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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/zeke89
Review Requests: ON
56 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I will give long, thoughtful, honest, critical, detailed reviews. I do not hesitate to give a bad rating if the item I am reviewing is bad. I will not depreciate the value of 5 stars by giving it to items that don't deserve it. I will do the best I can to point out everything wrong with your item and then give you suggestions on improving it. Take a look at some of my longer public reviews. If you request a review, you'll get something like that.
I'm good at...
Analyzing plots for continuity, grammar, logical arguments, imagery, and all the usual stuff.
Favorite Genres
Science Fiction and Historical-Fiction
Favorite Item Types
Short stories
Public Reviews
Previous ... -1- 2 ... Next
1
1
Review of Miss Henrietta  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)
You managed to create a story with this poem while keeping a consistent and enjoyable flow of words and rhymes. That is not easy to do. It has the feel of an unconventional ballad. As far as content goes, you balanced the sentimental with the grim - which was intriguing and brought this poem to a level exceeding its rhyme. Very well done.
2
2
Review of Toressa  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is excellent. You consistently use beautiful diction that carries a certain tone throughout the piece. You also stay on topic which makes it seem complete and thematic. The rhymes are simple, but don't seem forced at all. You let the content guide your lyrics, but still managed to follow the form and make it rhyme. Well done!
3
3
Review of The Body  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
The opening sentence and the following paragraph make it seem like Ken is a boy, maybe 12 years old. However, it is later shown that he has a girlfriend and is obviously an adult. Likewise, this sentence: “Man, I really do feel like I’ve accomplished something. Just last week I was at home with my honey, relaxing by the pool, contemplating this coming climb. Now, I’m on top of the world.” makes it seem like he's talking to sum1, but the next sentence shows that he's alone. There needs to be more consistency here.
"a rugged yet soft look." There's probably a better way to say this.
The 3 times Ken thinks to himself/says stuff out loud seem really cheesy to me. No one would say stuff like that in real life.

Ok, so the last couple paragraphs...
Um, the entirety of the story was imagined by the girl? And then the boy named Ken who moves next door is doomed to this cursed fate, brought upon by the little girl? Ok.

I'm seriously worried about this little girl.

Ezekiel Stephens

I'm happy to review you for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group 12th Anniversary review raid!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
4
4
Review of The Jester  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a great poem! One of the best I've read on WDC. I like how it tells a complete story while remaining seamlessly poetic. The Jester is a well fleshed out character and you describe his situation well. The poem has a melancholy under tone, and is really quite good. The rhymes are spot on, and the rhythm pleasing. I particularly like this clever rhyme: "The jester’s act brought smiles to their faces, Helping them forget just what this place is".

Well done!

Zeke Stephens

Celebrating "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group 12th Anniversary with a review raid!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
5
5
Review of Beef Stew  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
This is really good! I like the fun form you used and the rhymes. You told the story very well, and I like that it's mostly lines of dialogue. This could be made into a picture book for children, I think. It is also very funny.

I'm happy to review you for "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group 12th Anniversary review raid!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
6
6
Review of Inevitable  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (4.0)
This is a pretty good poem about death. It's very dark and creative. You speak about it poetically in lots of different ways. I like the kind of format you used. The stanzas are spread out haphazardly just like the tempestuousness of death. Well done.

I'm happy to review you as part of "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group 12th anniversary review raid


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
7
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Review of Multivalence  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.0)
"Dan Sturn tries to separate his own reaction phase into two distinct reactions: one to the craftsmanship, and one to the message. The first is merely to help the Artist improve in the actual craft of pruning the message. The second reaction is done more as a method of self-analysis, spiritual study, or just pure fun."

I will do likewise in reviewing your essay.

Primarily, and objectively, I will say that your essay was very thought-provoking and you presented your point fairly well. However, you almost completely focused only on poetry. This is disappointing as you repeatedly and briefly mentioned the application of multivalence in all forms of art, including things most people wouldn't consider art, but you failed to prove or even justify your stance on this to us. There is almost no explanation for why you believe this. You just tease it, and state it as supposed facts to support your ideas on poetry without actually giving any form of evidence. You definitely apply your disbelief in proper form of writing, as there isn't much of it in this essay. However I did enjoy reading this because it presented an interesting opinion and caused me to think. For these reasons, and not because I disagree with your argument, I will give you 3 stars.

Now for the very subjective part where I counter your ideas and disprove your argument. I will still try to keep this fairly short so I don't end up with another essay.

Yes, people interpret art differently. However, there is always an intended meaning. And I mean always. You mentioned technology, so I'll use that as an example. The intended purpose of a hammer is to stick nails into things by hitting the nail with the hammer (I don't think that's very controversial). You can actually use a smartphone to do the same thing (try it). However, it won't work as well and your phone will probably break. This is because that's not its intended purpose. The phone is not a hammer, even if you choose to use it for the same thing. Likewise, a person can take all sorts of meanings from a poem. That doesn't mean they're good meanings, or even logical meanings.

Even when you try to create a poem (or other work of art) with no intended meaning, with no intended purpose, in order for people to create their own meanings from it (or listening to "the Muse", as you call it), that ends up being its intended meaning. The intended meaning, the purpose, of the poem is to have multiple meanings.

Certain people excel at doing this, and it isn't that they are listening to the Muse, it's that they purposefully create - by design - an abstract work of art, with vague words, and intentionally unclear motives.

This is the difference between fabric and a shirt. Fabric can be used for any variety of purposes - hundreds of them with different meanings for different people. A shirt, however, has one very clear intended purpose - to be worn on the torso of a person. Fabric does have an intended meaning, though, just as much as a shirt does. The meaning of fabric is that it can be used in so many ways. Its purpose is that it is useful to everyone, they make it whatever they want it to be.

Similarly, try tracing your finger across something - anything near you, your desk, bed sheet, or arm it doesn't matter. Trace a circle. Now trace the first letter of your name. If you use your imagination, you can see what you just traced - even though it's not really there. You can see anything you want on that desk top. Yet in reality it is blank.

Blank art is not special, just vague, and hesitant to declare its what it means in order to please the masses. Perhaps this is why it is sometimes so popular, because it is whatever the reader wants it to be.

This reality doesn't seem to elude you in your essay, but somehow you see it as a good thing. Perhaps because of your belief in the Muse. The Muse does not exist, there is no spiritual component to writing abstract poetry in order to convey thousands of unique meanings to its audience.

Perhaps I could be convinced that there is a spiritual component in reading it and drawing out your own meaning from a random piece of art, but that is in no part due to the artist or the muse supposedly affecting him (unless the particular message is the intended one), but rather, it is due to the unique experiences and psyche of the reader and his imagination. Just like when you traced your finger on the desk.

You also mentioned the ultimate multivalence of personalized religion that is growing in our modern culture. I have also seen this, and I scorn it. People who ascribe to this believe that all religions lead to one god. That they are fragments of something greater than any one of them. They believe that any partaker of any religion will go to heaven because all religions worship the same god, just under the same name. How can this be when the doctrines of these religions so clearly contradict each other? In many of them following another god results in damnation? However, in another religion, you are free to worship as many as you like. This is just one example of many, many contradictions. They can't all be correct. Thus, I regret to say, the belief in "free for all" or "personalized" religion is not truly a midway point of universal agreement. It is just another religion.

In conclusion, I will reiterate that everything has an intended meaning, whether you like it or not.

I would love a reply to this review, if you're willing to write one.

Sincerely,
Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
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Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (2.0)
I did not feel very connected to this writing, rather I was kept at arms length. I want to be able to feel like I'm there, in that place. The sentences are choppy and don't sound good. I also don't have enough information, I don't feel like I really know this place and situation after reading this. Draw more from your personal experience to make this better.

I wrote this review in affiliation with "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group
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Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
This is an interesting story! You have a great imagination, and you really created a unique world. The psychology of the main character is well understood through lengthy thought processes. You find a creative way to show the reader the strange aspects of alien life with a credible reason - Your main character is pretending to be another person. She has to suppress her emotions and cultural habits. You made a good effort here to make it natural, but it could have been better. It still sounds forced and slightly too informational. The descriptions and explanations aren't smooth enough. This is super hard to do in a 1st person narrative, so I understand, but yeah. There was also something that confused me a good bit about your alien. You talk about the Cremorians and Shetzus as different species, but are they? You talk about multiple lungs and legs, lots of arms and fingers. Are these traits that both Cremorians and Shetzus possess? Are they the same species, but just different cultures? If so, why can't the main character breathe like the Shetzus and can't get water on her? These are questions that seem pretty important to understand your story. Nevertheless, you end your story well. Although she failed, she won't give up. You attempted a very difficult thing for a short story, and still managed to create something interesting, so good job! You could definitely expand this into a longer story, and probably need to to fully describe this unique world. It kinda reminded me of Dune.

I wrote this review in affiliation with "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
10
10
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.0)
This is a great story, however there are some things you could do a lot better on.
I loved the twist at the end, it was fantastic. But I actually missed it the first time I read it. You see, I forgot the "friend" from before was named Roger. That's partly my fault, I'm pretty tired right now, but I also think you could've made it easier for me to remember. You only mention Roger at the very beginning. Try talking about him throughout the story. When I first read about Roger and the other guy (before I knew they were the same), I thought it was kinda strange that they both had the same job. I was planning on suggesting that you give them different jobs, now my suggestion is that you do better distinguishing between the 2 characters. At the beginning you have to think like they are different people because that's how Satyra thinks. Show how Satyra is thinking (You do this well later on, but not at the beginning. Maybe have her think that it's interesting how phototreker81 has the same job as Roger, without making it obvious that they're the same person.

Another thing that was confusing was that you used "he" and "him" instead of using they're actual names. Several times, I had trouble figuring who she was talking about. The most significant of those is your third paragraph. At first I thought it was talking about Roger, then I reconsidered because the other guy's name was "phototrekker", so I thought it must be talking about him. Throughout the whole story (until I understood the twist), I really wasn't sure if they had the same job or if I was just confused and misunderstood what you were writing. This probably could have been cleared up by simply using "Roger" instead of "he" in that third paragraph. It is very important that your readers understand this because the twist is the most important part of the story, the story was made for that. Additionally, using more names instead of pronouns will help the readers remember the names of your characters.

Another thing: There is an instance where you had 2 emails from phototrekker in a row, so at first it looked like the second one came from Satyra. ("Good. That's Good." "I'll put a tiger lily in my pocket") You just need to indicate that it came from him.

There's a couple times where you "tell" instead of "show" Satyra's emotions, sometimes even using the same or very similar wording to describe it.

So yeah, it needs some improvement, but overall I really enjoyed it. I think with just a few tweaks, this could be an excellent story. I love the idea and it was written very well with a well-developed main character.

I wrote this review in affiliation with "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
11
11
Review of MONOLITH  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is an excellent glimpse into the adventure and fear of childhood with 2 well-developed characters that seem very real. Throughout the story, you employ a strong voice that puts us into the mind of the main character. There is also a lot of good suspense. This is a great story. Well done!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
12
12
Review of If I Were A Poet  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Haha this is great. Despite your claim to not be a poet, this piece flows very well and provides excellent contrast between the romantic "poetic ideal" and the comedic reality. You show good choice of vocabulary to convey the funny tone and it has a nice rhythm.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
13
13
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a very good story! It was suspenseful and was written in a compelling style.
14
14
Review of Oneka: Chapter 1  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: 13+ | (3.5)
Great story! I like the beginning with the tea ceremony, although it does seem a bit rushed. A Chanoyu takes hours, and that leaves you plenty of time to develop the characters (whom we otherwise know almost nothing about) through creative dialogue. The way the Lady Tokugawa deliberately creates a flaw in the Chanoyu - something that is supposed to be performed perfectly - to make a point is very interesting and creates a uniqueness of personality in the character. This is why I was disappointed to see her die so quickly. You started something interesting, then ended it just as quickly. With just a chapter or two more to get to know the character better would have made me more sad for her death rather than simply disappointed. I assume that in this story a lot of people will die, so make your deaths count. Make the reader care for the characters.

You seem to have forgotten the suffixes to be added at the end of last names (-san, -sama, etc.). Even in moments of alarm, the Japanese would almost always retain their politeness. This can be omitted to make a point, but very rarely or it won't be effective. This is the case for everything you write about that defies Japanese culture - use this tool sparingly. You do this again when you say that Lord Toranaga chooses to not have a son by another consort (this would be incredibly unusual). This sets this particular Lord apart from the others, which could be good if he is one of your main characters (this does create a problem though, more on that later). Once again, you do this with the female Oneka who is said to be the next ruler of the clan...I'm interested to see how you do this, because this would be absolutely unacceptable in a Japanese house (which you know of course). Is this particular social deviation the crux of the novel?
Readers might question the integrity of Lord Tokugawa when I think you mean for him to be a good character. Why on earth would he choose not to have a son? For the love of his dead wife? By indulging the whims of his heart, he is sacrificing his daughter's life. By giving her the rule of the Tokugawa clan, he is essentially condemning her to a life of strife, torment, and - most importantly - shame. The Japanese did not look at death the same way as modern culture does. The Lord should be sad, yes, but his wife will be reincarnated. It is absolutely no excuse to subject his daughter to life-long shame. I hate this guy so much. Hopefully, he dies. Maybe Oneka kills him when she grows up?
Perhaps you mean for this shameful life of Oneka is the plot of the novel, but maybe find a more believable way of making it happen. I also kinda wonder if the other Lords would even care about the birth of Oneka. She simply can't be the ruler, so why bother? Realistically, the clan would just not follow her. You will have to be very clever in writing this story, but it could be interesting if done right.

A couple more errors and inconsistencies: Female samurai were actually quite common. Just not clan rulers.
The battle made no sense. A surprise attack, I can understand, but why were all those Tokugawa soldiers there right outside the tea house as if waiting for it?

Overall impression: A fascinating story with a compelling voice that draws me into the story and keeps me reading. A fun combination of historic Japan and the Fantasy genre. There are some mistakes when writing about Japanese culture. As this is only the first chapter, it is hard to form a developed opinion, but overall it is good writing. I think overall it is a bit rushed, which is understandable when you want to give a general idea of the story to a writing.com audience, but when you are actually writing your book, I would suggest drawing this out for a few chapters. It is unclear whether the story is about the birth of Oneka, or whether she will grow up and become the heroine. This is crucial for my opinion on this chapter. If it is the first, it needs to be longer. If it is the latter and this is a sort of prologue before the actual story, then it needs to be shorter and more focused on leading up to the powerful climax of the birth. Either one could be interesting.

I hope you continue writing and finish the novel. Remember to do your research. I wish you luck! (:


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
15
15
Review of Growing  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (1.0)
First paragraph: You say he was "typical" followed up by "he was tall for his age" and then "but there was one thing different about Oliver". You already said he was different by being tall, so you can't do that. Either remove his being tall or remove his being typical. "He remembered literally everything." The list that follows this is a bunch of fragments. You'll need a colon and then semi-colons. Or just find a better way of saying what you want to say without using complicated grammar. "organize his memories and categorize them" - this is redundant. Instead of "the color of their hair and the color of their shoes", say 'the color of their hair and shoes'. Delete comma after "Fortunately". Delete the comma after "input" and the comma after "he learned to". That is also a run-on sentence. You repeat the words "organize" and "categorize" together. Once in, "Fortunately, for Oliver, he had learned to organize his memories and categorize them." And once again in the very next sentence, "but categorize, organize, label and classify it". There is supposed to be a dash in "eleven year old". The very last sentence in this paragraph is also a fragment.

All of this was in the very first paragraph. After you proofread and revise your story, send me an email and I'll give you a complete review and update the rating.

Sorry for the harshness, but the poor grammar makes it impossible for me to read this story. I hope this helps.
16
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Review of Driftwood  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: 13+ | (2.5)
Saw this on the Please Review page. This has the distinct feel of a rough draft. You started out kinda shakily and then warm to the topic in the middle through the end. I would consider re-writing it. I'm not a poet, so I don't know if I can really give you great advice, but I can say that I didn't enjoy it as much as I could. There are issues of flow and word choice, especially near the beginning.

A couple examples: Line 3 has too many short connector words, doesn't flow or sound like poetry.
Line 6 - remove "that are". these words aren't necessary, take away flow, and don't sound good. Find a better way to say "the pain of losing a child". It's too long and too straight-forward. You take a metaphorical stance in most of the poem, so you should keep that kind of language in all of it.
Lines 7 and 9 - This style of language interrupts the poem.

I'm not going to go through each line, and again, I'm not a poet so take my advice with a grain of salt. You are the best person to write your poem, I just think you can do better. I like the topic and some of the language used. I hope I helped, and good luck!


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
17
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Review of Walk Me Home  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
Great story! I found it interesting how you took a somber and frightening topic and wrote about it in a comical way. This story flows well, the words convey the thoughts and personality of the main character superbly, and it was quite funny. There was a small grammar thing though. "Delivering messages to the deceased relatives was what he did." Should be: "Delivering messages to the relatives of the deceased was what he did".
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Review of Slippers  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is wonderful!
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Review of Bugs in Amber  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
         Excellent story! Johnny/Jonathan is a very well-developed character that I felt attached to. The point of the story was presented clearly, if a bit cliche. However, you took this common idea of the joys of childhood and the stress of being an adult and wrote about it in the form of a short story nearly perfectly. I found it hard to find anything you could change. If this was an ordinary story that I found randomly, I would not mention any of the small potential errors. But since you listed this on the Please Review page, I will give my suggestions on a few things.
         In Part 1 you wrote, "'Well Johnny, don't forget you have to go to the dentist today and then go help your grandma and grandpa pick up sticks in their yard,' his mom condemned." I do not think "condemned" is the right choice of word here. It is overly complicated in comparison to the rest of the writing, and makes the reader have to stop for a few seconds and try to figure out what you mean. You are using "condemned" because Johnny's mom is condemning him to an afternoon working, but that does not become clear until later on. What if Johnny wanted to go to his grandparents' house? My first impression was that the mom was condemning Johnny for something he'd done, sort of an accusation. Instead, the true meaning is an action, not really the words that the mom spoke. This is, in my opinion, an inappropriate use of a dialogue tag. It pulls the reader away from the story. A lot of times, it is better to use a simpler dialogue tag, like "said".
         In Part 2 you wrote, "Jonathan pulled onto the highway and began the 40 minute trek that he does everyday." The word "trek" is typically used for a voyage by foot. Your character is not walking, but driving. This does not make the word use incorrect, as it can sometimes mean any journey, but it does elicit some confusion in the reader because of it. Again, this draws him away from paying attention to the story just a little bit. A couple sentences later, you write, "It's about to be a long, silent ride home." You say this after Jonathan has already started driving, which means it is not "about" to be this, it already is. In this same sentence, you say that it is a "ride". You should replace this with "drive" for consistency. For this story, description is not very important as it focuses on one character and it is very short, but in future writing remember to describe the setting so that we can see the story.
         Finally, what does the title "Bugs in Amber" mean? I know it is probably some genius analogy, but I just don't understand it. Is it referring to the carefree play of a child, crystallized and frozen in memory, to be looked at and longed for, but unable to be gained back, trapped in its hard and transparent prison? Is childhood the bug, once buzzing around joyfully, but now dead and encased in amber? This seems far-fetched. I would love an explanation.
         I really hope my review helps improve your writing! It is a lovely story and I was very nit-picky reviewing it. Honestly, this is one of the better stories that I've read on this website. It is completely deserving of 5 stars. I'm going to be looking out for any more stories you post.


*Gold* My review has been submitted for consideration in "Good Deeds Get CASH!.
20
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Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: ASR | (3.0)
The story needs more interesting description. Each sentence is one short fact, starting and ending abruptly. The story does not flow. You needs to focus on subtly giving hints, instead of force-feeding the reader with information. I understand that it is a mystery, but I do not think that is an excuse for omitting sentences that keep your reader interested. Even the thrilling murder was presented in a factual and lack-luster way. This was undoubtedly your intention, but I do not think it worked, because it was hard to keep reading. I say all of this to help you to improve, and I do not mean to offend you. The actual mystery was quite good, but the presentation of it is bland. I would love to see you re-write this story with the suggestions you've gotten in mind.
21
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Review of The Final Plan  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Wow...this is really good. I don't think I am going to win the contest haha.
22
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Review of Creation  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
Excellent work! I love the way you describe salvation and sanctification, it really makes it easy to understand. You put truth into physical terms using Genesis 1 as a metaphor. I don't know if you care, but there are some small spelling errors and the sentence structure in the middle paragraph (particularly with the quotes) is a little confusing. So maybe give it another proof-read. It is very well-written and enlightening though.
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Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
This is a very well-written poem. It really shows the heart of every war, and how terrible it is. Sometimes we just ignore it because we are not directly involved in it, forgetting the senseless deaths of human beings. This poem is a wake-up call. I also like the style you used to write it.
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Review of Coffee Infusion  
Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (5.0)
Wonderfully entertaining and relatable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Review by Ezekiel Stephens
Rated: E | (4.0)
Very interesting concept for a story. I like how you took an idea as simple as astrology signs and created an entire world that revolves around it. The dialogue conveys emotion very well. However, I think your story needs more description. I felt a little lost in a completely new and strange world without any description of setting and all the ideas being shown through dialogue alone. The reader barely even knows who the speaker in the story is! I would love to see this story fleshed out, though, because it is interesting.
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