Reading Reviews From Member: Penelope Inkwell
340 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Penelope InkwellIsabella: Thirteen Candles

14th June 2015:

I am here! At last! I know it seemed like I would never do my part of our review swap, and I am SO sorry I'm so late. Real life attacked me ; ) But it's all good now and I saw that you had a story set in Mexico and Kaitlin. Kaitlin YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW EXCITED I AM!!! No one ever does seems to do anything outside Europe, like you said. I've thought about doing something set in Mexico before but never got a good enough idea, and I just cannot possibly express how eager I am to read more of this please tell me you're planning on writing more!

Latina MC woohoo!!!

Oh my gosh I cannot tell you how hungry you made me with that mole reference. I love that you mentioned how diverse mole is, and how it changes regionally and in individual family recipes. I haven't been to Mexico (yet!), but I just earned my degree in Latin American Studies and Mexico was one of the countries I focused on. My favorite professor went positively into raptures sometimes over Oaxacan cuisine, so even hearing it mentioned makes me ravenous.

As always, you really know how to set a scene. I feel very immersed in the fields right there in the beginning, with the weather rolling in...*sigh* It sounds so beautiful.

I love the way you describe the smell of cattle--you're so right. It's not exactly unpleasant (at least not once you're used to it). It's earthy. You nailed it. You have such a way of painting the scene--you always have us seeing it and feeling it and smelling it, and I love that.

Initially, I wondered about the beginning. You know how usually we're advised to have very dramatic, attention-grabbing beginnings to stories. But the way it started out, peaceful and gentle, juxtaposed against the chaos of the ending worked nicely. It sets up the fact that Isabella's life seems pretty peaceful, and then, magic (presumably) i think it was a good choice.

My main CC would be to be careful to avoid using "I [verb]" too much in the same paragraph--"I find my horse frolicking in the rain and pull him hurriedly inside the barn. I take his saddle and bridle off. I curry comb his hair and comb his mane before wrapping him in a blanket." Admittedly, that's a difficult trap to avoid in the first person, present tense, but I thought I'd throw it out there because it's a good thing to watch for.

The other thing is that "mama" y "papa" should be "mamá" and "papá", and pastelería should have an accent, too. I don't know what kind of computer you have, but on mine acute accents are pretty easy. All I have to do is press ALT and "e" at the same time, and then press the letter I want to be accented. That's might be a little nitpicky, but I thought it might be a useful tip if you're planning to include much Spanish.

Are you planning on creating a Mexican magic school?! I am so excited! That could be so awesome! I just have so many questions that I cannot wait to see answered!

Planning on reading more of this! (I'd want to anyway, but I also feel I owe you for how abominably late this review is. Hope you've been well!


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Review #2, by Penelope InkwellChai, Chutney, and a Friend in the Wee Hours of the Morning: Chai, Chutney, and a Surprise

27th April 2015:
They're getting married!

And Neville is so adorably awkward. Let's get married because chutney. It's perfect!

And Hannah probably really will be excited to get those recipes.

I just love them. That was the most adorkable proposal I've read in ages.

"He needed to do something successfully to feel manly again, and stirring yoghurt seemed like a good option."
--stirring yoghurt to feel manly. Neville is a jewel among men.

I love your Neville/Hannah series and am really excited to hear that there could be an 5th installment of Chai coming! I'm so glad I came and read all these. They really made me smile (and hungry. Man, Hannah's cooking sounds delicious!)


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Review #3, by Penelope InkwellChai, Carrots, and a Friend in the Wee Hours of the Morning: Chai, Carrots, and a Surprise

27th April 2015:
Finally! They kissed! And Neville's on his way to becoming the Herbology professor, at which he will be brilliant!

"She’d gone into a frenzy, stocking him with cooking-related paraphernalia like some sort of kitchen-residing warrior angel."
--I loved this. I could totally see Augusta doing just that.

"Did he know his building’s fire evacuation plan?"
--This struck me as such a Neville thought. HOW is he so adorable?

He's semi-proficient in troll. Neville is a precious gem to be protected at all costs.

And Hannah gets nervous and cuts him off, too. They're such a pair!

One little bit of CC I noticed: Once again, Hannah’s extreme efficiency bewildered and awestruck him.
--I don't think "awestruck" can be a verb, just an adjective. It could leave him awestruck, though.

This is so cute and I'm enjoying this series so much!


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Review #4, by Penelope InkwellChai, Zebras, and a Friend in the Wee Hours of the Morning: Chai, Zebras, and a Surprise

27th April 2015:
THEY ARE SO CUTE! I cannot even handle it! I like how you're slowly growing their attraction--how they're a little more flirtatious this time, but still shy. Still friendly.

Oh, and she mixed her tea to his personal taste. But they're totally just friends. Sure, Hannah.

Loved it!


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Review #5, by Penelope InkwellChai, Samosas, and a Friend in the Wee Hours of the Morning: Chai, Samosas, and a Surprise

27th April 2015:
This is so cute! I loved it. I told you I was going to have to check out your chai series, and I'm so glad I did. I love that your Hannah is Indian--that was one thing I always felt the books were lacking. I mean, there were a few people of color around (Dean and Padma and Parvati), but never any of the main characters, so I always love reading fics with an actual minority presence. It's just more like the real world--I don't feel like something really obvious is missing. Also, this made me hungry. I LOVE Indian food. I just wanted to sneak into Hannah's kitchen and beg to taste everything!

It was really adorable, and I enjoyed reading about Hannah. I never really have read much about her before. But I love Neville so much, so it was nice to see him maybe beginning something with an actual character that I could know something about. I like her already. I think it was brave of her to leave a career when she knew it was only going to drag her down in the long run. I hope she pursues cooking to whatever extent she decides she wants to : )

CC: I saw one thing. "and sautéed them until the seeds had gone from there dull brown, to a brighter, redder colour.
--I think "there" should be "their".

Thanks for the story! I enjoyed it! I'll have to read more.


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Review #6, by Penelope InkwellAlong the Astral Plane: Autumnal Point

22nd April 2015:
Maggie. MAGGIE.

I LOVE it. I do not say these words lightly. I mean, I can almost always find something to love in every story I read, but it isn't as often that one really strikes me. From this first chapter, I'm thinking that this story will be a gem.

The opening was really good. It set up the fracture that already exists between mother and daughter, and with something as simple as a dress, I think you've already revealed a lot about their characters. Rowena is studious and cares deeply about her reputation as an academic--about being taken seriously. Helena doesn't strike me as shallow at all, but she likes to have a good time. She doesn't want to have to wear dark colors just because it will look more stately--she wants to be young and free and enjoy herself.

I enjoyed the dynamic you've set up among the four families. So far we've only properly met Helga and Rowena, but they both sounded perfectly in character.

I like Helena! I think what sealed it was the moment that she considered her admirers. She knows she's pretty and sees no reason not to enjoy that, but she isn't dancing to captivate others. She just wants to have fun! I loved this line: "Later, it might occur to her to pity these folk, who could not enjoy a dance for the sake of a dance."

Overall, she seems a good sport.

And her interactions with Gareth. Ungghh.

-“But I am speaking like a child.” She gave a breathy laugh. “I am sorry, Gareth, I wish I were not so sheltered.” But Gareth just shook his head.

-“Shelter is just what I need.”

Maggie! It has been one chapter and I ship it so hard it's insane.

Except my ship already hurts because I know this ends tragically!

Also, is that the (future) Bloody Baron? Stay away, Helena!

In a rare turn of events, I didn't even notice any spot to give CC for. I love this chapter just the way it is. The way the characters' personalities already feel fully formed is fabulous, and the scenery and descriptions of movement were perfect. Helena's mind was a perfect vantage point from which to watch the Founders Feast.

I'm adding this to my favorites list. I can already tell it belongs there.

Thank you so much for the review swap--I'm so glad I got to find this story because of it. And all those lovely compliments you gave my story mean even more knowing they are from a writer of your caliber. Thank you again, and excellent work!


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Review #7, by Penelope InkwellJumble: HodgePodge

21st April 2015:
Hey Kaitlin! I'm here for our swap.

I was in a but of a Fluff-y mood, so when I saw this, I decided to come check it out. D'you know, in almost every one-shot I've read (which, granted, isn't a lot of them), it's been either a character going through a painful, angsty experience, or else a brief, hopeful romantic encounter. Often, those are very good. But I like that this was something different--just a reminder of how much Harry loved to fly. It's a simple joy, and it's short and sweet, but it really just lifted my heart. I know that, technically, we know that Harry became an auror, but I always loved the idea of him as a professional Quidditch player or a teacher. He could totally have taken a bit of a sabbatical to be Oliver's Seeker. I think he'd have loved it, and I suspect Ginny might have enjoyed the competition.

Your opening sentence is beautifully constructed. The champagne analogy is a great one, because it suggests celebration. The long-lost lover analogy for the wind is great because it reminds us of how much Harry has always loved to fly, how much he'd miss it if he couldn't. The final description of the wind's wildness just polishes the opening off and really gives us an idea of the freedom and the wildness and the joy Harry would feel like flying. They're subtle details, but good choices.

Ha! Harry would think of Draco besting when he was showing off--"the good old days". Some things never change. ; )

"For the first time in ages, Harry felt like The Boy Who Was Alive." I thought this was a really wonderful sentence. For some reason, it just struck me.


Harry pushed off of the ground for the first time in what was years,
--Maybe, "for the first time in years," or "for the first time in what felt like years,"?

Emptiness settled into his mind.
--I think a word like "clarity" or "peace" might suit this sentence better. Emptiness of the mind sounds a little ominous.

Well, I was just wondering how you’re wife is going to take you being on an opposing team.
--"you're" should be "your". I'm always doing that!

I feel like if Harry's going to use a word like gallimaufry (which is a GREAT word, and I know that you *had* to use it), he has to have a reason for picking such a unique word. Like, "How would Hermione describe it? A gallimaufry!" Harry's not really into using fancy words, so I feel like if he does use it, he needs an explanation. It was on the word-of-the-day calendar Neville gave him; someone else uses it earlier in the scene; it's a dish Molly makes that also has another meaning--anything, really. Just some explanation for why he would be using that particular descriptor.

This piece put a smile on my face. It was just full of such simple joy! It was sweet. I just liked the idea of witnessing Harry getting back on his broom, and of all the freedom and the surge of youth it would give him. I think it's just the thing he would need, after all he goes through in the books. It was fun to experience it with him.

Thanks for the swap! I really like reading your stuff.


Author's Response: Hi Penny!

I know what you mean about there not really being a middle ground between dark, angsty and fluffy, romantic. When I wrote this, I really just wanted it to be about Harry being happy.

I honestly see Harry getting burned out on the always saving the day scenario at some point, so I kind of imagine him working as an Auror for a few years and then leaving to play Quidditch. I think it's nice to imagine him doing something just for the sheer joy of it.

I'm glad you liked the opening chapter. I honestly was worried that since this was mostly description people might find it a bit boring. I'm glad to hear that it's working alright.

Of course Harry would think of clobbering Draco in Quidditch! You're right. Some things never change! :D

Almost everyone has pointed out the line about The Boy Who Was Alive. It's one of my favorites as well. I just really wanted to stress the difference that enjoying something makes.

Thank you so much for pointing out those typos. I will fix them soon!

Yeah. I can see what you mean about the word. I'll have to try and figure out what to do with it.

Thanks for the swap! I'm enjoying reading your stuff as well!


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Review #8, by Penelope InkwellFounders Four: Pillars of the Ages: Chapter Two: Every Beginning is an End

21st April 2015:
Okay, well obviously I had to come back and read the next chapter of this story. I was promised action, and there was certainly some action here at the end of this. Yikes!

Your voice continues to be well-developed. I love the atmosphere you draw--when the scene is peaceful, I feel the peace. I can visualize it fully. When the scene is frightening or tense, I feel the fear and the tension. That's quite well done.

I loved that you included the Slytherin locket! What a fun touch. It's one of the fun things in these fics, when there's a sort of shout out to things we know. They're even more enjoyable in stories that are set this far in the past, when there are fewer familiar elements for us to expect. It always comes as a nice surprise.

Oh my gosh, this cliffhanger! Is Amara going to be okay? I mean, she's pregnant. I hope the baby survives this rough treatment. I hope they all survive! How horrible that, as worried as Ingvar was, all his fears should come to pass so soon. And even worse, if anything happens to his family, Salazar will probably blame himself! But it's not his fault--he was only using parseltongue to try to protect his mother. Poor baby!

I'm really curious to learn more about Salazar--I am a Slytherin after all. I suppose if something happens to his family at the hands of Muggles, his future purist stance wouldn't be surprising. Not at all justified, of course, but not surprising.

Where is Godric in all this? I can only hope he comes riding in to save the day. Yikes yikes yikes. This is a very precarious ending place and I am nervous.

Also, is Godric a Muggleborn? Is that why Ingvar took him in?

CC: There were a few little things here and there, not what I consider real mistakes, like plot issues or anything. Just little snags:

He'd forgotten how peaceful the spicy scent of the herbs Amera collected every morning were, wafting through the air as they hung down from the low ceiling rafters by the hearth, and of the bright flowers she sat out in the rickety table on the far side of the main room, sat just the right position to be highlighted by the sunrays streaming through the window right above.

--I love the picture you're painting - it's so charming and really sets the scene. It gives us a beautifully clear sense of what Godric has missed about this place, and why it feels like home (which, of course, makes it all the more upsetting when the peace is broken). However, the sentence runs on a bit. I think it would be stronger with a break, maybe between describing the herbs and describing the flowers.

--Also, Amara's name is spell Amera here

--It should probably be "how peaceful the spicy scents of the herbs were," or "how peaceful the spicy scent of the herbs was."

"but when you quite you lose a lot more.
--I think "quite" probably ought to be "quit".

There are others out there, Ingvar, other children. Shouldn't that have a chance too?"
--"Shouldn't that have a chance too" might ought to be "Shouldn't they have a chance too?"

"She had eggs, with you were coming too close to."
--Maybe, "She had eggs, which you were coming to close to," or, "She had eggs, and you were coming too close to them."

I'm glad I came back to read this second chapter. I'd definitely be interested in checking out more of the story in the future. Thanks for the swap!


Author's Response: Thanks for the review, and for pointing out those pesky errors! I'm halfway done with chapter three now, so you're just going to have to hang tight a bit longer.

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Review #9, by Penelope InkwellFounders Four: Pillars of the Ages: Chapter one: The Beginning

21st April 2015:
Hey there! Penny (Penelope Inkwell) here for our review swap, :D

So, you've got a nice beginning here. You mention in your chapter preview that you feel it's a bit slow, but that things take a sharp turn towards exciting ends in the next chapter. That's probably a good thing to tell readers ahead of time, given that it's listed as an Action/Adventure fic, so that they know the action is coming. However, I must say that while it wasn't full of action, I didn't find the chapter at all boring. It seemed like good set up. If you're worried about it, or if you notice a more-than-usual fall off of readers between chapters 1 and 2, you could always have a brief prologue with a more direct hint at the trouble to come, but I think this chapter is quite well-written as is.

I love the way you begin, breaking the fourth wall! It sounds very much like a story-teller, which fits a fic like this--set in a long-ago time--wonderfully. I particularly like how you had the four founders' homes listed in a way that rhymed. It set up that old story, oral tradition feel, and also made it feel a bit magical, like a spell.

I don't know how old Salazar will be throughout the story, but I think casting him as a boy to begin was a nice choice. He seems shy and bookish, which makes him a sympathetic character, even if he does (to our knowledge) grow a bit villainous later. We didn't learn much about him, but that just makes him more mysterious and, thusly, makes me more curious.

Godric sounds very much as I would imagine him--the embodiment of a Gryffindor. A bit impatient, likes a joke, plenty of swagger in his step, a giant among men, and a warrior. You've obviously got an interesting setup, if Salazar Slytherin's father is somehow his mentor!

Your writing is just really solid. You add plenty of description, so that I can see the scene clearly. You let us into the character's heads enough that I get a sense of them. Your first two paragraphs, in particular, really brought that magical sense of storytelling in, and I loved it.

Also, I think you've made good language choices. The characters speak formally enough to give the sense that the story's a bit old, but it's not full of thees and thous and difficult spellings that make it hard to follow, like some Founder's Fics I've run across.

CC: I noticed 2 small things. In the first paragraph, you describe the warm "afternoon air", but then in the next sentence you inform us that it is evening. That's just a little detail that caught me as I was trying to picture the scene.

The other thing I noticed was at the beginning of Godric's section. It says, He imagined that he likely seemed all the world as lost as he truly was,. I think the sentence is missing a "to", as in "He imagined that he likely seemed to all the world as lost as he truly was."

I enjoyed this chapter, You have a really nice writing style, and it certainly made me curious about where this story is going: what Salazar and Godric's initial relationship will be like, what this problem is that's on the horizon, and when we'll meet the other founders. You've done very nice work here--it's a good chapter and a promising idea.

Thanks for the swap!


Author's Response: Thank you for the review, and for pointing out those errors! They drive me nuts! I'm so happy that this is going so well, and kinda sad I'm keeping people waiting. I really love reviews like this. Thank you so much for taking the time to give such awesome feedback! :D

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Review #10, by Penelope InkwellRace Against Time : Chapter 2

19th April 2015:

I had so much fun on our swap, and I wanted to know what happened next, so I thought I'd drop by and do some extra R & R!

"Truth be told, I liked and respect Dumbledore very much, but at times, his enigmatic ways could wear on a person. "
--girl, don't we know it. Relatable. As. Heck.

It was interesting to see the meeting where Dumbledore hired Lupin. At some point it must have been obvious to me that he hired Remus on purpose--the last living friend of his parents (that wasn't a convicted criminal), to be there for him during this whole Sirius Black thing (and, if he suspected Sirius' innocence, to be there for Sirius). However, I'd completely forgotten about that. But of course it wasn't a coincidence!

"Dumbledore seemed to have enough, he slammed his hand down on the desk which caused both me and Remus to jump."
--Whoa! We got a little Goblet of Fire Movie version of Dumbledore here, huh? Just kidding ; ) Banging your hand on the desk is a lot less intense than pushing a kid up against a pensieve and going all DID YOU PUT YOUR NAME IN THE GOBLET OF FIRE?! on him ;) I was glad to see Dumbledore convince him in one fell swoop, rather than a drawn out battle over days. But that's Dumbeldore for you.

“And if I don’t, you’ll place me in detention? Take away my Prefect status?” Remus challenged with a smirk.
--I like seeing how, even though Remus was the well behaved one, he was a Marauder, best friend to James and Sirius. Obviously he'd have a bit of snark in him :)

Poor Emmaline, though. Now the only person who could understand her will be off at Hogwarts while she's dealing with hunting down her ex-boyfriend!


"'I – I supposed you’re right, Em,' he croaked."
--"supposed" should be "suppose".

Also--this is just a suggestion--it might be cute if Remus starts off calling Albus "Professor Dumbledore", or "Professor". The way you have them running into the castle and looking around his office makes them seem so much like kids again, and they are in this kind of lost state. It would also be a good way to drive home Remus' new position--that Dumbledore considers him a peer. And I just think it might be cute as he stumbles over it. But like I said, that's just a suggestion, not a CC or anything!

I really want to know what happens next! I hope the next chapter's coming out soon : D


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Review #11, by Penelope InkwellTaming the Dragon Tamer: [one]

19th April 2015:
Hi! I'm Penny, and I'm here for the review swap!

Okay, *cracks knuckles*. So, you've got Charlie Weasley, dragons, and diversity--all excellent things. I don't think I've ever read an HP fic where one of the characters was in a wheelchair, so that's a nice change. The chapter reads smoothly and quickly.

I like how Charlie's obsession with dragons comes across here. It seems like he's used it to replace a family he loves, but doesn't feel he quite fits in with. Since he doesn't have any comfortable human relationships, he's buried himself in work with animals. Aww, poor Charlie. But he seems good at his work, and good with animals, and the dragons give him a sort of rugged appeal--nice qualities in a romantic lead.

His reluctance to sit still and not work seems very like a Weasley--I can't imagine Arthur not tinkering with something, or Molly not caring for everyone like a motherly whirlwind, for a single day. And the way he gets impatience after about 5 minutes of convalescence is kind of adorable.

I'd love to see a bit more in the way of description. You always set up the locations really nicely--the hospital, the office--but I'd love to see a few more details in between the set up of different scenes--what the papers he's shuffling feels like in his hands, what his fellow workers look like. Charlie doesn't seem like a details guy, really, so I'm not suggesting getting into the nitty gritty. But it can be good to keep describing the scene as the action is occurring, rather than setting up the location and just letting the action play out from there with little addition visual information.

The other thing I noticed is that the beginning is a lot of telling, rather than showing. It might strengthen the story if Charlie doesn't tell, all in one go, his concerns about his entire family and his past relationship issues. It's good to make it clear from the get-go that he's single and lonely, but instead of spelling it all out, sometimes it's best to drop breadcrumbs and let people come to the conclusions on their own--it's more interesting than being told outright. So if you mention that he's never brought anyone home, that he's not sure his parents would approve, etc., and then have him noticing Christopher Parker in a very obvious way (as he does), his sexual orientation and his concerns about his family's response would all become quite clear without having been spelled out. Audiences like to have to wait for pieces to fall into place, because it tugs your interest along. I mean, granted, it's clear from the description that Charlie is gay, but that's another reason not to just say everything about his love life outright--people already have an idea of it. And then maybe you could tuck the information about his past relationship, and why it ended, in a bit later, so that it isn't just a big pile of information on his love life all in one place.

Those are fairly picky CC's--like I said, more stylistic preference, but there wasn't much aside from picky things to point out. This chapter flowed nicely, and sets up their relationship in a bit of a Pride and Prejudice fashion (one of my favorite books--I'm a sucker for the bad first impression). So that was cute. I mean, prejudice isn't cute--what's cute is how clearly Christopher is no doubt going to show Charlie he is dead wrong. That'll be fun!

This seems to me like a good beginning! Dragons and pride and prejudice and representation for minority groups--what more could you want? : )

Thanks for the swap!


Author's Response: Hey Penny!

Thanks for the swap and thanks for all the help.

I'm already working on the details, Kaitlin has pointed that out as well. I believe it gets better in the second chapter.

I wasn't really happy with this first chapter, most of it is to get the story started, but I might be able to work on it some more to make everything fit together more elegantly.

Thanks for the help


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Review #12, by Penelope InkwellRace Against Time : Chapter 1

19th April 2015:

Okay, so I really like this. I don't know exactly what it is that caught me, but normally I don't much care for Sirius/Anyone stories--too depressing, for me, considering how his life goes and how early it ends. I can think of maybe 1 I ever read most of the way through. However, this one really interested me. I like how you describe everything--even though it's a short chapter, I can picture the rooms and see detail. And I don't know much about Emmaline, but I find myself wanting to know more. She's obviously been just barely getting along, dealing with what I'm assuming is some Depression and PTSD from the war, and from the betrayal. Will she find out the truth about Sirius? If so, how will she deal? Will she help him? Hunt him down?

I really am curious. Somehow, I'm already inclined to like her. Maybe it's the sort of no nonsense attitude she has. She's alive, so she's going to live, even if she has to take it step by step. She's been betrayed, but she tries to focus on the good things in her life--her job and her friends. She goes to Remus and wastes no time in getting things sorted. I can respect that. She's obviously resilient. This is a big thing to bounce back from though, and it makes me really curious. You did a nice job with this chapter, because it definitely makes me want to keep reading on.


Most of us completely immersed ourselves with our work...
--It would be better to say "immersed ourselves in our work, rather than "with".

Occasionally I would pop by and see how he was managing, but I haven’t been by in quite a while.
--The rest of your story is all in past tense, but here you use the present with "haven't". It would be better to switch it to "hadn't" to keep things consistent.

Overall, though, really nice job with spelling and grammar :) Something is always going to slip past, but I noticed very few mistakes. That is always so nice to see in a story. Two thumbs up!

Thanks for the swap! I enjoyed it :D


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Review #13, by Penelope InkwellDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Midnight Routines

18th April 2015:
Wow--it's been a while since I'd read the first two chapters of this story, but most of it came back really quickly!

This was such an intense chapter. I mean, the last one was, as well, of course. I like Geoffrey. I'm glad Devlin. He really seems to care about Devlin, even to the point of risking his own life. On some level he must feel like it's better that Devlin is back with his family, right? Or he could have just walked back to the Death Eaters and never showed up at the safe house. It also makes sense, though, that after all this time Devlin would be pretty brain washed. And being brainwashed by Voldemort, of all people...

I still don't feel like I know a whole lot about Devlin, but I like how you juxtapose these images of him as a tired little kid with others of him being kind of mouthy and even a little creepy. It definitely sets up how messed up his upbringing has been, and what a challenge it will be for him to acclimate.

The idea that he would reject Harry, though, is just really heartbreaking. Hopefully he comes around. After all they've been through, they deserve to be a family!


"Now that there were no eyes to preform in front of..."
--"preform" should be "perform".

There were no eyes to see him, not even the boys.
--"boys" should be boy's

Very intense chapter. It certainly makes me curious (if a little apprehensive), but I'm holding out hope that things will be alright in the end! Thanks for the swap!


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Review #14, by Penelope InkwellBruises: Terror

18th April 2015:
Hey Kaitlin,

First of all, can I just say that I love your banner? I mean, obvious props to the artist, but all the banners I saw on your page were beautiful, so you sure know how to pick them.

This story drew me in immediately. The scene you set is so creepy. At first, I was trying to figure out how this could connect to the wizarding world, and by the time I figured it out--ugh! So scary. But it makes so much sense. If the world of Hogwarts and all that comes with it was real, it seems quite likely that this would happen to people. Ick...shivers.

I think description of the mental institution worked really well. Caroline is in that "trapped animal" state, which is natural (especially if any part of her subconscious remembers what happened to her and that she would have fought it--it would be normal to be afraid like that, anyway, but it seems like some part of her remembered that she was in danger). I really liked how you described the place as dingy, too--makes sense for a doctor that is claiming to remove magical ability. How would you even get funding for that? It definitely seems like it would be a back alley sort of operation, so that really fit.

Also, you gave plenty of description--which made sense, Caroline was trapped in the room without much else to look at--but keeping it in short paragraphs instead of big blocks of text helped show her shattered sense of security and shaky mental state.

Her interactions with her family were good--that distance, that brokenness, really drove home the horrible state they had put her in. I also think it was a good choice to take away her speech, since they had tried to take away her opportunity to be who she wanted to be. In essence, they took her voice. It was good in terms of symbolism, but it also added to how separate she felt from the world around her--it really drove home her vulnerability. It was painful, but a good choice, I think.

I LOVE how you give Caroline a little sister, so that the cycle will continue. It really is the perfect ending.

CC: As a general rule, I almost always give CC--even more when I like the story. I appreciate when people help me find snags, because I can almost never get a beta. It's mostly just the little spelling and grammar things that get lost in the writing shuffle, though. I think you did a great job with this piece. It was so intense! I wanted to fly through it, but at the same time I wanted to make myself go slow so that I did not miss a single detail, which is pretty much the ideal pace in my mind. Good work!

Content-wise, I only had 2 things. One--though we never learn Sarah's age, she seems young (at least inasmuch as she calls Caroline "sissy"), but in her monologue she sounds a little too adult, which makes it seem less like a child communicating and more like necessary exposition. A few "ums" and some smaller words would fix that right up, though.

I think in that first scene--the first time she wakes up and fights the restraints--it would be great if you could describe it in a little more detail. It goes by really fast, and if you could add in the feeling of her muscles straining, of shaking with effort--anything like that, it would help us to really sense the urgency.

The sturdy man in the blue jays me with the sharp object in his hand.
---Jays is meant to be jabs, right?

Your parent’s are coming to visit you. 
---"parent's" ought to be just "parents".

The initial fear induced violent behavior has subsided...
---it should be "fear-induced". It's a small thing, but without the dash, I initially read induced as a verb, so I expect it to be something like, "The initial fear induced violent behavior, which has subsided." For a second that though me off.

a plain, weather worn looking woman.
---weather worn should be either "weatherworn" or "weather-worn". 

At first, my mother tries to make small talk, but gives up one she realizes no one else cares.
---"one" should be "once".

Lastly, there was this final sentence:
It is something they will never take from me no matter how hard they try and something they will never try to take from my sister if they value their lives.

I really like it! It's a good ending, because it reestablishes Caroline's strength--she's been determined this whole time, but also kind of lost. I love how, after everything she's been through, she digs in her heels her to defend herself and her sister. It gives hope to the story and sets them up as a team, despite the awful things that have happened. However, I think it would be stronger, as a sentence, if you broke it up with a comma or a dash or a semi-colon at some point, as it seems a little bit run-on-ish, which diminishes some of its punch.

Very nice job! If you ever want to do another swap, please PM me. This was fun! (Totally creepy, but fun! I always enjoy good writing).


Author's Response: Hi Penny,

Geez. You really do leave some amazing reviews!

In regards to the banners, I have been really, really lucky. This particular banner was just randomly assigned to me for a challenge and all the rest were the things people at TDA came up with. I literally have nothing to do with it. I just write out the most vague guidelines possible and then let them do their thing. It is really amazing what they come up with!

I'm so happy that you think the scenario I created could be realistic if magic existed. I kind of sort of based this around really fervent religious belief that you see in the Midwest and South US. I could imagine some of these types of people thinking that magic was devil's work and possibly trying to "cure" their children of it.

I definitely see this as a back alley sort of operation. I doubt that a government would sanction a lobotomy program, although I do sort of envision this being around 1950 or so, so it could very well be possible.

The not being able to speak seemed natural to me. Tapping into someones brain can cause all sorts of side affects and from the very little that I know about lobotomies, I've read that it can affect speech. Also, in regards to the story itself, I felt like it was a good idea because then Caroline can't just ask for an explanation. She has to piece it together little by little.

I imagine Sarah being around 11 or 12, so I guess young enough to look up to her big sister, but old enough to be aware of what's going on. When I edit this though, I will definitely take a hard look at her dialogue and see if I can tweak it a bit.

I have to be quite honest in regards to your suggestion about the opening scene. I feel pretty strongly about how it is now. I wanted it to signify how panicked she is, but I also wanted it to be brief because they wouldn't let her thrash around for long before tranquilizing her. I thought letting it read a bit quicker might give it that sort of feeling.

Thank you for pointing out the typos. Unfortunately, my writing process is literally that I sit down on an impulse and start writing and don't stop until it's done. I try to give it a once over and spell check before I post, but it's definitely easy to miss little things. I will fix them during editing.

Thank you also for your notes on the ending. I'll take a look at it and see how I might move it around a bit.

I really enjoyed this swap as well! Finding this lovely, detailed review made my day!


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Review #15, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xxi. the rest of our lives [or] an epilogue of sorts

20th October 2014:
Well, that tied up nicely. I've enjoyed this story.

I was totally wrong about Rose and Emily, then, but that's okay. It's nice to mix it up sometimes and have an MC who doesn't end up with anyone. I'm glad that it all worked out, and that they got the scholarship and had a bit of fun as well. I think the experience was good for all of them and, despite their worries, I suspect that this lot will remain close.

Thanks for the story!


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Review #16, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: the spirit of fred weasley [or] exit, pursued by a bear

20th October 2014:
Okay, mega-points for turning "Exit, pursued by a bear" which was already excellent, into a prank.

And reggae-style Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts? That was inspired. Also, I love that their last prank wasn't just funny. It also gave the whole year a good time.

Also glad to see that they all did well on their exams. Not that I ever doubted they would, the crazies. Of course, it's very easy to be sure of someone's prospects when your future isn't actually riding on them, so I can't blame the Order of the Raven for going absolutely mad over exams.


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Review #17, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xix. the calm before the storm [or] regroup; onward

20th October 2014:
“Always the tone of surprise."
--Nice reference. Made me smile

“I will duel any teacher who thinks you’d let them down.”
--This was great. So Hermione.

Well, I'm not usually a vindictive person, especially when it comes to wishing damaging, long-term consequences on people, but Louis and Lucien deserved that, for sure. I mean, how awful! Besides, Hermione totally did the right thing. And if she'd done anything different, the opposition would have just accused her of burying the incident because he was family.

They're absolutely right, though. Fred would want them to go out with a bang!


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Review #18, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xviii. the hour of reckoning [or] april fool's

20th October 2014:
Well, that was a right mess.

Honestly, if I were Rose, I don't think I'd have got over Alfie sleeping with one of my closest friends/my cousin's super-recent ex-boyfriend quite so quickly. It's less to do with the sleeping-with-the-same-person thing than it is the whole emotional trauma thing. Like, I'd think that someone who did that didn't have a lot of respect for me, even if we weren't together. That said, I'm not piling blame on Alfie for everyone else's emotional issues. I just couldn't have hooked up with him immediately after - on some level, I don't get it. But then, Rose is a big girl and she can make her own decisions, and forgiveness is a virtue, and all that.

AWW! I loved the way they did the Howlers with each other's favorite works of literature. It was adorable, and totally dorky in a way that fit them perfectly. It was just perfect, over all. That was some well done resolution.

Louis. Ugh! He really is the worst. I can only hope that he doesn't know Lester's backstory, because that would just make him unbearably awful. Seriously. Ugh. Good on Rose, though, for staying sensible in a stressful situation and outwitting him!


I did have this one thought. Rose says of Holly and Lester, "Neither of them are particularly close to Albus." And I get that you mean particularly as in, they are not close to Albus above all others. But "particularly" in that context usually reads as "very" or "that". Like, neither of them are that close to Albus. And, of course, they are all quite close. So maybe I'd suggest saying something like, "None of them were as close to Albus as I was" just to clear things up.


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Review #19, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xvii. the implosion [or] when it all hits the fan

20th October 2014:

OH, MY...

I did not see that coming even a little. Poor Scorpius. Hopefully they'll patch things up. But wow.

Favorite quote:

"Alfie’s so deep in the closet he’s eating Turkish Delight with the White Witch of Narnia."

Also, Rose's prank idea is terribly clever. No, like it's terrible--the idea of your almost-finished essay self-destructing?--but clever.


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Review #20, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xvi. the way ahead [or] i reminisce too much and scorpius has a plan

20th October 2014:
Whew. This was a big chapter, too.

So, all my questions of Rose's unresolved introspection were solved here. She was quite introspect-y.

I liked the thought that "good" isn't always the exact equivalent of "well behaved" and vice versa, especially since your behavior being in line with what an institution expects may not actually have anything to do with how moral said behavior is or isn't...if that makes sense. It's late, and my brain's a bit addled.

I like that we're getting a sense of the teachers being real people. It makes it easier to picture Rose and Holly being part of that crowd.

Aww, poor Lester. I really feel for him.

Interested to see how this last big prank turns out, and how Louis' turns out, as well. How can you combat Felix Felicis?


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Review #21, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xv. the game-changer [or] between a rock and a hard place

19th October 2014:
Oh dear. Poor Rose. That's so difficult, and I'm very glad that they were willing to call in Holly.

Man, this chapter was packed. Rose was so casual about it last chapter, I didn't even realize it had been her first time. In fact, she seems quite blasé about the whole thing. Not that I assume it has to be on the same level of enormity for everyone, but she seems to barely even process it. Of course, maybe it already had her on edge, having such a big event happen and not really processing it? Maybe that's part of what led to her panic attack? Not that I'm suggesting that losing one's virginity leads to panic. Calmness or being emotional are both fair responses. But it could have put her in a more tenuous emotional state.

Then again, perhaps the two had nothing to do with one another. But I am surprised she didn't think about it more. Or maybe she did, and there was just so much in this chapter that it's slipped my mind. Because this one was really a rollercoaster. I feel like so much happened!

Six thousand galleons? Oh my goodness!


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Review #22, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xiv. the easter buns [or] don't leave me to my own devices

19th October 2014:
I really want to know what Professor Vector is going to make of Bunnygate (that's what I'm calling it in my head, anyway).

So, Rose and Alfie, huh? Well, I'm glad to see that Rose finally gets a bit of romance. Though my theory is that she'll end up with someone else. But we shall see. Alfie seems like a nice guy.

I'm sure they'd like to see the holidays stretch on forever--these poor kids need a break--but I am eagerly looking forward to what happens when everyone gets back.


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Review #23, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xiii. the smoking gun [or] i flew too close to the sun

19th October 2014:
Well, we know Rose can totally become a Potions mistress! She can obviously think on her feet. After all, she figured out a name and alternate explanation for the Valentine's prank on the spot, with Professor Vector and the teacher of the subject she wishes to one day take over staring at her. Plus, she's getting lots of thinking-outside-the-box experience from this scholarship.

I wish there had been a pranking scholarship back when I was in high school. We could have used something to liven things up a bit.

Favorite quotes:

-What happens in detention?”
-“I’ve heard stories,” Albus offers.

“You sort of have to royally [mess] up to lose your badge,” Scorpius points out. “My dad never lost his, and he tried to assassinate the Headmaster.”

If you need me – don’t. It’s Faculty Friday at the Three Broomsticks, and I want my half-price pint.”


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Review #24, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xii. the art of love [or] nothing is sacred anymore

19th October 2014:
I'm so glad that they were concerned about consent and things going too far, because that's exactly the sort of thing that would have given me pause planning this kind of prank. And the Potion theory was clever, with the Hades/Persephone thing.

Hmm...I wonder what this whole Lara/Louis debacle will turn into.

The bit about this happening at Beauxbatons, too, struck me as really funny.

Favorite quotes:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Rose on her success,” Albus says, smirking. “And on the beautiful poet’s heart that lies within. May nobody ever awaken it again.”

“He did,” Albus confirms. “He always said he wouldn’t give it to me until I could say the words truthfully. So when I told him about the scholarship over Christmas, he said it was time I had it.”

--I just love this detail! I really do. I'm sure James couldn't be prouder.

Unfortunately, no refuge can be found from the hell known as Other People’s Love Lives.
--Girl, I feel you. This is a problem I have faced so often. There is no escape.

Great chapter!


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Review #25, by Penelope InkwellThe Fred Weasley Memorial Scholarship: xi. the drawing board [or] my time to shine

19th October 2014:
Hermione's reaction to the Draught of the Living Death shortcuts--bwahahah! That was such a great detail to include.

I'm really looking forward to the themed pranks! That should be fun.

Aww. House Elves. I just love House Elves. They're like bunnies. Anytime there are Elves around, I'm smiling :D


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