Hi Sian! I’m here for the Gala :D
I’ve been meaning to start reading The Art of Confidence for a long time. I knew it was a fake dating fic, and so I was assuming the title was about faking being confident in order to be romantic, or something along those lines. The fact that the fake dating in this story is actually about a Con job is so exciting and such a great twist! From the first sentence (which made me laugh) about not wanting the magical cops to show up in Emmy and Lysander’s line of work you nailed the tone, the characters, the setting. I saw in your note at the end that this story is out of your comfort zone—but it doesn’t show in your writing! Your writing is so clear and, well, confident, that you seem completely at ease as the author.
Lysander is lucky to have Emmy for a friend. The way that she just jumps in and some how figures what to say to corroborate his lies is so impressive—she’s light on her feet that one. I guess the fact that they’ve known each other for so long probably helps—but I was really impressed with her logical process and how she knew what details to put in to make the story believable—even though it’s clear that the officers don’t want to believe them.
And now, I have to ask, what in the world was Lysander up to on Thursday night? And what line of work is Emmy in that makes the cops showing up bad—not that it’s ever that good of a thing if the cops show up? How is she so cool under fire?
I was really amused with how blasé Lysander seemed about the whole thing. He was just cool as a cucumber and seemed sure that Emmy would figure out what to say. But I’m with Emmy at the end of the chapter: what is going on??
This chapter is a great hook! I’m looking forward to reading more and that you’ve decided to write this story!
Holy moly Sian!! We are right off to the races here aren't we?
"I had a feeling I was going to need it, anyway." Well, Emmy, you sure were right about that. That gin and tonic was probably much needed once you found out there was an attempted murder involved!!
I very much enjoyed how panicked Lysander was with all of this. He totally owes Emmy big time for helping him out with all of this. And while I don't think he had something to do with the attempted murder of Rushby-Moore, I'm also not entirely sure that he's not up to something though...there were a lot of negatives in that sentence. he's up to something. why else would he have to go talk to the antiques dealer so often (or more accurately, why would emmy be so surprised/upset that he went back to talk to the antiques guy so many times?)
i mean, they are definitely all up to something, what with emmy being very worried about the blue prints in her bag with the law officers in the apartment at the same time. i'm very curious to see what it is exactly they're up to. my gut says they're trying to steal something- what with her having some blue prints and lysander talking with an antiques guy, i feel like they're trying to lift something and then sell it-but i'm really curious to know exactly what. what is bobby already in place for??
and then we get more into the fake dating part of this fic at the end here which looks EQUALLY as thrilling. i love the set up! THE COPS ARE ONTO ME SO WE CANT BREAK UP NOW! IT'LL JEOPARDIZE OUR ENTIRE (whatever illegal thing they're totally doing) AND EVERYTHING WILL BE RUINED IF THEY KEEP FOLLOWING ME! ugh it's so brilliant. I'M SO EXCITED!!
i have so many questions- what do they do? are they really robbing something or am i totally jumping the gun here and getting over-excited (i love a good crime story)? what's going to happen with emmy and lysander...and also with all their friends when they find out about them? i'm literally just so excited to keep reading. you've set up such a great premise for this story and i can't wait to see everything come together!
Hi Sian!! Here for some august rvg and because i'm VERY excited about htis fic (fake dating!!)
the first sentence has me so intrigued about what this fic is even going to be about! it's a great way to grab people in. a lot of excitement definitely going to be happening in this it seems and already some mysteries to be solved.
and then right off the bat, we know something else is up. i loved how casual she plays the officers being on the couch, like a practice makes perfect kind of thing, she's got the perfect level of smile all ready to go.
i'm curious about what (if any) part of their lie about why emmy and lysander are lying about their fake relationship is a lie. the best lies have some truth to them, but based off of what you've said about both of them so far, they both seem to be adept at lying. it'll be interesting to see more of the two of them and to learn more about them as we go on.
they have such great chemistry already! i love that they've got a little code for things. too lazy to learn morse code but want to have their own little thing. i'm sure it'll come in handy even more down the line. i'm curious to see what else they've got signals for. between they're fake dating shenanigans AND this law enforcement thing, it seems like these two may have a few different scenarios where some codes will need to come up!
anyway this is a GREAT start sian! i'm super intrigued about everything! what's going to happen with emmy and lysander? why were there law enforcement officers at his apartment? what mysterious career does she (they) do that they're so adept at lying? such a great first chapter setting everything up, i can't wait to come back and read more!
This was such a good follow up chapter as we get some answers but more questions. I love that!
Lysander getting himself involved with a murder? that's pretty intense for Emmy to take on but I think like you she'll do anything for a friend :P I think my favourite line in this chapter was: ‘You went to his shop as yourself?' it just really amused me. I love everything about Emmy - she has such a dry sense of humour, she's sarcastic. I love how bossy she is but I think it's more protective but it's such a fun dynamic between her and Lysander. It's going to be so much fun to how things develop because I feel like there will be some moments for humour within the story around their relationship. Emmy is so dismissive of the idea about them dating being believable. LITTLE DO YOU KNOW EMMY. IT'S GOING TO GET EMOTIONAL. <3
I feel like you've done a really good job at showing Emmy's personality. I think she seems like such a unique character already, I love how calculating she is, she has a really clear voice. I think you've done an amazing job at revealing more about Emmy's personality without her inner monologue point blank saying the information that you're showing the reader.
WHAT ARE THEY UP TO??
I want to know more about their business! I think I know from jigsaw that you're very good at weaving information into your stories. I feel like I'll be second guessing through out most of this story. I'll try to just enjoy the story but you always made it so fun to pick up the details within the story. I feel like I may end up with a lot of wrong theories. there is a reason that I'm not a ravenclaw. haha. I may have to keep these opinions to myself, you know, so I don't embarrass myself too much.
I think your details always made your writing so amazing, I just loved the little story because Lysander not being violence apart from when the gryffindor kicked a crup. why gryffindors have to be the bad guys though *cries* but I like what it shows about Lysander's personality/character. it's such a good quality when someone is passionate about something.
I love the humour in the last line! it's going to be wild ride!
(RvG - August.)
HI SIAN! Omg okay, I've been thinking about this story a lot since I read the first chapter, and I was ecstatic when I noticed that you'd published the second chapter. Also very excited to be the first person to review the second chapter hehe :P
I think the chapter summary is very apt. While I have some answers, I have EVEN MORE QUESTIONS. Which is a sign of a very good mystery novel, haha :P Another sign of a good mystery novel: I've been literally analyzing every other word for clues of the plot/the direction of the plot. So, now, I will regale you with some of my ridiculous theories.
One of the biggest mysteries in this fic for me is exactly what kind of business Lysander and Emmy are embroiled in. There's been lots of subtle clues but I can't quite put my finger on it yet? (This also may be a consequence of me being not very intelligent :P). Obviously it's something that the law enforcement would not approve of, and something that they've been doing for a while, given just how talented they are at it--and something that involves dealign with an antiques dealer?? And something that involves a lot of documentation, and does not involve danger. All of that makes me think either something white collar, like fraud (which would be seriously cool actually haha) or art thieving?
The other theory I had was that they rescue magical creatures. I think that'd be seriously cool/clever, given Lysander's protectiveness over Crups and the fact that he's Luna's son. It doesn't connect as well to the rest of it though...haha, you're getting a glimpse into my Ravenclaw detective brain :P I love trying to put together all the pieces of the puzzle. This fic is a masterclass in writing mystery.
It's also a masterclass in writing the friends-to-lovers and fake-dating tropes. You clearly understand the dimensions of the trope and how they interface extremely well. I loved Lysander and Emmy's mutual disgust/strangeness at the thought of dating one another (HAH! You have another thing coming your way, sweet summer children), and I love how you established just how extremely well they know one another as friends. I also love how you've upped the stakes for them needing to fake date with the murder investigation, but also laid the groundwork for making them believe it'll be No Big Deal. (I reiterate: sweet summer children, haha).
The other characters, beyond Lysander and Emmy, are the other major mystery to me in this fic. I'm curious about these unnamed "others" that Lysander and Emmy seem to work with. I'm extra curious about Lorcan, and this anniversary that he's celebrating. Is he married/dating someone? That makes me think immediately (and based on the last chapter) that he has a much more conventional lifestyle and thus might disapprove of Lysander and Emmy's jobs, whatever they are exactly.
I don't know why I'm asking you these questions, since I know that you can't possibly answer them :P Just know, I am very intrigued haha.
OK, final notes before I finally shut up: I adore Emmy and Lysander as characters. I feel like with her meticulousness and nosiness and detail-orientedness, Emmy is absolutely a Ravenclaw, so I adore her for that. And I love how much of a pacifist Lysander is. All these traits make it hard for me to think of them as "bad" or "evil", and the moral grayness of their actions makes me like them all the more haha. And generally, I love their dynamic. It's all very platonic right now--which is good. You're really setting up the friends part of the friends-to-lovers trope well.
AHHHH. I need more :P This is such an exciting and engaging fic. If you ever need someone to scream to about this fic, or bounce ideas off of, or want feedback, I'm totally here haha :D
Eagerly awaiting the next chapter!
hi sian, here with your challenge review! (also counting this for july rvg because i’m multipurpose like that :P)
first off, i’m super curious what emmy’s line of work entails, because it’s got to be something a little shady if law enforcement is considered bad news.
but the fact that they’re both so quickly on the same page, and emmy plays along so well despite being completely thrown into this situation with no explanation or prior planning, definitely shows that they’ve already got a pretty strong friendship. the fact that they both were able to identify lorcan as the reason that they’ve kept their relationship a secret. and she knows that he would’ve somehow made a comment about her inability to cook in his alibi - and with zero preparation, her explanation presumably matches his, despite the fact that she’s entirely making it up on the fly.
you’ve crafted such an interesting story in just this first chapter! very interested to find out what emmy’s line of work is and why exactly she’s so hesitant around law enforcement, as well as finding out whatever lysander did that he needed an alibi for - did he actually do what the law enforcement officials were investigating him about, or is there something else entirely?
I can only imagine this isn’t the end of the fake dating scenario - the officers don’t exactly seem fully convinced that lysander is innocent, and ‘we’ve got no further questions at the moment’ suggests that there will in fact be further questions at some point in the future. so it looks like the fake dating will have to continue for a little bit longer, which i’m 100% in support of. :P
this was a wonderfully intriguing start to the story, i’m curious to learn more about both lysander and emmy and see how this fake dating plot of theirs goes - thanks for entering my challenge!!
Hi Sian! I’m here for our review swap! :^)
Oh so we’re getting right into it? Awesome. Emmy must be a really good friend if they’re playing along with Lysander right away – true friendship indeed. I do wonder what Emmy’s occupation is though; I’m curious to know what line of work they’re in to be consider law enforcement workers bad.
Oof! Why would Lysander need a fake girlfriend? Is he under arrest or something and he accidentally told them that he had a girlfriend? Yikes. Sounds like he’s in something knee deep.
Why is Officer Perks so curious about the relationship? Why does it matter? The comment made me annoyed just as Emmy was. Kind of.
Emmy chose a really bad time to drop by Lysander’s home, didn’t she? I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must be to face two law enforcement officers and be interrogated. Probably not what she asked for on a Saturday morning. I’d definitely be a bit more annoyed with Lysander at that point, and flustered at that too. Not as calm as Emmy, that’s for sure.
That must have been sheer luck, oh god. Emmy is either really good at reading the situation, reading Lysander, or just very very good at bullshitting this all up. I’m impressed.
WAIT. I want to know what Lysander needed Emmy to be his girlfriend for. I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers, and god this sort of annoying but it also guarantees that I’m going to be back for the next chapter. You’re a sneaky author.
What the HELL is Lysander up to? And why is Emmy so weirdly okay with this? What is her line of work? Why be annoyed of law enforcement workers? Since they enforce the law (duh) is her job really shady or whatever?
Hm. Emmy is a strangely assured character, and Lysander’s and Emmy’s friendship really shows through in this chapter.
Thanks for writing! xx
Sian! Here for our swap! (And the story, of course)
To mostly echo Emmy at the end of this brilliant opening chapter: What is going on here? Of course, this is a definite fake dating situation. But this fake dating siutation has a lot ore at stake than the typical fake dating situation!
The opening line is a clincher for me. "Line of work" definitely supports my first question of this review. But also prompts for more details: what does Emmy do? And why the presence of law enforcement generally bad news? Right now, I figure that Emmy is in some sort of black market handling business that isn't really for-profit because I think she deals with animals/beasts/creatures who need proper care. But these creatures aren't necessarily. Of course, I am making this assumption based on Lysander's parents and grandparents' occupation, so really, Emmy's line of work can be anything in addition to being differenet from Lysander's work.
But I think Emmy and Lysander are working together because it seems like the presence of the Aurors is also bad news for him. And later on, you know that this is true because all of a sudden, Emmy is confirming Lysander's unknown alibi: they're dating and what they were doing the night before. I love how you show just how close they are when Emmy is able to confirm his alibi with details that are pertainent to their friendship. I want to know more about their history together, and you even hint at Lorcan, who seems to be an added layer of complexity.
Lyander and Emmy don't seem to be totaly off the hook, as you paint the Aurors having some doubts. This isn't over yet. This fake dating moment is going to have to continue for whatever reason(s), and I am left with SO many questions! (Now that I'm on the reader-end of a mystery, I am reminded at how miserable it can be to have these questions with no near answer--but also how fun and intriguing and addicting it is).
Sure, I have many questions. But you have effectively set up a great first chapter with just enough information for the reader to glean what is going on, but then also for the reader to echo Emmy's question at the very end of the chapter. I know that this story is well outside your comfort zone, but I want you to know that I loved this chapter and that I am proud of you for posting this. I truly look forward to how the rest of these shenanigans play out! :)
Here for our review swap <3 Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes ever, so I'm really excited to see your take/twist on it.
I immediately like Lysander a ton. He's obviously up to some Shady Shit but something about him is just so charming and frustratingly likable? I'm a little amazed that Emmy just went along with it so well, especially because Lysander didn't give her any kind of explanation and there's police officers! I think that serves as a testament to how close they are, which makes them ship them even more. Friends to lovers is my catnip, and especially when in combination with fake dating.
I think you did a really good job setting up intrigue with this chapter. I obviously want to know what Lysander did that would prompt the Sally and Eloise to come by, but the first line really caught my attention, making me extra curious about Emmy and her "line of work". I get the sense that Emmy's a bit of a morally grey character, which makes me all the more intrigued about her and like her all the more. I enjoy the element of mystery in your interpretation of the fake dating trope; it allows for more layers and nuance, and I'm really interested to read more!
Thank you for sharing this, and I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for future chapters ^-^
hey sian, i'm here for our swap!
aw, that first line was great because i'm instantly intrigued by the main character - like..what exactly is emmy's line of work that law enforcement is a problem for her???? i love that we don't find that out in this first chapter because 1) it means i want to know MORE and 2) i do think it's sort of realistic since we're reading things from her POV and right now there's no need for her to tell anyone what she's doing.
lysander is obviously also involved in something dodgy but i love the fact that the two of them are able to play along and act like a couple without any previous agreement - it shows how well they know each other and how close they are, especially since emmy doesn't even think twice or blink before casually giving lysander an alibi for whatever. she has no idea what the whole thing is about, but she's such a good friend (and i assume lysander is the same when it comes to her) that she goes along with his plan ^_^
i'm always sucker for the friend-to-lovers trope and i also love how you incorporated the fake dating into this - it's not something i usually see done with the trope (at least i haven't read it like this in a long while - when it's used as a police alibi), it's always fun to read fake dating shenanigans but when you sort of turn it on its head, it's awesome :D
i'm very excited to see where you're going with this fic - this first chapter was a really great into and a great hook ^_^ also, emmy just seems like a cool character :D i really like her snarky thought-comments :P
btw i know you mentioned that this was totally out of your comfort zone but i honestly wouldn't have known that from reading this first chapter – it reads very smoothly and you’re doing a great job!
I'm so excited to be here and so glad that you decided to post this because I'm obsessed with it already. I love the first line because it's such a great hook that draws you into the story. I have so many questions just from the first time. I love how teasing that statement is. It's always great to be place into the action straight away. I always felt like it's really effective and engaging to get right to the point as such. I liked that pacing.
I already so want to figure out what is going on, what is Emmy into? how did she get into doing it? It obviously sounds she may not be on the right side of the law. I love this concept that, morally grey character is where it's at. Emmy seems really quite rational like she's really clever. I thought all the dialogue between her and Aurors was really well done like Emmy is ready for them in a split second. Emmy has so much potential as a character! I can't wait to see you build on her character over the course of the story.
it's nice to have a shout out to Sally-Ann Perks, I'm glad that she's doing something with her life. I had always wondered about that. I do love a cheeky little link up like that. I hope she's living her best life chasing after Lysander and Emmy.
I already think the idea why they are fake dating is so interesting like I think you've been really clever to put a bit of fresh take on that trope by doing something a bit more unexpected. I'm really backing this to be something really fun and special. I'm really looking forward to getting Lorcan and other characters involved in the story too. You always flesh out characters so beautifully!
This is such an super exciting project, you've got on a hook wanting to know what is going to happen next. I'm so here for everything that you've created in this first chapter! great job, well done!
Yessssss you're writing a fake dating fic! Omg and it starts out so mysteriously. What do the aurors want with him?? I'm impressed with Emmy's acting ability and keeping it together as much as she could. She shows so much trust for Lysander in this chapter and I can tell their friendship is such a solid one. I love this so far and will definitely be back for more because I am trash for fake dating fic and anything you write is always amazing! <3