Reading Reviews for Playing for Keeps
  
83 Reviews Found

Review #1, by The Autumn Emperor Shooting Star, After Midnight

16th April 2015:
Dearest Mallory,

What a fine story you have here! This is truly a triumph of creativity and originality and I am thoroughly enjoying reading it. I have donned this old title to spread some (belated) Easter cheer to the most deserving person I know. Tell Fuzzy Duck that the Emperor sends her regards.

To the actual story! Your writing has such a special, realistic quality to it that brings your settings and characters to life. Your OC leaps off the page, enigmatic and glittering - a perfect character to lead this story. Her confidence, her charisma, the way she twists gender stereotypes and uses them to her advantage, are all incredible attributes and make for a fascinating angle for a story. And your interpretation of James already promises to be something entirely different to the Quidditch-captain prankster archetype seen so often in Next Gen. A wonderful first chapter, as one can only expect from a writer such as yourself, and you should certainly be proud of it.

Not-so-anonymously-yours,
The Autumn Emperor

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Review #2, by HermyLuna2 Learning From the Best

3rd April 2015:
"My father was not a wizard, but he was the most magical person I knew" was a sweet sentence. The background information on Anne's family is great. Her mum and sister sound so miserable, I can't blame her for chosing the companion and aspiration of her dad over them.

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Review #3, by HermyLuna2 A Drink With the Devil

3rd April 2015:
I like how Anne's idea of Freddy does not seem to completely match with how he's in real life. I wonder if Freddy is the one Anne has developed this cynical, prejudiced and sarcastic character from, or if it was something/somebody else. Also I hope Anne will realise the irony of seeing Potter's arrogance as his biggest flaw while being doubly as arrogant herself, though it may not be as realistic for her character.

I like that you made Anne having learnt pool from her father and start to give the characters a backstory. I hope it will be explored more later in the story.

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Review #4, by BookDinosaur Proposal Anxiety (Is Amusing)

2nd April 2015:
Why hi there, Mallory! I decided to kill two birds with one stone by coming here for the BvB Review Battle, seeing as I told you to expect a review from me as well. :) I know you said that this was a long chapter, but it really didn't feel very long, if you get what I mean. But anyway, where do I begin? :D

Ugh, poor poor Annie having to go through all of that! I sympathise with her so much right now, you have no idea. There really doesn't seem to be any way that she can get out of this fix, is there? But I suppose I'll just have to have faith that you'll do the right thing by her (which you WILL, RIGHT Mallory?). I really liked how she was aware that she didn't like herself and that it was unhealthy - a lot of the time I think that girls are portrayed as fully believing that they're fat or ugly without the self-awareness that says "yes, believing that is unhealthy" and I think the picture you painted was more realistic, as I think most girls are smart enough to know that what they're thinking isn't healthy - but then of course, it's quite tragic, that they can't really stop themselves from thinking that way. It's a savage downwards spiral. :(

Tsk tsk, James. So eager, haha! Well, I suppose he must enjoy his time with Annie, although unfortunately or fortunately that doesn't seem to be reciprocated.

Aw, Ethan! That boy is so sweet, AND he's a fan of Lord of the Rings! Where can I get one? :P Kidding, although Hattie's a lucky girl. Also, I just have to mention this line because I found it so funny:

"Mum said that an owl would be better—she wanted me to write her letters, I guess. I named her Olivia.”

“Ummm, yeah, owls are good for that."


OH MY GOODNESS LIL ETHAN YOU CHARMER YOU :D "Owls are good for that" obviously is the one line to spark the romance of a lifetime. I mean, I don't even think that you meant for that to be funny, but I just found it inexplicably hilarious. "Owls are good for that." I'm crying

And I want to mention this as well, which is more serious and not quite as silly as the last thing I wanted to mention: I found it really interesting that you told the cliché "best friend likes other friend and agonises over decision to ask her out" but actually from the perspective of that friend who's there to provide emotional support to the agonising friend. Does that make sense? I just wanted to point that out, because it was a pretty interesting way to subvert the trope, and I think that it really did reinforce that even though Annie's the main character, Ethan and Hattie both have their own offscreen lives as well and they're not just characters that you stuck in the story who serve no other purpose than to "be Annie's friend", you feel me? I don't know whether I'm making sense at all, but yeah.

So anyway, this was an awesome chapter, and you should totally update soon, so I'm glad we're in the same cabin so I can bug you about it. >:D

Thanks for the awesome read!
♥Emily

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Review #5, by HermyLuna2 Ready, Aim, Miss...

26th March 2015:
"If you make eye contact with people, they’ll either feel so uncomfortable that they’ll want you out of their way as soon as possible, or they’ll understand that you are a confident and truthful person" I like such little insights in Anne's, sorry, not Anna's, mind. They add depth to the story. I still like Barry, even though he's a bit of a jerk as well.

It's hilarious that Hattie set Anne up with gay men for dates, and that she doesn't tell her. James being afraid of cars is very cute. I would think wizard men were more respectful than Muggles, but oh well, that's just a feeling I have anyway. Anne is quite the misandrist isn't she? May make sense, but I think it's a bit over the top and therefore needs more explanation. But I guess that will come later.

James's inexperience and disregard for pool as a sport is very amusing. You described that really well.

Author's Response: Thanks again! Because Annie is a first person narrator, I have a lot of freedom to explore her brain. It's pretty fun. :)

And yes, Barry is just such a grouch. I love him, too, despite his overall grumpiness. Being an ex-Quidditch star is a bit hard on the man!

Hattie is sort of clueless like that. It's just one of those things, you know?

James is quite afraid of cars, a product of a childhood in which Muggle things bored him and he never bothered to pay attention to his father or his aunt when they said that cars would not kill him. :)

In this story I've created, there are many men who are disrespectful and outright sexist. That's the point--it's that Annie confronts them for their awfulness and takes them down a few notches. It's the reason why she and James are going to change as a result of knowing each other--he's going to learn to be more respectful, and she's going to learn that people can change. I would not call her a "misandrist" by any means. She has several male figures in her life that she respects and likes because they treat her like a person instead of a piece of meat. The drunk men from the Shooting Star and James have done nothing but try to take advantage of her/underestimate her/sexualize her so far, and that is not a behavior that she will tolerate. Ever. So her behavior is a reaction against that. Is she being a little harsh to James? Maybe, but again, there's that history between them and she's still undergoing change and development as a character. So no, no misandry intended. There will be explanations in the future, but I think the men's behavior warrants criticism. I'll have to read back over the chapter and see what I can do to make it clear.

Thank you! James is so entrenched in the Wizarding world that he has no idea what to do when confronted with Muggle objects and sports. :)

~UnluckyStar57


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Review #6, by HermyLuna2 The Woes of Working Retail

26th March 2015:
This chapter was really great! We see a lot more of Anna and it gives her character more depth. I like how you described the Quidditch shop, that was really good. You added so many original details, such as a WizPhone (haha) and Barry. I like Barry, he's a good original character.

I also like how you described James here. He's such a jerk, but still likeable. And how cute that they all think Anna is so good a pooling. That she agrees to teach him was expected, but it's still sweet.

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad that you like her character development so far. I liked leaving the first few chapters ambiguous, so that you would be intrigued and want to read more to find out exactly who she is.

I love talking about WizPhones and Barry too much. It's kind of a problem. :) I'm glad you liked them!

James is still quite a jerk, but I must confess that I love him despite his jerkishness. Remember that Annie is a first person narrator, and she's often unreliable when it comes to judging people's characters--especially James. However, she is still thinking of him in reference to their past, so that adds a lot to her animosity against him.

Annie IS really good at pooling! That's why she's a pool hustler for the Shooting Star--she's very accomplished at acting like an airhead and then playing her opponents under the table. She agrees to teach James more to get him out of her shop than anything else, but their relationship will develop beyond this point, though it'll be rocky. (It still isn't a romantic relationship. More like a business relationship. They're colleagues, nothing more.)

Thanks!

~UnluckyStar57


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Review #7, by HermyLuna2 Mint Chocolate Chip Memories

26th March 2015:
Finally we get a flashback. That's good. I had the idea that your writing style was getting more cliched, but then I read the Hattie part and fortunately it got better there again. You described Hattie really well. I really like her. Her friendship with the main character seems realistic. I like how you chose to make both characters Hufflepuffs. Hufflepuff is such a forgotten house.

At first I thought Annie's hatred of James was over-the-top, but now it gives me a fuzzy feeling because it's so clear that her dislike is a thinly veiled, almost childish mask for an infatuation. That's cute.

I am curious in which direction this story goes. Well, of course I know, so a better question might be: In which way will James Potter II redeem himself?

Author's Response: Yes, flashbacks are always good for context. Sorry for getting cliched on you, but I'm glad that Hattie could make it better and that you liked her. I personally think that Hufflepuffs are cool, and I love them. So writing about them is awesome and fun.

Oh no, Annie actually really has a lot of problems with James. There's a history there that you haven't gotten to yet, and it has nothing to do with infatuation. In fact, the whole point of this story is that she isn't going to fall in love with him. I am a big fan of the hatred-veiled-as-love trope, but I wanted to take this story in a different direction. I'm sorry if I misled you on that, but this is not a love story!

James will become a better person. So will Annie. But there will be lots of personality conflicts first.

Thanks for the review!

~UnluckyStar57


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Review #8, by HermyLuna2 A Face From the Past

26th March 2015:
I'm not sure if I like James here - after all I prefer my James Potter II to be an ambitious bookworm and Albus Severus to be the Quidditch player, but that's just my love for irony speaking. It would make sense that James is the arrogant one though since he's called after people more important to his father. Maybe he identifies with James Potter to the point he actually believes he's James and has turned schizophrenic from his fame. Poor thing.

I am curious why he picked on 'Rose'. I hope it's because he always liked her or something. It's realistic how he's so confident in himself that he thinks all women will be impressed with him. He's really deluded. I think Rose's reaction might be a bit over the top. Or maybe it isn't since everyone is different. But I would like to have known more about her past to make me sympathise with her more. What exactly has James done to her? I know we'll probably find out in the next chapters, but to me it feels kind of urgent. Now, we have no idea why Rose is acting so extremely cold.

I am curious about James's cousin and the bet. This also lends itself for an interesting backstory. I'm curious what Mundungus has to do with all this, but I'm looking out to his appearance. I love shady, shabby characters like Mundungus.

Author's Response: Everyone has their own personal headcanon about the Next Gen gang, and that's what's so beautiful about writing about them. You can change the rules if you wish. :) I chose to go with the "typical" portrayal of James here for several reasons: First of all, his Quidditch player mentality adds to the level of difference between him and my main character. Second, it lets me write about Quidditch a lot, and that's a fun challenge. Also, his ego is huge, and that's another stereotype associated with Quidditch players. My goal with introducing all of these stereotypes is to eventually subvert them, but the jury's still out on whether that'll happen or not! James will reveal himself to be more complex than this introduction allows--I promise!

Albus is actually an Auror in this story, but he has yet to make an appearance. :)

I wouldn't say that name issues are James's problem here. He's not schizophrenic, but that's a really interesting suggestion!

Mmm, you'll have to wait and see the story behind James and the main character. It's getting more complicated the more I write about it! He isn't picking on her in this scene because he knows who she is, but because it's the way he usually behaves around women. This version of James is used to using his fame/good looks to get what he wants.

The main character's reaction will only make sense once you know the back story, I'm afraid! Let's just say that she and James have seen each other before, and it wasn't pleasant for her. You'll definitely find out!

Yes, so much back story! And Mundungus does make an appearance in chapter thirteen. :)

~UnluckyStar57


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Review #9, by HermyLuna2 Shooting Star, After Midnight

26th March 2015:
It's really good how you described the pooling! Your descriptions are very good. What a mean girl this is. She clearly doesn't like her job, and she seems to take delight in putting men on the wrong track. I wonder what's behind that. Is this Rose? I like how you made her call Fred II Freddy. I'm curious about their relation with each other. Beginning a casino is in line with Fred II's character, I think. A very original idea.

This is an intriguing beginning!

Author's Response: Thank you for all of your reviews on this story so far! I'm finally getting around to answering them after all this time. :P

Thanks for the compliments! Yes, the main character might seem quite mean, but the back story has yet to reveal itself. I wouldn't say that she doesn't like her job, but she obviously isn't too fond of the kind of people she has to deal with at her job. Because that man was treating her like she was just another dumb girl, it was quite delightful for her to pay him back.

Nope, it isn't Rose, but you'll find out who it is soon enough. :) Thanks! I got the idea for a Wizard-Muggle crossover casino, and I had to run with it!

~UnluckyStar57


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Review #10, by RShake Proposal Anxiety (Is Amusing)

8th March 2015:
Don't stop here! This is great :)

Author's Response: Thanks for your review, RShake! Don't worry, I have many chapters planned for this story. I just have to write them first. :)

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Review #11, by Veritaserum27 The Boss and the Business Proposition

7th March 2015:
Hi Mallory!

I decided to do another chapter for the BvB.

Aaaagghhh! This chapter! This story! Freddy totally creeps me out. I shudder every time he speaks. I just knew he was going to force Annie to be the one to play James and come up with some sort of threat that would leave her no choice but to agree to his plan. However, the way you wrote it kept me reading faster and faster to get to the end. I have no idea what she is going to do about this! She seems so confident and I want to scream at her, "HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS?!?!"

I guess that as far as Annie is concerned, it will be win-win for her. She will make money helping James win at pool, then she will beat him and get to launch her professional career and James will suffer the humiliation that he deserves. But I have a feeling that isn't how it's going to play out.

I wonder if James was as awful to Freddy during their Hogwarts days as he was to Annie. Freddy does seem to really have it out for him. I feel like he might have more motivations for completely ruining James's life than simply because "the world needs to know." I also don't trust Freddy one bit. He gets drunk off of power and I don't know if he will like losing his "best girl" when Annie beats James and goes off to start a professional career. He likes being in control and he'll have to give up control of her and she's taking off with a heap of his secrets. Hmmm... this is gonna spell trouble.

This story is so good. I'm addicted!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hi again! Yay, thanks so much for stopping by again!

Yes, Freddy is such a lil' creep! I shudder writing him sometimes. Quite sinister. And he's got quite a lot of influence with the people he works with, so it's easy to force Annie into this ultimatum. She's confident on the outside, but she honestly has no idea how to get out of it either. :O

It will be win-win for Annie--maybe. What if she eventually warms to James, despite what he did to her? What if she loses? What if she doesn't want to be a criminal? At this point, it's all up in the air. (Even I don't know what she's going to do, which is the scariest part.)

Haha, more about James and Freddy's relationship will be coming at some point. Needless to say, they weren't exactly friends. Different methods. Freddy was a Slytherin, after all, and James has a bit of a prejudice against the Snakes... Freddy is power-hungry and a maniac. He's going to come up with a way to have total control, but again, it might not pan out the way he wants it to.

Yay, someone is addicted to my story! :D Thanks so much for all of your great reviews.

♥Mallory


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Review #12, by Veritaserum27 Not All Men, But Most of Them

7th March 2015:
Hi there Mallory - here for the BvB!

I'm so excited to get caught up on this story. I think that writing-wise, this is my favorite chapter so far. It really had everything and the words you choose kept a constant, frenetic energy running through the entire chapter. I don't know if I'm describing it accurately, but I could just sense a sort of tension building and building until Annie finally let loose on James. Even then, the pace seemed to quicken and I was on the edge of my seat, hoping that Freddy didn't see James in the shadows.

You did a great job of showing Annie's emotions and inner thoughts about her job rather than simply telling with the vignette about the things she hates about being a hustler for dirty men (I'm grossed out still as I write this).

Freddy. Yuck. Eww. Fantastic. He is everything I imagined and even larger than life! Great, great job with him. Great job with making me cringe and hate him and love how well you wrote him at the same time. I'm even wary when he walks back in the room. Annie seems to be walking this line of being a wounded soul from her Hogwarts days and being a hardened adult that is doing what needs to be done to meet her goals. I'm worried that she might just lose a bit of herself that she loves the most through all of this.

Can't wait to read the next chapter!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hi Beth! Thanks so much for another great review. :)

Oooh, energy? That's very good to know! Words can be difficult sometimes, so hearing that I chose the right ones makes me happy. There is so much tension between Annie and James--not sexual, but still. It's tense. And no, it wasn't quite time for Freddy to discover that James is working with Annie, but that'll come in time. :)

Thank you! I'm a big fan of show-don't-tell, and the vignettes of gross men was a good chance for me to write about the icky stereotypes of those kinds of people. I have way too much fun with that, to be honest, but it does gross me out as well. :P

Freddy is a creep. That's my whole characterization for him. He's just a gross, slightly perverted, crooked creep. I'm so happy that you feel so strongly about him, because he's one of those characters that I can never tell what he's going to do next. I would definitely beware of him if I knew him in real life.

Annie is definitely walking a line, and it's going to come back and haunt her eventually. She's got a terrible way of holding a grudge against the James of the present for what past-James did, and even though he affected her in terrible ways, he doesn't know that she's the same person. So that contributes a lot to her general weirdness. And she's been so hardened by working as a pool hustler that sometimes it's hard for her to relax. I hope she can eventually get out of that as the story progresses, too.

Thanks again!
♥ Mallory


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Review #13, by slytherinchica08 Shooting Star, After Midnight

22nd February 2015:
Hello, here with a random review for you! I actually came across this story by using the random story button and I'm actually really happy that this popped up! It's a very unique idea which really makes this story stand out to me. I very much enjoyed the description that you put into this as well as the sort of mystery that was laced throughout this chapter. For one, I still have no idea who your main character is, I really only know that she works for Freddy and is a bit of a con man and is really good at pool. Then there is the introduction of yet another character at the very end, but we have no idea who it is but that the main character doesn't seem to be too thrilled to see them.

Characterization was really well done, even though that wasn't really the focus here. And the amount of detail that you put into the pool games and the surroundings were really wonderful. I would definitely say that your descriptions are very strong in this chapter and it made it a really good read! I look forward to reading more and finding out who the new character is as well as the main character! Great job!

~slytherinchica08

Author's Response: Awww, you're too kind! Thank you so much for this beautiful random review!

Random story button, really? That's so awesome! I'm glad that it was my story, and I'm glad that you enjoyed what you read! Description is one of my favorite things to read, so I thought I would try it out in my writing. And mystery is the coolest thing, in my opinion. I'm not a mysterious person, so I used this chapter to try out that sort of vibe for once. Yep, nobody knows who my MC is yet. I haven't revealed her name (until a later chapter, you'll see). It's an attempt to keep people guessing and wanting to read on. :D

Thank you so much! Detail is another thing I like, and although I wasn't so focused on revealing my characters' identities, I wanted to make sure that it was clear what sort of role they were meant to play. Thank you so very much, and if you read on, I hope you'll tell me your thoughts! And of course, enjoy reading!

~UnluckyStar57 ♥


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Review #14, by Aphoride Aftermath and Arrangements

14th February 2015:
Hey Mallory! :) Happy Valentine's Day - whether you're single (like me!) or not! :D

You know how much I love this story, and I've felt so bad that I've been so far behind on it, plus you updated recently, so I couldn't resist coming by - it's the holidays, so yay for free time! ;)

I love the way you have Annie here - it's so lovely with another glimpse of Hattie, and the mentions of Freddy and them all. The bit with the letters is so great - it's one of those things I can definitely idenfity with, wanting to say things which you can't in letters and emails, and thinking them instead; it's probably something most people can identify with, I think, and I love it! Plus, Annie's insults are so great, and I love the way she has a relationship with her owl - it really brings to mind a dog-owner relationship, you know? So sweet! :D

Also, I loved the flashback, with her first meeting James and a glimpse of her sister, Bea, who was such a cow! So rude... I'd never treat my little sisters like that! The thing is, I loved the scene, but the actions inside it, were so horrible - with Bea being so cruel at the beginning, with the nickname, and then James taking it up as a way to potentially impress her, because of the crush. I loved the mention of the crush too, it's such a teenage thing to do, too! :)

The details are so great, in this - I love the story of the haunted toilet plunger, haha, and the Wizflix with the Life and Times of Harry Potter. I laughed out loud at the second one - I can just imagine seeing Harry's face at the idea! :P And how she asks Sephrenia to bite Freddy, haha :D Freddy deserves it, really!

Your writing is so great in this, too - I love your description: especially the way you write the first scene, with the image of her waking up and the 'kiss' of the sunlight through the blinds - it's such a gorgeous image! :D The way you write this is so, so good - but you know I love your writing, anyway! ;)

I'm so excited to see what happens next, and I hope you have a great Valentine's Day! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hi Laura! Yep, it's not Valentine's Day anymore, and I'm still a single pringle. :)

I'm glad that you liked Annie and Hattie! I had so much fun writing Annie's letter to James with all of the crossed out words and stufff--it's quite cathartic, in a way. Annie loves Sephronia, even though sometimes she's annoyed by her rogue owl. :)

Bea is quite a cow, I agree. And that first meeting with James was absolutely awful for Annie, so I hope that it came across. The things some people do for love... This was one of the scenes in which I hated James for acting so awful. :/

Thank you! I tend to put several random things in my chapters, and the haunted toilet plunger was one of those. I still chuckle about it when I go back and read the chapter again. :) Wizflix and The Life and Times of Harry Potter will (hopefully) have a bigger role in one of my stories one day, because I've referenced The Life and Times of Harry Potter so many times in the upcoming chapters. It's getting to be a bit ridiculous. :D (Freddy totally deserves to be bitten, and Sephronia totally bit him.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I never know what to do with description, so I just try to set the scene before continuing on with the plot. I'm glad it worked! :D

Happy (two months late!) Valentine's Day! ♥


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

14th February 2015:
HELLO, MALLORY!! :D Ugh, so apparently it takes me several hours to get this second review written? Honestly, I don't know what I'm doing with my life.

First things first, thank you for not making it a terrible cliffhanger because if you had I think I might have killed something and nobody wants that, do they? No, no they don't. But let's move on from my potentially murderous habits to your much less murderous and much more wonderful writing, no? Yes.

So this seems like a really interesting group of people! I love love love that Mundungus Fletcher is still causing trouble for the authorities even as a crusty old man. The dynamic of the whole team worked really well (and by that I mean that you wrote it well, not that this is a healthy relationship between team members who like and respect each other :P) and I think their reactions to bringing in a girl were pretty realistic.

Gah, what sort of problems is Annie going to get herself into now? Honestly, this poor girl is just being dragged places that nobody wants to go.

Also, Dean/Seamus + adopted son = YES. The only bit about this storyline that I don't like is that their adopted son turned out to be a bit of a criminal. ;) Also, I loved that he was into pyrotechnics. Of course someone names after the fire-giver would be into explosives and fire!

You have me totally hooked about what's happening next and what plan Rose and her gang is going to try and pull off, and how Annie fits into that, and James, and basically everything, so update soon, please! ♥

Author's Response: Hi again! I'm going to do a super-mega round of answering reviews now. :D

You're welcome! I really don't mean to leave you hanging, but most of the time a cliffhanger is because I split the chapter because it was getting too long. Aww, you're really too nice. :)

Rose's little crime ring is a very interesting group of people, indeed. Mundungus Fletcher is the conniest con man of them all, and I couldn't just ignore him, could I? I'm so glad that you liked the dynamic, and yes, I agree with you. It isn't a healthy relationship at all. Their reactions to bringing in a girl were partially satirical-ish because I was trying to parody (in a way) the unhappiness/general dissatisfaction of men when women enter their "traditionally male roles," such as politics and etc. :)

Lots of problems, srsly, I don't even know. :P

I LOVE DEAMUS. And it's okay that their adopted son is a criminal because they love him anyway. (And also, they don't know. Trolol.) It made a lot of sense for him to be into pyrotechnics, considering his adoptive parentage. He sort of picked up Seamus's talents. :D

I'm so glad that you're hooked, but the next few chapters don't really have much to do with the organization, unfortunately. Sorry to leave you hanging, but I've got to do major updates on fifteen.


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Review #16, by BookDinosaur One Secret Meeting, Intrigue Included

13th February 2015:
Hello hello! Hopefully I'll be able to leave two reviews on your two most recent chapters quite quickly today! ♥

Ooh, this entire chapter was so mysterious, Mallory! The secret meeting place, the secret meeting - Rose Weasley! I think it's pretty safe to say I never expected that one coming, haha.

Seriously, I loved the bit of background information you tossed to us, about how Knockturn Alley had been completely renovated after the war. Of course it's natural that the Ministry would probably want to get rid of any kind of disreputable, dark place, and yeah, that just fits perfectly into the story, it's a really nice touch!

But that's not the main meat of the chapter, is it? Oh my gosh, Rose Weasley is the head of Freddy's gang? O_O This was unexpected, Mallory! Why are you so good at building up intrigue?? Srsly. Oh my gosh, so then now what's the plan? Is Rose in on Freddy's bet with James? Did she engineer it? WHY?? I need answers, Mallory? Why would Rose Weasley go to the dark side? Omg.

(mind = blown)

This kind of makes me wonder if there are any other cousins involved. Roxanne? Hugo?

Also, Freddy does drag shows, hehe. >:D Did Rose insist on that too? :P

Gah, and why does Rose hate Anne? Is this a superiority thing? DID ANNE INADVERTENTLY BULLY ROSE AT SCHOOL? (I don't think so, but tat would be very plot-twisty. :P)

So basically, I'm glad there's another chapter for me to R&R right now because I don't know whether or not I could stand waiting for answers. ;) The next chapter better not end in a cliffhanger, Mallory, this is a warning in advance! ♥

Author's Response: Hello again! :D

Sorry for so many mysterious chapters... I guess you can call me "Miss Terious." (Brb, cracking up at my own comedic genius.) Naaahhh.

Thanks! I felt like Knockturn Alley needed a makeover, so I gave it one, but sinister things still lurk in the shadows. In the midst of post-war reconstruction, I can imagine that the Ministry would want to purge the world of everything Death Eaters, Voldemort, and Dark Magic. Which includes the suspicious Knockturn Alley, although they obviously didn't do a good job. :)

SURPRISE!! In the theme of girl power that I'm trying to infuse into this story, Rose is the head of the gang, although she isn't someone that I would consider a role model. Lots of internalized misogyny there, especially in her initial hatred and mistrust of Annie... Hahaha, you'll have answers... Eventually. Rose is definitely in on the bet, which is why Annie is there in the first place, but did she have a hand in engineering it? ...Maybe.

Why, you ask? Because it's fun to write about. I love it when good characters go bad. :D

...Maybe there are other cousins involved? I haven't thought too hard about that, but I can tell you this: PfK!Hugo (if he ever makes an appearance) is going to be the same awkward!Hugo from my story, The Willow Tree, which means that he'll either A) follow along with Rose's plans aimlessly, like poor Scorpius, or B) stay as far away from the operation as he can. Only time will tell...

Freddy does drag shows because he likes the way he looks in dresses and high heels. No lie. And then he tries to be all super macho and "No, I'm a man's man." Haha, who's he fooling?! No one. He needs to get over himself. Srsly.

Yes, it is totally a superiority thing! I'm sure you saw some of their story in the next chapter... Rose hates Annie right now because Rose is self-centered and selfish and wants to be the only woman in the organization. She likes the feeling of having total control over these men, and in her experience, other women are just encroaching on her territory. Like I said, internalized misogyny comes into play a bit. Annie wasn't a bully at school, no. But good guess. :D

Thanks again for reviewing all of my chapters. ♥


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Review #17, by Aphoride The Boss and the Business Proposition

11th February 2015:
Hey Mallory! :D It's been far too long since I stopped by here, really it has... so I'm here now! :)

Okay, so I really loved this chapter - the mystery which is included in this, moving the plot so far forward, and the characterisation of Annie and Fred. It's so cool - and I'm so excited to see what happens next, who Fred's 'friends' are and what they're like, what kind of shady business he's involved in.

Your characterisation, as always, is stellar. I love Annie so much - how she's so demeaning to the men she plays against normally, because they're drunk and not very clever and utterly oblivious (which is all the better for her), and yet how she knows when not to be stupid about things and when to play along, especially with Freddy!

Freddy is amazing, speaking of him. I love how he's so creepy and so charming at the same time - it's this gorgeous duality in his character - and he's so cruel whilst being so happy, it almost makes you miss it, you know? (Which is also partially down to your wonderful writing! ;D) He's so clever and so mad, he sort of reminds me a bit of Barty Crouch Jr, you know? I'm so excited to see where you go with him - he's so fascinating :)

Your writing, as always, is so, so good - I love the way you've done it, and your dialogue is amazing. Your word choice as well is exceptional - I loved how you used diabolical and shrewd, and the casino language (hustler and so on) in it. It was so good! Plus, your description is lovely - all of it is so beautiful and so evocative, with the images and emotions it all provokes :)

Thank you so much for the swap - I loved it so much, it's so lovely! And I really, really can't wait so long to come back next time! :)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hi there! It's actually not three months later, and I'm finally answering this! :D

Fred's friends are shady, indeed. I can't wait to hear what you think of them. :) The mystery seems to increase with every new chapter, and I don't know how to stop it! It's just too fun to write like this.

Thank you! Annie is so awful to those men because they're so awful in general. And maybe they'll think twice about underestimating girls next time? Who knows... However, she does have to walk a fine line with Freddy, since he's her boss and very shady to boot. If he does something bad to her, who knows if the Wizarding World will sympathize with her? He's a Weasley and a successful businessman. She's just some girl who works for him. So yeah, that dynamic means that she has to be careful. She can definitely beat him at pool, though.

Freddy is kind of a psychopath, which is why he's so fun to write. He is a MAJOR creep, but his charm hides that sometimes. Ooh, Barty Crouch Jr! I haven't thought of that before, but you're definitely right in comparing them. Freddy will go in many places, trust me. :)

Awww, you are too, too kind. I love words, so throwing some fun ones in every now and again is what I live for. And dialogue between Annie and Freddy is different every single time. I never know what's going to happen, and while that's scary, I love it.

Thanks for swapping with me! We'll have to do it again sometime. :D

♥Mallory


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Review #18, by jessicalorewrites Shooting Star, After Midnight

2nd February 2015:
Hi! Here for the review swap ^.^

Wow -- I've been meaning to read this for so so long now it's actually unbelievable. I've had it bookmarked and everything just waiting for some free time to try read it all in one sitting (because I'm just like that :p). Here I am anyway though and although I can't read it all right now I'll definitely get round to it in the next couple of days because this first chapter was as great as I had always hoped :D

The description in this is so rich in detail without feeling overbearing in any way. At times, especially the beginning, I felt like the whole thing was set in Vegas or something; it really drew me in.

Also, POOL! How amazing. It's a game everyone knows and yet one I've never ever seen a character play in fanfiction. Not even Muggles! Do you play yourself? If not the way you describe the game so magnificently is truly amazing. Even if you do play and have inside knowledge on the quirks of the game you translated this so well for others to read (like me, who although has played a few games of pool before, doesn't really know the rules OR how to do well).

Overall I'm just really intrigued by everything in this first chapter! You wrap the characters up nicely in such a short space making me feel as if I already know them inside out, although I'm sure there is much much more to come. I can't wait to read on!!

- Jess, xo

Author's Response: Hi Jess!

Oh, it's okay! If you do end up reading more, I hope you'll let me know what you think! :D But thank you so much for your compliments and I hope the rest of the story doesn't disappoint!

Thank you! I love description, so putting a lot of it in here made sense to me. :)

Pool is one of my favorite things, so I had to write about it. I thought it would make a nice change. :) I DO play, but not as professionally as my character. I'm so glad that my perception of pool translated well; sometimes I'm afraid that no one will know what I'm talking about!

So glad I've got you intrigued! Do please read on and tell me what you think if you ever get a chance! Thanks so very much for all of your comments! ♥

~Mallory


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Review #19, by Veritaserum27 Learning From the Best

31st January 2015:
Hi there Mallory!

I'm here for the BvB review battle - it's back on and I get to review your story!

I really, really liked this chapter. As you mentioned in your author's note, I felt like you gave us a lot of answers, but you did it in a beautiful way. You have a knack for writing relationships. It really is a testament to your writing - mostly because it is more difficult to do it in a first person point of view story. I liked how you described Annie's (is that her nickname - trying to remember) parents and how they "rounded each other out." They did seem to be polar opposites, but also really cared for each other. We also get to see quite a bit of Annie's and her father's (and mother's) relationship here. The constant feeling that she's somehow disappointed her mother seems ever present in her life - and as I think back to previous chapters, it seems to be woven in here and there as well.

So her real name is Portia, but her sister calls her Bluebird and her dad calls her Thrush. I know that she hates Portia, but is Bluebird the nickname that she simply can't stand? Or did her sister and James turn it into something else that was traumatizing.

Hmmm I guess I'll have to read to find out!

Great job with this chapter!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Hello again!

Thank you! I felt that the time had come for at least a few answers, and the best form was flashback. :D ...Really?! That is seriously so nice of you to say, because I focus a lot on how my characters relate to each other. It's great to know that what I'm doing is coming across. :D

Annie's parents do care quite a lot for each other and for her, but they are rather different. I need to do some more exploring of their relationship because I'm not quite sure how they met/married. There's definitely something there, though. And while Annie's mum is sort of harsh and wants Annie to take certain career paths, she's mostly guided by her love for Annie. It's just that Annie doesn't want to take those career paths, so the relationship is one based largely on a bit of disappointment.

Not quite... :) Annie's real name is Portia--Portia Anne Collins is her full name. Her sister's nickname "Bluebird," which her dad made up. His nickname for Annie is "Thrush." Annie likes being called "Thrush" by her dad and ONLY her dad. There is yet another nickname that her sister created that went on to become the Traumatizing Nickname.

Yes, I suppose you will have to read on and find out. ;)
♥Mallory


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Review #20, by ravenclaw_princess Shooting Star, After Midnight

22nd January 2015:
Hello. Here for your BvB review

Well done on a great chapter. I was completely drawn into the surrounding and the characters and it kind of felt like I was there, watching the action unfold.

The first few paragraphs were brilliant for hooking me in. The imagery of the setting was very captivating and created such a rich world. I really felt like I was in Vegas. You really created the air of temptation and devilry with the language yu used and the small details you added, such as the tight sequined dress.

The use of first person gave this chapter a real sense of mystery. While I have my suspicions of who the girl is, we end this chapter with very little details about her or her background. Playing a pool shark in a casino and waging unsuspecting men out of lots of cash is hardly the 'profession' someone dreams to be in (I do assume here a little), so it will be interesting to learn more about her and how she ended up on this path. I'm not sure exactly what sort of arrangement she's in with Freddy Weasley but it does sound a little unsavoury.

I loved the interactions between the two characters as they played pool. I think you tapped into the gambling mindset quite well and how it was so easy for him to overlook the signs of a ploy and just want to try once more to get the big win.

I loved the language you've used. There are lots of wonderful descriptions that create a very rich setting that is so easy to picture. This is a great first chapter and I'll definitely be back to read more.

Jacqui

Author's Response: Hi! Thanks for your review!

I'm so glad that my setting drew you in. That was what I was going for, and the first few paragraphs are still some of my favorites. Ooh, I've never actually been to Vegas, so I am so happy to hear that I created a setting that mimics it a little bit.

First person is not ideal for me, but it was the most comfortable for the story. I wanted to keep my character's identity a secret for as long as possible (while still keeping things interesting). And she's definitely a pool shark, but there's nothing personal about her in this chapter. It's all a facade! :D More will be revealed much later on, never fear! (Freddy Weasley is definitely unsavoury, you're right!)

Thank you! I've never gambled before, so I'm way out of my area of expertise with this stuff, but it's fun to imagine and make things up.

Thank you thank you thank you! If you come back, I hope you enjoy what you read! :D

~Mallory


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Review #21, by Veritaserum27 A Drink With the Devil

19th January 2015:
Hi there Mallory, here for the BvB review battle!

I'm so excited I had some extra time today to get really into this story. I'm pretty sure I'm hooked at the moment. :)

I absolutely loved this chapter. I thought it was awkward in all the right places and you brilliantly showed a little bit of chemistry between Anne and James. I also loved that while she's learned a little more about him, she's not even close to dropping her guard down. The wounds are too deep. In fact, I'm impressed with the way you've paced this entire story. Each chapter just keeps getting better and better.

I'm sorry to be gushing a bit here, but the fact that you've subtlety layered a little bit of mystery along with James's back story in this chapter was brilliant. I'm wondering exactly how Anne got caught up working for Freddy and how completely dangerous he can be. If he's willing to turn in his own cousin to Azkaban just to make a few galleons, what sort of retaliation will he take when he finds out his employee is the one teaching James how to play? I'm a little worried for Anne. Although she can play the part of pool hustler really well, how savvy is she when dealing with a crime boss with very little scruples?

I can't comment on your accuracy of the description of the pub, because I'm not British, but I definitely got the sense that they were in a bar.

And James still has no idea who Anne is (or that they have a past). You're keeping me hooked - I need to know more!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Yay, I've got you just as hooked on my story as I am on yours! :D

Huzzah for awkwardness! Annie and James have such an awkward relationship, and there might be a little chemistry there, but at this point, it's waaayy too early to tell. Events of later chapters will show you that chemistry isn't always good for them. Oh yeah, she isn't dropping her guard. She has a really good memory and a really big grudge. Is there a ship? If so, they have the blueprints for it but haven't even started building it yet. :)

Oh, gush away! It makes me so happy to read all of your lovely compliments! ♥ I seem to really love writing mysteriously and concealing lots of things about lots of characters. Annie and Freddy's story will come in later chapters, and Freddy comes with his own set of dangerous things. :D Ohhh, he won't be happy when/if he finds out about the tutoring arrangement. I'm worried for her, too, as far as all that, but in a way, she knows that she can beat Freddy by turning her pool-hustling skills on him. (As in, the confidence she puts on when hustling men at pool can be used to subdue Freddy.)

Thanks! I've never been to a bar. It's one of the major failings of my college years. Oh well, maybe one day...

Thanks once again!!
♥Mallory


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Review #22, by Veritaserum27 Ready, Aim, Miss...

19th January 2015:
Hello Mallory!

Here for BvB again!

I'm glad you posted again because I'm getting really into this story. James reminds me of a little puppy (I know you referred to him as a dog), but he's much more childlike. And sometimes I think Annie wants to take a rolled up newspaper and smack him across the nose :) He's afraid of riding in the car, can't seem to learn things until she's told him several times and thinks he's done a great job when he just scratched - haha!

I'd like to think Annie is enjoying seeing her nemesis need her, but she mostly just seems annoyed at him. It's fun for me, anyway to see someone who made her Hogwarts years so daunting that she can't bear to think about it really struggle with something as basic as remembering how to use the cue stick.

I really like the scene with Hattie - she is a sweetheart and I'm so glad Annie has her for a friend. It's cute that she tries to set Annie up with everyone, but I think she's trying to do it so Annie can see what an amazing person she is. Although she knows that she is really great at pool, she doesn't seem to have much self-confidence otherwise and it makes me a little sad.

Overall, I liked the light tone of this chapter!

Great job!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Yay, more reviews from you!

I'm so glad that you're getting into my story! James is such a puppy-type, and so dumb sometimes. Annie definitely wants to smack him in this chapter, though maybe with something stronger than a newspaper. :) He's DEFINITELY like a dog, now that you mention all of those parallels! If he were good enough at Transfig to be an Animagus, he would be a dog.

Annie does take some enjoyment form this arrangement, but you're right, she's also quite annoyed. The tables have turned on their Hogwarts relationship and now they're moving into uncharted waters. Is he a friend? She doesn't think so right now, but he sees her as a resource and someone he can trust. He reminds me of Bobby Newport from Parks and Recreation sometimes with all of his unintentional stupidity. :P

Hattie is one of my faves. She's so nice and optimistic in comparison to Annie's cynicism, and I think Annie needs her for balance. Hattie tries to play matchmaker, but she is HOPELESS at it. And Annie appreciates her attempts, but would sometimes rather that she refrain from trying. :) She does have a lowered self-confidence that seems to be residual from the Bullying Years, but it is my hope that she will overcome it as the story progresses.

Thanks!
♥Mallory


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Review #23, by Veritaserum27 The Woes of Working Retail

19th January 2015:
Hi there!

I'm here for the BvB review battle!

I think this was my most favorite chapter so far! We really get to see more of Anne's life. You can tell that this sweet Hufflepuff has been hardened by something. I'm guessing James Potter had a lot to do with it.

I feel like Anne's voice is really coming through in this chapter, more so than the others. It was an absolute pleasure to read. I was chuckling all through it - and moaning along with her at her misfortune. She's got to deal with an unruly boss, a dissatisfied mother, hiding her true talents, and dealing with James!

James seems to be more than a little arrogant. He uses his position of power as the customer to get what he wants. And although he's recognized Anne from the pool hall, it doesn't seem that he realizes they knew each other at Hogwarts. Although, you let a little hint drop that she is now using her middle name. The last chapter mentioned that she was known at Hogwarts by some horrible nickname that her sister gave her and I'm dying to know what it is!

Oooo! A bit of a cliffhanger - what's so special about "The Snoozing Dog?"

Can't wait to read more!

♥ Beth

Author's Response: Beth! I love your reviews so much! :D

Thank you! I really enjoy thinking about Annie's life before Hogwarts because that's the time before things changed, you know? She's definitely a Hufflepuff hardened by time and circumstance, unfortunately, but her personality as an adult still exhibits some Hufflepuffiness, I think. :)

Ahaha, I'm glad I could make you laugh. She definitely has a lot to deal with at this point, and more will come. Hopefully I can sustain her voice throughout the entire novel; having so many different behaviors in one character is difficult to balance sometimes.

James is way more than a little arrogant. He's the Son of Harry Potter, and he knows it. So of course he's going to treat customer service staff like Lucius Malfoy treats house-elves. He's going to learn in time, mark my words! Yep, Annie's now using her middle name because her first name was wrecked by her sister. :/ James didn't recognize Annie from Hogwarts, but it's been at least seven years since he's seen her and they weren't exactly pals back then.

The Snoozing Dog is a pub. And it's pretty special. Wait and see! :D

Thanks again!
♥Mallory


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Review #24, by Aphoride Not All Men, But Most of Them

14th January 2015:
Hi Mallory! :) Stopping by from the BvB, because unfortunately I'm supposed to be doing work today, and I need an excuse to pop back to this (well, no, I don't, but it sounds better if I do, right? :P)!

I'm catching up, too... and I'm so glad about it! I love this story to pieces, seriously, and I'm so excited about seeing where it's going to go next and everything. Nothing about this story is predictable, and I love it! :)

I love Annie's character so much - I love how strong she is, or pretends she is, and how she's such a good actress and her true skill is more of a shady, or shadily-used, one than other people's. She's just so fascinating, and so unique as an OC - I haven't seen many who genuinely hate a Potter, and don't seem to be likely to fall in love with them any time soon!

I loved learning more about Freddy, and the Shooting Star - using George as a comparison was such a cool idea! And they are reasonably similar in some ways... I never thought of that at all! - and how Annie's night progresses, with her 'clients' and all, and how they act with her. It wasn't shocking, per se, but it was something which should perhaps be shocking, if you get my drift? Like, it's the kind of behaviour which just makes you want to leave somewhere... ugh. Kudos to Annie for handling it all so well - though I suppose since she's been doing this for a while, she must be used to a lot of it, which is pretty sad.

Still, I guess she filches all their money in the end, which is something... ;)

Ooh, Freddy and James, in the same chapter! You're spoiling me, haha! I love them both so much! They're like opposites - James is the guy who knows what's on the line and knows when he's crossed it, if not immediately, and Freddy is the kind of guy who just keeps pushing because he can. It's great characterisation, with both of them! I loved how bumbling James was in this one, too - how he didn't think through why playing pool in Freddy's casino would be bad. Poor guy :P

On another note, Freddy's proposition for Annie sounds terrifying. I'm betting it's really not going to be good news, though I don't know what... ooh, maybe he's going to get her to play James in the match? I could seem him doing that just to try and win... so cruel! Or something more sinister... gah, I don't know! I'll just have to read on, I guess... :P

Your writing in this, as always, is amazing. I love the way you write - the description, and especially your dialogue, are soo good. I know I keep saying this, but it's true! There's nothing I can do but keep repeating it :P You are so, so good at weaving the plot together, as well, I'm so jealous of that - there's all these little strands and I know they're going to come together in the end, and make something I didn't expect. Plus, the mystery is incredible. I really, really cannot predict anything in this story, and I love it! :)

I'll see you soon for the next chapter, no doubt ;)

Aph xx

Author's Response: Hi!!

Thanks so much for this lovely long review! :D

Annie definitely pretends a lot, which is why she's so good at it. Practice makes perfect, right? She herself is very shady when she's at the Shooting Star, but hopefully not so much when she's at home. And she's totally not into James Potter, which is a relief. This is not a love story. :)

I'd like to think that George is not very proud of Freddy, but he's sort of impressed in a way. Freddy is all the things about George that could've gone wrong. Annie's clients are gross, and she knows it, which is why she takes all of their money! >:D She knows what she's doing, and they're just sleazy moneybags to be swindled.

Haha, you're right, Freddy and James are total opposites. James does know the line, though he crosses it A LOT. Freddy does push the envelope an awful lot, which is destructive. James is a natural bumbler--when he can't use his charm on Annie, he has no idea what to do. And he really didn't think about coming onto Freddy's turf, stupid boy.

Thanks thanks thanks!! I don't mind when you repeat those lovely compliments. :) Please don't be jealous of me--I don't know how I'm going to wrap up all the loose ends that I've got at this point, but we'll see. :D

♥Mallory


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Review #25, by toomanycurls A Face From the Past

12th January 2015:
I should read summaries before guessing who people are. *cough* Erase what I said about the chick being Rose. *cough*

So, I'm desperately curious about the history between these two. Clearly they know each other (from school?) and possibly don't like each other. I am still in love iwth the way your MC knows the power dynamic between her and everyone else which she uses to her advantage.

James' question about her knowing who she is does make him sound like a little boy rather than a famous and intimidating figure. I love this line to pieces: “Not at all. I was merely reciprocating your question in the hopes that the relevance of this conversation would begin to make itself known.”

It seems to deflate James so much. Oh it does make me sad to think of James as a bully at school but the way you've described it makes sense. Kindo f like the way Dumbledore worried Harry would be if raised in the wizarding world.

I must be in a vindictive mood as well because I love how James is suddenly trying to justify his fame and presumption. I love that she puts him down so much and goes on a diatribe about his easy life with an adoring crowd. It is quite egotistic of him to assume she'd just drop everything and teach him.

Ah! I love this attitude and sense of power.

-rose
bvb

Author's Response: Hi again, Rose!

It's totally fine. I've had a lot of people guess it was Rose Weasley, so it's not a far-fetched guess at all!

I'm glad you're curious! Their history is a little vague at the moment, but they did know each other at school, where they had a very interesting sort of dynamic. Now the dynamic has changed because it's several years removed from Hogwarts. I don't want to reveal too much about it all, because that spoils the fun. :D

James is such a child. He's so difficult to write because it's like, "Do you want to be a child or a man today? Or both?" He can't even make up his mind. And my MC is just 1000% done with his nonsense. :) I'm terribly glad that you loved that line.

Yes, whenever James's head gets deflated is always a good moment. He gets a chance to remember that he's made mistakes and isn't always the smartest cookie in the cookie jar. He was once a bully, but has that changed? Maybe...

Haha, yay for vindictive moods! James truly has no excuse, but props to him for trying, I guess. Nah, he's kind of stupid, and my MC wants to give him all the scorn and contempt that she can. He's an idiot in this chapter, and I am so glad that you thought so too. :)

Thanks again for another stellar review!

~Mallory


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