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211 Total Reviews Given
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51
51
Review of The Diagnosis  
Review by Ned
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi, my name is Ned and these are just my thoughts after reading your story "The Diagnosis. These are my personal opinions and I am not a professional editor so feel free to use or discard any suggestions. These are just my impressions of what I am reviewing.

TITLE: The title works because it relates directly to the plot but doesn't reveal the complex tale we are about to read. And, of course, it is the diagnosis that leads to the events that unfold.

PLOT: The plot appears deceptively simple - a man who has a terminal diagnosis hires a hitman to kill him so his family can have his insurance money and won't have to endure long months of watching him suffer. He works as an accountant and knows someone unsavory who can help him arrange it. He meets the hitman, but we later realize that we weren't privy to all the details of the arrangement. As the story progresses, we learn more about his life, the dynamics of his marriage and his sorrow over its breakdown. We start to feel sorry for him, even hope he won't go through with it, then we are hit with the twist - he's arranged for his wife to be killed, too. All that nobility of self-sacrifice vanishes in an instant as we learn of the true nature of the hitman's contract. Then, as if one twist weren't enough, we are treated to a final twist - information that, had it been known, would have cancelled all the events that preceded it.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: All of the characters are well-drawn and believable.

The main character, Duncan, appears at first to be a sympathetic and altruistic character, but, as in real life, people are often more complex and less eager to sacrifice for others. He uses the situation to seek revenge and not to save his family from emotional pain as he lets on. In fact, although he professes love for his daughter, he seems to give no thought as to how his actions will affect her. There are some very nice touches that make this character utterly believable, such as his attempts to distract himself with television and even the snippets of Wheel of Fortune that are included. He gets nervous, thinks about locking the door and so, locking out the hitman and calling it off.

The hitman also has us thinking that he's an honorable fellow. He seems to feel sorry for Duncan and offers that perhaps Duncan should think about it for a few more months before going through with it, that he might change his mind. This turns out to be prophetic, though we have no inkling at this point in the story. When it comes to the deed, however, the hitman is all ruthless efficiency and attention to detail, even when it means causing more pain to Duncan in performing his job so that the murder scene raises no questions. In this, he is still behaving honorably, according to his own code. He even carries out the wish of Duncan for his wife to know that he found out about her affair and it is Duncan who is having her killed in revenge.

The other minor characters are well-drawn with a good amount of detail (especially, the waitress) and ring true. We don't get to know the daughter too well, and this is a good decision since she is the true victim of Duncan's scheme, as she may well find the bodies and is left an orphan. Better not to think too much about her.

FAVORITE PART or LINE: Personally, I am a big fan of the "twist at the end" kind of story, the sort that Rod Serling would find worthy. This story provides not one, but two twists. Early on on the story, I suspected that it would turn out that he wasn't terminal and would find out too late, so that twist wasn't as surprising. But even I got suckered in by Duncan's nostalgia for the good days of his marriage and wanting to be close to his wife and never once saw the possibility of his arranging for her to be murdered, too. That was the twist that got me. Then, the news I expected didn't come until after both were killed, and only the hitman knew the truth.

READABILITY-GRAMMAR-PUNCTUATION:The word "the" seems out of place, maybe accidentally left after an edit? "Thinking it was some the stomach flu or an ulcer."


SUGGESTIONS: There was only one spot that made me stop in my reading flow. It is the word "remembered". As in: "...she looked towards the table near the window and remembered the office telephone" and "Remembering the cell phone in her purse" Two remembers and two telephones within a sentence or two of one another. It made me stop, to check I hadn't messed up and started reading the same part again.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: This is a suspenseful story, a true twisted tale that feeds us great details and builds the plot and reveals the characters bit by bit. The reader is never bored but eager to see what happens next.

The first time I read the ending, I wondered why the hitman played the messages - as it seems an unlikely thing for a hitman to do at the scene of the killing. I thought that the message should play so that only the reader knows it was all for nothing. But then, I realized that this is just one more brilliant stroke.

No one in this story gets out unscathed. Duncan is not killed quickly or painlessly as he requested, the wife is not getting away with her affair and pays for it, and the hitman who is all about the job but in an honorable way finds out at the end that the whole reason for hiring him turned out to be untrue. So perhaps, even the hitman walks away from this with some regret, if he has some conscience, perhaps this will bother it? That may just be my personal notion, but somewhat supported by the hitman suggesting Duncan wait. One assumes the hitman usually kills other criminals.

Overall, this is a well-written story with believable characters. It is filled with delicious detail that lends realism and provides some intriguing twists that make the ending as interesting as the beginning. I enjoyed reading The Diagnosis.





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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
52
52
Review of Forever  
Review by Ned
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi, my name is Ned and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


*CheckB* TITLE: The title of the poem echoes the last line. It is a statement of intent as well as a projection of time.

*CheckR* FORM: The poem is in free verse with no set metrical scheme

*CheckG* RHYTHM/RHYME: None

*CheckP* IMAGERY: There is some interesting imagery with surprising combinations of words and phrases in the author's attempt to explain the feelings of love and the efforts of the author to convey devotion. Example:"My heart has whispered your name"

*CheckR* FAVORITE LINE(S):
I have held your soul gently in my hands
Singing it softly

*CheckB* SUGGESTIONS: As the lines above suggest, I could definitely see this poem set to music. It reads like song lyrics in places. If the author is at all musical, it might be worth trying. For me, the last two stanzas feel a little weaker than those preceding - they use repetition and don't add anything new to the feelings expressed above them.

*CheckP* OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a heartfelt poem that expresses a "forever" devotion and love using poetic language.
The author promises to be there for all time and in all places, whenever needed. That and the line "Let go of my hand... and know I will always be there" could indicate that the object of the poet's affection is no longer in close proximity. This suggests lovers who are separated or a parent/child relationship. The poem does a good job of expressing deep love in a unique way.




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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of QUARANTINED  
Review by Ned
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, my name is Ned and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


*CheckB* TITLE: The title is a word so familiar to us in this age of Covid, it provides a hook to draw the reader in.

*CheckR* FORM: The poem is well-structured and written in quatrains.

*CheckG* RHYTHM/RHYME: The rhyme scheme is a/b/a/b throughout. The rhymes flow well and at times are used to enhance the comical nature of the poem.

*CheckP* Imagery: The poem uses descriptive language that paints the possible scenes for the birthday party that the author seeks to plan. I had no difficulty in visualizing these different party venues as they go through the author's mind.

*CheckR* FAVORITE LINE(S):
"Can I craft a birthday cake
Free of viral sin
Perhaps an icing flavored with
Hydroxychloroquine"


I think there ought to be a special prize for such a clever way of working the word "hydroxychloroquine" into the poem and double prize for such a clever rhyme. This is the most amusing part of the poem.

*CheckB* SUGGESTIONS: None

*CheckP* Overall Impression: This light-hearted poem is a delightful mix of comedy and current events. While there is much hardship and worry that crowd the headlines and the disruption of life can be stressful and depressing, this poem finds a little fun in the difficulty of planning a party while under lockdown A thoroughly enjoyable read.




** Image ID #1578663 Unavailable **



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Who Would You Be?  
Review by Ned
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, my name is Ned and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title is a challenge to the reader, and so requires an investment from the reader, involving the reader in the subject at hand.

Form: The poem uses quatrains with an a/a/b/b rhyme scheme, with groups of 8 quatrains ended with a couplet.

Rhythm/Rhyme: The rhythm is fairly consistent and the rhymes flow well for the most part.

Imagery: There are a few bits of figurative speech, such as "the wolf's in the fold" but the poem is more of a call to action than poetic exposition, so this is all that is required.

Favorite Line(s):
We are Americans: we don't bend the knee;
We may all die fighting, but at least we die free!


Suggestions: None. The poem is an expression of political opinion.

Overall Impression: The poem is a call to action, and is reminiscent of the types of political exhortations that were published in pamphlet form prior to the American Revolution. It has that same fervor and conviction and the sentiments and opinions are well expressed while aimed at eliciting a commitment from the reader.


** Image ID #1578663 Unavailable **



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
55
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Review of Two Parachutists  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, my name is Ned } and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title is our introduction to the poem, and the title here is succinct and lets the reader know the subject.

Form: The poem is structured into 4 line stanzas with a definite rhyme scheme.

Rhythm/Rhyme: The rhymes flow well, the rhythm is even and both add to the comedic tone of the poem.

Imagery: The imagery is vivid and imaginative.

Favorite Line(s):
Yet the two parachutes which remained in the street
were as limp as regret in the mid-summer heat.


An example of excellent imagery in the poem.

Suggestions: None, really. I just wish I knew what happened to them after that.

Overall Impression: This is a well-structured, imaginative and amusing poem. The prompt it was written to is not noted here, so I have to guess it had to do with parachutes, perhaps even "two parachutists". I liked the comedic story line of the poem and it was an enjoyable read.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Ned
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, my name is Ned and these are just my thoughts after reading your story {item:}. These are my personal opinions and I am not a professional editor so feel free to use or discard any suggestions. This is just my impressions of what I am reviewing.

Overall Impressions: An interesting use of the prompt to create an enjoyable story.

Plot: This is a flash fiction (fewer than 300 words). It's not easy to establish setting and roll out the plot with such limitations on length but the author accomplished that nicely. Good job.

Favorite Part or Line: With flash fiction, my favorite part is always the twist at the end. This story contains such a twist that gives the reader something unexpected.

Readability-Grammar-Punctuation: I didn't notice any problems in that area.

Suggestions: I don't really have any. It's my preference to have the plot twist come as close to the end of the piece as possible and I think this story accomplishes that.



*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Memories of Home  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi, my name is Ned } and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title here is fitting and lets us know this poem is about someone far from home in time or place.

Form: The structured quatrain form works well for this poem.

Rhythm/Rhyme: The rhythm is even and the rhymes flow without any effort on the part of the reader.

Imagery: The imagery is effective. The reader experiences the loneliness, the yearning to be with loved ones at the holidays competing with sense of duty and purpose.

Favorite Line(s):
He should be home; husband and Dad
are parts of life that are worthwhile.


Extremely important sentiment. Highlights the inner struggle between competing duties.


Overall Impression: An effective poem that tugs at the heartstrings for anyone missing family and highlighting the emotional toll that overseas deployments have on troops and families. It's also a Christmas poem, which makes the subject's loneliness even more relatable.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of Ode to the Editor  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, my name is Ned } and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title is our introduction to the poem, and the title immediately points us to the subject of the poem, one familiar to writers.


Rhythm/Rhyme: The rhymes flow well with the poem and the rhythm goes off just a bit on the ending two lines where they become much shorter. The question: is this on purpose?

Imagery: The imagery of the editor as one of a destructive force, slashing and burning is effective and will resonate with the writer/reader.

Favorite Line(s):
He strode through the jungle of wordage

This is something that both the writer, trying to proofread his own work, and the editor will relate to. A jungle of wordage is also something a reviewer might come across, or any reader for that matter. This line justifies the editor's existence.

Suggestions: It's not important, but "acres" was a vague image for me, more vague than if it said "pages" or "volumes" for instance, to keep the imagery focused on writing.

Overall Impression: This is an amusing poem that will resonate with writers. I personally feel that the much abbreviated last two lines got that way because of a merciless editor reducing them to the essential, so for me, this is a brilliant stroke. If it was not meant to be so, never tell me, I will be crushed.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of I Write This Down  
Review by Ned
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi, my name is Ned } and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title is our introduction to the poem, and the title here is repeated throughout the poem, telling us the "why" in each stanza.

Form: This is a well-structured poem with the main concepts introduced one at a time in each stanza.

Rhythm/Rhyme: What I like most about the rhymes in this poem is that they are perfectly natural with the flow, not standing out nor demanding to be exaggerated, so natural that one almost doesn't notice them, yet they still add to the music of the poem.

Imagery: The imagery is vivid

Favorite Line(s):

Nor of the kisses pressed between
The pages of my sleep,
That flake in fragrant whispers
That their drying petals keep.


Suggestions: None

Overall Impression: This is a wistful emotional poem that impacts the reader with its evocative imagery and expressive word choice. An enjoyable read.
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Review of Honing the Craft  
for entry "Week 3. May Flowers
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, my name is Ned } and this review is based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title is our introduction to the poem, and the title is perfect in the way it completes the last line. This gives us a sense of completeness. Leaving those two words off the last line lets the reader fill in the blanks and appreciate the clever use of a well-known phrase.

Form: The form is free verse and it works well for this poem.

Rhythm/Rhyme: There is no rhyme but the alliteration gives a certain rhythm that one can feel in reading aloud.

Imagery: Some of the imagery strikes a chord - daisies do dance or at least seem to as they bob their heads.

Favorite Line(s):
"A riot of red rimmed roses rise" which is a fine bit of alliteration and use of expressive language. It's almost too much alliteration but the near rhyme in the next line smooths and soothes while directing our gaze upwards.

Suggestions:I would have preferred that the poem took just one color, the one with the boldest imagery and really made us look and see it. The other lines involving color and the flowers associated with those colors are well written and expressive, but I want to hear more about the riot of roses, and the other flowers are much more tame such as the passive peonies.

Overall Impression: This was a different use of the prompt but one that painted a vivid picture and ended on a very clever note.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review of The Storm  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi, my name is Ned } and this review is just based on my personal impressions and opinions. Feel free to take what you think is useful, and ignore the rest. This is just my way of letting the author know how this reader reacted to the item being reviewed.


Title: The title is the introduction to the poem, and the title "The Storm" well describes what the reader is about to experience.


Form: The poem is in a free verse style which suits the unpredictability of the storm and allows the writer to emphasize the elements of the storm with word placement and line breaks, so this is a good choice for the subject matter.


Rhythm/Rhyme: This poem contains no rhymes as it is free verse. The rhythm and flow is a bit variable for me, if I read aloud. It is strongest in the beginning few lines and perfectly ebbs in the last few lines echoing the subsiding of the storm.


Imagery: The imagery definitely evokes the stages of a heavy storm in a way the reader can experience it.


Favorite Line(s):
Raindrops
pound heavily
like wet rags
slapping against flesh


These lines are truly evocative and make the reader "hear" the rain and set the tone for the poem. These lines contain the strongest imagery in the poem. I really liked these lines and the "sound" of them rings true for me.


Suggestions: The opening lines and the end of the poem felt the most effective to me. I didn't feel the imagery as strongly in the middle, although I was kept in the storm for the most part.

Overall Impression: The poem does a good job of capturing the sounds and energy of the storm.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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for entry "Week 3 - W/E 6/21/20
Review by Ned
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
I chose this poem to review because of the obvious contrast between form and subject matter. To use a lilting, musical form like the rondeau to write about vampires makes it all a bit more fun. It's a little like the gory rhymes we recite as children. Notwithstanding the comedic factor, the phrase "the beauty of blood" gives the poem atmosphere and allows us to see complexity in the vampire, perhaps even evokes sympathy and understanding.

My favorite line:
It's hard to explain to a priest
the beauty of blood.


Don't we all have habits or predilections we wouldn't want to try to explain to a moral authority? But it's this line that indicates that the vampire is not without conscience as he claims. His morality has not ceased, it is just that he is overwhelmed by "the beauty of blood". And yet, we cannot ignore that the priest finds beauty and redemption in blood from a different source, a willing sacrifice that the priest celebrates. The vampire, on the other hand, will never have redemption. Another contrast.

Fun use of the prompt and enjoyable to read.

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Review of Three words  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (4.0)
Such a tender little story. Coincidentally, I once wrote a love story that took place in a coffee shop. There are a lot of nice touches in the presentation of the characters. The reader likes them and hopes things will go well for them. The situation is believable and reminiscent of the settings of many a Hallmark Movie. The piece could benefit from a little cleaning up of spacing and grammar, but everything about it rings true. I know it's a short story, but it could be expanded into something longer.
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for entry "Neighbors
Review by Ned
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
This reminds me of the time my young nephew spotted the neighbor on her lawn. She had fallen from a ladder and broken her hip and was unable to move. It was only because this little boy spotted her and ran in the house yelling "Call 911" that she was found and got help. Like the story in your poem, it was the attention of neighbor that brought help and saved the day.

And now, even though you can only wave, you have communication. And a friendship that is now deeper due to the crisis.

The poem and the rhymes have a good flow. The repetition of the last line provides an anchor to the poem while the circumstances change in every stanza. It all works very well.
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Review by Ned
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
I really liked this story. We understand Tom, whose life is upended by the death of his wife and everything changes for him. We start to get comfortable in his new relationship with Helen and then we are hit with the surprise twist as Tom discovers that she is a serial murderer. But there is a sense that even though he won't be seeing Helen anymore and even though he narrowly escaped being her next victim, that she did him a world of good and hes not going to go back to being barely alive. That's my take anyway, and so this cautionary tale still has a happy ending - in a way.
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Review by Ned
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
All I can say is thank goodness I haven't got a muse. I like the twist, and the shift in the balance of power between them, the way they negotiate and the concept of all the muses going on strike. But I am pretty sure the work will go on without him, a muse is really just what the writer calls his imagination and you have no lack of imagination.
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Review of Promptly Poetry  
for entry "Waving to a Neighbour
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (5.0)
The dilemma of one who is unpracticed in social ease - what did that mean? was it meant for me? And the vast majority of society does not understand the absolute agony of the introvert, the one who is not anti-social so much as he is asocial, accustomed to his own invisibility yet suddenly put on the spot by an unexpected acknowledgment of his existence. Startled, unsure how to respond and when the decision to return the greeting is finally made, the moment has gone. All introverts will surely see themselves in this delightful poem.
The annoyance at the obligation to:
"o give a cheery wave,
or even say hello"

rings true even as the author weighs the options that could provide an alternate excuse for a wave or other type of greeting should the original gesture of friendliness turn out not to be directed at him.
Oh, how lucky are those people who never give a thought to what others think!
This poem does an able job of illustrating both the physical scene and the inner turmoil of the introvert with both honesty and humor. An enjoyable read!
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Review of Needles  
Review by Ned
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
It's always tough to get along with schoolmates, but this was Mean Girls on steroids! Nice twist to surprise and horrify the reader who thought he knew where this was going. Great job!
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Review by Ned
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Safe spaces aren't so safe after all, and truth is little valued. Rebel poetry indeed. I suppose all societies break down and rights disappear over time. This time, it seems to be the whole world.
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Review of The Visit  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (5.0)
So sad, and yet, not sad. A lovely telling of the relationship between grandparent and grandchild. Having worked with older adults for many years, I know that the contact and relationships are the most important things. This leaves us with a "What if" and yet we know that it all happened just as it was meant to be. A last act of giving that brought joy is not bad way to end a life or a poem.

Thank you for sharing this.
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Review by Ned
Rated: E | (4.0)
I could relate to this piece, having been a caregiver for a grandparent in my teen years, and then later in life, watched my father's agile mind deteriorate until the confusion robbed him of any autonomy and dignity. You tell a story familiar to many with compassion and honesty.

Minor suggestions for improvement would be to fix the typo from "quite" to "quiet":
"If we're very quite they'll pass by and not notice us."


Inserting some space between the paragraphs that follow gives the reader's eyes a little ease.

A moving story that lets us experience the emotional impact of the situation. Well done.
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Review of A Summer Plea  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (5.0)
I really felt the summer heat on my feet as I read this descriptive piece, in fact, I nearly sent you some flip-flops. A lot of atmosphere conveyed in those tightly controlled syllables. Nice response to the prompt, well done and congrats on the win.
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Review by Ned
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is an effective use of the second person POV, something that is difficult to pull off. Because the reader is addressed directly, the reader is forced to be the main character and to "experience" the action in the story. For this short story, it works very well.

The piece is well-titled as the story takes the character from experience to experience, finally settling her in a place that is neither heaven nor hell, but much like reality, it has both in it.

A few suggestions you are free to ignore as this is just my opinion:

In the second paragraph the word "gives" appears a few too many times.
He gives you the warmest of hugs and the sweetest cuddles. He whispers promises that could make you swoon. He gives you forehead kisses like he was the knight protecting you from bad dreams. He gives you affectionate pats and meaningful advice. He cooks you food and gives you drinks
Perhaps you could replace "gives" with another verb in one or two places, such as - "he wraps you in the warmest of hugs" or "he cooks you food and mixes your drinks" or some other descriptive verbs you prefer.

Due to your insistence of drinking sleeping pills just to reach a slumber, I feel like there's a verb missing. I would change it to "insistence on drinking and taking sleeping pills" or "due to your insistence on consuming both alcohol and sleeping pills" or something similar.

He was the type to wait no matter how long it would take for you to warm up to him because you got all e I don't like "got". I think because you "have" or even "had" all eternity sounds better.

Again, these are just suggestions that I think would make this good piece just a little easier to read for your audience. The ideas behind this piece are imaginative and well-expressed. I enjoyed reading it and it gives me much to think about. I wonder if the character has finally reached that in-between state through pills and drink, ending up in a permanent state of sleep, or coma? I may be wrong, but it feels that way to me.

Keep writing more like this excellent piece.



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Review of Brother Mine  
Review by Ned
Rated: E | (4.0)
A very touching poem with a lot of emotional impact. The questions that haunt those left behind when a loved one commits suicide, they are never answered. A brave poem that lays it all bare for the reader to see.
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Review by Ned
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
This is an honest, moving story that, although it deals with a somber subject, leaves the reader with a smile. A realistic, but gentle treatment of an experience we all face eventually and the very human ability to both smile and cry through it.
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