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Reviews by Mind Games

Fiance Fiasco by Madame Marauder

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Kathryn Carothru wants everything a young, pureblooded girl could. Status, wealth, a man of good breeding. But above all, she wants to be an individual. When the chance for a marriage to an eligable bachelor arises, will Kathryn leap at the opprotunity, or get cold feet?

Written by Madame Marauder of Gryffindor House for NEWTS Transfiguration class.
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 04/02/07 Title: Chapter 1: One-Shot

I like how you really seem to get inside Kathryn’s head by writing the story completely through her thoughts. You really have her open up to us, and it helps us grasp what your OC is really like. She knows her feelings and her tastes very well, but she also knows to keep them to herself, rather than complain. She understands her mother very well, but disagrees with her about many things. I like this sort of subtle disagreement your character has. She obviously has different opinions and ideas than her mother, but they aren’t constantly screaming and fighting with each other. It’s not too dramatic or overdone, but just simple with a strong message. This was a great idea, and I really liked how you gave your character this personality trait.

The main idea of this story is intriguing. Mostly when we read stories about rich pure-blood families, we either read about the Blacks or the Malfoys. The ideas are usually very alike, and the stories written about those families tend to go in the same direction. I liked reading about a different family, one that we’ve never heard of before. It was a great change of pace, as well as a nice glimpse into the life of a girl from a Pureblood family. You also seem to carry a nice balance with her character. She doesn’t care for her mother’s ideas and opinions, but she doesn’t fight them the way some characters do in stories. She is in between. I think she knows her place and her right to the family, but she is stuck between wanting to follow her mother’s ideas and wanting to break free from them. Great idea!

At the end when she gave up her chance to be with Sirius, I was really impressed with the way you wrote her and the reasons she gave for not being able to date him. It was sad to see her leave a chance she could have had for happiness, but I think that made the story more realistic. It wouldn’t be in character for Kathryn to suddenly fall into Sirius’s arms and agree to go out with him. She seems very loyal to her family as well as her place in the wizarding world, and even though she may not like it, she feels as if it’s meant to be that way. I’m glad you stayed true to her character and didn’t have her stray into some Mary-Sue romance character. I’ll admit that at first I was worried that you were heading in the direction as Sirius came to the window, but you completely surprised me. Well written and way to stay consistent with your OC. Fantastic!

I have a few nitpicks and also some constructive criticism I would like to share…

Consorting with muggleborns and the like…

‘muggleborns’ should be capitalized.

Rabastan’s lips have remained on my hand a fraction too long, and I think his eyes have traveled to low on me.

‘Traveled’ should be spelled as ‘travelled’.

I came to apologize, for not consulting you first, about the engagement.

I think the commas in this sentence are unnecessary. You also have a few other unneeded commas throughout the story.

In some parts of the story, you have a few run-on sentences. It’s mostly in the beginning and towards the middle of the story. I would advise you to read through it and correct some of those to make the story look even better than it is. Having well written sentences can affect the overall impression of the story, so taking a few minutes to look over it would really help it flow better and look more professional.

The engagement between Sirius and Kathryn seemed out of place. You’ve written them to be in sixth year, which makes the idea seem to go against canon to a certain extent. At that point in time, I really don’t think Sirius would agree to getting married to someone he didn’t know and didn’t want to be married to. He would no longer attend those types of parties, or be a part of any arranged marriage. I just do not think it’s something he would ever agree to do at that point. It’s a nice idea, but I think it’s out of character for Sirius.

I think Slughorn dismissed Kathryn rather quickly. The scene seems rushed. You don’t give quite enough details, and it ends too fast. I don’t think Slughorn would dismiss Kathryn like that. He seems like a fair teacher, and he would at least let her tell her side of the story. I doubt she would lose her Prefect duties for the duel once Slughorn knew that she didn’t start it. He seems like the type that would definitely be willing to listen to students and give them second chances.

I think you have really great ideas and characterization. You’ve created a great pure-blood family, typical like the others, yet different from what we see in most stories. I like you ability to think differently and not just write another fanfic that revolves around the Blacks or the Malfoys. Kathryn is a wonderful OC, who was consistent and in character throughout the entire story. You did a beautiful job with her. Her thoughts reflect so perfectly and you show just what it would have been like to grow up as a girl in a strict pure-blood family. As I’ve said many times in this review, I really like your ideas. I’m going to be sure to take a look at your other work. Great writing!

Katty – Knight of the Turnip Table

Just Penny by Cinderella Angelina

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Penelope Clearwater has a schoolgirl crush on Charlie Weasley, but he doesn't even notice. Will his little brother be able to make her forget him, or will she continue to hold a flame for the dragon keeper?
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 04/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Oh, what a great setting! I really liked how the beginning of this story was set in the library. What a great way to get Percy, Charlie, and Penny in the same place at the same time. You wrote Penny’s thoughts well as her mind wandered to Charlie. I like how you gave us some reasons for why she likes him. It made her feelings more believable. I did wonder about them at first, since Penny does seem fond of Percy in the second book. But after reading her thoughts, I could definitely see her liking Charlie, and her feelings seem very accurate for a girl her age.

I really like what you’ve done with Percy’s character. He seems so different from what we usually see, but he still keeps the character traits that we see in canon. It’s nice to see him not acting as uptight when he’s around Penny. He still cares about studying and rules, but he doesn’t have such formal dialogue or the hostile exterior that he usually has. It’s nice to see a different side of his personality.

Another thing that I liked was how you added onto Charlie’s character. He is the least known Weasley in the series and we know such limited information about him. You paid attention to canon details as well as expanding his character just enough. You wrote him with an easygoing personality and a kindness towards everyone. You also show him struggle with his real life and he also compares himself to others a little. You made his character traits well balanced and expanded on his personality, which is necessary for writing him well as a main character.

With heart-wrenching determination, Charlie pinned on his green rosette and focused his mind on Quidditch — the thing he’d missed second-most these last years in Romania.

This sentence made me smile. I like how we know that the first-most thing he missed was Penny, but you don’t actually say that. It’s a nice, subtle reference to her that shows how much her cares for her.

A couple of grammar and spelling nitpicks…

Ron, on the other hand, towered over everyone in the room, including the brown-haired girl that followed him that Charlie didn’t recognize.

I would change the second ‘that’ to ‘whom’.

Probably fiarly busy with Healer training.

I’m assuming you meant ‘fairly’ here.

I like how they found each other in the end, but you leave it off not entirely finished. It made me wonder what could happen between them in the future. I like how this one-shot covers a long period of time, letting us see how their relationship developed over time. The letters were a great way of having them get to know each other better. That’s what really made Charlie start to like Penny as more than a friend and it was a great way to show how they really came to know each other. That’s one thing I really admire in this one shot – your creativity with the pairing. Not only the characters you used, but how you made their relationship work. You used some great ideas when you showed how they came to know each other. It all related to canon perfectly, and you didn’t forget to mention canon events that took place through that period of time. This was a great look at a pairing none of us ever consider. You made it very believable and very sweet. Great work! =)

~ Katty

Author's Response: *sigh* I think this is the review I was terrible about and didn\'t return. And this was such a wonderful review! How awful of me. Thank you for reading it so carefully and liking it! *D*


Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 01/20/07 Title: None

I really enjoyed the first chapter of this. You have a very believable and interesting character. I felt so bad for her when I found out about her private writing being exposed. The same thing happened to me once, and I was so humiliated. I can see why Evelyn is so uptight and reserved. Great chapter!

Author's Response: Thank you. I\'m sorry that you had to be embarrassed that way, but I\'m glad that Evelyn is believable.

Shhh... it's a library! by Lily of the US

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: We all know that Hermione and Krum met in the library... but what really happened between these two?
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 04/22/07 Title: Chapter 1: Shh... it's a library!

This is a really cute story! I liked how you used the library as the setting for the Viktor/Hermione romance. This was a great missing moment from canon. I always loved the idea of Hermione and Viktor meeting and talking in the library, so I was really excited to see a story with this scene. It’s a perfect missing moment to write about, yet it’s still very uncommon in fan fiction. I am one of the rare Viktor/Hermione fans, so I was really glad to have found this story!

I like Hermione’s annoyance as she tries to study, but keeps getting interrupted by Viktor’s admirers. Her thoughts made me laugh when I read them! It’s so like Hermione to be irritated by them for only being in the library to stalk a Quidditch player. I can also see how she would be annoyed with Viktor for being the cause of the disturbance. And I really thought bringing up Hermione’s annoyance several times in the story was amusing

Viktor was written in character, which was something that made me appreciate the story even more. In the movies and in fan fiction, he is portrayed as stupid, but we know he has to be very smart in canon. I think the scene you wrote through his point of view did show him as more of the smart character that he is, and not the stereotype Viktor that the movies and other fanfics display him as. I really liked how he wasn’t attracted to the stupid girls and was slightly annoyed by them. This is how I would imagine him to be in canon. When you mentioned at the beginning of the scene how he was a coward for not asking Hermione, I thought you brought out a character trait that made him seem very real, and I liked that a lot. You wrote the scene from his point of view very well.

Now I have some constructive criticism to share…

As much as I enjoyed the scene from Viktor’s point of view, I thought you could have added something about why he likes Hermione. We know in canon that he likes her, but giving us some reasons why would really add to his character and help make the romance more believable. Why is he so attracted to her? Is it her passion for learning? Her sharp wit? Her devotion to studying? Those are just a few examples, but you can get really creative with this. There are a lot of reasons you could use that would be believable. Writing a paragraph with a bit on why he likes her would really add to this story.

Stealing a glance at him, however, she had to admit that there was something about him that intrigued her.

I would cut ‘however’ out of this sentence. It’s not necessary and sounds a bit awkward.

Trying to pinpoint it, she nearly gasped out loud when she realized- it was the way he looked at her that made her want to look back.

I noticed that you used British spelling in other parts of the story, but not here. I would suggest changing ‘realize’ to ‘realise’ to match the rest of the British spelling.

Watching him, she saw him speak for the first time, and while she couldn’t understand what he was saying, it must have been rather offensive, for the once-giggling girls stormed off in a huff.

Hermione didn’t see him speak; she heard him speak. ;-)

For a first attempt at romance, I thought this was very well written. You made it cute, but it was still believable, and you avoided the typical clichés that a lot of authors run into when writing a first romance story. The ending was really sweet! I loved the way Viktor asked Hermione to the Yule Ball, and you nailed his dialogue. Another thing that really made me want to read this story was the title you had. It added just a touch of humor and I liked the way it tied in with the ending. I tend to avoid these types of romance stories, but I really enjoyed yours. This was really good for a first romance story. Great work!

Katty – Knight of the Turnip Table

Author's Response: *GASPSQUEEYAY!* Thank you so much for your review! This was such a lovely confidence boost... *hugs* I\'m glad you thought Hermione was in character; she\'s my favourite, so I know her well. ;- ) I agree with you about Viktor in the movies- he seemed too stupid and self-absorbed. I love his character, too- I hope he comes into the 7th book. Thanks for the CC, too- those British spellings always get me. And \"saw him speak?\" My inner madness is revealed at last, mwahahahah....... no. Just kidding. I was probably asleep when I wrote this, as my computer kept logging me out of MNFF by itself, and I didn\'t have this story saved on Word, so... I had to type it over and over and over. It wasn\'t fun. Anyways, thanks again for your review! ~megan~

Fools by GringottsVault711

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Percy seeks salvation, and is given an unexpected reaction from the woman in whom he seeks solace. [Percy/Penelope].
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 02/17/07 Title: Chapter 1: Fools

I’ve been looking for a well-written Percy centric story, and today I have found one. You portray Percy as someone real and human, who makes mistakes and has a difficult time dealing with the consequences of them. I love how you show his courage throughout the story, from going to Penelope in the beginning to agreeing to reconcile with his family at the end. This was an excellent and accurate perception of him. You show the courage and devotion I think the canon Percy really has, and you displayed it so well.

I really liked how you started the story with Percy looking in the window at his family. It was a good way to familiarize readers with the status on the war, Percy’s feelings towards his family, and the overall mood of the story. The way you wrote it was subtle and creative, while still getting the point across. From this beginning paragraph, I could already tell this story was very promising, and it kept my interest.

Percy’s and Penelope’s reactions to the rain were perfect. Percy sees the rain as a disturbance, while Penelope obstinately argues and insists that the rain is a symbol of renewal. She speaks of it in such a beautiful way, and it’s as if you’re showing us so much imagery is such simple dialogue. This was one of my favourite parts of the story.

Penelope’s doubt of Percy’s loyalty was something that made the story all the more real. She didn’t just leap into his arms, completely understanding his actions, and agreeing to marry him even though he’s proved to not necessarily be loyal to the people he cares about. She distrusted him at first, just as anyone would when they saw someone they loved and trusted about basically betray their family. Her reasons for not being able to trust him were totally justified and realistic.

Percy’s explanations in the letter for why he chose to believe the Ministry over his family was a great speculation for why he’s made such decisions in canon. Percy was always the Weasley who seemed to be the black sheep of the family. While the rest of his family is laid back and more focused on having a good time with one another, Percy is more uptight and focused on his future and his career. His need for the feelings of praise he used to get from Penelope was a great look as to why he worked so hard and tried to please so many people at the Ministry. I’m glad you had him realise his mistakes in the end. Well done!

I found several nitpicks throughout the story…

The cold ground and frosted grass crunched beneath his feet, as he passed the Burrow.

I believe the comma in this sentence is redundant.

They were celebrating, but they’re celebrations were solemn.

‘They’re’ should be ‘their’.

“Oh, look at that,” Percy said grimly, “Raining on Christmas. How perfectly abysmal.”

I think there should be a period instead of a comma after ‘grimly’, though that could be debatable.

All my love,

I would take out the period here. Percy doesn’t use one after his signature in a letter, according to the letter he wrote to Ron in the fifth book.

This one-shot was an amazing look at Percy’s character as well as the reasons for his actions. The way you show Penelope as stubborn, yet still forgiving really added to her personality. I liked how she sort of compromised with Percy in the end, and agreed to go with him as he went to resolve things with his family. You bring so much life and trueness to canon characters, making them so easy to identify with and understand. This was a fantastically written look at the Percy/Penelope pairing.

- Katty

Remorse, Regret, Redemption by LuthAn

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: "Gideon closes his eyes and thinks of “the Three Ds” that he was taught at Hogwarts. Though he has Apparated thousands of times, he cannot help but recite the steps in his mind before he goes. Every time. But as he concentrates on his flat in London and closes his eyes, he does not feel the familiar squeezing feeling. He does not feel a rush of wind. He does not feel anything."

Doing magic has never been difficult for Gideon Prewett. Never, that is, until now...

Written for the "Belief" prompt of the New Year's Challenge, and received second place!
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 08/25/07 Title: Chapter 2: Regret

Hi Anna! I’m back after (finally) reading the second chapter of this story.

What’s interesting about this story is that it focuses on war, yet you make war seem so normal. Suddenly it becomes common to read about attacks in the paper and see pages of obituaries from people you used to know. War becomes typical life. This is such a different way of writing about a war because usually the wars in Harry Potter are filled with intense battle scenes, evil Death Eaters, and brave heroes. It’s nice to see what a war was like for someone that wasn’t the center of it, but merely a spectator on the sidelines. I like how you show how the sadness of the attacks and deaths slowly dulls for Gideon because he’s become so used to reading about them. You bring out an emotion that I think a person going through a war would feel – frustration. Gideon feels helpless and frustrated with what the wizarding world has become. This is something I don’t think a lot of authors tend to write in war stories, so I really loved your originality.

I can already tell that Elizabeth is a great character. She’s so passionate and spirited, someone who really cared about helping others. What I liked was how you slowly revealed information about her instead of cramming it all into a couple of paragraphs. It helped keep the interest and curiosity I had for her. Another thing I was wondering was what had happened between her and Gideon. You did mention that they dated and it’s clear that Gideon liked her, so I wonder if he ever did truly express the feelings he had for her and if that’s partly the reason he feels regretful. I liked how you made Gideon’s feelings for her very known to the readers, but it’s subtle and not overdone.

Fabian was great once again. We can really see how much he cares for Gideon and only wants to do what will best help him. But at the same time, he still stands up to Gideon and tries to snap him out of his bad moods. You can see that they have a strong bond and Fabian isn’t letting it slip away. Like the rest of his family, he’s very stubborn and is not about to give up on Gideon. =) His dialogue is also written well and he’s so amusing! I really like his personality in this story.

You had one typo near the beginning…

No, school-time visits to Hogsmeade and assorted dates in London do not a relationship make.

I think you mean ‘make a relationship’ at the end of this sentence.

This was another great chapter and it’ll be really interesting to see where you take it from here. Your characters are what make this story really amazing and you bring out their personalities and thoughts so naturally. It seems like you know them so well. You took your time developing and writing them and it shows. I really like your writing style. I’m off to read chapter three! =)

~ Katty

Author's Response: Hello Katty! Welcome back to the story. :)

I\'m so glad you like descriptions of the war. It was very important to me to convey it this way. Gideon is detached from it, just like he\'s kind of detached from his own life at this point. He is not fighting in it, so he takes this really different view. I didn\'t want to include descriptions of heroics, because for Gideon at this point, there are no heroes. So I\'m so floored that you appreciated it!

To be quite honest, I\'ve forgotten a lot of things about this story. It was so short and written so long ago that I really need to go back and refresh myself. I hope that any lingering questions you have will be cleared up in the final chapter! I know that I didn\'t want to say too much about Elizabeth because I wanted the focus to be solely on Gideon and on his personal journey. But I did have to put some stuff about her in there because she is an integral part of his life.

I did really like writing Fabian. So many stories I\'ve read have the two brothers so similar, so I wanted to do something different, and make them have individual personalities. I kind of want to write him in another story, so maybe inspiration will strike! I\'m happy to know he has some fans out there. :)

That typo was actually deliberate; it\'s kind of a little stylistic device, but I can see how it might trip you up. I would probably change it if I ever go back and do edits to this story...

This was such a wonderful review, just like your last one. Reviews like this totally make my day, and I can\'t believe that you came back after five months! :) I hope that you like the last chapter and the story as a whole once the arc is completed. Maybe I\'ll hear from you again in January! :)

Thanks again so much for your incredibly kind words!!

Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 03/30/07 Title: Chapter 1: Remorse

The atmosphere you began with was so accurate. While it is discouraging, it feels realistic to me. Wars hit everyone hard, and I’m sure so many were frustrated like Gideon. His attitude is pessimistic, but in a way it’s refreshing to see. We read about so many characters like Harry or Ginny, who are so positive and hopeful, and while that’s nice, it’s in so many of the stories out there. Seeing a war from a different character’s point of view, with different opinions and thoughts was a really good idea.

But “normally” does not exist anymore. Is it wrong for him to think that this child should not be brought into this world? This world full of violence and horror and hate?

This was interesting and I really thought it stood out. It was a good point to bring up, and I can see how Gideon would not want another child to have to suffer danger and violence. I also liked the first sentence when you said how ‘normally’ didn’t exist anymore. The world had to be getting more and more dangerous at the point in time, and I’m sure anyone would be able to feel the ‘normal’ in their lives slowly slipping away.

I almost laughed when Fabian came into the story. Somehow I always picture him being a lot like Gideon, but the two were so completely different. Fabian is so cheerful and optimistic, and when you read his dialogue and characteristics, you feel as if nothing is wrong. It’s almost like there is no war when he’s around. But then reading about Gideon again, we can feel that same sense of despondency and his pessimistic attitude. I love the originality you put into both of these characters! It’s so interesting to see them so different from each other, and both of them are very well written.

I found just a couple of mistakes and constructive criticism I’d like to point out…

“Molly, I’m not trying to conjure a Patronus here.” He interrupts her.

The period after ‘here’ should be a comma. Also, ‘he’ does not need to be capitalized.

We’re all feeling it, little brother. It’s a terrible situation, and You Know Who is a monster.

‘You Know Who’ should be written as ‘You-Know-Who’.

I’m not sure if Arthur would be going on about taxicabs in that kind of situation. He is not oblivious to others’ feelings, and I think he would sense that Gideon was not in the mood for hearing about Muggle taxicabs. Instead, I think he would just be very quiet and solemn, maybe trying to say something encouraging or convincing Gideon to stay. If it was only mentioned once, I could see it, but I think it might have been just a bit overdone.

I loved the personalities you brought to Gideon and Fabian. They are not at all what I expected, but they are both so well written. You’ve developed their characters fantastically, and you’ve brought so much personality to them both. Molly was also just such an amazingly written character. She is just how I would picture her at that age. What she said to Gideon to try to convince him not to give up was perfect! Leaving off with a bit of mystery was also good, and I’m really curious to know who Elizabeth is. I’m really looking forward to reading the next chapter of this. Great work!

Katty – Knight of the Turnip Table

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you so much for this review! It was wonderful, and I\'m thrilled you liked the story. It was certainly different than anything I\'ve ever written before, and it\'s a nice validation to see my new ideas and styles well-received, so I thank you! :)

I\'ve read so many stories where Gideon and Fabian are treated a lot like George and Fred (G&F, G&F, so maybe there\'s some validity), but I thought that more often than not (at least in my family), brothers aren\'t *exactly* like one another. Making Gideon in such stark contrast to Fabian really helps to drive home his depression, I hope, so I\'m thrilled you appreciated the difference!

Gideon\'s emotions in the story were hard to write sometimes. You never want to be the one thinking, \"Oh, I can\'t believe my sister is pregnant again, the world doesn\'t need to see another child suffer,\" etc. etc., but I\'m sure that some people do feel that. Unfortunately, it\'s a valid point for Gideon in this situation!

Thank you for pointing out the mistakes. I slip up with the comma at the end of dialogue every so often, and sometimes I try to pass it off as a stylistic device (short sentences, terse dialogue, etc.), but it\'s most likely just a genuine mistake. ;) And I never know whether to do You-Know-Who with dashes or not, so I\'m grateful to you for setting me straight!

As for Arthur, I agree with you about the taxicabs. I\'ll be honest and say that I really didn\'t have a great handle on his character, compared to the Prewetts, so I just threw in the Arthur we all know and love without really taking the situation and circumstances into consideration, so you\'re very right to make that criticism. :)

Anyway, I\'m so glad that you like the way I wrote the characters; that\'s always the thing that makes me happiest. They\'re not my characters, after all, so I just try to do JKR\'s work some justice! Read on and find out who Elizabeth is!

Thanks again to you and to Ravenclaw House (I presume) for this fabulous review!!!


Candles Burn by lily_evans34

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Hermione had never listened to the darkness. But now, it's all she can hear.

Written for Project SPEW 007. My prompt was "seven".
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 03/25/07 Title: Chapter 1: Candles Burn

*Tackles SPEW buddy Rachel*

This is simply amazing writing! The poetic flow you have just draws my interest straight into the story. Every word grabs my attention from the beginning to the end. The setting is just magnificent! You describe the silence in so many different ways, yet it doesn’t seem boring or over the top at all. I loved how you kept referring to the silence and compared it with so many different things, such as the whispering and how it seemed to be calling out in its loneliness.

She knows what must be done, she tells the silence.

It’s interesting how you seemed to have Hermione communicating with the silence, telling it bits of her life and what she must do. Silence is the only company she has left and the only one she can turn to with her fears. Silence is the only thing listening. I think by having her confiding in only the silence, you explain so much in such a creative way. Instead of two long and boring paragraphs on what has gone on in the past and how so many of the characters fought bravely and died, you let something as simple as silence do the job. Incredibly haunting as well as creative!

She tries not to listen — to block it out with the silence.

I already mentioned how much I loved the silence, but I especially loved it here! She’s trying to focus only on the silence and ignore the darkness’ call. The silence is the one thing she can count on, the one thing she has to rely on. It’s hard to ignore the loud call of silence, but it’s harder to ignore the even louder call of darkness. She’s trying so hard to not slip away from the silence, but the darkness is just too hard to ignore. I loved how you tied the darkness in with the silence. You made them both stand out and they flowed together just beautifully!

She isn’t afraid of dying — she’s more afraid of losing herself.

This was really in-character for Hermione. We know she’s never been afraid of death, but her beliefs are important to her, and I think she would be afraid if she was close to losing them. You give us such an accurate glimpse of how the war could affect someone. Even Hermione could lose herself during all those times of tragedy, especially if the dark side was gaining power. She’s lost so much, and now she’s coming close to losing herself. It was just heartbreaking to read this paragraph! Watching Hermione struggle with her fight against darkness was incredibly sad, but I love how realistic you’ve made her character.

The silence tries to speak to her (tries to remind her of who she is), but she stops listening.

At the beginning of the story we saw Hermione listening to the silence, and we see her almost talking to it and telling it what she must do. The darkness is calling her, but she is trying so hard to ignore it and continue listening to the silence. But throughout the story we keep seeing her lose herself to the darkness, slowly letting the silence slip away. When I read it, it seemed to be so many different things at once. It was sad to see Hermione losing herself and nearly giving up; it was beautiful to read such vivid descriptions of silence and darkness; and it was just so deep and powerful all together. I love how you gradually get her to the point of almost wanting to give in to the darkness and let it overtake her. You don’t seem to rush it, and you weave in important details throughout the story, telling us how she got to the point of wanting to give up. Great work!

As always, candles burn in the background (light — warmth). She blows them out.

The symbolism you have here with the candles representing Hermione’s last bit of hope and light was really amazing! You’ve kept the candles lit, along with Hermione’s slight hope, all throughout the story. They’ve always been glowing in the distance, but I don’t think we really see what they stand for until this line. And then it all makes perfect sense. I love how you left us wondering about it until close to the end, and then revealed the true meaning with this one line. It was extremely powerful as well as poignant. This had to be one of my favorite parts of the story.

The last thing she hears is the silence — the last thing she sees is the light. As the last candle burns out, she falls to the floor.

The way you ended it was just perfect! I love how you used the silence, the light, and the candles to finish with. They flow so nicely together throughout the story, and you ended with them all together. They all represent so much. The silence is her last determined thought inside, calling for her; the light is what she wants to find; and the candles are the last flicker of hope that she has. They are all amazing together, what they are as well as what they stand for. And as Hermione dies, they all seem to extinguish. As I’ve said multiple times, the flow and the symbolism is really what makes this story so great. Its beauty, its sadness, and its rhythm.

I only found a couple of small nitpicks…

Throughout her entire life, she had been fighting for one thing. (Light.)

I don’t believe you would need a period after ‘light’ here.

She has always wanted to do good, no matter the cost.

‘Good’ didn’t sound quite right in this sentence. While I don’t think it’s incorrect (since you’re referring to ‘good’ as in the good side), it sounds like it is. I would suggest changing it to ‘She had always wanted to do the right thing’ or something similar.

Your writing is remarkable, Rachel. Your descriptions sound like poetry! I’m so glad I read and reviewed this. It’s poignant and lingering, real and so sad. At first I wondered if Hermione giving up like that would be OCC, but I don’t think it is at all. You showed the effects the war could have on someone, even someone like Hermione. This was a great one shot. I can’t wait to read more from you! *Hugs*

~ Katty

Author's Response: OHMIGODKATTY. Have I told you how AMAZING you are? Siriusly. I - SQUEE - *DIES*. This has to be the awesomest SPEW buddy review in all the world! :D:D:D You know what I realised from those excerpts you picked out? I use dashes. A LOT. Yes, this seems odd that I\'m just noticing it, but, well, yeah. *shifty eyes* Thanks for the nitpicks as well - I\'ll have to look at those bits more closely. Thanks again for the totally AWESMOE review, and I am sosososososo glad you liked the story! *SQUISHES*

Butterbeer and Beaches by joybelle423

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: It's been two years since Ginny and Harry broke up, and Ginny is now playing Quidditch for the Wimborne Wasps. When her teammate Dan Bristow invites her out for a Butterbeer, Ginny can't help but say yes, even though she considers dating a waste of time. Can Dan change her mind?
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 06/24/07 Title: Chapter 1: Butterbeer and Beaches

Aww, what a sweet story! I really liked your idea of pairing Ginny with an OC, especially someone she doesn’t know very well. There aren’t many Ginny/OC stories out there, but I’ve really come to like the idea of Ginny ending up with someone other than a canon character. Dan seems just perfect for her! You gave them enough in common that they have something to talk about, plus Dan’s personality was great for Ginny.

You did a good job of avoiding the Mary-Sue side of Ginny. In fanfiction, and even a little in the books, she tends to be written that way, which is one reason why I really don’t like her character. But when I see a well written Ginny in fanfiction, she doesn’t bother me so much, and I begin to wonder why I dislike her as much as I do. I really liked how you started off with her being slightly awkward around Dan, but slowly we see her confidence come out as she gets to know him. We always picture Ginny being this super confident person, but we only really see her around people she’s known for a long time. I like the idea of her being a little awkward or nervous around someone at first.

The dialogue between Ginny and Dan was adorable! You wrote the date perfectly. Not only with the dialogue, but also how Ginny reacted to his touch and the kiss was a pleasure to read because it just right, and not too much (meh, you know how I feel about smut XD). I really loved the arguing over Quidditch and the teasing from Dan. Those are things Ginny would really go for in a guy. As I kept reading, I really began to love the idea of Ginny and Dan together. I’ve hardly read about Dan, but I already think he’s a likable and believable OC. You should consider writing about him again. =)

I really enjoyed reading this, Abigail. I don’t typically read fluff, but the setting, the dialogue, and the characterization of your story made me smile. It’s authors like you that make me actually want to go look for decent fluff to read. Great work!

~ Katty

A Time to Fall by Ron x Hermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: This is one of my Ron/Hermione one shots for SPEW 007 for the prompt 'Blossom'.

Ron and Hermione are at the Burrow, and suddenly Hermione runs outside. When Mrs. Weasley discovers her gone and a storm coming, she sends Ron and Harry to find her. When she is discovered by Ron, revelations and relationships? are made.

NOTE: This was going to be a seven part fiction, yet I now am making it a series of one shots. :)
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 09/30/07 Title: Chapter 1: Blossom

Hey Lindsey! I stumbled across this story while in the SPEW 007 threads and decided to take a look. Even though I’m not much of a Ron/Hermione fan, I remember liking your characterization of Ron, so I thought I would have a look at how you write him with Hermione.

I thought it was very sweet of him to run after Hermione even as the storm is approaching. I’m glad you included this in the story because it shows that he cares about her without it being an obvious romance scene. Ron is very loyal most of the time and it’s nice to see this trait brought out in him. I think one important part of romance stories that’s sometimes forgotten is the actions of the characters. Actions speak louder than words in romance, and this is a good example of that.

He had covered his head with his hand-me-down jacket and ran to the back door, eventually throwing it open to find an angry-looking Mrs. Weasley.

Mentioning the hand-me-down jacket was really good. I hate it when authors forget about canon details because then their characters just don’t seem as in character to me. I know that you not only had this but also a few other details about Ron, such as when he squeaked after Hermione said Voldemort. I love how you really pay attention to Ron’s characteristics. I think that’s one reason why you write him so well. Great job!

I liked how you wrote a scene in the rain, but you avoided the cliché setting. A lot of people write a gentle rainfall, just enough to shower the characters lightly as they have that perfect kiss. Writing an actual storm was great. I really like scenes where an author takes something sort of cliché, but puts their own details and ideas into it, just as you’ve done here. Great job!

I’d like to point out some grammar errors and offer some suggestions…

When she is discovered by Ron, revelations and relationships? are made.

You accidentally added a question mark in the middle of this sentence. Just a small typo I found in the summary.

Ron looked into her chocolate eyes, searching for what she was trying to say.

Hmm…I’m not sure about describing Hermione’s eyes as ‘chocolate’. They’ve never been described that way in the books and it could be considered a canon mistake. What worries me is that is touches on the beautyqueen!Hermione cliché. Once isn’t so bad, but I’d suggest trying to avoid this kind of description in the future.

“Yes, mum,” he said, irritated. He hadn’t wanted to go outside, it had just happened.

You should capitalize ‘mum’ in this sentence because Ron is using it as a name for Molly. You have this mistake one other time in this story.

…Take her a jacket-” She whipped her wand around and a pink windbreaker appeared.

The hyphen should be a period because the sentence ends here instead of breaking off in the middle.

“-That’s a good boy,” she said as Ron took it in his hand.

The hyphen here is also unnecessary.

It appeared that he had just come from seeing Ginny. They had made up nearly a month after his and Ron’s sixth year. Ron figured that they had both realised that love would make the upcoming Final Battle that much easier.

Quite honestly, I’d suggest taking this out. The reason I say this is because really isn’t that important in the story. You do mention it near the end, but I think you could find another reason that would still express Hermione’s feelings accurately. I don’t really find Harry and Ginny getting together very believable at this point in time. Harry pretty much had his mind made up at the end of the sixth book and I don’t think he would change it very easily. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it requires more explanation than this and I don’t think it’s necessary to write into this story.

He ran over to a tall Weeping Willow that showed a human sitting underneath it. As he grew closer, though, he found that it was Hermione.

I’d suggest taking ‘though’ out of the second sentence. It’s unnecessary and actually makes it sound like Hermione isn’t a human.

It seemed that she was out of breath, and freezing.

The comma here isn’t needed.

One thing you never explained was where Harry went. First he’s off with Ron, searching for Hermione. After the first paragraph or so he just kind of disappears and then we see him back at the Weasleys at the end of the story. I don’t think he would go back to the Weasleys without making sure Hermione was okay. You know how he has that ‘saving people’ thing. ;-) It seems like you just didn’t know what to do with him. One thing you could have done was have him find Ron and Hermione just after they’ve had their conversation. This way you could have the scene with them alone and Harry wouldn’t be forgotten.

Overall, great story! Once again your characterization of Ron has proved to be excellent. I’m not a huge fan of him, but I really liked him in this. He’s sweet and caring without it seeming overdone. You also have a really good grasp of his thoughts, dialogue, and character traits, which is so important when writing a canon character. The ending of this story was really cute, too. I liked how Ron finally got the courage to kiss her. ;-) This is a great example of a fluffy romance story. You’ve avoided most clichés and kept the characters in character. Nicely written!

~ Katty

Author's Response: Aw, thanks so much for this great review of this story Katty! *hugs* I really appreciate the time you took. I am a huge fan of Ron, and he\'s my favorite character, so I that makes me happy that you like how I portray him and you think that I do it well. Also, I meant to do the Harry thing. It\'s not as if his friends had forgotten him, it\'s just that Ron is kind of forgetful himself, and a large event like this, him getting together with Hermione, would allow Harry to slip his mind. I didn\'t write this part, but I concluded in my head that Mrs. Weasley got Harry back tot he house shortly after with the help of Fred and George. Thanks again! ~Lindsey :)

Always Watching by joybelle423

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: He was a Slytherin, she knew, one of the infamous Blacks. Emmeline had caught him staring at her a few times, but she knew he was only trying to make her feel uncomfortable. A lesser girl would have been, but Emmeline was only mildly amused by his attempt. It would take much more than a pair of dark, unblinking eyes to unsettle her.

Written for Marie/electronicquillster for the hprare_exchange of spring 2007 on LiveJournal.

Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 02/09/10 Title: Chapter 1: Always Watching

The library setting for this story was great, and I loved the way you described it! There isn’t much of a description in the books, which always disappointed me. The library in this story sounds absolutely wonderful with its huge windows and the bench on the balcony. The setting outside was great as well. I liked how detailed it was, especially your mention of the light from Hagrid’s hut, which was a great touch. The whole paragraph was beautiful and it really set the scene.

I’m going to have to disagree with Shanae and say that I really loved the different sides of Emmeline’s character. I liked seeing a very prim, serious version of her as well as someone who gets annoyed easily. I’m sure exam times are very stressful, and I don’t think having her confront Regulus in a rather irritable way went against what we’d seen of her personality in the beginning of the story. Actually I think it made her seem much more real. No one is the same thing all the time, and showing multiple sides of a character’s personality is important.

And have I mentioned yet how much I loved Regulus? You turned him from someone who’s considered the naïve, lesser of the Black brothers into a mysterious, intelligent character with great wit. The banter between him and Emmeline was so amusing!

You mention at the beginning of the story that exams were two weeks away, but then go on to say that it’s close to Christmastime. I don’t remember them having exams before Christmas, and according to the HP Lexicon they don’t. I also didn’t find any evidence of this in the books, so I think you have a minor canon error there.

One thing I’ve noticed about your stories is that you tend to start most of them off the same way. You always tell us where the main character is and what they’re doing. It’s not a bad way to start a story, but it does come off a bit dry. I’d really love to see you mix up your writing. You could try starting with a bit of dialogue, a character’s thoughts, or an action that isn’t quite so common. Don’t be afraid to try something new in future stories. I know you’re capable of coming up with something really creative.

Really lovely one shot overall. You did a really good job of developing the personalities of lesser-known characters and bringing them together. Well done!

Hydrophobia by OliveOil_Med

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: Bold and brazen, Gryffindors are expected not to fear anything, and James Potter does everything he can to live up to this image.

But everyone fears something, and what it is that James truely fears is something that even the most cowardly seem able to face without a single fret.
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 02/08/10 Title: Chapter 1: Hydrophobia

Writing a story about James Potter fearing something is such an interesting idea. His fear is completely believable, too. What a scary experience for a five-year-old!

I also liked how your story also focused on the friendship between Remus and James. I find that most friendship stories from the Marauder Era are either about Sirius and James or Sirius and Remus, so it's a nice change to show Remus and James together. The banter between them was good.

The Boggart scene was also a great touch and so in character for James. XD Well done!

Author's Response: I'm glad you like the story so much, and I hope I can point you in the direction of a few of my other ones (even if this might be for the SBBC)...I can still hope.

Trapped by Gmariam

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Hermione finds herself alone in the corridor after the Final Battle, trapped by two men who want very different things from her. How will she react to their demands?
Reviewer: Mind Games Signed
Date: 01/28/10 Title: Chapter 1: Trapped

Whoa… that was such an intense, compelling story. You had me hooked straight until the end with the plot. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and especially unusual for a story that takes place right after the Battle of Hogwarts. Who imagined so much drama and violence to take place afterward? I love your creativity.

Hogwarts was saved, but it still felt lost.

This line is so simple, but I think it sums up the emotion of that time perfectly. I’ve often thought about what had to be running through the characters’ minds during the week after the final battle. Happiness and relief over the victory of course, but still intense sorrow and mourning. I’m sure being at Hogwarts would be quite strange and sad, with all the damage and memories of what had happened.

Draco asking Hermione for her help sounds very out of character, but you managed to make it work so well. Even when asking for her help, Draco’s dialogue and actions sound very similar to what we see in the books. His threatening to expose her secret also helped make his asking for her help much more believable, since I don’t think he would have if he didn’t have some kind of blackmail or threat. He’s not typically one to beg for favors.

Hermione killing Goyle with a chuck of rock did not seem entirely plausible to me. Even under normal circumstances, it’s unlikely that someone with Hermione’s strength compared to Goyle’s strength would be able to kill a person just by striking his head only once with a rock, especially since he was pinning her down. In this situation it’s even more unlikely, considering that Hermione was already tired and then suffered the Cruciatus Curse twice. I see why this was vital to the plot, but I do think it’s a bit of a stretch.

“You’re parents were Death Eaters; they’ll never be just pardoned,” she said softly, though she felt the doubt in her voice.

‘You’re’ should be ‘Your’ here.

“I know what your mom did; I know you didn’t fight.”

‘Mom’ should be ‘mum’ here.

I really like how this story explores just what someone would do to protect his family. Nice characterization, excellent plot, and an overall great response to a difficult prompt. Quite impressive!

Author's Response: HI there! A rather belated thank-you for the amazing review! Your comments are so thoughtful and sincere, I really appreciate you taking the time to leave such detailed thoughts. I can see your point about Draco being OOC, but like you said, I hope that by keeping his dialogue and other actions (that trademark sneer, lol) in character it helped establish it as possible. It is blackmail, after all—something I think would be a very Malfoy thing to do, particularly since he is doing it to protect his family and we saw what he was willing to do to protect them in HBP. And I get how the rock thing might seem implausible as well (you are not the only reviewer to say so!) although I think that with desperate adrenaline flowing, a person is capable of amazing feats, particularly if it involves survival. I wish it seemed less contrived. >.< Thanks for pointing out those errors, that's why I asked if you could beta! I shall go back and tweak a bit. And thanks again for the review! ~Gina :)