Reviews for Esperanza Highway Part One: Valley Boy
Ocotillo chapter 14 . 4/15/2009
Oh. :-(

Depressing. Backed into a corner, set up and busted. Can't even say goodbye to the lover who (you are setting us up to believe) you will never see again.

Oof. Shoulda saved this chapter for a day I wasn't already tired and frustrated.

(good writing, *lol*, not your fault I needed a lift!)
Cattails chapter 14 . 4/11/2009
No, I knew that manual would end badly! D: And I really hope Mark doesn't die... D: But, y'know, the stay in maquilaville should be interesting... Wonder how they're going to handle Chuy? O.o I'm definitely looking forward to that. But I hope things get solved!
Cattails chapter 13 . 3/19/2009
Aw, they're so cute! :3 Bookstore trips are always awesome. Oh, and now he has a manual! Hopefully it's a good one o.o Hmm...I'm worried about that cough...I hope Mark doesn't die D: Cuz...that would be depressing. I like him.
Vera Dicere chapter 13 . 3/15/2009
aw. they're cute together. i must admit that i'd like to see some of their more amorous moments, though- not like out and out sex, but maybe just leading up to it? because aside from the way chuy is more relaxed around mark, and some of the things they say/allude to, they don't seem much different from friends. but it's all good- they're adorable regardless.

i'm a bit worried about chuy's alterations to the magpie getting him into serious trouble. and mark's cough doesn't seem like a good thing either.

happily anticipating the next chapter! :)
Ocotillo chapter 13 . 3/14/2009
Great. You just got me warming up to Mark and now you going to kill him off? :-(

Am I reading too much into a cough?

(no, don't tell, don't tell, just sayin'...)

He doesn't come off as a dick now, just a sort of overprotective grouch. Kind of likable, that way. :-)
Vera Dicere chapter 12 . 3/13/2009
aw sweet. i really kind of love chuy, especially now he's realized that maybe those playboys aren't where he should be looking. and mark is wonderful, in a slightly behind the curve sort of way. i've also got to say that i really love the culture you've constructed, the speech patterns and chista views of community and neighborly devotion. definitely looking forward to what's coming for mark and chuy. :)
Ocotillo chapter 12 . 3/10/2009
*sigh* :)
Cattails chapter 12 . 3/9/2009
Ee! Finally! Mark isn't as slow as I thought...although I think Chuy is still very confused. I'm sure he'll figure everything out soon enough.

I like the idea of Valentine's Day in the summer...it seems to make more sense. And more romantic. :3 Nice to see Chuy and Mark finally dancing together! Oh, and a run-in with Feral...wonder if Guapo's gonna do something in the future or just let it slide...? And the mystery bouquet! Here's where I lost faith in Chuy's skills of deduction _ But it's okay. I still love him. And it all turned out in the end!

Now excuse while I go flail around at how adorable those two are...
Cattails chapter 11 . 3/9/2009
:o The trip happened after all! Yay! I think those two are getting closer... :3 They're both adorable. And as always, I am absolutely in love with the dialogue of this story. Everything said has a purpose and the words just fit together so beautifully...and I love the slang. (Is it odd to be this obsessed with dialogue? O.o) But anyway, I'm still in love with this story and can't wait for more :D
Cattails chapter 10 . 3/9/2009
Poor poor Mark...I'm sure he'll get things sorted out eventually. Although, I'm not sure if I feel more sorry for him or Chuy...probably Chuy, because he seems to be the victim of Mark's obliviousness. Er...I'm sure it'll turn out in the end!
Ocotillo chapter 11 . 3/6/2009
Okay, I am starting to review each chap, which is unheard of for me, but I have to take back any misgivings, because you are doing this masterfully. I am totally caught up in Mark and Chuy, and the reaction I had to Mark was spot on. It was supposed to be like that, in my own reckoning of what is happening now. And Mark is growing on me... in part because he is growing, I think, and in part because we are all getting to know him a little better.

It is an organic transition.

This was a wonderful chapter.

I have to get back to Belan now. :-)
TRSNG chapter 11 . 3/6/2009
you've got me in love with this pace. The slang is fine. The characters and universe keep getting stronger and stronger.
Ocotillo chapter 9 . 3/1/2009
Loving more with each chapter.

I'm afraid if you don't like Mark, this chapter isn't going to make you like him more.

Actually, it hasn't much changed my opinion of Mark (and you should move that A/N to the end so that my blathering opinionated blather doesn't unduly influence another reader! *lol*). But it has changed my trust of the author. Because now I read that the author intends for me to feel ambivalent about Mark. And there at first, I saw that he was supposed to be a more sympathetic character. I feel like I am being less than clear in what I am saying... if you are reading complaint from me, then I haven't expressed myself well. I really need beers, tone of voice, and facial expressions (ie., face to face) to get across some of the subtleties I mean to convey.

I've commented to people before that in some ways, I am harder on unpublished work (as a reader, I mean. In suspicion and wariness, and my tendency to expect a 'mistake' if a trope/cliche isn't followed). I bet I am not alone in this. It's like, once something gets through the editorial process and gets this 'stamp of approval', I am more inclined to trust that the author is skillful of their craft. Sometimes wrongly, heh.

Having said that, I feel like I need to make crystal clear that when I comment on things like that, I am not trying to tell you how I think your story should run, but only trying to give you information about how *one of* your readers (who doesn't know the end) is reacting. Like a mirror, of sorts. I wish more people were commenting, I'd feel less nervous about giving my bead on the story that way.

When I am writing characters, I am never sure if readers are reacting to them in the way I intend. So I guess I'm doing the 'give someone what you would want' thing, and I may have wrongly read what your intentions for Mark were. If so, you are probably pleased at my reaction!

Enjoying as always!

Oh, meant to also say that unlike Mark, I absolutely love Chuy, faults, issues and all. Part of my negative reaction to Mark is directly related to a peculiar protectiveness I feel towards Chuy. Chuy is just my favorite kind of person.
Ocotillo chapter 8 . 3/1/2009
So yeah, predictably, it's better now that I've had a look inside Mark's head, and now that Tomas is sort of pointing out Mark's odd think. I still find Mark too superior for my taste, and I want to help Chuy find someone who will appreciate him and treat him right...but its improving.

Still glad I wrote that before I read Ch8 though, because for me anyway, there is still a sort of pacing problem, in that I feel like I should've known something of Mark's mind before some of the scenes in seven. To keep me sympathetic towards him. I.e, my impressions are jerking back and forth towards an understanding of Mark, instead of a smooth flow. Does that make sense?

Lots of words to explain what is kind of a minor issue that wouldn't be noticable if you weren't so skillful.

Technicalities that I keep forgetting... "Tomas" often comes out with the "a" missing (not just in this chapter). Wondering if you had an a-accent character that is getting dropped? Also, somewhere, I can't remember where exactly (chap5?) there were the words "Chapter 5a" or something like that tacked onto the end of a paragraph. Like a note to yourself that you forgot to delete. Also, after reading several paragraphs after that, I finally realized that you'd changed POV's, so I think there was supposed to be a scene break there?

Should there have been a scene break before this? "So your playboy didn't show."

Looking forward to nine!
Ocotillo chapter 7 . 3/1/2009
Very much enjoying. The slang isn't bothering me at all...even less than the first chapter, really. Very smooth.

I thought I should tell you what I think of Mark, especially since I'm thinking it is opposite your intent. I don't like him. If I were Chuy, I would no longer be interested in him, sort of disappointed instead, that he wasn't what I imagined. If I had been Chuy in that last meeting, I think I would have stared at him for a moment, then said coldly, "You don't need to worry."

To explain - Mark pines after a man, completely missing the clues, in a totally unrequited crush (alls well so far). Turns out that this empty headed 'kid' Chuy has been after him, not Tomas. Does Mark react at all? No. He is nice, taking care of Chuy, but doesn't seem enthusiastic about it. In fact, his behavior seems a little paternalistic and superior. Then Mark offers his body as a prize, not even hinting at any reciprocal enjoyment of the act. Ick. A martyr for sex? Even I'm not that desperate to get laid (as Chuy would be to accept, IMO). Can you say 'recipe for dysfunctional relationship'?

Then Chuy gets depressed, is admirable in his intelligence and honor in staying away from Mark and not clamoring for 'payment'. Mark is nice, yes, in getting Chuy into his place and his words, etc, but that last scene? Double ick. Even though (by what I have seen) *Mark* is the clingy one, and Chuy is pretty anti-clingy (to the point that he doesn't even ask for what he deserves), Mark talks down to Chuy, and has clearly represented Chuy badly to his companeros in this instance...as if Chuy has been pursuing him inappropriately. Hell, Marks the one who's been following Chuy around. Do you see what I'm saying? Mark is coming off (to me) as a self-satisfied, self-blind, narcissistic jerk.

Assuming we are supposed to kind of like Mark so far, it wouldn't take much to fix, in my mind. Lighten his comments, let us see he is conflicted, that he sees *something* sexy in Chuy?

Caveat: I've noticed that I often dislike characters that other readers love. More sensitive to and allergic to snotty egos and self-delusioned, selfish people. In RL, too. Mark is a very realistic person...the type I (try to) avoid.

But HEY! ENJOYING THE STORY! And if things turn around, I'll manage to reverse my opinion of Mark...it'll just be a bump in the road.

On to chapter 8, which, admittedly, may have me modifying the above opinions... :-)
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