.

Regulus definitely seems suspicious. Like Sirius, I'm at first hesitant to believe him capable of such a crime, but his slip of the tongue about the coroners and the way he seemed to obviously concern himself with everyone else's whereabouts seemed to betray that something is off about him. It's like he wants to know where everyone is all the time, to keep track of the game's pawns, and yet he can't sit still--plagued by guilt, perhaps? He's very complex for being so young.

I like how you've given a lot of focus to Sirius here. It's interesting to see him conversing with these people because normally he'd be bullying, ignoring or yelling at them in many other stories. I wonder if the tension associated with this event will cause his eventual departure.

Your details are lovely, especially the way you describe subtle things like the way people look at each other. I love how you paint us a picture of the inside of the house and each of the rooms. It drips a dark elegance that's just divine.

Oh, and Bellatrix! She's usually not far from the scene of any crime, or so it seems. I wonder how she's involved, or if she isn't really involved but just wants to keep the family's dignity intact. The plot sure continues to thicken...

Great job! Can't wait to come back again soon :)


Author's Response: Hey Amanda - thanks so much for dropping by! :) It's always great to see you stop by since I love your stories so much!

Haha, yeah, I'm terrible at writing really action-packed stories! It's something I really struggle which and I'm trying to improve, but, yeah, this chapter isn't really breaking the mould, lol. I'm glad you liked it despite that, though!

Ooh, yeah, Regulus is really not helping himself here... he really does want to know what's going on and where people are - he's also definitely not his brother's biggest fan, at all. It's something I really want to explain to you, but can't in case I give something away, you know? So hard :P

Sirius! Yeah, a lot of people portray his relationship with his family, particularly Regulus, as really antagonistic, but I dunno... I did try to take it differently - and I thought a lot about how I wanted to go with that, so I'm happy you like it! :) Er... short answer: yes :P At least, in my mind it definitely does - if this can really be fitted into canon that way, haha.

Thank you so so much! :hug: It means so much coming from you, given how gorgeous your writing is! :) :)

Bella is slowly cracking - slowly but surely ;) Haha, all the family is involved, in one way or another, really :P That doesn't help at all - sorry about that!

Thank you so so much for this wonderful review - I'm so glad you like the story so far! :)

Laura xx

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Review #25, by academicaFull Bloom: I: Sunflower Oil

13th February 2014:
Hey Celestie, here with your requested review :)

First off, I'm so glad you requested this story! I glanced at it a couple of times and wanted to read it but hadn't found much time recently.

So I love your characterization of Narcissa. I don't know that I've ever read her as being insecure or like an ugly duckling, but I think it totally fits because it explains, in part, her fierce loyalty to Lucius and Draco. It's like she's trying to hold on desperately to what she has because she never had much choice or any chance at the spotlight when she was younger. It was also satisfying to see that familiar haughtiness come out when she began conversing with Lucius. It was really unfailing, and I liked not only how she made Lucius seem quite awkward by comparison but also how they make for such an interesting mismatch of "last resorts." You exemplified this image with their dancing.

I also really love the treatment of Andromeda here. Usually, she and Bellatrix live in the shadow of Narcissa's fair beauty, but here they're the stars. Your description of the hole that remained when Andromeda eloped is so multi-faceted and intriguing, and you really show the cognitive dissonance of her parents, despising her choice in one breath and sobbing over her absence in the next. It seems very realistic for that loss to have a significant impact on the family, not only within their household but also in terms of their fate in the pure-blood world. It's interesting to think of the House of Black basically dissolving after the two remaining daughters were successfully married off.

I do think the tense works well here. It's like Narcissa clings to these memories--is it because they were the best days she had, I wonder, or because they continue to trouble her inside? I'm curious about the reference point from which she recalls these events and what state she and her husband have fallen into at that precise point. Perhaps you'll give us a sense of what brings her back to these moments later on in the story.

Overall, I was really impressed with this. I'm curious as to whether Lucius will find a more authoritative voice later on. At the same time, it's clear from little moments in canon, especially toward the end, that Narcissa had a hand in decisions made by her husband and son. The whole piece was very lovely in terms of your imagery, flow and characterization and I would love to read more, so feel free to re-request.

Very nicely done! I hope this review is helpful :)


Author's Response: Hi Amanda! Sorry for the slight delay with the response!

Thanks so much for your thoughts! This is actually news to me that she's constantly portrayed as being beautiful and with Andromeda and Bella in her shadow. Truth be told, I've read very little fanfic about her (though I found her fascinating in canon), and I always theorized she'd have feelings of inferiority what with being the youngest. Bella and Andromeda were always depicted as being popular and charismatic so I'm glad my depiction of her as an awkward teenager makes sense.

I don't know if the House of Black quite dissolves post Anna's leave and Bellatrix's marriage, but I think that the branch with Narcissa's parents is certainly irreparably damaged; there is no going back for that nuclear unit, I think. Also, I'm definitely relieved to hear that the tense works! I feared it could get annoyingly enigmatic to read at times, but I'm glad to hear it's working thus far.

As for the time frame, it's pretty far into the future: think around HBP or DH. I can't yet say exactly when but it's certainly in the midst of a lot of things happening to the Malfoy family that induces Narcissa's thoughtful reflections.

As for Lucius, (I hope, at least) he plays a role different from what you may have seen him as in other fanfics (I'm a bit more familiar with how he's depicted than Narcissa). While he plays the head of the family to some extent, he will be nowhere near the sort of cold and formidable figure he's often depicted as. I do think he is that way in some aspects in his life, but I don't think he could have inspired such loyalty and fondness from Narcissa if he'd been that way with her, so his characterization will be a bit different. He'll be much more present in the coming chapters, after their marriage.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and lovely words :)


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