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35 Public Reviews Given
Public Reviews
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1
1
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Ametorpe! I found your story on the newbie page and the title intrigued me.

The beginning was awesome, your descriptions of her senses as she regained consciousness took me to the room with her. I was wondering if she could feel any kind of pain?

The conversation through the door was compelling, and I definitely would've loved to have been taken there as well to see what they looked like having this difficult interaction.

I could give a few suggestions (from my own point of view of course, which is just one of who knows how many on this site) about the story flow, but I know it was for a contest, and I can tell that's why the pace seemed mismatched from the beginning to the end. That's a tough situation to navigate, you did a good job of it with the word limit you were given.

The characters were clear, the dynamics between Helen, Nii, and Jackie were palpable. I was surprised at how forgiving Helen was at first, but then I asked myself how would I feel if I'd just come out of a coma? Probably pretty damn happy to be alive, the rest would seem trivial at that moment, so I get why you made that choice.

There are a few grammatical issues here and there, nothing the grammar checker wouldn't find, so pointing them out seems unnecessary. (Besides, I'm no English teacher...)

So thanks for an intriguing read! If you feel inclined to do so or if you've got time, this story would be fun to play with and develop into something larger, it's got a lot of possibilities as to where it could go from here.

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
2
2
Review of Events  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Trey!

I like the casual tone of your piece, I write pretty conversationally as well.

I like where the story's going, I'm assuming it's a first chapter. I'd like to know what happens next, the way the friend, Jack, addresses the MC so matter-of-factly leads me to think he's in the know about this killer somehow already...

So the only things I would change just yet would be your spacing and spelling/grammar. There are some run ons but it's mostly the spacing, in order to make it easier for your reader to understand where your pauses and shift in action happens. All the text running altogether is difficult to keep up with. For example:

I was startled to be on social network live.

They were an outstanding radio show, and has even featured a few celebrities. They aren’t your normal junk box radio team that blasts rock music and Elvis Presley. No, no no!

They were so good, not only did they have a custom feature for adding songs to a playlist through text-to-voice communication, but they had talk nights, and did prank calls on different people; which made the show exceptionally hilarious!

Again, I was very startled to be invited to the radio show. I could watch live including 2 of my closest friends, and with other amazing people of the community.

...Something like that. When you get it to a point where you don't want to add or take away from the body's content, I'd run the spell check and grammar check to clean it up. I'm soooooo not an English teacher, so I don't profess to know all there is to know about grammar *Laugh*.

In all, I think this has the potential to start up an exciting adventure! Looking forward to seeing where it goes!

Keep on writin',

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
3
3
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Jim! Hope you're having a good time on WDC so far, if you haven't been on too much yet, it's full of encouraging people and fun activities if you're interested in contests, interactive stories, etc.

The opinions I'll give here are just that: opinions. If you don't agree with something I think or find its not useful to you feel free to ignore it. Hopefully I can give you some useful feedback!

So I think the premise of a modern day superhero getting thrown back in time is really original, and definitely opens up the gate for some comedic situations, very cool. The Silver Talon's "hero bender" is hilarious to me, because I'm just picturing this guy staggering around the city like a lunatic looking for heroic stuff to do and people all politely saying "Umm, no thanks, I'm good."

The first paragraph came off as a little awkward with a cold introduction, but I think it has more to do with structure than content. If you had ended the last sentence maybe with ellipsis (taking him on a rather strange journey...) instead of a straight up period, it would serve to show you're leading to the meat of the story. You could also separate the paragraphs with a literal line, almost like dividing chapters.

I don't want to get too much into grammar or sentence structure though, there's quite a bit to tighten up, I think so maybe grammar/spell check is better for that. It might be a good idea to go back through and look at your comma usage, tenses, stuff like that.

I will say there are some bits than can be cleaned up for the sake of flow. For instance:

"If the Silver Talon had the power of flight this might have turned out differently. He does not have that power. He crushes the unfortunate Reginald underneath his weight, knocking him out and breaking his leg. It was nobody's fault."

It's kind of redundant to state outright the silver talon doesn't have the power of flight twice. Also the abrupt sentence at the end about nobody's fault is a little awkward. Conversationally, the rhythm and infliction would lend itself to comedic timing, but in writing it seems off. Maybe something like:

"If the Silver Talon had the power of flight this might have turned out differently, but since this was not the case, he crushed the unfortunate Reginald underneath his weight, knocking him out and breaking his leg. This freak accident was, of course, nobody's fault."

One more thing I was confused about was the very last sentence. I'm assuming the door he's blowing off its hinges was the church door?

I think your comedic wit is great throughout, and the little gems like "Why a crossbow, you may ask?" are great. I laughed out loud when he apologizes to everyone in the church after he's crushed the groom and his voice echoes in his helmet. *Laugh* You definitely have an ear for comedy, I'm assuming you've watched a lot of sketch. *ThumbsUpL*

Your characters are hilarious, of course, and I love that you took your time to describe how they look to the reader.

Thanks so much for a hilarious story, I really hope you continue the Adventures of the Silver Talon!

Keep on writin'

-TPB





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Kira! Hope all is well and you're having a good time on WDC so far!

I like the premise of your story, it's a great beginning to a bigger picture, and you've done a good job leaving the reader wanting to know more about what's going to happen to Ayla and her situation.

I also really enjoyed the detailed exploration of the setting as well as your MC's emotional reactions, especially in describing the clearing and the wolves. I felt her fear and found myself holding my breath with her.

Before I launch into the inevitable honest feedback part I just want to iterate that my opinions are my own of course and I like to critique based on content more than grammar and stuff like that (I ain't no English teacher) so if there's anything I have to say that you don't find helpful or you downright disagree with, feel free to chuck those bits in the bin. If you find parts to be helpful, then huzzah!

I know I just said I don't pay attention to grammar, but for the sake of the flow of the prose, there are instances where it's pretty necessary to follow the rules. Just a couple of quick examples:

Seems instead of seams- be sure to make sure you've got your homophones on right.

Some of your sentences can use tidying with usage of commas, structure, all that jazz:

"I refused to believe the superstition surrounding the property. But my family was worried that something was going to happen to me. So, they without my knowledge arranged for a priest to bless the house and surrounding land."

The paragraph could restructure to something like:

"I refused to believe the superstition surrounding the property, but my family was worried that something was going to happen to me. Without my knowledge, they arranged for a priest to bless the house and surrounding land."

You've oscillated between past and present tense in some spots, also making your paragraphs a little choppy and confusing. For instance:

"I have been living in the cabin for about two months. I had just finished unpacking the last box and put everything where I wanted it now."

Could rearrange future tense to:

"I've lived in the cabin for about two months now. I've finally finished unpacking the last box, and have now put everything where I want it."

Or past tense to:

"I'd been living in the cabin for about two months when I finally finished unpacking and putting everything where I wanted it."

Ok, so there's all that. Just some stuff to maybe re-read and edit through, we all know how much fun editing is. *Wink*

Story flow was a little choppy due to some contest issues. For instance, I may have totally missed it, but I'm not sure you mentioned Rick in the story other than "I could hear Rick yelling at me for forgetting to bring my gun or knife with me." It was a little confusing, I assumed he's a boyfriend or brother maybe? Just a touch of reference to the nature their relationship would help to clear it up and establish why he should care about her so much. If he's in there and I totally read over it, my bad. *Smile*

I felt like mentioning the expected meeting with the sheriff after she was in the cavern may have been better served if you had written in some interactions with some of the people in the town after she moves in. Maybe write in that conversation between them to heighten tension later on when she realizes he may come looking for her.

A lot of paragraphs from the cavern end with your MC losing consciousness then waking at the beginning of the next. To me (and again, this is just my opinion) it takes me out of the cave with her to read it that way. She's telling me about it instead of putting me there with her. Maybe just stating up front that she was in and out of consciousness and time was lost on her, then weave some of the descriptive events of the paragraphs together to help the flow.

Ok, reading back over that I don't know that it makes sense when I explain, so I'll try to construct what I mean. It could sound roughly like:

"Shadows of images came to me in a dreamlike state throughout the next couple of... days? Hours? It could have been weeks for all I know, time was as good as nonexistent in that darkness.

During that time of drifting in and out of consciousness, I remember bits and pieces of activity around me. At one point, I heard the sound of nails of some sort on the cavern floor, and echoing footsteps. I couldn't tell if either were animal or man. (The hallucinations told me it could've been both).

Food, water and furs to warm myself mysteriously appeared"... you get the idea, until we reach the point where she comes to the (dramatic?) realization that it's the spring water causing her dreamy state.

It's been a loooooooong review, I know, sorry about that. I love your MC and her feisty, resourceful nature. I love your setting, and the circumstances which brought her to live there. I love the references to her potentially crazy family. And I'd love to hear what happens to her next.

Thanks for the entertaining read, and KEEP WRITING for crying' out loud! *BigSmile*

With warmth,
TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of PTSD  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Ran, hope you're having a good experience with WTC so far. It's a great place to get raw with issues like the one your poem lays out.

I don't usually review poetry, I'm not academically fit to comment on structure and rhythm and all that stuff. All I know is what sounds pleasing to me, and what grips me emotionally. Your poem did just that, and I couldn't read it without letting you know how it resonates not only with me, but with multitudes of people out there.

Your illustration of dismissiveness is spot on, I suppose it's much easier to tell people to get over it and move on and that's life, etc than it is to bear the discomfort of listening and understanding another's trauma.

Thanks for shining a light, keep writing bravely!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Neat neat neat neat!!! I love this, it's like Gremlins but with no stupid animatronics!

The only thing I can think that would make this better (and I know it's flash fiction, but there are always words to trim somewhere) is if there could be just a tiny bit more emotion from Pete about what the heck it is he's actually getting into when he starts talking to this guy. Fear? Puzzlement? Amuzement? All three?

It wouldn't hurt to turn that first sentence into a barbed fishhook. "A man came up to Pete and opened his coat wide" could translate to something like "Pete cringed when the man approached him and opened his coat"

If you find any of these ideas useful, huzzah! If not, feel free to chuck them in the bin. It's your story, I'm just readin' it *Wink*.

Thanks for the very cool read, keep on writing!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
7
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (2.5)
Hey hoodie, how's it going?

No hating, just constructive feedback if you want it. Hopefully it will be helpful, if it isn't or If you don't agree with what I give you feel free to tell me to f*** off.

So I don't know if you just wanted to put together a scenario and put it out there for preliminary thoughts from others, bringing up grammar may not be helpful to you. Keep in mind though, it's important to write so that it's easy for your readers to understand the pacing and the transitions from event to event or from thought to thought. For instance:

during gym we were outside and I being the outcast was sitting in the forest near the football field and was thinking "I wish I was in a relationship" then I hears someone else in the forest knowing it was my bullies I hide...etc

It's a sentence run amok, so it's kind of hard to put together this introduction in relation to what the action will be...

We were outside during gym, and I, being the outcast, was sitting in the forest near the football field.

I was thinking "I wish I was in a relationship" when I heard someone else in the forest. Knowing it was my bullies, I hide...etc

Capitalization and punctuation and all those mechanics that go into communicating with an audience is super important if you want to make them stick around till the end, I'd go back through and spell check/grammar check.

I'm guessing this was for a contest or something. If you had to stay under 300 words I know it's hard to pack imagery and emotion into those constraints, but it can be done. That said, it would be nice to show what you were feeling when you were thinking about your loneliness, or when the bullies showed up. Put your reader on the ground next to you, show them the emotional tone of what you're trying to communicate.

I'm sure you probably get the idea. With some trimming and some imagery, your reader will come with you into those woods, feeling the terror of being hunted, and feeling the butterflies of first meeting someone you like.

Thanks for the read, if you have any questions feel free to ask...

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review of The Lonesome Body  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Hi Smidge! I like your nasty little vignette, very scary imagery and really original concept.

It's hard to fit a story into 300 words or less, I think you did an excellent job of putting your reader in that bathroom with Lara so simply. You even managed to cram a gratifying ending in there, well done!

If you're interested in constructive feedback I've got a few ideas. If you don't agree or feel like what I have to say is helpful, feel free to take it all and chuck it in the bin. It's your world, we just get to read it...*Wink*

So your imagery is good, but you could incorporate emotion into it by using some stronger verbiage. For instance, in the first sentence, "Lara looked at herself in the school bathroom's mirror, her hands glued to the sink."

She's obviously either scared, angry at herself for what she's done, or both. You can show that with something like: "Lara glared at herself in the school's bathroom mirror, her hands clutching the sink." -or-
"Lara watched herself sob in the school's bathroom mirror, her hands trembling on the sink."

You get the idea, you can replace a word or two here and there to punctuate that mood without adding to your word count. Don't be afraid to get flowery, showing is always better than telling when it comes to horror. (In my humble opinion, this may not be your style at all. If not, like I said, chuck it...)

When you visualize what's happening in that room, make sure to try to show us what you're seeing. What does it look like when she plunges into the mirror? Describe her sensory overload as she's hovering over herself. I know it's a challenge to do that within 300 words, but with focus you can totally do it.

Trim up some of the sentences and you'll free up more words for this. For example:

"She held her hands up in front of the mirror and blood dripped down from her finger nails and drained down into the sink, leaving a dark red streak" added up to 29 words. You could trim it to something like:

"She hung her hands before the mirror. Blood cascaded from her fingers to the sink, streaking it dark red" adds up to 19. Not a huge difference, but you can definitely capitalize on those extra words.

I'm not an English teacher, so I'm not a huge grammar nazi. It makes me feel like a hypocrite, I make too many of my own grammar mistakes to be qualified to point out others'. I let my laptop check my grammar and spelling *Wink*.

So that's my two cents. I really, really liked your premise. I like the setting, I like Lara even with the little bit you gave us about her. I found myself feeling sorry for her- that's great skill to be able to put a character in one room and with that alone elicit an emotional connection to your reader. Great job!

Thanks for the good read, keep on writing!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
9
9
Rated: E | (5.0)
Once upon a time there was a lonely little girl. Everyday, she played barbies in her room with her imaginary friends. One day, she came home from school to find her imaginary friends had moved to Boca Raton because the warm weather would be good for their joint issues. Because of that, the girl set out to find new imaginary friends. Until finally, her mother had her committed to a mental hospital when she discovered the little girl's new imaginary friends oozing and rotting in her closet.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: ASR | (3.5)
Hi Tyler!

Your story is intriguing, I like the idea behind the mysterious crazy man with the photo and his mutterings. Leaves your reader wanting to know what he's talking about when he's saying "feel it". Also, the mystery behind his grandmother and how his mother died, all very effective in making me want to know what's gonna happen.

If I could give some feedback, (disclaimer: These opinions are mine alone, if you find them helpful, awesome! if you don't feel free to chuck 'em in the bin...) it would be to try to focus on his emotions just a touch more. We see it in the first line, which is a good hook, but when he finds his mother dead as well as for the rest of it there's no mention of his fear or anguish or whatever it is you want him to feel.

In the first line you describe the chills up his spine, but then you repeat that in the third line. I know this is for the flash fiction 300, so it would be prudent to go ahead and just use the third line as the first, as it isn't necessary to say it twice. There are plenty of places to pare it down word-wise so you can include more detail about how he feels, what the man looks like etc.

From a grammatical point of view, be sure to space your paragraphs to make it easier for your reader to follow. The way it's formatted now, the story runs together and there is no cadence provided in order to create for some dramatic pause or juxtaposition between the moments of his shock at what he's found and the moments of action when he flees.

Thanks for sharing your story, keep on writing, I'm interested to see what happens to Frank next!

-TPB



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review of Rose's Day  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Penelope, hope you're enjoying your way around WDC so far! Your story is heartbreaking, and you did a good job building suspense. I began to suspect when Linda came 'round something was going on, it certainly transitioned into a sad ending. (I have twins myself, so anything involving twins always stabs me in the feels.)

I like your descriptions of the day's activities, I was there with her the whole day. I thought you did a great job on the car accident too, nightmarish.

So here's the stuff I might offer up to tweak a bit:
(DISCLAIMER! The suggestions here are mine alone, so take the ones that are helpful to you, and chuck any that aren't in the bin. Also, feel free to ask questions or give general input on my input... *Smile* )

Your second person perspective works great it's just the use of simple present tense feels a little awkward to me. (example: "I wake up this morning to a glistening white blanket covering everything within sight." vs "I woke up this morning... you get the idea.) If you were narrating the piece as if she were talking to a psychiatrist or something like that it could work as is, but I think you'd have to make that clear in there somewhere.

I would try to break up your narrative by spacing your paragraphs for the sake of transition, especially with dialogue woven throughout.

(example):

I go back to the kitchen for the drinks. Joe and I have wine glasses, and the twins have glasses of chocolate milk.

As I am setting the last glass of chocolate milk down, Joe comes in the door. His eyes fall on the table and he stumbles backwards while his face turns white.

“Ruby!” he yells, tears streaming down his face. “No wonder Linda called me and asked me to come home early. I thought we were passed this! The twins are gone! They died in that car accident 3 months ago! You were doing so well, I thought I could go back to work!”

He turns from me, hiding his face. He grabs the phone, and walks off while muttering to himself.

Last thing, and this is something I could be missing the point of entirely, but the title is "Rose's Day" and at the end of the story when her husband gets home he calls her Ruby? Like I said though, it could be related to the displaced reality of the story itself and I'm missing something...

In all, I like your story! Definitely impactful emotionally, and the imagery was effective in assisting the conveyance of the emotion. Thanks for sharing, keep on writin'!!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review of A Witch's Tale  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Kerr Cole!

First off, you made it nice and easy to sink into the story. You painted the setting and the characters wonderfully. I really like your choice to juxtapose between telling the story from the perspective of the different centuries as it progresses.

That said, I'm thinking the format you've already outlined would fit nicely into a full-fledged novella format. You could create a new book in your portfolio and stick it in there if that sounds like something that makes sense for you, you've already got your chapters prepped.

I maybe would go back through and divide your chapters into clearer paragraphs to chop it up for the reader and make it easier to follow. It would also serve to add some pauses for suspense and foreshadowing purposes. It would also make it easier for you to go back through to edit for grammatical and spelling stuff. I'm no English teacher, so as a rule I don't point out specific grammatical and spelling errors. You're a smart cookie, I'm sure you're perfectly capable of reviewing and editing as you see fit...

I really like your plot, I love your MC, and I like the setting. That's a pretty freakin' solid foundation. I look forward to seeing how (or if) you tweak it if you decide to reformat the body of the work.

*****DISCLAIMER!!!******
All this babble is my opinion and mine alone. Unless someone else has the same opinion, but that's got nothing to do with me. Anyway, the point is please feel free to use the suggestions I've put out if they make sense to you and if you feel like they're helpful. If not feel free to chuck 'em in the bin. Whichever you choose please keep on writing, man!! *Smile*

-TPB














































































































*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
I love a prologue which actually really serves to show the reader what they can expect from a story's characters. You've made the princess a really vivid personality and planted the seeds for a few others, it really makes me want to read on.

I also like the elimination of Alfrick straight away. He could very easily have been your MC- I feel as if when you wrote him, he just told you you'd have to look elsewhere *Wink*.

This is a glimpse into what looks like a complex, interesting story to come. Thanks for the great read so far, looking forward to reading on!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
14
14
Review of Frozen Stiff  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Daaaaamn!!!

That was awful in the best way ever. Good job, dude.

That is all.

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Alllrighty Darrol, o' friend in reviews-

I love a good fantasy story, but I especially love a fantasy story with elements of familiarity to modern life. I feel like there are a lot of stories of fantasy (and/or science fiction for that matter), where it seems as if the author tries to create a world so abstract that it loses the reader. (This is my opinion of course, some people can process that sort of thing without flinching. I'm not one of those kinds of readers...)

In that same vein, I really like how you've managed to give us a super creative setting but also throw some things in about the characters and their lives that are relatable to people living and dwelling here and now. Personally, this makes me care a lot more about what happens to them.

On a side note, the magic your characters wield reminds me of Skyrim. My kids love to play Skyrim, so this made me all fuzzy and "awwwwww" on the inside. *HeartP*

There are only a couple of confusing elements I'll bring up. There are some grammatical errors too, but like you, I ain't no English teacher so I'm not gonna point them all out. I think there's a grammar checker somewhere on the site, but I'm not entirely sure about that? That's one of the hundreds of things on WDC I've been meaning to look into but haven't gotten around to yet *Whistle*.

-In the first paragraph: "Sartalfheim, home to the greatest engineers and craftsmen across the nine realms, invaluable assets in the wars to come." - might flow better as something like: "Sartalfheim was home to the greatest engineers and craftsmen across the Nine Realms. Both would prove invaluable as assets in the coming wars." Of course the words are yours, this is just an example of how you could make the distinction between the place and the people.

-Is your perspective second person omniscient? I'm thinking that's it, because when you begin "As I looked on from the Halls of Valhalla, dark clouds loomed over the prosperous city of Folgorè." -I'm guessing you're telling the story as a descendent or a God or something like that. Also supporting this point of view is how you go on to describe your characters and settings.

-With your omniscient POV, you offer "Rahel was also human, at least, that's what everyone believes."
Also, contributes to your unique POV, but instead of outing him right away, you could add suspense by simply offering something like "As far as anyone knew Rahel was also human, but his status as adopted provided a measure of uncertainty surrounding his origins."
(Again, nothing more than a suggestion...)

Ok, last one- "Now, this is what happens when humans don't learn their place," said Burcain to his two companions, making fun of the tragic faith that befell the recently deceased order members.
I'm thinking you meant fate, but of course I could be wrong.

I hope these suggestions make sense, sometimes it's hard for me to communicate what I'm talking about without using your words so don't think I'm trying to rudely write your story for you, just showing to help clarify.

********Disclaimer********
The opinions here are totally my own, if they're helpful to you, I'm happy. If they're not, feel free to chuck 'em in the bin as you see fit.

Thanks for the good read!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
16
16
Review of Dead Or Alive  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi Joe, hope you're having a good Thursday!

Thanks for the great read! There aren't enough stories about female bounty hunters around if you ask me *big*. Also, I'm a fan of gore when written with a purpose and I think you got that one down.

Overall I really like it, which is why I don't think there's enough of it. I want to know all about this brain world you're makin' because it got my attention. More detail describing the scene, your kick-ass protagonist, etc. would just pull in your reader that much more.

You wrote "Another flesh-pit for the wannabe starlets... etc" -I've never been in a futuristic steampunk titty bar in space so I'm gonna need some details!

"Drenched in gaudy pink light and stinking of nicotine, Delirium, and lust" was a good starter, but I'd love to know just a little more about the people inside the bar. Just a nibble here and there to let your reader know if we're looking at a strictly human clientele and workforce or are some of them alien?

What kinds of tech do they have in the bar? Holographic girls here and there mixed with the real ones? What kind of music is the girl on the stage dancing to, what do the hostesses look like, setting the scene kind of stuff. I visualized Taffy's place in Blade Runner, but I have a feeling you've walked through that room in your head and that's not what you see so I want to hear it from your perspective.

You did a good job of showing what Spider looked like, how he moved, screaming like a little girl when he saw Echo. I got a pretty clear image of him as I read.

Obviously the main attraction is Echo, so I really want to know what she looks like, how she dresses, (steampunk bounty hunter!! where can I buy THAT wardrobe? *Wink*} and maybe more detail up front about how she moves when she works to illustrate the point that she's seasoned more than just flat out saying it.

I love the fact that you allude to her having a bit of a conscience. When she calls him Travis but then oddly sort of respectfully even corrects herself and calls him Spider. That's a neat teaser to put in there, there's obviously depth to her that the reader will uncover as the story progresses.

I'm looking forward to reading the future chapters of the story, a female steampunk bounty hunter in space is a pretty awesome framework on which to build!

***Disclaimer***
The opinions expressed here are mine alone, take the ones you feel are helpful (if any) and chuck the ones you think are rubbish in the bin.

-TPB




*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
17
Review of The Island Calls  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi MysteryBox!

This was one of those great stories that even upon realizing it could be really long, I really wanted to find out what happens. Sometimes a story can drag to the point where it's too overwhelming and snuffs out the reader's desire to reach the end, I think we've all read a few (I know I've written a few *Wink*) like that.
Your characters were super likable, and deep. The bond between Brooke and Devin was really palpable. You managed to take me along for the emotional ride with them. The fun they have together, the life changes (the period incident was hilarious and ominous at the same time), the panic when she went missing, it was all there for me. I have multiple kids, and the games they play are a LOT like the games Brooke and Devin played together, so that hit home to me.

The imagery of the lake and the island was well written, I think you did a good job showing your reader where the story was unfolding.

There were only a couple of bits where I was kinda cloudy on what was actually happening.

"The winds had picked up as well and waves crashed against the jagged rocks that nestled the water’s edge. It was than that I saw the canoe. (***I'm not big on being a grammar nazi, but as long as we're here, it should be then instead of than***)

In hindsight, I should have noticed that it was missing when I went around the house to get my bike. Even from 30 yards away I could see the canoe pulled up on the sandy beach of the island."

I'm guessing you're saying he was thinking he should've noticed the canoe missing from it's usual spot and then immediately looked for it on the island? The sequence of noticing and seeing reads like it's communicated the other way around. (that could just be to me, of course)

I noticed a couple of times you stated outright stuff like "but it didn't end there" or "that wasn't the end" where it wasn't actually necessary to do so, and that kind of misdirected me here and there. (again, could totally be just me. I'm easy to misdirect, magicians LOVE me)

For example at the beginning of chapter six, you could've nixed the "but the story didn't end there" and just put us right into chapter six. Also in the middle of chapter six: "And that was it. When I turned 18 I started community college, and the following year Brooke moved three hours away to attend KSU.

But that wasn’t it.

No, the real story came five years later."

That interlude made the chapter kinda choppy as well, it was definitely important to transition the timing between entering college and five years later when he received the call about her death, but in my humble opinion it would flow better to just state "five years later" when he got the call.

With a couple of re-reads it would be easy to tweak and fine-tune to adjust some stuff, if in fact you agree with what I've put here. I feel like there's no such thing as too much reworking.

All in all, I really love this story. You owe your Dad a beer for daring you to write it! Your use of humor is awesome, as is your ability to give us enough suspense and imagery to make it a truly frightening story.

Thanks for the great read!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (3.0)
Hi upper 2!

Your depiction of the farmers market and the circumstances of your afternoon there helped to set the scene for me. It also me gave a sense of the laid back nature of your protagonist when you said "George was just 'chillin after a burger and a beer." Also, I've never seen anyone use "pulchritude" in a story.*Wink* Cool!

The eight guidelines also gives a little insight into what George and his friends are like, as well as mentioning they are all either married or had girlfriends. This gave me a clue as to what the age range of the group might be.

Admittedly, I had to re-read the story a couple of times to realize that some of the women were being rated at different times and in different places other than that day in the market. It may totally be just me, but I found it to be confusing.

For instance, just before listing the girl watching guides and clarifying their diligence in observing said rules, you wrote:
“George and a small group of his friends enjoyed checking out the women”

I assumed this was a past tense narrative about that day at the market and were about to recall some of the women George and his friends had observed there. Omitting that "the" would've clarified that we weren't necessarily talking about the specific women of that day.

The first example you gave was the description of the 12 year old which I read as narrated to be observed right then in the market.

A new paragraph between where George talks about the 12 year old and recalling Sam's story would be helpful to show the two incidents were unrelated:
"...Her measurements were about 34B-27-34.

"As George relaxed in the shade he recalled..."

As written, I wasn't quite sure if George and Sam had seen the 12 year old and the 15 year old separately while at the farmer's market that day, and that's why George was reflecting on Sam's description of the 15 year old after he rated the 12 year old. It seemed like Sam saw the 15 year old first, implying that Sam happened to learn the girls were cousins by overhearing a conversation between them or the family or something.

It wasn't until Sam says he observed the 15 year old in a bikini at his pool, and overhears his aunt talking to his mother about her bra size that I realized she was Sam's cousin, and the story was in a completely different place.
Also, referring to her as "Sam's cousin" or "his cousin" would help further clarify this more than just "a cousin". Like I said though, it may just be me.

It would also be helpful to clarify Scott's story. For example:

Instead of “Another member Scott had seen a young woman with his sister." You could phrase it like "Another member, Scott, had once seen a young woman with his sister."

This would present to the reader right up front that this event happened in the past somewhere else and didn't have anything to do with girl watching at the market.

I know this is all really English teacher-y, but thought it may be helpful to share. At least from my perspective, like I said I may be the only one who got tangled up in the setting and tense.

One last thing I was somewhat confused by was the genres under which you classified the story. I get it from a cheeky point of view with a sense of humor AFTER you've read the story, buuuuut it may lead to some unsuspecting little old lady giving you a low rating because she thought she was going to read about someone's delightful trip to a farmer's market, but it ended up being a bro tale about girl watching. *Laugh*

Your descriptions of the women were somewhat clear as followed by the eight rules, but that kinda made them one dimensional.

I know the point you set out to make was to describe the women from a purely aesthetic point of view. I'm guessing you were trying to illustrate that the guys weren't cheaters by making sure that no one made their observations too personal, but I feel like you may be walking a tightrope on that one.

What you described in the very beginning as an appreciation for the beauty of the feminine gets lost because there are so few indications of how each woman was actually beautiful other than the numbers.

A more comprehensive description of the girls would help your readers appreciate the POV of the members of the girl watcher's club even more. It would also take us along with them into these scenarios.

I'd be interested to know why these particular women grab their attention (other than measurements). Do any of the women remind him of an ex, or a friend? Does he just dig redheads? I want to know more about your characters, particularly your main protagonist. Especially as relates to what it was about the shadow woman that drew him more than any other woman he saw that day.

I'd love to know what happened between George and Sam when they realized George was intrigued by Sam's aunt. Did he care? Did he think it was funny? The title of the story is specifically about her, so a climactic situation surrounding his encounter with her, even if it was just observational, would be appropriate to create there.

IMHO including at least a few of these elements would give your prose more depth, which will make your reader want to continue to read the story, especially if you are looking to reach a variety of readers regardless of gender or orientation.

This piece could be developed into a really interesting study in the reflections of the male mind (most straight females are always curious as to what is running through a man's mind as she walks down the street) as well as the nuances of human nature. The concept of the boy-watches-girl story is ancient and almost always relatable, if not also interesting, funny, dramatic, erotic, etc.

It's up to you to introduce your characters, relationships, backstory and such to take your readers on a trip showing the strengths of that concept.

Thanks for the read,
TPB

*******************DISCLAIMER!!!**********************
These are only my own opinions, of course. Take what points you think are helpful (if any) and chuck the rest in the bin. If anything I've said strikes a nerve, feel free to let me know. I'm pretty thick skinned.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of The End of Time  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
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Review of This Old House  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: E | (4.0)
I really love this story! I could visualize the house and the little town, as well as what the people there were like. I found myself hooked, I really wanted to know where it was going. The idea of the house aging as they lived there but being perfect when abandoned was a magnet for my curiosity. Very cool concept!

There were a couple of little things that left me confused, I figured I'd point them out and see if maybe you've gotten similar feedback from anyone else.

In the paragraph where you were describing the mother going to the school to talk to the kids' teachers:
"Peggy had gone to the school three or four times to talk to their teachers and she always said she would do what she could but she hadn’t noticed the other children being stand offish. She insisted it must be their imagination. Peggy knew better than that. Even the teachers were unfriendly."

Just a little confusion about the perspective of "Peggy going to the school, talking to the teachers, and she always said..."
I'm guessing you meant they instead of she when referring to the teachers, because there are more than one? Or maybe there was only one teacher she talked to, in which case specify she talked to one of their teachers, that way it'll be clearer. Dunno if you noticed it, you were probably pecking furiously away at the keyboard because that's what people do when they're in the midst of creating a well-crafted story... *Wink*

Also a bit confusing was the narrative of the newspaper articles Peggy found in the library. They don't necessarily read how a newspaper article would be written, more like just a continuation of the story:

“Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton and their three children disappeared two months after moving into the old Wheaten home. They were there one day and gone the next. It is such a big shock because their vehicle is still parked at the house, and after the local police searched the old house, they didn’t find a trace of the family. All their belongings were still in the home and it looked just like the family disappeared into thin air. As has happened several times before, shortly after the disappearance, people noticed that the old house had started restoring its self immediately. Within a week, it again looked like the day it was built, a new paint job, new shutters at the windows, new roof and new landscaping. Everyone here is mystified and terrified. It has happened at least every twenty five years since the first Wheaton family were brutally killed in the home.”

Just a little confusing because I thought at first I was still reading the narrative of the story itself instead of a couple of newspaper articles covering what had happened to the house in the past. Again, don't know if you noticed it when you re-read it or if anyone else has said anything about it in other reviews.

Ok, last one... It's unclear who Franklin Wheaton is, I may totally be missing something but I reread the story a couple of times and still couldn't find a reference to him. I'm assuming he was the original patriarch of the house when it was built? If so, it would be cool to hear a little more of the back story. It also occurred to me that he could be the oldest kid of the family, the back story of how Andrew was found about the same age wandering the roads with amnesia points to that possibility as well, but again when I reviewed the story I couldn't find a reference to the oldest child's name.

I found myself rooting for Peggy to get the heck out of the house with the kids when it became obvious that Andrew wasn't havin' it. The build up to this pivotal moment made it even cooler (and panicky for the reader) when the house's spell obviously took her over and she couldn't remember where she was going or why. I really, really appreciate that this wasn't your typical haunted house story! Any details you wanted to add about the family dynamic and the relationship between Peggy and Andrew would only make it stronger. The fact that Andrew was found as a tween wandering with amnesia is compelling in and of itself, tying it to the story subtly a bit sooner would ramp up the suspense just a touch I think, but of course the fact that you don't know that till the end worked too.

Thanks for such a good read, sometimes it's hard to dig up stories that keep you hooked until the end, and this one definitely did it for me!

-TPB


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Inside Voice  
In affiliation with Group ~ Reviewing with River  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Really suspenseful, well written read! There were only a couple of points of confusion (for me, at least, anyone else reading the story may have known right away).

I got they're in a grocery store, but then later on you said there were fitting rooms and a clothing department and that kind of threw me off. I'm guessing they're in a big box like a Target or Walmart. I was visualizing a smallish grocery store, it would definitely make the cat and mouse more tense if I knew up front that not only was it much bigger, but also the layout of the space was much more complex. Again, that's just me, other readers may have been quicker to pick up on that from the beginning.

The only other thing I was trying to do was picture Tina a little clearer in my mind. I had her pegged as young, probably pretty. The rest of her was a little murky to me but definitely if you're going to expand this story and lead us through to a conclusion between them (which I'd totally love to read) there would be plenty of time to get to know her better.

I love her mini break down after she had a chance to collect herself at the timers, it gave her depth and I found my heart hurting for her. Also in the fitting rooms when she wanted her Mom and her sisters, her isolation in there made me terrified for her.

I loved the red flag in the beginning (if you meant for it to be) when he was speaking to her in her head and said he wanted her to show him how to thump a melon. He caught her off guard and flattered her, but as the reader I was thinking this was just a little creepy seeing as he was already inside her head. Seemed a little predatory.

Sorry for the long review, just wanted to get as specific as I could with the snags I encountered along the adventure of this story. I really liked it, you did an awesome job heightening the suspense throughout. You also left me really wanting to know what Tina's going to have to do to get rid of him, something tells me he's not going away on his own...


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of The Yellow Eyed  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
OK so yeah first off I totally should've read this before The Witches of Dogtown, now I feel kinda stupid for some of the questions I had about the second story because they would've been answered right there. Lesson learned- when the author references another story and says the one I'm reading is kind of a sequel of sorts I SHOULD READ THAT ONE FIRST! *RollEyes*

It was a kick ass way to start the series of unfortunate cases it looks like Moyer is gonna get stuck with! The yellow eyed are scary as hell and I thought the concept of a centuries old truce between the family and the creatures was super original. At least to me it is, maybe someone else has read something I haven't but it took my imagination to intriguing places. Made me think back to what that first encounter between them and the first lord who built the place must've been like... *shudder*

I feel like I know Moyer a little better obviously, and I like that he's vulnerable to his fear and not some stereotypical badass protagonist. He's brave, but not so much so that he seems one dimensional. The imagery of the castle and the grounds was cool. I could picture it as well as the aristocrats and the yellow eyed people who live there. The bad Shakespearian actor who forgot to change out of his costume reference made me laugh.

The only part I was a touch unclear on was how the situation between Moyer and Randall escalated so quickly. Randall's reaction to Moyer's inquiries about his brother's death, and his subsequent replies were dramatic enough to show you something weird was up, but I was only vaguely aware that Moyer was growing more and more suspicious that Randall had in fact killed him himself. I saw where you hinted at it by showing he noticed Randall's physiological signals, the shaking and all that, but I never actually heard him think to himself that he thought he probably had done it, so it hadn't occurred to me that's where his thought process was until he said it out loud. That whole descent into crazy town for Randall was creepy as s*** though, it definitely heightened the tension as they got closer to the orchard.

Thanks again for another creepy, gory read! Obviously you've got a gift for summoning nasty creatures *BigSmile*


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of The Twist  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
That flowy conversational style oscillating between first, second, and omniscient third person is awesome. I feel like it's tricky to work out the logistics of what that'll look like on paper and if it'll be clear to the reader what's going on, you totally nailed it. All that AND it was an expertly crafted joke with stellar timing. Thanks for making me laugh :)
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Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Cool story! I love a good witch story, especially when it's full of gore and entrails ;)
I re-read it a couple of times because I had this weird feeling like the feeling you get when you're left out of an inside joke or something, and I think I've narrowed it down. I appreciated the element of suspense around Moyer's past. The meeting eight years ago that changed his life makes me want to know more about what the hell happened, 'cause it sounds gnarly. Is this related to the yellow eyes story you referenced? Either way, totally looking forward to reading it. Anyways, I found myself wanting to know more about the ways his old job in London affected his nerves and personality. Does he smoke? Nervous tic? Irritable guy? I do get he was affected in not a nice way for sure but just curious to know more about him as a person, including a hint or two about the temperature of his relationship with his wife, although the touch at the end when she starts getting suspicious about his activities got me speculating. I also found myself wondering what he looks like, and what she looked like lying next to him in the bed (not in a pervy way, was just trying to see what he saw when he was leaving). Same for the rest of the characters and what the physical landscape looks like. I was wondering why he and Hickey were friends, did they have stuff in common? I didn't realize Goodenow was so young until Beatrice told him his Mama would cover for him. I dug that bit because it drove home the point that everyone keeps everyone else's secrets there.
So I'm realizing this review is stupid long, sorry about that. I'm sure you see what I'm laying down, more description of the characters, hints of the nature of the relationships between them, more detailed landscape description would be cool, stuff like that. You created a horrific world with your brain, there, I love it!

Cheers!
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Review of The right choice.  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
This story is rad! You had me hooked right at the beginning because I really wanted to find out what his choice was and why it was the right one, good strategy! (Assuming that was on purpose, I never think to write short stories with a plan of how it's going to draw someone in from the start) Also, you totally left me wanting to know about your angel of death's story of her own life and death. Thanks for the entertaining read!



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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