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(You and I) Against the World by solemnlyswear_x

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: The night Sirius leaves for good, nothing is thrown, nothing breaks, and the front door doesn’t slam shut like you’ve always imagined it would. Regulus remembers the night his brother ran away.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/14/10 Title: Chapter 1: Leaving

That was very beautifully written. A second person narrative is hard to pull off, but here it made the story more effective rather than less. It really did make the story more immediate and thus more emotionally affecting.

Your choice of last line was spot-on. It hits its emotional mark. It's hard (for me at least) to write an effective last line, so kudos to you.

"Each name is a mark against you, another coin to add to your thirty pieces of silver."

I absolutely love the Biblical allusion. It's familiar enough that most readers will get it, but the way you seamlessly integrated it into another sentence made it far from cliche. Really nice.

"coiling in the pit of your stomach" Just thought I'd point that one out, just because I really appreciated this line while I was reading. The visual imagery is very effective and quite nicely worded. I, as the reader, really could "feel" the guilt.

The title was interesting. It took me a moment to really catch on to what it was saying, but once I did I really liked how it underlined the theme of the entire piece. In fact, I found your title has nearly the emotional tug that your last line does, at least for me.

I tried very hard to find a negative critique for you, but I failed. Alas.

Great story, awesome writing!

Drowning, not Waving by Equinox Chick

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: Everyone knows Oliver Wood. He's the seventh year Gryffindor obsessed with Quidditch. But why is he so focused? What drives him on? And how will he cope when the Dementors get too close to his Seeker, and Diggory catches the Snitch?

Shutting himself in the changing room showers, Oliver cannot bring himself to visit Harry in the hospital wing, for the Dementors have released long repressed horrors in his own life. Will he finally face the reality of his life and obsession?

This is Equinox Chick submitting her final for the Characterisation class on the MNFF beta boards.

I would like to thank Emma (Amortentia X) for her invaluable help in beta'ing this tale. She not only corrected my horrible punctuation but helped a great deal with characterisation. I would also like to thank fgweasley, inspirations, eternalangel, Electronic Quillster and luinrina for their suggestions in class. Last but most definitely not least - thank you, Prof Haylee for allocating me Oliver Wood!

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, but I doubt you're surprised by that.

** indicates a line taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The opening lines are taken from a Stevie Smith poem called 'Not Waving, but Drowning.'

Nominated for a 2009 QSQ award in the Best Same Sex Pairing category. Thank you.

Also nominated for a 2010 QSQ award in the Best same Sex Pairing category. Thank you!
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/11/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

This is actually the first Slash HP story which I have ever read, if you can believe it. I've been meaning to get around to it for a while now, but couldn't decide on a pairing that I liked, mostly because I rarely caught a hint of any slash subtext in the books. Oliver/Cedric would NOT have been my first guess as a couple, but the way you wrote the two made me believe it. The line about Oliver drowning himself is one which has stuck with me the most from PoA. I always thought it was an odd one, but I loved the way you fleshed it out into a believable story, rather than just an off-handed joke.

The shower scene was potently emotional and gripped me right from the start. Now I'll confess, from my experience in much poorer slash from other fandoms, as soon as I saw running water I was expecting some full on action right then and there. I was very pleasantly surprised that you didn't take that route. Pacing the story out, instead of going for the quick impact, really added to the emotional appeal of the story, as well as the believability.

I've never been a big fan of characters who suddenly have an abusive parent who never heard about in canon. I usually find it distasteful and a bit of a cop-out. However, the way you seamlessly integrated it into a canon quality of Oliver's character, namely his Quidditch obsession, made it seem less out of the blue. I particularly liked the style of quote interjection you used with Oliver's memory to get across the events of the past, instead of simply having Oliver explain everything to the reader. Yes, there was some explanation, but much of the feeling was conveyed through those simple quotes, like "You're no son of mine!". Much more powerful than having Oliver think about how his father was ashamed of him.

Just quick, I'll say two quick critique things. I hate giving criticism, because I know I'm nowhere near the level of writing which you are, but an entirely complementary critique isn't terribly helpful in my experience, not that I'd ever complain about getting one :)

So, the first is very minor. Very minor. I didn't like the choice of the word 'bemused' in this line:

"...he could see a bemused expression on Cedric’s face."

For me, the scene was so emotionally charged that bemused was too light of a word. In my opinion, the word confused would have been better, just because of the plosive consonant sounds more... intense I suppose, fitting with the atmosphere at that point. As well, bemused was used just a paragraph or two before. Wow, that was a lot of writing just for one word. Yeah, really not a big deal, just something I noticed.

The only other thing that bothered me, and only slightly, was that I thought the abuse thing was taken a bit too far with the backstory of the beach. Don't get me wrong, I liked the abuse aspect of the story, it's just it got a little TOO angsty for my tastes. It was almost uncomfortable to read. That in itself is not a bad thing, I love it when an author makes you think about realities which you'd rather not acknowledge. Almost all my favourite fics come from that catagory but IMHO I think the story would have still had the same impact and been as believable had it not been taken to that extreme level of violence. I'm sure many would disagree with me, but that's how I felt while reading. I'd have to read this again to see if I still felt the same way (which I would do, had I not pressing homework which I've procrastinated against long enough).

Ok, not as fun stuff out of the way. Back to worshiping your awesome writing skills! Overall, I thought this story was amazing and I am thoroughly glad I had the opportunity to read it. The characterization was spot on, the style flowed nicely (did it really take me that long in this review to mention that fact? For shame!), it moved at a nice pace, the story was engaging. What else could I ask for!

Over and over again, I continue to be impressed out of my mind with everything I read of yours. So, I sign off like I do from pretty much every review, by saying I can't wait to see what you write next!


Author's Response: Wow! Thank you for such a well-thought out and cohesive review. Made my day, that has.

Let me get the crit first (and no I don't mind crit at all.) I do see what you mean about the word bemused, and I might change the earlier one to something else because I'm not keen on the repetition, but bemused here is I think better for Cedric because he's not really 'confused' about his sexuality or the situation, but is 'bemused' by Oliver's actions/words.

The back story bit on the beach, I can see that went a bit too far, but I needed a real threat that was uppermost in Oliver's mind if he ever thought about a relationship with anyone else. He was as scared for Cedric as he was for himself. But it was a bit violent - so good point.

I'm pleased you enjoyed the story and I really appreciate that you took time to write such a well-thought out review. This is one of my favourite stories ... and one day I'll write the sequel. -LOL Thanks again ~Carole~

Draco, Why Not Me? by mahogany_wand

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: On the day of Draco's wedding, Pansy wonders why Draco chose Astoria over her.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/22/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

A very sweet poem! I really enjoyed it. You have a nice way with poetry, and I loved how you captured her emotion so well.

"you see that they’re meant to be."

I loved this characterization of Pansy, who sees that Draco made a good choice, but still longs for him to be with her. Sad, but sweet. Very nice job!

~o~ Karen

Christmas Cheer: Love, Luna by OliveOil_Med

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: One Christmas, Luna Lovegood gets the brillant idea of spreading Christmas cheer to the people whom she considers to be the most miserable at Hogwarts. And, of course, Luna does not see any way this plan could go wrong.

I am OliveOil_Med of Ravenclaw, and this is my entry for the MerMuggles Christmas Contest.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/07/10 Title: Chapter 1: Christmas Cheer: Love, Luna

Haha! Brilliant! That was absolutely hilarious, yet rather sweet at the same time. I loved Snape's 'ulterior motives' suggestions. It was so in character.

The interactions between the characters were the best part. With both Ginny and Professor Snape, the dialogue was believable and un-cliche, while continuing to be both true to their characters and highly entertaining.

“I didn’t get you a scarf, sir.” That line stood out to me just because it is so Luna, so in tune with how I perceive her. You captured the essence of her character perfectly.

In terms of style, I liked how the writing flowed. The story was nicely paced. I was neither bored nor rushed and each key comedic moment was timed perfectly with a small lull in between, something which I have had difficulty finding in this type of story. Most people throw the humour in carelessly. It seemed carefully laid out in this story.

I found the little 'moment' between Luna and Snape absolutely adorable, and had to restrain myself from crying "D'aww!" out loud. Somehow I can totally see Luna managing to break through his defenses by being so completely different from anything he's ever encountered. I should read more stories that feature the both of them...

Overall, lovely job and I look forward to reading more of your work!

Author's Response: People should not underestimate the powers of Luna Lovegood. I'm glad you see it now.

Girl Talk & Goodbyes by WeasleyMom

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: The wedding cake is gone; the bride and groom are honeymooning. Yet Molly Weasley cannot seem to relax and enjoy the family that lingers in the aftermath of the celebration. She knows the easy laughter they enjoy tonight will be short lived, because three teenagers are leaving in the morning with a job so serious no one will even speak its nature aloud.

Molly knows no magic that will stop morning from coming. But she can make stew and fan the flames of laughter; she can tell someone something she's been wanting to say for years. And she can hold them all while she has them.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/22/10 Title: Chapter 1: Girl Talk & Goodbyes

"Hermione felt warm all over."

That's exactly what I was feeling once I finished reading this story. Such a lovely piece of work. I always thought that what Deathly Hallows was missing was this type of elaboration on the Ron/Hermione romance, something that there wasn't time or space for within the book.

I absolutely loved this piece. So, so much. It made me laugh and it made me cry (Hard. On more than one occasion.). I finished it with a sort of bittersweet happiness, which I am sure is what you intended.

The interactions between Hermione and Ron were so believable. Both characters were captured perfectly, Hermione in particular. Their initial exchange was a standout for me, and did a very good job of setting the atmosphere for the rest of the story. I loved the easiness of the dialogue. It sounded natural and not remotely forced or planned out. In fact, all of your dialogue sounded like an actual conversation, rather than just words to try and get across a point.

The exchanges between Hermione and Molly were by far the best aspect of the story. The motherly advice which she offers is just so heartwarming. It hit me after having read the story and giving it a few minutes to percolate that this is after Hermione has Obliviated her parents (I believe. Please forgive me if I am mistaken, but it's been a few months since I've read the books). She must still be recovering from the (temporary, but still) loss of her real mother, so the idea of giving Hermione some sort of mother figure to get advice from is very sweet. I liked the fact as well that you did not portray Molly as the shrill, bossy woman that I have so often seen, rather as a woman who truly cares about her children and knows them well. She never came off to me from the books as a shrewish woman, but that is an aspect of her which I have all too often seen emphasized in fanfiction. I appreciated seeing the softer side of her.

Although I began tearing up in the part about the lasagna (an odd place, I'm sure, but the way it was written was so innocent and purely lovely that I couldn't help but get emotional), the part that really got to me was Molly's farewells to the trio. The line “You come back on his arm, dear.” set me off, but I'll confess, I was basically bawling by the time the scene finished. Maybe my reaction comes from having watched my own mother sending off my brother to university and seeing how hard it was for her, but I think you captured the bittersweet sadness of the goodbye so excellently and accurately that it was astounding. From this story, I can tell that you have a gift at understanding and expressing the motivations and emotions of the human character. Even Mrs. Weasley's comments about the lack of confidence that both Hermione and Ron share are remarkably insightful. If Mrs. Weasley is who she is because she is able to look inside and understand her children utterly, well then I think you've earned the name "WeasleyMom" :).

I also appreciated that you made sure to maintain the personalities of those minor characters which featured in your story. Even Harry's comment to Ron about being pathetic aided in making your story more believable, because you took the time to make sure he sounded like Harry, despite the fact that he wasn't a major player in this particular piece. Not all authors that I've read put in that kind of effort, instead simply using the minor characters for quick jokes and one-liners.

In terms of structure, I thought the piece was quite well paced. You began with some humor, then drifted away into more serious territory with the conversation in the kitchen (oh, before I forget to mention, the fact that you had Hermione feel like crying just at the mention of her and Ron was unexpected, but I'm glad you did so. It was quite in-character, at least in my opinion, as well as emotionally affecting for me, the reader. THAT, I believe, is the place where I first started to choke up). Adding in a little comic relief with Ron's entry into the kitchen was appreciated, but then straight back into the buildup for the emotional goodbyes. I'm glad you ended with a little sweet comedy as well, for otherwise it might have even been a little too sad for me to handle. (Even though all three survived in the end, the fact that Molly couldn't have known that at the time is heartbreaking.) The story flowed nicely and had a clearly defined introduction, body, climax, and conclusion, instead of just meandering to a close, which I appreciate.

Usually I talk a little about the title in my reviews, but there isn't much to say. The title works quite well and was good enough to draw me in, so I can't really think of any other comment for it. ...good job? Hehe, sometimes I'm terrible at this whole reviewing business.

There was something else I wanted to say, but it's escaping me right now. Perhaps I'll gush a little more, then maybe I'll remember.

Overall, I thought this story was brilliant and I do believe it will become the first in my list of Favourite Stories on this site. It is one, I can tell, that will still be great after three or four readings, and it makes me sad that more people haven't read it yet (though from what I've seen, 8 reviews is a fairly respectable sum for a one shot on this site. Still, more people need to read it!). Beautiful, beautiful job. Really, one of the best I've read on this site so far, and that it saying something. I now can't wait to read more of your work!

... nope, still can't remember what it was I was going to say. So I guess I'll sign off, then!

~o~ Karen

- Signed the Order of the Ravenclaw House Elves

Author's Response: Um... WOW. I am totally floored by this review, in a nice way. ;) To be honest, this is my least favorite of the stories I have posted, probably because it was nearly the first and my lack of experience is quite evident in many places, at least to me. I fell into a few cliches, too, I think, because I had not read enough fanfiction at that point to even know what was cliche and what wasn't.

It's great to hear that you liked the characterization, especially of Harry, who I always like to include, but never in the forefront. R/Hr is my favorite, but they hardly would exist without Harry, and so he is an important character in everything to do with them. Now that I'm thinking about it, I think I have him showing up (even for just a moment) in nearly everything I've written about R/Hr. Hmmm.

I completely agree with you about the way Molly is so often portrayed in fanfic. She is shrill and not very understanding about anything at all, really. But I don't see that in the books. She has fears, and they drive her to be overprotective of her children. Well, I'm a mom, and much of the time, it just goes with the territory. And I don't even have dark wizards hunting down my little ones. ;) I think she would be very supportive of the R/Hr relationship, and I never understand why she is so often freaking out about them being together in so many stories. Obviously, it's pure speculation, so I can see readers going either way on agreeing with my take. But I'm glad you found this relationship believable. In my personal canon, Hermione and Molly have a pretty good relationship, even if they do butt heads with some regularity.

Thank you for sharing that about your own mom's experience with saying goodbye to her son. I can't imagine what this would have been like for her, had it been allowed to happen. I think it's so interesting that Rowling chose to portray her as in complete denial about the fact that they were leaving... but it seems right on, don't you think? She can't stop them. Ron is of age, and deep, deep down, I think she is proud that he is making that decision. But as the mum, she can't bear the thought of letting him (or any of them, really) go. But if the time had come to actually say goodbye, the reality would have hit her hard, I think. My response does not measure up to your thoughtful review, and I apologize for that. Just know how much I appreciate your thoughts. I'm so, so glad you enjoyed this, Karen. (Oh, and being added to someone's favorites list is the highest of compliments, in my book.) Take care.


Carnal Desires of a Rat and a Dog by Nitwit Blubber Oddment Tweak x

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: "Pettigrew... that fat little boy who was always tagging around after them at Hogwarts?"*

Did Peter Pettigrew constantly tag after his superior friends? Or was he in fact equal to the reckless, confident Sirius Black? Perhaps they were more alike than anyone could have guessed...

* indicates line taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/19/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Oh, wow. That was... that was brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Nothing wrong with this story. Nothing at all.

I loved your use of the second person, it really enhanced the atmosphere of the whole piece. It felt immediate and real. Your characterization was excellent. I love reading about Peter, he's just such a great untapped resource for exploration. And you made me absolutely believe that this could have happened. It didn't seem out of canon or forced.

"But the only noise is his soft, slow breaths, combatting the sounds coming from the common room."

It was sentences like these, with such lovely description, that really set this story apart for me. But it didn't sound like you were trying to hard. In fact, I barely noticed how lovely it was until the end, because I was so engrossed in the story that I forgot I was reading. That's the best type of story.

I don't know what else to say, except I really, really loved it. Keep it up!

- Signed the Order of the Ravenclaw House Elves

Second Chance by WeasleyMom

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Everything was beautiful, and Hannah felt calmer than she had all day; she felt all of the unsettled thoughts beginning to find their places in her frazzled mind.

This story won second place in the second round of the Character Clinic Triathalon: minor characters ~~~ prompt: wedding day

This story was nominated for a 2010 Quicksilver Quill Award in the category Best Canon Romance.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/14/10 Title: Chapter 1: Second Chance

Lovely story! The characterization was very sweet.

"Neville’s reaction was so full of joy that more than one guest worried he might sprint right up the aisle to fetch his bride."

This particular line I thought was quite effective.

You have a very pretty style and I look forward to reading more! Sorry, I'd write a longer review, but my brain is running on far too little sleep at the moment to form my thoughts into coherent words. Summary: Awesome. You know why :)

Author's Response: Ah, you have made my day! No one ever read this fic... poor Neville/Hannah. LOL. Seriously, I'm so glad you liked it and felt the characterization worked. We know a lot about Neville, but it harder with Hannah because you have to keep what we know and invent a few things along the way. She has become one of my favorite characters to write, though most of it has been drabbles. Thanks again for taking the time to read and review this... I'm glad you liked it. ~Lori~

On a Path to Infinity by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •

This is a tale of two separated souls who slowly found one another in times of crisis. And how, in the greatest crisis of all, their son in mortal danger, they stood united against the darkness.

This is the story of James and Lily Potter.

Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/08/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet! I remember flipping through these archives, before I joined the beta boards, and coming across this poem. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever read. Coming back to it a few months later, I get even more out of it than I did during my first read.

I noticed other reviewers commented on the unique structure, so perhaps you don't need to hear it again, but I still want to mention it. This may sound like a strange comment, but I find the poem visually appealing. The way that the first and last lines of each stanza encase the two in the middle is.. I don't really know how to describe it, but it adds something to your poem. Of course, the parallels are lovely and do a really good job of getting across the emotions you were trying to convey (good? I mean amazing! You had me choking up in some places, especially the "lover, father, lover, mother" stanzas. (For some reason, happy images are more likely to bring tears to my eyes than sad ones).

Can I say that your choice of both last line and title were spot on! The diction is very soft and sounds lilting when spoken (strange habit of mine that I tend to read titles of poems out loud before reading the actual poem). I'll use a word we learned in English class: euphony. The words are very pleasant to listen to. And the message behind them only serves to make them more touching.

I remember, the first time through the stanza that really stood out to me, the one that made me realize today that I had read this before, was:

"I cannot ignore him,
I hate him,
I love him,
There has to be more."

So simple, and yet it says exactly what it needs to say. I think that is what often bothers me about certain poets (including my own failed attempts at the genre) is that they overcomplicate their diction and style, trying to make themselves sound more learned or intelligent, or whatever. I absolutely adore the simplicity of your poem. It is beautiful because it says no more than it needs to.

Though it is a different style of writing in almost every aspect, your poem rather reminded me of e.e. cummings "i thank You God for most this amazing" (and yes, that is the proper title). Both had much the same effect on me. Every word is chosen so carefully to serve a precise purpose, and all the words come together to form a particular feeling and... I'm rambling. I tend to do that in reviews. Particularly for stories I really like :) Anyways, I'm comparing yours to one of my favourite poems of all time, so you can definitely just take that as a compliment and not try to interpret my babble :P

So I think I'll wrap it up there, before I start going all hardcore literary analysis and ruining all the fun of the poem. Great job, keep writing poetry and I'll keep loving it!

Author's Response:

Wow. You are quite amazing to say such lovely things about my first ever Potterverse poem. Here is the honest truth about this: this is the first poem I had written since I was about 14, and that was... let's just say it's been a while. Since then, I think I've acclimated more to this particular genre, but to hear such touching things about my fledgling attempt to poetificate (I rather like that word, lol) makes me want to e-hug you.

I'm glad you appreciated the simplicity and the structure. What I wanted to portray with those is that they started so far apart, but gradually, their thoughts became less staggered and more in sync, with the last stanzas being in unison. Plus, with the simplicity, I wanted to show that in this struggle, they aren't really so unique. It's an age old (hence simple) and common thing. Git loves girl, girl hates git. Girl gets over hating git and finds that he's not so much of a git after all. Marriage, babies, and all that ensue for many happy years to come.

I've never read e.e. cummings, but I will certainly take that as a compliment, or even being likened to a real poet at all. The idea that you could love my work as much as any of that is simply extraordinary, especially since it's a genre I never read and I write even less.

*hugs* You are a star, and I adore this review. Let me know if you're thinking of applying for SPEW or SBBC, because I will certainly put in a good word for you. You have a talent for analysis, and in the case of SPEW, tact. :D


Good night/day/whatever time unit it is for you,


What Lies Behind by C_A_Campbell

Rated: 6th-7th Years • Past Featured Story
Summary: Winner of the 2011 QSQ Award for Best Dark/Angsty One-shot! It is true what they say about your life flashing before your eyes just before you die. As Theodore Nott, Death Eater like his father before him, stands on the battlefield in what is surely Hogwarts and his final hours, he remembers all that lays behind him: his father, the Dark Lord, the one girl he ever loved, and the thing he has forced himself to forget.

But you remember, don't you, Theodore?

Please tell me you remember me.

Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/07/10 Title: Chapter 1: Do you remember?

Congratulations. I haven't cried reading a fic in a very, very long time. You broke my streak.

There is no way to describe your writing style except stunning. Its flow is absolutely breathtaking. I never paused to think that I was reading a story, I was only absorbed into the world. Not even JK Rowling does that to me (it's the truth). It felt like poetry.

I'm a particularly big fan of interesting structure, and the way you managed to make 2nd person work to your advantage is nothing short of remarkable. It really added to the feeling of the story. I also loved, loved, loved the parallel scenes. It's one of my favourite styles of writing.

"You let him pass, and he storms off, ready to fight a war so that he might live to turn eighteen." I'm not sure why, but this line struck me as so beautiful while I was reading. It's just so... simply and gracefully written, and there is so much truth in that one statement. ... yeah. I have nothing else to say, except please, please keep on writing, and I look forward to seeing your next story!

Author's Response: Aw, I always feel sort of guilty when I make someone cry with my stories, but I suppose when writing angst it is the ultimate achievement. So I'm very, very flattered, by the tears and by everything you have said. I am so very proud of this story and I am glad you enjoyed it so much. And, yes, of course, I will continue to write. I could sooner stop breathing than I could stop writing.

Letters of Loyalty by mahogany_wand

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Regulus Black was loved by his family. The perfect son, and what an honor it was for him to fulfill The Dark Lord's request! But Regulus also loved his family, so how far would he go to uphold their honor? And when will their honor go too far?
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/20/10 Title: Chapter 1: Letters of Loyalty

Hello mahogany_wand! Ah, I always love finding some nice new poetry to review.

First, I'll get the critique-y part out of the way before I go to the good stuff. :) I was unsure about your first stanza. A more definite rhyme scheme would have worked better for me, as in the other two corresponding stanzas the singular words very obviously rhyme with each other (ex. "departed" and "fainthearted") while "broken" and "taken" don't seem to. Yes, I realize that this same combination was used later and I had no problem with it then, but by that point I was so engrossed in the poem my mind automatically made them rhyme to fit with the rest of what I was reading. I just spent too long reading over the first stanza trying to figure out whether taken and broken were supposed to rhyme (which says more about my stickler tendencies than about your writing.)
I don't know if that made any sense at all, and it wasn't a major thing nor did it affect how much I liked the poem, but hey, I try to put at least one point of critique in every review I do.

Ok, that's over! Now can I say: loved it loved it LOVED IT! Very prettily written. i loved how you manipulated punctuation and capitalization to make some stanzas more informal and rushed while others more pensive. It made reading an interesting experience and really enhanced the meaning behind the words.

I was especially impressed by the second, fourth and sixth stanzas. You chose such beautiful words, like "pondered" and "prayer" and "deeper" (sorry, just something about the sounds of those particular words which really struck me).

The way the parallel in the idea of lost religion was effortlessly worked into two stanzas was quite effective. It caught me off guard and impressed me a great deal. The same with the "changing his mind" idea. The last line in particular was beautiful and very emotionally powerful.

Most of all, you got me to reread this poem two or three times. That's more than I can say for most fanfiction poetry I've ever read. The first time through, I was a little confused, but I could tell that there was so much more I could get out of your words than what was on the surface, and I was not mistaken. Like:

lost his balance and
sank, deeper, deeper, and
the bubbles stopped and
he closed his eyes.

It took me till about the third read to really catch the beauty of that portion. Just so, so excellent. And even now, rereading again to write this review, I'm struck by even more lovely pieces which I missed.

So basically, I absolutely loved this poem. You have a very lovely style and I look forward to reading more of your work.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!

~o~ Karen

And I Step Forward by hogwartsbookworm

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: “Do you trust me, Alice?”

After all this strange talk of magic, and wizards, and schools I’ve never heard of, and invisible worlds? I bite my lip. I want, so badly, to say that I trust him. It would have been true up until last night.

I look him in the eyes. I almost think I can see his soul there.

I nod.

Still holding my hand, he steps forward. I close my eyes and allow him to tug me along.

A Muggle bride's thoughts about her Wizarding groom and the journey that has brought them to this day.

Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/22/10 Title: Chapter 1: Trust

Very, very sweet. I absolutely loved this story. Despite its brevity, I got both the characters and what they were feeling. Especially near the end with Albus's one-sided dialogue, it was a very emotionally affecting. Though I liked this entire paragraph (I'm a big fan of sensory description), I found this particular line beautiful.

"My hands are cold. His hands are warm."

The simple contrast is just so nice and says a whole lot in a few words.

I particularly like your title. In fact, the premise of the story didn't sound that appealing initially, but your title drew me in. And I Step Forward... it's a really, really beautiful title that says exactly what it needs to say.

The ending was spot-on. The repetition of "I do." Such a terrific way to end, it really leaves an impression. Just like the rest of this story did. I really enjoyed it, and I hope you keep on writing such lovely prose!

~o~ Karen

-Signed the Order of the Ravenclaw House Elves

Author's Response: You've no idea, really, how much I enjoyed this review! Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, despite the brevity and a poor summary. Thank you for your lovely review!

In The Back of The Shack by hestiajones

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: He thought he would get a fling, but ended up with a bit more than that.

DISCLAIMER: I am not J.K.Rowling. Thank you, Kara, for your help and encouragement, and the title as well.

Nominated for a QSQ in the Same Sex Pairing category.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/22/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Aww, adorable! I think I may rather like this pairing after all. I loved your description of Hugo. This is the first time I've read a story involving him where I got a clear picture of what he looks like. You did it in a very subtle and non-exposition-like way, which I appreciate.

Love the snappy exchanges between the two characters. I find those almost harder to write than anything, so kudos to you for making it sound so natural.

Oh, and I think the title is very cute. Though I'll confess, simply based on the title, I came into this story expecting something a bit more explicit ;) I'm rather glad that's not what I found, as this was much better.

I'd write a longer review, but I'm afraid my mind is wiped right now. Very cute story, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

~o~ Karen

Author's Response: Hello!

I am glad to hear you bought this pairing. Heehee. That was my intention Ė to snub both Scorose and Scily and slip in Scugo. ;) I normally fail at snappy dialogue, but the God of Fanfic must have blessed me, for I somehow managed to achieve this feat for this status.

The title was deceptive, wasnít it? I usually suck at titles, and my beta-reader had to come up with one. I must say that I planned for the story to have some smut, but the storyline didnít require much in the end, so I scraped it.


Author's Response: Hello!

I am glad to hear you bought this pairing. Heehee. That was my intention Ė to snub both Scorose and Scily and slip in Scugo. ;) I normally fail at snappy dialogue, but the God of Fanfic must have blessed me, for I somehow managed to achieve this feat for this status.

The title was deceptive, wasnít it? I usually suck at titles, and my beta-reader had to come up with one. I must say that I planned for the story to have some smut, but the storyline didnít require much in the end, so I scraped it.


Realisation by Maple_and_PheonixFeather

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: In the midst of the falling snow and and bleak starry night, Hermione ponders Dumbledore's mission, Ron, and her heart. There's something lurking in the back of her mind, and it's high time she faced it.
Reviewer: SingingWren Signed
Date: 12/27/10 Title: Chapter 1: Realization

I think I said most of what I needed to say in my email to you, but I want to reinforce in your mind how wonderful of a story this is. The ending especially is beautiful. Hermione's letter to Harry actually got me choking up (gosh darn it!). Congrats on your first story validated and I can't wait to see you write many more in the future!

~o~ Karen

Author's Response: Awww, thanks :) I made you choke up :O You don't know how much that means to me! Thanks for all the help, by the way :)