Reading Reviews for Effortlessly Dead
  
40 Reviews Found

Review #1, by MrsJaydeMalfoy A Chance Encounter

14th March 2015:
Hi there dear! Nope, I haven't forgotten about the rest of your reviews!

The whole time Menna was in that tree, I was holding my breath! I was so scared she was either going to get caught, or fall and get hurt! Great way to build up the suspense!

I have to say, dear, that your description really is incredible. The way you described the crumpled-up letter was so vivid! And *gasps* The whole "death for one and life for another" thing is eerie!

As soon as Menna started contemplating staying for longer, I felt wary - and then the doorknob!! I hope they don't catch her! By the way, I am still really awed at how easily you make it to relate to a villain!

Haha! I thought the comparison of TV to dark magic was hilarious, and very creative - I imagine that's something a lot of wizards would think!

Oh no, Aunt Blance sounds awful! Maybe even worse than Ron's Great Aunt Tessy! :P

I really liked that we get a glimpse of what happened to cause someone to interrupt Menna's mission. And poor Galen! *Gasps* Oh no! What's Menna about to do?!

Whew! Well at least she left him alive, but I've got a feeling Menna's family is going to be all over her about this, again!

Ah ha! Cosmas is definitely hiding something. And now the Shrikes are in even more trouble!

I know Ron thinks he's rambling, but I'm starting to wonder if he's on to something... maybe I'm being paranoid but, I'm wondering if Cosmas DID know about this beforehand... could he and Ifan somehow be in cahoots, since Ifan's the one who sent Menna there? Hm... very suspenseful!

This was another fabulous chapter dear, and I can't wait to read the next!

Author's Response: Hello again!

I love the fact that you found that scene suspenseful when I never really considered it to be that way when I was writing it! Funny how these things turn out. :)

Aw, thanks! I enjoyed writing that moment so I'm glad you liked it! Also glad that you liked the "death and life" thing! It took me a while to figure out how to word the message in the letter so it's good that it turned out the way I intended it!

Oh, yes, she is practically inviting trouble with that decision... And thanks!

No doubt many wizards (particularly those who have very little contact with Muggles) regard the television with the deepest mistrust - unless it's Arthur Weasley, of course! I'm glad you liked this little insight into how Galen views the world.

She's awful - the very epitome of a cranky old woman who thinks everything was better back in her day. Thankfully she's not scheduled to appear again anytime soon...

I had every intention of returning to that scene, this time from Galen's POV, but it's great that it wasn't obvious from the start! Poor Galen, indeed... He still hasn't forgiven me for that. :)

You can count on it! Mistakes aren't really tolerated in that household...

All I will say that the Shrikes are definitely in trouble! As for Cosmas... who knows? ;)

Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. ;) There's something fishy going on and even those involved are confused. Who is keeping what from whom? It will all be revealed in due time!

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!

- Emmi


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Review #2, by MrsJaydeMalfoy Secret Plans

22nd February 2015:
Hey there dear! I know this is so terribly late, but I am (finally) here with your reward reviews for Team Friar's victory in the Rescue Mission. (Yes, I know that was forever ago, I'm so sorry it has taken me so long to get to this!)

And now - on to your review!

Right, so first off, I'm really glad and excited to be coming back to this story, as I thoroughly enjoyed the first two chapters! And this one did NOT disappoint! And by the way, I'm reviewing as I read, so if this review seems a bit chaotic, I'm sorry!

The first part of the chapter was very pleasant and actually kind of cute.. and then, with the 'Magpie' statement, it was like a Dun dun DUN!! moment. (If that makes sense. haha) It definitely brought my mind back to what's been going on in earlier chapters.

Even though I really feel like I shouldn't be sympathizing with Menna, you kind of can't help it... she made a mistake, and now she's miserable and stuck in the nest. And it seems like not only is she taking it hard, but everyone else is giving her a hard time about the mistake, too.

I was really interested in the 'she hasn't really focused on using her powers much' bit of information, and I'm curious to see where that leads later on!

Ooh, I have to agree that going by herself is a BAD idea.. and of course she knows how to sneak out of the house! It wouldn't be very Menna-like for her not to! :P

Awww, I was kind of glad for Menna when her Grandfather arrived, but I felt really bad for her when he mentioned the incident, too. And what is he not telling them? And Uh oh. If Ifan only knew what he had just done.. he wouldn't have done it.

Hm... I am really curious about Galen's 'bad feeling' about the body. But I have a feeling something will happen soon enough that will answer my questions.

And Wow.. so now we're seeing the Fawley family's side of things, too. You know, something I noticed in this chapter was the complexity of the plot (and I mean that in a GOOD way). Many stories deal with only a few characters, only a few plot lines/details, etc. You however, have so many different characters and families, each with their own motives and story to tell, and somehow you manage to keep them all clearly organized and separated and defined... it truly is amazing. You tell not just the story of the shrikes, but of the entire community. It's really brilliant!

This was another intriguing, fascinating chapter, and I can't wait to read the next! Well done!

Author's Response: Hey!

Don't worry about this being late; in all honesty, I had completely forgotten about it...

I'm really happy you enjoyed this chapter! It's funny how you found the first scene pleasant and cute when the characters are most definitely not pleasant and cute! I'm also glad that there were details that reminded you of what happened in the first two chapters! There's so much going on that sometimes I worry the readers are going to get all confused... Glad that that wasn't the case, though!

Menna has turned out to be surprisingly likable. That's good; I would be seriously worried if people disliked one of the main characters in the story! Rhian's "not-punishment" is so severe that I really don't want to know what her idea of a punishment is...

I imagine it leads to trouble. ;) Menna is very skilled about causing trouble wherever she goes.

If it's a bad idea, she's going to do it. That's very Menna-like, too. :D She's such a child still... in more ways than one! And yes, she's very good at sneaking out of the house. Ifan and Aled should both know this because they, too, used to sneak out when they thought no one was watching... And yet they leave her completely unsupervised. *tsk, tsk*

It seems like everyone is inclined to mention the incident at least once. It wouldn't be a very effective "not-punishment" if they didn't. And everyone in the family has some kind of a secret. This is not going to end well... And if Ifan had known what he just did, he would have done it anyway. Because he's that sort of a person.

Hmm, I wonder... It should be brought up soon enough!

Thank you! Truthfully, I would find it very difficult to write this story with only a few characters. I find much more natural to include several characters and several different perspectives to tell the story from (and to thoroughly confuse the reader...). I'm not exactly sure how I do it, though. It's an instict, I guess. I'm so glad you like it, though! I'm particularly pleased that you find the characters and the families distinct from each other!

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this! I'm looking forward to hearing from you again!

- Emmi


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Review #3, by marauderfan Uneasy Alliance

8th February 2015:
Emmi! I'm sorry in advance this will be a short review as I don't have much time but I just wanted to let you know I loved this chapter! I am curious how Murdo intends to go forward with his plan, and I don't think it can be good. Also, I am soo eager to see how Galen and Menna work together because they are so opposite and already off to a rocky start and just I don't know how it's going to work! haha. I did enjoy reading their arguing. :D Awesome chapter! ♥

Author's Response: I'm so glad you loved this! I was worried it might be too heavy on the dialogue, particularly the second part. I was also worried if Menna and Galen's arguing was too tedious but I'm glad that wasn't the case! I, too, wonder how they're going to work together from now on... They don't know that themselves! As for Murdo... well, that guy always has something in his sleeve, so we'll have to see how what's going to happen next. :)

Thank you so much for reviewing!

- Emmi


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Review #4, by BellaLestrange87 A Chance Encounter

24th January 2015:
I'm finally back (and in the middle of exam period, so I'm procrastinating on studying, of course)!

I wonder if Menna doesn't like large crowds for a reason or if she, being a member of the small Shrike family, merely isn't used to them. And I'm also wondering if there's a reason she thinks that all healers are goody two-shoes.

Ah the vase from last chapter (at least I think it was last chapter)!

I think that something is going to hit the fan once Menna gets back to the Nest with that piece of paper. Which I'm looking forward to, to be honest.

Little kids have really weird imaginations. I guess Galen knows that firsthand now. I can certainly sympathize with him wanting to escape everything.

Why do I feel like Cosmas is lying to Galen about this thing he thought he had brought with him?

I love how calm Robards is here. You can definitely tell he's a veteran Auror that's seen a lot during his service and wouldn't be fazed by an angry woman.

What is Cosmas trying to hide here? That and this lie that I suspected earlier, as well as his reluctance to go through his stuff in front of the Aurors makes me think that he's up to something fishy.

I love how the first (well, probably not the first, but one of the first few) things Ron thinks about is how Hermione's going to be mad at him for working too much.

I only found 1 typo:

Menna grouched behind a waist-high hedge growing a few foot away from the manor and gazed at the building thoughtfully. Menna crouched

It's 11:30 at night right now so this review probably isn't the best but I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hey Olivia!

I don't know if I should be pleased or worried that you're reading and reviewing this story instead of studying... ^_^; Whichever the case is, welcome back! I'm happy to see you again!

It's interesting that you noticed that little detail! I plan to address that in more detail in the future, so I won't say anything about that for now, but rest assured, it will come up in chapter ten or thereabouts. Good eyes, though! Regarding her attitude towards healers, that's just Menna being her usual "loveable" self. :)

Yup, that's the vase from chapter three! Methinks Galen wouldn't have complained at all if she had broken it. ;)

Oh, yes, thinks are about to get ugly. Glad that you're looking forward to it and I can't wait to hear your opinions!

I imagine Galen is already dreading the day Annabel and Geoffrey have children. Not that he doesn't like kids, he just doesn't look forward to answering the odd questions they might come up with. :)

He might, he might not. ;) I'm not saying anything since that's classified... for now!

Nothing prepares you for angry women whose wedding was just ruined than fighting Voldemort and Death Eaters. ;) I'm pretty sure that he'd choose the Death Eaters over an angry Annabel, though... I would!

What indeed... He's hiding something, that much I'm willing to say!

I imagine him pulling long hours is a common topic in Ron and Hermione's household. Ron does feel a little guilty that he has to be so much away from home but Hermione knows what his job is like and understands although she doesn't always like it.

As always, thanks for pointing out the typo for me, and for reading and reviewing this!

- Emmi


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Review #5, by teh tarik Death Comes Calling

15th January 2015:
Hello! I'm here for the Hufflepuff Hot Seat Review. :) I've heard so much about this story, so I'm really excited to finally be reading this!

So, OK, this is such an amazing chapter! Even though it's the first one, I love how you plunge straight into the action and establish that sense of mystery right from the onset. The first section was so chilling to read from the assassin's perspective. And And I like how all that action and the murder that is about to take place is foreshadowed in the cat playing with its food.

Your characters are an interesting bunch. I enjoyed reading the little tidbits of info you dropped in about Galen, about his homelife and background and such. I'm keen to find out more about him. I also love that your characters work in the morgue! I have a fascination with reading morgue scenes in fic, and yours was so detailed and so chilling. I love this idea about a group of magical assassins called the Shrikes. There's so much mystery about them an their methods and history and I honestly can't wait to find out more.

This is a fantastic start; great work, and I can't wait to read on. :)

-teh

Author's Response: Hey teh! I'm glad you decided to check this story out!

Thanks for your compliments! That seemed like the perfect way to start this story and I'm glad you liked it!

I'm also glad you like the characters! OCs are always a risky business because there's no telling whether or not the readers will like them. Hopefully you'll still like Galen after you find out more about him. :p It seems like making him work in the morgue was the right decision although I'm a little surprised you found it so detailed because I didn't purposefully make it that way. Still, I'm glad to hear that!

The Shrikes are the reason I started writing this story so it makes me so happy you're intrigued by them! I hope the rest of the story will be your satisfaction!

Thanks again for reviewing!

- Emmi


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Review #6, by marauderfan Gone

14th January 2015:
Hi Emmi! Happy Hot Seat Day!

I was so glad to come back to this story! Except now I've reached the end of the posted chapters and aaah! I want more of this story, it's so good!

That first scene was so intense and emotional and it was just so difficult to read as I could sympathise with basically all of them. Which means you've done an amazing job of building up your characters so far. Nia's back story is so sad! But I'm so glad you included it and I love the idea that if she hadn't been in a clan of assassins, she could have been a really successful healer. It's really interesting as she's one on the 'bad' side (murdering, etc) who has all these powers of good, and I love that contrast.

And the memories Ifan thinks of while he's worried about whether he should have saved Menna or Aled. Seriously - what a choice to be faced with, and I can't imagine how furious he must be with himself, when really he would have hated it no matter which way it turned out.

Joseph Swift, what an obnoxious person! He struck me as sort of like Gilderoy Lockhart only competent and good at what he does. Which is in a way even more annoying :p but ugh. Poor Galen having to deal with him!

Um, was it just me or is there some sort of chemistry between Galen and Menna? I kind of ship them. Is that okay? :P Maybe I'm crazy but I SEE IT, I SWEAR. *climbs into sinking, leaky canoe and raises Galenna flag*

BUT WHERE DID THEY GO?! Aah!

Favourited the story so now I can pounce as soon as there's a new chapter :P

Great chapter, Emmi! This story just gets better and better. :)

Author's Response: Yes, this is the end... for now! Chapter nine is in the works and if nothing dramatic happens, it should be in the queue by the end of the month! I keep repeating this so I will actually finish it in time...

That first part was surprisingly hard to write even though I knew what I wanted to include in that section. Writing strong emotions is never easy. I'm so glad you liked Nia's backstory! I was debating with myself whether or not I should include it because I was worried the readers might find it unnecessary. I like that contradiction between her skills and the family she was born into myself and it makes me so happy you like it as well!

Poor Ifan. I'm being really hard on him, aren't I? The things I make the characters go through... You're quite right, he would have hated the situation no matter the outcome.

So based on the reviews so far, Joseph is a cross between Gilderoy Lockhart and Cormac McLaggen. That's... pretty bad. :D But funny, I have to admit. He's a fun character to write about but thankfully he won't appear that often.

Yes, it's more than okay to ship Menna and Galen (although the two of them are pretty horrified by the whole idea ;)).

And who knows where they went... Stay tuned for the next epi... I mean, chapter!

Thank you for the review and for favouriting this! Hopefully I see you soon!

- Emmi


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Review #7, by CambAngst 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 #8, by writeyourheartout Gone

4th January 2015:
*waves* Back for more!

Actually, I should confess, I read this last night, but was too tired to write out a review simultaneously or even take notes, so I'm working a bit on memory for this particular review now, so please forgive me if it's slightly less detailed than usual!

The first section was so freaking intense, Emmi! I mean, omg... the tension in that room with the family was just crazy ridiculous. And I sort of felt torn while reading, because I understood everyone's perspective on the events that had just happened - Menna's anger towards Ifan, Ifan's guilt about Aled and - for once - silence during the majority of that scene, and Rhian's anger and blame towards Menna, plus everyone who was just trying to be comforting. A lot happening at once and it made for an excellent read.

One thing I love in particular about you and your writing style is that you so clearly understand who every one of your characters is - even the more minor ones who don't spend much time in the spotlight. For example, the glimpse into Nia's past... ugh, that was so sad. But, again, it shows how three-dimensional you characters are - how each of them has a story of their own within the Shrike clan, and it makes me all the more inclined to root for them - for all of them.

What a twist when Menna disappeared! Honestly, I feel like I should have expected it by this point, seeing as she's always doing irrational things to make up for a mistake, but I truly didn't see it coming. I thought that after her break down and after being scolded by the one and only Rhian, that she was down for the count for the rest of that day, at least! But nope! She disappears right underneath their noses, yet again. hahaha She's the best, but I also kind of want to slap some sense into her. :-p

And then off to Galen! I love his POV so much. He's got this humor about him that I didn't really pick up on as much before, but that really shined through in this chapter - both when he was talking to Joseph and when he was being threatened by Menna.

BY THE WAY: If I thought Vance was annoying, this Joseph character just blew him out of the water. Holy cow, did he need to be slapped. Poor, patient Galen, stuck being - mostly - nice to him. I don't think most people could handle that level of stupid quite so well. :-p

AND THEN THE MENNA AND GALEN SCENE! Is this the scene that started off the entire Effortlessly Dead universe? I have a sneaking suspicion it might be... Either way, I just loved it. I'm not sure I can even quite articulate what I want to say... Just that I love the way Galen reacts to her hostility - not so much with fear, but something closer to amusement. They definitely have an undeniable chemistry.

My favorite moment was right at the very end when he grabs her and they apparate away! Gah! Why did you have to end it there?! You horrible, mean, cliff-hanging person, you! hahaha I hope chapter nine will be out soon, because I am dying to know what happens next between them! Hopefully chapter nine includes one of their perspectives too, or else I might have to wait even longer to find out! Eep!

This was excellent. As always. Can't wait to read more! ♥

Tanya

Author's Response: Hello Tanya!

Can I have your memory? I don't think I could have managed this amount of detail based solely on memory!

I'm so, so happy you liked the first section! I was a little worried there would be too much going on and the reader would be confused about who this person is and what they're talking about. I'm glad that this was not the case!

There is so much information about each of the characters that I think only a fraction will actually end up being mentioned in the actual story! I enjoy creating characters (so much so that at some point I have to stop and focus on writing the story! :p) and giving them their defining quirks. So glad that this shows in the writing and you like the characters! I was a bit worried that Nia's back story would seem redundant and unnecessary, but gladly it had the intended effect!

Yay! I managed to catch you by surprise! That makes me so happy! I kind of expected her disappearance would be predictable, given how she's always doing her own thing, but this was a pleasant surprise! She does need someone slapping some sense into her, though, and I've got just the right person for the job in mind. ;) Whether he's successful or not remains to be seen...

Galen's humorous side came as a bit of a surprise to me as well, I have to admit (just like Ifan's disinterest in magic). Then again, we've only seen interact with his colleagues in chapters one and seven; the rest of the time he's been with his family with whom he has a slightly strained relationship. It seems like he can be himself when surrounded by the people he works with.

Oh, Joseph. I wouldn't tolerate him a second in real life (and I don't think Vance would either!), but he's so, so much fun to write about! Thankfully we won't be seeing much of him. ;)

Yes! That is the very scene that started everything and I'm so glad you liked it!

I ended it at that scene because cliffhangers are the best way to end a chapter! ;) Hopefully I'll have chapter nine out by the end of January (preferably earlier...) and don't worry, Menna and Galen will appear in it, so you'll find out what happens to them next. I wonder if I manage to catch again you by surprise. We'll have wait and see!

- Emmi


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Review #9, by CambAngst 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 #10, by writeyourheartout Two for Sorrow

3rd January 2015:
And I'm back again immediately because I was too intrigued to walk away. So hello again, Emmi! ^.^

AHA! IT WAS MURDO! Although he was expecting someone else! I wonder who... O_O I predict he will be very sorry very soon that it was Menna he got instead. I know my girl is gonna put him in his place... or at least I very much hope so! *fingers crossed*

Oh boy, Murdo. Not only is Menna hopefully going to own you, but you seriously dissed your girlfriend. Trouble, trouble, everywhere. But aww... the way he thinks about her in the aftermath of the fight is really quite sweet. That first impression I got of him really wasn't too far off, I suppose - at least in regards to Gry. It's nice that you have these assassins and murderers who aren't like Voldemort, but who actually care for and protect the people in their lives, regardless of their activities.

I love that you tied in little reminders of the past as Murdo attacks Menna - the eyes in particular really made an impact as he sort of struggles between the then and the now. AND THEN MENNA TAKES HIM OUT WITH A HEADBUTT. THAT'S MY GIRL. Well, 'takes him out' is a bit of an exaggeration, but still. I love how after attacking her, he's now trying out smalltalk. hahaha I also love that as of right now, I still have no idea what his intentions are! Does he really just want to talk? I'm about as suspicious as Menna. I love their back and forth, though.

AH! MURDO IS THE ONE WHO FRAMED MENNA! CRAZY! Ugh and he's so nonchalant about it! Guilty as charged. This scene is so intense! It takes a lot to shake up Menna, and seeing her clearly frightened and being backed into a corner is really something. Although now I'm thinking perhaps even that was a facade? Like how the way she held the knife was meant to be misleading - to make her look like an amateur - perhaps her demeanor was the same? Eep!

THIS LINE: "Oh, I didn't miss," she said, smiling nastily. "I hit you right where I wanted to." - DID SHE? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHAT EXACTLY DID SHE DO TO HIM? AND NOW THEY'RE ATTACKING HER. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?

...I suppose that will have to be answered later. Hello Galen, my love. :-p

Daww, he and Rosie are so fun together - even whilst working on dead people. hehehe And I love that Galen talks to them when no one's around. He's the best. ^.^ There's so much humor in this chapter, and you write it just as well as you write everything else.

CRUP CHASE! CRUP CHASE! SOMETHING CRAZY'S ABOUT TO HAPPEN! *holds breath* OMG OMG OMG SO MUCH IS HAPPENING. (Is it weird that even in all this chaos, I was a little giddy when Galen and Menna locked eyes? Aww, and then he wants to help her! ♥ I will continue to ship them regardless of what happens.) MURDO JUST SAW ALED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS. OMG THIS IS INSANITY AND I AM LOVING IT. (Though, fingers crossed all of the Shrikes get away unharmed - or at least alive!) EXCEPT OMG ALED! WHAT HAPPENED? AND WAS IT ACTUALLY IFAN'S FAULT, LIKE GALEN SEEMED TO THINK IT MIGHT BE? EMMI THIS IS CRAZY!

Oh, thank goodness for Galen! Aled's alive! Eep! Yay! Phew! And Galen... I didn't think it was possible, but he continues to grow on me more and more! I mean, he kept her knife and hopes to return it to her. They're both so awesome, I need them to be at least a small thing together. :-p

This chapter was my favorite so far. It was just incredible. So much happened and I really can't wait to read more. And if chapter eight is your favorite, I can only imagine the sheer amounts of amazing it must contain, because this chapter was so phenomenal. I should definitely try to sleep, because it's really late here now, but I have to keep reading. I can't promise a review tonight, only because I'm sleepy and might soon be incoherent, but expect it soon! :)

Tanya

Author's Response: Hello again Tanya! :)

Yes, it was Murdo the Magpie! He wasn't expecting Menna because he had been certain they'd keep a close eye on her after her previous blunder and wouldn't let her wonder off on her own... Shows how little he actually knows. :)

Murdo has trouble relating to other people since he didn't have many chances to interact with others when he was younger. However, he's very protective of Gry and would do basically anything for her (anything except let go of his obsession with the Shrikes, of course). I've done my best to show that these people are humans, not monsters, and despite what they do, they do have a heart.

As you've probably already surmised, Murdo has trouble letting go of the past. Anything and everything that reminds him of that night is bound to get a reaction out of him. Like Menna's eyes, for instance. And you're quite right to be suspicious of Murdo. I very much doubt he wants to just talk...

Menna was genuinely frightened at that moment, true enough, but she wouldn't show it that easily. So that part was an act. :) She has an excellent aim and that strike was meant to show to Murdo she was not to be underestimated; sort of "See? I can hit you anywhere I want."

Cliffhangers are the best, don't you think so too? ;) I'm pretty certain the job description for medical examiners requires them to have a sense of humour; otherwise it would be too morbid down in the morgue.

When I was writing that part, I was wondering if it was ever going to end. o.O It was insane! So much was happening! And no, it's not weird at all you were giddy when their eyes met. They do make a pretty cute couple. :) And I don't think anyone knows for certain if it was Ifan's fault or someone else's; I think it was more than one spell that hit him.

Galen and Menna will cross paths soon; I wonder if I manage to catch you by surprise this time. :) Hopefully you'll like chapter eight as much as I do!

Until next time!

- Emmi


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Review #11, by writeyourheartout Trouble Arising

3rd January 2015:
Hi Emmi! Back for more! ^.^

Another fantastic chapter, of course!

I really loved getting to see things from Gawain's perspective! It's so much fun reading through his theories and understanding his thought process while knowing the truth - or at least a good amount of it - already ourselves. Part of me wants to grab him by the shoulders and shake him when he's on the wrong track and give him meaningful looks when he's on the right one! But alas, I don't think this story is interactive, huh? :-p

The end of his section was so thrilling! Like, I'm half-excited that something crazy might be happening, and half-nervous that my darling Menna might be in trouble! You're so incredible at building up tension and suspense; it's what I love about this story - you always keep me on my toes with these little surprises!

Side-note: I'm still wondering exactly how Cosmas Fawley ties into this whole Shrike/Magpie thing! It's super intriguing. That man is a mystery unto himself right now.

Aled's section is just as fascinating, and for very similar reasons - me knowing what he doesn't quite understand yet (or at least in the beginning of this section). I love the slow build to the truth, though, with the cat's appearance striking him as odd to remembering the promise that of course Menna was bound to break from the beginning. I also really enjoy it when Aled and Ifan have scenes together, because they're brothers, but they're so different from each other and it always makes for an interesting read. Aled does tend to be more of a worry-wart than the rest of the family, but when Ifan worries, you know it's something serious.

Also, before I wrap up this section, I just have to ask: is Aled the one letting the cat into Ifan's room? Bahahaha! Either way, your little sprinkles of humor throughout the story are always such a nice touch.

And now... MENNA! ♥

...the thigh-length, thick cardigan had one advantage: it completely hid the thin knife she had strapped on her back hipbone. - Gah! She is crazy bad-ass. Your descriptions here are really wonderful, with her stuck in the cold, contemplating her options.

Hmm... I wonder why her birthday this year matters?

OMG. SOMETHING'S HAPPENING! Not gonna lie, I definitely was not expecting her to run into trouble just then! Excellent twist there, right at the end, and quite a cliffhanger, too! Eep! The first second she bumped into the guy, I actually thought it might be Galen, but as it continued - obviously with her not recognizing this person - I quickly ruled him out and now I'm thinking it's Murdo! Does that mean he thought her to be the weakest link, though?... That doesn't seem right... Unless he's just terribly uneducated in the awesome that is Menna. So maybe it's Vance? Or... someone else completely? LOL Clearly I have no idea, to which I say great job! Nothing better than an unpredictable story!

Some minor details:
- No matter how hard he looked, he couldn't find any reason for Cosmas Fawley to have *so vicious enemies that they would **sent the Shrikes after him. - *such, **send
- ...that would throw the suspicion *of off him. - *off of
- Why *where the Fawleys chosen as a target? - *were
- Why *sent that to us and not to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement?" - *send
- He said *us much to Ifan. - *as
- Menna contemplated her attire to get her mind *of off the cold. - *off of
- He was faster, though, and snatched her wrist in a *wise-like grip. - *vice-like grip

As always, this was brilliant. I'm going to at least start the next chapter/review now, but I might not finish it today because it's a long chapter! hehehe I'm excited to see what it holds, though! Oh! And then chapter eight! Your favorite! Eep! I'm closing in! :-D

Great job, Emmi. You and this story are just phenomenal. ♥

Tanya

Author's Response: Hey Tanya!

Gawain Robards is slowly sneaking his way into my list of favourite characters. I have half a mind to write a story about him... No, unfortunately this story isn't interactive so you can't give clues to the characters. ;) That would be fun, though, if that was possible!

Of course Menna is in some kind of trouble. Trouble is her middle name (well, no, not really; it's Angharad... but it could be). So glad you like the tension! I have always so much fun writing those parts.

I'll never tell! ...No, wait, yes I will! Just not right now. ;)

Aled really is such a worry-wart. Ifan is both amused and exasperated by it. Writing those two together is so much fun (really, what isn't?) because it guarantees some funny moments, like with the cat. Aled is indeed the one who keeps letting it into Ifan's bedroom. He thinks it's hilarious but he'd rather his big brother never finds out about it...

Yes, Menna! That was one of the hardest parts to write in the whole chapter since I had to write and rewrite that scene several times till I got the description right, so I'm glad you liked it! Don't worry, you'll find out soon enough why her birthday matters. :)

Yay, I managed to catch you by surprise! I really enjoyed writing that part so it's great to hear it had the intended effect! And double yay for you trying to guess the identity of the person! You'll find out soon enough...

Thanks for pointing those out to me and for all of the compliments! They always put a huge smile on my face!

Until next time!

- Emmi


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Review #12, by BellaLestrange87 Secret Plans

31st December 2014:
So this is attempt number two at reviewing this. My computer crashed just as I was about to post it. *throws laptop across room*

I really loved the first section. We get a clear look at Gry and Murdo, and a feel for their personalities, as well as their motives. I liked the banter between them, as well as Gry's dislike of how Murdo shouted his mouth off in front of the waitress. Do all boys do that? I swear, I know a few that do that. And they're the Magpie (or part of it, I obviously don't know)! This should be interesting: two (well three, I suppose, if you include the Aurors) groups of people, all of whom are likeable, that hate each other. I can't wait for the next couple of chapters.

The second section was just as good. I like Menna more and more as I get to know her. And yes, her motives, while honourable, are based off the wrong judgement: she should let her family know where she'll be, in case anything happens to her. Just because she's holding a grudge against them for something that was her fault doesn't justify it. And that rustle in the bushes she remembers hearing! Now that we know of the Magpie's existence, I'm beginning to think that Menna's killing wasn't as clear-cut as she seemed to think.

I loved the Fawley's section. Clearly, there's more to Galen than a convenient point of view from the first chapter, and I like him. As well as his relations with his sister. Who is this Elinor Swift? I have to admit, it's not a very wizard-sounding name? A muggle-born, perhaps? All the references to little things, pet peeves in their relations with each other, were excellent. It's the sort of things that's present in real life that we don't usually see.

What, exactly, is Cosmas Fawley up to? Obviously, it has something to do with the Shrikes, or else Menna wouldn't be sent on a mission to their mansion. Judging from Fawley's first thought after he read the cryptic letter he was sent, I'm inclined to think that he's working with the Magpie. He mentions that it had started, and my first thought was that the Magpie's manipulation of the Shrike family had begun.

You might want to edit these:

You have way too active imagination, my dear. - you have a way too active imagination

He got up and tossed a few coins on the table before helping Gry her coat on. - before helping Gry put her coat on

Iím going to learn how to control whether with magic. - how to control weather with magic

Even if they had already buried him, there should be pictured of the body - there should be pictures

She couldnít quite decide should she be insulted or hurt by this. - quite decide if she should be

If you do happen to find something that might pose threat to us - something that might pose a threat to us

Isnít that a gift from certain Elinor Swift? - a gift from a certain

Nothing he could do now expect reply to the message - nothing he could do now except reply to the message

As with last chapter, they didn't take too much away, and if I hadn't been paying so much attention to the story (and reading it out loud, as well), I probably wouldn't have caught them. This was another excellent chapter!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hello Olivia!

Glad that you liked the first section and the first appearances of Murdo and Gry. I can't say if all boys are like that but Murdo most certainly is; occasionally it seems like he was raised in a barrel... And all of the groups are likeable in their own way. I do hope the readers won't be confused about whose side they're supposed to be on. On second thoughts, it could be highly entertaining if that happened... Hmm.

It makes me so happy to hear you like Menna! It would be a bit problematic if the readers didn't care for the main character. :) You'll soon find out that Menna often bases her actions on conclusions that are faulty or make sense to no one but her. She has a very unfortunate habit of jumping to conclusions...

Glad you like Galen as well! He's very important character so it's important to me that the readers find him at least a little likable. Elinor Swift is, in the mind of Galen's mother, the perfect wife for him, although he very much disagrees. The Swifts are half-bloods, and Elinor was named after her Muggle grandmother.

Cosmas Fawley is up to something very interesting, I'll tell you that much. You are right that the Magpie is ready to make his move but I'd say he has been manipulating the Shrikes for quite some time now.

Once again, thanks for pointing the mistakes out! You've been reading the story out loud? That makes me so happy!

Thank you so much for the review!

- Emmi


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Review #13, by TactfulWildebeest Gone

30th December 2014:
And I've arrived at the end (for now). This week-long journey through your quite special tale has been an excellent experience so far. Almost on part with the few occasions on which I receive grass that actually comes from my native land. Truthfully, your story would transcend such occasions, but for a wildebeest a native feast is a much rarer occurrence. And they believe that being raised in captivity I can't tell the difference. Silly humans.

The chapter was an intriguing chance of pace after an action-packed Chapter 7, but then I suppose it had to be. And in its own way it had action as well, from the powerful verbal confrontation between Menna and the matriarch to this sudden disapparition to avoid detection. Galen Fawley is becoming a more intriguing character all the time - I can say that much. I wonder how much deeper he will be folded into all this now. Will Menna the menace strike him dead or will something more intriguing happen? Now I have to wait like everyone else who's caught up. Sigh.

Before departing I will say I did notice a few typographical errors here and there: "loss" instead of "lost" (or an omitted preceding "at a" - who can say?) and "intension" instead of "intention". Minor detractors though.

What sparkled fresh however was the character of Joseph Swift. Somehow I doubt we'll be seeing heaps more of him, but he was amusing in the same manner as Cormac McLaggen could be (at least in the films).

For now, alas, this is goodbye. But I trust I'll be back again when a new chapter appears. Perhaps then you will discover that I am not a wildebeest at all, but a living, breathing individual who has adopted a peculiar reviewing persona to mask my true identity.

Your faithful reader,

T

Author's Response: My dear Wildebeest,

You've now reached the end of the available chapters of Effortlessly Dead. But fear not, I do my best to have the next chapter out in January. Let's hope it won't take four to five months like it has previously...

The change in pace was indeed done on purpose since this chapter was meant to deal with the aftermath of the events in ch. seven. It is also one of the most important chapters in the whole story since that scene right at the end was one that I've been itching to write since the very beginning. In fact, you could say it was the starting point for the whole story.

Galen is a very important character in the story - as important as Menna, in fact (Menna the menace, LOL! That's a nice nickname!). What will become of him, I will not say... you'll have to wait until next year to see what happens! ;)

Bah, I always miss silly mistakes like that! Thanks for pointing them out!

I had great fun writing Joseph, but I was worried if the readers would find him as much fun as I did. Glad you liked him though! True, we won't be seeing much of him, but it's great to have someone provide comic relief when things are getting too morbid.

I'm looking forward to seeing you again, whether as a wildebeest or as a person. All reviews mean much to me, regardless of who is giving them. Though I must say, wildebeest is a superb form of disguise!

- Emmi


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Review #14, by TactfulWildebeest Two for Sorrow

30th December 2014:
Sorry to have kept you waiting again. Alas, the large tree from the neighboring exhibit collapsed in the midst of an unseasonable rainstorm and crushed the barrier between my herd and the lemurs to smithereens. This is the first moment I've had alone since disaster struck!

This chapter was rather delightful in its structure. The beginning was so focused before everything intensified with the initial clash between Murdo and Menna where you showed what a shrewd operator our reckless young Shrike can be. Was that a ploy of yours? To make her seem less reckless than foolish? Interesting. But of course it was followed by the delightful banter between the coroners. It's not often that humor finds its way into dealing with bodies. Indeed, the zookeepers have only watched two shows that accomplished it with any flair at all - Psych and Bones. But nevertheless you did it well and the back-and-forth between Galen and Rosie was thoroughly enjoyable, even before the introduction of Mac's rabbit allergy. The poor man. Fortunately, my only allergy is to carnivorous beasts. And then just like that, you transitioned back to further action - intense action at that. Some kind of spell that struck Aled, felling and grievously wounding without killing him. It almost strikes one as a more lenient version of Dolohov's curse.

Gry, I will also say was more sharp-toothed than I imagined. I wondered when she originally appeared about her exact role and her degree of knowledge of who and what Murdo is, but apparently she is no slouch herself, even if she had altogether different motives for being there in the first place.

I will see you in your last chapter soon, Emmi...

Author's Response: Hello, dear Wildebeest!

I never really intend the confrontation between Menna and Murdo to showcase her as not reckless since she most definitely is. I was trying to underline that recklessness; while she is scared of Murdo (she's been raised with stories about the brutality of Magpies) she still doesn't fully understand how dangerous he can be and confidently believes she can take him on without any problems. Quite foolish. I do love it when readers interpret things differently than what you intended and you're all like "Wow, that makes a lot of sense". The way you interpreted that moment is perfectly plausible.

I think having a sense of humour is essential for anyone working with bodies. Things would become too morbid if that wasn't the case. Glad that you liked Galen and Rosie's banter!

Aled was actually struck by multiple curses. I envisioned it to be a similar to what happened to Malfoy, Grabbe and Goyle at the end of the Goblet of Fire; small tentacles had sprouted across Grabbe's face when caught in the crossfire of spells. Something similar happened here, although far more serious.

And Gry. She's not at all what she seems, is she? In my head, she and Murdo have always been equally capable of murder, although she's motivated by her loyalty and love to Murdo rather than by revenge like he is.

- Emmi


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Review #15, by writeyourheartout In Motion

30th December 2014:
Oh my dearest darling Emmi... I know I shouldn't be surprised by this at all, but wow - what a great chapter! Just like always. How do you do it? Give me you talent right meow! :-p

This first section was great. I love that we pick up bits and pieces of the Magpie slowly over the course of the story, so that I never quite feel like I know enough to satisfy my curiosity; I am always left wanting to know even more!

I love the moment shared between Menna and Aled. It was pretty great seeing her dad really stand firm and be a bit harsh towards Menna, and even better was seeing Menna show some actual signs of guilt! I mean, I knew the second she made that promise to Aled that she was just feeding him what he wanted to hear, but it was sweet to see her actually care about her father's feelings, as different as they may be from one another.

And then the way you ended that section! Gah! You've got me all nervous, now, leaving the last line at "...she couldn't quite silence the nagging feeling that told her she was making a mistake." I mean... something's bound to go wrong, isn't it? Eep! I hope she stays safe! And, assuming she runs into Galen again while there, I hope he stays safe too! You know they're both my favorites. DON'T YOU HURT THEM! ;)

And then this second section. Your description during the dream is to die for. Really beautifully done. And what a surprise that it's big, bad Murdo having this nightmare! And OMG MURDO IS DEFINITELY THE MAGPIE, YEAH? ...We didn't know that for sure before now, did we? It's been a little bit since I read the last Murdo scene, but this definitely feels new, and OMG. CRAZY. I think last time I wrote about Murdo, I said that he actually seemed kind of sweet because of the way he interacted with Gry, but if it's between him and Menna, you know whose side I'm on! :-p

Sheesh. Vance sure is annoying, isn't he? hahaha He seems super sleazy, and I definitely don't blame Murdo for his distrust. That was why Murdo had resolved to dispose of him permanently as soon as he was no longer useful to him. - Can't really blame him for that either... LOL Not that I'm condoning murder, of course. hehehe I still can't get over how casually cruel your characters can be. It's endlessly intriguing.

And then the ending...

OH GOD, WHO'S THE WEAKEST LINK?

I suppose we'll find out soon enough, yeah? Gah, this is still so great and exciting and I hope I get the chance to pop over to chapter six soon! As always, you are brilliant. Really great chapter, Emmi, and I'll be seeing you soon. :)

Tanya

Author's Response: Hello Tanya!

Unfortunately I don't know how I do it! I just do my best! (And I see what you did there! :))

That's the whole point! :D So glad that's how you feel since that is what I'm aiming at! That moment between Menna and Aled was one of my favourites to write so I'm glad you enjoyed it. And of course things will go wrong since that will only make things more interesting! I can't promise I won't hurt Menna and/or Galen; they both have a tendency to poke their noses where they don't belong, after all. ;)

It makes me so happy you liked the dream scene! I had to rewrite big chunks of it since the first version was rather awkward... And yes, Murdo is the Magpie! I don't think I ever explicitly stated it before, only hinted at it.

Vance has to be one of the most annoying people ever. He's fun to write about but I don't think I'd be able to tolerate him for long periods of time. Murdo's quite right not to trust him, although his dislike for Vance is partially fuelled by the fact that Gry can't stand him.

LOL, not telling! ;) And yes, you'll find out soon enough!

Until next time!

- Emmi


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Review #16, by BellaLestrange87 In the Nest of Shrikes

30th December 2014:
I've been meaning to get back to this for a while now, but haven't really had the chance. I really enjoyed this chapter. I liked the two different perspectives: that of the Shrikes, who appear to be a normal, healthy family, aside from the killing people aspect, and that of the Aurors.

I loved the banter between Ifan and Menna. Again, this reinforces the feeling I got of them being a normal family, aside from the, you know, hired assassin part.

I liked Menna's personality. Clearly, she's a no-nonsense kind of girl (although why she couldn't have made her own breakfast eludes me, especially if it was well-known that Ifan couldn't cook.) and I love those characters: people that don't take sass.

Haha, Harry having a staring contest with the owl! That part made me laugh, I have to admit. The thought of the famous Harry Potter, defeater of Voldemort, being beaten by a mere owl caused me to sit here and giggle for a few minutes before I could keep on reading. It made me wonder, though, why Harry couldn't simply have summoned the disc-thing to him, instead of trying unsuccessfully to coax it from the owl (who obviously wasn't going to give it to him.)

I'm really happy that Proudfoot is female! Throughout the series (well, only from OotP on, since that's when we get introduced to them), I had the opinion that Proudfoot was a guy. That would make the Auror department overwhelmingly male, since the only female Auror in the series timeline we've known about - canonically - has been Tonks.

And I loved Proudfoot's personality, too. She'd have to be tough, to survive and thrive in what I imagine was a male-dominated work environment (and a tough work environment, anyways), and yet you need to have a light side, too.

I like how Harry is clueless about the Shrikes. Since he was raised by the Dursleys, he'd have no idea who this family was, and therefore wouldn't be aware of the implications of this, while everyone else - people who were raised in the wizarding world - start acting all worried, he has no clue. If that even made any sense.

I liked the last section. Clearly, there's more here than the Shrikes simply accepting money and killing whoever they are told to take out. However, there would have to be awareness on the side of the Magpie as to when Menna would have been striking, in order to get near her and frame her after she'd left the scene.

I noticed a few small typos:

"Beside her on the table was bundle of black cloth and between its folds something silvery was poking out." - was a bundle of black cloth

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

"Gawain Robards, the head of the Aurors, had decided to send someone more qualified with dealing dangerous curses." - more qualified with dealing with dangerous curses, or more qualified to deal with. The way it is now makes it sound as if the Aurors (Harry and Ron) are going to be casting these curses in question.

"grabbled with and defeated such notorious Death Eaters as Dolohov, Yaxley and the Lestrange brothers." I had to google with grabble meant, and I brought up "to search with the hand" and "to lie or fall prone". Did you perhaps mean to use grapple here?

"Robards was a lean wizard with a black hair even messier than Harryís and clever amber eyes." - a lean wizard with black hair

"us keeping quiet lulls our enemy into false sense of security and he moves to strike again." - into a false sense of security

The typos didn't detract from the chapter, though, which was really good! I can see why a lot of people are recommending this!

~Olivia

Author's Response: Hello Olivia!

I'm glad that you enjoyed this chapter. I enjoyed writing the banter between Ifan and Menna so it makes me happy that you liked it as well. Also glad that you liked Menna's personality! The reason she didn't cook her own breakfast is that she hates cooking, so much so that she's willing to let someone as inept as Ifan do it so that she doesn't have to...

Glad that Harry's staring contest and defeat at the hands of the owl amused you, since I had so much fun writing that scene! Harry doesn't summon the disc from the owl because he can't (it was the first thing he tried); it's enchanted against the Summoning Charm. So he's forced to try to lure the owl away from the disc so that he can get his hands on it, but of course, the owl refuses to budge...

I wanted to have at least one female Auror in the story and since I don't think Proudfoot's gender was ever stated, I decided make them that female Auror (it's always fun to take a minor or mentioned-only character from the series and expand on them). I imagine she's great fun to have around, although none of the other Aurors (the younger ones particularly) want to have practice duels against her since she regularly wipes the floor with them.

Don't worry, that made perfect sense! Since Harry was raised by Muggles, obviously even now there would be things he's never heard about before. It gives me the perfect excuse to tell the reader more about the Shrikes. ;)

The Magpie has eyes and ears everywhere. That's all I'm going to say at this point. :)

As always, thanks for pointing out the typos for me. Glad to hear that they don't detract from the chapter, though!

Again, thanks for the review!

- Emmi


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Review #17, by TactfulWildebeest Trouble Arising

28th December 2014:
Aha! Here I am again, though I must bid you adieu for the night after this last of my little gifts. At the start of this chapter, there were three very minor things that jumped out, that I wanted to get out of the way. First, I noticed this from Gawain Robards - "inconclusively" - I think from context that you in fact meant "conclusively". Perhaps the sentence had been written a different way originally? Second, I spotted this "remained with the quests" - I do believe you meant "guests." Also, you mention a distinction between the DMLE and the Auror Office and indeed there is, however, my undrestanding is that the Auror Office is not separate and distinct from DMLE, but rather a part of it. Minor, very minor as I've said, but you seem the very diligent type so I thought I'd share them with you.

Now, for the story itself. I enjoyed Gawain Robards and in particular his reminiscence over the invented object of "chameleon keys". How clever! And it truly does demonstrate how crimes can exist on MANY tiers practically speaking, from things that seem almost like pranks (but are criminalized nevertheless) to those of true gravity like murder and others that the muggle world would consider felonious.
Robards also immediately comes across as a quite deliberate fellow and open-minded as well, being open to exploring the theories of some of his least senior staff (even if they do carry a certain reputation). Also on the characterization note, the background and banter on Aled and Ifan was quite excellently rendered as well.

But of course, the best part had to be the cliffhanger at the end of this particular chapter. Who has found Menna I wonder? And what will become of her? Or perhaps I should ask what will become of him? Intriguing questions all, and though she has behaved rather foolishly since she was set up, I have to admit that given how much she's featured, I have a certain fondness for her.

As I said, I must go for now, but I will return tomorrow for the next installment. It will be a difficult wait.

Author's Response: Hello once more!

It is entirely possible I had edited that sentence and forgot to change that word. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that had happened (editing is my least favourite part of any writing).

Gawain Robards is slowly becoming one of my favourites. If I don't watch out, I'll be writing a story about him before I even realise it... I very much like the concept of chameleon keys although I most certainly wouldn't want to be at the receiving end of that "prank". Robards is well liked by those who work for him precisely because he is willing to listen to any and all ideas, regardless of who came up with them. I'd like to be working for him, I think.

I dare say both Menna and the mystery man are in for quite some trouble. ;) Glad that you like Menna, even though she can be foolish and childish at times!

Until next time!

- Emmi


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Review #18, by TactfulWildebeest In Motion

28th December 2014:
Ahh, I am back for more, as promised.

First, let me commend you on avoiding one of the most pernicious grammatical mistakes that even native English-speakers make. The omission of the s following the possessive apostrophe when an individual's last name ends with an s. Well done! Truly, it is one of my pet peeves.

I was also pleased to discover I was right about this Murdo character. A dark soul indeed, though surely the Shrikes seem (at least for now) much to blame for that. I wonder if there will be more coverage in the future of the hold his father had on him that encouraged him to seek revenge. And now, I am left to wonder who is the weakest link...it could mean a number of people based on the coverage of the Shrikes thus far...and Menna's recent injury.

Though this will be one of my shorter reviews unfortunately, rest assured that it is only so because I am so eager to move on to the next chapter of your tale.

I will be back with another of these soon.

Author's Response: Hello again!

The Shrikes are indeed in part to blame for Murdo's obsession with them, although his father is equally responsible ("you must uphold the family tradition" etc., etc.). I've always imagined Murdo's father to be a very unpleasant person. And it's good you're wondering who the weakest link is! You're supposed to. ;) I'll give you a hint: you've already met that person. ;)

- Emmi


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Review #19, by TactfulWildebeest A Chance Encounter

28th December 2014:
Ahh, so it is Emmi? Finally a name to a username! I would tell you mine, but then you couldn't pronounce it. We have quite different vocal structures I think - hence why I can only write human languages. You are also too right about the comparison with reindeer...my fear is that this means fundraising is off badly if they are reducing us to circus animals. That is actually what caused me to miss yesterday. I was nearly caught on this device by an intern when the fool forgot his keys! I may have my issues with this place, but I can assure you I have no desire to wind up 'going viral' or to be made into any more of a public spectacle than I already am. That's more the red-reared baboons' bag. Anyway, I digress...

I may as well confess to you now that I normally turn my nose up when chapters routinely exceed 5,000 words. All too often I find them plodding and full of unnecessary detail - too much telling and not enough showing - but you are once again an exception! The blend of action and investigation in this chapter was compelling and the side of family troubles we got was amusing as well. After all, what better day to lead to potential quarrels than a wedding! I remember when two of our herd were encouraged by the keepers to start...well, just know that eventually there was a serious injury and one of our number was transferred.

What I particularly enjoyed about this chapter however was the characterization of Mr. Ronald Weasley. As a highly-accomplished war veteran and child chess prodigy certainly he ought to thrive in this type of situation. Maturity in him I am certain would breed excellence rather than continued clumsiness and comic relief and you did an excellent job of showing that maturity and competence here. Though he's never been my favorite, I do think he gets quite a bit less credit than he deserves.

As for this Menna...my understanding was that she's the best they've got. It seems to me that she's having a run of unbelievably awful luck or that the Shrikes' best has quite a bit of room for improvement. And the showboating of her tattoo at the end? I've never held much fondness for the practice of marking flesh, probably owing to my sympathies for American cattle, but honestly when a witness has seen your face...bad form. It seems to me that she ought to be punished more severely.

Fortunately for her, I am not the one making such decisions. Fortunately for you, I was rewarded for my turn playing reindeer with less harrying so I should need less rest and will be more than capable of leaving you more reviews today.

Author's Response: Hello, dear Wildebeest!

I have to confess that I have a tendency to ramble, and not just with fics, but with my university papers as well (in fact, I was recently told not to let my thesis exceed 80 pages...). Glad to hear that it wasn't the case here!

At first, I intended to write that particular segment from Harry's point of view, but then I decided to tell it from Ron's POV since we've already seen so much from Harry's. I've never written Ron before so I was nervous about whether or not I would be able to keep him in character. I was also worried that he might not sound distinct enough from Harry. Glad that you liked him though!

Menna is very skilled, of that there's no doubt. At the same time, however, she's young and prone to self-confidence, which will almost inevitably lead to her to do something stupid (like letting a potential victim see her face). From her point of view, being nagged at is an awful punishment...

Thank you again for the review!

- Emmi


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Review #20, by marauderfan Two for Sorrow

27th December 2014:
He couldnít just drop from the tree on top of her (that would be awkward, -- Ahaha. You've done it again with this really non-humourous humour :D Like he's all plotting on how to kill this girl, and then he's sort of checking her out, and then he's like "ah, I don't want to be awkward!" and then he's back to plotting her murder. It's just such fantastically dark humour in the slight disconnect between his thoughts and the actual events, and I love it :D

Ooh, Menna is a cheeky one. Using her sharp wit to disguise that she's actually terrified. But she seems to keep her head very well whereas Murdo is getting agitated by her taunting, as I think Menna is hoping to make him mess up if he's too irritated. But two against one significantly lowers her odds, not to mention makes it 33% more likely that all of this will get noticed!

I like your explanation of where Muggle-borns get their magic, from a latent magic gene from a Squib ancestor - that does make sense.

Rosie and Galen sound like they're having a great time. Who knew that the St. Mungo's morgue would be such a fun place to work? :p

Omg and that final scene - wow! First of all, your writing of action scenes is incredible. My eyes were practically glued to the screen the whole time I read that section (and this chapter didn't seem anywhere near as long as it was - it just flew by!) I couldn't believe what happened to Aled! And the scene when Ifan was holding Menna back and she was fighting against him ws just heartbreaking. I know I shouldn't be feeling sorry for her, but I do. Similarly to how Galen is feeling at this point, I'd imagine - she's the girl who robbed his house and destroyed a doorway, but he still feels sorry for her and even wants to return her knife. Though this last impulse I have to say is quite foolish for him as it would probably result in him being injured, but I suppose he wants some answers haha.

If nothing else, Murdo accomplished his goal of exposing who the Shrikes are, as Aled's bird tattoo is bound to be noticed and reported as he is treated in the hospital. Because how is anyone going to keep that silent?

Woah, such a good chapter. I am really loving this story so much!

Author's Response: I had so much fun writing that part and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it!

Yup, that's Menna! Murdo wasn't expecting her to be that talkative (although in hindsight, he probably should have) which is why she was able to gain the upper hand... for a moment, anyway, since two against one is does not really work in her favour.

The information about the origin of the muggle-borns' magical abilities comes from Pottermore! I didn't come up with that myself!

Oh, yeah, they have a blast down there. It's not like the dead can complain if they get too loud. ;) The other healers often raise their eyebrows and roll their eyes at the two of them, though.

That final scene is one of my absolute favourites, although it was quite hard to write, mostly because it just seemed to go on and on! Thankfully you didn't think it was too long! Galen is a big softie underneath and raised with the ideas of fairness so it's not so surprising he'd feel sorry for Menna... although I wonder if he'd continue feeling sorry for her if he got to know her a bit better...

I'm not so certain Murdo would agree with you about whether or not he accomplished his goals... But more about that later! ;)

Thanks for the review!

- Emmi


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Review #21, by marauderfan Trouble Arising

27th December 2014:
I love the little idiosyncrasies you give your characters. Like Robards being sooo particular about the tea - milk first, and then stirring it three times clockwise and twice counterclockwise, like he's making a potion. I bet he was ace at potions in school :p

Trouble at St Mungo's oh goodness I knew it.

!!! The Magpie found her already! How did he know she would be right there, right then? Will Aled and Ifan get there in time?!?!

This was a really good chapter - even though almost nothing actually happened (people thought, people worried, and people waited), it built up the suspense and the state of mind of everyone involved beforehand, and now I feel like the next chapter is going to be super intense with lots of things happening. Despite the rather large cast of characters all of them have really distinct personalities and I love how you continue to expand on that.

I CAN'T HANDLE THE CLIFF HANGERRR but this was an excellent chapter!

Author's Response: Haha, Robards is also the type of person who is always straightening picture frames and reorganising people's bookshelves! He was good at potions but he never did like Slughorn much...

He found her because he's the Magpie and he has a sixth sense for all Shrike related businesses! :p Seriously speaking, though, he just got lucky...

Aw, thank you! Truthfully, this is the one chapter I was really uncertain about and worried how people would react to it since I completed it in a bit of a hurry (I wanted to get this chapter in the queue before I started on my NaNo project, i.e. chapters seven and eight). I'm glad you liked it, though!

I love cliff hangers! They're simply the best! ;)

- Emmi


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Review #22, by marauderfan In Motion

26th December 2014:
Happy Review Hot Seat Day, Emmi!! I'm so excited to come back to this story :D

Ooh, this was an interesting one. All these secrets and people not telling each other information that will be useful/essential to their survival. It sounds like there's something more behind Aled's reasoning for Menna to not go to St Mungo's besides the 'concerned family member' reason - I think there's something else he's not telling her. And she's going to go anyway! AH! 10 Galleons says she accidentally meets Galen there again? :P

Also, only Menna would try to hide the fact that she has a fractured ankle and just attempt to go about her daily business. *shakes head* haha.

That flashback about Murdo was so intense :-O How are they intending to expose the Shrikes without revealing the Magpie's identity as well? Hm, things just got a little more difficult for the Shrikes. Although I'm sure Menna is aware that this sort of thing would be happening and that she might be a target now. Aah! The suspense just keeps building! askdjflks

onto the next chapter now! :D

Author's Response: Hi again!

You really have to question the "not going to tell anyone anything" mentality the Shrikes as a whole seem to possess. I think it has something to do with the air of secrecy they're all raised in. Also, you might be onto something when you say being a concerned father is not the only reason why Aled is forbidding Menna from leaving. ;)

Of course she's going anyway! This is Menna we're talking about. ;) And maybe she'll meet Galen, maybe she won't... Not telling! She's a bit childish and convinced she can do practically anything by herself so trying to ignore a fractured ankle is perfectly normal for her. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you ask) her family is well versed in her ways.

That flashback was actually one of the first things I wrote for this chapter (and the one I edited the most... the first version was so awkward...). I'm pretty certain that to Murdo, it's less about "exposing" and more about "killing them all" so I'm not sure he's actually thought about what might happen if he got caught as well (he's a bit like Menna in that respect).

Oh, Menna is very much aware she might be a target, but she's convinced she can handle it (remember what I said about her being over-confident?).

On to the next review response!

- Emmi


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Review #23, by TactfulWildebeest Secret Plans

26th December 2014:
Hello!

This time, I'm afraid I must be brief. Despite Christmas having passed, they are trotting out anything that could remotely pass as a zoo's version of a reindeer soon to amuse small children. There is a SLEIGH in my exhibit if you can believe it and sadly they'll be coming for me soon.

What stood out to me here as particularly excellent was the dialogue. There was more of it in this chapter with still more characters introduced and their interactions proving particularly important to the development of the delightful little yarn you are spinning here (I believe that's the correct saying?). Despite the increased quantity, I did not feel that the story suffered for it. Often when reading I follow something of a rule about how much dialogue I tolerate, but as with so many truly wondrous things (and talented people) you have discovered when breaking the rule can work to your advantage. Impressive indeed.

As for the question you posed, if I were forced to hazard a guess at Cosmas Fawley's behavior, I would surmise that he is either in league with or being extorted by this Magpie character (Murdo? Or one of his associates?). My supposition is that he is being extorted as the letter he received seems to contain an implied threat that his actions will determine who lives and who dies, the further thrust being that non-compliance with the extortionist's demands will result in an...undesirable...outcome in that regard. With Galen investigating as well, he seems to be playing with fire if that is indeed the case, but I am intrigued to see how he folds in as the plot moves forward.

I recognize now that I have used the word "intrigued" on a number of occasions in our correspondence and I think it is no accident. Obviously a writer of great mysteries hopes her reader will be intrigued and immersed in her work, pressing forward to learn more and try to figure out the plot as it develops. Precious few stories do this for me - perhaps I am jaded, having successfully resolved no less than 42 food thefts, 78 assaults, and 322 acts of vandalism in my time at the zoo, but it is true of me nevertheless. When it comes to your story, I think I will need to be at my sharpest though - after all, I've never confronted a murder before, much less one where there is more than meets the eye occurring.

I wish you well in this game of cat-and-mouse...or shall I say lion-and-wildebeest...that we are about to engage in. We shall see in the near future whether I uncover your mysteries first or whether you continue to celebrate the unfettered joy of revealing them without me being any way the wiser beforehand.

On the morrow we WILL meet again...

Author's Response: Hello dear Wildebeest!

Pfft, a sleigh? I admit I'm not entirely familiar with wildebeests, but from the pictures I've seen, they look nothing like reindeer...

I'm so glad you think there is not too much dialogue! Sometimes, when writing or editing a chapter, I notice how much dialogue there is and I'm a little concerned if there is too much of it. Glad the flow does not suffer because of it!

Cosmas Fawley is indeed either in league with or extorted by the Magpie but I'm not telling which! :) You'll have to keep reading in order to find out! You're right in your supposition that refusing to help the Magpie would more than likely lead to unpleasant consequences. He's used to having his way, the Magpie is.

I'm so glad that you're intrigued by this story! Since that is the case, I must have done something right! I'll continue to do my best and hopefully you won't be able to figure everything out before I reveal it. Thank you so much for the compliments!

- Emmi


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Review #24, by TactfulWildebeest In the Nest of Shrikes

25th December 2014:
Hello again! There was a search for an escaped Burmese python of all things at the zoo today, so the keepers hung around for quite some time to discuss the matter. Of course they would choose OUR exhibit, seriously cutting in on my reading time!

I am very impressed by the deftness with which you handled this highly sophisticated family of assassins. I see I was right to some extent about them being rather small and insular, and indeed it appears as if they do want to remain in the shadows - only someone has other plans.

Your use of culturally-unified names and speech was quite an elegant touch to the piece as well. It is not often that writers take such care with their characters, but you did quite excellently. It was another touch of exceptional realism that was only bolstered by your impeccable descriptions of even the minutest details, like the famous Harry Potter examining a simple bite wound. He is a lucky man to have access to magic though - where I come from, a bite wound, even from so trifling a foe as an owl could lead to disease and disaster. With the introduction of this Magpie, I'm finding the birds to be quite pesky as a group already!

What I also enjoyed what the homage to hierarchical societies present within this Shrike clan. The matriarch rules until her passing - it is not unlike the way a herd operates. And yet within the hierarchy you've managed to adeptly make the characters differentiable from one another in their attitudes and behavior. The back-and-forth between both Ifan and Menna and Ifan and Aled provided excellent examples of this of which you should be duly proud.

I will not the odd presence of this word in your story: "discriminating". It was used in discussing evidence when it seemed to me you meant "incriminating". I confess that English is not my first language - that would be kwatzpatirankoo (roughly translated to humanly-intelligible speech as Afrikaan Wildebeest) - but it is my primary human tongue, so I thought I would point it out.

Sadly, the zoo re-opens for full hours to the public again tomorrow - some bizarre Christmas festival of some kind - it's too many lights strung up everywhere if you ask me, but I'm getting on in age so the staff don't take my grunts and languid flicks of the tongue as seriously anymore.

In any event, I understand Christmas itself is QUITE serious business among many humans so if it is your holiday of choice, I wish you a fine one!

I can promise I will return as soon as possible to continue the deliciously intriguing journey you have begun for us.

Author's Response: Hello again dear Wildebeest! So glad to see you again!

The Shrikes are indeed a small family - numbering only thirteen in total (though that particular number is purely accidental :)) - and would like nothing better than to remain hidden and even secluded from the society. And thank you so much for you compliments! They mean so much to me. I'm particularly happy with the names of the characters since I spent so much time picking them.

That you find my writing realistic and would call the descriptions impeccable makes me so happy! Like I said in the reply to your previous review, I try to avoid excessively describing everything but I do wonder if I should add more of it. Glad to hear you find the amount adequate!

I'm also happy that you liked the Shrikes' hierarchical system. It's something of a necessity as I'm certain they wouldn't have lasted very long without it. :) Also, the fact that you find the Shrikes distinct in character makes me so happy! They all have a unique voice in my head so I'm glad I've been able to transmit that to the readers as well!

Thanks for pointing the mistake out to me! And thank you for the lovely review! It really made my day!

Looking forward to hearing from you again!

- Emmi


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Review #25, by TactfulWildebeest Death Comes Calling

24th December 2014:
Hello there! It is I, TactfulWildebeest. I realize my name is something of a contradiction, but fear not - I was raised in captivity. You will hear no grunting or coarse language from me.

Nevertheless, captivity has its...problems. Namely, a large amount of downtime between visitors to our exhibit. Fortunately, after years of careful observations I have learned not only to read, but to use this computer. Thank heavens. It is my only key to the outside world.

I must say I was delighted when I first accessed this chapter for two reasons: (1) at first I believe the image at the beginning was you I believe you humans refer to as a "lolcat" and (2) when I realized it was not, I could immediately see that you have the same respect for the law of the jungle that I do.

By this, I mean to say I was most struck by your calculating description of this unnamed female's premeditated and malicious attack on her prey. The words you used - so chilling. The description of the game of cat-and-mouse and the emotions running through her - excellent. And of course the finish to your opening sequence, tearing us away from needless gore and gratuitous violence and allowing us to know precisely what had happened nevertheless - delightful!

Then Galen character on the other hand. I've come to know many like him. Here they call them veterinarians, but I assure you almost every time they come around it means another of my herd has fallen. That have a disturbing peace about it. It does set them apart. I've seen zoology interns weep over my fallen friends, but those veterinarians - never a tear.

Still, you managed to shake him a bit with the brutality of it all. And the others, different in their own ways, but each with such unique personalities only one chapter in. Color me impressed. It shows those who work with the dead are human after all.

What intrigues me most however is this Shrike business. I knew a shrike once. It was indeed an odd bird but I never knew it had the capacity for such slayings. It was so small. Is that perhaps the case with this assassin clan? A small band so as to avoid identification and capture? But then that would seem to conflict entirely with such an obvious marking of victims... Interesting indeed.

Alas, the zookeeper is returning so I must log off forthwith. But worry not, we are kept in this area at night as well, and the careless fool leaves his laptop about where just anyone could access it.

I will visit you again soon to learn more of this story and perhaps, if you deign to respond, to learn what so fascinates you about birds (no...your name did not escape me). Nor, now that I think about it, did your singular misuse of "it's" when you intended "its". A small matter in the end, but one someone of your quality may have some interest in nevertheless.

Until then...

TactfulWildebeest

Author's Response: Hello, dear Wildebeest! Thank you so much for stopping by and reviewing! I must say I'm delighted to receive a review from a talking wildebeest since I have never met one before!

Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me that you enjoyed reading the first chapter and particularly the description in the first part of the chapter. I prefer to keep the description to a minimum and occasionally wonder if I should use more adjectives and adverbs. I'm happy to hear that at least here, more description was not necessary. I'm also glad you liked my decision to leave out the outcome of the girl and her prey's meeting - it was partly done to make sure I didn't violate TOS and partly because I myself am not too fond of graphic violence...

And yay for Galen and the others getting some love! I'm really glad you found them to your liking! The reason the Shrikes are called shrikes will be explained in due course so I hope you'll persist until then. ;)

I think birds are simply fascinating. I could watch them endlessly, which is a part of the reason I wanted to write about a family named after a bird. I took my username from A Portrait of An Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce. I had to read it for a university course a few years back and the quote stayed with me.

Thanks for pointing out that mistake to me! English is not my native language so I'm bound to make mistakes like that I don't notice until someone points them out to me.

Thanks again for reviewing, dear Wildebeest, and I hope to see you again soon!

- Emmi


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