Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
  
1,170 Reviews Found

Review #1, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Love? (Part Two)

24th February 2015:
Hi, Deeds! Wow, the more I read of this story, the more familiar it feels. Here's the good news/bad news, though: I only recognize things after I read them. I have no idea what's coming next or where the story is heading. So that's good, right? It's like a deja vu surprise.

Your Draco and my Draco have at least one thing in common: they both believe that the solutions to life's problems start with a bottle of booze. Going to Blaise for relationship advice... well, I guess this is a very different Blaise from the one I've written. Your Blaise doesn't come across like a stone cold player. Going to my Blaise for relationship advice would be sort of like going to Lady Gaga for fashion advice. Are you going to get advice? Yes. Has that advice worked under a certain set of circumstances? Sure. Should you actually give it a try? Questionable...

"Whoever said marriage is easy lied," he muttered bitterly, taking another swig from his bottle. -- There's such a thing as coming to the right conclusion the wrong way. ;)

It's something of a struggle to comprehend the sheer depths of what Astoria feels toward her husband. Revulsion and anger and just plain hatred. Very strong feelings. I'm sure you're getting to this soon, but for the moment it's hard to imagine what he could have done to make her feel this way. He seems like an insensitive jerk at times, but not in a threatening or spiteful sort of way. In spite of everything, he still seems pretty smitten with Astoria. There's definitely more going on here than meets the eye.

He could have married Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode or even a muggle he had to fall in love with Astoria Greengrass. -- This line read a little odd. Did you mean to say something like "but he had to fall..."

The scene in the bedroom is pretty creepy. Can't deny that at all. Draco comes across sort of like that weird ex who likes to call you late at night when they've been drinking and tell you how the two of you need to give things another try. Except he and Astoria are still married. And he's sitting on the bed next to her. Touching her. Creepy. That said, it's hard not to feel at least a tiny bit sorry for him. He's just so pathetic.

You did a really good job of writing a drunken, depressed, emotionally vulnerable Draco. He careens back and forth between sarcastic and sad, demanding and begging, forceful and pitiful.

And then he plays the trump card. It's a little strange at first because I'm so used to reading stories about strong, empowered female characters. Characters who would have told Draco in no uncertain terms where he could stuff his money. That's not to say that Astoria isn't strong in her own way. She certainly holds a lot of power in their harsh, twisted relationship. But it defies the norm of Harry Potter fan fic stories, and to me that makes it all the more interesting. I think it adds a dose of reality, to be honest. It's easy to have your characters be cavalier about money when you know how the story is going to play out. Real people don't feel that sort of absolute moral certainty in the face of living in a cardboard box.

One more possible typo: He wanted the woman who would be waiting for him when he flooed him, hair askew from gardening and nose sprinkled with dirt, smiling at him happily as she stood on the tips of her toes to kiss him. -- when he flooed home

The completion of the flashback was an interesting look into Astoria's mind. It makes me wonder whether one or both of them lost interest after they were married and the thrill of the chase was gone. Astoria seemed much more taken with the Draco she was still trying to figure out than the one that she seems to understand too well for her own liking.

Therapy should be an interesting leap for the two of them. I can't imagine Astoria will have much use for it, at least at first. I'm expecting a lot of avoidance and bitter recrimination. Who knows where that might lead. I'm looking forward to finding out!

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Review #2, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Love

14th February 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

So help me out here. I feel like I've read parts of this before, but I can't put it in context. Was this a part of your couples retreat story from before, or was it something different? The only thing I'm sure of is that it's very familiar.

The dream you start off with sets an interesting tone for the chapter. It starts off like such a happy moment, then takes a very sudden turn for something different. Just like this story, I suppose. As it is, I think the idea goes nicely with the rest of the chapter. In his dream, Astoria is testing him, just as she does in his waking life.

So much harshness from both sides of this painful relationship. At some level, I want to feel bad for Draco but I just can't.

Will you please make yourself presentable? -- Lines like that cut the knees right out from under any genuine sympathy I might be feeling for him.

Astoria wasnít smacking him. She was stomping all over him. -- It's an interesting question of perspective, I think. Relative to the sort of interactions he's used to seeing between his mother and father, I'm sure it seems that way. But to any person whose sense of proper gender roles hasn't been shaped by a stuffy, patriarchal society, it looks very different.

He did not see the tears that fell from her eyes as she walked up to their bedroom and sat emotionless brushing her hair at her vanity. -- Powerful imagery right there. It's so sad, what he has to resort to in order to control her. Sad that he feels the need to control her at all, really. Sadness abounds.

Hmmnnn... It seems that Zabini's wife has experienced a name change mid-chapter. She went from being Isabella to Mia and back. ;)

Didnít he understand? Being next to him made her feel sick. -- Wow. That's a pretty powerful condemnation.

The confrontation after the Zabini's ask Draco and Astoria to be godparents was one of the most uncomfortable things I've read in a long time. You... you don't. Gah! You don't ever, EVER use the word "it" when you're describing an unborn child to expecting parents. A good measure of the sympathy I was feeling for Astoria earlier in the chapter went poof in those few sentences. To me, her character put one foot across the thin line between resistance and sociopathy.

One suggestion as far as the last scene goes. It wasn't clear to me who was responding to Astoria in either the "what's that supposed to mean?" or the "IT!" dialog. Could be Draco, could be Zabini. I think it's actually kind of an important point because it shows whether Draco is continuing to act as an antagonist or whether he's become more of a victim in this scene.

Awkwardness abounds! You've definitely launched the reader into the meat of this story. I remember where things sort of ended up in the couples retreat story, so I'm really curious to see whether this is heading to the same place. Good job!

Author's Response: UH! DAN, THANK GOODNESS FOR YOU. Seriously I didn't even catch that. I changed the name if you couldn't tell (well you could) and this will most likely again happen in the next chapters if I'm not careful. I refuse to get a beta though because I feel like I've been out of the writing game for so long I need to learn how to fix my own mistakes.

Even though some mistakes are on purpose. I like short and choppy sentences, sue me.

Anyway, thanks for coming by again! This story has some similarities to couples retreat but it's not that at all. You read the first two chapters of this though because that's all I posted before I deleted the story all together.

Yes! The dream sequences are my favorite. I think they get a little repetitive though. I'm rewriting the entire story. Most of the parts are staying but I'm glad the little sentences you pulled out are entirely new ones that I thought up. This chapter was in pieces before I rewrote it. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

Astoria and Draco are...really, you don't feel bad for Draco? I do. Then again I know what happens so I will always feel for Draco a little more than I feel for Astoria. She's just kind of awful though, isn't she? I mean he still has this hold on her and you're going to see cracks within the coming chapters. He's trying to hold it together and right now he's just using his power, what little he has of it left, because he knows his marriage is crumbling but he needs to save face. It took a lot for him to trust her and to marry her. He was broken still in the prologue and she helped piece him back together again but once he was 'whole' she became broken.

Huh. I didn't even realize that. Discussions with you, always useful. Tells me more about my story and what I'm trying to do than I realize.

I know. The ending is awful and I'm trying to figure out a better way but I think if I hadn't split the chapter up and instead left it to 6,000 words it would have read better. I think you need the conversation that happens next between Draco/Astoria and Blaise/Draco and then the ending sequence to get a better understanding. By 'it' she means the child. It's a little premature to be declaring godparents and to be giving gifts when she's only a few weeks along. It's pure jealousy but I don't think I got that across well so she's being nasty by calling their baby 'it.' She's insulting Zabini. Ah! I'll have to rewrite that part soon then. I need to check the second part and see how.

Thanks so much for the helpful review! You always get the wheels in my head turning!


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Review #3, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Prologue: Beginnings

9th February 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

I love a good Draco/Astoria story. Very excited to see what you're going to do with this. Based on the summary, it seems like maybe things are going in a rather angsty, difficult direction. Nevertheless, I want to find out more.

I'm completely sold on the idea of Draco being lost for a period of time after the war. Always have been. Basically he had to come to terms with the fact that most of what his father taught him to believe was wrong. That his name didn't make him royalty, that his so-called friends from school didn't really care much about him, that Voldemort was not the savior of the magical world and that he ultimately had Harry Potter to thank for saving him from a lifetime of servitude to the Dark Lord's whims. That must have been hard to come to terms with. I'm sure it took time.

Ah, he's become a potioneer. Also an idea that works for me.

I loved the simplicity of Draco and Astoria's date. It was a completely natural, common experience without any of the pureblood magical pomp and circumstance that might have otherwise tainted the event. All of the emotions were right at the surface, with Draco struggling at times to contain them.

Blaise, the love advisor! ;) Somehow I can't help but imagine Zabini doesn't understand much about genuine love. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt Draco.

I saw one small typo:

"You sound surprise. I should probably be offended but Iíll let it go for just this once." -- surprised

I also noticed that Astoria's hair and eye color seems to change here and there. At one point she's a brunette, later on she's a platinum blonde. At one point her eyes are blue, but when you're comparing to her hair they're brown.

Neat start to your story! I'm looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: Dan! Hello!

I swear I'm not crazy HPFF is playing games with me because in my word document for this chapter these issues do not exist! Her eyes are blue but that second 'eyes' was supposed to read as 'eyebrows.' Her eyebrows are brown but her hair is blonde hinting that she is not actually a natural blonde but dyes her hair.

You know, girl talk.

Anyway! So glad to see you reading my little story. This definitely is one of my darker pieces and I want to say I'm proud of it but I haven't edited the entire thing yet. I'm going chapter by chapter so I don't make any silly mistakes (like the above) and I'm adding more.

Their relationship is definitely different from the prologue to the first chapter. I wanted to look at a marriage that started out nearly perfect, no issues, and then sort of hits a bump in the road and then another and another until finally they have to ask themselves, "Was this a mistake? Should we have gotten married?"

I think Draco was lost too. He had to come to terms with the fact that everything he believed in or was taught to believe in was wrong. His entire earth was shattered and I think it would be harder for him because his family was the right hand of Voldemort for quite some time. His father was a prominent Death Eater and so was his crazy Aunt. He himself was a Death Eater and I think he was convinced they would have won and Harry would have gotten his. That didn't happen so he had to deal with a new reality and that's scary for anyone. So he's broken and it's taking him awhile to piece himself back together. You know I never mention his job again after this which now I'm thinking is a mistake but I don't know how to sprinkle it in in anyway. I kind of put his outside life on the back burner because he's so focused and committed to making this marriage work. Draco cannot be a failure again at his life and this is something he can control himself. I'm interested to see what you think when Narcissa and Lucius come into the picture. Things start to get really dark then and I LOVE Lucius and Draco's interaction and Narcissa and Astoria's. Sorry, I'm fangirling over my own story.

I think Blaise would understand love because he had to deal with his mother's many men. Remember, that's what she's really only known for. So I see him going in the opposite direction. Man! I wish I would have added that into the story too. Dan, talking to you makes me want to rewrite and add many many things. You are a bad influence! :D Haha!

Thanks so much for the review and letting me know about those pesky mistakes. It seriously helps so much!


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Review #4, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Fate: Scorpius POV

1st February 2015:
Hi, Beth! I confess I read this the day that you posted it, but time has slipped away. It's Super Bowl Sunday Review Morning!

I convinced Rose to stop for a bite before we met with Harry. I knew she had not kept her breakfast down due to nerves and I wanted to make sure that she got some food into her. -- That's a good lad. Sometimes you have to make sure the pregnant lady takes care of herself.

I loved the way that he couldn't stop fiddling with the ultrasound picture. Little tokens of what's to come mean a lot in the early stages of pregnancy when there aren't a lot of visible signs.

And then things get a bit grim. Hmnn... maybe "grim" isn't quite the right word, but there's definitely a sort of tension when they arrive at the meeting that's already going on in Harry's office. Hermione's reaction seemed about right, considering the circumstances. She's that rare sort of person whose emotions sometimes take some time to catch up to her rational mind. Ron's reaction was exactly what I would have expected. "How dare somebody do that to my little girl! Especially Malfoy!" Good thing Harry was there to step in between them.

I struggled a bit with Ron doing the sudden about-face and calling Scorpius "mate". It's not that I didn't think he'd ever get there, it just seemed to happen really abruptly. Especially while Ron was still struggling to come to terms with Rose being pregnant, engaged, and with Hermione's realization about the prophecy. I get that he's impressed by Scorpius standing up to him and demanding that everyone do what's best for Rose, but to me Ron is too stubborn to give in that quickly, even when he agrees.

"Hermione," Harry began, "Why don't you start?" -- Words that Harry would soon come to regret. ;)

I loved the way that Hermione couldn't just come out and say what she's concluded without taking everyone through the full process that led to the conclusion. She tried to do a regression on the wording of past prophecies versus the outcome. She tried to triangulate with the contents of other prophecies. When all else failed, she consulted the Department of Mysteries, the Aurors and the Centaurs. She is meticulous to a fault. Perfect!

And I was right! Yes! You're happy you didn't see that. I'm an awful dancer.

Anyway, I've felt pretty sure since you revealed the content of the prophecy that it could just as easily refer to Scorpius as to Stannous. In fact, it probably fits Scorpius better. That was my only other struggle with this chapter. I didn't quite feel the same powerful epiphany as Scorpius. Maybe that's just me.

Your biggest reveal (so far) is out there now! It's going to be really interesting to see how everyone comes to terms with this. I'm also really curious as to whether Rose's pregnancy will make her more cautious about leaving the protection of Grimmauld Place or more determined to take back her own life. I know how everyone else -- except possibly Harry -- will vote. Interesting times ahead. Great job!

Author's Response: Yay!

Superbowl Sunday Review Morning!

Haha - Scorpius is still in the mode of "not exactly sure of the best way to support his pregnant fiance" here. He is fixating on the fact that she needs to gain weight - because that is a focus he can act on, unlike the prophecy.

Yeah, I struggled with the Ron thing as well. I've got some more Ron/Scorpius interaction coming up in future chapters and I think if I re-structure this one to be a little less "mate-y", it will strengthen that story moment a bit. Thanks for the cc :)

Haha - I'm channeling a bit of myself here with Hermione. It is one of my hang-ups that I over explain things - although I don't think I would have the patience to do the amount of research that she did.

Hehe - no one wants to see me dance either.

So when I wrote this - I think I wrote the part from the actual words of the prophecy to the "big reveal" in about two days - yeah I was just flying through this. At the time, it didn't seem like a long arc for a reader to suspect Scorpius and then find out they were right. But I also think that he has a clueless factor, here. Even the Aurors thought the default was Stannous and it took Hermione to bring a new idea to light.

Yeah, this will change a bit for everyone. Thanks again for this review (and ALL your reviews :) ).

♥ Beth


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Review #5, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Convergence Riddle: Dangerous Games

27th January 2015:
Hi! I'm here for our swap. I just wanted to start by saying that you really made my day today. Ear to ear smiles all around!

Wow, this chapter had amazing intensity. I wasn't sure that you'd be able to keep the level up after Voldemort and Devlin return from the attack on Hogsmeade. In the first part of the chapter Devlin stuns an Auror, is attacked by Greyback, sets Greyback's clothes on fire, transforms to escape, sees his father and smoke-travels away with Voldemort. Most people could not find another gear after a series of events like that. But you? You turned it up to 11, so to speak. That's what I love about your stories, you always have something in reserve to finish a chapter strong!

The attach scene was amazingly vivid. I could feel the heart-pounding adrenaline that Devlin was running on. You did an awesome job with all of the physical details that showed how hard he was pushing himself, how afraid he was of failing in his mission or getting caught.

Greyback was a terrifying piece of work. I liked the way that you didn't have him instantly recognize Devlin as a member of his "family". It made things much more gripping to wonder for a moment whether Greyback would just try to kill him. Probably the only thing in the entire chapter I would offer a suggestion on was the choice of the word "creator" that Greyback uses to describe Remus. It felt too clinical, too civilized. Greyback is a wild creature, for the most part. I was thinking something like "your alpha" or even "your father" would be more apropos.

I adored the image of Devlin igniting Greyback's clothes. I really can't see enough bad things happen to Greyback. Speaking of which, I noticed Voldemort asking Devlin to explain to him who the "crazy man" was. Could be bad tidings for Greyback.

"You must teach me that," he said, his breath a whisper. His heart was still in his chest, his throat dry, his skin tingling. -- I don't know that there's ever a perfect thing to say when you're dealing with Voldemort. He can turn pretty much anything against you if he wants to. But that line was pretty close to perfect. ;)

Yes! I knew it! I knew that Voldemort would send him back. This is just one more way that Voldemort puts his "ownership" of Devlin on display, one more way to shove it in Harry's face. He's so unconcerned about Devlin's true loyalties that he intentionally sends Devlin right back into the stronghold of his greatest enemy.

Snape was beautifully in character, as always. He's doing what he can to help Devlin, but he can't come close to hiding his frustration with how dangerously Devlin is living. If there's one point Snape is making that I really wish Devlin would figure out, it's that even by following "the path of least resistance", Devlin is still making a choice.

Lastly, I absolutely loved the comparisons you drew out between Voldemort and Dumbledore in this chapter.

Dumbledore was imposing, in a soft way; like a velvet covered knife, hidden between layers of robes and coalescing magic. -- I've had that feeling many times, myself. To someone in Devlin's position -- or the position Harry was in as a teenager -- the only difference between Voldemort and Dumbledore is that Dumbledore has better window dressing for his uncompromising agenda. The verbal sparring between the two of them was beautifully written. It's amusing how a character as formidable as Snape is reduced to a third wheel to their conversation.

I noticed a few small typos as I was reading:

He swerved into another alley. In his mind he pictured were he had entered and ever turn he had taken. -- where he had entered and every turn

He was must be running parallel to the town. -- He must be

Devlin could here Snape shift behind him, his breathing, which had been even, stalling for the barest second. -- could hear Snape

Awesome chapter! I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for the swap and for all of the love you lavished on my story today!

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Review #6, by CambAngstYou Should Marry Me: You Should Marry Me

26th January 2015:
Hi, Deeds! I am reveling in your return.

I have the strangest feeling that I've read this before. I could be completely wrong about that, but I have the feeling. Was this, perhaps, something that you had on the archives before?

Anyhoo, I really love the writing style and the voices you gave the characters. They were emotional and irreverent and more than a little bit silly, but they retained the essential warmth and passion that makes them all feel real.

You have an incredible talent for writing Ron. Somehow you manage to play up all of his worst traits but keep him loveable at the same time. I confess that I've been reading far too many Ron-bashing Harmony fics lately, so it was awesome to be able to reconnect with your version of the guy. He's so child-like here. I just want to ruffle his hair and give him a cookie.

Your take on Ginny is always unique. She still seems feisty and emotional and a little scary, but she's also vulnerable. I liked the gradual progression from angry to whiny to kind of lovably desperate at the end. The fact that Harry was toying with her all along was really sweet.

Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hello Dan! What a nice surprise. You have read this before actually. I will tell you I'm having a hard time writing new content. I have ideas but I can't find my voice which is funny to me because according to my diploma I am a journalist. Even though I consider myself a pseudo journalist because what I write at the moment isn't too life changing. It's not for lack of writing it's just lack of creativity. I have a certain formula when writing certain content and I have seem to forgotten my formula for HPFF.

Or maybe I'm just a bad writer. Or maybe I need to go back to my roots and try to be funny.

Anyway, so I'm reposting all of my old stories. Going through them with edits and I'm posting some things that I never posted before either. I think the next 'newest' story will be WWVD and The Many Jobs of Remus Lupin.

I posted this and A Recipe for Babies right away because I feel like YSMM and ARFB were two of my best stories. I'm going to toot my own horn and agree here that I kept to the warmth of the characters. I wanted them to be slightly ridiculous but show they're still who they are. Just behind closed doors together they can let loose. I think we're all light that in some ways. Especially around our significant others. I do and say things that are silly and weird around my boyfriend that I would never in public.

I think Ginny is like that. She has class, that girl. I too do not liking waiting and am very impatient. I would probably propose to my boyfriend in a few years if he doesn't get the hint (and really let me tell you he never gets any hints).

NO! What's with you reading Ron bashing fics. We do not bash Ronald unless it's a crack!fic and he dies a mysterious death so Draco and Hermione can be together. Dan, are we going to have a serious discussion here?

Thank you very much! It's nice to talk to you again in a review format. I see you were the first one to figure out who I was on the forum. Mwaha. I wanted to see how long I could keep it a secret before everyone figured out who I am.

I'm evil like that.

I've been meaning to hop back in and read your stories but I'm not entirely back in the sense I will be as active as before. I've got two jobs man so I figure I'll read and I'll write when I can. Ta-ta for now!


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Review #7, by CambAngstThe Marriage Contract: The Marriage Contract

26th January 2015:
Deeds! It's been ages! I was really excited to see you writing again. I do hope this becomes a thing. :)

Lucius had always been weak. -- That one line makes this a very unique Lucius story right off the bat. I don't think I can even recall a story where Lucius is so frank with himself. You stripped away off of the carefully layered self-delusion from his character and cut to the essence of what lay beneath. What I've always through lay beneath, at any rate.

Your overarching thoughts on the nature of marriages among old pureblood families fit really well with my own head canon. I've always seen these people as cold and calculating. They see relationships as transactions of power and influence. From there, having Lucius and Narcissa's relationship be so different was really endearing. And believe me, it's not easy to endear me to Lucius Malfoy.

I need to marry Narcissa. -- Yep, his mind is well and thoroughly messed with. ;)

Narcissa was spectacular in this story. She is the steel behind Lucius's facade. She makes him strong in spite of the fact that he's weak. She was the one demanding that he return to his post, not because she wants him to but because she knows that it's necessary. Underneath that stony countenance is a genuine, powerful warmth and softness. I loved the glimpses of affection you showed.

You didn't think that I would pass on mentioning Cecil, did you? Because there was no way in the world I was going to. Cecil Lucius Malfoy. Can you imagine? "'My father will hear of this!' cried Cecil before stomping off toward the dungeons." Thankfully the Black family naming convention won out in the end.

I could tell your writing was a bit rusty. It wasn't anything big, just a choice of word here or an odd turn of phrase there. No matter. I enjoyed reading this thoroughly. It's wonderful to see you back!

Author's Response: Dan! You again? Haha! You're spoiling me! As I said in my other response I'll be here and there but not as active as I used to be. I have two jobs and one of them requires a lot of my time because it takes two hours to get there and two hours to get back.

Traveling. Oy.

I'm reading this review and jumping around so sorry if it's all over the place but yes I am rusty! I didn't think this came out terrible as my first piece of writing so I decided to post it anyway. We all have to start somewhere, don't we? I couldn't get it perfect. I wanted it to flow a certain way but I kept getting stuck because it was supposed to be an entirely different story of when they were younger--hence the mention of the owlery and dating.

Then I wanted them to be older. I was going to write this once the war was over for them as Narcissa being very angry with Lucius over everything that went down (mainly Azkaban) and Lucius would have been lost since everything he believed in shattered but that didn't pan out like I planned either.

Cecil Malfoy would have been a great name. I think with a name like Cecil your middle name would have to be something really groovy like Peace, Flower or Hope.

^ No. I would not be able to take Cecil seriously either.

I actually love Narcissa and Lucius's love. I do think he was weak! At the time of the story Lucius has been stripped of his 'power.' What I mean is as a Death Eater he is no longer of any importance. Remember Voldemort took his wand and it was Narcissa that had to give him the slight nudge to let him let go of it (obviously for safety reasons). He needed her in that moment. He has always needed her in those moments and she has never given up on him even when he went to Azkaban she was very upset about it but defended her husband if she had too.

So here he is patrolling in a house that has been overrun by his master who has thrown him aside. His son didn't complete his mission either (since Snape killed Dumbledore) and he has never gotten along with Bellatrix so it's not like he's going to go to Voldemort's number one supporter and mirror her or get in her good graces to get into his again.

He's lost. He can admit that to himself just for a moment. He wants a glimpse of his old life back and that's what Narcissa can do for him. Though she is angry and scared, because she cared about her son/husbands safety, she will be his rock.

Because Dan, behind every good man is a good woman.

And Lucius has many faults but he isn't the worse man in the wizarding world.

Whew! Great conversation. I didn't realize I thought so much about Lucius or Narcissa. Thanks for the stellar review. When I have the time I'll pop on over and get lost in some of your stories!


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Review #8, by CambAngstkisses-blood-valentine: Ballad of Evvie and Bernie

22nd January 2015:
Hi, Rose! I decided that I couldn't wait to read this, so I did. Now I've decided to gut it out and try to get your review done tonight. If I'm maybe a bit less coherent than normal, that would be why.

I love what you've done with this story. The style is so unique and so edgy. It's challenging reading, which is the type I've come to like best. It both required me to stay engaged with its subtlety and complexity and made me want to stay engaged with the mystery that surrounds poor Bernie. This isn't some spoon-fed young adult fiction for short attention spans.

I could definitely see a lot of the Pulp Fiction storytelling style here. The contrast of vivid details standing out against matte backdrops, the non-linear sequence of events and the gory subject matter all added to the effect. At times, I could imagine seeing the story through a very tight camera shot, narrowly focused on some part of a character's face. I also liked the way you wrote Bernie's dialog. I'm struggling for the right word -- beatnik? -- but it fit perfectly.

From the first scene, it's apparent that Bernie has a very tenuous grip on reality. She sort of fades back and forth between things that feel real and things that seem like delusions. Horrible delusions at that.

The character of Evvie sounds like a very interesting woman. It's obvious why Bernie would be attracted to her. I had to chuckle a bit at the fault she finds with Valentine's Day, as well. We certainly agree on that point.

It seems that both Bernie and Benjy have secrets. It's horribly sad that Benjy's secrets are the ones that ultimately destroy Bernie's life.

Ah, so the Death Eaters captured Bernie and tortured her for information about her brother. If I'm following correctly, the torture culminated in using the imperius curse to make her murder her muggle girlfriend and then framing her for the murder. In the midst of this horrible scene, I loved the small details, like the items she'd purchased for their date peeking out of the toppled grocery bag. It added a jarring touch of realism to an otherwise hazy scene.

The ending was bitterly chilling. I don't thing you could have finished a story like this on a better note.

I saw one typo (I think) as I was reading:

Evvie watches Bernie take each step towards the street backwards so they can gaze at each longer for a few moments longer. -- gaze at each other?

Your writing was beautiful. This was a really ambitious story and I thought you did an amazing job with it! Looking forward to reading more of what's on your 2015 plan!

Author's Response: Dan!!

Oh my this review just blew me away. I've read your review at least a dozen times and every time I grin like a dope.

This was quite a change for me, which I've said before but I feel as if it paid off with the feedback I've gotten on it. I imagine it takes quite a bit for a story to be a challenging read so I'm definitely flattered to make it to that point. :)

I really like the way you've imagined this visusally. If I were to film this story, you'd be my top pick for director. Writing Bernie's dialogue was something I focused on as she's my first black MC and I wanted to get her right.

When I was writing this, I really worked hard to get the slipping from thought to thought on the page in a way that made sense (in some way at least) while not being a classic, spelled out turns of event. I won't specificy which of her thoughts were memory versus delusion but it was a mix of the two.

Evvy was my fun character in this - she didn't get a lot of time on the page but I liked what I did include about her. The Valentine's Day rant is one I've heard many times and summarized here. :D

It's a sad irony that their secrets were so costly in the end. I could see Order members not telling their family about the Order for their safety though (and Bernie is just waiting until the right time to be open about her relationship with a muggle).

I like your rehash of what happened. I've decided against telling people in responses if they're right (or which parts they're right about) because I don't want to spoil this for people who read it down the road. I did throw in those descriptions to give a sense of linear thinking in a very nonlinear story.

The ending came to me before I started writing (I suppose that's fitting for a story like this) and I'm glad I was able to use it with the impact I wanted it to have.

Oh, yes. I've fixed that.

Thank you so much for this incredible review!!

-Rose


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Review #9, by CambAngstFalling Out: Not About Love

22nd January 2015:
Hi! Song fics are tough to do justice to. I was excited to see what you would do with this.

I'll start by admitting that I don't know the song. I listened to the 90 second preview to get a feel for the mood. I thought it had an intimate sort of feel to it, light on the production with vocals that are conversational in a way. I imagined the singer on the stage of a small club or lounge.

Taking all that into account painted an interesting picture of the rocky sort of relationship that we see coming to an end in your story. The imagery fit well: Draco slouched in a chair, dragging on a butt, trying to somehow convince Rose to be the lover that he wants by talking down to her like a child. She's plainly not a child, and it seems that it's more Draco than her who's living in a fantasy. At least in the long term. In the short term, she's the one living a fantasy, but she tacitly acknowledges that their affair is a fantasy. A life lived in the moment in the darkness of night. Draco has convinced himself that he can change that relationship into a proper thing, suitable for the light of day.

The length of the piece was good for the subject matter. You provided everything we really need to know about how things got to this point, and you didn't belabor the moment.

I really love the contrast between Rose, who lives for the thrill of an illicit affair, and Draco, who wants to turn it into something more. It's an obvious role reversal relative to conventional gender roles in this type of relationship, but it fits the two characters to a T.

Your writing was lovely. Congrats on your editing; I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem.

Great job!

Author's Response: !Ah! Thank you!

I really recommend checking out the music video--it's like, amazingly perfect, and surprisingly funny (Zach Galifinakis lip-synching Fiona Apple).

I really love what you said about the gender reversal. I hadn't even thought of that! We do tend to see "younger woman thinks he'll stick with her / older guy is just messing her around" in the media. In RL, though, I feel like I've generally seen it as the guy who thinks he can make it real, and the younger girl just playing around. INTERESTING.

And really, I think some relationships can seem really thrilling as a secret affair, but are quite ugly if you try to pass them off as a Real Thing (like, well, THIS ONE. There is something inherently unsettling about the concept of Draco/Rose. Like if someone tried to legit ship it without flaws).

I first read this pairing in the RarePair challenge, and thought the author did really interesting things with it. Then Rowling said the whole "uh, yeah, it's creepy to love Draco" thing, so then I kind of HAD to write it!

Thank you so much for reviewing this! I'll admit I was pretty nervous about it!


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Review #10, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Things Get A Little Bit More Complicated

19th January 2015:
Hi, Emma!

I really liked your new chapter, even though parts of it weren't a lot of fun to read. You did a really good job with some difficult subject matter, letting Olivia feel and react as she made her way through a gauntlet of traumatic situations. I thought she ended up being very appropriate for her age and for the odd sort of transitional situation she finds herself in. At this point, it seems like she's straddling worlds between her old friends (Scorpius and Cassie) and her new friends (Albus, et. al.).

The walk from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade was definitely the fun part of this chapter. Al and Olivia felt like very normal teenagers feeling their way through an awkward but pleasant period of growing closer to one another. They fit quite well in spite of their differences. Maybe partly because of their differences. I was kind of disappointed that Al didn't get to answer Olivia's question about whether Laura Brogan had a "deep, dark back story". Somehow, I'm guessing she does.

Wow. Scorpius is going above and beyond at this point. I can understand being hurt and upset, but he's taking things obnoxiously far.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who imagines Daphne as being hopelessly vain and empty-headed. I confess that I had a lot of fun with her character in Conspiracy of Blood and Detox. She made for good comic relief. I also like her in the role of Pansy's enabler.

I had some mixed feelings about Pansy, which is a good thing. She seems a little more complex than Olivia's angry reaction would suggest, but not much more. She's definitely wallowing in self-pity, but I'm not sure that she realized how hard Olivia would take the news of her parents' separation. I don't think Olivia realized how hard Olivia would take the news of her parents' separation. Hmmnn... now I'm struggling to recall whether you named the mistress by name earlier in the story. If not, it's an interesting bit of mystery you've created.

Ah, the magic of Honeydukes' cellar. I love it as a setting for this moment between Al and Olivia. It was everything they needed in that moment, private and accommodating and away from the prying eyes of the crowds. You also did a great job with Ambrosius.

After several hours and more chocolate consumed than I wanted to think about, Al swished his wand to wash up our plates and left some gold coins on the crate heíd been sitting on. I didnít ask why he was leaving the money. -- This is really the only thing I can nit-pick you on in this chapter. If Al used magic, I think it would have set off the Trace.

I felt sad for Olivia that she went back to her own common room, but I can see why. She probably didn't feel like being surrounded by the Potter/Weasley traveling circus at that moment. Scorpius turned the jerk factor up to 11 in the common room. It was clear earlier in the story how much he relied on Olivia, but I think everyone -- myself included -- underestimated how much she relied on him. The ending of the chapter was a perfect metaphor for just how disconnected Olivia's become from everything she used to take comfort from.

I couldn't see a single typo in this. You did a great job with it, writing some very tough subject matter with a lot of finesse. Until next time...

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thanks for another really lovely review. Olivia's definitely straddling two different lives at the moment - that's a lovely way of putting it. She's very in between different things.

And Laura Brogan will feature more later...

I hadn't really intended to be so cruel to Daphne but she was a lot of fun to write, and I think anybody who's going to be good friends with my Pansy has to be quite vacuous. I'm glad you found Pansy convincing. She's struggling but is definitely not really acceptable int he way she treats her daughter. The mistress is still a secret for now :)

Hmm, I hadn't thought about the trace like that. I kind of thought they were probably okay in Hogsmeade - didn't Hermione levitate a christmas tree in the Three Broomsticks once? Maybe I'll have to do some investigating, or make Al already of age. Thanks for pointing it out anyway!

And yes, Olivia definitely needed Scorpius more than she thought. I wanted this to be a transition moment.

Thank you so so much for the review! You always leave such thoughtful comments and it really means a lot.

Emma x


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Review #11, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Hope: Rose POV

18th January 2015:
Hi, Beth! Here for our swap. I was very excited to see your new chapter go up!

Cho Chang is one of those characters who intrigues me. I'm always curious to see how different authors imagine her post-Hogwarts life and career. Yours is definitely one of the kinder portrayals I've read, inasmuch as she doesn't seem to be hopelessly pining away after Harry. She seems calm, kind and professional, at least for Rose's appointment. I suppose it's possible she keeps a shelf full of Ginny voodoo dolls at home with her collection of Kneazles. ;)

Anyway, back to the substance of your chapter. The scene with Scorpius trying -- and mostly failing -- to comfort Rose as she pukes sure brought back memories. If there's one failing of the male half of the species -- there are many, but let's just focus on this one ;) -- it's that we feel like we need to try to fix everything. Rose also doesn't seem to be great at accepting sympathy. So she snaps at him. And then she immediately feels terrible about doing it, and poor Scorpius is just kind of confused. All very familiar.

He was so completely understanding and compassionate; it was aggravating me all the more. -- Yep, that right there.

Even when you are trying to be snippy, you are cute and sweet. -- Oops. Wrong move, loverboy. Don't even try telling her she looks sexy in pants with big elastic waistbands...

Scorpius is adorable at the Healer appointment. I want to give him a big manly hug around the shoulders and also shake him a little. In the heat of a moment like this, it's easy to forget that our species has been procreating for tens of thousands of years, the vast majority of that without the aid of professionals. Rose seems to get it, which makes sense considering her profession.

Not to mention the fact that I could've possibly been doing my rounds with this woman when the internship part of my training began, and I didnít want to be known as the patient with the completely insane boyfr- I guess fiancť - who went off the handle because of a few pounds. -- I liked this paragraph in a lot of ways. Not least is the fact that it shows that Scorpius isn't the only one struggling a bit with how the change in their relationship has changed the ground rules and even the phrasing of things.

Aww, the first ultrasound. Very cute! The description of the magic was a little rough, I thought. I'm not sure you can "cite" spells. Everyone imagines these things differently, I guess. The meat of the scene was beautifully done. I loved the way that both of them are awestruck by what they're seeing. When you see the little bean move for the first time, it's always a life-changing moment.

Question: Was Cho unable to tell the sex of the baby or was she just preserving the mystery? You didn't think you were going to slip that one by without anyone asking, did you? :p

Due on Halloween. Due on Halloween... So the HP books don't have the best history with Halloween. Harry's parents died on Halloween. Rose's mum nearly died on Halloween. The Chamber of Secrets was re-opened on Halloween. Harry's name emerged from the Goblet of Fire on Halloween. Just sayin...

OK, so they're off to see Uncle Harry. This is a chapter I've been waiting for. It will be very interesting to see what Harry makes of all of the news.

I didn't see any typos in this chapter! Yay!

Awesome job and thanks for the swap!

Author's Response: Hey there Dan,

Wow - I've gotten really behind on responding to reviews and I'm trying desperately to get to all of them tonight.

My head canon is that Cho NEVER pines for Harry. He was a REBOUND for her. Their first snog consisted of her bawling all over him. In my mind she is gay and happily married to Padma Patil - so I don't really see the voodoo dolls - unless they are Ginny's dolls of Cho (Ginny can be a bit jealous...) haha!

Yeah - the "I've gotta fix everything" thing. I don't exactly know why guys do that, but it IS fun to write :)

I'm glad it came across that Rose is a little more clinical and Scorp the emotional one at this particular doctor visit. Although they are both caught off guard when they see the baby for the first time.

You have an uncanny knack for zeroing in on any part of the chapter that I find off - and this was no exception. I rewrote the magic part of the ultrasound a few times and posted it as I was still a bit unsure. You even managed to find the single *word* that I was struggling with (cite). I waffled over that one for a while. That's just crazy. I'm going to take a look at that part again - so thanks for the cc :)

The sex of the baby... What baby? Hehe - Let's just say it will be addressed - sort of - in a future chapter :D

Thanks again - the chapter with Harry's (and Ron's and Hermione's) reaction is up!

♥ Beth



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Review #12, by CambAngstSticks in a Bundle: Anger

16th January 2015:
farmgirl!

I'm at a loss for words. First and foremost, I'm semi-distraught that I never read this before. I'm upset with myself. I'm going to struggle to forgive myself for a while. But I'll get over it...

This story is amazing. The emotions that it evokes are unbelievable. Actually, it's very easy to believe now that I think about it. Without straying a hair outside of the ToS, you've created this amazingly vivid story that makes the terrible things that have happened to Harry plainly obvious. It's really incredible writing. I'm in awe and I'm angry. So very, very angry. At the moment, I want to tear Vernon Dursley limb from limb. I want to see the fat oaf suffer terribly. I want to paint "Magic Sucks" across his chest and hand him over to Bellatrix.

I saw that you picked this for the January Review Swap. That's how I found it. Please, please, PLEASE say that you're looking for the motivation to take up writing it again! I know it's been a long time. I know it's hard to get going again. But I'm begging you, please write whatever it is that George and Ron are planning to do to Harry's despicable uncle. Cookies, cake, pie... the world is your oyster if you do me this favor. Name your price!

I'm not sure I can add anything more to this review than what I've already said. This is a story that I'm dying to read more of. Remember: baked goods! Awesome job!

-Dan

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Review #13, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: Too Little, Too Late

13th January 2015:
After teasing us with an easily recognizable scene from the book, you started to really branch off and develop your own narrative in this chapter. I love stories that retell portions of the books from a different point of view. There are so many characters in the HP books and yet we're nearly always seeing things only through Harry's eyes. Scenes like the ones in this chapter really help to fill out the rest of this world.

I like the voice you've given Hermione here. She seems well-balanced both emotionally and physically. While she's grateful to be alive, she's also deeply concerned for her friends. I liked the way she gets pushy with Ron when he tries to avoid telling her about Sirius. Lastly, her struggles with her feelings when Ron tells her the truth seemed very age-appropriate and true to her personality.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't comment on the arrival of Dolores Umbridge. I loved the idea of Dumbledore stunning her. Warms my heart. That said, I think I remember something about Dumbledore entering the forest unarmed to negotiate with the centaurs for her life. I could be wrong about that, and Dumbledore is likely capable of stunning someone even without his wand, but it jumped out at me as I was reading.

Ah, and she still has the Time Turner! Why do I get the feeling that "too late" won't turn out to be too late after all? OK, well, it's probably because the whole premise of your story depends on it, but let's pretend for a moment that I don't know that. ;)

I like the idea that McGonagall would have put a healthy fear of the potential consequences of time travel into Hermione before giving her the Time Turner. That sounds like her. At the same time, I see the seeds of doubt in Hermione's mind. I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

Another very well-written chapter! I couldn't see a thing wrong with your writing. Good job!

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Review #14, by CambAngstMeddling with Marauders: The Last Time-Turner

13th January 2015:
Hi, Dee!

This is a tasty intro to what sounds like a very interesting, unique story. You captured the frenetic energy of the fight and flight -- or was it flight, then fight? -- in the Department of Mysteries very well. Embedded in your premise is a really interesting idea that I haven't seen anyone pick up on before. Hermione was, at one point, in a room full of Time Turners. She knew what they were. She knew how they worked. Why not grab one in case of disaster?

There's not much I can say aside from that. Your writing was lovely. The scene flowed quite naturally and I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems.

Great start!

Author's Response: Hi, Dan!

Thank you again for the reviews, they were really unexpected and just a lovely thing to see when I logged on. Random reviews are my favourite!

I always struggle with introductions to stories, so it's great that you enjoyed it! I definitely wanted a different premise to the time travel story, so, again, I'm glad that was something you liked too. I definitely think Hermione wouldn't have been able to resist grabbing the stray time-turner.

This was such a great review! :D


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Review #15, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Honor: Rose and Scorpius POV

12th January 2015:
Hi, Beth!

Wow. A small personal aside: after the doctor's appointment where we learned we were having twins, my wife and I went to the IHOP near the hospital and we both ordered breakfast even though it was early afternoon. So yeah, I could relate to that first scene.

I really loved the way you wrote Scorpius in the first scene, even though it wasn't from his point of view. That goofy smile that he couldn't get rid of sounded perfect to me. Combining that with Rose's overwhelming mix of emotions, I'd say that this scene was just about perfect.

"Scorpius," I commented, "you look like someone has hooked both sides of your mouth and tied it to your ears!" -- Yeah, that look.

"When I woke up this morning, there was only one Malfoy in the world Ė just me. And now, there are going to be two more..." he caught himself and cleared his throat. -- I promise I'll stop just quoting you now, but that line hit me right in the feels. Your story makes me miss Draco and Astoria.

I agree with Scorpius. I'd been waiting for Rose to break down, too. It's a heck of a lot to try to absorb in a short amount of time. Because you've kept this story so realistic for a pair of young twenty-somethings, they both have incredibly busy lives. I could feel Rose's anxiety creeping into me as she tries to make sense of it all.

"We canít raise a baby here Ė not in this house." -- Why not? All the Black family members turned out so well... OK, I tried. Couldn't get that out with a straight face.

I adored Scorpius's heartfelt explanation of what the prophecy means to him and how Rose will turn it into a good thing. The boy is quite a poet. And his "one condition" was the crowning touch. If being an Auror doesn't work out, he should seriously consider writing self-help books for guys who want to be better boyfriends/husbands.

The conversations that Scorpius and Rose have with their little bean was one of the sweetest things I've read in a long time. So much heartfelt emotion! Gah!

I don't think I can quote it in a review, but I loved Scorpius's "Bill and Ted" moment of contemplating his impending fatherhood.

Then Selenia and Scorpius play "musical rambling". It's really hard to know exactly what to say from either side of that conversation. There are so many things to try to say, but the right words are so hard to find. So you just end up babbling. You have a good grasp on the dynamic.

Scorpius is going to need some time to figure out all of the random pregnancy-induced emotions. He seemed like he was on the verge of panic.

So I read this last night which means I wasn't at my sharpest, but I only saw one typo:

We could gage his reaction and then move on to Albus. -- gauge his reaction

Beautiful chapter! You nailed the moments, you nailed the feels, you just nailed the whole thing! Thanks for the swap! Until next time...

Author's Response: Hi there Dan!

I always get nervous with the really lovey-dovey chapters that either it's just too much or Scorpius comes off as a wimp - so this review was a big sigh of relief for me - thanks!

Haha - I haven't had the experience of finding out it was twins - but erm... we did have a couple of surprises - you would think an accountant and a biochemist would be able to uh, *account* for stuff a bit better.

Haha - quote me all you want! You found the ones that I was most proud of - so :)

Any way you look at it - becoming a parent is a BIG deal - and although Rose is well on her way to healing, she's got a lot on her plate at the moment.

Haha - Scorpius is really in tune with Rose - I don't know how well he'd be able to dish out advice to others - he's got all he can handle right now!

Yeah, I couldn't pass up the parents' chats with the little one. It was too cute - thanks.

I almost edited out the Scorpius/Selenia conversation, but I realized that I hadn't had those two characters interact one-on-one yet in the story. I wanted to show that they have a strong relationship as well, and that they weren't just friends because they were dating close cousins. Also, there's a *tiny* bit of story line in their conversation.

Thanks again for this awesome review. The next chapter has a bit more plot to it.

♥ Beth


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Review #16, by CambAngst'Till Death Do Us Part: Chapter 2

9th January 2015:
Hi, Tammi!

Another fun chapter! My afternoon was greatly improved. :)

The situation with James and Adam was really familiar to me. I've been on James's side of the table, moving into a different phase of life while trying to stay connected with friends who are still happily in the prior one. James is married, expecting twins and has a job at the Ministry that he likes. Adam is still dating, childless and working a job at the apothecary that doesn't seem to have a lot of upside unless the manager of the Hogsmeade store leaves. You did a good job of capturing the situation.

I think I meant to ask this in the last review. Is Adam's girlfriend Lucy also James's cousin Lucy? Seems like Adam is almost ready to make a life-leap with her.

Speaking of people who need to make a life-leap, Fred needs to get off the dime and make a move. It seems obvious to his cousins what he needs to do. I like Hugo's reaction, or more to the point his unwillingness to put up with Fred's distracted moodiness. Lucy took a gentler approach, although her implied threat is probably no more comfortable for Fred than getting knocked off of a ladder.

I saw a couple of small typos -- at least I think they're typos -- as I was reading:

They were silent for a moment whilst Fred actually done some work, -- actually did some work?

Oh come on Fred; just ask her to one of your sisters Quidditch matches or something. -- sister's

Good job! Thanks for the entertaining read!

Author's Response: Hey again!!!

Awww yay! I'm glad that I could improve your afternoon.

Thank you, I'm glad that you could relate to it and saw familiar situations. I wanted to try and keep this story as real as possible.

Yes! Adam's girlfriend is James' cousin. :D

Awww Fred, bless him, he really does, but he's so scared. Hugo is very straight to the point, so it's a good thing that Lucy was the one to help him out. Hugo would probably make it worse.

Ooops! Thank you! I shall sort those out!

Thank you so much! You're awesome!


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Review #17, by CambAngstThere's Water In Oil: There's Water In Oil

8th January 2015:
Hey, there!

This was a really clever and original take on what was going through the secluded depths of Snape's mind as he listened to Narcissa beg for his help in protecting Draco. It isn't at all difficult to imagine him thinking this way. There's enough self-interest involved to make it feel right, but also that odd sort of benevolence that you never see coming from Snape.

The first section was brilliant. I think anyone who's really read the books has had that conversation with Dumbledore in their mind. Each and every Defense teacher was flawed in his or her own way. The severity ranges from Lupin, who was certain to eventually be condemned by his own circumstances, to Lockhart and Umbridge who were nearly unforgivable choices. I liked the way that Snape gradually wears down from being personally insulted and offended to just blandly accepting the next in the series of catastrophes.

You did an awesome job of writing Snape's inner thoughts as he watches Narcissa break down in his sitting room. He feels a sort of sympathy for her, but there's much more going on. He's calculating and studying, evaluating circumstances and postulating outcomes. Such an interesting mix of emotional Gryffindor and cold Slytherin.

At the end of the story, he makes the ultimate personal calculation. Of course, things don't end up the way he's expecting. At this point, I don't believe that Dumbledore and the cursed ring have happened yet. Still, I liked the sense of closure he gets from making the vow. He's going to drive his personal situation to a conclusion, one way or the other.

This was a really great character study. I think you did an awesome job capturing Snape. Til next time...

-Dan

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Review #18, by CambAngst'Till Death Do Us Part: Chapter 1

8th January 2015:
Hi, Tammi!

I saw that you'd marked this completed, so I figured it was a good time to read. No waiting! ;)

I really liked all of your characters, especially viewing them in this happy moment. The goofy, giddy sort of happiness that James and Amelia share on the way out of the hospital was instantly familiar to me. Been there, done that. Harry and Ginny's reaction also made perfect sense to me, especially after they learned that Amelia is expecting twins. I liked Adam and Lucy, even though I'm not completely familiar with the characters. Wanting to go shopping is definitely an "auntie" reaction.

All of the dialog and narrative felt very natural and it flowed nicely. I couldn't see a thing wrong with your writing. Great job on this.

Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention James's big head. That was a great running gag. Poor guy. Even I had a laugh at his expense.

Awesome job. I needed a good read this afternoon!

Author's Response: HEY! How are you?

Awww I'm so glad that you decided to take a look at my story! Definitely no waiting now it's complete :D

Thank you so much! And I'm glad that they seem believable. They're all very excited about the babies, especially when everyone thought that it would just be the one.

Awww thank you so much! That makes me very happy!

Haha he has got a big head, everyone comments on it... poor James. :D

Thank you so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed!


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Review #19, by CambAngstInto Darkness: Into Darkness

7th January 2015:
Ooh! A very creepy story!

Your protagonist fell into a classic trap that snares the young and the gullible in even the mundane muggle world: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The ending also reminded me, in a rather morbid way, of the other truism of the modern Internet age: When something online is free, you're not the customer, you're the product.

Anyway, I digress. You did an awesome job of capturing the giddy enthusiasm of a young person who thinks that they've figured out something that everyone else in the world missed. I loved all the little touches that made the protagonist real in my mind. The first thing he/she goes out and buys is cans of baked beans! Classic post-college, young and broke food. High in protein and fiber, not horrible for you, filling and cheap.

All of the little details you worked in during the trip down the tunnel made the scene vivid and gripping. I had no problem at all feeling the anxiety and claustrophobia. An excellent piece of writing.

The ending came on quickly and brought an instant flash of panic. It was a good note to wrap up on.

Brilliant job with this!

Author's Response: This was definitely new territory for me, I'm so glad you think it worked!

And ah! That truism is like REALLY AMAZING/DISTURBING! I hadn't heard it before!

Since I had such a small space here, I went as personal as humanly possible. This is (very very) loosely inspired by a true story I heard that creeped the hell out of me, and then /I/ would very much like cheap rent :P And then I figured EVERYONE must find enclosed spaced creepy! (And yes, baked beans because: college).

Thank you for reviewing this odd little story! I've yet to review a bunch of your stuff, and totally owe you!


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Review #20, by CambAngst'Eyes' with an 'L': Boom

6th January 2015:
Hi, there!

I haven't reviewed anything of yours in a really long time, so to celebrate your newly-minted TA, I wanted to drop by and find something.

I don't know how much of the plot of this story arose from the prompt you got and how much was your own creation, but the overall effect was brilliant! I love the way that you were able to take an element like deafness and work it seamlessly into a canon-compliant story. You did it in such a way that anyone reading this would have to admit that it's impossible to say for sure that Lily Evans wasn't deaf prior to attending Hogwarts. That's a pretty amazing feat.

Your Lily had all of the fire of the original along with the new twist that fit perfectly with her personality. This is exactly how I would have imagined her dealing with deafness. She didn't want to be like everyone else -- which the cochlear was never really going to achieve, anyway. She just wanted to be herself, with her own unique set of rules. It hurt her that her parents wanted her to be "normal", as though there was something wrong with the way she was before. Overall, I thought you used her parents to great effect, especially their nervous habits like her mother scrubbing the countertops.

Severus became even more of a sympathetic character to me, at least in Lily's pre-Hogwarts years. You did not, however, take away or gloss over his most prominent character flaws, which I really appreciated. You kept him very well balanced, not at all unlike JKR's portrayal of him.

Lastly, we see a bit of James and how he's really willing to try to reach out to Lily in his own cocky, self-interested way. The seeds of what's to come are obviously there.

I thought you did an awesome job with this! I hope you did well in your challenge!

-Dan

Author's Response: Hello! Yee, thank you for leaving me TWO unexpected reviews!

So the randomly paired prompt was "Lily Evans+Deaf"--andANDAND that's like, SUPER hard to play off within canon (so many memories at so many ages--so much of her unambiguously replying to auditory info). It was actually in trying to negotiate the prompt with canon that I ended up figuring out a plot. Without that struggle, it might have just been a bunch of commentary and messaging with no coherent structure :P

I'm glad you dug the characterizations, because this was my first time working within this era, and these are pretty precious characters to fans! And for the parents, I figured that Petunia couldn't have spontaneously developed crappy attributes. So while the Petunia described them as kind of indulgent to Lily, I thought that might indicate Parents of a Sick Child-ness, and Jealous of the Attention Sister-ness.

You know I weirdly love Snape and all of his CRAZY CONTRAST. I really enjoyed writing both ZOMG SO CUTE Severus and AH YOU ARE AN OBSESSIVE CREEP Snape.

Guh--toggling James' cockiness with trying to keep him likable was such a struggle! Ultimately, for the story, it isn't so much about James as it is about the concept of adaptation (and whose job it is). He's the only person that tries to meet Lily halfway.

Thank you sososo much for stopping by!

xoxo
Roisin



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Review #21, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Louis Weasley Dances

5th January 2015:
Hi, Emma! Back again for another chapter!

Olivia has settled into the Gryffindor common room pretty easily. One of my favorite things about this chapter was the contrast between the way that I, as the reader perceive her fitting in versus the way that she perceives herself fitting in. Sometimes, when you make a great new friend, you're the last one who realizes what's happened.

I loved the lengthy, hilarious and highly analytical discussion of James's love life. Leave it to Rose to need to list, categorize and rank all of the possibilities. The way that everyone kept jumping into the discussion was some very high quality Weasley family interaction. The line of discussion that Olivia kicks off with her question about whether James's secret lover is a guy was the icing on the cake. You created a nice little bit of tension with Al's initial reaction and then eased it right back out again. Brilliant writing.

Louis is, for lack of a better term, dense. Very dense. Like some sort of lead-uranium alloy with a bit of neutron star in the middle. I guess being terminally beautiful can mess with your ability to objectively decide why other people act like they're interested in you. I do hope he doesn't let this Laura character lure him in again, or things are going to be really awful between him and Al.

His solution to regaining Al's good graces was pretty clever. Personally, I think a burlesque routine could have added to the impact of the scene, but that's splitting hairs. He was willing to endure some humiliation to show how much he regretted his decisions and that was the important thing.

I felt so sad for Olivia that she felt like she was imposing somehow on Al and Louis's big moment of reconciliation. Obviously Al didn't feel that way, but we'll talk about that in a moment.

I am still trying to decide two things in my own mind: 1) what I think has really happened to Cassie, and 2) how things are going to play out if and when she returns. With regard to the former question, I'm still thinking that she just decided that she didn't feel like dealing with Scorpius for a while. Or a semester. Perhaps an entire school year. Regardless, my intuition -- which is far from perfect -- tells me that she isn't dead or in mortal danger. As to the latter question, I have a feeling that Cassie's return will create some major relationship drama for Olivia and Al, and it will probably be timed poorly. Cassie doesn't seem like the sort who shares well, and Olivia's letter is going to plant some seeds of doubt in Al's mind.

I liked Al's reaction. He was a little offended and angry, which I through was appropriate for his age and situation. They get over it quickly enough, but the fact that it wasn't instant and easy made the scene more realistic. Also, I think it plants another seed of possible discord for later.

Look at me, guessing like mad about where you're headed next! This is fun. Whee!

I saw a couple of small typos while I was reading:

Rosieís helping out cousin go wedding dress shopping, and Louis will probably have a date. -- helping our cousin

I chewed me lip, feeling strangely worried about hearing his reply, but Al just grinned. -- chewed my lip

Awesome chapter! Thanks for the swap!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

I definitely wanted that difference between reader/narrator interpretation to come across. Olivia's clever but quite oblivious to things that happen outside her comfort zone so, where most people would obviously realise they had people that cared about them, she's managed to convince herself that she's intruding.

And I'm glad you liked the discussion of James. It ended up a bit longer than I'd meant it to but I had fun writing it.

Louis's definitely a bit of an idiot, but he's a well meaning idiot. And I actually originally intended a burlesque dance! But when it came down to writing it it just didn't happen. Anyway, thanks for mentioning that as an idea. I'm still very tempted to somehow fit it in so will have a go when I come to edit :)

I wanted Al to be a stable thing in Olivia's life at this point in the story, so where Scorpius would probably have blown up about the letter, Al manages to see where Olivia's feelings are coming from. But yes, it's definitely a possible source of tension for the future.

And thank you for giving all the guesses! I love reading them!

I've fixed the typos now. Thanks for pointing those out!

And thank you so much for the lovely review!

Emma x


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Review #22, by CambAngstEffortlessly Dead: In the Nest of Shrikes

4th January 2015:
Hello, again! I read this chapter last night, but it was late and I didn't feel like I could put anything particularly coherent together. Better to sleep on it, I think.

Another thing I really like about the way you're writing this story is the way you pace it. You're not afraid to introduce a scene and some characters and leave the reader wondering how they fit in for a little while. I think it's a really effective way to keep your readers engaged. When I started reading the first section, it took me a while to figure out that Menna was the assassin from chapter 1. By the time I had Ifan and Menna's roles cemented in my head, I was thoroughly into their characters.

I really love the family dynamic you've created here. It's so relatable and realistic. It would have been very easy to write this family as a sinister, fanatical bunch of caricatures. Instead, you gave them individual personalities and complicated relationships. It adds real depth to your story and keeps it from being cartoonish.

I like Menna a lot and I feel like we'll see a lot of her in this story. At least at this early juncture, she feels like someone who's been required to grow up way too fast and it's left some marks on her. She's tough, but also vulnerable in a way. In that regard, she reminds me somewhat of Harry. I'm curious to find out whether the two of them end up interacting with one another and, if so, how that plays out.

Ifan seems more complex. It feels like he's proud of Menna and what she's become, but he also feels a certain amount of competition with her for Rhian's approval.

The scene with the Aurors added a lot of context and new information to the mystery. I liked the way you've set up Harry so far. He seems a little war-weary and aged beyond his years, but not disproportionately so. There's still some playfulness to him, like when he's trying to coax the owl to give up the artifact.

I'm 99% sure this is the first time I've seen the character Proudfoot written as a woman and I like it. She'll be a very useful character, I predict. Characters who aren't afraid to call things as they see them and challenge the authority structure are always great to have in a story. They can get you out of some difficult situations.

I like the way you've set up Robards and his relationship to the rest of the Auror Department. I've never been a big fan of stories where he's written as the second coming of Scrimgeour, a pure office politician who sees Harry as a challenge to his authority and therefore thwarts Harry at every turn. Your Robards is a lot more believable.

The questions are starting to pile up a bit. Do we have a secret animagus in the mix? Did the Aurors learn what happened some other way? I'm very curious to see.

I like Aled, even though he's an odd fit for a family of assassins. Or perhaps because he's an odd fit. He has his principles, but he's also practical, like when he agrees to keep the possible Magpie interference from Menna.

I saw a few possible typos as I was reading, but I'm not sure about all of them. I'll point them out, just in case:

She trailed of and looked helplessly at her father who slipped a comforting arm around her shoulders. -- trailed off

Despite himself, Ifan felt a bang of guilt. -- pang of guilt

Unlike most of his family, Aled despised violence and killed only as a last result; -- last resort

Aside from those, your writing was really lovely. In fact, from now on, if I don't comment, just assume that your writing was awesome. ;)

Excellent second chapter!

Author's Response: Hello Dan!

Aw, thanks! I have to admit though that I'm pacing this story in a way that makes the most sense to me - it may not make sense to other people as well. So far no one has complained about the pacing so I suppose it works. :)

From the beginning, it was my intention to create a family of assassins who are at least a little bit likeable. I don't think I'd be able to write them as caricatures even if I tried, I've spent that much time creating their personalities and quirks. I'm also glad that you like Menna! You're quite right, she's one of the main characters so she's going to appear quite often. You're also right about her having had to grow up too fast. I have plans for her and Harry to meet at some point, although I suspect neither will be too happy about it...

Ifan is indeed proud of Menna - as he should be since he was the one who trained her. I've never really thought about him seeing her as his competition, though; that's an interesting interpretation, and quite a plausible one too!

I'm glad you liked Harry. That was my first time writing him and I wondered if I stayed true to his character. I can't remember how I first decided Proudfoot was a woman but it's possible I had a female Auror in need of a name and as I was searching for one, I came up with Auror Proudfoot whose gender was never openly stated and that was it. She's really growing to me as a character and already she's made herself more important than I originally intended (she seems to think she's Robards's right hand woman or something like that).

I never even considered writing Robards like that! In my head he's always been the kind of leader who is inexplicitly trusted by those under him and who is willing to listen to any theory, no matter who came up with it. He is also a bit of an oddity, as you'll see in chapter six...

It's a good thing you're asking questions. I would be very concerned indeed if you weren't. Everything will be answered in time, but in the meantime, keep asking those questions!

Aled is such a sweetheart. I think the Shrikes need him to balance out all those murderous tendencies.

Thanks for pointing out the typos and for reviewing! Hopefully I'll see you again at chapter three!

- Emmi


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Review #23, by CambAngstEffortlessly Dead: Death Comes Calling

3rd January 2015:
Hi, there! I've come to read and review your story, mostly because Tanya is a wonderful, wonderful person. She answered my trivia question correctly, but instead of having me review one of her chapters, she asked if I would review yours. Isn't she the best? All that said, I'm really glad that she gave me the opportunity to read this. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I thought you did a great job with your first chapter. As a reviewer, I'm often harsh on first chapters. I loved this not only for what you did do, but also for what you didn't do. What you did was move directly into the plot of your story without going into a whole load of back story or dumping a bunch of name-rank-serial number information on me that I probably wouldn't have remembered anyway. Even though I don't know much about the female assassin, her victim, Galen, Rosie or Mac, I'm already engaged with the characters because I'm engaged with their story. All of the other details will come in time, and when they do I'll be able to put them into context. To me, this is good storytelling. You got my head into the story first and foremost. All of the character back story can wait.

Your assassin is a seriously cold individual. I loved the way that she identified with the cat stalking its prey. That told me a lot about her without you needing to come right out and tell me about her, either through a narrative voice or her internal monologue. Again, this was good storytelling.

With Galen, I got a good sense of what sort of person he is based on his reasons for liking the night shift. He doesn't seem to like conflict. He uses his job as a means of avoiding the drama arising from his sister's upcoming wedding. He also seems to have a strong sense of propriety. He won't even disrespect a corpse by ignoring it.

I also thought that Galen was a good choice for the point of view in the second scene because it allowed you to maintain a certain amount of mystery around Rosie. I gather that I'm meant to wonder whether this is actually Rose Weasley. At one point, you indicate that Rosie is muggle-born, but I guess that could be part of a story that she uses to avoid unwanted attention related to her famous family. Or maybe she's a completely unrelated character, perhaps the namesake of Ron's yet-unborn daughter. I'm fascinated to find out more.

You gave me just enough information about the murder and the Shrikes to be very intrigued. A family of magical assassins would certainly be a daunting prospect. It seems that Mac also has a personal angle on this case. All in all, a very intriguing mix of possibilities.

I noticed one small typo that seems to have evaded capture up to this point:

With that, he disappeared back upstairs. Rosie lingered for a moment longer before following suite. -- following suit

You're off to a great start here! And I'm off to read another chapter. :)

-Dan

Author's Response: Hey Dan! Thanks for reviewing this! And a thanks to Tanya for recommending this fic!

I'm really happy how the first chapter turned out. I don't care for overt description myself and try to keep it to a minimum. Keeping some of the information a mystery and the reader (hopefully) intrigued is always a plus. :) I'm glad you liked the chapter as well and that you find the characters intriguing! Hopefully you'll like them even after more information about them is revealed and the characters become more defined.

'Cold' is indeed a good way to describe her. So glad you like the storytelling so far (I really, really hope you'll continue to like it in the upcoming chapters as well!)!

You've got Galen's character pretty much nailed! While I wanted to introduce him in this chapter and give the reader a glimpse of what kind of a person he is, it never really occurred to me you could gauge so much of his personality by simply stating he likes the night shift.

Rosie (properly named Rosaline Ecclestone, although she prefers to be called Rosie) is indeed completely unrelated to Rose Weasley. The mystery surrounding her is partly due to me disliking overt description of characters when their looks don't really matter (sorry for misleading you!) None of Harry or Ron's children has been born yet as this story takes place in 2001. She's not meant to be a particularly important character, but that might yet change; after all, there is a character introduced in chapter two who ended up being more important than I intended her to be. :) We'll have to see what happens in the future.

I'm so, so glad you're intrigued by the Shrikes! That means I've done something right! You're right about Mac having a personal angle; keep that in mind, since it might or might not play a part in the story. ;)

Thanks for pointing the typo to me and a big thank you for reviewing! Hopefully you'll like the upcoming chapters as well!

- Emmi


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Review #24, by CambAngstVictoire: The Guard

1st January 2015:
Hi, Emma! I'm really excited for you. This seems like a great love story and mystery all wrapped up in one!

The first part of the chapter was chilling, in more ways than one. For starters, I really liked what you wrote about Cormac and the politics of the Auror Department. I assume that it wasn't really central to the plot, but it helped me connect with his character a bit and get mentally engaged. I think that was important because once he entered the bowels of Azkaban and all of the creepy things started to happen, I was right there with him. It seems like Lucius might have something to do with whatever's going on here. The things he says to Cormac don't sound like random bluster. Then Greyback dies. I can't find any fault with that. ;)

Again, you supplied a lot of context and detail for the scene in the Great Hall before the focus narrows to just Victoire and Teddy. I think it's a really effective technique for setting the scene. The newspaper article definitely sounded like something from the Prophet. It was heavy on details that everyone would have known already and light on actual investigative reporting. There was also that sort of uppity sense of entitlement, as if to say, "How dare Cormac McLaggen refuse to comment. The audacity..." I'm also zoning in on Hermione's Bill for Werewolf Rights. I may be reading too much into it, but you combine that with Lucius Malfoy's reaction and it makes me even more suspicious.

I liked the ambivalence that Teddy seems to feel about Greyback's death. On the one hand, it closes a very dark chapter in the history of the wizarding world that affected Teddy's life in a huge way even though the majority of of Greyback's rein of terror happened before Teddy was born. On the other hand, I'm sure there's a sense of emptiness. Greyback's death doesn't really solve anything. It won't bring back Teddy's parents or undo the prejudice that his father suffered. It won't fix Bill's scars. I like the way you wrote the strong, conflicting emotions.

The only thing I couldn't figure out with this chapter was how to place Teddy and Victoire's ages. If Victoire is writing home to her two younger siblings then I'm guessing it's earlier than her sixth year (Teddy's seventh year). I'm guessing this will get cleared up later on.

Your writing was beautiful in this. It was paced well, it all flowed nicely and I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems.

Good job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Thanks so much for the lovely review! I'm really excited about writing this story so it's great to have some positive feedback.

I quite enjoyed writing Azkaban, which I didn't expect, and I'm glad you think it worked. I got a bit carried away with Cormac's character, which isn't central to the plot, but it felt right to put Greyback's death in the context of its setting. And it meant I got to write Lucius which is fun.

And thank you for saying the article sounds like something from the Daily Prophet! I wanted that to come across. And I think Prophet reporters would definitely think a witness refusing to give them a statement was an offence.

I've given Victoire and Dominique a big age gap to fit in with my head canon. This story won't be set in exactly the same universe as 'Complicated', but I wanted to keep the central characters the same across my stories. I've written Dominique into James Potter's year, and Louis into the year below with Albus, which means Dominique and James wouldn't start Hogwarts until Victoire's seventh year (as Teddy had already graduated when Albus started Hogwarts). So Victoire is in her sixth year here :)

Thanks so much for the review and for the swap!

Emma x


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Review #25, by CambAngstThe Deathly Children: Of Blood and Intent

1st January 2015:
Hi, teh! I was very pleasantly surprised to find a new chapter. I obviously haven't been keeping up well.

I really liked the first scene with Gellert. First off, the description of Godric's Hollow and Gellert trying to get his head around the lay of the land was beautifully done. "broken fences teething through the ground" is one of my favorite descriptions I've read in a long time. It's absolutely no coincidence that this story won the Dobby for Best Descriptions. Congratulations on that, by the way! The scene with the young muggle boy, Creevey, was excellent characterization of Gellert. It showed how his obsession with the Hallows is redefining the way that he looks at everything, as well as his absolute need to control all things around him. He doesn't just defeat the Creevey boy, he absolutely dominates him and declares an end to the contest when he has decided that it is over.

You made Bathilda seem pretty lovable in this chapter, which is an unusual way to write her. Or maybe I just feel that way because when we see her in the books, she's dead and being reanimated using dark magic by a giant snake.

The description of Gellert's relationship with his mother fits perfectly with the way you've built up the character. There isn't any sort of authoritarian relationship there, merely an odd sort of camaraderie. A lot of the most Type A people I know come from that sort of family, now that I think of it.

I loved what you did with the piece of back story on Ariana's relationship with her mother. I instantly thought of Aberforth's warning to Harry about Albus and how he learned secrecy from their mother. This felt an awful lot like the Kendra Dumbledore that Aberforth was alluding to. So I'm guessing that this potion somehow uses Ariana's blood magic to help limit or contain her outbursts? Sounds like this might be a lot more than just a Pain-Relieving Potion. One thing I love about this story is you've never been afraid to be ambitious with your plot. Having Kendra dabble in borderline dark magic is the sort of plot device that could end up sounding very weird or cliche in the wrong hands. You've put it in a context where it's very believable.

Before I dig into the chapter's final scene, I wanted to say how much I liked the quick little mention of Albus moving into his mother's room. The cognitive dissonance of trying to act like there's no reason not to move in there even though it obviously bothers him a great deal was perfect for his character.

The back-and-forth between Albus and Gellert felt about right. Somebody is definitely leading somebody else along. Although Albus is a very willing participant in being misled. I like how you're dancing that thin line between "are they or aren't they?" Somehow it's more satisfying to let one's imagination wander in this case.

Among the three Dumbledore siblings, Ariana seems to be the only one who's mostly immune to Gellert's manipulations. Somehow her condition gives her an advantage. Or maybe she just has the benefit of a more detached point of view. Regardless, she puts him in his place, after a fashion.

Looking into her brotherís incisive eyes has a lightening effect on her, turning her demure and empty. -- Perhaps she sees enough of their mother in Albus that she feels the need to obey.

I'm curious what Ariana is planning to write.

This was a really beautiful chapter. I couldn't spot a thing wrong with it, and the whole thing flowed beautifully. Again congratulations on your Dobby! Looking forward to the next chapter!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thank you for your wonderful New Year's review! Aaand of course I have to apologise as usual for being sluggish with my responses. This review certainly caught me off-guard...in a VERY good way.

You're spot on with your analysis of Gellert; he's pretty much a downright bully in that part of the chapter. And the relationship between Bathilda and Grindelwald has always fascinated me since it was mentioned in DH. How did the two get along? Were they close at all? Did Gellert actually treat Bathilda with any affection at all, or was he just using her house as a way to escape his bad reputation in his homeland after his expulsion? There isn't much evidence of their relationship, so I had some liberty with writing the two together. I like to think that Grindelwald would at least not be so completely cold, or that he would display no empathy at all to a single soul. And I'm glad you like how I hinted at the relationship between him and his mother! Authoritarian parents are something of a common feature in stories on this site, I think. :P

Yeah, here's where I start to mess around with the boundaries of canon. Things can either go very wrong (in terms of plot) or they may just work. It is a little ambitious for me; but I sometimes like to work with a little risk in my writing. I'm hoping that this subplot will work, somehow!

Ariana does indeed see through Gellert! She is unaffected by his charms, and this is something that I found so amusing to write, that this 'poor damaged girl' can hold her own and see where things aren't right. Albus is getting a little infatuated with Gellert, and Aberforth is just all rage.

Thank you, Dan! Your compliments and your analysis are, as always, amazing and I'm really happy that you came back to this story. I've completed the whole story (finished it last November), but of course, there's a lot of editing to be done, and it's a massive task. I hope to be able to tackle the next chapter and then post it when I've cleaned things up a bit! Thank you once again! ♥

-teh


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