Reading Reviews for Playing for Keeps
135 Reviews Found

Review #1, by WaggyTail Secrets and Solidarity

23rd May 2016:
A pretty slow chapter, but excellent character development and I really like how Scorpius opened up to show how he wasn't as weak as he appeared. Mitch seems very amusing and I really like how you decided to make Annie asexual, as someone who is.

Thanks for updating! Can't wait to read what happens next. :)

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Review #2, by oldershouldknowbetter Mint Chocolate Chip Memories

9th May 2016:
So, I'm here to tag you back for the BvB. I always wonder what it is that you've written that I can review, until I come to your page and find this excellent story and your Hefty Headlines one (for some reason your name doesn't stick in my mind as attached to them, go figure). So as you have not updated your story about Constance (places hands upon hips and gives Mallory a stern look) then I shall have to dip back into this one. Not that it is a terribly onerous burden to do so.

So our heroine has managed the journey home and in the aftermath of such an emotional roller-coaster of a night she seeks solace in ice-cream; as we are all want to do. Hence,as well, the title for this chapter. Though, there are some memories to come which, probably, 'may be upsetting to some viewers.' *sigh*

She lives modestly, as we probably suspected. It's not the high life for a pool shark in a London casino, quite understandably. But at least she has a friend and, happily for her, it is one whom obviously shares similar shifts as she does (at least on occasion). Speaking as a shift worker myself, I know how important that this can be.

And this friend is wonderful. Quite obviously, she is exactly the friend that she needs: comforting, supportive, true. But she does spill the beans to your audience and we finally learn your protagonists name: Portia Anne Collins, but Annie to her friends. One little possibility about her name just sprang into my mind. We were wondering, in the last chapter, if the mention of her name might cause James to remember her? But, what if she was known by Portia at school, and so, calling herself Anne to him, might still not jar any recognition from him? Just a thought, and I shall certainly see, shan't I.

Hattie asks her for her story of her night, and while she is revealing all, we are treated to a tour of the past. I like the way you are framing this story, it works well.

So we finally find out some details of her past and they are not all happy happy memories. Those concerning her friend are, but without her ...

Her actual, solid memory that you relate is awful. I mean, it's well written, but it's horrible. It does cement, though, one of the reasons the two girls are so close, but it's what it doesn't say that is intriguing. You very cleverly leave out the beginning of the encounter with James and only relate the aftermath. So we have no idea at all the context of it: why is he doing it; is he doing it alone or for an audience; and most importantly, what is it that he is bullying her about? That's what I wonder. It could be her shape, her looks, her lack of magical talent (that you allude to), her shyness, or even a big metaphorical kick-me sign that she wears. I really want to know, but the way this story is written, that information will be doled out only when you want it to.

After the action of the direct memory there is a bit more, but ... no you still don't mention exactly why she was being picked on; just that she was 'different'. But it does somewhat establish the timelines and having James be older than her. Which is a good choice, it helps 'improve' the power imbalance between them, and show why she was truly helpless against him.

You wrap up the chapter with a suitable ending; one in which we obliquely find out that her room-mate has a boyfriend. She thinks it's all over and done with - she did her best to dissuade the stupid sod (yes, I think that the description is accurate) - but she is forgetting about the obstinacy of the denied. Certain people cannot let something go, especially when they are told that they cannot have it. In a lovely 'author turns to camera' you tell us as much in no uncertain terms.

As to your final questions:-

- exposition: there is not enough (see the notes above), but there is probably as much as we need for the moment. More about the girl will have to be revealed, but it will probably be best left for an emotional scene to come and, knowing you, it will be big and messy and highly emotional (for us poor readers at the very least)
- flashback: fine. Also see the notes above.
- name revealed: phew, finally ;)
- things to be worried about the chapter: none.


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Review #3, by Startafire A Face From the Past

22nd April 2016:
Hello Mallory! Here for our swap!

I really am glad I've started to read this, only two chapters in and I'm absolutely intrigued by your original character, she's simply mesmerising to read! The way you described her in the first chapter when she was playing the married man was just pure genius. I was rooting for her all the way through the time she was playing him and actually found myself grinning like a idiot when she really showed him who's boss, deserved him right! I'm really eager to know more about her time at Hogwarts and how she become this sultry and mysterious women she is now.

Your attention to detail is absolutely on point, the way you paint each scene really makes me feel like I'm there, watching as everything is happening, just like James was. The fact that the first two chapters are set in a muggle setting yet everything about it is simply magical and enticing just pulls me in even more to the world you've created!

Ah James, the cocky son of the chosen one, we all know and love. I really love him in this chapter and especially the way your OC belittles him. At first he seems almost perfect, knowing exactly what to say at the right time and then out of no where we found he's not only bad at pool, he doesn't know how to play it! I burst out laughing, I love this flaw and how embarrassed he gets.

You've intrigued me in more ways words can described and I honestly can not wait to read on and find out more.

This isn't the last you have heard from me, I shall definitely be leaving future reviews!


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Review #4, by Ray Things Fall Apart

22nd April 2016:
Brilliant, simply brilliant chapter. I love the way it went from so calm to sad so quickly and her mum's embarrassing comments.

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Review #5, by Ray Hidden Agendas and Binding Contracts

9th April 2016:
I really want to give this story a review because I read it all last night and loved it. But I have no clue what to say besides I really want to read the rest and to know what James did that Freddy wants to reveal.

The only thing i dislike about the story is the chapters that are only flashbacks. I would love it better for the flashbacks to be weaved more into the story.

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Review #6, by oldershouldknowbetter A Face From the Past

21st March 2016:
Hi there, back for some BvB-Diadems action.

I knew I had reviewed the first chapter before, ages ago. I re-read the review to my absolute shame - I'd obviously done it at the beginning of my foray into reviewing. Itís so short and it pains me to claim it as one of my own. Well I shall have to rectify the situation and give you a lovely long review this time.

My suppositions for just who the characters were going to be was so off the mark. One of the taglines for the story was that it was a Rose/Scorpius pairing, that must still happen, but from what we witness in this chapter, it must happen in the background.

We were left in the last chapter with a mysterious figure applauding the skill with which your heroine dispatched the drunken bumbler. That's all and good, but when the figure resolves itself into a discernable character, the feelings that it arouses within the heart of your heroine are anything but good.

We don't have to wait long to find out why the figure caused your heroine such anguish: he was a bully and at least one of his targets was her. All the emotions she goes through as he approaches ring so true. I have been the victim of bullying and it sure does leave its share of emotional scars. She says that she has replaced her childhood anguish with anger, good for her, but her thoughts afterwards betray her as she slips back into some of that fear.

I want to take a second to talk about the way you draw these characters. And I have to say characters because we still don't know exactly who they are (the leering male, at this stage, could either be James or Albus). All these males are drawn so viscerally. From that slug of a man in the first chapter, who slimed his way up to your heroine and then, due to her machinations had to crawl away. And now this Potter boy, who comes across as a lecherous creep. The decision to not go for an explicit name for the first awful lump of humanity and now the same for this second - who is much more beguiling, but all the worse for it - is a masterful stroke. It allows you to fully shape the characters of these men (as I say the words in my mind, I cannot help but give 'men' a pejorative inflexion).

Your heroine is hamstrung by her old fears and her position in the club, but she is not out for the count. She can still handle herself and the way she eludes his advances brings out the petulant child in him - I wanted to use my own words but you phrased it best. She knows she is damned if she doesn't move - he will get her - and damned if she does - he will pursue her. But that whining, 'don't you know who I am' really sinks him lower in this reader's estimation at least. And hers too. It goads her into responding equally childlike with the same expression.

To her astonishment, he doesnít know her. It almost floors her. I can just imagine it, he was such a figure of abuse and torment for her, he would always loom large in her mind. But the other way, she was just another victim, to be used, abused and forgotten. It makes bullying that much worse when you find out that as much as they affected you, you meant nothing to them. This really is powerful stuff. And I love how she is bombarding him with words greater than one syllable and he is stuck in the rut of the repeating same simple sentence.

Finally it is revealed that it is in fact James, the eldest - phew, I didnít really want it to be Albus.

The same erudition is now repeated in her thoughts; as sheís gaining in confidence so is her word use. You use it to such a good effect.

Then she turns the tables on him, Am I supposed to know your name?Ē Beautiful.

And it goes on and on; as she is getting stronger and stronger against him, he is getting weaker. She is in her element, her place of power and she has robbed him of any power that his false confidence gave him. She forces the truth out of him, but itís more his pick-up line and his pedigree than truth. She challenges him to a game, feeling so much more in control than when she first saw him. And thatís when the first of the real truths emerge - he can not play pool but desperately wants to learn.

She takes such delight in refusing his entreaty. Oh how the worm has turned. And she rubs it in too. Of course she knew his name, who he was, but her actions have shown to him that it means less than nothing to her.

Then desperation forces him to become physical in a way - to do him justice - that he probably never wanted. It comes out that he has made a bet that will result in his ego-death if he loses. Itís just like the character of him that youíve established, his ego would make a bet that his physical self could not hope to win.

She refuses him again, but itís not delight this time. This is well done, sheís gone beyond pleasure in his ignominy - the way he cringes when she turns to him - no, heís almost pathetic in her eyes. She goes calm in the face of it. He tries to capture her name, to wrest some power over her - and it would, because once you get into the realm of matching names, his will always win out. She points out the magical power of names, but it is a more prosaic power that she doesnít want to hand over to him. Perhaps the mention of her name may prompt a memory of her to surface, but I get the feeling that it probably wonít; he might be so caught up in his own sense of self worth that he truly has forgotten everything about her.

She leaves him a pathetic wretch, like Lizzy does to Darcy, knowing that for all his supposed worth he has nothing of value to somebody who is truly worthy.

Wow, this chapter takes off. You do establish some vital plot points in here, we do leave this chapter knowing some of the shape of things to come. But otherwise the plot is overwhelmed by the sheer staggering scope of the characterisation. The emotional journey that you put them both through is astounding; as one character rises the other falls away into opprobrium and defeat.


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Review #7, by cherry_pop94 Hidden Agendas and Binding Contracts

26th February 2016:
Hello! Here for the swap!

As you know, I love this story. It's just really great and this chapter was no exception! I am sad that I've now got to start waiting for updates!

I really liked how you brought in Albus to explore more of what the Potter family is like. At least he remembers who Anne is even if James still doesn't. I am excited to see how he reacts when he finally figures it out though! It's interesting how Albus is an auror while Freddy and Rose are so involved with the criminal underworld. That's got to make for some awkward family dinners. And now James is clearly involved in something shady too!

Your scenes in the casino are always phenomenal. I love the way you've built up this seedy world. Its a really cool detail that no one in the general public knows that Freddy runs the Shooting Star. Its such a great idea to have that be the case. I am also definitely a big fan of his alias. The excess and sin and gluttony embodied by the casino definitely recalls the themes of that in the Great Gatsby. And Jay Thistlewaite is just a really good name for a shady casino owner. It just sounds right.

I am also really, really glad that you're not going down the romance route for Anne and James. He is terrible to her and she has every right to hate him. I am super curious about how she handles the bet though! She clearly had some moral qualms about Rose's whole operation. But Rose is giving her a way to achieve her lifelong dream. That's got to be a tough call for her.

This is so deserving of the Diadem soty nomination! I'm definitely going to go second that nomination if it hasn't already and drop in a nomination for best OC too! I'm just in love with Anne!

Thanks for a great swap and a simply marvelous story. I cannot wait for the next update!


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Review #8, by cherry_pop94 It's a Man's World?

18th February 2016:
YAAS Rose! Criminal underworld QUEEN.

Hearing about Scorpius made me crack up. Oh my god, he acts like a sad puppy! I feel really bad for the poor guy. His girlfriend is TERRIFYING. But I love her. She's amazing. Rose has very quickly become my second favourite character in all this after Annie.

I absolutely love how you explore gender politics in this. It's clearly, as you say, a man's world out there. Rose, though obviously a boss lady, has some internalized misogyny going on with her dismissal of all other women so soon. And then of course there's the men's blatant misogyny. Not just from Delun, but all the men in this story have shown sexism so far. James with his entitled attitude towards Annie, her time, and her skills. Freddy with his dress policies, pet names, and general attitude towards the women who work at his casino. Every single man Annie interacts with at work. Everyone. Everyone is a sexist.

I think it's pretty representative of the real world to be honest. Annie, in her job at the Shooting Star, plays up her sexuality. She has complete agency of the situation, it seems, but then she still reports back to a man. She seems to in control, but she still acts and behaves according to these patriarchal rules, even if she does flip them on her victims. It's a weird interplay of Anne holding all this power over men, but then there's still a man holding power over her. And then with Rose! So now we know that she holds power over Freddy! But at the same time, I think Rose is still deeply under the influence of a patriarchal system. She lives in a man's world and has succeeded despite it, but as I said before, she seems to have quite a bit of internalized misogyny.

And then there's James! He obviously isn't as much of an out and out sexist as the other men, especially the ones in this chapter, but I think he is still sexist. He acts entitled to Anne's time. He acts entitled towards her body. He coerced her into spending time with him. It's not sexism so much just that he comes from a place of such extreme privilege and acts with so much entitlement.

And then there's Scorpius! Oh my. Poor little Scorpius. I do hope we see more of him, by the way. It's a massive inversion of gender roles there, isn't it? We've got crime boss Rose with her arm candy Scorpius who she's with for his connections. She's absolutely in control of him it seems.

Once again, I love this story so much. It's definitely got me pulled in and I just cannot wait to read more of this incredible world! Is it terrible that I almost hope that Anne beats James in pool and then ruins his life and rises to the top of the criminal underworld with Rose?

Bah, this story makes me crazy.


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Review #9, by cherry_pop94 One Secret Meeting, Intrigue Included

18th February 2016:
Oh my god! Rose Weasley!

Wow. Queen of the underworld. These Weasley kids really didn't follow their parents footsteps did they? I LOVE of subordinate they all are to her. Even though Rose is a terrifying criminal, I can tell I'm going to fall in love with her. I'm sure that Rose and Anne already know each other, right? Anne is so sure already that Rose hates her and if I'm correct, they were in the same year.

I'm also wondering how Rose became the underworld queen so young. She's what, 21, 22? I love it. She seems amazing already!! I can't wait to know more!


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Review #10, by cherry_pop94 Aftermath and Arrangements

18th February 2016:
I love Hattie. And I love (hate?) Freddy. He's so funny, but super creepy also, and kind of charming, but so sleazy. And I love that he wears zoot suits. That cracked me up.

I really want to know more about the Life and Times of Harry Potter. A sappy soap opera version of his life is exactly what I want. Wow, I never knew how much I needed that.

Love this!


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Review #11, by cherry_pop94 The Woes of Working Retail

18th February 2016:
Ahh James! That turd. I can't believe he didn't recognize her AGAIN! And that he was so callous and entitled and rude!! He's forced her to teach him to play pool! What an entitled brat! Plus, this just goes to show how much attention he was paying to her face at the casino...

I hope that Anne destroys his life as she teaches him pool. I'm very, very excited to see how this plays out!!


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Review #12, by cherry_pop94 A Face From the Past

18th February 2016:
I thought I might wait to read the next chapter, but evidently I'm not. This is just too good. I really, really, really don't have time to be reading this, but I can't help myself!

I loved this!! I was wondering who this was at first. I saw that the tags for this story have Rose and Scorpius, so at first I thought perhaps the man was Scorpius and the girl was Rose. But clearly not.

I adore how you've written James Potter here. I mean, I don't really like him. He's a turd, but I do love how he's written. His personality comes across so strongly. But this girl is beating him in his own game. I can't believe he doesn't remember her! What? She got hotter after finishing school and now he wants to get in her pants?? Oh sod off James. I love how quickly she shut him down and put him in his place!

I do wonder what sort of trouble James has gotten himself into though. Seems a bit strange that so much is riding on a game of pool! I do love it though! I can't wait to see what becomes of all this. And the ending is great! There's power in a name. How right she is!

Ugh, I can't wait to read more. And I will surely read the next chapter right now.


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Review #13, by cherry_pop94 Shooting Star, After Midnight

18th February 2016:
Hello! I'm here for Bvb!

This has been on my list for a while and I can't believe I'm just getting to this now! It was BRILLIANT. Wow. I'm just in awe of how amazing this was.

It was a mixture of sultry, intriguing, mysterious! I am itching to know what happens next! This woman's flirt game is STRONG. I was swooning for her. And you descriptions of everything were so evocative. You paint this hazy, sleazy picture in my head of this magical casino. I could see everything happening in my head, I could hear her voice, the man's slur. I could practically SMELL the booze and cigarettes in the air!

This really is an incredible story! I'm so hooked already! I can't wait to read more. So deserving of the Diadem!


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Review #14, by BellaLestrange87 A Face From the Past

17th February 2016:
This is for the Blue vs. Bronze review battle! And I'm finally back after taking way too long to return to this story... *oops*

I'm really curious to find out what's between the MC (whose name I don't remember) and James. It's definitely not positive, but I can't wait to find out exactly why he was tormenting her and for what reason.

The opening words of their conversation seem really interesting. To me, it feels as if everything they're saying has some sort of added significance, or additional meaning (or maybe I'm reading too much into this :p)

Hmmm. At this point, with the repeated "Do you know who I am?" I'm not quite sure what's going on. Is James suffering from memory loss, or is he just pretending to be more of a jerk and keep tormenting her? This is even more interesting.

I'm really happy that the MC is a lot more confident now that she was before. I also think that the fact that James can't really hold a one-on-one conversation shows a lot about his character. If he's more used to smiling for the cameras and being famous than talking to normal people - like a normal person - then I think he'll act more arrogant as the chapter goes on.

Ooh. I'm really curious about what's going on with James. His cousin knows things that could ruin his reputation? What kind of things? Which cousin? I can't wait to (take another lifetime to *whistles*) return to the next chapter!


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Review #15, by Veritaserum27 It's a Man's World?

16th February 2016:
Hi there Mallory!

I'm here for the BvB and I was SO excited to see that you'd posted so I could get back to this story. Holy cow I have quite a few chapters to catch up on, huh?

Okay, so a TON of stuff happened in this chapter. Actually, I feel like this is the beginning of the next section of the story. We meet the next group of characters that (I think) Annie will be spending quite a bit of time with for the next few months or so.

Aaannnd - I didn't really think anyone was going to irritate me more than Freddy's treatment of Annie, but SHEESH! These people are vile.

A moment to Honor the Great Mallory for creating this AMAZING world. I mean, I was really drawn in to their seediness. My, how the next-gen has fallen! Rose is the ring leader for an underground group of thugs, Scorpius is her (hopefully) willing sidekick. Seamus and Dean's son is beyond creepy and Cho's son is downright a word that I can't type in this review because it wouldn't follow TOS.

Haha - I didn't have much hope for McLaggen's kid and literally anything is possible for Luna's kids, but I think that Lorcan might be mostly harmless.

The scene was written fantastically - it unfolded nicely as you introduced a whole slew of people that are pretty important to the plot. I haven't yet commented on Rose - but she seems characterized really well. I'm glad Annie is keeping her at a bit of a distance for now - however my intuition tells me that those two will get on swimmingly.

The biggest surprise for me in this chapter was Freddy. He checked up on Annie twice, asking if she was okay. This seemed really out of character for him, although I have a feeling he was trying to protect his investment - but maybe it's a bit more and he's not quite as vile as he seems. Or maybe he's just not as vile as the rest of that lot.

Anyway, this was an amazing, fabulous, incredibly well-written chapter to this story! I can't wait to keep reading it!

♥ Beth

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Review #16, by lhod23 Hidden Agendas and Binding Contracts

20th December 2015:
I am really enjoying this story. I love your unique take on Freddy, Rose, and Scorpius. You have something really amazing here so I hope to see more chapters soon :)

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Review #17, by Shadowkat Blood Thicker Than Mashed Potatoes

20th September 2015:
Finally here after rereading all of it to refresh my memory, and here's some things that stood out to me:

-James is a prat
-Fred is a bigger prat
-Rose is even a BIGGER prat
-Change is the BIGGEST prat

Here's a few more:
-Thank goodness for Hettie
-James is hopeless
-Annie is awesome
-And shoot, our favorite pool player is really in deep.

So, I absolutely love your style, and from the start this story completely sucked me in. The characters are wonderfully three-dimensional, the plot is new and refreshing, and I haven't read anything like this before, so I have no idea what to expect. I'm really sorry for the wait, but as you can see, I didn't forget!

I'm so glad to hear you're not going the romance route. It's nice to see that, as it happens far too much. I like to read things every now and again that can have a male and female main cast without them getting together. Not to mention that drunk James scene made me remember exactly why it should never happen here. He deserved everything he got for that.

10/10, because even my rating stinginess can't hold up to this.

I feel like I should be able to say much more, especially after so long.

Author's Response: Kat! Sorry it's been so long since I've responded.

Haha, thank you for reading and rereading! You're so awesome!

Here are my thoughts about your thoughts:

-mega agree
-mega mega agree
-SUPER mega agree!

-Hattie is bae
-James is so dumb
-Annie is cool, but often too opinionated
-Yep, she's in super deep!

Thank you! I always worry that the last nineteen chapters don't live up to the first chapter, but I'm so glad you were sucked in! Honestly, the characters are my favorite part because they're so weird. I love making up new facets of their personalities! The plot is difficult, but fun! I call this story my "soapbox novel" because it keeps giving me an outlet to rant about things. :)

Yeah, romance was a possibility, but I decided against it pretty early on. Too much else going on for a relationship on the side! Yeah, drunk!James had some very, very bad ideas.

Oh wow, I feel so awesome! Thanks for that praise! :D

Nah, it's cool! Thanks for your review!


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Review #18, by Pixileanin Blood Thicker Than Mashed Potatoes

23rd August 2015:
Hi there!

First off, amazing chapter title! I love a bit of blood in my stories, so this was PERFECT! Secondly, what is up with that contract?? It sounds dangerous and completely unethical. What has Annie gotten herself into and how can she be so casual about things???

Itís so sweet of Annieís dad to send her letters all through her Hogwarts days, and to figure out how the owl post thing worked, nice personal touch there. He sounds like someone who really cares about her, thank goodness, unlike the rest of her family. Gah. What awful people! Iím not surprised that she stays away from that place. Advice columnist? Thatís respectable, huh.

PLEASE let me be there when James finds out his new name, Humphrey Spurtle!!! ROFL!!!

It is so BAD of Bea to have that picture. Things will NOT be okay next chapter, and I was having high hopes about that too. Hopes that you squashed like a week old tomato in combat boots. Ugh. No, Annie. Donít ever go home ever again. Make your dad meet you at a pub or something. Or at your place. Or at another pubÖ one that has clean pool tables with the least amount of smoke possibleÖ after he washes his hands. And have him meet James and introduce him as Humphrey Spurtle to his face, because that would be funny and let them all eat pie together at some greasy spoon and work out the problems of the world over bottles of rootbeer, preferably how to take down Rose's hipster hoodlums and set Freddie back a few thousand Galleons.

Great god, can I kill something now? I am so upset at her sister.


Author's Response: Hi!

Thank you SO MUCH!! Blood is fun to put in stories, but this story isn't very bloody right now, haha. :) Yeah, the contract is potentially a hazard for Annie, and she's definitely sinking into deeper, murkier waters right now. She's casual because that's how she knows how to act when dealing with Freddy, but trust me, she's kind of freaking out on the inside.

I just love Annie's dad. He's just so adorable, and I like that he's on her team, even if her mum and sister sometimes antagonize her. (They definitely care for her, well, at least her mum does, but in very odd ways, that's for sure!) Yeah, Bea's job is "respectable." Ish.

Haha! I still giggle over Humphrey Spurtle and it's January now. :P

Bea is the absolute WORST. Sorry for squashing your high hopes, but trust me, there's definitely more to come! Yeah...Annie might not do any of those things. The past always catches up to you eventually, and it's high time it did for her, unfortunately. OH MY GOD "HIPSTER HOODLUMS" I LOVE YOU FOR COINING THIS TERM!!!

No, I'm sorry! Please don't kill something!

Thanks so much for this stellar review, Pix!


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Review #19, by rosiful Blood Thicker Than Mashed Potatoes

23rd August 2015:
Okay, Bea is so mean and evil to Annie! It's really horrible how she treats her... but at the same time I'm a bit excited that she knows about Annie's secret (or one of the many at least), because I'm thinking this will finally lead to James finding out who she is... possibly? I don't really know. You keep adding so many twists and turns to the story! But either way, I'm excited!

I really liked seeing the family dynamic here. Annie and her dad are just too cute together. Things just seem so easy when she's with him. It's great.
Her mum and Bea though.. gosh they're pretty awful. I know why Annie tends to stay away!

I did laugh at Humphrey Spurtle XD
A very original name! haha

Can't wait for the next chapter!
I really love this story!!

Author's Response: Hi!

Yeah, Bea is the worst! Yeah, Annie is not so secretive or covert as she thinks she is, and Bea is definitely going to cause some trouble for her later! James may or may not find out about Annie, we'll see. ;) So glad you're excited!

Family dynamics are hard. My own dad is super goofy, but my sister is the daddy's girl in the family, so I based Annie and her father's relationship off of my sister's and dad's. Her mum is quite opinionated and difficult to get along with, which is partially my sister's idea of my mom--personalities clash in families, but they still love each other, in some ways! I promise!

Humphrey Spurtle makes me laugh so much, so I'm happy you found humor in it too!



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Review #20, by BellaLestrange87 Shooting Star, After Midnight

14th August 2015:
Hi Mallory! I'm here for our review swap (that I'll also be claiming for BvB, of course...)

I've heard so many good things about this story that I'm looking forward to reading it a lot. I will admit that I read the first chapter a while ago but didn't leave a review. (I'm sorry - making up for that now!)

I really love your beginning here, how you talked about the casino being a den of temptations and devilry. First of all, that description is lovely. Second of all, I'm getting really interested in this story now because temptation and devilry together always make for great stories.

I also really like the voice you've created for your main character. She seems really self-assured and confident (which I like), but she has to be persuaded to flirt back with the lecherous males that blatantly and crudely hit on her.

The details about pool were really well done. I can't comment on how accurate they were, or lie about the fact that I had no idea how to play and you ended up teaching me a game. (I sort of knew the rules before but the extent of my knowledge was pretty much "All the balls except for the white go in the holes and black goes in last.")

The scene break (or rather time break, I suppose) was really well placed. The contrast between the first game of pool between the narrator and the man she's playing and then the one after the time shift was really striking. He was extremely confident and flirtatious before the break and rather beaten-down after, sounding like he was begging. Something tells me his wife isn't going to be all that pleased with him when he returns home.

I'm really becoming curious about your narrator now. She seems almost vengeful against these men, basically insinuating that they're stupid because they don't think a woman can beat them. Is there something in her backstory that would cause her to bear this attitude towards men (or is it only towards the males who frequent the Shooting Star Casino)? I really can't wait to find out.

Your ending was really well-done and leaves a few questions that are the reason why I'm going to keep reading after this swap. Is this man the cause of the narrator's almost-vengeful attitude against the men she crushes in pool? He seems like a sarcastic and snarky person, right off the get-go, and I'm curious about her relationship with him, actual or just hate-filled.

I really enjoyed this chapter and I will definitely be back for more!


Author's Response: Olivia!! Really, it's cool that you didn't review before. I'm so glad that you revisited my story, though!

This first chapter is definitely my favorite because of all the description that I let myself get away with. It's so mysterious, even to me, because at the time I wrote it, I didn't have a clear idea of what exactly was going to happen in the far-off future to the characters. And they've definitely given me a lot of grief...

Yeah, the MC's job is...ick. Basically, this story is my platform for whatever thing I want to rant about, and icky people hitting on other people is a thing I like to rant about. :) The MC is confident, and she knows how to tell people off.

Thanks! I'm no professional at pool, but I do like to play on occasion. I'm nowhere near as good as the MC, though.

Thanks! I don't really feel bad for that man because of how swagger-y he was being, and I really enjoyed giving the MC her moment of triumph when he finally lost all of his money. His wife is definitely going to get on his case!

Yeah, she's quite vengeful, and you'll find out more about her as the chapters go on, but suffice it to say that she's had rotten experiences with males in the past, so she knows the type of guy that haunts a casino. She certainly doesn't have this attitude towards every guy that she meets--in the casino and out of it--but I see the men in the casino as vehicles to show her attitude towards certain types of men. You shall definitely find out!

Yay, I'm glad that I might've hooked you with this chapter? There are so many questions in this chapter that kind of get answered later on. I can say that yes, this mystery man is the cause of things. :)

Thanks again for a beautiful review!


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Review #21, by navyfail Ready, Aim, Miss...

14th August 2015:
And I'm back!

I nearly laughed when Hattie asked Annie if she was going out with her "super-fit manager." Barry sounds like he's young, but he acts much older than he should with all his grunting. And why is that I can totally see him admiring his own abs from his photo-shoots years ago?

I think it's sweet that Hattie is trying to get her together with someone, but I don't see her settling on anyone soon.

When you mentioned the American tourists with their harsh accents I was literally pointing at myself in my head haha,

James, James, James. What will Annie do with you? Not only is he ignorant about Muggle things, but he's scared of cars. I think you mentioned earlier to be wary of this becoming a James/OC and I can see what you mean. They two of them don't connect at all... not yet anyway. I have to say you have an amazing talent. I mean James II is my favorite next gen character and I think this is one of the only fics I've read where I don't like him very much. He's sort of an overgrown child... arrogant but childishly so. I think it's interesting reading him like this. Most stories have him arrogant and brave but also smart in a not totally spoiled way. Here it seems he hasn't really lived outside his fame. And I love how in the end he finally concentrated on hitting the cue ball!

I think one of my favorite lines in this chapter is this: " Itís not my fault that Muggles like to hit inanimate Bludgers with oversized wands!" Oh James, only thinking about pool in terms of Quidditch!

This story is going swimmingly! (Did I really just use 'swimmingly' in a sentence? Excuse my weird word choice. :P) I love how Annie isn't the conventional Hufflepuff and how James sort of switches between confident and smirk-y to confused around her. Great work! I really can't wait to see how their characters will change as they grow closer to each other.


Author's Response: Hi Sama! Sorry it took so long for me to respond to this. :/

Haha, I always laugh about Barry and his ridiculous vanity. He's basically a sort of grumpy dad in personality, but a Quidditch has-been is always doing stupid stuff like that, you know? I'm sure that Oliver Wood majorly regrets his dad bod and looks back to the glory days, right?

Hattie, bless her, tries. But Annie isn't about to date just anyone.

Samesies with the tourist thing. :)

James is an idiot. YAY I'm so glad that you don't think they connect--because they really shouldn't. I'm sorry that you don't like him very much--I promise that he gets a little better as Annie gets to know him, but that still won't completely give him the clear to act like a jerk, you know? Yeah, he's a little dumb, and I think I like him that way. :) He really does want to learn to play pool, though. I'll give him that!

Haha, thanks! Of course James only thinks about things in terms of Quidditch. :D

Thank you so much! I'm super fond of this story, and I'm glad that you're invested in my dorky characters. :)


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Review #22, by navyfail The Woes of Working Retail

13th August 2015:
She works at Quality Quidditch Supplies? Oh, the irony! I can understand why she doesn't particularly like dealing with crazy Quidditch fans and arrogant Quidditch players.

I also like how you mentioned why she ended up working at a shop in Diagon Alley. I can see with two NEWTs that don't go together it would be tough to get a job somewhere else. A lot of people (including me) write their characters as extremely smart in terms of grades so it's a nice change to read about an average student. However, I do agree with her when she says she doesn't believe she's dumb. I think she's smart in an unconventional way. And yay for breaking Hufflepuff stereotypes! Not only did you make Anne not sweet but you also made Harriet top of her class!

One thing I loved is the way she describes her work... as a shopgirl who takes night classes. And her comment about her being a teacher not the student was funny.

The ending was a great way to wrap up the chapter! I had a feeling that James would end up recognizing her, but it really does say something that he couldn't tell they met before (again) the first time he walked into the shop. I have to hand it to him though for his clever idea of the sticking charm.

I've had a great time reading this story! You really have a talent when it comes to writing! I wonder what's going to happen at the Snoozing Dog. From the last sentence, I'm guessing Anne's been there before. Anyway, thank you for the wonderful swap! I'm going to add this to my Reading List and try and come back to read and review the rest of this story!


Author's Response: Hah, yes. In my experience, working in any particular store just makes you hate the things that you have to sell to the public. And Quidditch fans/players are pretty tough to deal with, anyway.

Yeah, those NEWTs were kind of mismatched, and while she does have a really lucrative night job, she has to have a respectable front for her parents, right? Yeah, Annie isn't exactly "classroom smart," but I think that's okay. I'm one of those nerds who values grades more than my life, but I really appreciate the people who are extremely skilled in things that you don't get grades for--example: being an adult (because I don't know how to do that yet). She's very smart at pool and at keeping herself out of trouble (er, sometimes). Yes, Hufflepuffs are not often portrayed as "smart," but Hattie is really smart--the reason she wants to be a Healer is because she cares about helping people and working to save their lives, something that Hufflepuffs have a tendency to do.

Haha, I enjoyed writing that description of her work as well! It seems so appropriate.

Thanks! James was smart enough this time to recognize that the girl he asked to help him learn pool is the same person as the shopgirl in QQS, haha. But he really was oblivious at first. And the Sticking Charm is quite clever, but when I wrote it, I was really disgusted at him for threatening to do that so aggressively.

Thanks so much for the multi-chapter swap and for adding it to your Reading List! I hope you do find time to come back, because I would love to know what you think about future events. :)


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Review #23, by Veritaserum27 One Secret Meeting, Intrigue Included

13th August 2015:
Hi there Mallory!

I'm sorry I didn't get to this last night, but I was trying to watch the meteor shower and after about an hour of clouds, we gave up :(

I read this chapter last night, but I was too sleepy to leave a proper review (sorry!)

I'm really loving this new BvB review fest - it's letting me review things in a way I never have before! Let's get going with this review, huh?

This chapter has a much, much different tone than the previous ones. I noticed it right off the bat, but as the chapter progressed, things got creepier and more ominous. It seems like this is a turning point in the story, where Annie begins to get herself into a more desperate situation and I was holding my breath for her this entire chapter.

You've done a fabulous job with Annie's character here. I feel like she's trying to convince herself (and us!) that she's a bit tougher than she is. Maybe I'm reading her character wrong, but it seems that while she's not nearly as naive as she was at Hogwarts, she's definitely not ready for whatever Freddy has planned for her in this situation.

Okay, on to Freddy. I always knew he was a bit sleazy, but this time, he just made my skin crawl. *shudders* For whatever reason, I don't think Annie is ever gonna get the upper hand with him and I'm wondering if she would simply be better off teaming up with James to take down this scumbag. I mean what James did to her clearly had long-term effects, as she's still holding a grudge. He was completely cruel to her during her formative years, but at the same time, James seems to be a better person as a whole than Freddy. I'm also wondering if Annie has such low self esteem that she thinks she *deserves* this life she's created for herself - I hope not.

His grin appeared before his face did. He had been using the as-yet untested and potentially dangerous magical teeth-whitening agents purveyed by sponsors of Witch Weekly. I rolled my eyes at the gleaming Cheshire Cat smile.

AWESOME descriptive work here. I could just see the overly white crescent appearing in the dark corner of the alleyway. Great job.

And your explanation of Knockturn Alley and the darkness that it still holds was some fabulous writing. I'm totally creeped out. Lorcan Scamander seemed sub-human and dirty and weird all rolled into one. I would NOT want to be alone with him in a room.

Say WHAT?! Rose Weasley is the mastermind behind all of this weirdness with Freddy?! Wow. You've taken next gen characters to a whole new level, here. I love it. (Although I am a bit partial to Rose, as she's kinda my fav, if you hadn't already figured that one out - haha.)

And I have the distinct feeling (sorry if I'm off, here) that Rose Weasley might just know EXACTLY who Annie is, even if she's managed to fool her cousins. I don't know what it giving me that impression and I haven't read ahead, but I don't think Rose manages to miss a trick. I guess I'll just have to read to find out.

Great chapter! Thanks for doing a swap!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hi Beth! Sorry your meteor shower didn't turn out nicely, but thanks for the review! ♥

Yeah, this chapter is very different from the previous ones, and I'd like to think that it's trying to go back to the ominous mood of the first few chapters--before Annie's name was revealed and James was just a shadow on the wall.

There's just something inherently spooky about Freddy--he's not entirely normal and has a taste for Illegal Things, and while Annie knows this, she's never actually been involved in any illegal stuff before. So she's understandably shaky, but you're right, she's trying to hold onto that persona--the version of herself that is poised, confident, and most of all, deceiving.

Freddy is a total sleaze, and he really shouldn't drag Annie into this stuff. Alas, he's going to do it anyway, because he's not a decent human being in the slightest. Annie definitely might be better off teaming up with James, but she hasn't realized that yet. There are things about James that she doesn't know, just like there are things about Freddy that she doesn't know. When she finds out, she just might change her mind. And she's definitely not doing this because of low self-esteem--if anything, she's curious while also being terrified of what could happen, but she's going to see it through. She's determined like that. :P

Haha, thank you! Lorcan is actually the same version of himself that I created in an earlier story, called The Psychology of Gobstones. He actually has gynophobia, so he's more afraid of Annie than anything, but he does come across as really creepy and generally unhinged.

Of course Rose is the mastermind! I know how you love your Rose, but my Rose has a few more thorns. >:) I really enjoy messing with the common images of these characters because it opens up so many new possibilities for me. Trust me, Freddy might seem like his own boss, but it's actually Rose who calls the shots.

Rose does know exactly who Annie is, but she really had no idea that Freddy was going to bring her. At Hogwarts, she saw Annie as this pathetic loser who was bullied by her Gryffindor cousin, but she didn't know about the pool thing or that Annie actually has a backbone and a tendency for snark. You just might have to read on and see for yourself how it all plays out. :D

Thank you!

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Review #24, by navyfail Mint Chocolate Chip Memories

13th August 2015:
Oh, a filler chapter! (Or I think that's what this was meant to be.) I actually like how you took the time to sit back and give us some background. The first two chapters were more rising action and I think this was a good break.

I think the best part is that we get to learn her name! I understand her dislike of her name. Not that Portia isn't a pretty name, I just like Annie better. And we get to meat her friend! I already like Harriet. She seems very sweet and understanding as well as protective. She is a good balance to Annie I think. Also the fact that their friendship has lasted a good ten years does say something.

It's impressive how you manage to give us some of her past with James but not the full picture. My assumption of her being from a Slytherin pureblood family is wrong, but I really do wonder how James could randomly pick her and start tormenting her. You did mention that she was different so many that's why or maybe he was just mean. Boys during a young age really can be cruel without knowing.

I actually connect with Annie on not being able to make friends that easily. I can see that Harriet is the more outgoing one and while that's great, I think I relate to Annie more. I'm actually surprised that Annie's a Hufflepuff. With her ability to trick the man out of galleons I would have expected her to be in another house, maybe Slytherin or Ravenclaw. But I'm glad that you made her a badger. I feel like there aren't many Hufflepuff based stories so I'm looking forward to seeing more of her character unravel.

Lovely job so far! I'm really enjoying this story!


Author's Response: You're right, this is a bit of a filler, but I think it provides important background. It's always nice to have a change of scenery and a change of pace, and that's what you get in this one. Annie is just super tired from work, so the atmosphere of this chapter is very different from the others.

Yes, her name! Names are so important, and while Portia is pretty, it's quite old and outdated and can be turned into things that aren't nice. Harriet (also known as Hattie) is so sweet and protective and I love her. They do balance each other out quite well, and that's part of why their friendship has lasted for so long. :)

Yeah, it's good that you've got a little bit of her past to contextualize her present situation. She isn't a Slytherin pureblood, but James does target her for a specific reason that will be revealed soon. It isn't random at all, don't worry! She was different, and people in general can be mean. Not just boys, and not just children. Adults, unfortunately, have a very different way of showing their nasty sides. :/

Aww, no! I'll be your friend! Honestly, this is one of the things that I connect with Annie on as well. It's hard to make friends when you're an introvert like Annie, and Hattie's social butterfly tendencies were hard for her to understand. Surprise! Annie is a Hufflepuff, and though she did seem Slytherin in the first few chapters, she does reveal Hufflepuffian tendencies later on. I agree--Hufflepuffs are some of my favorites because they are SO MUCH MORE than people give them credit for, and I just didn't see her as being in any other House at all.

I am so happy that you're still enjoying this lil' ol' thing!


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Review #25, by navyfail A Face From the Past

13th August 2015:
And it's James Potter! I always do like a good James/OC and yours is really unique. I think my interest has peaked even more during this chapter since the main character has a bad past with him. From all the hints you've dropped, I'm guessing he bullied her during Hogwarts. Looks like it has come back to bite him in the butt and even though we don't know all too much about him, I think he deserves it.

Also, Freddy is becoming even more intriguing as well. I'm guessing he's the cousin that made the bet with James. He must be some sort of evil genius... or that's the vibe I'm getting. I wonder if we'll get to meet him soon.

I think it's great that your OC has changed from her Hogwarts days... gained confidence, and not afraid to stand up for herself. For some reason, I'm getting a feel that she's is Death Eater's daughter or a part of a pureblood family. I'm not sure what hinted at that but that's my guess.

Really smart move on her part for not telling him her name. I mean he doesn't even remember her so no harm done if she keeps her identity a secret for a while longer.

Terrific second chapter! Your way with words is admirable. You weave in description and dialogue easily and it makes for a great combination! I really excited to see where you take this!


Author's Response: Yes, surprise! It's James Potter indeed! But be careful about assumptions...It might appear here that this is going to be a James/OC, but complicated things happen in later chapters that might make you change your mind.

The bad past is actually part of that whole "maybe this isn't a James/OC after all" thing. He definitely did bully her at Hogwarts, and that is a very good guess from you! His actions will come back to haunt him, indeed! (And he totally deserves it, to some degree.)

Glad that Freddy intrigues you! I love writing Fred II as this crazy casino boss because he has the capacity to be so evil...And yet, so surprising at the same time! He'll show up, don't worry!

My OC has definitely changed. She's very, very confident now, and very ready to knock anyone down who's gonna try to bring her down. You're quite a bit off with your guess about her parentage, but all will come to light soon enough. :) It is a good guess, though, because she does seem quite wicked in these first few chapters.

Haha, I didn't even mean to keep that a secret for so long, but the name will get revealed soon. He definitely doesn't remember her, which will be a subject of great debate in the future.

Aww, ♥, thanks so very much!! And thanks for reading on! :D


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