Reading Reviews From Member: Pixileanin
457 Reviews Found

Review #26, by PixileaninDetox: Reconnecting

3rd March 2014:
"We didn't just meet some bloke in a bar, get three sheets to the wind and decide to overthrow the Ministry."

Are you certain, Mr. Gamp? Because I see a lot of drink and a lot of talk, and someone's about to get three sheets and more than a little windy. Pretty sure it's gonna be Flint, but I won't bet money on it just yet.

Draco's really playing a dangerous game here. If it weren't for that wedding, he wouldn't be here at all. He'd be composing beautiful sonnets and sending them off to Astoria. Actually, Draco doesn't seem the sonnet type. He strikes me more of the straight up couplet type, or some sort of anagram, where he says something virtuous with each letter of her name.

I did find it humorous that Draco spent considerable brain power on what sort of firewhisky Zabini had. It shows his snobbery, as well as Zambini's poor taste in drink. I'm with Draco on this. Why would he buy the obvious cheap stuff? Why would his mother even allow it in the house? It's so wrong. The whole atmosphere of this encounter gives me the creeps.

"First of all, we're not being recruited by anyone, Malfoy. We're in charge here."

I'm getting flashbacks. Flashbacks to another character I remember who was completely insane and thought he had the upper hand. These people don't learn. They just keep barreling head first into badness. Why is it that these characters are also the most fun to write?

And all the posturing! You write these guys really well. Everyone trying to stuffy-chest over each other. I really feel for Draco when he hears what he believes is the proof he needs to implicate his father is involved. If all he's doing is trying to get out of this mess, and all his father is doing is dragging the family back into it, what chance does Draco have of succeeding? A real pit of snakes he's been thrown into.

Or should I say spiders? Draco's tale keeps weaving him tighter and tighter into a corner. Granted, it was his only choice at the time, but what is all of this going to mean later? This has got to backfire in a very big way in the long run. I am suddenly nervous for him.

Astoria sounds like she's not going to be the first in line for the new Gringotts ride at Universal. Oh, but she is maneuvering for the tiara! I am glad you're showing us this side of her. She can't entirely escape her Slytherin training, and I love the way she rationalizes that the sneaky sibling posturing is okay because it's a skill. Haha!

I love, LOVE the way you show Astoria's conversation with Mrs. Malfoy in the bank lobby. The way that these two are "talking" without looking like they're even acknowledging each other is fantastic characterization. Astoria does indeed admire this woman from the things that Draco has told her, and it seems that Narcissa has also heard some things about Astoria from her son. Just knowing that Draco has shared his sentiments with his mother must give that girl a tremendous boost of confidence in their semi-relationship status. You really couldn't have done anything better for her than this.

Oh, I don't know about the Jeremy Gamp warning, Dan. I kind of like to be surprised by unconventionally insane, evil characters every once in a while. As long as they're safely trapped inside a story, and not ringing the doorbell or anything terrifying like that. :P

I'm definitely feeling Draco's unwavering determination, and Astoria's growing confidence. Another lovely chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

Draco is playing a very dangerous game, but the calibration of his Danger Meter has been off since the end of the war. As scary and Gamp might be, he's still nothing compared to Voldemort. That comparison will lead Draco to underestimate a lot of dangers before this story is through.

I was struggling for a good entree to this chapter when the idea of him critiquing the Zabinis' taste in beverages popped into my head. For some reason, it just fit for me, with both characters, actually. Zabini's mother always seemed like the type who accumulated wealth ravenously yet spent it reluctantly.

It's always fun to write pompous, arrogant characters who get in over their heads because you enjoy seeing them get their comeuppance at the end. Generally speaking, the more of a jerk you can make them, the more satisfying it is when they fall.

I'm glad you like all the bluster and bravado. That was mostly what I was going for, except for Gamp. With him, it's not just an act. He really believes every word of it and he'd have zero hesitation about acting on it.

Poor Astoria! With so many stomach-churning experiences in the magical world -- apparition, portkeys, goblin-piloted death coasters -- being a witch must have been hard on her. Again, I was trying to show a contrast between her more mature side and her less mature side. The sibling rivalry over the tiara compared to what Narcissa tells her about what it meant to lose her sisters seemed like a helpful way to draw that out.

In my personal world, Narcissa is an incredibly perceptive and adept woman. She grew up having "properness" pounded into her head every waking minute of every day, so navigating complicated social situations is nearly effortless for her. Astoria learns a few things from her in this chapter, both in terms of how she conducts herself and some new information she reveals about Draco. You're right, Astoria is also pleased to the point of bursting that Draco has told his mother good things about her.

Fortunately for us all, Jeremy has no means of escaping from the black depths of my sadistic writer's heart. There he dwells, waiting for a chance to emerge onto the written page and inflict misery on all the other characters.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! They're growing ever closer together, but the story is far from over. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #27, by PixileaninCalculus: 11:57

3rd March 2014:
Hi there! I'm tagging you from the Gryffindor Common Room for Review Tag! And welcome, by the way!

This story caught my interest because firstly, it's a mystery and I love those, and secondly, I've been snooping around the challenges threads lately to see what other writers are up to these days.

So firstly, I am intrigued by your character here. Tobias Hughes already sounds like an interesting fellow, upstanding member of the Wizengamot with heavy thoughts surrounding him. He's eighty years old, looks older than he thinks he should, and likes to take walks. It sounds like he's had a hard life so far, and that his profession hasn't been an easy one.

You definitely gave us a realistic view of the murder. The way you described the brutal way in which poor Tobias is cut down, I gather that whoever is doing the deed is angry with him. It almost feels personal, the way he causes the older man so much pain, handling him roughly about the neck. You've very clearly set the stage for a dark, gruesome story that shows us all the ugly.

From the first section, I get a clear understanding of the case coming up and why it's important to a lot of people, but it felt very narrative-heavy, and was a little cumbersome to read. I think you could have made this first section a lot more personable by giving us more of a glimpse into Tobias' mind, how he felt about the upcoming vote, whether he was still making up his mind, and if he felt like he was in any pressing danger. This is the only part of the story where we'd get a chance to know this guy (since he's dead at the end of the chapter), and frankly, if you hadn't mentioned it in the summary, I wouldn't have known that he was the one with the final vote. I wouldn't have been able to piece together why this man was murdered.

From the time period you chose, I think it will be very interesting to see how you bring the canon characters into the story and wrap them up in the mystery surrounding this death. I'm already wondering who the murderer is, and how difficult it will be to catch him/her/them. And I'm dying (not literally :P) to know if the clock has a great significance in your plot.

Happy writing, and good luck with the challenge!

Author's Response: Howdy and thanks for the welcome and the detailed and thoughtful review!

I'm glad you thought the murder was realistic! I wanted to take a no-holds-barred (within the ToS) approach to the crime itself, so I tried to take a great deal of care to make it believable in feel and description, so it's good to hear you thought that showed.

I also really appreciate the CC about it being cumbersome at the start. I struggled a bit with laying out enough of Hughes and enough of the policy stuff and then decided to play a bit of kick the can with the details of Hughes's back-story and role in the policy battle described in the summary by leaving that to get fleshed out in the investigation. So hopefully that works out.

A number of the canon characters will appear in the next chapter and I'm interested to see what people think. I rarely write them outside of an AU and certainly not in this type of story, but I'm trying to keep their core traits true while still showing some growth that will hopefully not take them OOC. I'm kind of sweating this, but we'll see how it goes.

Thanks again your deep and thoughtful review!

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Review #28, by PixileaninFinding Lily: The Finish Line

2nd March 2014:
Hi! You finished! Yay!

I thought this was a really interesting story, and I have to tell you that Lily's secret was a SURPRISE! Congratulations for thinking up something so unique! I loved the little twists and turns of your plot and how you kept me guessing throughout. You had a great sense of mystery, which is hard to maintain.

The suspense with the potion was really well done, and I loved how you engaged us with some shady characters! I wasn't sure exactly what to think of those men who were looking for someone else, and I almost wish the story was long enough to settle that for us.

This was a lovely read! Good luck with the challenge!

Author's Response: Hi Pixileanin!

Wow thank you so much for your wonderful review!! I'm so glad that you found it to be unique. You liked the potion scene!! I was so worried about writing that part - so I'm beyond happy that you thought it was well done! I completely agree with you - there's definitely room to revisit some of the characters / events from this story. That was something that I kept thinking about after posting that it was completed... So I'm currently working on a sequel. While it can stand on its own (at least that's my goal lol), I'm looking forward to addressing some of the unfinished threads from this story too.
Thanks again for stopping by! Best of luck with the challenge too!!

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Review #29, by PixileaninJourney to the Centre of (Molly’s) World in (Less than) 80 Days: Take It Easy

2nd March 2014:
That's the strange thing about silence. I've often wondered about that. How can silence be deafening, so loud, that you just want some kind of noise to break it apart?

I love how you described the magic of the transportation. It was sort of like Apparition, sort of like a portkey, but you made it your own thing too. I commend you for not taking the easy way out with this. Exciting embellishments all around!

So Molly's skills DO come in handy, and it's on the second day? Or is it still the first? There was night, so I'll call it the second. Well, that was longer than I expected. Haha!

The little digs still continue, "If you Americans hadn't thrown yours in the harbour, you'd know..." That made me laugh out loud. Indeed.

Oh, but what if Beard and Socks and Sandals had put a spell on him to do this thing??? Is HE the culprit!?? I am so suspicious. ;) I really like how Molly is so matter-of-fact in all of this. She's been trained for scenarios like this, and the fact that she doesn't fall apart shows us her inner strength. She may be rubbish at expressing herself, but I think in this case, it's to her favor. AND she shows her maths skillz! Molly rocks!

I know from the Five Elements Challenge, that using all three instances of the spell given was one of the hardest things to incorporate into the story without being all "LOOK! I have used this spell THREE TIMES!!" Hahah! Does this mean that Heath will be breaking a lot of bones in this story, because that would be sad and hilarious and OUCH all at the same time.

Hey, things don't always have to be funny. I liked this chapter just as well. There was cool stuff going on. Good luck with all of your challenges!

Author's Response: It's like being underwater, that kind of silence. I find it to be really oppressive.

I'm glad you liked the description of the transportation. I wanted it to be a little dangerous and mildly uncomfortable - it was built in the Bronze Age after all.

There's more to Molly than a desire to change her life and making a boss cup of tea. And It's so sad the Americans will never know what you're missing out on... (I'm not British, but tea is still part of cultural DNA).

Beard and Sandals is not the culprit - all Heath. He has an insatiable thirst for doing the mildly dangerous and incredibly stupid. And yeah, I didn't want to write Molly as being incapable of everything. She's trying to find her way in life, but it still doesn't negate the fact that she's survived more than two years of gruelling Auror training.

Yes. Heath is going to have a lot of broken bones. I'm so sad that I Didn't finish this story in time for the challenge, but I'm still going to include all the elements in later chapters. I will complete this challenge if it kills me! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing - especially since you did all four! Wowee!

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Review #30, by PixileaninJourney to the Centre of (Molly’s) World in (Less than) 80 Days: Uncharted

2nd March 2014:
Oh gosh! A late Heath in his own home! Never mind that I can sometimes resemble that... *hides* The singing on the loo was crazy funny, as were all of the reasons that Molly decided to agree to this trip. Wait. SEVENTY DAYS??? That's a looong time.

Those little details of yours are absolutely adorable. An obstacle course in a short skirt?? You've got to be kidding me! At least we know she's been trained well. I hope she doesn't have to use it all up on their first day out.

"Raj the wannabe soprano". Snort.

You wrote the banter between these two really well. I can see that they're trying to get to know each other while pretending not to enjoy it. Very funny! Though you do bring up valid points about Salem and the Sorting Hat. Too true! And the bit with the chocolate frogs... eww! But a great way to make more connections. :)

Ahhh, Agatha - insidiously creeping into Molly's head to push her onwards towards adventure with chocolate frog man! Excellent!

Socks and Sandals had me in stitches! Where do you find your ideas for these absurd caricature characters?? And then something happens. Inside Stonehenge! Mysterious predictions! (Does Heath have a Silver Dragon tattoo hidden somewhere?)

And three elements already! And another chapter!

Author's Response: I hate people who are running late in their own house! I don't understand how that can happen. Maybe it's a case of "the closer you are to your destination, the later you'll be". And seventy days is a really long time. I've set myself up for the long haul.

The obstacle course was so sexist. I could feel my inner feminist getting enraged as I wrote the scene.

Raj is in fact a marvellous tenor. Molly is obviously tone deaf. I hate people talking trash about my baby Raj.

... I'm WAY too attached to Raj :P

I loved taking the opportunity to poke a little fun at the wizarding world in that conversation between Molly and Heath. And that chocolate frog scene was my attempt at writing something better suited to a book for twelve year olds. It was too much fun, which meant it worked for me!

Socks and Sandals came to me in a rare moment of inspiration. He was perfect for what I wanted him to do. His stereotype makes it even less likely for anyone to believe that Stonehenge is a giant transportation device. And yes - about that silver dragon...

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Review #31, by PixileaninJourney to the Centre of (Molly’s) World in (Less than) 80 Days: Counting Stars

2nd March 2014:
I love how you start us off with a fresh character straight away! This is obviously the guy we need to keep our eyes on, yeah? He seems like he's not in a very happy place either. Ahh, I'd be so afraid to read that article now... did he really write it half-sloshed?

I'm also loving how you're bringing in some of our well-loved canon characters as adults into this Next-Gen world. I think that's what I miss the most when I read Next Gen - I mean, I know that the main characters are generally the younger, active people, but what happened to all those other people that have grown up? Dennis' appearance was great here.

Oh no! He thinks her hair is on fire! This cannot be a good start.

"Heath's gaze wandered back down towards her face, only to be arrested by a rather aggressive stare form a pair of hazel eyes."

Maybe it's better than I thought. Err... okay, I take that back. Molly's being roped into something she knows very little about. I'm sure she'll take that well... not. Haha!

Heath seems like the overly

Author's Response: Heath is one of my all time favourite characters to write. He's just so adorably... Adorable. And Heath is DEFINITELY the man. He's in a very similar situation to Molly, but they're two different people who don't quite realise that. It causes some conflict, as can be expected. And I don't even want to think about that article. Can you imagine the grammar?

I couldn't resist bring Dennis Creevey into this! And writing him as almost a different person was wonderful but also heartbreaking at the same time because life changes you and it hurts you sometimes in the process.

Fiery hair = good start. Hair on fire? Not so much. ;)

It's actually strange the way she handles this little adventure. But more on that later...

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Review #32, by PixileaninJourney to the Centre of (Molly’s) World in (Less than) 80 Days: King of Anything

2nd March 2014:
Hi there! RANDOM REVIEW!!!

Actually, I'm checking out the Five Elements Challenge entries, because it's a great challenge and I'm curious to see how you incorporated everything. Mine were all so random! Haha! Oooh! And I see that you combined a bunch of challenges too! Awesome!

Poor Molly! Bad coffee, bad company, the worst cliche' break-up speech in the history of break-up speeches... There's nothing like an annoying person from your past spouting ridiculous notions to wake you up to reality. Though this Agatha seems like a crazed, over-the-top "my life is perfect" character. I bet her life isn't as perfect as she's making it out to be. Oh, but she is SOOO entertaining!

I love how Molly has resolve for all of three seconds, and then she crumbles. It's so realistic though, because change is hard, even when you figure out that it's necessary, and you want it to happen. I'm rooting for her, though. At least she changed her story in front of her family... for about three seconds. *covers eyes* Oh, Molly! You can do it!!!

In the first chapter, you've already grabbed me with your witty lines and your quirky characters, you've used the Love Quote Challenge line, and TWO of your five elements! Bravo!

And I am highly entertained!! *runs off to next chapter*

Author's Response: Hey there! Lovely to hear from you, as always!

Agatha Painsley-Bumbershuffle was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak for poor Molly. But it's strange where one's wake up calls come from. Bad coffee is definitely a good sign though. And Agatha's life... You haven't seen the last of her, let's just leave it at that.

Change is difficult. I can't resolve myself and stick to the plan in the first go. She does get it all off her chest, though, which is a start. It doesn't help that her parents aren't exactly the most sympathetic.

Lovely to hear from you!

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Review #33, by PixileaninLike a House on Fire: Of Hearts and Bludgers

28th February 2014:
Christmas morning with all the fluff, and then Sirius getting to snog Millie whenever he felt like it. Oh my!

I wonder if she ever got the connection to her furry friend. She seemed to take the necklace at face value and didn't even flinch at the association to "the grim". Hmm...

"Because I'm a ninja like that."

Yes. Sure you are. It's adorably stupid. You give Sirius the best stupid lines ever! And you gave him stress, which is even better. Seriously, they've been doing this for how long now, and they're still not sure they're together?? *beats head against desk* Wow. I guess they haven't moved on to the "meaningful conversation" stage of their relationship yet.

Quidditch is a fantastically dangerous game. I love how you captured that in this chapter without even having to do a Quidditch scene. Millie, waking up slightly disoriented was a great way to get this across to the reader.

I have to tell you that I'm in the hate group with the end to this chapter. Things were going so WELL for these two, and you just had to mess it up with some inexplicable misunderstanding, didn't you??! I really hope that Millie doesn't go running off and doing something stupid, because that would be so teenaged of her! Oh, wait. Err...

DOn't do it!!!


Author's Response: Those chapters from Christmas to Valentine's are basically Sirius' dream come true. In a completely exaggerated way, of course.

She hasn't made the connection yet, but there's still a little of the story to tell, so there's still a chance - is that a spoiler? I don't know...

I love writing Sirius this way. Everyone thinks they're the wittiest, coolest person ever to exist on the face of this planet at seventeen (or eighteen, in the case of Sirius) and the truth is... you're just not. And obviously these two are going to take the long road to the "meaningful conversation" stage. They'll get there. I hope.

I'm glad you liked how I wrote the Quidditch scene. I didn't want to write another one - they'd end up sounding the same. Also, I chickened out on writing an action scene *hangs head in shame*

I think everyone is in the hate group with the end of this chapter. Things were going well... but then they weren't at the same time. They never TALK. Maybe this will kick them in the right direction now...

As always, your reviews are a treat to read. Thank you :)

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Review #34, by PixileaninThe Deathly Children: The Women in the Walls

27th February 2014:
First let me start by saying that I love the chapter titles you have so far! They are so emotive! But don't let that put any pressure on you for future chapter titles or anything. I know how it can be a challenge... how many chapters do you have planned for this story? Do you know yet?

"One of the things I adore about history is the complete unreliability of it, the irrelevance of any measure of objectivity."

Me too. Though, I don't adore it. I tend to not take it as seriously, but for the same reason. Hehe!

Now you've got me insanely curious about this Master Thimble person. Who is he, what does he really want, and are Mrs. Bagshot's books going to be returned in any semblance of dignity that they were loaned with??? Oh, the books! I am so worried!

Oh, Gellert! What a monster! He has no heart at all, that boy!

I loved the way that the wand snapped inside his head, "a fracture of his thoughts". That was lovely, and incredibly powerful. Though I'm inclined to think that Gellert's mind has already been snapped in two... or at least the part where his conscience should be is severely damaged.

"Oak is stolid and lutreless and stupid..."

I loved that line too. Of all the horrible things that Gellert seems capable of, you've given him some fantastic lines.

He treats his exit from that school like he's being let out of prison of sorts. It makes me wonder how he came to be there, and if anyone had put him there against his will... or maybe it's just because, as he said, he had outgrown the school and this was an excuse for him to leave early. Either way, Gellert's attitude has alarm bells ringing in my head. I feel like I should be calling several Ministries and warning them about his unauthorized use of a Portkey.

Ariana's story is frightfully tragic. I loved the spin you put on the reason why she is damaged, why her magic is damaged now. The three people in her room seem to be connected to that event somehow. It makes me want to guess theories about them, and I wonder if they are connected to the box or the contents of the box, or if that's just Ariana's imagination at work. so intriguing!

Her episodes seem so tied in to the fire incident. It's great how you used that, and your description of things seems to dance around the light and the hot, and things like that. It all blends together and makes the narrative a delight to read... even though we're dealing with the dark things. I find myself pulled into it. So well done there!

So... um... you got a next chapter hiding around here somewhere?

Author's Response: I do have part of a third chapter sitting in my computer! There's about 2K written for it, and I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of next week. ^.^ THANK YOU, PIX ♥ ♥

You like the chapter titles? Thanks! I had no idea they could be considered emotive; I actually enjoy coming up with chapter titles, maybe because I don't have many WIPs I'm working on, so it's not often I get the chance to come up with titles of things! And by the way, I have ten chapters planned for this, and I think that's all it will take to finish the story - or maybe eleven chapters if there are plot holes that need filling :P

Ooh, I think you're the first reviewer who has actually exhibited interest in Master Thimble! You're on the right track, my dear. Will the books be returned in excellent condition? Will Bathilda's books EVER be the same again!!?

I enjoy writing Gellert. Like seriously, really, completely; I never knew it was so exhilarating to write a Dark wizard/future Dark Wizard. I'm glad you like Gellert's lines! I do select his lines quite carefully; I mean he has to come off as fairly intelligent, and somewhat condescending and arrogant. He doesn't like anything restricting him, which explains why he's actually pleased to be expelled from Durmstrang.

As for Ariana, with her sections, the lines between reality and imagination are always going to be a little hazy. I hope I'll be able to pull this off!

Thank you once again for your absolutely wonderful reviews, Pix! ♥ I'm so glad we were paired up for this month's TGS exchange! I do hope you'll stick around for the rest of the story.


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Review #35, by PixileaninThe Deathly Children: A Funeral

27th February 2014:
Hey, it's about time I came around here to review this! Sorry for the "end of times" delay, but you know about RL and all that. I am excited to be paired with you this month! I've read this story a few times already, but I never had the time to put my thoughts together.

No time like the present!

I am really excited about the time period you chose for this story. I haven't read a lot of stories in this era, and it's one of those periods that leaves us a bunch of room to play, so I can't wait to see where you take us!

Your opening already has chills on my arms, because it sounds like he's coming after Albus Dumbledore in the worst way possible, calling him back to the roots of something that he knows Albus wants to forget. I love the last line, where he says that he is "not that generous", and then the last-last line, the one about how Aberforth wasn't responsible... is he going to come back with claims against Albus' character? Will it be worse than that???

You've gotten me seriously worried with the first section. How can you do that to me? Great opening, if you didn't get the point of all that. The letter carries a sense of wrongness to it, something that should be left alone that he's bringing into the light.

So now you take us back to the beginning of the story, where Albus tries to deal with the grief and guilt that is his family. I loved how you included Bathilda in this, as the concerned neighbor. She seems to know what the family needs, even though Albus is reluctant to accept the help. He seems so concerned about the story of his, making sure that no one can find fault with it or point a finger elsewhere. It shows his protective nature over his family, his sister. I can see why he doesn't allow himself to grieve over his mother, he has other things on his mind, like how he's going to manage his sister.

I loved the details that you gave Albus' mother, that she was strong and patient and put all of her energy into Ariana. It really gives us a clear picture of what kind of life Albus faces for himself now. He has to become that person that his mother was, and he will do it. But I can sense that he will hate it. I love that line you threw in, where he's mourning his previous existence, like he's burying his life along with his mother's. This seems very fitting for someone of his age and temperament that I got from the HP story. I've never seen it expressed quite this deliberately before. It's great, and it's refreshing.

I also love how you introduced Ariana. I'm excited that she's a conscious, thinking being, and she has this strange awareness of the things surrounding her. Your description of the way that the magic burns within her, like a sickness instead of a friend, it tells me that something bad will happen from this. You're setting up quite a scenario, and I can't wait to see how you have it play out.

Great first chapter here!

Author's Response: Hello Pix!!

My goodness, this is some review you've left me! Thank you!! For taking the time to read and leave such detailed comments. And don't worry about 'end of times' delay and all that; RL refuses to be easy for most of us, unfortunately.

I haven't read a lot of stories in this era either! And those which I have read, well they're mostly one-shots. Ah, I'm glad you found the opening part, letter and all, unsettling! There is indeed a sense of wrongness to it - Grindelwald was always a bit wrong, right up to his death, I believe.

And ah, Albus. Yes, he's in such a miserable situation - being gifted and brilliant and all that...and very trapped as well. He is indeed mourning his loss of freedom; just like what he says in DH, it isn't as though he does not care about Ariana or Aberforth, but there's an element of self-centredness and self-absorption to his character. I'm glad you find this refreshing.

And Ariana isn't going to be the vacant, sweet-faced girl who occasionally throws a dangerous fit, as she is usually portrayed in fic. I do mean to make her more conscious and aware of things; it's so much more fun to write her this way, in my humble opinion!

Thank you once again for this lovely review!! It's made my day and I loved reading your comments and observations about this opening chapter!


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Review #36, by PixileaninDetox: Old Habits

25th February 2014:
Oh, poor Astoria! Daphne's dress fitting sounds like a dreadful time! Someone should have taken away her champagne a little earlier. I am so grateful that bustles are far from the fashion rage of today. What a horrid contraption!

Astoria does go out of her way to make her sister's day all about the bride-to-be, and that is commendable. Her thoughts pull us into her upbringing, the right and proper way that things are done, instead of what she wants. It's a testament to her character that she's able to separate her longing from her reality. But I can tell that she still has hope for her own dreams coming true, and in almost a childish way, she's planning for herself. I like the budding strength that she has, and the way that she's going through all of her options in her head. It feels here that she's simply biding her time until the moment is more suited to her favor, which is smart. At the same time, I can sense her unease. She's still thinking "what about me?", and I feel her young age throughout this section. Well done!

I love how throughout this section, you keep the action rolling. The characters are doing and moving, all the while thinking and scheming. It definitely keeps the life in the scene, and the forward momentum of the story. No one is standing still, percolating.

Well, except for Emery. Hehe. "It isn't an insult, mother. Ask anyone who knows him. He doesn't bathe regularly!"

Astoria's plan for her independence is quite rebellious for her character, but I can tell it's what she believes in strongly, and with that will of hers, it will be hard for anyone to tell her that it's a bad idea. Not that I'm wanting to do that. Emery sounds practically repulsive!

I loved how you cut straight through to after Draco has read Astoria's letter and has had time to dwell on what she's written. Apparently, he read into it what Astoria wanted him to, and he's eager to make headway with whatever she has in mind. Very forward, very daring plans, too. I wouldn't expect anything less from him, seeing as his life so far has been so life-or-death that this probably seems like a walk in the park. How hard can crashing a wedding be?

Draco's dig at Emery was very funny! Sometimes I wonder how long we writers actually sit around and think up ways to Potterize ingenious sayings. I bet there's a list out there.

Draco's plan sounds a hundred times riskier than Astoria's, but I find it fun and intriguing that they are both willing to put themselves at risk to be with each other. Draco's "cover" as he explains it to Zabini sounds plausible, but I wonder if his friend will be sneaky enough to figure things out and give Draco trouble for it.

I'm betting that Draco hopes the men on the "forefront" of this revolution bite it fast enough that he won't get the chance to be dragged into anything nefarious. His determination is commendable here. I'm guessing that his "friends" aren't going away anytime soon, since they have to stick around long enough to cause trouble in CoB. But I can dream, right?

Author's Response: OK, so I've obviously never been to a fitting for bridesmaids dresses, but I really can't imagine anything less fun than being stuck in a room full of people trying on uncomfortable clothes in an attempt to placate a woman who's in the process of going insane. That's pretty much the mindset from which I wrote this, and it snowballed from there.

Astoria does her best to help support her sister, but it's tough sledding. I'm glad she seemed more age-appropriate in this chapter. It's been a while coming. I tried to show some of that simmering, over-emotional teenage anger.

Whether it's Astoria or Draco taking a swipe at him, I really started to enjoy using our lad Emery as a punching bag in this story. All the poor guy really wants is to be left alone with his Quidditch magazines. Sadly, real life keeps interrupting. I hope you'll enjoy a couple more good chuckles at his expense before the story is over.

I didn't think there was too much to be gained by showing Draco's immediate reaction to reading Astoria's letter. It was pretty much what you'd expect: anger and disbelief following quickly by a determination to take matters into his own hands and "fix" the situation for her. You're right, after surviving the war, Draco doesn't think much of the challenge of infiltrating a simple wedding.

Draco is definitely playing with fire when he seeks help from Zabini and agrees to meet with Gamp and Flint. He's so confident in his ability to keep the upper hand over his former housemates that he doesn't worry too much about abusing their very limited trust. It's a bold move and without giving away too much I can tell you that it will have repercussions.

It wouldn't hurt Draco's feelings one bit to see Zabini and the other "revolutionaries" end up dead or in Azkaban. He's quite determined to keep out of it, but like Michael Corleone, he'll find that there are plenty of people who'll keep trying to pull him back in. It's an occupational hazard of being everyone's favorite reformed Death Eater. You're free to dream of Gamp, Flint and the others meeting their end, but as you know that doesn't happen for another forty years.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #37, by PixileaninHouse of Cards: Four of Clubs

22nd February 2014:
I love the set up you have in this chapter, the person crouched behind the painting, eavesdropping on what is clearly supposed to be a private conversation. Immediately, I want to know who it is, and more importantly, if she's going to be found out or if she gets away with overhearing them.

The thoughts in Sirius' head about how he looks at the people around him as unreal, that says a lot. It's almost like he knows they're all faking something, calmness, acceptance, anything. There's no emotion in the room. And the breathing thing. I guess when you're forced to sit around in silence, there's nothing much to do except breathe. So it makes some kind of morbid sense.

"Bella is just making absolutely certain that its' dead, like the sadistic cow that she is."

Really great characterization here! And I love how the description from Sirius' point of view isn't just pretty pictures. It says so much about him and how he's feeling in the moment. That's what great description does. It pulls you further in and locks you into the story.

And oh! What just happened in that last scene!?! What has she done?

There was a lot of underlying tension in this scene. So much that it could be cut with a knife. And then to top it off with that last bit, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat here. Your writing was just so beautiful in this. Everything was placed so well. I really enjoyed this chapter!

Author's Response: Hey there - thanks so much for stopping by again! :)

I'm glad you liked it - though unfortunately, you won't find out for a long while, haha, sorry! But yeah, it's a pretty private conversation... eavesdropping isn't great :)

Ooh, yeah, Sirius is such a fun character to write with his family! Like, it's so interesting what he thinks about them, and then how he feels/acts around them, because it's such a complicated set of relationships... and there is this sort of fake calm around. I'm happy you like the breathing reference! :)

Gah, I'm so glad you like it! Yeah, there's not much going on which is particularly pretty, though, haha.

Ooh, couldn't say :P

Thank you so so much! I'm so happy you like this and how it's going, and I always love receiving your reviews because you pick up on so many things and it's wonderful, so thank you! :)

Aph xx

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Review #38, by PixileaninYhprum's Law: Expectation

18th February 2014:
This was absolutely adorable! I had no idea that nothing had even taken place until the very end! James dreaming of his "dream date" was so cute, and everything flowed so well for something written for this crazy 72 hour challenge!

All the details were wonderfully crafted, from the pastry overflow to the snow globe (omg, I want one of those!) to the carriage, even??

I have already read your partner's entry, and I have to say that you two complimented each other fantastically! Three cheers for exceptional teamwork!

I commend you for an excellent entry in the Speed Dating challenge! Good luck!

Author's Response: Aw, thank you so much for reading and reviewing!

My PIC helped a lot with the flow of this story. I'm not sure it would have flowed half as well without her suggestions and beta-ing help. She was such a joy to work with.

I am not the best with writing a lot of details and descriptions, so I'm really glad that you thought they were well done. I'm especially happy that you feel so positively about the snow globe, since I know how you love them ;)

Thank you again for reading and reviewing, and for the good luck. Best of luck to you and your partner, as well. I'm looking forward to checking out your entries soon!

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Review #39, by PixileaninDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: Frozen Freedom

14th February 2014:
Hi there! So sorry for the delay in this review! I got sidetracked and kidnapped away from the computer for a while when I least expected it. But I'm back now. :)

So everyone refers to him as "the Death Eater". I imagine they would, given that's what he is, and how long the fight has been going on.

Your description of the dog is delightful. Such innocence, compared to Devlin, or anyone else, for that matter. The dog simply is.

But Devlin isn't. He has this secret that you keep hinting at. Some horrible thing that he thinks everyone will hate him for. And they brought Geoffrey! I am guessing that Geoffrey told them that he was planning to escape.

Harry is slowly understanding who this little boy is now. I think it's a daring move to offer Devlin his wand back, but I bet he's trying to earn some trust with that move. I hope that the allowance doesn't backfire on him later.

I think the sweetest moments in this chapter come between Devlin and Zee. I loved the picture of him as a wolf and the dog tugging at the bone, and how the dog immediately decided that the boy was no danger to his bone. :) It shows us that Devlin still is a little boy somewhere inside, when he's not being defensive.

The dream at the end of this chapter is so chilling. I'm imagining that it's something to do with Devlin's secret.

Another lovely and intriguing chapter! I definitely want to know more about Devlin's secret and why it's so horrible!

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Review #40, by PixileaninDevlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue: A Brillant Plan

12th February 2014:
Hey there! Sorry it's taken me an age to get back here, but I won't be gone for long. You've given me too much to think about and I need more of this story right now!

Which is why I'm here.


Poor little boy! Not able to cope with all these feelings he has, let alone the emotion rolling off of his father. Especially the fear. Dubhan doesn't understand fear as anything but weakness, and here is this man saying these things, feeling these things for him and he doesn't get it. It's not even that he feels unworthy. He doesn't know that it's normal to feel these things, or to want to be loved. Gah!

You've now dropped several hints about Alexandra's past and her background, and I am insanely curious about her. How close was she to Voldemort? Who was her mother? is her mother still alive, I wonder? Probably not... maybe, I don't know. I hope I will find out sometime during the story. It's all so interesting to me how you've built this up.

He reacts better to the wolf than he does the people. I'm just relieved that there's something he can react to that grounds him. I'm interested also in this werewolf thing that you've started between Devlin, Geoffrey and Remus. I can't wait until you start exploring that. So very intriguing!

The spell put on Geoffrey, that link, I don't even know what to think. He's so connected that it's scary. You have me afraid of this link. How do you do that?? And then the punch that came out of nowhere. I loved how you wrote that. It surprised me as much as Geoffrey.

Uh oh. Devlin notices. I get now what Geoffrey meant when he said the boy was clever. I don't like this foreshadowing with Emma either. It's dark and scary, and makes me feel uncomfortable. Oh so clever and manipulative too. I can see how he's developed these skills from growing up in the environment that he did. I wonder if Harry and the rest of them know what they're in for, because this boy seems more dangerous than ever. He's going to try things and push back, and it might get ugly.

It seems that I have a lot to look forward to in the coming chapters. Or at least you've presented more pieces of the puzzle, which have gotten me curiouser and curiouser... if that's not a real word, it's how I feel. I also feel heartbroken about Devlin, for the way that Harry has to deal with this boy that isn't his, that he somehow has to win back, even though the kid stands right in front of him... and for Geoffrey, who is linked... that horrible link that he can't break. I hope that gets sorted out quickly.

Wow. Such a great chapter! Such deep characters! Everything is still splendid!

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Review #41, by PixileaninLike a House on Fire: The Time of Your Life

11th February 2014:
Yes. I think the word to describe this part of the story IS "pineapple". I'm glad I'm not the only one. Sweet, juicy, prickly on the outside until you cut into it and get rid of all the inedible bits...


"I think I'd just been checked out."

It seems like Sirius is diffusing Millie's anger without even trying. Which is cute. And irritating. And confusing. I bet Millie's loving it anyway. At least he sticks around long enough for Millie to get it all out. I bet that was an important step for her, and an intuitive move on his part. He was there with her when she went through all those memories, and he seems to have picked up a clue as to what she was going through.

I loved Sirius trying to fight the urge to kiss her when she finally came down the stairs. I mean, she's in a dress and all, and she's vulnerable, and they just had a Moment, so.. umm. Good luck with that.

Your description of the way they danced together was so feely and goosebumpy, and that was from Sirius' point of view. Wow. Great job with that, and also great job with the conflicting thoughts bouncing around in his head, because it wouldn't be this kind of story without that. :)

Millie finally allows herself to enjoy things for once! Good on her! I loved the teasing dialog that enabled them to get this far. *holds on to rocking boat* But how long will it last this time??

Author's Response: Hahaha! Yeah, pineapple is a pretty good description of this part of the story!

I just loved writing Sirius in these last few chapters. His emotional maturity is actually fantastic and the way he's always so tuned to what Millie is feeling - sometimes better than her - is adorable. And you're right in saying that it's good for Millie to get out all these feelings. She gets a little better at expressing them after this.

Sirius wants to kiss her all the time. Dresses and Moments don't help the situation :P

Aww! I'm so glad you liked the description in the dance. I think it was the first time I'd tried to actually describe something properly so if you thought that it worked, I'm really happy!

Oh, you might be surprised by how long it lasts this time ;)

Thanks so much for this lovely review!

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Review #42, by PixileaninWhere My Heart Lies: Captain McKenna

10th February 2014:
Okay, I couldn't resist coming back for another one. Oh, Jacob and his hair!

Dietrich's reputation seems to be well-known among the students. I can see how that would happen at a boarding school. Poor guy though, having all the teens up in his business all the time. Not a great way to live. Funny, though.

I loved seeing McGonagall in the classroom again. I miss her in NextGen stories. I have to tell you that I did the same thing with her character in one of my stories too. Some professors belong in front of the children, don't you think? But the class picked up on how serious the situation was, based on her appearance. *nods* Nice.

You're building up some fun couples shenanigans, aren't you. I can feel it creeping into the story. It will be a fine distraction for the group of friends to obsess over... they do obsess over each other, don' t they? The looks that Abby and Albus kept throwing at each other were adorable.

I like the way you mixed the Quidditch practice in with the society talk. Action and intrigue all wrapped up together. Great scene, that! And the wager sounds dangerous. Oh, Abby, why? I also appreciate how you showed us the human side of their stressed out captain. She's not a monster, she's just under a lot of pressure.

And she's alone in the shower... the lights start to flicker and I get my popcorn out for the horrific scene... and Abby talks them down. I guess it's all for the best, because otherwise she'd end up somewhere all wet with no clothes, and we can't have that, can we?

I want to know more about these societies. Yes, I do!

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Review #43, by PixileaninThe Mildly Perilous and Mostly Tragicomic Misadventures of Sir Roderick Gryffindor and 'Sir' Ivan Harris: In Which Ivan Fights Like a Man

10th February 2014:
Your disclaimer is aptly placed! I'm sure some readers might take issue with such archaic things. I'm down with it. So let's go!

I'm loving the new word that you've introduced me to: Baudstrot. I can't wait to sneak it into my next conversation... though that's going to be a bit tricky, I'm always up for a good challenge. ;)

Poor Ivan is limited to mild groping. However, I assume in those times, groping in public could lead to rather serious trouble. Hmmm...

Flying spittle, chortles, oh my! I love the language you're using here. It's so entertaining! And the two indistinguishable extras, I'm loving that too! She has to pay them off to get her answer. Except she doesn't. Of all the comedic dialog that I've read on this site, I have to say that this bit has been one of the most unique takes on the "distracting squabble" I have ever seen. Excellent!

Ah, hahaha! "At ease, Ivan." Indeed.

I still love Max. He's very entertaining, and is doing a bang up job as the narrator. I especially love how he has to egg Ivan along in order to take up her imminent quest. She has yet to master the art of male posturing, but I would advise her to get up on that horse and ride it hard if she's going to be convincing as a brave lad. *nods* Posturing isn't included in her lessons, I take it. But I have a feeling that Max knows this, hence the egging, and he triumphs!! You must tell me where you found him and his righteously censoring ways. Aww! No brother? My heart breaks!

I really did get a bit nervous when we got to the part where Ivan had to "rid herself of anything that could expose her as a woman" and I was heartily relieved that she only took a knife to her hair. Whew! In these times, who knows what desperate measures a fair maiden-gone-not-maiden would go to in order to secure a disguise.

I eagerly await meeting the distressed maiden, Helena Ravenclaw, and the subsequent posturing that Roderick (still cracking up at his name!) is sure to do. If he survives. Because I agree with Max that gold is highly unsuitable for armor. Roderick is going down!

I can quite imagine Nicholi's distress when he wakes and finds all of his provisions gone. Maybe he can fit into Ivan's clothes? Just a mild suggestion for Max to censor...

Another side-splitting, delightfully colorful chapter! Well done!

Author's Response: Hello!

The story with the long title is also the story with the gigantic disclaimer and author note ;).

Baudstrot is a fantastic word, though it may be a little tough to slip into casual conversation. One of the best parts of reading Shakespeare's works was discovering some new words...*cough* most were highly inappropriate :D! That only made hs English classes more fun.

I'm sure public groping was frowned upon...

Hahaha, my completely useless extras, complete with equally useless dialogue! That was fun to write, though had nearly nothing to do with the plot. A little mindless drivel never hurt anyone! :D ...or perhaps it has, and I just don't remember...

I think I'm secretly in love with Max. It's too bad that it isn't viable to have him as the narrator for everything I write. Ha, she may need a crash-course in posturing; luckily, Max is there for assistance! He's been hiding in my subconscious all along, who knew? Yes, no brother! :(

Oh my...well, my mind turned in that direction for an instance. Decidedly, cutting off her hair was a better alternative.

Poor Helena, never fear Ivan is on her way to rescue her! Roderick...oh Roderick... :D.

I'm sure his mother would be ecstatic to witness the only heir to the estate flouncing about in Ivan's dresses. ;)

Thanks so much for the wonderful review!


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Review #44, by PixileaninWhere My Heart Lies: Ducibus

10th February 2014:
Oh. OH!!! Here it comes! Here's the answer I was craving! The "D" society has Abby and her friend and they're being stunned and blindfolded and carried off to Aragog's cave!

Okay, that was just a wild guess. I had to get that out of the way.

"We better not tell Ducibus that or they'll cut us all."

Hehe. He's taking this seriously. That's good. It's funny that they were only in a classroom for the first encounter and so flustered that they couldn't see their way out of it using their brains. So much for leadership! So, there's six of them for Ducibus. Interesting. I'm wondering if Abby is the only one who got more than one invitation? I'm wondering if she's going to see any of these six people in the other initiation ceremonies... so much wonderment.

I loved the songbird throwback to Hermione. Beautiful way to incorporate canon into a NextGen story!

Ahh, these tricky friend relationships. Albus and Abby are very, very close then. Even with Reily in the picture. Reily seems to be okay with Albus on the outset, but I'm wondering how much he knows about Abby's closeness with Al, and how soon that may or may not become an issue. I do have to say that Abby and Albus are not acting like "just friends", no matter what Abby thinks. I was waiting for the snarky comments from his roommates (Besides the messed up hair thing), but they never came. I bet they do that when she's not around. *nods* Guys wouldn't pass up on the chance to make snarky comments about that sort of thing, I'm sure.

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Review #45, by PixileaninWhere My Heart Lies: The Four Envelopes

10th February 2014:
Oh goodie! Another heartfelt chapter for me!

"Did you get any?"

Best use of that line that I've seen in a long time! Especially the way she says it twice, and very conspiratorially, right in Abby's face.

Oh, but now this is very interesting. How is Abby to know what these secret societies are like? I assume that Steve has something to do with one of them, since he wants that internship and all. ;) I really want to know what the "Face the consequences" bit is all about, since it was in every single letter that Abby got. Apparently the consequences need to be dire, or the students would blab all around school, and then the societies won't be secret anymore, will they? Sigh. I guess I just have to read on if I want any answers!

I am jealous. My hair never maintains a curl after I wash it. Must mean that Abby's hair has a natural wave. *still jealous*

I like that Albus is close with his brother in this. It is as brothers should be. *nods*

The waffle conversation was fun, and the bacon-swiping too. And the shower conversation was fun as well. But you know what? It's interesting that Abby knows just about as much about these societies as I do. I'm kind of glad actually, because I was starting to feel a little left out.

So to recap: there are four societies. Melody has been asked by at least one, and so has Albus, and Abby got four invites. Okay. I think I got it. But what does it mean...? Why are there secret societies in Hogwarts, and what do they do, and for heaven's sake, what are the consequences???

I want to know these things.

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Review #46, by PixileaninWhere My Heart Lies: The Masquerade Ball

10th February 2014:
Hi there. Tag!

I could heartly contain myself when I found this story on your author's page, and since you haven't updated Animal yet... ;)

I don't usually review stories that have characters I'm currently writing in them, because it messes with my head a bit, but I was curious, and you know what curiosity can do. :) Anyway, it's curious that the sixth years don't get to chose their own masks. That's a new twist that I hadn't read before. Interesting that they'll be anonymous, even from themselves... but what if the masks clash with the dresses? Does that mean there will be "fashion death" to contend with? Hmmm...

Yeah, I'm with Abby on this: what's so important about eyeliner if she's going to be wearing a mask? I do like the heated wands idea.

"Albus! I haven't seen you since this morning!" Umm... yeah, good cover-up. That line made me laugh.

Ahh. So someone IS concerned about the masks matching the dresses. But it's a guy. This has me in fits. Abby thinks with her stomach, and her boyfriend has keen fashinista sense. Fun! And another interesting tidbit about the ball, it's an interview of sorts. Well done on some original concepts here. This intrigues me.

I can only guess that the pendant has to do with the secret societies that you allude to in the story summary. I am imagining that the ball has something to do with it too. Is that what she's interviewing for? Fascinating.

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Review #47, by PixileaninLike a House on Fire: Bleak House

10th February 2014:
Hey you! It hasn't been months and months, and I got you in Review Tag! How awesome is that???

Mrs. Potter is just too kind. Lots of people write her as a big-hearted, loving mother-figure, and I can really buy into that characterization. I mean, it's James Potter with his "I'm the best thing since sliced bread and I know it". He's got to have received all that self-confidence and bravado from somewhere. ;)

So now you have them falling all over each other. Literally. But the lure of lemon tart is strong. I can feel it pulling me through my computer monitor even. What evil magic is this?? You're setting us up for something dastardly, like a BALL... I knew it! That lemon tart was just a front for your nefarious plans! Cath Millie off balance, give her a false sense of security with all the Quidditch talk and then BAM!

Poor girl! You're just about killing her with the looks and the almost-kisses with the too-close-to-her-personal-space encounters here. She's never going to hold her breakfast down. And what about morning breath? Did Sirius even take that into consideration??

No wonder she stuck with tea in the morning. I can completely understand her eating habits. There was a long time when I was in my teens, (actually, the whole time I was in my teens) when my stomach just couldn't take food when I woke up. I wasn't hungry until at least several hours after I woke up. It used to drive my mom insane. Nice bit of realism you threw in there. :)

I loved Millie's reaction to Lily and Mrs. Potter's gasps. She actually thought there was something wrong with the dress. Hehe! I also love Sirius' bursts of swearing every time he doesn't get to see Millie in some state of undress. It's clear that he doesn't have to act very hard to be interested in her anymore, which is cute and keeps up the charade. Oh, wait. He IS interested in her. Ahh... hey, Millie!

Sirius was awesomely supportive when he went with Millie to her old home. She needed someone, and the fact that he was able to stand by her was an extra bonus. She should be getting a clue right about now. Shouldn't she?

Still entertained! I decided to stop here, since this chapter doesn't have too many reviews. It's a shame. You're still writing this story, right? It's not abandoned or anything sneaky like that... is it?

Author's Response: Hello! So lovely to hear from you again :)

James is an only child, and you're right - that confidence has to come from somewhere. Also, the Potters take Sirius in and that requires a pretty big heart. Mrs Potter just has to be a nice person.

Something dastardly cliche like a BALL is right. How could you not see this coming? The lemon tart was just a delicious cover... Food tends to be delicious cover for everything in this story. No one consumes food just for sustenence.

Sirius is laying on the charm really thick, isn't he? It's so blindingly obvious what he's doing, but poor Millie is just a little daft when it comes to Sirius Black. And Sirius' adoration transcends morning breath, obviously. The boy is just too far gone.

OMG! I'M SO HAPPY TO HEAR THIS DIDN'T ONLY HAPPEN TO ME. My mother was so confused when I stopped eating breakfast. She just went, "What is wrong with you?"

Sirius is just a teenage guy - his disappointment in not seeing Millie in some state of undress is quite natural, if a little creepy. Now if only Millie clued into his obvious feelings for her... we'd have no story :P

It's weird writing Sirius as the more emotionally mature person. He has an excellent understanding of other people's feelings and almost reflexively knows what they need. It's what makes him a good friend, even if his ideas are a little zany.

And yes, I'm still writing it. Slowly, but still writing! :)

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Review #48, by PixileaninDetox: Relapse

9th February 2014:
"That's how it happened, except for a few details that would bore you anyway."

I can hear Isadore in my head, "You mean the kissing?? You aren't going to tell me about the kissing?? Kissing's not boring. Come on Astoria, you can do better than that!"


You were waiting for the produce to start flying, weren't you? As much as I would love to commence with the staining of the Slytherin uniform, Isadore is useful here. She's giving Astoria the advice she needs to get through this next confrontation with her dignity and reputation intact. Because that's Isadore's specialty.

"Astoria, we're Slytherins and we're girls. Sometimes we tell lies when we don't even need to, just to keep people guessing."

And stay in practice. *nods*

Astoria's ability to rise above her little friend is great to see. It's good to show that at least some people can stand their ground about what's right and wrong, and make intelligent decisions, even when they're faced with perfectly reasonable, outrageously wrong decisions offered to them by their well-meaning friends. I think that Astoria has enough backbone in her background to resist the temptation (if she ever had any) of following her friend's advice. I didn't find her reactions too mature for her age. Especially when Isadore is describing the events that took place, and all Astoria is concerned about is whether or not anyone heard Isadore use the word "boyfriend". Never mind that there were stunning spells and illegal Apparation, and their lives were threatened.

It's interesting that Snape chooses to stand up for his former student here. If this was the perspective that her father had in mind... oh, I don't think it was, was it? I find it ironic that Astoria gets to ask Snape the one question that he's been probably asking himself for many years. I think his answer speaks volumes about his own life, as well as the impossible task that Astoria wants to take on.

I really love the image of Draco literally inhaling Astoria's letter when no one is looking. Not sure why this pleases me so much.

Lucius, on the other hand, does not please me at all. He's spouting nonsensical conspiracy, err... nonsense, and Draco's just started putting his life back together. How could he?? *shakes fist* And of course, Draco takes this badly. He needs an outlet, something that will take his mind off his problems... something that he can burn some excess frustration on. Maybe a jog around that big mansion of his, or a ride on his broom, or that illegal boxing competition every Saturday night down at Bob's... no, Draco! Not the bottle!!!

Sigh. So close.

There's definitely enough drama here for an event-filled chapter. You're heaping bad onto these poor characters left and right. It's so impossible now for them to ever get through this story, Dan. Why do you keep tearing them apart? Why??


But really, if anything can drive a person to drink, it would be their crazed, delusional father pulling them back into a life they were desperately trying to claw out of.

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

So the actual details that Astoria is withholding are the ones about Draco's experience during the war, but you're pretty much spot-on about what Isadore thinks is being withheld. Most of Isadore's reality is defined by women's magazines and trashy romance novels. //shudder

Ha! Isadore is actually useful, inasmuch as it's easier for Astoria to realize that lying to her father is a bad idea when she hears it coming from her flighty friend. It's a pretty simple decision tree, actually. "Is this a complicated social situation? --> Yes --> Is this Isadore's preferred solution? --> Yes --> Do something else." I'm glad that her thought process didn't seem too mature, though. And you're right, Astoria still doesn't realize how much danger she was really in.

When I was roughing out this chapter, I actually had Dumbledore's portrait dispensing advice to Astoria, but then I realized that there was probably never much of a relationship between the two of them. Snape, on the other hand, was Astoria's Head of House for four years and he was Draco's patron, after a fashion. Plus, he can say cool, condescending Snape-y things to her and give all the Snily fangirls a moment to swoon. I see this as a win-win.

That image of Draco sniffing her letter amused me, too. It's exactly the sort of thing I'd imagine him doing if he knew that he wasn't going to be caught at it.

Lucius is in a pretty bad way, if you couldn't tell from the physical descriptions. His health is in serious decline and he's trying to recapture some of the "glory days" when he was a player. If he was a muggle, he'd be shopping for a Corvette or possibly a Ferrari at this point.

Yep, Draco takes it really badly. I thought it was important, though, to show him going through the same sorts of trials that most recovering addicts suffer through. Otherwise, the story wouldn't be very realistic and honestly it would probably be kind of boring.

Why do I keep tearing them apart? Because they're put together wrong at the start of the story, especially Draco. So we need to tear them apart and put them back together properly. That's what good authors do, I think. Expect for the Game of Thrones guy. He just kills everyone.

I'm really pleased that you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading!

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Review #49, by PixileaninNED: 1

8th February 2014:
I do love how you incorporated the quote from The Princess Bride. It was a perfect inclusion, and instead of burying it in the story, you allowed it to be part of its origin, and a common denominator for Molly and Gregory. Lovely! The way she notices the little details about him right away clues me in that she may be interested, even though she won't allow herself to admit it up front.

I could completely feel for Molly when faced with her sister's "gaggle of shrieking women" in the bar. Even without NED, I don't think Molly would have stood for much more from that group. The shrieking alone would have driven me out of the building. ;) And goodness! Three engagements in a year?? That's a bit... excessive, I think is the word.

I never imagined Teddy as a Healer before. What an interesting concept. And I loved his un-healer-like vocabulary, just like him to be a rebel. Good job on characterization! I could see his mother in him.

Gregory did turn out to be quite the charming barkeep. I love that he brought her a copy of the book that they shared an interest in, and I also loved that he continued to quote from it at the end. I think that tied it neatly to the start of your one-shot.

Lovely writing! I enjoyed this piece!

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Review #50, by PixileaninHouse of Cards: Three of Hearts

7th February 2014:
Hey, I'm tagging you from Review Tag (hopefully) and back for chapter two!

Sirius trying to bend the fire guard all out of shape... I remember trying to do that once, thinking that I couldn't, and then still being disappointed when it didn't budge. It's such a child-like thing to do, or something to occupy your mind with when there are other things on your mind that you wish would go away.

Barty just kills me. He's so direct. No one else in that house is as direct as him. He's going to cause himself a head of trouble if he keeps that up. I'm guessing that's why you put him in the story. :)

I like the aside you threw in about Sirius' thoughts and his inner voice reminding him of Remus. I also like the way you describe Regulus as looking "innocent", where Sirius knows that his brother has thoughts going on inside his head that may or may not be so innocent. Still, I'm with Sirius. If there is a killer, I don't think it is Regulus.

And now, Barty seems a bit too eager.

I really liked reading about Sirius' grandfather, the way he handled himself with the coroners, and the skepticism you threw in about Regulus' lie to Sirius. Just when I thought he couldn't do it... but then at the end, Sirius is confronted by Belatrix.

I can't say that I'm surprised that she'd act that way, whether she's guilty of a crime or not. She'd be crass and demanding anyway. We all know she's capable, but did she do anything? Did any of them?


Interesting chapter, and interesting characters. This was a great read!

Author's Response: Hey there - I'm so happy to see you back again! :)

Haha, yeah, it's very childish! It's also, I think, something you do when you're really bored and don't know what else to do... sort of, he doesn't overly expect anything to happen, it's just a challenge.

Ahhh, Barty. Gosh, I just love writing him! He's so much fun to write, so I'm so glad you like him! He's definitely a lot more direct than everyone else, and it may well get him into trouble ;) Putting him in the story, though... partly to do with the friction, but he does have a role to play. There is a reason for him being here, other than to annoy various family members! ;)

Thanks! I really, really love writing Sirius and Regulus' relationship. I think it's such an unexplored thing, and so complex, and so difficult to get across. Baby-faced Reggie! :P Yeah, his thoughts are not quite as innocent as Sirius wants to believe ;)

Eh, Barty's a bit like a puppy, lol. Always eager ;) Or is he? Something to think about at any rate!

I'm so glad you like Sirius' grandfather! I quite like writing him, just for the sort of presence he brings to it, you know? The serious, more mature, authoritative presence. It's the only way to keep these people under control, haha. Yeah, Regulus lied... poor Sirius!

Bella is just brilliant. I love writing her - and you're spot on with that! Always demanding, superiority complex and all... Obviously, I can't answer any of your questions, haha, but they're definitely good questions! :)

Gah, thank you so much for the wonderful, wonderful review and thanks so much for coming back! It really means a lot! :)

Aph xx

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