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07 Mar 2017






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Reviews by Oregonian


Isabella by TreacleTart

Rated: Teen Audiences • 31 Reviews starstarstarstarstar Past Featured Story
Summary:

OC- Isabella

 

Lovely banner by amoretti @ TDA!

Written for jessicalorewrites' Diversity Challenge

A story about turning thirteen and the magic world in Mexico.    


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 14 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 3: A Child Of Oaxaca

Well, I have read the first three chapters now.  What a great idea, to write a story set in Mexico.  After reading these chapters, I am captivated by your characters and setting, which you describe so skillfully.  Doña Marisol is quite the lady, and the family dynamics in Isabella's home are nuanced, believable, and well developed.  As always, your prose flows so smoothy that it is a pleasure to read, and the careful copy-editing is a gift to your readers.  

 

I have never been so far south as Oaxaca, though I did spend time in Mexico City and the surrounding area in the winter of 1961-62, and more recently in Yucatan, so it will be fun to read about Isabella's adventures in Mexico City and compare what she sees there with what I saw so long ago.

 

I am looking forward to learning what is unique about the Mexican magic school.  Surely it will be full of Mexican culture and history, with the basics of magic thrown in.  

 

A couple of typos that auto-correct didn't pick up because they formed real words: Chapter 1, line 6 --"...markets that team with people..." Amend 'team' to 'teem'.  Later in the story -- "Doña Marisol walks through the isles of pews..."  Amend 'isles' to 'aisles'.  Again, at the beginning of the story, "Quickly I spur my horse around the cows in a quick, tight circle."  You can delete one of the quicks.

That's the only ConCrit that I can find in these many thousands of words!  I'm sure that this is going to be a great story, and hopefully the upcoming chapters will appear soon.

 

Vicki



Winding Road by toomanycurls

Rated: Mature Audiences • 3 Reviews starstarstarstar
Summary:

Scorpius is trying to recover after an abusive relationship but finds it hard to move on.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 17 Sep 2017 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

An interesting story, Rose.  I haven't read much of your work yet, so I don't know if this story is part of a larger head canon, but it certainly could be (probably is), and yet it stands alone very well.  The parameters of the situation are clearly stated, and you wisely focus on just one self-contained event, creating a well-structured story arc.  You show us the man behind the events, the man whose progress, even if slight during this one-day episode, gives the story its dynamic quality.



Still Remains by toomanycurls

Rated: Teen Audiences • 6 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

Albus visits Aberforth for the first time in more than 45 years. What is left of their relationship?

Part of MuggleMaybe's Literary Quote Challenge


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 17 Sep 2017 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

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Hi, Rose.  I enjoyed reading this, just a little Missing Moment that might have occurred, when Grindelwald's final remark made Albus remember what his mother had said so long ago, that someday her two sons would have nothing left but each other. (I used to remind my two children of that, when they quarreled, although they never became estranged like Albus and Aberforth.)  This story is well-written, with graceful sentences and a nice development of the thoughts behind the dialogue.  A barely spoken apology and a barely indicated forgiveness, but a step in the right direction.  Good job.



After Life by MegGonagall

Rated: Mature Audiences • 52 Reviews starstarstarstarstar Past Featured Story
Summary:

Amazing banner by beyond the rain@tda

 

 

Hermione's death had certainly been unexpected.

Severus Snape being the one to help her cope in the Afterlife, with the sadness of leaving behind nearly everyone she cared for?

Also unexpected. 

 

2018 F.R.O.G.S. 3rd Place - Best HP Major Character (Hermione Granger)

2018 My Father Will Hear About These Awards - Runner-up for Most Hypnotizing Fic (Most Addicting)


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 09 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 11: Denial.

Hi, Meg.  This is Vicki/Oregonian visiting your story with a review for the EvS Review Tag.

 

This is a clever and effective set-up that you are using.  It's a sort of time travel, but without the clunkiness of using a time-turner device or the problems of changing the present timeline by the actions that the time-traveler does while in the past.  In fact, it neatly avoids all the paradoxes of typical time-travel.  Your main character is not deliberately traveling in time to solve some big problem or avert some impending catastrophe, so she can just do what she wants to and let things play out as they will.

 

As far as the Hermione-Severus romance goes, your premise doesn't require that we deny the reality of Snape's death, as so many Snape-finds-happiness stories do.  And it diminished the apparent age difference between Hermione and Severus from 20 years in the land of the living to something not specifically determined but seeming to be less in the land of the dead.

 

I like the way that you have worked out so many details of how wizarding heaven functions -- fairly idyllic but not without earthly-type squabbles, the presence of whatever materials that we want (such as books), the ability to see what our loved ones still on earth are doing, the close proximity of wizarding limbo -- but I wonder whether souls here get bored or start searching around for something important to do.  Doubtless Hermione will soon be searching for just that thing.

 

Your treatment of the instance where Hermione ran out of her house and back to the fountain was realistic.  I think that she just wanted to reassure herself that the opportunity to see her family actually did exist, and once she was convinced that she could do that, then the urgency to do it right now waned, and it became clearer to her that her first task was to accustom herself to her new world.

 

I have read all that you have posted of this story so far, and I don't know if you intend to finish it or are off to other projects, but if you do, I am looking forward to seeing the unique features of this celestial place (and some features that you haven't mentioned yet) playing a big role in the way the story proceeds.  There is great scope for imagination here.  Will Hermione start to reorganize heaven and improve its social conditions?  Will she venture into the forest and somehow reform the lost souls who wander in there?  Will Snape learn to dismantle the self-protective wall within which he has hidden himself all these years ?  What will a scene between the soul of Snape and the soul of James Potter look like?

 

Questions, questions.

 

I very much enjoyed this story.  Nice job.



Trapped. by Newt Scamander

Rated: Teen Audiences • 1 Reviews
Summary:

Perfect Banner by Eponine at The Dark Arts,


Name: Seamus Finnigan.
Occupation: Laywer. 
Friends: Are at a loss.
Current Status: Trapped in Bottle.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: This sucks.

Hey, Newt, this sounds like a fascinating story.  If Chapter 2 were posted now, I'd go right ahead and read it.  Your scenes are full of vivid images -- I can see the wild melee of customers flocking to the store to buy stuff, the mad crush of customers leaving the store, the scene of chaos and scattered empty boxes, the mysterious bottle that has just now sucked Seamus into it!

Making Seamus a lawyer is an inspired idea.  That career fits his persona so well.  And the idea of a lawsuit filed by the disgruntled Mr. Zonko against his charismatic competitors, the Weasely twins, gives scope for clever, entertaining, and imaginative developments in the chapters to come.

 

A nice idea, a different kind of story.  I'm looking forward to reading more.

 

Vicki



Cat's in the Cradle by juls

Rated: All Audiences • 3 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

bylola


The story of Argus Filch's (and Mrs Norris'!) early life before they ended up in Hogwarts.


Handsome banner by Lola at TDA. Thank you!


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 08 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This is Vicki leaving a review for the EvS Review tag.

 

I just might end up reading a whole bunch of your stories, juls, because I like the ones I have read so far.

 

The is the best Origin-of-Filch story that I have read. You characterize the little boy, his elitist father, and his loving mother well, using clear, plain sentences and just enough detail to establish your points without being wordy and excessive.  That's good.  I love all the pertinent one-liner details, such as the Hansel-and-Gretel-type children who defeated the witch (surely a Mudblood) in the forest.  Perfect!  And the business of Argus's father being dragged away publicly, suddenly wailing about how much he loved his Squib son, while Argus knows better.

 

The idea of Argus's being homeless after his father's arrest was an inspired one.  Living on the streets, fed by the kindness of a stranger, untrained for any kind of work -- you paint a compelling picture.  And everything ties together so neatly;  The woman is Mrs. Figg, and she refers Argus to Dumbledore because she has to leave the area.  If you ever read my story "The Baby in the Closet", you will see some discussion with Mrs Figg in Chapter 9 about being a Squib; I see some parallels with your perception of Squibs in this story.

 

Dumbledore tries to put Argus at ease by sitting down on the dirty sidewalk next to him.  It's the sort of thing that Dumbledore would do, and your mentioning it reveals Dumbledore's character in just a few words.

 

All in all, a very good job, and it could easily have happened just this way  :)  Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



Lex Talionis by starbuck

Rated: Mature Audiences • 8 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

 

I smiled, painting a work of art with her blood.

 

banner made by me (starbuck.@TDA)


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 05 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Lex Talionis

This is Vicki/Oregonian, here for the EvS Review Tag in Slytherin, reviewing for Team Emerald.

 

I will confess that I haven't read The Art Of Being Nonchalant, but these short pieces of your, taken from that world, are enough to scare me off from your main work.  You have certainly achieved major creepiness in the situation and characters.  

 

From what little I've seen, there don't seem to be any empathizable characters here.  The barbarians have invaded.  Perhaps it's an illustration of how years of indoctrination during one's youth can result in a soul inured to violence and bereft of human pity.  Kind of reminds me of terrorists and of children kidnapped to become child soldiers.

 

When the snow finally melts and spring returns with its blue skies, warm air, and bright flowers, I may come back and read your main story, which I am sure will prove to be a real humdinger!  Can't imagine how these characters will ever find happiness or inner peace.  Wow.



Mandrake by teh tarik, Slytherin_HPFT

Rated: Mature Audiences • 1 Reviews
Summary:

You were enamoured by wicker bones and rosebud flesh that folded under pressure, by voices that turned dry as husks in sunlight, for want of water.

 

Happy Halloween! Drabble for the forums Maze#3 activity! Prompt: dark/horror


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 01 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Mandrake

Nicole, this is lovely! The oldest mandrakes speaking to the newly arisen mandrakes, who do not yet know their place in the environment, who are curious like kittens and puppies, who do not know yet that their species and the human species do not co-exist easily.  I am reminded of a little child who finds a small living thing and wants to keep it in a box in his room, but it dies because it cannot live under those conditions.

 

I was recently reading about mandrakes in Wikipedia; the medieval prescription was to dig the soil all around the mandrake so that it would come up easily, then tie the mandrake to a dog, run a distance away, and then call the dog to come to you.  In doing so, the dog would pull up the mandrake and would die from the sound of its screams (poor dog!), but the person would not be harmed.  Do you suppose anyone ever actually tried that?

 

It's always a treat to read your works.  Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



A Tail of Halloween Hi Jinks by juls

Rated: All Audiences • 4 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

Halloween and pranks go together - in the most unusual ways, at times.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 10 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hi Juls.  The Slytherin EvS (Go Emerald!) Review Tag has once again sent me into your author page for a pleasant diversion from household chores.

 

I love how you have based this story on a detailed description of how it feels to Peter to be in his rat form.  I never gave it a thought, before now, about how he, of all the Marauders, could travel unnoticed throughout the castle in his animagus form.  It's so fun to imagine him standing on his hind legs, sniffing delicately, swishing his tail, all those things that rats do but which I had never associated with Peter before.

 

It was a big mystery, exactly what the prank was going to be, but it seems as if it went off even better than planned, because it got not only Snape but the other four boys also, since they were all in the room when the letter was opened.  

 

Of course, Peter won't be able to leave the dormitory or squeeze out through the mouse hole until the charm wears off, and who knows how long that will be, and the other Marauders will probably worry about him when he doesn't show up at the feast (although they will also notice the absence of not only Snape but four other Slytherins as well).  Those conversations would probably be funny also.

 

This story was a clever idea (why didn't anyone else ever think of writing Peter in the form of a rat?) and it put a smile on my face.  Nice job, and thank you for writing.  I love stuff that's kind of different!

 

Vicki



The Midas Touch New! by godslayer

Rated: Mature Audiences • 19 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

banner

 

faeruhs @tda

 

"Why did you invite Bianchi? Even germs don’t like her.”

 

Richest girl at Hogwarts. Prettiest girl at Hogwarts. Meanest girl at Hogwarts. 

 

But apparently my great aunt getting murdered overshadows all of that. 

 

Unbelievable. 


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: prologue

This is Oregonian, reviewing The Midas Touch for Team Emerald of the Slytherin EvS Review Tag.  (And because it's an awesome story.)

 

What a great beginning to your story!  If, as your end note suggests, your revised a previous version of this chapter to make it better, I would say you certainly succeeded.

 

You start off with a point in time, the O.W.L.s exams, that most authors don't write, so it's interesting right off the bat.  Then your poor main character is battling migraines, and it is terrible to try to take exams in that condition, and then her great aunt is murdered by the criminals who broke out of Azkaban!

 

This chapter is full of hooks to keep the pace moveing swiftly and the interest level high.

 

I like that you have your characters basically kind to one another, not perpetually snarky just for the sake of being snarky (that can get so tiresome), although you spice it up with a little conflict, such as the girl, Sophia Moore, who is sitting on the Intermediate Runes book in an attempt to depress other students' exam scores.  *sigh*  There are people like that.

 

Interesting that you have Aurora unable to see anything in the crystal ball, so she fakes it by describing one of her dreams, and then it turns out to be true.  A clever detail!

 

I sympathize with Aurora because I also had a migraine (the one and only) when I was in high school, trying to study for end-of-tem tests, and my vision was so narrowed on both sides that when I stood up and looked down at my bare foot, I could see only four toes.  Hard to read a book in that condition.

 

I like your writing style, plain and straightforward;  the story is easy to read.  Hoping that the next chapter is coming soon.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

eeee! Vicki! 

Thank you so much for your review! 

I'm so glad this reads well and keeps you interested! 

Sophia is a character and a half, and she crops up later on in the story too for more mayhem (i don't think that counts as a spoiler?) 

aurora's dreams and her favoured styles of telling the future are a constant source of contention for her, and the migraines, not really being able to read properly are all linked to that!

thank you again, 

- love, em 



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 05 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 2: act i: scene i

Wow.  This is Vicki/Oregonian commenting on your Chapter Two for the EvS Review Tag.  

 

This chapter is so different from the previous one that I couldn't remember Chapter One and had to go back and read it again.  Your description of Aurora's life and circumstances outside of Hogwarts is so rich and vivid that it kept my attention riveted on the screen, even though there was not a lot of whiz-bang action.  I suppose that that is because Aurora's life is so different from mine that reading this chapter makes me feel like a voyeur peeking into her mansion's windows to spy on her.

 

Your characterization of Aurora was unexpected.  When she is at school, she does seem serious about her studies and alarmed by the news about the breakout from Azkaban and the death of her relative.  Back in her home milieu she seems self-centered and unenergized, focused on wealth (circling photos of luxury goods she wants for her birthday/Christmas).  Her mother is also a piece of work.  Every sentence involving Mama adds to our perception of her personality and goals.

 

Many interesting teasers in this chapter.  Why has Aurora's family situation changed so much since she was eleven years old?  What's the backstory behind her apparently wealthy father writing the article for the newspaper?  Are her mother's business dealings with Mr Gonzalez significant for the plot, or just a means to introduce Aurora to Eduardo?  What's going to happen to poor Ryan?

 

I very much enjoy your writing style.  It is very easy to read, flows smoothly, includes details that are telling but not superfluous, avoids florid overwriting -- in short, a pleasure to read.

 

Aurora is a sympathetic character.  Girls in her situation could be tiresome, but she is not.  Under those designer clothes, I detect a character of strength and some principles.

 

I will enjoy reading your future chapters.



Author's Response:

VICKI! 

thanks for stopping by to review AGAIN!!!

i'm a little MONKAS because there's such a difference in the writing, but i did publish chapter 1 (and write it) like upwards of four months ago. and i can't help but just be liberal with words when i describe stuff LOL 

her mother is definitely a piece of work - both of her parents are, and that's kinda why aurora is the way she is.

as for questions: 

1) will be addressed in chapter 3, 

2) her father is the editor-in-chief for the Daily Prophet (not really a spoiler lol)

3) YES! definitely important. Eduardo makes a reappearance EVENTUALLY. it's sort of me putting cogs in for motion things that are very, very far off. (chapter 32)

4) oh ..... don't you worry about ryan ;) 

- love, em 

 



Insecure. by wildest dreams

Rated: All Audiences • 1 Reviews
Summary:

banner

To be loved is to wait for the day you are not. 

banner by me.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 09 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Insecure.

Hi Hannah,

 

This is an interesting poem, interesting to me because it is a new concept.  The gist of it is in the lines "To be loved is to wait for the day you are not," and "I want to believe you."  Many people must relate to those thoughts, but I don't recall having felt that way, so it is a glimpse into another way of thinking.

 

All of your poems that I have read so far have these similar themes, a loving relationship that is not quite there (or not there at all), but expressed very well.  I 'm sure that I will enjoy whatever else you choose to post in the way of poetry.

 

Thank you for writing.

 

Vicki



The Talk After The Heartbreak by wildest dreams

Rated: All Audiences • 3 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

A poem about the aftermath of a break up. 


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 09 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: The Talk After The Heartbreak

Another good job, Hannah.  

 

First of all, well-spoken.  Plain, not overwrought or over-written, well-chosen words with just the right touch of imaginative metaphor.  Each verse addresses a particular idea; you're not just saying the same thing over and over.  And there is a logical progression of the ideas.

 

When writing structured poems, we can (that is, we are permitted to) put one syllable on each beat, following the chosen pattern of strong and weak beats.  But imagine your percussionist in the background, pounding out the beat on his drum while you recite the poem, fitting your words into his beat.  That means sometimes two rapidly-spoken syllables on one beat, or a syllable stretched out over two beats, or a beat (or two beats) where no syllable is spoken (a pause).

 

You see this when you go to church and open the hymnal and sing a hymn while following the printed music -- two eighth notes accommodate a two-syllable word on one beat of the music, a single word encompasses two quarter notes (two beats), and there are rests where, for a beat or two, you don't sing anything.

 

I recited your poem aloud several times, beating out the time on my desk.  It is iambic tetrameter, and if you were to stand up in front of an audience and recite it, you would be holding a "reading copy" annotated with where the double-syllables are and where the pauses are, and in your mind's ear you would be hearing the drummer behind you or the music in your head, and it would be great.

 

Vicki



Inconclusive Evidence by Mottsnave

Rated: Teen Audiences • 2 Reviews starstarstarstarhalf-star
Summary:

Banner

 

Bulstrode tried to call the meeting to order. Pansy's voice rang out above the rest: "who died and put you in charge?" That was the question, wasn't it? Shortly after the Battle of Hogwarts, Slytherin House tries to come to an important conclusion.

Banner by Mottsnave


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 04 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 2: Chapter 2: Assignments

Hi, Mottsnave,

 

This is a great story.  Your situation, as it could be summarized in a few synoptic sentences, is fairly simple, but you have fleshed it out with so many details that it is fascinating to read.  All those Slytherin students being detained and questioned by Aurors, all that information about the inner workings of Slytherin House during the final year of the war -- it all makes sense.

 

I like seeing Millicent depicted as having some smarts and management talent, since in the seven books she comes off as neither capable nor bright  And in general all your Slytherins are presented as nuanced and complex, no stereotypes there.  We don't see a lot of that in the seven books, so it is refreshing to see it now.

 

I also noticed the general low level of emotion and angst on the part of your Slytherins.  Even though some, such as Gegory Goyle and others who had lost family members, were emotionally affected, you didn't dwell on that, and rightly so, because to do so would have distracted from the thread of your narrative.  We are left with the impression that Slytherins in general are pretty tough nuts (probably true), accustomed to handling difficult situations.

 

I read this story without reading "The New Skin", though afterwards I did glance at the first chapter of that story --it seems to say that Snape did not really die but was transported to some other existence.  Well, when I read "Inconclusive Evidence," I was assuming that Snape's dead body had been swallowed, python-style, by Nagini, and I was wondering why the authorities had not sliced open the belly of that dead snake to check inside.  I will have to go back to "The New Skin" and see where you are taking the saved-in-the-nick-of-time Headmaster.

 

This was a good and clever story, very well written.  Thank you for writing.  And I appreciated your jokes.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki,

 

Thank you so much! I always thought that JKR diminished her story by not giving most of the Slytherins more developed characters. After all, if you select for cunning and ambition, you should have some very intersting personalities. But then again, having most of them as complete blank slates allows fanfiction authors a lot of room to play. I've always thought of Slytherin House to be a place for games-players who are interested in structure and heirarchies. And yes, I think over the years they've probably become very adept at hiding emotion and weaknesses from others. And they are survivors.

 

As I slowly get all my old stories posted up here, there will be more featuring Bulstrode and the rest of the Slytherins as well.

 

Thank you again for the review, and happy reading!

 

Mottsnave



A New Job From an Old Friend-Stan Shunpike by potionspartner

Rated: Teen Audiences • 3 Reviews starstarstarstarstar
Summary:

Here are the stories of New Beginning for the residents of Diagon Alley. All of them picking up the pieces. All of them given a second chance, but new beginnings means very different things to different people. Read on to see what this opportunity means to each of them and how they decide to use it.


 


For the Great Collaboration 2019 New Beginnings


 


This is the 2nd of four of the New Beginnings of Diagon Alley series.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 13 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: A New Job for an Old Friend: Stan Shunpike

Oh, this story is charming, Potionspartner.  I'm happy to give you a review.  Poor Stan, he never seemed too bright in the books, not Death Eater material at all, but it is easy to believe that the Ministry would scoop up any hapless and unpowerful citizen they could, just to make a pretense to the public of doing something positive against the menace of the Death Eaters.

 

You have characterized Stan, Borgin, and Ernie so well that they are a delight to read.  Each one has a strong and distinctive personality.  The dialogue is great.  The physical details of the Knockturn Alley setting and the actions of Stan before the arrival of Ernie paint a vivid picture in few words.  You manage to pull us back into so many of the aspects of the seven books, and yet all your references fit seamlessly and naturally into the story.

 

You have accomplished a lot in only two thousand words because every line does its duty in adding to the story, no wasted words, no over-writing.

 

The only suggestions I can add are two: In the line "People either viewed him as suspicious or as an idiot, like Mr. Burke," change Burke to Borgin.  Then go over the story carefully to clean up all the typos; you will see them easily.  They dull the sparkle of this story a bit, and when the text is polished up, this little gem will shine.



Author's Response:

Thanks for the review. I know about the typos. I'm terrible at editing my own work and just need to find the time. . . Maybe after the Great Collab and after the FROGS and of course everything in real life. 



Now and Then - Moments in Time by Elena

Rated: Mature Audiences • 1 Reviews
Summary:

Hermione finds herself wrapped up in the war against Voldemort, help comes to her aid without her knowing and from the least likely person to do so. While Hermione is in and out of consciousness in her present time, while she sleeps, she seems to be also trapped in the Marauders Era. What happens when Hermione comes into contact with the 7th year Marauders at Hogwarts and begins to change her future? HBP has no affect, please pretend HBP doesn't exist - Some advisories have used just in case.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 2: Hermione's Unknown Helper

Hi, Elena,

 

I wasn't sure about a story where Hermione goes back and forth in time, but I thought I'd give a fellow snake's story a try.  And I'm glad I did.

 

After two chapters, nobody has gone back in time yet, but you've given us some crackerjack action in these first two chapters.  The depth of detail and the short declarative sentences, without a lot of digression into inner contemplations, ensure a rapid-fire pace and give immediacy to the action.

 

I also appreciate the AU approach.  Because of it, the situation is at once familiar and not familiar, and the differences capture my attention, even though we are talking about the same main characters that filled the seven books and have been written to death in fanfiction.

 

I will continuing reading your chapters.  Keep up the good work!

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki :)

Firstly, thanks for reading and reviewing. This is a story I started writing many years ago but never finished. I'm hoping a new audience and a new life to it will help motivate me to finish what I started. Please keep reading, this was one of the stories I was most excited about.



Christmas Baggage by FawkesyLady

Rated: Mature Audiences • 1 Reviews
Summary:

Hermione Granger was going to be the best Santa’s Helper the Wizarding World had ever seen. It helped that she really had the hots for Santa. If only she could get out of her own way, she might find true love that lasts.


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 02 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hello, FawkesyLady,

What a great story this is.  It works in so many ways.

The writing is graceful, studded with apt phrases and little insights like tiny twinkly lights on a Christmas tree. ("He had a way of improving on things.")  

The implied backstory is suggested, hinted at, to make a larger universe that this AU story sits in. Why is Hermione so anxious about expressions of affection?  What happened to her during (or after) the war, beyond what we all already know?  Why does she have "significant hang-ups", why were her thoughts a horror show, why did she feel a need to run or fear she was going to die?

 

And Snape as Santa Claus!  He's quite a reformed man. I can see that a surviving Snape would receive a five-year probation sentence; after all, he was in pretty deep with the Death Eaters, and people wanted to be sure.  Perhaps the obligation to play Santa annually was meant as a kind of therapy for him; it seems to have worked, since he continues to do it.

 

Hermione's conveniently expandable bag that held almost everything the trio needed during their year on the run in DH always seemed a bit too convenient for me, a way for JKR to avoid having to describe how they would have otherwise maintained themselves during that harsh year.  But in your story the bag has gained a bigger role -- a focus of Hermione's need to protect herself with everything she might need, incuding food and an endless supply of information sources (books), to the point that the bag is almost controlling Hermione, rather than the other way around.  A wonderful, concrete symbol of her state of mind (or maybe just a symbol of my basement).

 

I appreciate the subtlety and restraint in the depiction of the sexual aspects of their relationship.  It is easy (and often done) to simply write graphic sex scenes with little subtlety, and they all end up sounding alike.  But you have chosen to express it differently.  As for what the future holds for this couple, I wonder whether they will make any progress at all so long as Hermione seems to have no one to talk to about whatever scenes of horror she experienced in the past and how to handle those memories.

 

I enjoyed the Christmas theme that runs through this entire story in images and phrases.  Your story certainly deserved the awards it received, and it deserves more reads and reviews!

 

Vicki



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 03 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 7: tradition

Hi,

 

After reading your first seven chapters, I will write a review.

 

I am enjoying this story because your main character is so nuanced and complex.  Some authors write about characters with troubled family backgrounds as if those characters were one-dimensional, with only one outlook on life and one set of emotions.  Or the troubled character has a sudden and unbelivable complete change of heart at the end of the story.  But your Aurelia embodies as many positives as negatives, maybe even more (we shall see where she goes in later chapters), and importantly, she does so throughout her life as seen so far from age three to age seventeen.

 

I hope that she will come to see that Andromeda does love her, despite what imperfections Andromeda has as a mother (as do all we mothers, even though we try our best).  Aurelia is looking for her blood mother; perhaps she will come to put just as much value in her blood aunt (much better, for Aurelia's needs, than to be fostered by total strangers).

 

I like your writing style, the way you tuck in little sentences, or even just clauses, that momentarily expand the thoughts and emotions of Aurelia as she proceeds through the events of her days. It is a realistic appreciation of what we experience -- little interactions and observations stir up more than one momentary emotion, and trigger tiny memories that we briefly reflect upon.

 

I also like your structure, each chapter showcasing a distinct time period and a distinct set of persons and events.  This structure gives your story a sense of progress, even though we do not see a specific plot yet, just a child/teenager trying to discover how she fits into this world.

 

Thank you for writing :)

 

Vicki

 

 



Moonlight New! by Noelle Zingarella

Rated: Mature Audiences • 56 Reviews starstarstarstar
Summary:

Moon, Woman, Man

 

Graphic by Noelle Zingarella

 

 

Miranda Rose had always been a bit reckless and she was used to taking the consequences as they came. However, when she met a certain dark-eyed Potions Master in the summer of 1995, the consequences would change her life forever.

 

 

 

**N.B. Snape is my favorite HP character and I love his story arc. I think his life and death are quite poetic and wouldn't really change a thing. This story, however, is a "what-if" exploration continuing post-second Wizarding War. What if Snape met someone from outside the circle of Hogwarts and Voldemort, someone who didn't have any preconceived notions about him? What if he had a second chance? Hope you enjoy and let me know what you think!


Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 26 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 12: Chapter 12: Rumination

Hi Noelle,

 

I was puzzled at first by the drastic change of scene at the beginning of this chapter. Why was Miranda suddenly in in a bleak countryside next to an ancient circle of standing stones, luring a dog with baked pig's ears?  Then you said "she had tracked every large black dog.." and I realized that she was continuing her fruitless search for Sirius Black.  There are so many dogs in the British Isles, that her chance of success is practically nil, but it's a good modus operandi for appearing to look busy and yet stalling Lucius Malfoy.

 

You state that Severus was on her mind constantly, and yet it seems not to be a desperate longing.  He was an interesting man and she misses him, but she has other friends and a lively, far-reaching life.  She knows that his memory will fade in time.

 

I smiled at Aaron's search to find canned pumpkin in England.  My daughter was on just such a search in Oslo in 1991 to prepare pumpkin pie for a traditional American Thanksgiving Day dinner for her Norwegian friends.  She never did find canned pumpkin, but she found a fresh pumpkin in a Pakistani market that she baked and used.  Her friends thought that a dessert made from a vegetable was very strange, but they sampled thin slices and liked it.

 

As for the post-Christmas party at Malfoy Manor, I wondered why her old school friend was being tied into a shindig at the home of Miranda's scary customer.  Aaron had said at the night club that he was in and out of the embassy a lot; I suppose that MACUSA maintains an American embassy in London that has dealings with the Ministry of Magic.  I'm guessing that the post-Christmas party is being held at Malfoy's place for convenience, and that it is not a private Malfoy party as was the last scene that we saw there.  In that case, with many important guests present, I hope that Miranda will be safe.

 

Then we see Snape again in his classroom and apartment at Hogwarts.  He too misses Miranda, more stongly than she misses him, perhaps because he has no other friends and no other social life.  I am struck by his recalling that "he had loved Lily so much," and yet when it came to choosing between Lily and the Dark Arts he, knowing that he couldn't have both, chose the Dark Arts.  Could it really have been infinite love for Lily if he chose something he knew she could never live with?

 

Interesting thoughts that you express in the lines "He sometimes thought...draw Miranda to him."  Of course he is much older now than he was when his friendship with Lily ended, and he's not completely a Death Eater, just a double agent.  Who knows what Lily would have thought of him if she could see him today?

 

I loved the final paragraph.  I'd say that Snape rivals Dolores in unrealistic fantasies of a more perfect life.  But she believed in hers fully, and he believes in his not at all.

 

Nice job.  Looking forward to the next chapter.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki! Once again, I really appreciate your thoughtful reviews.

Miranda is not a brooder. She's not happy that her affair with Severus is over, but she's not going to die over it either. She's the sort of person who takes things as they come and tries to make the best of it.

I'm glad the pumpkin bit made sense :-). The idea of some polite Norwegians cautiously eating 'vegetable' pie is so funny.

The shindig at the Malfoys is in chapter 14, which is in the queue now. It's going to be a hot time.

I think you're right that Severus misses Miranda more because he doesn't really have a social life. I also think he is a brooder and usually sees the negative side of things. At this point, I'm taking him at his word that he loved Lily or he at least believes that he loved (and still loves) Lily. Since he was so young when he knew her, I wonder if he truly understood that he couldn't have both her and the Dark Arts. Or maybe he didn't really have the confidence that he could win her anyway, and so the Dark Arts were that much more appealing because they would always be there.

It is a good question what Lily would have thought of him if she could see him as he was at this point in the story.

I think you're right about Severus and Dolores and their wild dreams. 

Thank you again!

Yours,

Noelle



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 10 Mar 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 14: Chapter 14: Mad Meg

Loved it, loved it, loved it.  A rollicking good story, good characterization, Take that, Lucius!  Obvious good research, and let me tell you (you probably already know) what a joy it is to read a story that is so well edited.  Top-notch spelling, punctuation, and grammar (the SPaG).  Only a typo or two here and there, but I know from my own experience that it's almost impossible to see them all. At one point the text has 'verses' where what you want it 'versus'.

 

I am glad that Severus is finally learning that honey does work better than vinegar; I guess the leopard can change its spots.  Why was Aaron not immediately available when Miranda came back out of the library?  Careless man!  I can certainly believe that Lucius would have a trapdoor under his dueling platform to cheat in a duel, and would have a deadly beast in the pit to finish off his victims.  You have made him profoundly evil in a way only suggested in the Harry Potter books.  I wonder if Narcissa knows about the trapdoor, the pit, and the beast.

 

One might say that Miranda is a 'superhero', and she sort of is, but the real fault is the failure of Lucius to recognize the power and competence of Americans.  His overarching elitism blinds him to the appropriate understanding/respect of the capabilities of other people.  He would never have dreamed that Miranda came to his house so well prepared and with so many weapons.  He was doubtless blindsided by the American spells that he had never heard of and wasn't prepared for.  He depends heavily on his arsenal of dirty tricks and assumes wrongly that they are the last word.

 

I was struck by your line where Lucius Malfoy brags to Miranda that his distant ancestor Armand Malfoy came into England with William the Conqueror because I wrote a short story that became progressively longer in subsequent versions and finally became a screenplay, based on that same proposition, but with a surprising twist.

 

It is impressive that you can churn out such good (and long) chapters so quickly, with all the other demands of daily life.  I look forward eagerly to chapter 15.

 

Vicki



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki!

Can I tell you how much fun I had writing this chapter? I think this chapter and chapter 5 are my favorites so far. I realized a couple of chapters ago that it was only a matter of time before Lucius and Miranda had a good, old fashioned throwdown and it was very satisfying when I finally got to write it. Thank you for the word point and for your kind words about my writing too :-)

I think Severus is starting to come around. He is self-interested and if a bit of sweet talking will get him what he wants--well, there it is.

Aaron is used to Miranda being late everywhere, so he wanted to keep talking to Narcissa about babies, since he figured Miranda would be late. Severus messed up the timing a bit. Although it would have been a shame to waste all of Lucius's preparations.

I think Narcissa knows when to not ask questions and I agree that Lucius would underestimate someone who wasn't a pureblood--or even English! I also think his thinking is not very flexible. I doubt he'd be very good at thinking creativly on his feet.

My sons helped pick the beast that was in the pit. We have a copy of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and the boys made me a list to pick from.

I looked up the Malfoy family tree online and found the reference to Armand Malfoy and William the Conqueror. I'm very interested in your story about him!

I'm so glad you're enjoying this :-). I've got a couple of one shots I'm planning to work on this week to buy me some time to study Romania. I think that chapters 15 and 16 will be in England and after that I have to know what I'm doing for the next story arc :-).

-Noelle



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 19 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 1: Chapter 1: An Unexpected Encounter

I think I will enjoy this multi-chaptered story.  From the start I could see that your writing style is polished, not amateurish, and I liked the character discussion of Snape in the opening three paragraphs.  You have some logical observations about how Snape probably considered his present life, based on the personality that we have come to know.  I liked the line "...wondered if he had any food in the house."  You have depicted his mindset to a tee.  I also like the anti-venin reference.  Considering how easily Lord Voldemort dispatched followers who displeased him, Snape is correct in not assuming that he is safe around the snake.

 

You do well to keep this character discussion short (some authors go on too long).  But instead of transitioning into ordinary action you bring us bam! into not-ordinary action and introduce what looks to be the main female character, a real take-no-prisoners babe.

 

I am a bit surprised that Snape agrees to go to an unknown place with this unknown woman for a rather dodgy-sounding reason.  I would not have thought him so trusting, but the story is still young, and he may have as-yet undisclosed motives.

 

There are lots of Snape romance stories in the fandom involving original female characters,  some very well-written.  I am curious to learn how you will envision this classic theme.  Probably a majority of readers of the HP series have found a forgiving, or at least sympathetic, spot in their heart for this seriously flawed but ultimately tragic figure. 



Author's Response:

Hi Vicki!

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the beginning to my story. I wanted to start it off with a bang. As for why Snape follows this unknown lady home; I think he figures that he can kill her if he has to and that he is simply happy to have a reason not to go back to Spinner's End. This story also explores the not so rational decisions that everyone makes from time to time. One of the things I find most interesting in the Harry Potter books is that almost all of the characters make a bad decision at some point or other. Thanks for reading and reviewiing!



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 19 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 2: Chapter 2: Snakewood

Here for some comments on your Chapter Two.  The writing is again very smooth, and the dialogue is not too 'affected' (as one sometimes sees, and of which one can quickly tire).  

 

I appreciate that Snape is not a one-note personality in this scene.  Sometimes he feels irritated, but not all the time, sometimes he feels flirty, and then he feels an opposite reaction (to salvage his dignity), sometimes he feels proud (of his job at Hogwarrs) and flattered at Miranda's praise of his journal article...  He tries to be suave but doesn't always manage to maintain it.  This is all great.

 

Early in this chapter, I wondered at Miranda's cleaning the ash off Snape's clothes (couldn't she have just done that in the alley without bringing him home with her?), but quickly thereafter you explain that seeming plot bobble by having her say that their clothes would have to be burned to destroy the residual ash.  She couldn't just let him carry it home to his house.

 

You cleverly use the dialogue to tell us a lot about Miranda's background and purpose of operations without making it sound like an info-dump  As she would naturally explain to Snape, so also do you explain to us, just the necessary facts, but avoiding the temptation to unload all the details of her work in one overlong speech.

 

I am glad that Snape leaves her mysteriously-vanishing cabin with his dignity  and respectability intact.  They will probably get together before this story ends, but there's no reason to envision him as an impatient teenager whose brains are not located inside his skull.  He is an adult in his late thirties with many heavy responsibiiities on his plate.

 

One tiny bit of ConCrit.  In the first few sentences you say "The mantle was cluttered..."  "Mantle" is a cloak or a covering.  The word you want for the ledge over a fireplace is "mantel".  That's all.



Author's Response:

Hello again! Thanks for coming back for chapter two. I'm glad I was able to pull of the introduction of Miranda without it being too obvious. I'm also glad you appreciated my three dimensional Snape. I certainly have a soft spot for him and had fun imagining why he acts the way we see him act in the books.

Thanks for the help with the correct spelling of mantel too. I'll fix that up soon.

I really appreciate your comments!



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 19 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 3: Chapter 3: The Queen Mab

Happy to read another chapter.  I did read some of your chapters in their pre-revision versions, and I would say that the revised chapters are definitely an improvement, more subtle, more nuanced, more complete character development.  You are on the right track.

 

I appreciate the line by Snape : "My mother is a witch."  I say that because I wrote a story a few years ago, not yet transferred to this site  (Beloved Son), in which which I assumed that Snape's mother was still alive after his death, but my validator said that I had to re-label the story as AU because JKR had said, in some interview that I had never run across, that Snape's mother died shortly after he entered Hogwarts as a boy.  That statement had seemed to me like a convenient but unconvincing method to get a character out of the way.  So I am glad that in your story she appears to be still alive.

 

Getting into this increasingly romantic relationship seems un-Snape-like.  Why is he now, at this moment in his life, particularly vulnerable or inclined to create this emotional connection with this young woman?  I also wonder about her.  She seemed to be wedded to her work when we first met her in the alley, and of course since the story is not told from her point of view, we can know her thoughts ony as she expresses them to Snape, but why is she pursuing the relationship?  What is her need?  Doubtless this will become clearer as the story progresses.  You are letting us know this important info bit by bit, and that is good.

 

A couple of word points.   "...perspective students among the No-Maj population...".  'Perspective' needs to be 'prospective', but that may just be a typo-marred word auto-corrected into something which is a real word but not right for this context.  And 'pass-time' is usually rendered as 'pastime', though it occurred to me that you might have had a reason for the alternate spelling.

 

A good story.  I will definitely keep going.

 

 



Author's Response:

Hello! Thanks again for your lovely reviews. I appreicate your willingness to wait for character development as well. I'll do my best not to leave too many strings.

I am very interested to read "Beloved Son," so please let me know when it gets to this site. I agree that Eileen Prince is far too interesting to conveniently be killed off. She's very much alive in my story and she'll be making an appearance eventually. i don't know if that will turn this story AU when I put it through validation, but I don't really worry about that so much. I feel that fanfic writing is akin to myth building and it can be a bit sloppy. 

I'm honestly not sure if this relationship is a good idea for either Miranda or Snape. I guess we'll see as it unfolds.

 

:-)

 



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 20 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 4: Chapter 4: Take Two

Well, this chapter is beginning to suggest answers to some questions, bit by bit.  I was interested to note that the first half of it was from Miranda's POV.  If we continue to see her POV from time to time, it will be possible to understand more of her motivations.

 

Snape is, as you have shown before, torn between two types of responses.  The scene in the alley shows this well.  Initially he is unfriendy and suspicious, and then he turns rather quickly into unaggressive and longing for connection.  Why does he do this?  How does it jibe with his well-known character?  In your final lines it all make sense.   "She wasn't Lily, but she would do.  This wasn't love, but it would do."  It is often debated as to whether what Snape felt for Lily was really love or not.  I will be interested to see how this all turns out.

 

A couple of word points.  "...interest was peaked..."  I see this word substitution often.  'Peaked' means having a high point, a peak.  The word you need is 'piqued', which means 'to irritate, prick, or incite interest'.

Also, the words 'drawled', 'drawled lazily' and 'sneered' call for careful and judicious usage when applied to the speech of Lucius Malfory and Severus Snape.  They are at risk of being used excessively, to the distraction of the reader's attention.  So be careful to avoid falling into this trap.

 

I am enjoying this story and will continue to read and review.  You are doing an excellent job. :)



Author's Response:

Hi again! Thank you for the word points, they are always appreciated. 

As I go on, more of the story will be told from Miranda's point of view. Snape sort of took over the first few chapters, especially in my rewrite. I suppose he's a bit of a bully, but I put him on this roller coaster ride, so I guess I won't complain. I'm glad my lines at the end of the chapter clarified his motivation for going home with Miranda. I was happy with them when they came to me.

 

You are so right about the word 'drawled' being overused for Snape and Malfoy. I think it's also overused for Draco. I will be mindful of that as I go forward and come back and tweak the first few chapters before I complete the work. 

:-)



Reviewer: Oregonian Signed
Date: 20 Feb 2019 Story: Chapter: Chapter 5: Chapter 5: The Morning After

Well, I loved this chapter.  So well done.  I am very much in favor of subtle over graphic (as you may have surmised from my Chapter 5 of Only One).

 

So many good things in this chapter, where do I start?  The Latin sentence on the embroidered wall hanging (Psalms 127:1).  Is that sentence just a family heirloom or a hint of further developments in the story?

The phone call from her father that sounds suspiciously like Plot Point One.

The reference to Saint Patrick's Purgatory in Lough Derg (that sent me on a side trip to Wikipedia).

The entire paragraph from "This had been a mistake" to "Merlin, he hated his life."

Snape's by now familiar sudden change of mood.

"From your mouth to God's ears."  It makes me think she comes from a Roman Catholic family.

 

No word points to mention in this chapter.  :)  Nice job!

 

(Time to quit reading and fix dinner.)  :(



Author's Response:

This chapter was the weakest one before I rewrote it, and now it's one of my favorites. I'm so glad you liked it and that you caught all my little details. I even looked up the Royal's record at that time in 1995. It was a mixed bag and they were on a losing streak at that moment. :-)

 

You're right, she's from an Irish-American Roman Catholic family. She knows how to behave when she chooses to, although she obviously doesn't always choose to.

 

Thank you so much! :-)