Reviews for A Hell of a Town
iwillbealwaysadreamer chapter 2 . 3/6/2010
It was... umm, what was her name? Oh, Kira! It's Kira! :)

OMG, a vampire! :D

OMG, it's Kira's daughter! :D

I likeses! :D
iwillbealwaysadreamer chapter 1 . 3/5/2010
Oh WHOA! I likeses! :)
Rose Alexandra chapter 1 . 2/8/2010
Congratulations!

A Hell of a Town has been nominated for the Best Non-Romance Award at the Some Kind of Wonderful (SKoW) Awards.

Best of luck,

Rose

Judge, Most Creative Plot; Best Non-Romance, SKoW Awards

skow./
Minty F chapter 6 . 2/3/2010
Good move, starting the chap with an update on Sarah.

“Like an angel,” Sarah replied.

I don't know if that line was an intentional 'hint' but it definitely stuck out to me. If so, kudos on giving us another subtle clue. If not, take credit for it anyway. It's not like I'll know.

One thing I like so far is that in every chapter, SOMETHING is happening. None of the filler many writers include (which I, as a fellow writer, am guilty of). Personally for me, it's hard not to write those 'filler' chapters - the chapters that essentially do nothing but set up the next chapter. You, however, make it look effortless. In every chapter something major happens to move the plot along. This may or may not have to do with the fact that your chapters are long as hell, but I'll give you credit anyway.

Favourite part of this chap: Dexter's frustration towards his mom's messages. It gave me a chuckle.

Ah, Astariel's debut. Like I've told you before, Cybill Shepherd from the classic flick Taxi Driver immediately sprang to mind when I read her scene. Not only with the description, but with the attitude and the whole 'angel' thing - if you haven't already, go watch Taxi Driver again. I swear, that's Astariel's twin (from 30 years ago) right there.

The robotic way you typed the answering machine's dialogue gave me a good idea of what it sounded like - and hey, my answering machine sounds exactly like Dexter's - but it wasn't the easiest thing to read.

He definitely wanted to meet the sweet little lady too.

Why does that line stick out like a sore, beaten-up, broken thumb in this story? I thought of Dexter in a cowboy hat, stomping through a saloon when I read that line. Funny image, but the 'sweet little lady' part doesn't fit with the language you use in the story.

PICKY TIME

There was a pillow behind her that she could prop up behind her, but the IV tube was confining her movements.

- probably an accident on your part. Nevertheless, that's a redundant sentence.

The nurse reached above her head to a shelf above the bed.

- again, another redundant sentence.

His shifts started in the afternoon and run until midnight on weekdays.

- 'ran' instead of run.

“…anyway, please call me back. I’d really like to meet you sometime soon. My number is 619…

- this is another tiny thing, but the closing quotation marks are missing in that sentence. When paired things like quotation marks and parentheses are forgotten at the end, I always notice. Ridiculous pet peeve.

Next chapter.

~Hera
Minty F chapter 5 . 1/30/2010
Explaining who Tydannoth is and what she does could have been quite a task, but you handled it pretty well. I appreciate how the scene was executed. Tydannoth was engaged in a conversation with Juliette, with Juliette asking important questions along the way. Sure Tydannoth could have probably explained everything in one big ol' paragraph of dialogue that so many authors use, but I'm glad you didn't go that route. This way it's more interesting - especially with the chopstick demonstration and the helpful examples ("You all were mostly put together. I just turned the key to start the car"). So good job on that.

Again, we don't know everything yet but just enough to get us by. The story is going at a nice pace. I can see other writers rushing through this part; Glad you're taking your time.

Another little thing I liked was how Ty kept mixing herself up in Larisa's memories. Now that she possesses her body and all of her doctor skill, it makes sense that she'd also hold Larisa's memories. And see herself in them, since she's seeing them from Larisa's POV.

"Fortunately for Tydannoth, she had rehearsed this part." - ohh, am I getting an evil vibe here? Why would Ty have to rehearse that part? Hmm. -coughliarcough- Our first solid hint that Ty may not be what she seems.

April 7th is my sister's birthday. Whaddyaknow, eh? Only she's never gotten a super-human talent like Julie there. It almost seems a bit cliche to give her one special power, but I'll roll with it.

This part is my favourite part from the chapter:

“Nice,” Juliette said with a laugh. “Make his ass pay.”

“Oh, he has, trust me.”

Larisa and Juliette shared a laugh.

Dark humour at its best. LOVE IT. Plus, we know for sure Ty lied right there - saying that she only 'threw him out' - so her motive has definitely come into question now.

PICKY TIME

There was a plate already there, Juliette took a slice and placed it on the plate.

- the second part of that sentence after the comma reads like an entirely different sentence. Instead of using a comma, I recommend either a semicolon or a period.

That's all for now!

~Hera
Minty F chapter 4 . 1/29/2010
Ah good, an update on Sarah! I'm glad we only got a tiny glimpse of how she's doing, and how her POV ends on a cliffie.

The great thing is that, even though this is my second time reading through this story, I'm noticing a lot of things I didn't pay attention to before. Like at the end of Dexter's POV there's a man screaming about demons. And in the previous chapter when the bartender left some funky stuff on Dexter's glass? Yep. I like picking out all the subtle clues you dropped. So your story has re-read value, which is always a nice thing. (And I usually never re-read a story so soon, so you should feel honoured.)

And Juliette's scene? Nice. I'm enjoying her transition from street rat to demon warrior. It's also really weird seeing her being so... kind in these early chapters. So different from the later Juliette we all know. And when she was nice to Ginger I nearly gasped.

Speaking of Ginger, I always imagine her as a reddish-blonde dog, probably due to the name. That really has no bearing on the story, nor is it important in any way. I just thought I'd mention that.

PICKY TIME

Sorry if this disappoints you, but I don't have anything to nitpick about in this chapter. Sure, you made teeny mistakes here and there but nothing worth pointing out.

Next chapter!

~Hera
Minty F chapter 3 . 1/27/2010
The first long chapter of many! I love how the story is moving along already. Some authors take a few chapters to establish characters and plot before they pick up the action, but not you. Oh boy. If anyone who read the prologue and first chapter had doubts, wondering if they should continue with this story, this chapter pretty much sealed the deal.

The flower is an excellent prop. Sure Larisa could have revived Juliette without using a flower, but this adds a special something, setting your story apart from all the other supernatural ones out there. The symbolism of the flower is also nice. Flower is nearly dead, so is Juliette. But with Laris- I mean, Tydannoth's help, both become healthy and strong again.

Speaking of Tydannoth, I'm relieved you didn't do an info dump on us to explain who and what she is. At this point we're still not sure what her plan is and whether she's truly evil, but we do know that she came from Hell to possess Larisa's body. And that's all we really need to know for now.

Juliette.. interesting character. After reading this chapter I really like her (funny how that completely changes). You've made her sympathetic without being wishy-washy or a complete Mary Sue. Sarcastic, stubborn, argumentative- sounds like a real teenage girl to me.

Even though this chap was heavy on the wordage, I don't think you included anything unnecessary. So when you go back through your story with that pair of editing scissors, I doubt you'll trim much from this chapter.

PICKY TIME

Honestly the only thing I can be picky about is the bolding. Remember when I said we don't underline in story writing? Well, we don't really bold, either. BUT, I can see why you put Ty's dialogue in bold. She's not human, she's other-worldly and as such, her voice is different. And that's difficult to capture with only text. So I'll let you slide on this.

G'job so far.

~Hera
Minty F chapter 2 . 1/25/2010
This chapter was a really nice introduction to Dexter's character. As much as I enjoyed the bar scene, you may want to cut that down when it's time to edit. After all, you know your story is long and needs some pruning. So you can start there by taking out the detailed explanations of the characters who don't matter to the story.

Not much else to say here. I liked everything. The rescue scene was done very well. Although you might want to go easy on the caps ;)

PICKY TIME

Especially FREE alcohol!

- this line kind of jumped out of the story and made me laugh, because I imagined it as a little interjection from MB himself. I guess it's the way it's written.

The only problem was that when Earl gets about half a beer in him, he never shuts up.

- in that sentence, you underlined 'never.' Instead of an underline, try italicizing it. We generally don't use underlines in story writing.

“You saw it. I guess you have to kill you,”

- this has probably already been pointed out, but I think you know what's wrong with that sentence ;)

I don't know why I said 'on to chapter two' in my last review. But now, I AM on to chapter two. Yay!

~Hera
Minty F chapter 1 . 1/24/2010
Decided I'd do individual reviews for each chapter instead of one huge one, so this will be the first of many.

I've always liked how you start off each chapter with a quote. It's interesting to find out where the quote is within the chapter and, for all those times I wasn't even sure what the quote was talking about, what context it's used in. So, moving on.

The opening, to me, is very strong. You jump right in and gloss over the situation without lollygagging like so many writers tend to do. Like Larisa, I was immediately curious to know whether or not she was being cheated on, which encouraged me to continue reading. And that's always a good thing when you're on the first chapter.

At first I objected all the medical jargon. "Who cares about David Williams!" I was thinking when I read a whole paragraph dedicated to the man, but gradually I realized that it fits with Larisa's character. She's serious and very passionate about her work, and the way she keeps lapsing back to it while she's thinking of her personal life shows how closely the two are twined to her.

As far as Larisa's characterization, I'd say you did a fine job for the one chapter that we got to know her. She's realistic - obviously flawed in that she's weak and insecure. Yet she has the admirable quality of caring for others. We can relate to her feeling of dread and we sympathize with her. All in all, she seems like a real person.

The plot is moving along great. This first chapter was set at a nice pace. It didn't move too fast, but it didn't drag either. You gave us just enough to make us want to click on chapter two. My only complaint might be your writing. There's an awful lot of telling as opposed to showing, so a little more description here and there would be nice. And telling us the characters' every action isn't always necessary (for example, in the scene where James arrives home).

PICKY TIME - this is the part where I point out all the little things that kind of bugged me, because I'm nitpicky like that. Please consider these points when it comes time for revision.

“the office”,

- in American English, we put commas before quotation marks. Seeing as we're both American here, be sure to tuck that comma in.

Who wants a chunk of his or her brain cut out? Nobody, that’s who.

- this is my personal opinion here, but when you ask a rhetorical question then follow it up with an answer, it weirdly breaks the flow of the story. I can't quite explain it.

“Hello, Mrs. Hatfield, glad you can make it,”

- glad you could make it makes a lot more sense, actually.

“Here’s what I found, Mrs. Hatfield,” sliding the packet across the table.

- might want to add a 'he said' to that or change the sentence.

“You like that.” Larisa’s mouth uttered.

- comma after 'that' instead of a period.

Okay, I think that's it. On to chapter two :)

~Hera
taerkitty chapter 2 . 1/17/2010
Opening is poor. It's trying to evoke a feeling of unease, but too hard. There isn't enough going on there for the reader to really understand why it's uneasy.

I'd not bother allcapping FREE.

"God, that was bullshit" We just whiplashed from remembering back in Pasadena to the here and now.

"Dex! Nice shiner!" Again, allcaps.

Romanizing the accent may make it hard to read.

Writing up the Three Wise Men might not be appreciated by non-drinkers. Unsure.

"She thought about that for a moment. Walk? Why? What was going on anyway?" POV shift from Dexter to the snack.

Okay, good close. We have some investment in her, if only because Dexter's done so much to try to save her.

The reading is a little bumpy. There's a lot of shifts to 'you'. In a first person narration, the protag can look at the reader and say "You know what I mean?" In a third person, the author is trying to be invisible, and to address the reader directly disrupts the flow.

Pacing can be tightened up a lot. The bar scene was nice, but way too could have started with Dexter outisde the bar, doing his field sobriety self-test and have the chapter proceed on it's way.

Dialog is all right. As before, romanizing the accent makes it a little harder to read. I'd rather see vocabulary shifts than trying to figure out what that string of letters sound like.

So far, so good. Looks like we have a *yawn* typical vampire story, but we both know it's not from our exchange on the Heaven or Hell supernatural genre forum. If it wasn't for that, I'd probably have stopped reading at this point. Because of that exchange, I'll gladly read on.
PencilSketchS chapter 1 . 1/12/2010
Wow, what a beginning. I don't think I need to tell you that this was really well written. All the medical jargon was fun. I don't know much about the brain and it's diseases, but I had general pathology last year, so I could relate a little.

I feel sorry for Larisa, and I'm not entirely sure what happened to her after she died, but I'm sure I'll find out soon.

So here's the first of many reviews. I'm looking forward to finding out about hell, and have tried not to read too much of the info you had on the story on your profile page. I don't want to spoil the details for myself.

But if I could review your profile page I must say it's well put together. I iked the link to the picture of a kitten (or rather the fact you put it there). It had me laughing, even though I don't think you really put it there with the intention of pacifying me.

Once again, it's late, so I'll read more tomorrow. This is just the prologue, and the fun starts from here, right. Till tomorrow then.
taerkitty chapter 1 . 1/12/2010
Hello from "Heaven and Hell" forum!

Opening is not that strong, unfortunately. We have a woman, we know her husband's having an affair, and we know she's coming out of denial about it. Unfortunately, we don't have a strong identification with her, and I don't like her initial wishy-washiness about the truth.

This is a matter of the author telling the reader 'this is the truth, whether she likes it or not.' The key word here is 'tells.' I would think it better to either start the story with calling the investigator, or receiving the news. At this point, the story is inert.

"Who wants a chunk of his or her brain cut out? Nobody, that’s who." I'm not a fan of rhetorical questions. It feels artificial, like the author is setting up the situation. All situations can be set up, but I prefer them to be smoother, less disruptive, distracting and obvious.

"Like any good doctor she told herself, the patients come first" I'm also not enamored of formatting to show monologue text. It should be obvious. In this case, it is.

"She had only one last thing to do today, [and that was] to go over David Williams’ charts" Those words slow down the flow. I don't think slowing down benefits this chapter.

"Larisa was a whiz with the bone saw." We are very 'close' to the narrator, so the story's language should reflect on her own speech. Does she say 'a whiz with [this]'?

"It reminded her of an old med-school joke." This feels forced. Again, the story's flow must be paramount. This is a good joke, just not a good place for it.

"She was still here[,] forty-five minutes after she intended to leave" Missing comma.

"Urgently" be careful with adverbs. Many can be omitted. Any you use, do consider if you can make the story work without using it.

The self-description is okay, but not great. It's a little detailed for the section, so it feels like there's a bit of force-fitting going on.

"The question meant she was worried, but she didn’t show it." This is tell. Have her act it, such as "Larissa remembered all the time she had to deliver the final bad news to survivors, the calm set she forced her face to assume. With that same expression, she asked, 'Why would you do that?'"

"As for Maury, he figured that the best course of action was to just get it over with sooner than later." Perspective shift. Keep the story to what she knows, feels.

"she kept all her books she didn’t read anymore and happened to have a desk in it" I wouldn't use 'and happened.'

"She then lied down on the desk." Lie, lay, lied, laid... It's confusing because they have different meaning (and don't forget "lei'd") 'Lied' means 'to have told a falsehood in the past.' This needs 'laid.'

"My creation. It is still here." Huh?

Oh, okay. Something swapped with Larisa. Okay.

Ending is decent. The amount of death and bloodshed seems a bit casual - remember, if we don't care for the characters, we don't care if they die. There is a very strong fictive question, one that compels me to want to read on.

Characters are weak. There may be that problem of the author distancing himself because he knows these characters will die by the end of the chapter. See above about not caring for characters and their deaths.

Shifting perspective to the investigator is a mistake. Shifting investigator to the husband is understandable, but I would have preferred it not happen. That way, the surprise that something swapped with Larisa would be a stronger surprise.

The word choice was decent. I didn't get a feel for the character with the narration, and I would expect to, given how close it is. A 'third-person close' perspective is almost like a first-person PoV, jut with different pronouns. The same limitations and benefits apply, so the narrative voice -is- that of the rpotag.

Overall, it's an intriguing beginning. It doesn't do a lot, but does it well enough. I'll definitely keep reading.
Tawny Owl chapter 26 . 11/10/2009
Zatilah’s do I look presentable was priceless – and so was the holding back of her favourite move, all be it in a much more sinister way. You’re right, maybe she isn’t completely stupid. I enjoyed the idea of Juliette being covered in pen marks.

And more of the bromance. Does it count as bromance if they’ve only been together for two chapters? Although I suppose the ‘strong hearts’ going of to war thing is very Band of Brothers. I liked that actually. I feel like it should have been really cheesy, but it had me wanting to cheer along.

I think I like them together because for the most part your guys get the best lines, so when they actually have a conversation the dialogue seems to bounce better.

Although Zatilah has some crackers as well. (I refer you back to the ‘do I look presentable’ bit)

Anyway, Tyler hunched over the score card scribbling away was a lovely, geeky image. And he loves Tiffany? I thought they had the potential to be kind of sweet together, but she seemed rather too excited about going to the Rugby game with Sarah. I thought it was in my head. Hmm, can you do sweet?

And Dexter gets italics from Juliette. She’s clearly looking forward to the rematch, poor guy.
Tawny Owl chapter 25 . 11/4/2009
So much for me catching up. How’s the finger?

Youngest should be younger I think, unless Zatilah is the youngest of all the angels.

And the fact that Sarah is such a nice person, almost angelic – that has to be important, right?

It seems unfair that Dexter and Curiel didn’t meet up sooner – they have good banter, and I suspect Tyler’s going to end up missing a jaw bone pretty soon. Although Zatilah is proving less easy to manipulate than I thought she would. Go her. But then Tydannoth conceals the fact that Sarah is checking up on her, sneaky.

I liked the way Dexter reacted to seeing Curiel. The idea of him being completely gobsmacked and turning blue is an amusing one.

Zatailah and she both have a second chance (both had). Do you care? Sometimes it’s useful to have things pointed out, but I know when I’ve gone past a chapter I rarely have time to go back and change things unless I decide to rewrite stuff.

The scary thing about Tydannoth is that the way she explains stuff sometimes makes sense. I had to remind myself in this that she was a harp short of a hallelujah.
Minty F chapter 33 . 10/30/2009
If you're wondering where my big ol' review is, it's coming, I just have to reread the story. (Got too caught up in the plot, dangit)

But I will say this: WHY? You totally left us hangin' at the end there. And I have to wait until the third installment to see what happens next? WHY?

Anyway, good job. Lookout for my comprehensive review.

-Hera
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