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Printed from http://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/purplesunday
Review Requests: OFF
1,018 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I tend to write in depth reviews, discussing all aspects I feel need addressing. I am always positive and encouraging, but I'm also honest. If I feel something needs looking at, I will mention it.
I'm good at...
I'm a grammar and punctuation fiend. It is always one of the first things that strikes me about a piece of writing. I'm also good at offering suggestions to back up any comments I make. I'm always happy to re-review once changes have been made.
Favorite Genres
Dark or emotional poetry. The same goes for short stories; I like writing that makes me feel something. I love to read mysteries, thrillers, romance. I'll give anything a go, though.
Least Favorite Genres
Steampunk, sci-if.
Favorite Item Types
Emotional or dark poetry. Heart warming short stories.
Least Favorite Item Types
Chapters from the middle of books.
Public Reviews
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1
Review of The Snitch Train  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi ♥HOOves♥

I've just finished reading your short story, "The Snitch Train, and I'd like to offer the following comments. This review is part of "MHWA Monthly Mental Health Challenge

My first impressions: I was intrigued by your title. After reading the story, I have to say, it's a great choice. It details exactly what the story is about. The 'magical' snitch train that holds all kinds of treasures for those who board it. As I first read through, I found myself feeling really sad. When the true identity of the train became apparent, I went cold. It's horrific.

Plot: I'm not sure whether the narrator is in a concentration camp or some kind of slave labour camp during World War II. Either way, they are incarcerated and have no freedom. There is a train that comes to take inmates away to, "an exciting outdoor camp." In this wonderful camp, they will be able to spend time with others like them. There will be, " great food, exercise and plenty of time in the open air, away from the city." It's horrific because we all know these trains really existed, and they really did promise all kinds of opportunity and freedom for the poor souls they took to their death. The way you describe it kind of reminds me of the way we tell young children their puppy has "gone to stay on a farm" when really they have died. The same innocence is reflected here. I'm not sure whether, in this case, the train is taking them to be executed, or to work as slaves because you say, "Of course, the first to go would be the stand-outs, the all-stars, the favourites." I don't know whether these people would have been seen as presenting danger, and so killed first, or whether they would have been utilised as labour. The part I don't know a lot about is the snitching aspect. Were prisoners really asked to snitch on other prisoners, and then executed themselves because they were untrustworthy? I imagine that is true.

What I really liked: The story is shrouded in darkness. I love the way your narrator starts to keep their own list, even though they are not snitches. Their list, however, contains the names of those who wronged them. When you mention Nuremberg, I imagine this person's list is saved for the Nuremberg Trials. I imagine it being used to get justice.

There are lots of lines that stand out in this story. But these two are the ones that really made the hairs stand up on my arms: "Bullies kill other people in their minds, sometimes." Wow. That is so true. Not just for this story, but in general. I love this. Also, "Control has a way of shifting over time, more like a pendulum than anything." I love this. Karma, is the word that comes to mind.

Final thoughts: This is a thought-provoking story that is horrific in the way it's both brutal and true. Every word is underlined with evil and darkness. It's so well written, and such a unique idea for a story. I really like it, Hooves. It's a great story.

Keep writing!

Choconut


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Review of As he walks away  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Caerlynn

Congratulations on your Open House!

I've just finished reading your short story, "As he walks away, and I'd like to offer the following comments.

Please remember any advice given is done so with the sole intention of being helpful.

My first impressions: Oh my word, I love this story! I wasn't sure what to expect as I don't have much experience of reading western genre stories, but this one is excellent. Jess's narrative is captivating. She carries us through the story, and builds up so much empathy for her. It's beautifully written.

Plot: This is the story of a family torn apart by the loss of a child. I'm not entirely sure where it's set, but that doesn't matter because the scene is set really well. I picture the dusty ground and shelter of a big tree. Memories of western movies, watched with my dad, came to mind as I read.

The most important part of this story is the relationship between Dan and Jess. They lost their little boy when he fell off his horse, which sent Dan into a spiral of self-blame and resentment for everyone who reminds him (namely, his wife) of his son. He runs their farm into the ground, then announces they will leave for the San Francisco gold rush. Jess is heartbroken. Her boy is buried on their farm. We learn, through Jess's thoughts, how Dan has become a shell of himself. He drinks too much whiskey and doesn't help Jess with her work. He's nasty and thoughtless and doesn't acknowledge how much pain Jess is in. Big mistake!

What I really liked: I love the end! "She lifted the rifle to her shoulder and aimed it at his back. As he walked into the scrub, her face lit up. For the first time in a long time, she smiled a little smile." This came as a surprise, and it put a great, big smile on my face. I love a good twist at the end of a story, and this one works so well.

I also love the way you paint this couple's relationship. It's all told through memories and inner thoughts, but it's so moving. I really feel for the couple. I think, Dan is probably reacting as a lot of men would react (especially at the time the story was set). It's really sad, how this tragedy has driven a hole between them. Really nicely done.

Readability/Grammar/Punctuation: I spotted this typo: "Dan jump and pointed the mouth of the bottle at her." It should be jumped.

Final thoughts: This is a really enjoyable read. You created a great voice in Jess. She tells a beautiful story. And the twist at the end is fantastic!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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Review of Taking Criticism  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Dear amy-Very Very Busy

This review is in affiliation with "WDC Power Reviewers Group.

I have read your piece, "Taking Criticism, as requested, and I'd like to offer the following comments.

*StarV* The first thing to say is how much I like the advice you offer here. Although it is about how you receive criticism of your writing, it actually feels like a really supportive piece. I love that you point out when criticism stops being constructive, and when you should stop putting up with people who have bad intentions.

*Starv* At the same time, you point out how helpful good criticism is. I love that you suggest your readers try to make changes offered, as an experiment, because sometimes they make a huge difference. It's important that people new to writing groups understand that. I think this article will help them to put their reviews into perspective and not take them personally.

*Starv* These are a few things I think need attention. This line is not worded brilliantly: "The point is not to try not get criticism but how you respond to it." I would simplify it to something like, "The trick is to use that criticism to learn how to become a better writer."

"So, when i created my account." You need to capitalise the I.

"I just uploaded my first piece." I would take out just. I don't think it's necessary.

"Some reader's give bad reviews." You need to take out the apostrophe.

"Take criticism in stride." I think it should be, "in your stride." Unless, it's a language difference kind of thing.

That's it. I love this article, Amy. It's so informative and something all new writers should read. So much can be learned from good, constructive reviews. The difficult part is learning not to take them personally. This article is so supportive. It's a great piece to share on your FB group.

Rachel



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4
4
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Jellyfish

I am happy to be reviewing you on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group [E]. This is your last review as part of Intuey*BeginningAgain*'s raffle.

My first thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this story. I love how you build the sexual tension throughout, and by the end, the reader is rooting for Cleo and Santi to get it on. I'm so happy they did!

Plot: This is the tale of two actors—Cleo and Santi— who are taking part in a play together. They have a sizzling sexual chemistry, and you lay this bare, for the reader to see throughout every line of the story. The only problem is Cleo is pushing forty, but Santi is mid-twenties. I must admit, I wasn't sure why this was a problem, so I was happy when Santi said he didn't care. I love how you throw in the couple of chorus girls who hang around Santi, hoping for any scraps he might throw them. It gives the reader cause for doubt. We wonder whether Santi might sleep with one (or both) of them and blow Cleo off. But he didn't.

Characters: Cleo is a great character. Her insecurities about her age made me think of lots of possible outcomes for this story. The way you had Santi almost die on stage at the beginning (with lots of fake blood over him) made me think maybe Cleo would kill him in a jealous rage. I'm glad you showed Santi to be a good guy, though. Despite the temptations of the girls who sipped "their alcopops out of straws," he wanted to be with Cleo. I like him.

Grammar: I spotted a couple of issues (I appreciate you wrote this a couple of years ago, so it may well be you have already fixed these things). When you write a piece of dialogue and put a speech tag after it, don't capitalise the first letter of that tag. So, for example, "'“Five minute call, Cleo,' He said." It should be he. Don't forget, always use commas either side of names. ("Jesus Cleo, you PLAY my Aunt.") This one is more specific. You missed a comma after the second drink. "I could match him, drink for drink and I always liked those nights."

This part confused me: "I don’t know whether Ashleigh appreciated the innuendo although a look from him suggested that he had understood." I had to read this a few times, and I'm still not entirely sure I understand. Ashleigh is a girl, so if you're saying Ashleigh understood the look, it's a typo to say he. Or, do you mean Santi understood the look? In which case, I would rewrite this line to give more clarity.

What I liked: I love the story. I love your characters. They are beautifully written, and I liked them both very much. I love the ending. It's everything I hoped for. Specifically, I love this description, when Santi first kisses Cleo: "When he pulled away I felt like he had taken all my breath with him." That's lovely. So relatable. There's something innocent and fresh about it, and I found that really appealing.

Suggestions: I have one suggestion. Watch your was words. You have used quite a few of them, and it gives the narrative a passive voice. Try to find stronger, more descriptive verbs. So, for example, this line could be changed: "He was standing closer to me than was necessary - it was almost winter and the beer garden was not full, but I did not step back." Something like, "Outside, Santi stood so close I could feel his body heat. Despite the frost nipping at my nose and ears, my core radiated warmth." Obviously, in your own words, as mine are not the best.

I really enjoyed reading this. It's a great story with characters who stand out. A great read!

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut



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5
5
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Jellyfish

I am reviewing this on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group. This is your second review as part of Intuey*BeginningAgain*'s raffle.

Please remember these views are purely my own and everyone has different opinions.

First Impressions: Wow. This poem is so emotive. The title, which serves as your first line, says everything. "Do not send them to war." I love how this flows through the whole poem, as the first line of each verse, because it is the important message you wish to convey. And it works. I can relate to the sense of unease and sadness at the wars we continually find ourselves in. Based on a bunch of lies, a lot of them. So I found this poem very powerful.

Voice/Tone: The voice is your own. It's clear that you are expressing your own opinions here. The tone of the poem is one of exasperation, in a way. You sound perplexed as to why we keep sending our troops to other countries. At the same time, you are angry and seem to be seeing the situation a lot more clearly and evenly than our politicians.

Mechanics: There are five quatrains, all with an abcb rhyme scheme. This works really well to make the poem flow without hitch. It gives the poem a wonderful, natural rhythm. There are no bumps in it, which I love.

My Favourite Part: These lines are particularly poignant: "The terror on an endless loop. / This game's been played too many times." That is spot on. The terror to which you refer, I think, is partly the acts of terrorism which supposedly make war necessary. But, more than that, it's the terror that the media and our politicians hold over us; the citizens. We are constantly told how much danger we are in and that we should be afraid of everyone who looks different to us. That is the true terror.

This poem is powerful and well thought-out. I love how you have remained respectful of our troops, whose bravery is incredible. It's the politicians who are at fault. Politicians and media, I think. I love this poem, Jenny. Really love it.

Keep writing!

Choconut


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Review of Dark Horse  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi Jellyfish

I am reviewing this on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group. This is the first of your reviews from Intuey*BeginningAgain* 's Raffle.

Please remember these views are purely my own and everyone has different opinions.

First Impressions: My very first thought: I love this! As soon as I read it in "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest, I was sold. I knew I had to review it and I knew it would do well in the contest *Wink*. This poem is one I can relate to a lot. I love how your depression is a dark horse, rather than a dog. This is a great way to show how huge and powerful it is. I also find it interesting how you sound almost fond of your dark horse. It's like your friend as well as your foe, and I think most people who have suffered for any amount of time will know how true this is.

Voice/Tone: The tone is not as dark as it might have been. But that's not a bad thing. If we didn't know it was about depression, it would be easy to take it on the face value as a poem about a girl and her friend. But, of course, we do know it's about depression. Which gives it an air of sadness. The end, where you say, "He dreams of a way out," is interesting. I think you are saying that even your depression can't stand the depth of your illness sometimes.

Mechanics: This poem is free verse, but there are end-of-line rhymes which help to give it a wonderful rhythm. It reads really smoothly.

My Favourite Part: These two lines, I find really emotional: "He walks with an unassuming gait, / His hooves heavy with his weight." This actually brought a lump to my throat.

Suggestions: This isn't a suggestion so much as a question. I love the whole poem, but these three lines confuse me a little: "As I dream of wicked things, / Cold beneath the sheets / I do not doubt," I wonder what the wicked things you refer to are? Are they nightmares? Also, who is "beneath the sheets"? Is it you or the horse? Or both of you? Are you cold because your depression makes you feel things less? Or, am I reading way too much into this?

I really enjoyed reading this poem, Jenny. You have written it beautifully. I found it really relatable, and very poignant. It's a really great poem.

Keep writing!

Choconut


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7
7
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi amy-Very Very Busy

This review is in affiliation with "WDC Power Reviewers Group.

I am reviewing this article, as per your recent request. I hope it is helpful to you.

*Starv* The first question I have is about Wix.com. I appreciate the people reading your website will likely have already heard off Wix. But, I haven't, and I don't really feel like I know what they do from this article. It would be good to have a little more detail of their services and which parts of their packages you find particularly helpful. For example, you say, "Their free package makes it possible for me to add all sorts of apps that do not change the status of my package." These are very general terms, and don't really give me much information. Again, it may well be that your readers know exactly what you are talking about, and the problem is in my lack of knowledge. Could you maybe write a review of their website and packages for your own site? I don't know how long you want this newsletter to be?

*StarV* A few grammar errors: "When I began my business I decided that I never wanted my business costs to effect my clients . . . " A couple of things here. Firstly, I wouldn't use the word business twice this close together. The second time, I would just say, "the costs." We know already you are referring to your business's costs. Also, with this line, effect should be affect.

The following line, you write, "my clients fees low." There should be an apostrophe at the end of clients.

"articles that my visitors can download and many other things." You missed out the Oxford comma after download.

You have put an apostrophe instead of a comma after Yours.

I hope this is all helpful. It's actually made me interested to look at Wix.com and see what they have to offer. I've just started blogging and a website is next on my list.

Rachel





*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
8
8
Review of The Row  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi Robert Hayes

I am reviewing this on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group

Please remember these views are purely my own and that any advice given is done so with the sole intention of being helpful.

First Impressions: I was intrigued by your title and brief description. I don't think I've read any other poem quite like this one. It's a narrative from the point of view of a prisoner on death row, and it's a great reflection on life on The Row. I love how you make the prisoner human. He isn't some kind of monster. He's simply a person who made a terrible mistake. (I don't know what he actually did, so it is possible he really is a monster, but he seems normal.)

I love how you take us from the beginning of his sentence, through to his last meal before the execution. When you mention the straps on the gurney, I went cold. That image of someone lying there, being strapped down so they can have their life taken away makes me shudder. I appreciate some crimes are so heinous they deserve this, but it's still a horrible image.

Voice/Tone: The tone of the poem is one of regret and resignation. The prisoner isn't blaming anyone other than himself. He accepts his fate. It's like he has no fight left in him by the end. I love that his very last thought is, "Please forgive me." The image of him eating his last meal, knowing it is his last night on earth, is chilling. But he's so calm. I also think the part where you mention another prisoner being executed is is really nice. That prisoner's mother watches the execution, and you write, "Heartbroken and worn, she quickly departs / The shame that she feels, rips her apart." This is a great reflection on how it's not just the criminal who suffers because of this. Another mother has lost her child forever.

I have a question. These lines confused me a little: "The chamber and I, we have history / It claimed my father, my mother to." Do you mean literally, or in the sense that his parents are losing their child, too?

Mechanics: This poem has an aabbcc, et. rhyme scheme throughout. This is a great way to have the poem move along at a fast pace. It feels like it kind of mirrors how quickly the twenty years on death row have passed.

Rhythm: The rhythm, in general, works well, and this is largely due to the rhyme scheme. There are a couple of places where the meter was slightly different, and this made me go back over the lines again. For example, these lines seem to have too many syllables, or perhaps the stresses are in different places: "The silence is piercing, yet another goodbye / To the chamber, he goes, he tries not to cry."

My Favourite Part: I love the theme. I love the sympathy with which you write the prisoner's character. I love the part with the other prisoner's mother. That's so moving. I love these lines: "Slowly I walk, four guards by my side / My final destination comes into sight." It's hard to imagine how that must feel, but it makes me feel uneasy. It's so well written.

Suggestions: I have a few punctuation/spelling suggestions. Your to/too usage is a bit mixed up. "It claimed my father, my mother to." It should be too. "Too all that I've wronged," should be to. In this line, I would put a semi colon after guilty: "Guilty the verdict they just read." The only other thing is you missed out the period at the very end.

This is a great poem. So different to those I normally read, and really thought-provoking. I love your writing style. It appeals to me very much. You are one to watch!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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9
9
Review of The Gold Rush  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (5.0)
Hi Jeff

I am happy to be reviewing you on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group [E].

My first thoughts: I was intrigued by your title and brief description. As I first read through, I could imagine this meeting really taking place. The first thing I noticed, though, was the fantastic opening line. "The President and Prime Minister stood side by side in the hotel suite, looking out over the gray waters of the Zambezi River." Perfect is the best word to describe this line. It gives a wonderful picture to the reader of the two, suited politicians and the poor environment in which they are meeting. As I continued reading, I was intrigued by the First Secretary, who seemed to be the mastermind behind the whole lie. This story pulled me right inside it. I was staring at at the gray waters of the Zambezi with them. And I stayed right there until the end.

Plot: This is one scene. Set in Mozambique, the First Secretary of the Tete Province has called a meeting with the President and Prime Minister. The reason: she has set in motion a Gold Rush to mirror the California Gold Rush of the 1840s/50s. Her plan is that, like the California Gold Rush, it will draw hundreds of thousands of prospectors to the area, thus, forcing increased and better infrastructure. It matters not that there is no gold there. All they need to do is perpetuate a few stories of people who have struck rich, and people will flood the area. A clever idea, and one which the two big politicians agree to. What I am unsure about is whether the First Secretary is doing this for the good of the area.

Characters: The First Secretary is the really interesting character here. I suspect she isn't making these changes purely to do good and to improve the area. Any improvements that happen, she will happily take all the glory for. I think she is also rather keen to have a few more pennies in her own purse. I love how she is so confident of her plan that she has already put it into place before she meets the president and prime minister. I think she is a persuasive woman who knows exactly what weaknesses others have, and she works with that. I imagine she always gets what she wants.

What I liked: I love this line: "'Gold.' The First Secretary’s eyes glittered as she mentioned the precious metal." This is a clever way of highlighting how much she wants to get rich from this. I love it. I also love all of your descriptive writing. You set a great scene. This description stood out to me: "a line of vehicles snaked from the security checkpoint on the main road all the way back to where visibility disappeared around a bend more than a mile back." It's such a great visual. It's so easy to get lost in your story.

Suggestions: I spotted one typo: "Once a few fortune early settlers struck gold and made a fortune . . . " It should be fortunate.

This is a fantastic story about how politicians plot and lie and deceive their people in order to get get more money and notoriety for themselves. Although it's set in Africa, I'm sure it could be set anywhere. Politicians, in general, have this mindset. It's a really great story, Jeff. I loved it.

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut



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10
10
Review of The Dream  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi Jace

I am happy to be reviewing you on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group [E].

My first thoughts: This is a great story. As I first read through, it had me changing my mind about what was happening constantly. I love reading stories like this; they keep me on my toes. I can't assume anything because it's sure to turn out wrong.

Plot: The first thing I have to say is I've read this through a couple of times, and I'm still not entirely sure whether this scene really takes place, or whether it is your main character's imagination or dreams. Taking it on the surface, though, it's about two people who have met online. One of them has travelled to meet the other as a surprise. When they get to her home, they watch her through the window, then climb in through the window. After creepily watching her and kissing her as she sleeps, they sit back and fall asleep, themselves. When she awakes, they kiss and talk and hold each other all through the day. Is it real? I don't know.

At the beginning of the story, I thought they were already lovers, and the main character was coming home from a trip. Then, he seemed very creepy and stalker-like. The way he touched and kissed his online friend while she slept was not normal. But then, when she awoke, his friend was happy to see him. I thought she would be freaked out to find a man she's never actually met before sleeping in her wing back. I would have been. Instead, there is a happy ending. A rather touching ending.

Which makes me wonder, again, whether this is real. When he is tasting the strawberries on her lips, he says, "A small smile grew as thoughts of a little 'evil' me on one shoulder and an 'angel' me on the other came to mind." It reads as though the angel wins. But I wonder whether that's not the case. I wonder if he does something bad to Raye, but has this delusional scene play out in his head of how he imagined it would be. I also wondered whether the whole relationship with her wasn't real. But maybe I'm thinking too much into this.

Characters: The main character is fantastic! He is so creepy. I love the way he acts like his behaviour is perfectly normal. Sure, he can break into the apartment of a woman he's never met. Wouldn't we all, if we had the chance? We don't learn a lot about the character of Raye. The way she is draped over the love seat, and the way she is happy to see Jason, makes her seem kind of fragile and lonely. She is intriguing.

What I liked: I loved the mystery. I loved the way I had no idea where the story would go. The unpredictability and (I think) instability of Jason kept me hooked the whole way through. This line is great: "Ah, the perils of the surprise--so often it is the surprise-er who is surprised." That's clever, and so true.

Suggestions: Just one tiny point. "I laid awake for hours." I would say it should be lay.

This is an enjoyable story that kept me guessing right through it. And I'm still not sure what really happened. I think I'll be thinking about this for a little while. Great job!

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut



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11
11
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)
Hi <Leger>

I am happy to be reviewing you on behalf of "WDC Power Reviewers Group [E].

My first thoughts: I love your title. It's a great hook into your story. Your brief description also intrigued me. As my husband has Irish descendants, I was interested to read where this story would go. My hubby actually has a couple of shillelaghs! As I first read through this story, I found myself with a smile on my face the whole time. I love your humour. It really appeals to me.

Plot: This is a story with a moral at the end of it: Do not take what isn't yours. It's a tale of how a few good manners go a long way. A leprechaun walks into a bar . . . he has with him a shillelagh; a magical, wooden stick. The shillelagh is his, and that is important. A greedy man, who is known for not paying his bar tabs, comes in next and instantly gets the leprechaun to buy him a drink. He then takes the shillelagh, even though he has been told not to. The shillelagh takes on a life of its own and cracks the greedy man on the head, before going back to the leprechaun. The whole scene with Rusty being smacked on his head is so funny. I could picture him, hopping from foot to foot, shouting, and the stick hitting him over and over. At the end of the story, I don't think Rusty has learned his lesson.

Characters: I love the leprechaun. He is very laid back and cool. He tells Rusty not to take the shillelagh, but doesn't physically try to stop him. I love this description of him when he first arrives: "He was a tall leprechaun as far as leprechauns go, not as short as the cobbler-type, but a taller type like one who goes about the business of teaching the jig." I love that! I could hear it being said in an Irish accent, as well.

Miche, the bar tender, seems a little depressed, or maybe, fed up with his life. I love how he is in on the conspiracy with the leprechaun. I think he's probably seen this happen many times before.

Rusty is a well-written character. He enters the scene and the readers instantly dislike him. He is greedy, selfish, and probably tries to con people quite a lot.

What I liked: I love how much this made me laugh. I love the Irish (Gaelic?) words. They add to the overall Irish-ness of the story. I really could hear an Irish voice narrating it, and it's such a lovely accent. This line is a fantastic description: "Rusty laughed a great belly laugh loosened by the ale." Brilliant.

I really enjoyed reading this story. It's funny, original, and has a great philosophy at its heart. Great job!

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut



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12
12
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
Hi Pesky Amanda ~ Quill Nominee

I've just finished reading your short story, "Under the Mistletoe, and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: I wanted to read something festive today, and I spotted this in the read and review section, and I thought it looked good. I was right. As I first read through, I chuckled, then cringed, then chuckled the whole way through. It's so funny. At the same time, I'm sure there are countless people who can relate to this situation, whether at Christmas or other times.

Plot: This is the story of Janelle and Kevin. Janelle's parents have been harassing her for years because she is still single. Every Christmas, they want her to bring home a boyfriend, to make her life complete. It really annoys Janelle, and I totally get where she is coming from. When I was a single woman in my thirties, my whole family acted like this. Every year. So, I think Janelle's choice of date (Kevin) was inspired! He has one glass of eggnog, and loses touch with all social decorum. I love his blessing of the food! I laughed out loud when I read that (so much that my hubby asked what on earth I was reading!). "'Thank you, God for ham and gifts, and not having to sleep outside, cold and naked. Amen.'” I'm thankful for that, too.

Things go from bad to worse when Kevin sticks his finger in the mashed potato, licks it, then sticks it back in. They really should have stopped serving him eggnog. Kevin morphs into a crude, uninhibited, rude, singing version of himself. I have to wonder why Janelle never realised he was like this before. Had she never seen him drunk? Or is it just an eggnog thing? The mistletoe incident is intriguing. I would love to know what happened there.

What I really liked: The humour! The thing is, I think most of us can relate to this, to a certain extent. It read kind of like a car crash, where you have to keep watching, even though it makes you feel uncomfortable. In this case, it wasn't so much that I felt uncomfortable; more that I kept cringing at Kevin's actions. I do think he was a good way to get her parents to give up on the boyfriend-nagging. I wonder if she planned it all that way.

Readability/Grammar/Punctuation: I spotted a couple of typos: "'Amen,' Janelle’s mother announce as everyone else stared at Kevin." It should be announced. Also, " . . . that was the last time Janelle’s parents pestered her about bring home a boyfriend for the holidays" It should be bringing. Also, you missed out the period at the end of this sentence.

Final thoughts: This is a really enjoyable, festive story. You had me laughing a lot as I read this. A lot. Kevin's character is so well written. He's so awful. And I have sneaking suspicion Janelle knew exactly what she was doing, in taking Kevin home for Christmas. Great story!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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13
13
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 13+ | (4.5)
Hi Sophy

I've just finished reading your short story, "Chili By Candlelight, and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: The first thing I have to say is what a fab job you did with including all of those quotes. Some of them are really obscure, but you slotted them in and they felt completely natural—even the broomstick quote! This is a really enjoyable story that is packed with lots of laughs and some lovely moments also. As I first read through, I had a smile on my face the entire time. I loved it.

Plot: Ray and Laura settle down for their evening meal with a bowl of chilli. Our first glimpse of Laura shows her as being moody, snappy, and nasty to Ray. I have to admit I didn't like her. However, we learn pretty quickly there was a good reason for her mood. Ray, when we first meet him, comes across as the joker of the family; the one who can't stand tense, serious situations, so always tries to turn everything into a joke. This would really annoy me. But, Ray grows on me, as well as Laura. He shows his more serious, grown up side, and I like it.

Laura has news for Ray. She is pregnant, and it's completely unplanned and unexpected. She tells Ray, and his response is dreadful. Falling back on his joke-making tactics, he says, "Is it mine?" I thought Laura was going to thump him. Is there any worse response he could have made? Shortly after this faux-pas, there is a huge bang, and the couple dive under the table for safety. Ray covers Laura, protecting his wife and unborn child. This is where Ray became more likeable to me. I had forgotten that they were eating chilli and that your brief description said they were having explosive evening, so it came as a surprise. I wondered what or who it could be. When it turned out to be exploding chilli, I really laughed.

What I really liked: I love the part at the end when Ray tells Laura it will be okay. He becomes the protective, loving partner she needed in that moment. It is really nicely written. I also loved the numerous laughs that fill this story. The chilli on the walls is a great visual. This line is really funny: "'MVKSL KJSEW KLLHWE KJSDJWER!' shouted Laura, her voice muffled by Ray’s sweater sleeve, which had found itself half-way down her throat." So funny.

Readability/Grammar/Punctuation: I couldn't understand this line. "He sat down on his side of the table, and took a long drink of his beer. '... shut down by his wife, and he did drank,' he mused to himself." I'm not sure what you are saying here.

Final thoughts: This is a thoroughly enjoyable story. Your humour is brilliant, and I can honestly say I've never read another story about exploding chilli! Great job!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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14
14
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi iKïyå§ama - Thanks Everyone

I've just finished reading your short story, "Death's Temptation, and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: This story hooked me in the very first line, where you say that Death comes in the form of a teenage boy. Right off, I was intrigued by this, and I had to read on. As I continued reading, I loved how you keep the reader guessing as to what is really happening. It's gripping, and I got lost on that ledge with your character.

Plot: This is the story of a woman who (we think) is standing on a ledge, contemplating ending her life. Enter: Death. A cheeky, mocking, slightly smelly, vampiric boy, with a creepy Cheshire Cat grin. I love the description of his teeth: "His teeth, so white against the black, seem to grow longer with feral intensity." The danger in the scene is palpable. The danger in him keeps the reader hooked. We don't know how the story will end. Will Samantha survive, or will he drag her off the ledge or persuade her to jump? I found myself holding my breath as Death and Samantha carried out their dance of courtship. It all feels inevitable, like she can't resist him. I thought she had given in and jumped with him in the paragraph that begins, "My clothes flutter in the wind like gossamer wings and fall to the earth below."

At the end, we learn that this was all a dream. However, it's not your usual character-wakes-up-it's- all-a-dream kind of story. In fact, when she wakes, it becomes eve more intriguing. It appears she is on active duty in a war. This is why she feels guilty, I think. The people she's killed, whether purposely or by accident, are haunting her. What is really interesting is how the companion in her tent is Death from her dreams. I wonder if he is the ghost of someone she killed, or maybe it's like she has PTSD. It's no wonder she feels that Death is all around her, when she is in the middle of a war zone. I'm sure many soldiers feel this way. In fact, if they don't feel it a little, I'm not sure they would be great soldiers.

What I really liked: I love the whole relationship between Samantha and Death. The suspense is so well defined. You've nailed it. I really like the double twist at the end, where she was dreaming, but the lad she is now with was also Death. Very clever ending.

Final thoughts: This is a really well written story, and you had me absorbed in it the whole way through. I felt for Samantha's character, and I understood the temptation of Death. A really great story.

Keep writing!

Choconut


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15
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Review of "Sleep"  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
Hi Angus

I've just finished reading your short story, ""Sleep", and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: I haven't reviewed anything of yours for a while now, so I thought it was time to have a look. The title of this story intrigued me. I'm so glad I chose it. As always, your story is a funny, twisty, horrific story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat the whole way through. As always, I loved it. The thing that really appeals to me about your writing is how, when you read it, you never know where you will take the story. And just when you think you have it figured out, it twists into something different. It's a great way of keeping us hooked. It works every time.

Plot: This is the story of Darren; a self absorbed, little man who has just murdered his wife (or has he? I'm not actually sure). He is driving with her body in the trunk of his car. He has stuffed her corpse into a "Hefty bag." I love the way you tricked me at the start of this story. By showing the man as turning off the sad country song on the radio, I assumed the man's wife had cheated on him and he was leaving her. Then, you write, "The anger came from the fact that she was the one who caused her own death." That made me sit up! I love the way you casually drop it in. I really laughed when I read how Darren wasn't going to take responsibility for his wife's demise. Then, you write, "Well, maybe he was responsible for a few of those 46 stab wounds that came afterward, but she was already long dead by then." That's so funny. It didn't occur to me until I got to the end to wonder who did kill her? Was it Darren, or some other force?

This story is in three parts. The first ends with a strange voice in the rear of his car appearing from nowhere, telling him to sleep. I couldn't wait to find out who this voice was. The second part begins with Darren waking, with the car crashed into a tree and his head dripping blood. When he checks the trunk for his wife's body, it is no longer there. But the Hefty bag is. Additionally, Darren has memories of getting out of the car and seeing a man. So why was he now in a crashed car, bleeding? So many questions! I actually felt a little sorry for Darren when his wife garrottes him from behind. His wife . . . or should I say a devil woman? This is explained in the final part of the story. Well, when I say explained, I mean it's left for us to imagine. Nothing is explicitly explained. But I love that about your stories. They always leave me wondering about them long after I read them. I have a question. I didn't understand who "All of us" is. Had he murdered his past girlfriends?

What I really liked: I love your humour! The 46 stab wounds part really made me laugh. This is also really funny: "All good questions, my dear friend, incomplete as they might be." The ending is brilliant. It comes as a surprise when Darren is killed. I wasn't expecting that. Not in that way, at least.

Final thoughts: I love this story. It reminds me why you are one of my favourites. When I have more time, I'm going to have to read through more of your recent stories. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great job!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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16
16
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Hi Scarlett

I've just finished reading your short story, "Thongs ain't what they used to be, and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: This I saw this in the Comedy Newsletter, and I loved the title, so I thought I'd give it a read. And I'm glad I did. It's so funny, and it had me laughing the whole way through. As I started reading, I wasn't sure where the story would take me. I've literally just noticed the play on words with Thongs *Facepalm*. I didn't spot that before. I read it as Things. I can't believe I missed that! Now, I love the title even more!

As I started reading, you hooked me immediately with your description of the "not-so-blushing bride." I've seen a few of those before. Then, this line made me laugh: "Now introduced, they scan each other rapidly, with minimum eye movement, as only women can do." Such a keen observation. And so funny.

Plot: This is a scene at a wedding. Two women who have never met before are introduced, and they hit it off straight away. Enter: Elaine. This third guest at the table is described with witch-like features and as being mean and fat and, generally, unpleasant. When she insults a young woman on the dance floor, trouble brews. She makes nasty comments on her clothes and her dance moves. She then says, "I’d certainly never allow my daughter to expose herself like that." Oh, the reader gets a nasty feeling at this point. And with good reason. it just happens to be Julie's daughter. Penny (her new ally) decides to poke fun at the nasty lady and starts a conversation about thongs. Once enough outrage has been induced, Penny and Julie head to the dance floor then shout a parting comment to Elaine: "KNICKERS!" Oh, that's hilarious. I could see the indignation on this woman's face. I love your last line as well: "Yep, even the cake is in tiers." Sooo funny. This kind of read as a standup routine. I could imagine someone standing in front of an audience, telling this tale and getting lots of laughs.

What I really liked: All of the above! I love the humour. It really appeals to me, and I genuinely laughed the whole way through. After Elaine says her husband married her for her mind, this line is perfect: "Julie and Penny share the same thought silently. No need to voice that one." I also love this line: "Penny, now realising that all hope of polite conversation is lost, decides to put her wooden spoon skills into action." That's a great way of saying that.

Final thoughts: I have no suggestions to make. I wouldn't change a thing (or a thong) about this. It's thoroughly enjoyable. I love the revenge that Penny and Julie achieve over Elaine. I think most of us have met some Elaines in our time, so it was great to see her get her comeuppance. Great job!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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17
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Review of Misplaced Love  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
Hi Beck in NaNo revisions

I've just finished reading your short story, "Misplaced Love, and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: The first thing to say is I really feel for Dante. He comes across as a sympathetic character, with his weakling body and lack of self confidence. Additionally, Chester is horrible! He is a nasty, little bully. He's always telling Dante he doesn't stand a chance with the girl of his his dreams; the beautiful Betsy. Your characterisation in this story is great, and that really stood out to me.

Plot: This is a story about a farmworker called Dante who is hopelessly in love with Betsy. Betsy walks by his farm twice a day, and he is desperate to get the courage to speak to her and ask her out. But she doesn't know he exists. Dante's co-worker, Chester is just mean. Constantly making fun of Dante and chiding him, he does nothing to help him approach Betsy. I was a little confused by this part: "You could have any other girl around here that you wanted." Chester says this to Dante after putting him down and telling him how undesirable he is. Also, after Dante has mentioned his small-boy body. So, why do all the girls want him?

What I really liked: Dante. He really grabbed my heart. Also, even though I didn't like Chester, you wrote his character really well. I thought the premise was interesting. I found myself rooting for Dante, and I felt really sorry for him at the end.

Readability/Grammar/Punctuation: Just one typo: "Her soft, straight hair shown in the sunlight of the summer morning." I think it should be shone.

Suggestions: Rex kind of appeared from nowhere and stole Betsy right at the end. It would have been good to see more conflict at this point in the story. I thought she might have overheard what Rex said to Dante and fallen into Dante's arms, rejecting Rex. I appreciate it is flash fiction, but I guess I would have liked a little more resolution. Even a fight between Rex and Dante would have been good. I have a question. When Betsy approaches, we hear her cow bell. She's not a cow, is she? I'm thinking she's probably herding cows, but I just thought I'd check.

You mentioned a lot of names in this story. Seven, in just 552 words. The paragraph where you mention all the girls who like Dante, you could take most of that out, which would leave you more words at the end to elaborate.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed this story. You have created some great characters. Even Rex, who we only meet briefly, makes a big impression on the reader. It's a great tale of unrequited love. Great job.

Keep writing!

Choconut


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18
18
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi Fyn: dragon-slayer!

I've just finished reading your short story, "Purple Christmas Magic, and I'd like to offer the following comments:

My first impressions: I saw this story in the newsfeed, and when I saw the title, I couldn't resist. As I first read through, I got caught up in the whole magic of Christmas theme. It really does read as though it was a magical time. I think it's a wonderful idea; to sprinkle Christmas Magic over all the presents and through the house. It's a beautiful, heartwarming story. I had a smile on my face the whole way through. Really enjoyable. When I read the part at the end, where you say it's biographical, I thought how wonderful Christmases must have been in your house.

Plot: This is the story of a ten year old girl who thinks she is too old to believe in Santa Clause or to have her photograph taken with him at the mall. However, after much coaxing from her mother and grandmother, she goes to see Santa at the mall, and the gift she tells him she wants for Christmas (and how he manages to deliver on this) restores her faith that he is real. I love the scene on Christmas morning where Cara is so excited to see the purple magic. There is a letter that Santa has left for her, and all three children say it isn't their mother's handwriting. I love how you don't explain this in the story, leaving your readers to wonder whether it really was Santa who wrote it.

What I really liked: There are some great descriptions in here. I love the detail of the mother tucking the stray, blond curl behind her daughter's ear. It impresses on the reader the girl's youth, even though she feels she is too old for Santa. I also love the description of the mall when they first enter: "The mall was a chaotic swirl of excited kids, harried-looking moms, dancing Christmas lights, singing carolers and people everywhere!" I could hear the bustle of the mall. Also, the "harried-looking moms" is such a great visual. I could picture and feel the whole scene vividly.

Readability/Grammar/Punctuation: Just two minor points. " It could be seeing a deer in the woodsThey . . . " You missed the period and space here. Also, "He looked at her, peering over half-glasses and stroking a beard that had to be real!" I would put a period rather than an exclamation mark. Just my opinion.

Final thoughts: I loved reading this story. It's a lovely, family Christmas story, filled with warmth, happiness, and love. It has everything a good Christmas story should have. It's wonderful.

Keep writing!

Choconut


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19
19
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Moarzjasac

I've just finished reading your short story, "The White paper Christmas, and I'd like to offer the following comments as part of "PDG Rockin' Reviewer's Group :

My first impressions: This story begins with a fantastic description of the start of peace time in Christmas 1945. Instantly, I was hooked. As I continued to read, it was so easy to put myself inside the story. All your descriptions are rich, and they paint a wonderful, warm picture of your family who—on the surface of it—had very little, but in the bigger scheme of things, they had everything they could possibly need. By the end, I had a tears in my eyes. The love and togetherness is so strong in this piece. It's absolutely beautiful.

Plot: I think this is probably written from your own personal experience, rather than being a story. It reads as part of your memoirs (which, if you haven't written, I'm sure would be really interesting). A family are relocating at the end of the Second World War. I want to quote this line, which is quite a long quote, but I couldn't cut any of it: "The exodus of just discharged service men from all over the country filled the two-lane roads from both coasts with box-shaped cars that wheezed and coughed their way painfully over mountains and across the high plains in the center of the country." This is so good! The cars coughing and wheezing is a description I've never encountered before. It feels fresh and unique, and I love it. The whole story is written in this way. The description of the journey in the car with the leaky, canvas roof and your entire family belongings packed inside is great. And the Christmas description is so heartwarming. Christmas was made entirely from your parents' ingenuity and love. What more could anyone need? It reminded me a little of my own parents. They would always rather make things themselves, than spend money on buying it.

What I really liked: The feeling of love. I can sense the feelings of nostalgia, in telling this story. This is the line that brought tears to my eyes: "Each night we would gather by the old potbelly stove, cuddle in its warm aura, with a tummy full of hearty stew and the knowledge of how much we were loved." That is so moving. Such happy memories.

Suggestions: Just a minor thing. You have the second, third, and fourth paragraphs all together, with no spaces between them. I would separate them out.

Final thoughts: Well, I think you have probably guessed I love this story. It's one of those stories that pulled me into it and held me tight until the end. It's beautifully written. Love it!

Keep writing!

Choconut


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20
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Review of Dear...  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi ruwth

I read your poem, "Dear..., when I was judging "Shadows and Light Poetry Contest last month, and I would like to offer this review as part of the Paper Doll Gang Rockin' Review Academy.

Please remember these are only my opinions and any advice offered is done so with the sole intention of being helpful.

*StarV* First impressions: This is such a positive poem. It really brought a smile to my face. This is written as a conversation with yourself. You set it up with you looking in the mirror, asking yourself questions that could provide you with answers for how to like yourself more. I love how you start out asking, "What would it take for you / to like me again?" This part is quite emotional. I can really relate to this conversation. I've asked myself the same questions time and again. When you get to the lines, "Will you please accept me / right where I am today?" I really felt moved. This turmoil of trying to like and accept yourself, when for so long it's been out of the question, is such a hard battle to overcome. People who have never been there wouldn't understand. I think it makes you a stronger person in the end, though.

*Starb* Rhythm & Rhyme Scheme: You say this poem was originally written as a letter, and that shines through in the poem. It gives a wonderful rhythm to the narrative. The poem is free verse, so there is no rhyme scheme, but I actually prefer free verse. I think it gives you the scope to be much more creative, and to pour emotions into your writing. I love that.

*StarG* What I really liked: I love the ending. These lines, in particular, "If you will, I am sure / we can build beautiful / tomorrows." I also love the, "Deal or no deal? / Deal!" at the end. This poem is so positive. Its message is that once you start to love yourself and treat yourself kindly, every aspect of your life is easier to deal with and improve. I think a lot of people could benefit from reading this, ruwth. I could imagine it being read at a motivational speech.

*StarP* Suggestions: This is only a tiny thing, and it may just be my preference. I'm not sure about the centering of the poem. I understand you've done this because it's a letter, and it does work. But, I just wonder if it would be more visually appealing if you left aligned it?

*StarR* Final Thoughts: This is a really well-written, emotional, clever poem. I really enjoyed reading it, and I really do think it should be read by many. I hope you are managing to build your beautiful days and to love yourself through all of them.

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut


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21
21
Review of My fairy  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi K.HBey

I've just read your poem, "My fairy, and I would like to offer this review, as part of the Paper Doll Gang Rockin' Review Academy.

Please remember these are only my opinions and any advice offered is done so with the sole intention of being helpful.

*StarV* First impressions: This poem is full of the lasting love a mother passes on to her child. It's an emotional read, and I found myself with a lump in my throat when I read the line, "You went but you are still here." I love the way you describe your mother as still being with you because of all that she left behind: love, kindness, tenderness. This poem, whilst quite sad as it deals with the loss of a mother, is also really positive. It's a comfort to read your words because it reminds me that's how I should look at the loss my own mother. She is still here; all around me.

*Starb* Rhythm & Rhyme Scheme:This poem is free verse, so there is no rhyme scheme. I love free verse poetry, so I think you made the right choice here. If I'm honest, the rhythm is a little rocky in places. For example, "Who illuminates my universe and still rocks me / Most often the harshness of life and in this penumbra." This is a bit of a mouthful, and the use of words with so many syllables breaks up the flow. Because there is little punctuation at the ends of lines, it means the reader doesn't know where one thought ends and another begins. I found this a little tough. I appreciate it's free verse, and free verse doesn't often have punctuation, but it would help this poem to be a little clearer.

*StarG* What I really liked: The last line: "You are still here Mother." This is a lovely sentiment. The overall feeling I got from the poem was one of calmness and serenity. The perfumed flowers and beautiful garden are very feminine. It all makes me think of my Mum. It's lovely.

*StarP* Suggestions: In general, there are places you used the same words for descriptions (for example, penumbra and tenderness), and this kind of stood out. Particularly penumbra, as it's quite an unusual word. It would have been nice to see a different description for the second one. There were a couple of places I felt the metaphors didn't quite work. "your kindness like dew and your hope." I wasn't sure how kindness is at all like dew. Maybe I'm just not getting it, but I felt it didn't work. Also, "Your heart like a marvelous diamond / Love tenderness and sacrifice were its verses." I couldn't wrap my brain around a diamond having verses.

*StarR* Final Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this poem. It's a beautiful tribute to your mother and comfort to others who have lost theirs. You have some beautiful imagery in here, and with a little work, I think it could be great.

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut


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22
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Review of The Darkness  
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with PDG Rockin' Reviewer's...  
Rated: E | (4.0)
Hi Mouser

I've just read your poem, "The Darkness, and I would like to offer this review, as part of the Paper Doll Gang Rockin' Review Academy.

Please remember these are only my opinions and any advice offered is done so with the sole intention of being helpful.

*StarV* First impressions: This is a poem of two parts. There is the wonderful description of what it's like to suffer from depression, and how it drags you down, snuffing out (almost) all hope of salvation. And then, there is the part of the poem where you say that although you are, "Shaky, weary and battered," you manage to fight your way out of the depths, and "Toward the light." At the end, you say that you know the beast has only withdrawn for now, and that it will return at some point. I guess, what I'm saying is this poem is a wonderful description of what it's like to live with the burden of depression. I could relate to every single word. I love how you show the reader how the pain is both mental and physical by saying, "With pain of body and soul."

*Starb* Rhythm & Rhyme Scheme: This poem is free verse, so there is no rhyme scheme. I love free verse poetry, especially in poems where emotion is a key component. So it works really well here. Each verse is slightly different in structure. I like this because it highlights the change in the contents of them. I love the repetition of "Losing . . . " at the end of the second verse. It hits home. If I'm honest, I didn't think the rhythm was completely smooth. It seemed to lack a little fluidity in places on my first read-through. After I'd read it once, though, it flowed much better.

*StarG* What I really liked: I love how you start and end the poem by saying the darkness is "always waiting." I also really like this part: "Most often it is only / A glimpse - / Out of the corner of my eye." That feeling of impending doom, of having the black dog on shoulder, is really moving. The image of light being drained by the monster is really nice, also.

*StarP* Suggestions: There are a couple of places where I would take out the commas. "With pain of body and soul," The following line begins with That, and there shouldn't be commas before this word. Also, "At last free," I wouldn't put a comma here either. It breaks up the flow a little.

*StarR* Final Thoughts: This is a poignant poem about the struggles of depression, and it has some lovely images that are very relatable. Great job!

Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut


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23
23
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Hi Anne Arthur

I am happy to be reviewing you as part of the "WDC Power Reviewers Group [E] Review Raid!

My first thoughts: Wow. That is my first thought. This is wonderful. Your writing style is warm and descriptive and, from the very first sentence, I was completely immersed in the story. When I read the line, "Stroking his thick, black mustache with his slim sun-browned hands, he nodded." I knew I was reading something really special. That "sun-browned hands" description is so vivid. I could see Stefan in my mind, and the description made me fall in love with your writing.

Plot: This is the story of a woman called Klara. It's a memoir, looking back at this woman's life, when she dies. The setting is a house that is too big for only the narrator's grandmother to live in, and so has to be split into more rooms for refugees and people who have lost everything in the war. The unity and the way these families all look out for one another is incredible. Although, this is written about a time of great pain and sorrow, it sounds like a wonderful place to be. They had little, yet they had so much. It kind of reminded me of 'The Book Thief' a little. I love that book, too.

Characters: This is told from the point of view of the granddaughter of the owner of the house. So everything we see is through her young, naive eyes. It's great to have a slightly unreliable narrator like this one. I think you actually see more truth this way. I love the way you portray all the characters. I love the relationship between the narrator and Klara. Her kindness shines through. I wonder whether she ever went on to have her own family. Could she even have children of her own? There is so much more I would love to know about this woman. About Stefan and everyone in the story.

What I liked: All of it! I love the way you pull your readers inside the story, with the intoxicating smells of baked apples and cinnamon and the image of the goose feathers flying every time someone opened the door. It all seems to innocent and loving and warm.

Suggestions: You may have already started to do this, but I think this could be turned into a whole book about this period in time and about Klara's life. I would read that, for sure.

You have probably guessed that I love this story. But, more than that, I love your writing style. It's welcoming and grabs the reader, then holds them tight until the end of the story. Plus, you actually leave us wanting more. I hope you do write more. I absolutely love this!


Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut



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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
24
24
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
Hi Tina McClintock

I am happy to be reviewing you as part of the "WDC Power Reviewers Group [E] Review Raid!

My first thoughts: As I first read through, I wondered what would happen between your two characters: would they get back together in the end? Would Steve be telling the truth? Did Vera really want to go there again? I was glad when, in the end, they kissed. I feel Steve probably has a lot of making up to do, though.

Plot: This is the story of lonely woman, sitting in a coffee shop on her own on Valentine's Day. She's a little resentful of all the people around her, in couples, when she hasn't been in a relationship for the last fifteen years: ever since the love of her life, Steve, ran away from her at the altar. Enter: Steve. A voice says her name from behind her and she immediately knows it belongs to Steve. The story he comes up with for having left her at the altar is one, I have to be honest, I would not have believed. He says he was undercover with the FBI, and he had to leave for her own safety. Hmmm. Likely story, I would have thought. But he says he can prove this, by taking Vera to his office which just happens to be near by. Here is one of the problems I have. Vera lives and works near by. Steve, when he goes to the office, is known by everyone there, suggesting he's been working there for some time. So, how come they have never bumped into each other before? He says he was too afraid to approach her. So, what is different about this day?

Characters: Steve broke Vera's heart so badly, she hasn't had a relationship since. She even moved to Canada for a short while to escape her memories. Yet, when he shows up and tells unbelievable tales of undercover FBI work, she goes with him without hesitation. It just felt a little stretched, to me. I get that she still loves him, but it all seems a little too easy. It would be great to see a little more depth to the characters. Show us their feelings. Show us how shaky Vera is, how her whole world has been unsettled for the second time by this man. There is so much you could do with these two.

Grammar: Just a few typos. " . . . dressed to impress. it was too late . . . " You need to capitalise it. Also, " . . . why couldnt he be bald at least." Firstly, you need to put an apostrophe in couldn't. Also, you're asking a question, so you need to end the sentence with a question mark. The other thing is you change point of view in one place. The whole story is written in the third person, then you write, "'Wait, I can prove it!' He came after me. He grabbed her shoulder and spun her around." This temporary switch to the first person is a little off-putting.

What I liked: Despite what I've written above, I love the line, "why couldnt he be bald at least." This made me laugh out loud. I think we've all been there when meeting an ex who you want to be not doing as well as you, then you see them looking beautiful. I also loved the premise for this story. I would love to know what happens next with them.

Suggestions: I know Steve is no longer working undercover for the FBI, but I still wasn't sure he would have been able to talk in so much detail about his role with them. Also, the way he says he worked on the recent serial killer case. Again, could he really talk so freely about this? I don't know. Maybe, just check it out.

This is an enjoyable story. I like how the couple kiss at the end. It's a nice ending. With a few tweaks, and a little more characterisation, I think it could be really great.


Most importantly, keep writing!

Choconut



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*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
25
25
Review by Choconut
In affiliation with WDC Power Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
Hi amy-Very Very Busy

Welcome to this "WDC Power Reviewers Group Review Raid!


Once again, I apologise this has taken a few days for me to write, but things have been a little hectic here. Anyway, I've now read your article, and I'd like to offer the following comments.

*Starv* The first thing to say is there is very little I would change about this. As I first read it, I could relate so much to your thoughts about trying out different genres until you find the one that is meant for you. If I'm honest, I'm still doing that, to a certain extent. I like to try a little of all kinds of genres. Even though, I'm pretty sure I've found my voice and my genre. By writing about this process, you assure newer writers that it is okay not to know straight away what you want to write. I like the reassuring feeling it gave me.

*Starv* The one area I would maybe add a little to is where you say that you decided children's writing isn't for you, and then you say the same about horror. I was interested to know why not. Particularly, with horror writing, as you said your story was published and you enjoyed writing it. So, I wondered how you knew it wasn't for you?

*Starv* Just one tiny word change I would make: "If you do you will find that genre that ignites your readers' imaginations . . . " Rather than using two thats close together, I would change the second one to which.

This is an interesting, informative article. As I said, there is very I would change. It leaves me with questions I would ask, if I was part of your Facebook Group, and I think that's really important. It's a great piece, Amy.

Choconut



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