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141 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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51
51
Review of Bob Loves You  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
Okay, Bob, I'll do it but only because you reckon you can take the heat. Nice to see a humorous "spiritual" piece for a change. You do risk offending just about everyone however. You're a braver man than I am.

Spelling is an occasional problem - "Gahndi" should be "Ghandi", Jesus should plead, not "plea" and Bill's surname is O'Reilly. Otherwise, nothing wrong with the writing that I can see.

It's amusing, certainly. Interesting that Bob's religion is environmentalism... ;)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Sound Like You  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
You're absolutely right, May - I agree with every word. Keep it simple is the best advice of all. Regarding contractions, their use in dialogue is what brings it to life. As you say, we all speak like that and that's what we're trying to achieve when we write.

I find that, as I get older, I care less about impressing people and I just write the way I talk. If people like that, it's wonderful; if they don't, well, I can't change who I am, can I? Your final sentence sums that up perfectly.

Well done - excellent article.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
A delightful tale indeed. Mean he may be but Connor held me spellbound throughout the story. A truly excellent read.

The writing is sound, the description sublime (particularly in the case of the banshee). Pace is almost relentless and you never allow the reader's attention to waver. The characters are quite believable in spite of being in what could be a folk tale. You know too how to keep us in suspense - we expected Connor's death from the moment he meets the banshee but you keep giving him a stay of execution. When it comes at last, it's from an unexpected quarter and quite a surprise.

Well done! A superb piece of writing.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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54
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Well, you had me fooled! I took this as a serious exercise in lawn management and, even when you hit on the concrete idea, I went along with it. The surprise when the judge entered was total - I feel like a complete idiot. A brilliant little story, O. Henrylike in it's twist.

Clearly, I love the story and can see no fault in it. But I do have one tiny, little quibble. In the last sentence, "birds" needs an apostrophe. I leave it to you to place it since it depends on how many birds we're talking about. ;)

Most enjoyable read!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
55
55
Review of The Emigrant  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Good story told with accomplished skill. I particularly liked your vision of a world where the food is synthetic and McDonald's as close as you can get to the real thing. That took some thought, I bet.

Pace is fine and everything flows along swimmingly towards the denoument. It's a great piece of writing, especially as it relies almost entirely upon dialogue to keep it moving. And so to the characters. This is an interesting one since the whole thing is written for What A Character. The characters are well drawn - so much so that I've decided that I don't particularly like either of them. That has nothing to do with the quality of the piece, however, and much more to do with my taste. Unless, of course, I was supposed to dislike them.

Overall, I can't fault the writing. It's an enjoyable piece.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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56
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Nice idea - to bring the reality of the siren/mermaid legend into sharp focus in a world that has Disneyfied such things. And you do it so well too. The writing is as smooth as the sea it describes and scenes are set with just the right amount of vivid description Pace is good, accelerating as we approach the end, and dialogue is natural and believable. Characters, too, are likable enough.

My one concern is the occasional slip in grammar - probably more typos than anything else. Examples: "She hadn’t know her husband to exceed his limit" (my kingdom for an "n"), "There was no way he hadn’t hear her" (or a "d"). Just needs one more careful editing.

An enjoyable read throughout. Thank you!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
57
57
Review of Ponderosa  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.5)
A powerful little story. The scene unfolds slowly at first but gathers pace and brings us swiftly to the end. the conversation is most effective, gradually shifting our synpathy from one to the other in the last sentence. Clever and effectively done.

A very minor edit: "freedom laying beyond me" - "lying" is more correct in this context.

An enjoyable read.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of On Giving Reviews  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
I just had to review this - it's my contrary nature.

I like the style - it's conversational without wandering from the point. Very understanding too of those who have difficulty reviewing. At times it becomes a bit heavy going (I admit I skimmed a few of the paragraphs) but this is inevitable when a great deal of information is being shared.

Overall it's a very comprehensive and well composed guide. Thank you for providing it.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Okay, I've read the first part and want to write my reactions to it while they're still fresh. A quick, minor suggestion - change Dr Penner's name. It's too close to Penny and we don't want any confusion developing.

Right. The quality of the writing is every bit as good as the first piece I reviewed. You are so consistent; are you sure you need to write drafts? That's a rhetorical question - you don't need to answer it. I write straight to final version, editing as I go, but I'm aware that's not recommended by the powers that be.

The pornography discussion is beyond brilliant. You have so clearly illustrated the emotions and reactions of both Cain and Penny that it is entirely believable. I almost suspect that you're an alien remembering something that happened in college days back on planet Zorb. Seriously, you have a powerful pen and amazing insight into human experience.

Now a word of warning. You have to remember that you're writing of matters that I'm interested in too. It may be that other readers would not have a clue what you're talking about and they'd (naturally) become bored. It's nothing to worry about - it applies to all writers since nobody can reach everyone. Just be aware of it and don't get upset if some reviewers really don't get the point at all.

I'm supposed to offer suggestions on how you could improve your writing but I can't do that. There's absolutely nothing wrong as far as I can see.

Wonderful, wonderful stuff. Oh, by the way - if you need something to read while you're waiting for my review of the rest of the Cain and Penny pieces, go take a look at my profile and give me a little feedback on a story or two. Doesn't matter if you don't like them - I can take it. ;)
60
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Review of Cain's Puzzle  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is brilliant - I love it. Apart from your accomplished writing, your knowledge of computers comes through in every line. The reader can feel in safe hands when you're discussing circuit boards and coding and the like.

I love the devlopment of Cain's personality as the story unfolds. This makes us part of the story, accomplices in Penny's creation of a new being. Oh, so cleverly done.

Penny is a wonderful character with her sense of humour and understanding of what she is doing. But the real star is Cain - it's impossible not to get on side with him and to applaud his efforts to improve himself.

Dialogue is natural and totally believable and everything flows at just the right pace. Really excellent stuff. Well done, Linn!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of A good lesson  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I love this bit: "...razing to the ground those who were not in his favour, and raising in position those who were." Never could resist a good pun. The change to present tense in the last paragraph is also good but shouldn't the second sentence adopt the same tense?

The story is good, the writing sound but, if I'm honest, the pace lagged at times. I found myself scanning some of the paragraphs because there was just too much detail. Do we really need to know all that you have included? Some judicious trimming is needed, perhaps.

The flow is great - you can really write. Nicely economical with the dialogue too. Overall, it's quite excellent in my estimation.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.0)
This is a delightful story that kept me reading to the end. There is a lot of detail but this helps to create atmosphere. I'm glad you let us know it was a Ghanaian setting near the end - I had wondered.

I sense that English is not your first language - there are some unusual constructions in the writing. These I would keep (which is why I'm not telling you where they are) because they add to the exotic feeling of the piece. The pace and flow are both fine and I don't see any major fault in the piece. Well done.

An enjoyable read.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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63
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.0)
Had a "cricket" once in a motel room. Darn thing kept me awake all night. It was hidden in the wall somehow and I couldn't get at it...

That is one serious, imposing nay, daunting block of text you have there, sir. I would suggest you break it down into smaller paragraphs. It will be a lot more legible that way.

And then, for poor old geezers like me whose eyesight is not what it once was, increase the font size a little. Okay, that's my suggestions for improvements done. Now we can get to the important stuff.

The object of your story is educational in a home and garden setting, just as you have stated. You have achieved your aim apart from the points mentioned above. I do admit that I didn't really understand the description of a "cricket" but that's probably down to my lack of experience in the handyman scene.

Keep writing and you'll find it all comes quite naturally after a bit.
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Review of Ted's Morning  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
A three minute story indeed. Given the constraints of such a time limitation, this is a great story, holding us right from the first sentences to the last. The reader becomes involved with Ted's infirmities and difficulties so that it begins to matter what happens to him. In keeping with the limits set, the writing wastes no words, flowing easily with a logical sequence of events. The pace is good, too, and the economy of words does not make the piece seem hurried.

Altogether it is a very competent bit of writing and I am unable to fault it. I do wonder whether it won the contest, however...


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of The Old Book  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Lovely. You had me wondering just how you would explain phone books and phones that you couldn't take with you to someone who had never known a world without mobiles. As an old geezer, I know exactly how Grandpa felt.

Good story-telling, enticing us with just enough information to keep us reading right to the end. And I love the deflection of ice cream. Pace and flow are both excellent and dialogue is both tight and believable. Altogether a fine bit of writing.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
66
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Review by Beholden
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Gripping account, skillfully executed with passion and honesty. Impossible to stop reading after the first paragraph or so. Great pace and flow, not overburdened with unnecessary detail in description but what matters is focused on with intensity. Examples of this focus are contained in the title. I can't fault the piece.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
Wisdom from the guide indeed - rarely seen wild animals do indeed stay in the mind forever when you finally see one. I lived in Africa for many years and visited most of the big game reserves so I can confirm that the guides always seem to know where the big animals are.

You have written a clear and interesting piece on your safari. It has good pace and flows without interruption.

One thought did strike me. I was unsure of how exactly you were progressing through the jungle. At first I put you on an elephant (youthful memories of tales and photos of tiger hunts in the early 19th Century) but soon realised that couldn't be right. So I took you off the elephant and made you walk (dangerous thing to do in tiger country). But then vehicles began to be mentioned and it became clear that you, too, were in one. It might be an idea to explain the transport earlier - the opening to the second paragraph could be a suitable place.

Over all an accomplished account written with skill and feeling. Well done.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Superb story, written with skill and passion. I could point at "swopped" and say it should be spelt "swapped" but who cares? We know what is meant. So I see nothing to criticise and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The story brings back memories of the years when I worked in a Coventry car factory There was even a guy there who could have been the model for your Jimmie. Thank you for recalling all that to me.

I should mention that I love your straightforward and honest style. To me, it seems that only a Midlander could write like that and I have to know if I'm right. Are you indeed a Brummie or somewhere close or am I way off the mark? I worked in Brum for many years and remember the time with fondness, though it was very hard work.

Now see what you've done - I've gone all homesick...


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Hair  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.0)
Haha, nice twist in the tail (tale - I do love a pun).

Good story, well told, you kept me interested all the way to the end. Flow and pace are fine and the story never gets tangled up in too much detail. I'm supposed to make a suggestion to improve the piece but anything I say at this point is entirely a matter of taste and not to be taken too seriously. There are occasional instances of too much being included in a single sentence, for instance. An example would be, "My hair was its usual wild, curly, rat’s nest, accepted now by my co-workers, however, seriously would not be accepted at the wedding by my sister, nor my mother!" My inclination would be to separate it into two sentences, using a period after "rat's nest." A little bit of adjustment would then cope with the co-workers, sister and mother.

As I said, it's a matter of taste and particularly ironic coming from me, the original exponent of the interminably long sentence. But hey, it fulfills my duty of making a constructive suggestion and doesn't detract from my praise over all. Happy writing!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
70
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
Okay, I must be dumb. What was it about the Educational Center (whatever that is) that made Loria stand and stare? Without that information, I feel I'm missing the point.

Which is a shame, really, since you kept me reading right to the end. Flow and pace are good and you created enough of a desire to see where the story was going. I feel robbed by your enigmatic ending, however. Maybe it's because I'm too old to understand or that, as a Brit, I'm missing some important cultural information.

I must commend you even so. The writing is good, clear and unencumbered with flowery descrition. Well done!
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (4.0)
If at first you don't succeed, go find another game. I like this because it shows the other side of the coin. Quite frankly, to hear the cheery, unconquerable advice to be positive from the lips of those who probably never lost anything can get tiresome eventually.

I know it's just a poem, not meant to be taken too seriously, but it contains truth even so. Sometimes the right thing to do is give up on the impossible and find out what you can do.

And anyway, it made me smile. :)
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Review of A Morning Murder  
Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Oh yeah, a poet with a sense of humour! And this is one delightful poem. I forget instantly my advice of earlier this morning - never to use olde English - and applaud the "thou"s and "ne'er"s, clap wildly at "wingéd" and "stripéd". Sometimes it's just appropriate (and meets the needs of meter anyway). Poor fly, to be squashed by so precisely aimed a poem.

Now, who will wash the wall? ;)
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (5.0)
Wow, that's quite a poem! I admit I got a bit lost when you fell into a well but still, wow. These phrases are delicious indeed: "tall in goddess garb", "a slick and licorice-coated voice", and (strangely) "on a full stomach". It all just works and I'm not sure why.

Of course, I understand about the steadily increasing indent to create a slippery slope - my wife does that kind of thing quite often in her poetry. And, now that I've read it all several times, I think I understand it better. Not that I am qualified to judge it at all - I am no poet.

You wield a fine pen indeed.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of A Fall Day  
Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Good, sound writing. I can't fault the grammar and there's nothing wrong with the flow. This is an accomplished piece of writing by an author who knows how it's done.

I am left, however, with the impression that it needs something. To be brutally honest, the descriptions are pretty much what we'd expect. The summers are hot and muggy, the winters cold and snowy - just as they're supposed to be. Leaves crunch underfoot obligingly and the sun feels warm because it's the sun, no doubt. We need something to stand out, to smack us in the face with a description never heard before.

To save me the trouble of thinking up something as an example, I'll use a simple little sentence I found in something I read this morning. One of the characters has fallen on her face on to a dusty floor and then she speaks: "Puffs of dust fled from her words." It's a beautiful picture, describing exactly how breath stirs the dust into little dust storms escaping. You only need one sentence like that to lift a piece above the norm. Throw in a few and you're writing poetry.

I know you can do it. You have the skills and the determination to write outstanding stuff. More strength to your writing hand, good friend!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Beholden
Rated: E | (3.5)
411th Entry -
Once upon a time there was a troll (his name was Grundlebletch von Hoogenspit) who lived deep underground in a cave. Yes, he was a cave troll and, accordingly, he had no time at all for forest trolls, considering them flighty and irresponsible with silly ideas of going out in the daytime, unprotected from the harsh light of the searing sun.

Every day Grundle (as his friends called him) would wander through the tunnels radiating from his cave, searching for the worms, burrowing beetles and larvae that formed the basis of his diet. He had never tasted the flesh of creatures that walked above the ground, protected by the sunlight as they were, so he did not yearn for anything more tasty than his daily fare.

But do not think that Grundle was devoid of imagination. Cave trolls are a serious bunch and they think profound thoughts regarding such things as the decomposition time required for a leaf to turn into soil, why dirt dislodged from the roof of a tunnel always falls downwards rather than any other direction, what makes the mole run from a troll in such obvious terror. Cave trolls, indeed, are the intellectuals of their species.

One day Grundle discovered an unexplored tunnel. It was right at the edge of his range (which explains why he had never seen it before) and he stood immobile for long minutes while deciding whether to see where it led. Grundle was exceptional amongst cave trolls in that he sometimes allowed curiosity to get the better of him and so he set off up the new tunnel.

After some time he became aware that the tunnel was heading upwards, not steeply but steadily. The thought occurred to him that he might be on his way to the outside. Because of that he stopped and pondered for a while, wondering if he was being led astray. His curiosity won in the end, however, and he continued on his way.

There began to be a faint glow of light in the darkness but Grundle’s eyes were fixed on the floor, avoiding intrusive roots and protruding rocks. Then suddenly he was at the end of the tunnel. Still concentrating on the floor, Grundle kept going until finally he was right out there in the open. He stood in horror as he realised the terrible thing he had done. The sun shone powerfully overhead and he knew he had only minutes before he would be shrivelled up like a dead leaf. He must find shelter quickly!

Now, you and I would know that all he had to do was turn around and walk the few paces back to the tunnel but trolls don’t think like that. Their thought processes proceed in straight lines and do not countenance deflection from their chosen path. This is why any company of orcs and goblins will always put the trolls in the front of the column. If anyone is going to walk into an ambush, let it be the trolls - they won’t stop.

There was, therefore, only one way for Grundle to go. He began to run forward. Well, I say “run” but trolls don’t really run. They accelerate slowly into a lurching, swaying sort of stumble that is, surprisingly, a lot faster than you would expect. And Grundle was spurred by his growing fear of dehydration and mummification by the sun.

Ahead of Grundle there was what we would describe as a river. Grundle did not even consider what it might be, seeing only that there was a stone arch that crossed the water thingy (as he later named it). Under the arch he could see darkness, darkness that offered shelter and survival. With a desperate last effort he threw himself forward and landed with a mighty splash in the water flowing under the bridge. Darkness enveloped him and he lay back in relief in the water, not caring that the stony bed of the river was uncomfortable (to say the least).

In his subsequent examination of his situation, Grundle realised that he was rather limited in his options. He was forced to spend daylight hours in the shadows under the bridge and at night he dared little more than brief food foraging expeditions as close to the bridge as possible.

Eventually, Grundle accepted his lot and even began to enjoy it. Memories of his cave faded until he imagined that he had dreamt the place. There came a day when a female forest troll walked into Grundle’s home under the bridge and they became friends. In time they were married and, a bit later, they produced a brood of baby trollettes.

And that, of course, is how bridge trolls came about. Take my advice and cross bridges quickly, especially the arched kind made of stones.
By Beholden
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