I'm Jan, I live in the North of England with my lovely family; one husband and two delightful (most of the time) kids.I'm a buyer for a UK retailer, but spend my spare time reading and writing. And then any other spare time I spend online! I'm a moderator here at MNFF and have been known to beta read occasionally!.
I have one novel-length fic up (The Daughter of Light) and am currently working on its sequel, The Severed Souls. It wasn't supposed to be about my OC and Snape, but they ended up taking over! I've also got a few one-shots up and copious amounts of poetry.
Alan. You are not lost. You live on in our words.
The scary thing about reviewing these chapters is that Jenna or Em have usually got there first and leave very little to say!! LOL However I will attempt to say something. McKee is scary, of that there is no doubt, but she is scary in the way that Snape is scary... it's in your face and sometimes obnoxious but you can't help liking the character and wondering what lies beneath that sarcastic exterior. I love the way you are developing this unlikely pairing, there is a combination of attraction and wariness that makes for really electric writing. The dialogue, as has been mentioned, is amazing and you can see the sparks going off. I think the point where she pulled the knife showed just how dangerous this girl really is. She is definately not all talk and is prepared to back up her bad attitude with actions. I liked that Bill was worried but brought her around, that was another layer to this relationship that adds to the believeability of it. Loved the setting, loved the little one liners... Squid, if you come take me now, I wouldn’t fault you, made me laugh out loud and God, if he isn’t the embodiment of pestilence!. There were a couple of things..a gotten and the pat issues that Jenna raised... it should be patted. I also didn't like harumpphed... I think you could rephrase that and make it sound a little better. As always, a pleasre to read...enjoyed it a lot! I could become a shipper for this pair.. and I don't ship!!
Author's Response: Lol. It's a plot. I will steal all of the shippers onto my side, and JKR can't make this pairing because McKee is MINE! Ha ha ha ha.
Well, this took me a long time to get back to! I had to refresh my memory with chapter one first. :-)
Firstly, the parting at the beginning was very well done. I particularly loved this line... 'An unrelenting frog had formed in his throat'... I thought that was just lovely. You have packed this chapter with some nice details... like the fact that she opened her eyes while travelling by Portkey and the welcoming sounds from the Leaky Cauldron were a good touch. Thought your painting was good fun and the way she flirted with Dumbledore was amusing. It was also a good way to show how, even though we are aware of something, actually seeing it in action can come as something of a surprise.
Draco and Lucius were coldy effective. Draco was his usual pompous self and them thinking that American's were replusive jsut showed how completely biased they are against anyone who does not come from their own small circle.
A few nitpicks I noticed...Portley and Apparated are always capitalised and there are some instances of speech were you have a comma instead of a full stop... usually when you have a piece of dialogue interupted by a comment. For instance... '“Lower your voice!” hissed the father, “It is not a good time to attract the attention of Dumbledore or his little protégé.”' The comma after father should be a full stop (period). And it's Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.
As a whole chapter it was great. It moved the story along nicely and introduced us to a wider cast of the characters. I liked how it dipped into the recent past with the mention of Fred and George being at Hogwarts. That showed Dumbledore in a very teacherish light. Well, I won't leave it so long until the next review!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the nice words! I will go back and make the said corrections. That punctuation rule was something I recently learned and I hadn't thought to go back and check my previous chapters. Thanks! I'm glad you like my details. It's nice to have them noticed. Thank you again for taking time to review!
Hi, Jenn. Thought I'd drop by and have a read of your story. :-) So far I like it, mainly because you have a very smooth writing style that makes it a pleasure to read. I'll be interested to see how well you develop your OC but because you have such a good style I think it should be an interesting journey. I like the depth you have given to her current situation, it gives us a look at her in her 'natural' environment and will be good as a comparison for when she arrives in England. Nice start to what I hope will be a great story!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for reviewing! I'm glad you like the story so far. Please let me know what you think of the later chapters. Hopefully, Chapter 6 will be up soon.
I really liked this opener! I think that your plot could be seen as contrived but the writing really carries it. I liked Sam, from what little we have seen of him...anyone who faints at the end of the first chapter has to be worth a second look. I loved your descriptions of the bookshop, I thought they were charming. I also found Sam's reaction to his surroundings and the books he worked with entirely convincing. I'm wondering just how old Ginny is in this fic and I also think we needed to know where the action was taking place... London? England? It would help the reader get their bearings a little bit better if they knew. I thought your little details were great, like the aging twins, all of that helps make the story richer. I wonder what happened to his grandmother's body though? And that was great, I never suspected she was really his grandmother and of course that made perfect sense. There are a few areas where the syntax could do with a tidy up but you tell a good story that wraps the reader up in your world. Intriguing opener and I look forward to more.
Author's Response: LOL! thanks a lot! this is the longest review i've received! Ever! I'm working on the sintax thing, and I suppose that you already read the second chapter, which explains quite a few things! Thanx!
This is a story that will reveal what will happen if the most mischievous of the Marauders joins forces with the ever-creative Weasley Twins. This is an epic tale that will reveal the mysterious myths and history of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Blacks. Be mystified, and roll over with laughter, as Sirius bumbled his way through his 1st year at Hogwarts in this alternate tale of the HP tradition.
Well that was short and... erm... tantalising. You have a nice turn of phrase that makes for enjoyable reading and it will be interesting to see more of it with the arrival of Chapter One. You had a few typos... like those nonesense or mom instead of mum, but those things are very small when compared to the interaction you have going between the two brothers. I also like the mythical, mystical feeling we have from just this short prologue. The whole idea of getting a prophecy said for a new child is very mythical and I wonder just what it was! I'm intrigued and hope your first chapter gets validated soon.. looking forward to reading more!
Author's Response: Thanks. I'll go correct those typos right away. Mythical was exactly what I was aiming for ^_^ so glad to hear that the prologue pulled it off. I just re-sent chapter 1 ... wow ... the mods here are pretty strict on their quality standards (I'm surprised that they missed those typos) but, their suggestion does help improve the fic. Thank you for reviewing. ^_^ The prologue is indeed short ... I just thought prologues ought to be. Not to worry the chapters are far longer.
Well, you managed to continue the atmosphere of the prologue into the first chapter. It has the feeling of a great mystery about to unfold and you've taken the time travel theme and made it work...at least so far anyway. It will be interesting to see Harry et al interact with Sirius and how will the poor boy cope living with the Malfoy's? Kreacher was very well done, he could have stepped out of the books. There were a couple of Americanisms in there; when Moody says 'Relax kid', dammit and candies and also when Dunbledore says 'I figured as much', not only is that an Americanism but I can't see Dumbledore coming out with it anyway. But apart from that the dialogue was excellent throughout. The interplay with Lucius and Narcissa was just great! I loved the way she knows how to manipulate her husband and you've portrayed her as being reasonably clever, which is good. Just one other thing, the italics for speech, it's just a bit distracting. Was there a reason for it? Apart from that it's a nicely written, different and interesting fic and I will definately be sticking with the story. :-)
Author's Response: Thanks for pointing those Americanisms out. I'll try to figure out a way to rephrase them.
The italics? It's actually not there for the readers. *L* It's there for me. I always had this problem with switching tenses, so figured I ought to differentiate the dialogues from descriptions and thus easier for me to edit my own work. And later I just read the italicized parts to check the dialogue flow. So it's more of a writer's tool than a reader's one.
I thought to leave the story this way so I can easily re-edit anytime I want. ^_^ I had gotten a few complaints about it, but found that I can't write story-style well without them. Since I'm writing mostly for myself, I do it my way. ^_^ Sorry I tend to babble a lot.
Thank you. Your review is extremely helpful.
I've had a summer filled with holidays and children so haven't be reading Fics at all. And now I'm back this was one of my first ports of call. I'm still loving Jessica. Your writing skill keeps her well abouve MSdom and I love the detail you put into everything. You are realy developing her as a character and I think the friendship that's building with Hermione is really enjoyable. Nice to see Hermione really relating to another female. The house makes sense. I am a great one for giving houses feelings and characteristics of their owners so it makes perfect sense for me to see this house so filled by her parents. *Rubs hands together with glee* I had forgotten how much I loved this story and how great your writing was! Real estate woman would be referred to as an estate agent in Britain... that's the only piece of concrit I can give you1 LOL She was a great creation... I've met many beauty consultants with the exact same characteristics as her.
Author's Response: Great to see you back! You have some catching up to do...I am posting the Epilogue sometime tonight. Yes, I adore Phoebe, and may actually do a one-shot on a day in her life. Thanks for the Brit tip and takingyour time to read and review. Much appreciated.
Susu is such fun! How sweet that she was Jessica's childhood toy. All these little things from Jessica's past are really building her history so nicely. I also liked the fact that she was keeping potential buyers away. That's like the haunted house that no one will buy"
What I really like about this fic is the little details that you cram into every chapter. I particularly enjoyed the United Parchment Owl. Nice details like this make the world come alive for the reader. I also loved the names of the alleys. If Harry got Vertic Alley wrong presumably the Floo network would send him straight up or down! LOL
The furniture was a nice touch. The table with the inlaid K would have been quite a find for her. I also loved the fact that Hermione was successful in her mission to help house-elves. She put in so much hard work and badgered everyone to death at school...so this seemed like pay-off time for her. And Draco..what a nice bit of characterisation that was. you did evilnastyDraco very well. Poor Jessica... Draco would be enough to make anyone want to learn every hex in the book.
Another great chapter!
Author's Response: Hi MM! Ah yes, Susu. I don't remember being three years old, but I imagined that Jessica would remember at least the name. Being raised Muggle, she would have 'forgotten' that she was a living creature though. I have thought about writing Susu's life story, but can you imagine an angst-ridden House-elf story? LOL! Well, it would end with a big Susu/Dobby wedding! I try to inject funny or humorous bits into each chapter. JKR does this and I have tried to learn from her. There are chapters toward the end where this is impossible. Again, just like her, I start light...but end dark. Just in a very condensed form. Thank you for letting me know you are still reading. It means a lot to me!
I like the relationship you're still building between Hermione and Jessica. The way you threw in the fact that Ginny had died was so casual that it really made me stop and blink. Perfect way to do it. Not sure about Hermione saying gal-pal, I'm assuming that's an American thing. As is defense.... should be defence. The description of the garden was just lovely... I could really picture it. And I read your A/N... you made the right decision with the training and I think you've got the balance just right. loved the Patronus.... that was a great moment. :-)
Author's Response: I wasn't (still not) sure about gal-pal either, but I didn't want to say 'girlfriend'. Too much slash around these days LOL. I did change estate agent and your other recommendations. Defense...well, blame it on the American version that I read. It's used too often to change them all. I really appreciate your Brit-picking for me. It helps a lot! Thank you for taking the time to read and review!
When I read this line...
Oh, not your usual, unfortunate arrangement of features that could be overlooked.
...I knew I was going to love this story.
You have a really, really good writing style with some wonderful little observations about life and your characters. Jessica is coming across very well. I've seen from a review response that this was a challenge and I think you've risen to it very well. I like the whole set up, and the fact it is post-Voldemort. The threads of humour and misunderstanding that run through this first chapter just hook the reader in... I will definately be reading more!
Author's Response: A review from an author I respect so highly is such a treat! I do try to add some humor to each chapter, even if it's a throw-away line. Jo seems to pepper her work like that, so I just followed her lead. The ending gets darker and harder to go for smiles.Thank you, I hope you enjoy the rest.
So many nice touches in this chapter, from Fudge's dislike of having to deal with women to Jessica's rather noisy way of crying. Jessica is really starting to grow on me in a big way. I love her general benusedness, her angry bewilderment and the fact that she nearly wet her pants when she saw Dumbledore. And Dumbledore, well someone once said to me in a review that people either can do Dumbledore or they can't and you, well you can do Dumbledore so well it's like he stepped out of canon.
Author's Response: I really do try for canon. Even if some of the characteristics are from the actors! I can actually hear Fudge talking, and see Dumbledore walk in the room. Glad I managed to let you see it too! And poor girl!!! What a day she's having!
Hee hee... Lord Malfoy! How very Lucius of him. :-) At first I wavered with Hermione over wether she was IC or not and then fell on the side of yes. This is an older Hermione and I think the fact that she was the one to give Jessica the history lesson and be so practical in the clothes shop made up for any initial reservations I may have had. I think your note about the challenge was interesting. It just goes to show -- and this is something that I bang on about a LOT -- that Mary Sues happen in the writing not in their inherent characteristics. Sure Jessica looks like a Mary Sue... but she clearly isn't one. Her delight at being like her mother is genuine and her reactions are great. She may be beautiful now, but I wonder how she will deal with that. The fact that she still walks with a downcast face suggests that she's dealing with it in a non Mary-Sue way.
Just one editing nitpick. I would lose one of the slowlys in your opening lines. It's a repetition that you could do without. (I am the repetition nazi, just as the authors I beta for!)
Author's Response: Yup, I just can not picture Hermione at any age saying, "Oh, isn't this cute!" LOL Yes she would make a thorough study of the science of shopping. There will be some 'childish' reactions from her coming up, but they will be explained. Thanks for catching that editing error!! I don't know how the extra word sneaked in.
I've only just realised how well paced this is. It's fairly zipping along and as a reader it feels like we are taking this mad helter-skelter journey with Jessica. So she's part Fae... this will be interesting because Jo seems to take a view that fairies are very pretty, vacuous creatures. I am very interested to see your take on them. I thought it was clever the way you brought Jo's view in with the comment about garden fairies as opposed to their more regal and powerful relatives. You're adding layers to Jessica's character and keeping her well away from Mary-Suedom. The scene with Ollivander was great, although I'd never really though of his shop as sinister before I suppose Jessica would see it that way. You had a typo in there, a refused had beome fused. I'm still really enjoying this, well done.
Author's Response: Actually I have been accused of 'rushing' the story, but I do enjoy a fast pace. I don't use much filler. I originally set out to write only 7 chapters on her returning home and it only covers three days. But there were so many plot bunnies hopping through those days that I had to continue. Thanks for the heads up on the missing re!
Again, so much to enjoy, from her thoughts about plastic surgery and some faked accident to your little snippets about Anglo/American differences This character just gets better and better. Loved the history, can't wait to see what happens when she meets the other two in the trio. I wonder who Hermione is engaged to? Harry or Ron? Hmmmm... and will Jessica enter into a relationship with the other one. One canon thing, Gringotts doesn't have an apostrophe.
Author's Response: I read a lot of 'Brit-picking' forums before I wrote, and it's amazing some of the differences! I really worked had to keep it Brit, but have the American learn it with us.
I loved the little comment about Hermione almost putting her hand in the air...it's little things like that that make this fic so entertaining. So I got my answer about Hermione...and it's Ron. I'm not a rampant shipper but I'm quite pleased about that! And Harry's become a hunk...well that should prove interesting for Jessica. liked their jobs... thought they were all very well done and I wonder how long she will stay at the Leaky Cauldron?
Author's Response: I was afraid that I made Harry a little too 'Percyish', but I guess it worked out. All traces of this is now over and done with. Hunk from here on out! Thank you so very much for the reviews! I will now fight 'log-outs' and go edit. I am delighted that you are enjoying!
Well, you already know that I think this is a really well exectuted piece. I thought you set yourself a real challenge with the tight form and the limited syllables but you pulled it off really well. The fact you had to condense the story into so few words made it all the more stark and powerful when read. There are some great lines in there and some great word choices and the edits look very good. Bravo you for taking on poetry and making a success of it!
Author's Response: I’m glad you liked the changes I went with, Magical Maeve. Whenever I give you something to read, I always look forward to seeing what you have to say. I’ve been very privileged to work with some great beta readers on my various stories (yourself, Riyo, Lex, just to name a few). I’ve learned so much from all of you, it’s just been great! In the case of this little poem, I really liked the suggestions you made about word choices and just changing things around a little bit in places so that it sounded better. It’s easy (at least I think) to get a little carried away, when writing a poem, with trying to make words fit in ways that maybe they shouldn’t only because they fit your rhyme scheme or meter. I loved the fact that you were able to call out the instances of that here and help turn this little ditty into a pretty decent finished piece. Thanks for the review and for another great job beta reading, MM!
That was great! It really captured the speeding, hair-rasing essence of the Knight Bus. It was free verse but it still had some loose structure and lots of interesting play on words. Loved this "Make sure you collect you galleons in a rush,
because the speed of those Goblin carts has nothing
on the speedy Knight bus." and I thought you managed a great rhyme with lurch and Birch. This next was the best stanza for me though, "Me and Ern keep the conversation flowing as smoothly as gravy
even though Ern’s driving skills
appear to be a little bit hazy." I loved the comparison with gravy, although I would have been tempted to use smooth instead of smoothly. And we all know that Ernie is a little bit hazy at the best of times so that was perfect! And that was a great emphatic finish to the whole poem... really, very good!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it a lot. Hmm, I guess "smooth" would work better...oh well, it's the Knight Bus! (Something tells me I can't keep using that as an excuse. :-D).
Hard though it was for me to read, being as I adore old Snivellus, this was a great and amusing poem. You had some wonderful lines in there and you really got the feel of the animosity between the Marauders and Snape. And for all the humour that was in there I found this stanza very powerful. "Your dark and dreary eyes Are as blank and dark as coal, Leading us down into Your ever-deceitful soul. " And though I'd quibble about ever-deceitful (have to defend the poor chap! LOL) it fits perfectly within that stanza. And this line "Cherish our hate for you." is just amazing, because I think that's what they all do and did, they cherish this hatred, it gives them something to focus on. Great ending!
Never having met Siobhan before, this was quite a treat and I think I’m glad I’ve met her when she is the main focus of the story. I like her, a lot. I love her quiet confidence and the occasional glimpse of vulnerability, as in the carriage scene where she feels she would like to belong to something. I think that says a lot about Slytherin and her relationship with her house. Characterisation throughout was excellent, especially Ginny. I loved her scenes and the way she matter-of-factly asked Siobhan whether she minded them talking. It was good to have her be the one to cut through the small talk and get them to face up to what has happened. (An interesting little mystery here that you have cunningly introduced, just who has died?) Overall your writing style is very enjoyable to read, it flows well and keeps the reader engaged with both the dialogue and the action. Your scene setting is very good, although I wouldn’t have minded a bit more here and there, and your character descriptions hit the spot every time. (Except for my pet hate of jade green eyes…I think it’s an erroneous description for green eyes and I would lose the jade, green would be fine on its own.)
So, concrit. Well, I beta’d this chapter as a trial for a new way of doing reviews so I’ll pick out the more salient points. In the first sentence I would lose the first ‘him’, it introduces us to the story with a repetition that could easily be solved by replacing that first him with the man. Second paragraph and third has a close repetition of ice (I’m the repetition nazi, just ask MJ). You have faces speeding by in a blur as the train is leaving the station; now I’ve never known a train, diesel or steam, leave a station that quickly. Repetition of Hogwarts with Hogwarts express and Hogwarts, the second one could be just school. He said a few words dismissively, and the woman nodded begrudgingly and left the platform stiffly, This sentence had me wincing, three adjectives! LOL You need to lose at least one, possibly two but you could get rid of all three by doing it like this…” He threw her a few dismissive words and she gave him a begrudging nod before leaving the platform, her figure rigid with frustration.” You also have Siobhan resting her head against the window of her carriage twice, which isn’t that bad a repetition but I noticed it, which generally tells me it could be changed to remove the possibility of anyone else noticing it and interrupting the flow of the reading. she eyed the reflected images of her travelling companions, wondering what could have them so unhappy. You need a made in there and then later, when Siobhan is looking in the mirror I would change ‘inside which’ to ‘in the glass’ Okay, enough of the crit! There were other things that could be changed to made some of the lines flow a little better so if you want to see them I could always send you the edited text.
Now, what did I really, really love? Well this line for starters “A subtle look of intrigue overtook his softly age-lined features” That was a beautiful line, it has everything, characterisation, poetic prose and great character description. “but Siobhan wasn’t the kind of girl to give up on her objectives until she was successful, or at least no longer entertained with them.” I love this, she’s giving herself a great get out clause for giving up on something, if she’s bored she’s out of there! A girl after my own heart! “The only thought that unsettled her was not that he might be too old, but that she might be too young.” This shows terrific self-awareness on Siobhan’s part. She knows damn well that she will take on an older man… but will he take on a younger girl? “ Everywhere else is full, she thought with annoyance. What a lovely way of implying that he’d much rather not join me” Siobhan the cynic, she really looks on the downside here. But, of course, she’s probably right. “Though she still found him, in all other walks of life, utterly useless” this, and the comment about Draco intending to be attractive had me snorting with laughter. You get two for the price of one characterisation here, Draco’s self-inflated ego and Siobhan’s world-weariness.
So, I wasn’t intending getting any reviews done this week what with recovering from the holiday and trying desperately to get HPDL finished. But Siobhan intrigued me and there was just so much meat in this chapter that I couldn’t resist. Looking forward to the next one, great, great introduction!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! You would not believe how wide my smile is right now! You've made my day! Hehe. Well, thanks for the crit.. I'll get to that. Just structure and word use, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Thank you so much for all the praise, too :) :) :). As for Siobhan's 'jade' green eyes... the thing is, when I picture her, her eyes are literally a dull green. Almost gray. I feel it adds to her sometimes indifferent attitude... if that makes sense...
Sorry to spam your reviews but I just have to add that I did put formatting in that review and for some reason MNFF ignored it and made it one big splodgy mess...I'm sorry your poor eyes will have to read it without proper formatting. *Glares angrily at MNFF*